'American Idol' Recap: Sam Woolf & CJ Harris Outperform The Rest Of Top Ten Guys
American Idol returned on Wednesday with the all-male portion of Rush Week, where the top 10 guys performed before a live audience in the hopes of cracking into the final group of singers.
'American Idol' Recap
As with the girls, the 15 male semi-finalists waited nervously to see if their names were called by Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez or Harry Connick Jr. to hit the stage and sing for America’s votes. Idol alums Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry were back mentoring in the workshop, as was veteran judge Randy Jackson.
Caleb Johnson, the 70s Meat Loaf lookalike, was the first name called. Singing “Stay with Me” by The Faces. Johnson carried the song by the British rock band admirably, while working the stage like a pro. Perhaps his biggest fan at the judges table, Urban, said the performance was “killer.”
Next up, was the soulful CJ Harris. Harris took on Ray LaMontagne song “Shelter,” and accompanied himself with a guitar, despite Daughtry’s advice to leave the instrument behind. Harris clearly knew best, as he won the judges and the audience over with his bluesy take on the song.
Emmanuel Zidor had probably the most underwhelming performance of the night. Singing The Emotions' "Best of My Love" and pairing it with a perpetually gyrating backside made the entire thing seem like dated karaoke. Furthermore, all the booty shaking negatively affected his vocal abilities.
Sam Woolf’s understated rendition of "Babylon" by David Gray was a breath of fresh air after Zidor. With his guitar in hand, the teen from Florida proved he was the one to beat. The only advice from the judges was for him to build up his confidence to match his talents.
Performing Bruno Mars' “Grenade” was George Lovett. His intense take on the song was at times powerful – but too many times it was simply too much. According to Connick, “It spun out of control.”
Country singer Dexter Roberts sang “This Ole Boy” by Craig Morgan. Although the judges praised Roberts for his consistency, they essentially found his performance boring. They think the step for him will be adding some originality into his renditions of songs.
Jack of all musical instruments Alex Preston wisely chose to sing Damien Rice’s “Volcano.” Preston, who played guitar for the performance, showcased his unique vocals with the song choice.
Malcolm Allen chose “Her Heart” by Anthony Hamilton – a good song choice that suffered a bit in the execution. The judges admitted it was likely his nerves that were to blame for his somewhat lackluster performance, but that it wasn’t an excuse. As Lopez said, “I should have gotten goosies on that one.”
Ben Briley, who got through to the top 15 by America’s votes, sang The Allman Brothers’ “Soulshine.” Unlike the others who accompanied themselves with a guitar, southern rocker Briley chose an electric over an acoustic. He even added a solo. “That’s got to be the first shredded solo on American Idol,” mused an impressed Urban.
Last on the stage was the sure-to-be teen heartthrob Spencer Lloyd. Though Lloyd’s performance of “Love Don’t Die” by The Fray got the crowd cheering, the judges were less enthusiastic. Connick said simply, “This was not good.”
Going home before performing for America’s votes were Casey Thrasher, Maurice Townsend, Ethan Harris, Jordan Brisbane and Briston Maroney.
American Idol's first results show of the season will air Thursday on Fox at 8/9c.
– Chelsea Regan
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