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I haven't read any of the above comments because I haven't seen the women perform yet and don't want to be biased. But here's my thoughts on the mens performances in week 1:
The best 6:
Jason Castro (He's got the least singing ability of the top 6, but the most natural artistic talent and charisma in his presentation)
Danny Noriega (He actually creeps me out with his over the top persona.. but he can sing amazingly well and from what I've seen (even with his slightly weaker performance tonight) he may be the best singer of all the males).
David Archuleta: It's clear the judges favor him over all others. His charisma is a 10 out of 10, but I think his voice is more limited than the judges are suggesting. He's been so built up (and has a long TV resume to match) that it's a bit unfair to the others. He seems a little too Disney-fied and staged for me, but he's easily in the top competitors. David Hernandez: He has the least chance of making the top 6 of these guys, but his voice is very strong. He's pretty boring so I wouldn't be surprised if he was voted out week 1, or if he made it into the top half of the finals. He needs a personality fast.
Michael Johns: This JPF Music Award winner is the most seasoned (and oldest) performer of the bunch. I've liked his voice since I first heard it back in 2000. He's got some unfortunate baggage with his former band Film but I've only heard one side of that story.
Robbie Carrico: He's a Disney-fied rocker, but I think he's better than the third rocker David Cook (at least from footage I have seen so far). He's also got looks and Charisma and it will be interesting to see if he can shake the pretty boy face and history opening for Britney Spears in a Boy/Girl band and be accepted as a rocker.
The worst 3:
Garrett Haley: I liked the only other clip I saw of him during auditions, but he was the worst of the night by a large margin. His Leif Garrett look might help him hang on longer than his first performance would deserve.
Luke Menard: I was hoping he'd be good since he's from Indiana (oddly enough 2 of the female finalists are also from Indiana), but his performance had no power and was so timid he was nearly invisible while singing. I doubt he'll get another shot, but if he does, he better blow people away.
Colton Berry: He shouldn't have made the Top 12 guys.. and he proved it with his peformance. It started off okay.. but then went south fast. I would have much rather seen the singer-songwriter kid with the fake british singing accent make it.. at least he was interesting.
The other Also Rans:
Jason Yeager: Moon River.. it was just cheesy... and his weird little blonde patch of hair is really annoying.
Chikezie: He has some potential but his first performance was also cheesy and dated. He needs to find his own thing.
David Cook: I think he's the weakest of the 3 rockers vocal wise. He sang flat in Hollywood week and was shouting tonight. In previous years he could of held down the rocker spot no problem, but I don't see where there's room for him with the Aussie and Disney.. er.. Carrico guys standing in the way. Unless his soul patch wins the day somehow. He should be around a while though, so perhaps one of the other two will slip up or he'll turn it up to 11.
One thing is for sure.. the most deserving 12 rarely actually make the final 12. Every year someone gets hosed by the voters and someone else less deserving slips in. I am looking forward to watching the female artists in the morning when Linda get's home and we watch it on the DVR and reading everyone else's thoughts.