Idoloonies: Dishing the First Man Out, the New 'Kristy Lee,' and the Trouble With Jimmy Iovine

The first two weeks of American Idol‘s season 10 finals have passed without a single male contestant landing in the bottom three. And while some pundits have predicted we could see four or even five women sent packing before a single guy gets ousted, I think that’s total folly. Idol is a fickle and finicky mistress, subject to change its moods as often as J.Lo changes her hairstyles.

And that’s why on this week’s installment of Idoloonies, my panel of reader cohosts and I discuss which season 10 male contestant is likeliest to go home first, and which woman has the greatest potential to pull a Kristy Lee Cook and outwit, outlast, and maybe even outsing her more lauded competitors. Plus, we talk about how Jimmy Iovine and his team of superstar producers may be sacrificing the quality of Idol‘s live performance shows in favor of increasing iTunes downloads of the week’s musical numbers.

And if that’s not enough, we’ve got an interview with 13th-place finisher Ashthon Jones, who has some surprising things to say about her “diva status,” her Blu Cantrell connection, and her feelings about fellow contestant Kendra Chantelle’s Wild Card performance.

So press play on our four-part episode below, and for all my Idol news and opinions, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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  1. Randy1966 says:

    I don’t think I can stand Paul dancing around the stage, like a drunk baby much longer.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I’m with you, Randy1966. Give Paul a guitar and a sparkly suit – and nail one foot to the floor! I can’t ever recall a time when I was still on the fence about really liking a contestant. One week I think he’s great, and the next week I’m thinking “Oh, no….”.
      Paul is EXACTLY the type of performer I should love but I am so on the fence with him.

  2. Ellen says:

    well color me an Idoloonie. I’m not a fan of what the producers are doing with the kids. Agreed about the stifled creativity. It just leaves something lacking and you wishing/looking for something else.I never cared for Jacob and I have my own thoughts (albeit not socially acceptable) as to why they chose some of the contestants they do. It’s not about the talent because there were more talented kids they passed on. Thia absolutely does not belong there. She is X Factor fodder.I miss Simon too and I’m wondering if Steven missed a few mettings with the blank stares and the “was I really in the room?” statements. Not looking forward to Motown week. I just hope the show picks up at some point.

  3. Squirrellygirl says:

    Out of the girls I like Haley and Thia, but I find Thia too boring. Haley on the other hand seems more original, and she can sing on- key, too. I also noticed that Haley doesn’t need to force her voice or force a vibrato like Pia, who tends to sing out of her range or just simply doesn’t sound well on the high notes. It makes me wonder if some of the girls were picked for their looks and not their voices. IMO Thia and Pia sound like they are singing in a bad beauty contest. Paul is a mess. Can’t sing on key and doesn’t know how to project his voice. Naima is a mess. Off key, and is it me or is she singing through her nose. I could swear she reminds me of Eddie Murphy sometimes…I’m not making fun of her, but I truly think she has acquired some really bad annoying habits, and I wasn’t impressed with the dancing. I thought she looked like she was going to fall when she was coming down the stairs. I liked Casey in the beginning, loved his electric bass, and I don’t want to see him leave. But what I do want from Casey is for him to stop screaming to hit the notes, and actually sing for once. This is a singing contest, right? James. James. James. He’s young, inexperienced, and appears to be taking in and advancing every week. We finally got to hear his nice heady falsetto, we got to hear him control his high notes (or rock screams). If I had to pick a winner, for me, it would be James. Yeah, I know he needs to work on his “humility” but there’s something about him, and you know, I love seeing someone with that horrible tyrret’s syndrome actually dealing with it and not trying to get sympathy votes. Jacob has talent, but it’s not my fav genre, and churchy sounding idols usually get booted early. Even Jennifer Hudson was too OTT for my tastes. But I’m wishing Jacob all the best. I do find his performances entertaining, so I would rather see Paul kicked off before Jacob. Scotty? Again not my fav genre. IMO he isn’t original but does have a nice sound a like voice. He looks like the guy on the mad magazines (What? Me worry???), he’s young and I’m sure he has a promising future right now. But does he HAVE to be this year’s idol? Really? Stefano is good but again, not my fav genre. Whose music would I purchase? Right now, not a one. But I could see James getting that help from those producers, which is exactly what he needs. Help with his voice, correct singing techniques. Yes, David Cook was the best in every way. Original, technique, sexy, enough said.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Squirellygirl – I pretty much agree with what you’ve written here. As far as Pia goes – do you remember when she sang “Grenade” on group night? That was far more interesting – simple coreography and more life! Plus, she stayed in her range. I think she’s perfectly capable of turning in a more interesting performance.

