American Idol Recap: Investment Opportunities

Some things in life are certainties: Steven Tyler’s penchant for profanity. Jennifer Lopez’s ability to add sparkle to just about anything (her eyelids, a pair of mom shorts, the Glinda-like bubble that perpetually surrounds her). And the way that, despite Ryan Seacrest’s best efforts, American Idol‘s “Holding Rooms of Doom” episodes are never really all that suspenseful.

Let’s be honest: Did anyone really think the squalid pen containing Brielle von Hugel, Corey Levoy, and a group of people who might as well have been auditioning for America’s Next Top Sway-bot was going to win out over the VIP lounge with Brett Loewenstern, James Durbin, Lauren Alaina, Jacee Badeaux, and Chris Medina?

Not that I’m complaining, really. Tonight’s “Hollywood Week: Round Three” telecast featured enough solid vocal performances that I’m almost allowing myself to hope that the season 10 Top 24 will be comprised entirely of people who can sing on pitch. (“What fun would that be?” comes the refrain from 19 Entertainment HQ.) And while no individual contestant has fully convinced me to start practicing my speed-dialing exercises, you can rest assured my brain is already working overtime trying to determine which singers will be worth rooting for (and against) when viewer voting kicks off in less than two weeks’ time.

In that same vein, I thought it seemed like the perfect time to examine tonight’s main players as if they were stocks, rating the clear winner as “Buy,” the obvious stinkers as “Sell,” and those who require more information as “Hold.” (You might already suspect from the previous sentence that I’m as bewildered by the stock exchange as Paula Abdul judging an opera competition, but hey, it can’t be all food metaphors all the time, can it?)

Kendra Chantelle (buy): Okay, I’m going out on a limb on this one, but Kendra (pictured, top left) brought an appealing world-weariness and a sweet, husky tone to her cover of “Georgia on My Mind.” And seeing how Idol‘s given poor Kendra the “witness protection program” edit all season, you can buy low now, and tell your friends “I told you so!” if she winds up getting a confetti shower at the Nokia in May.

Haley Reinhart (sell): I know the judges raved about Haley’s cover of “God Bless the Child,” but to me, this caterwauling wreck of a performance was like a movie that’s all special effects and no dialogue: By the time you reach the midway mark, you’re just praying for some respite from the relentless aural and visual assault. Haley comes across like one of those singers who uses every trick she’s got on every song she sings, without ever stopping to understand that greatness isn’t a point system tallying the number of runs, growls, and high notes you deliver, but rather, it’s about the emotional connection you forge with both song and audience. Plus, a little respect for the melody never hurt.

Lauren Alaina (hold): The teenager who Ryan refers to as a “judge favorite” — in case you forgot! — can definitely carry a tune, but there was something vaguely creepy about her performance of “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” tonight (and not just because Aaron Kelly, David Cook, Allison Iraheta, Josh Gracin, Lindsey Cardinale, and Antonella Barba have all performed the Aerosmith ballad on the live Idol stage). By my count, Lauren (pictured, bottom right) has now performed four times on camera, and on three occasions has attempted to force “a moment” with Steven Tyler. She broke out a sample pack of “Don’t Want to Miss” at her Nashville audition and got the Aerosmith frontman to sing along with her; in the group rounds, she and her teammates brought Mr. Tyler up on stage to provocatively serenade him; and tonight (again!) she tackled “Don’t Want to Miss” once more! Even more discouraging, however, is the way the show’s producers seem hellbent on giving Lauren a commanding early lead to take into the voting rounds. Take the way Ryan put on his “saying something serious” voice to comment on Lauren’s standing. “Once again, she proves she has what it takes to command the Idol stage — giving the judges exactly what they had hoped for.” Next week on Idol, for an encore, Lauren will cure the blind — using only the sound of her heavenly instrument! Stay tuned…

Casey Abrams (buy): I’ll admit it: It took me a few seconds to identify what track Casey was tackling as he performed with an upright bass (for a second I thought he’d forgotten his lyrics), but once I did, it was hard to resist rewarding it with a slow clap and a chant of “Kay-cee! Kay-see!” (Steven Tyler, for his part, chose to go with an old-fashioned howl of joy.) What I love about Casey is the way he completely inhabits his music (and vice-versa): I’ve never questioned the authenticity of a single one of his runs or scats or rhythm changes, never felt like he was simply trying to showboat, and “Georgia on My Mind” was no exception. In Casey’s super-smooth hands, you could practically feel the Spanish moss dripping from the oak trees. Yeah, I detected a couple of flat notes at the end of his performance, but did I mention the upright bass?

Chris Medina (sell): I think many of us expected Chris’s tragic backstory would only carry him so far. I just wish it hadn’t carried him to a listless, winded acoustic rendition of “My Prerogative.”

Clint Jun Gamboa (hold): Did you know Clint wants to go far in this competition…AT ALL COSTS. (Cut to: A weeping Jacee Badeaux.) Um, thanks for the reminder, Ryan. Me? I don’t really care whether “Junebug” played the good samaritan, the big bad, or the spectacles salesman during the group performance round. What bothered me about his “Georgia on My Mind” was the overbaked delivery. In Clint’s version, the refrain became “Gaw-uh-aw-eh-eeee-oh-ooh-uuhhhh-waah on mahhh-ee-ugh maaaahh-eeee-uuuund.” Much like the standard for obscenity laws, it’s often hard to define the difference between a genuine, heartfelt performance and an ostentatious display of vocal technique, but you know it when you hear it.

Stefano Langone (buy): The dishy brunette (pictured, upper right) didn’t go into the forge with his fire and his tools to reinvent the wheel on his rendition of “Sir Duke,” but he did perform Stevie Wonder’s chestnut with enviable control and infectious enthusiasm.

Jovany Barreto (sell): He didn’t take his shirt off this time around, but no amount of clothing could disguise the hunk of pure cheese behind that rendition of Marcy Anthony’s “You Sang to Me.”

John Wayne Schulz (hold): The judges seemed all kinds of thrilled with his cover of “Landslide,” yet while I give him cool points for choosing a song I’d actually listen to outside of the Idol bubble, I worry that lower register isn’t strong enough to stand up to Bandzilla when/if he reaches the live rounds. (Season 8 Flashback: Typing the phrase “live rounds” made me think of “Lil Rounds.” Whoa.)

