About LauraBelle

Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

American Idol, Feb. 21 & 28 – The Top 20 Guys Become the Top 10

Here are the top 20 guys and who the judges, with a little help from Jimmy Iovine, decided to send on to the semifinals.Paul Jolley, Palmersville, Tennessee, works in retail and sales and admits his town is itty bitty with only about 150 people. If you blink, you'll miss it. His grandfather recently passed away, and it was very hard on him. He's worked hard and feels like he has to share this with the world, because he has so much to give back. Tonight, he sings a Keith Urban song, Tonight I Wanna Cry, and he does well with it, but doesn't really stand out. He has some great notes at the end though.Keith Urban thanks Paul for doing one of his songs, as it's a huge honor. To critique him, he thinks he has a great voice, but he wants him to not underestimate the quality and power of his voice if he goes through. He doesn't need to over-perform, because he has a lot to offer. Nicki Minaj thinks other performances wowed her more, but some of the notes that he usually hits are sweeter than they were. She tells him his eyes are very theatrical, and he's so much in his own head that the audience doesn't feel it as much.Randy Jackson calls it risky to do the song in front of Keith. Keith is right on one hand, but on the other, what Randy always liked about Paul is that most country singers have ginormous ranges that they use to sing almost anything, and he thinks Paul has that same potential, and there aren't that many men that can do that. Mariah Carey agrees with Randy and feels differently than the others, as she felt the first half of the song was very intimate. Paul able to have some flexibility with a genre.Johnny Keyser, 23, Ft. Lauderdale, a musician, was cut last year in Las Vegas, and he feels that was the beginning of his growth. He believes in commitment and in music, and believes he's supposed to be here. To prove that, he sings I Won't Give Up and again does well, but needs to have more of a standout performance. Keith felt it was his best song so far from him. There was an effortlessness about it, and he could see some moments of nervousness, but also some where Johnny lost that and went back into the song, and those are enough to pull it through. Nicki didn't see the nerves a all and thinks he's looking real sexy tonight. She confirms again that he doesn't have a girlfriend. He gets kudos for his look, even if he doesn't have the best vocal.Randy doesn't know if Johnny has the best voice, but he likes it and was pulling for him. It was just okay or him tonight, as there just weren't enough spots in there to stand out. Mariah feels she's familiar with who Johnny is as an artist and loves his commitment to music. She doesn't want to get in trouble with her husband, but Johnny is bringing the sexuality. The low register was really there. Her opinion is that he's worthy to be around.Jda, 27, sells French things. He's choosing his own path to happiness and can fully embrace who he is without any regrets. He's the producer, director, star, and artist of his own life. He sings Rumor Has It and is very theatrical. He does that thing with drumming his fingers on the microphone that is somewhat annoying, because when people do it it looks planned.Keith notes Jda was right at home here in Vegas on that stage. He commends him for putting on a show and applauds his originality … and humility. He wished he had felt a bit less of the counting steps. It seemed like he wrote down every single movement to every lyrics, but he loved what he was undertaking. Nicki tells Jda to “Work it, Girl.” No matter what happens, he is a superstar performer. Everyone came to see a show, and no one else has done it. He turned and took in his audience, and other Idols usually don't get that. His voice wasn't as good as it usually is though.Randy explains the reason why the vocal wasn't as good is because Jda was too tuned in on the performance. If there were an award for best performance, it would go to Jda. He has his own choreography in his head, but he should be thinking more about the vocal. However, the problem was that he didn't find any originality. Mariah felt the opposite, that he was so confident he wasn't wavering vocally. It wasn't the best he's done, but his confidence level was major. Kevin Harris, 28, from Montgomery, AL, a production supervisor. He's there for his family and his songs. He wants his kids to know they can do anything they put their minds to and that Daddy will show them the way. Tonight he sings and seems like the old guy in the competition. He' sonly 28, but he seems to much older. Other singing competitions don't have the age cap, but Idol does, and it makes him stand out in that way.Keith has always loved that song. He loves Kevin's voice, too, and its crazy range. It was effortless. However, he has mixed feelings about him choosing to flip up the song to show some range. He gets why he's doing it, but wants him to mix it up a little. Nicki tells Kevin every single choice he made musically tonight was perfection. She loves his vibrato and loves that he went falsetto at the end. She thinks his vocal was 100%.Randy thinks this will be a disagreeing kind of night. He was very bored with this song and felt it was karaoke. Nicki is shocked. There were no big moments in it and he put the high note in. If he wants to show the he's got it, then he needs to choose a different song. The guys that are still yet to sing are going to come out with their guns blazing. Mariah tells Kevin he's been a favorite of hers since the beginning, and it's obvious he's a born singer. She loved the song, but she wishes he would have sung something where he could show what he can do. She feels he's a professional.Chris Watson, 25, Dover, Delaware, is a waiter by day and singer by night, playing gigs professionally on his own. He firmly believes in the laws of attraction and believes he attracted this opportunity. He's ready to leave the tips behind and start collecting the big checks, hoping to be the one finally leaving the big tips. He sings Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay for the judges and is dressed somewhat exotically. I say somewhat, because we just got done watching Jda a few performers before. Chris is a great performer, but with the way he's performing, it's hard to tell about his voice.Keith mentions Randy talking about it being a singing competition earlier, and in a lot of ways, Keith finds it to be more of a connection competition. It can be the way you move, your voice, the performance, and it can be the charisma. Keith agrees with me saying the voice didn't seem the greatest tonight, but he doesn't think the song was right for showing off his voice. Yet he thinks he has a lot of confidence onstage, and he loves the way he carries himself and dresses. Nicki refers to Chris as the prettiest man she has seen in her life. She wants to marry his vibrato with its soulful, raspy, uniqueness that gets her. It wasn't the strongest choice, but she's obsessed with him and is willing to say that proudly. She hears pain and struggle in his voice and loves him.Randy loves the look and the whole thing, but he was looking to see something vocally, and it seemed like the song went nowhere. Otis Redding had all of that muster when he sang and didn't need all of the vocal gymnastics. Chris was doing the Chris tonight, but the Chris wasn't enough. Randy was bored. Mariah was surprised by the choice of song. She sees triumph when Chris sings and knows people are looking at his beautiful voice and the performance. It wasn't the best vocally, but some things can be overridden.

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