American Idol Top 12 Performance Night: Vote for Your Fave and Tell Us Who Should Go Home!

A “rich vein of inner crazy” ran right through tonight’s wildly uneven episode of American Idol, which was built around the annual “Songs from the Year You Were Born” theme night. Contestants performed everything from musical Lunesta to actual Nirvana. As a mentor, Jimmy Iovine offered a series of blank platitudes and not much in the way of true, constructive critique. And while Jennifer Lopez finally showed a willingness to be an actual judge, not just an incredibly attractive cheerleader, the panel as a whole seemed a little too enthusiastic about a number of performances that were more worthy of raspberries than “you’re in it to win it” cheering.

With that said, I’ve got a full episode recap to write — UPDATE: my full recap is liiiive! — so for the moment, I’ll keep my opinions to myself and simply offer you the facts (in the former of the full set list) and a couple of polls to keep your speed-dialing fingers in nimble condition.

Tonight’s Set List
Naima Adedapo: Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It”
Paul McDonald: Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”
Thia Megia: Vanessa Williams’ “Colors of the Wind”
James Durbin: Bon Jovi’s “I’ll Be There for You”
Haley Reinhart: Whitney Houston’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight”
Stefano Langone: Simply Red’s “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”
Pia Toscano: Whitney Houston’s “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”
Scotty McCreery: Travis Tritt’s “Can I Trust You With My Heart”
Karen Rodriguez: Taylor Dayne’s “Love Will Lead You Back”
Casey Abrams: Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Lauren Alaina: Melissa Etheridge’s “I’m the Only One”
Jacob Lusk: Heart’s “Alone”

What did you think of tonight’s Idol? Were there any surprises, positive or negative? Head down to the comments to share your thoughts and explain your poll votes. And for all my Idol ridiculata, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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  1. Pat says:

    I’m not getting the love for Jacob at all. I also thought the judges praised Pia’s performance too highly. Only a couple of the performances were any good tonight.

    • Leigh says:

      I miss Simon. Come on, someone needs to give real criticism. I felt I was watching a different show. Steven Tyler is funny, crazy but not a good judge. Can’t he hear?

      • Janelle says:

        I agree that Steven Tyler isn’t doing a good job judging, but I also think there’s a lot of revisionist history when it comes to Simon. This is the guy who consistently praised Lee’s offkey singing and gave Danny Gokey’s Scream On an A for effort. He was more about being mean than being genuinely honest, and he helped many a mediocre contestant survive longer than they should have. He’s even worse about this stuff on UK X-Factor, especially in the latest season with Cher, Katie, and his terrible boyband.

      • ReMMeZ says:

        Well, this seems to be heading towards nothing faster than any-one expected. But really x-factor sucks just as hard.. I’ll wait for the voice [a dutch concept] to feel some musical joy again.. This season AI could be worse than the last disaster. They are killing the show. And Jacob Luks is killing my hearing

      • Summer says:

        I MISS Simon also…I started out loving Jlo and Steven, but now they are ridiculous when they judge, and Randy seems to playing the RACE card “Baby”..Tell it like it is Randy…you say you know Pitch so obviously favor Jacob and he is NOT consistant..
        The judges are making me frustrated..I will stop watching if they don’t start’s a singing competition!! And when they Coddled Lauren when she stated to cry..WHAT?? What happened to “this is a tough business”. WOW!
        All the singers started out great and now are showing how “Fragile” they are under pressure.
        Stffano, Pia, Casey are the Best this year and I hope it’s them to the end.
        Note to everyone..DON’T even TRY to sing a song that a former contestant OWNS..You will look a Fool and hopfully be sent home…
        Do your own thing and DO NOT COPY!!

    • I also don’t get the Jacob love. He had one really stand out performance but has been subpar since. And, please don’t be singing Alone. That is and will always be Carrie Underwood’s song. Alison Iraheta was close, but Carrie owned it. I thought Pia did a great job, and deserved the praise. I think Haley is going home tomorrow, she just didn’t do enough to get out of the Bottom 3, and since she almost went home last week, I think it’s the end of the line for her now.

    • Cass says:

      I’m not getting the judges refusal to critique Jacob, either; especially when they gush instead. I LOVED Jacob’s “God Bless the Child” performance. Liked “This House Is Not a Home.” Wasn’t a fan of “I Believe I Can Fly.” Tonight was so-so. In other words, he’s getting worse week to week. Not his voice, his performances. I want him to do well because he’s got an incredible voice. Maybe the best of the lot in raw talent. But until he learns to control it, he’ll have problems. “God Bless” did so well because it wasn’t all power notes, and wasn’t oversung (by gospel standards). AND because it was the first time we heard what he could do. The high notes and the power notes work well when used sparingly; otherwise, they are not only no longer surprising and moving, but grating. His lower register and softer tones are just as pleasing, if not more.

  2. ErixN says:

    Some of my early favorites have been disappointing. Jacob, Paul, and Naima were hard to watch. :(

    • petitejp says:

      I have to agree with almost everyone. Tonight’s show was disappointing.
      I was expecting much more.
      the best was Stefano, followed by Pia and Scotty everyone else was either pitch or boring.
      Love Thia’s voice, but she got to do something different, I expect a lot more from her.
      Casey has lots of talent, but just been different wont give him the title. would like to see a little more singing, this is a singing competition. Even James was pitch tonight.
      The worst were Haley, Naima and Karen. Paul was sick, and was not great at all, but not the worse.
      Come guys and girls, you can do it.
      lets bring the level up, PLEASE

    • darclyte says:

      I have to disagree a bit about Paul. I thought he really had the whole “Rod Stewart” vibe going again tonight, and even with his voice issues he at least was entertaining and fun to watch. Not nearly as bad as some of the others, but not that great either.

      Neither Lauren nor Jacob were as good as the judges claimed. Lauren was waaaay off at the start of the song, and lost it here and there. Very hit and miss, but probably more hit, still she wasn’t that good. Jacob was ok at times, but near the end his voice cracked badly on a note as he went high. Then he stayed up high and it was just harsh.

