Boys Town—AMERICAN IDOL: Season 9 Top 12 Guys

by Jason Matthews

If a person had never seen or heard of American Idol before (I’m sure there’s a handful of them somewhere, like in Maine or something), and read a description of the show, they would probably assume a girl wins every season. I assume that, and I know this show better than National Treasure Ryan John Seacrest. It’s a show about pop stars, and that means girls. But inexplicably, a guy has won Idol in 3 of the last 4 seasons. Is it because we have SO many female pop singers already that adding one more onto the pile seems like too much work? Or is it because it’s easier for a guy to be impressive singing pop music since it seems like such a fun novelty?

Whatever the reason, the Guys must be watched extra close this season. The Girls are pegged as the better group, but on the whole the Guys were better off the bat. Not that they were so great to watch, though!  Is there even ONE boy worth Googling in this entire group? What a collection of blahs! I’d sooner watch two hours of Randy Jackson trying on neon watches than sit through these guys try to sell me their try-hardy schtick.

Let’s get to the recap; the sooner we do this, the sooner the blessed Idol Girls will be back on stage again, making my television far easier to look at (if not necessarily listen to). Here are the reviews of each performer, in order of best to worst.

Casey James – “Heaven”

He will make the Top 12 on the strength of his hair and torso alone.  People won’t even notice he’s singing for another month! Gross? Maybe, but that’s how it works with himbo contestants on this show. (See: Maroulis, Constantine.) Too bad, too, cause he has nice tone, is easy to listen to, and seems like a genuine, nice guy. But man alive, Kara needs to cut the cougar crap and Randy and Ellen need to stop encouraging her. If Simon did this with Jannell Wheeler he would be castrated, so let’s ease back on the double standard, OK, show?

Andrew Garcia – “Sugar, We’re Going Down”

What a disappointment. This is what happens when you give us the Paula. It’s all we’re ever going to want, and everything else will be a letdown. Also? His voice is secretly very thin and reedy. His musicality, though? Perf to the ect. He’s going to go very deep into the season, so this is all basically jokes, but I agree with the judgery—he can do better.

Todrick Hall – “Since You Been Gone”

Instead of singing, can he just do those awesome ninja back flips we saw him bust out during Hollywood Week?? I’d put him through just for those! One of my favorite things to look for on this show is when the judges tell contestants to make songs their own, do their version, and when they do it, the judges criticize them for changing the original. Todrick doing this is the same as Andrew doing slow jam Paula Abdul. You can’t have it both ways, Randy!  Hip Hop Clarkson is a wildly fun arrangement. I can’t wait to see what this guy does next. May I suggest a little T-Pain-style autotune on Carrie Underwood?

Alex Lambert – “Wonderful World”

Do I have a biased opinion of Alex because he has the exact same mullet I had when I was eight years old, and secretly wish I STILL had? Possibly. But that’s beside the point, because the kid has talent. Great recording voice, nice style; I can very easily see him putting out a James hit, be it Cullem, Blunt or Morrison.

Lee Dewyze –  “Chasing Cars”

There are a literal billion of these guys in frat-house living rooms the world over. Lee is lacking the charm of David Cook, the charisma of Kris Allen, and the vocal ability of Adam Lambert, just to compare him to AI guys. And that’s all before we start comparing him to all the soundalike alt-rock frontmen. Would it be an insult to Lee or to Nickelback if I said he sounded like a broke-ass Chad Kroeger? It’s pretty much bad all around, yes?

Michael Lynche – “This Love”

Let’s talk realistically about Big Mike—he is not winning American Idol. Does he have a nice voice? Yes. Is he likeable? Absolutely. But is his penchant for singing white-boy pop-rock songs completely off-putting? Uh, that would be OBVS. This is going to come off as racist, but it’s simply a fact: Idol voters want their African American guys to either sing hip hop or R&B. Period. This John Mayer, acoustic guitar nonsense? Not gonna fly, engrossing personal story or not.

Aaron Kelly – “Here Comes Goodbye”

Watching him feels like a 3D RickRoll. That Groban-y voice should just not come from such a small child. What do we even do with him?  Is he even Tiger Beat enough to get the tween vote? He’s too dweebish to be the Season 9 David Archuleta, and Kevin Covais is still holding the patent on the Chicken Little look. Aaron is boring to listen to, boring to watch, and uninteresting as a potential American Idol. There’s no future here.

Tim Urban – “Apologize”

Can we discuss the pit stains in his Idol photo shoot freeze frame? No? OK, moving on then. The same way Whitney and Mariah are verboten on this show for the girls, One Republic needs to join that group for the guys. We get at least one or two of these slapdash, homeless-person rip-offs every season and it’s never fun to listen to. Not EVER. If Kris Allen couldn’t sell it, why did wee Tim Urban think he could? He has a weak vocal unfortunately combined with a severely underwhelming stage charisma. If he survives this week it will only be because of his Efronesque hair mullet.

