Mathenee Treco up first as "American Idol" sends its final five guys into the semifinals; he's doing Elvis' "A Little Less Conversation," which has had a long, checkered history on this show. His version is aggressively contemporary -- he can definitely wail, and it's a creative take we haven't quite heard before, he's dressed like a rapper and is in full swagger to boot. Didn't quite do it for me, even if I found it fun -- somehow more of a mishmash than anything else.
Keith Urban praises his "huge range" and "immense power," but tells him not to overshadow his voice with his desire to entertain. Nicki Minaj thought he was "trying to please the judges," says for her it was "karaoke and cheesy." Randy Jackson just thought he picked a bad song, Mariah Carey wanders around and praises him in general (I think).
Gurpreet Singh Sarin, aka 'Turbanator,' next up; he's resplendent in a bright yellow turban and matching pants. Doing James Morrison's "Nothing Ever Hurt Like You," but his voice is too thin for the song and there's no real passion until toward the end. He seems nervous or just wooden up there; even though he's one of my favorites, it's really not a good performance for me.
Urban says "I really like your voice," but "I didn't think that was a great song for you tonight." Minaj says "you had something that was very intimate" when you started the competition, but thinks he's lost it somewhere, concludes "hell, no." Jackson says, "honestly, that was terrible." Carey says she was "slightly disappointed."
Vincent Powell up next, comes out in a smoking jacket and is intense and soulful right away, showing off his sweet falsetto on "Cause I Love You." He's taking over, so confident and such a great voice -- just slays the last long note; it's like he's a professional, got the audience and judges -- all of whom stand but Minaj -- in the palm of his hand.
"That was crazy," says Urban. "It was a good old-fashioned, it was a sexy old-fashioned," Minaj says. Jackson says "this is what I'd call the whole, complete package -- a real singer who knows the audience." Carey just says, "finally!"
Last night's sensation, Zonette Johnson, is screaming out at Powell, "Get it, Papa Smurf, get it!" There's never been a season this verbally creative....