Idoloonies: Saving Casey, Revising History, Praising J.Lo, and Seeking Contenders on Idol

Motown Week on Season 10 of American Idol was downright legendary. The judges saved Casey Abrams, while America saved Haley Reinhart. Stefano Langone took a tumble, while Idol history was rewritten before our very eyes. Hulk Hogan trashed his shirt, while Gordon Ramsay trashed his already flimsy reputation. Meanwhile, Naima Adedapo got her dance on, Scotty McCreery got his lean on, and somebody dropped to the ground and clutched Ryan Seacrest’s knees. My Idoloonies cohosts (one of ‘em all the way from Australia) and I discuss all of these dramatic moments, dish the season’s lack of a clear front-runner, give credit where credit is due (to Jennifer Lopez), and make a plan of action for Lauren Alaina. Plus, I’ve got an interview with Season 10’s No. 12 contestant, Karen Rodriguez. You will not believe the song she was hoping to cover if Nigel Lythgoe ever freed the contestants from the drudgery of Songs Written Before Your Parents Were Conceived Night themes. Press play on our four-part episode below, sound off with your own thoughts in the comments, and do please follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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149 Comments
  1. darclyte says:

    Hey Michael, thanks as always for doing Idoloonies. It’s too bad Haley didn’t get cut last week and the save was still around. I find it hard to believe she wasn’t in the Bottom 3 and Casey would have gotten the axe. Shenanigans? Always a possibility. At any rate, Thursday’s show was amazing. As for this week, I’m surprised that they’re doing Elton considering he bashed them in Season 3 after his week, and he’s ripped on AI and shows like it over the last few years. I’d love to hear the Idols do great songs that aren’t as big of hits and haven’t been done to death like have James do “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting,” Paul do “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters,” Casey do “Madman Across the Water,” Jacob do “Burn Down the Mission,” and I’d LOL if Haley did “The B!tch is Back.”

    • Michael says:

      Well…Elton John is gay and just performed recently for Rush Limbaugh who isn’t exactly a friend of the homosexuals. Don’t bother trying to make sense of Elton John.

      • Yep says:

        I agree with the second video about Lauren. She is whiny. Go to youtube and look up Victoria Huggins–Lauren looks like she is kind of mad dogging Victoria when the girl was jumping up and down(at the airport during the Hollywood week show). She mad dogs Victoria, but then she finds it hard when people don’t say a bunch of nice things about her, so hypocritical. Maybe the reason people say things is because she chooses pathetic songs. She needs to choose special songs that fit right with her, not songs that only make her voice sound better.

        • Suncatcher says:

          Lauren Alaina is dumb like a fox. That southern belle knows exactly what she is doing every minute of the day. They are BRED that way! My college roomate was one. Lauren will do her best to wrap all the Idol men around her little finger. She will succeed with at least 90% of them. Someone! Save Steven Tyler! She has had him in her sights since they first met in auditions! Don’t blame Tyler. He’s in there with a serial “Magnolia Mouth.”

        • Michael says:

          She’s 16 for eff’s sake. Did you complain about Naima stomping her way back to safety a few weeks ago? Some may misconstrue that as cockiness? Karen might come across to many as robotic. Her interviews all seem rehearsed and laced with very generic platitudes. Michael found James’ reaction to Hulk Hogan to be endearing which made him more likeable. Perhaps seeing a genuine reaction and not something edited was the problem to begin with.

          You don’t know these people. You can’t judge them by the way they react to performing in front of millions and living under constant scrutiny. Lauren wasn’t appreciative of some of the mean comments made about her. If I were 16 and people were calling me “fat” on message boards, I don’t think I’d be all that pleased either. Lauren isn’t one of my favorites, but this bashing because of perceived brattiness or immaturity is getting on my last nerve.

      • essex says:

        Or Rush Limbaugh, for that matter. I mean, FFS. At least old Elton can turn around and donate whatever funds (and trust, it was 7 digits) to an AIDS foundation, which I hope he does and with no shortage of any and all fanfare such a gesture is due.

        But Rush? There is no scraping the stain of that hypocrisy off his oily self. And I, for one, am delighting in it.

        • Michael says:

          I agree with you but am still torn. He did use the money for good, but there are other ways he could have gotten it. I don’t imagine that Aretha is going to perform for the head wizard of the KKK any time soon, even if the money made could be used for any one of her causes.

    • Katillac says:

      darclyte, Elton didn’t bash AI, he bashed the American VOTERS for being racist (3 black women in the bottom 3). I thought it was ridiculous, but that was a few years ago. There have been Elton weeks since then.

    • sneakin says:

      I’m glad the judge’s save was used because I think it’s a crock. That said who would you use the save on? Has the save ever “saved” anybody? It gave Matt Gerard an extra week and got Micheal Lynch to the final 4 (Total travesty in my opinion). IMO the voting public will never say, “you know we were wrong” and give the judge’s savee the win.

