American Idol Recap: Unlucky 13

Eighty-four years from now, Thia Megia will celebrate her 99th birthday, the last “Charlie Chapman” movie in existence will crumble into dust, and the University of Reality Television at Seaside Heights, NJ, will replace Harvard as the nation’s most prestigious house of higher education. When students at said institution open their History of American Idol: Season 10 textbooks to the chapter on Top 13 Performance Night, they may be surprised to find only murky recollections of the actual musical numbers.

Oh sure, they’ll read about Lauren Alaina pouting, Thia Megia crying, Haley Reinhart yodeling, and Jacob Lusk howling like a Muggle getting hit with the Cruciatus Curse. There’ll be photos of Paul McDonald shuffling along like a chain-gang worker trying to break into the “Electric Slide.” There may even be a fold-out diagram devoted to the unfortunate black-sequin harness “designed” by Karen Rodriguez. But the music? That’ll probably just end up as a footnote to what I nonetheless refuse to believe is going to be anything less than a resurgent/stellar season of Fox’s pop-cultural juggernaut.

You see, while I’d argue that more than half of the season 10 finalists are legitimately talented vocalists, Wednesday night’s performance episode (which, incidentally, was taped on Tuesday) found them struggling with dreary song choices and baffling arrangements, problems with pitch and lulls in energy. And coming off a results show last Thursday that was elevated by six kids throwing their hearts and souls onto the stage with the unbridled desire to score one of three Wild Card berths (Kendraaaaaa!), Week One of the Season 10 finals could only be described as a letdown.

I’d group our 13 finalists into six different categories, as follows:

Should Be in Serious Trouble, But Probably Won’t Be: Paul McDonald, Thia Megia
Much like every physician vows to “First, do no harm,” so too should every Idol contestant take this oath: “First, hit my notes.” Because honestly, it’s all well and good that Paul picked something “cool” and “unexpected” for the Idol stage, but that just made it all the more imperative that he perfectly capture the melody, that he deliver a vocal passionate enough to sell an unfamiliar song to the average couch potato (kind of like Stefano did last week on “I Need You Now”). Instead, Paul skittered around on the stage like a wounded bird trying to outmaneuver a hungry barn cat, his grainy voice evaporating into nothingness in his lower register and falling flat on the chorus. Steven gave one of his few semi-relevant notes of the night — “find a song where the chorus is in your key” — but J.Lo and Randy seemed to be critiquing Paul on his past glories (“So unique!” “I love who Paul is!”) rather than on the performance he’d just coughed up. Dude is lucky his prior body of work has been solid enough to give him a built-in voting bloc, but seeing him falter this early in the competition is deeply disconcerting.

Thia, meanwhile, has an appointment at The Hague to answer for what she did to “Smile.” Bad enough that her delivery was as empty as a plastic bag floating over a grocery-store parking lot, that half her notes were as flat as a row of pennies on a railroad track, but how to justify the addition of that incongruous “Bell Biv DeVoe-lite” beat? Yeah, I know, producer Ron Fair has to take at least some of the responsibility for the arrangement, but the problem is that even if young Thia had the good taste to know better, she doesn’t seem like she’d have the gumption to raise an objection. How depressing was that whole exchange in which Thia discovered that “Smile” was a Charlie Chaplin number, not a Michael Jackson original, then later offered that she was singing “Charlie Chapman”? The fact that Randy Jackson managed to name-check Adele in his critique is a mystery worthy of The Mentalist, but I’m guessing Thia’s post-commercial, backstage tears will be worth enough sympathy votes for her to crack the top 12.

Should Be in Serious Trouble, And Very Well Could Be: Ashthon Jones, Karen Rodriguez, Jacob Lusk
Poor Ashthon must have misunderstood the chapter in her American Idol instruction manual about how to avoid being the first contestant voted out of the finals. She picked one of the night’s least recognizable numbers (of all the Diana Ross ditties in the world, Ashthon goes with “When You Tell Me That You Love Me”?), embellished it with mid-’80s telethon-schmaltz stylings, and yet didn’t quite butcher the number enough to dredge up a healthy number of sympathy votes. And she was third in the setlist! J.Lo was correct that Ashthon kept her composure and rescued a few notes that had started to wander off into the Forbidden Forest, but I’m guessing Berry Gordy isn’t quite sure why he got out of his cozies and left the comfort of his couch for this performance.

If Ashthon isn’t the season’s first evictee, that could spell d-o-o-m for MySpace Contestant Karen Rodriguez, who performed Selena’s “I Could Fall in Love” with all the joy of a punctured inner tube slowly sinking to the bottom of a swimming pool. The number started in a key way too low for the singer’s comfort zone, and I had to distract myself by looking at Karen’s oversize bangles and sparkly earrings to distract myself from the growing dread in her eyes. J.Lo’s feedback mostly focused on how good Karen’s vocals have been in the past, while Randy reached into his “negative” bag and randomly pulled out the “a little sleepy” paddle. Whatever, dawg. (Side note to Karen: Whoever designed your lumpy, sequined pantsuit should be fired! Oh, wait, you designed it yourself? Um, maybe next week, if you’re still around, you can focus more on your singing and just choose a classy ensemble from the Ryan Starr collection.)

And then we come to Jacob, my pick for “surprise bottom three” contestant this week. Look, I applaud the guy for singing an original composition from his self-penned rock opera Slaughterhouse Symphony, but I’m not sure Idol was the right forum for the experimental/atonal ballad “Sheep’s Dying Moments.” Hold on. Come again? Jacob was actually singing R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly”? So that explains the “How did this bitch crack the top 13?” look on the face of that one chick in the Gospel chorus behind Jacob, as well as the very apt lyric about life being like “an awful song.”

In all seriousness, though, what happened to Jimmy Iovine’s Vegas-week note to Jacob that the worst thing a vocalist can do is to oversing? Halfway through his number, Jacob tossed aside the melody as casually as the lid on a yogurt container, and assaulted the audience with a series of cacophonous screeches, ending with an improvised “you can, you can fly” at the precise moment that the song completed its arduous nosedive and crashed into the ground. Steven and J.Lo muttered something about how Jacob transcends critique, and I almost have to agree. There truly are no words…

Should Be Thankful for Their Competitors’ Stumbles: Lauren Alaina, Haley Reinhart
Wednesday night’s telecast was hawd foh Wittle Wauren. She hads to go first instead of last, and that was tewwible for huh. She was just twying to have a good time with Shania’s “Any Man of Mine.” She could have done a bawwad like [get ready for a subtle dig at the competition] five of the other girls, but she wanted the night to start off more like “last call” at the karaoke bar! Why do those mean judges say mean things? It’s not vewwy nice. Wauren is going to make a stank-eye at Steven. And there’s one for you, J.Lo! Now Wauren is going to stamp her feet and refuse to go to bed! That’ll show you, you meanies!

As for Haley, well, let’s start with a positive. There really weren’t any missed notes on her rendition of LeAnn Rimes’ “Blue,” and her country yodel — while incongruous with everything we’ve heard from the buxom blonde all season — wasn’t out of place on this ditty. Now if she could just stop believing that every song needs to be delivered with the come-hitherness of Michelle Pfeiffer writhing on a piano top in The Fabulous Baker Boys. If there’s a “shock boot” on Thursday, it would probably be Haley, since whatever fan base she has may erroneously assume she’s safe and not speed-dial accordingly.

Should Be Commended for Not Being Boring: Naima Adedapo, Casey Abrams
Let’s start by pointing out Naima’s much-maligned pitch problems on “Umbrella” were still vastly superior to 90 percent of televised performances I’ve seen by Rihanna during her career. Which is why J.Lo’s “you do it like the stars do it” critique was both apt and depressing. If Naima breaks into the “elite” territory of Katy Perry, Ke$ha, and La Lopez herself, she won’t need to worry about any stinkin’ breath support! Yet on the other hand, while Naima’s pitch was far from perfect, I actually liked that she soldiered onward, that she kept fighting to deliver the melody instead of devolving into a howl or a grunt that might cover up her weaknesses. I appreciated Naima’s showmanship — the fact that she shook her groove thing and didn’t look like somebody’s drunk uncle at a wedding. (Wait a second: I just realized I am the drunk uncle at a wedding! But I digress…) But best of all, the Reggae breakdown in the middle of the performance felt like the most authentic and relevant rearrangement of the night. If girlfriend keeps taking risks and raise her vocal game, we might be looking at a second straight year of having a tattooed, dreadlocked mama in the Idol finale!

Casey, meanwhile, was his typically entertaining self on Joe Cocker’s “With A Little Help From My Friends” (originally recorded by The Beatles), but I’m not sure how in the heck it prompted Randy’s critique of “you hit all the notes always!” Honestly, there were a few moments you could hear Casey losing his musical way, then quickly digging himself out of the trenches with a hoot or a howl or a “look at me being charming!” smile. I’m just hoping that after two weeks of soul-infused holleration, next week will find Casey dialing it back a bit and proving he can bring to the big stage the stellar chops he showcased on his Hollywood Week cover of “Georgia on My Mind.”

Should Sail to Safety Without Winning Over New Fans: Stefano Langone, Scotty McCreery
Here was a study in opposites: Producer Don Was kept Scotty precisely in his lane with a straightforward country rendition of Garth Brooks’ “The River,” but the vocal itself was solid, not spectacular. Scotty’s tone and pitch are all there, but he has a tendency to rush through his verses, and he frequently fails to support his notes, trailing off at the ends of lines while Bandzilla continues to blast away. Stefano, on the other hand, threw everything into his vocal on Stevie Wonder’s “Lately,” but producer Polow Da Don saddled him with a completely absurd arrangement of stuttery beats and random tempo changes that sucked all the beauty out of the competition in question. One of the problems for the judges this season is that — with Jimmy Iovine and his team so heavily in the mix — they’re not just critiquing the contestants, but also the industry veterans who they may potentially cross paths with during their off-Idol hours.