      Casey could be in trouble because it wasn’t that good, it was the shortest performance of the night, and he only sang 1 verse, 1 chorus, and then the ending, and he made it growly and screamy at times. I had heard that he was gonna sing SLTS, and I hoped that he’d perform with his stand up bass and do his take on the Tori Amos version of the song. I think that would have been better. Or maybe he could have done another Nirvana song like “In Bloom,” or “Lithium.”

      I’d have to say that Haley & Karen did the worst of the night. For the 3rd in the Bottom, I’ll go with Naima since she was pretty bad, and she went first.

      • ErixN says:

        I thought Paul did a lot better vocally tonight then he did last week, but his movements are starting to get to me. I think that was the reason he’s hard for me to watch at this point. As for the others I mentioned, their vocals have not been good. I don’t get why they have been praising Jacob. He was last and to me his performance ruined the whole night for me. They usually save the best for last, but I guess not.

        • Firenzix says:

          Couldn’t agree more on the Paul comment….please, stand still, at least for part of the song….but the absolute worst tonight was Karen, butchering an otherwise powerful song.

      • Lee says:

        To Casey’s credit, he was in the hospital for 4 days. When he got out, he and his producer chose a song that, within a day, neither were happy with, so they changed…this was Monday…he had 1 day to perfect his song. And I thought he nailed it.

      • Michael says:

        Casey isn’t in trouble. He has a built-in fan base that will stay loyal.

        Karen and Thia have no musical depth whatsoever. Thia at least has a pleasant tone and mostly on-pitch performances going for her.

        Jacob Lusk is an affront to gospel. I’d like to modify ST’s quote. “Gospel had sex with and banshee and THEN gave birth to Jacob Lusk.” He is staggeringly awful and I can’t believe that the judges heap so much praise upon him. I’m also shocked that he’s not the Vote for the Worst pick.

  3. James says:

    Thia really needs to starting doing something different…its getting old FAST

    Sadly I would have to say Stefano was best for the guys…and I can happily say Pia yet again was the girl to beat!

    Bottom 3

    Thia – Haley – Karen

    going home – Karen

    • whatever says:

      First time ever posting….closet follower of MS on EW, who is sooooo spot on! This season I think ( and I am almost the big 50!) is all about the GUYS!!! Girls – only Pia and, have to admit Lauren(who is annoying but 16 and shows it) when she’s doing the big choruses stand a chance. Stefano really has BEEN BUILDING – WOW SO PITCH PERFECT and passionate! Love James (who will not and does not need to be compared to AL) then Stefano – wow the SLEEPER (2nd mention for him)…. Casey (BEST musician and personality) great and Scotty not a country fan AT ALL, BUT, think that Baby lock them doors defintitely has a career born on AI at such a young age, Paul (LOVE him, GET him!) and I really thought Jacob was the best he has been …bottom 3 should be Thia,Naima, and Karen (best she sounded in a while tonight but pagentry as always….

  4. Corey Berman says:

    Lauren, James, Jacob, Naima getting old. I mean really old. I almost feel the need to fast forward through them…. But for this week, Karen, Haley, and Naima are in trouble. The girls disappoint again.

  5. Jewels83 says:

    Tonight’s episode was so off I had to lower my volume because of feelings of embarrassment for 2/3rds of the contestants.

    And what was up with the sound? the vocals were too loud which actually gave it the ‘karaoke’ sound. Felt like I was watching Don’t forget the lyrics for a second there.

    Why are the judges raving for Jacob Lusk?

    Stefano sealed the deal for me tonight but he’s gotta stop with the “i’m feeling this so much,i’m about to cry” facial expressions. Looks like he’s putting way too much effort in this.

    They should chill with the group singing tomorrow to give them some vocal rest, sounds like they need it desperately.

    • Llopo says:

      2/3rds — I think I would say 3/3rds. I didn’t hear one good performance tonight. Stefano was, I guess, the best, but only because everyone else was so bad. His wasn’t very good.

    • sophie says:

      Agree with all you have said. What were the judges listening to? JLo was most critical and largely on target. I loved ST in the auditions, but WTF happened. Too many Xanax or just the cumulative effect of killing off brain cells? He is doing serious harm to his reputation and I think he has realized it. Probably figures if he continues to mail it in they will beg him to leave at the end of the season. I feel sad about this, but I think this is the beginning of the end.

  6. Alex says:

    Stefano was definitely the best tonight!

    • Wyatt says:

      The night was a disappointment. So many mediocre performances. Stefano had energy and definitely conveys the joy of singing on stage, but why did the judges not mention that horribly cracked note at the very end of his song? How could they miss that? Or did they just want to praise someone, anyone, by the time he came along?

      Pia was best of the night, imo. She is almost too professional fr the competition, but it’s nice to be able to count on at least well sung song each week. Her’s.

      Casey was fun and fearless as usual. He’s really gotten himself typecast now and that will hard to overcome. He won’t win by simply howling and growling each week, no matter how much fun that can be to hear and watch. A gutsy performance though. Didn’t help his ulcerative colitis though i suspect.

      Could Thia and Karen have been any more boring than they were tonight? zzzzz

  7. Mel31602 says:

    I’m not sure who you thought was overpraisef, but if you are talking about Jacob and Casey then I agree. I thought both were awful, especially Casey, though I never liked either of them anyway. The best of the night were James, Stefano, Pia (who showed she’s not just a balladeer), and Scotty. Lauren and Karen were pretty good too. My bottom 3 would be Jacob, Casey, and Haley, who started off awful and then only improved to mediocre. I actually thought Naima and Paul were okay and Thia was very good (though boring) but 2 of those 3 will probably end up in the bottom with Haley

    • Soloos says:

      Pia was screechy to the max,

      • Rick says:

        Are you tone deaf? Pia is the best female by a landslide.

      • Kai says:

        Thank you!
        Every time she hits the high notes, that’s exactly what I think. And I’m getting sick of ballads. She took a song that has a slow/somewhat fast temp and gave it a faster tempo. To me that is a risk, but a risk that did not work for me.

        I hated it. And I don’t get all the praise for her. She’s not THAT good. She sure isn’t showing she can be versatile but still stay true to who she is.

