American Idol 2013 Top 20 Performance Show Live Recap: The Guys Are In The Spotlight


Tonight the American Idol 2013 votes are again in your hands America. This time, the Top 10 guys are up and they’re fighting for five spots in the Season 12 Top 20. Tomorrow night we will learn the finalists and also find out if there will be any surprise wildcards.

Now that we’re in the real competition (sort of), I’ve revived my grading scale. I’ll review each performance and assign it the letter grade I think it deserves. Oh, and be warned, I’ve decided to not be so easy on the contestants this season. So don’t be surprised if I don’t hold back.

And as always, you can chime in and let us know what you think in our comments section below.

The Top 20 Performances Night Two: The Guys

Elijah Liu, Stay. That was a pretty decent way to start the night, as far as vocals go. It wasn’t very high energy and I always think that this early in the game, singers need to be upbeat or at least give us some big notes (if they’ve got em). I’m not so sure he’s going to make it in the rapid fire cuts tomorrow night. Grade: B+

Cortez Shaw, Locked Out Of Heaven. Well that was a weird song for him. I was wanting something upbeat, but I’m not sure this satisfied me. It was kind of all over the place and the music was pretty irrupting. He’s got a good voice, but this song just didn’t showcase it. He could be in trouble tomorrow also. Grade: C+

Random thought: So is Nicki the official style and hair judge? Because that’s all she seems to focus on. Are they seriously paying her to be a judge? Wow.

Charlie Askew, Mama. Um. I have no idea what that was. I thought it was awful. All of it. From the look to the performance. Bad. Bad. Bad. And then the way he takes criticism makes me uncomfortable. Poor guy. He’s a sweet guy. But this wasn’t good. Grade: F

Nick Boddington, Iris. I liked this. A piano version of the Goo Goo Dolls wasn’t what I was expecting, but it worked. I love when a contestant plays in instrument, so he gets bonus points for that. It was also a pretty emotional performance. I hope we can hear him do more.  Grade: B+

Burnell Taylor, I’m Here. I think this guy is great. It all seems so effortless for him. And his voice has a unique sound. I didn’t love the song, but I really liked the performance. I hope America sends him through so we can hear more from him. Grade: A-

Paul Jolley, Just A Fool. OK, Paul wins the award for “Most American Idol-like Performance.” What I mean by that is, that he is the first person of the night to actually really sound like he’s on American Idol. It was a powerful ballad and I’m pretty sure he  hit every note. Great, solid performance. Grade: A

Random Thought: Has anything Mariah said tonight made any sense? And also, has she ever had her OWN opinion? She just repeats everyone else. And tonight she brought up something from last week! And again, she’s getting paid MILLIONS for nothing, basically.

Lazaro Arbos, Feeling Good. Ugh. Every single season someone sings this song (sometimes more than once a season) and every single season I express my annoyance with this WAAAAY OVERDONE song. Basically when it starts I want so stop writing and assign a big fat F. But I’ll refrain. But I’m going to go ahead and say it right now. The next person who does this song gets no review, just a big fat F. Now that I’ve wasted too much time complaining about his song, choice, I’ll get to the actual review. It was pretty good. He’s a great performer and has a great heart to match his great tone. Grade: B+

Curtis Finch Jr., I Believe I Can Fly. See last post for the same rant about this song. Ugggh. As for the performance, it was pretty good. I don’t like some of the things he does with his voice and I never get into the gospel boys so it’s hard for me to not just throw my computer across the room. Grade: B+

Devin Velez, It’s Impossible. I’m not so sure him doing such an outdated song when five guys will be cut this week was the best idea. But he is still one of the best vocalists in the contest. I do hope he doesn’t always plan to break into Spanish. That’s cool every now and then, but some of the people who vote for Idol will not be too interested in a Spanish-singing contestant. I’m not saying that’s my opinion (because it’s definitely NOT), but it is some people’s. Sadly. I liked the performance. A lot. But I still think it was a bad idea. Grade: A-

Vincent Powell, End Of The Road. This was the pimp spot? Yawwwwn. I mean it wasn’t bad. He’s a great vocalist, but wow, how boring. Sorry, but a high screech isn’t enough to get me to pick  up my phone. Idol couldn’t be more obvious with their effort to insure a guy does not win this season. Grade: B+

What did you think of the guys tonight? Who are your favorites?





  1. I am on the site on my mobile but to be honest I just threw up in my mouth with this kids attire. Nasty

  2. im sick of elijah they say his face is markable?
    but truth be told, elijah is the worst singer in the competition,

    • Charlie is going to do whatever he wants with his talent. Nobody’s bullying him. Everyone on that show has opened themselves up to criticism and/or praise and if they arent warned about that in advance then its the producers who are remiss, not those who choose to make comments. Maybe I am wrong but I would think that charlie has a decent support system and wouldnt be on the show if he was deemed to be any more unstable than anyone else. I dont see any concern for the constant hammering that Nikki Minaj takes. Will it stop if she reacts like Charlie? Dont take what you see at face value.

