American Idol Recap: Rocky Horror

Randy Jackson, wipe that stunned expression off your stupid face. Jennifer Lopez, mop up your phony, ridiculous tears. And Steven Tyler, go back to bed. (Honestly, dude, you’ve been taking the world’s greatest public nap for the last six weeks — why get invested now?) Because while the three of you sat there Thursday night at the American Idol judges’ table, collecting your seven-figure salaries and expressing your anger over the obscenely premature elimination of the exquisite, talented Pia Toscano, you failed to acknowledge your own culpability in her demise.

Uh-huh. I said it. In the post-Simon Cowell era of Idol, the show’s everyone-gets-a-gold-star judging panel has ceased to act as a voice of reason, an antidote to voter apathy, a reminder that not all Idol finalists are created equal. (Oh, Jenny From the Block, you were doing so well for a minute!) And on Wednesday night’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performance telecast, 24 hours before Pia was left sobbing in front of millions of nauseated viewers, Randy, J.Lo, and Steven hit new, personal lows — spitting up critiques as withered as Iggy Pop’s hide, as grotesque as hand-picked frocks from Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. collection. (“You still wake up sometimes, don’t you? You wake up in the dark and hear the screaming of the lambs.“) Jacob Lusk’s screeching, pelvic “Man in the Mirror” was praised as “perfect in every way.” Casey Abrams’ forgettable turn on “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” was labeled “revolutionary.” And Stefano Langone’s subpar “When a Man Loves a Woman,” complete with discordant falsetto foolery, was described as “amazing,” “magic,” “great,” and “beautiful.”

Idol‘s Pia Reveals Her Bottom 3 Prediction, Wonders Why She Didn’t Rock the Vote Enough

Meanwhile, Pia, who from a vocal perspective, owned those boys so thoroughly and completely that she’d already had ’em washed, dried, folded, boxed, and stored away in the attic next to an unopened box of J.Lo’s Glow perfume and a VHS copy of From Justin to Kelly, was told she needed to “research” the greats to learn how to work the stage. Did J.Lo and Randy have a point? Absolutely. (Or as the Dawg might say, “a billion zillion percent!”) It also needs to be pointed out that Pia should’ve shaken her groove thing instead of playing too cool/self-conscious to shimmy during the contestant hoedown that occurred as the credits rolled on Wednesday. That aside, by harping relentlessly on Pia’s weaknesses without ever acknowledging her weekly vocal domination of the bulk of the Season 10 lineup, the judges slowly and methodically painted her as less than the Top 5 shoo-in she deserved to be, and frakked up a crucial opportunity to get out the vote on behalf of a woman whose absence is going to resonate across the Idol stage for the next seven weeks and beyond.

Hell, you know there’s something stinky floating in Lake Idol when Chris Daughtry, David Cook, Jennifer HudsonDancing With the StarsMaksim Chmerkovskiy, and even Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson (!)  Tweet their shock and outrage over the results. And just like that, the “resurgent Idol” story arc that’s been building for the last three months seems to have come undone.

Is it naive of me to sit here and act surprised? Probably. Over the last two seasons, we’ve seen a grand total of two female contestants (the sublime Crystal Bowersox and the off-the-charts talented Allison Iraheta) crack the Top 5; now, with Pia’s elimination, Idol voters have sent home five consecutive women since the Season 10 finals began, not counting Casey Abrams, who — in a decision that seemed to favor Idol the TV Show over Idol the Viable Hit-making Machine — received the Judges’ Save after getting the lowest number of votes two weeks back.

You’ve got to wonder if somewhere in an oak-paneled Los Angeles bar, Jimmy Iovine, Will.I.Am., and a team of “all-star producers” (also 90 percent male) are knocking back scotches and cursing the cruel hand of fate and the inscrutable whims of Idol voters, and pondering what the hell kind of record they’re going to make should Stefano or Jacob (Pia’s fellow bottom-three dwellers this week) do one better than the hapless Jasmine Trias and claw their way to the final two. Good luck with that guys! I’ll be sure to download The Enunciation of Stefano Langone and The Man in the Mirror…Is Full of His Fabulous Self — if I’m not too busy watching The X Factor.