  8. L says:

    Mostly awful tonight. Boring, screamy or off key. Jacob has been terrible two weeks in a row and they praise him for it. They’re trying to excuse Lauren again by telling us how sick she is…Karen is horrible. Stefano was the best. Love Pia, but not so much that song. James was good again and I don’t even like him. Can Scott sing anything else?

    Not worth investing much time in tonight.

  9. darcy's evil twin says:

    Okay, I admit I haven’t watched the program yet (will have to watch it on the DVR) but Lauren Aliana actually sang Melissa Etheridge’s “I’m the only one”????????

    Oh dear, my mind can’t even go there!

    • Llopo says:

      She did — being sick actually helped her voice a little with that song. Still, it was awful.

    • amy.. says:

      Does Lauren know any songs that are age-appropriate?

      • Sue says:

        My thought exactly.

      • Ghost of Kelly Clarkson says:

        I said the EXACT same thing last night when she announced which song she would be singing. I think that’s my problem with Lauren — I don’t believe the story she tells when she’s singing. There is no way a 16 year-old can relate to those lyrics, so I always feel like I’m watching a performance from “Toddlers in Tiaras.”

        • Buggys says:

          This made me laugh! I immediately think “Toddlers in Tiaras” when Karen or Pia come on stage. The talent of those two, of course, is miles apart as Pia actually is quite a talented singer. That said, I still feel as though she is a very dull performer. Let’s face it, Thia has a beautiful voice too but her “performance” will put you to sleep!

  10. Laura says:

    I didn’t think Hailey was that bad, not b3 worthy at least. I also really liked Casey and I can’t believe they said he was screamy, it’s NIRVANA what do you expect?

    • Mooshki says:

      I love Casey, and I think he did a pretty good job, but I think they were right. The problem wasn’t the screaming, it was that he didn’t really put emotion into it. It felt like he was just being loud instead of being passionate.

      • Troy says:

        Dear Casey,

        two words….hot mess. You sounded like a poor man’s Jack Black while butchering one of the best songs of my generation. Of course I say this with all due respect…
        By the way, previous posts have mentioned Lauren and Scotty and their inabilty to do something different…the judges of the show are telling them to stay in their lane…

      • GingerSnap says:

        Wow. I guess you have to do this in tiers – the singers, the artists, the country crowd, & the wannabes.
        Singers – Pia, Stefano, Thia. In that order. Pia continues to shine – solid back-to-back performances from Celine &Whitney. That takes confidence & talent. Stefano is nice to listen to, just a little over-the-top emotionally. At the tender age of 16, Thia needs to learn to perform, not just sing.
        Artists/Rockers- Casey, James, Paul. In that order. Casey is in a league of his own. Not my style of music, not my favorite vocal, but I want to see what he’ll do next. James had some pitch problems, but still delivered a solid performance. Paul did better this week, but Elton John doesn’t work with that tone.
        Country Crowd – Scotty, Lauern A. In that order. Really only one choice here – Scotty is easier to listen to. Lauren needs to go home & grow up.
        Wannabes – Naima, Haley, Karen, Jacob. No comment. It doesn’t matter which order they leave in.
        The show will be less boring when the Wannabes & the worst of the singers, artists, & country crowd are gone.
        That said, I cast my vote for one from each group (except the wannabes).

      • GaryfromCincy says:

        I don’t get Casey’s song choice… “Smells Like Teen Spirit” should be on the untouchable list. That song can not be “kareoked” and compared to the original. being a true Nirvana fan, you would question the fact of doing a Nirvana song on the corperate whore show like A.I. at all and spare the memory and beliefs that Kurt held true. I would have rather heard Casey sing a different Nirvana song that is more melodic like “Lithium”.. Casey singing a line “I’m so ugly, thats ok ’cause so are you” would be appropriate and in a range that he could have had a better performance. Somewhere last night Dave Grohl & Krist Noveselic were smashing a television set while Courtney Love counted her money. Casey isnt terrible, but is picking terrible songs that are hard to overcome the shadow of their original greatness… 1991 had so many good choices for Casey, Alive – Pearl Jam No More Tears – Ozzy Osbourne She Talks to Angels – Black Crowes just to name a few

  11. agrimesy says:

    Tonight’s performances left me cold. Even the decent ones: Pia, Stefano, Lauren, and Scotty did not impress me. They were just okay. I’ve started simply breathing a sigh of relief if the contestants merely stay on key. I was ready to measure them by a higher standard this season. What happened? Everyone was better before the top 13 was announced. They aren’t supposed to get worse! It’s really going to be hard for me to stay tuned in. Decidedly, the judges are not watching the same show I am.

  12. Justin says:

    They were just awful tonight. The only decent performances were Pia and Scotty. Yes, Jacob is good but definitely over-rated. He screams, and it bothers my ears. I applaud Casey for doing Nirvana, but again, screamy. Although I get why, it’s Nirvana, but it was still just yelling to me. Not impressed tonight at.all.

  13. Tekkie says:

    OMG … Terrible show over all. Stefano, Scott, Casey were the better ones of the night. Train Wreckage for the rest. Over produced…Karen and Thia picked their songs from a blogger recommendation ( not MS ) for cryin out loud. Suckitude.

  14. Marta Diehm says:

    If only Haley were younger… “Am I The Only One” would have been an AWESOME song choice for her. Dare I admit I’m kinda rooting for her? Though she kinda bumbles around on stage, at least shes moving and putting in some effort– I can barely watch Lauren’s wooden high-school talent show schtick anymore. She may have some talent, but girl is NOT the natural performer they want us to believe she is.

    • mooshki says:

      She’s my favorite after Casey. I’m voting like crazy for her because she’s in big danger.

      • SpyKi says:

        Thank you. Someone with taste. I would be voting for her like crazy if I lived in America, I don’t know why people don’t like her, she’s way better than the majority of these contestants.

  15. MDEP says:

    Pia is one of my faves but she cheated… “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” is a ballad, they just threw the remix behid it, and I do not think she changed the tempo of the actual singing. Very clever.

  16. Christina says:

    Stefano was the best tonight, but holy were there some stinkers. Paul, Naima, Casey, Jacob, and Thia especially. I’m not getting the Casey hype anymore. He shouted his way through that performance, and his last two for that matter. If he wins it will be Taylor Hicks all over again.

