American Idol Recap: Rock and Role-Playing

There was magic in the air Wednesday night at American Idol. The judges waved their hyperbole-filled wands and turned “good/decent/atrocious” into “amazing,” “revolutionary,” and “perfect in every way.” Nigel Lythgoe reached into his hat and pulled out a gaggle of screaming groupies for Scotty McCreery. And Gwen Stefani used some dark-sided voodoo (aka her L.A.M.B. “fashion” line) to transform the gorgeous Pia Toscano into a bowl of lumpy mashed potatoes.

But let’s not dwell on the judges; if they’re determined to be the beige eggshell paint of season 10, then by all means, they can fade into the background! (Hey, look, Steven Tyler is actually asleep!) While we’re at it, let’s forgive Uncle Nigel his silly contrivances; after all, we owe him a debt of gratitude for killing off the SwayBots. And as for the ladies’ outfits, let us never again speak of the crimes committed against Lauren Alaina — forced into diaper-wearing servitude to help line the pocketbooks of a multi-millionaire pop star/clothing entrepreneur. (Did Idol‘s check bounce after Gwen’s season-six mentoring stint or something?)

Instead, let’s focus on this week’s nine musical performances, trying to sort out who actually rocked on “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Night,” who at least managed to survive the foolery of guest mentor (not sure if I “spelled” his name correctly, but don’t respect him enough to Google it), and who paraded down the street in a preposterous display of nudity, only to be applauded for wearing a one-of-a-kind Vivienne Westwood catsuit. Let’s break it all the way down, in chronological order…

Jacob Lusk: Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”
This just in: The “Lusky Stank” is not just a singing style anymore, it’s now a full-blown attitude problem. That’s right, if Jacob ends up in the bottom three this week, “it won’t be because I sang the song bad, it won’t be because I sang the song wrong, it will be because everybody in America wasn’t ready to look at themselves in the mirror,” insisted the singer who apparently didn’t bother checking his own reflecting glass before hitting the stage in a blindingly unflattering combo of white vest, white shirt, and white trousers. Even worse, Jacob proceeded to hit at least a dozen bum notes on the opening verse alone, whipped his angry pelvis back and forth (in the general direction of songwriter /guest backing vocalist Siedah Garrett), then complete the performance with all the emotional gravitas and musicality of a screaming seal. If Jennifer Lopez really thought Jacob’s rendition was “perfect in every way,” then I am utterly shocked she was not hospitalized after witnessing Kris Allen’s vastly superior “Man in the Mirror” from the season 8 semifinals. I can confidently type the following after spending five minutes looking at myself in the mirror (where I observed a receding hairline, two days’ worth of patchy stubble, and grim evidence of poor sleep habits): Jacob is so going to have to park his overconfident behind on the Silver Stools of Doom on Thursday.

Haley Reinhart: Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart”
As a huge, huge fan of Janis Joplin, and as a rapidly budding fan of Haley’s, it pains me to say I wish that the plucky Idol underdog had chosen something a little more unexpected, and performed it a little more unexpectedly, to follow up last week’s breakout “Bennie and the Jets.” I mean, yes, Haley hit darn near every note of her song tonight, but I felt like she chose only one crayon (Growly Mama) to color carefully inside the lines that Janis drew back in 1968. Granted, I’d still put Haley in the upper half of this week’s performances. And, yes, Randy was right that she hit a nifty little run toward the end of the number. But just like perfume has to be sprayed on a few key areas of the body — not poured into a bathtub by the gallon and splashed around in — so too should Haley’s trademark roar be used when and where it counts. Seeing how The Lady Reinhart spent the first two weeks of the Season 10 finals in the bottom three, she needs to put on her headphones and play a little Janis, a little Aretha, a little Bonnie Raitt, and remember that great singing is just as much about holding back as it is unleashing the beast.

Casey Abrams: Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”
Can I confess something kind of embarrassing? As I was writing this very column, I had to go back and check my notes to remember what exactly Casey sang this week. Yeah, I remembered there was some groovy upright bass-playing involved. And alas, I recalled a few too many “do ya think I’m sexy?” grins into the camera. But the actual singing left my mind “for a minute,” and that troubles me. There’s no denying Casey knows how to phrase a song and imbue it with genuine emotion, but it’s becoming pretty clear that whenever his voice starts to stray off pitch, he breaks out the crutches of grunts, growls, and cries of “oh baby” — all of which have the undesired effect of pulling me out of the performance and making me focus on random questions including (but not limited to): “How come the Idol styling squad forsaken this dude? Seriously, did they pull that rumpled gray shirt with the badly creased white collar out of Ryan Seacrest’s laundry pile (circa 1992)?” “Why didn’t the dude groom his beard?” “And for the love of all that’s holy, why the hell is Randy Jackson using the word ‘revolutionary’ to describe Casey’s use of the upright bass?” Please tell me I’m not alone in these perplexing thoughts!

Lauren Alaina: Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”
It’s all well and good that Jimmy Iovine and the Black Eyed Peas dude who must have an entire dossier of incriminating info about Uncle Nigel talked to Lauren about the marriage of country and soul (“countroul,” as the latter gentleman so lamely called it). But how come they did absolutely zilch to put a little torch and twang into the arrangement of a song that’s been known to sound rather folksy in the hands of writer Carole King? At least that might’ve helped Lauren differentiate her rendition from sounding like nine-year-old leftovers of Kelly Clarkson’s glorious Season 1 cover. (Seriously, click that link; it’ll make your Thursday.) Then again, who am I kidding? Sixteen-year-old Lauren Alaina barely has any business singing Britney Spears’ “I’m Not a Girl (Not Yet a Woman),” let alone tackling the very adult concept of being made to feel like — actually, I’m not even going to finish that sentence. Let’s just say I actually felt kind of bad for Lauren tonight, awkwardly shifting side to side at center stage in her (Screaming of the) L.A.M.B.(s) attire, never quite finding the song’s vocal or emotional groove, and pretty much hitting that key change like a compulsory figure-eight rather than the quadruple-axel climax of a memorable short program. (How’s that for a hot honeyed wreck of a metaphor?)

James Durbin: George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
Look, let’s just be honest for a second: Switching up your performances between “full-on rocker hysteria” and “back-lit sensitive gentleman on a stool” isn’t really artistic bravery, it’s smart Idol strategy — most recently/most effectively employed by Season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert. And while it was pretty clear from James’ tears that he was feeling the music pretty deeply tonight, there’s no way you can achieve a “Mad World”-esque performance when half the notes of your lower register are flatter than the surface of a skipping stone. It’s weird: While James’ personality has grown on me over the last few weeks — it’s hard not to root for the guy when he talks about how much he’s missing his family — I’m increasingly troubled by his inability to maintain vocal control when he’s not in full-on belting mode. Note that while the judges gave effusive praise to James’ emotional connection to the song, they never once praised him for delivering a first-rate vocal. (Side note: Why didn’t Ryan ask a followup question to this inscrutable statement from James: “It’s a song I’ve worked on for five years and written my own version — and that’s mine, that’s my accomplishment. It just shows my struggles and everything that I’m shootin’ for.” I honestly have no idea what the Durbs was talking about!)

Scotty McCreery: Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right Mama”
Yeah, I know, if Scotty were a building, he’d be the Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D. (I’ve been there! It’s literally a palace covered in corn! And it’s kind of amazing!) And while I can sit here and wish out loud that maybe the Idol stylists could try to upgrade Scotty from a denim workshirt into something a little more stylish (how about a jaunty plaid!) or that he would stop heeding Beyoncé’s advice and holding his mic “to the left, to the left,” that would just be stalling my honest opinion that the kid gave the performance of the night. I loved the way the grit suddenly kicked up in Scotty’s voice, like dust spraying up off an old country road. I loved the way Scotty worked the stage with energy and enthusiasm, but never lost control of his pitch. Yeah, J.Lo was right that the Contestant Most Likely to Pump Up Simon Fuller’s Bank Account should probably dial back on the “hip-hop hooray!” hand gestures, but like a second handful of Pringles or the siren call of a Powerball vendor (don’t worry, if I win, I’ll still do Idoloonies!), it is useless to resist him!

Pia Toscano: Tina Turner’s “River Deep Mountain High”
Here’s a bit of constructive advice for Pia: If you want to be able to work the stage with abandon, you might want to reconsider wearing heels so treacherous it makes Man on Wire look like child’s play. But here’s the thing: I’m not sure Pia wants to work the stage with abandon. And that raises the larger question for the Idoloonie Nation: Are we okay with that? Are we still willing to travel the Pia Toscano Express if she’s never going to be willing to pull a Fantasia Barrino and “get ugly” with her vocals? Because Jimmy Iovine made one good point tonight: That Tina Turner sang the original “River Deep Mountain High” like she was out-of-her-freakin’-mind obsessed with the object of her affection. And while Pia was hitting some mountain-high notes with the precision of a Marine Corps sniper, I never sensed from her the complete and utter desperation of a woman gone crazy in love. The way I see it, it’s perfectly fine if Pia isn’t that kind of singer — the hit you with a musical two-by-four, leave you gasping for air soulstress cut from the Patti/Tina/even Wineouse cloth. But if that’s the case, she shouldn’t be handling musical explosives. Because the best singers aren’t only aware of the boundaries of their vocal range, but their emotional scope as well. And that’s all I’m going to say about Pia for now, because my feelings are, as they say, developing…

Stefano Langone: Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman”
I was worried for Stefano from the moment he ended his intro package by saying he felt like he was going to have a huge week, then looked downward with an expression of abject befuddlement. And sure enough, the falsetto opening of “When a Man Loves a Woman” was like the strangled last gasps of an Idol dream that I once believed could sail all the way to the Top 3. All of my antennae say that a man will finish ninth on Idol‘s tenth season, and that man will either be Stefano or Jacob. So while I could point out the inherent flatness of Stefano’s final glory note (the one he tried to hold about six seconds too long) or the fact that if Pia has to take criticism for her ’90s-era balladeer style, then so should he, I fear that by Friday morning, the little Wild Card that could will be too busy preparing for a whirlwind string of exit interviews to have time for constructive advice.

Paul McDonald: Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”
The good news for Paul was that he chose far and away the night’s best — and rockin’-est — composition (well, tied with “Piece of My Heart,” anyhow). And coming at the end of the night, it was a treat to see him jamming out while flanked by two fellow musicians (a feeling of musical camaraderie that’s often missing as our singers traverse the cavernous stage alone). Still, I have to admit it was jarring to watch Paul adopt a gigantic grin to deliver lines like “I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die” and “when I hear that whistle blowin’, I hang my head and cry.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know Paul’s whole tone and tenor was something of a country-time jamboree, but even so, I couldn’t help but feel like the hippest little rooster in the competition forgot the mournful “Blues” of the song’s title. Plus, there were moments on the verse where it felt like Toothy McScruffypants reduced the melody to a range of two or three notes, tops. But while I have to vehemently disagree with J.Lo that Paul did an “amazingly good job,” I wouldn’t say his performance was the reason God invented the remote control, either. And with that, let’s get to tonight’s letter grades!

Scotty McCreery: A
Pia Toscano: B
Haley Reinhart: B
Paul McDonald: B
Casey Abrams: B-
Lauren Alaina: B-
James Durbin: C+
Jacob Lusk: C
Stefano Langone: C-

What did you think of tonight’s performances? Who was your favorite? Who’ll be in the bottom three, and who will go home? Sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol news and commentary, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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  1. S says:

    Didn’t you notice Scotty’s creepy facial expressions during his song?