Anyhow, enough bitterness from this Idol recapper. The season must go on, even for poor Stefano, who looked so stunned when Ryan put down the final verdict that he might’ve pulled a Bruno Mars and caught a grenade for poor Pia — if Uncle Nigel would’ve allowed it.

And so now we have to brainstorm what kind of constructive advice Team Iovine and the judges can give Haley Reinhart and Lauren Alaina to try to carry at least one of them for another three weeks and into a Top 5 finish: “Hold the mic at a right angle to your head.” “Invest in some Crest Whitening Strips.” “Try slappin’ da bass!” “Arrogantly tell America that if they don’t vote for you, they have some kind of inherent sociological/psychological defect.” “Set a piano on fire.” “Get yourself a, um, boyzone?”

Hey, maybe that last one could work. After all, as “guest charisma coach” Russell Brand pointed out to James Durbin, a successful performer can’t be afraid of a little groin-centric action.

Okay, okay…let’s step away from that topic like I never even mentioned it, and do an abrupt subject change to a rundown of the night’s performances, with letter grades for everyone:

The Season 10 Top 9, “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”/”The Letter”/”Sweet Home Alabama” medley: Not really sure about slamming “put another dime in the jukebox, baby” into Lynyrd Skynyrd’s southern-rock anthem, but I thought Pia’s solo verse was the best of the night — and came to this conclusion long before she was sent to the bottom three. Also: Was anyone else thrown off by the whiff of Lusky Stank for the last 45 seconds? Grade: C+

Constantine Maroulis, “Unchained Melody”: An interesting, drum-heavy arrangement from the Season 4 alum, although I felt like Constantine didn’t really know how to end things after nailing the fearsome falsetto crescendo. It’s funny, though, that six seasons after his Idol tenure, the man is still trying to impregnate the camera with his lovemaking-eye technique and plunging neckline. Dude, you already got a baby! Grade: B

Iggy Pop, “Wild One”: If Satan himself cooked up a claymation ad campaign for the California Dried Apricots, it might look like this. That said, ABC needs to immediately book this lunatic for the fall 2011 edition of Dancing With the Stars, right? Grade: [Bleeped by Fox censors.]

And now, on to our awards ceremony for the evening!

Most Noticeable Fashion Repeat
Pia’s aqua-striped “Grenade” shirt reappearing in the Russell Brand segment

Judge Who Should Never Say “Uber”
Randy Jackson

Judge Who Should Stop Trying to Make Charcoal Silk Genie Pants Happen
Jennifer Lopez

Judges Who Needs to Stop Knowingly Nodding When Ryan Reiterates His Performance-Show Critiques
Also Randy!

The “Why the Eff Are You Shocked Haley Is Safe and Jacob Is in the Bottom Three?” Trophy
A hat trick for…&#*&^%@#*^$#& Randy Jackson!

Segment That Made Me Want to Take a Silkwood Shower
The Idols visit TMZ!

Contestant Who Needs to Work on His Slouchy Bottom-Three Posture
Jacob Lusk

Least Effective Product-Shilling Moment on Idol Since Mike Myers Promoted The Love Guru During the Season 7 Finale
“Stylist” Gwen Stefani trussing up the Season 10 ladies in “flattering” ensembles from her L.A.M.B. label

Unintentionally Spot-On Comment of the Night
“Who am I to tell them what to wear?” –Gwen Stefani on her grim dress-code for Pia, Lauren, and Haley (Anyone else think Pia might’ve outlasted Stefano if not for the spatter-patterned, thigh-expanding pantsuit?)

And now I turn it over to you: Is there any possible way to make sense of Pia’s ouster? How would you divvie up the blame among the judges, the producers, Gwen Stefani, Will.I.Am, Jimmy Iovine, and Idol voters? If you think Pia deserved to survive, who should’ve gone in her place? What about the performances by Constantine and Iggy? Sound off below, and for all my Idol news and commentary, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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  1. Jane says:

    Look people, Pia has zero, zero personality. The only reason I am sad she is gone is because Jacob is aggressively unlikeable (and I don’t like his singing) and Stefano is boring and less talented than Pia. But, really, week after week I’d rather listen to the other 6 contestants than Pia — even though she is technically amazing, she is not unique in any way. I should note, I felt the same way about Carrie Underwood (great singer, terribly dull) and she has become a fabulous entertainer post-Idol. I sincerely hope that Pia has a great post-Idol run because her voice is tremendous, but she was never going to get a vote from me. And, yes, appalling that the women keep getting voted off. Jacob and Stefano should have been bounced weeks ago. Jacob is simply intolerable at this point.

