American Idol season 10 kicked off their live performances on the main stage earlier this usual, starting with the Top 24 remaining contestants. While the women waited, the men in the Top 24 took to the stage of a 3-day competition which lead to the largest single live elimination in American Idol history. Here is a recap of the songs performed by the men of the Top 24.
Clint kicked off the Top 24 performances by singing "Superstition," a number one song for Stevie Wonder in 1972 familiar to American Idol audiences because of it's use by season nine contestant Siobhan Magnus. While the judges' critiques were generally favorable, Jennifer Lopez's comment about nerves were apparently more visible on the broadcast than they were to the other judges sitting in the studio.
Jovany Baretto made his mark through the season 10 auditions with a combination of strong vocals combines with a Latin flavor. Unfortunately for Jovany, his rendition of "I'll Be" was very by-the-book and did not stand out compared to some stellar talent on the show. Edwin McCain wrote and recorded "I'll Be," which he took to #5 in 1996. David Cook performed the song during American Idol's Hollywood week in season seven just before he moved on to the Top 24 round.
In the annals of poor song choices on American Idol, the decision by Jordan Dorsey to perform “OMG” by Usher during Top 24 week in season 10 may prove to be one of the worst choices ever made. Up until Top 24 week, Jordan Dorsey was known for having a soulful, sophisticated delivery that judge Jennifer Lopez likened to Nat King Cole. However, his performance of the former Billboard Hot 100 number one song “OMG” was forced, unauthentic and downright bad. At such a competitive point in the competition, it appeared that Jordan Dorsey would be hard-pressed to garner the votes necessary to proceed forward.
Tim Halperin got off to a shaky start in the audition process for season 10 of American Idol, but got through in part due to the support of Jennifer Lopez. While he had much stronger performances during Hollywood and Beatles weeks, he went back to his shaky ways with his rendition of Rob Thomas's 2006 single "Streetcorner Symphony." All three judges noted that Tim was much better than the performance he gave and that the song just did not work for him.
You know that a contestant is in trouble on a singing talent show when the most memorable comment from the judges is about the number of hair flips that occurred during their performance. Brett Loewenstern found himself in that situation after his American Idol Top 24 performance of “Light My Fire,” which was a huge hit for the Doors in 1967, having spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. While Brett Loewenstern received some positive comments from the judges, the feedback he received paled in comparison to the other contestants.
When James Durbin went through the audition process in season 10 of American Idol, his performances were marked by some amazing vocal acrobatics that blew the judges away. His performance of Judas Priest's "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" showed both the judges and the audience that he could control that power, giving an all-around solid performance that only hit those heights when it really mattered. This performance marked the first time a song by Judas Priest was used on American Idol.
There are some pairings of singer and song on American Idol that look good on paper but don’t work well live. Such was the case with American Idol Top 24 contestant Robbie Rosen, who chose Sarah McLachlan’s 1998 classic “Angel” to perform. Despite the assumed match, there was a big disconnect between Robbie Rosen and the judges with an arrangement that did not do his voice or delivery any favors, leading the judges to comment that the song did not work to his strengths. "Angel" was performed in season nine by both Didi Benami and Aaron Kelly.
Sometimes a great performance on American Idol comes down to simply singing a song the way it was written, and that is exactly what season 10 contestant Scotty McCreery did during his Top 24 performance of John Michael Montgomery’s 2004 Country hit “Letters From Home.” Perched on a stool, Scotty McCreery connected with the camera and the audience on a song that seemed tailor-made for his lower register and relaxed delivery, and he was rewarded with unanimous kudos from the judges.
Performing a current hit song on a national TV show can be a dangerous path for a singer to take because they run the risk of paling in comparison to the original. During Top 24 week on American Idol season 10, Stefano Langone took that chance with Bruno Mars’s “Just the Way You Are,” garnering generally positive results. In fact, judge Randy Jackson declared that Stefano Langone’s rendition was worthy of immediate radio airplay.
American Idol season 10 contestant Paul McDonald conveyed both the look and vocal delivery more like a performer from the late 60s/early 70s than a 21st Century pop star during his Top 24 performance of Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May.” However, sometimes what’s old is new again, and his quirky style connected with all three judges as he performed “Maggie May” for the second time after having auditioned with it in Nashville. Between his throwback delivery and a warm personality that came across on live TV, Paul McDonald may have helped himself become a dark horse contender during season 10 of American Idol.
Jacob Lusk’s journey through American Idol season 10 may have started out low-key, but it kicked into high gear during Hollywood week with his performance of “God Bless the Child.” That momentum continued during Top 24 week with Jacob Lusk’s show-stopping delivery of “A House Is Not a Home,” which showcased his incredible range, power and intensity. While the song was made famous by Dionne Warwick in 1964, Jacob Lusk drew heavily on Luther Vandross’s reinterpretation of “A House Is Not a Home” that impacted the Billboard R&B chart in 1981.
Casey Abrams had been a favorite contestant of all three judges going into the Top 24 week on American Idol season 10, but no one was fully prepared for what he would do with a non-traditional pop song like “I Put a Spell on You,” originally recorded by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and most notably covered by Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1968. The version that Casey Abrams brought to life remained true to the original while providing a bit of vulnerability that received praise across the judging panel. While the original by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins never charted, it did come to prominence via the shocking performance by Hawkins in concerts produced by legendary radio DJ Alan Freed.