American Idol: Rating the Top 11's iTunes Recordings from Elton John Week

How did you spend your weekend, Idoloonies? I spent mine blasting the studio renditions of the American Idol Top 11’s forays into the Elton John songbook. The good news? My marriage survived 17 consecutive spins of Haley Reinhart’s “Bennie and the Jets.” A couple of these tracks might actually make their way into my regular iPod rotation. The bad news? Well, um, you’ll just have to read my takes on all 11 recordings, won’t you? Ch-ch-check ’em out, then post your own reviews in the comments. And for all my Idol ridiculata, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.

Paul McDonald, “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)”: There’s a zero-gravity sweep to the production (the guitars on the verse are exactly what you’d expect to hear if you were in a spacesuit floating over Earth), and the hiccups and breaks in Paul’s gravelly voice sound especially lovely in the studio, where he seems to be pushing his performance a little harder than he did in his live rendition. Another improvement from his Idol cover? No creepy whispered “long long time” at the end. Grade: A-

Casey Abrams, “Your Song”: A mercifully stripped-down arrangement that’s just Casey and a piano. The giggle after “if I was a sculptor” is a little too twee for its own good, and the end-of-song crescendo sounds more angry than urgent, but otherwise this is solid and nicely phrased. Bonus points for a sweet falsetto ending. Grade: B

Pia Toscano, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”: Not surprisingly, Pia’s monster truck of a voice is just as powerful in the studio as it is on the live stage, and thankfully, the production here puts that impressive motor front-and-center. There’s the feeling that Pia is standing two feet behind you, projecting her voice directly into your ear. Too bad she’s accompanied by some of the cheesiest backing vocals ever committed to record. Grade: B+

Stefano Langone, “Tiny Dancer”: The weird pronunciations that plagued Stefano on the Idol stage are even more baffling here. “L.A. lady” becomes “L.A. laden,” while “ballerina” again turns into “ballerinum.” And what’s happening “in da auditorium,” dude? A rogue harmonica that pops up on the second verse also seems at odds with Stefano’s pop-soul delivery. Which is a shame, because the guy really does have an interesting, distinctive tone. Grade: C

James Durbin, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”: I wasn’t a huge fan of this on the Idol stage, and there’s a similar karaoke-bar stank coming off the recorded version. Even worse, James’ voice takes on a shrill quality on the chorus, and devolves into barely musical screaming for the last 60 seconds of the track. Dee Snider he is not. Here’s hoping dude focuses on his vocal more than his pyrotechnics this week. Grade: D-

Lauren Alaina, “Candle in the Wind”: Lauren’s rendition is emotional and intimate, much as it was on Wednesday night’s performance show, but the studio version features a twangy country sound that does a better job of supporting the teenager’s intriguing vocal choices. Here’s an instance where the phrase “made it your own” actually means something. Grade: A

Thia Megia, “Daniel”: There’s a Ryan Tedder-lite feel to the production (more like strong-wind-and-soaking-rain than full-on thunder-and-lightning). Unfortunately, Thia’s voice, while pretty, lacks any real character or emotional depth. You may listen to this and ask yourself, “Why?” Grade: C-

Jacob Lusk, “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word”: Mad props to Jacob’s producers for getting him to dial back on the histrionics, but dude’s vocals are so quavery in places, he sounds like a whimpering toddler who’s just been sent to the naughty step for a time out. The “totally ’80s!” blast of guitar at the end doesn’t make a lick of sense, either. Grade: C+

Scotty McCreery, “Country Comfort”: I know the kid is from the south, and I know he’s serving up a slice of classic country, but the opening verse here is so aggressively hokey, you can envision Scotty with a piece of wheat between his teeth while he recorded it. It’s tuneful, though, and I like his aggressive emphasis on the word “truck.” Kid’s gonna make a pretty penny shilling for Ford next year. Grade: B-

Naima Adedapo, “I’m Still Standing”: Naima’s Patois pronunciation seems a little less jarring on the iTunes version than it did in her live performance — but maybe I’ve just gotten desensitized from repeated listens. Either way, would you forgive me if I said I be jammin’, mon? Grade: B+

Haley Reinhart, “Bennie and the Jets”: Cannot. Stop. Playing. On. Repeat. So! Awesome! Grade: A+

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!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. BLL says:

    I admit I bought Haley’s download this week… and I loved it. I’m not quite on her bandwagon yet, but she was fantastic with this song. I hope she sings more like that from here on out because then as the wise Randy would say, “WE GOT A HOT ONE!!!”

