American Idol Top 11: Vote for the Best and Worst Performances from 'Motown Night'

Golden oldies were front and center tonight as the American Idol Top 11 tackled songs from the Motown Records vaults. Indeed, not only were the compositions in question two or three times the age of most contestants, but the majority had already been performed (sometimes quite memorably) by previous Idol contestants.

That said, there wasn’t a single train wreck performance in the bunch — a vast improvement over last week’s Songs from the Year You Were Born — setting us up for what’s likely to be the first genuinely suspenseful results show of the Season 10 finals. Check out the full set list below, then head to our polls to vote for your favorite and least favorite performances. I’ll be back in the wee small hours of the morning with my full episode recap [UPDATE: Full recap is now live, so click here to read it]; follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV for an up-to-the-second alert when that exhaustive descent into Idol minutiae gets published. And do head to the comments section to sound off on what you saw! (p.s. Can we get a slow clap for Jennifer Lopez’s incisive, constructive critiques? JAY-LOW! JAY-LOW! JAY-LOW!)

Set List
Casey Abrams: Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”
Thia Megia: Martha and the Vandellas’ “(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave”
Jacob Lusk: Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “You’re All I Need to Get By”
Lauren Alaina: The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”
Stefano Langone: Lionel Richie’s “Hello”
Haley Reinhart: The Miracles’ “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me”
Scotty McCreery: Stevie Wonder’s “For Once In My Life”
Pia Toscano: Stevie Wonder’s “All in Love Is Fair”
Paul McDonald: The Miracles’ “The Tracks of My Tears”
Naima Adedapo: Martha and the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Street”
James Durbin: Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City”

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

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  1. Ablo says:

    Oh my — well, this year is getting worse each week.

    • The judges you mean? Because they are brutal. They honestly think that these contestants are so good they don’t need any constructive criticsm? Really? I don’t care if you did well tonight, Jacob and Naima aren’t Celine Dion or Madonna or something. Each contestant needs some tweaking.

      • Ablo says:

        I actually feel bad for the contestant because I think they are getting a real false impression of their abilities as they currently stand. I keep calling out to the TV, “Somebody help them! Please, anyone help these poor kids!” But everyone just lets them drown. Don’t go to the lake with these judge — if you start sinking and screaming for help Steven Tyler would yell back “Z to the diddly Z Vee — you are the greatest swimmer ever.” JLo would compliment your swimsuit. Randy would tentatively suggest that you might consider doing a different stroke next time, but go on to say that “you can definitely swim, dog.”

        • Marta says:

          I give my own personal standing ovation to this comment! Perfection! Incredible! BEAUTIFUL! (ala Steven Tyler)

          • Elena says:

            Next week, my husband and I are building a drinking game around the word “beautiful.” Honestly, I think Steven is bored out of his ever-loving mind and can’t think of much else to say.

        • Lindsey says:

          Hahaha! So true!

        • The Ween says:

          This is an awesome comment. Ooh, you could give Slezak a run for his money! Seriously, Michael, you might want to add this guy to your speed dial.

        • Valerie says:

          I want to make love with this comment.

        • idolbee says:

          your comment was, as Steven Tyler would say, “yeeeeowwww, ya ya ya ya ya ya yeeoooww”. you had me laughing so hard I almost had a pirates of penzance pretty woman moment. I seriously agree though, some of the contestants don’t have the chops, but JLo & Steven have really been fantastic and entertaining judges, and extremely positive, compared to other seasons, and honestly, I find that refreshing. I mean, don’t we have enough negativity right now with the wars and poor japan.

      • Bill Dwojakowski says:

        The judges have been a joke this year. If these contestants were on last year they’d be getting ripped for karaoke, pitchy and SCREAMING high notes (Jacob). I’ve been a sound man for bands for the better part of 10 years and I can’t believe the praise they lay on Jacob every week. I think he’s horrible, misses notes, talk about pitchy. I don’t get it. Does Tyler think anyone does a less then outstanding job. Can’t wait for the X -Factor so I can hear a real honest judge of talent. This is almost hard to watch.

        • Also I thought the Dancing reality show was on Mondays, Naima dancing in the middle of her song was ridiculous. I remember last year Simon ripping Tim Urban for sliding across the stage, I can’t imagine what he would have said if Naima pulled a stunt like that in front of him. It’s not like she was singing the song with an African sound to it, it was almost the exact original and then 5 seconds before it ends she adds the African thing to it. Really dumb. How could the judges just take that? The judges being terrible wasn’t incredibly noticeable at first, but now it’s getting ridiculous.

          • Ablo says:

            Speaking of dancing shows. I’m not a huge dancing fan, but I have watched So You Think You Can Dance from time to time. The judges comments on that show are much more specific — they actually use technical terms. They tell the dancers what they did wrong — they give suggestions on how to improve.

            I can’t imagine Nigel thinking this is doing anyone any good.

      • Doug in Cheyenne says:

        You know the wheels have fallen off the judging bus when, Randy is now the “mean one.” JLo trys but is coming from a stage presence angle, not the vocals perse. Steven Tyler is now the new Paula, only he looks like a cross between pissed and bored silly!