      • The judges save should only be intended to be used on contestants that have a legitimate chance of winning, that accidentally get voted out. Such as the case with Chris Daughtry. But that was Top 4 in his season. We are only at Top 11. I don’t care who the 11th person voted out it is, there are still too many performers. He probably should not have been voted out at this point, but to save him for maybe a couple weeks is not the way to use this Save. The Save should only be used once inside the Top 7. Then you are closer to winning, and have gained some audience support, at this point the audience obviously isn’t on board with you and you are still 9 weeks away from the finale. It was way too early to use it on anyone.

    • KristenV says:

      To darclyte – I’m one who voted for just Haley last week after voting for three others (including Casey) the week before. I was tired of Casey’s song choices and performance style and I was surprisingly impressed by Haley’s performance. I thought she could use the votes. Seems I wasn’t alone? I don’t suspect any shenanigans.

  2. Kevin says:

    Michael,

    Just wanted to let you know that I look forward to the American Idol season every year not for the contestants, but for your comments and webseries. Its so insightful and clever, I wish this kind of judging could be displayed on the actual televised show!

    Also…I’m kind of obsessed with Haley. I know she has no chance at winning this competition, but I think had her physical appearance and stage presence been difference, she’d be on fire. Imagine Haley’s voice with Ashton’s look…too bad both of them will probably be forgotten in a few months.

    • Connie D. says:

      Haley has no chance of winning Idol? I’m not so sure about that. I can’t help but notice that she can sing every genre, and fabulously.

      • Delirious says:

        Sorry, but I have to disagree. To me, Haley can manage to keep herself afloat with every genre, but her singing seems too insecure… Which takes me to the second part of her performances: that roar-growl thing she does in every single song. It’d be out of place under normal circumstances, but that insecurity makes the growl sound even more misplaced (or simply “worse”). Yeah, she’s definitely above Ashton, but she’s not on my top 10, that’s for sure, and I’m trying to speak from an objective point of view, not by taste, but by actual performance quality.

        • Michael says:

          I don’t think that the growl stems from insecurity. It comes from a lack of training. If used sparingly and at the right time, she could pull them off. I just don’t think that she’s been properly mentored. The judges praise her for all the things that she can do with her voice, but they aren’t calling her out for her over-reliance upon tricks and gimmicks. There were moments last week, especially in the second half of her song, when she sounded terrific, but the overused runs and growls hinder her singing.

      • WhiteLady says:

        I hope you’re right! I’m also liking her more and more each week. Hopefully America is getting on Hayley’s wagon as well!

      • Suncatcher says:

        I wish someone would stop Haley from squatting all through her songs! Yeeshkah! It’s annoying as all get out! It detracts from her, her singing and the song. It’s the little details that usually brings you down.

        SLEZAK – Maybe you can bring this up if she survives this week? You touched on it a wee bit this week.

      • darclyte says:

        Haley has no chance of winning. Only Fantasia won after being in the Bottom 3, and that was more a result of having 3 black female singers taking votes away from each other. Plus, it wasn’t in the first couple weeks of competition. Haley probably shouldn’t have made it over Kendra, and is neither the strongest singer nor the best performer. I think there’s something fun, funny, and different about her and I’ve liked her attitude, but she has about as much chance of winning Idol as I do.

      • Yo says:

        Ditto. I thought this past week was actually her worst performance. Go figure. I loved Blue, maybe because I have always liked the song and am an inveterate amature yodeller.

      • Yo says:

        I agree; she is like the little engine that could – and she can. I think her joy at not ending up in the bottom three has to help her this week. You could almost see her relax. Heck, I may even vote.

    • karen says:

      I think the problem with Haley is not her looks – she’s a cute girl. To me, it’s her dress and demeanor. She dresses too provocatively and slinks around too much. I am not a prude…it’s just that no one likes people who try too hard to be sexy and don’t leave anything to the imagination. I think you can sense a low self-esteem – people who flaunt are not attractive. there’s no appeal there for teen girl voters to rally around her.

      • Suncatcher says:

        @Karen – great observations! I agree only I think it’s more like she’s trying to be sexy but just can’t quite get it right which is even worse. Best point – the tweenies will not vote for her.

      • Yo says:

        You know, if this were true, most female singers and half of Hollywood would be unemployed; it is all about sex and being provocative. I’m going to guess Haley has no idea that this is what she projects; she is just mimicking what she sees on television.

  3. allie says:

    I missed your Simon clips this week! About Casey… he was initially my favorite but right now I don’t really care for him. He seems more than a little crazy and he has lost touch with the original musician that first attracted his fans. It’s going to take a few weeks of exceptional performances to win me back as a fan that cares enough to vote.

    • Ben says:

      So so so true allie. Right on. Although for me, it probably only takes one performance, but why has he ditched the superb musicianship? He always had a bit of a growl (don’t believe me, just watch Georgia again) but he used to really do interesting things with songs and now it feels like the only ‘new’ thing he brings to them is growling.

      Cmon Casey – come back! You could win if you return to your roots and what made you popular.

      • allie says:

        well said Ben. I agree about the growl – I like it when used musically but the last two weeks have been a mess. I do think he got the message last week though and I am really hopeful that the Casey we liked in auditions comes back!

  4. Adam says:

    Very good episode of idoloonies.

