'American Idol' Recap: Curtis Finch Jr. Stands Out In Top 10 Men Semi-Final

March 7th, 2013 12:07pm EST

'American Idol' Recap: Curtis Finch Jr. The Only Standout In Top The guys of this season’s ‘American Idol’ need no introduction, mostly because they don’t deserve an introduction. They’re just a bunch of mediocre talents with one standout. None of whom the producers particularly want to win.
So who was the best of the worst? Read on to find out.
Elijah Liu Sang “Stay” by Rihanna
Keith Said: I thought that was a really great start to the show.
Nicki Said: I think I would be willing to stay.
Randy Said: It never left first gear. It just lay there flat.
Mariah Said: I liked this a lot. I felt it was one of your better performances.

The Verdict:
Hey, Ladies! Elijah is single! He’s performing for all of you out there! So if you want a 5’2” dude who looks like an annoyingly cockly 14-year-old, just come running. He’s ready.
Hopefully being a compelling performer or a good singer isn’t on your checklist though, because this kid doesn’t have any of that going on. He sounds like that same 14-year-old trying to sing a grown-up song and sounding pleasant but nowhere near connecting with the song or making it interesting.
Instead, it’s just a lifeless vocal and even deader performance as he stands in his oversized jacket trying to remember the words and find a good note.
But hey! He’s single!
Grade: D+
Prediction: He better hope he really appeals to the ladies as much as he thinks he does to overcome such a flat performance in the lead-off spot.
Cortez Shaw Sang “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars
Keith Said: I don’t think that was the best song for you.
Nicki Said: I love your charisma but sometimes it feels like you’re straining.
Randy Said: I’m not sure you’re there yet.
Mariah Said: I thought it should be down a half-step at least so you can take it higher at the end.
The Verdict:
Oh you make me feel like…I’m watching live bad karaoke…And I walked out!
This was just kind of icky. Watching somebody sing about how sex takes him to paradise with the eyes of the world’s nicest serial killer and a vest from the 1982 Bugle Boy fall line, just doesn’t quite come together. Especially when he’s just singing the notes of the song without any regard for any sort of soul or rhythm or competent performance.
It’s unclear what part of his performance was the worst, but it was all definitely bad.
Grade: D
Prediction: Bad reviews from the judges this early are certain doom.
Charlie Askew Sang “Mama” by Genesis
Keith Said: There’s a thing about the way you’re performing that feels disingenuous.
Nicki Said: Where’s my little baby at, Charlie?
Randy Said: The front part was terrible and the end of it you went to like a scream.
Mariah Said: I think you add some diversity to the group.
The Verdict:
Charlie gets credit. He gets credit for one thing. He gets credit for choosing a song unlike anything anybody else will sing on the show. He gets credit for that, but there’s nothing else for which to give him credit.
He flat can’t sing. Like at all. He sounds like somebody shrieking in his shower right before he gets to into and almost falls over. His vocal style is mix of speak-singing and outright screeching. There’s nothing even remotely good about this voice. And he does all that with maximum effort.
Then there’s the outfit. Little ginger pipsqueak decided that a tiny tanktop was the way to go this evening, clearly nobody needed tickets for the gun show. Or a reason to keep their food down.
Finally, the performance. Something out of a hobo’s singing and dancing around a fire inside a boxcar to keep warm. No. That’s usually more graceful. This was just spastic to the point of worry, like he might overzealously dislocate his shoulder from throwing his arms up too enthusiastically.
In other words, pure garbage all around.
Grade: F
Prediction: There’s a chance America loves him and that Vote for the Worst can rally him, but that’s a longshot at this point.
Nick Boddington Sang “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls
Keith Said: I thought that was beautiful tonight.
Nicki Said: That was in your comfort zone.
Randy Said: I thought it was a good solid performance, but not your best.
Mariah Said: There were so many better performances.
The Verdict:
Let the singing inability continue! Wow, Nick’s voice is just non-present. Like a choir boy with laryngitis. Just a barely-audible lilting falsetto that I think is what angels sound like when they’re crying at a bad movie.
Tonight, though, he couples it with abysmal piano playing. Some simple chords that distract him so completely from his piano playing that he can’t look up with his alien face to use whatever mind control technique he must have employed on the judges to get him through this far.
I doubt America will be hypnotized by this poor “sensitive college guy” performance.
Grade: D-
Prediction: That was too forgettable for Nick to get through. Too creepy as well.
Burnell Taylor Sang “I’m Here” from ‘The Color Purple’
Keith Said: I loved it. Thank you for doing that.
Nicki Said: I’m happy that we found you and I really love you.
Randy Said: That was great. Love you love you love you.
Mariah Said: I’m so proud of you. So happy. I have so much love for you.

The Verdict:
Singing a song from a musical is just moronic at this point. This is a pop singer competition and there’s no way not to sound cabaret and overly theatrical when you sing a song from a musical. That’s because this is the way these types of songs are meant to be sung: By musical theater performers in a musical theater.
It’s clear Burnell can really sing and he sings this pretty well, but it can’t leave the theater. He doesn’t make it current at all. He looks like somebody from a cast in a hipster musical in the early 90s. He sounds exactly like it too.
He sounds good, just not the type for this show.
Grade: C+
Prediction: The judges certainly dug it. He’s a safe bet to go through.

