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Haterade's Idol Anal-ysis (Round of 24 Men) - 2/20/08

Welcome to Haterade's first Idol Anal-ysis, where he anal-yzes on the guys first performance of the year. Who brought the 60's to the current era? What two people look like they'd belong on the Bowery? And who does he think is going to be the first ones booted? Answers inside...

Welcome to the first Top 24 audition of American Idol. Tonight, we'll be listening to the final 12 male singers...which in 48 hours will turn into the Top 10 male singers. Before we start, a quick soundbite from the judges. Randy Jackson liked the originality in the dudes and wants them to kep it real. Paula Abdul says that song selection is the key. Simon Cowell is looking for personailty, originality and good singing. Duh.

Unlike the semi-final rounds of previous seasons, we have some changes. For starters, we actually have themes in the semi-finals. After a quick plug for iTunes, we start with the theme of the 1960's. Leading off the semi-finals is...

David Hernandez, who sings 'In the Midnight Hour'.

The Good - He does a respectable version of the song. The vibrato was ok. The gospel vibe was nice at the beginning of the song.

The Bad - I didn't like the choice of song. The song is not good enough for him to display the vocal range, which is something you really want to do in an opening song. The nerves may have got to him at the end - his lips looked liked they were caught in a 18 degree below zero blizzard and the end note was cringe-inducing.

The Verdict - It was a decent start. It was good for the most part, and I'm sensing that there will be people who do worse. A lot worse.

Chikezie Eze ...oh wait. It's just Chikezie. Hopefully he'll make my eardrums feel easy with 'More Today Than Yesterday' by Diana Ross, among others.

The Good - Very nice ending note to finish the song off. Much better finish note than Mr. Hernandez. And he'll get votes from Simon from calling him Jacuzzi.

The Bad - VERY rocky start in the pitch, which made my eardrums want to take some laxative. I also didn't like the choice of song. He compounded his eror by committing the cardinal sin of arguing with Simon. And his faded brown and red suit makes him look like a member of the Temptations on skid row looking for a donation to put in his charity cup.

The Verdict - Unfortunately, Simon was completely right. The performance was way too old-fashioned for this competition. Though Chikeze argued that he was playing up to the 60's night theme, he has to remember that the voters are the young kids who like texting and not faded out pimp suits. He wasn't as much Chikezie Eze as much as he was Chikezie Cheesy, and that could put him in trouble early.

Ryan tells Colton that they haven't gotten to know Colton much (which is always trouble). Colton says that he looks a lot like Ellen Degeneres (which gives me some nice idea for the celebrity duet). But it's David Cook who performs next, to the dulcet tune of 'Happy Together' by Flo and Eddie and the Turtles.

The Good - I really like the opening balled rendition of what he did. That's taking a song and making it your own. He also stayed on pitch for the most part and although he didn't go for the super money shot, he didn't have to.

The Bad - David has some lyric issues. 'No Matter how they toss the thrice?'. I also don't like how he grabbed the stand and twirled it around like he was opening an umbrella like Mary Poppins. His introduction video with him jawing at Simon - not good.

The Verdict - He did two things in his performance that was noteworthy. He made a song his own and he made it contemporary, which adds credibility to the rock sector. If he can continue to be this creative with his song selections, then David will be a force to be reckoned with.

Jason Yeager came to audition with his son. He's doing this all for his son. AwwwwBarf. He'll try to entertain his son with 'Moon River'.

The Good - He has very nice poise when he's sitting on the chair. The suit looks good. The kid looks well-behaved. He recovered with a nice ending pitch in the second half of the song...

The Bad - ...which was good, because the first half of the song was simply brutal. If you are going to select a song, make sure that it reflects your voice and that you can handle the pitch changes. He couldn't. For someone who absolutely had to make up with the lack of screen time with a great effort, this was not a good start.

The Verdict - So there was a reason why he didn't get much screen time. That was painful. I hope his son liked what he saw so far, because daddy may not get much more screen time after that mess.

Robbie Carrico has a bandana over his head. He's got a lot of bandana or hat wearing clips in his introduction. Maybe he's silently supporting Britney Spear's bald movement. Everybody must be bald. He wants to leave his soul out on stage, and he feels that 'One (Is The Loneliest Number)' by 3 Dog Night will be the way to do it.

The Good - He does a nice rendition, giving it a bit more of a Queenish Rock Edge. Making the song contemporary will get him more votes with the kiddie set.

The Bad - With the bandana and green apparel, he could join Cheesy Chikezie Jacuzzi on the welfare line. His version of the song, contrary to his claim, is not real rock. It's like a poppy Michael Bolton or Constantin Maroulis rock-lite.

The Verdict - Is Robbie rock or pop? He says he loves rock, and he does a good job this week. The problem is that David Cook, who is clearly in rock, did a better job. He needs to define himself and get enough of a base if he wants to get into the Top 12.

David Archuleta doesn't want to mess his debut song up. I don't see how he is going to. He sings 'you Better Shop Around' in hopes that you will shop for him and buy him some votes.

The Good - He's got great chops (which we all know), but the one thing he's done that no one else has done so far makes him stand out - he's made love to the camera and has given the appropriate facial features to the song, actually singing the song instead of just vocalizing it. Very nice and strong performance.

The Bad - But I did have some problems. It almost seemed like he ran out of gas at the end. He didn't completely hit the low register, and it wasn't a clean start on the money shot.