Best in Show: Pia Toscano, James Durbin
Two weeks running, Pia has delivered a Big Diva Vocal that’s hovered over her opponents like that gigantic spacecraft in the posters for 1996’s blockbuster Independence Day. Granted, Eric Carmen’s utterly depressing ballad has been done to death (and frequently attributed to Celine Dion) on the Idol stage, but Pia brings such effortlessness to even the most ostentatious moments — the big key change! the final glory note! — that I often find myself inadvertently raising a Gospel hand and nodding my head in approval. Yeah, so maybe the girl hit one or two slightly wonky notes in the midst of the repetitive chorus, but if “All By Myself” is a dragon of a ballad, Pia ended her performance by lopping off its head and raising her bloodied sword in the air. Jennifer’s “SMDH” response was spot-on. Pia’s got it! [Side note: While we’re on the theme of 1996, it’s worth pointing out that was the year Celine released her “All By Myself” cover. And while I do have a little concern about Pia’s radio relevancy in 2011, let’s not forget she was pretty rock solid on the au courant “Grenade” during Hollywood group rounds.]

Still, the performance of the night goes to James Durbin, a contestant whose Hollywood Week screeching made me predisposed to dislike, but who has been blooming into a damn fine performer since Idol reached the big stage this season. James missed barely a note of “Maybe I’m Amazed,” didn’t overdo it with the vocal acrobatics, and moreso than any other singer tonight, interpreted his lyrics in a haunting and intimate way; I got the impression James sat down and read Paul McCartney’s words a good number of times before he ever picked up a mic and started singing ’em. As Steven pointed out, James took everything he’s ever felt and put it into a song, and the slightly Ryan Tedder-y mix put together  by Jim Jonsin added a radio-ready twist to the number. Maybe it was the haircut. Maybe it was the shunting of the unfortunate Na’vi tail. Or maybe I’m a man who’s in the middle of becoming a James Durbin fan. Color me amazed.

And now let’s get the grades for tonight’s performances.

James Durbin: A-
Pia Toscano: A-
Casey Abrams: B
Naima Adedapo: B
Scotty McCreery: B
Lauren Alaina: B-
Stefano Langone: B-
Haley Reinhart: B-
Ashthon Jones: C
Paul McDonald: C-
Thia Megia: D
Karen Rodriguez: D
Jacob Lusk: D-

What did you think of the Wednesday night performance show? Which contestants were your favorites? Which disappointed you most? Sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol coverage, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.

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. hooch says:

    My thoughts on the night :
    LAUREN – I thought she did better than the judges gave her credit for. It seemed they were told to tone down their previous over-praise of her. She’s got star power and I think she’s stronger than Carrie Underwood was at this stage of the competition. And as for her reaction, you really could see she’s just a kid. It was pretty age appropriate and shows 15/16 maybe is just too young.
    CASEY – Not my fav of his, but I actually never loved this song that much. I’m still a big fan of him though.
    ASHTON – Gorgeous dress, she looked amazing. Didn’t love the rest, I just dont think her voice is that pretty. Boring song. Really wish Lauren T had taken her spot.
    PAUL – He needs a band behind him because the flailing around is starting to look crazy by himself. I don’t think this was a great song for him, but I still love him.
    PIA – Wow, sparkly! This song always makes me think of Bridget Jones doing drunk karaoke at the company christmas party. Agree with Randy that she can actually pull off these big power ballads which is rare.
    JAMES – Really Great! He’s definitely growing on me. I thought he had good phrasing and totally nailed it.
    HALEY – The faces and affectations are still annoying, but I’m sorry, I think she has a really good voice. That’s not an easy song to sing. I liked her dress too.
    JACOB – This song needs to be banned on Idol. Why does he always look like he’s crying when he sings ?
    THIA – Very boring. Kid needs to start showing some personality and fast. Why was she crying after ? She needs a few more years to mature so she can take feedback better.
    STEFANO – Uh… interesting outfit. I thought it was a total mess. All over the place vocally. Not sure what the judges were hearing.
    KAREN – Wow, yeah, this version was so “rock/edgy”! So Beyonce! Um, no. Hated it. And that outfit was ridiculous.
    SCOTTY – Really saw the resemblance to George W. this time, which unfortunately makes him look kind of dumb. It wasn’t my favorite, kind of sleepy.
    NAIMA – I was shocked she picked this song, it’s so teeny bopper lame and she seems so interesting! I think it would be hard for anyone to make this song sound good live, but it was seriously pitchy. Oh and “overstand” is not a word!

    My picks to go home : Any of Ashton, Thia, Karen, or Jacob.
    No real favorite of the night. No one blew me away. Maybe James or Lauren.

    • chistosa says:

      Agree on the majority of your assessments. But I think that Thia delivered the worst performance of the evening. No connection to the lyrics, no stage presence, for me she ruined the song.

      Disagree on Lauren as well. I thought she was terrible. I don’t deny that she has a good voice but her performance was all over the place and I don’t think she has the emotional maturity to deal with even constructive criticism. She came across as petulant and whiny.

      • Hooch says:

        I don’t think her performance was the best she’s done, but “terrible”? I liked it, but I also really like that song, which I can’t really say for anything else I heard tonight, so maybe that’s why.
        We actually totally agree on her reaction to the criticism. When I said it was “age appropriate”, I really meant “to be expected, based on her age”. Combine her immaturity with her super outgoing personality, and there you go. She did come across as whiny and I hate when people say “well I had fun!”, but I think she just doesn’t have the maturity to respond with something, well, “mature” on the spot and she deserves some lee-way for that. Hopefully she’ll get better with age (and if her Momma has some kind of PR session with her)

        • GingerSnap says:

          Honestly, I’ve seen Lauren’s performance 3 times. I gave her higher marks the first time around then I do now. JLo’s comment is apt. She’s got such a big voice, she “doesn’t have to try.” But she’s going into a tough business. She DOES have to try. The vocals were sloppy, especially at the beginning. Less talented people this season are singing their a**es off (Stefano, for example). And taking much harsher criticism than she has.

          Her reaction is typical of a little girl who’s never been criticized. Thia and Lauren are too young for this type of pressure. Scotty seems more mature, more confident, and more established in his singing style. AI would have done both these girls a big favor if they told them to try again in a couple of years. We’re going to have watch each of these girls meltdown in their own way. It’s not going to be pretty.

    • agrimesy says:

      Ditto . . . totally agree with everything you said.

    • Kel says:

      I agree about Lauren. I think she is young, and she’s never really been critiqued because she is so talented. I really do hope that after watching the performance and a little pep talk from her momma, she’ll learn this is part of growing as a singer. You just gotta smile and take it. If she continues to do the pouting, she won’t last. It’s not flattering for her.

    • DCGuy says:

      I think she made up “overstand” to emphasize that she REALLY understood what the judges were saying.

    • JLo'sLipstick says:


    • djm says:

      Here’s my take:

      Lauren – OMG, talk about WAY over-hyped. I think the producers should have signed her to a contract for AI Season 13 and let her sit and brew for a bit. Sorry, but she’s too immature for this show and the baby-talk is going to over-shadow anything she can do vocally for me every time – and I suspect I am not alone in this.

      Casey – whatever. I’m with Slezak – take it down a few notches.

      Ashton – BARF. Sorry, she’s got a great look but I have HATED the tone of her voice since day 1.

      Paul – someone gouge my eyes out and plug my ears STAT! By far the worst performance of the night – and even though I know all the “cougars” out there are copin a moisty over him, I hope the tweens worked their magic and he’s in the bottom 3 and possibly going home.

      Pia – goodness me. Stop the insanity woman! Not ever song needs to be screamed – in tone or not.

      James – again, there doesn’t need to be screaming in every song. Show me you can take it down about 10 notches and maybe then I’ll be a fan. Having said that – he was the best of the night.

      Haley – OK, so what is it? R&B diva or Country gurl? You can’t have it both ways – especially on AI. If Leann Rhimes is your “personal Idol” then stick to country.

      Jacob – sorry, I so hate R Kelley and that song that I actually fell asleep during his performance.

      Thia – my partner woke me up at the end of her and hit rewind. I liked the tone of her voice – the rest I barely remember – wasn’t it remixed or something?

      Stefano – I don’t really see him as a gay club disco dude, but I thought his voice sounded good. I’ll have to listed to the song on iTunes to see if I like the mix.

      Karen – sorry, the telemundo comment is spot on – I am sure her latino fans are eating her up, but I think I’ll pass on this plate of refried beans.

      Scotty – if this was Todlers & Tiara’s he’d win for his age group. Sorry, he is just WAY too affected. He claims he;s “just bein’ me” but something tells me his idea of “me” is what he’s practiced in the mirror over and over and over again. Nothing about him or his performance seems “real” – it just seems like it’s been practiced and rehearsed – in a bad way.

      Naima – well, I am torn here. I like that she did something current – I mean with all of the Etta and Ella comparisons I was worried that there would be a place for her in the current market. So BRAVO to her for doing current and showing a different side. However, I agree with whoever said she should skip the dancing and focus on the vocals. Having said that, I like her voice best – it’s interesting – and so is she, but I think if she sticks around a bit longer she’ll hopefully improve.

      My top 3: James, Stefano & Naima

      My bottom: Ashton, PAUL, and Hailey. I would be fine with any of them going home but I hope it’s Paul.

      • dgman says:

        ^^^”copin a moisty” ! Is this what I think it means!!! Then what does “Play misty for me” refer to…very funny post…as well as being spot on.

      • TS says:

        Yes – there does need to have ‘screaming’ in Maybe I’m Amazed. That’s part of the song!

    • Fay says:

      Overstanding emerged as a word from the global hip hop culture, to help portray an ethic of entrepeneurialism , self sufficiency, and sustainability. It is also commonly used in Rastafari culture, in place of understand. Rastafarians believe that to truly comprehend something you must overstand, not understand it.

