american idol guys top 20 'American Idol' Top 20 guys: Is this a joke? Terrible.It’s the guys’ turn on “American Idol” — 10 guys are whittled down to five tonight and the same thing happens next Thursday.

As the show kicks off, it’s good to see Randy has earned himself a Rydell letterman sweater. Sandy is sure to like him now. We meet the 10 guys performing tonight and, much like last night, about half of the men we’ve never (or barely) seen up to now.

1. Paul Jolley, “Tonight I Wanna Cry,” Keith Urban

It’s ballsy to do a Mariah song, sure, but it also takes some guts to do a song by one of the other judges too. Vocally, this is nice. It’s not blowing us away, but it’s not off pitch or bad. Paul has some weird pronunciation things, swallowing some of his words. That’s irksome, but just a weird quirk. Overall, not bad. He could lay off the runs a little. He’s not going to be a frontrunner with that, but he could sneak into one of the last couple spots, depending on how everyone else does.

Urban is so sweet — he thanks Paul for doing one of his songs. And he cautions him not to overdo it. Randy is very complimentary of his power, though says it wasn’t a perfect performance.

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2. Johnny Keyser, “I Won’t Give Up,” Jason Mraz

This song doesn’t start out great. His voice is really weak and kind of nasally. It gets better on the chorus when he gets out of his lower register, but this guy is just so milquetoast for us. He’s like a singing Ken Doll and his vocals aren’t enough for us to get past that, plus he’s pitchy at times. We’d like to think the judges can do better than this guy.

Urban says that’s the best he’s sung so far, which — then he’s not good enough. And he’s the type of contestant who will stay way past his expiration date because he’s cute. Nicki calls him sexy and … no. Stop encouraging the crowd. She admits he doesn’t have the greatest vocal in the world, but girls are going to love him. That right there is the whole problem! That’s not the right kind of contestant to keep!

Randy calls it just OK and gets heartily booed, but he’s right. It was nothing special. Mariah also backs us up that his lower register wasn’t really there, but she gets all fluttery talking about how good-looking he is. Ughhhhh. Terrible. Do not pass him through unless he’s one of the better singers.

3. J’DA, “Rumor Has It,” Adele

Interesting song choice. It’s not terrible as a vocal, but the writhing-on-the-ground theatrics are pretty ridiculous. Simon would hate the cabaret-ness of it all. And we found it distracting. It was too produced and it took away from the nice moments he did have vocally.

Keith commends him for putting on a show, which — there is that. But he also says maybe not to be so choreographed. Nicki says he’s a superstar performer, but she says the vocal was weak and Randy agrees.

4. Kevin Harris, “Everything I Do,” Bryan Adams

This is a very kitschy choice. It’s not old enough to be a classic, so it’s just kind of a cheesy ’90s ballad. This guy screams cannon fodder. Sorry, Kevin. If you’re an unknown, you really have to blow it out to advance and you are not blowing it out. His voice is nasally and there are some pitch issues.

Keith loves that song, which makes us love Keith, ’cause we also love that song, but we don’t think this was a good choice for the competition. Nicki calls it perfection, which — hmm. Were we listening to the same song?

Thankfully, we have Randy there to say it was boring karaoke. Yes. Thank you, dawg.

So far, we would not advance any of the men who have performed. Not for sure.

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5. Chris Watson, “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay,” Otis Redding

OK, first of all — why are you dressed like the biker from the Village People? Secondly, do not bastardize Redding’s arrangement like this. Thirdly, stop giving the sex eyes to the camera. Have you even heard this song before? Like, actually listened to it? It’s not a seduction song. At least try to interpret the words and not get your gross bedroom action all up in its grill. “Sittin’ here resting my bones” does not need a crotch-thrusty hip wiggle, sir. “Bones” does mean what you think it means.

This is like Otis done at a strip club. No, thank you. Not a fan. *BZZZ* Next.

Interestingly, Nicki, Randy and Mariah seem to be really enjoying this. Keith is looking down. Hopefully he is going to point out how completely devoid of connection or interpretation this performance was.

Unfortunately, Urban says it wasn’t the best vocal, but says he loved the way he carries himself and the way he’s dressed. No, Keith! You were our guy! Booo. Nicki slathers all over him, too, while still admitting it was not the best song choice. Seriously, you guys are totally wrong on this one.

Randy at least says he wanted a better vocal, and then Mariah keeps piling on with how good looking he is.

Please stop saying things like “not your best, but you’re great.” Just criticize. Ugh.