Paul Jolley Sang “Just a Fool” by Christina Aguilera with Blake Shelton
Keith Said: I think you could ease a bit into it a little more.
Nicki Said: I thought it was a solid performance. I didn’t have a problem with it.
Randy Said: The beginning was amazing, but you strain a bit when you try for the big stuff.
Mariah Said: You have a very strong instrument, but you’re a bit too theatrical.
The Verdict:
Jolley’s been an easy punching bag thus far with his ridiculous clown smile and terrible performances, but this one isn’t quite ready for his usual beat down.
Here, Jolley comes out with a cool country tone that fits this song so well. This didn’t seem like his lane in previous performances, but now maybe he’s found a little niche he can hide in until he gets voted out in about three weeks.
He’s not long for this world because he still has trouble maintaining his control and hitting those big notes and he’s still about as gawky as somebody in need of a pocket protector when he tries to strut around the stage a little bit.
Still, this one wasn’t so bad. Even if he does want to be the male Taylor Swift.
Grade: C
Prediction: He’s right on the verge. If the country voters come for him, he’ll be fine, but he may not have really won them over with this performance.
Lazaro Arbos Sang “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone
Keith Said: Everyone starts to connect with you as soon as you start singing.
Nicki Said: I loved it. I love you. It’s almost like you got an album out already.
Randy Said: He thinks he’s in it to win it and he is!
Mariah Said: I felt like this song was a bit too low for you.
The Verdict:
He can’t sing. He sounds like a drag queen performing a burlesque routine. He looks like a lounge singer from a lost episode of ‘The Love Boat’. He hits a few good notes, but they get lost in a ton of bad notes because he can’t control his instrument.
This kid just doesn’t have it. Even if the audience screams for him like he’s Ricky Nelson every time. Of course, Ricky Nelson would still be more current.
Grade: C-
Prediction: The audience loved him. The judges dug him. He’s safe.
Curtis Finch, Jr. Sang “I Belive I Can Fly” by R. Kelly
Keith Said: We just had a sermon in Vegas!
Nicki Said: You raise the bar every single time.
Randy Said: The competition started right here.
Mariah Said: Thank you for that performance.

The Verdict:
The one serious singer among the boys came out and showed again why nobody of the male persuasion can touch him in this competition. He’s a pro playing a game with a bunch of amateurs. And some novices.
Curtis is basically Gerald Levert. He’s to that simple little soul voice that he just works the sex out of in every note that he sings. He knows how to connect to a song. He knows how to let a performance develop. He just flat can sing the crap out of whatever he chooses.
If anybody’s going to spoil the producers’ plan to have a girl win this year, it’s this guy.
Grade: A-
Result: He can’t possibly go home after that.
Devin Velez Sang “It’s Impossible” by Perry Como
Keith Said: You are such a good good singer.
Nicki Said: I thought it was muy bien. Perfecto.
Randy Said: I love this dude!
Mariah Said: That performance was incredible.
The Verdict:
An 18-year-old kid in 2013 with one shot to make an impression on America in a nationally televised singing competition chose to sing a Perry Como song. It doesn’t matter if he was good or not (He wasn’t. At all), that song choice is just completely inexcusable. Even if he try to contemporize it a bit by switching to Spanish half-way through. (Okay, that part was kinda good, but still…Perry Como!?
Grade: F
Prediction: With that kinda love near the end, he’s definitely safe. Hopefully he’ll choose something by an artist born after World War I next time.
Vincent Powell Sang “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men
Keith Said: I felt like tonight nerves got on top of your talent, but you can sing like .
Nicki Said: You wasn’t sitting on it right tonight.
Randy Said: It wasn’t one of your best performances, but you’re one of the best singers in this.
Mariah Said: For me it was beyond. I want America to vote for you.

The Verdict:
Vincent has himself a little problem. He’s got somebody in the competition who does everything he does a little bit better. He just can’t touch Curtis and they’re basically the same type of singer in the same genre.
He tries. Wow does he try. He flashes some great runs, he moves like he owns the stage, there’s nothing bad about what he’s doing. He’s just not as good as Curtis and having to follow him just won’t ever work out for him. He’ll always seem like the opening act, and that’s where he needs to be: Before Curtis.
Tonight, he maybe tried a little too hard, but the performance was still pretty solid and he made it clear he’s got a huge massive ball of talent with which to play. Just not as big as Curtis’. (Wow, that sounded bad. Time to end this.)
Grade: B-
Prediction: The judges were lukewarm at best. In the pimp spot, it’s a toss-up for Vincent.
Final Thoughts:
Curtis. That’s all that really needs to be said about the guys’ night. It’s Curtis and everybody else. If the producers are trying to stack the deck in the girls’ favors, last night proved they did a great job as nobody but Curtis really deserves a spot in the top ten.
There will be four more though, and this is an exceptionally easy choice. Clearly Devin, Lazaro and Burnell are in. They had the perfect combination of judge love and audience screams that always presage a quick scoot to the top ten.
That leaves but one spot and while it’s kind of a stretch, Elijah looks set to come all the way from the first one-hole to the top ten thanks to his being kind of this year’s cute guy with the guitar despite not having the guitar.
The producers better hope he doesn’t pick up a six-string or their hopes of a female winner may be dashed.

Related: American Idol, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson, Ryan Seacrest, Starpulse Exclusives, Recaps, Television, Reality, FOX, Reality (Talent)

© 2013

Photo Credits: Michael Becker / FOX

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