The remaining ten guys have redeemed themselves from last week, much to my and the judges' delight. It seems that they've learned a thing or two from the ladies' performances. According to Ryan Seacrest, the theme this week is songs that are dedicated to the people who inspire them. I'm willing to bet that Simon has a barf bag hidden under his chair.
Since the guys have improved, the categories I'm using this time are "Good", "Better", and "Best". I must admit that, although there were still some boring performances, I find it harder this time to predict who will be going home on Thursday.
Phil Stacy started off the evening with a song dedicated to his Navy buddies. I thought he was okay, but sharp during the last long note. He still holds the mic too close to his mouth. Simon said he was unimpressed and that Phil was unoriginal — just a very, very good karaoke singer. I tend to agree with him.
Brandon Rogers sang "Time After Time" for his grandmother. Like me, the judges thought it was weak and that he picked the wrong song. Brandon tried to defend himself, saying that he felt the song and that it was from the heart, but Simon thought that was all bullshit and told Brandon that it's more important to pick a song that will show off your skills. I totally agree with the man.
Sanjaya Malakar's performance was for his grandfather, who died when Sanjaya was only five years old. He therefore chose the Tony Bennett classic, "Steppin' Out With My Baby." I thought that Sanjaya's voice was weak, as if he were whispering the whole song. I also thought that the performance was, as Simon would say, "too cabaret" and that he shouldn't have picked a song that was way, way too old for him. Indeed, the judges disliked the performance, with Randy and Simon comparing it to a bad high school talent show. I think he should go home this week, but I doubt he will because all the teenyboppers who think he's cute will rally to keep him safe.
Jared Cotter dedicated his performance to his parents, which was not surprisingly common among the contestants. Oddly though, the song he chose was Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get it On," which is something people wouldn't normally sing to their moms and dads. Jared sounded a little strained, like he was trying too hard, but was still okay. He had a great comeback when Simon remarked that his performance reminded him of a Love Boat episode. Jared replied, "That would have been a great Love Boat, man."
The cutie Nick Pedro sang "Fever" for his equally cute girlfriend, which was okay for the most part, but boring. I mean, the song is called "Fever" and he's barely moving around the stage. He also needs to sing a little louder. Like Sanjaya, Nick had no energy when he was performing.
AJ Tabaldo did a sultry performance for his parents, which was as unusual as Jared Cotter's performance. Yes, it was good and the judges liked him, but what's with singing sexy songs to your mom and dad?
Chris Richardson dedicated his Jason Mraz song to his grandmother, though he admitted that she actually likes country music. All three judges loved it. I thought that it was significantly better than last week…
… but still not as good as Blake Lewis, who brought us some Jamiroquai by performing "Virtual Insanity" for his parents. Randy and Paula loved it, especially the middle part where he kind of imitates a DJ's scratching record. I thought that part was really cool as well. However, Simon accused Blake of copying the music video during the first part of his performance. I disagree, but if you watched Blake's performance, here's the "Virtual Insanity" video for comparison. Decide for yourself.
Holy shit, Chris Sligh is just too awesome for words. He dedicated his song to his wife, who we find is a very cute, small blonde! I guess she's one of those folks who see past appearances, which is refreshing. Then again, Chris' wedding picture revealed that he has gained weight since then. All the judges liked his performance, but Paula warned him again about not getting ahead of the music. Maybe Chris should wear one of those earpieces that play the accompaniment so that he can hear it.
The Most Improved Male Contestant Award goes to Sundance Head, who finally got out of whatever weird music funk he was in during the last several weeks. Sundance ended the show with a knockout performance of "Mustang Sally", finally reminding me, the judges, and the audience why he deserved to be in the Semifinals. I just don't get though, why he picked this song to dedicate to his four-month-old son, but hey, it worked.
As I mentioned, I was having a tougher time predicting who will be voted out this week. The guys are now forming fan bases, and it's come to the point where people will now vote based on their favorite, rather than on who they think is talented. Therefore, I'll do it this way:
Who will go home: AJ and Brandon
Who should go home: Sanjaya and Brandon
On Wednesday night the Top Ten Girls will perform. Will they trounce the guys again? We'll find out!