  4. Dave in Alamitos Beach says:

    My problem in hightlighting Simon this week in Idoloonies is that no one has mentioned how cogent and insightful J.Lo’s comments were this week. I was very, very impressed. She seemed at least as pointed as Simon, without the “look at me” evilness.

    As for “the kids,” I guess it doesn’t really matter in which order they go out up until Scotty wins the thing.

  5. silkrose says:

    LOL at Simon judging this season’s contestants…brilliant!

  6. Pat says:

    These clips remind me of how much I used to like Simon, not the Simon who was checked out last season. I’m sure he would could come up with some razors this season, but if he was as out of it as he was last season, I don’t think so. No matter, the judges have got to step up their game. If the producers really want to help the contestants, they would do well to help with song choice. If this season doesn’t pick up soon, I believe the viewers will fall away week by week.

  7. jennifer says:

    Just wanted to thank you Michael for bringing this to us earlier this week – yesterday’s article was great also. You see, we just need constant idol news to get us through the week until Wednesday! (No pressure though)

  8. Amelia says:

    I’m receiving the “SERVER NOT FOUND” message on all the videos & none of them will play for me. Argh.

  9. Adina says:

    I picked the same top three weeks ago after the wild-card sing off: Pia, Stefano, and Scotty. I KNEW Stefano would go far in this competition after hearing him sing “I Need You Now” I knew he’d be a dark horse to win. I’m so glad people are starting to see his potential, although Pia is still my favorite. It’s been way too long since a girl won this competition!

  10. James says:

    Gotta say I got a new found respect for Ashton after that…It will be an interesting week to see who goes home for sure this week!

  11. darcy's evil twin says:

    Michael Slezak – I probably don’t tell you this often enough but GREAT INSIGHT on this version of “Idoloonies”. yes, the performances are boring and have a canned, empty feeling. When I watched the clips of Allison, David Cook, and Chris Allen I thought to myself, “YES! That’s what’s missing! The passion!”. We got a little glimpse of that passion during the wild card performances when the kids really had to go for broke.

    It’s like watching pairs figure skating – they can be perfect technically but it the passion’s not there it’s just not interesting.
    The Chinese pairs are technically amazing – but boring. And that’s what’s wrong with Thia. She has a lovely voice, but ZZZZzzzzzzzz…..

    You hit the nail on the head. Get those producers out of there if all they can do is try and mold someone into radio-ready/dance club crappola and let these kids do what they want to do! My mom used to tell me, “Do something – even if it’s wrong. What doesn’t kill you makes you strong”. It’s time for these kids to do something even if it’s wrong, and I’ll give Casey credit for his version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (which is a crappy song, Nirvana was a crappy group, and thank goodness grunge, like Kurt Cobain, is gone). At least Casey did something he wanted to do. Was it good? Nope, it stunk to high Heaven but hey, we’ve seen him deliver the goods before so he survived, although I agree – he’s buying into the hype. Perhaps the producers should have intervened but look what they did to Pia, for crying out loud. Would anything they did to Casey have necessarily been an improvement?

