Golden Ticket: American Idol Guys Top 10 getting down and Dirty, South

Hi. I kicked ass tonight.

Hi. I kicked ass tonight.

The South has risen.

It didn’t take a genius to realize that, with five Southern-based country/rock singers in the Top 15, they were going to be well represented in tonight’s American Idol Guys Top 10. But it was damn near impossible to predict they’d own the night.

While Girls Night was more about who didn’t sing, Guys Night was all about the voices and the four Southern boys – the Jack Black/Meatloaf love child Caleb Johnson, the impossible to hate CJ Harris, the lovable Dexter Roberts and the out-of-nowhere Ben Briley – were the stars of the show.

If you’re picking one winner it was Harris. The guitar-playing, baseball-hat-wearing singer went into the Boot Camp and dapped up Adam Lambert the second he saw him, then had a discussion with the stylist about a ballcap and not wearing fedoras. Instead, he dressed like Wilson from Home Improvement, sans fence, and stuck to his roots. His cover of Ray LaMontagne’s Shelter was the best performance of the two nights by a mile and if he’s not in the Top 5, he’ll certainly be a wild card selection. That shouldn’t be necessary, because after that showing, he’s the favorite to win it all.

Caleb proved there isn’t a better showman left in the field. His version of “Stay With Me” wasn’t amazing vocally, but he controlled the stage. He should be top five.

Ben Briley, only in the Top 15 because America voted him in over Bruno Mars clone Neco Starr, a choice many in the Twitterverse vehemently disagreed with, crushed his performance of the Allman Bros.’ “Soul Shine.” It made it even more curious as to why he was even in a vote-off with Starr. (Best guess? Producers had a lot of Southern guys and black dudes who could sing, didn’t feel like adding one so they let America. And once again, the contestant saved their asses).

Dexter Roberts was the worst of the four, but was right in the thick of it with the rest of the field with a great cover of This Old Boy by Craig Morgan, a song I’ve never heard of because country music is as entertaining as Harry Connick Jr.’s jokes were tonight.

Bad news is, there’s no way all four get through. There aren’t enough votes to get them all there. In fact, I’d be shocked if two got in. I’d guess we’re going to get one and a wild card, but CJ, Caleb and Ben all deserve a spot.

Joining them should be Alex Preston. The kid’s talent is off the charts. I’ve made the comment about his looks – which drew some disgusted tweets from people – but to ignore it isn’t doing the competition justice. If the show was truly about musical ability, AP is the only choice. But winning Idol is about being the total package – voice, musical ability, stage presence, personality and looks. If AP looked like Spencer Lloyd – the hunkiest hunk who ever hunked – Season 14 would be a battle of who’s playing for second.

So let’s say CJ, Caleb, Ben and Preston are in, provided America doesn’t vote like dickheads. Who’s the fifth? It’s close.

You can count out Emmanuel Zidor. I love the dude, but singing “Best of My Love” was not a terrific choice and regardless of how J-Lo cheated to give him an extra few notes, he shouldn’t go through (should have done Jeffrey Osbourne’s “On the Wings Of Love;” perfect song for him).

I love George Lovett and his New Jack Swing look, but nerves absolutely crushed him. He looked like the mayor of Puke City. I’m disappointed, because he was a DRI favorite.

Dexter is out because TOO MANY SOUTHERN ROCKERS.

That leaves three and all three were solid. Malcolm Allen’s version of Anthony Hamilton’s “Comin’ From Where I’m From” was as authentic as it gets, but here’s the issue – most of his audience isn’t going to connect with the song. For better or worse, White America doesn’t get the struggles of the ghetto and would rather have it sung joyfully to them by Stevie Wonder than hear about them from a bluesy jam like the one Malcolm sang. So while it was a good song choice, it was a bad one at the same time.

Sam Woolf was good, but not great. I’ve said it before – in this round you need to bring a final four performance and if he did that in the final four, he’d be done. Here’s the thing – he has the one thing AP doesn’t, and that’s the look. I could see him in and AP out.

Lastly, Spencer Lloyd. If you think his being called last was a coincidence, HAHAHAHA. The producers/judges knew what they were doing. There’s no doubt he’s a fan favorite because of his looks. Make him sweat it out. See how he deals with nerves. The first good thing he did was listen to Lord Lambert and sing without an instrument. Fuck Randy and his shitass advice. But here’s something I noticed – without an instrument, Spencer looks like the kind of dude you want to punch square in the mouth. He’s a douchey boy-band singer at that point, so going forward – and there’s no fucking way he’s not Top 5, right? – he needs his instrument so people like me don’t get pissy and start voting for others out of spite.

All in all, decent night. And I’m not saying that because I correctly predicted eight of the judges 10 picks (not taking Ben was an error; having him voted in then not performing would have been a dick move. Should have taken him over Briston Maroney; I thought Maurice would be a judges’ pick just because of his family over George. Talent-wise that was a coin-toss situation) and 8 of the 10 guys I would have picked were in (No Jordan Brisbane, which was a bummer; and no Briston, which means no more shots of his hot mom).

Scheduled for tomorrow – a full recap of tonight’s show, my predictions for the Top 5 Guys (although since the Top 5 I thought America would vote for are still in, it likely won’t change), the Top 5 girls and the three alleged judges’ wild card picks.

We’ll be back tomorrow live tweeting the results show. Gonna have to bone up on my Southern Rock catalog – Fabulous Thunderbirds, anyone? – because it’s gonna be that kind of year.