Okay, so it wasn't the chamber music performance that exposed Tsujii's weaknesses, it was the semifinal recital. He started out with John Musto's Improvisation & Fugue. He's the only contestant playing this fast, scurrying piece, and he brought the same crispness and articulation from his first-round performance to this thing. He did all right there.
The trouble popped up in his other item, Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" Sonata. It sounded entirely too much like everything else he's played. There's too little variability in his frequently shallow tone, and some of the loud high notes came out downright harsh. He took the second movement way too fast, and while he took the third at the right pace, his tone was lacking the refinement that you hear from the best Beethoven players. The structure was all over the place, too. Simply, he doesn't understand the music (not that you'd expect any 20-year-old pianist to understand the "Hammerklavier"). Clearly, playing it was a gamble that backfired. If the judges put Tsujii in the final, they will be ignoring his performances and voting for the blind guy. And this undeveloped but talented musician deserves more consideration than that.