For some "American Idol" fans, the competition doesn't really enter must-watch territory until the decision-making is turned over to the teeming masses and their texting, phone-calling and — new this year — online-voting power. Luckily for those holdouts, that portion of the show began Tuesday (March 1), when the top 12 guys took the stage and performed in front of a live audience for the first time this season.
As is custom with "Idol" performance nights, there were several questionable song choices. (We're looking at you, Jordan Dorsey, who unsuccessfully channeled Usher via "OMG," and Tim Halperin doing a lackluster cover of Rob Thomas' "Come on Over.") There were also predictable ones, namely country crooner Scotty McCreery sticking to what he knows with "Letters From Home" and Adam Lambert wannabe James Durbin, who performed the first-ever Judas Priest song on the show.
Thank goodness, then, for the evening's final performer, Casey Abrams, and his showstopping, passionate performance of the Screamin' Jay Hawkins' classic "I Put a Spell on You."
Abrams — who is leading the dudes in our top 24 online poll and has wowed the judges previously with his style and unique instruments — brought down the house and the audience to its feet.
"That's as good as it gets," Steven Tyler told Abrams. "Crazy good."
"You're sexy, Casey," Jennifer Lopez added. "Do you know that? Somebody wants it bad," she said of Abrams' obvious dedication to remain in the competition.
"You came out with hunger and fire, and we just ate it all up," she said.
Randy Jackson agreed, commenting on the way Abrams transformed himself to embody the spirit of Hawkins' historic tune.
"You are really that one," Jackson said. "You're so different, so unique, I love it, I applaud it. More, more, more!"
What did you think of Abrams' performance? Do you want more, more, more? Tell us in the comments!
Don't miss "Idol Party Live" at 10 p.m. Thursday on MTV.com, following the "American Idol" results show, for analysis, celebrity guests and even some karaoke. In the meantime, get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.