Ryan starts the show in broad daylight, standing in front of the Mirage's pool to introduce the last "sudden death" round, a process that's only taken two weeks. And just as he says, "This is American Idol," two dolphins in the background do a synchronized flip over the water! Wait, is Ryan Seacrest Aquaman?
Inside the theater, we get the drill that we've become used to: ten guys will sing tonight, but only five will get to return next week to sing for votes. And it'll only be March, too. This season is flying by. Ryan uses the phrase "cueing the lift" to remark on the appearance from below of tonight's performers: Mathenee Trecco, Gurpreet Singh Sarin, Vincent Powell, Nick Boddington, Josh Holiday, David Oliver Willis, Bryant Tadeo, Brunelle Taylor, Lazaro Arbos and Cortez Shaw. As you can guess from the order of the list, we're starting with Mathenee, 26, a Bahamas native who currently lives in Aurora, Colorado. He's also an "entertainment coordinator," meaning he puts together shows in both the U.S. and the Bahamas. Which is quite nice for him. Not sure why he'd want to give that up for this. He's doing a version of Elvis's "A Little Less Conversation" whose arrangement isn't doing anyone any favors, but he has some fun going up an octave as soon as he possibly can, displaying a clear voice and no fear of high notes. Keith compliments his vocal range and power and his ability to entertain, but warns him not to let the latter overwhelm the former. Nicki thinks he was trying to impress them and it struck her as "cheesy and karaoke," which she says in her British accent so you know she means it. Randy dings him on song choice, which is Randy Criticism #2, and wonders who he is, which is Randy Criticism #4, meaning he's used up half of his criticisms already. Mariah didn't even know the song, but was looking forward to hearing him sing. Mathenee takes this all with good grace, which is probably more than they deserve. Well, Randy, at least.
Ryan plugs something on the Idol website before introducing us to Gurpreet, who is studying computer science at the University of Maryland. We see him introducing himself as The Turbanator back at the New York auditions, and actually get to see him winding one of them at home on camera. Tonight, he's wearing a sunny yellow turban that matches his pants. No, none of that is a typo. His voice is still pretty, but weaker than I remember and he's picked a relatively obscure song that doesn't exactly show off much range. He said in his intro reel that he hoped people could look past the turban, but if he makes it through tonight it'll be because of it. Keith says he prefers his voice when he's singing with his acoustic guitar. Nicki says with concern, "Gur, I don't know what's happening," telling him he should have done what he does. Gurpreet promises to do so if he makes it to the next round and compliments her own yellow outfit. Randy spits and sputters about how terrible it was and Mariah was also hoping for something different. Gurpreet promises to integrate some Indian classical music next time if given the chance. Ryan asks Gurpreet why he went so far out of his comfort zone, and Gurpreet basically promises to never do it again. I think he's learned his lesson, everyone.