American Idol: The Girls Who Sang With Fire

Ever have that nightmare where you’re headed into a classroom for a huge final exam, even though you’ve only attended one class all semester? That’s pretty much the conundrum facing American Idol fans after Wednesday night’s season 10 women’s semifinal: Based on a single night of live performances, we’re being asked to toss at least half of the top 12 women onto the Idol scrap heap, where their sparkling dreams of superstardom will be violently ground down and repurposed as body shimmer for Jennifer Lopez. And inevitably, we’re bound to get some answers wrong.

Is Lauren Turner just a few mentoring sessions away from emerging as the season 10 dark horse? Would Kendra Chantelle be more interesting if the producers let us hear her speak? (Spoiler alert: Nigel Lythgoe plans to outfit her with a bedazzled muzzle should she somehow survive into next week’s performance show.) How would Ashthon Jones’ diva pipes sound on a song that contains an actual melody? I’m guessing we’ll still be pondering at least one — if not more — of these burning questions even after Lauren Alaina hops aboard the bus for the Idol Summer Tour. And that’s a damn shame.

Heck, even Ryan Seacrest couldn’t help but point out the inherent cruelty of the one-night-only semifinal format. “Now we have a problem. How do you pick your favorite?” he asked at the conclusion of Wednesday’s show, which, incidentally, was pre-taped on Monday evening. (For what it’s worth, I was far less troubled by this question after watching the men’s performances on Tuesday.) Anyhow, considering that the voting public can only catapult five of the 12 female hopefuls into the season 10 finals — which will also include five male singers, and a still unknown number of judges’ wild card picks — let’s start by going backwards and crossing off the three women whose dreams were shattered with all the dignity of a crash-test dummy hurtling through a windshield.

* Ta-Tynisa Wilson: Oh, Ta-Tynisa, where to begin? The sudden appearance of a dash in your first name (making a “ta-ta, Ta-Tynisa” joke all too tempting)? The fact that you submitted to the Idol styling team’s sudden obsession with tulle petticoats? Your extraordinarily displeasing white boots, which, from a distance, looked like battered high-top sneakers? No, let us begin with the way you delivered Rihanna’s “Only Girl (In the World)” like a blindfolded carnie failing disastrously at a game of “shoot the rubber duckies”: Note after note after note passed by, without a single one being squarely hit. But fret not, Ta-Tynisa, we’ve got some consolation prizes made up of bald-faced (but well-intentioned) lies from the judges. “A beautiful way to open the show,” said Steven Tyler. (Translation: It can only get better from here.) “It was just oh-kaaay,” said Randy, for once eschewing his love of hyperbole. “You brought it all the way home,” said J.Lo, imagining you on a plane headed back to your city of origin. If things work out as planned, you’ll be there by the weekend!

* Julie Zorrilla: I’ve never been completely sold on Julie’s potential — there’s a calculatedness to her performances that makes me feel like cold breeze just zipped across the back of my neck — but I can’t say I’d have ever foreseen her getting smashed like a chipmunk under the tires of Kelly Clarkson’s 18-wheeler ballad “Breakaway.” As Randy correctly pointed out, if you’re going to cover the original Idol right there on the Idol stage, you’d better infuse the performance with something new and different. And no, by new and different, we do not mean “pink cupcake dress,” “Barbie princess updo,” and vocals as flat as an iPad screen. Even Julie’s competitors (who raucously cheered on their cohorts all evening) could only manage a polite golf clap when her last note was finished. “Do you really want to break away?” asked J.Lo. After those critiques? I’m thinking probably yeah.

* Rachel Zevita: Here’s a case study in doing everything you’re supposed to do on Idol — pick an unexpected song! whip up a daring rearrangement! infuse the whole affair with a sense of drama! — and yet having everything turn out wrong. Still, Rachel’s horns-heavy, almost unrecognizable arrangement of Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” might’ve been forgivable, her goofy cape-removing choreography overlooked, had her pitch been spot-on. Unfortunately, by the time the quirky New Yorker hit the bridge — and the platform behind the judges — her vocals had gone so far off the path, it was like Hansel and Gretel losing their trail of crumbs (and probably getting baked alive by a cannibalistic witch).

With Rachel, Julie, and Ta-Tynisa (I really need to stop typing that name, stat!) out of the way, we’re left with nine women vying for five spots, but based on steadily plummeting ratings for beauty pageants over the last two decades, I’m going to go out on a limb and predict the ouster of Karen Rodriguez, too. From the aquamarine, one-shouldered gown to the ridiculously literal gestures (a clenched fist on the word “strength,” an outstretched palm on “hope”), Karen’s interpretation of “Hero” redefined the word “irrelevant” for the post-Haley Scarnato era. I know, I know, Karen delivered half the song in Spanish, and J.Lo commended her for showing us her “flavor,” but so what? The overall effect was about as Latin as Arthur Treacher’s. Sashay away, MySpace-sponsored contestant!

Then again, Karen might be able to survive under Clause No. 387 of the American Idol Handbook: “Each season shall include one incredibly maddening member of the Top 12 who outlasts far more talented vocalists through the twin powers of good looks and unparalleled determination. (See: Cook, Kristy Lee.)” Yet if that slot doesn’t go to Karen, it’ll go to the Queen of All Idol Affectations, Haley Reinhart. Before we talk about Haley’s shameless mugging and gyrating and oh-oh-ohing, though, can we please acknowledge how she explained in her intro how she wants to be “an inspiration” and “a visionary”? Oh, Haley! In the girl’s defense, though, she managed to hit most of the notes of Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’,” and even displayed a little restraint on the first verse (there’s always a first time for everything!).

Speaking of rarities, should Clause No. 387 not be invoked this season, or should it end up applying to a male contestant, that still leaves us with seven solid singers competing for five precious spots, three of which are locked down like a state penitentiary after midnight for producers’ pets/current front-runners/pimp-spot holders Thia Megia, Sixteen-Year-Old Lauren Alaina, and Pia Toscano. Let’s break ’em on down:

* Thia Megia (aka Miss America 2017): Yes, folks, I’m gonna have to eat at least a tablespoon full of my words right now — and there’s a big bowl of ’em in the fridge that I’ll probably have to choke down over the next 12 weeks, too — since last week on Idoloonies, my cohost Melinda Doolittle and I both said Thia would our No. 1 selection to remove from the season 10 roster and replace with another singer (hello, Hollie Cavanagh and Jessica Cunningham!). Naturally, this led to Thia getting the best reviews of any contestant this week, with Randy comparing her to “the late, great Michael Jackson” and Steven declaring her the epitome of pitch perfection.

I’m still not completely convinced: There’s no denying Thia’s incredibly sparse arrangement of “Out Here on My Own” — performed under a stark spotlight, with an a capella intro — was a stunner, the kind of quiet Idol moment that can resonate so much more powerfully than a lot of Bandzilla’s shenanigans. But the near-constant quaver of this kid’s voice can be grating, and her personality  remains a giant question mark. “No matter how old or young you are, you can do anything you want to do,” Thia said at the start of her intro package, which inexplicably made me shudder. Ditto for her strained/possibly evil laugh after Ryan said he needed proof that Thia was only 15. Girlfriend has already buried Melinda Ademi alive, and she can do it to you, too!

* “Sixteen-year-old Lauren Alaina”: If the juxtaposition of Lauren’s heart tank-top and Ryan’s top-of-episode “Who do you love?” was too subtle for you, how about Randy comparing “my little Lauren” to a mashup of the franchise’s two most successful graduates: Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Undewood. (From your lips to Uncle Nigel’s cash register, dawg.) I can’t lie and say Lauren didn’t deliver a solid performance of Reba McEntire’s “Turn on the Radio” — even if she hit a couple of rough patches while she stomped around the stage — but the kid has a way to go before she matches the emotional impact of previous teen belters like Jordin Sparks, Allison Iraheta, or even (on her best days) Paris Bennett. We’ll see how the season plays out, but I’ll keep my mind (and my ears) open as long as Lauren dials back on the overly familiar banter with the seasoned adults of the Idol machine. “Peaches” Seacrest? Girl, no.

