American Idol: The Top 10 Guys Perform
Charlie Askew | Photo Credits: Michael Becker/ FOX
Randy Jackson said Tuesday that this season is a "girls' year" on American Idol — but not if the Top 10 guys have anything to say about it. Taking the stage for their performances on Wednesday's show, the male semifinalists showed that they, too, are a force to be reckoned with. While the guys' group lacks standouts like Kree Harrison and Candice Glover from the girls, most of the male singers are delivering solid B-worthy performances and can hold their own.
Wednesday was the final night of performances before the first viewer vote elimination, which will take place Thursday. Five girls and five guys will be sent home (but Jackson made a cryptic comment on Wednesday night that indicated a wild card or two might be in store). Here's a rundown of the Top 10 guys, so read on to see how each one did — and who had a near-meltdown:
Elijah Liu: Clearly playing up his heartthrob status ("I'm single and available"), Elijah nevertheless proved he's more than just a pretty face with a heartfelt rendition of Rihanna's "Stay." Nicki Minaj praised his marketability, while Jackson said the performance "never left first gear." Mariah Carey agreed with Jackson but still called it "one of [Elijah's] better performances" and noted, "Your relevancy is your strongest point." Grade: B
Cortez Shaw: Shaw turned Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven" into a fun song and dance number, showing off some fancy footwork and generally seeming to have fun with the upbeat number. Minaj noted that Shaw got his "mojo" back from the previous week but criticized his denim vest and khaki pants ensemble, saying "I want to see you look sexier." Hold the phone — isn't this a singing competition?? Grade: B+
Charlie Askew: The guys' resident (self-described!) weirdo sported a peach fuzz mustache and again referenced his fanbase of "awkward turtles" before offering an angry, intense rendition of Genesis' "Mama." Charlie is one of the more interesting contestants because of his quirkiness, but unfortunately this is a singing competition and his vocal talent lends itself better to a dramatic karaoke night than a nationally televised singing competition. The judges gave Askew "an earful" (Carey's word) after the performance, with Urban saying it felt "disingenuous," Jackson calling it "terrible," and his biggest champion Minaj asking, "Where's my little baby at? I don't know what happened. ... I'm upset." She wasn't the only one, either — a tearful Askew seemed to be barely holding it together after the critique, and essentially told Ryan Seacrest his typical smiley demeanor is all an act before rushing off the stage. Singing aside, it doesn't seem as if he has the emotional fortitude to keep advancing in the competition. Grade: D
Nick Boddington: Boddington was back at the piano on Wednesday for a soft take on the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" that was snoozy at times, strained and others, and failed to showcase his full range. Keith Urban called the performance "beautiful" but acknowledged that he felt Nick was "really nervous in certain spots." Jackson, similarly, said it wasn't Nick's best effort but was still a "good, solid performance." Grade: C+