Phillip Phillips (left) and Joshua Ledet
Michael Becker/FOX (2)
02/28/2012 at 10:00 PM EST
"This was a hot night!" Randy Jackson screamed at the end of American Idol
's first live show Wednesday, when the top 12 – make that 13
– men took the stage.
The last contestant to perform was "gentle giant" Jermaine Jones, who was previously eliminated from the competition. Randy said his uniquely low voice was a reason they brought him back. But his version of "Dance with My Father" was hardly the highlight of the two-hour episode.
Phillip Phillips, who sang a growling version of "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins, may have that honor. "This year we came back [from auditions] talking about Phillip Phillips," Jennifer Lopez
told the pawn shop employee.
The judges also loved Joshua Ledet, who performed a highly emotional rendition of Jennifer Hudson
's "You Pulled Me Through." Steven Tyler told him, "You are the voice the world's been waiting to hear."
Reed Grimm opened up the show with Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" and played the drums during his performance. Jennifer called him "jazzy" and "musical." "I love your voice," Steven said. "You can do anything with it."
Up next was Adam Brock, who claimed he's been told he has a large black woman trapped inside his body. Her name may be Aretha Franklin! He sang her song "Think" with a lot of soul. "I loved that big finish," Jennifer told him. "You definitely delivered."
Jeremy Rosado is a sweet guy with a smooth voice. "I was so impressed with the tender moments and the big booming vocals," Randy said after Rosado sang "Gravity" by Sara Bareilles. "Some people are just blessed from God," Jennifer told him.
Heejun Han, whose trials during the auditions were well documented, performed a smooth version of "Angels" by Robbie Williams. But the judges were lukewarm about it, even if they love Heejun. "I'm not sure the song showed off everything you can do," Randy told him.
Eben Franckewitz took on Adele
's "Set Fire to the Rain," but fell a little bit short with his pure, young voice. "It wasn't all perfect but at the end you really brought it home," Randy told him. Steven recommended he listen to some blues records and said the melody was "a little pitchy."
Aaron Marcellus, Chase Likens, Colton Dixon, Deandre Brackensick and Creighton Fraker also all performed, earning positive feedback from the judges.
On Wednesday, the top 12 women will perform. And on Thursday's results show, Ryan Seacrest
will announce the top five male and female vote-getters, who will automatically move on in the competition. Each of the judges will also pick a wild card contestant to round out the top 13.