Welcome to the live blog and recap for the “LIVE Semifinals, Part 2″ of American Idol Season 12! It’s the guys’ turn to take the stage.
A guy has won five years in a row. Is our winner in this lineup tonight?
The Latest on American Idol 12
- Mariah Carey hated American Idol – ‘It was like hell’ – Video
- ‘American Idol’ Tour Box Office Report – 32% Capacity, Gross Revenue Down 68%
- American Idol 12 – Live Tour – Song List Spoilers – Video
- American Idol 12 Summer Tour – Sneak Peek – Video
- American Idol 12 – Summer Tour Preview – Gone Gone Gone
- Candice Glover Confirms Album Delay
- Candice Glover’s Debut Album Pushed Back
- ‘American Idol’ Tour Ticket sales down 347% – Report
- ‘Idology’ exit interview: Candice Glover talks getting cut, song arrangements, ‘I Am Beautiful’, much more
- ‘Idology’ exit interview: Kree Harrison talks song choice, Nicki Minaj, judges’ duet comments
All posts on American Idol 12
We recap the performances from tonight.
So who you got?
I literally have NO idea who’s getting through beyond Curtis and Lazaro. If I had to make predictions, I’d say:
Curtis Finch Jr.
But I feel like Devin and Vincent are serious threats to get in there, somewhere. And I have a weird, sneaking suspicion that Elijah Liu is going to get a lot of votes. I’m genuinely interested to see what these results look like tomorrow night.
Added the remaining performance videos from tonight. Just refresh and scroll up.
I’ll see you tomorrow night for the results show!
VINCENT POWELL closes out the show!
-He talks about struggling to win Nicki over, then says he has to leave his nerves behind because “ain’t nobody got time for that!”
-Vincent sings “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men, and I feel like he and Vincent might split the vote. He’s at least as good as Curtis, although this performance is all over the place. He’s seriously over-doing it with the runs, and he falls out of key at the end. He has a marvelous voice though.
-Keith feels that Vincent’s nerves got the best of him, but hopes that he sticks around, as he’d love to hear him sing again.
-Nicki felt something wasn’t sitting right, and that it wasn’t his best performance.
-Randy says that it wasn’t his best performance, but says that Vincent is still one of the best voices in this competition.
-Mariah hopes America votes for Vincent, then goes on and on until she’s cut off again by the music, since we’re running out of time. Brevity, Mariah! Brevity is your friend!
Curtis Finch Jr. performance video added.
DEVIN VELEZ is up next!
-Devin talks about how singing in Spanish takes him back to his roots. He also talks about his mother’s boisterous, joyful scream. He can’t picture being here without her.
-He sings “Somos Novios (It’s Impossible)” by Perry Como. It starts off sweetly, and then soars once he hits the Spanish parts. The man has got serious pipes — and he makes it look like he’s not even trying. I’m seriously impressed. No standing O from the judges though, because he was never gripped, at any point, by the Holy Spirit.
-Keith says the beginning was a little shaky, but said once he hit his zone, it got stronger and stronger, building to a run in the middle that blew them away. “You are SO gifted.”
-Nicki thought it was “muy bien. Perfecto. Entonce, it was… gordos.” Might as well throw in biblioteca to round out the “Words We Learned in Ninth Grade Spanish.” She loved the performance though.
-Randy thinks Devin’s tone is really nice, and loves that he’s a handsome guy like himself.
-Mariah says it was incredible, and then rambles for so long that she’s nearly cut off by the music yet again. The rambling wouldn’t be so perplexing if she actually ever said anything, but she just seems lost in her own little world. Not really a complaint though. I think it’s kind of charming.
Added Lazaro’s performance video. Refresh and scroll up, as usual.
CURTIS FINCH JR is up next!
-Curtis talks about how he didn’t feel he had his own identity growing up, since he has his father’s name. He then goes on about how epic, amazing, incredible and sensational his performance in the semifinal round was, going on and on and ON.
I hate this guy.