  2. tuppy says:

    Listen, I like Haley a lot — and that’s back from Hollywood week; I’m not just jumping on the bandwagon now — but I think you’re overvaluing her performances recently. Bennie and the Jets was a really solid performance, and it’s also in my iPod rotation, but A+? It’s just as overproduced as the others and wouldn’t fly on the radio or on the iPods of people not obsessed with Idol. (Incidentally, I prefer the recording of Blue.)

    On an unrelated note: I’m not his biggest fan, but I think you’re not doing full justice to James Durbin. Saturday Night’s Alright was a slamming performance, and the recording is just as good. I don’t hear the shrillness you’re talking about, and the rocked-out high notes in the last 60 seconds are motivated by the arc of the song. D-? No way.

    • Ben says:

      Well done Tuppy. I agree with this entirely.

      Unfortunately, Haley’s performance has been way overblown from all quarters – I’ve seen this kind of overhype all over the internet (and on the live show) but really, honestly – if you edited out all the louder bits of Haley’s performance and just listened to the quieter bits, you’d see that a lot of those bits are wavery, lacking in control both in tone and in pitch.

      It was definitely Haley’s second best performance – after Blue, which is the only of Haley’s studios to hit my ipod. But it’s a long way behind. In Blue she demonstrated perfect control through the entire song. In Benny, that control is simply not there. While it’s amazing in places, the overall effect is just not THAT good. Maybe a B+, if she is lucky.

      It’s sort of like taking something to make you high – the overall effect is that people will feel artifically low later, and I can’t help but feel that the over-pimping of Haley over this week will end in her elimination on Thursday, because she simply won’t be able to sustain expectations that have appeared as the result of her performance being so hyped this week, and people will react negatively to that.

      James – also agree. D-? As one of a family of professional musicians, every member of our family agreed James was the best of the night, and we don’t even like the style. The fact is, he rocked the night. The studio is not as good as the performance, but the fact Michael says

      I think Casey’s studio is the best single studio of the season.

      • Liza says:

        Disagree. The live performance I thought wasn’t as amazing as they said, but the studio single is incredible. And I’m surprised that a family of professional musicians would love James, as his shrieking in this particular performance was just about as un-musical as you can get. Compare to Carole King week or The Crying Guitar Song for legit vocal control.

    • snady amen says:

      James seems tombe a nice guy but I feel he is not as good as the judges are saying. I am no expert but for me I dont care for the way he changes some of the songs.

  3. BethanyA says:

    All weekend I was on YouTube, playing someone’s playlist that had both Hailey’s studio and live versions back to back. I am so curious as to what is the most listened to live or studio recording of the season thus far. Hailey has to be up there. I think I saw 110,000 or something for her live Bennie somewhere. Impressive for a week, I think.

  4. Victoria says:

    I just played the samples of all the iTunes from this past week. It’s the first time I’ve listened to any of the recordings. I was REALLY surprised to find out that I disliked most of their recorded voices. I expected that even those that aren’t my favorite contestants would sound good. It’s not their talent — but the tone…

    I did like Casey — but he’s my favorite on the show. The voice I FELL IN LOVE with was Haley’s. I sampled all of hers and they are brilliant! She is sometimes off-putting for me in her live performances but I love, love, love her recordings.

    *”piece of wheat between his teeth” PERFECT Michael!

  5. Davey says:

    I though the arrangement for Thia’s Daniel almost killed the song. Meanwhile she sounds fine. It’s refreshing to hear this song sung be a female. I really only know Elton’s version. I heard Thia sing Chasing Pavements on Regis and Kelly and she sounded great. Her voice also sounded wonderful on Jay Leno on Friday. Let’s face it, Michael, you just don’t like her. I think in a few years, she’s going to be very popular on the radio.