    Pia was solid but she needs to shut the Whitney, Celine, Mariah songbook for the rest of the season. Scotty is very good in his genre but he has done the same thing three weeks in a row. Lauren is just plain annoying, but I think she gets that honestly from her mother who was dressed like a 12 year old in the pre-performance video. The only two who didn’t annoy me tonight were James, and Stefano.

    Going home tomorrow night is definitely going to be Karen or Naima though.

  17. Melanie says:

    I was sooooo disappointed tonight. I really didn’t like the majority of them. And some of them that were okay ruined it with their behavior (I’m looking at you Lauren. Precocious doesn’t age well past the age of nine – and I’m being generous with nine). Worst for me had to be Jacob Lusk. Why would you attempt a song that has such a memorable past performance by an actual AI winner unless you can positively deliver something equally memorable or better? It was so bad!! Best for me was definately Stefano. I don’t know where he came from, but he seems to be the most promising and consistent. And, on a fashion note, I got really excited because I thought Snookie was stopping by and had lost a boat-load of weight and grew six inches in height, but then I realized that it was just Karen Rodriguez. Non-pagaent does not mean channeling Jersey Shore!

  18. Stephanie says:

    I am officially over Steven as a judge, I expected more.

    I was happy to see J.Lo come with better critiques, but still, her and Randy need to step up if they want to save the judging panel. They need to become more like Simon Cowell. I’m not saying be nasty, but say what you know the audience is thinking. “You were awful.” “That was a mess” And then, help them out, tell them what to do and not do.
    You need to push these contestants, let them fall, so see how they can pick themselves up….so you can really see what they’re made of.

    Honestly, I think I may finally throw the towel in for AI. I didn’t even bother watching the end of last season.

    There are no David Cook’s (or Achuleta’s!) no KrAdam’s (heh, favorite duo of them all), no Jason Castro’s, no Allison Iraheta’s, no…no one worth it. And of course there is no Carrie Underwood-like superstar.
    It’s either karoke or whatever that was Jacob did. (Please contestants, leave Heart alone…no pun intended)

    Best of the night was Stefano. I did have hope early on for Paul, but without a guitar, he’s awkward and as unique as his voice is, I’m wondering if I’ll grow tired of it. I don’t know. Go Stefano I guess.

    I’m already tired of producer’s pet Lauren. So over Karen. Thia, oh Thia, needs to go (and never do another Disney song again), and Haley needs to get a better brand of lipstick.

    Yeah, just, disappointed. This season really had a great start, but it’s lost some major steam. To me anyways.

    • Linda says:

      Completely agree with your post! This season had such great promise at the beginning and now, it’s turning into a major disappointment. The contestants (the majority) are lacking soul and heart. Where are the singer-artist performers this season? I had such hopes for Paul. Although there were complaints about last season, at least we saw interesting artists in Crystal and Lee. Even when Lee had his occasional pitch issues, I nevertheless was moved by his performances. One felt that when he sang, he sang from his heart. The year before that, we had Kris…and Adam was so consistently good and entertaining, even if too theatrical for my personal tastes. Tonight, I found myself for these types of performers again.

  19. Jill says:

    I kept flipping to Survivor and kept forgetting to flip back…because it was such a bad night. For Steven Tyler to say it was the best night since Beatles night!?!?!?!

    • Wyatt says:

      Steven Tyler has really shrunk away to nothing now. He has basically nothing at all to say of substance. I can understand not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, but to hear him just lobbing a few half-hearted platitudes after each performance is very disappointing. He’s become the invisible man since the Top 13 started. He was so much more fun before… :-(

      • dbaj says:

        Agreed…. at least he keeps his comments to one line & they move on. Had so much love for him during auditions, but its like he ran out of steam & is afraid to say anything bad. Useless. Ellen, part 2.

  20. Jason says:

    Oh, I had such high hopes for this season based on the audition and Hollywood rounds. What the “bleep” happened?1? Everyone pretty much reeked tonight. True, there were a couple that simple reeked less than others, but was there one performance tonight which actually gave you goosebumps and made you feel that you were watching the next American Idol?

    Also, I just don’t understand the judges critiques. Not sure if they are being told what to say, or are being told to tone the negatives down, but some singers are getting praise when clearly they should not. Also, did anyone else notice when Jacob Lusk hit that terribly bad note during his song “Alone” tonight… the camera happened to be on J.Lo and she winced, and immediately looked down at the table and jotted something down on her paper. Incredibly, nothing was mentioned of this crime during her critique.

    Crystal Bowersox, I MISS YOU!!!!!!!!

    • Ablo says:

      You are correct Jason. It was clear that JLo heard the bad note, but when it got to her — everything was great.

      The problem is that when 98% are deemed great, the little bit of criticism that is put out there seems much harsher then it would be if everyone was being judged correctly.

      I didn’t think anyone sounded good tonight.

      I think we’re in trouble this year.

      • budda says:

        Totally agree about the lack of criticism. I go back to the semi-final for the girls when Lauren T. received a slight bit of criticism from Jlo after outperforming all before her, but there was all over-praise to the others. I think it matters to alot of voters who rely strictly on the judges critiques.

    • annab says:

      Yeah, J Lo wincing during that terrible note was high-larious (as Holly Holliday would say). This is the reason they need to continue to do live shows. Also, poor Haley and her lipstick debacle! (And her leggings with major VPL debacle).

  21. hb68 says:

    I don’t think the band is doing the contestants any favors either. They sound very different than the Rickey Minor led band of past seasons. And some of the arrangements that some of the kids are saddled with. Oy!

    • Elizabeth says:

      YES! this band and the new reimaginings of arrangements are sinking most of these performances. And why were most of the kids off the timing of the songs all night? One or two, I can chalk up to nerves, but there were too many.

      Did we put all of the talent budget into paying the judges and now were just stuck with a dude running a drum machine? Come on Nigel – you’re better than this!

  22. Paco says:

    Stefano was my favorite. i L.O.V.E.D. the way he pronounced “never”. Every single time he sang that part of the song I melted in my couch. For the girls, my favorite was Pia. I hope its a Pia-Stefano endgame.