    • Phoenix says:

      “Overstand is very much a word and one of power at that. Just because its not a word created by a bunch of europeans at a desk. Needless to say, it means to be OVER/ELEVATED mentally above what is to be comprehended not “under” it. So Hooch, you will find you can have a more positive state by simply using positive words. ONE LOVE!

    • tina says:

      I really liked Naima’s performance. While it wasn’t a clean as I would have liked, I love that she went for it brought a freshness to Idol. much like when Blake Lewis took on Bon Jovi and Adam Lambert’s Ring of Fire. I just looked going, WWHHAAAT!! That was differnt, but I kind of liked it!!

  2. darclyte says:

    Lauren: Not good at all. She seemed out of breath right when she started. Her voice was weak throughout and just had no fire. AI has been pimping her as the next Kelly Clarkson, and then I guess because she’s from Georgia and perhaps told them that she wants to sing country that they started calling her the next Carrie Underwood. Kelly Clarkson apparently compared her to Kellie Pickler. I wouldn’t even call this performance the next Katie Stevens (the 16 year old from last year.) Just weak and uninspired. If she wasn’t “The Chosen One,” I think the judges would have really come down on her a LOT more than they did.

    Casey: Sounded good when he sang. Over enunciated some words (like frey-ends) but on the whole it was enjoyable.

    Ashthon: The comparison last week to Diana Ross was bad because it was more about her look than her voice if you ask me. If you’re gonna sing Diana Ross, sing something that was a hit, not something mostly obscure. With Idol, HALF the battle is performing a song that people know and like. Or if not, you gotta hit it out of the park. She did neither.

    Paul: Same thing as Ashthon. Ryan Adams just isn’t well known here, and NOBODY knows this song. His soft vocals just came across as weak and flat.

    Pia: Why did she wear a shower curtain as a cape? It turned her outfit into a mullet. Like Siobhan from last season, I’m afraid that she’s gonna be a victim of her too early success. Siobhan fell into always wanting to “scream,” and Pia it seems is gonna always want to hit “glory notes” throughout the song, not just at the end. She didn’t sing much of the song, just the chorus over and over. Meh.

    James: He seemed like he was trying to be Adam Lambert 2.0, but after the past 2 weeks, he’s moved into the top for me. Very nice voice, nice
    control, nice range, and good performance. Best of the night.

    Haley: I don’t like her and how she likes to growl and oversing. That said, she did neither here, and actually showed some vocal prowess with the yodeling. Not really my cup of tea, and she almost sabotaged herself by talking to the crowd right before the first words, and then quickly had to hit the opening yodel and sorta missed it because of that. She did better as it went on. Not my fav, but better than some others so she should be safe.

    Jacob: Off key several times. Not his best, but not the worst of the night.

    Thia: Yeesh. I didn’t like her until last week, and now she’s back in the dog house. Just uninspired and boring, and the “jazzy” second half of the song just didn’t work with her singing it. Her vocal affectations came out here and there, but it was like she too tried to catch lighting in a bottle from last week and even worse than Pia she dropped the bottle and it shattered.

    Stefano: Had a white guy not won the past 3 years, he might be a front runner. Nice looking kid, great personality, nice tone to his voice. It was fun and entertaining even if not 100% perfect.

    Karen: Like Ashthon and Paul she picked a song that not many people know. I’m sorry but outside a fairly small group, Selena just wasn’t very popular and 16 years after her tragic death, nobody much really gives a crap other than J-Lo and the Hispanic viewers. She once again performed based on the Celine Dion guidebook and it just seems like she’s performing for a Telemundo telethon and not AI.

    Scotty: A little off here and there and like Lauren he has vocal drop off where it just seemed like his voice trailed off at times, but nowhere near as badly as she did. He only seemed to have that near the start, but by the end this was probably the 2nd best performance of the night.

    Naima: She also almost sabotaged herself with her dancing. She needs to just focus on singing and neither dancing nor “performing” the song like she did last week. Overall though it was entertaining.

    I’d rank Jacob, Scotty, Stefano, Casey and Naima in that order for the top.

    For the bottom I’d go with Karen, Paul, Thia, Ashthon and Lauren. There’s almost no way that the producers will allow Lauren to be in the bottom 3 this early. I think the actual bottom 3 will be Ashthon, Paul, and Thia. Going home will probably be Paul as I think tweens will vote for Thia, Ashthon will get the votes from the black viewers, and Karen will get the votes from Hispanic viewers. Idol does NOT want a “WGWG” – aka “White Guy With Guitar” anywhere near the finally, and I think he probably has a smaller fan base than the other guys.

    But, if it was up to ME and I had the power to send someone home, I’d have to seriously think about Thia or Karen because they were probably the worst of the night, but I’d actually probably boot Ashthon only because she barely got in as a Wild Card. I think Ashthon, Karen, and Thia don’t have any more to offer than what they’ve already shown, so in a 34/33/33 split I’d kick off Ashthon because Karen & Thia made the Top by audience votes while Ashthon was added by the judges.

    • darclyte says:

      Whoops, nice typo there. The should be “anywhere near the finale.” Too early, brain not engaged.

    • Yo says:

      Steven T’s respsonse to Lauren A. demonstrated why fifteen-year-olds should not be in this competition: It’s like squishing a puppy. LA made it hard for him and I expect she will continue to do so.

    • Sally in Chicago says:

      Karen is limiting herself by sticking with Latino/Hispanic songs and singers….the White public won’t like that and vote her out.

      Disagree about Naima: she was the most contemporary and tried to make some stage moves. This girl has a future in music.

      Thia: Agree totally. She doesn’t belong here. Remember the voice coach and Thia? The voice coach was right.

      Casey needs to step up his looks. He looks like a drunken bum with the beard and the hair. At least James got a haircut. Casey doesn’t dress like he wants to be a star.

    • lukien says:

      Sometimes you Americans are very ignorant … Diana Ross’ wytmtylm was a big hit in UK, Europe & Asia. If I’m not mistaken the song was sung as a group number in AI a few years back. If it wasn’t a hit in America doesn’t mean it was obsecure. Then again … this is AI, so back to you ignorant people to judge.
      Actually I prefer contestants to sing songs that I’ve never heard before or songs I’m not really familiar with, so I can appreciate it more instead of songs that bore me to a quarter death (sorry Celine Dion … and I still prefer Crystal’s Maybe I’m Amazed than James’)
      That’s why I enjoyed Paul’s Come Pick Me Up very much. Perhaps his singing performance isn’t everyone’s cup of joe, but the tune is catchy and enjoyable. Vocal gymnastics won’t win you AI nowadays, take not Pia, Casey, James & poor Jacob.
      Two years ago people were outraged with many gay slurs thrown at His Majesty the Queen, but today many of the same people made the gay remarks toward Jacob, why? Double standards much?
      I find Jacob is more sincere and human rather than the other attention-seeker queen.
      Anywho, I love Naima, just wish she could sing a lil better. And Scotty will win the whole thing.

  3. Carlaria says:

    Anyone notice the irony of Stefano singing a song with lyrics “..this time might mean goodbye”? Love him, though.

  4. Maria says:

    Jacob Lusk howling like a Muggle getting hit with the Cruciatus Curse.

    Thank you for this simile. It made my morning.

    • melikey says:

      LMAO! I almost fell from my chair reading that… and well, most of the article!!! So entertainingly put, Mr. Slezak!
      BTW, I pretty much agree with every thing you said. My only disagreement is about Pia. Yes, she has the big diva voice but I felt her delivery was very mechanical/technical and didn’t connect with it at all.

    • Shannon says:

      lol, agreed! I’m such a sucker for Harry Potter references. Especially creative and hilarious ones.

    • Leigh says:

      Jacob took it all the way to Ebeneezer Baptist Church where he proceeded to shatter the stained glass windows, cause the congregations ears to bleed while the Reverend prayed for mercy.

  5. Jake says:

    I love your Idol recaps, Slezak, and agree with much of this one. I definitely agree Pia and James were best in show last night. I thought Pia was stunning, both visually and in her near-perfect technical rendition of “All By Myself,” and James displayed incredible range and was spot on both in terms of pitch and emotional authenticity. I loved Casey Abrams as well – he wasn’t far behind.

    My big gripe with your review is the (mild) love for Naima. I thought she was a complete disaster. While I do give her props for originality and gutting out her mess of a performance, her vocals were probably the worst of the night, her dancing was distracting (though not as bad as Paul), and the arrangement was basically incoherent. She should be in serious trouble, and I have a hunch she won’t break the Top 10. At least hope not…

  6. kts63 says:

    so with you on Laura–I wanted to smack her when she started pouting. I get that with Nigel shoving her down our throats she thought she was a shoe-in for the finale…but I don’t actually feel sorry for her that she’s now discovering that she actually has to perform, perform well…and that it would help if the audience liked her. And they did not. And why the audience was all-fired-hot about Scotty I do not understand. Yes he sang well-but wow, that was a boring-ass song.

    • Yo says:

      I think Scot is so distinctive and on point that by the time he sings he is as refreshing as spring wind.

    • GingerSnap says:

      Scotty is going to last a long time in this competition. I’m not a country fan, but I appreciate the talent he has. He’s just has a great voice. He appeals to that fan base – base that is going to mobilize themselves and keep him going. I don’t have a problem with him hanging around until the top 5 or 6. I get his style more than Paul McD, who should be going home after last night’s performance.

  7. Babs says:

    Favorites: Pia Toscano, James Durbin, Stefano Langone, Thia Megia, Naima Adedapo

    Worst: Jacob Lusk, Karen Rodriguez, Ashthon Jones

  8. PopVulture says:

    I think Paul will go. I don’t WANT him to go, certainly not before MySpace Contestant Karen R or Ashthon, but I think you overestimate his fan base. I doubt the tweeners with speed dial (or who keep clicking online) appreciate his quirks the way grown-ups do.

    I hope I’m wrong!

