It’s no secret that often performances sound way better live inside the “American Idol” studio than they do on TV, but somehow it’s still hard to believe how disparate the experiences can be until you watch “Idol” in person.
This is why we can forgive judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler for softballing their way through most of the Top 12 boys’ critiques without any actual critique — the dudes sounded just fine in the studio! But on TV, it was surprising that some of our in-person favorites weren’t as great as we originally thought.
(But just so we’re clear: Eben what’shisface was just as awful live. Please America, don’t subject us to that.)
The top 12 boys performed to a crowd that included the top 12 girls, Season 10 finalist Pia Toscano, Lopez’s dancer boyfriend Casper Smart, the recently anointed shortest man in the world (or at least someone close to holding that title) and a whole bunch of sorority girls.
The girls went wild for Heejun Han, but even live it was clear he made the wrong song choice and he doesn’t make our list of the top 5 best performances from live inside the “American Idol” studio. So who does? Check it out:
Colton Dixon: “Decode,” Paramore
We really wanted to hate this guy simply because of his stupid hair, but there’s no denying he’s talented. His voice was full of emotion and well-suited to the song, and we were totally on board when he jumped on top of the piano. Excellent work.
Jeremy Rosado: “Gravity,” Sara Bareilles
On TV, this was boring and pitchy. But in person, with the crowd’s energy electrifying the room and the large space eating up the sound, you couldn’t hear the vocal imperfections and he sounded great. Definitely the biggest disparity of the night, since live, he sounded smooth and boy-band-y (in a good way). We hate to say this because he seems like such a sweet kid, but judging on the TV performance alone, he wouldn’t have our vote.
Creighton Fraker: “True Colors,” Cyndi Lauper
Yes, the set designers went way literal with the rainbow steps and stained-glass lights on the stage, but it was clear that this man knows how to sing. And he does it well. Obviously the judges aren’t fully on board with him, because based on raw gut reaction alone, Creighton’s vocals were stunning and the best of the night, and the judges’ critiques certainly did not reflect that.
Phillip Phillips: “In the Air Tonight,” Phil Collins
It took a minute to get into this performance because yes, the judges were right — he messed with the melody too much. But once he got on track, guy was ON TRACK. The Dave Matthews face snarl made it even better.
Joshua Ledet: “You Pulled Me Through,” Jennifer Hudson
Simply put, Joshua brought the house down. The entire audience was on their feet — we were FEELING it, man. Totally feeling it. It came of a little screechier on TV, but we were believers. Joshua for American Idol ’12!