The Verdict - Here is your current leader in the pop genre. If you want to go up head to head against David, you will lose. If you want to get to the Top 12 and you're currently in pop, you better sing another genre to get there - like rock, country, r and b, reggae, polka...

Danny Noriega is next, and many people are pegging him as...the next Sanjaya. He wants to bring his swagger and attitude with him. 'Jailhouse Rock' has that sort of attitude to it. It could either be a breakout...or a prison revolt.

The Good - The swagger actually helps him out. The voice actually surpises me in a pleasant way. He's much, much better than I would have pegged him for. The performance factor also added to the effort.

The Bad - The song may be a little too big for him. He must work on that breath control, because he was running out of diaphragm power near the end of the song. And don't get into a finger snap competition with Simon; your insults may be cute, but once he drills you into the floor, you will lose some audience.

The Verdict - I will disagree with Simon, who hated it. It was a good 'performance', and that sort of charisma will carry him in this competition. If he can diversify and stay out of the way of Mr. Archuleta, he can be around for awhile. He also has to not worry about being over the top - and must stay away from getting into snap fights with Simon.

Luke Menard got almost zero face time, so he will have to make an impact with this song. However, with some of the less than great performances, the door is wide open for him to stick around. Can he do it with 'Everybody's Talking' (from the movie Midnight Cowboy), a song that probably only a few people are familiar with? That could be a problem.

The Good - He's got a beautiful tone to his voice. He's got a great money note finish and his vocal polish shows.

The Bad - Pitchy start. Despite how good his voice is, a horrible choice of song, because since the song is not a familiar one, there's nothing that he can do with that sort of song to make it memorable at all. And disagreeing with the judges is a really bad move to make when you have had no screen time to begin with.

The Verdict - I would have never known that he was part of an acapella group after listening to him perform. Bad song + uneven pitch throughout the song + arguing with the judges = disaster. The song was forgettable, and so is he. Buh-bye.

Ellen Degen...I mean Colton Berry is up next. He sings 'Suspicious Minds', which would be the second Elvis song of the evening.

The Good - He has a good 'performance'. He got into the song and got some screams from the ladies. He also hit the money note, which can cover up a bunch of ills.

The Bad - That was more like 'Suspicious Pitch', which came and went quicker than Elvis's baseball career. What's up with the body gestations? He looks like he's performing on a vibrating platform that randomly gives out electric shocks.

The Verdict - He sounded ok. He should be able to get through this week, but he needs to dramatically improve if he wants to get into the Top 12.

Ryan talks to Garrett Haley , as he sounded sort of stoned. Ryan tries to convince the group that Kelly Clarkson didn't get a lot of camera time in Idol 1, yet won the competition. Nice try, Ryan. Who are you trying to fool? Garrett will try to turn the tide with 'Breaking Up is Hard To Do'.

The Good - He has nice hair. The ladies scream for guys who have nice hair. It's long and stringy. Chicks dig the stringy hair. He also has a faux British accent. The women will melt for someone with a half-Brit / half surfer dude accent. Notice I'm not talking about the singing at all. Maybe he's on the wrong show and needs to be on The Bachelor instead.

The Bad - Pitchy all over the place. This was the second truly painful performance (behind Cheesey Chikezie Jacuzzi). And he sounded very Karaoke - meaning that he didn't bring anything new to the song.

The Verdict - This was the absolute worst song choice to make. The only saving grace is that the girls love him and booed heavily when he was criticized. Those screaming girlies, who were all over Sanjaya last season, may mobilize to save him - and quite frankly, they need to do just that.

Jason Castro has decided to take advantage of one of the new rules of American Idol - the ability to bring an instrument. He takes his guitar with him for 'What a Day for a Daydream'.

The Good - He can certainly play the guitar. The vocal expressions were very nice, too. He also made love to the camera. The braids actually fits in with both the song and the era.

The Bad - The guitar masks his vocal pitchiness all over the place. The money note sort of flew away with the day dream as you wake up with the end of the song wondering what exactly you were listening to.

The Verdict - He took a risk - which he really needed to do because he didn't get much screen time - and it paid off. If you have no face time, you have to come out with that sort of effort - and he did. People in the future who get no screen time need to take heed of that performance. Nicely done.

Michael Johns wraps up this show with 'Light My Fire.' Can he set the stage on fire?

The Good - He definitely has that stage presence in the room. He sings a nice rendition of the song. He also hit the money notes early and often.

The Bad - He's got that tremolo in his voice that makes him sound affected. He also sang 'Light My Fire' during Hollywood week, which, as a repeat song, is a definite no-no.

The Verdict - He's not going anywhere. He did set the stage on fire. But I'm wondering if wasn't better off singing something that he didn't do before. it seemed like he took the easy way out.

All in all, a very strong start to the competition. Unfortunately for two people, it won't be strong enough. And it actually is going to be easy for me to make my predictions, because there were only four people who were awful.

Trouble: Cheesy Chikezie Jacuzzi, Garrett Haley, Luke Menard, Jason Yeager

Chikezie was awful, but he'll get a second chance due to him salvaging the second half of his song. Luke was forgtettable, and with no face time, he'll be gone. So the second person leaving will be a tough call. Who stays? The person who may have a fan club with Making the Band? Or the person who had a ton of screaming girls when he sang? I'll go with the person who everyone knew was in trouble and hence got votes.

Out: Luke Menard, Jason Yeager.

See you in 24 hours for the girls.
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