      • Sally in Chicago says:

        For me, Jennifer was like a Master teacher last night. I mean, she was so into those contestants. I swear she could have been teaching a class, I was so attuned to what she was saying. Steven just LUVS everybody and he’s not contributing a whole lot. I don’t even listen to him anymore.

      • pbo says:

        Well, Jacob might have a little Celine in him.

    • idolidol says:

      Haley brings a unique quality to the show

      I look forward to seeing her in an otherwise boring line up

      My hope is that she can reamin in the show. I voted for her for 2 hours

      • Sally in Chicago says:

        Haley, IMO is very stiff. And notice she brought out the short-shorts last night? Hmmm….did somebody tell her that short skirts & showing leg will guarantee a spot in the top 10? Bet she doesn’t go home tonight.

        • Yo says:

          In order not to go home tonight, she really needed to sing the national anthem. I like her, I did not like this performance. Her “they love me” leaving line was very winning, though. I hope she continues.

      • Ken says:

        I agree. Haley has been getting a bad rap since day one for no reason. She can sing with the best of them. And while she may not be the smoothest mover, at least she moves. Pia, who has an amazing voice, hasn’t moved at all in 4 weeks.

      • Amber says:

        I think Haley’s pretty good, and I think the show would get boring really quickly without her, so I voted for her too.

    • remmez says:

      I actually thought this week was the first week of the year, the week wasn’t all that weak… ;-) Steven needs to get the hell outta there, that man tyler is a joke.. Jacob actually gave me a minor headache.. He must be still on drugs or something.. Even drunk Paula was a sharper tool in the Idol shed.

      I am sorry to say that Casey def. lost his favorite role.. The man looks clueless.. far far far from the talent that he has got.

  2. kts63 says:

    Absolutely no train wrecks. Kind of amazing. Thia was boring boring boring! Cute dress, can’t dance though. So pagent-y. Or like a sitcom star hosting a variety show special and having to sing. And Scott dances like a chicken–it was awkward. Both he and Haley stand at a definite lean when they’re on stage. Jacob was restrained–but I didn’t care at all.

    • Amelia says:

      The last thing I want anyone to wear on Idol is a “cute dress” – all cute dresses are so boring, overly ‘pretty’ and too & pageanty. Thia & Pia: I want some edge (or something different!) in your clothes. Hayley’s short-shorts & boots combination didn’t endear me to her, either. I want the female singers to try somewhere in between “sickeningly safe & pretty” and “totally dressing to get the male vote”.

  3. No train wrecks but really nothing outstanding either. The majority of these contestants are middle of the pack. Only Pia, Lauren and James really stand out. The rest are just the same week in and week out. Stefano took a major step back tonight. He is only a couple weeks removed from being chosen as a Wildcard so he could be Bottom 3 potential. Honestly, I think Thia is going. She just doesn’t do anything to make herself special in this competition. Haley could be Bottom 3, but I think Thia is going.

    • Zaz says:

      Didn’t like Pia at all.

      • RIck says:

        She is the class of the competition unless you are tone deaf.

        • Zaz says:

          Well, that may be true, but if so, it isn’t saying much.

        • SpyKi says:

          Pia is so boring.

          • Kiki says:

            Remember how the judges used to say Carrie Underwood showed no personality, too? But if you see her now in videos and on stage, it’s obvious she’s really come out of her shell. Pia just needs handlers teaching her dance moves and more dramatic facial expressions.

          • Sally in Chicago says:

            Great technically, but not exciting. She’s like that beautiful painting. You forget it after you walk away.

          • Sharon says:

            I wish the only thing I could remember from her performences was her wailing the last note.

        • Yo says:

          Pia is lovely and I thought her dress was perfect enough for the Oscars, but I don’t think she is quite as good as the big singers she would hope to replace. I did think last night was her best performance; it was more “sensitive.”

      • Babblonia says:

        Beauty pageant hand movements

      • AB says:

        Pia has a lovely voice, but she IS boring. Let’s see what else we can do. These judges are only looking for people who can hold long notes, but not necessarily be a pop star.

    • Gale says:

      Pia is overrated. I like her voice when she is in a mezzo range, but it becomes shrill when she sings the high notes. Randy was right – the ballads week after week are boring. She must have crazy glue on the soles of her shoes. Why else would she choose to stand in the same place every week! Lauren and Naima are much more interesting entertainers. Haley’s gotta go – that crouching movement she repeatedly does is awful. Jacob is painful to watch, and Casey is just bad. Jennifer is doing a great job with giving positive critiques, but Steven says everything is beautiful and it’s gonna be a rude awakening for some of these people after they go home and try to make it in the ‘real world’.

  4. Ablo says:

    Oh, I meant to refer to Michael’s comment == “That said, there wasn’t a single train wreck performance in the bunch”

    What then exactly would qualify as a train wreck Mr. S.?

  5. Ann says:

    James Durbin!

    Also loved Naima who I normally don’t and Jacob (also normally don’t).

    • Popeye says:

      Wow! Ann – I feel exactly the same way I don’t have a favorite performer like I have in past seasons, just favorite performances ….

  6. dj says:

    I wish Paul would have sung the whole song like he did the last part. Then I think it would have been a “moment” for me. He should have stripped it down acoustic, no back-up singers, no dancing (not even a little). Adam kind of owns that song, anyway.

