'American Idol': John Park and Andrew Garcia Advance Into Top 20

andrew garciaIt was a tough first week all around for "American Idol" top 24 contestants, with two of our favorite male singers, John Park and Andrew Garcia, unable to escape the judges’ harsh critiques after their performances this past Wednesday night. However, you can all breathe a sigh of relief: John and Andrew have made it safely through to the next round. For those of you who missed their performances, John took on Billie Holiday’s soulful jazz standard, “God Bless a Child." While I personally thought John did a great job of showcasing his powerful vocal ability and control, Simon Cowell slammed the quality of his performance, saying he had “zero emotion.” Even Kara Dioguardi agreed with Simon as she added, “You have a really big voice in there, but there was no connection.”

Andrew Garcia, who performed a stripped down acoustic version of Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Going Down,” displayed his usual strong vocal and guitar chops. However, the judges criticized the song’s arrangement and were generally underwhelmed. Unfortunately, I found myself slightly agreeing with them. Simon even went so far as to say that he was “very disappointed” given his high expectations of Andrew since his unforgettable performance of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up." Entertainment Weekly columnist Michael Slezak quipped, “Not every song belongs in a mid-tempo, acoustic box.” Ouch.

Regardless of the judges’ comments, America showed their support, and gave John and Andrew enough votes to get another shot at Idol glory. The best of the both of them has yet to come, and I believe that they can only get better as time goes on.

Watch Andrew Garcia perform “Sugar We’re Going Down” here and John Park perform “God Bless a Child” here.

Photo by AmericanIdol.com