    I’m betting Jacob will be eliminated this week. That comment will not have sat well with anyone, and he just sucked. Then again, Stefano wasn’t great either.

    Can the producers get Scotty and Lauren to sing songs that don’t make them try to act sexy? Because it’s rather uncomfortable to watch it.

    Pia chose an uptempo song, but she sure sang it like a ballad! And why does she always talk like she’s answering questions in a beauty pageant? The icy pageant queen appearance she’s unintentionally giving off is extremely obnoxious.

    • Jamie says:

      Bingo on Scotty and Lauren – and totally agree about Jacob/Stefano being bottom of the heap this week.

      As to Pia.. I just don’t get her appeal. Yes – she has a pretty voice. So do a ton of people! But you just feel like she’s some sort of fem-bot programmed to sing nicely, smile and wave. I will say I am SHOCKED that Michael Slezak wasn’t as over the top with his praise of her this week – a refreshing change. I just don’t get the appeal of that girl!

      • PAIdol says:

        They called Carrie Underwood a “Fem-Bot” too…just remember that!

        • Musica1 says:

          Carrie was always a fembot physically. Stiff as a board. But her songs always had emotional punch and her personality was charming. Kind of a pre Kelly Pickler country bumpkin.

          • Brittany says:

            Totally agree. Carrie didn’t seem like a fake/pageant Barbie, PLUS she sang with emotion and you could see it in her face. If anything, now her fame has made her look more like a Barbie with all that hair and make-up!

          • Suncatcher says:

            Watch Carrie and Steven Tyler blow the roof off the ACM awards on Sunday. No “Fem-Bot” here…:

            (Now over 4,000,000 viewers of this UNBELIEVABLE duet)!

          • RLA says:

            I think PAIdol is totally right. My problem with Carrie for her entire season was that she was so emotionally vacant and had little personality. Even on “Alone” — which sounded fantastic technically — left me a bit cold. BUT Carrie then went on to become a true performer after the show. That’s why I give Pia a lot of leeway. She has the voice… I think (or hope) in time, she’ll get there with her performance.

        • funkycoldmedina says:

          I agree with PAIdol. Pia doesn’t get any credit for her spectacular vocal ability, instead, she gets slammed for everything not related to making good music. Where did these kids come from musically? I’m thinking singing in school musicals, choirs, (church, looking at you Jacob Lusk) maybe some local karaoke bars, or some local talent contests…but what I don’t consider for a moment is someone hitting the AI stage with the charisma and stage presence that Adam Lambert displayed… THAT was a rare treat and not the norm for an AI contestant. Most commenters here and elsewhere think that their favs (if they’re lucky)with their cruise-ship-singing-karaoke-at-best are better than Pia, who delivers the most complete range of vocals weekly, and yet their favs are more LIKEABLE. Wow, do you think they might actually become your BFF? Rudeness has ruled the day when commenting about Pia, no matter how she comes off on screen. The genreal comments made are not what you would actually say to her face, and yet you slaughter her weekly because she stands and delivers??? Ridiculata!!!!!! Carrie Underwood was stiff as a board with a sweet voice, but showed no stage presence AT ALL on her Idol journey. Since then, she has had time and people to develop her stage presence and look at her now! Pia smiles and speaks softly just as much as Carrie Underwood did as a contestant on AI. Carrie didn’t swing out on stage and try to force personality on us, she just sang beautifully. Like Pia. I think there are too many people holding Pia to much higher standards than the other contestants BECAUSE she is gorgeous, (jealous, much?) has a beautiful voice and range and they know it, and that doesn’t bode well for their fav, so the best they can do is say she is boring. Woo! Now that’s a real stupid criticism. I didn’t particularly care for River Deep/Mountain High as much as previous Pia performances, but there are MUCH MUCH worse in the way of talent on this season of AI. And Pia is humble and doesn’t resort to stage antics to draw attention away from her real talent aka Durbin, Abrams etc. By the way, other than the AI summer tour, how many REALLY fork out big bucks for tons of concerts in the current recession? Seriously? ITunes rules the world musically and Pia sounds fab on ITunes in comparison to her fellow competitors. Most of you need a reality check on your mean girl judgements of Pia. I think you should all just give her a break, and stop hating. If you don’t like her stage presence, close your eyes and just listen. It’s what I do to 90% of the Idol contestants because my Ipod doesn’t lie.

          Also, adding that I totally agree with Slezak on the fact that Paul sang his entire song in the note of 3…love his Toothy McScruffypants (no connection to the emotion of a PRISON song whatsoever and no criticism from the judges either, and am weary of all of the ugliness and dripping venomous criticisms that come with fandom.

          • Joe says:

            Sorry, but I cannot buy the comparison with Carrie. Throughout the competition in that year, I thought Carrie could and should win. I too am not impressed with Pia. She can sing, but in my opinion, does not deliver. She IS boring and she is not humble and that is not stupid criticism. Just because many of us are not impressed with Pia’s performances does not mean we are rude.

          • funkycoldmedina says:

            Whatever, Joe. To each their own likes and dislikes. Clearly you don’t read all of the comments or you would see how mercilessly people rag on Pia. I don’t think Pia is boring. My opinion stands.

          • Rick says:

            I agree, Pia is beautiful, elegant, and reeks class. She is without a doubt the best singer in the competition. While I understand that perfection to some people is annoying there is no reason to rip on her.

          • Jill says:

            Well, America killed off Pia. The judges did, too, for all their sanctimonious sanctimoniatin’ after her elimination. Who told them to blow their save so early in the competition on someone that has no chance of winning? I hold them responsible, too, for trying to nudge her into being yet another flashy pop queen when she clearly is a singer who’d be amaze on the adult contemporary scene, which has a loyal audience that can afford concert tickets and enjoy owning physical CDs. In their entirety. But, noooo.

          • Jamie says:

            I – personally – don’t think that it is out of line to critique a REALITY SHOW CONTESTANT for the way their personality presents itself on a REALITY TELEVISION SHOW. American Idol is WAY more than a talent competition and denying that it just.. well silly.

            Having said that – I also don’t agree that Pia has the absolute best vocal chops of the group. She’s got a lovely voice. She’s CLEARLY talented vocally – but IMO she’s really not head and shoulders above everyone else the way so many folks seem to think. Part of that is because she IS stiff and because she doesn’t allow her personality to shine through and carry her through.

            Being a singer is more than the ability to sing well – it’s also the ability to connect emotionally with the story you are telling and with the audience as well. Pia just does not do that terribly well.

            That is in no way saying she is incapable – I think she has a TON of potential and could very well be a HUGE superstar. But she’s got a way to go before she’s at that point.

      • R Carr says:

        There’s something weird about Pia. She’s pretty and all, and as a straight guy it would take me about the blink of an eye to decide to hook up with her, but at this same time if somebody told me she was a transexual I’d say, “yeah, I can see that”.

        And yeah, she’s a she-bot that doesn’t really have any soul to her voice. This is OK but doesn’t really help her appeal. That said, I still think she’ll be top-3.

        • Brittany says:

          She definitely has a manly-esque look in her nose/cheeks/and chin area. I can totally see that!

          • Suncatcher says:


          • Rick says:

            If all men looked like her then I’m changing teams!

          • Brittany says:

            I didn’t say she looks like a man. I said she has man-lie features. Her bone structure in those areas are harsher.

          • NedPepper says:

            And the shallow mean girls trend continues. THIS is why no female win on Idol anymore….

            As one of the few straight dudes who watches this show, I’m glad Pia is beautiful and can sing. I understand the flaws (in her PERFORMANCES), but that voice is the best Season 10 voice, period.

            It’s also great to see Haley rock it out and still be sexy as well.

          • Brittany says:

            How is it a mean girl thing? My job in life is not to go around and belittle women. Part of being a celebrity and on American Idol is about your image. That’s why they get plastic surgery, personal chefs, and personal trainers, etc. I see people making fun of James for his facial tics and his larger ears or Jacob’s weird facial expressions, how is what I/RCarr any different? I don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that’s she’s female or that Americans judge women more harshly. I think people see what they want to see, and since you are obviously sensitive ro the anti-female thing, you read way too into it and instead of just taking it as a comment/observation, you assume every comment is the end of women.

    • joy says:

      Scotty to me was one of the worst of the night!!!! He was so contrived and ackward to watch..It was first rate karaoke on his part..Did not care for it at all..The tempo was way to slow and every performance of his i cannot distinguish between one and the next..Mundane, boring, and bad….

      • ARCHU-D2 says:

        uhmmm…totally disagree. Scotty was the best performance of the night.

      • The Real Slim K says:

        um, like I totally agree! Scotty was worst–even worse than Paul, I can’t believe it. Sleazak’s #1 performance was Scotty–that sounds about right. He thinks of Elvis as a goofball novelty, rather than the King of Rock n Roll. and dumb Scotty was even as a little kid pretending to be the just about to die later Elvis. Stupid is as stupid does as mama said. Scotty fans: your guy was as bad as Paul last night. How does that make you feel?

        • kaikenna says:

          Thank you! Best of the night — Slezak come on. I actually like Scotty, but his Elvis performance was a bit corny, and very awkward. The half attempt to do an Elvis twist, the weird shoulder rolls, and his ever present weird facial expressions. I much prefer to listen to him, than to watch him.

          • djm says:

            Yeah, Slezak has lost me here. The first words out of my mouth after he was done was straight-up karaoke. I mean really. And those girls at the end? I don’t think I can spell CORNY big enough or bold enough. I get it – he’s going to win and make the producers a ton of cash and they are THRILLED about it, but yikes – at least try to make him interesting and earn it. Same with Lauren – please oh please oh please try to light a fire under her ever-expanding behind and make her EARN her spot in the finale. Am I the only one who finds the cover line on the new issue of EW funny? It says “At last some fascinating Idol finalists” and I actually laughed out loud. Sorry, but I am not even slightly intrigued by this years finalists let alone fascinated.

          • zaza says:

            The first word out of my mouth after Scotty finished performing was “Cheeeesy!” But corny works too.

        • Joe says:

          I do not always agree with Michael, but I too rated Scotty as the best of the night. Your comment, labeling Scotty as stupid and dumb shows your real bias. As a fan of Scotty’s I feel good. What you say about Scotty’s performance is way off the mark. What is bad is your attitude toward what Scotty represents. I am proud to be a fan of us and I am proud not to be as biased as you are.

        • dude says:

          scotty still is one trick pony and always will be. he cannot sing anything above a baritone or with a lil country vibe to it. He is good dont get me wrong, but i don’t see him ending up like carrie at all, but maybe like kelly pickler…..made some hits but isn’t a superstar. He definitely Aint no Tim Mcgraw, he can sing much much higher then scotty and about just as low.

      • CC says:

        Scotty seems to be pretty polarizing (I still think they made a mistake putting him through instead of John Wayne dude). I personally cannot stand listening to him, but I’m curious what the country fans out there think. Would he still be around if this were American Idol Country Edition? Methinks not…

      • Suncatcher says:

        Totally agree that Scotty was tops last night! He went up tempo, expanded his range – on key – moved all over the stage like he owned it / was comfortable, and the crowd roared.