    I think you’re wrong on the B3 theory. Rubben was B3 on top 5 night of season 2, not that it matters because IA that none of the contestants in the B3 so far have a shot at winning.

  5. Erikk says:

    Karen O’Connell needs to be back, stat.

  6. CMJ says:

    Keep on exposing the Producers’ Manipulations with regard to all of the contestants whether they’re revising history, or trying to strike one of the contestants down.

    Hoping to see some spectacular Jacob and Hayley crashing. Would like to see Stefano get back on his game.

  7. Dan says:

    I #%&$# LOVE IDOLLOONIES.

    I think that I’m the only one in the world that actually likes Thia. I wish she could hit “pause” and come back in five years, but she can SING and is soooo cute.

    • Cat says:

      No, you’re not the only one. She’s got the best pure voice in the entire competition, including Pia and Scotty. I wish she’d waited a few more years to get the life experiences she needs to connect to her songs and her audience. I’m cringing from the day that she gets voted off. It’ll be a big loss to the show for me.

      • reflections says:

        ITA2! Thia’s vocal tone is the best. It really stands out in all the group songs. I agree… 5 more years…

        My perfect contestant would be:
        – Thia’s voice
        – Pia’s skills
        – Lauren’s moxie
        – Haley’s versatility
        – Naima’s creativity
        – Ashton’s confidence
        – Kendra’s sexiness on studio recordings (see her pre-idol album)

  8. Miss M says:

    Really Michael??!! Naima is the worst. I want to turn off my tv every time she sings or talks. I despise her as much as I loved David Cook and Adam Lambert! She makes me dream of the day when Idol will let us cast votes for the person we most want OFF the show. I’d vote until until my fingers were bloody. Thanks so much to you and Jason for Idoloonies! I missed Jason so much. The only thing that would make Idoloonies perfect is Kristin Baldwin joining you. (I will never forgot her Idolatry comment about Archie being raised like a veal…still makes me lol.)

    • ladyhelix says:

      I guess Naima is polarizing – but the funny thing is that I love her for all the same reasons I love David Cook and Adam Lambert. The passion, the energy, the creativity, the way you can see their joy when they sing – and how infectious it is. And I love that they love to entertain and SHARE their joy (as opposed to just “bathing in the attention the audience gives them”).

      However I DO like Naima a LOT better since Marc Anthony taught her how to use her ear thingy (so she can sing in key again).

      We’ll see how next week goes, but if the kids wearing the “in-ears” are able to stay in tune again – Marc Anthony will officially be my season 10 Hero (and I’ve never really cared for him before this).

    • ladyhelix says:

      I guess Naima is polarizing – but the funny thing is that I love her for all the same reasons I love David Cook and Adam Lambert. The passion, the energy, the creativity, the way you can see their joy when they sing – and how infectious it is. And I love that they love to entertain and SHARE their joy (as opposed to just “bathing in the attention the audience gives them”).

      However I like Naima a LOT more since Marc Anthony taught her how to use her ear thingy (so she can sing in key again).

      We’ll see how next week goes, but if the kids wearing the “in-ears” are able to stay in tune again – Marc Anthony will officially be my season 10 Hero (and I’ve never really cared for him before this).

      • ladyhelix says:

        Sorry for the double post (*cringes*)

      • karen says:

        David Cook exhibiting “JOY” ???? He is talented and he did try to be creative….but joyful is pushing it.

      • Suncatcher says:

        @ladyhelix – great post! I agree and will not repeat your words here. Naima can sing and dance and emote. Can you see Stefano doing what she pulled off last week? Not in his DNA.

        PS – I too love David Cook & Adam Lambert – best ever and true musicians / entertainers.

        • JillW says:

          @ladyhelix – ditto as well…love naima also! her energy is indeed contagious…and I too in love with Adam Lambert since day 1 he showed up at Idol auditions…my life has never been the same since – no one will ever have that impact on me like adam has…but Naima’s also our “hometown” girl!! & I wasn’t on the Gokey bandwagon, but Naima’s got heart, soul, the humbleness of Adam not full of herself & open to taking criticism & making herself better – AND as a mother myself…being away from her 1 & 3 yr old children has got to be so difficult…so more power to her!! btw – love seeing all you ADAM fans out here…we are indeed a force beyond anything out there!! :)

  9. ljk;afsdlk;fja says:

    So glad that Slezak has crossed over to team Haley!

  10. mike says:

    Michael, can you please use a different video format for idoloonies? I can’t view it in the Android browser, and that’s all I have on me most of the time.

    • MQ says:

      I second this petition. It’s very slow for me. On the other hand, as always love your opinion and agree with you 100%.

    • Julie says:

      Yes, please, can you at least address the format question at some point? A number of folks have been asking from day one, could you let us know if it’s being looked at, or if we’re just out of luck? It’s really impossible to watch at times, just buffers endlessly, even if you pause for a while. And if you pause too long, comes back with no audio. I don’t have this problem anywhere else, there must be something you can do!

  11. Becca says:

    Dear TV Line:
    Thank you so much for Idoloonies! I LOVE Slezak, Jason’s editing, and am really enjoying your cohosts! Keep up the good work!

