American Idol – Boys Rip it Up!

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The boys were getting a tad mushy this week, dedicating their performances to people in their lives who inspire them.

Phil Stacey was the first to go on, and he sent his version of “I Ain’t Missin’ You” to his buddies in the Navy Band Southeast. He said that he enlisted after 9-11, and somehow ended up singing in the Navy Band … not in Iraq. Well, good for him. Anyway, Phil’s looking more casual this week and avoided the cheesy rocker-kicks, so I found him less annoying. But that very naked head-and-face of his still gives me the skeevies. It wasn’t a strong vocal performance, but it didn’t totally suck either. It was nice, but the original song is so fucking great only a real powerhouse could top it, and Phil is no powerhouse.

Next up was Jared Cotter, looking smooth in a sharp suit. He tried his hand at Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” and dedicated it to … his mom and dad? Ooh, that’s a bit creepy-weird. It was good though. I was digging him doing the Marvin. What I really liked was that he showed a little passion this week, getting down on the floor for a sec, doing that “face move” that Randy loved so much, really belting out some of the lyrics. Oh, and the sneakers with the suit was a very nice touch. Snappy. If he was a singer on the TV show Love Boat, as Simon suggested he sounded like, there woulda been some serious fucking going on that episode. It would be like the porno version, which I believe does actually exist.

A.J. Tabaldo also dedicated his song to his parents, who he said were always so supportive. First thing that struck me was the waiter vest. Why did he wear that? The green shirt would have been fine. Second thing was that I had no idea what fucking song he was singing, didn’t recognize it one bit, but assumed it was a show tune, because that’s what it sounded like to me. Come to find out it’s not a show tune, it’s a pop song. But for all its Broadway-ness, his performance was a hundred times better than last week and now I remember that he can really sing his little heart out.

Our skinny teen heartthrob, Sanjaya Malakar, sent his song up to the heavens for his dead grandpa. Sanjaya wears grandpa’s wedding band as a reminder of what a strong person he was in his life. Aw. That’s cute. You think he wears grandpa’s ring when he’s having dirty sex? Just wonderin’. Anyhoo, I actually liked his look this week, with the hair pulled back and the jaunty hat. It was different, kinda classy. But the singing part was very weak, he sang way too softly, didn’t show any kind of power or range, and basically tanked.

Once again, that lovable curly-top, Chris Sligh, batted it outta the park. He scored mush points by dedicating “Trouble” to his wife, saying she is the most wonderful, gorgeous woman in the world, who he knows he will spend the rest of his life with. He must have read that on some fucking Hallmark card it was so damn perfect. He also kept up that slick, cool look with a gray suit and black tee. His vocals were spot on, and he even did a little dancing. This guy knows what he’s doing and he’s not fucking around. Look out.

Nick Pedro also dedicated his song to his significant other, girlfriend Caitlin, as the “ultimate Valentine,” because he couldn’t be with her that day. What a dollface, that guy. He did “Fever,” which threw me a bit because I don’t think I’ve ever heard a guy do that song. It was Paris Bennett’s signature number last season and she blew it away every time. I liked some of the vocal twists and turns, but it wasn’t terrific. Better than last week, I agreed with Randy and am glad his cool smoky vibe is back, but he needs to ramp up for next week if he makes it through. And I hated Simon’s suggestion that he dress it up more. I love that Nick’s keeping that slacky edge, even if it is just leaving his shirt untucked and throwing on one of the blazers Rudy left behind.

Then we had Blake Lewis, who brought back the beat-boxing with a vengeance. He dedicated his rendition of “Virtual Insanity” to his parents, dad being a hardworking man and mom being an amazing singer and guitarist, who encouraged him all the way. The hat looked absolutely retarded, way too puffy and sideways. What look was he going for anyway? Boy version of Britney or a kid that rides the short bus to school? At least it covered up the unicorn hair. Okay, I had to get that out of the way before I totally kiss his ass, because he was fucking great. I loved the “vocal turntable-ism” and scatting he did in the middle of the song, plus he did some dancing (busted out the robot moves!). He is just an all-around entertaining guy.

Brandon Rogers almost had me boo-hooing as he talked about why he was dedicating his song to his late grandmother. She always told him he could do anything, wanted him to succeed and bloom, would be so proud of him. She sounds like everyone’s dream grandma. Then he sang “Time After Time” and those lyrics always make me tear up anyway. I’m impressed by the balls it took for him to try a Cyndi Lauper song, because her voice is so unique it’s almost impossible for anyone to sing her stuff. And believe me, I’ve tried on numerous drunken karaoke nights. He did a nice job for a guy, sounded sweet and tender, and loved the awesome pink tee.

I had absolutely no idea what was gonna come out of Chris Richardson’s mouth when I heard him telling Ryan that it’s uptempo and called “Geek in the Pink.” Huh? Maybe I’m a total dork that I’m not hip to what song that is, but once Chris started singing it, I was loving every minute of it. He also dedicated it to his grandma, Big Mama, who he described as spunky, energetic, and tells it like it is. Well, Big Mama should be proud, because he ripped that song a new asshole. It was fantastic. He looked cute and comfortable, like he was having the time of his life up there. Dude was spunky like grandma.

Sundance Head wrapped up the show this week, dedicating “Mustang Sally” to his 2 ½ month old son, Levi. He choked up sharing that he’s missing out on Levi’s first smiles, but hopes that they can watch tapes of the show and laugh together when he’s older. Oh, I’m sure he’ll laugh. Levi will laugh at that mess on Dad’s chin. It did look trimmed this week, though. And we found out later that it was also hairsprayed. As for his performance, Sundance gave a lot of energy, belting out the words and some surprising notes. It was loud and powerful, but not over-the-top awesome for me.

All in all, the boys threw down this week. They’re not going down without a fight, and they sure as hell showed what they were made of. They performed a million times better than they did last week, and if the girls do even better tonight than they did last week …Well, then we’ve got a real competition.

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