        Superstar in the making…

      • Heidi says:

        I liked Scotty tonight because he obviously doesn’t take himself too seriously and while Tim Urban didn’t either, Scotty can actually sing and that makes him enjoyable to watch. However, when is someone going to tell him to stop holding the mic like it’s a jazz flute?!

      • Jane says:

        it helps to close your eyes while he sings. His awkward stage antics are distracting. I’m not a huge country fan but his voice is really good for that genre. “That’s alright Momma” was probably the best of the night. And there was some joy in his singing thank goodness. Pia, Lauren, Stefano could learn from that.

    • ARCHU-D2 says:

      Scotty is great! and I’m not even a country fan.

    • Owen says:

      Okay, Slezak. You’re a journalist. Look a little deeper. You’re gay, you should at least be a little bit understanding about prejudice. But you completely didn’t get it (once again). Damn, dude. What Jacob was talking about (and it SHOULD be talked about) is that it is only the Top Nine and already every person of color on this year’s Idol, except for the Lusky Stank, has been sent packin’. Maybe that’s democratic. Maybe that’s because of the strengths of a super season of performers. But his comment shouldn’t be dismissed by dissing Jacob’s outfit. Dude! Now, I didn’t love Jacob’s performance, but they stuck the last ethnic (amongst what must be the WHITEST bunch of white kids ever on Idol) first and he had to say something to save himself. Hell, perhaps he was fed the line by Idol, cause people are going to start noticing if indeed Jacob is sent home this week. And that’s trouble in Idol-land.

      • idol lover says:

        The thing that I noticed most about Jacob was the fact that he refused to ‘stand on stage and sing a song about “doing the nasty”‘ and then he stood there thrusting his hips at the back-up singer! What was up with that? Looked pretty much like he was standing on stage pretending to actually be doing the nasty to me!

      • Karen says:

        see, that is the problem with the so called “judging” (they should be arrested for using the word). They treated him like one of the best singers they have ever heard, ever in their life. He believed them. Iovine warned him not to treat every note with drama and he ignored it because the judges said he walked on water.

        It is really sad that he said what he did – it wouldn’t sway a single bigot – if you are saying bigotry has anything to do with it. No one likes a braggart and that’s half of what voting is about – likeability. But, can see why he is in turmoil since the “judges” love him.

        Personally, his voice is muffled to me and his singing doesn’t “flow”. each song is disjointed – like it was all patched together in a studio. I don’t care if he’s purple – he’s just not that great.

      • Jennifer says:

        The producers didn’t stick the only ethnic performer first – they put a performer first who was due for an early turn. That’s how it generally works on this show, except when the obvious producer favorite starts going last or nearly last every time. If Jacob gets the fewest votes this week, it’ll be as much because he insulted the viewers and voters as it is that his performance wasn’t that great. Personally I don’t vote for him because I don’t care for his style of singing, and I don’t care to be lectured by a contestant on a reality show.

        • Owen says:

          But someone had to say it, come on. And why not guilt America into keeping him around. It’s no worse than Nigel sending little girls onto the stage to give Scotty some Elvis-like cred. Slezak brushed the “inherent Idol racism question” aside in last week’s Idoloonies as if we are truly in a post racist society. He knows better. In the year’s since Obama’s election (in Idoloonie-world, since the Melinda /Laquisha season) racism seems to have stepped up (Tea Party anyone?). To suggest the white middle-aged Idol audience isn’t somewhat racist is not really looking clearly.

          • Truth says:

            So you want to talk politics?

            Your Commie in Chief Obummer shoulders the blame for turning the country against one another. He has done more to hurt race relations in the past 3 years than anyone in the past 20. He and Holder, your 100% imitation Atty Gen’l, are the worst thing to happen to Amrica in 40 years.

            2012 cannot happpen fast enough. Get rid the of the bum before he ruins America.

            I am black.

          • Jason S says:

            Didn’t a black girl win the Melinda/LAquisha season. That was the year Jordan Sparks won right. THree black contestants have won out of nine season. That’s 33%. Not too shabby considering if african-americans are a minority that means that statisically less try out for the show. Hence more whte people try out and that is why there are usually more white contestants.

      • Suncatcher says:

        I go back and play Jacob’s gorgeous version of “A House Is Not A Home” – and keep asking, what the heck happened to him since then?

        I have to wonder if all that “producing” and “mentoring” and “judging” didn’t so completely mess up the “real” Jacob?

        He totally lost himself in the Idol machine and that’s a shame.
        And I can’t help but wonder if the same happened to Casey.
        We All lose.

      • Karenco says:

        I don’t agree about your assessment of Jacob’s journey on AI and its connection to prejudice. Believe it or not many if not most voters do not look at color. I have to say that I put Jacob as my least favorite even before I became aware of his comment. I tuned in just before he started singing so missed that part completely. I was really impressed with him during the auditions, probably because of his unique change up and delivery and he could really “sang it”, but lost faith in him as time went on. His performances (delivery) became more strange rather than unique and there were just too many notes that were flat. He did dial back the OTT squirming and wrung out emotion which helped with the delivery, but lost the quality of voice that I felt was there early on. Last night’s performance was just not good and not at all entertaining.

        • Ben says:

          I have to say that I don’t like the idea that America (or anyone) would choose to vote on race. However, the power of preference in style of a racial group has to be taken into account. It’s not like every white person only listens to white artists, and every black person only listens to black artists, but there is a certain extent to which race and style preference are interconnected.

          If America was 80% black and 20% white, chances are contestants like Jacob and Naima would be more popular while contestants like Scotty and Lauren less. It’s not racism, and it’s not really about how good the singers are either – it’s simply about demographics.

      • NedPepper says:

        Look, I was one of the torch bearers last week when Naima went home. I STILL believe there was a passive bigotry to how people treated her. Her ITunes “I’m Still Standing” was the coolest, worthy-of-a-download song to come out of idol in a loong time.

        Even if Jacob wanted to address the issue, he could have gone about it in a much better way. And the whole Marvin Gaye switcheroo didn’t make sense. He was certainly grinding away on stage. He’s had a STANK attitude from the beginning, and I don’t think it has anything to do with his race or color. His VOICE is awful.

        Are there issues with race when it comes to this show? I think so. And I’m usually the first to admit it. But Jacob has been on the downslide for weeks now and by ripping his own fanbase…just a stupid move.

    • GaryfromCinci says:

      You make great observations. Scotty and Jacob, for me are unwatchable. The dumb faces, the weird microphone hold, the awkward stances and stange presence… Jacob may have a Sunday morning choir voice, but nobody is going to buy a JL album.
      Pia has no connection with the audience and like you said very pagent-esq.
      This season has become a trainwreck

    • Karen says:

      I like scotty’s voice as long as I don’t have to look at him. (meaning, I might buy an album, but I’d never go to his concert) He’s got more weird ticks than James (who has a legtimate reason to have weird ticks, so they don’t actually bother me a bit whereas Scotty’s do)

      Surprisingly, James Durbin is really, really growing on me. Granted, his song choice is one of my favorite songs so he had advantage. I didn’t notice the same bum notes that Michael says he heard, but I enjoyed his performance the most that night.

      Pia bores me because her idea of changing it up was to actually take a few steps on stage. (and my god, that outfit!). Haley had not one single ounce of the pain and resignation that Janis brought to her version of the song and made it into this perky poppy ditty. It was truly gawdawful. It wouldn’t send her to the silver stools just yet because of one terrible song, but I was shocked that the judges didn’t slap her around more.

      • Karenco says:

        I agree with comments here when it comes to Scotty and Pia. I find I enjoy them when I close my eyes and just listen to their voices only. But in today’s music business you need more than just a great recording voice (especially with dreaded autotune correcting those who don’t have one). You cannot make it anymore by just selling cds due to a a great voice alone….you have to be able to entertain the crowd and sell tickets to concerts as that is where the money is and that is what keeps a fan base coming back for more. I would not go to see either singer even if I were given free tickets…well, I take that back…if free I would probably go see Scotty – but not pay good money….but he will definitely sell cds. However, I would never waste my time on a Pia concert. It is a shame that her talent seems to be so limited since she totally has the vocals, but completely lacks emotional connection to the song’s lyrics and simply standing in front of a mic or taking an awkward stroll is not my idea of entertainment. So as lovely to listen to on cd her voice might be, her singing seems to be very limited in genre and style so I would not buy her cd as it too would get boring.

        However, I did enjoy Haley – although last week was much better – and I loved her vocals so did not think her at all as “gawdawful”. I think her problem this week was simply a bad choice of song. I hope in the future she learns to pick songs she can better connect with at her young and inexperienced age, but I felt she did much better than Pia who shows no emotion at all.

        And although I felt Durbin really did connect with the emotion of his song, I did notice the bum notes…I think it is more noticeable in a slow soft song than when he rocks it out. However, I do feel he is good enough to make the top 3-5 so I don’t want to be over critical here.

        Jacob was just not good at all and I did not even tune in early enough to catch his comment that seems to have offended so many, so that does not enter into my assessment.

    • Karen Anderson says:

      Scotty was good but I’m surprised Slezak didn’t deduct point for the cheesy “I need your lovin” phrase and the “deedly dee” addition, not to mention some of the cringe-inducing facial expressions. no-thank-you-very-much. Really, Slezak, I’m just sayin. Go Haley! (who by the way, killed it on the studio version of Piece of My Heart.” That is one hard song to sing and she did great.)

  2. Lunakit says:

    Remember when James couldn’t afford a diaper for his poopy baby? Maybe Lauren can lend him the one she wore tonight…

    • The Wheeze says:

      That is a horrible way to put it, but I agree that Gwen Stefani did not do ANY favors to the woman with her “styling”. Actually, made me feel sorry for wittle wauren. How was she supposed to feel like a natural woman with (as you said it) a plaid diaper on!

      • amy.. says:

        Have is she supposed to feel like a Natural Woman when she is a 16 year old girl?!?

        • Pam says:

          My thoughts exactly! I’m not a fan of Lauren’s, but I’d really like to see her sing something age-appropriate. Maybe, just maybe – she might actually connect with a song. The styling was just stupid – Gwen Stefani shouldn’t be dressing anyone, ever. My 10 y/o daughter asked me why Lauren’s hair looked like Cruella DeVil’s. haha

      • paidol says:

        I couldn’t agree more….she turned Two sexy girls (Pia and Haley) into laundry baskets and Poor overhyped Lauren…..well…let’s just say that she should always wera clothing that covers up the bulbus butt….and what was up with the hair???

        • Elena says:

          I know. I actually felt sorry for Lauren for once. Those pants were NOT flattering in the slightest. The hair was really scary. Lauren is much prettier than she appeared last night.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      okay, Lunakit, “Made me laugh”. :-)

      Seriously, Gwen Stefani worked really hard to make Pia and Lauren look as goofy as she does with that bumped-up hair and the “I Dream of Jeannie” wardrobe on Pia. Gwen Stefani’s styling reminded me of that Brady Bunch movie (yea, it was a guilty pleasure). Mr. Brady, as you older folks may recall, was an architect, and in the movie every building he designed looked exactly like their house. It didn’t matter if it was a bank, a Taco Bell, or an auditorium. It was funny in a stupid humor sort of way.

  3. Rhama says:

    I don’t get Paul. He’s just terrible singer looking and acting like a caricature. If he wins he will definitely beat Lee DeWyze in low sales.
    Scotty = George W Bush impersonating Elvis but singing good during the process.