  12. Jane says:

    Does anyone remember the girl in the bar that talks Eddie Murphy’s ear off in Coming to America? I think Karen must. Idoloonies rules! I hope the Judges are watching this. Insightful as always.

  13. Daniel says:

    Michael,
    I’m noticing that you are ranting less emphatically about format issues and barely touching on what you talked about all season last season which was transparency in the show. Is it in the spirit of we have enough to rant about otherwise, or give the new judging panel and the changed show a grace period. I don’t know who can say what, but can any of the people voted off, either in Hollywood, (you invited Molly DeWolff Swenson I think her name is) or the outgoing top 24 or 12 shed some light on realistically what the decision making process is like, how many choices they really have, how much control they really have etc. And, if not, why not.

  14. Michael says:

    Loved the twitter question since I was thinking the same thing.

    Are you going to address the Steven Tyler debacle? He’s completely useless as a judge and I wonder why more people aren’t saying so. Ellen was bashed left and right last year. She had little knowledge of music and didn’t want to hurt the feelings of the contestants. What is Steven’s excuse? I’m as sick of hearing the word “beautiful” and other generic complements as I am hearing “Dawg” and “for me, for you”. What happened to the Steven Tyler from the audition rounds?

    You and I are both fans of Stefano, but I’m not sure if the odd cadences are something new. They worked beautifully in “I Need You Now” but the last two weeks were very iffy. His voice is so good, so I wish that he’d just sing the damn song and forget about affectations and the like.

    • Chris says:

      My husband and I were discussing that maybe one season of Steven Tyler is enough. I’ve enjoyed watching his enjoyment of music. He clearly loves what he does. Watching him sing along, drum on the desk, shake his head with the beat during auditions was charming. BUT he isn’t doing his job as a judge. He’s even had the luxury of having his comments taped and still can’t manage meaningful commentary. Maybe he’s gotten too close to the contestants.

    • Tuzo says:

      > What happened to the Steven Tyler from the audition rounds?

      Why have the editors forsaken him? ;)

  15. redreh says:

    Woo! I finally got to watch this week’s! The past few have been hard/impossible to get to load.

    Completely agree with everything. Sincerely, thanks for vocalizing rational thoughts. And to tie in the theme of review in these segments, Naimi has been my favorite from the get go, but her first two performances were not good. Her vocals were everywhere–and Randy and JLo called her on it. With constructive criticism, she improved. These kids (with perhaps the except of widdle Wauren because she pouts, and Thia because it’s beyond her) but they WILL LISTEN. It’s frustrating to hear the judges just let things slide.

    Which brings me to JLo–she is pretty much hauling the weight of the other two. Steven just sits back and enjoys himself, and Randy has clearly done one too many reviews. But JLo is actually trying to make them better singers and performers. She speaks with all her years of experience, and she does it in a kind, helpful way. If she keeps this up, this season will really produce the best of Idol yet because of such a warm, supportive atmosphere. She gives the critique everyone thinks, which is what Simon used to do–but Simon was, as we all know, an as$hat. JLo rules.

    • Meghan says:

      I definitely agree with you, redreh. J Lo has been giving concise, on-point, eloquent responses the past 2 weeks or so. If I have to hear Steven Tyler call something ‘beautiful’ again, I think I will throw something at the TV (AND this is coming from a huge Aerosmith/Tyler fan). I think that the contestants are more likely to listen to J. Lo because she isn’t simply saying “That was awful”, but phrasing it in a way that highlights what they need to work on, while also praising what they did well.

    • karen says:

      I say dump them both – JLO and Steven. I can’t stand to hear her voice…have to mute. That “Oh Baby this and Oh Baby that” is obnoxious. And Steven is just wasted space. One time it looked like ha was sleeping.

      • Suncatcher says:

        @Karen – I too noticed about 3 weeks ago that JLo started using that “Oh,Baby” thing. It is CODE for “You are about to be smacked for (fill in the blank).” Watch out when she uses it! Negative thoughts to follow! (Or constructive criticism).

  16. karenb says:

    Another great idoloonies! Well worth the wait! But do you think you could stay up all night, every night so that we could get it earlier, Michael?! lol

    And oh yeah-how does one get to appear on idoloonies? :)

  17. Ashley says:

    Michael
    I always look forward to watching Idoloonies every week but I have some serious beef with you this week. How can you diss Jacob for being too over the top with crazy facial expressions and singing too big when you worship Fantasia? I remember watching Idolatry and you always said you wish the contestants would “stank face” their performances more and actually feel the music like Fantasia did which Jacob does! I admit Jacob was a little much the first couple weeks of the live performance shows but he was amazing and on point last week. I was sitting there watching his performance last week and I thought “wow, Slezak is going to raise the gospel hand on this one!”

    • Michael says:

      Fantasia owns her stank-face and backs it up with strong vocals that are mostly or entirely in tune. Jakob WASN’T amazing last week. He was less pitchy than he usually is but he still lost the melody on a few occasions. Plus, I’ve always found Fantasia to be genuine. She always felt the music and it came across in her performances. Jakob likes to showboat and the Lusky Stank is a novelty, nothing more.