* Pia Toscano: Send the sexy makeup artist directly to the top five, and don’t even think about asking her to pass ‘Go’ or collect $200. Granted, there’s no way I’d put Pia’s lovely, heartfelt rendition of “I’ll Stand By You” in the pantheon of all-time great Idol performances (there goes Randy again, hitting the hyperbole button), but it would probably come close to cracking the top 200, and for Week One, that’s more than enough. For starters, Pia showed excellent taste in selecting the Pretenders’ gorgeous ballad, which makes me think that maybe she’ll go on to record actual music I might want to hear on the radio/purchase on iTunes. (That’s more than I can say for Karen Rodriguez.) And secondly, while Pia may have just been a teensy bit sharp on the first of the three gigantor notes that ended her performance, I liked the fact that she was willing — and more importantly, able — to put a big diva twist on Chrissie Hynde’s template.

So that brings us down to just two spots left in the finals — and four very promising ladies who really ought to bury Thia’s ass/get at least one more chance to prove their worth to the voting public: Naima Adedapo, Kendra Chantelle, Ashthon Jones, and Lauren Turner. I’m hoping if America votes correctly, and each of the judges gets a Wild Card pick (making it a top 13), we’ll end up with seven women and six men in the finals, leaving only one of these chicas on the sidelines. Actually, scratch that: I’d be even happier if all three Wild Cards went to women, giving us an 8-5 split and potentially robbing us of more “wacky” interplay between Seacrest and James Durbin.

Anyhow, back to our “fierce foursome”: It’s hard for me to rank these ladies, but if I had to do it (and I kind of do, don’t I) here’s how they’d stand:

* Kendra Chantelle: Note for note, I’d say Kendra’s “Impossible” was as technically potent as any semifinal performance we saw this week — and with 33 percent less melisma than Christina Aguilera’s original. Yeah, the judges’ feedback was just a tiny bit muted — or as muted as it can be when Randy’s (weirdly) comparing you to Lauryn Hill — but Kendra isn’t one of Nigel’s Angels; as J.Lo pointed out, she’s had to fight her way into the top 24. “I feel like there’s more in you,” said the sparkly judge, “like we’re just scratching the surface.” And it’s true: Kendra dazzled with an origami-delicate “Blackbird” (with Paul McDonald) in Vegas, and yet tonight she showed Big Diva Potential. That’s the kind of versatility that often makes for great Idol contestants. Slow clap, people! Ken-dra! Chan-telle! Ken-dra! Chan-telle!

* Ashthon Jones: Okay, I admit it: I’m hypnotized by Ashthon’s gorgeous mane and dazzled by her diva expressions. It may, in fact, be distracting me from the fact that the pipes don’t exactly match the swagger. But I think a Top 12 (or 13) without Ashthon would be a little less glamorous and a lot less entertaining. Sure, Monica’s “Love All Over Me” isn’t exactly the kind of song you find yourself humming to yourself while you fold your laundry — it would need a discernible melody for that kind of task — but Ashthon sold it like Cinnabon at a food court. And unlike some of her younger rivals, Ashthon’s performances are imbued with the kind of life experience that can’t be faked. Paired with the right material (how about Diana Ross’ “Theme from Mahogany”?), she could be a serious tour contender.

* Naima Adedapo: Yes, Randy had a point that her uptempo arrangement of “Summertime” — and the silly opening choreography — had a lounge-act vibe to it, but one performance does not an Idol sink, right? (Even if she foolishly dared to walk in the path of Miss Fantasia Barrino.) The truth of the matter is, Naima’s got a great big instrument that can easily carry her from soul to rock to showtunes, and she seems like the type of exotic flower that could really bloom under the careful watch of Jimmy Iovine.

* Lauren Turner: J.Lo compared her to Bette Midler, but when I look at Lauren, I see Jessica Sierra, Gina Glocksen, Nadia Turner, and a host of other scrappy Idol belters who fell just below the top tier of contestants, but had some terrific moments along the way. The difference between those ladies and Lauren, however, is that the season 10 version comes with a brassy personality and perhaps just a tad more “oomph” in her vocals. As with most of her performances, Lauren’s “Seven Day Week” had more power than polish, but her interplay with J.Lo during her critique cracked me up, with Lauren saying she’d never thought about infusing her performance with personality, then adding, “I’m sarcastic, America, just so you know!” The thing is, though, J.Lo was right: Lauren needs to physically embody the spirit of the songs she’s singing. A more flattering choice of clothing wouldn’t hurt, either. Time, experience, and a team of Idol stylists can only help, no? Let’s just hope that if she makes the cut on Thursday night, nobody tries to put this bad-ass chick in tulle.

And now, on to the letter grades for tonight’s performances:

Pia Toscano: A-
Kendra Chantelle: B+
Thia Megia: (ugh) B+
Ashthon Jones: B
Lauren Turner: B
Naima Adedapo: B
Lauren Alaina: B
Haley Reinhart: C
Karen Rodriguez: C-
Rachel Zevita: C- (hey, at least she tried something different!)
Julie Zorrilla: D
Ta-Tynisa Wilson: D-

What did you think of the Wednesday night performance show? Which five contestants deserve to advance to the finals, and is there a sixth (or seventh) who deserves another chance via Wild Card? Which contestant disappointed you most? And when are J.Lo and Steven gonna stop doing their Ellen DeGeneres impressions and start judging, dammit? Sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol coverage, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.

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  1. WhiteLady says:

    Bugger, I still haven’t even managed to fully download it… It’s annoying to try and watch from Europe. Placeholder for my opinion later! ;)

    • Eli says:

      I know how you feel :(

    • WhiteLady says:

      Stronger crop than the guys for sure… Or at least they showcased themselves better.

      My top 5:
      #1 – Pia Toscano: Wow. Ok, I did get goosebumps. Now, is she charismatic enough to win? I’m not sure.
      #2 – Lauren Alaina: I’m as tired as anyone of the show pimpin’ her but she really brought the goods today, she can be amazing. I wish she would sing “before he cheats” with that energy! It would be amazing.
      #3 – Kendra Chantelle: very good rendition of a difficult song, cool outfit, horrible nails!
      #4 – Thia Megia: Still not my favourite but a lot better than I thought. She asked “do I fit in?” and indeed she does, in the mould the producers were looking for this year!
      #5 – Karen Rodriguez: I really didn’t want to like her but I think she was great vocally. Will she ever put her spin on songs? And “I love you, Mum”, really?

      Hoping the wild card will get them through:
      #6 – Ashthon Jones: The attitude and looks are there, the voice too, but it was a weird song choice… We’ll see.
      #7 – Naima Adedapo: good vocals and not-too-heard version of the song, and she seems sincerely humble. Am I the only one that’s reminded of Lauryn Hill when looking at her?
      #8 – Rachel Zevita: didn’t quite do it with this song for me, but I’m expecting so much from her, I want her to stay! I think she could be better than Siobhan.

      #9 – Haley Reinhart: A bit (ok, a lot) over the top, too much stuff going on, but the girl can sing and she knows how to be on stage… but does she belong in the top 10 like Jennifer says she does?
      #10 – Lauren Turner: Not bad, but song wasn’t great, she needs more control and the outfit was dreadful!

      No way!
      #11 – Julie Zorrilla: how dare she take on Kelly? She doesn’t have the pipes… Randy did great (!!) when he called her out for it. I liked her until today but she threw her opportunity out the window.
      #12 – Ta-Tynisa Wilson: wow, that was truly horrific. AND she stole one of Julie’s dresses.

  2. Paco says:

    I voted for Rachel Zevita. Yes, her performance last night wasnt great but it wasnt horrible either. Shes one of the few girls that I wanna see more of and I figured she needed the votes.

    • Logistics says:

      Im fairly certain that she’ll be a wildcard should America, rightfully, not put her through.

      • stevenjaba says:

        Why in the world would she be a wildcard? I’ve never once seen anything promising from her. Plus, the girl just gives off an air of desperation.

        • Hooch says:

          yeah she does. She always has this whinny look in her eyes like “Mooooom! Come Oooooooon!!!! Just put me through already! Wahhh!” She’s different though, so I wouldn’t mind her staying.

        • RT says:

          I agree about the desperation comment. I hadn’t been able to put my finger on what bugged me about her until you said that. I do like that she doesn’t seem to be afraid to do her own thing.