    I agree – it’s time for Paul McDonald to deliver a great performance and have an “Idol Moment”. And I was NOT a Haley fan at all, but I’m liking her more and more all the time and she’s absolutely better than Scarnato or Kristy Lee Cook. I’d truly love to see her give a killer performance this week.

    Thanks for the interview with Ashthon Jones. She seems like a nice girl and I hope she’s able to mature and find a spot in the music business.

  12. Teena says:

    Does Casey have some, “I’m not cutting my hair or beard until I am off Idol” good luck thing going? When do the stylists get ahold of these people?

  13. jj says:

    way too nice to paul, way too harsh on jacob.

  14. Teresa says:

    I’m going to be a little contradictory in my response. I LOVE the “schooled” bits you keep throwing out there. And if people are going to sing songs from AI past, they are asking for it.

    And the Simon critiques were hilarious!

    That said, you’re putting up the best of the season’s past against a passel of newbies. Are we forgetting that Simon spent a good half of Season 8 playing footsie with Paula and throwing random bits of nonsense in Allison’s direction? That he slept through most of Season 9, only wake up and hallucinate that Lee was the best performer in the final weeks? Have you seen him on X-Factor?

    But I agree that the live performances are suffering right now. Maybe we haven’t seen enough yet, maybe there’s too much manipulation rather than mentoring. I hope it’s the former, but fear it is the latter.

    And yeah, those therapy sessions look more canned than the guest mentor spots of olde. If they are going to film behind the scenes, I want it to look like a process. Not a photo op.

    Interesting notes about Casey getting cocky. I wonder if the famous Idol bubble is getting too big? I mean, from interviews, it seems like the Season 8 idols were protected from most of the fan reaction. It was hard to miss the Adam photo thing, but Adam mentioned that he Googled himself after being told by friends that there was something he needed to see. Danny mentioned at some point Michael Sarver telling him what a shock it was to leave the bubble and be famous. There are behind the scenes accounts of going shopping and having no one in blasé LA notice them.

    Now, with the Idols all twittering, the wall between Idol and fan is breaking down. They no longer have to Google to do “market research.” It’s probably hitting them like a brick wall.

    • Lizbeth says:

      It was fun seeing Simon edited in to this years show–but I think he was seen wearing Rose Color Glasses. Simon was really horrible the last two years. I do remember how he treated Allison-it was pretty bad. I think it could have hurt her career–he just would not pay attention or acknowledge how freaking awesome she was most of the time.
      Paula and Simon third grade antics during her songs was so unprofessional. He didn’t like Allsion for some reason. But, her sing-out was one of the best idol moments ever. And for that minute or two–Allison made a fool out of Simon to his face.
      And last year–I think he started pimping Lee just for the hell of it. It think his ego wanted to see if he had the power to give Lee the win over Crystal. I can’t think of any other explanation for the reversal in his attitude and comments.
      I don’t think Simon is very musical. He was wrong as much as he was right. But, he has that way about him and that confidence that people think he knows it all.

  15. Marketing Guru says:

    Seeing these clips really made me miss David Cook and Kris Allen. Wish they would play more of David’s “Don’t You (Forget About Me).” It’s Awesome!

  16. Quick says:

    Bottom three this week:



    They are not the kind of singers that appeals to the AI audience. Naima is pitchy and “too far-out” for them. Haley does not have enough likeablity. And JLusk does not fit the “heartthrob” mold of Cook, Allen, etc. Plus, SADLY, black male singers do not fare well on the show

    Elimination will depend on each of their performances.

  17. Mary says:

    Great review Michael. I agree these kids are being overproduced. Great they sound good on I Tune but seriously would I spend money and go see them in concert. No. Idol to me has always been about the singing first. If you look back on Carrie’s performances they were great, but you could tell she was petrified on stage, now look at her. It is great to sell records, but lets be real most musicians make their money on concerts. The judges need to critique the performances honestly so the performers can learn and grow. If not, this will be a long season. I am waiting for the break out performance like Kris and Cook, but I won’t be holding my breath. My lord, please suggest Nigel stick with past idols because the talent pool so far, except Adam has sucked.

