Television

Grouchy Advice For 'Idol' Contenders Who Had A Bad Week: Men's Edition

Tyler Grady performs on American Idol.

Tyler Grady hammed it up on Wednesday night during his first American Idol performance. Michael Becker/Fox hide caption

itoggle caption Michael Becker/Fox

Technically, we are a day late here since, er, the first two guys (along with the first two girls) went home last night. But we will carry on with the advice we began giving yesterday. (We do mention herein which two were sent home, so if you're holding the results show on your DVR for some strange reason, look away immediately.)

Aaron Kelly (Rascal Flatts, "Here Comes Goodbye"): I will give you this much: You are singing a song about saying goodbye, and you are not smiling all the time, which is a frequent problem, especially for teenagers such as yourself who have perhaps experienced fewer heartbreaks than they eventually, unfortunately, will. You seem to know what the point of the song is; I like that.

It's hard for me to judge this performance, because this music is so very, very Not My Thing. But you seem to know what you're doing, and while I don't think you'll be fully cooked for a few more years and are not remotely ready to be a famous singer, you have nothing to feel bad about.

Alex Lambert (James Morrison, "Wonderful World"): Ay yi yi. Okay. You have a good voice! This is the good news. You also look like you are doing this performance because one of your loved ones is being held for ransom and this is the only way to set him or her free. You look miserable and terrified, and while that's entirely understandable as a reaction to being on live television in front of many, many millions of people (no pressure!), it makes you very difficult to watch, and it keeps you from adding much feeling to the song. If I imagine you calm, I think to myself, "That might be all right." But for now, you're much too stressed out for me to relax and watch you.

The rest, after the jump.

Andrew Garcia (Fall Out Boy, "Sugar We're Going Down"): You are still my favorite, musically speaking. I think the judges picked on your disproportionately to keep you from seeming like too much of an obvious frontrunner, because I thought this was lovely, quite honestly. You have miles of control over your voice, and plenty of confidence, and while others may think this was too similar to your "Straight Up" in Hollywood Week, I could watch you do this all day. P.S. I wish you did not have a neck tattoo, because you are making me rethink my I Do Not Associate With Neck Tattoos rule, and I do not watch American Idol to have my preconceptions challenged.

Casey James (Bryan Adams, "Heaven"): Boy, you really, really, really know how to market yourself. This song is hilariously on point, because you, more than any of these other dudes, seem aware that the actual target demographic for this show is not teenagers, it is easily led ladies such as myself, who remember "Heaven." What's lovely, though, is that in addition to being an obvious manipulative genius, you are a darn good singer. This was obscured a little by Kara's skeevy, you-loving antics, but it came through anyway. I see big things in your future. Big things with little red hearts floating all around them. And maybe a pony. And me. And, of course, you. Wait, what was I saying?

Jermaine Sellers (Oleta Adams, "Get Here"): Every time a contestant does this song, it telegraphs that one is about to see a performance that will almost always involve too much ambition. Many have bitten off "Get Here"; few have chewed it. I understand that this is your style, but if you are going to wail in this particular way, it must be impeccably in key, which it was not. I can't see this going very far for you.

Joe Munoz (Jason Mraz, "You And I Both"): By now, you know that you were eliminated last night. And as much as I'd like to feign surprise because there is no way you gave the worst performance, you did give a performance that was totally bland. The illusion of "safety" defined as "a performance no one will dislike," which applies in lots of other contexts, does not apply in a positive-voting situation, where early "safety" actually means "a performance at least some people will like very much." This performance was highly unobjectionable, which unfortunately bit you.

John Park ("God Bless The Child"): Now, see, I like you. I like your voice. And this is an interesting, and odd, choice of song for the very first week. You got through, and you showed talent, and I thought your comments about being in love with Shania Twain were very funny and showed a promisingly self-deprecating side. But again, you ran a little bit into the problem of showing us you can sing, but not what kind of singer you would be. You can't really start with your album of standards. That's sort of a late-arc Rod Stewart thing.

Lee Dewyze (Snow Patrol, "Chasing Cars"): Let me tell you where you got incredibly lucky here: the judges were too busy arguing over whether this was the right song to mention the absolutely stanky notes that happened a few times here, which really made my eardrums sit up and say, "I SAID GOOD DAY, SIR." These were some of the absolute worst notes of the night, and the judges basically said not one word about it. You and I will never be friends, because you are not my kind of singer, but neither was Chris Daughtry, and I still respected his ability to hit notes.

Michael Lynche (Maroon 5, "This Love"): I just ... why? Why this song? Why this forgettable, eight-year-old radio-pop song? No matter how limited the selections were, I cannot understand a guy with your sheer quantity of personality picking this song. With the acoustic guitar that you only sort of seem to be playing that nobody can actually hear ... it's just a very strange situation you put yourself in. With that said, I didn't dislike the performance itself, once I adjusted to my profound disappointment in your song choice. Don't teach your baby that there's nothing better in the world than Maroon 5. I beg you.

Tim Urban (One Republic, "Apologize"): Okay, there is one reason to choose this song, and that is that you have great confidence in your falsetto. That is the song it is; it is the "artful use of falsetto" song. If you have a falsetto with the breadth of dental floss and lungs that could barely blow out a birthday candle, this is not the song to show off your skills. This is the same principle on which Ryan Seacrest does not play basketball. Are we clear? Oh, I thought so.

Todrick Hall (Kelly Clarkson, "Since U Been Gone"): The problem with rearranging a song isn't the rearranging itself. It's that if the rearranging doesn't go well, all it makes anybody do is miss the original song and want to listen to it, which is exactly what happened when I listened to this. It made me think about Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone," and what a freaking great pop song it is. And part of the reason is the way it busts into that joyful, over-the-top, heart-pounding chorus all of a sudden. This arrangement doesn't have that; it stays in largely the same energy level throughout, which for the purposes of this lyric, means it loses something. I like you; I think you're good. But when you rearrange, make sure you don't drop the intersection between the music and the words.

Tyler Grady (Lenny Kravitz version, "American Woman"): Boy, did you deserve to go home for this. I capital-H Hated this. Hated the self-indulgent bit at the beginning, hated the grunt, hated the purple scarf and the har-har use of purple in general, hated the fact that out of all the people to want to be, you've decided you want to be Jim Morrison, as Jim Morrison would be translated through American Idol. And when you finally were sent home, you blamed the judges for waiting too long to tell you that your '70s-rec-room, faux-relic, lookit-my-hair shtick is annoying in the absence of more interesting singing. If only you had asked me.

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