          • corwian says:

            Rachel has a problem we have seen many times before. She will be whoever you want her to be and will do anything to win. She wants to stand out and be remembered – and she WILL be looking to the person in the 3rd row wondering what they think. She lacks self-identity and confidence. Guaranteed she will pull something every week if she thinks it will separate her from the pack and be what the audience is looking for. She will do nothing original in that she will not sing from her heart, show who she is and wants to be, etc. It is a sad thing to watch and I hope she is cut this week so she can spend more time finding niche as an artist.

      • CMJ says:

        She’s gonna be packin’ her bags and cape. I can’t possibly see a 3 time Hollywood week fallout becoming a winner on this show.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      The problem was she destroyed the best parts of a marginal song when she took it to The Great White Way. The cadence and phrasing of “Criminal” are what make it interesting.

      • corwian says:

        Steven Tyler said it best when critiquing Rachel…and by that I mean his silence. He wisely knew that words were not even needed at that point. Classic S.T. moment… “Ever thought about Broadway … hmmm”

      • KB says:

        That’s a good point. She certainly didn’t need to stray so far from the original melody on top of all the other bells and whistles she was bringing.

    • Jill says:

      I kind of liked Rachel’s performance last night actually, better than Kendra’s or Ashton’s for sure. She’s different than the other contestants, and I like that. I don’t think the judges like her enough to make her a wildcard pick, but hopefully America likes her enough not to make it an issue.

    • J says:

      At least she is interesting and showed some independence and creativity. Imagine that on AI…How dare she not conform! LOL! I am rooting for her as if my only two choices are robot-pageant or Broadway style….I will pick Broadway. I wish she had pulled it off…for her sake and ours.

    • brandon says:

      I powervoted for her all night. I’ll take craziness over boring any day. And I actually didn’t think her pitch was as off as people are saying.

    • marie says:

      With about 7 or 8 of the other ladies singing rings around her, no way will Rachel make it to the finals as either a vote-in or wildcard.

  3. Bill says:

    Since Naima is by far my favorite woman in the bunch, I was a little disappointed by her choice of “Summertime” with its shades of Fantasia-comparison and the lounge-y arrangement. That said, she has a style that reminds me not so much of Ella Fitzgerald but more of the great Sarah Vaughn. It’s great to hear a potentially amazing jazz vocalist emerging into today’s music world, and I hope Naima makes the cut to show us more. She’s got it. Plus, she’s a beautiful girl with a real clothing sense. The whole package.

    Must admit I iiked Lauren Alaina for the first time. But that “Peaches” deal was a genuine turn-off. Kid needs a time-out.

    • PopVulture says:

      I agree; I love Naima, and was also disappointed by her choice of that song/that arrangement(and, frankly, /that dress). She’s better than all of those things! AND she looks exactly like the blue Diva on the Fifth Element! Only not blue. Obviously. But fascinating, nonetheless! And a great, soulful singer. Beautiful girl. I hope she makes it through!

    • stevenjaba says:

      I am still rooting for Naima and think she has tremendous potential. However, the arrangement and mood of the way she delivered that song was so disconnected from the meaning of the song – it was just jarring. Also, her self-designed clothing = disaster! Loud, busy, distracting, anything but subtle. I hope she goes through and we get to see more from her – and she gets styled by the idol team. I think we’ll see her bloom even further.

      • marie says:

        Couldn’t care less about her dress – she doesn’t SING with her clothing! – but agree 100% re the song: you can re-interpret almost any song, but Summertime should never be done uptempo. For heaven’s sake, it’s a song about living in poverty and being downtrodden! Give me a break! I was disappointed. I really liked Naima in previous weeks, but this song choice, and its arrangement, screamed “Clueless!” to me. And I love jazz vocals, but her vocal was a little too stiff to my ears to really say she’s natively comfortable with jazz.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      “Summertime” needs to be sent to the dustbin of Idol Songs. While her jazzy interpretation was interesting and the vocals were solid (I liked it better than Fantasia’s but I never cared for Fantasia) it IS a lullaby. From an opera. But I would put Naima in my top five.

      • Jill says:

        I liked it better than Fantasia’s too. I don’t normally like Summertime much anyway, but I liked Naima’s interpretation of it because it was more upbeat than normal.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Back when we were still living in caves, “Summertime” was a staple at vocal music contests and recitals if you were a soprano. Or, you heard it if you went to “Porgy and Bess” (my sister still hasn’t forgiven me for dragging her to “that boring turkey”, to quote her).

          Then, all of a sudden along comes American Idol and Fantasia and once again “Summertime” is a hot commodity!

          Retire it already.

          • marie says:

            I think it was more a mezzo-soprano piece in the original play.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            thanks, Marie, you are techinically correct. I just didn’t want to dazzle people with my vast musical knowledge, LOL.

  4. Teena says:

    I am hoping that once we go to the next round that the critiquing picks up. It almost seems like the judges connection to the contestants is getting in the way of them giving a full opinion.

    • Jen says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I also think Tyler has been neutered by all the multiple gag orders placed upon him. I can just imagine his mind reeling: “Don’t look at her legs, she’s not legal yet! Don’t use my favorite word beginning with F, or any words beginning with D, C, B or T&A!” Why have him there and then restrain him? And his predictably positive reviews are sweet, but ultimately unhelpful.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I’m HOPING that there’s a lot of editing going on since these shows are taped. perhaps they are trying to sway viewers with editing, or perhaps they are trying to let them make up their own minds. If it doesn’t change in the live shows I’ll eat my words, and here is Randy, the voice of reason, giving the lion’s share of the criticism, DAWG! Who knew?

  5. Logistics says:

    Lauren Turner is my tragic diva of this season. I dont care what she looks like because she’s REFRESHING. She can sing, and she lacked that Miss America pretention all of the other girls held so highly on their shoulders, and I LOVE that abiut her. And her voice. Slezak, her VOICE. How can you give her a B? She outsang AND out emoted Ashton. At the very least she deserves a B+ for calling out Jordan Dorsey during Hollywood week.

    As for miss latina maria santoro…i simply cannot. Her pageant outfit and performance paired with her blatent use of spanish to vy for Jennifer’s approval….gurl…you can be leaving now.

    • hooch says:

      YES. Agree on both counts. When the spanish singing started, I was like “oh, you’re going there? Lame”. Love Lauren T. Forgot about her with Jordan in Hollywood Week – girl is a cool chick and her voice is great.

    • Yo says:

      YESSSSSS!!! Tell it!

    • c-bizzkit says:

      so very true. MORE TURNER NOW PLZ!

    • KristenV says:

      Me, too, with the YES! Lauren T is the only one I voted for last night. Loved her sound, her look, her sass.

    • colette says:


      Yes, I’m a big Lauren Turner fan. For one thing she’s freakin’ DIFFERENT. She has a genuinely soulful, blues N’awlins style, which is utterly refreshing amid all the beauty pageant divaism.

      I’m not confident that the judges would save her, but it would be a much more interesting race if they do. And compared to the awkwardness or over-vamping of some of the gals, I think she was pretty poised up there.

      Plus, I’d just love to see Lauren T. wipe the floor with Lauren A…..not that I’m holding my breath on that one, given the pimping of the later…

    • Aunt Sassy says:

      Yeah, I agree too. Lauren was amazing and I so disliked the whole English/Spanish thing. And I think it could go one of two ways for Maria – either all the hispanics and illegals (not judging, just saying…) in the U.S. will band together and put her through or all of the tea partiers will band together and ensure that she doesn’t. Either way I’d prefer my songs on Idol be sung in English. As a resident of Los Angeles, CA I hear enough Spanish all day long that I don’t want to hear it on my TV.

    • buffy522 says:

      I agree that Lauren Turner has gotten a bad shake. I love her voice. She is not a pageant girl. She does need to let her personality in the “banter” segments shine through. I don’t think she will call Ryan Peaches and time soon. “Who dat”. But I don’t think she will get the chance.

