‘Idol’: Men Face Sudden Death and Nicki’s Love

Charlie Askew performs in the Sudden Death Round of "American Idol." (CR: Michael Becker / FOX)

Nicki Minaj was in heat during the first of two boys’ rounds of “sudden death” on “American Idol.” The tie-dye-haired judge started out somewhat level-headed, but spiraled out of control on a mad frenzy of love and passion.

First it was for Johnny Keyser, the season 11 reject with the face. You know what face I’m talking about. Big smile, huge jaw, eyes set way too far apart, and so…facey. Johnny gave a fairly monotone performance of “I Won’t Give Up On Us,” and though the male performances weren’t so into it, that wasn’t the case for Nicki, who admitted the vocal was lacking, but stressed the success of his masculinity.

Later, when Chris Watson performed, the scarf-headband-wearing Delawarean, who gave a super cheesy bouncy performance of “Dock of the Bay,” got this comment from Nicki: “You are the prettiest man I’ve seen in my life, ever. I want to marry your vibrato… I am obsessed with you. I love you. Everything about you.”

It gets worse. To Elijah Liu, another bland performer with a good look: “I want to have your babies. You’re my new favorite boy. I’m obsessed with you.” To Charlie Askew, the proudly weird bird caller, who gave maybe the worst vocal performance EVER on this show, and yes, I’ve been watching for 12 years now and can say that authoritatively (he did “Rocket Man”—what!!): “I want to cradle you in my arms.”

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Apparently Nicki’s cradling, obsessive, all-enveloping love worked for Charlie and Elijah, as they both made it through despite some pretty iffy musical choices (Chris and Johnny, bye bye). Elijah wasn’t terrible, so I could understand, but Charlie? And suddenly it becomes clear that Nicki is secretly on this panel to try to finally destroy the “Idol” beast for good. Sanjaya fans, awaken, you have a new mascot.

Other results regarding the people Nicki is not obsessed with (and therefore probably will get a better night’s sleep): Through to the next round is Curtis Finch, Jr., the only real standout since auditions to perform tonight. The gospel guy sang the Luther Vandross rendition of “Superstar” that wasn’t the most interesting, but he’s certainly the most in command of his voice.

Devin Velez had some pitch issues during “Listen” but all was forgiven when he broke out halfway through in Spanish.

Paul Jolley was first up for the night and—could this be a trend he started?—gave a really boring performance. Of a Keith Urban song, no less. The judges were split half and half, which meant that Jimmy Iovine had to give the final call. “I felt like I was watching Paul sing a Keith Urban song while auditioning for ‘Phantom of the Opera.’” Somehow that turned out to be a ringing endorsement from Jimmy, because Paul made it through.

Here’s what I don’t understand. How can the judges need a tie-breaker on only one contestant, when the final number going through has to be five no matter what? What if Jimmy said no—who would have gone through in Paul’s place? That’s not being explained, and I am therefore completely distrustful of this entire process.

Saying goodbye tonight-along with Johnny Keyser and Chris Watson-was another boring guy Kevin Harris, another boring guy Jimmy Smith, and finally, the feminine version of Chris Watson: JDA (both wore black sparkle pant-suits tonight, but only JDA’s was wide-legged). After a performance of “Rumor Has It” that had JDA writhing on the floor and removing pieces of clothing, he gave a shout-out to “the gays,” which actually does mean sudden death on these shows.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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