    • Jaded says:

      I thought the same thing! The last part of the song was so fantastic–his voice is just incredible when he’s softer like that. It would have really made the performance special. Although I agree about Adam owning the song!

      • Jurybox says:

        If you like Paul’s voice, check out James Blunt. Paul sounds so much like him, but James Blunt is so much better.

        I don’t understand why the judges are saying there’s no one out there like Paul today.

    • Brittany says:

      I agree with all of this completely. Paul has been my favorite thus far (even though he is not the strongest from week to week) and I thought he was going to do something really stripped down and calm. I also cringed when he told us his song choice. I wasn’t an Adam Lambert fan, but that was his best performance if not THE best performance of that season in my opinion.

    • agrimesy says:

      When Adam sang Tracks of My Tears, Smokey Robinson was the actual mentor! GAH! He gave Adam a standing ovation! If I were ever a contestant on Idol, I would remember that and not risk the comparison. It doesn’t get better than the original recording artist standing up for your version of a song. There were so many other tunes, Paul could have done his guitar thing to. I think his performance sounded like he needed to rehearse it about a dozen more times. It was very different from Adam’s, but it lacked finesse. I think Paul is very capable as a singer and performer, but in my opinion, he has started to just “get by” like he doesn’t really care.

      • Jurybox says:

        Couldn’t agree more. Why do idols continually try to sing songs that previous idol contestants mastered? (I think every song Adam Lambert did on Idol should be off-limits). Plus Paul completely missed the emotion of the song. And when Stephano said he was singing Hello I couldn’t believe it!! David Cook had his Idol moment with that song.

        If I had an opportunity like these people do I would do my homework – I would have watched every episode of American Idol ever shown between the audition and Hollywood week. This is one of the biggest opportunities out there. I don’t understand why people blow it by choosing songs other idols made their own. It’s hard enough making someone else’s hit your own – now you’ve got to overcome two or more great performances.

        Plus, why not give the Idol audience something new? Please, aren’t there enough great songs out there that we don’t have to sit through repeats?

  7. Lindsey says:

    LOVED Paul’s performance!! So glad the judges finally called Pia out for her obsession with ballads! Also, David Cook’s version of “Hello” was so much better than Stefano’s!! And thought Scotty did a great job of staying true to his roots while doing Motown. Overall great episode!!!

  8. shari says:

    I think all the contestants really need to watch themselves on video after their performances. Jacob ahs a good voice but what are those faces. Haley too doesn’t move well on stage. No problem with her voice just her delivery. Paul should never put down his guitar. Keeps his feet and hands occupied. As for Ryan, that cougar comment might come back to bite you. Sweep thy doorstep first.

    • Teecie says:

      I completely agree, Shari. But, please add Scotty to the list of contestants who should watch themselves on video. His movement and facial expressions are getting worse every week.

  9. Sarah says:

    Yet another opportunity to celebrate the wonder that is Belinda Carlisle callously disregarded. Tsk.

  10. Michael says:

    We started a new drinking game tonight. Every time Steven Tyler said that a performance was beautiful, we did a shot.

    We were drunk by 8:15 and passed out by 9:00.

    Jacob didn’t make my ears bleed tonight. That, in itself, was a victory.

  11. Joanne says:

    Maybe no trainwrecks tonight but nothing that really hit me with awe either. I am so glad the judges called Pia out on the ballad thing, we know she can sing those, but what else can she do? A couple of folks really did step it up and I am glad for them. A couple fell back, Stephano especially. That was a major cringe song there.

  12. Andrea says:

    Loved Naima, James, Paul, Scotty, and Lauren. I thought Casey was bad. He started out as one of my favorites, but he’s not really doing anything different to the songs, just singing straight covers. I like him, but he was kind of cheesy tonight. Haley should go. Not feeling her. Pia and Thia are boring, but sing well. The show was great I thought, but I wish more of them would change up the song styles like David Cook used to do. Scotty did that well.

  13. Amanda says:

    I agree the performances were a vast improvement from last week but still, there was a lot of boring/dull performances of the same old same old. And I am still not feeling the judges critiques and very much starting to miss Simon. He was always a little too harsh but he told it like it was and I still feel these judges are just “You’re so good. Ooooh!” As much as I love J-Lo she is irking with her critiques which are there to help the contestant and start off good and helpful until she ends with something like “But I love you anyway” which she mutters under her breath.

    I thought the only “real” critique of the night came from Gordon Ramsey about Stefano’s mom’s cooking. lol. Not sure if he’s correct, but it was really the closest the show came to anything worth being considered a critique. Everything else feels like too much praise or just praise.

    I will say I was surprised by a few performances and am anxious to see how things go tomorrow night. My guess, is Thia, Haley and Jacob land in the bottom three and most likely Thia bites it. I just don’t think she knows enough to decide what kind of artist she wants to be.

  14. James Tetazoo says:

    Pia’s performance almost didn’t get off the ground. Did you hear how off-pitch the strings were? That threw Pia off on her opening note and she had to work really hard to get back.