  18. Katy says:

    I’m not watching Idol this season, I’m getting all I need from Idoloonies!

    But seriously, Michael, can we address the fact that Uncle Nigel and Co. promised us no theme weeks, no forcing someone to sing outside their “genre”, yet here we’ve had Motown week and now Elton John week? What’s going on???

  19. Teresa says:

    Just leaving my weekly note of appreciation for this great Idoloonies show. I fear you are losing your heart to Haley, Michael. I hope she sticks around just for that reason.

    I’m firmly in the camp of belief that Casey wasn’t faking anything when he was saved. It played like an elaborate prank. Like Nigel saw the voting results and immediately started scheming on how to make this the most dramatic save evah!

    But boo on pulling that crap on someone whose had three blood transfusions in the past month. Someone should have called the police for endangerment.

  20. deltadawn says:

    Michael! What about Paul??

  21. Brian says:

    Wasn’t Ruben also rather famously in the bottom three one night? I remember a stunned Randy making a speech about how you have to vote for your favorites and can’t just assume they’re going to sail through.

    • lesfull says:

      Thank you for pointing this out. The entire time I kept thinking to myself, “Ruben wasn’t just in the bottom three, he was bottom two!” It’s possible to come back from that, but not easy.

  22. betsy says:

    thanks for another great episode of Idoloonies! I think TPTB should make you a judge next year, Slezak.

  23. Em says:

    Great recap, hilarious editing and insights again Michael. It does seem as though you hit the target on what most of what America is feeling towards the Idols this season. I too thought the judges were backtracking on their comments.

    Haha I agree, the producers are watching the vids as some kind of barometer to what the audience is thinking. If they are, better get some media teams to do some damage control or boost up their favorites.

    I am more confused than ever who is the TCO this season. I’m finding it way more fun this season to guess the producer’s end game more than anything else. :)

  24. Ablo says:

    Michael — there isn’t a chance in this whole wide world that that was one of the best three hour block of AI. The performance show on Wednesday night was not good — the only way you could think it was anything beyond mediocre is if you had never once heard actual Motown. Seriously dude.

    • Ablo says:

      And let me add — Michael — do you listen to the clips that connect with your show? I wonder, because the clip you have of Pia after you praise how far ahead she is vocally from the rest of the group actually shows the opposite. There might be clips that prove your point, but that wasn’t one of them. Perhaps your editor is messing with you?

    • Suncatcher says:

      SLEZAK –
      I have to agree with YOU. Last week was the best Idol I have seen in at least 2 years! Because:
      1. the week before last was so BAD
      2. all of last year was so BAD (Bowersox excluded)
      3. it really did seem like many from S10 stepped up (finally) last week

      PS – Thank you for the Crystal Bowersox memories – for showing the class and talent that she brought to Idol! Lee who?

      • Ablo says:

        Yea, but Suncatcher he said “ever” not “the last two years” — I guess I could go along that it was a little better than the week before — maybe.

  25. Jacob says:

    Loved the Scott Pilgrim stuff. Jason, you are an editing magician.

  26. Mary says:

    Great recap Michael. I agree there is no top runner yet. I am one that is disappointed about the save. The only performance I enjoyed of Casey was in Hollywood week, but even then I looked at it more of a muse than an actual performance. I can’t agree with you about Haley, she is different, but her voice is actually irritating. To be honest what radio station will play her. I know you don’t like Thia, but she can sing. The other will come eventually. I rather listen to her sing than Lauren. When Lauren sing, it is more like she is playing a part, not very well I might add. She has a voice, but I do not enjoy the performances. I need for one of these singers to WOW us. Have a drop dead performance that everyone will talk about – a water cooler moment. I think they should do one night without producers and see what happens. Nigel if you do read the blogs let the contestants fly solo for one night. Do whatever they want. To me that is what this season is missing.

  27. Jessica Rawlings says:

    Great episode, per usual!

    So happy to see Ali back! It’s nice having people on again since we get to know them better! I like him, and Karen too!

  28. Paisley Quinn says:

    LOVIN Idoloonies! I look forward to it each week. I agree — last week’s Idol episodes were among the best they have ever aired. I just wish the kids could choose from a wider variety of songs. To some degree, it seems like the same old songs continue to be covered, over and over. And, Elton John AGAIN? Really? Why?

  29. alice says:

    I wasn’t a Karen Rodriquez fan but I listened to what she had to say about adding her own twists to songs with interest because, like many others, I think this is a glaring problem this season. I could care less about her version of Toss My Hair or whatever that mess was, but I REALLY hope that we see some originality soon. I think Everyone except Thia is capable of it – I just hope the producers let the musicians in these contestants come out to play a bit.

