AMERICAN IDOL 7 - GUYS ROUND 1: Not a lot of preamble to the Top 12 guys. They all had to pick songs from the 1960s, which produced a real mixed bag and left me underwhelmed. Let's get right to it.
David Hernandez - Didn't hate him as much tonight as during auditions. The nerves obviously got to him tonight because he was stiff as a board. Total charisma-free zone. He sang a bland version of In the Midnight Hour, and seems like a boy band reject. I think he'll stick around, but won't make the Top 12 unless he really pulls the stick out of his ass. Or whatever he's got in there.
David Cook - I hate him. Let me count the ways. First, the comb-forward bangs to try and cover the receding hairline. Not working, douche. The rock version of Happy Together had odd phrasing and his shit-eating, overconfident grin throughout brought back memories of last season's Blake. The judges were practically blowing him. WhatEVER.
Jason Yeager - What airport hotel lounge did this guy escape from? A boring, safe cover of Moon River drew faint praise from Randy and Paula, but Simon compared him to a cruise ship singer and a "dependable old dog" (?!). Tried to score sympathy points by saying his dead grandma taught him the song. I'm not biting.
Robbie Carrico - A walking rocker cliche. A do-rag, wallet chain, fringe jacket, leather bracelets and long flowing hair cannot hide the fact that this guy used to be in one of the cheesiest pop bands ever, Boys and Girls United, and was banging Britney during her "I'm a virgin, y'all" phase. I see why. Shave off the hair and trim the pube beard and he looks just like Justin Timberlake. Randy and Paula over-effusive again for his Three Dog Night cover of One, but Simon said he wasn't buying the rock thing. Exactly.
David Archuleta - So cute you just want to take him home and give him milk and cookies, but the mega-watt smile can't hide the fact that this kid is so rehearsed in his patter and singing it verges on robotic. He's a Stepford Idol. That's not to say he didn't sing the hell out of Shop Around, because he did. He's got Melinda Doolittle's fake "awww-shucks, you like me?" bit down to a science. Going all the way. Top three at least.
Danny Noriega - More camp than a row of tents and totally out of the closet, he puts the mo in emo kid. What's amazing is the voice that issues forth from this boy, which has no relation to his neck-rolling, two-snaps-in-a-Z-formation attitude. His cover of Jailhouse Rock was good, but not great. Simon called it "grotesque," while Paula said the performance showed "a lot of color." Not sure what that means, but I'm guessing she meant the gay rainbow flag. I know he's trying to be himself, but middle America ain't gonna buy the haughty, faggy attitude week after week.
Luke Menard - Who was this guy? He was so utterly nondescript, it seemed like he just walked in off the street. His version of Everybody's Talkin' was like taking two ambien with a valium chaser. Simon called him "utterly forgettable." I call him, going home Thursday night, although Colton Bailey and Garret Haley will give him a run for his money. Keep reading.
Colton Berry - This Ellen DeGeneres looking sissy boy got almost zero face time in the audition rounds. How he got to the Top 24 is beyond me. What's up with the gay boys doing Elvis songs and having ugly emo hair? His thin voice faded into the background in the verses of Suspicious Minds. He looks like a not-so-closeted member of a boy band. When Paula doesn't like it you know you're in trouble. Simon said he might have a future in musical theatre. Keep those jazz hands handy, because you might be packing your bags Thursday.
Garret Haley - Ryan Gaycrest kept comparing him to Leif Garrett, but he looked more like Frodo Baggins in a fright wig. His nasally, whiney version of Breaking Up Is Hard to Do was a bore. Simon said he looked like he'd been shut up in his bedroom for a month -- pale and haunted. Heeee! He's gonna be in the bottom two or three or however many they're putting up this year. Maybe Peter Jackson is looking for more Hobbits for the Lord of the Rings prequel.
Jason Castro - The white boy dreadlocks, pouty mouth and piercing eyes gave him an androgynous/lesbian look. He was the only contestant to play an instrument, accompanying himself on guitar on What A Day for a Daydream. He had a bit of that "British quiver" to his voice. It was good.
Michael Jones - This Aussie is sexy and has charisma to spare, but I wasn't as excited about his cover Light My Fire as the judges. It was shouty and all over the place. He sang this during Hollywood week, and I thought sure Simon would call him on it, but he got a pass. Randy compared him to the late Michael Hutchence from INXS -- a huge stretch, but he's good and not going anywhere soon.
Tomorrow night the Top 12 girls perform and Thursday is the first elimination.