  6. Jessica says:

    Send a few girls though and let more guys in. Not fair to have it be even based on who deserves to be in the top 10. Most of the guys were great (besides 3-4) but the girls not much at all. I thought the girls were better this year but no they’re not. Honestly I only liked Pia (liked her early on) and Thia (what is up with their names?!) but don’t like Thia’s personality at all and she’s too inconsistent/young. I like Karen. Girls were just too boring for me.

    • ps says:

      I agree-I thought the girls were horrible. Not sure what Michael was hearing, but the same thing wasn’t on my TV! And PLEASE Judges, judge! I’m so sick of hearing a Paula comment over and over again-they aren’t all good.

    • Prevodilac1 Prevodi says:

      guys sucked way more for me!
      Karen sucks, Mariah Carry? talk about unimaginative and bottom line, not a person she can emulate in the music industry and be successful
      Pia was ok. Thia made a clever move.

      Plus, I wonder what made the order of appearance, because as it is, I’m led to believe producers are putting their favourites among last songs to extract more votes for them.

      • Eli says:

        You think???

        No offense, but they do that every single season. Hell, almost every talent show pulls “tricks” like that.

    • jazy says:

      Completely agree, so boring. All this phoney beauty pageant prancing, meh.

      More guys for sure.

  7. Franko File says:

    No way there should be more women than men this year. Last night was a train wreck.

    • as says:

      Train Wreck +1.
      Michael titled his post “Girls who sang with fire”…next week to pick things up maybe we’ll hear “Girls who sang ON FIRE”…literally.
      Time to bring in a 4th judge who can you know….JUDGE. J-Lo take a seat in the audience….you did your best costuming damage. Steven Tyler take a seat and have a drink…you’ve earned it.

    • Jaded says:

      I SO agree with you! There wasn’t one performance that I remembered today of the girls. There were several of the guys’ performances that I still remember and have even watched back. We were bored to tears last night with the ladies!

  8. Logistics says:

    Also, can we please discuss how awkward/amazing steven’s interaction wijth Rachel Zevita was?!?! Lol forever

  9. dctoronto says:

    While I liked the introduction of more contempary music this week, one thing it’s shown is that these songs coming from the corporations of Usher, Rhianna and their ilk are not made to be sung live. Attempting to do so only shines a very negative light on the fact that various takes are assembled piecemeal in a studio by a team of producers and engineers in order to create one very auto-tuned song. It’s a sad commentary on today’s top 40.

    • Paco says:

      Exactly. I agree with you 100%

    • Lizbeth says:

      I agree–Usher etc songs are not meant to be sung live without computer enhancement. But the bigger problem with them is they lack any real melody. I can’t stand that type of music–but it is especially not good during singing competitions.I wouldn’t mind contemporary songs–but I think the contestants need to go outside of what is mostly being played on the radio to find something decent to sing.

    • Lizbeth says:

      You are absolutely right about the Usher/Rhianna etc songs. There is NO REAL MELODY and they are so computer enhanced that they don’t come across well live without smoke and mirrors and dance moves–LOL Personally, I hate that type of music–and those songs aren’t good choices for singing competitions. I wouldn’t mind contemporary songs, but I think you would have to pick something outside of what’s being played on pop radio.

      • Prevodilac1 Prevodi says:

        if anyone is gonna sing rihanna , i think unfaithful has the best bet at sounding decent

        btw a song that managed to oppose that trend was kanye west heartless in acoustic cover by kris allen. that’s how that should be done

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      THANK YOU, dctoronto. I thought it was just because I don’t like that music but you hit the nail on the head. All of that stuff is over-engineered and computer enhanced. It’s not designed to be sung live without all the engineering bells and whistles there to give it a boost. Remember Keisha on AI last year? Okay, bad example, she always sound crappy, but you get my drift.

    • Emma says:

      Most songs aren’t meant to be done with a full band. Especially this one. They need to pare the arrangements down. The night had a beauty pageant feel to it, which I couldn’t stand. Even Pia, who I like, had it. Stand outs were Lauren Turner and Thia.

    • Cat says:

      I’ve been saying for years, when there have been comments complaining about the theme nights being so geared to “old” music, that the reason for that is that those are the best songs. Nobody seems to write good songs with good lyrics anymore. There are no Simon and Garfunkels, or Lennon-McCartneys, etc. With the advent of rap, no one needs to write a decent melody line to have a hit or make a lot of money.

      • Suncatcher says:

        @Cat – right on! I have been saying the same thing – verbatim. No one writes melody or lyrics at all today. If you notice today’s commercials are “borrowing” music of the 60’s & 70’s and some 80’s.
        The good stuff stops there. And I don’t consider rap to be “music”.

        Schools stopped teaching not only music – but English as well! Sentence structure went out the window. So how can today’s 30 and younger folks write anything? Same problem for TV and movie scripts. Why we are seeing so many “remakes” of everything!

        I just read where Warner Bros. is remaking “The Bodyguard” originally with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. That came out in 1992 and it’s already being remade??? Things are going from bad to worse…

    • RT says:

      Amen to that!

    • teecie says:

      Agree. That’s what I dislike about much of today’s music. It is so manufactured.

  10. The Wheeze says:

    1.)Best thing of the night – Most of the ladies seemed comfortable on stage.
    2.)Worst thing of the night – The judging!!!! The Drinking Game for this season is everytime Steven says BEAUTIFUL! You know the judging is bad when you agree with Randy all night.
    3.)Surprise of the night – Thia “Freaking” Magia. Now do not check me off as a true believer ready to board the train, but I was tempted to buy a ticket for the first time.

    • Sharon says:

      “You know the judging is bad when you agree with Randy all night.”

      hahaha yeah really!

    • Hooch says:

      haha, totally! Everything I said out loud Randy repeated right after the song was over! What’s going on here ?

    • djm says:

      Amen! During the auditions I loved JLo and Steven and still despised Randy, but on the show the past two nights Randy has been the ONLY voice of reason and JLo and Steven have just been completely LAME.

    • marie says:

      ” The Drinking Game for this season is everytime Steven says BEAUTIFUL!”


    • D says:

      Randy is the new Simon….the voice of reason and honest feedback

  11. The Wheeze says:

    1.) Best thing – Most of the ladies seemed comfortable performing on stage.
    2.) Worst thing – The Judges! Come on Jennifer and Steven! Shame on you!!!!
    3.) Surprise – Thia “Freaking” Magia! Maybe it is because I was not expecting anything from her, and it is not like I am a true believer ready to board the train, but I was tempted to buy a ticket.

  12. Quinton says:

    Naima and Ashthon are my Favorites!! DIVA’s!!!! Naima will be okay. She will make the Finals, because of the Wild Card pick.

  13. Quinton says:

    Top 6 girls- Pia, Ashthon, Naima, Kendra, Lauren A., and Thia.

  14. Quinton says:

    If Haley Rhineheart or Rachel makes it…I’m going to VOMIT. They are horrible.

  15. Lizbeth says:

    Again, the sound mix was horrible and Bandzilla was drowning out the singers. The show is taped–surely they can somewhat fix the problem. I read that Nigel tweeted about it and said he was frustrated with the sound. Well Nigel, you and your idol cohorts surely have enough experience in tv production that this should not be an issue. So, you are voted out and along with the other 12 singers leaving today–some probably due to the horrible sound mix.

    As for last night, I was a little disappointed. I felt that most of the ladies were competent singers–but I didn’t feel it. Many of them did remind me of pageant contestants. They were technically proficient–but lacked any real emotion. Even Pia, seemed robotic and fake to me. I was ready for the pageant hand wave after she completed the song.

    Naima was my to pick for the evening. She did a little something different with the song and conveys emotion when she sings. Maybe it was slightly lounge infused–but that kind of hard to avoid on the idol stage.
    I thought Lauren T was decent–not fabulous, but good.
    Lauren A also delivered a pretty good performance. Lots of potential with her.
    Thia was smart not to use the band–so she gets points for that even if I don’t like her voice.
    Kendra did fine–but a little stiff and didn’t stand out. Really don’t like the song. Same with Ashton
    (*Note to idol contestants–pick melodic songs and you will come across better)
    Haley-I didn’t like her in Hollywood and didn’t like her any better last night. You are right about her singing.
    Rachel gets points for at least trying something different.
    Julie–don’t let the producers talk you into Breakaway–they are trying to get rid of you.