  30. Chris says:

    I don’t understand your dislike of Jacob’s performances. I’d rather see someone sing from the sheer joy of it than from the desire for adulation which is what I think is wrong with Lauren and Casey. They remind me of Danny Gokey. They’ve clearly always been the best singer in the group and now just expect us just be grateful they’re singing for us. I think Pia does have the capacity to grow. Her vocals are great but her performance skills are lacking. She could take lessons from Naima on how to give a complete performance, (and she could give Naima singing lessons.) I wonder if Stefano’s problem this week came from being restrained by the producers instead of following his own instincts. Jimmy Iovine definitely is reading the internet comments because this is the first week his input had substance. He’s not really likable though which makes me wonder if he’s easy for the singers to work with. He comes across as intimidating– Simon has shown more warmth. I think the singers are much better this year but I’m not sure I’d buy an album from any of them.

  31. betsy says:

    re: what is missing from performances from Thia, Pia, Stefano, Lauren, etc. – all great singers, but they’re lacking the emotional connection that JLo talked about to Stefano. Remember Casey, last season – his one big moment was when he did “Jealous Guy” – afterward, Ryan asked him what he was thinking about, and he answered “I was thinking about being a jealous guy!” When the artist truly connects with what he/she is singing, THEN we get that MOMENT. If these talented singers this season would do that, they really would blow the roof off the place.

  32. blingedup.susan says:

    Loved this Idoloonies episode! You had a lot to discuss!

    I think last week was the best results show ever. We screamed, we laughed, we gasped. We watched in horror as we felt certain that Casey was going to puke on Jennifer. And then…..Ryan announces all 11 will tour and the show is over in the same instant! We just looked at each other and said, “What the hell just happened?” Good TV, that’s for sure!

    Michael, you’re making me like Haley more…..

  33. jm says:

    slezak these just keep getting funnier and funnier! i totally thought lauren alaina swore too. you need to bring karen oconnel back for the finale.

  34. Skitty says:

    I wonder if the producers, Iovine et.al., heavy hands may be part of the reason there are no real front runners? No real breakout performances either so far. Thanks for including clips of Cook’s Hello to “school” Stefano. I’m waiting for someone this season to come out with a performance of that caliber and have not seen any yet. I don’t have a favorite really and have voted for 4 different contestants so far.

    • Meghan says:

      I have a feeling the contestants are more produced in general this season and have less chance for originality. Would Cook’s “Hello” moment have ever happened if he had had Iovine or Ron Fair or Rodney Jerkins mentoring him with it? I think it was easier to see Cook as a real “musician”, making personal choices with the music, rather than as following the suggestions of a producer (which would make him more a “singer”).

  35. tara says:

    first doctor who and now scott pilgrim? you rock!

  36. Christina says:

    I love Idoloonies! This is the highlight when I get home from work on Tuesday. I’m pretty much on the same page with Slezak except I haven’t taken an affinity to Haley. I loved the revisionist history!

  37. Georgia says:

    I wish I had felt that those were the best three hours in Idol history, but I’m stuck in the past with David Cook, Kris Allen and Crystal Bowersox. Instead of having three or four exceptional performers, we seem to have a lot of contestants vying for the number 9 position. Casey has a chance if he gets serious. I like Pia but am not emotionally connected. I’m on the fence with Haley. Naima is a marketable entertainer. I wouldn’t buy her music, but I can imagine her doing a successful live tour and music video. The others get on my nerves for various reasons. I hope this will be the week that shakes things up!

  38. Zach Sergi says:

    So to defend my Bottom 3 Theory– yes, Ruben Studdard and Kris Allen were in nebulous B3 situations very late in their respective seasons, but I left them out because it doesn’t really count when the Bottom 3 makes up the majority of contestants left! I don’t pay much attention to the B3 as an indicator past the Final 6, because the voting blocks for each contestant become so huge and shift around in big ways when contestants are booted (The Gokey-Allen transfer of power being the most notable example). Even Fantasia’s early tryst with the B3 in the Final 7 was probably the result of a 3-way diva vote-split, don’tcha think? Once JHud and Latoya were gone, Fantasia’s votes probably surged…

    So the (revised) B3 theory reads as such: Any contestant appearing in the Bottom 3 early in the season (ie: pre-Final 5) probably isn’t going to win. Really, the underlying assumption is that Idol winners probably have massive vote-leads from the beginning (Clarkson, Underwood, Hicks, Sparks, Cook and DeWyze serve as proof).

    • karenb says:

      I agree with most of your post, but I would like to ask why Kris isn’t included in your “proof” of massive-vote leaders? Apparently, you’re one of those who “never saw him coming.” :) Since Idol doesn’t reveal the voting numbers, I’m not sure where the proof could be found….just sayin’.

  39. ladyhelix says:

    Pia is absolutely playing possum.

    This slow start is all part of Pia’s strategy to avoid peaking too soon. I predict we’ll start to see her pull all sorts of tricks out of her bag as the next few weeks tick by.

    She will be proficient in many styles other than “ballad” (she’s not showing it yet), and I predict that she has killer performance skills (don’t let the lame arm fool you – she’s in a band and she went to a performing arts high school). She will absolutely be breaking those out as we get closer to #1.

    The question is – does she have the ability to embrace emotional depth and connect through her music? Is her passion believable?

    I’m not convinced she’s got that – and in the end it maybe the thing that makes the difference.

