In front of what Ryan described as "700 screaming fans" were lined up 12 guys all in black, none looking as if they expected to get through never mind win, but Jacob stood out with his suit and tie, I suppose.
The preview I gave a few days ago was pretty accurate although I hadn't reckoned the running order producing such a poor start to what should be an exciting and challenging part of the whole thing - that 12 down to 5 with one 'Judges' choice' rescued is some barrier and they really should have been coming out with their best numbers firing. Some did, eventually, but we had to sit through quite a lot of disappointment until then.
Here's my take on how it went: I'm rating for ability to sing ♪ and for what I perceive as star quality ☼ this year.
Clint Jun Gumboa ♪6 ☼3
Superstitious. Drowned by the band for most of the song. Quite glad in a way as, whilst he gave it his all it wasn't enough to make me want to hear any more and I don't now see him as a long-term contender. Basically a bit annoying to look at and listen to too. Liked the Noddy shoes, though.
Jovany Barretto ♪8 ☼4½
Greatest Man Of Your Life. Boring start to a song I didn't recognise at all. It built as he went along and well-presented but nothing special.
Jordan Dorsey ♪7 ☼7½
OMG. The crowd love this guy. He'll need their support translated into phone votes, though, as this lousy number didn't work at all well for him. An instantly forgettable performance from someone I expected so much more from. He'll be lucky to stay on board but really ought to have a chance to show what he's really made of. Strange choice.
Tim Halperin ♪8 ☼6
Come on over. Another little known track. Boring. Expected so much, so much more from this early winner prediction. It was accurate but just didn't do anything and I am already, a few minutes later, trying to remember anything about what he did.
Brett Loewerstein ♪9 ☼7½
Light My Fire. At last, the programme comes awake if not alive. Great, distinctive voice but still pretty feeble compared to Jim Morrison. Disappointing as this number had the potential to make him a certainty but it was only half-taken. He may just have done enough and was the best so far and deserves something for that alone.
James Durbin ♪10 ☼8½
Something by Judas Priest. Great, confident performance of this little known hard rock number that really suited him well and stood out as clearly far better than the others that had gone before. Excellent, but will it appeal to the old folk sitting on their boarded verandahs in the mid-West? A definite for the Top 5, though.
Robbie Rosen ♪4 ☼4½
The Arms Of An Angel. Yet another odd number, a ballad to try and win some votes. Some dreadful notes as he warbled around and screwed what might have once been a fine song. He's no Idol, I'm afraid, although the audience do seem to like his 70s Latin Lover looks and the nose.
Scotty McCrirrick ♪10 ☼9
Baby Lock Them Doors - no, letters From Home this time! This was classic old country style and if they've had telephones and watched the programme he'd win and we needn't bother with the other programmes between now and May 16. Unfortunately they don't so he needs to carry on. A beautifullly presented performance and you just felt comfortable with him, even with the strange thing he does with his mouth. He may seem out of place but really is one of the best and will be around for a while. Personally, I think someone should give him a contract and we'll get on with the Idol thing with the others.
Stefano Langone ♪9 ☼7½
Just The Way You Are. Nice performance. Good singer and super personality. Starting off like Matt cardle and he won but I think Matt's a whole lot better. He beat his rival Jovany hands down. Good job. A winner? No.
Paul McDonald ♪ 7½ ☼5
Maggie May. A natural but quite odd performance. His unnaturally white teeth were quite disturbing at times. He jerked around and did his thing pretty well. His voice has a character of its own and he's quite different but I have real uncertainty about just where he fits in this type of show. Competent, definitely but odd, odd, odd.
Jacob Lusk ♪ 8½ ☼ 9
A House Is Not A Home. One of the stand-outs throughout the auditions. A fabulous performance yet again although I do find his wandering runs a bit annoying myself and he even reminds me of Anthony & The Johnsons at times! He's a clear star all right. is he Idol material? He'll go a long way and may upset some of the girl's chances in later weeks.
Casey Abrams ♪10 ☼8½
I Put A Spell On You. Brilliant song. Totally controlled yet wild performance that worked and worked on all levels. It's difficult for anyone to be original with so many versions but he managed that. A cool guy, possibly the best of the night and the contender that the girls need to get prepared to compete with in the final.
So, my prediction is:
James | Scotty | Casey | Jacob through
Jordan | Brett | Stefano battling for the 5th place and Judges' save.