  18. AGM says:

    As I watched the last episode, all I could think of was have these contestants learned nothing from David Cook? Better yet, have the producers learned nothing from David Cook? Why in the world were none of these songs rearranged?

  19. Princess Adora says:

    These were the greatest clips ever!! They slipped in flawlessly, especially the Simon critiques! The judges started out pretty good (I wasn’t even missing Simon) then it all started going downhill around the top 13 (I want Simon back!! And Kara! And even Paula!!). It’s too bad because the talent was wonderful this season, but without constructive criticism their performances are getting so boring and tough on the ears (case in point: Casey). We need David and Kris to come mentor these poor shlubs! (schlubs?)

  20. Jenny says:

    LOVED the Simon clips. As usual he was able to perfectly express what I was feeling. Need to keep those on file to insert. Also loved the clips of David and Kris. Reminds me what I have been missing with this show. Got chills again with both those clips like the first time I saw them.

    This group is reflective of music today. Everything is overproduced and autotuned. You don’t have to have any actual talent to get a recording career. You have to fit an image. It is all controlled by a producer. Whoever the winner is will have maybe one hit and the minute the producer isn’t there they will be gone.

  21. karen says:

    Wow !! THis says exactly how I feel, especially the part about the producers on Idol. I’ve been feeling also that we aren’t seeing what the contestants can really do, unlike the previous few years. I believe it is affecting the performers because I didn’t have that feeling during semifinals.

    It is especially obvious when you show the previous year’s performances next to this years.

    What I really like is a performer that could put their songs into their own style, and we are not seeing that much of that at all.

  22. Emma says:

    Thia = Whitney’s little sister in “Bring it On”

  23. Holly says:

    Great Idoloonies episode, Michael! I have been struggling with this season so far, and I think you have illuminated the problem. The wonderful era of musicianship that David Cook (and a few others in season 7) ushered in is over, because the Idol producers have decided they would rather have contestants they can completely mold into record selling, download-ready “artists” than true artists. The live performances are boring and lack individuality. For example, Pia has the whole package – a wonderful voice, looks, personality – but I don’t think she has been given freedom to show us what she would do as an artist. If I’m wrong, and she has been making her own choices, then I’m bored to tears. I would be interested to know if the producers’ strategy has resulted in more itunes downloads this season compared to previous seasons. Ironically, this is the first year that I have yet to be even remotely interested in downloading anything I have seen performed so far.

  24. ladyhelix says:

    (menu on the right)

  25. Stacy says:

    Well, let’s be honest. This mostly just served to remind me that nobody this season has given me anything like what David Cook brought pretty much every week. Even though there’s not even a studio version, his “Hello” is still one of the most played tracks in my itunes. There’s not a single performance yet this season that I could see joining that list. But, hey, I keep watching because I live in hope that this week I’ll see something amazing.

  26. JM says:

    Good Lord I miss the exciting, entertaining,and artistry that Idol has had in the past (David Cook,Adam Lambert,Kris Allen…)I honostly believe it’s mostly the producer’s involvement that has smothered the few that could be really good. I think Paul had a really good chance to do something amazing with his song choice last week and it’s hard to believe it was all his decision…a stripped down, slow version of that song would have been pretty awesome and it seems like he would have realized that. I feel like the REAL talent this season is being wasted.
    Still hopeful though…