Robbie Rosen (buy): Brace yourself for an avalanche of “but he’s only 16!” from the judges in the coming weeks. The kid’s gorgeous rendition of  Sara Bareilles “Gravity” showed off some solid piano skills and the kind of exquisite phrasing many of his competitors can only dream about.

Jacee Badeaux (sell): Once I got past the Idol geek thrill of hearing David Cook’s season 7 victory anthem “The Time of My Life,” I was left with the realization that the cherubic 15-year-old has a very pleasant singing voice and not much else in his arsenal. Here’s hoping a “kinder, gentler Idol” means that next week, the judges give Jacee the chance to let his instrument grow and mature outside the harsh glare of the spotlight — in the form of a ticket back home.

Thia Megia (hold): Every time the precocious 15-year-old takes the stage in an outfit from the Punky Brewster collection, Ryan and the judges use all kinds of superlatives to praise her talents. What am I missing, Idoloonies? Seriously, her slightly boozy take on “What a Wonderful World” struck me more as lido deck on a Norwegian Cruise Line than main stage at the Nokia.

Jacob Lusk (buy): Okay, I know I gave grief to Clint Gamboa and Haley Reinhart for excessive vocal acrobatics tonight, but I’m about to give Mr. Lusk (pictured, bottom left) a pass for committing the same exact misdeeds on his version of “Gold Bless the Child.” You see, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it is my contention Jacob Lusk was not in possession of his own body when he performed his Round 3 Hollywood Week solo. No, I believe the Holy Ghost or some other entity actually possessed Jacob’s body, burst forth from him in a wild fireworks display of jazzy affectations, and left nothing left but the skin over his bones. (Maybe that’s why he was crying?) Yes, occasionally Jacob’s facial expressions and tone resemble that of an animated Disney villain, and yes, there is a maximum limit on holleration that we the audience can be expected to tolerate between now and late May, but there’s no denying the guy has an immense talent, and that when he needs to throw it down, he throws it down so hard it threatens to put a hole in the floor. Love him or hate him, can you imagine a season 10 without him?

Carson Higgins (sell): I know, I know…this Mike White lookalike is “wacky” and “energetic,” like Norman Gentle with a surfboard and better wardrobe. But since the judges seem unwilling or unable to say it, let me be the one to point it out: Carson has an unpleasant singing voice — kind of like the Mucinex Phlegm Mascot hopped up on Red Bull and Oxycut. They haven’t shown us a single second of White House intern Molly DeWolf Swensen’s Hollywood “journey,” but I’ve had to see this foolio singing twice? #Fail!

Colton Dixon (hold): I’m not sure I loved his cover of Daughtry’s “What About Now,” but Colton’s magic hair tells me I am not allowed to completely dismiss him.

Also in the “buy” category?
* Redhead Brett Loewenstern, who a lot of you have pointed out sounds a little like Alex Lambert with more confidence and better phrasing; his rendition of “The Story” was nuanced and lovely.
* Ashton Jones, who already dresses the part of a popstar, and who held her own on the diva mountain of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” She may not have J.Hud’s vocal horsepower, but she’s got undeniable passion and a unique tone that could take her far.
* Sophia Shorai, who doesn’t wear shoes and dances like she’s having a muscle spasm, but showed off a big, muscular voice in a very short snippet of “Georgia on My Mind.”
* That black woman with the sensational hair and diva expression in Holding Room Four. I know we haven’t heard a note from her mouth, but I am quite certain I’m not the only one who’s inexplicably intrigued, right? Anyone?
* Caleb Hawley, whose acoustic “Sir Duke” was as tense and constricted as Stefano’s was loose and freewheeling.

My other nominees for “sell” include:
* “Emotional Timebomb Ashley Sullivan”: Oh how I wish she were just an actress playing the role of “girl coming completely undone by the Hollywood Week process.” Thank goodness she seems to have a sweet, supportive boyfriend who’ll be able to rock her gently and dry her tears for the next 10-12 months.
* Tatynisa Wilson: Forgets her lyrics, has a shrill tone to her voice, and robbed me of a chance to hear the aforementioned mystery diva.
* Scotty McCreary: Baby lock them doors and turn the lights down low/You’re a one-song wonder and you’ve got to go…

And I’ve got one last singer in the “hold” category — Julie Zorrilla, who delivered “Love Song” at the piano with confidence and a flared skirt, but leaves me icy cold.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Did any of my “buy, sell, or hold” rankings make you shout “Amen!” Or are there any contestants I’ve completely misjudged? And were you sad about any of the evening’s major eliminations, including Chelsee Oaks, Frances Coontz, and (due to sickness) Jacqueline Beddard? Sound off in the comments!

What’s more, if you have some strong thoughts or opinions on anything you saw this week on Idol — pertaining to judges, contestants, trends or conspiracy theories — and you’d like to share them on the next episode of TVLine’s new Idol-related Web series, Idoloonies, email a paragraph or two to (and be sure to include a contact phone number). We’ll be selecting a handful of readers each week to join me in cohosting the Webcast via Skype or iChat (to tape on Friday afternoon). We’ll also be choosing a Twitter Question of the Week, so don’t hesitate to fire your best shots to me @MichaelSlezakTV. Be sure to tag it #Idoloonies!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Larry says:

    I agree with almost everything except I give a big “hell to the no” to Jacob Lusk. I don’t care if he was visited by the spirit of Melinda Doolittle, Aloha Mischeaux, Lakesha Jones, Adam Lambert, Latoya London and J-Hud herself, that was so over the top it was nearly as painful as early Tim Urban. Seriously. Ugh.

    Maybe Nigel is pimping Lauren Alaina so he can have young blondes(!) named Lauren as the champs of both AI and SYTYCD…

    • Jen says:

      Am I such a Slezakaloony that I’m only the second one to comment? A little late for the east coast, Michael, I’ve been refreshing the tvline page all morning. Great recap as always.

      Larry, I’m with Slezak on Jacob Lusk. I’m fascinated by his facial contortions and my inability to anticipate what sound may emerge from them moment to moment. Like the image of two trains about to collide, I cannot look away!

    • Leila says:

      I liked Jacob, but I was very annoyed by Randy’s exaggerated reaction at the end of his performance. The judges have to show a little more restraint.

    • betsy says:

      Larry, what is WRONG with you? That was a vocal tour de force!!

    • Margie says:

      Jacob gave me chills. I can’t wait to hear more from him.

      • Vetle says:

        I like Jacob! He was a bit over the top, yes, but he has suuuuch a range, and his scream was much more pleasant than James Durbin’s.

