Editor's Note: Season two American Idol finalist Kimberly Caldwell is guest blogging Idol again this week. Read on for her exclusive reactions to tonight's guys' round and behind-the-scenes insight!
It was the boys' turn Wednesday to take the stage and they held their own, but did they really rival the girls? The ladies made me proud to be a female Tuesday night! Let's sum up the boys vying for the ultimate trophy:
Little Elijah Liu was first up, which just sucks! He was adorable and I loved his tone, but after watching nine other dudes in a two-hour episode, it's hard to keep that connection by the end of the show. He is so marketable like the judges said, but I did agree with Randy Jackson that we needed him to go somewhere else vocally. Take more chances, especially if you are first out of the box.
Cortez Shaw and his stage presence were up next, and that's when I realized that when Keith Urban doesn't have something nice to say, he asks the contestants: "How did you feel about that?" He and Mariah Carey are so the new Paula Abdul. Of course, then Nicki Minaj crushed the poor guy's ego on his style and vocals. Maybe a Bruno Mars song is like taking on Whitney Houston, probably not a good idea. I don't think it's fair to compare the two, but I don't think anybody can do Bruno better than Bruno. This guy has a natural talent, and I'm sure the teenage girls will be thumbing in the texts for this cutie.
Up next was a very unique little man. I think you either get Charlie Askew or you don't. Talk about someone who is his own person. From the single feather earring to the tiny tank and ponytail, he is giving diversity to the group, but the judges were brutal attacking his outfit and performance. I felt horrible for this kid, especially when he started tearing up and venting to Ryan Seacrest about his personal problems, but this stage is reserved for the artists that can bring professionalism and poise. If you win this game, you go on to dealing with a lot harsher criticisms than Nicki's. I was glad Seacrest was there to pick up the pieces and offer words of encouragement.
Nick Boddington brought us to a happier place on the keys, and I loved his tone and style, plus his skill on the piano. But he may need to step outside his comfort zone to become memorable. Super-likable guy, but we will have to see if that's enough.
Hello, Burnell Taylor! Like Keith said, just in the nick of time! Dang! Get it, boy!!! He saved the night for me! I'm a superfan. Powerhouse superstar in the making! He set the bar in a different universe.
Paul Jolley came out on a mission, and I could tell he gave it all he got. After announcing that he wanted to be a country artist, I think all the judges were in disbelief like myself. Country? Really? I didn't get that at all, and it seemed like the entire panel was as confused as I was. Strong instrument for sure but I think he needs to fine tune who he really is as an artist so we are all on the same page.
Lazaro Arbos and his crisp white blazer graced the stage looking very Miami Vice and the audience seemed to just melt over him. They went bonkers! Nicki appreciated his attitude and Randy dug his confidence, so whatever this kid is doing is working for him. Eye on the prize.
Hallelujah, Curtis Finch Jr.! He brought church to Vegas! He had me with the first note out of his mouth. Talk about passion! If you gave this guy wings, he could fly! Soaring past elimination!
Devin Velez busted out in Spanish, which I thought was brilliant. I had absolutely no idea what the heck he was whaling about, but he crushed it!!! Very convincing. Muy bien, Devin!
I don't think it will be the "End of the Road" for Mr. Vincent Powell, even though the judges all agreed that he overcompensated a bit. He had some killer moments, but it's all about being able to control those cranky exploding nerves in the intimate moments. That's the hardest part, training your body to take the bad nerves and turn them into positive adrenaline.
The dudes did their thang, but I think the girls won this match in my book. My vote goes straight to Burnell, hands down. He was in a league if his own. I do wish it wasn't just five girls making the much-desired Top 10 because I think this is a girl's game this year. I want to see eight girls and two guys battle it out this time around, but tradition rules. So I'll see you on the edge of my seat next week!
Without Regret, Kimberly Caldwell's debut album on Capitol Records, is available now. You can follow her on Twitter @_kimcaldwell.