  27. Lizbeth says:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. So glad you dedicated a segment this week to Jimmy Iovine and his fellow record producers, and how it is negatively impacting this show. And not in a small way–in a big way. The show is losing heart by stifling these kids creativity and trying to make them into “package artists”. Most “package artists” suck. It reminds me of the Stepford Wives Idol style. Bad, bad, bad.
    Funny how almost every contestant was much better and more interesting during the Hollywood/Vegas weeks than they are now. They showed creativity and personal musical style–plus their voices sounded far superior without that band/canned music/backtracks. You mentioned Pia and the canned beat that was used for her song. I am guessing that these producers have very little time to spend arranging idol music. So, it is slapped together pretty quickly–and it sounds like it.
    Casey is a talented guy. Excellent musician and he sings like he is playing an instrument. It may not be technically perfect—but it’s still good. For such a young kid, he can work the stage very well and has a real presence up there. I would guess he chose the song I Put a Spell on You and sang it the way it should have been sung. (It is is a gruff type song.) The two notes he put on the end of the performance (which really defined the performance) I would wager money came out of his head–not the producers. So, the next week the producers decide–he has the Joe Cocker thing happening and we get Little Help from My Friends. He did it well–but I could tell they were going to put him in that box. Granted–he has been sick–so I don’t know if he has even had time to arrange his own stuff. But, again he is growling and screaming the third week in. It was gutsy to try it and I’m sure a last minute song choice due to illness and other factors–but he is in that box. What the hell happened to jazz Casey? I am really curious to see what he does this week.
    I want the water-cooler moments back. If the record producers had been around we would have never had Cook’s version of Hello or Castro’s I don’t Wanna Cry or Adam’s Ring of Fire or Kris’s Heartless etc etc. Would they have let Crystal flip that lousy Kenny Loggins song like she did last year. I doubt it.
    PS–IF they can play an instrument well–just let them.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Lizbeth wrote, <>

      Made me laugh! :-)

      Stay tuned for “Stepford American Idol”, LOL.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Sorry, the quote didn’t come through – Lizbeth wrote “Most “package artists” suck. It reminds me of the Stepford Wives Idol style. Bad, bad, bad”.

      Stepford American Idol. that’s just funny

  28. Jason says:

    Slezak, right on dude. The producers are ruining the show. Since they cast a bunch of young kids, they are right to provide a lot of support and coaching. They NEED that just to survive this experience with any kind of self-esteem. But the work in the studio is not translating well to the stage/live performances.

    I think it’s a combo of studio-driven arrangements, missing Rickey Minor’s gift for supporting the live performer on that stage, AND so-so camera direction. The director just keeps giving us these wide shots of an empty stage with nothing happening OR a kid wandering around singing. We need close shots of the performer singing, and the performers need to stand still till they can do that better, IMO. The average TV viewer IS comparing this to the professional, edited performances on Glee. It’s not measuring up.

  29. Jason S. says:

    You never cease to amaze me Slezak. You can’t go a week without insulting your favorite punching bags. Which are beautiful women. WHether it be Kristy Lee Cook, Megan Joy, Haley Scarnato, or this years Haley. You insult at least one of them in every article or episode of Idoloonies. Dude therapy may be in order for you to get over this irrational hatred of beautiful women!!! Even if it’s a case of not liking there singing there is no excuse for insulting them three years later when they are not on the show anymore!!!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Sorry, Jason S., but I’m going to have to stick up for Slezak this time.

      Slezak has said he likes Pia Toscano, and she is positively beautiful and lovelier than Kristy Lee Cook, Megan Joy (Megan Joy beautiful? Really?), and Haley Scarnato all rolled up into one package.

      Slezak says less than complimentary things about a lot of people, attractive or not, that haven’t been on the show in years.

  30. dbanimate says:

    those clips made me miss simon :( it didn’t start out that way – the auditions & hollywood rounds were great from both the judges and contestants, but the live shows are a different animal – simon’s sometimes mean but incredibly useful critiques are sorely missed. and most of the kids seem terrified of jimmy iovine and just say “yes sir” and do whatever he says. things are sinking fast…good thing dwts has started.

  31. Jason S says:

    I think Casey said it all when he said “I’m going to take a risk and I don’t care.” I don’t think he cares if he wins or loses. I think he’s on the show on a dare or something. Like he’s a genius that just plays music on the side and doesn’t really care about being a musician. The growling and the faces are all a joke to him. He is just goofing off. There’s no way Teen Spirit was a serious performance. I’m surprised he didn’t do the weird al version of the song. He’s like a VFTW plant.