        Slezak: As a Norwegian – what the hell do you know about the decks on Norwegian cruise ships? =P Haha.

        • Snsetblaze says:

          Yes, Jacob, like Adam, and sometimes like Sioghan Magnus, but unlike James Durbin, knows how to use the “scream” to good effect and not just because you can.

    • Doug says:

      …Over the top and Tim Urban in the same sentence? Does not compute… Tim Urban was bland as hell. Jacob might be an acquired taste but you can’t argue that he doesn’t have some craaazy skills. To be all over his range like that and still in control is impressive.

      As for Lauren…I honestly didn’t notice the pimping so much while I was watching it =P I think she’s pretty good. She was one of my favorites from auditions, judges’ excitement ignored. She reminds me of Kelly Clarkson and Katelyn Epperly, two of my favorite contestants of all time, so.

    • Preston says:

      Jacob Lusk is as if you’ve taken Fantasia, Jennifer, and George, and put them all into one vocally and emotionally stunning package. Season three lovers (like me) rejoice!

    • Hmmm says:

      I’m with you Larry – I just didn’t like Jacob either. Was there a melody? Cuz I missed it during his performance! Didn’t like the faces he made either.

    • RYT says:

      I am normally not a fan of the style of singing Jacob Lusk demonstrated, but something about his particular performance and the sincerity of it was moving to me. I was also moved by his crying at the end. He had given it everything he had. Most of us rarely do that in life.

  2. eric says:

    best performance of the night is casey…when i initially heard jacob’s god bless the child, i really liked it but on repeat viewing, i felt it was really too much. nonetheless, still good. and contrary to your view, i actually like jacee’s performance…simple and pure..

    • Snsetblaze says:

      While I liked Jacob, I loved Casey – best performance of the auditions so far. I loved his talk with Ryan afterwards – Neil Armstrong. Heh. And he really does look like Junior Gorg from Fraggle Rock. The four girls that did Blue Cantrell were probably my second favorite and Jacob somewhere in the Top 5.

  3. the real wendy says:

    I think I heard a lot of really good singing on this show. We could be in for a great season!

    • the real wendy says:

      BTW – Can anyone tell me the name of the stoner guy who sang Stevie Wonder in the beginning (white guy… dark brown messy hair)??

    • the real wendy says:

      BTW – Can anyone tell me the name of the stoner looking guy (white guy, long brown messy hair) in the beginning who sang Stevie Wonder? I think he might be my favorite.

    • jado says:

      I agree – last night’s show got me excited about this year’s talent. I see a lot of promise and glints of artistry. I always find it funny when people bemoan every year that the singers are “not as good as last year” Think back to earlier seasons where Carmen Rasmusen, Kevin Kovais, John Stevens, or Sanjaya, etc. were singing in the top ten. I think the solid performers this year will be able to crowd out stage frightened, off tune hopefuls. Figners crossed.

      • Cat says:

        Covais had a good voice–he was just too young and geeky-looking for this competition.

      • Snsetblaze says:

        Yes, but what happens is that the the judges purposely put a few clunkers as cannon fodder in the top 36 or 24 or whatever number so that the pimped ones – who are sometimes good – get further. Other really good ones are cut?.

    • Suncatcher says:

      I’m with you Wendy. I think Steven Tyler, JLo and Randy have layed the foundation for a great year. I just looked back at Season 9 and there is absolutely NO COMPARISON. They ALL out sing the entire Top 10 of S9.

      And to all you who have never seen how GREAT Steven Tyler is in concert, check this out – Dec 28, he is selected to honor Paul McCartney for the Kennedy Center Annual Honors. AMAZING performance they are still talking about! I hope he gets to perform on AI.

      • Jason S says:

        It wasn’t the judges who messed up in season nine it was the viewers. Teh top ten should have included Katelynn, Lily and Alex but instead they voted in the Awful Paige, bland dont remember her name Red Head with the pretty eyes, and Tim.

        • Suncatcher says:

          I totally agree with you! I sure hope the producers realize that all their work to revitalize Idol this year will be for naught if they don’t also fix the awful voting system this year! It should be 1 person 1 vote.

  4. Ablo says:

    Good recap as always.

    • Good recap but where is James Durbin on the sell list? That guy needs to go, and go a few rounds ago. He overdoes every note and I know he has had it rough, I don’t really like him that much. He gives off a weird to entitled vibe to me.

      • RYT says:

        I agree completely about James. I really wanted to like him, but he keeps coming across as if getting this far is his right because of his sad life and diagnoses. Plus, his singing is a pale attempt to imitate Adam Lambert. Adam hit those amazing notes, but did so in an effortless way that enhanced the song. James just randomly shrieks.

  5. SybilT says:

    I can’t believe you didn’t mention how Scotty McCreery mangled the lyrics to his song, delivering the immortal line, “nuts of wonder mumble mumble zoo zonga in my jeans.”

    • Suncatcher says:

      I too was surprised Slezak did not run with the “nuts of wonder…” issue for Scott McCreery. Perhaps he was just being kind.

    • cookielove says:

      My husband and I were howling at “nuts of wonder…..” and replayed it several times. Why oh why are they putting through someone who can only sing one song???? He is so annoying…

  6. Jaded says:

    Your description of Jacob Lusk had me cracking up! I loved his performance. Still waiting to catch a glimpse of Paul McDonald. His 5 seconds of screentime during the audition round was sweet and I’m pretty sure I spotted him in room 4, so here’s hoping we’ll get to hear him sing at some point!

    • Catrina says:

      He has posted on his twitter that he has nodes of his vocal cords, here is his tweet posted around Feb 9.
      “Bad report at the doctor…sinus infection and I have a pretty serious node on my left vocal chord. Awesome.”

      “The only fix is to not talk for a few months or surgery. It’s all good!”

    • Sue says:

      Paul McDonald is one of my favorites from just seeing 20 seconds of him. Let us see more of him and less of those that still have their learners permit to drive.

  7. Ava says:

    I’m already rooting against Lauren Alain, just because of all the pimping of her. She is not the best, but they’re framing her in that way. She also seems a bit full of herself and the way she interacts with Steven doesn’t give me the creeps, it irks the $#!t outta me. Give it a rest already, Lauren.

    • betsy says:

      I hate to admit it, I want to not like her, but she IS really, really good. And it’s not her fault she’s being so brazenly pimped.

