Big Mike dominates the photo, just like he dominated the show. The top 16: Guys: Bottom Row L-R: Tim Urban, Casey James and Aaron Kelly. Top Row L-R: Michael Lynche, Andrew Garcia, Alex Lambert, Lee Dewyze and Todrick Hall.

By Gina Carbone
gina_carbone@comcast.net

So the “American Idol” judges seem to be positioning Michael Lynche as the new Crystal Bowersox.

Look out, man. You peak too early, you may go the way of the Andrew “Straight Up” Garcia.

Big Mike did some "Woman's Work" on Wednesday... although this is a pic from last week.

As usual, I am not with the judges at all.

I appreciate Big Mike the way I appreciate Crystal. But I’m more intrigued by Alex Lambert, the way I’m more intrigued by Siobhan “Team Shiv” Magnus.

But yikes. Overall, what a lackluster top eight performance from the guys on “American Idol.”

You know “gentlemen’s night” is going poorly when Tim Urban — who was never supposed to be there — had one of the stronger performances.

My Mullet Boy Alex Lambert still has chops, but he chose to sing “Trouble” which just makes me miss Matthew Lawrence.

Andrew Garcia has just about completed his descent from Mount Straight Up and I fear he’s about to crash.

Casey James has hit the middle of the road — not too bad, not too good — and I’m feeling very Why Is Aaron Kelly Here? about Aaron Kelly.

And “Fireflies,” Lee DeWyze? Really. If you say so. I say no.

Todrick Hall had one of the best vocal performances of the night, but is he just another Broadway singer? What kind of album would he produce?

Same thing goes double for Michael Lynche, who has the pipes and the showmanship and the whole package, but I’m not buying “This Woman’s Work” on iTunes, so show me something I want to buy.

If that was the best live performance of the season, as Simon Cowell said, we’re in real “Trouble.”

And what’s going on with Simon and Kara? Is he leaning into her? Is he trying to make a point that she’s the new Paula? Is his fiancee really signing a prenup? What’s the point of marrying him without the promise of money?

Anyway, it’s hard to say who might be going home from this since some of the favorites didn’t “wow.” But I’ll guess Todrick and Aaron will go home, because they were at the bottom of this poll last week.

*** THE TOP 8 GUYS PERFORM ***

1. Lee DeWyze — “Fireflies” (Owl City) — He had zero connection to the song, which is actually a kind of sad, wispy, lonely little tune. But Lee can definitely sing. Just wonder why he chose to make this a rock song when the lyrics go in opposition. The judges seemed to like it more than I did.

This is Mullet Boy last week. I never even noticed the jacket somehow. LOVE THIS KID!

2. Alex Lambert — “Trouble” (Ray LaMontagne) — Love my Mullet Boy and his guitar, but when I hear this song I immediately think of prison boy Matt Lawrence and what we lost for no good reason this season. Alex still doesn’t look comfortable in his own skin, which is fine at this point in the show. I prefer honest nerves to cockiness. But I don’t believe this song from him, even with his amazing, raspy voice. Randy thought it was a little too fast. Ellen thinks he’s becoming “a mushy banana,” which somehow means she thinks he’s getting better every week. Kara said the only thing standing in the way of him winning is himself. He’s still stiff and not letting go. True. But he has time! Simon suggested he picture Randy in a bikini to loosen up. (!)

3. Tim Urban — “Hallelujah” (Leonard Cohen) — So he chose to do the heart-felt acoustic thing Kara wanted Alex to do. I like how hard Tim is trying to be here — he played to his strengths — but he still doesn’t have the chops. Still, this is good, for him. It’s just not good enough, especially since so many people have sung “Hallelujah” on “Idol.” Including my girl Maddy Curtis, who was cut for no good reason. Ellen was right to hug him in congratulation because she had been hard(ish) on him. Simon credited himself with Tim’s good performance.

4. Andrew Garcia — “Genie In a Bottle” (Christina Aguilera) — He went back to his “roots” (the kind of “Straight Up” restyle he will never escape) with an acoustic version of “Genie.” I have to say, three guitar solos in a row is feeling old already. Doesn’t anyone know any other instruments? But this is pretty good. Not quite another “wow,” but vintage Andrew Garcia. It was a good idea, but it actually felt kind of safe to me. As Kara repeated, he peaked so early with “Straight Up,” it put him in a difficult position. (I feel like Crystal Bowersox is entering that same “peaked early” position.) Simon said it sounded a bit “desperate” and he’s going backwards.

5. Casey James — “You’ll Think of Me” (Keith Urban) — Another unplugged guitar performance. I do love this song. Nicole Kidman got lucky. What is up with how much Casey shakes his head when he sings? It’s like he’s telling us no, don’t vote for me. But this is good for him. I can hear his voice on the radio, as they say. If he sticks to country I think he could do well. It certainly fits his voice. Actually, he sounded a lot like Bob Seger. Randy thought it was safe. I disagree. Kara said she was almost back on the Casey train. Simon said it was his second best performance: Not as good as week one, better than week two. I agree.

6. Aaron Kelly — “I’m Already There” (Lonestar) —  I’m not trying to be mean, but what is this kid still doing here? He seems very cute and sweet, but I thought we were past that stage. He does have good pipes, but are they distinctive? Close your eyes when he sings and could you even tell him apart from 1,000 other Aaron Kelly types? I say no. He looks the part more than, say, Mullet Boy, but he doesn’t have that unique edge. Randy said he has the makings of a great. Ellen thought it was a little too much song for him. Kara said it was a song about a father calling home to his kids and Aaron is 16, so how can he feel a connection? Simon thought Kara’s comment was rubbish. Simon thought it was the right type of song and it did have emotion. He didn’t want to keep confusing the contestants with “you can do this, you can’t do that.” Sorry, but this kid is not a star to me. Then again, Justin Bieber. Explain.

7. Todrick Hall — “Somebody To Love” (Queen) —  I worried about this song at first because he picked something not exactly radio-fresh. And it’s very distinctive. There was only one Freddie. Todrick made this his own and I really liked the song as a standalone performance, but what kind of album is he going to put out? I hear Casey and I get an idea. I hear Lee and I get an idea. Mullet is still finding his way, but I wonder if Todrick will be given enough time to give us some album tracks. Ellen said it had a gospel feel and that’s true. Maybe that’s what Todrick would do. Gospel R&B stuff. Kara thought it was “Godspell.” Randy countered with “Glee.” Simon split the difference and said Todrick is a Broadway singer. I think that’s it. He belongs on stage, where I think he’s already been, so if that’s not what he wants he need to be a little more … well, in “Project Runway” terms, he needs to produce a cohesive collection so we can get a feel for his point of view. God, I’ve been watching too many reruns.

8. Michael Lynche — “This Woman’s Work” (Kate Bush) — I hear this song and I think of the cancer tribute Tyce Diorio choreographed on “So You Think You Can Dance.” Fantastic vocals and he’s a showman, but I’m looking for stuff to buy on iTunes and I’m not buying this song. I’m not sure why that made Kara cry, but she sobbed. The judges loved it. Simon said it wasn’t just the best performance of the night, it was the best performance of any of the live shows so far.

Really?

***

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