  3. Am i the only one who has a rough time deciding who’s the best last night, but tonight im stumped to which one’s the worst :/

  4. im voting for charlie. the reason american idol is trying to kick him off is cause of his mental problems, so they wont have to deal with it, i say thats crazy. vote charlie, and so idol we’re in charge

  5. Brandon I so agree with you on that random Mariah thought…she likes to hear her own ramblings….uuugh

  6. sooooo tired of everyone complaining about Nicki. I was completely SHOCKED that I liked her. Now, she is the ONLY judge that I like, that I think gives feedback that is honest, that is actually musically/vocally critiquing (which, by the way, is what they are SUPPOSED to be doing!) She comes across as honest, and is the most specific in her critiquing, showing her intelligence and musical/vocal knowledge and how to zero in on a very specific area. If they get rid of her, then there would be NO judging, and that is when American Idol might as well cancel themselves. Randy says the same thing (and has for years), Mariah is completely useless and can’t complete a proper sentence (shes basically replaced Paula), and Keith is toooo nice, and doesn’t offer all that much in his critiques/comments. Nicki is WAY more professional than Simon was, and does give honest feedback. She has impressed me with how well spoken she is and very clear and deliberate about getting her opinion across. She is way more intelligent and mature than most people knew!

    • I find it hard to comment on your defense of Nikki as I’ve become so disgusted by the sound of her infantile comments that I fast forward past her on the DVR. Has she suddenly improved?

      • I don’t disagree that some of her comments are inappropriate (ie; when she goes over the top in her ‘attraction’ to them,or saying she is ‘obsessed’ with them, etc.) But I have come see the honest and yes, some intelligence, in her musically/vocal critiques, which I find completely lacking from all the other judges, and over time, I’ve come to think that the comments shes made that i don’t like are mostly (I think) her way to be funny ??? I have grown to appreciate her ( and I do not like her genre of music), and yes, I acknowledge that its probably due somewhat to my unappreciation of the other three judges and what they are NOT bringing to their well paid jobs.

      • I agree with you. Nicki at times does make me cringe, and I don’t always agree with her comments, but she is the only one on that panel doing their job. I’m not into her music, and many times haven’t got a clue what she is saying, but so what. I do understand what she says when critiquing the contestants and she is miles ahead of the other judges and that is all I’m going to judge her on.

      • I think Nikki has “toned it down ” considerably over the last couple of weeks. Maybe in response to comments by viewers. She made some insigbtful comments tomite except for those directed at charlie askew. That seemed pointless and not even relevant. Maybe what we saw tonite was what Charlie really wants to be and everything prior was what he was advised would get him this far. Hopefully Nikki will stay on point from now on. I honestly am not sure why mariah doesnt voice more of an actual opinion. Obviously, she has the experience and success to do so.

    • Finally! Someone else who can appreciate Nikki’s critiques. You must be a player, too. People get caught up in pettiness and the idea that Nikki is some bad person. Forget how she looks or acts. I’m fine with it if people feel that way. But take off the blinders people and pay attention. I have come to respect her mostly point-on critiques. She helps the performers out more than the other judges because she’s not afraid to just say what needs to be said. So I like that they finally got a judge who isn’t afraid to actually be a “judge!”

    • Whenever I hear her critiquing a guy, she always mentions how “sexy” they look..
      Yeah, that’s real “helpful”.
      Simon is a way better judge than her.. We NEED brutally honest people!! Not butt-kissers and people who only focus on appearances!

    • Nikki has shown by her judging she cannot judge and act, talks unprofessional and very immature. These judges have booted ones that had talent and kept alot of people who cannot sing and most of us would not pay to hear them.. Most of us are complaining about Nikki because this years judging is terrible and unfair!! ANd Nikki is very annoying! Most of will not watch if she is on it again!!!

  7. Other than Devin and Burnell, the guys were pretty bad tonight. I love Charlie, but his performance was not good tonight. Where is that voice he had during group rounds and his audition???

    I cannot be the only one that is annoyed with Curtis. Yes he can sing, but I cannot stand to look at him with his arrogance and false humility. He obviously thinks he is the best and is in love with himself….and that does not scream Godliness to me. I hope he finally gets a wak up call and hopefully America will not put him through. Let me finish this with stating…I LOVE gospel music. He just doesn’t seem genuine to me. What does everyone else think?

    • I agree that Burnell was great, and wasn’t all that impressed with many or most of the rest. I luv Charlie too, and didn’t actually dislike his performance tonight, I did feel that something is off with him and perhaps he’s not able to or ready to handle this pressure. Re Curtis, I agree he has a great voice, although I don’t sense arrogance from him, but I did think that he did not at all do that great song any justice tonight and didn’t bring forth from me any emotional response and I absolutely luv that song – so I thought it was a great shame.