      (NOTE: none of these kids are as good as ALISON IRAHETA!!!)

    • Snsetblaze says:

      This – except that I don’t think she is really, really good .. in a few years, maybe, with proper coaching but not yet. That one singer in her group (tall girl) that followed her during group song was just as good if not better. Don’t recall them showing her name though.

    • Rebo says:

      Ava – I totally agree with you! From the first time we saw her in audition rounds I couldn’t stand the way she pointed at Steven and said “You sing it!” She’s cocky and the producers are pushing her too hard. Can’t stand her.

  8. ms1234 says:

    Why are they showing us the same people over and over?! There are 50 people left and I think we’ve seen about a handful perform over and over again. Show us some of the other contestants! Even just a glimpse of my favourites (Paul Macdonald & Molly the intern) would be nice so I know they’re still there! I’ve had quite enough of Clint Jun Gamboa or whatever his name is. Turtle glasses needs to go.

    • ACR says:

      WHERE IS PAUL MCDONALD????? Incredible voice, and we haven’t heard a note since his spliced audition! I also think Clint Gumboa is a ringer for Simon from Alvin & the Chipmunks.

    • Catrina says:

      Paul is probably out judging by his tweets. I posted them above in reply to a different comment.

    • Alina says:

      Paul McDonald has a dozen very good songs on his Facebook account, in case you’re going through withdrawal :). I’m not sure why exactly he’s on AI, judging by the albums and songs put out and the fact that he played Bonaroo with his band, he was on a right track before the show.
      If he makes it to the top 24 I’m really hoping he does not loose credibility as an artist, he’s really too good for that.

    • Carol says:

      I’m 99% sure I saw Molly in Room 4, one of the rooms that stayed.

  9. iva dj says:

    Next week on Idol, for an encore, Lauren will cure the blind – using only the sound of her heavenly instrument! Stay tuned…” – – rofl Mike!
    Another thing about this one, she might be doomed because they hype her out. Last year only Crystal was consistently good and she suffered for it. And “Don’t want to miss a thing” is another reason they shouldn’t have lowered the age limit. Said song is what “My heart will go on” was in another zeitgeist. Overused to say the least.

    I loved Casey Abrams too! He did weird instrument better then Crystal even (though he can hardly live up to her)

    At this point I’ve forgotten all about Medina. Those sob stories can only get you so far.

    + I’m not crazy about the everyone’s go to redhead. He’s a little too Glee drama, and not a whole lot of Adam Lambert drama performance

    +“Emotional Timebomb Ashley Sullivan” was very safe in the finale phase this week, in the room with all those must go through people… I wouldn’t have put her through. Not in a million years.

  10. Erinn says:

    Casey Abrams, on the upright bass, was so awesome. I had the biggest smile on my face from start to finish. I also, embarrassingly, did the one-hand-in-the-air-eyes-closed-movement to show my appreciation.

    • Anneli says:

      Erinn, I could have written this post, word for word! OMG, the embarrassment as I realized I was doing EXACTLY what I mock the judges for doing. Eyes closed, smiling, hand up, feeling the rapture. It was perfection.

    • betsy says:

      Casey’s performance was really something special – he’s better than a lot of famous people – I’d pay money to hear him perform live right now.

      • Eolra says:

        Argh. I WANT to like Casey so bad. I really *appreciated* the stand-up base, I dig his *vibe*, and the diversity he offers the competition. I *appreciate* his performances, but gosh darn it, I just don’t like his voice. As much as I want to enjoy him, the voice itself sounds like nails on a chalkboard to me :(

  11. Beth says:

    I’ve been on the fence about Casey Abrams until now – but the string bass won me over! Robby Rosen was another nice surprise – I’ve been kinda rooting for him – but I thought last night he realy showecased his talent well.
    On the other hand I am totally over Lauren Alaina, who not really impressed me in any way. (Actually, I was over her from the very first time she was shown.)
    I agree with most of your other stock tips – especially giving Jacee a gentle send-off – though I’m willing to hold a bit more on Chris Medina.
    Is Molly the Intern still with the group? She was my early fave, but we haven’t seen anything of her since, I’m thinking she’s gone…

    • Eli says:

      Molly the White House Intern made it through, she was in Room 4.

    • GingerSnap says:

      There’s a lot of interest in Molly, but she’s gotten ZERO face time on camera. Says to me she’s a competent singer, and the judges like her, but she hasn’t done anything “memorable.” Which is sad, because a lot of Idol time has been spent on basket-case Ashley, who won’t survive beyond next week. Fragile as she is, she has been “memorable,” and for all the wrong reasons. I hate that. I wish TPTB would someone like Molly a little more face time, and spend less time on the whack jobs who won’t survive. I’d like to judge for myself how she stands up against the “chosen” ones like Julie Z and Lauren.

  12. The Wheeze says:

    Over all not a bad show. Best audition for me was Casey, there were a couple of off key moments, but when he performs you just believe it and feel it.(Which is why I miss Rob Bolin) Jacob’s performance just left going hmmmm….it was good, but a little freaky too. One final question…is anyone else wondering why forgetting lyrics is suddenly a forgiveable offense? or for that matter starting and stopping, and restarting?

    • Snsetblaze says:

      It always was a forgivable offencse since season 5 (when I started watching). I don’t recall ever seeing anyone outright ejected for forgetting lyrics. In fact, most move on to the next round (Ashley, JC) and sometimes even make finals. Before this year, Simon was always the one who warned about that – but it was always all bark and no bite.

      • Snsetblaze says:

        That said, Rob Bolin did not go through – but besides forgetting the lyrics, he just screwed up everything. He outright sounded terrible. And I like his voice.

  13. Carlito says:

    My favs last night were Casey Abrams (really great) and Brett Loewenstern (love the hair). This show was the best so far, And can Jlo get any more beautiful?

    • jado says:

      JLo is pleasantly surprising me (as is STy) There’s a more professional vibe on the judging panel, and that focuses me more on the performers and less on the emotional antics of the judges. All the genuflecting at the feet of Simon suddenly feels old hat to me.

      • Eolra says:

        So agree. Randy should thank his lucky stars that the new judges are breathing life back into this show. While I think they have forced him to become a better judge this year, Randy still needs to step it up IMO – so often he looks desperately outdated, uncool, and useless in comparison.

