American Idol recap: 13 Men and a Confused Baby's Nipple

First live show! The Top 12 guys become the Top 13 as Ryan welcomes back an operatic gentle-giant mama's boy
Ep. 14 | Aired Feb 28, 2012

SHIRTLESS GENERATION Distracted by the prospect of undressing himself later in the episode, Steven Tyler incorrectly name-checks Reed Grimm's band


Why on earth would Eben Franckewitz choose Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain" as a 15-year-old boy with a voice I might generously describe as "weakly pretty"? Aggggh! Aw, he's so young. He was probably like "We can sing anything? Ooh, I love THIS song the best, so I'll sing that!" And I get it, you know? We all sing that song -- in the shower, in the car, in the elevator… in bed. But little one, you should not sing that on the American Idol stage. You are simply too small in every possible way.

The judges, who had to have been horrified on the inside, cheerfully read from their NigelNotes on the outside. "It wasn't all perfect but at the end you really brought it home." "You're aware of what you're doing." "You got a really true, straight, beautiful voice." Steven threw in something off-script at the end: "Listen to some old blues records -- try to shake it out." That's good advice. It's a good suggestion in general. Maybe I'll pretend I'm Eben Franckewitz and do that myself right now. But I don't have a stiff crimson blazer.

Heejun Han introduced his dancing mom to America -- a good move. She's fun. "She loves to dance, sing. But she's not good at all," Heejun told the camera crew in secret. "You're not gonna air that, are you?" Ha. In an effort to prove that Asians can do more than outscore you on the SATs -- they can "also sing and melt their hearts… the females, of course" -- Heejun sang Robbie Williams’ “Angels." He smiled slyly at all the right moments and I notched that Heejun doesn't have to be really demonstrative or even move around at all in order to engage the audience. His voice sounded better than I was expecting, even though he seems to abandon the ends of certain words as he does when he's speaking. The judges all criticized his song choice, which I found bizarre. (NigelNotes!) Steven started singing "Hey Jude" and I wish he would have continued…..

But not for too long, because next up was my second-fave of the night, Joshua Ledet, whom some fans have apparently nicknamed "Mantasia." I will probably not be doing that. I love a man who can make a smoothie, so I was sold on Mantasia (oh crap) even before he started in on Jennifer Hudson’s “You Pulled Me Through." He was wild yet eerily controlled with his "ya-ya-yas" and ecstatic high notes. J. Lo was so thrilled with Joshua that she decided she wanted to punch him. I found one of her more decipherable comments, delivered with bedroom eyes, to have a bit of a sexual tinge -- "You can do whatever you want up there, all season" -- so I guess we can conclude that J. Lo likes to punch people in bed? No, but maybe.

I just love Joshua, though. He's so unassuming and gentle but not in an annoying way where he pretends he doesn't know he's got talent. I never know which is worse with some of these reality contestants: obnoxious showboating or playing dumb.

In conclusion: "THIS WAS A HOT NIGHT, RYAN!" Always great to hear from you, Randy.

I have much higher hopes for the girls tonight.

Who are your top 5? I'm going with Phillip, Joshua, Colton, Heejun, and Creighton -- with Jeremy Rosado as the wild card.

See you tonight!

Read more:
'Idol' on the scene: Pia Toscano drops in; what you didn't see on TV
Jermaine Jones returns to 'Idol' for an 'incredible second chance'
Should Johnny, Jermaine, David, or the cowboy be brought back?
'Idol': Get to know the Top 24 -- PHOTO GALLERY
Thursday's recap: The Top 24 and One Live Nude
Deandre Brackensick, Jessica Sanchez early frontrunners for hairography, cuteness
Is Reed Grimm the new Casey Abrams?

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