    • Zaz says:

      That was the least of her problems. I guess I’m in the minority here, but I don’t like her at all. She’s screechy and she’s boring. When JLo said she needed to get ready to do two-hour concerts I thought — I can’t imagine listening to two songs back to back, much less two hours.

      • Sharon says:

        You’re not the only one. I can’t get into Pia either.

      • tkav3 says:

        Thanks for the confirmation! I can’t get into her either and I thought no way would I ever buy tickets to see her. I wouldn’t mind seeing Paul though. At least he’s interesting.

      • M-Lo says:

        Pia bores me to tears. She picks the draggiest melodramatic songs, even among ballads. There’s no way people are going to connect and vote for her every week, no matter how the judges gush. Her days are numbered.

    • debi says:

      It is so true. She had a tough time and the strings weren’t her fault. So unfair. The music behind the contestants this year is terrible. I think that’s why I don’t like hardly any of the performances.

      • kateshomesick says:

        I really do have several problems with Pia. As a singer who’s trained in both classical and contemporary techniques (I’m studying opera right now), my biggest issue with her is that her vocal technique is really questionable. She is pressuring her vocal chords to the limit, singing out of her natural range still trying to use her chest voice. I can’t even watch her performances without begining to feel pain in my throat. She is pushing those notes out…you can literally see that…her neck and face always look incredibly tense and I doesn’t look as if she’s able to control her facial expressions- which is generally a seriously bad thing when it comes to singing because it implies that she’s artificially forcing things- not naturally controlling stuff. The true art of singing requires one to be relaxed and as natural as possible but still bringing the right energy level to master difficult parts.
        She clearly isn’t the only one -this season- straining her voice but I think she might be the first one to ruin it. You can’t go on and sing like that for the duration of a concert or even a tour. It’ll start with pitch problems and end with lumps on her vocal chords. I hope hers are made of steel and it doesn’t happen but I’m unfortunately very sure that it will happen…

        • Eurydice says:

          Yes, thank you. I also get sympathy pain when I listen to Pia – I can’t imagine how her voice is going to last if she keeps bellowing like that. I think that’s one of the points when the judges tell her she’d got to make it through a 2-hour concert. With her current repertoire, it would end up sounding like a hog-calling contest.

  15. sara says:

    Naima’s dancing was ridiculous. The judges continue to be completelty useless and I’m running out of any desire to keep watching this show. James was okay, Pia sang yet another ballad. shrug. And could Scott be any more smug??

    • single says:

      go and watch african dance before u make such a comment

      • sara says:

        pssssst… this isn’t a dance competition. Just so you know.

        • Leslie says:

          Maybe not but the idols have to dance in the group song and the Ford music videos—I thought it was awesome—the song was ABOUT dancing–and she danced—pretty appropriate to me. I’m quite sure Martha and the Vandellas didn’t stand still and sing it—why should Naima?

          • sara says:

            I take it the whole singing competition thing is getting past you. Though really in Naima’s case, her spending 20 some seconds of the song dancing instead of singing was probably smarter considering how bad her singing was.

          • Leslie says:

            have you heard that song “Mean” by Taylor Swift???? Naima=Taylor, you=mean. Yes we all know it’s a singing competition—you obviously missed that part where the judges talked about having the WHOLE package—Naima has it. You just have mean.

          • Big D says:

            I’m an old fart, remembering when Martha and the Vandellas appeared on the Ed Sullivan show, they like the Supremes would stand and sway, mostly. That being said though, Naima brought it tonight.

  16. James says:

    If there is any justice in this world…or at least on the idol stage…this week should be the week for Thia to go home…Worst of the night by far…so boring even with an up tempo song and so pagenty yet again!

    • Davey says:

      I don’t agree. Thia at least tried to change something. I actually found Scotty kind of awful tonight. And James’ showboating is a real turnoff for me.

  17. Louanne says:

    Who can vote? According to the judges they were all WONderful!! Not voting, just like last year.

  18. Paisley Quinn says:

    Best show so far. I was blown away by Jacob this week — just gorgeous, excellent control, just the right amount of Lusky Stank, or whatever he calls it. James Durbin also blew it out of the box, great performance, great vocal. L’Alaina sounded fantastic and Naima was FABULOUS — wow. Pia sounded perfect but I was bored with the song. Thia, well I can say it was her personal best. Scotty was great. Stefano, a little boring. Casey — not good. Paul — better but not great. Haley — pack your bags.

  19. melissa says:

    I’m really happy with tonight’s performances. Looooved Paul; I agree with other posters that he could have stripped the song down even more. James is growing on me so much… I used to hate him! He was great as well.

    Worst of the night was Casey’s. Way too much growling for me. (He still wasn’t even that bad though!)

  20. Rick says:

    Pia is without question the best pure singer. James will probably win, you know it’s going to be a guy (too many female voters). He’s exciting on stage and can just whale. I hope Haley sticks around I think she can be better than most with the right song.

  21. Merrilyn says:

    Pia’s performance was beautiful (thank you, Steven Tyler), but haven’t we heard her do the same thing every week? Loved Paul! That’s an album I would buy.

    Random thoughts: What is with the stylist’s love of the straight iron for men? Paul’s hair was just freakin’ weird. The producers need to get out and let the Idols stand (or fall) on their own merits. I think it gives them too much of a safety net, and also over-sanitizes their performances. Give me David Cook and Kris Allen! And shame on Stefano for doing Hello, since it was epically done by DC. It should be retired.