    • Bill says:

      Agreed that Jacob is intolerable. Agreed that Carrie was unbearably dull. I will add that Scotty is boring beyond belief, James is a large piece of cheese, Lauren is an okay singer with a really really really annoying personality, and Haley is just not all that.

      However, however, however…

      Pia was one of the five best singers in the history of American Idol, and last night, I predict, will do more to hasten the demise of the show than anything that’s ever occurred before. I for one–a long-time viewer–will never ever watch again.

      • JOHN says:

        …”demise of the show”….try this on for size….I believe the powers that be at AI are beside themselves with joy…they will have the largest viewer numbers of the season next week. To you and me, this show is “entertainment”…to them, it is “business”…..and with multi-millions tuning in next week….BUSINESS IS GREAT!!!!$$$$

  2. Dumbfounded says:

    UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!! Pia was always one of the top 2-3 frontrunners in EVERY episode. Here’s the 3 problems the way I see it: 1) Slez…you’re spot on about the Judges culpability. They praise wanna-be’s Stefano, Paul, Lusk…then dis Pia ’cause she isn’t moving her a*s enough??? 2) Somebody really needs to blow up that VFTW website…’nuff said. 3) Voters should be restricted to 1 vote per contestant. With technology as it is, oncea call or text is placed by a phone, then that phone # is blocked for that contestant for the rest of the night. now people can use multiple phones to work around it but I doubt these speed-dialing teenage girls have access to more than 2-3 phones max. Same goes for Facebook votes. Easy to ID and easy to block additional votes for that night. Until then, we’re gonna run the risk of more Lee Dwyze’s ( or however you spell his name. AI is running the risk of finally crashing & burning. That is all….

    • Bill says:

      Word, word, word. Block those votes. But unfortunately it’s too late for Pia. Oh, well, she’ll survive, as I predict will Naima, the only other truly extraordinary performer from this season’s final group.

    • Sue says:

      Unfortunately, there are tons of websites and software available THAT BLOCK/MASK URL’s, therefore making it easy for people to just sit at one computer and vote vote vote. I have firsthand experience of this . American Idol needs to switch their voting format, DWTS uses one vote per however many contestants are competing per week, i.e., 10 contestants-10votes, 9 contestants-9 votes, and so forth. But American Idol isn’t looking for the viewers that want to make sense of the voting patterns…they just want the teen viewers who will buy the things advertised during the show.

  3. boss says:

    Michael, I agree with everything you said, but you forgot to add in the judges critique segment, that Donald Duck On Helium frolicks through Folsom Prison was “Perfect”.

  4. Carlito says:

    I think that the hideous pants suit had something to do with Pia’s elimination. She did have a beautiful voice, but no charisma, just kinda boring.

    That said, Jacob is just awful and should have been the one to go home.

    And right after Jacob get rid of NOT SEXY slob Casey!

    I will now root for Haley all the way.

    I will buy anything that Paul or Scotty record in the future, I don’t think that they can win, but I think they are great.

  5. Jersey5 says:

    sorry if this was mentioned already – but isn’t it true that no one from either coast has ever one? Adam Lambert came the closest. Pia was from NY and most of the votes come from the middle of the country. Sounds corny/cliche but New Yorkers are busy people – I guess they don’t vote for 2 straight hours.

  6. Bill says:

    Enough with the putdowns of Pia’s “lack of personality.” She is an unfailingly lovely person with a lot of class. And one of the best voices in Idol history. This was a travesty of gargantuan proportions, more disgusting than any preceding it. Yes, Taylor Hicks beating Elliott Yamin and Chris Daughtry was horrible, and the early departures of Melinda Doolittle and Jennifer Hudson were hard to bear. But this beats them all. I will never watch Idol again. That is a definite, unbreakable promise. I am done. And so, I’ll wager, are millions more.