  23. Preston says:

    I actually really enjoyed tonight’s show… a few great performances, a few trainwrecks… feels like season three all over again, and I love it!

    Here’s how I’d rank/score them tonight:
    1. Stefano 86
    2. Pia 85
    3. James 78
    4. Lauren 74
    5. Scotty 73
    6. Haley 72
    7. Casey 40
    8. Karen 37
    9. Naima 35
    10. Paul 29
    11. Thia 15
    12. Jacob 10

    • debi says:

      I agree with all of your grades, except that I would swap Thia and Casey. Thia was boring, but it wasn’t bad. Casey’s rendition was way too wild. ITA that Jacob was TERRIBLE.

  24. Tina says:

    Two things struck me as I was looking at the polls in this post.

    1. I didn’t like any of the performances enough to actually vote it a favorite.

    2. The reason I couldn’t find a favorite is that all of the contestants are boring me now. They do the same style of song, at pretty much the same tempo, with the same vocal stylings and the same moves on stage every single week!!

    I’m now comparing this season to season 9 and realizing that the problem with last season wasn’t entirely about the guitars; it was really about the sameness of the contestants every single week (and the fact that most of them couldn’t sing on-key). This season is suffering from the same sameness problem as last season. If the contestants don’t learn to really change things up (or if Jimmy and the producers don’t allow them to change things up), this season won’t be any more successful than last.

    Also, 8 ballads out of 12 songs is just ridiculous!

  25. Elena says:

    Well…Stefano was good! Ok, I have nothing else positive to say. I guess Pia and Scotty were both fine, but overall, tonight was just another disappointment.

  26. amy.. says:

    Casey- needs his teeth whitened one shade less than Paul’s.
    Haley- was not a cute baby
    Lauren- got whatever she wanted as a child
    Jacob- the 1st time I enjoyed one of his songs
    Thia- the 1st time I voted for her
    Paul- Kendra may be making you look good
    Karen- there are some bee’s looking for their hive
    Tamyra Gray- who’s the blonde next to you that we’re supposed to know
    Carly Smithson- Got the corner of the camera, poor thing
    Tamyra- One more thing…She is beautiful
    Overall a great show!

  27. annab says:

    I am increasingly enamored of Stefano – I agree the best of the night. Also, how much do I love “Langone’s Music” store…too cute. But I’m worried – he’s last on dial idol?!? Vote, people, vote!

    James is growing on me more and more and I still love Pia and Casey and that’s about it. If Karen doesn’t go home tomorrow my ears will bleed.

  28. annab says:

    Also, I think Thia nailed her Disney voice audition! I hear they are casting for their next inspirational animated flick, and you are totally in the running for that part, girl! (in the running for American Idol….not so much.)

  29. Cyndee says:

    When you talk about what sells, let me just remind you of Susan Boyle.
    Daydream Believer … Silent Night … How Great Thou Art … Cry Me A River.
    And of course Wild Horses. Wasn’t she the top selling artist (album) of 2010?!

  30. Joe says:

    I’m not one for making excuses unless it involves while I ate all the frozen waffles between 1am-2am most nights, but these kids look very tired.
    Lauren Alaina looked downright loopy up there tonight. That girl was on some serious meds for her cold.
    The Idol Machine is grinding them up early this year. I think with all the producer recording sessions on top of the rehearsal for the live show and other garbage these kids are burnt toast.
    Also, the Jimmy Iovine segments are time wasters and not working. He adds nothing to the show that you didn’t get from Ryan/Judge banter. I’d rather the extra 20 seconds go to the songs than to see Iovine in his chair riffing with contestants. He’s a clear miss for the season.
    As for right now, I felt Pia, Stefano, Scotty, James, Lauren and Jacob had the best vocals.
    Naima had the worst song choice in history. That’s just an ugly song to listen to. There’s nothing pleasing to the ear about What’s Love Got To Do With It.
    That said, Karen and Thia are wallpaper compared to Naima and if they were eliminated tomorrow no one would miss them at all.
    Paul needs to get off the show soon too and back into some small rock venues. He doesn’t have the voice for that kind of room week after week.

    • Derek says:

      I totally agree that the contestants look worn out & it’s obvious that it’s taking it’s toll. Look at how many of them were sick tonight. As far as the producers angle, I think the Idol producers are are limiting them b/c Rodney Jerkins can produce better tracks than what he’s doing on Idol. They sound way too safe/bland for him.

  31. Derek says:

    Drama queens much! No, tonight was not the best. Historically, birth year song theme nights have always been a low point. However, people saying no one sounded good prove they were either not listening or they have no ear for singing. Pia, James, Stefano, & Thia were near pitch perfect. Thia’s problem is she has no personality. Tonight’s show easily overshadowed any one from last season. Calm down & quit declaring the apocalypse.

    • debi says:

      I agree. Thia sang very well. I actually liked it. It didn’t hurt my ears when she sang like when Naima, Jacob, and Casey sang.

    • Branden Billy says:

      LOL AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well said!!

    • Joe says:

      Derek-I agree with you. I think if Pia, James, Stefano, Scotty, Lauren and Jacob were the final 6 it would be an amazing show down the stretch. They were all very good tonight. I couldn’t even sit through last season watching Lee sing. He was horrid and it made me want to punch someone seeing him get praise for being mediocre. This group is talented.

    • Jewels83 says:

      I’m going to have be the one to disagree here and I have very large ears for singing =)
      I’ve been watching since season 1 and I’ve never heard sound mixing levels, effects, production, you name it so bad as I did tonight which inevitably made everyone sound sub par, even those who were on pitch.

    • Ablo says:

      Derek — we can like what we like, of course — and no apology needed.

      But seriously, those were not anywhere close to pitch perfect performances. I mean not even nearly so. If you have DVR, go back and listen. Close your eyes. Listen and write back. I guess if I had to say who came the closes it would be Stefano — but he strayed mightily.

    • AdamGirl says:

      Just have to say that Adam Lambert sung Mad World in Year You Were Born Week. That is all.

