American Idol: Five boys chosen as Sudden Death ends on low note

American Idol recap: On Thursday night, the final 10 boys competed for five spots. But with abysmal performances, few deserved a place in the top 20. Who was it?

Todd Williamson/Invision/AP
Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Ryan Seacrest attend the Fox Winter TCA Tour in California this January. On Thursday, the judges made their final decisions which boys will be in the top 20.

What a difference one day can make. On Wednesday night, the American Idol judges were faced with the tough task of having to send some truly talented girls home.  On Thursday night, it seemed as though the struggle would be finding a single guy who deserved to stay.

In fact, although the judges loved Vincent Powell's rendition of "Cause I Love You," by Lenny Williams, the show didn't really start until Burnell Taylor performed – and he was the eighth one to sing. When the final judgements came from the American Idol judges, three out of the five to make it through were the last three to perform. 

Which is to say that this episode of American Idol was best watched via DVR, with your finger poised over the fast forward button. If you felt the need to watch it in its entirety, let this be a lesson to you. There is no need to make yourself suffer - especially when you have a writer who is committed to doing the suffering for you and then telling you about how bad it all was afterwards. Help me to help you.

Thursday's episode prompted so many questions. How in the world does Mariah Carey not know the song, "A Little Less Conversation?" Why would Gurpreet Singh Sarin decide that now was a good time to abandon the type of performance that got him this far and instead opt for a painful version of "Nothing Ever Hurt Like You," by James Morrison? Why would Bryant Tadeo spend his entire intro clip talking about how proud he was to be Hawaiian and then sing, "New York State of Mind?" Who else was holding out for "Pineapple Princess?"

In the end, the judges needed to do their job and that job was not to pick the best but to pick those that weren't quite as bad as the others, with the exception of Burnell who is, in some strange way that is really hard to define, possibly the best of all the boys this season. Keith Urban summed it up best when he called Burnell, "so strikingly unique." Sure, he's not quite as unique as Zoanette Johnson but Burnell can actually sing, which is something that many people feel is important in, you know, a SINGING competition.

Joining Burnell in the top five on Thursday was Vincent Powell. Vincent is one of those singers who has legitimate talent but somehow it isn't talent that you actually want to listen to for very long. If he wants to stay in the competition once America starts voting, he needs to tone down his vocal acrobats and overindulgence.

Lazaro Arbos also made his Las Vegas dreams come true by singing Keith Urban's song, "Tonight I Wanna Cry," which was a sentiment many viewers were no doubt sharing. Not far behind Lazaro was Cortez Shaw. Nicki Minaj has a sweet spot for Cortez - never missing an opportunity to tell him how sexy he is. And even though there was nothing sexy about the hack job Cortez did on David Guetta's, "Titanium," you have to remember that tonight was about choosing those who weren't quite as bad as the rest. If you don't have a good voice, good looks is the next best thing.

This left us with our final two of the evening - a face off between Gurpreet and Nick Boddington. Neither of these two contestants delivered a great performance but Nick's managed to be the less offensive of the two and the judges agreed.

It appeared, after the judges announced their final decisions, that viewers were again in disagreement with the final decision. Of course, the Twitter barometer doesn't specify exactly what the viewers agree or disagree with. The 71 percent who tweeted #IdolDisagree could very well have been saying that they disagreed with the judges' decisions to save either of the final two. 

So even though they had very little to work with, the judges managed to deliver yet another five contenders for the title of American Idol. These five will join the previous five from last week:

  1. Charlie Askew
  2. Paul Jolley
  3. Elijah Liu
  4. Devin Velez
  5. Curtis Finch, Jr.

Next week, American Idol goes into hyperdrive with a three-night format. But before they do, share your thoughts about Thursday night's contestants in the comments section below. Did you find the show painful to watch? Do you think Idol should abandon their 10 boys-10 girls format and vote based solely on talent rather than gender? 

Follow me on Twitter @JodiBWrites

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