    • Jen says:

      Paul and his band already have an album up on iTunes, look up “The Grand Magnolias” I downloaded it a few weeks ago and I have been really enjoying it.

      • Peyton says:

        Also be sure to look up the stuff by the Hightide Blues. It was the band’s name before they changed it to the Grand Magnolias and they have two EPs under that name which are both really good.

  22. Erica says:

    Did anyone notice that J Lo only gave incisive, useful comments to two contestants–Pia and Stefano? My theory is those are the ones she’s really invested in. The rest just get pap like “I’m speechless”.

    Must have heard something different than everyone else–I thought Paul was the worst of the evening (and VFTW agrees).

    • GingerSnap says:

      She’s pushing them both because they have the vocals to be great. Steven was spot on -Pia is the only star in this Idol universe. So JLo is right – she’s got to develop those skills that the great Divas have. R She doesn’t have to go Naima with dancing, but she’s got to own the stage. I want to see a woman (not a teenage girl) win this thing.

  23. debi says:

    Best of the night IMHO James and Lauren.

  24. donie says:

    Paul to America: My smile looks out of place. America: It certainly does.

  25. Denise says:

    When did Hello turn into an opera song, ick. For once I actually saw the talent in Thia

  26. Leslie says:

    Paul was awesome tonight—people either get him or they don’t—it’s too bad for the people who don’t. Thia sounded beautiful but she has absolutely no charisma. Jacob sounded great—but I just don’t care for him—I liked him at first, I don’t know, I think it’s his over singing–which he managed to stay away from tonight. Pia was boring. Casey was better–I think he’s really got something but he let a lot of the judges exclamations over his “uniqueness” go to his head and it’s getting irritating—he’s one of my favs, still. Scotty was awesome. Lauren was terrific, I think she really put herself into that song. Stefano blew me away last week—bored me to tears this week. Naima is BACK!!! I love how she incorporated the African dancing into the song—how joyful–and she stayed on key and didn’t get winded! James. He blows me away each week. Now, if he could change things up a la David Cook, Adam Lambert—I think he could take this. Haley—I didn’t even remember her—I like her but I had to look through the comments to see who I was missing—I guess that says something. Overall, good show. STEPHEN, you need to CRITIQUE!!! Seriously, man—you know the deal, let the kids know, too!!!

    • notmzbehavin says:

      I agree that Paul seems to be a love ’em or hate ’em kind of guy. I don’t like his voice, but he seems to be a personable, interesting guy.

  27. Vivi says:

    Steven Tyler is worst than Paula Abdul. Take that for what it’s worth.

    I was very impressed with tonight show. Yes, a couple of songs performed have been done by previous contestants but that’s not surprising. If I had to pick a bottom 2 it will be Thia and Naima. A boy may join them in the bottom, too. I’m looking at either Paul or *weeps* Stefano.

    Best performance: Jacob Lusk (finally, the boy controlled his damn voice)
    Worst performance: Not so much worse because she sang it beautifully but more of boring – Thia.

    I agree with the judges bout Pia always going with the ballads. It gets tiresome. Hopefully, next week she sticks by her promise and change it up a bit.

  28. Caitlyn says:

    This week was really interesting, because some of the favorites who had really been shining were not as great, while some of the people who had consistently been in the bottom three did very well. I was also glad that the judges (especially JLo) gave a lot of constructive criticism and stopped just telling everyone they were really good, even when they weren’t. Taking everything into account, my personal favorites of the night were Naima, James, and Haley, they all did very well and I hope they stick around for another week.

  29. Brittany Livingston says:

    Pia was so bad, and by bad I mean boring, even Steven Tyler seemed like he was falling asleep/daydreaming (seriously, go back at watch the “judging” he’s staring off to our left). Good for the judges for actually calling her out to do something different than just stand there and pretend to be moved by the music. I fast forwarded through her after about 10 seconds… at least the rest of the contestants (minus a few, **stefano**) attempted to do something different/better than last week’s performance. I mean, even Thia at least TRIED to not do the pageant thing for better or worse.

    Naima was so so so good this week. I am glad she is starting to show us what she can do because she was so much better than her past performances.

    Anyone else think Lauren Alaina’s scripted “I’m sorry for being whiny the past two weeks and being in the spotlight is hard” was a bunch of BS? It was so similar to them shoving her illness down our throat last week. Did y’all know she was sick last week?!?! They are trying to earn her brownie points for recognizing her flaws and growing as a person blah blah. I’m so over her, but she has a great voice and sang well tonight.

    Loved James, loved Paul (yay for being less drunk on stage), and Jacob was actually bearable. Casey is getting lower and lower on my list of favs with each week, sadly. Scotty was decent, but nothing fantastic. He is starting to get a little cocky for my taste, though. I would love to see Haley go home although she was much improved this week. I just can’t find myself ever really rooting for her and with all the decent performances tonight, the vote may come down to strictly popularity, which she obviously is lacking.

