You know how it goes by now: twelve guys, twelve girls, five programming hours, and four eliminations in three days. And a whole damn lot of filler. This...is why I'm really happy we're doing weecaps this year.
Ryan -- dressed in black-on-black so Amy Winehouse knows he's on her side -- repeats what he usually says at this stage of the game, specifically, "Thank God the auditions are over!" I love that that's what he says every year, and every year the auditions seem to stretch on longer and longer. We meet the Top 12 guys as they file past the camera and make their desperate stabs at resonance: David Hernandez (double thumbs up), Chikezie (hideous orange suit), David Cook (wink and a gang sign), Jason Yeager (dorky wave), Robbie Carrico (still with the Bret Michaels bandana), David Archuleta (double wave), Danny Noriega (skinny tie, hands on hips), Luke Menard (double peace signs), Colton Berry (finger guns, oh Colton), Garrett Haley (my eternal confusion), Jason Castro (single peace sign), and Michael Johns (bundled up in a scarf for that harsh indoor California climate).
Ryan says the semifinals are going to go the same as they have the last two seasons (I trust you all to remember the process -- we've got recaps if you don't). The judges don't say much of note. Ryan continues to push the "most talented Top 24 ever" angle hard, so I guess that's their response to the whole "ringer" "controversy." Though he does follow that up with some props to the judges for "finding" the Top 24 this year, which should make all the right heads explode in the conspiracy circles. Then we get a recap of the guys' paths to the semifinals, which tries to turn the spotlight onto the Invisibles -- Jason Yeager, Colton Berry, Garrett Haley, Jason Castro, David Hernandez -- just so we have proof they actually existed before last Wednesday. And since the audience has clearly been exhausted by all this content, we head to commercial.
When we get back, Ryan delivers the bullshit news that, for the first time ever, the semifinals will have theme nights, with tonight being "The '60s." Oh, good. I was hoping we'd get to make these kids pretend to be fifty years old a lot sooner. David Hernandez kicks the actual show part of the show off with a gospel arrangement of "In The Midnight Hour." It's a solid vocal performance but it's very...it stays in one place. Not just that David himself doesn't move much (he doesn't), but it's just a very stand-n-sing performance, and I think to do that the vocal has to be much more interesting. Randy dug the gospel vibe and declares the competition ON! Paula compliments David's "perfect vibrato," which is fairly accurate. Simon, who you'll remember wasn't onboard with David's inclusion here, says it was better than he thought it would be. Of course, he goes on to trash the middle and end parts of the song, but he liked the beginning! He also (agreeing with me because why wouldn't he?) says David seemed stiff and needs to loosen up. Additionally, we learn that "rabbit in the headlights" is a valid phrase if you're English. Or maybe just Simon. David nervously begs for votes while Ryan smarts off to Simon. Same as it ever was.