    • betsy says:

      JLo is proof that God has favorites.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      My two favorites as well, plus Jacob Lusk, that Denise girl that sung with Brett, and Molly the Intern. I haven’t seen enough of Paul McDonald yet but he seems great as well. I have to admit, I like Ashley Sullivan’s voice as well – but it is a musical theater voice. Other favs have been cut.

  14. Owen says:

    Wait…Slezak…you’re praising Stefano Langone…and dissing Thia Megia…? Dude.

  15. darclyte says:

    How did Ashley make it through? Seriously? That girl needs to be cut from the competition and sent to a psychiatrist ASAP.

    Scott also probably should have been cut. he wasn’t very good in the group, and he blew the lyrics in the solo. Combined with singing the same song in Hollywood that he auditioned with he probably should have been sent home. His best chance in Vegas would be if he is able to sing “Blackbird.” I think that song could work with his voice and singing style.

    For the second season in a row, my favorite performer to watch is named Casey.

    I like Carson, but he needs to be on Glee, not AI. He’s fun, but he’s just an ok singer.

    I like Jacee, but he just doesn’t have it. His voice is weak, and he has no stage presence. Take 3 years of performance and vocal training, lose some weight, and come back. He seems like a good kid, but now is just not his time.

    I liked Kendra better than Sophia, but it was funny how the 2 blended into one at first. Overall Kendra sounded better to me.

    John Wayne and Robbie Rosen both are very good, and could do well in this competition.

    I’m not all the impressed by “The Chosen One.” I think that she did a redux of “Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” was a “safe” choice, and I wasn’t blown away by her performance.

    I really love Brett “Simply Red” Lowenstern. He’s pretty darn amazing, and as he’s about the same age as “The Chosen One,” I think he has been more compelling to listen to and watch on stage.

    I didn’t see most of the young kids who were great in the one all young group, but I think I saw one guy in one of the rooms that made it through to Vegas.
    Did anyone else catch Julie “Gorilla” Zorrilla and Casey “Fraggle Rogan” Abrams “find” each other when the 2 rooms merged in the hallway? I read that they went to the same school and perhaps dated or are at least very good friends.

  16. Titina says:

    Casey Abrams! All I can say is wow.
    This kid is going places win or not. I totally got chills all over my body when I was watching his performance. Talk about artistry and star persona. Plus his voice is to die for!
    I am a fan forever…

  17. oriharakaoru says:

    I don’t know any names at this point, but the only one I was really super impressed with was stand up bass guy. Although…I question his relavency as a ~current recording artist or whatever. Still, he should be fun to watch.

    • Leila says:

      He’s not relevant as opposed to…? When was the last time American pop music produced anything classic and non-forgettable? Maybe back in the 90’s?

    • Snsetblaze says:

      There is still a big audience for his type of singing. He is still very relevant, just possibly not Top 40. Singers that don’t necessarily get on top 40 urban radio still do very well (Michael Buble, Josh Groban …).

  18. Jen says:

    You know, now that I think about it, I’m not sure Jacee’s voice has changed yet. Yes, I believe he may be pre-pubescent. Wouldn’t it just be a gosh darn hoot if the poor kid’s voice chose the moment of his next solo to spring into manhood?

  19. Amy says:

    Thanks Michael for this:
    “Let’s be honest: Did anyone really think the squalid pen containing Brielle von Hugel, Corey Levoy, and a group of people who might as well have been auditioning for America’s Next Top Sway-bot was going to win out over the VIP lounge with Brett Loewenstern, James Durbin, Lauren Alaina, Jacee Badeaux, and Chris Medina?”
    LOL again and again. I have to laugh because getting upset isn’t going to change the fact that the VIP lounge will transform into the “Red Room” very soon.
    I am so glad AI is doing a beatles night to narrow down the contestants rather than an additional elimination with no new singing. This has been a long time coming.

  20. Harmony says:

    I liked Haley Reinhart, Carson Higgins and Scott McCreey (he gets a pass because he’s a bb) but otherwise I agree with you. I don’t know why the judges sent Ashley Sullivan through and I wish the producers would show us more people. When Ryan announced at the end of the episode that we were seeing the last of the contestants I yelled “No we’re not Ryan. There are 100 of them and we didn’t even see 40!” I don’t think he heard me though.
    I loled when they showed Ashley reading Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul. I’ve seen that book online but didn’t think people actually read it. It’s too bad that she’s flamed out so spectacularly but it is good that her boyfriend is really sweet and supportive. Later Slezak. :)

  21. Sally in Chicago says:

    Jacob Lusk hurt my ears.

  22. Adam says:

    I don’t understand the distinction between Haley and Jacob. They both went for it with all their vocal arsenal and felt the song.

    Other than that, I know he’s not the best singer, but Carson is really fun to watch (and I was not entertained by Norman his year).

    • Snsetblaze says:

      Yes, he was entertaining. His voice was pretty good, not fantastic but if he makes the top groups, he’ll get by. He should however front a band.

  23. Nic says:


    There is something skeevy about a 15 year old flirting with a 60 year old to get bonus points. Yuck

  24. Jane says:

    Hmm…I’m not completely sold on Casey Abrams or Jacob Lusk. While I think they both are talented, they are too old school. At this point, I don’t see them as being current.

    • Megan says:

      This is my problem with them as well. They are very good, should make top 24 imo, and Casey has great musicality and creativity while Jacob has an insane voice and range. However, Casey definitely gives off more of an old-school vibe rather than current star, and Jacob seems to have a strong gospel influence, so I’m not sure how far that will go on the show. We shall see though.

      • Lizbeth says:

        Just curious. What does a singer have to be like to be current? Dress up in crazy outfits? Only able to sing with the help of autotune? Have to dance around the stage with all kind of hoopla going on to detract from the lousy song and/or lousy vocals? What exactly is a current artist description?

        • chistosa says:

          Perhaps current means excessive use of profanity, speaking your words to musical accompaniment rather than singing them, grabbing your crotch and dressing in provocative and tasteless costumes. In that case, none of the contestants are current. But many are quite talented and that includes Casey Abrams and Jacob Lusk.

        • Angie says:

          Lizbeth, when someone gives you a good answer for that…PLEASE let me know too!

        • Alina says:

          A lot of appreciated music looks back at what’s been done and was good before. Some of the best indie bands there sound like an amazing combination of old school meets the new stylistic freedom of construction and expression. The latest Arcade Fire album pays tribute to Neil Young and Blondie. If you listen to Beirut, some of the best songs are modern twists on valse and tango. The Strokes are Rolling Stones re-invented. Fleet Foxes are as classic folk as it gets.
          I actually think that Casey has a very hip vibe to him. He might not strike a chord with the typical AI audience, but he’s a much cooler cat than a large percentage of AI contestants.

