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‘Idol’s’ Great Eight guys perform

Another week has rapidly passed and “American Idol’s”

The guys went 80s last night - girls go tonightThen again, the evening’s contestant question “What was your most embarrassing moment?” was pretty thin…

So how’d they do? Some were smart, others saucy and few played it safe – which made for a great night of viewing.

Even if Luke Menard was dressed up by his sister as a girl at 8 years old, nobody would’ve have held it against him, if he delivered the goods. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham! is not a terribly macho song and panelist meanie Simon Cowell felt liberated in pointing out “it was weak, a bit girly.” Even at its cheesy best, it was too little, too late. Bub-bye, Luke.


Michael Johns hit a few high notes with Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me” and gave a strong, if not sparkling, routine. In agreement with Cowell, Johns has huge talent, but hasn’t “quite connected with the right song.” Not yet, but he’s working to be slick, creative. Look out when he hits on all cylinders.

David Archuleta took more of a concert approach with Phil Collins’ “Another Day in Paradise,” a thoughtful and groomed effort. Anything short of doing backflips on water might have seemed disappointing after last week’s riveting performance. Nonetheless, give the lad points for presentation (at the piano during the opening measures, followed by a walk-up to the microphone) and a return ticket for next week.

Danny Noriega mixes bank robber-like brashness and wizard creativity in a skinny, foppy-haired package during a torqued remix of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” that initially stumbled but finished like a champ. Noriega’s effeminate nature and stage assertiveness are a stark and entertaining contrast. Middle panelist Paula Abdul’s description that he is “a bright light in this competition” is a bulls eye. Giving Cowell the one-handed moose sign is genuine esteem.

Like Noriega, David Cook must’ve been drinking the creative Kool-Aid, with a rock version of Lionel Richie’s “Hello” that’s a mod rock take on the original balad. Genius. Cook’s stone-cold delivery of the tune sealed the deal for a return invitation. Even Snarling Simon liked it.

David Hernandez may be taking some heat over recent AP reports, but he gave some during the upper register portion of Meatloaf’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.” Many of his big notes are impressive, but his mid-range seemed to become exceedingly small. Despite a very honest effort and a few amazing moments, Hernandez may see the bottom three.

During “Hallelujah,” a Leonard Cohen song widely known for Jeff Buckley’s cover, Jason Castro may have offered less guitar, but dished out more charisma and warm, “effortless” vocals that made all three TV panelists roar. Castro makes a metamorphosis from humble, loveable shoeshine boy to Joe Cool when the microphone hits his hands. For any deficiency in Castro’s vocal toolbox, he possesses the intangible “it” that often separates champs from also-rans.
Even worse for fellow competitors: he’s gaining confidence weekly.

There’s nothing cheesy ’bout Chikezie tonight. With a touch of Ruben Studdard and the late, great Luther Vandross, Chikezie gave “All the Man That I Need” a sparkling ride that showcased the mid- and upper-range vocals that originally earned him an “Idol” invite. Contrary to snidely Simon, this writer was two steps short of homage after Eze’s routine. Give Chikezie a fast pass to next week.

Although the scorecard has Menard, Noriega and Hernandez in the bottom three slots, it’s not an indictment they guy’s efforts.

Looking forward to comparable quality from the ladies!

The Top Eight ladies perform Wednesday and the Results Show is Thursday: both nights, 8 p.m. on Fox. Don’t miss it!

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