    • The wheeze says:

      You are not alone Rhama! I do not get him either. His voice reminds me of lambchop on helium. I think his bright and perfect teeth smile blinds a lot of women into thinking he is great. One of the ladies, I work with cannot even remember his name, she refers to him as “the guy with the great smile”, but he is her favorite. Go figure!

      • djm says:

        Yeah, he’s referred to as “crest white strips” by my co-worker. I laughed out loud when he tried to hump that other guitar player during the “performance” – that other guy looked TERRIFIED as he was backing away from that spazz.

    • Sharon says:

      I don’t get Paul either, and to me it seemed like he sang the entire song in one long, monotone note. Oh, and it’s not a happy song. Johnny Cash never smiled his way through it.

      • Musica1 says:

        Actually Johnny Cash DID smile while singing Folsom Prison Blues. He didn’t ever have a huge smile like Paul, but his smirk was there in full bloom. I especially remember him smiling when taking about shooting the man.

    • Bobbi says:

      Could not agree more with your comments on Paul. I was horrified by his take on “Folsom Prison Blues”. Can’t say I’ve ever liked him but that song was horrendous. They keep talking about an emotional connection to what you’re singing. I don’t think Paul even comprehended what the words said!

      • Claire says:

        Actually guys as Musica1 says Johnny DID smile (a very sly, naughty smile) while he performed the song. And he had a blast every time he played it. Also, when he played it at San Quentin it was rowdy and he was rocking out. The prisoners were grinning from ear to ear and everyone was having fun. It’s not a mournful song. So, while Paul was uber smiley he did it justice.

    • dparker says:

      Totally agree with you. To me he sounds like Mace Gray on helium. I don’t understand the love the judges and others have for him. He should go tonight, but got the pimp spot and the judges love.

    • maggie says:

      Paul really needs to go. I don’t know if I can take another week of him and his Rod Stewart on helium voice. UGH!!!!! Terrible singer.

      Johnny Cash may have smirked while singing “Folsom Prison Blues” but he understood the song. Paul’s toothpaste commercial smile and chipper attitude made it seem like he’s auditioning for a children’s show. There was no connection to the song. He could have been singing “it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood” for all the feeling he put into his performance.

  4. Chance says:

    Jacob is the ONLY one in the competition I find even remotely interesting in a positive way (Paul, Scotty and Casey are interesting in the trainwreck way). Haley was like a child trying to imitate Janis, Pia I barely remember. Lauren, well, lets just say I’ve seen men who were more natural women than her performance was. James is not even worth commenting on. Poor Stefano is just WAY out of his league. Scotty was making the MOST RIDICULOUS faces during his performance, and that faked “stage rush” by the girls was just pathetic. Casey also made weird, come-hither faces, and let’s be honest, that man has NO real future in the music industry. Paul, don’t even get me started on Paul. He shakes like someone having a seizure and tonight he was like a muppet who had a stroke. I couldn’t understand a 3/4 of the words he said. This season is AWFUL. The show is worse for not having simon, who would have torn each of these “singers” a new place to evacuate their bowels. Pathetic

    • evs says:

      really Jacob is not a trainwreck? He sure managed to murder a lot of songs that are idol classics, and he murdered them with some style… Haley is interesting, she can be sultry, sing nicely. She’s not horribly predictable.

      However on feeling loss of Simon we agree a hundred percent. They all need to be ripped a new one.

      Pia for boring song choices.
      Scotty for horrible style and country antics. Remember he shouldn’t be impersonating people but being himself within his chosen genre.
      Paul for choosing the wrong song. Johnny Cash should not be done in a happy voice, he’d be better off with Oasis (you’re on point Slezak)
      Haley for not using last weeks success to win more audience (because really there’s nothing an audience likes as much as week to week improval)
      Casey for that creepy attempt at being sexy (nailed another Mike)
      Lauren should study music, and get soul before she attempts to do it
      Stefano should just pack up and give up on squinting (for starters)
      Jacob needs to start being real and quit imagining he’s on Ally McBeal
      James needs to work on his lower register. He choose an ok song, started ok, but then it just went all over the place

    • Michael says:

      I like Jacob’s singing too. I actually watched it back, and it was better watching it a second time. I don’t get where MS says he was off key so much. Though got to say, Jacob, what the hell was with that comment, and IDOL, what the hell was with you airing it? First person to sing, and airing that comment? I get where he is coming from, that some people don’t like the message of keep your noise out of my business, take a look at yourself. I think a lot of white people don’t understand that is a real heavy message in the black community where blaming problems on other people is legacy.

      • Gata says:

        @ Michael
        What the “F” do you mean by that comment “I think a lot of white people don’t understand that is a real heavy message in the black community where blaming problems on other people is a legacy.” What a F’ing moronic statement.

        How about I just tell you to go “F” yourself and pick up a “F’ing” history book. *itc* *ss f’er.

      • The Ween says:

        I don’t think you understand the lyrics of the song. He wants to make a change (in the world). He realizes that he can’t wait for someone else to do it. So he’s starting with himself (the man in the mirror).

        • evs says:

          Attention Jacob and the gleeks. If you want to change the world for starters stop scarring it with your cacophonous assaults. Jackson could’ve fed a lot of African children had he not been obsessed with his looks and made a much bigger change. That should put a pin in the philosophical discussion of “Man in the Mirror” .

      • Dallas says:

        ok, I just spent way too much time trying to understand this comment. I give.

    • Mark says:

      I agree. Jacob is the only one I find interesting. I am still re-viewing his Motown week number. Best of the year so far. His expressions crack me up.

  5. Michelle R. says:

    I always have to be reminded what all but one or two people sang. Is that not normal?

    Did anyone tell Lauren what that song is actually about? Not that she wouldn’t have done it anyhow, given previous choices.

    I liked Pia’s performance well enough, and her voice is always lovely, but I just want to see her fall out once.

    They clearly want to get rid of Jacob.

    I’m really over Stefano. Just done. I went and got a drink when he sang and then slowly strolled back into the room.

    I love Haley’s personality, and love her singing about half the time. I … did not love it tonight, but am so going to crank up some Bennie and The Jets. The same way that I want to see Pia fall out, I want to see Haley skip the gentleman’s club moves.

    Scotty’s ridiculous and looks like my least favorite president, but I cannot dislike him. How impressed would I be if he picked a song that was nowhere near country and made it country? I’m still incredulous over the fact that he picked THE one Elton John song last week with the word Country in it.

    James. I like the kid. He needs vocal training though to build on what he has. He’s just not there.

    Casey is my crush still

    Paul. Um, he was okay, but I think it’s going to be a long, long … tiiiime before I see him and don’t crack up over Rocket Man.

    • stevenjaba says:

      I agree that Scotty’s performance was visually painful, but the vocals were great and he shows growth. I appreciated his performance tonight. I agree it was the best one of the night. This coming from a James Durbin fan!

    • Amber says:

      Scotty did take a song nowhere near country and make it a great country song that I think could be a hit: For Once In My Life. Also, it’s not his fault he looks like GWB. If he were fat I could see mentioning it (although that would also be mean and unecessary, but at least it’s something he could work on), but we’re all born with the face God gave us. Not fair to dislike him because of the resemblance.

  6. Amanda says:

    Are you out of your freaking mind, Michael? I think I just vomited a little in my mouth at the idea of you choosing Scotty as the best performance of the night. Seriously? I thought his entire performance was laughable, and I wish he’d get called out more on his ridiculous movements the way Paul did. I know, he didn’t do an entire chicken dance, but his movements are still very distracting and that sideways grin. I’m not a fan of his but at least throughout the competition he’s managed a steady flow of good vocal but tonight I thought his vocals were awful.

    I just can’t see how he gets an A when there were better performances than that tonight.

    • JohnDoe says:

      Same. I thought it was incredibly forced and cheesy, and he has NONE of the swagger of the King.

      • Amanda says:

        Thank God someone agrees with me! I don’t understand all the Scotty love over his performance tonight. I mean, really? The song was butchered and if I’m being honest here, I didn’t even listen to the entire song because I spent the first half of his performance giggling to myself. It was a train wreck of epic proportions for me. But I guess according to the half a dozen girls who swarmed the stage after he finished, most of America eats that up. At least the teen girls and their mothers do.

      • Alice says:

        BUT he sure does have the sound!! Elvis would have been proud…

      • NedPepper says:

        You’re not alone. Scotty is so cheesy I want to change the channel. His stage presence is painful to watch with the amateur hour antics. Yet not one of those judges call him out. Come on, Stephen Tyler! You are killing any credibility you had. Watching Scotty is like watching one of your drunk friends get up on karoake night and make a fool of themselves.

    • Sybil says:

      I too am immune to the Scotty Charm. So cheesy I can feel my cholesterol skyrocketing as he performs. James may be the one with Tourette’s, but Scotty is the one who has the annoying facial tics: the sideways leer, the arched eyebrow, the teenage attempt at a come hither stare. And we won’t even speak about the faux gangsta hand motions. He’s vocally talented, but he’s coasting, and the judges and producers are letting him. In the meantime, the bar keeps getting raised for Pia every single week.

      The Lusky Stank can take his mirror and his inflated ego and leave. Right now.

      • Laurel says:

        I totally agree !
        The Scotty charm looks like a grand mal seizure in progress.
        His facial expressions are extremely off putting and actually take away from his act.

        And MR EGO himself Jacob Lusk should go home NOW.
        America didn’t want to look in the mirror if he is in the bottom 3 , OH PLEASE !
        How insulting.

    • Joe says:

      Scotty deserved the A for his performance last night. My only criticism of him is his handling of the mike. Seems to me that the idol folks could and should help him with that. I do not get the comments about his looks. And I do not see anything wrong with his movemens on stage.

  7. Milly says:

    I’m really glad I wasn’t the only one who noticed how flat James was throughout his performance. His voice seems to go a bit thin H, as it were, whenever he’s not trying to belt it out. His voice doesn’t have the soft power to control those notes. Pia, while boring, has a similar (if not more impressive) range, but is able to make her voice do exactly what she wants at all times. She’s a little boring, but her technique is amazing.

    Haley, Lauren, and Scotty, similarly, knows how to work their voice fairly perfect. I always thought the most impressive thing about Kris Allen was that despite not have the biggest or most impressive voice, he knew his voice’s strengths and limitations and used it to craft something wonderful. You can obvious do this with a large voice as well (Adam Lambert certainly did) but for Haley, Scotty, and Lauren, their voice aren’t as big as say Stefano, Jacob, Pia, or James, but they are very very good at using what they have to make the songs their own. I love that.

    Personal bottom 3: James, Stefano, Jacob.
    Probable bottom 3: Stefano, Jacob, and Lauren/Haley.

  8. bobo says:

    Scotty was great this week. He was my favorite. He is always great.

  9. JohnDoe says:

    The judges were laughably ridiculous this week with their comments. I’m really, really missing Simon at this point, for some MUCH needed brutal honesty.

    • The Wheeze says:

      I agree!
      Randy what happened to being the new “Simon” Dawg? Instead he repeats everything JLo says.
      JLo at least attempts to give critics, but only every other show it seems.
      The worst of course is Steven! He always has this stank face while the contestants are performing and I think OMG he did not like it and he is going to FINALLY let it flow! But as usual when he opens his mouth only rainbows, butterflies, and sunshine comes out. I think he must of had a lobotomy inbetween auditions and the live performances! If you take Paula(in her worst I have never taken drugs or alcohol) + Ellen (enough said) = Steven Tyler!