  32. Jeneane Roberts says:

    The people who make comments about a contestant’s looks are just insecure about themselves and do this in order to make themselves feel bigger. This is a singing contest not modelling.

  33. abc123 says:

    I agree completely about the producers! They need to tone it down and let the contestants do their own thing. They ruined Ashthon Jones’s “When You Tell Me…” as well as Stefano’s Stevie Wonder cover and Thia’s bluesy Michael Jackson spin. They need to back off and let these people find themselves. Is Iovine supposed to be Simon lite? I really don’t like him.

    Here’s a little breakdown of the remaining contestants:

    Haley – personality 10, talent 4.5. I’m sure her fellow contestants would rather see her in the top 10 (and the subsequent tour) than Thia, who seems to be shy beyond words and doesn’t really seem like she’s friends with anyone.

    Thia – the peak of pageantry. She really is that nerdy, shy girl you didn’t spend much time with in high school, the classic goody-two-shoes who spends 90% of her time with her nose in the book. Her singing reflects that.

    Paul – let’s face it, the guy is not Idol material. I like him but I get the feeling he’s mostly there to gain publicity for the band he has in Nashville. He doesn’t strike me as a solo performer anyway.

    Naima – she’s got the heart and the soul but her technique is off. Probably the most inconsistent contestant. Too bad, too, since she’s my favorite. But we’ve seen a pattern of colored girls getting the boot in recent weeks so I’m afraid for her future on Idol (and before you start with the race stuff, I am a white male).

    Jacob – this season’s Andrew Garcia, who keeps chasing that moment he had back in Hollywood but never quite catches it. I’d bet good money, though, that he will get the judges’ save. And yet, WE SAW YOU WINCING, JENNIFER! I winced too. He mutilated Alone.

    Lauren – I’m getting tired of the bratty shtick. But she seems popular enough to make it to at least the top 7.

    Pia – great work ethic. Still, I liked her Grenade performance in Hollywood more than any ballad-y stuff she’s done. I kind of feel like we haven’t still figured out who Pia is and maybe the producers need to show more of that. How about cramming her down our throats? She actually deserves the attention.

    Scotty – won’t win, but will get a record deal nonetheless.

    Stefano – see Scotty.

    James – not my favorite, but reasonably good enough to make it into the top 5, maybe even the top 3. Needs to lose the tail. I may be a little biased when it comes to him since I hate-hate-HATE sob stories.

    Casey – OK, I just don’t get it. He’s not bad, but he’s so wrong for Idol. I don’t see how his rough-around-the-edged-ness (!) can work with Jimmy Iovine’s overproduction. And his Teen Spirit was really bad.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Hey abc123 – I agree with most of your commentary here and you are spot-on in your observations. I would put Haley slightly higher in the talent category, though – she sings in-key and I would love to see her really give us a memorable performance. She has a confident attitude and handles being in the bottom three gracefully. I didn’t like her at all during Hollywood week but she’s growing on me, probably in part due to the absence of Kendra Chantelle and Lauren Turner.

      I’ve been liking James more and more all the time – I like him because we’ve watched him improve.

      I like Casey but he needs to do what he does best. I didn’t think anyone could make Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” any crappier than it already is, but Casey managed to do just that.

      I do think Stephano has an outside chance of winning the whole thing, though.

    • Huh says:

      Oh come on, abc123, Paul is there because he has talent and he wants to be famous. A lot of people start out in bands because it is hard to get a solo gig. Especially the way the economy has been. David Cook had a band help him too before he joined Idol. Paul was not a lazy a**…it’s hard getting singer jobs, so the band was a smart move that he made.