    • It’s so true. They accidentally showed Pia’s personality a bit in the wrestling montage when she was wrestling the boys, but they quickly dismissed it. They want Pia to shine later. I agree 100% that this was Crystal Bowersox’s downfall last year. She peaked way too early in a mediocre season, she had too much focus, that when Lee DeWyze started to grow as an artist his sucesses, although were less than her, made it seem that he was actually doing better than she was. Which never was the case. Even Simon Cowell thought that Crystal won last season. So, Pia playing possum, or the producers only showing snippets of Pia’s personality,and the judges critiquing her sometimes a bit too harshly, is all good for me at this point. When we get down to Top 7 or Top 6, it’ll be time for her to start to make her move and start showing that she is in it to win it.

    • Eolra says:

      Just remember that Karen went to that same performance arts high-school, so I don’t know that you can count that as a plus for Pia :P

    • Yo says:

      Absolutely. She does not need to change what she is doing right now; it is working for her and working beautifully. That said, I saw Sara Rodriguez (Grey’s Anatomy)on GMA today singing The Story: She gave me chills and I think Pia should watch that performance as a key to what she should be doing. Pia looks one dimensional beside a performance like Sara’s and who knew Rodriguez sings (Tony award winner)? You need more than a big voice to succeed and if Pia did what Sara Rodriguez does, it would be an incredible moment for her. Right now, Pia doesn’t have quite enough “it” for her genre – and she needs to spend time in her lower register.

  40. Bobby McGee says:

    KEEP THE MAMASOX CLIPS COMING!!! Wow do I miss her. Idolatry last season was so much fun with a little Crystal interspersed throughout. I need more!

  41. Bobby McGee says:

    PS) Speaking of revisionist history–In which season was J Hud crowned winner? Sheesh.

  42. Cara says:

    First off, I love Idoloonies!
    Second — Michael, how about exploring the whole in-ear monitor issue? Year after year, the top 12 hit the big stage, and several singers are voted off in the opening weeks because they’re constantly off-pitch. This year, we went from almost everyone being “pitchy” one week, to everyone being pretty spot-on — after J Lo got her hubby to explain how to use those thingies. Is it possible that the Idol producers have, year after year, neglected to properly train their contestants in this, and that’s why we’ve had so many singers who were fab in Hollywood, turn dreadful on the big stage? I want a Michael expose!

    • Chris says:

      I don’t know if the producers have neglected the singers–they have a vested interest in having them do well or people will tune out. I do think they monkey with the musical backing from year to year and don’t always get it right which hurts the singers. Sometimes the band is on stage, sometimes not, sometimes it’s too loud, sometimes it’s just plain awful. Why they don’t stick with what works is a mystery.

  43. RTW says:

    Michael,
    THANK YOU for being the voice of reason for AI! If we can’t have Simon on the show, we’ve at least got your back. To the contestants and judges, let’s be honest, WE KNOW you’re reading this board and Michael pretty much says exactly what’s on everyone’s mind, so learn from what’s being said (although, don’t take everything to heart). Okay, that being said:
    – So right about the whole Casey thing and what’s funny is that his next performance will be his most important yet; it’s make it or break it so I hope he chose a good EJ song. I wish I could have heard more than 25 seconds of the sing for your life “I Don’t Need No Doctor” because that was great – that was Hollywood Casey.
    – Haley has grown on me too, seems really fun, but I don’t see her making it much further in the competition. Oh cheeseburgah…
    – I noticed that too about Stefano and that accent. To me, he sounded very whiney.
    – How do you spell Gordon Ramsey? D-O-U-C-H-E-B-A-G.
    – Wasn’t Jordan Sparks the same age as Lauren when she was on the show? I totally remember Jordan being very mature with the criticism. Lauren, you could learn something there.
    – I’m sorry Scotty, but I’m not getting the love for you. When we’re 10 seasons in, I need to start comparing you to previous country contestants (Josh Gracin for example) and seeing if you can measure up. I don’t see that from him. His vocals are alright, his performance is, for me, an eyesore and if we’d put him on a show like Nashville Star and he’d be gone in the first week. He also drops his notes too soon, doesn’t hold them out.
    – Jacob has chops, but I personally don’t like the sound of his voice. It’s like rubber, I don’t know how else to describe it. I will never buy his album, I don’t think I’d ever hear him on the radio, and I find he’s unable to control his emotions. I’ll give you props for this week, but I’m just not a fan. He belongs on Broadway.
    – I guess I agree with you about James, but I definitely rolled my eyes at some point throughout all that “raslin” stuff. He’s got the vocals, but my question is does he have an Adam Lambert “Mad World” in him. Time will only tell.
    – I have to agree about Pia because she’s getting to a point where we already know she’s going to perform ballads (or uptempo variations of ballads) great. Winning AI is about growth, that’s why I think Naima and Casey are dark horses and can really go far. Pia needs to get down and dirty and show some diversity. Boy was Motown a lost opportunity for her to get a little crazy.
    – Naima does need an A or an A+ because she is so ready for the music industry. She’s the full package.
    – Paul picked up his guitar like we all wanted and I think he was in his comfort zone, but at the same time, it was very safe.
    – Thia. That was no Heat Wave. It was a Summer Breeze at most. I didn’t connect to that performance at all.
    That’s all…sorry for writing a book. Next time, don’t give such a good review!