    My grades
    Lauren T B
    Lauren A B
    Kendra B-
    Pia B-
    Karen C+
    Ashton C+
    Thia C+
    Rachel C (points for trying to change it up)
    Julie C-
    Haley D
    Ta-Tynisa D

    None were anywhere near Crystal Bowersox vocally or in performance of a song. She was awesome.

    • KB says:

      I agree with your top five–and I really don’t care to see any of the others in the top 12. I think Pia should not be painted with the “pageant” brush just because she’s gorgeous; she comes across for me as sincere and even humble, and somewhat reserved. Kendra’s voice is beautiful and I’m hoping she continues to improve before our eyes. Naima is captivating, and I’m pulling for her. I really don’t like Thia at all as she seems wooden and insincere–like a kid playing a role; wish she had waited until she had more of her own identity before trying out. (I’m pretty sure that’s what the brilliant M. Doolittle said in the Idoloonies episode.)

  16. John says:

    …yep, I agree, Mr. S….there is some talent in this group…and they are indeed a handsome bunch. Along with the guys, we have some hope for a good…possibly very good…AI season. I did read the tweet from Nigel noting ‘sound problems’…and again I agree….an example…Thia received raves for her intonation…but from where I sat, she was below the pitch for a good share of her 90 seconds…the sound in the theater must be quite different from the feed to television…Nigel also noted the ‘overpowering band’…again, in this day and age, that shou definitely be ‘fixable.’ My major concern (again to agree with others) is the judging panel. Randy seems to be more accurate and has added some new words to his vocabulary….but I’m already becoming weary of his “…that’s how you do it!” repitition. Have you noticed the very interesting body language coming from Steven regarding the ‘diva’ seated to his left….looks like he is turning away for most of the on camera glimpses. Also…although this could be the fault of editing…Steven’s comments are about as bland as cottage cheese. Come on Steven…give us some “Tyler” gems….we know that you can do it!!!!! Ms. Diva’s just likes to take much time to gush…gush…gush….and I do wish that when she finishes her comments, that she would just…..shut up! On to Thursday evening!

    • Jen says:

      At least cottage cheese gives you something to chew on. I’m hoping for more constructive criticism from Tyler next week,

  17. Holly says:

    Not that I want to go back to Simon’s blatant nastiness, but this season has a glaring lack of real critical commentary. C’mon, Ta-Tynisa was a total train wreck, as was Barbie/Julie Zorilla, and none of the judges had the balls to point it out. I think Steven cares too much about being loved by his adoring public to be the “mean” guy. As for the girls, much more Lauren Turner, much less Lauren Alaina, would make me happy. Lauren Alaina is way over-hyped – she needs a lot more work before she can be properly compared to singers like Kelly and Carrie. And a big slice of humble pie wouldn’t hurt!

    • @spunkybean says:

      My sentiments exactly. We didn’t always need a nasty Simon, but some of these kids will need to be knocked down a peg. I cannot take diva behavior all season from kids who, many of them, will be forgotten.

    • GS says:

      Here’s a reality check for you: Lauren A is 16. At 16, cute girls like her have confidence. And if I could sing and own the stage like she did, I would be just like her if not worse. She can’t help they chose her to pimp. And go back and look at Kelly and Carrie during AI. They were not seasoned professionals. Both had missteps and needed styling help. Heck they were both chunky by a lot of people on message boards’ standards (I thought they looked fine). She has the most marketable talent of the girls. She’s real, pretty, can sing, and has stage presence. She’s not out there looking like Barbie or a pageant girl. I wish Nigel and Co. had not done this to her b/c she is going to pay the price for his over the top pushing. Lauren T was great too and I hope she makes it but don’t count Lauren A out b/c of Nigel.

      • Suncatcher says:

        @GS – This is probably the best description of the Lauren Alaina situation that I’ve read. Ms. Alaina is a very talented 16 year old. Had she just been discovered and allowed to develop as others have before her, those posting comments here today would embrace her wholeheartedly. BUT she is a “find” of Nigel’s and he has taken that “diamond in the rough” patina off Lauren A., ergo, she’s not exciting – but she IS. In fact, she is probably the next AI, based on talent, stage presence and looks.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Great. Now I can stop watching the show. :-)

          It’s hard to tell. In years past we all thought there was someone that had a lock on the title and lo and behold, it didn’t happen.

          • marie says:

            How right you are, d.e.t.! Can you say, “Adam Lambert”? “David Archuleta (and thank heavens for that”? “Crystal Bowersox”? Happens ALL the time!

            I think it was very telling that in the end, who got the two and only “pimp spots” of the semis? Casey for the guys – and Pia, NOT Lauren A., for the gals.

          • D says:

            Never peak too early, just ask Andrew Garcia!

  18. Ghost of Kelly Clarkson says:

    Was very impressed by Lauren Turner last night, and even thought I don’t like country music, I thought Lauren Alaina gave a good performance, too. My favorite was Kendra, but I know she will not survive long in this competition, since she doesn’t fit the mold of the typical AI contestant.

    • JB says:

      Kendra and Naima were my favorites. To me Kendra has a very understated, alt country voice. It’s very sexy without being over the freaking top like Haley(ugh ugh ugh). She stands up there and just sings without feeling the need to gyrate like a cat in heat.

      She’s honestly my favorite right now, with Naima nipping at her heels. I agree that Naima has that colorful jazz tone going that is just super appealing. Plus she’s gorgeous, interesting and I love her style, it’s very Josephine Baker(which will go over the head of the little ones).

      Thia to me, sounds like she’s singing through her teeth. I can’t stand that. She hit some notes that sounded lovely, but there’s something that’s very robotic about her, she’s like a less perky Katie Stevens. Pia is fine, I loved her in Hollywood but I didn’t like what she did to a Pretenders song(Chrissie Hynde must be cringing).

      The ones I can do without: Ta Tynisa(oh man that was AWFUL), Karen(too prom queen Celine), Julie(I so liked her til last night). Rachel to me is entertaining and I know she has a voice in her that’s fabulous. And the two Laurens, well let’s just say I’m not Lauren A’s biggest fan but thought she was good last night. Lauren T, wasn’t sold on her last night. I honestly don’t hear the fuss and I’ve heard it done better.

      • Mike says:

        JB. What drug were you on last night? I love Chrissie Hynde and have been a Pretenders’ fan since the beginning, but Chrissie’s reaction to Pia’s performance would have been “Wow, I wish I could have sang it like that!”

  19. 12yearoldboy says:

    hehehe…. was Ashton Jones’ song about what I think it was about? hehehe “your love all over me” hehehe.

  20. Sue says:

    I don’t know what it is….the people I didn’t like or who I thought were polarizing I’ve liked this week i.e. Thia, Lauren Alaina, James Durbin and Jacob Lusk. That’s not to say that they are my favorites, but I they changed my opinion of them.

    Who would I like to see go to the top 12 of the girls?
    Lauren Turner
    Lauren Alaina
    Thia Megia
    Kendra Chantelle
    Pia Toscano
    Naima Adedapo

    That is if everything was perfect in my world.

  21. as says:

    Seems as though you’ve lost your sharp intuitive edge. J-Lo and Steven’s empty bottle of syrup must have gotten to you. The entire show was a Nigel Lythgoe inspired Fox Prom Video Pageant.
    None of these girls showed any individuality….they can all go.
    Longing for a Crystal Bowersox-type woman who would have just said NO to all that nonsense.

  22. Kim R says:

    Michael, do you even like the show? Who needs Simon? You pretty much tear apart every contestant in one way or another. Last night there were some good performances & some clunkers. I think all the kids are pretty talented although I do wonder why some made into the top 24 while certain others were sent home. But I am not a professional so what do I know.
    I used to find your recaps funny & clever but lately they are just mean spirited. Why???

  23. Marta says:

    Watching now since I was a freshman in high school, Idol has introduced me and reaffirmed my love for a variety of musical artists. For the second night in a row, I sorely missed hearing the song about to be song introduced (either by the contestant in their video package or Ryan). I hope it’s not a permanent change for the season. Randy obviously taking on the task of name-dropping the title/artist in his critique isn’t going to cut it for me. Anyone else annoyed?

