LOS ANGELES — Tim Urban tripped up his second shot at "American Idol" fame.
The shaggy-haired 20-year-old singer, who served as a last-minute replacement for 25-year-old shoe salesman Chris Golightly in the top 24 semifinalists, was derided by the Fox singing contest's judges for his screechy rendition of OneRepublic's "Apologize" during Wednesday's episode featuring performances from the top 12 male semifinalists.
"We absolutely made the right decision the first time around by not putting you through based on that performance," proclaimed Simon Cowell.
Urban, a college student from Duncanville, Texas, wasn't alone. The panel didn't praise the retro style of 20-year-old college student Tyler Grady from Nazareth, Pa., on The Guess Who's "American Woman." They also weren't down with the acoustic take on Fall Out Boy's "Sugar We're Going Down" from 24-year-old father Andrew Garcia of Moreno Valley, Calif.
"It was too serious, too indulgent and not original enough," said a particularly ruthless Cowell.
Other chastised crooners included 24-year-old theater actor Todrick Hall from Arlington, Texas, and 21-year-old college student John Park from Evanston, Ill. The judging panel was put off by Park's performance of Billie Holiday's "God Bless The Child" and admonished Hall for his transformative take on "Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone."
"You never want to take a song and completely obliterate it," warned Randy Jackson.
The criticism also extended to chirpy 19-year-old high school student Alex Lambert from North Richland Hills, Texas. Cowell deemed Lambert's rendition of James Morrison's "Wonderful World" as the "most uncomfortable performance of the night." The insults weren't limited to tunes. Ellen DeGeneres playfully teased Lambert for keeping his "mullet" hairdo.
"If it's uncomfortable for you, it's uncomfortable for people watching," Cowell advised Lambert.
Perhaps the only contestant Cowell championed Wednesday was low-key 23-year-old paint sales clerk Lee Dewyze from Mount Prospect, Ill. The tough-as-nails judge attested to fighting for Dewyze, who stumbled through Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars." Cowell called it "the best performance by a mile," but Jackson decided the performance was "too rangey for me."
Among those who dodged ridicule were 26-year-old personal trainer Michael Lynche of Astoria, N.Y., and 16-year-old high school student Aaron Kelly of Sonestown, Pa. Jackson applauded Kelly's "huge voice" on Rascal Flatts' "Here Comes Goodbye" while Kara DioGuardi admitted it was "a little depressing in here" until Lynche performed his version of Maroon 5's "This Love."
The uneven outing from the top 12 male semifinalists followed an evening of equally rocky performances from the top 12 female semifinalists Tuesday. The two female and two male contestants with the lowest viewer votes are slated to be eliminated live Thursday.