After the judges, Chris says he connected with that song because he misses his family. Well, that didn’t come across at all. AT ALL. You totally blew a chance to perform what that song actually means. You instead performed that song like you want to get laid.

6. Devin Velez, “Listen,” Beyonce

Interesting to do Beyonce, but this actually works pretty well. This guy has a big ol’ voice, but he is judicious with his runs, which is nice. Not in love with the Mr. Rogers sweater, but he sounds nice. The Spanish is fine, but not needed, and then — oof, he kind of blows the key change. He gets it back, but that got a little dicey for a minute there.

It’s kind of sad that that was the best vocal of the night so far. But it was. The judges are full of compliments.

7. Elijah Liu, “Talking to the Moon,” Bruno Mars

He’s got almost a Michael Jackson quality to his voice, which is cool. The high parts of the chorus get a little lost in the backing vocals, it’d be nice if we could hear Elijah a little more distinctly. But then on one of the high parts, we can hear him better and it’s a little flat. Hmm. This is not that strong. Based on tonight, he probably should not advance, but we’re intrigued and want to hear more from him.

Urban calls him current and relevant, even though the performance was shaky. Nicki calls him a super, duper star and says she wants to have his babies. You need to dial it back a little, ladybug. Stop being a creeper. Randy admits this was not a great vocal, but he knows the potential is there.

8. Charlie Askew, “Rocket Man,” Elton John

This screams high school talent show. It’s not wretched, but it’s not good. This little fella is trying so hard to be some kind of rock star and it’s actually just ridiculous. The vocal is also terrible. What is this? This is like a contestant who would’ve been in that group of guys on Season 3 or something.

Nicki, do not give him a standing ovation. That was awful. Simon would rip this kid to shreds. Keith calls him Freddy Mercury’s love child out of Woodstock. Um, Charlie wishes he could sing like Freddy. This is just farcical at this point. His weirdness is great, for him being himself. But that doesn’t me
an he can sing.

Randy is right on point where he says it was a little stage school, which it totally was.

9. Jimmy Smith, “Raining on Sunday,” Keith Urban

Two Keith songs, really? Huh. Anyway, this is … wow, this is not that good. This guy has a very thin voice and his stage presence is terrible. He keep just taking what our college acting teacher called “two steps to nowhere.” What an absolute snoozefest.

At this point, we have to wonder if we’re being punked. These are half of the best guys you found? Because this is terrible. Even the “good” ones are nowhere near as good as most of the women from last night. It’s a shame they couldn’t take seven women and three men forward, instead of five and five.

10. Curtis Finch Jr., “Superstar,” The Carpenters

This is a great song, but we kind of hate this arrangement. It didn’t need to be given the R&B slow-jam treatment. That aside, Finch is easily the best vocalist of the night. That’s not saying much. His mugging to the crowd and camera was a bit much. He can obviously sing, so just dial it back a little, crazypants.

Keith says parts were over performed and they really were. Randy didn’t love how old-fashioned it was.

OK, so at this point, we aren’t wowed by anybody. Who should advance? Um …….

Curtis, we suppose. Devin and Paul. And we guess Johnny Keyser, plus Elijah Liu, just because we’d like to hear more from him. But honestly? Other than one or two girls last night, the entire female lineup was stronger than this.

Is this “Idol’s” double-secret mojo voodoo trick to ensure a girl wins? Put through guys who aren’t that good? Worked in Season 3 — the guys were really weak and the final three were all females.

Results time — the judges put through Curtis Finch Jr., then cut Jimmy Smith and Kevin Harris. Then Elijah Liu goes through (good for him) and J’DA is cut. Then we have Paul Jolley on a split decision — doesn’t it have to be between two singers? Hmm. But Iovine advances him, so we’re happy.

Then Chris Watson is sent home, which actually surprises us. We were sure they’d keep him just to bug us. Speaking of which, now Charlie Askew is up and since it’s going to have to come down to a “versus” for the final spot, that means Charlie is through. Ugh.

So it’s down to Johnny and Devin. Uh, what if Jimmy Iovine had sent Paul home? Would some other guy make it that they’re split on? That’s very confusing. Who got bumped because Iovine picked Paul? This is weird.

Either way, both Johnny and Devin were better than Charlie, so that’s a shame. But the judges send Johnny home and keep Devin.

Well, we were four for five. That Charlie over Johnny thing is nonsense, but whatever. This whole night was really disappointing. Simon Cowell is rolling over in his “Idol” grave.

What did you think, “Idol” fans?

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."