  24. Christina says:

    The locks to get in are: Lauren A, Pia, and Thia. I’m thinking that Naima, and Hailey will get voted through. Make no mistake though Hailey shouldn’t be anywhere near the top 13. The wildcard round should be interesting. I’m thinking they’re going to give 3 girls and 3 guys a second chance at the wild card, a eventually pick three. From the girls I’m thinking Kendra, Karen, and Ashton will be chosen, and the guys Tim, Stefano, and maybe Jovany will sing again. If that’s the case definitely put more of the girls through.

  25. Bill says:

    Haley is the one who must NOT be put through. I cannot stand her melisma.

  26. solbay2 says:

    “Ditto for her strained/possibly evil laugh after Ryan said he needed proof that Thia was only 15.”
    I actually thought Ryan was expecting her to crack some lame joke or something. Evil laugh?lol

    I must admit I never liked Thia until this performance, but your comments seem a bit over the top imo

  27. stefanie says:

    I agree with Michael, but I am a little worried. Dialidol has Ta-taynisa in the lead by a huge margin. Julie Zorilla is up there too.

    • chistosa says:

      I saw that too but Dialidol has become almost irrelevant. So many vote by texting and online. I may be wrong but I think they can only mesure dialtone. Also, if you look at the numbers on the geopredictions, they fall far short of the massive numbers of votes that are registered. I am not putting much faith in those predictions.

    • CMJ says:

      The folks at dial idol dont know what statistics are. Stay away from that site, stefanie. Their interpretation of data wouldn’t pass scrutiny of anyone who does statistical analysis for a living.

  28. hooch says:

    Didn’t enjoy last night as much as the guys. Knee Jerk Reactions :
    TA-TYNISA – pretty painful, like Drunken karaoke. What were J-Lo and Steven hearing ?
    NAIMA – Good showmanship, a bit cabaret (Randy said it better with loungy). Didn’t reallly love it, but like that she’s different.
    KENDRA – Christina? Ambitious. Not strong enough voice to cover her. But not terrible. Def not digging the nails.
    RACHEL – Didn’t like that arrangement at all, but props for trying something out there. I didn’t think it was as bad as Randy did.
    KAREN – Um, no. You are not Mariah. Very pageanty, including the ugly dress. Blatent pandering for the spanish demographic vote. Dislike!
    *LAUREN T – Phew! Someone who woke me up! First good performance of the night. She’s Spunky! I like her. And her mom was cute in the audience. Really hope she goes through.
    ASHTON – She’s def got pipes, but the whole thing didn’t work for me. Didn’t like the song at all. Don’t like her attitude either.
    JULIE – BAD!!! Don’t sing previous AI winner songs if you can’t even do it close to as well ! I thought she’d do better. There’s something really off with her. That cupcake dress with that song? It’s weird.
    *HALEY – I liked the vocal a lot. I like the gravely tones in her voice. Agreed with Steven on this one. She needs to tone down the Stank faces STAT though.
    *THIA – Good performance. Acapella start was a nice touch.
    *LAUREN A – The kids got talent + spunk, overpimped or not. Kind of a more country Miley Cyrus I thought. But Carrie & Kelly cross ? That’s pushing it. Settle down now.
    *PIA – Very good voice. Not an exciting song choice, although the note at the end was good. Pretty girl, seems sweet.
    (*)’s are my picks to go through.
    Top pick is LAUREN T.

    • Hooch says:

      I’ll add that besides Lauren T, Lauren A, and Pia, I don’t really care who else goes through. I feel kind of equally ok with Haley, Kendra, Rachel (she’s interesting), or Naima (also interesting) advancing. My husband liked Naima and Rachel because they weren’t “slutting it up”. Actually he didn’t put it that nicely.

    • rivercard says:


      Thanks for saving me the typing Agree with all your assesments, other than I thought Kendra was better than not terrible.

  29. darclyte says:

    With each judge getting a “Wild Card” pick, this is what I forsee:
    Steven picks a gal because, come on, he’s Steven Frickin Tyler.
    Randy picks a guy who he’ll call “his dawg.”
    J-Lo will bring back Chris “Funky Cold” Medina if it’s allowed. Chris has the unfair advantage of having appeared on other shows outside AI, so he might not be allowed back. If not allowed, then I see her picking either Robbie or Brett if one of them didn’t make the Top 5.

    Ta-Tynisa – Great body. Poor vocals. It’s a No for me, dawg.
    Naima – I like her, and I LOVED her yellow dress almost as much as her blue one (please keep with those and stay away from the African and Jamaica inspired outfits…middle America probably won’t warm to them.) That said, it was loungey and not her best. I think she has more to offer so it’s a Yes.
    Kendra – I don’t like it when she sings “higher.” She has a nice voice when she keeps it lower. When she goes up, it actually pierces. Still, a Yes.
    Rachel – She looks like women from the 1930s. Made the song unrecognizable, and not in an interesting way. She lost herself when she got behind the judges, and her voice trailed off at times. The whole cape removal thing was laughable. Epic fail = No.
    Karen – She looks like my step-sister. She sings ok, but she seems to have learned to perform by memorizing Celine Dion…and that’s not a good thing. Sorry, but No.
    Lauren Turner – Who? Seriously I think she’s had the least airtime of all 24. I thought she was great, but she has no built in fan base. While she does remind me of Bette Midler, that won’t bring her the votes from guys or tween girls. She’s a Yes, but can she get enough votes?
    Ashthon – I liked it overall. Not the best vocals, but good enough paired with her personality to make it. She’s a Yes.
    Julie “Gorilla” Zorrilla – (Sigh) She was my eye candy for this year, but that was an epic fail. She reminds me of Lea Michele only not as good a singer. Sorry hot stuff, but No.
    Haley – Take your growl, your oversinging, and your histrionics and get off my tv. A big NO.
    Thia – Up until last night, I haven’t liked her. I would have told her to come back when she’s 18. But, she nailed it (mostly) last night. So, surprisingly a Yes.
    Lauren Alaina – I’m sorry but other than her hair, she looked like a 35 year old going to Ozzfest. I wasn’t impressed by her vocals either. Also, her “wanting to speak” seemed again to show a sense of entitlement or being spoiled. Like Thia, I also think she should have been told to come back when she was 18, but Nigel and everyone has WAAAAy over sold her. Do I think she has enormous potential, sure. But she’s being pushed too hard too soon, and I just don’t think she has “the goods” just yet. I’m sure that even if she got the lowest votes the producers would send her on, but for me (for you) it’s a No.
    Pia – I guess she’ll have to be my eye candy. While not “Standing o” worthy in my opinion, it was one of the 3 best of the night, so a Yes.

    Ladies getting a yes: Naima, Kendra, Lauren Turner, Ashthon, Thia and Pia. So, pick any 5 to make it through and the 6th as a “Wild Card” choice.

    Interesting results at They show 2 of the 3 people who most called the worst of the night as being in the top. I can’t believe that would be true unless votefortheworst actually had a substantial impact (results over the years have proven that VFTW doesn’t really have much impact, but in these early rounds where there are more people to divide the votes, VFTW has had more of an impact than they do later.)

    • corwian says:

      darclyte – love your recap, breakdowns and choices. Keep writing, you are funny to read.

    • allie says:

      Agree with most of this except I kind of like Lauren A. Not necessarily for the win but I like her more than Kendra or Asthton for now. I don’t think DialIdol is relevant this season. They can only pick up the calls and I suspect the majority of votes will be text/online. It will be interesting to check it out tonight though.

      • darclyte says:

        I agree that dialidol probably won’t be relevant at all, that’s why I wrote that it was “interesting results.” Now if only Idol had it so people called in to vote for the ones they want booted instead of their favs, then it would make VFTW more irrelevant than it already is.

  30. J says:

    A pleasure to read your witty write-up (as always), Michael!