    Meanwhile I think Naima is a delight but I don’t go for her version of I’m Still Standing at all. But she, too, comes off well on these appearances on TV.

    • Bill says:

      I don’t know Michael. I am generally with you on most of your commentary. And even when I disagree, I can usually give you the benefit of your Idol/music experience or just your plain subjectivity. But I have to take a stand on Thia’s Daniel. I did feel the emotion and depth from her. Was it at a Melinda Doolittle level of or a direct take on Elton John’s interpretation and arrangement? No, but she made me listen to it in a whole new and good way. Her interviews off Idol show a much richer, vibrant, and emotional side of her than the Idol producers let come through. There is in fact a whole lot more there than just a “pretty” voice. So since the producers seemed to have done a disproportionately good job of “influence editing” and unduly affecting your take on her, I have to discount you on this one but am willing to at minimum accept a more balanced review by your partner in crime, Melinda, who concluded that in a few years Thia could very well “be a force to be reckoned with.” Ask Melinda next time you to to her or on her next Idoloonies guest appearance. (Hopefully soon – she’s terrific).

  6. Lory says:

    Haley is the dark horse this season. Glad she wasn’t voted off earlier.

    • RTW says:

      Agreed. BTW, does Haley sound remarkably like a young Sheryl Crow? I may not yet be on the Haley bandwagon completely, but I am definitely riding it like a scooter and am interested to see what she’ll do this week. She’s one to watch out for!

  7. rrprieto says:

    I love Hailey’s voice and style in Benny and the Jets. It is my favorite of any song sung on Idol this year. Go Hailey!!!

  8. Alison says:

    I literally can’t stop listening to Haley’s “Bennie and the Jets”! I am in love with it! She’s definitely my favorite.

  9. S says:

    I vaguely got onto the Haley bandwagon last week, but this week, she knocked it out of the park and the studio recording might even be more wonderful than the live version. I’ve had it on repeat for days now.

    • mark says:

      me too! I thought she was great on motown, but was insanely great this past week! It helps that she picked two great songs. Also, her recording this week actually kind of sounds like music, not like the tinny, Casio-esque recording Idol itunes are known for.

  10. Kelm says:

    As I’m reading this blog, the sudio version in playing on Itunes too. Funny.

    Stuck on repeat.

    Go Haley ! Most interesting one this year !

  11. matthew says:

    those stupid jughes that know nothing should have never have saved that retarted casey he has no spec of talent i dont see what the see in that idiot.

  12. Georgia says:

    Last week was a reminder to check out the studio recordings, because they may be far better than the live performances. It’s reasonable to consider both in making a judgement. “Bennie and The Jets” is my favorite Elton John song, and I’ll have to adjust to a female version, but I think I’ll want this one (I wouldn’t give an A+ to the live performance, though). This is the week that I’ll actually start downloading…Casey, Pia and Haley.

  13. dkw says:

    It think it’s very telling that Haley has by far and away the highest number of ratings on iTunes, and one of only two five-star ratings(the other is Casey). This was a girl on the brink of elimination the first two weeks of the finals and looked like your typical cannon fodder early on. Talk about your bounce-back performances.

    I’m also surprised how smooth Casey sounds on a studio track. You’d never know he’s such a ragamuffin in person.

  14. SpyKi says:

    I’ve been backing Haley since Hollywood and I was so scared she was going to get booted early, seeing people finally start to come around is fantastic. I think she’s brilliant live and recorded, I can’t stop playing Bennie and the Jets either.

    • Ben says:

      Don’t get too comfortable spyki. The backlash may be about to hit.

      • BLL says:

        Agreed! She is in no way safe now. The group of fans that just now joined on Team Haley or are inching that way will jump off this week if she’s not as good or better. She is polarizing so I think a lot of people maybe now respect her a little more, but haven’t gone as far as to love her and giver her their loyalty.

  15. laks;djfalsdk says:

    I was playing Benny and the Jets for at least 10 minutes before reading this article! Go Haley!