    • darclyte says:

      I agree that I think Paul could go as I bet he has a smaller fan base to help him out even if he is better than Karen and Ashthon.

    • julie says:

      Paul has more followers on twitter than all the S10 contestants except Scotty and his old band’s album is on the Billboard Heat Seekers chart, so I think he actually has a pretty strong fanbase — much stronger than most of the girls (aside from Pia and maybe Lauren). I doubt he is going home anytime soon, even if last night’s performance was pretty weak.

      • GingerSnap says:

        Paul has a fan base. He will be around maybe longer than some better performers. But that performance last night was hideous. It’s early enough in the competition that it’s no big loss if someone else leaves before him (Ashthon, Karen). It would be problematic if he stays, and someone like Stefano, Jacob, or Lauren gets sent home before him. He’s not that good.

  9. the Ricker says:

    Totally agree about Jacob. I cringed when he said his musical idol was R. Kelley. REALLY? Choir boy Jacob worships a criminal? Karen R. was awful, and Lauren’s pout was well, pouty and immature, and annoying. I can’t imagine those girls get along very well. They are all so different, in personality as well as maturity. Fav of the night: Naima for being current, real, and cool.

  10. j. christopher says:

    so let me get this straight…Karen’s idol is Selena?
    wow, who saw that coming?
    If she stays another week, maybe she can sing “La Bamba” or “Feliz Navidad”…

    and hopefully Jacob can remain one more week so we can see him do “Its Raining Men” in full drag…

    • dctoronto says:

      There is something about him that makes me think he’d make a great 1970’s era Gladys Knight.

    • dctoronto says:

      There is something about him that makes me think he’d make a great 1970’s era Gladys Knight.

    • SF says:

      Hahaha, that was hilarious. I feel the exact same way about Karen, BIG surprise that she picked Selena.

    • hooch says:

      LoL @ “Feliz Navidad”.
      Totally — I guessed she would sing a JLo song but considering JLo PLAYED Selena in the movie, it’s almost the same thing. When she said, my idol is Selena, it was like “of course it is”.
      If she insists on sticking with the Latin Idol approach, I wish she’d picked Shakira — that would have been unexpected and at least relevant.

    • ginaM says:

      JLo better watch out. Karen’s favorite artist next week could be her hubby Marc Anthony.

    • M Monroe says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks that Jacob looks and sounds like a drag queen out of his costume. I can’t stand his over-the-top runs and variations. I screamed at the TV when he said “R. Kelly was his idol” and then I threatened to turn off the TV when he said he was singing I Can Fly. And why the frickin’ gospel choir if he’s going to invent an entire new so-called melody line. What were those notes he was singing? It was NOT music to my ears!

  11. Delon says:

    Lauren: Age inappropriate song choice. insincere 3/10

    Casey: Way too much woo-hoo, way too little soul 5/10

    Ashton: So weak. The weakest diva ever on AI. 1/10

    Paul: Spastic uncle. Listenable voice. 6/10

    Pia: Diva to beat. 8/10

    James: Competent voice, but little boring. 8/10

    Hayley: Sexy mama. 7/10

    Jacob: Too off-key, too much. 4/10

    Thia: Beautiful tone 7/10

    Stefano: Best male this season. 9/10

    Karen: Harmless, charmless. 4/10

    Scotty: Best country male ever on AI. 8/10

    Naima: Boldest. Freshest. 9/10

    • darclyte says:

      Hasn’t EVERY song choice of Lauren’s since Hollywood Week (as well as her performance of each song) been age inappropriate?

      • stevenjaba says:

        Agreed. She’s talking about her man teasing and squeezing her? Let’s pray she doesn’t actually know a thing about that. Ick.

      • The Ween says:

        And the too-sexy-for-anyone-under-18 clothes she wears? And the ridiculous flirtation with Ryan/Steven? I’m sorry, this girl’s parents are NOT doing their jobs.

        And I’m sorry again, Jacob Lusk may be amazing or something, but I find him annoying beyond belief. It’s like he went to a class called Gospel It Up 101 and is going through a checklist.

        And Pia. She lost me just picking Celine Dion’s version of that song. She does have an amazing voice, but the beauty pageant posture and the way she answers questions are beyond aggravating.

        I really want to have someone to root for! I was happy to suffer through last season just to listen to Mamasox. Right now for me, it’s Casey. I wish I had three or four I was really happy with, like in Season 8 (best! season! ever!).

        • Meggy says:

          Agree about Season 8 being the best season ever! But I’m loving this new season too. Glad Smarmy Simon is gone.

      • Sally in Chicago says:

        Where is Simon when we need him….remember saying, you’re young, sing a song for a young person. Surprised that Randy didn’t pick up on that.

      • CMJ says:

        I can’t figure out who I want to smack around more. Lauren for her pouty act, and her “Peaches” remark (bile in the the mouth with each time she says that). I’m hoping that she’ll be eliminated in the next two weeks (wishful I know), not only so that she does NOT win, but that she doesn’t even make the tour. Or do I want to smack her parents around for encouraging such behavior. She ain’t cute, darlin’ she’s annoying.

    • Ashroh says:

      Agree with all of this! -except Naima. oh no. I’d give her a 4 or 5 out of 10. it was awful!!!!!! but I appriciate that she’s trying to make things current.

    • Agustin says:


    • Cy says:

      Wow, perfectly put on all counts! (and so succinct too~) I totally agree.

  12. stevenjaba says:

    Great recap. I, like you Michael, am finding myself amazed at becoming a James Durbin fan. I’m not completely on board yet, but he’s really impressed the last 2 weeks. I do disagree with you on Jacob. Given the material he was working with, I thought he sung it well. That said, it does concern me that he considers R Kelly someone he wants to model himself after. Shudder.

  13. dj says:

    You nailed it. 100% agree. Last night was the first time I really missed Simon’s ability to cut through the BS.

    • Suncatcher says:

      As Slezak pointed out, the judges are judging with 1 hand tied behind their backs as they are now also judging the PRODUCERS’ arrangements. These are fairly big gun producers – with whom they work or will work. Ergo, the judges are all walking on glass with any criticisms. Bummer.

      • SunnyMD says:

        Totally agree….Who bites the hand that feeds them?
        This is the worst produced idol season ever!! Mostly horrible song choices and the arrangements are something that someone MAY have liked 60 years ago. The whole show is boring. I really miss the celebrity mentors. God help us if this doesn’t get any better. I hope the kids/idols get up enough nerve to tell these “producers” enough already….but I know that won’t happen if the Judges themselves won’t.

      • Mary says:

        That may be true, but I thought the producers arrangements sucked. I think they may do more harm than good. The judges need to call it like it is. If they are there to truly help they should arrange to there style. If these producers are in charge of today’s music, no wonder why 90% of music on the radio stinks.

  14. defiant says:

    Scotty, James, Naima,Stefano, no particular order..not picked a favorite yet

  15. jason says:

    oh goodness!! i always agree with slezak. but i’m a bit more optimistic about last night. i thought it was one of the best opening shows yet! i don’t think there was anybody that just fell apart….everybody had some really good moments.
    i think this is going to turn out to be a really great year! i’m excited about it!!

    • Yo says:

      I thought the majority of them fell apart. Staying in tune untimately made or broke the performance, b/c about eight of them didn’t. It was a sorry spectacle and I don’t think it was the fault of the contestants: If they want good performances at night the performers should NOT be singing five times the same day; The contestants peak earlier.

    • maggie says:

      I thought most of them fell apart. Really weak start to the finals. James was really good, Naima was very entertaining, Scotty and Pia were strong vocally but boring as hell. The others were pretty much mediocre to really bad.

    • Buster Cretin says:

      I agree with the positive attitude. If Durban can mature that much in two weeks then we might have a really great season! There are a few singers who might really gain momentum over the weeks. Remember how thrilling it was to watch David Cook go from dude with horrible hair to Rock God? It’s not nearly as fun if everyone comes out polished and ready!

      • Scarlett says:

        Man,David was great. What a transformation. That WAS thrilling and what AI should be about.

      • Sharon says:

        I loved watching every minute of David Cook’s transformation. Makes me miss the good ol’ days of Idol. The show went straight downhill after that season.

      • JenR says:

        I agree. I like to see the journey. I think that since the contestants have now grown up with the show, we will never see a diamond in the rough again. Sigh.

  16. Yo says:

    That show were just awful; the producers did their darnedest to kill off the contestants. I may have to play on line Scrabble on Wednesday nights.

  17. Leila says:

    Awesome recap, I was afraid you were going to defend Paul McDonald’s absurd performance, so I’m glad you praised Pia and James instead.

    Bottom three may be Ashton, Karen and Lauren or Paul.

  18. Genie says:

    Who knew James had control and restraint? His performance was vulnerable and strong and sweet. He was the best of the night by far and surprisingly so, it was nice to witness. Week to week this is anyone’s game.

    I loved what Naima was going for, it was hot. I was thinking the same thing the whole time I watched her and listened to her critique, she was better than Rhianna live. Most of Rhianna’s songs have weird timing and melodies, the song choice was risky but it was so fun to watch. Which is more than can be said for most of the other performances of the night.

    • Yo says:

      “Umbrella” has to be very difficult to sing b/c of lack of melody. I expected it to be terrible, but found Adaima very entertaining (and I usually don’t).

    • Tuzo says:

      I totally agree with everything you said. I’m starting to like James and a few weeks ago I didn’t think that was possible. I would like to see him keep dialing it down and tap into some real emotions instead of the over the top histrionics (although I do like those once and a while).

      I really enjoyed Naima’s performance. It was far from perfect (and still better than Rhianna live) but it was actually the only performance on the show that felt like could be a “real” performance from a real artist and not a good performance on a reality TV show. It was a huge risk and I think she mostly succeeded. Compare Naima’s results to a similar attempt (current song with some dancing) of Jordan Dorsey performing OMG. I thought she was entertaining where it would have been easy to crash and burn. Actually I’m trying to think of who else on the show could pull off a similar performance and the only person I can think of is Casey (and that’s just because it seems like he can do anything). Plus it was the first time I could understand the words to Umbrella so I have to give props for that.

