'American Idol' Recap: Narrowing the Field
'American Idol' Recap: Narrowing the Field
Bill King
Bill King
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Goodbyes are never easy, and that will surely be the case as Hollywood Week ends for the male singers and we bid adieu to some of our favorite American Idol performers. But the show must go on, and not everyone can make it to Las Vegas. It is expected that we'll be cutting the remaining 43 boys down to our top 20, but who knows, there could be some surprises along the way.

Ryan Seacrest promises us that Day 3 will be full of amazing songs, shocking eliminations and major meltdowns. It's the most important performance of their lives, you know, until the next one. But that's why we love it!

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A lot of the guys struggled through the group day, with a ton of them forgetting the words. Now they get one last solo shot with the American Idol band, and they can choose to play an instrument if they want. The judges will be making cuts after every group of eight singers. 

Let's Get to It!

Paul Jolley is up first, and his confidence is shattered and nerves frayed. But none of that is evident once he starts singing, and he shines brighter than his all-white outfit. Still, Nicki was irritated by his lack of professionalism and turned off by his inability to keep it together beforehand. Go easy on him, Nicki. 

Lazaro Arbos tackles Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory," which I don't like as a song choice, and it's not an overly strong performance. Should be good enough to get through, though, I would think.

Curtis Finch, Jr., gave me goose bumps and is clearly an early favorite. He is emotionally invested in his performance of "Jar of Hearts," and he puts his own spin on it, to boot. Beautiful.

All three go through, and they're the only ones from their group. No notable cuts. though. I like the format change with the immediate results, but it's strange to think they won't have any of those moments were the singers are divided up into rooms that get good news or bad news as a group. This is more satisfying. 

Group 2

The solo round continues with Devin Velez leading things off. We haven't seen much of anything from him before, if we've seen anything at all. He's got a great voice, but his runs are a bit all over the place. He doesn't seem like he has a ton of control yet. Keith Urban tells him he was born to sing. 

The Turbinator, Gurpreet Singh Sarin, sings "Georgia on my Mind" with his guitar, and while his voice is sweet, he's still a bit too quiet for my liking. It was probably his best to date, though. 

The quiet description certain doesn't apply to Cortez Shaw, who belts out everything he sings. He actually needs to reign it in a bit, because he has a tendency to get screechy. 

Short guy Matheus Fernandes is getting nervous because this is the first time he's ever performed by himself with a live band. He used to only sing in the car or in his bedroom, or ON THE GLEE PROJECT. His song choice, Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger," is horrible. Mariah Carey calls it disconnected, and Nicki tells him he turned his height issue from inspirational into a pity party. 

Devin, Gurpreet and Cortez are going through, joined by Adam Sanders (who we didn't get to see perform), while Matheus and the rest are going home. 

Group 3

Nicholas Mathis sailed through group day with a standing ovation, but he has a rough go and loses his momentum halfway through. Then he loses his cool. The dream he's chasing for his kids is unraveling, and he begs for one more shot. Then he falls apart backstage.

Papa Peachez calls the other performers puppets and says he's doing his own thing. Bad song choice and iffy performance. Nicki, who told him on group day that he needed to step up, says his flame has totally burned out, and she's disappointed. Papa says it means everything to him, but he's never really taken the competition all that seriously, starting with his ridiculous audition.

Jimmy Smith, who previously had his star quality doubted by the judges, gives a nice performance of "Landslide." He has potential, but still has a long way to go. 

Jimmy is in, as are Johnny Keyser, Vincent Powell and two others, but it's the end of the line for Nicholas and Papa. Nick has a tearful breakdown outside, while Peachez says this just isn't for him because he hates singing other people's songs. 

Group 4

Nick Boddington, who was eliminated in Las Vegas last season, takes a risk and plays the keyboard himself. But it pays off with a smooth performance. One of the best of the day.

Charlie Askew warms up with some jumping jacks, and his wardrobe choice is awkward and hilarious. It's a way-too-big shiny suit with blue sneakers. Gotye's "Somebody I Used to Know" is also an odd choice, but Charlie's odd. It's interesting, to say the least. Nicki is obsessed with him, because she always favors flair over talent. He's quirky ("I glorify weirdness," he says), but he doesn't blow anyone away. Love the personality, but let's calm down a bit. 

Nick and Charlie are advancing, joined by JDA (who is wearing thigh-high boots and a black veil over his face) and Mathenee Traco

Group 5

Burnell Taylor is apparently one of the many singers who chose Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts," and he has one horrible note in the beginning before settling down and finishing strong. 

Marvin Calderon gives a really strong performance of the song as well, better than Burnell's, in my opinion. 

Both go through.

Group 6

Micah Johnson, who has nerve damage in his throat, highlights this group. Mariah Carey thought it was an interesting song choice, but she wanted more from him. I liked it though, and would be surprised if this is the end for him. But apparently it is, They cut him, and he vows to come back. 

Also gone are shaggy haired rocker Gabe Brown, dancer Sanni M'Mairura and Asian Joseph Gordon-Levitt Nate Tao.

A Final Surprise

American Idol throws us and the advancing guys for a loop by dragging the remaining 28 out on stage to tell them a lot of the sucked, and eight more cuts have to be made to round out the top 20. But they're not doing that until next week, after we hear from the girls. I hope that it's not super anti-climactic, where they just tell us the top 20 without explaining the eight eliminations. But I guess we'll have to wait and see. It's a bit of a head scratcher that doesn't generate as much suspense as I think they'd like. Kind of just leaves you feeling unfulfilled. As much as American Idol can leave someone unfulfilled. 

Were you surprised by any of the cuts? Who did you think performed well, but the judges disagreed? My early favorites on the male side are Nick Boddington and Curtis Finch, Jr. Who are yours?

As I said, the girls get their shot next week, and apparently they put on a much more entertaining show than the boys. Nicki predicted that a female would win this season for the first time in forever, and if that's the case, next week should be fun.

You can watch American Idol every Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. on Fox. 

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(Image courtesy of FOX)

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