-Yes, he can sing, but his stank attitude is insufferable, to say nothing of his song choices…
-Case in point: “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly, a song that should be banned from singing competitions from now until the end of time, along with “Against All Odds”.
-Yes, he’s a good singer, and this is a seriously good performance, with a bad-ass closing note that has Nicki standing up before the performance is even over (and the other three judges standing up with her once it’s done).
-I really hope this doesn’t devolve into a Joshua Ledet situation where the judges give him a standing O every week.
-Keith says there’s a soulfulness about him, and that it was an exceptional vocal.
-Nicki says that his voice goes above and beyond American Idol, adding that his voice was given to him by the Man Upstairs. She says she hopes he comes out with an album that’s as inspiring and hopeful as that performance, as people are hurting and they need that kind of music in their lives.
-Randy praises God and says that the competition has finally started. He also shouts out R. Kelly for providing the song.
-Mariah thanks Curtis for that performance, saying it’s exactly what she needed in her life. She then rambles on about how he’s one of her favorites and America should vote for him — before getting cut off by the music like she’s at the Oscars.
Added performance videos for Burnell and Paul. You know what to do.
Back from break with our next contestant…
LAZARO ARBOS is up next!
-Lazaro talks about the bullied kids that have been reaching out to him since he appeared on the show, and he tells them to just be themselves.
-He sings “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone. He has the same problem at the start of this performance that he had last week, in that his speech impediment causes him to fall behind the band. Luckily, the band is totally professional, and adjusts to give him time to catch up. And once he does, it ends up being a pretty great vocal. His best of the competition, actually. At least for me.
-The audience is going absolutely bonkers for this guy. Keith can hardly even speak.
-Keith says if the audience here is any indication of his support across America, they’ll be hearing a lot more from him. He says that Lazaro is great at making connections, and that everyone in the audience gets invested in his performances.
-Nicki asks if Lazaro’s favorite color is pink, and he confirms that it is. She says “Me too” (clearly). She was worried when she learned he was doing “Feeling Good”, but loved his take on it. It felt, to her, like he already had an album out.
-Randy says Lazaro is IN IT TO WIN IT.
-Mariah goes on and on about how much she, and everyone else, loves Lazaro. She then gets to the rough part: she felt the key was a bit too low for him (drawing boos. BOOS!). But she reiterates that when he hits the right spot, he really nails it.
-Ryan goes over Lazaro’s numbers before throwing to break. Lazaro’s outfit makes him look like one half of an 80s crimefighting duo. Neon colors, Pastels and/or whites will never go out of style.
PAUL JOLLEY is up next!
-Paul talks about being resigned to going home last week, and was shocked when he actually made it through. He’s excited that he’ll now get to perform for everyone back home.
-He sings “Just A Fool” by Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton, in a nice bit of synergy with “The Voice”. It’s his best performance of the competition so far, to boot. That said, while I have no problem acknowledging that he’s a damn good vocalist, I just can’t get excited about him. He’s like Phil Stacey with hair.
-Keith asks what kind of artist he plans on being. Paul says he wants to go the pop-country route, adding that he wants to be like Keith (among others), and going so far as to say he wants to be the guy version of Taylor Swift. (Buh?)
-Nicki thought it was a really solid performance. She also states that she loves listening to Keith’s critiques, as she feels she learns something from him every time. Nicki says Keith knows what it takes to make it in country music, so Paul should take his advice.
-Randy thought it was okay, in places, but it fell apart when the song required him to expand his range. He felt it was a middling performance.
-Mariah struggles to find something to say without being negative, so she simply says that she didn’t know that Paul wanted to be a country artist, and tells him that he should listen to Keith. She then tacks on a compliment about how she and the audience enjoy what he does.
-Ryan asks Keith, point-blank, whether he liked the performance or not. Keith continues to be evasive, and simply says that he likes Paul, and feels that he’s a better singer than he realizes.
-Back from break with Paul Jolley in the holding room with Ryan. Paul goes over all the celebrities he’s met, from Rascal Flatts to Carrie Underwood.
