After surviving the preliminary auditions over the past three weeks and the group auditions Wednesday, the remaining American Idol boys to sang solo in front of the judges on Thursday. The judges didn’t base their decisions solely on Wednesday’s performances, but rather on the individual’s collective performances.
I wasn’t surprised to see certain guys make it through and unfortunately, the hour-long instalment wasn’t enough time to showcase all the auditions. Mainly, Idol showed the contestants with the more interesting back stories or the ones the judges just loved. The contestants wouldn’t hear the results right away; but after eight consecutive singers performed, that group would be called back on stage to find out the results.
The first singer of the night was Paul Jolley. He wasn’t very jolly — more of a nervous wreck — and didn’t even try to hide it. He sang Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away,” and even after he had finished, he still didn’t feel relieved. Nicki Minaj was very harsh on him, basically saying she was disgusted with the way he came out on stage. She kept telling him that he could’ve held it together since the audition was only a minute. I get what she’s saying, but give the guy a break. At the beginning of the episode, Ryan Seacrest intoned Thursday would be the most crucial audition yet for the performers. I think it’s understandable if they were nervous.
Lazaro Arbos was up second with Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory.” I really like Lazaro. I’ve liked him since his first audition. Lazaro has a bad stutter, but when he sings, his voice is so beautiful. So smooth and controlled, it’s incredible how that happens.
Paul and Lazaro were both given the good news that they would advance, as did Curtis Finch Jr., who sang Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts.” Curtis’s mission is to reach and touch people’s hearts. Mission: accomplished. He definitely pulled at the strings of the judges’ hearts with his moving performance.
I don’t know what was up with Nicki on Thursday night, but I felt like she was just unnecessarily rude to a lot of the contestants, including Matheus Fernandes. Matheus is small, and when he came on stage he made a joke about it, saying he looks like he’s 10 years old. He sang Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” and explained that it’s a song that he can really relate to, given all that he’s had to go through during his life due to his height. He already explained his story during his first audition, and when he finished singing last night, Nicki said it’s becoming a “pity party” and he needs to stop “milking it.” I see how it can come across that maybe he was trying to get sympathy votes, but there are kinder ways to get the message across.
It was Matheus’s first time performing without a band and it wasn’t his best. The judges sent him home and advised him to practice singing with a live band. He said he would try again next year, and hopefully he will. He really has a great voice.
Other memorable contestants who didn’t make it were Nicholas Mathis and Papa Peachez. Nicholas sang Bruno Mars’s “Locked Out Of Heaven,” competing on Idol with the hope of providing a better life for his children. He even carried a picture of his daughter in his pocket as a good luck charm. Nicholas has talent, but I feel like he got a little too dramatic last night, falling to his knees at the end of the song. Nicholas said that he was on Idol chasing his dream, and Keith Urban summed the performance up perfectly: Nicholas was chasing the song, not the dream. And that’s exactly what it was. He was trying too hard and it all slipped away.
Papa Peachez was one of Nicki’s favourites from the very beginning. Personally, he never really did much for me and I thought he should’ve been eliminated Wednesday. But since Nicki believed in him, she fought for him. He sang Lady Gaga’s “You and I,” and it didn’t win over the judges. On Wednesday, Nicki warned him that he needed to be himself and not let that initial flame that she saw in him burn out. However, his performance lacked individuality and it was the end of the road for Mr. Peachez.
I noticed a few instances of repetition last night. The contestants had to choose a song from a list provided to them, and of the televised auditions, three picked Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts” (including the aforementioned Curtis). The other gents who chose it were Burnell Taylor and Marvin Calderon. The camera cut from Burnell in the middle of him singing to Marvin picking up at that same spot. It was a very clean cut and both boys sounded great. I don’t want to jump the gun here, but they should do a duet!
During the feedback, the camera kept cutting back and forth between Burnell and Marvin. One of the things Mariah Carey said to Burnell was, “Absolutely beautiful as always.” Hmm, that sounded familiar. Oh yes, that’s right. It’s EXACTLY the same thing Mariah said to Curtis earlier. I don’t know what it is with this season of American Idol, but the judges keep saying the same thing to contestants. I don’t know how many times during the city stages that they would say “You’re really special.” The more they used the word “special,” the less “special” it became. And it wouldn’t be a Season 12 episode if that word wasn’t thrown in at least once. In the beginning of the episode, Keith said, “I’m just wanting to hear something really, really special.” What exactly is special? Narrow it down a bit please, Keith.
Going into Thursday’s episode, there were 40 guys remaining and that number was supposed to be cut in half, but after last night’s solo auditions, there are still 28 dudes left. Now, the 28 boys have to sit and wait, while the girls go through Hollywood Week. Then, the guys will find out which eight are going home and which 20 are actually moving forward to the live shows.
American Idol airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on CTV/Fox and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on CTV Two/Fox.