        • Snsetblaze says:

          Lizbeth – you actually hit most of the answer on the head (for stuff that gets on the Top 40 playlist). That plus write songs with stupid lyrics and have no inability to perform live without backing tracks and/or lypsincing.

          That said, Alina’s comment also answers the question very well for the rest of the artists not on top 40 radio.

        • ys says:

          My sentiments exactly.

    • marie says:

      And just what is wrong with “old school,” if you accept that definition? Michael Buble makes megabucks being just that, for just one example!

    • Sophie says:

      Hello…are you familiar with Cee Lo Green, Raphael Saddiq, Duffy and Adele. New performers singing old school is very popular to some of us.

      • MegHut says:

        HUNDRED percent agree. Casey Abrams could just be that old, new sound that we need so desperately in todays music.. I haven’t really ever cared about a contestant enough to even watch the show consistantly until Casey.. Something about the way he seems so shy and reserved in his interviews, and then kills every performance is amazing and has me completely hooked. Yeah, he was a little rocky at the end but damn. Who cares about the end when you had a beginning that could win the whole competition? I call Idol winner.

  25. kts says:

    TWO WEEKS until there’s voting?! Ugh. Nope. I’m so tired of all the false-drama…do we need another week of Ashley Sullivan falling apart? Or Jacee smiling hesitantly as he sings tunefully but not at all excitingly? I may just wait for the Top 24 at this point…although I was stunned at how many people in the ‘winning’ holding rooms I have not heard sing.

  26. katymay says:

    Listening this morning (rather than just watching), the girl named Sophia was the best for me-huge beautiful range, pitch perfect. I’m hoping she makes it through. I also liked John Wayne’s understated but beautiful “Landslide” Ashton(?) looks the part-dang she is fantastic looking in that red dress-but she was a bit screamy w/out a sophisticated nuance.

  27. wooster182 says:

    I’m so excited about this season. I’m starting to really believe that not only will this cast actually be able to sing unlike all but one last season, but they’ll actually be interesting. I can’t remember how many times I shut my television off last season bored stiff with bleeding eardrums…Anyway, I absolutely adore Casey Abrams the most. It’s like Taylor Hicks, Elliot Yamin, and Crystal Bowersox somehow had a love child and out popped a hairy, soulful phenom named Casey.

  28. Bill says:

    Perfect recap (except that I disagree on Carson). Big question: WHERE IS MOLLY?????

  29. Suz says:

    I have been an American Idol watcher for 10 years. This year, I am not sure if it is the performances of Jacob Lusk and Casey Abrams or watching Steven Tyler that I like more. Compared to other judges in the past, this guy loves his job. It is so unbelievably cool to see someone who really pays attention and loves music as much as he does. To see him genuinely excited and howl along with them, brings something to the show. It has really paid off to have an actual working musician on the panel. I love that he swears, says somewhat inappropriate things, but that is who he is-it’s not conjured up or fake. Watching him watching the performers makes watching the show so much better. To have someone there with a true, unbridled passion for music has breathed new life into the show. SO keep your groove on Mr. Tyler-

    • Scarlett says:

      I wholeheartedly agree.

    • GingerSnap says:

      You know, I think we’re seeing better musicians making it through, because ST and JLo understand good music. I’m consistently surprised by both of them, because they appreciate all styles of music – jazz, country, soul, rock, and pop. I don’t see any Sanjaya’s in the bunch, and it’s going to be a good top 24 this year.

  30. Marta says:

    There a handful of singers this season that give me the vibes of Idol circa Seasons 2-5. Can’t quite put my finger on it…but contestants who are a little less polished as “artists” but who definitely have talent and an emphasis on a particular style of vocals. Its quite refreshing to see after a few years of the singer-songwriter invasion- contestants who always kind of appeared to have “figured it all out” already.
    Some that come to mind are: Stefano, Robbie Rosen, Kendra Chantelle, Ashton. And I’m rooting for all of them.
    The best example I have of this is Thia Megia. I can’t help but see a bit of Diana Degarmo/Jasmine Trias in her.
    Anyone follow me on this?

    • Ablo says:

      “The best example I have of this is Thia Megia. I can’t help but see a bit of Diana Degarmo/Jasmine Trias in her.”

      You say that as if it were a good thing.

      • Marta says:

        Have no fear– quite the opposite!
        When Latoya London was booted and they cut to a shot of Diana and Jasmine crying on the couches- I really wanted to drop-kick them. (As I had the urge to all of that season.) London forever! (“Nobody’s gonna rainnnn on myyy paaaaraaade!!!”)

    • darclyte says:

      I agree that this season seems to have had more “raw unpolished” talent than the past few years. This is what AI SHOULD be about. Finding people who haven’t already been through the mill. To me, that has been one reason why some of the last few seasons haven’t worked as well. The people were too “packaged.” Last season, I felt that they were trying to find “musicians,” but too many of them canceled each other out and perhaps that’s why people like Lily and Katelyn didn’t even make the Top 24 over people like Tim and Katie. While I’m sure some of them have had some recording experience (like John Wayne and Karaoke Host Junebug,) that is to be expected, but they don’t seem “polished.” Most of the rest really seems to have raw talent that going through the Idol process could mold them the way it did Kelly, Clay, Carrie, and others.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        darclyte – I agree. The judges have been looking at “potential” this year and I think it’s been paying off.

  31. Sara says:

    Did Harvard intern girl make it? And what about the group of 15/16 year olds that were so good in the group round?

    • Niix Starkyller says:

      I think she did but was given the 3-seconds of airtime treatment. Not too sure, though.

    • GingerSnap says:

      Yes, she was in Group 4, the group that made it through. You have to watch really close to see her in the background, but she’s there. If you like her, you can take some solace that she’s still there, but she’s not in the group of “Chosen Ones.” Means she’s done nothing to catch the AI producers eye. My guess is she’s gone next week. Let’s hope she gets at least 5 seconds of face time on camera before she goes, but there are 60 people left.

      • Bill says:

        It’s entirely possible that the producers are saving Molly Three-Names so that her affiliation with the Obama White House doesn’t engender hating by crazy right-wingers and harm her chances. Can’t believe they don’t want to use her extraordinary status for publicity at some point.