    • GingerSnap says:

      My strategy with Wittle Wauren is to ignore her & only talk about the performances I loved. That means my focus has been on James, Pia, & Naima. My votes this week went to those three. If Simon was still around, he’d call her on the Kareoke performances. What I know is that there are much stronger performers this season, & eventually this annoying little gnat will get swatted away.

  30. Joanne says:

    The best of the night in my opinion was Jacob Lusk. Beautiful voice, style and stage presence. His is the only performance that I keep rewinding. I liked Pia too. Too much praise for James Durbin. Done seen and heard that song “Living for the City” done a WHOLE LOT BETTER!! Kudos to Lauren I like her. Casey is different (in a good way.

    • Joe says:

      Jacob NAILED IT tonight. I’ve rewatched it 4 times and it keeps getting better. One of the best performances of the season by far. If you can get past your pre-conceived nonsense about him and actually sit and listen to him objectively you’ll see he hit a grand slam tonight. Durbin was also excellent tonight. I think Stefano, fumbled the ball tonight, but Thia and Haley will go before he does. Pia was okay. Lauren was forgettable. Casey was awful. Naima was ridiculously indulgent. Scotty needs the theme to go back to something not r & b.

    • agrimesy says:

      Just jumpin’ in to share the Jacob love! This performance had a wonderfully dramatic build. The backup singers started then Jacob came in. He was polished and restrained, but the energy was ready to burst out of him! He felt it! This was an Idol moment for me! I know what JLo meant when she said he had us begging for the next note. The song worked, and Jacob was spectacular!

    • Sharleen says:

      I had just about given up on Jacob, but tonight he sang the song absolutely wonderfully!!

  31. kat says:

    While Stefano is not my favorite I do like him but I was seriously cringing at the end of his song and literally called “No,so cheesy!” when he added that last spoken “I love you”. Ugh. I’m glad Jacob held it back and although I agree that Pia sang another boring ballad (complete with her standard “windmill arm gestures”) I thought she sounded good. James was great but really turned me off when he wouldn’t pay attention to the judges “critque” (let’s face it- we need Simon back) as he was to busy playing to the audience…ego much? I think most people hit it on the head having Thia go home this week…her performance was boring.

    • Lindsey says:

      I agree about it being annoying that James was not listening to JLo, but I think the main reason he did that was because a few weeks ago he tried to quiet the audience to listen and she told him to never make them stop clapping. He did seem to play it up a little long tonight though…

  32. Jonathan says:

    I can’t BELIEVE they didn’t mention Thia flubbing the words (even SHE noticed and she usually seems pretty oblivious to everything) — she should not have been given a pass on that. She was better than she’s been so far, but then she was also kinda buried under the band. Then again, Bandzilla even managed to overpower The Lusk so that might not be her fault. He was actually not bad up until the end.

  33. Marisa says:

    I see you with the Stefano picture Michael. I see you.

    That said, while Stefano is my favorite contestant this season, he hasn’t really wowed me since his Sing For Your Life Song. And I was aghast at him not knowing “Hello”. First thought was Cookie slayed this song, so don’t mess up. And it just has no feeling. He should of picked one of the songs he grew up with.

    I enjoyed tonight. Danced in my seat quite a bit. I’m not a fan of Lauren, Paul and James, but I liked their performances. I thought everyone sang well. Jacob showed good constraint and was my favorite performance of the night. Thia is still a robot.

    • S. Lee Stack says:

      I feel you on his Stefano crush…
      for me, Stefano has gone from being that dark horse you want to like to being a very cloying, annoying and repetitive performer…too bad

  34. Jonathan says:

    Way to keep the homophobia alive post-Simon, Ryan. Geez, let the dude hug Jacob. Maybe Jacob doesn’t want to hug a bunch of girls.

    What the hell was Lauren talking about in her intro video?

    • Doug in Cheyenne says:

      It was like, the Lauren Cyrus Show, its pretty cool you know… ala SNL.

      • Jonathan says:

        I could’ve sworn she was implying that people were trying to hold her back, or something. Apparently all that coddling really went to her head.

  35. notmzbehavin says:

    Of all the contestants, I don’t get the love for Paul. To me, he’s pitchy, weak voiced, and lacking anything that would propel me to say he’s got star quality. I think he’s got a nice personality, and I think that he could do well singing his own songs. In a lounge.

    Casey has disappointed me, as has Naima. I expected more from them. Thia will do well when she grows up–probably working for Disney who I think would be a good employer for her. Haley and Lauren will do well on board ship, as will Stefano.

    Although I thought Stefano did better than the judges were suggesting.

    Jacob was a lot better this week, but he needs even more control. But he’s going in the right direction.

    I thought Scotty was really good–I also don’t get the judges lack of approval–I’m certainly going to listen to him again on youtube.

    James is growing on me, slowly but surely. I went from not liking him AT all, to thinking he could turn out to be pretty good.

    I like this season, and I’m thinking that the judges are much better than the years past.

    I think Steven is probably regretting signing up for the show, but I do think he’s trying to be constructive. He’s striving to be positive, but I think he’s confusing constructive criticism with being negative. I also think that JLo and Randy are stepping up to the plate more than the public is giving them credit for.