  44. Davey says:

    I’ve been a fan for several years of Michael’s videos but I found this week I had to skip through a lot. I could not care less about hearing more about Jacob or Haley or Lauren. I’m never going to vote for them. Haley in particular should have been vote off already.

    And why Thia has gotten trashed so much is beyond me. I like her voice much more than Lauren’s. But I agree she’s too young for this show. She certainly is lovely and I think in a few years she’ll blossom. Her voice in the studio sound fine and I won’t be surprised if she records a hit. But you would think she had killed a kitten or something the way people are talking about her.

    Karen seems like a nice person and her voice sounded best singing the J-Lo song. I think she would be smart to pursue the Latina market. There’s an audience out there for her.

    Naima’s dance. After you showed it again, I have to say I don’t think that belongs on a singing contest. And I like Naima.

  45. Cookie says:

    I think Thia Megia has one of the best voices actually. Plus, she’s pretty! I would tap that…. (I’m 17, it’s ok)

  46. Marta says:

    Australia FTW! Aussie Aussie Aussie…Oi! Oi! Oi! He was a breath of fresh air! Love it….

    I’m still very much on Pia’s side. I agree that her Grenade was fantastic. I just hope Pia will handle up-tempo Elton well, if she does in fact take the judges advice. Couldn’t be a worse week to try it out, though. All up-tempo Elton covers sound like karaoke (unless you’re rockin’ the piano). She needs to convey light-heartedness, but not corniness.

  47. Kari G says:

    Actually one of my biggest peeves of the results show night was involving Naima. I was extremely annoyed by her defeatist attitude, the ‘whoa is me’ crap for being in the bottom three. It drives me up the wall when contestants are in the bottom and they indicate either through expression or gesture that they they think they are going home. And Naima did it in such a way that left me thinking, you know what, I hope it is you going home b/c I don’t want to sit here and watch you feel sorry for yourself. I hadn’t originally been a huge Haley fan, but at least she stood up there and smiled the whole time. At that point, for the first time, I wanted her to stay over Naima.

    • Ari says:

      How can you fault someone for being visibly upset upon hearing they’re a heartbeat away from the ending of their dream?

      • Teena says:

        I thought she was relatively light hearted when she was in the bottom three. And it is, “woe”, not “whoa”, by the way…

  48. Jem says:

    I love that you guys put in Aubrey Plaza in the latest 2 episodes of Idoloonies!! Love her in Parks and Rec! Sorry for going off topic, just wanted to express my thanks.

  49. lisagp says:

    I am seriously losing my patience with this season and am becoming terribly bored. I have been a die-hard idol fan since season one (even attended the Ruben/Clay finale – yikes!) and adore your commentary. But, I am ready to stop watching this season completely and rely on Idoloonies alone. I think the producers and maybe the judges worked too hard on creating the “perfect” slate of finalists. Then, they put these people who had some potential to be interesting with producers who took their individual voices away. I much prefer the train wrecks and miracles that past finalists created on their own. There seems to be absolutely no chance of a David Cook “Hello” or an Adam Lambert “Tracks of My Tears” or one of many complete disasters of seasons past. The contestants have to be extremely seasoned and self-posessed, like Adam or Crystal, in order to go up against Jimmy and his “crack team” of producers in order to get something completely original on stage. We have lost the process of these kids finding themselves as artists, recovering from big missteps and growing in general. I have never been a fan of vanilla ice cream and I don’t like this season either!!!

    • Eolra says:

      It’s only been 3 weeks of performances – plenty of “Idol Moments” have happened later in the season. It’s too early to see a ton of growth at this point, and besides – we’re still weeding out the cannon fodder. Also, it’s a good thing that people aren’t peaking too early – nowhere to go but down if you give your best performance right off the hop. Be optimistic!

  50. Eolra says:

    I feel like Scotty could benefit from the same advice as was given to Julie, and more recently Stefano. He is an excellent story-teller, which is suited very well to country music in general, but I think a lot of his “cheese” comes from not connecting emotionally. He has read and understands the words that he is singing, but there isn’t a lot of feeling within himself about those words – they are just a story; a sad story, a happy story, a funny story, etc. That doesn’t bother me too much – like I said, country music is often more storytelling than other genres, however I doubt he will truly have an “Idol Moment” without trying a few songs to which he connects to the material on a more personal level.

    • Suncatcher says:

      I think Scotty is a superstar in the making. The audience is on their feet just because he is standing on the stage and just breathing. He has the voice and the looks, now, plug in the connection. Tweek him a bit and he’ll take it all. (And I am not a country / western fan).

      I think Scotty could learn a lot by watching Kenny Rodgers. Watch him do “Ruby” (“Don’t take your love to town”). A mega hit – because you could FEEL his pain in that song: crippled Vietnam vet whose lover is cheating on him. Country songs are all about drama. JLo is right – it’s acting them out, Scotty – and YOU can do it!