      • agrimesy says:

        I hear you @AdamGirl! Adam got a standing ovation from Simon back when praise from the judges really counted. :-) That was a magical night! Adam sang “look right through me” and stood up under that dreamy blue light. I gasped . . . clutched my heart. The best thing about last night was the memory of Adam’s performance season 8.

      • Derek says:

        I gladly concede that Adam’s performance was a rare exception on a Birth Year Songs night.

  32. Branden Billy says:

    Ok some of these comments just really blow me away, its all over the internet about how AMAZING Stefano was tonight and obviously it shows. He is the only one that got RAVE reviews tonite. No one blew me away, except Stefano. He has been the dark horse and just becuz some of u have not paid very much attention to him just give him the credit he deserves. God BLessed him tonight!

    • debi says:

      He was mostly good tonight, but then there were a few rough patches………………IMA:(

      • Wyatt says:

        Yeah, like the horrible blooper at the very end of his song. If Stefano is the best of night, then that just proves what a disappointing night it was. Hopefully next week will bring some healthier, more engaging performances. Tonight was so mediocre!

  33. KLB says:

    Does anyone else think Casey is some sort of performance artist doing some sort of performance piece? Just me? Ok then.

    • Joe says:

      I think he’s a novelty act at this point and if he doesn’t show he can actually sing a song again soon he’ll be out in a few weeks once Karen, Naima, Thia and Karen drop off.

  34. Jen says:

    Holy crap, what were the judges drinking before they gave Jacob their input?? That was HORRENDOUS!! There was nothing even close to good about that.

    I don’t like Karen or Haley and watching the recaps I liked THEM better then Jacob tonight. There wasn’t a single note he hit that sounded decent.

    Naima sounded bad, but again, better then Jacob. Paul, yeah he hit some bad notes, but if you rewatch, he was actually pretty decent. I would rather listen to his rasp then Jacob’s vocal histrionics. And by the way, I’m still disappointed he didn’t do John Waite’s “Missing You”. Man that would have been perfect for his voice.

    I loved James,Pia(well most of it, but she’s still the best female there), and Stefano. At least they’re good at what they do. Casey disappointed. Thia still sings like a robot. Lauren was good for someone with the flu, and I’d rather listen to her then Karen or Haley ANY day. Scotty, well I’m just meh on him.

    And I’m sorry but it was obvious(before being told) that half those kids are sick(Lauren, Naima, James & Paul) so I think they deserve a pass for getting up there sick as hell.

    I really want Jacob or Karen to go. Or Thia. And will someone PLEASE give Paul his darn guitar? He’s definitely more comfortable with it.

  35. shelbar says:

    Namia: I love her style and she has the most beautiful eyes but ahhh just so so on the singing. Hopefully she will learn to control her voice as times goes by.

    Paul: a crazy little troll, make that adorable troll. I love him. he has a great upbeat personality and his voice is very unique. I like it! He has great confidence. Gave him some votes.

    Thia: Oh my my my, she sang beautifully. I loved her voice and she was not boring. Kind of classic. I voted for her.

    James, I can’t help but really like this guy. He seems down to earth and very quick and witty. He sings good and he is getting his notes under control. Cool dude lol. I threw him a few votes.

    Pia, I’m sorry but she made my ears bleed with all the screeching. She thinks she hitting power notes but it sounds terrible and I thought she was pitchy. Where is all the love for her. I wont buy a cd of her trying to screechy every note. She should listen to thia…now that girl has nice vocals and easy on the ears.

    haley, she can sing, she has a nice voice but she needs to stick to bluesly type songs. She took the lipstick all over her face in stride. I would of been mortified and held my hand over my face. I like her.

    Stephano, he did good and wow he could handle those high note runs. The song was a little to sappy for me, unless I was on the lido deck on some cruise ship dancing with my hubby. Do someone where he doesn’t always sing looooooog runs. Good voice. He has been told twice to keep his eyes open to no avail, next time staple them open.

    Karen, was TERRIBLE then she made it more terrible by singing in spanish. What was up with her hair? Is she a bee keeper? Please be the first to go.

    Scotty fish hook mouth was ok. All his songs sound the same to me. He is boring, he needs to show he can do more or something different. Everytime he starts a new line/sentence, his voice goes real low for a second until he reels it up. He’s OK.

    Lauren, look at my baby picture, “i’m so cute”, conceited much? Oh yes, she thinks she is the greatest. After her song.. “I’m back I’m back”. She is so full of herself, that’s a big turn off. she is fake and she think she’s all cutesy with her southern charm, oh gag me. She’s a goof and so is her crybaby father and mother with a goofy hat oh her head.

    Jacob, he has a beautiful smile but dam, learn how to control those notes. he wonders all over the place, he is not consistent.

    Casey has so much musical ability he needs to learn what to do with it. he is not afraid to try someone new. I love the guy. I voted for him

    • Jonathan says:

      I just couldn’t believe they showed Karen saying she doesn’t want to be known as the girl who sings in Spanish and then proceeded to sing a verse in Spanish, again. She needs to make up her mind.

  36. Elena says:

    Top three: Pia, Stefano, James
    Bottom three: Paul, Karen, Naima (and maybe Thia)

    • debi says:

      I think Thia and James were the best tonight. I’ve gone back and listened to all the performers and I think they sang better than the rest. Stefano was good too, except there were times where he missed the notes. Pia was good except for the screechy high note and her song choice wasn’t that great anyway. To me besides Stand by You, Grenade was her best performance.

  37. notmzbehavin says:

    Naima was simply all over the place. I liked her best singing the jazzy snippet in her intro–I’m left wondering why she just doesn’t do that?

    Thia sang an age appropriate song–just not in a way that is going to win at this level of competition.

    Paul and Lauren were sick, so get a pass. But for the record, I don’t like Laurens stage personality and her voice is nothing I’ve not heard a thousand times. Paul just isn’t anyone I’d pay money to listen to.

    Stefano totally surprised me this week; I’ve got that Simply Red CD, and S nailed it. He made it unique with the updating he did, though I wished he hadn’t thrown in the malisma, but that’s just my personal taste. In general, good for him!

    Scotty stretched a little, Pia was boring, Haily and Karen: your cruise ship is missing you.