  19. Ablo says:

    I had, alas, expected a better show.

  20. Jake says:

    Jason –

    I agree, I’m more optimistic about this season as well. Other than Naima, no absolute disasters. Some weak performances and some very good ones, but overall respectable first night.

  21. CMJ says:

    Santa Maria! Please take Karen. Amen.

  22. Jen says:

    As usual your assessment is spot on, Michael. I thought Karen was horrible and it burns me up that she got a spot over Kendra. I don’t really LOVE anyone so far. Maybe someone will grow on me eventually.

  23. Pat says:

    Lauren may have some talent but that performance was the epitome of bad kareoke. She always has such an attitude of entitlement and her feigned hurt looks and words are laughable. The judges had better get their act together soon, these contestants need some constructive criticism!

  24. Ken says:

    I thought James Durbin was the only “downloadable,” which is how my wife and I rate the night. Last year we downloaded many early-week songs (Katelyn, Lilly, Didi, Alex…). I like Casey a lot, but it’s time for him to “sing.” Two growly, shouty performances in a row is one too many. If Simon were here (and I am not the big Simon fan that some are), he would have skewered Casey this week and last for being shouty, screechy and probably his old stand-by, self indulgent. I think Karen or Ashton will go home, but Jacob, Paul and Thia are at risk.

    • GingerSnap says:

      Neither Paul or Thia are at risk. But Karen and Ashthon, definitely.
      Paul should be at risk, Thia not so much. The judges weren’t that unhappy with her performance, but she seems to think she tanked it. Not so. She was better than Lauren and Jacob.

  25. Sasha says:

    TOTALLY dug the Harry Potter reference!

  26. Marta says:

    I’m already tired of this “We have producers helping us!” thing. While its intent was to produce viable recording artists after Idol, it could very well kill the show in my opinion. And now that we know they’re working extra hard to pump out iTunes versions the next day- there is even more reason to believe that the emphasis won’t be where it should be– the live performances. Anyone who heard the AWFUL backing tracks overpowering the singing tonight knows that. Rickey Minor must be rolling his eyes as he watches this “live” music…

    Lauren (and Thia) revealed tonight that they cannot take criticism. I’d be embarrassed as a parent if my teen pouted and displayed the sense of entitlement they both did tonight. Teens on Idol can either hang with the crowd, or they can’t…and when they receive their first negative critique is when they are truly tested. Makes you appreciate the maturity and grace of Jordin Sparks and Archuleta, eh? Never once saw a pouty lip on either of them and look how bright they shined.

    • Mary says:

      People need to cut down on this whole ‘ganging up on Lauren’ parade. I will admit that while I latched on to Lauren as my favorite this year that just wasn’t her best performance and that being said I think she needs to tackle singers with voices a lot bigger than Shania’s! As for the pouty lip, come on give her a break she’s only 16 which means she’s still a child so there is no need for you Michael to poke fun at her the way you did! I think she handled it pretty gracefully after all and as much as I would have loved for Simon to be in the mix, it’s a good thing he isn’t as Lauren would have made last year’s Didi Benami (after delivering a rather mediocre rendition of Lean On Me) look like the very epitome of composure! Plus, the critique Lauren received wasn’t negative per say, they just want her to truly show off her big voice and now it’s teh second time in a row she’s done a mediocre country ditty by singers that are, at least vocally, below the rich texture her voice is capable of! Lay off Lauren everybody, she’s just holding back, I am sure she will bring it if America votes her through to the next round that is!

      • Ablo says:

        You can’t use the she’s only 16 excuse for her. She doesn’t get special rules because she’s young.

        AI did her wrong —

        1. They shouldn’t let singers that young in the competition — they aren’t ready (see Thia for confirmation).

        2. They oversold her — it creates a backlash which isn’t fair, but they (AI) had to know it going in.

      • Maybelle says:

        @ Mary. Listen, if a child of 15/16 can have the maturity to get up there and sing then they darn well need to have the maturity to take the critism. This excuse that Lauren A. is only 16 doesn’t cut the muster here. Everything that has been said about her is true. The pouting is not attractive, and she needs to learn to take the critism along with the praise. I do feel for her in the regards that she has been cram down our throats since day one and alot of people do not care for her because of that. Her attitude does not help it. Who ever is her stylist really needs to find clothes that doesn’t make her look bigger than she is. Her outfit the last few times were awful.

        • stevenjaba says:

          Maybelle – I believe you mixed your metaphors – it’s “pass muster” or “cut the mustard”.

          • Maybelle says:

            Stevenjaba you are so right. I did get those two metaphors mixed up. It didn’t help when I had a 2 year old pushing my computer buttons either. LOL

        • CMJ says:

          you go Maybelle!

        • deb says:

          Remember, Allison Iraheta was 16, too. Big difference in maturity between the two girls.

          • Becca says:

            Nope, not really! Allison was just as goofy as Lauren. ;-)Needless of me to poing out Allison’s first very awkward interview with Seacrest! I am rooting for Lauren all the way and not just because she’s from my home state of Georgia! Peaches all the way! Stop the HATE, none of you will be selling millions so you might just as well declare a moratorium on her attitude right now! Lauren will take the crown this year and I am sorry but I am not feeling Casey at all, he isn’t exactly different from Taylor Hicks (who just won his seventh Grammy NOT!!!)

          • Kat says:

            Becca, Allison was goofy, but she still handled the competition in a much more mature fashion than Lauren has been. Allison could take criticism, shrug off any hurt feelings and either defend herself or use it to improve her performances. She was sometimes endearingly awkward (“I’m not cutting myself or anything”) but she never gave off an entitled vibe. She never seemed presumptuous. She never acted obnoxiously flirty with anyone. Lauren’s got a great voice, but her immaturity makes me hope she’ll be voted out early. I wish her the best, but at this point, I do not want her to continue much further on American Idol. Hopefully she’ll change my mind…we’ll see!

          • stevenjaba says:

            Agree 100% Kat

        • Mary says:

          And why exactly should her size be of any importance and there is nothing wrong with what you all refer to as ‘pouting’. And how how come Slezak is picking up on it now, does anyone remember Allison Iraheta (whom he and I love dearly) going all ”Poeple don’t like me?” after Simon had once again told her she had no personality??? She does NOT flirt with Steven Tyler, don’t you people know the difference between being outgoing and flirting and ‘Oh my gosh, how is will she ever get to heaven now (sarcasm, in case you haven’t noticed) that she was excited to find out her an Ryan were from the same state and she actually ‘dared’ to call him ‘Peaches’? Lauren’s voice is fantastic and yes she would be even better were she to receive professional training! Trust me she handled the criticism gracefully, do any of you remember Siobhan Magnus (whom I am very fond of as well) having to defend herself over and over after being slammed by Simon? She was just under 20 as well and now why does Lauren have to take all the flack and why does everybody on here seem to be so hell-bent on bashing teenagers, maybe y’alls time in High School was a disaster to be reckoned with, huh? There is NOTHING wrong with her attitude, absolutely nothing and she could sing the phonebook and knock it out the box! Leave her alone!!!!

          • Maybelle says:

            Now Mary calm your butt down sister. You are bias when it comes to your precious Lauren A. so it isn’t like you can see what THE REST OF AMERICA SEES. And that is ok. Just don’t be telling others to leave her alone, ok? You think NOTHING is wrong with her attitude? Really? So her coming on to Steven is ok? So her wearing low cut blouses are ok? Are you for real? If Lauren can’t take the heat she needs to get out of the kitchen!!! And maybe you should too.

          • Michelle R. says:

            Where to start? She’s very pretty, maybe even beautiful but she’s a bigger girl — the clothes she wears makes her look eerily like a certain muppet. She could wear different clothes and be stunning.

            She pretty much gave Steven Tyler a lap dance during group. He didn’t know whether to praise her or stick a dollar bill in her pants.

      • ashley says:

        I don’t care if she’s only 16 — last night she came off as a pouty entitled little girl. There have been a lot of 16 year olds on Idol who have gotten far harsher criticism from the AI judges — and most of them accepted the criticism with far more grace and maturity than Lauren did.

        Newsflash for Miss Lauren: You aren’t anywhere near as talented as Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood. And if you can’t take the mild criticism you got from the AI judges, you are in for a major shock if/when you become an actual recording artist.