Nick Boddington performance video added. Just hit “refresh” and scroll up.
BURNELL TAYLOR is up next!
-He talks about running on a treadmill twice a day for 90 minutes, losing 40 lbs. in the process. He also talks about coming from the hardship of Katrina to the national stage of American Idol. Dude is the spitting image of Brian “Astro” Bradley.
-Astr–err, Burnell sings “I’m Here” by Fantasia from The Color Purple, and it’s easily the best performance of the night so far. Just a wonderfully soulful vocal, and the song really matches his personal story, making the emotional connection all the more real.
-Keith gives him a standing ovation and says he could feel Burnell’s connection with the song, and how he truly believed the lyrics. He absolutely loved it.
-Nicki could feel the pain in his voice, and thinks he did a great job.
-Randy also loved it, saying that he has a very distinct voice, recognizable from the first note. “Love you, love you, love you.”
-Mariah says “You did it again. It was a tearful moment!” She’s been waiting to hear that same tangible emotion that he communicated at his audition, and she felt he matched it by doing his audition song again. She doesn’t even care that it was a repeat, she’s proud of him.
-Ryan questions Burnell about the risk of doing his audition song again, and he says it’s because they didn’t show his entire audition, and he wanted America to hear the parts they didn’t hear before. He then asks for America’s votes.
Added the first three performance videos up top. Just hit “refresh” and scroll up.
We’re also back from break with our next contestant…
NICK BODDINGTON is up next!
-Nick talks about his journey so far, in a video that doesn’t really tell us anymore about him than we knew going in. Nick is really going to have to deliver with his vocal to make any kind of connection to the voting audience.
-He does a splendid piano arrangement of “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. He makes some perplexing vocal choices throughout the song (too much unnecessary melisma is never a good thing), but it’s a very pretty performance. A little sleepy, but certainly a pleasant listen. But that’s really the most I can say about it: pleasant.
-Keith really liked seeing Nick back at the piano. Nick affirmed that it’s his comfort zone, and Keith says it shows.
-Nicki thought it was alright. “Iris” is one of her favorite songs, and she wished he would have stayed with the melody a bit more, but she still likes Nick.
-Randy wavers back and forth between positive and negative critiques before falling on the positive side of things.
-Mariah continues to prove that she’s damn near incapable of a negative critique. She enjoyed the performance, naturally.
Back from break with Nick Boddington in the holding room with Ryan. They show a picture of Nick from the days when he had hair, and dude looks like a COMPLETELY different person. He says he changed it up as a stylistic choice.
He also adds that he’s taking it back to the piano this week, on the judges’ advice.
But here’s the thing about Charlie. He’s got a litany of emotional issues he still hasn’t dealt with — issues that aren’t going to be helped by working through them on national television. He’s already a teenager, which is awkward and difficult enough. But when you factor in his “Charlie Askew Syndrome” (his doctor’s diagnoses of his emotional and psychological problems, since he didn’t fit any single, known diagnosis), it becomes all the more problematic.
I still think he’ll get through, but I’m genuinely wondering if the judges shouldn’t have just asked him to wait a year and then come back.
Of course, I’m still a huge fan of the kid and hopes he works through his issues and realizes that he still has people rooting for him.
CHARLIE ASKEW is up next!
-He says it’s still sinking in that he’s performing in front of America. He’s also grown a fairly nasty peach fuzz mustache. However, Charlie somewhat salvages his questionable stylistic choices by revealing a necklace he wears as a shout out to his fans.
-Charlie sings “Mama” by Genesis, and his vocal range is actually pretty impressive, as is his “go for broke” attitude in his performance. But he still looks kind of terrified to be there, with his hands shaking and his antsy performance style. That said, I still like it.
-Keith says that Charlie’s voice would be great for a band, and that that’s where he should be headed. However, he feels that there’s just something disingenuous about Charlie’s performance. He didn’t like it.