  34. Cat says:

    I have to disagree with almost everyone about Thia. Her voice, especially for her age, is the most beautiful and pitch-perfect I’ve ever seen on this show. This is a SINGING competition, remember? I’d like to see her move around some and do something more lively, too, but is this audience so immature that you can’t just enjoy seeing someone stand and sing perfectly? Have we all become that ignorant of what good music is? This past weekend, I saw a concert of PBS for the 25th anniversary of “Les Miz”. All the actors in the show just stood in place and sang. No dancing, no gimmicks. And it moved me almost to tears. Grow up, people!!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Am I immature? no, but if I want to watch someone just stand there and sing boring songs I’ll go to a high school state music competition.

      and now we know who’s voting for Thia, anyway.

      • Cat says:

        I don’t vote, but, if I did, it would be for her, Pia and Scotty all the way. Actually, most high school state music competitions would feature better true singers than you see on “Idol” in a given season. But, Thia is FAR above and beyond most high school singers.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Oh, get out of here. We STILL don’t know who is voting for Thia, LOL?

          Sorry, she is just dull, dull, dull. It’s not her age. I loved Allison Iraheta, who remains my favorite contestant of all time.

          • Nonny says:

            I’ll tell you who is voting for Thia–my 23 year old daughter. She absolutely LOVES her voice. Thank heaven some people still appreciate just plain good singing.

          • amy.. says:

            It isn’t worth it Darcy. These “persons” will post “Thia Rules” every week even if Thia beomes a deaf mute.
            However, I did love Michael’s shout-out to Allison too. I still remember her duet with Cyndi Lauper. PERFECT & AMAZING!

          • @Nonny says:

            But, Nonny it isn’t all that good of singing — singing is more than just singing the notes (and she misses a lot of those as well). She’s just too young for this.

  35. Bob says:

    They need to get a slightly younger mentor for the contestants. I know Jimmy “Eye-Veen” Iovine was this fantastic record producer from way back in the day, but he’s pushing 60. What real advice can he give someone aged 16-25 other than what worked 30 years ago. He IS over-producing, almost making everyone a bland clone of each other. I also think this year’s judges are doing as well a job as past seasons. They’re getting the same points across, just not the same way Simon did it. And it’s nice not to have to listen to the Simon-Seacrest bickerfest ever week.

  36. Yo says:

    Idoloonies just gets better and better! Ashton is the first contestant I have ever heard say another contestant bested her in a performance! Nice girl, that, and I like her voice, too.
    I agree with your Duets suggestion for Paul; this competition is not helping him any more and he needs to go do what he does well. Haley has spunk and can belt it and yodel, so I am in her corner to stay. If she sings the Star stangled Banner tonight she may get the USA Threw Yet Another War vote and hang out a while. I don’t think the producers will be helping her any. Iovine and company are hurting, this show; I don’t trust them to affect song choice; some singers seem thrown under the bus.

  37. amy says:

    The other day “Baby lock them doors” came on the radio, I don’t like the song, but decided to listen just to compare it to Scotty’s broken record :)
    Scotty actually sang it better and this last week he showed he can sing with more range and still stay on pitch.
    Loved the Idoloonies Michael…
    I think Simon did great for a long while, but JLo is a welcome change. It is Steven that is causing the judging to fall “flat”
    Here’s hoping Casey will “sing” tonight, because I like his Jazz voice. Trim your beard too!
    Here’s hoping Pia will retire the jumpsuit and add her personality more.
    I would like to see Pia, Casey, & Stefano as top 3.

  38. pamela says:

    When I compare this year to last year, I know what I miss. Every Tuesday, we could count on listening to Crystal Bowersox sing in her unique way with her lovely voice. There are some good singers this year, but no one is showing us that they are very special.

  39. Whoopseedaisy says:

    I really, really hate the flash player that you use to embed these videos. I love the show, but my god… it takes an hour of stop and go to get through one clip. Can’t you upload them to youtube for those of us who cannot take the constant buffering??