        • Becca says:

          Take it from me folks, Miss Alaina is in for the long haul and if America gets it right this young lady won’t be votted off the show any time soon! I feel really sorry for everybody who thinks she comes off as a pouty little girl. She has earned her spot in the Top 13 and even though I am well aware that it’s still a long and winding road to the Idol finale there is only thing I am sure off and that is that we’ll see a lot of Lauren whether she be named the Idol or not, the country music industry’s already got stock in this girl. If handled correctly, she could become the next Carrie Underwood & Miranda Lambert (Yes, I see a lot of Ran in her. Moving on to what I would mostly call ‘Les Misérables’ of tonight’s show I would like to take a closer look at each contestant (I’ll try to stick to the order they performed in, not sure I can though)
          Lauren – Nuff said, she’s well on her way to becoming legendary. The Shania ditty may not have been the best song choice to show off her leviathan vocals but it was better than 90% of the karaoke performances witnessed last year. She’ll sail through (I HOPE SO, and even if she was flirting with Ryan, come on who wouldn’t have a crush on him, he can be pretty attractive and kind minus the occasional awkward moment or two)…
          Casey – I am not 100& sold on the man yet, I can see a pattern developping with him ”I am gonna ride the scruffy look growly vocals charade all the way to the finals and I am gonna steal a more talented person’s thunder by taking home the American Idol title.’ Ohter than that, I sort of found myself jamming along to his fun performance the other night, dude needs to take that leap out of his comfort zone and and change it up a little by maybe going for the gun ‘stead of the Swiss knife!
          Ashthon – she’s the kind of pretty girl you’re predisposed to dislike but contrary to popular opinion I really enjoy the diva attitude and although I received the package I was slightly appalled to find the box was empty – meaning the voice must have gotten lost somewhere near/around the borders. Sorry, she’ll be the first David Cook will have the pleasure of serenading tonight!
          James – Again, I am not a fan but saying he sucked would be a blatant lie, I was flabbergasted to see him do better than most of my favorite guys combined. I did, however, get the feeling he was trying too hard to recreate Adam Lambert’s Mad World what with starting off slow showing some restraint before heading into the chorus with a wail BUT he is improving and if he keeps this up, I won’t hold past abysmal performances against him! Is redemption in sight? Only time will tell.
          Jacob – Goodness gracious great balls of almost tinnitus! Let’s just say we were to encounter the abstract and personify the very word melody, so melody would unfortunately find itself exposed at the mercy of a plane piloted by Jacob Lusk and lo and behold, a crash is in sight and we’re talking full-on plummet to the ground!Now why did you have to do that Jacob. He needs to go STAT, I don’t care about his alleged gospel flourishes, there’s fine line betweeen screeching/oversinging and the sound of gospel music. Anybody else think they should have a vicar do the results to send him packing?
          Stefano – Not quite as remarkable as his Wildcard performance but pretty solid. Although I fear his vocal abilities might be limited.
          Thia – As far as baffling arrangements go, this was by far a stellar display of what inexperience can do to you on the Idol stage! Who talked her into that god-awful second part anyway. No, scratch that, who talked her into picking Smile anyway? She has a rich voice and her tessitura is indeed unique but I just didn’t get the song choice at all. She might be in danger tonight but I hope she’ll stick around longer to show us what she can do, she’s capable of so much more, even Ryan Seacrest likes her!
          Naima – It’s a hot hot mess! I almost feel sorry for her but that breathlessness isn’t gonna do her any favors. A for effort, F for breath placement! Her performances was epicly underwhelming and it left me killing the replay button her glorous Wildcard performance.
          Scotty – his voice sends shivers up and down my spine. Not much to be said other than he might just as well have the Opry induct him as their youngest member on the spot. Every once in a while America needs to witness brilliance and that is why Scotty is on that stage. ‘Baby lock the doors and turn the lighs down low…and get a taste of Mr. McCreery!
          Karen – Lovely woman, I admire her courage and the fact that she isn’t willing to hide behind a wall as far as her true roots are concerned, but that Selena song (with all due respect) served the sole purpose of reminding me why uptempo 90s ballads blow harder than a hairdryer. YIKES! Even Selena would be rolling in her grave…Adíos Karen Latina Rodriguez y bonita riddance!
          Paul – Goofalicious definition is Paul McDonald doing the shimmy on teh Idol stage!;-) Weirdly enough, I take immense pleasure in watching him perform.
          Haley – She was fantastic and I don’t get the Haley hate at all! The come hiterness quality to her is exactly what makes her interesting to me. There wasn’t a SINGLE wonky note in the mix and she delivered that song flawlessly, she’s a mix of country and R’nB.
          Pia – STUNNING! She was the best of the night by a mile, loved the mood of All By Myself (but then again, I adore the song so maybe I am not fit to judge! She hit all the notes perfectly and and I loved the slight note alteration avoiding Céline’s GLORY note at the end. As the French would say ‘elle était magnifique.’ ;-)

      • Buster Cretin says:

        Stop the hating people. The BEST thing Idle did was lower the age limit. Lauren and Thia will go far. They obviously are mature enough to handle the feedback so stop the whining. Lauren and Thia are your Top Too America so you better get ready. Hey dudes- just joking… Those two kids totally blow and I miss my dear Kendra dearly! Gotcha!

      • Kiki says:

        “As for the pouty lip, come on give her a break she’s only 16 which means she’s still a child.”

        She does not look like a child when she flirts with Steven Tyler. And the pouting was irritating. Just because you’re 16 doesn’t mean that you get to act like a 6 year-old.

      • GingerSnap says:

        First, Lauren needs to make better song choices. Last night, she chose the wrong song. Led to a bad performance.
        If she wants to be a star, she’s gonna have to listen this type of critique. She’s gonna have to adjust her song choices. She’s gonna have to give us something more than just a karoake performance.
        She’s not a professional. Sure, her family and friends have told her she’s great, the judges have told her she’s great (until last night). The difference between her and David A and Allison, is that both of them had been doing competitive singing for years before they did Idol. It toughens you up. She’s not tough. But that’s not an excuse for her behavior. She’s in the big leagues now.

    • Archie Fan says:

      Still love me my Little David!

  27. silkrose says:

    I can hardly wait until they can sing with their own instruments!

  28. agrimesy says:

    The most important thing Slezak said is this:

    “One of the problems for the judges this season is that — with Jimmy Iovine and his team so heavily in the mix — they’re not just critiquing the contestants, but also the industry veterans who they may potentially cross paths with during their off-Idol hours.”

    Since when do the majority of the top 13 actually take a step backwards in performance? The judges didn’t seem to notice or perhaps they just hemmed and hawed around the obvious. Something is off with the production team. All of this season’s contestants are better than the show made them out to be last night. When an entire classroom fails a test, there’s something wrong with the test NOT the students.

    • the real wendy says:

      I AGREE!! and its super-funny that Randy is the only one “keepin’ it real” since he is the least likely to ever work with anyone at all in the music business!! HaHa! Very spot-on Slezak!

    • Suncatcher says:

      @agrimesy – Exactly! I said the same thing. This new producer thing is a 2-edged sword. The judges cannot judge lest they offend the producer who worked with that particular singer. Not good and it changes the tone of the show. I think some of the producers really screwed up some of the singers last night with poor song choice and pushing their range & talents way too far. In all fairness, some of the producers brought out the best in some (James Durbin).

    • SunnyMD says:

      Totally agree here that all of the contestants are better than the show made them out to be last night. This is the worst produced idol show ever. Who do some of these song arrangements appeal to? Get the celebrity mentors back please….loved seeing the interaction and the celebrity reaction to the idols. Not interested at all in this seasons Producer’s scenes/mentoring–BOOORING!!

  29. Owen says:

    Do you just not like teenage girls, Slezak? Or is it Filipinos in general? Yes, Thia got lost in the arrangement (though I still argue she has the best vocal tone of any of the girls in this competition) but come on. She’s 16. And you nastily make fun of her (you f**kin’ bully) about not knowing who Charlie Chaplain was? Really? Really? Ass. Though I must admit you offered a most saliently thoughtful and true comment in your recap:

    “One of the problems for the judges this season is that — with Jimmy Iovine and his team so heavily in the mix — they’re not just critiquing the contestants, but also the industry veterans who they may potentially cross paths with during their off-Idol hours.”

    That is going to be troublesome. But layoff the teenage girls, hater. You almost made me feel sorry for Lauren (almost…)

    • Pleasance says:

      Well, it seems to me you love teenage girls a little bit TOO much, Owen. Jesus, get a grip.

      • Owen says:

        I have empathy for teenage girls caught in a maelstrom of music, TV and PR when last week they were working at the Taste T Freeze.

        • j. christopher says:

          they signed up for it, they had to understand its coming…if not, that’s all on their parents/handlers for not having them properly prepared…
          and if they can’t handle criticism – and what Thia/Lauren received last night (and from Slezak) was very MILD – then they have selected the wrong career path…
          but I’m sure they’d appreciate you defending their honor

    • Hooch says:

      I kind of agree with you Owen (although without all the anger… deep breaths man). I think we need to cut these girls a break, they are very young and you can’t expect them to handle the pressure and take feedback as well as the older contestants. Yes, Archie & Jordin seemed much more mature, but they were older (even one year makes a big difference at this age), and didn’t actually get much negative feedback in general, since they were #1 and #2 finishers.

      • Jack says:

        Oh, come on….this isn’t ‘Romper Room’….if “they are very young and you can’t expect them to handle the pressure and take feedback as well as the older contestants”…then quite frankly….THEY SHOULD NOT BE ON THIS SHOW!!!!

      • stevenjaba says:

        If they can’t handle it, they shouldn’t be on the show. Whatever they deal with in the real music world will be much, much tougher. Also, it’s not fair to the other contestants to judge those girls any differently. Honestly, I think their parents have no business opening their kids up to this until they have a couple more years on them.

    • synd says:

      I think you’re spot on — Slezak hates teenaged girls in AI (he never liked Katie Stevens last year). He also hates Filipinas (he hates Jasmine Trias, Camille Velasco, and Ramiele Malubay) with a passion. Grated those ladies may not have been the best but the hate is troubling.

      Slezak — just because Lauren A came from the South, you need not devolve into an infantile behavior by aping Southern talk. As a gay man, you know better than discriminate marginalized people.

      • Hooch says:

        Um, I don’t think Slezak was “aping Southern talk” at all, he was talking in baby talk because Lauren acted like a spoiled little brat up there.
        And you can’t really hate on him for not liking Jasmine, Camille, and Ramiele because they all sucked, whatever their race was. Just because there hasn’t been a good philipina yet doesn’t mean he hates them because of that. Jeez. What’s your excuse for his hate of Danny Gokey? Or Big Mike ? Or Kristy Lee Cook ?
        He doesn’t hate teens, he just hates brats. And a lot of teens are brats. Katie wasn’t a brat, but she wasn’t good either. I don’t think his level of hate for her was anywhere near like it is for Lauren A.

      • Sue says:

        Slezak did not ape Southern talk he used baby talk. Was he making fun of Lauren? Yes, but she is on national tv and needs to take constructive criticism and run with instead of thinking they’re being mean to her.

        Also, Michael Slezak has liked young girl singers like Paris Bennett, but when they are not good like Katie Stevens he does get to give his opinion on that.