  32. Niix Starkyller says:

    Last year, I was all for MA-MA-SOX from the moment I saw her aud. Year before was The Wonderful Magical Season with the sultry-yet-doomed Langseth, gentleman Anoop, plucky Alexis Grace, THE ROCKER, and the villain: the Ghoulish Widower. Plus some other, slightly-theatrical dude. Point being, they gave me something to invest in from early on. So, I got sucked into Idol.

    This year, they gave me new judges, old-timey Emily, and a bunch o’ brats to hate. Most of the brats are bye-bye save one emotional water-balloonie, two-tatt Emily is gone, and Tyler is beginning to bore me. Aside from a waitress or two, and some ticking time bombs, Season 10 is becoming ‘Meh’ for me, for you for me.

    Idol gets one more week outta me before I get outta Idol.

  33. Yo says:

    That show was just spectacular…usually the Tolstoy I read during commercials carries me right thru the performance segments, but that music was too good to pass up. Jacob Lusk has been constrained before and will be again; his performance gave me chills. All Ashley needs is some sleep and a beta blocker and she will be fine; her voice is actually very good. (And who among us does not admire the boyfriend’s attentive devotion?) Casey is sensational in every way; his was a novel and stellar performance.

    • GingerSnap says:

      No, it’s actually pretty sick. Girlfriend is all “drama,” and he’s part of the drama. Quite clearly he is a “rescuer.” thinking he’s going to save her, but she’s the one who wouldn’t know what to do without all the melodrama. Most of us are already tired of her shenanigans, but he needs to feel needed. Just wish AI would stop forcing her down our throats.

  34. Ariel says:

    Jacee’s and Lauren’s “journeys” have clarified for me in different ways the problems with having such young kids in the competition. With Jacee, I agree that the kid’s voice hasn’t completely changed — you can tell by his physique that he’s still a child, and the timbre of his voice is predominantly childish — and no matter how lovely his tone is, his voice is ultimately unpredictable at this stage. In two years he could sound like McCreary. With Lauren, she’s obviously trying to develop an on-screen romantic vibe with Steven Tyler, with (often ambivalent) editing support. But the double standard she faces is unfair: if she were 17 or 18 the sexualizing of her story and performances would be encouraged, maybe even enlisted to support the idea that she has that star quality combo of sexiness and talent; it’s awkward and (I’m finding more and more) gross in such a young kid, and therefore Lauren doesn’t really have access to an enormously important element of the star package.

  35. MasonT says:

    Overall, I am loving this season. Even the mediocre outshine most of the talent from last year. (Remember Siobhan Magnus’ comment last season about it being the best karaoke contest? All I could think was, maybe for you guys it is, but when this show is done right, it’s the antithesis of karoke.) I agree that the Carson Higgins guy is AI’s sad insistance on having at least one contestant as comic relief.
    Slezak, I agree with most of your evaluations, BUT–I thought Julie Zorrilla was wonderful.

  36. dona says:

    I saw a few youtube clips of that black diva you mentioned and she is brilliant.

  37. Sean Donovan says:

    Thank you so much for your comments on Haley Reinhart Mike. I was shocked she was praised so highly for what I saw as a terrible performance.

    I feel like Brett Lowenstern and Casey Abrahms are my favorites thus far, but it’s still so early who even knows.

    • fizzy says:

      I didn’t get Haley either. I couldn’t understand a word she was saying. If I didn’t already know the song I would have been lost.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Heck, I posted previously my huband asked me what she was singing and I said I thought she was singing “When Sunny Gets Blue”. then the husband said, “I THINK it’s God Bless the Child”. Glad to know I wasn’t the only one (although a friend of mine thought she was singing “My Man”). Go figure.

        • GingerSnap says:

          Rewatched the episode today. There’s Haley version of “God Bless the Child,” which was all growls, and runs, and show-off singing and was about as heartfelt & soulful as a limp noodle. It was only meant to help her survive to Las Vegas, and it showed.

          Then there is Jacob Lusk singing the same song, and his performance came from another universe. It ranks right up there with Fantasia’s performance.

          I have the same reaction to the many versions of “Georgia” we heard. There were 2 or 3 good performances, and then here comes Casey Abrams performance. He took an old standard, and made it his own.

          That is why I’m lovin’ this season.

  38. Emma says:

    Chris Medina had to be really, REALLY BAD for the producers showing about a second of his song. I wonder what will happen when they push him to the live performances and the voting audience notices that he sucks?

    • Marta says:

      I keep thinking that, too. Their plans for him will totally be unmasked when he shows up ho-hummingly strumming his guitar on the live stage. (Dare I say, similar to Andrew Garcia?)
      I thought the same thing when they first didn’t show Ashley Sullivan’s first Hollywood round audition– and can’t believe they showed her sucking AND getting through this episode.

      • duranmom says:

        I totally got an Andrew Garcia vibe off of Chris Medina when he said he was going to do “My Perrogitive!” (sp?). And not in a good way.

        BTW, how will Lauren Alaina perform next week? It’s the Beatles. They don”t sing “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” — will this be the demise of Nigel’s girl wonder?


      • Melissa says:

        I was thinking the same thing with Chris Medina- it’s got the whole Andrew Garcia all over it, slow acoustic “Straight Up” came flowing into my head when they did the backstory on him…hopefully if this keeps up he won’t stay around as long as Andrew did last season

      • allie says:

        Yes! He totally reminds me of Garcia and that is NOT a good thing.

  39. Beth says:

    I am surprised Michael didn’t suggest that it was possibly Fantasia possessing Jacob Lusk during that performance.

  40. dctoronto says:

    Who is this black woman with the great hair? I saw one woman who had serious Diana Ross hair? Is this her?

    OK I am officially recsinding my negative comments about Steven and my concerns about Jennifer when I heard they were going to be judges.

    Both have great takes on what it means to be an Idol. I love Jenniefer’s no nonsence approach to delivering information (cut the ddrama here’s what’s happening). Steven truly has a great muscian’s ear and soul for appreciating music. Both appear truly empathetic towards all the performers in particular the ones that did not get through. In my recollection I never saw Simon crouch down and provide solace to a contestant that did not get through.

    Love, Love, Love this season….so far.

