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'American Idol's' Top 12 Guys Perform

Photo Courtesy - Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- After weeks of auditions, American Idol season 10 kicked off in earnest Tuesday night as the Top 12 guys performed for America's votes.

For the first time, viewers saw the judging panel on a live show without Simon Cowell.  Randy Jackson sat in his usual spot, Jennifer Lopez was in the middle and Steven Tyler was at the end.  Tyler gave his comments to the hopefuls first, then Lopez, and finally Jackson.

Here's how it all went down:

Clint Jun Gamboa got things rolling with Stevie Wonder's "Superstition."  He gave a good performance, moving all over the stage, but his vocals were more screamy at times than melodic.  Tyler called it "beautiful" and "brilliant," while Lopez said it was good, once he'd worked out the "bits of nervousness."  Jackson said he loved it and agreed it was "brilliant."

Jovany Barreto sang Edwin McCain's "I'll Be," and Tyler reacted with, "Holy Shipyard!," a reference to Carreto's former place of employment.  He said it was beautiful and he loved it, and Lopez said she was glad people really got a chance to see what Jovany could do.  Jackson, though, called it "very karaoke," and complained that Barreto didn't bring anything different to his interpretation of the song.

Jordan Dorsey made a serious misstep by performing Usher's "OMG," a song that has nothing to do with singing and everything to do with cool dance moves and Auto Tune.  Tyler said it wasn't his favorite performance, and Lopez told him, "That isn't really who you are as an artist, you're the soft R&B guy."  Jackson called it "pitchy" -- hey, the first "pitchy" of the live shows! -- and said it wasn't "a singer's song."

Tim Halperin performed "Streetcorner Symphony" by Rob Thomas and it was not good.  Tyler said, "I've heard you sing so much better," while Lopez said she'd "hate to lose him" because he chose to perform a song that "didn't show who you really are."  Jackson said Halperin had been much better before, and there was nothing exciting or new about the performance.

Brett Loewenstern sang a version of The Doors' "Light My Fire" that started off really mellow and then built in power.  He constantly shook his red curly mane back and forth, causing Lopez to say, "That was more hair-tossing than me and Beyonce put together in the past 10 years!"  Tyler told Loewenstern he was "on fire" and he "brought it home," and Jackson said despite a few pitch problems, his performance was "fun and bold."

In an American Idol first, James Durbin sang a Judas Priest song, the British metal band's classic "You've Got Another Thing Comin'," and he rocked the house, earning a standing ovation. Tyler declared it "Bleepin' crazy good!"  Lopez called his performance "organic and real," while Jackson yelled, "That's how you do it!  That was great!"

Robbie Rosen sang Sarah McLachlan's ballad "Angel" and Tyler loved it, telling him, "You can sing a ballad like nobody's business."  Lopez said that despite the notes not being all perfect, "when you sing, you feel every word." Jackson disagreed, saying that it wasn't a great performance and Rosen's attempts at falsetto weren't always successful.

Scotty McCreery sang John Michael Montgomery's "Letters from Home."  Tyler told him he "couldn't have picked a better song," while Lopez told McCreery he was born to sing country music.  Jackson said he was a big fan of McCreery's "throwback" country style.

Stefano Langone sang Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are" and the judges loved his performance.  Tyler said he liked how his voice "cut through the air in this room," while Lopez told him, "You're a beast up there!"  Jackson praised Langone for getting all three judges rocking and feeling that he could be on the radio right now.

Paul McDonald sang "Maggie May" by Rod Stewart in his very unique voice, and added some unique stage moves in there as well.  Lopez praised him for his smile that lit up the room.  Tyler said he loved the "character" in his voice, and Jackson said he was happy that the show could embrace someone so "quirky and different."

Jacob Lusk brought the house down with the Luther Vandross version of "A House Is Not a Home," earning a standing ovation and heaps of praise from the judges.  Lopez, who said the late Vandross was her favorite singer of all time, told Lusk, "He's gone, but now we have you!"  Tyler told Lusk he was "honored" to be in his presence and said his singing made him cry. Jackson said Vandross would be "so proud of you" and declared that the show was "lucky" to have Lusk as a contestant.

Casey Abrams closed the show in what's commonly referred to as the "pimp spot" -- the final position in the show, which is where the producers put contestants they particularly want to promote and want the audience to remember.  He performed a passionate, raw rendition of "I Put a Spell on You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and really acted out the part, causing Lopez to say, "You're sexy, Casey!"  She praised his "hunger and fire," and said, "You ate it all up!"  Tyler told him, "You are 'in your mind good' and 'outta your mind unreal!'"  Jackson declared, "I love how you transform yourself into the spirit of the song," and asked for "More, more, more!"

Wednesday night, the Top 12 girls perform.  On Thursday, the top five vote-getting girls and the top five vote-getting guys will make up the Top 10, and then the judges will make their Wild Card picks.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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