On their marks! Get set! Go! [Cue the sound of a stalled car.]
America got its first official glimpse at the Top 12 men of season 10 Tuesday night (March 1) and things were as psychotically bipolar as a certain sitcom star currently making the rounds. (I'm looking at you, Emmanuel Lewis!)
For every exhilarating Casey Abrams, there was a soul-crushing disappointment of Sundance Head proportions. (Oh the humanity, Tim Halperin!) Still, a trio of final performances (and a couple others) kept the momentum of "Idol X: Lauren Alaina or Bust" going strong.
Before I start shamelessly plugging my brand new weekly live show, "Idol Party Live," premiering this Thursday night at 10pm ET on MTV.com (featuring fans, celebs and a grand karaoke finale), let's take a closer look at each of the first official performances of season 10. (Seriously though, don't miss "Idol Party Live." In a lovely sign of "Idol" blogger solidarity, Entertainment Weekly's whip-smart recapping superstar Annie Barrett will be my gut-busting co-host this week. More goodies to be announced!)
Clint Jun Gamboa
Song: Stevie Wonder's "Superstition"
Verdict: Almost Wonderful
It's not a surprise that producers asked Jun-bug to kick off the proceedings on the brand new "Idol" stage that's part Thunderdome, part Space Mountain, part Jedi High Council Chamber. "Superstition" is one of those foolproof ditties that makes you boogie on your couch, even if the dude singing it is a near-sighted karaoke host whose claim to fame is making a 15-year-old cry. The judges dug Clint's presence and voice (both Randy and Steven called it "brilliant," causing the word "brilliant" to dye its hair, unlist its phone number and move to a new town). While I don't agree, I appreciated Jun-bug's hunger. But does his deadly opening placement in a semi-final show squash him? (See Season eight's Jackie Tohn, Rudy Cardenas from season six or the first season's Suzy Valaca for evidence.)
Song: Edwin McCain's "I'll Be"
Verdict: Ship Him Back
Poor Barreto was the first soul of season 10 to get "Matt Girauditis," wherein a talented singer somehow loses all charisma the second he steps foot in front of 30 million people. Maybe the "Idol" stylist didn't have a chance to pick up his outfit at "Big & Buff Male," making his replacement gray vest and polka dot shirt too tight. Maybe he got confused and thought this week's theme was "wink while half-heartedly singing." Or maybe he picked a song that was done to death in the early "Idol" seasons, which made his offering feel small, inconsequential and low-budget. Sadly, I don't think he'll be around long enough to find out if "a long way from the shipyard" will be this year's "paint salesman."
Song: Usher's "OMG"
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