      • Tuzo says:

        Don’t forget Unicorns! I repeat, Tyler has Unicorns. And I’m not wearing any pants. At least Paula was occasionally entertaining or amusing even if it was totally unintentional.

  10. Renee says:

    I usually lurk, but feel compelled to comment on tonight as I finally put my finger on my deep unhappiness with this group. There are a arguably more solid vocalists at this point in the competition than in the past several years, but they are really not very likeable – the vibes they put out range from smug to bone stupid.

    Speaking of stupid, what, what was with the rampant inappropriate beaming during songs that are about murder, prison, heartbreak, rain/the breakup of a band. Paul and Casey, really? Aren’t they “The Musicians”? And yet they couldn’t figure out that these weren’t campfire songs? (While Lee DeWyze isn’t looking better exactly, I have to say-his single rather grave expression may have served him well in retrospect.)

    And while I agree James sounded flat and, well, bad (though nothing like the horror of last week’s Bill and Ted’s Excellent Performance) at least he figured out he should look sad during a sad song. The bar is low enough I give him pts for that. (I too have no idea what he was talking about unless he had an episode and thinks he wrote “while my guitar gently weeps”.)

    And Pia – I can’t fault her notes, but she is such a mannequin – for me she conveys all the emotion of a Stepford wife. She was even more smug than usual – I really just wanted to give her a tiny little push to watch her topple over in those heels in search of a genuine emotion. And Jacob? Oh, hell no. Pia and Jacob should have a smug off wearing their godawful, ass-enhancing outfits.

    What does it mean that I’ve started to pity Lauren? She went from being an insufferable brainless brat to being a crushed looking puppy who can’t figure out what the paper is for or why people keep smacking her with a newspaper. And again though she’s a not particularly bright child – she, like James, managed an appropriate facial expression – distaste.

    Finally, Michael, what’s with the hate? I don’t care particularly, but he’s not even close to being the most annoying, unhelpful person to sit in that chair.

    This season looked so promising. But I feel like I’ve unwrapped the shiny present and the are just a succession of increasingly smaller, empty boxes inside.

    • donie says:

      Great comment, Renee.

      I didn’t re-watch, but my impression of James’s response is that he has written alternative lyrics to While My Guitar Gently Weeps, specific to his own particulars, and has ‘worked on’ his version for years.

    • djm says:

      BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have totally captured the EXACT feeling I have but wasn’t able to express. Thank you!! That is EXACTLY what the problem is this season.

    • Jennifer says:

      As pointed out above, Johnny Cash smiled while singing “Folsom Prison Blues”; his just tended to be more of an evil smirk than full-on beaming. And his performance of the song at San Quentin (another maximum security prison)was very high energy – catch the film of it sometime and watch both Johnny and the prisoners totally rocking out. Despite the title and the serious lyrics, “Folsom Prison Blues” isn’t actually a blues song, it’s a rock song through and through.

      • Renee says:

        I have long been a big Johnny Cash fan, but I think you would agree a smile is not just a smile. You said yourself Johnny smirked – huge difference. We weren’t meant to believe he was the guy who actually shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. And the Cash original is a an uptempo joy – that’s hardly the same as beaming like a lobotomized camp counselor and manically pounding through Folsom like it’s ‘MTA’ and you’re a reanimated member of the Kingston Trio. Not the same at ALL.

    • Georgia says:

      Great comments.

  11. Gami says:

    The first thing I said, when the idols first came on stage with Ryan, was who was wearing those atrocious shorts because they were making her butt look huge! Poor Lauren Alaina, you could see as she was singing that she knew just how bad that whole outfit and style was on her, what it did to her figure. Lauren’s already a curvy girl she didn’t need those shorts. I can only think that Gwen Stefani was laughing all the way to the bank.

    Those faces Casey was pulling. I think he was trying not to make the angry faces, but then again who knows. Dude needs mirror time just as much as Scotty.

    I wish this week was the week that two people were to go home because both Stefano and Jacob have worn out their welcome. I’m just glad that Jacob didn’t sing Let’s Get It On. Oh the horror that would have been.

  12. Shannon says:

    Rarely is it a good idea to judge the people who are supposed to be judging you. Not a wise move, Lusk.
    Did Jacob seriously pull a Dionne Warwick on Celebrity Apprentice and challenge America to vote him off? Because that sort of thing doesn’t usually work too well…
    Still loving Haley’s wildly distinctive voice, even if it was doused in more layers of growl than we’re stylistically necessary.
    James has a YouTube video of some sort of pre-Idol, dive gig performance of While My Guitar Gently Weeps and while it is unquestionably superior to his quickie, quavery take on the George Harrison classic presented tonight, I still enjoyed it. Along with his post-howl tears. And no, I did not understand his Ryan-prompted tangent on composing is very own rendition of the song. That’s going to require a bit more probing to clarify.
    I’m not sure if it was emotions that prevented James from performing to his full vocal potential tonight, but I’m still a fan of his raw, unpolished, and unabashed performance style.

  13. brook says:

    Yay! Slezak gave Scotty an A!
    (Sorry, I LOVED his performance. Made me smile and laugh cause he’s just so adorkable! Lol.)

    • Selena says:

      Scotty is adorkable and he makes me smile. I loved the part where Scotty sang “I need your lovin”. Plus he was growling at the end was great. He did that twice and gave it a sexy sound. Best of the evening for me.

      I was disappointed at Jacob for saying what he did.

      I also like Paul’s performance. It was very entertaining and James was nice also.

      The three guys; Scotty, James and Paul were the stand outs for me this week. Sadly Stefano is loosing steam and I am kinda over Jacob after that remark.

      Haley was my favorite of the girls. She is showing more emotion than Pia, even though Pia is a better technically, I like Haley’s connection to a song. I also like Laruen, but this week it was kinda weak.

      My grades are;

      Scotty – A
      James – B+
      Paul – B
      Haley – B
      Pia – B
      Lauren B-
      Casey B-
      Stefano – C
      Jacob – C-

    • Deana says:

      I’m a fan of James too. I’ve only bought a couple of songs from Itunes this season, and “Maybe I’m Amazed” is one of them. I love it! I could probably do without ALL of the high notes he hits, but we all know that Idol loves those high notes. What’s kinda crazy is that my favorite Idol to date is Kris Allen, and I so love the gorgeous, buttery vocals on his LOW notes.

      Have to say I was really disappointed with Jacob’s version of MITM. It was okay, but IMO his voice just doesn’t ~sound very good unless he’s going crazy (as in “God Bless the Child” which was awesome). Here’s what MITM (Kris Allen, Top 36) should sound like: com/watch?v=X33OkNIybFQ

      And here’s a more recent version from Kris’s tour last summer: com/watch?v=N4sgp7QQgvw

  14. Julie says:

    Best season ever! And Scotty was awesome!

  15. Selena says:

    Oh Michael I just LOVE your video clips of Kris Allen singing “Man in the Mirror”;

    And Kelly Clarkson singing “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman”

    Both video clips took me down memory lane and made me remembered how I loved both Kelly and Kris once again.

  16. Ashly says:

    I thought last night was a tad boring. There were three main performances I mostly enjoyed. I liked Scotty’s rendition of “That’s All Right Mama,” but his hand gestures and facial expressions threw me off a bit. Sometimes I feel compelled to put my hands through the tv and lift his head upright and put his mike in front of his face. Needless to say, he’s a charming, likable kid and that’s going to help him get far, in my opinion. Pia did a nice job, but I kept comparing her rendition to Santana and Mercedes’ version on Glee and the Glee version won. Pia lacks passion and the ability to pick flattering outfits. I want to like her, but I’m not seeing enough from her. Finally, I liked Paul’s performance at the end. But, I’m starting to wonder do I like Paul because he reminds me of a Bee Gee and is so darn likable or do I like him because he’s doing a great job every week. I feel like I enjoyed his performance more when I was making food in my kitchen just listening than when I was right in front of the tv. Oddly enough, I could say that about quite a few contestants this season. I prefer to listen rather than watch some of the contestants because their moves or lack of make them uncomfortable to watch.

    • Dani C says:

      Totally agree. Especially about the Glee comparison. The whole time, i was replaying the Mercedes/Santana version and i gotta admit that Pia came up lacking….big time.

  17. adamfan says:

    One question – did (this is so stupid to even type) see Nigel get a b.j. from a male prostitute on Sunset Blvd? The guy is on AI all the time!
    I would give James a B, his vocals on itunes a great. The performance yesterday was very good, If you listen very carefully Pia had pitch problems as well as Haley.
    Jacob has go to go and really should have before Naima. The singing is just a parody, the dancing, well, I have no problem with men who are a bit feminine but this was just ridiculous. His statement basically made me listen to his entire performance with a “oh really dude” face on. Jacob, you are right, I am not willing to look in the mirror!
    I thought that Stefano had a major improvement over the last few performances.
    Scotty, if he was performing this at my local karaoke bar, (there isn’t one but let me dream), people would be laughing. I am sure that he is a lovely person but his hands, while he holds the microphone, look like chimps hands. What the hell is going on there? I find it so disturbing that I look away. This was a bad Elvis imitation. As soon as I heard him say that he was doing Elvis I tossed my cowboy hat in the garbage.
    Gwen must not be a Pia fan or she ran out of decent clothing from her collection. Pia looked terrible and she is a really pretty girl. Gwen needs to start making sofas like Cindy Crawford. I did not care for Pia’s performance, she is even duller when she tries something “fun and different”. I don’t think that there was a single spectacular performance last night. How many TV sets do you think Simon broke already while, hopefully, watching this show? Hello, the judging is getting really silly. Randy, how can two people be “in it to win it”? I was always under the impression that being “in it to win it” was like that most special of judging critiques, that one gem among dirty rocks, but I guess not.

    • Adam Leonard says:

      Agree on the question about He’s been on the show like 3 times in 4 weeks and been horrible every time? If you’re going to have a guest mentor on “Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame Week”, shouldn’t it be someone who is IN the Hall? If they can’t swing that, how about someone who at least might someday be in the Hall?

      In addition, they drop to a 90 minute show and can’t figure out how to fill the time so they have Ryan stalling several times and have tons of mugging for the cameras? I suppose giving each contestant another 20 seconds to sing is too much to expect.

      The only thing I can figure is that they are working up some new show with and are trying to get him more exposure.

    • Doug in Cheyenne says:

      I like you! You are shrewed observer with a soul cutting wit. Keep up the sarcasim, I haven’t laughed so hard until I cried for a while, thank you. Note: Gwen would make an excellent couch maker, she already succeeded in making Pia and Lauren to like sofas.

    • JOHN says:

      …loved your william(I refuse to type that cutsie 12 year-old girl spelling)…..comment! In an interview this past week, Nigel remarked at how ‘brilliant’ william is and how wonderfully he was working with the contestants…and that he (Nigel) just has to develop a show for william. Nigel….there is already such a show…it is called COPS!

  18. Tracie says:

    My 5 year old daughter wants to know why Scotty holds his microphone like he has T-Rex arms!
    Also, has anyone noticed hat he is eerily similar looking to that kid from “the Toy”?