  16. Jessabean says:

    You know, I hate Bennie and the Jets with a fiery passion. It’s my number 1 fingernails on a blackboard song. Honestly, I think they should play it to make dictator’s come out of their compounds instead of Metallica.

    And …. I actually like Haley’s version. I could actually listen to it and – gulp – enjoy it.

    She deserves an A+ for that alone.

  17. tkartk says:

    While I do think Haley has an awesome voice, I just can’t stand watching her perform; and an A+ rating? I would’ve given her an A. I certainly wouldn’t have given James a D-!? That’s absurb! He’s by far the most entertaining thus far, but I know, it is a singing competition! Pia and James have been the most consistent to date and my favorites. Although Pia is a little too robotic in her performances so Haley, James and Lauren are my new 3 picks with Pia coming in at #4.

  18. Dani C says:

    Am listening to Haley as i type this….43 plays and counting…of course You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me is sitting at 54…i can’t help but love this girl. Bring on the Idoloonies and the Haley love parade!!

  19. karen Anderson says:

    I love Haley’s studio version of Bennie just as much as I loved her live performance. She does stuff with some notes on the studio version that just slays me. I was into Haley since Motown week, where she also nailed it. I think she’s got the goods to go all the way. I’ve been listening to her all weekend. Bennie is on repeat on my laptop. Her natural musicality is undeniable.

  20. Pizazz says:

    I love Paul’s iTunes recordings. I would love to hear him sing a David Gray song. This Year’s Love or Please Forgive Me are great choices. Hopefully American Idol has a good variety of songs on the list.

  21. Robin Lemke says:

    Oh yes on the D- for James! And Jacob. GAH! I would just love for Haley to do that well on a song that I actually like. She did a great job on Bennie and the Jets… but it was still Bennie and the Jets.

  22. Seth says:

    Im glad so many people are actually into Haley now, she has been so underreted all season! I too have listened to Bennie and the Jets several several times. Dont forget to vote for Haley this Wendsday!

  23. Wendy says:

    Anybody else think that Haley has the potential to be a terrific musical comedian? There’s something endearingly awkward about the way she moves sometimes – I actually held my breath when she was scooting off the piano! Add that to a voice and style that’s really interesting. It would be intriguing to see.

  24. AJ says:

    My first download ever of an AI tune was Haley’s “Bennie and The Jets”. It’s crazy insane good. I know this sounds like fanboy hype, but this needs to be on the radio. Seriously. This is a freakin’ hit.

  25. Tekkie says:

    B-b-b-b-buh Benny and the jetssssssssssssssssss… Hear that hissing noise? That’s the air coming out of her over inflated ego. The girl can’t sing, her tone is awful and she mumbles her words worse than Kurt Cobain. If she was a 300 pound frumpy woman, no one would give her a second listen. She’ll go the route of syesha, kristy, and all the others who disappeared from the idolverse. Oh and that wasn’t a graceful dismount from the piano either!

    • karen Anderson says:

      Tekkie, you are so wrong. I’ve heard this song all my life since it first came out in the early ’70s. Haley’s rendition is the first time I could clearly understand all the lyrics, especially the “calf” lyric… Stick around, you’re gonna hear electric music solid walls of sound from our next American Idol, Haley Reinhart.

      • tekkie says:

        While I will concede that her enunciation of the lyrics on that song was ok…on the others it has been bad. I’ve listened to a lot of Elton John, though I was only born in 73 and I think her version came off karaoke at best, but when you have the contestants we do to compare her to she does appear to be in the upper not the lower half. Put her up against David C, Adam L., Kris A. Carrie U. (whom I don’t like either), Kelly C., Crystal B. and Chris D. among others, she doesn’t hold up. I don’t doubt that she could be the next idol, just that she is the next great voice or talent.

    • wendeeloo says:

      You mean like the frumpy woman named Susan Boyle who is still selling strong on her second album?

  26. brandon says:

    BENNAY! bennybennybennybennybenny

  27. Ronnie says:

    I’ve been trying to figure out why I like Haley. She has been my favorite since the Top 13 (although I have liked Pia on individual weeks). In thinking about it, I feel it has to do with comparing her against the other female contestants.