        As to the Filipinas: Camille and Ramiele were not good. Ramiele’s “Alone” was just not good. Camille’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” was not good.

      • Kat says:

        Slezak is an equal opportunity hater/lover when it comes to AI contestants. I mean really, have you forgotten the lovefest directed at Allison Iraheta? When the teenagers aren’t annoying and can REALLY sing (with emotion and sincerity) and can handle the competition without too much crying…he totally likes them. And I think that’s fair.

      • marie says:

        Slezak “hates” teenage girls? Do you not remember his constant (and deserved) championing of Allison Iraheta two seasons ago?

      • kryssyess says:

        Do you not remember Slezak’s love for Allison Iraheta? I think it’s the immaturity he’s hating, and these kids seem to have a wide variety of levels of maturity.

    • josieinmo says:

      I don’t think Slezak was any harder on Lauren or Thia than he was on Ashthon or Karen. And he had mad love for Allison Iraheta who was a teenage girl. Still, if you don’t like b*tchy recappers then you might want to go elsewhere for your AI recaps because the snark factor is always high with Michael. Forget mean ole Slezak–Thia and Lauren couldn’t even handle the mild criticism that they got from a very solicitous judging panel. They are certainly talented enough to be in this competition but emotionally mature enough is questionable.I wish the producers had raised the age limit instead of lowering it. I don’t like watching these kids suffer.

      • Owen says:

        Look, this isn’t about the judges, or even teenage girls on Idol. Its about a recapper past his prime, who used to be relevant and fun and is now resorting to bitchery. And he’s not a terribly good writer either (oh the metaphors upon metaphors that contribute nothing to his recaps). He’s at his best when he makes astute observations (such as the one I pointed out in my original post) that don’t rely on his stupid metaphors but coalesce into very smart opinions (for those of you asking “why do I keep reading him if I hate him so much”, there you go). But to drag down a recap by insulting a 16 year old girl who does not have the worldliness of a 40 year old gay man is disgusting.

        • Maybelle says:

          Owen if you don’t like the “recapper past his prime” as you put it then don’t come here. Slezak is NOT past his prime and he is funny as hell!!! He is the reason many come here to read. You have the free will to go back to and read the article over there anytime you want you know. As for me I love Slezak and his snarky recaps!!!

          • Marta says:

            A-men Maybelle. This isn’t the first time Owen has come here and bad-mouthed Slezak. Michael is all for readers having different opinions and sassing him back if they feel so inspired….but if you (clearly)don’t respect his writing- do us all a favor and in the immortal words of Joey Gladstone- Cut. It. Out.

        • J says:

          Jeez, Owen. You have been one of the people who post here I tend to look forward to reading. I see and respect your opinion(s) of Michael, but whence the ton of mystery anger and heat(an allergy to metaphors perhaps?)? My opinion is that of ALL the various AI writers, Michael is the best by far. Just sayin’.

          • Owen says:

            Then read Annie over at She’s an wonderful writer, and instills each recap with equal amounts humor and heart.

          • Maybelle says:

            I just don’t get it. I guess all sites have trolls? I for one left because of Annie. I tried to give her a go after Slezak left but I just couldn’t take her. Owen if you like Annie so much may I ask why you are even here? If it is to get attention and to talk bad about Slezak then I guess you did your job, so please goooooooooooo!!!

        • stevenjaba says:

          I’m sensing a troll in our midst.

        • Roger says:

          Dear God… What does Thia being Filipino or Michael being gay have ANYTHING to do with this discussion about the contestants’ singing talents? I can’t believe you just played the race AND the gay card. Hey let’s make this a mud-slinging contest about racism and sexual orientation while we’re at it! I think Filipinos are the laziest, most arrogant breed of Asians and that gays all have impeccable taste in music! Are you a homophobic Filipino by any chance Owen?

        • Delon says:

          Slezak probably takes AI more seriously than the show’s producers. Michael is really dedicated to this show to a point of obsession which i don’t mind at all. Sometimes he gets heavy on metaphors and keeps on keepin’ on about certain contestants that were cut early, but overall i say he is the expert. I sense you are jealous of him because he is gay and you are not.

        • Mary says:

          Why can’t there be more poeple like you Owen? Remember Michael’s astute recap of Adam Lambert’s Mad World, now his current type of writing leaves a lot to be desired and I think he really needs to find that spark again. Resorting to insulting teenage girls isn’t fun and I hope his universe snaps back into focus STAT! And his successor Annie Barrett over on isn’t doing a stellar job either. And he only seems to slam all the beautiful/pretty-ish girls on the show. Sure, Allison Iraheta was gorgeous but she wasn’t exactly your run-of-the-mill beauty queen, his snarky recaps do not contribute anything to the show, in fact it only allienats the true lovers of the show! And even though I don’t like Annie’s reviews, I am starting to like them better than Michael’s.

      • snowyc says:

        Glad someone mentioned how much of an Allison fan Slezak is. Didn’t he even dyed his hair “Iraheta Red” in honour of his season 9 fav? That was such a fun season…

    • snowyc says:

      Oops, I don’t know who Charlie Chaplain is, either!! Really! Really!

      • JenR says:

        Get thee to YouTube and search “Charlie Chaplin.” You will see references to his films in a number of TV shows and movies. The dancing baked potatoes bit, known as the “table ballet” is a particular favorite for people to pay homage to.

    • Bat Country says:

      Sure, Slezak hates teenaged girls. LOL

      You’ve never heard of Allison Iraheta apparently…

  30. Holly says:

    Favorites: James and Casey. James is really good, and becoming more likable. I love that song and James showed remarkable restraint. Casey is going to get by on his adorableness for awhile, but please let the makeover begin!
    Worst: Lauren – lifeless performance, not an age-appropriate song, awful outfit. Karen – ICK! Ashton – just not a great singer. Paul- Poor song choice (too obscure for the audience) and the crazy chicken dance is way too distracting. Thia – spoiled little girl, not in any way relevant.

  31. Jane says:

    I went into tonights show with maybe 2 or 3 or 4 “favorites.” I had my little pellet gun ready for the rest.

    I realized halfway through tonight’s show — I no longer had a favorite … and that was fine! That was MORE than fine! That was, in fact, the best part! There is something so very different this year, I really think this is going to be the best idol year ever.

    Usually I latch on early to a favorite or two, and spend most of the idol hour enjoying them and picking out flaws in the rest. When the judges (Ok mostly simon) would disparge my fav, I’d bristle. And when he would praise the ‘wrong’ one, I’d roll my eyes at him. If he critiqued however one who was -not- the chosen one, I’d smirk at his wit. He was mean, I was mean, the show was mean. And we thought that “mean is good, mean weeds out the bad.”

    But this year .. something is really different. I credit some of that to the new judges, but most of it I credit to contestants like Paul, like Casey, like Jacob, who are not only enjoying themselves, but the entire event. It was like .. a celebration of =everyone=. I had no favorite! And I suddenly realized — that was not entirely a bad thing.

    No, it was not a bad thing at ALL.

    Best year ever and I had a big grin on my face for about 80 percent of the show. I loved watching Ryan do the Paul dance ^_^ I am feeling sad to see whoever gets voted off, but looking forward also to the many weeks ahead. No matter who wins, I suspect this year, we all win.

    It’s a little contagious though I think many are going to be so accustomed to poking holes they miss the overall view, the WHY of the show, which is not about winning but about sharing something special.

    Maybe I am crazy, we’ll see as the weeks pass whether I AM crazy — or whether we all were, somehow, a little crazy, a little mean-crazy, lack of joy crazy, a little “win” crazy, in seasons past.

  32. The Wheeze says:

    Last night was filled with carbon copy songs and performances from everyone except for James and Naima. James was by far better than anyone else last night.(he is really starting to grow on me!) My favs are still Casey and Paul, but they really need to start stepping up. Casey needs to stop screaming/growling half his song, and I’m sorry to say this cause I do like Paul, but his voice sounded like kermit the frog and lamb chop had a baby. This season has to get better right?

  33. Sue says:

    Great recap. Paul McDonald needs to have his guitar in his hands, have a mic stand or be sitting on a stool when he’s performing. Otherwise he’s all kinds of spastic.

    Lauren needs to check herself from being the petulant 16 year old. When she does that I get the feeling she has gotten whatever that she wanted growing up AND that SHE thinks she’s too awesome for words. That will quickly get old for many watchers and will polarize herself into getting kicked off earlier than maybe she should.

  34. XGatorHead 8904 says:

    While listening to Ashthon last night, I started wondering: When is she going to stop singing songs about us loving her? First there was “Love All Over Me” during last week’s performance show that included the line “I’m completely covered up in your love”, followed by the results show’s “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” with the line “You’re gonna love me”, then last night we get “When You Tell Me That You Love Me”! Seriously, I’m not really feeling the love. My wife and I agree that there’s just a quality to her voice that is really grating.

    • j. christopher says:

      great observation!
      she seems a little needy, no?
      maybe some deep-seated issues there, but luckily we will probably be spared another week of her begging us to love her ;)

    • Bat Country says:

      Yeah, I want to like her, she’s a pretty girl, nice, smile, etc, but her tone is just not sweet. It’s near excruciating on her closing notes until she hits the vibrato to soften them.

  35. LilBubba says:

    I’m glad you are in agreement about Jacob. I almost feel bad saying it, because he puts so much effort into his performances, but I just find his vocal affectations ridiculous.

    I think Pia did fine, but I sure hope she changes it up next week. We all get now that she can hit the glory notes and scale up to the drama of a big ballad. Show us something else.

    I was trying to like Thia, but after last night, no. I just can’t. She’s young. She needs more life experience or something. She’s not even as technically gifted as I thought she was.

    Stefano for me is one of the standouts. I don’t know that there is anyone on the show who sings with the passion he does. I love that he is choosing songs that haven’t been done to death. And I have to give him kudos for rescuing that song last night from a confusing arrangement. Only a gifted singer could have made that work. That was tough.