  19. Theresa Wagner says:

    I thought that James performance was flat and kinda pitchy and was floored when others in my Twitter feed didn’t think so. I even watched it again this morning to make sure I was hearing it. But wow was it over-praised. It concerns me that he has such little vocal control. Thanks for the recap Michael. I loved Haley and Paul as well. Also was ecstatic when Casey didn’t sing a Police song and went with a CCR one; it’s more his thing!

  20. U bat fitch says:

    Did you notice that during Jacob’s Man in the Mirror song it was the woman who wrote the song that accompanied Jacob that song most of the song?

    You know the woman who looks kinda like Naima. She practically sang the whole song.

    Casey was BOOOORIIINNNNNNGGGG as usual.

  21. dsmith5740 says:

    All I can say is whoever advised Pia to wear that potatoe sack covered in coal dust did her the biggest disservice! She gained at least 30lbs around her mid-section wearing that atrocity! And I’m not even a fashion guru…It was Rock-n-roll night for goodness sake. She should’ve rocked out some Heart…gone a little “Crazy” on us…and wore tight jeans with a tight t-shirt with a soft, thin black leather jacket, with some lover healed boots (so she could move around without falling 8 feet) and she would have had her OMG moment on Idol and nailed her Top 2 position! Her only problem would have been running away from Stephen Tyler chasing her around the stage.

    • swthompson says:

      I think they were limited to artists actually in the Hall of Fame.

    • agrimesy says:

      You just made me even more disappointed in this season than I was before. There have been some AMAZING rocker OMG moments on season’s past. No one last night even came close to honoring the genre. Rock is a sound, but it is also a look and an attitude. Haley tried, but it seemed too forced. I can’t help but flashback to Adam Lambert wailing “Whole Lotta Love” in his leather pants, studded jacket, and spiky hair. He nailed it! Allison Iraheta brought the house down with “Cry Baby.” I don’t remember her outfit, but she worked that stage like a pro, and sang it even harder when she was voted off the next night. (How Danny Gokey made it to the top three when he murdered “Dream On” I’ll never understand.)
      I blame the Gwen Stefani designs for failing to make the contestants look like rockers, but they have only themselves to blame for lame song choices. I get it that these songs were on the Rock n Roll hall of fame list, but they seemed to lean toward rockabilly and soul R&B. Season 10 is stuck in a rut. I’m starved for significance.

  22. tkav3 says:

    Love you Michael! Great Recap! I love how you cover every detail of the show including the hideous stylings of Gwen Stefani. We actually asked ourselves last night if Idol had some contract with No Doubt and the BEP since they always seem to be on there. For me, Idol is not Idol without the recaps from Slezak!!

  23. Kk says:

    I think the main problem with this season is a lack of passion and “do or die” desire to win that has been part of previous seasons. All of the contestants know they don’t have to win to get record deals, and I think that has taken a lot of the fire out of performance night.

    Scotty was probably the best vocally last night, but I always have to close my eyes and just listen, otherwise his overly-exuberant eyebrows distract me! I think Lauren has so much potential, but no fire and no clue what she is singing about- sadly, the same goes for Stefano. The entire cast could use some more emotional depth to support their great singing voices.

    • CMJ says:

      ++ to that Kk. I have been pretty bored by the whole thing the last two (now three) weeks. Nobody is consistently compelling. We had that with Adam/Kris (and dare I add Danny).

      Here, I think it would be appropriate to add a link to Jordin Sparks’ I Who Have NOTHING.

      There’s nothing here.
      Pia the singing mannequin.
      Jacob the hot mess of attitude and screaming.
      Casey and Paul the “what’s that mess?” brothers.
      Lauren the Queen of Inappropriate song choice.
      Haley has found her only true talent, singing like a growling cow.
      James either screams or cries.
      Stefano misplaced the talent he showed at wildcard.

      There’s not even any real bad talent. Why do I keep tuning in? I wanna see a REAL TRAIN WRECK! This has been so DULL!!

      and the judges aren’t helping!

  24. WhiteLady says:

    Small place-holder for my critique which will come in a while since I’m in Spain and it just finished downloading!

  25. dkw says:

    I’m fed up with the free passes Scotty gets. He’s going to coast through this competition without ever having to try his vocal abilities because the novelty of his tone gets him by. His low range allows him to chose songs with a difficulty of zilch, but all he needs to do is ham it up, be “aw shucks” lovable, and do his best country singer impression(seriously, he used like 3 different voices in this one song) and is rewarded with the most votes of anyone. He gets an A for choosing the safest song and performing it predictably?

    Meanwhile, other contestants are continually pushing their limits just to stay out of the bottom three. It’s aggravating.

    • susela says:

      Well,get ready to be *really* aggravated, ’cause the kid’s gonna win this thing. He’s got the ‘tween vote and the country vote—probably all the Grandmas, too. The only thing that will stop him is if he lets his ego show too much; America doesn’t like a cocky attitude.

  26. Doug in Cheyenne says:

    1. The judges: Get Disney or for that matter have whoever built Craig Fergison’s (The Late Late Show – CBS) Geoff the robot, and build three more, and have them elicit random canned remarks. That would be more entertaining by far.
    2. Guest stylists: Gwen needs a restraining order pulled on her to stay at least 1000 yards from Idol contestants. I can hear fashion buyers in department stores everywhere canceling future orders of her L.A.M.B. fashion line. Quirky hair styles may work for Gwen but on everyone else they just look stupid, proof: the women on Idol tonight.
    3. Jacob: aside from a so-so performance, and needing duet power from the writer of that song, need to go bye-bye based solely on your racist remark of (I paraphrase) if you go home tonight, it’s because you’re black and we (I assume white folk) didn’t look in the mirror. That’s how I took it, how dare you insinuate that somehow we’re all racists if you are voted off, and not because your not that great of a singer, with minimal vocal control, and weird facial ticks that make you look like your giving birth or something.
    4. Haley: Keep growing girl, keep it up and there will no more dusting off a stool of doom for you for a while. Don’t get cocky, you still have a lot of work to do.
    5. Casey: I still think in many ways you are in the Taylor Hicks class of showman, darn entertaining to watch, but close your eyes and would you play well on the radio. With Taylor the answer was NO. You are the biggest musical risk taker, that gets you points, but are you radio worthy, I’m not convinced.
    6. Lauren: Kelly Clarkson, Aretha, Mariah, Whitney, Celine, etc. are in what I call the Diva Class (sounds like a naval ship classification “This is our Diva Class warships”). Only divia class singers should attempt to sing these songs, or you will be blown out of the water. I read how she’s only 16 and we need to cut her a little slack because she hasn’t had the life experiences that other may have. I whole heartedly disagree, I submit to you 16 year old Allison Iraheta, a total professional that connected with the lyrics every time. Note: (on my soap box) Allison was royally screwed by her record label and handlers, trying to turn a dyed in the wool rocker into a pop princess, then kicking her to the street when it didn’t go over well, criminal! Its like trying to get Joan Jett to cover Celine, moronic at best! Michael you need Allison back on to see whats up now!
    7. James: Michael, what James was refering to was he’s sung this may times before, check him out on YouTube, and you’ll see several of his covers of that song.
    8. Scotty: Yes he would fit right in the Corn Palace, I’ve seen it also, looks more impressive in person. Someone for the love of God take this boy’s mic from him, singing into the side of it is down right annoying, and stupid looking!
    9. Pia: When everyone has been screaming through their keyboard, MOVE DAMNIT, they did not mean like a rhythmless cruise ship lounge singer on the graveyard shift. The energy level displayed was extremely lackluster. I watched you during last weeks group performances, with the girls, and you were totally at ease, flowing with the music, where’s that Pia? Was it because your attitude was this doesn’t count so have fun? You need to A:) remove that rod bolted to your back, and B:) go out there with an “Ah F-it” attitude and just have fun. Work the stage for all its worth! Failure to do so might see you leaving way earlier before your vocal talents would let you. People are going to give up on you if you don’t change it up soon.
    10. Stefano: You look like crooner, I don’t know, but somehow you seem plastic to me. Sure you’ve got showmanship, but I wouldn’t pay for a recording, even if it was in the 69 cent itunes bin.
    11. Paul: If you sang that song your way in front of Folsom prisoners like Johnny did in January 1968 you wouldn’t have lasted 10 minutes before you were some prisoner’s bitch, and the guards wouldn’t have moved. The reason Johnny’s version is iconic is his gravelly, mournful, tough take no prisoners (no pun intended) delivery. He made us wonder if he had done time himself (no is the answer). You on the other hand with your soft high pitched vocal, combined with that sh*t eating grin (yes I’m happy to be in prison doing time) delivery was pathetic at best. You sir should be taken out into the yard, tied to a pole and be shot for disrepecting prisoners everywhere, go home dude.
    And thats the way I see it from the middle of nowhere.

    • Michelle R. says:

      I dunno — being that blissful about shooting a man in Reno, just to watch him die, is pretty scary.

    • JenniferForPresident says:

      It never occurred to me that Jacob was trying to be racist. Who knows?

      It does occurs to me that he is a completely grating egomaniac. The judges have done him a disservice by convincing him he can do-no-wrong when he rarely gets it “right.” I just can’t stand that kid. I have looked in the mirror again – and his arrogance and self-absorption coupled with his sporadic hitting of actual notes is enough for me to say “go home” [NOW, please and thank you.]

      I still found him offensive. And now I get why you found him offensive. Oh my.

    • RT says:

      Great point about the difference between Allison Iraheta and Lauren. Lauren’s problem isn’t just about age. With Allison, I always forgot how young she actually was while she was performing. With Lauren, there is no doubt that she is a teenager with a kind of entitled, bratty, attitude and a lack of musical knowledge. Having said that, I did really like her “Candle in the Wind” performance last week. Not so much her performance this week. It was the wrong song in every way for her.

    • Claire says:

      @DOUG – your comment about Paul would make sense if he were singing in front of prisoners but he was singing in front of basically kids and their families. He got smiley because he was playing to his audience a bit (for better or worse) So, while the song has mournful lyrics, he actually stayed true to the spirit of how it has been performed. Which is with abandon, fun and humor.

    • Sally says:

      “Jacob: aside from a so-so performance, and needing duet power from the writer of that song, need to go bye-bye based solely on your racist remark of (I paraphrase) if you go home tonight, it’s because you’re black and we (I assume white folk) didn’t look in the mirror. That’s how I took it, how dare you insinuate that somehow we’re all racists if you are voted off, and not because your not that great of a singer, with minimal vocal control, and weird facial ticks that make you look like your giving birth or something.”

      Maybe he said it because he’s GAY …. and didn’t mean it because he’s black? You, sir see to be bringing racism into his statement.

      And I thought he said it jokingly.

  27. Nick says:

    Scotty has sweaty hands – I’m sure of it. When he’s being interviewed he wipes them on his pants all the time, and he holds the mike in his finger tips because he might drop it if it got all slippery. They need to get one of those soft neck braces and make him practice whilst wearing it. Paul looks like he’s smiling, even when he isn’t – it’s the way his mouth works when he sings, and of course the irridescent teeth don’t help. Lauren has taken a lot of flak for being immature and non too smart, but Pia’s even worse. Is there anybody in there? I hated her performance this week – her outfit was ridiculous, and she can hardly walk in those shoes she wears, let alone go uptempo. I miss Naima!

    • brook says:

      I noticed that also! During Scotty’s duet with Lauren, he kept wiping his hands on his pants. Yeah, maybe his hands are really sweaty lol.

