Charlie Askew and Elijah Liu became superstars tonight on “American Idol,“ with Devin Velez lurking close behind as all three electrified the audience with their compelling personalities as much as their vocal chops.
I'm really excited to see more from all three; they're all young and emotionally honest on stage, but so different beyond that.
Below's how I rated the 10 male contestants who sang. My top four moved on to the semifinals, with the judges for some reason also sending my lowest-rated contestant, Paul Jolley, through. Put your own thoughts and rankings in the comments, below.
1) Weird, awkward, wild, wonderful Charlie Askew electrified the audience with “Rocket Man.“ As always, Nicki Minaj captured it best, giving him a standing ovation and telling him, “you remind me of my little brother, I love you so much.“
2) Half-Mexican, half-Chinese Elijah Liu wowed the crowd with his charisma and pure tone on “Talking to the Moon" -- Minaj gushed over him, saying “you are a super-duper star, little boy!“ He reminds me of a young Justin Bieber — comes across as genuine yet performs so smoothly.
3) Devin Velez did half of “Listen"in Spanish, which with his intensity and vocal smoothness seemed the most natural thing in the world. Randy Jackson said simply, “dude, I loved you — I thought it was amazing.“
4) Judges' favorite Curtis Finch's “Superstar” was well-sung, with Keith Urban calling it “really beautiful.“
5) Kevin Harris' joyful "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” just made me smile; good song choice for him, showing off his sweet tone.
6) Chris Watson swaggered out for "(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay” and somehow made a song from 1967 contemporary. Despite average vocals he got big praise for his performance from Minaj, who added he was “the prettiest man I've seen in my life.“
7) Josh “JDA” Davila's makeup, harem pants slit up the thigh and high heels were more memorable than his vocals on “Rumor Has It." "We are in Vegas,“ said Urban after his fun performance, “and you were certainly at home on that stage.“
8) Jimmy Smith's version of Urban's “Raining on Sunday” made Minaj “bored,“ and was “boring” to Jackson as well.
9) Cheesy Johnny Keyser's performance of “When I Look Into Your Eyes” got the female judges gushing over his looks, overlooking his weak voice..
10) Paul Jolley's version of Urban's “Tonight I Wanna Cry” was nothing memorable for me or the judges, with Minaj telling him he was too “theatrical.“