    I am having a hard time figuring out what to write about the female singers. I think that the problem is due to not feeling a connection to any of these singers. Except for Naima, Rachel, Lauren Turner and Kendra (who seem like they might at least be real people vice robot-pageant contestants), the other performers, no matter how technically skilled, have left me stone cold for myriad reasons EVERY single time I have seen them. I guess that leaves me with considering only which five I think I might enjoy hearing/watching again and could …MAYBE…eventually emotionally invest in:

    1. Naima
    2. Rachel
    3. Lauren Turner
    4. Lauren Alaina
    5. Kendra

  31. groucho says:

    I thought the judging was horrendous last night,particularly from Steven and Jennifer (although Jennifer can be relied upon to give honest and constructive feedback when she is not besotted with herself and not flattered by contestants’ adulation for her). I don’t like Randy but I mostly agree with his critiques. I hope the judging panel will step it up and not use the time and space to find various synonyms for “beautiful”, “awesome” and “great” to describe a performance. Maybe performances are different on a live stage, but 80% of the time, I disagree with the judging.
    Having said that, I like these ladies to be in the Top 6:
    Naima Adedapo
    Kendra Chantelle
    Rachel Zevita
    Pia Toscano
    Lauren Turner
    Haley Reinhart

    Rachel Zevita did not shine last night but I see more vocal surprises from her if she is granted a wild card. I actually find Haley Reinhart’s growl appealing and different but I know that I am in the super minority voice here.

    I wish for a top 6 that does not include Thia Megia and Lauren Alaina. We’ll see what America thinks tonight.

  32. Holly says:

    Arthur Treachers?!?! Slezak, you completely rock. There is no amount of hyperbole that would be “over the top”. To quote the judges you “took it to the moon”, “amazing” , “the best”
    BUT you need to get over your disdain for Thia – I am pretty sure she is a contender.

  33. Lucy says:

    Best singers of the night.. Lauren Turner, Pia, Kendra.

    The other Lauren acts like a child.

  34. CORWIAN says:

    The judges – I think the 2 newbies are holding back since it is America’s choice to cut so many right now. I do think they will get more critical from here forward.
    The singers – I preferred the men and can’t say I am ‘invested’ in any of the females and their run on the show just yet. Personality seems to be in short supply for most of the women right now. I missed most of Pia’s performance so am not certain what the standing ‘o’ was about.

    • Hooch says:

      I agree. I think given that so many are going to get the ax in one swoop, they didn’t want to trash anyone when they only get once shot, which is a lot of pressure, and kind of unfair. Ta-tynisa should have been taken down though. Everything we’ve seen of her through hollywood week and last night has just been terrible.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Good point, Corwian. Perhaps they’re just trying to let the voters decide right now.

  35. Pam says:

    Lauren Alaina telling us that Ryan’s name is Peaches? No. Just no. Right now, I like Naima (a double threat – singer and fashion designer!), Kendra and Lauren T. Still debating about Ashthon and Pia, although I really liked Pia’s performance last night. It’s the first time I’ve seen her that I remember her. Before that, I would like her voice when I’d hear it, but I quickly would forget about her. She may now be starting to make an impression.

  36. Finian says:

    I watched and wondered and pondered – then it hit me! Thia is the singing equivalent of a Suzuki trained violinist – all polish, great tome, no soul. This kid is just a kid, and has spent so much time learning the proper way to sing, she doesn’t understand why people sing.

    • J says:

      Great analogy, Finian! I agree!

    • Rosalie says:

      Oh, yes, you nailed it right here. That’s exactly what I’ve been thinking about Thia – she has the instrument, but she doesn’t have the soul. She may be technically pefect most of the time, but there’s something sorely lacking in other departments. Give me Allison Iraheta with her imperfections and her enthusiasm and soul over Little Miss Perfect Thia any day.

    • KB says:

      Totally agree! And the result is a snoozefest. Plus, the contrast with Allison is spot-on–she proved you can be young and still be brimming with soul and personality.

      • Rosalie says:

        I LOVED Allison, she was in my top three of season eight contestants (which, for me, was the last truly exciting season), standing right next to Adam (whom I loved from the very beginning and what he was selling, I was buying) and Kris (who was more of an acquired taste for me, especially since he was sort of flying under the radar in the beginning, but, for example, Ain’t No Sunshine left me in awe and I loved Fallin’ Slowly). She had the energy and enthusiasm which came from her youth, and she knew who she was at heart (and I was so sad when she got voted off, I really hoped she’d make it into the top three). With Thia, I don’t get that vibe at all. For me, she’s cold and closed off most of the time, and I just can’t warm up to her.

  37. Elena says:

    My top 5:

    1. Pia — technically beautiful, certain Celine quality to her voice
    2. Lauren A. — although I’m annoyed by the incessant pimping
    3. Lauren T. — so wanting to see what this lady can really do
    4. Thia — needs to shine a little more personality-wise
    5. Naima — so, so good, am fascinated by her most

    Wild Card picks (I’d like ALL of them to go to females this year):

    Karen — Her vocals were beautiful last night and I loved the Spanglish, however, the dress and pageant delivery were ugh. Still, I’d like to give her another shot.

    Kendra — She is so overlooked and so much better than the comical, growling Haley.

    Did nothing for me:

    Ashthon — vocals didn’t match her divalicious attitude
    Haley — see above
    Ta-Tynisa — cute girl, unimpressive vocals
    Rachel — quirky works for me but this was beyond quirky, hardly recognized the song, she looked awkward on stage
    Julie — ditto, hated her pwetty, pwetty pwincess dress, jewelry and ‘do, shocked by how bad she was, worst of the night, imo

  38. darcy's evil twin says:

    Okay, on the previous commentary board, several people commented that This Megia was flat like nobody’s business. It was late and I was tired, but I thought the same thing when I listened to her.

    So, I went back and listened to the performance again. Did she sound lovely? yes. Was she flat? To quote another poster, “flatter than my granny’s buttermilk pancake”. However, I’m going to give some folks a pass on this one (including Slezak) because if you aren’t really familiar with that song you probably won’t catch it. The melody isn’t one that smacks you upside the head.

    Now then, Lauren Aliana doesn’t support her notes consistently. Period. I know she’s young. And she’s annoying. Slezak, you are my favorite but do not mention her name in the same sentence with Allison’s.

    Okay then, I really liked Kendra and Pia. I also liked Karen Rodriguez because I’m a sucker for good old fashioned singing.

    But hey, Lauren Turner was IN THE HOUSE. She makes unusual song choices and knows exactly who she is! Sleazak, I think she should have had a higher rating. Love her. It had been years since I’d heard Etta James’ “Seven Day Fool” and I loved her performance.

    Okay, Sl

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Well, I must have hit the “post” button before I finished my thought – My top five were Lauren B, Kendra, Pia, Naima, and Karen – yes, Karen, with her pageant queeen espanol and all. Her vocals were lovely.

    • Ken says:

      Ugh.. thanks for letting me know I wasn’t hearing things. I physically cringed at the flat notes Thia belted out. I will say that the acoustics of the live performance are a lot different than the often “dryer” mix we get over the TV so the judges may not have heard the flat notes as well as we did.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Ken – and everyone else for that matter, Lord knows I HATE to quote Ellen Degeneres from last season, but one thing she said that was enlightening was the performances sounded completely different in the theatre vs. on TV. Ellen said when she listened to recorded versions she heard things she didn’t hear in the theatre and the recorded version usually sounded worse.

        Even Simon made a comment last year about a singer that didn’t make the Top 10, or 12, or whatever it was last year – she was a Hispanic singer and she was attractive. They kind of heaped praise on her and we all cringed over on the EW message board. The next evening Simon said something like, “I think we may have been too generous with some of our praise” or something like that. he didn’t name the singer but it was obvious to whom he referred.

  39. Dami says:

    Michael, have you seen the entire clip of Pia’s final audition that they put up on the web site? She does Alicia Keys’ “Doesn’t Mean Anything,” and it’s pretty wonderful. I believe every word she sings. I liked her during Hollywood Week and I thought she was very good last night, but, hooboy, that clip cinched it for me. I’m a big fan now.

  40. lulupants says:

    I have to actually give some props to Steven Tyler (WHAT!?) okay but hear me out. We are CONSTANTLY being told who these women (in this competition and in the music world more generally) sound like. Women in the music biz are always compared to other women rather than taken on their own sound. So after Randy inexplicably compared Lauren Turner to Amy Whinehouse ‘meets’ Florence Welch, I was THRILLED when Steven said, “sounded like Lauren Turner meets Lauren Turner to me!” Well done, Steven!