  36. Paco says:

    I dont know how ppl found Pia’s performance boring. She sung that song ridiculously amazing. I felt that last note all the way down my spine! I love Stefano but he was not good tonite. The way he sang and phrased that song… it just wasnt pleasant. and that last whispered “i love you” at the end? so cheesy lol

    My other favorite of the night was Haley… which I found really surprising since Im not a fan of hers but that growly voice of hers really worked great with her song. She just needs to work on what to do with herself on stage cuz she was all over the place.

    • Faz says:

      I don’t want to keep harping on it, but her style is mundane. And for the life of her, she can’t control her high notes. If you want to be a ballad singer (and there are good ones out there) — your bread and butter is control and tone. I’m not a big Celene Dion fan, but she controls her notes and her tone is excellent. Pia doesn’t have it at this point. She might have it in her, but it isn’t there yet. If you want to vote on potential, ok, but that’s a different thing.

    • I think were all Bozos on this bus. says:

      For Haley and her clutzy moves moves that are supposed to be sexy in some universe, a stripper pole might help her.

  37. RTW says:

    At this point in the competition, I’m just trying to decide who I WOULD NOT want to see on tour…and that award goes to Thia. Sorry, but your polite take on Heat Wave would have me standing in line at the beer tent.

    • SoozinCA says:

      This is the same place I am at in the competition. After this week I probably won’t even vote, I was only voting for those I hoped would make the tour, and Thia is the “odd one out” on that list.

  38. carla says:

    Michael I think the judges watch Idoloonies because Randy completely contradicted himself from the previous “Put the petal to the metal” comment given to Jacob during Vegas to now him being glad he restrained his vocals. Haha just a guess.

    • Leslie says:

      I think they are all watching–I noticed many of them kinda changing things up—like they were reading and watching all of our comments. Jacob held back===Casey didn’t growl and screech, and Haley (now that I’ve remembered her performance) did jazz it up a bit. Lauren wasn’t so DUH on camera. Paul got his guitar on, Naima picked a song that she could sing and dance to without getting winded—and Thia did try to put more personality into her performance—still too robotic. I don’t think James is the egomaniac that people assume him to be—he is Autistic and as a parent of an Autistic son—I see him just kind of going into his own place when the audience is going nuts over him—he’s not ignoring the judges. I think he handles himself quite well for being Autistic AND having Tourretts. People need to take that into account.

  39. Lizbeth says:

    I think Paul was a bit of train wreck tonight. He is old enough to understand that Tracks of my Tears is kind of a melancholy lyric–and he performed it like as if he singing Walking on Sunshine. I understand he was trying to put a different spin on it–but that was not the right one. They should have called him out on that. He only got around to feeling the lyric some in the last two lines. Too late.

  40. Jonathan says:

    I fear that Stefano doesn’t really understand what J-Lo was trying to say. He still leaves me cold. Nice little bit at the end though.

  41. agrimesy says:

    Motown was the best theme so far when considering generalized success of each contestant. I agree with Slezak, no trainwrecks. That’s refreshing my interest in season 10!

    My personal favorite was Jacob Lusk! I want to see him make the top 10 and go on tour! I would buy his record of studio-controlled tracks! It seems like he’s finally figured out how to reign it in.

    My second favorite was Naima although I could have done without the dancing portion. Her vocal truly paid homage to that distinctive Motown sound! It was pure celebration!

    I gotta say Scotty and Paul were at the bottom of my list tonight. I agree with Steven Tyler that Scotty sounded like Glen Campbell, but I didn’t see it as a compliment. Paul was off key and lazy.

    I wasn’t interested in James either. I don’t think his singing is special, and his arrogance is very off putting. I would love for him to stop doing that JUMP at the end every song. It’s soooo Wayne’s World.

    Pia can sing, but I am so tired of her. She does not strike me as any where near the caliber of Celine Dion! I can’t believe the judges gush over her like that. She’s good . . . not great. At least they told her NO MORE BALLADS for next week.

    Who else? Remember when the Gilligan’s Island theme song just said, “and the rest”? That’s where I am, a noncommittal okay for “and the rest.”

    • Doug in Cheyenne says:

      Gilligan’s Island? What a great idea, TV sitcom theme song night, Scotty would be a shoe-in for the Beverly Hillbillies, James could perform The theme from the old Mary Tyler Moore Show (the Joan Jett version). Full House, Laverne and Shirely, Happy Days, Green Acres… no that’s a duet. On and on it could go, makes about as much sense as some of the stupid producer driven descions this year.

  42. Sue says:

    This week was MUCH better than last. I really like Stefano, but why is it that the producers don’t go up to these kids and say, “David Cook had a ‘moment’ with “Hello” so you may want to pick something else.” There are some songs that need to be put to bed because they’ve been done fantastically well by someone else i.e. David Cook & “Hello”, Carrie Underwood “Alone”, Fantasia “Summertime”, Adam Lambert “Mad World”. The problem is that when someone sings that same song, but not as well it does nothing to help them.

    Pia is technically great, but there needs to be more oomph.
    Paul, soooo much better this week. The man needs a guitar in his hands. No trying to do the Safety Dance.
    Jacob had the perfect song for his voice. Thought his restrained vocal was really great.
    James Durbin impresses me more and more. He knows how to work a stage.