John Park – “God Bless the Child”

Multiple choice question: John Park sounds like A) a lounge singer B) a cruise ship singer C) the house band for a low-key bar on New Year’s Eve D) a boring person. Give up? The answer is secret choice E) All of the Above! Class dismissed.

Tyler Grady – “American Woman”

I think I saw this performance once before; it was called Val Kilmer in The Doors. Didn’t like it then, outright loathe it now. And anytime you can remind me of that atrocious Lenny Kravitz cover (but not show me the Heather Graham music video hotness) you’re going to lose points—that’s just science. Can we please retire this obnoxious song? It is the absolute definition of male musical indulgence. About Tyler, though, I love it when a contestant says they want to prove they’re a singer, not a performer, and then pick a performer song and don’t sing! That’ll help your cause, T-Grads!

Joe Munoz – “You and I Both”

I feel like I shouldn’t even waste words on this because Joe is NOT making the Top 12. He may not make it ’til the end of this recap! The scarf was a Titanic-sized mistake, and David Archuleta may sue him for vocal, facial and follicle copyright infringement. I was forgetting about him as he was singing. Be honest, you were, too. Even now, you’re reading this and going “Joe Who”?

Jermaine Sellers – “Get Here”

Nick Cannon just sued Jermaine for theft and defamation of character, and then texted Mariah to make sure she wasn’t anywhere near the Idol set. Not that he needs to worry, since Jermaine is a screechy, wildly off-key, whiny-voiced male diva nothing. And by to the way, I still hate him for throwing the band under the bus during Hollywood Week, despite his claims he wouldn’t do it again (which he then proceeded to do almost IMMEDIATELY). I can’t wait to not have him in my American Idol life. Should only be a day or so before that happens.

Do you think Simon is wrong about a girl winning this season? Based on what you heard from the Guys, can any of them win the Idol crown?



  • Reply
    February 25, 2010 at 10:55 am

    The girls RULED in comparison to these guys!!

    There were at least 5 girls I would like to see go further, but with the guys there’s barely 3.

    Alex Lambert is TERRIBLE!! And that’s just his singing, don’t get me started on the haircut.

    The following are the only ones who should move on from here:

    CASEY JAMES – Who cares that he makes Kara wet, he can sing.

    ANDREW GARCIA – Never even heard of that song before and I wanted to hear more. He needs a makeover, but that’s it.

    MICHAEL LYNCHE – It’s not that he’s all that great a singer, it’s just that he will beat the piss out of you if you don’t vote him in. ALSO: what the heck was up with reporting that Lynche’s dad broke the gag rule with the press by telling them his son was in the top 24? Not that they ever report the whole story on anything except Jennifer Aniston, but seriously, what’s up with that?

    Everyone else, including one of my early favorites, Todrick Hall, I fast forwarded through. They reall sucked last night.

    • Reply
      February 25, 2010 at 11:35 am

      Yay! The Jay is back!!! I missed your commentary! I pretty much agree with your opinion here. That episode, more than any I had seen, I felt like I could see everyone’s nerves getting the best of them. Even for the girls the other night. I saw one’s hand tremble in a close up. I consider this the “practice round.” now, they better bring it. Though, I feel we can weed out over half of then already. Michael, Tim, and Jermaine can go in my opinion. I’m looking forward to mullet-boy gaining some self-confidence because he has an amazing voice! And I see it coming down to Casey and Andrew (even though andrew’s last song was a little bit of a letdown). Again…”practice round.”

  • Reply
    February 25, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Seriously! What is going on Idol? I was at the auditions and saw wayyy more talent in the Rose Bowl that they consistently denied. At this point in the competition, it should feel like a competition and not like a sad karaoke bar. Great reporting though Jason! You made me laugh and you hit the nail on the head with each contestant!!!!!!!! Hot blonde is bound to win at this point, though I haven’t seen the girls episode from this week yet.

  • Reply
    Pop Culture Nerd
    February 25, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Oh my gosh, I WAS thinking, “Joe who?” as I was reading your recap. I think he induces short-term memory loss.

    And Kara’s behavior towards Casey is downright offensive. Like you said, I thought if Simon and Randy insisted a girl take off her top during her audition, they’d be fired/sued/arrested. It undermines Casey’s talent because he can really sing. I’m not saying this because I think he’s hot (long-haired surfer dudes are not my type). He’s simply one of the best male singers.

  • Reply
    February 25, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Maybe more women watch Idol and that’s how the guys get all the votes?

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