  41. Phillip says:

    I mostly agreed Michael’s column, but disagree with his assessment of Carson Higgins. His singing voice isn’t the best in the competition, but I do think he can sing. I also think he is one of the best performers. I like his interpretations of songs, I like the way he moves, and unlike Norman Gentle, he isn’t doing one song over and over, and he isn’t grating. Norman tried too hard for the yucks,the smiles you get from Carson are just part of who he is. I really want him in the top 12.

  42. Catherine says:

    Thank god I found you, Slezak, Annie Barrett at EW is just not cutting it for me.

    • Ella says:

      He-he, I’m not coming to the EW anymore and it was my “must” read previous seasons ;-)

    • OMi says:

      Poor Annie, AI does not seem to be her thing. She’s a good writer and has a wonderful cockeyed view of the world, but I can’t sit through more than a paragraph or two of the AI recaps.

      • Erica says:

        Having been ‘spoiled’ by reading Slezak recaps, I expect more from a recap than just a recitation of what happened. I look forward to a witty, funny, insightful analysis/editorial.

        Thanks Michael.

        • Eolra says:

          I’ve been enjoying Annie’s recaps in addition to this one, but I agree that it would be nice if we got more direct honest opinion about the contestants from Annie, rather than just a retelling of what happened. As funny as I find her column (it almost reads like a stand-up routine), I really do want to know what she *genuinely* enjoyed and what she didn’t, and not just quips poking fun. Give her time, she may still hit her stride. For now, there’s enough love to go around for 2 comlumns….(for me, for you dawg).

          I guess I should tell her this in her own comments instead of posting this here eh? :P

  43. AprilD says:

    I’m shocked too that Ashley Sullivan is still in this. But as for sweet supporting boyfriend? Does anyone else think there might be something going on there? It’s like she’s afraid to be out of his sight. But then she can’t sing a song she dedicated to him on stage. She can’t even look at him or she messes up. Then there’s the body language when they’re together. I do realize that it might be editing, but it might not be. A spotlight on stage shows EVERYTHING.

    • GingerSnap says:

      No, it’s actually pretty sick. Girlfriend is all “drama,” and he’s part of the drama. Quite clearly he is a “rescuer.” thinking he’s going to save her, but she’s the one who wouldn’t know what to do without all the melodrama. Most of us are already tired of her shenanigans, but he needs to feel needed. He’s still at the stage where he believes he can fix her. I don’t think he’s doing anything. She’s just an emotional wreck who needs the attention.

      Just wish AI would stop forcing her down our throats.

    • Omi says:

      Does anyone else suspect some drug use? She’s awfully high and low. She’s thin and looks ten years older than she is. She may need help, even if drugs aren’t int the picture. I don’t think adding her to the show for drama is a good idea.

      • GingerSnap says:

        People like her often self-medicate, so it wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility. But that’s only one part of the problem, and it’s a result and not the cause of her problem.

        • Bill says:

          I have detested her presence from the very first instant we spied her with that out-of-control rant about Britney Spears, continuing to the begging-and-weeping pleas for mercy after her over-the-top rendition of “Gimme Gimme” (an apt title for her). Cannot. Believe. She. Is. Still. There.

      • Andrew says:

        I thought the same about Ashley Sullivan. To me it looks very likely that she used some drugs. She’s very hyper, then too calm, too emotional, almost shakey, very thin and looking much older than she really is. Her natural voice sounds coarse, that kind of course resulting from substance abuse like cigarettes, alcohol, and definitely drugs.

  44. betsy says:

    I’m so excited about this season – the new judges have freshened things up and they’re GREAT – the contestants are better than we’ve seen since Season Four – I was going to quit Idol after last year’s suckfest, but the new judges got me interested and I’m a big fan again!

    Thanks for your wonderful recaps, Slezak, they’re always so fun to read.

  45. Glamourcat says:

    I am loving this season so far! I think Casey was my favorite last night, but can’t figure out why Ashley wasn’t given a golden ticket to the Halfway house! She’s just getting started and has already opened her can of crazy!!

  46. TJ says:

    To those asking if Casey Abrams & Jacob Lusk are “current” or “relevant” they should talk to Michael Buble, but to be honest, I can’t help think of Taylor Hinks too, so…. I guess I’ve actually got nothing. ;-P

  47. Allison says:

    Spot on recap, Michael! I really agree with a lot of your recommendations, plus your reasons for them. Julie and Lauren are clearly two of the pimped out favs for the season, but I have the same reservations you do about both. Julie is very polished and technically great, but I feel no connection or heart. And Lauren is getting WAYYY over-pimped, which, considering how often this backfires in idol-land, makes me wonder if tptb realize they could be really hurting her chances to do well.

    • Bill says:

      If there is any justice, Lauren will be out of there very soon. Her lousy breath control alone should completely disqualify her. She cannot sustain a phrase beyond a few notes. Her attempts to forge a semi-romantic relationship with a man old enough to be her grandfather are also very distasteful. But clearly on the subject of Lauren there is no justice. She has been anointed. It’s rather disgusting and puts a pall over what is otherwise an interesting and often exciting season.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Finally. Someone complaining about Lauren’s breath control – only you stated it more accurately than I did, Bill. I just called it a “breathy quality”.

  48. allie says:

    Favs of the night: Casey, Jacob & Robbie

    People I do not want to see again: Jacee, Scotty, Ashley and Chris Medina

    The rest I do not have an opinion on yet. Jacee is not ready and probably never will be. “Pleasant singing voice” sums it up perfectly. If it is his youth that people like, there are other 15 year olds that actually can sing and perform. If it is the underdog factor, Brett has that locked. I don’t get the appeal. If Scotty can’t learn the lyrics to more than 1 song he needs to go home. Ashley, I hope, was only in room 1 to add drama and will be cut next round. Medina is simply a big disappointment – haven’t heard anything remotely interesting from him since his initial audition. Casey was fabulous, Jacob had a genuine “moment” with a song I normally do not like at all and Robbie has an interesting voice although I doubt he’ll be a fav of mine for long.

  49. Cat says:

    I think there are a lot of good voices this year. I just hope the judges have the good sense to hold on to them and send the right ones home. But, please, AI, stop this fantasy that you can’t forget your lyrics. Year after year, people have gotten a pass on that. If you want to do it that way, fine, but don’t make such a point of it every season and then ignore it.

  50. Jim says:

    I hold out hope that some of these folks who are doing the super-big stuff are wise enough to know that in these rounds, over-the-top works: the judges and producers like it, and it likely gets them on TV. Then once we get into the Top 24 they’ll show some restraint and use their big-ness wisely.