'American Idol' semifinals (Top 8 guys): Who rocked? Who tanked? | EW.com

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'American Idol' semifinals (Top 8 guys): Who rocked? Who tanked?

It’s all over but Didi Benami’s crying*. Yes, Idoloonies, the 16 semifinalists of American Idol’s ninth season are done singing for our pleasure this week – those lip-synched group performances do not count – and we’re going to reward four of them by gathering in the public square on Thursday to watch ‘em weep to the tune of that treacly Will Young exit ballad. (*Oh c’mon, win or lose, you know girlfriend’s good for at least 10 minutes of waterworks during the results show.)

Tonight, the eight remaining guys took to the stage to make their cases for filling the six finalist slots designated for folks with Y chromosomes, and since most of ‘em survived this far mainly on the basis of Hollywood Week glory (Andrew Garcia), extremely thick hair (Tim Urban), or not being Jermaine Sellers (Aaron Kelly, Todrick Hall), the door was wide open for a breakthrough performance. [WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD, west coasters!]

But alas, all we got was an overdose of musical Ambien – sluggish, middling, tuneless performances that probably left Ju’Not Joyner, Michael Sarver, and Ricky Braddy openly lamenting that they can’t go back in a time machine, skip their season 8 runs, and take a stab at season 9 instead.

Even the performances that got praised by the judges tonight had more holes than an ant farm.  Big Mike’s point-and-preen staging siphoned off some of the emotional impact of his Kate Bush cover. Tim Urban’s performance sounded fantastic – but only in comparison to his woeful prior efforts. And if Todrick Hall and Aaron Kelly are what’s passing for the best undiscovered musical talent in the nation, then maybe I shouldn’t be so resistant to the idea of X-Factor. Oh, and let’s not even get into the number of times Andrew Garcia implored Idol viewers to rub him the right way during his unfortunate choice of “Genie in a Bottle.” Memo to Andrew: Only Johnny Gill can get away with such shenanigans!

Anyhow, while I get crackin’ on my full TV Watch recap (look for it early tomorrow morning on EW.com!), why don’t y’all head on down to the comments and post your own strongly worded theories about who will and should go home tomorrow night. When you’re done, press play below to view our latest episode of Idolatry (featuring my awesome cohost Jessica Shaw), then sign up to follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak! (Related: ‘American Idol’ Top 8 Ladies recap: Octo Fuss)

Should go home: Everyone, Aaron Kelly, Tim Urban
Will go home: Aaron Kelly, Andrew Garcia

Tonight’s Set List:
Lee Dewyze: Owl City’s “Fireflies”
Alex Lambert: Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble”
Tim Urban: Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”
Andrew Garcia: Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle”
Casey James: Keith Urban’s “You’ll Think of Me”
Aaron Kelly: Lonestar’s “I’m Already There”
Todrick Hall: Queen’s “Somebody to Love”
Michael Lynche: Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work”











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