  40. Janice says:

    I don’t think Paul has ever wanted to win this. I think his interest was just in getting a little attention for his band, Grand Magnolias, and his Nudie Cohn suit. I still love him and hope all the attention serves him well.

  41. GingerSnap says:

    After reading an inteview with one of the producers from Jimmy I’s group, I’m convinced they are the problem. Their interest is producing product for iTunes, not in directing these singers in becoming better performers. They have them sing their songs multiple times & edit together something that sounds great. This does nothing for their live performances, but these performances are what you & I are judging.
    Plus these producers think everyone “sounds great”. You’re not offeting constructive criticism if you don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. Thus Lauren is producing mediocre kareoke performances & she believes she is already a star ‘cuz these guys aren’t telling her anything different. Meanwhile, you & I are craving one honest, direct criticism from these judges.

  42. Volcfom says:

    Personally, I never liked the iTunes versions of the performances, and that is why they don’t sell records. Does anyone remember how Carly Smithson’s iTunes tracks were one or two octaves higher than her live performances? Or how anyone with a unique tone (Lee) would sound flat and tinny? The solution to selling isn’t more producer input, it’s less. Make the studio versions sound more like the live ones, and you’ll get more downloads.
    Also, it helps to market a little better – I didn’t even know that Crystal’s album came out until like a month later!

    I feel that if the producers’ input was removed, Paul would be our front-runner, and not in discussion for the chopping block.

    As for the judges, JLo is the only one I listen to anymore. Steven is useless and Randy is critical just for the sake of being so, and his praises never go to the ones who deserve it.

  43. Paisley Quinn says:

    Ummm….okay, so I am watching this segment AFTER Tuesday night’s Motown show, and boy, oh boy, were you ever wrong to rush to judgement about Jacob. He was so damned amazing last night, I actually shed a tear. Paul really should go before Jacob. And I think Paul is absolutely wrong for this show. But I’d send Thia, Casey and Haley home before either Jacob or Paul. Casey has not had a single great vocal since Hollywood. Thia is too young and has no idea what she is doing — I feel zero connection with her performances. And Haley’s vocal abilities are to scattered and have not been channeled into a single coherent performance (okay, maybe the LeeAnn Rhimes song, but even that performance was lacking).

    Michael, these Idoloonies shows are so freakin’ clever — splicing Simon’s critiques into the current Top 12’s feedback time was GENIUS. Showing the clips of Carly, Carrie, Allison, and David (and yes, even Kristy Lee) made me so nostalgic that it almost hurt.

    I agree with you that the producers do seem to be hurting more than helping. What would they have told Adam Lambert? Kris Allen? Jason Castro? There is an edginess to some of the older Idol performances. Aside from Naima and James, I get the feeling these kids are either holding back or steered in the wrong direction.

    It was great to hear from Ashthon. She seems like a genuinely nice person. Too bad her vocals weren’t there — it would have been fun to see what could have been.

  44. Harmony says:

    Wow I miss Simon. Can not wait until X-Factor. Idol just isn’t the same without him. No one is really making the contestants think about their choices and I’m not even sure the songs are their choices. I am so sick and tired of the producer involvement. The Idol producers need to back away and take Jimmy Iovine and his producer group, and Randy and Steven Tyler, with them. Its so ridiculous right now. We’re never gonna have another season 7 or season 8, and I miss so much the things, and people, that made those season’s so special. I’m really starting to not care about this season.

  45. PFitz says:

    Love, loved, LOVED how you guys stripped in Simon’s likely critique….boy, do we miss that reality check, don’t we?

  46. salvador says:

    Michael good analysis and I love those clips from season 8 how I miss those days Allison gives me the chills I love that girl. Kriss Allen David and others thank you for your hard work you are spectacular

  47. JIll says:

    Forgot how sexy David Cook is. Can’t wait for new album

  48. suzanne says:

    I’m having a great time watching these and seeing Slezak’s slow turnaround on Haley REinhart… “The Slayer”
    hey, we saw TEAM HALEY! All hail.