Tuesday night, "American Idol's" Top 12 guys performed for the first time in their bid to win America's votes - and loyalty.
No doubt there is some major talent among them. But hey, that's what we were promised: better singers and no Sanjaya! (Two of the contestants will be eliminated on Thursday night's live results show.)
Anyway, it didn't take me long to find some worthy nominees. The judges - Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell - spoke their minds with the usual smattering of "Yos" and "Dawgs" and something about the contestants being "colors." (Simon was not as easy on the guys as the other two.)
Here's my wrap-up of the competition, which featured '60s songs:
* David Hernandez (24, Glendale, Ariz.): His "Midnight Hour" was just OK. I lost interest halfway through, but Randy thought he did a good job. Prediction: David won't be around for the Top 10.
* Chikezie: (22, Inglewood, Calif.): Ugh, Chikezie butchered one of my favorite shag songs from college - the Spiral Staircase classic "More Today Than Yesterday." He sang it so slow that I almost didn't recognize it! Simon thought his tangerine suit was "hideous." Prediction: Chikezie needs a strong comeback if he comes back at all.
* David Cook (25, Blue Springs, Mo.): David rocked the Turtles' "Happy Together." Yes, it was a different take on the classic but, as Simon put it, "it was believeable." Prediction: David C. will definitely make the Top 12 (guys and gals).
* Jason Yeager (28, Grand Prairie, Texas): Jason might pass for a much older contestant, especially with his stodgy version of "Moon River." ZZZZZ! We got our first "cruise ship" reference, and Simon said the performance would leave a lot of young viewers with a question mark about Jason. Prediction: No post-"Idol" tour for this crooner.
* Robbie Carrico (26, Melbourne, Fla.): Loved this rocker (the look, the bandana, everything). Robbie's take on Three Dog Night's "One" won me over, as well as the judges. Paula said he picked the perfect song. Prediction: Definitely a keeper.
* David Archuleta (17, Murray, Utah): Give this teen a big hug! What a performance. I almost forgot who did the original version of "Shop Around" (Smokey Robinson). Simon touted, "When you've got it, you've got it. By a comfortable mile, it was the best performance of the night." Prediction: We might be looking at, listening to, this season's winner.
* Danny Noriega (18, Azusa, Calif.): "Elvaz" needs to leave the building. Danny's rendition of "Jailhouse Rock" was a mess. You know it's not good when Randy says you were "having a good time." Prediction: Danny, quit pouting. It's not working for you.
* Luke Menard (29, Crawfordsville, Ind.): "Everybody's Talking" about how boring this version of the "Midnight Cowboy" theme was. And what was up with Luke's jacket? He looked like he was auditioning for the Jon Voight character in the movie. Randy said it was pitchy the whole way through, and that was kind. Prediction: He's forgettable.
* Colton Berry (18, Staunton, Va.): He didn't get much airtime during the audition process and is making up for it with a lot of preening and prancing and silly comparisions about himself and Ellen DeGeneres. Huh? I'll give Colton a kudo that his version of another Elvis song, "Suspicious Minds," was better than Danny N's. Simon said the performance was more in tune with musical theater. Prediction: Possible Top 12 contestant. Get rid of the mirrors in the dressing room.
* Garrett Haley (17, Elida, Ohio): Garrett didn't do a thing with his sappy take on "Don't Take Your Love Away From Me." I don't especially like this song anyway, but Garrett's eerie likeness to Peter Frampton didn't help. Simon quipped that he "looked like he had been shut up in a bedroom for a month." Prediction: Garrett will be back in Ohio either this week or the next.
* Jason Castro (20, Rockwall, Texas): Jason C. was the only contestant to play an instrument (the guitar) Tuesday night, and there was a lot to love about his version of the Lovin' Spoonful classic "What a Day For a Daydream." Simon said it was one of the top two performances of the night. "You're great with the camera," he added. Prediction: Count on seeing Jason for weeks to come.
* Michael Johns (29, Buckhead, Ga.): With a nod to Kings announcer Grant Napear, "Turn on the sprinklers, this guy is on fire!" Michael (pictured) didn't disappoint with "Light My Fire." Dude was hot! Randy said he threw all caution to the wind. "What a way to end the night. I loved it!" Prediction: Michael and David A. were the cream of the crop.
Tonight (at 8 on Channel 40), the Top 12 women compete, also singing '60s songs. They've got their work cut out for them. Check back here for updates.