    I would also like to propose (on both sides of the gender divide) a ban on first-night bedroom eyes. it’s creepy. some of America is meeting for the first time, keep it in your pants, Idol.

  41. Jersey5 says:

    I feel confused about the performances last night and I can’t really figure out why. I am less enthused about the season. Lauren T. was an interesting, pleasant surprise. Everyone else (even with Pia’s power notes) left me a little bored (I think).

  42. susan says:

    Naima was by far my favorite last night. I’ll be so disappointed if she doesn’t make it further. I really didn’t find her performance “loungey.” I just find her fabulously entertaining.

  43. Linda says:

    The top three phrases that contestants say after lousy performances that make me want to puke: 1.) “I had fun out there!” 2.) “It felt good!” and 3.) “I’ll do better next week if America gives me the chance!”

    As for last night’s show, I liked Pia Toscano’s performance, but in no way did I think it came even close to being one of the best by an Idol. At the top of my list is Adam Lambert’s “Mad World.”

    • Hooch says:

      Seriously. If you think of performances like Adam’s “Mad World”, Kris Allen’s “Heartless”, everything Kelly Clarkson sang (Celine’s “Surrender” comes to mind, or “Stuff like that there”), David Cook’s “Billy Jean”, Jason Castro’s “Hallelujah”, Clay Aiken’s “Solitaire”, Randy saying that was one of the best was just ridiculous. And insulting to all those guys.

      • j. christopher says:

        I’m not one to typically defend Randy’s hyperbole, but I believe he said that Pia’s song was one of the best OPENING NIGHT performances…haven’t re-watched it to verify that was exactly what he said, but that was what I took from it…

    • Rosalie says:

      As for last night’s show, I liked Pia Toscano’s performance, but in no way did I think it came even close to being one of the best by an Idol. At the top of my list is Adam Lambert’s “Mad World.”
      True, so very true (and I wholeheartedly agree with #1 on your list). I find some of the judges’ hyperboles (“The best we’ve ever seen! EVER!” etc.) to be truly ridiculous, since most of those praised performances simply fall flat when compared with some of the best performances in the previous seasons. Sorry, but I thought season 9 was excruciatingly boring, and I’m afraid season 10 is going to follow in its footsteps.

    • corwian says:

      Adam Lambert’s Mad World and even Tracks of My Tears rank high up there for me. No one yet this season has come close to those two – he was able to infuse emotion and believability into those songs. A lot of his performances were showy and less genuine/authentic for me, although I loved him. The Season 10 contestants have not brought that to the Idol stage. Hopefully they will find songs they connect with emotionally and stop the pageantry of last night.

      • Marta says:

        Mmmm- Adam’s Tracks of My Tears- The exact moment I hopped on board the Lambert train. One if his best– and so beautifully understated. That might be on my Top 10 Fav Idol Performances…Ever! Everybody now.. “my smile is my makeup, I wear since my breakkkkup with yoOOOOuu” LOVE.

    • BETSY says:


  44. CMJ says:

    Lauren T

    I just don’t get the Lauren Alaina hype. I thought she gave her worst performance last night considering all the others of her they have aired. And her insistance on bantering whether it was the atrocious peach comment (which should get her booted in an of itself), or her molesting of Steven Tyler makes me want to vomit.

    • WhiteLady says:

      Please do remember she’s only 16. Who didn’t make a fool of themselves at that age? The peaches moment is a perfect example of that.
      And allow me to say that the interaction with Steven might be a result of low self-steem on Lauren’s side. Been there, done that.

  45. Mel31602 says:

    Like I said last night I would put through thia, pia, Lauren t, and Kendra. Based on prior performance my fifth spot would go to Julie but based on last night it would go to Lauren A or Naima.

    As for wild cards, this may be because I’m partial to a teen from long island who didn’t do his best this week, but I think if a contestant like ashthon or Stefani, who performed close to their best, don’t make the top five in their gender, then there is no point in making them wild cards since they’ll only last another week or two. So the judges should give wild card spots to people like Robbie who when at their best could make the overall top five

  46. Ruth says:

    1. Why did you have to say Arthur Treachers? Thank God I’m going to a fish fry tomorrow night. I’m having major childhood happiness flashbacks now.
    2. Did anyone else notice Pia’s hand gestures – song part correspondence? One arm up = verse. Two arms up = chorus.
    3. I’m looking forward to JLo and Steven Tyler growing a spine & giving something constructive to the contestants. Jennifer isn’t as bad as Steven but they’re spending way too much brain power trying to be nice. It’s not helpful or entertaining.

  47. agrimesy says:

    Oh, girls . . . (sigh). No, no, no. NO MORE fru fru skirts, please! Idol is not a state fair pageant. If I could give the girls any advice at all, it would be this:

    Ta-Tynisa ~ Choose a new profession. (I know that’s mean, but I still cannot believe the top 24 had a place for her and not a place for Jackie Wilson . . . epic fail!)
    Naima ~ Pick a song using your head not your heart! DO NOT sing a former Idol’s signature song . . . EVER!
    Kendra ~ You are better than all the rest of them combined . . . believe it and claim your spot.
    Rachel ~ Quirky is for seasoned aritists . . . You’re just weird.
    Karen ~ The Jerry Lewis telethon is the next exit.
    Lauren T ~ When I reach out to shake your hand, don’t slap it.
    Ashton ~ Big hair is only half a diva . . . Give me a big voice.
    Julie ~ I repeat NEVER pick a former Idol’s song, period.
    Haley ~ Sign up for the attitude adjustment 101 class.
    Thia ~ An Idol has to be able to “perform” a song not just sing it. You’re a music box right now. I want to see personality crack through the perfect porcelain of your skin.
    Lauren A ~ Sing, smile . . . do not speak. No, really, I mean that.
    Pia ~ Be aware that they are pimping you, and do not rely on fickle favoritism. I fear you are one screechy high note away from a consolation prize.

    Gah! Not an Allison Iraheta in the bunch . . . Are we headed for a male Idol a fourth year in a row? :(

    • corwian says:

      Agrimesy – Great recap and comments. Season 10 will belong to the boys who show some personality in addition to singing skills (excepting Lauren T and Naima A….whose voices I am not sure I even like but am just glad to see them in a world of beauty queens, wannabes and weirdness). Poor Thia – I feel bad for the girl because she has clearly not been given the opportunity to be a 15-year old and experience what she sings.

      • agrimesy says:

        I’m also tired of pop music turning young women into sex objects. And, poor Thia does seem so robotic, I wonder what her childhood has been like.

    • Lyn says:

      Actually, it occurred to me that Lauren T. had the gutsy vocals that brought Allison Iraheta to mind, but with the advantage of being mature enough to know who she is. (And sharing the disadvantage of not looking like the little cookie-cutter cuties that tweeenyboppers go for, unfortunately.)

      • agrimesy says:

        I would also love to see Lauren T. succeed. I doubt she will be willing to play the game, though. Her admission to sarcasm reveals that she sees this competition for the popularity contest it is, and she’s got too much character to bend. I think her confidence will seem abrasive.

  48. TN says:

    I thought Haley was drunk during her performance. It was so weird and awkward.

  49. GS says:

    Do NOT compare Lauren A to Paris. Paris was horrible and it’s obvious she wasn’t great since she is no where to be seen anymore. Lauren can’t help Nigel and Co are pimping her. The girl has chops, talent, and stage presence to spare. Stop being so rough on her b/c the machine is doing their thing.

    Pia and Thia were very good too. I also really like Lauren T. It’s gonna be a tough night. But I just pray that Tata, Julie, Robbie, Stefano, and Jordan are definately out. They all sucked bad and don’t deserve to be in the top spots.

    My hopes for the top 10 are Scotty, Casey, Paul, James, Jacob, Pia, Thia, Lauren, Lauren, and I’m not solid on a 5th girl. If Steven and JLo stop coddling everyone and giving some good feedback, it could be a really good season.

  50. Squirrellygirl says:

    Lauren Turner was my favorite, hands down–her song was perfection, and I disagreed with Tyler on her beginning because I played it twice more and found nothing off, nothing. Kendra Chantelle was also very good. I would like to hear more of Rachel and hope she gets to go through.