After an excellent start to the “American Idol” Vegas rounds this Wednesday with a batch of 10 girls, the show returned to the Cirque du Soleil theater on Thursday to do it all over again with 10 boys. And what a diverse group of boys it was. Performing in front of a live studio audience—a first for “Idol’s” top 40 semifinals—the male contestants ran the gamut from conservative country to old-school R&B, from Spanglish Beyonce to a Pete Burns/Phil Oakey/Prince clone named Josh "JDA" Davila, who gave possibly THE most outrageous “Idol” performance of all time. And interestingly, there was nary a guitar-wielding Lee DeWyze or Phillip Phillips clone in sight. Seemingly determined to ensure that a girl wins this season—or at least that a “WGWG” doesn’t—the show’s powers-that-be stacked the deck with some very atypical contestants this year.
And the most atypical was gender-bending JDA, of course. Rocking an outfit that was sparklier, gothier, and girlier than what many of the female contestants wore on Wednesday—spike heels, fishtail hairdo, backless leather harness top, some sort of fortune-teller gypsy skort—JDA pranced out ready to “star in his own movie,” and I was ready to pass the popcorn and watch the director’s cut. While other boys of the night stuck to mostly bland balladry (and sometimes even sat on stools), JDA rolled around on the stage floor like Madonna at the 1984 VMAs to Adele’s sassy “Rumour Has It"; coyly sang, “Rumour has it he's the one I’m leaving you for"; and later declared, “I gotta represent for the gays!”
Oh, he represented, all right.
“We haven’t seen this much glitter since Adam Lambert’s season,” quipped Ryan Seacrest. C’mon, JDA was so “glistening and glittering,” he made Adam Lambert look like Scotty McCreery. Unfortunately, JDA didn’t exactly possess a Lambertian vocal range—his voice was merely decent. But he entertained. He brought a little Vegas show(wo)manship to Vegas Week. And he delivered possibly THE wildest live-show “Idol” performance in all 12 seasons, aside from Norman Gentle’s “And I Am Telling You” in Season 8. But at least JDA had Norman totally beat in the wardrobe department!
JDA does Vegas!
“Well, we are in Vegas, so you certainly were right at home on that stage. I commend you for putting on a show. I also applaud your originality,” said judge Keith Urban. Nicki Minaj didn’t think JDA’s vocals were on point, but she still affectionately called him “Miss Lady” and a “superstar” and exclaimed, “Werk it, gurl!” Randy Jackson was also unimpressed with JDA’s voice, but admitted, “If we gave an award for best performance, it would go to you.”