    • sherimoonzombie says:

      Spot on correct about Paul – I noticed that beginning with Tracks of my Tears and everyone kept complaining about smiling through that song.

  28. Daniel says:

    The show was underwhelming for me tonight. Did not like most of the song choices, and there were too many bum notes from all but Scotty. And the judges are ridiculous.

  29. Adam Leonard says:

    Regarding James’ performance, I really liked him singing While My Guitar Gently Weeps (though I still think Behind Blue Eyes would have delivered “a moment” and besides how is it possible that we never get any Townshend?). However, once I heard him say he had worked on that song for FIVE YEARS, I was much less impressed with it. What exactly did he spend 5 years doing with it? The song doesn’t have that much depth and James’ interpretation brought nothing new to it. Considering how much ahead they were running during in the show (Ryan was obviously stretching at several times), there was plenty of time to try to find out what James was doing with the song for 5 years and what it meant to him.

    Then during the mid commercial teaser after his performance James said essentially what he said on stage about missing his family. I have this problem with almost all these post-performance spots – 80% of the time, they say something they just said on stage (Thia talks about missing her brother last week, Jacob talks about Man in the Mirror being more “him”) and the other 20% they either repeat the judges or talk about having “had fun with it.”

  30. Alex says:

    I was honestly scared that someone had thrown a cup of water on Scotty before he went on stage, then I realized it was a “design” on his shirt. Somone needs to stop dressing that child in denim on denim.

  31. Kevin C. says:

    I think anyone who talks about the incongruity of Paul’s grin with the song he was singing should also take a look at the lyrics to “Another Piece of My Heart”, which Haley similarly smiled the whole way through. Just as bad.

    • Pam says:

      You nailed that one! Haley was smiling too, and it doesn’t work for that song at all. I think the thing with Paul is that he holds his mouth in such a way that it looks like he’s always smiling even when he’s not. But I’ve always thought that Johnny Cash sang that song with a bit of a smirk on his face, so I didn’t really have a problem with Paul smiling.

      • GP says:

        Johnny Cash did sing the song with a smirk but it was an ironic or mischieveous smirk; it was not a smirk that said this is a happy song and that makes a huge difference in connecting to what you’re singing about.

        As for Haley, great voice but you’re right smiling through a gut wrenching song is not an appropriate emotion to show. And Janis didn’t growl throughout songs, she picked the right places and screamed her lungs out but in a way that totally worked.

        • Betsy says:

          OK, this is a good point BUT now we’re venturing into “what type of smile” should Paul have. If that’s the argument we’re going to have then I’ll side with Paul. Because at the end of the day he got the audience up and out of their seat and the entire crowd moving. He reacted to their excitement and it showed on his face. He PERFORMED and I’ll give him credit for that instead of focusing on the fact that he didn’t look ironic enough. Though I bet a man labeled as a hipster wants to stay far, far away from being ironic.

  32. L says:

    The “judges” at this point are nothing more than a fan club. It’s just ridiculous the amount of praise that every contestant gets. No one is judging anything this season. We need Simon back.

    • Suncatcher says:

      I have a theory about the judging this season. The judges gave their guidance and critiques all the way up to the top 24. Then enter the “producers” and Jimmy Iodine who took it from there. With producers already giving professional input & criticisms, the judges were free to watch the performances now more as “cheerleaders” and giving words of encouragement. They also seem to be giving more input at the end of each show when they join the contestants onstage as credits roll.

      Not saying I like this system, just a theory.
      (And no, I would never want Simon back. He CRUSHED people who just did not deserve it – and seemed to enjoy doing so).

      • Sally says:

        I agree totally. This is how Nigel wanted the judges. And it’s working, if the public will let it.

      • beanbag says:

        I agree with your theory to a certain extent, and have thought the same thing. However, I think each judge is also trying to find his/her style, and it is not yet working. After nine years, Randy should be more confident about his role, but I think feels insecure around Tyler, and tries to give constructive feedback, but backs down when he hears the praise from Tyler. Tyler doesn’t seem to have bought into the whole idea of judging people to their face in front of millions of people, and has therefore become superfluous and boring. Jennifer was really coming into her own last week and was providing really good constructive criticism while not humiliating the contestants. This week she took a step back. Overall, the judges need to be more like Jennifer. They cannot judge like Tyler or the show will be really boring.

    • Deana says:

      No to L’s suggestion that we need Simon back. He was so boring during the last 2 seasons. However, we could definitely use a little of his brutal honesty. I loved ST and JLo at first, but it’s getting very boring and they’re entirely too predictable–although I do appreciate the advice JLo dishes out. Maybe Simon would have been the perfect compliment to ST and JLo. IDK but somebody needs to wake this group up. Hey, I’ve got it!! **We need a guest appearance by a JUDGE!! (Yep, the brit.)**

  33. blueinredstate says:

    Another lurker feeling compelled to speak – What is bothering me about this season is the appalling inconsistency of the judges and the producers insulting my intelligence… I just heard a contestant sing and it was terrible… And by terrible, apparently I mean “Greatest Ever.” I know I am watching a TV show, but I still have some intelligence. I am willing to suspend my disbelief for certain shows or situations, as long as the creators acknowledge that I have a brain.
    Last night sucked. My guess is they are all on cruise control now. They know they are on tour and now it is about arranging deck chairs on this Titanic. Bleeeecchhhh.

    • Doug in Cheyenne says:

      Yes you’ve stumbled onto something I think. The judging is quite 1984ish. Judging implys a critical reasoned judgement, however, on Idol it means the seat of hollow high praise. Just as the Ministry of Peace was where wars were waged. You know, when the judges are announced at the to of the show, their theme song should be Lesley Gore’s “Sunshine, Lollypops & Rainbows”

  34. Carlito says:

    Where the hell was Jacob coming from with his comment about if we don’t like his singing we were not looking in the mirror. I didn’t like his singing because it was BAD!
    Haley-Fabulous! I am a big Janis fan and I thought Haley nailed it.
    Casey – Shave the beard and go home.
    Lauren – LOLITA – you are too young to sing Natural Woman and too young to show so much cleavage!
    James – Yawn.
    Scotty – Great job – I would buy his records.
    Pia – What was she wearing? Nothing great.
    Stefano – Sorry dude.
    Paul – Also favulous – would definitly buy anthing he puts out.

    As usual Slezak you are right on!

  35. sandy says:

    I really think Pia is not very comfortable in front of an audience. She doesn’t have any reason not to be confident with that voice! Yet she seems petrified and afraid to come off laughable if she would shake her body a little. If she would just let loose and let that body move she would be spetacular! Pia, you know you’ve got it, shine (it’ll make you feel good!)

  36. Sharon says:

    Watching the clip of Kris Allen singing ‘Man In The Mirror” made me miss Paula and Simon even more. I agree with the person who posted that the judges are nothing more than a fan club now. We DVR the show and fast forwarded through most of the judges’ comments since all they seemed to say was, “you’re great, we love you.” Meh.

  37. allie says:

    Paul: totally agree that the smiling was odd but it doesn’t matter because I couldn’t understand a word he said anyway! (Although it was still my fav of the night).
    Casey: I was really disappointed in him tonight – bravo for bringing back the upright bass but boo for using it predictably and unimagnitively. “Sexy face”? Um, no. Please stop.
    James: not nearly as good as prior rockers. Rumor has it he can sing but I have yet to hear a performance with him hitting all the notes.
    Haley: like her, didn’t love last night. She needed to get dirty and instead she was cute. Learn from Bowersox.
    Lauren: too young to touch that song in any way. Yuck. Reminiscent of Thia’s vacant singing – sounds good but no emotion. Her stylist needs to be fired. Stat.
    Scotty: very good. Not my cuppa but if he wins I’ll applaud as loud as anyone.
    Jacob: missed The Statement Heard Around The World but thought his performance was decent.
    Pia: too controlled & her heels were too high but I don’t really care. Like Scotty, she isn’t my thing but she does her genre well.
    Stafano: going home. Kid is too boring for words.

  38. GingerSnap says:

    Michael, Kelly Clarkson singing “Natural Woman” reminded me of (gasp) PIA! Pia is the first Big Voice female on Idol in a long time. We’re into the petty nit-picking the best female singer mode. I love Pia, but I believe she’s headed down the Melinda Doolittle road – & Pia doesn’t have a short neck!y

    That said, I love Scotty’s performance, & this was the first time I didn’t wince through a Paul song.

    You’re grades are way too generous. I’d give everyone else. C- to C+ grades.

    • Holly says:

      I have to disagree with you – I think Pia is headed down the Carrie Underwood road. Not country music, mind you, but she has such incredible raw material that the Idol producers must be salivating all over her recording contract. I also think she is a girl who is likeable enough to the women voters to win this year. Her only roadblock is Scotty, who has the country music fan base and that is a force to be reckoned with.

      • GingerSnap says:

        I’m with you on her post Idol career. But there’s a tendency to nit pick the female singers out of an Idol win. Melinda was clearly the best singer during Season 6, but Idol voters focused on petty little things like the shortness of her neck. This season, Pia has been criticized for lack of movement or her clothes. Or some crazy idea that she’s not humble. Yet James was clearly off on his vocals, & hasn’t received half the criticism Pia has. I’m rooting for Pia – but she’s gonna lose if the critics don’t knock it off.

        • Dave in Alamitos Beach says:

          What’s sad is that Pia clearly needs to win this thing for a recording career, whereas Scotty doesn’t need it at all. He’s already won a recording contract no matter what he does, short of peeing on the flag or something.

          I think Pia is a fantastic singer who just needs more confidence and more experience to loosen up. I hope that she sticks around and people will learn to stop holding her NYC-ness against her.

    • sherimoonzombie says:

      No. Just no. Pia is no Kelly Clarkson.

    • Liz says:

      @GingerSnap I have to disagree with you. Yes Pia has a big voice but in no way does she even begin to compare to Kelly Clarkson, for that she’d actually have to emote. Don’t get me wrong, the girl has got the pipes but there is no soul there. Kelly Clarkson on the other hand can sing anything and make you feel the music even when she doesn’t always get the notes right. (Please check out her Up To The Mountain performance for Idol Gives back) I do agree that she’ll probably have a Carrie’esque career, which isn’t a bad one to have, but again Carrie was/is always wonderful vocally but even to this day she still struggles with the emotion. I prefer the artist I listen to, to have depth and connect with the songs they sing.

  39. Val says:

    I’m sorry, I kind of missed Naima last night. I was a little bored with a lot of the performances. I wish a guy left last week with Thia. :(

    • allie says:

      me too!

    • Sally in Chicago says:

      One thing to say about Naima — she came from out of nowhere with her performances….not the best vocals among the fems, but you had to stand to attention and watch what she was doing.

    • NedPepper says:

      Amen! This show lacked creative spark…and that spark was sent home because she wasn’t a cute white boy or a pleasant, bland female. Again, Naima’s ITunes version of I’m Still Standing rocks.

  40. stevenjaba says:

    Tonight was confusing to me. I honestly didn’t think any of the performances were train wrecks, but none excelled either.

    I disagree on Stefano – I can’t say I loved the performance, but I thought he hit all his notes.

    James Durbin (who is my favorite) – well, he missed most of the notes in that song. I know he can do slow-tempo songs – “Maybe I’m Amazed” was one of my favorite of the season.

