Season 12, Season 12 in Vegas

Night 4 in Vegas: The song by song grades

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Last night, the Idol judges gave the folks at Vote for the Worst a reason to do the happy dance in the site’s final season by putting Zoanette Johnson in the gals’ semifinals.

Tonight, let’s hope the judges can keep their wits about them for a full 10 performances rather than just the first nine.

Mathenee Treco  performs Thursday night on American Idol. (FOX Photo)It’s guys’ night on Idol, which wasn’t exactly a reason to celebrate a week ago when the performances ranged from middling to worse.

But you look down the lineup for tonight’s show, and you have to figure nothing will be quite so bizarre as Zoanette’s take
on “Circle of Life.”

Guys to watch: Nick Boddington and Cortez Shaw. And Lazaro Arbos, of course.

Check back after the show for a photo gallery from tonight’s performance and a recap blog focusing on the best and worst of tonight’s show.

Mathenee Treco: Mathenee also made it to Vegas last year. He’s going to tackle “A Little Less Conversation.” Why? I have no idea. Maybe he wants to torture the ghost of Elvis. Maybe because he’s in Vegas. Seriously, the opening of that was pretty weak. That said, Mathenee seemed to find his stride midway through the song. He was entertaining. He was also a little all over the place vocally. Nicki, speaking in her British accent, calls it “cheesy.” The comments from the other judges are much better Translation: Mathenee’s Idol run has come to an end. Grade: C

Gurpreet Singh Sarin: So, did Gurpreet select this color turban hoping it would match the hair color of Nicki’s wig de jour? I’m serious. You’ll recall that’s how he made it to Hollywood. By convincing Nicki he had a turban to match her hair. He’s going to sing Jim Morrison’s “Nothing Ever Hurt Like You.” Is anyone else wondering how Gurpreet made the Top 20 guys about now. I mean, if Mathenee was cheesy, that was just bad, bad karaoke. Now Nicki’s a southern belle, proclaiming “hell no.” Randy lays down the law, calling it “terrible.” Grade: D

Vincent Powell: Vincent teaches music, so let’s hope he can sing. He’s singing Lenny Williams’ “Cause I Love You.” Hey, we have our first decent performance of the night. Vincent took us to church with that number, especially with that over-the-top ending. Keith loved it. Nicki said Vincent often comes off as old fashioned. Tonight, she says he brought the old-fashioned sexy. She says she can envision lots of 40- and 50-year-old women throwing their panties at Vincent. Grade: B

Question: Why is Zoanette on my screen on guys’ night on Idol? Last night was plenty, thank you, Idol.

Nick Boddington performs Thursday night on American Idol. (FOX Photo)Nick Boddington: Nick is also back in Vegas for a second straight year. And you’ll recall that he impressed us playing keys and performing “Stars” on the final day in Hollywood. Another James Morrison song? He’s singing “Say Something Now.” This is not going to be one of Nick’s better performances. Go ahead, Randy. Call it boring. Because it was. That was nowhere close to “Stars” special. The judges are questioning the song choice. Randy says he never delivered a moment. Mariah says he delivered one. In my book, it wasn’t nearly enough. Grade: C+

Josh Holiday: Josh is the guy who split the leg of his pants during the sing-off in Hollywood. He’ll start this performance behind the piano. I think he’s singing “I’m Better with You.” OK, I didn’t recognize it; that’s because it was an original song. Well, kudos for trying that. But it only partly worked. The second half seemed like an exercise in vocal gymnastics. And the vocal gymnastics didn’t wow me. The judges are mixed on the performance. Nicki and Mariah agree that he would have been better off staying at the piano. Grade: C+

David Willis: David is a worship leader. And a singer we’ve heard very little from so far on Idol. He’s going to play guitar and perform “Fever.” Hey, folks, we might have a good performance on our hands. Hallelujah. It’s about time. Nothing over the top. Really nice ending. Solid performance from start to finish. And just when I thought the guys on Planet Idol had forgotten how to sing. Welcome to the semifinals, David. Keith loved it. The rest of the judges are surprisingly lukewarm. Grade: B+

Bryant Tadeo: Another seldom-seen contestant, Bryant is going to sing (aka put us to sleep) with a performance of “New York State of Mind.” He delivered a fairly solid vocal. But, my word, can’t these guys pick a current song? This is one of the youngest guys in the competition. Nice ending. Of course, I was almost asleep by that time. That nice ending was the only thing Nicki liked about the performance. Grade: C+

Burnell Taylor performs Thursday night on American Idol. (FOX Photo)Burnell Taylor: Burnell is the guy who blew the judges away in the Baton Rouge auditions. Looks like he’s gone through a bit of a makeover since the auditions, too. He’ll sing John Legend’s “This Time.” And he conducts his own performance with his hands. On a night of mediocre performances, that stood out as a really fine vocal and one of the more original versions of a song we’ve seen. Not sure it was the night’s best, as Nicki said, but it was semis worthy. Grade: B

Lazaro Arbos: He’s a sentimental favorite and should have an excellent chance to advance based on what we’ve heard so far tonight. He’ll sing a Keith Urban tune, “Tonight I Wanna Cry.” Really nice opening by Lazaro. The judges have been looking for a connection with a song, and I’d say Lazaro is delivering on that count. Hey, unexpected song choice. Very nice, emotional performance. It might not have been the perfect vocal, but it should be good enough to get him into the semifinals. Love his humility. Grade: B

Cortez Shaw: Well, before Cortez sings, it’s worth noting that no one who has closed a Vegas show has failed to advance. He’s another guy who got cut in Vegas last year. He’s slowing down “Titanium.” Interesting. Fortunately for Cortez, he ended that song with a flourish. Until then, that was a disappointing performance. There were several spots where Cortez’s voice went off course. Grade: B-

And it’s time for the judges to announce results …

Advancing: Vincent Powell, Lazaro Arbos, Cortez Shaw, Burnell Taylor, Nick Boddington

Heading home: David Willis, Bryant Tadeo, Mathenee Treco, Josh Holiday, Gurpreet Singh Sarin

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