    – Haley does at least one thing better than the rest.
    – At 20, she is a young woman able to embody appropriate songs. (unlike Lauren, Thia, Ashton)
    – She appears emotionally mature(unlike Thia, Lauren, Ashton)
    – She has a weird, quirky personality. (unlike Pia who I hope more from, Thia and Karen).
    – Haley has a unique singing voice. (unlike Pia, Thia, Ashton)
    – She is confident (unlike Lauren & Thia)
    – She can hold a note and has a terrific voice. (unlike Naiema & Karen)
    – Haley picks different and unexpected songs. (unlike Thia, Pia, Karen, Ashton, Lauren… hell everyone except Naiema).
    – Ok, Since Thia is on every list I will just rename her Bizzaro-Haley and exclude her the rest of the way.
    – Haley is not perfect. She is awkward and goofy at times and hasn’t been the perfect singer. (unlike Pia, and people don’t like perfect all that much… it makes them jealous).
    – Haley has improved. I think this is a big deal and can’t be underestimated. We have seen others who peek too early (Hudson/Casey). People like to watch the contestants GROW over the weeks. That was what people were expecting from Casey, Thia and Paul. After rough starts and not improving they all fall into the bottom (with only saves and worse contestants keeping them on).

    All this being said, I don’t think Haley has the best voice, style, personality or performance style. But in a lot of ways, she lacks some of the larger flaws in some otherwise more traditional contestants (Pia and Lauren most specifically). The result is someone interesting and different. Someone you want to know more about and see more from.

    It is easy to feel I know exactly what type of artist Pia and Lauren would be (and Naiema). Its not as easy, but its way more fun to ride along with Haley and discover that artist with her.

    -I hope Haley has another good week and we see even more improvement.

    • Volcfom says:

      I love this post. And I like that you point out how we are watching Haley come into her own style, instead of her getting trapped into one category. She gets better every week and I can’t wait to see what she does tomorrow!

  28. AEvangelista says:

    Michael Slezak just doesn’t like little Asian girls. He had the same disdain and disrespect for Ramiele Malubay. Probably because Michael used to work for a little Asian girl who abused him. No wonder. But both Siobhan Magnus and I agree that Thia was far better than Lauren this week. But then, Michael didn’t like Siobhan either.

    • davey says:

      I think Thia has a much stronger voice than Ramiele. Has Siobhan Magnus posted comments about the Idol singers somewhere? Or are you just joking?

    • Dani C says:

      @ AEvangelista: You’re crazy. Slezak was a fan of Siobhan from the semi-finals…if you watched him on Idolatry, ore read any of his recaps from last season, you would be aware of this. And please keep your negative energy off this site. All opinions are welcome, but lets not be rude and obnoxious…that’s reserved for other entertainment web-sites.
      P.S. Ramiele was terrible…ballad, ballad, ballad…wait for it, nope ballad…zzzzzzz

      • AEvangelista says:

        Slezak was a fan of Crystal, not Siobhan. Slezak’s attitude towards Thia is obnoxious.

        • Dani C says:

          Again, if you had watched Idolatry or read his recaps, you would know that while he did start the Bowersox chant, he had love for Siobhan too. He even talked about having a hand to God moment while listening to her House of the Rising Sun. Obviously you were a fan of Thia’s, and while i do agree she had a pleasant voice, you gotta admit she was in no way ready to tackle the Idol stage….possibly any stage. And that’s pretty much what Slezak has been saying this entire time…girl needs to mature and experience life if she really wants to be an artist.

    • Lee says:

      I don’t think you should go around accusing Michael Slezak of being a racist. Come on, Ramielle was not very good in a weak season. And while Thia has a wonderful singing voice, she seems to lack soul, or fails to embody the songs, or … something. I think that either she is just not mature enough (but that’s not stopping Lauren Alaina), or she will just never understand how to give a song its feeling. Just because Thia and Ramielle are Asiahn and he didn’t like them doesn’t mean he doesn’t like Asian girls (I mean, above and beyond him not liking girls, period).

      • AEvangelista says:

        All Lauren Alaina has is hype and the country vote. She’s no Kelly, she’s no Carrie, she’s no Kellie, she’s no Crystal. It’s all hype.