    Casey is fun to watch. I think he’ll go far in the competition. He seems very natural on stage and he’s not afraid to just go for it. Plus, no one on the show sounds like him.

    Paul looked ridiculous. I was sort of a fan, but not after last night. That whole lean in and smile his pearly whites thing he does to close out a song is making me queasy. Ugh. He came off like a total cheeseball. He’s trying too hard to be a star or something, with the jackets and the pseudo rock star moves. He’s been told one too many times he’s a good looking dude.

    James surprised me. I have not been a fan. I do NOT LIKE SCREAMING AND SCREECHING! But he demonstrated a really beautiful voice last night underneath all that bombast. And, Michael, he still overdid the vocals near the end. The screeching was still there. And I hated that part of the vocal. But he is very likable and seems to be hitting his groove. If the screech stays, he and I will never be buds, but I’m hoping for toned down performances in the future.

    Scotty is a great kid. Good voice for country. But his vocal style is going to bore me to death over the span of 3 weeks. Just keeping it real.

    Lauren is going to have to dig deeper. As the judges have said, it all comes so easy for her; she’s not used to really trying. I sense the next few weeks are going to provide her a good bit of growing. She needs to show off that voice, because she’s getting buried by other singers in the competition.

    Anyone else, I can’t remember.

  36. Michele says:

    Totally overrated: Thia

    May be kicked off because of bad behavior: Lauren

    Biggest Disappointment: Jacob

  37. Vivi says:

    I’m not that big of a Jacob Lusk fan but no way he even SNIFFS the Bottom 3 tonight. No freakin’ way. The crowd loves him. The judges love him. And quite frankly, he was not the worst performance of the night. Not even by a mile. Granted, I can understand why some folks (like yourself) can be turned off by a person who just oversings…and oversings…and oversings. But at the end of the day, Jacob can sing. I just wish he can give a subtle performance that highlights his voice because the guy is talented.

    • Owen says:

      Yes, by a mile he was EASILY one of the worst performances of the night. Ashton has the dubious honor of THE worst, but you know, every time she felt herself steppin’ away, she turned it around. If only Lusk realized what he was doing to that melody and was able to pull back as well.

    • Pam says:

      At the end of the day, I don’t know that Jacob can sing. All he EVER does is oversing, every time. It was old during Hollywood Week, and it’s definitely old now. What would be refreshing to see from him is to quietly reinterpret a song and sing without all the vocal gymnastics.

    • Sue says:

      If there is anything I cannot stand in a singer are the runs where they repeat the same syllable about 15 times. Gets. On. My. LAST. Nerve. and it sounds awful.

  38. Calgary says:

    Loved your recap, agree with you almost 100%. I loved the sparkle and energy coming from Naima. She’s the real thing.

  39. Victoria E says:

    Thia’s performance last night just proved why 15 year old’s really should not be allowed in the competition. Beyond not knowing who Charlie Chapman (sorry, CHAPLIN!!!) was, she simply showed that she didn’t have the life experiences necessary to put any feeling into a song like SMILE. If all we were looking for was someone who could hit every note perfectly, than we could end the competition now and crown her champion. But we need someone who can put some FEELING into some lyrics, whether they mess up a note a two. For that reason, I’ll take James Durbin, thank you very much.

    • davey says:

      I don’t think Thia Magia has to know who Charlie Chaplin is, whose film career began about a century ago. She comes from a Philippino background. I love Chaplin but I don’t see why she needs to know his work. And why the show left in Thia’s gaffe was kind of cruel.

  40. Susana says:

    my 2 cents are as follows:
    Casey, James, and Pia are fantastic..they are true artists and bring great performances everytime they have been on screen.
    Paul needs to switch to decaf or have someone work with him so he doesn’t bounce around the stage like a 4 year-old who need to use the potty
    Naima needs to not dance and possibly work a little more with a stylist that yellow thing on her head was reminiscent of an impacted canary that could not judge if the sliding glass door was opened or closed.
    Karen, 1996 called they want that whole performance back..
    Lauren, listening to that performance I was one funnel cake away from the county fair
    As for the rest, solid but just not enough to be memorable, thank you for playing we will have some lovely parting gifts for you…

  41. Cornelle says:

    What a relief we don’t have to watch the whittling from 24 to 12 (or 13 in this case) anymore. So relatively, this first show definitely less painful.

    Unwatchable (leaned on the Fast-Forward key): Paul (he’s like Kenny Loggin’s teeth meets John Cleese’s Silly Walk, minus the talent), Jacob (hard to see a contestant suffer like that on stage); Naima (under her umbrella, but nowhere near the notes), Ashton (somewhere Diana Ross is sobbing uncontrollably). Karen — oh dear. In black, but probably not back.

    On the chopping block in the next few weeks: Thia (a dear, but in the headlights); Scotty (look past the baritone register and there is no RANGE and not much quality), Haley (Yodeling. On Idol. Unless there’s a Sound of Music night, she’s in trouble).

    Front-runners: James and Pia. They have the whole package – the backstories, the looks, talent. Maybe Casey if he doesn’t venture too far into WackoVille. The fact that he said he idolizes Jack Black makes me very, very nervous.

    The rest: Don’t care.

    Early prediction b/c they can do ANYTHING: James and Pia in the final. Winner — James.

    • Teecie says:

      Excellent recap, Cornelle! I loved your line, “he’s like Kenny Loggin’s teeth meets John Cleese’s Silly Walk.”

  42. donie says:

    Surprised that I liked James Durbin’s performance as much as I did. The beginning was great — he was actually singing with a lot of control and emotional connection to the lyrics. When he went up, though, some notes were sharp. But did he say in his interview he may have already won?

    • merry says:

      donie, I think James’ comment referred to the fact that he thought he was a winner just by getting this far, not that he was the actual winner of AI.

  43. Trina says:

    I find myself wishing each week that I knew what the available song choices were. As Michael asks, why did Ashthon choose THAT song? Or my own question each week, why do Lauren Alaina’s songs always seem the wrong ones for her? If we could see the week’s list of available song choices, it would be show another side of the competition’s strategy.

  44. dctoronto says:

    Lauren and Thia really need to take criticism better. Gosh the watered down concerns of the judges is nothing compared to what they will be getting IF they ever have careers in the music industry.

    I too got the impression that the focus was on the recordings and not the performances. There can be big difference on how a song is recorded and how it is sung live.

    Has anyone listened to the I-tunes versions. I suspect on some the arrangements and production are very different from the live performances.

  45. Jazzy says:

    Leave Jacob alone! Signed: Chris Crocker

    OK, you were kind of right, but once again, I’ll use my big goofy puppy metaphor, he just needs control and refinement, but that guy can SING, in my opinion bigger and better than anyone. I think he will develop over the coming weeks.

    Having said that, totally agree on James Durbin, and Pia, and everyone else for that matter.

    Durbin especially!

    Also, think about where the contestants usually are vocally at this time versus this year, they are miles ahead, imagine what a couple of months are going to bring.

    Missing Simon because he would say exactly what we are thinking or draw attention to something that would actually help the contestant.

    • amy.. says:

      “Simon Says” was the show, rather than talent. He was great season 1 thru 4 or 5, but are we forgetting the last several seasons.

  46. Pat says:

    For the very first time this season, I missed Cowell. Come on! Someone’s got give an honest critique for a change. Jacob needs to know the truth about his horrendous pitch, and Karen about her ridiculous pantsuit.

  47. Riz says:

    Am I the only one who does not get the attraction to Casey? Sexy he in not and really his vocals are just okay. Also, his performances are just way to cheesy and over the top.

    But, he is certainly not the worst, that title goes to Karen and all her bedazzles.

    Love James, Scotty and Pia. Spectacular!

  48. Carol says:

    Please, Jacob can eat them all. Not the best perfomance, but he has the best voice (with Casey) so far.

    This two are going to be in final.

  49. Cat says:

    Lauren – I missed hearing Shania’s deeper tone on this song. It was a tad lackluster and she’s so personally obnoxious that I can’t appreciate her performances. Also needs to cover up those enormous upper arms. Wardrobe help, please!

    Casey – Really great performance, but I’d like to hear him SING something again, not just growl and shout.

    Ashton – Competent performance, but didn’t impress me one way or the other.

    Paul – HATE his voice. The tone is nasal, he slurs his words, this particular performance was pitchy in spots….until he leaves, he will always be my first choice for the elimination.

    Pia – Her amazing voice leaves me with nothing to say.

    James – Quite possibly best of night. His first few notes were a little weak and then…WOW! He actually has quite a nice normal singing voice and that soft falsetto after those strong notes was impeccable. And, being a singer, I know how hard that is to do.

    Haley – Couldn’t quite handle the yodeling, but otherwise just okay.

    Jacob – His voice has unreal power and tone, but he just can’t seem to control it. I can never really tell if he’s off key or not, his vibrato is so huge. Okay, I guess.

    Thia – Definitely agree with judges that she should have stuck to the a capella softer style. But she has a GORGEOUS voice and I think needs a little more time to grow.

    Stefano – His voice just doesn’t stand up to several of the other guys.
    Karen – Ditto for her voice. Both of these two are good singers, but they lack the power and tone of a lot of the others and aren’t going to get very far.

    Scott – This guy has a country soul. His performance seemed totally sincere and his vocals, as always, were wonderful.

    Naima – Her performance was excellent, but her voice just wasn’t there somehow. Don’t try to do a one person show if it’s going to take your own breath away!

    I think Ashthon goes tonight.

  50. ngh18 says:

    The judges were absolutely horrible. I found myself wishing for Ellen–if you can believe it! I am usually in agreement with most everything you say, Michael, but not tonight. I thought Pia was terribly annoying. I really liked her last week, but not tonight. Casey and James were the best tonight and Naima is still one of my faves–even after tonight. Ashton can go home tonight! Oh, how I miss Simon.