    Jacob Lusk – while I didn’t love his performance, I thought it was better than your assessment, Michael. However, with that ridiculous opening statement, Jacob could’ve sung like Fantasia and it wouldn’t matter. He blew it with that.

    Lauren – is NO ONE telling her to sing more age-appropriate songs? Where is Simon? Agh. I really don’t think she’s going to get any momentum until that happens.

    Paul – his performance was fun, but as a Johnny Cash fan, I didn’t like his singing of the song at all. Those low notes are the song’s hook – to take them out takes the guts of the song.

    Scotty – his performance and vocal was so much fun. If he could lose the distracting visuals, he’d be set.

  41. Jersey5 says:

    I actually think Casey was great last night. (must be the fact that I was around in the 70’s and love that song!) That’s the kind of performance that got him here but I think his shenanigans in weeks past have soured some people toward him. I think he may be in trouble.

    • Kim R says:

      I agree. I thought Casey was great as well. Pia & Lauren had unfortunate fashion choices. Pia is a little beauty pageant-esque but talented. Not my fave though. I thought most of them did well but Jacob is so off-putting for me I hope he does go home tonight. He is a woman in a man’s body (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) but it is too much for me! haha :) I thought Paul, Scotty & James did well. LOVED Haley! I don’t know who I would put in my bottom 3 other than Jacob. It is getting tougher. We’ll see!

  42. Holly says:

    This year’s idol is missing one crucial element – Simon. Last night he would have used the “i” word (“indulgent!) with abandon. Jacob “If you don’t appreciate me you are not being honest with yourself” – indulgent! Haley “smile and growl your way through a Janis Joplin classic” – indulgent! Pia “I sing everything like a ballad” – indulgent! Paul – “Hey, I’ll sing Folsom Prison Blues as if it was a hoppin’ gospel number, and the judges are sure to buy it!” – really indulgent! This season is full of talent and fully boring, because the judges won’t critique and the producers have taken the creative process out of the hands of the contestants. That being said, I think Scotty and Pia have the raw material (and the fan base) to become huge stars, which probably pleases the Idol powers-that-be to no end!

    • Kris Fan says:

      You nailed it, Holly.

      1- The producers have taken the creative process out of the hands of the contestants. (The producers seem to be getting more camera time than the contestants.)

      2- The judges won’t critique.

  43. Lily says:

    The Pia problem is easily solved – she just needs to stop wearing sky-high heels so that she can MOVE without teetering or falling. This may also be Haley’s problem. Their weird-looking moves of mostly standing still and swaying/squatting is a classic sign of fearing to walk, much less dance, because you’re afraid of falling from your high heels. Women of Idol, choose low heeled boots that allow you to move easily so you can focus completely on your singing, rather than spending part of your attention just on not falling down. The men of Idol aren’t hobbled by this problem, and this is a competition – don’t give them an unfair advantage.

  44. MFW says:

    Gwen Stefani styling the women, are you kidding me? More like making them mini-Gwen’s, with the poofy hair and ridiculous looking clothing. Wow, poor Lauren, wearing that ‘diaper’ which did nothing for her figure. And Pia, gorgeous Pia, lost in that ridiculous get-up. ‘Styling’ them should have meant playing up their strengths, enhancing their natural beauty…. Gwen should stick to singing. (I think!)

  45. JenniferForPresident says:

    Scotty McCreery: Oh darn, I friggin’ hate that I loved it. I mean LOVED it. Sigh. I give in…

    Pia Toscano: The girl can SANG. I mean SANG. Who cares if she can walk in heels? I have to admit I turned the channel. She is no Tina Turner. I think she can take a lesson from Scotty. The dude stays true to himself. Period. Pia just sing. That is more than enough.

    Haley Reinhart: Good. Predictable. Did Janis growl through the whole song? Hm…

    Paul McDonald: Please rescue me from this hell.

    Casey Abrams: Has he really peaked? I feel like he is flatter than flat now and will never live up to the “save.”

    Lauren Alaina: I turned the channel. It was painful.

    James Durbin: For some reason, his grating personality is becoming more likable, but his voice is not.

    Jacob Lusk: I really wanted to slap him after the opening comment. I have looked in the mirror and I still want to slap him and I can’t wait til he goes home. Where did all of that attitude come from? Send it and him back.

    Stefano Langone: Seriously, please put this kid out of his misery. I am starting to feel sorry for him.

  46. GSOgymrat says:

    I am surprised so many people on here hated last night’s performances. Agreed the judges are almost useless at this point but what else is new. I am enjoying this season of AI and think that there are more contestants who can actually sing at this point than in previous seasons. No one here is truly awful. The fashions last night may have been a nightmare but apparently we can blame Gwen Stefani for that– nice diapers!
    Jacob- I certainly don’t want to hear him singing “let’s get it on” to me or anyone else but to imply that people who don’t like him aren’t morally reflective is completely asinine. His performance was good but certainly not perfect. Best part was having one of the song writers singing back up- she was great.
    Haley- Nice but a little too much like she was trying to imitate Janice Joplin.
    Casey- When he broke out the bass I was excited and choosing CCR was smart. The performance itself was a bit of a let down. I really think he is better than this.
    Lauren- Too young to be singing that song. She has a really nice tone to her voice which is more suited to a Carole King version than Aretha Franklin.
    James- Whoever backlit his ears needs to be slapped. I was completely distracted by glowing ears the entire time. I liked the idea, and I do think he thought this was his “Mad World” moment, and it was good, not great.
    Scotty- I liked it! He is singing Elvis and I thought he mixed the right amount of Velveeta and vocals. Very fun.
    Pia- Vocally knocked it out of the park. I love her voice. She does need to move around the stage more. I thought the coaches trying to make her more Tina Turner was bad advice. Pia is not Tina and trying to perform like a black woman from Nutbush would be silly.
    Stephano- Started out weak but pulled it together. Could have been terrible but solidly average.
    Paul- Love the song choice, loved the energy but he came off as the quintessential hipster. Welcome to the hoedown night at the coffee shop.

    • Lana says:

      I agree with you, I enjoyed the singing much more than most of the other fans, apparently. I’m wondering if you aren’t my split personality cause I thought the same thing about James’s glowing ears. I loved Scotty and I’m sure he will eventually learn to stand up straight while singing, its got to be killing his back. I can promise you, L.A.M.B. will not be in my wardrobe, well maybe the plaid diapers when I get old enough to need them. I did not think anything racial when Jacob said what he said, I just thought how stupid to insult us first (I mean idoloonies, not white)and if you are going to morally not sing a great song cause it might make people do it please don’t bump and grind while singing the non sexual song( Oh God, will saying sexual upset him?)

    • karen Anderson says:

      How would you know anything about Janis Joplin if you can’t even spell her name. Go Haley!

  47. Patty Willa says:

    Loved the recap! Pretty much always spot on!

  48. AlyssaG says:

    Why did the contestants allow themselves to be so restricted by gender last night? I think it would have been cool if a male contestant had chosen a janis song. Pia certainly would have benefitted from singing a rock song originally sung by a man– would have shown that she’s willing to think outside the box.

  49. Lizbeth says:

    In fairness to the contestants–I am going to say that there were again about 20 or so songs to choose from this week.
    It makes no sense that Lauren would sing Natural Woman at age 16. Simon would have gave her crap about it– even though he knew the list was tiny. These judges let it pass (there are nicer)
    Why the hell would Jacob or any contestant choose Let’s Get in On? Anyone doing that would most likely be laughed off the stage. Did the producers assign him that song and he said no. Did he pick it and then change his mind? Why is it on the list anyway?
    Casey–I like CCR–but that is not the most memorable song. It’s not a bad song–but not very melodic or crowd pleasing. He had the Sting song first and then said he could only give it 80%. What does that mean? He gives every performance his all–even if it doesn’t work. I think the CCR was probably forced on him or just one he went with on that short list.
    Frankly, I don’t see why Paul (a happy type guy) would be singing the Cash song. I am not sure he would have chose that song either.

    Second, these kids have to record their itunes or Saturday. Two days after the elimination show. Do they have one day to pick and rehearse their song? This is one reason that the performances are lacking in creativity. It’s all about the itunes. The songs are now available right after the show ends on Wed so Idol can try and make more money.

    Jimmy Iovine is as unlikable as Kara. I cannot stand him. He is so smug in his little chat sessions with the kids. WiI can’t see where he or his fellow producers are really doing that much for these kids. was fairly obnoxious as well. Why is this guy on the show so much. The BEP may be very popular but their songs suk.

    Jacob B- Opening video–not helping him. Either was his dancing
    Haley B Like her a lot, but that wasn’t her best. Trying too hard and it seemed forced
    Casey B He tried to make that song interesting and he is so musical with his phrasing and vocal choices.
    Lauren B- Decent vocal–wrong song
    Pia B Good vocal. She has no no personality and can’t work the stage. She wears those heels cause she doesn’t have long legs. But, it is inhibiting her.
    Stefano C+ Pretty cheesy and forgetable
    Scotty B He cracks me up . Also Cheestastic but kind of in a good way. He is wiingin this show–LOL
    James B- He felt the song. Great song too–he is lucky he got to sing it. Seems silly tho when he is not actually playing the guitar
    Paul C Next week he grins thru Tears in Heaven

  50. MDEP says:

    What is up with mentoring ROCK-n-roll week? Really? Couldn’t they have gotten a real rocker to help out?
    Also, everytime they do rock week it dissapoints me. I always hope they will pick true rock songs, but the contestants always seem to stick as close to their saftey zone as possible. I know the artists they picked are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Natural Woman, Whan a Man Loves a Woman? Those are not rock-n-roll in my book.

    • agrimesy says:

      I couldn’t agree more! This episode was not ROCK by any figment of the imagination. The contestants didn’t sound like rockers nor did they look like rockers. I support original interpretations of songs even when that means a contestant brings a theme week into their comfort zone, but I insist that they honor the genre in some way. I wanted concert level performances, and I got open mic night at the local bar and grill.

      • agrimesy says:

        I forgot to add that Slash was the mentor for rock week on season 8! He was awesome with Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta. They were truly rockin it out! Ahhhhh, memories.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Agrimensy – you’ll eat those words on country night, LOL! We’ll read about you being upset that everything sounded “too country’ if you aren’t a fan of the genre.

        There are artists in the Rock and Roll hall of fame that aren’t rock and rollers.

        • agrimesy says:

          Well, I’m not a fan of country music, but I’d find a way to suffer through it! :) Referring back to season 8, Adam Lambert did NOT do country! LOL! His “Ring of Fire” is one of my all time favorite Idol moments, but even I had to exclaim mid-flail, “Dude, you totally cheated!” ;)

      • Sally says:

        It was “in the Rock hall of fame” not ROCK. Look at the theme again….anybody who was in the Hall of Fame, they could be R&B, they could be Blues, anybody!!!!!! The temptations are in the Hall of Fame — they’re not Rock….Darlene Love is in the Hall of Fame…she’s not rock….Ronny Spector is in the Hall of Fame…she’s not rock.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Well WTH happened to Jeff Beck? They showed him momentarily at the beginning of the program.

      Jimmy Iovine and were clearly having a good time and were amusing and occasionally said something useful, but it’s not about them! I thought gave Stephano good advice although he could have worded it a bit differently.

    • Deana says:

      I was thinking the same thing when Stefano said he was singing that! It’s a great song, but I was expecting ROCK rock. Overall I was pretty disappointed. Guess my expectations were too high.