    For a guy who’s been as ill as Casey was, he did great. I liked his growls and raspy voice, but he needs to learn to dial it back a bit. I love his personality and still believe in him, but he didn’t do so well this week. I give him A for effort, B for actual vocals. Casey my man, you’ve got a beautiful voice which I’m getting a little anxious to hear.

    Jacob? He has never been someone I enjoy listening to, and this week it was worse then ever. While he seems to be a nice guy, I don’t get the love for his voice. He doesn’t seem to have a lot of control over his vibrato or voice.

    This week was a disappointment to me. Too many more of these experiences and I’m going to spend my Wednesdays doing something else, and tune in for the finals.

    By the way–the best part of the evening was watching Steve and JLo step up and finally offer constructive criticism. I knew they could do it!

    • Lizbeth says:

      IA– Love Casey–but he has got to bring out the pretty in his voice next week. He needs to slow in down–just don’t pick a cheesy song like the rest of the contestants. I know he can do it. I kind of think that the producers and judges have been praising his Joe Cocker kind of vocals–and he probably thinks he needs to keep that up. But, next week–he needs a 180

  38. Jonathan says:

    Yowch, this was a rough night, I’m not inspired enough to vote for anyone, even my previous favorites. Lauren Alaina makes Kelly Pickler look like a frikkin’ genius.

  39. Chris says:

    i REALLY wish thia would show what she really can do!! she is amazing, she needs to do stuff like her youtube performances, like this one especially:

    she has such an amazing and unique voice, she just needs to step away from the ballads for a little!

  40. Titina says:

    Casey FTW!
    Listen, I can already tell some people might not like that but god he has some balls to do that song! And he nailed it! IMO.
    I mean that song is supposed to be screamy! He is the only who could have done that song!
    He had the attitude and his voice was sick! Best cover ever!

    Paul McDonals was the worst. Now I now why he is the VFTW pick!

  41. jrw0305 says:

    good lord that was uniformly HORRIFIC. my ears are still bleeding from jacob’s brutal massacre of “alone”. WHO IS ADVISING THESE PEOPLE!??? “alone” has been done TO DEATH on idol, and never better than the original by Carrie (though one S7er came real close, and she happened to be sitting in the audience tonight). other truly misguided idol “classics”: Pia and Haley’s takes on Whitney were about as successful as Tatiana Del Toro’s and Karen’s treatment of Taylor Dayne made me yearn for Mikalah Gordon. Yikes.

    paul is so awkward i can’t watch, thia looks (and sings) like she’s dead inside, casey and james are the second comings of lee dewyze, stefano was pure 80s schlock, naima actually cannot sing, and lauren is probably the most annoying contestant since…well, EVER.

    • notmzbehavin says:

      I get that you don’t like Casey, but to compare him to Lee Fricken DeWyze? THAT bore?

      Casey may be a lot of things–boring isn’t one of them.

      • Jonathan says:

        Oh, yeah, Casey has way way way waaaayyyyy more life in him than Lee. I still can’t believe that guy won over Crystal. The only thing I can say for Lee is that he wasn’t as awful and disingenuous as Danny Gokey was.

    • debi says:

      Are you referring to Carly? She sang Alone really well I think.

  42. Jonathan says:

    Naima is pitchy but James isn’t? Hmmm. I love Paul in theory but he’s clearly lost on that stage. Thia is a cartoon princess from my worst nightmares and must go. Durbin did not own the Bon Jovi like he should’ve (pitch problems unmentioned by the judges). Haley does not need to worry about sticking to one genre, but she needs to worry. Stefano still isn’t impressing me though he sang better than many tonight. Pia wore possibly the worst outfit ever seen on this stage and I don’t think she’ll ever appeal to me. Scotty was, again, reliable but not my style. Karen was as dull as ever but not as horrible as Thia and wins huge points for her Barbarella ensemble. Loved what Casey tried to do but it was probably his worst performance so far. Lauren needs to never speak, only sing, tonight she was passable but mediocre. Jacob is confused and so are the judges.

    • jrw0305 says:

      totally agree. i was livid when james got a free pass when his vocals were just as off as naima’s. and let’s not even talk about jacob. the camera cut right to a wincing JLo during his key change but a minute later she’s telling him he’s amazing?

      • Jonathan says:


      • Wyatt says:

        Yeah, James really got a free pass on a so-so performance. Naima and Haley get criticized for being “pitchy” (God I’m tired of that description!) but then judge pets James and Jacob get the kid glove treatment. Not fair.

  43. jrw0305 says:

    by the way, how obnoxious was randy jackson tonight? he was name dropping all over the place! he’s so NOT smooth when he inserts how he’s worked with so-and-so and it’s terribly obvious that he spends the rest of the week scouring the most recent Billboard chart so he can compare the contestants to someone current as a thinly-veiled attempt to look relevant…

    • Jonathan says:

      I’m looking forward to that Randy Jackson produced Lykke Li/Randy Travis collab. It’s gonna be da bomb!!! I’m disappointed with Randy’s continuation of his pre-existing bad habits now combined with what he perceives to be a Simonesque approach. Can’t wait for him to work the word “cabaret” into his responses.

    • AB says:

      I feel like Randy does this every week. Not sure if he feels the need to compete with Steven & Jennifer, or just likes to talk about himself. I like Randy, but this trait is very annoying!!

  44. notmzbehavin says:

    Ok, here’s the thing about Casey. I’ve watched his first videos over a number of times, and compared against his latest. Factoring in his diagnosis of ulcerative colitis, one gets a better picture of what’s going on.

    That his last two performances weren’t the same makes sense when one considers he was either going into, or just out of, the hospital. For his last weeks performance, they hadn’t even taken the shunt out of his arm yet.

    Ulcerative colitis is extremely painful, and involves the lower gut. I’ve had similar, and I am amazed that the guy can simply stand upright. In his first videos, Casey is singing from his beltline. Later,after his attacks, that would have been extraordinarily painful.

    I’m not convinced that he’s better now–he just doesn’t look all that healthy yet. I believe he’s been physically unable to get out the best sounds, and he’s trying to hang on until he feels stronger.

    I’m voting for him because he has more innate talent, musicality, and creative drive than the others combined. Even ill, this guy is heads up better than the rest.