        • Lee says:

          Don’t get me wrong, AEvangelista, I don’t like Lauren very much. I was just saying that I think she think she has more of a package than Thia in terms of understanding and interpreting a song. She’s a little immature brat so far as I can tell, but all I know about her is what the Idol producers show me.

    • wendeeloo says:

      Ridiculous comment. You must have poor perception of people because Michael is not at all the type to dislike someone because of their race. Because he didn’t see potential in Thia – which so many people would agree with – doesn’t mean he treated her unfairly. She was very young without life experience – and that showed in her performance. Even the “Chasing Pavements” performance on Leno was too smooth and blandly pretty. Ramiele Malubay didn’t have potential to go any further. If she did – we’d be hearing from her still. And I also think Michael liked some of Siobhan’s work.

      • AE says:

        Perhaps you have poor perception of Michael. His utter disdain for both Ramiele and Thia is well beyond what he has shown for other contestants. It suggests a much deeper problem.

        • Kate says:

          Have you tried looking at his reviews with an open mind? You sound as if you have decided that Michael is racist and seem dead set on manipulating facts to suit your own delusions. Quote one CLEAR incident when Michael has appeared racist and I might try and see things from your point of view. You seem to find it difficult to entertain the thought that maybe Slezak criticises them because, maybe, THEY ARE NOT THAT GOOD. This suggests a much deeper problem.

    • Asian guy says:

      Sorry AEvan, your accusation against Michael is totally off-base. Perhaps you are mixing up facts with your feelings?? I was underwhelmed by Thia – she has a nice voice and is pretty, but she was unable to deliver a moving/impressive performance when it counted.

      However, I liked Thia a lot better than Ramiele. I should rephrase, I disliked Ramiele but was only meh about Thia. Probably because Ramiele lasted much longer than she deserved.

      • Kristina Lee says:

        How did Ramiele last much longer than she deserved? She finished ninth. Below her were Chikezie, Amanda and David Hernandez. Ramiele was more consistent, and I don’t care if Michael thought she was emotionally vacant – she sounded good. She had a full, soulful voice that sounded effortless. I thought she was unfairly treated as a punching bag by Michael week after week. Because let’s face it, Kristy Lee was the weakest that season, and she outlasted Michael Johns.

  29. Jason S says:

    Wow! yeah Slezak! You actually got through an article without throwing some back handed compliment or downright insult at Haley. Looks like she may have fully won you over!!! Can anyone say Dark Horse?

  30. poptart says:

    I have not watched this season, but saw Haley’s rendition of Benny and the Jets on Facebook. I think she’s very talented, now that I’ve seen some of her other performances, but frankly, this one grated on my nerves. She’s way overdoing the gutteral noises. A little of that goes a very long way. I also agree that watching her perform is uncomfortable for me. There’s something really cheesy about her style. Again, she is very talented, but just way over-the-top with the awkward, cutesy-sexy thing.

  31. Love says:

    I Love my Folk-Blues Rock Star Paul McDonald!

  32. Love says:

    I Love my Rock Star Paul McDonald. He is my Folk-Blues Rock Star.

  33. Love says:

    Did not mean to post that twice. The one before did not show up at first.

  34. weew says:

    Excited about this weeks theme.

  35. Marc D says:

    thanks for that headsup regarding rocket man, i didnt even think twice to preview it on itunes, cause the live performance was ehhh… but the itunes version is sik

  36. Lee says:

    Apparently I was the only one bothered by her slow-motion, ove enunciation of the stuttering B’s in “B-B-B-Benny and the Jets.” I realize that they are not supposed to be karaoke carbon copies, but listen to the ease of the stutter from Elton John then listen to the sleep walk from Hailey…made me cringe each and every time she said it. And, since I am going against the grain here, the growling is WAY TOO MUCH. Just like James’ “Adam Scream,” Pia’s ballads and Casey’s growling…too much.

    • notmzbehavin says:

      I didn’t like the slo-mo “Bbbbbbbeny” either. By the time she was done I was torn between muting the sound and keeping it on for the laughs. I don’t care for her voice or style on the show, but I also don’t think she’s the worst. But that Bbbbenny was just too much.

