Idol Beat: Male Fraud

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Steve Tyler wore a shirt with lips all over it. I couldn't decide if he was being knowingly self-referential or it was the work of the same costume designer who put him in that leotard in the "Love in an Elevator" video.neither way, it fulfilled its purpose of distracting me from the show for a few seconds.

And at the risk of paraphrasing those stupid George W. Bush bumper stickers, do you miss Simon Cowell yet? With very few exceptions, the judges seemed like they loved every one of the dudes. This is patently irresponsible, for without their expert opinion, where will America turn for their votes? Especially when we're so stupefied by that new 360 degree stage? I can hear the murmuring in living rooms across the country: Holy shit, a *round* stage?! What will they come up with next, cordless phones?

Last night was the first of three(!) American Idol episodes this week, culminating in the selection of the final 12 (top ten vote-getters plus two judges wild cards) on Thursday. The 10 remaining ladies strut their stuff tonight, but Tuesday was all about the testosterone.

Though judging by the song selection, maybe a few hormone shots were in order.

First up is Clint "The A-hole" Gamboa (I'm self-censoring in case Mom is reading), whose castrato rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Superstitious" will probably get the Bieber fans out in droves...if he loses those lame Tank Girl glasses, that is.

And for the first of a brazillion times, we're reminded we can vote online as well, because voting 50 times via Facebook can only lend an aura of legitimacy to the proceedings.

Jovany is next. His performance is workmanlike, which fits with his shipbuilding background. Unfortunately Edwin McCain's "I'll Be" is about as vanilla as it gets. Pity he can't flash his abs every week.

Jordan Dorsey struggles with Usher's "OMG." For all his halting R Kelly-isms, the dude can't bring it vocally. Worse, he's visibly shaken after the judges call him out on it. That more than anything else might be viewed as a sign of weakness by a fickle voting public.

The vocals seem muddy on Tim "The Engima" Halperin's performance.Maybe I was just distracted by how much he looks like a taller Sam Gamgee from Lord of the Rings. Or maybe it's because his song choice (Rob Thomas' "Streetcorner Symphony") is as bland as he seems to be.

A lounge version of "Light My Fire?" I got bad news for Simply Brett Loewenstern. Randy's half-assed praise for his "attitiude" was just a nice way to say, "You're too goofy/creepy for a lot of voters, but there's no way we'll let you go without a wild card pick."

"You've Got Another Thing Comin'" was a bold choice for James Durbin, and he wailed admirably. The screechy shit is getting old though, I don't care how "organic" J Lo thinks it is.

But after hearing all that effusive praise for his song, I have no doubt every other dude was thinking, "Great, why couldn't I have a disability?"

He also knows to give a shout-out to "the best audience in the world." That'll be good for another eleventy billion votes.

Robbie Rosen is the fourth boring act of the night. Maybe it's bad timing, but following up a Priest song with of of Sarah MacLachlan's characteristic snorers ("Angel," best known from those manipulative ASPCA commercials) didn't impress the judges. Maybe he's hoping people will equate him with all those abused animals and vote him in out of pity.

Scotty McCreery keeps drawling on, and picked something squarely in his baritone wheelhouse (John Michael Montgomery's "Letters From Home"). Tyler saying he "couldn't have picked a better song" was a not-so-subtle way of saying, "Try R&B and you're a dead man."

Stefano Langone, like Janine from Ghostbusters, has the bug eyes. He also has Jennifer Lopez ovulating every time he sings. Don't know if that'll be enough, however.

I'll say the same for Paul McDonald. Limited range and an awkwardly penguin-like stage presence probably spell doom for the guy. It doesn't help that both Randy and J Lo refer to him as "unique," which is a polite way of saying, "You look like you're having a fit when you sing."

And Casey Abrams probably already has the token beard slot sewn up.

Oh, J Lo, did you really just compare irritating drama queen Jacob Lusk favorably to Luther Vandross? Go feed your husband some brains.

Everybody loves Casey Abrams (note to self: pitch CBS new idea to replace Charlie Sheen with Abrams on Two and a Half Men), maybe because he looks like a bearded version of Nick Swardson.

Because it's late and I have to do this all over again tonight, here are my picks for who makes it through to the next round. I tried to mix actual talent with who I imagine your typical Idol voter is likely to waste valuable time on this earth to vote for. Keep that in mind when placing wagers with your offshore bookie.

Jovany Barrento
Brett Loewenstern
James Durbin
Scotty McCreery
Jacob Lusk
Casey Abrams

Tune back in tomorrow when we do the whole goddamned thing over again.



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