    • If you are annoyed with Curtis, you are annoyed with yourself. He is a true God send so don’t start hating so early in this mans career.

      • I was asking people’s opinions on the matter and that is the feeling I get from Curtis (did you not see group rounds???). Your response is absolutely asinine. I’m not annoyed with myself, as we are all God’s children.

    • I think it should be Burnell or Devin. Burnell has soething just so different, unique. That ws quite a moving performance. I can’t see myself bothering to go out of my wahto buy any recordings of the other artists–maybe Curtis. But I think the girls have it this year. Boys are in trouble…

  8. I loved Curtis, Devin, Paul and Lazero, sorry I do not know what everyone is thinking but Curtis actually had me believing he could fly… Hes a good old southern gospel boy. As far as Charlie , he is too imature for the real world of music. When you cannot hold your emotions your in deep trouble. Maybe next year he will be more ready. I think the boys are in trouble, some of the girls whipped butt last night, and especially Angela doing her own writing and music. Shes got a step up on all of them.

  9. Love Paul. He has a wonderful voice and a wonderful smile. I would like him to try also serious and sexy. Perhaps a retro song and sexier clothes. Try a Gene Pitney song like 24 Hours to Tulsa.

    Nick is great, but needs to be more assertive if he is to win. Nice guys finish last.

    Charlie was the second train wreck this week. I really thought afterwards he was going to melt down on t.v. I kinda got what he was trying to do, but it was too much like a teenager playing rock star in his bedroom.

    Mariah looks up or around because she is gathering her thoughts together. Nicki can be awfully vulgar, but a lot of her comments have been spot on. But I wonder if she is the judge who voted to let Joanette through and not Rachel Hale.

  10. Am I the only one who thinks that Burnell changed his look to look like Steve Urcall? Every time I see him, that’s who he reminds me of!

  11. I thought that Curtis was the BEST, OMG he was the only one that hit any high notes! Beautiful, I was amazed that even the judges were wowed! I was happy one judge said<"Praise God."and another We need more singers like this! I BELIEVE WE ALL CAN FLY! GOD BLESS!

  12. Top 5 – Burnell, Vincent, Devin, Elijah…I could not decide yet for the fifth spot but I’m considering Nick or Paul (can’t decided yet)

    Burnell – great voice, effortless.
    Charlie – he’s going for the alternative rock music, a bit raw which reminded me of Queen’s Freddie Mercury, but still the peformance fall short for me.
    Cortez – the song is good if he wanted to be relatable but i’m not sure it did him good with his mediocre performance.
    Curtis – his voice is good but its a bit pageantry for me. So I will say – No.
    Devin – why does he like singing in spanish? is he trying to point something, that he did great in his spanish class? but his singing is smooth though.
    Elijah – he got the audience’s attention there…i like the tone of his voice actually…it’s kinda safe but he still did a good job. I still want to see him next time.
    Lazaro – he’s looks is marketable but the voice is not, sounded nasally. I’ve seen better peformance of this song. No wow factor there.
    Nick – great arrangement of a rock song, an overall intimate performance despite of that one moment he choked.
    Paul – there’s something off in it, sounded like force especially if belting in high notes. Maybe its the song. I’m not sure of this one.
    Vincent – at first it sounded wrong for him sounded shrieky for me when he changes the arrangement but then when he hit that high notes and make a bit gospel with all that rasp voice…he just redeemed himself.

  13. I believe that Nicki’s comments are always spot on in terms of singing and styling. In terms of singing, I think Nicki’s fearless on saying her opinion. I like Keith insights too. It’s also a good thing if someone calls out on their dress and hair of the contestants so that they can work on it. It wont hurt to be more presentable on TV since the voters now have the job which contestant they want to get through. In my opinion, Nicki is doing a very good job on the panel, maybe the best judge on the panel this season.

  14. Brandon I dont know why you give Charlie an F. I have repeated the show three times already and the kid definitely stands out the most. He dresses awfully, he doesnt have ultra high pitch gospel sound but hes really different. The performance kind of gives the feeling similar to Phillip Phillips’ In The Air Tonight in last year top20 (both did Phil Collins btw).

    And btw his unstable mentality only makes him like a great artist already lol

  15. This year is disappointing because most of the people they put thru don’t have singing talent. Nikki is the worst. And Mariah needs to go too, her and NIkki cannot judge obviously. If they not get rid of Nikki and Mariah I will not watch next year!! The judges booted some of those with the real talent. Most of the guys they put thru ot sing and Janettte is awful. Nikki gets on my nerves listening also to hjer stupid remarks and her dumb wigs look awful that she plays with.

  16. I love Lazaro Arbos I am a 19 tear old girl and I want to go out with him I’m Justine

5 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

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