      Too much of anything from anyone can become obnoxious.

  37. Irene says:

    I’ve been having Haley’s rendition on repeat since I bought it on Wed. I can’t stop playing it. There’s just something about her voice that I love.

  38. noa says:

    wow. haley sounds SO much better without the weird arm waves.

  39. Leslie says:

    I bought the whole Elton John Week album and with the exception of Jacob’s performance, I’ve been listening to them all over and over. First iTunes purchase this season!

  40. stevenjaba says:

    I still can’t get 100% on the Haley bandwagon until she dials back the growl. She does it waaaay too often and it’s just completely distracting to me.
    On a related note, James Durbin’s itunes version of “Maybe I’m Amazed” from a few weeks ago is amazing.

  41. Heather says:

    Expalin to me how Hailey sounded good? I was watching American Idol with my parents and two friends and we all thought she sounded terrible. And were completely surprised when she got good praises from the judges.

  42. Gi says:

    Yeah, Haley’s studio version this week is easily my favorite studio version now (previous fave was Pia’s “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”).

    Paul’s studio version was his best thus far.

    Honestly, I thought Thia’s version of “Daniel” was very good, I think you’re a little too hard on her :)

    James Durbin did not sound like himself in the recording.

  43. Beatrice says:

    I like James Durbin. He reminds me of Adam Lambert.

  44. darcy's evil twin says:

    Amazing how polarizing the contestants are this year!

    people either love or hate them.

    I thought Haley was wonderful on Bennie and the Jets. And I like James Durbin.

    Paul is also very polarizing. People love him or can’t stand him.

  45. Jason says:

    UM, VOMIT on Haley’s voice, recording and everything about her! Are you insane. It’s the most obnoxious and awful interpetation of the bunch… Your review = FAIL

    • Jenn says:

      Agreed…I thought Haley was awful. I wanted to puncture my eardrums just to make it stop. Poor Elton John died a little inside when he heard that massacre!

      • DogBoy says:

        Yeah sure, Elton was busy listening to the butchered-up version of “Crocodile Rock” he helped create from the Gnomeo and Juliet movie. .. and counting his money.
        Who are you trying to kid?

  46. hooch says:

    LOL on your crossed out bit on Haley’s track. Haha, my husband has to put up with the same stuff from me! Can’t tell you how many times he’s had to hear Didi Benami’s Rhiannon.

    My cable (and thus DVR) went out two weeks ago and I went on vacation for a week so I missed two weeks in a row (Grrrrrrrrrrrr….) why can’t you watch episodes online on fox ? So I only saw a few performances on YouTube.

    I only downloaded Haley, Lauren, Casey, and Paul from this week. I might pick up Pia as well tonight.

    I also downloaded all of Paul’s other stuff, because I kept hearing how awesome he was recorded, but I’m sorry, I do not like it! The guys voice is just weird!!

    Casey, on the other hand, sounds AMAZING! I really liked this track! Lauren & Haley’s I thought were great as well, although I preferred Haley’s live performance much more. It had more “wild abandon” to it. The recorded version was too tame.

  47. Asian guy says:

    BTW – where is Idoloonies?? If it’s posted I can’t find it…

  48. Katillac says:

    Slezak, as much as I love Elton John, I’ve always hated Bennie and the Jets. It’s just beyond my comprehension wanting to listen to it over and over, whether it’s Elton OR Haley singing.

  49. Paisley Quinn says:

    Just bought the Haley version of Bennie, Bennie, Bennie, Bennie and the Jets. Love her sound. Only criticism is that the enunciation of some syllables is incomplete (Allison Iraheta had a similar trait) and this renders some of the lyrics a bit incomprehensible. Otherwise, great download. I also purchased Scotty’s country Elton song and I have a similar criticism in the enunciation (but it isn’t as bad as nuts of wonder hehe). I just love the tone and range of his voice. He could definitely be on country radio right now. This kid has the goods.

  50. James says:

    Dang it Slezak…enough with the writing and more with the videoing! Where is this weeks Idoloonies!!!!!