It seems that "American Idol" is so obsessed these days with finding a female champion that the guys have become an afterthought.
Oh, the boys are singing tonight? For two freakin' hours?
So why isn't "Glee" on?
But like it or not, the kids with the chest hair and Y chromosomes will have their say in the matter and 10 of them are on display tonight (Yes, even J'DA) as the sudden-death carnage continues at The Mirage in Las Vegas.
And as if the dudes didn't feel marginalized already, Mariah Carey starts the night off by insisting that she'd be "concerned" if she were them (which she isn't) because the ladies are "working very hard" and are "incredible."
Thanks Mariah. Way to set off a major case of shrinkage.
Still, someone has to move on and five guys were lucky to survive the carnage, including Paul Jolley, Elijah Liu, Devin Velez, Charlie Askew, and the night's hands-down standout, Curtis Finch, Jr., who all land on the silver stools of life.
The five contestants who walked the plank, never to be seen again: Johnny Keyser, Kevin Harris, J'DA, Chris Watson and Jimmy Smith.
Finch, was last to take the stage, but first in our hearts. He delivered a polished version of Luther Vandross' "Superstar" with silky soul and rhythm, wrapped up in some sweet falsettos. A little over-performed? Yes, but still a standout on a night of less-than-stellar efforts.
"You take the competition to another level," said Nicki
Velez was almost as impressive on his lovely performance of Beyonce's "Listen," which had him starting in English, then switching to Spanish, then changing keys and delivering it all with a smooth confidence.
Keith Urban loved the emotional connection Velez made with the song, Randy Jackson called it "amazing," and Nicki liked the whole vibe.
"You have a nice spirit and a warmth about you that shines through your eyes," she declared.
Of the other singers who advanced, Elijah Liu should be thanking his lucky stars because he made it through despite a very shaky --and snoozey -- cover of Bruno Mars' "Talking to the Moon." Clearly, the judges were grading him less on the performance and more on his potential.
The charmingly eccentric Askew may have been just as fortunate. He gave a way-out-there performance of Elton John's "Rocket Man" that was manic, spastic and just plain weird. He started off kneeling on stage, then sprung up and began bouncing around and doing strange things with the mic stand.
It didn't seem to matter that the vocal was downright painful at times, the delirious judges were all drunk on Charlie Kool-Aid.
"It's like Freddie Mercury had a love child out of Woodstock somewhere," Keith said, trying to suppress some giggles.
"Your weirdness, your awkwardness excites me," added Nicki, who said she wanted to take Askew and cradle him in her arms.
The judges also praised Askew for his "fearlessness," but I ask you: When does fearlessness cross the line into annoying shtick?
Jolley, who was bold enough to sing a Keith Urban song ("Tonight I Wanna Cry") in front of Keith, was forced to sweat it out in the closing moments of the show as the judges split on his fate. That left it to "Idol" mentor and record executive Jimmy Iovine to cast the tie-breaking vote.
Iovine knocked Jolley for over-singing ("I felt like I was watching Paul singing a Keith Urban song while auditioning for 'Phantom of the Opera.'"), but then complimented his "great instrument" and waved him through.
Of the banished contestants, we'll miss J'DA the most, if only because of the flamboyance and hammy 'tude he brings to the stage. Tonight, he shows up in silver high heels and lots of glitter for a wobbly version of Adele's "Rumour Has It."
"I gotta represent for the gays," he proudly declared while soaking up every bit of applause.
"Work it, girl," urged Nicki, who nevertheless called the vocal a "little phone-voicey." But never mind the vocal, even the performance didn't impress Randy, who said it's like "I've seen every move 20 million times."
Still, as Ryan Seacrest pointed out, "We haven't seen this much glitter since Adam Lambert did guy's night." Of course, J'DA is Adam Lambert without Adam Lambert's voice.
Among the other ousted contestants, Keyser saw his second "Idol" tour come to an end, despite bringing the "masculinity" (Mariah's word) on Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up." Harris' voice sounded frayed on a cheesy version of Bryan Adams' "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You." Harris (he, of the flowing bandanas) delivered a take on Otis Redding's "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" that bored the heck out of Randy, and Smith was entirely forgettable on Radney Foster's "Raining on Sunday."