    • Wyatt says:

      I agree on Casey. He is the most interesting and daring by far of this year’s — or any year’s — contestants. The guy is so creative and fun and daring. I always look forward to hearing what he is going to do next, and it doesn’t disappoint. He has now typecast himself as the screamer/growler. Who cares?! He is himself and he’s having fun pushing the envelope, something very few on A.I. have ever tried.

      Casey is my UnAmerican Idol no matter where he finishes in the competition.

  45. Jonathan says:

    Has anyone else noticed how Jimmy Iovine can’t keep his attention on the singers for a moment longer than he’s contractually obligated to? He’s constantly looking away from the kids before they can even cut away (he looks away from Paul the second they start shaking hands!) They need a new “mentor,” one who actually gives a bleep, or at least can muster up some rudimentary social/televisual skills.

  46. Wayne says:

    I thought that Thia was actually very good tonight. Despite being boring, she has one of the best voices n the competition. She needs to step it up if she wants to make it far like she deserves to be. All of her youtube performances are outstanding. That’s what she should do next week. Paul on the other hand is TERRIBLE! First of all, he looks like he’s drunk every time he gets on stage. Also, his voice is disgusting! He sounds like a dying elephant.

    My top 3: Pia, Thia, Lauren
    Bottom 3: Haley, Paul, Karen (maybe Naima, she sucks too)

  47. zweiosterei says:

    Got to say even though I’m not a Nirvana fan Casey absolutely butchered that song. It was a very poor effort specially by doing the song in it’s original arrangement.

  48. Lizbeth says:

    I have to say I thought the show was pretty boring. Mainly due to the song choices. Putting the performances aside–most of the songs chosen were a snoozefest topped with cheese.
    Casey was the most interesting of the night. At least, he has some balls to do something like that. Plus, he is such a good musician. But, not his best vocal. I really think next week he needs to slow it down some and just sing something straight on. The following week–he can go a little crazy again–LOL (Interesting that nothing about his hospitalization was mentioned–yet Lauren’s flu was highlighted)
    Stefano was OK–but over sang it and too many runs. Most of them did almost a carbon copy type song of what they did the week before. James did pretty well. Poor Paul–you could tell he was hurting. I am not a fan of his voice–but felt for him tonight. I do think that is one weak Elton John song.
    Not a good night for Jacob. I didn’t get the praise. I guess it was a bold choice for him–but it was bad.
    Pageant girls were in full force with pageant songs–LOL

  49. Flicka Spumoni says:

    The exotic flower has a tin ear. Listen up wanna-be’s, you’re not read for the big time if you can’t sing the melody. Unfortunately, she couldn’t find the melody with a GPS tracker.

    Paul McDonald is this year’s Sanjaya. He has solidified that spot in a mere two performances. This, however is not impressive, but depressing. Having a two note range that one can only find seventy percent of the time – however smokey-special they may be – is not artistic and not an asset. He is a coffee house singer with one awesome, awesome rhinestone suit!

    Thia failed to take that song anywhere near an emotional level. She needed to kick that song into gear and rip into it right after the first bar. And then once she had us, she needed to elevate that song once or even twice more. What did she sing again?

    James screamed his song and did not stay in pitch. He sang last week. He sang like a crazy, soaring, predator bird. He needs to find the melody and sing it and slow down to connect with the words. Everything else will follow because his talent is so innate. Oh, and note to Michael: Yes, he is socially obtuse. This is how autism is defined. It’s a disability. It can be managed with the right management and PR team, however. Think: Tom Cruise.

    I liked Hailey’s take on “I’m Your Baby Tonight”. I think she’s getting a raw deal from the judges. And I think, with her crazy vocal talent, she would really benefit from so sound fundamentals from the professionals. Groom that girl! They’re friggin’ nuts if they don’t.

    Stefano, Pia, and Scotty need to keep on giving us more of the same but expanding their artistry and skill every week. No small thing, but they’re all up to it. They’ come to that stage every week like pros. If they keep this up, they’ll all come out with record contracts after this. I can see each of them having big, big, careers.

    In all honesty I skipped Karen.

    Casey played convincinly the part of a besotted, spoiled suburban kid killing anthems for sport in his high school garage band. And just last week he was a musical genius. Casey, did you exchange a walk-on part in The Wall to a lead roll in a cage?

    Lauren, that was a good start. Now, do it just like that next week only better.

    I’m done, done, done, [the chorus swells] DONE with Jacob. The first rule of singing is to sing the notes. Ironically, I don’t think Jacob hit a single note until he sang the final four words of the song. And that’s being generous. These judges can fall all over themselves now – just like they did for the Silver Fox. Remember that? The real world demands a modicum of discipline and skill. He doesn’t have a career outside of his equally tone-deaf mother’s living room.

    • debi says:

      My first impression of the night was that Haley was one of the best. I thought Thia sang beautifully, but I understand the boring comments. I liked James much better last week, but he was still good. But the biggest news of the night was Jacob. I could hardly stand to listen ro his performance. The beginning was terrible, and then it got worse. I was shocked that all three judges praised him so profusely. I haven’t enjoyed his singing this season. Lauren was better tonight, but she does have an annoying personality. Poor Karen, her best performance was “Hero” and it was only fair. Oh well, it’s not her fault the judges put her through.

    • Monks says:

      I do agree that Hailey is getting a raw deal. I like it that she is somewhat unpredictable syylewise each week, and is unfairly criticized for just that…especially by Randy, who I am finding so tiresome. Everyone that Randy doesn’t like is “pitchy”. The judges have preconceived reviews of each contestant and they are not very insightful or helpful to the kids. The judges are very talented people but I don’t think they are particularly intelligent.

  50. AB says:

    Enjoyed: James, Stefano, Casey, Haley (surprisingly). Pretty boring: Thia, Pia, Naima. Pretty good: Lauren, Scotty Passionate but just weird: Jacob Needs to go: Paul Needs to go more (and will) Karen. Haley was brave and took some real risks with Whitney & did a decent job. Pia’s arrangement of Whitney was BAD. Karen’s Star Trek look + ginormous earrings were distracting, and she was not good. Bottom 3: Karen, Haley, & …Paul?