  43. Templar says:

    All of the girls were sub par. Casey should go home, but not before Lauren or Haley.

  44. Jonathan says:

    Haley was kind of awesome, even though vocally she hit a few rough spots.

    I’m pretty sure Scotty is some kind of animatronic George W. Bush that got loose somehow. I enjoyed the Glen Campbell/Harry Nilsson rearrangement, though. It’d be nice to hear him not do country, but that’s clearly not gonna happen.

  45. Jeanrie says:

    Didn’t Paul mess up the words…my smile is my makeup I wear since my breakup with you- did anyone else notice this? I want to like Paul but have been holding a grudge since Ryan Adams. His loose mood gets on my nerves. And, I’m pretty sure I’m his target audience.
    Lord help me, but I liked Jacob tonight. Least fave; Thia and Haley. I don’t think either of them has a remote chance at a successful career in music

  46. Linda says:

    I LOVED Naima’s dancing at the end …. she was INTERPRETING THE LYRICS TO THE SONG, guys! I love her … she’s fresh, different, and makes me smile. Jacob, to his credit, has been listening to people and reigned it in and did a great performance. Casey, on the other hand, continues to growl. He was my favorite after Hollywood and he’s not anywhere close to the top of my list now.

    Haley was much better, but she really shouldn’t have started the song walking down the stairs. I think it distracted her (as it would anyone walking in high high heels) and hurt the beginning portion of her performance. But she got it together and did a great job.

    Paul messed up the lyrics to his song BADLY and not one judge commented on it. If Simon had been there, I am SURE it would have been spoken about. And really, after Adam did SUCH an incredible version of “Tracks of my Tears” in Season 8, why would Paul even attempt it? Would love to see him go.

    Stefano – love the guy, hated the performance. He’s so cute and likeable … I hope this poor performance doesn’t hurt him. But when he goes for those high notes and holds them out – his TONE isn’t really that pleasing to my ear.

    Thia is just way out of her league. She’d actually be a GOOD lounge singer … people would love to have her singing in the background. But she’s not star material, in my opinion.

    And Pia — ballad, ballad, ballad, BLACH! I am SO over the girl! I actually loved her performance of “Grenade” in Hollywood … and haven’t liked anything she’s done since.

    James did well …. his voice isn’t my cup of tea. Scotty did an ok job at his song, but he needs to stop looking so cutesy for the cameras. It doesn’t endure me to him. And whiny Lauren … did a much better job of singing tonight, but her personality is hurting her. When I think that Allison Iraheta was the SAME AGE as Lauren when she competed and how much more of a pro Allison was …. just sayin’ …

    What was nice is that the contestants were on pitch tonight. I don’t know if they fixed the sound issues … but it was nice to hear much better performances.

    • Leslie says:

      I so agree about Naima–her performance was full of joy!!!

      Thia—I don’t think she’s doomed to lounger singertude, I think she’s just young. I don’t think she’s had enough life experience to really understand some of the songs she’s singing. She does have an amazing voice, I think she needs some heartbreak (normal teenaged stuff) and some let downs and some rough times—because to me, she seems to have had a very sheltered, happy life.

  47. Laurel says:

    I am SO OVER Pia and her Power Ballads ! UGH !
    If she does one more I’m gonna puke.

  48. milwlovesadam says:

    Tonight’s show was not boring. Thank goodness.
    Iovine: Gave spot on advice tonight, finally.
    Randy: Not a dawg tonight. Spoke English in full sentences and actually gave some advice. I don’t think he hears what we hear though.
    Steven: Sorry. I’m over you. You are wasting valuable space at the judges table. You were hilarious at first, but now, not so much.

    Casey: The hair looked better,the beard could be trimmed even more. tuck in your shirt, buy pants two sizes smaller, and bring back your smoking vocals and bass.
    Stefano: Boring
    Haley: Your legs aren’t doing it for me anymore. Or your voice.
    Thia: {{ oops. sorry. just fell asleep at my keyboard}}Go home.
    Pia: Same. Oh my gawd. Please bring some more action. Or go home.
    Jacob: So much better this week. Keep it up.
    Lauren: So cocky so young? Really? Great pipes, just dial down the ego a tad.
    Paul: Sheesh. Where do I start? Smiling through a song about crying. Lost lyrics. Did you sing “masturbate?” on Idol? LOLOLOL
    Scotty: Robot + Charlie Pride + Mad cartoon guy. Can’t get out of country. ICK UGH YUCK ( And, he’ll win, my prediction).
    Naima: My favorite of the night. Super improved. Great stage presence.
    James: Not Adam. Not a wannabe. He’s a real rocker, check out his you tubes. Kashmir. Really growing on me.

    GO HOME: Thia. Please.

    ( For a school lesson on showmanship, vocals and how to do it, check out Adam’s new CD/DVD ).

  49. Jonathan says:

    This week was a huge improvement over last week, I might actually get excited to keep watching!

    James got way too much enthusiasm, though. Taylor Hicks did a much better job with that tune.

  50. milwlovesadam says:

    I’ve got it. I finally figured out what Paul’s dance moves remind me of. The Seinfeld episode where Kramer’s jeans are so tight he can’t bend, sit, or walk. His legs just stick straight out and he walks like Frankenstein!!!