-Nicki is disappointed that Charlie has changed so much. She didn’t want him to change. She wants him to lose the tank top, the earring and the gross mustache, and be the Charlie who sang “Somebody That I Used to Know”. She wants her cuddly Charlie back. (Poor kid looks on the verge of tears. I think his popularity has gone to his head a bit, to where he wasn’t at all prepared for criticism. Remember, he is 17)
-Randy says the front part of the vocal was terrible, and doesn’t know if now was the right time for that move.
-Mariah is the only one to give Charlie a somewhat positive critique. She still likes Charlie, of course.
-Ryan asks Charlie about the evolution of his look, and he starts to break down into tears. Ryan asks if he’s alright, and Charlie explains that he needed to vent with that performance. A lot of people think he’s a happy, sunny guy, but the only reason he smiles so much is because he feels like he has to. Ryan gives him words of encouragement about the friends he has on this show, and the kind of bravery it takes to come up onstage and express oneself like that.
Yeah, ol’ Chucky ain’t goin’ anywhere.
Back from break with our next contestant…
CORTEZ SHAW is up next!
-He talks about his risky performance last week, and his desire to prove himself this week.
-Cortez sings “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars. He’s a good singer, but he’s strangely bland, for me. He just comes across as though he’s doing an imitation of what he thinks an R&B star should be, as opposed to just being himself. I will say that the performance is pretty decent, and he hits a damn good run at the end. I’m just not sure it’s enough.
-Keith questions him about the song choice, and Cortez says when he heard Big Nick sing it in Hollywood Week, he really got into the band’s interpretation of the song and decided he needed to do the song himself. Keith says that he liked Cortez’s vocal, but wasn’t sure it was the best song for him.
-Nicki liked the performance, even though it wasn’t really great. She says she still likes Cortez and thinks he’s sexy, although she adds that whoever is styling Elijah needs to style him, because his outfit inhibits his natural sexiness.
-Randy felt the performance was off a bit when he was hitting his high notes, and thinks the song was probably in the wrong key.
-Mariah thought he maybe needed to bring the song down a half-step, but adds that he has a lot more to give, vocally. She hopes that America will get to see that.
-Ryan reveals that there is no stylist until top 10, and that the contestants are basically styling themselves at this point. Man, I would not go on a show that required me to rock my own fashion. I have all the fashion sense of a professional crossword puzzle writer.
Back from break with Ryan saying it’s up to America to choose who they want in the top 10, and on the summer tour. So I guess we’re not getting a wildcard round to bump it up to 12/13 after all? Strange.
ELIJAH LIU is up first!
-He spends his entire video package going on about the ladies in the audience, and we’re reminded that Nicki wants to have his babies. He’s definitely going for the heartthrob spot.
-Elijah sings “Stay” by Rihanna, and am I the only one who thinks this is kind of great? It’s a simple, restrained vocal, and he displays genuine comfort on the stage. I’m a fan.
-Keith liked the song choice, and felt it really showed off his control. He thought it was a great way to kick off the show.
-Nicki enjoyed it, and reiterates that he looks great. She also reiterates that he’s super marketable, comparing him to New Kids on the Block in his potential to be plastered all over merchandise.
-Randy liked the performance better than his effort last week, and agrees with Nicki about how current and marketable he is. However, he never felt that the performance left first gear.
-Mariah says she actually liked the performance a lot. She says his relevancy is his strongest asset.
-Ryan asks Elijah about seeing Rihanna at the Grammys, and how his song choice speaks to the feeling he was trying to convey. I find myself rooting for him, against my better judgment. I’m not even sure why I like the guy, but I do.
Ryan does a quick intro to the American Idol app, along with the new SuperVote feature.
Off-topic, but I was talking to a friend today, and they asked who I thought was going to get the death spot. And I thought, “Probably Elijah Liu.” He asked why. I thought, “Well, hell, why not?”
Which brings us to our first contestant…
We get the intros out of the way, and Ryan checks in with the judges for the usual banter about what to expect tonight, among other things. We then meet the ten guys performing.
Curtis Finch Jr.
What in the raggedy red hell is Charlie wearing?!