  7. Brevity says:

    How about instead of complaining Pia got booted and being so SHOCKED, take credit where credit is due. You didn’t vote for her. Duh. All the peeps I know who R now shocked she’s gone all confessed to me the did NOT vote for her. Duh Duh Duh. I’d sureas heck power vote Jacob Lusk off, were I able to.

    • aislinn says:

      Power vote off is the key – people need to be able to vote contestants off, rather than vote for their favorite. I don’t think Pia was a lot of people’s favorite, but neither was she the one they would have voted to leave this week. It’ll never happen, but the voting structure on this show needs to be fixed, or girls will continue to be left by the wayside week to week as the female public vote for their crushes.

  8. kate'shomesick says:

    I really feel like writing something now and I’m afraid I’m going to repeat parts of the comment i made on one of the idol articles a few weeks ago.
    First and foremost. Is Pia attractive? Yes. Is she talented? Yes. Is she the superior singer everyone made her out to be? No!
    From the standpoint of a both classically and contmeporary trained singer I have to say her singing technique is not good at all. This is the part I’m gonna have to repeat myself: She is singing out of her range, not supporting her lower register…she had lots of problems with her intonation that might not have been recognized by the majority of people but they were definitely there! Her high belting is poorly executed- if she continues to force her voice like that, there is NO way she will be able to go on long without having issues with her vocal chords. I predict a lot of vocal nodes- and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone! The three indications of lacking technique in this case are: intonation-problems, breaking of the voice in lower register, unnatural movement while singing – her head leaning backwards while going for the higher notes- just look at the veins on her cervical, with good techique that region should be completely relaxed!
    But my biggest issue with her is that she is NOT a musician…she may be a singer (she showed that she isn’t a really good performer- though I’m gonna give her the benefit of the doubt on that one).She sure likes singing, she likes being on a stage but she doesn’t ooze the love for music as others do. I couldn’t pinpoint it at first but I really think this is the fact that seemed to be offputting to a lot of people. It always seemed as if she sings because she can and not because she has to.

    – please excuse my poor english. I’m not a native speaker-

    • anon says:

      I think you meant cervix, her neck.

      • kate'shomesick says:

        Yes i did :D…I meant her cervical veins…didn’t notice that it could only be used as an adjective.

    • luke2 says:

      Don’t worry about your English. You brought up a lot of great points – really specific – and that is refreshing when people keep repeating the same stuff on these blogs. When Pia couldn’t sing so well last night – I remembered Alison Iraheta when she left. She rose to the occasion and as if to say, “Here’s what you are going to miss”, she sang with everything she had in her. I wish Pia had been able to do that for her fans.

      • kate'shomesick says:

        That’s one of the things I noticed too. Her farewell performance was all over the place. Sharp in lower register- flat when it came to the higher notes. Even rhythmically it was a disaster. It’s a pity- she could have won a lot of people over in that situation but didn’t manage to maintain enough control do to so. Even her breakdown didn’t really touch me. Of course I kind of feel sorry for her but I still don’t believe that music is what she REALLY wants (needs) to pursue…
        I like Allison- she may have her problems (enunciation :D) here and there but she showed character and you could always see her love for music

  9. velia says:

    I’m agree with you.. This season judge is soooo pragmatis that make me confused.. Are they just sit there and say all the contestant good???? And they act shock? Who are they that make it okay?? They push this happen and make Pia go!! Please take the blame Judge!!

  10. Maeve says:

    Many things are to blame for Pia’s elimination. The judges have a share of it on their heads for sure. The fact that America seems to not like girls very much can’t be ignored. And yes they used the save on Casey so early, when he probably deserved to go home.

    But when it comes down to it, Pia didn’t get enough votes. End of story. She’s was lacking
    the likability factor, and anyone who acts like that won’t get a contestant further than a flawless voice a lot of the time, must have forgotten what show they were watching

  11. dctoronto says:

    Wow! So much revisionist history on here.

    By my calculation, out of 9 seasons there has been a female winner 4 times. 2 of these women have gone on to superstardom which is more than you can say about any of the male winners.

    When he was on (which was about 1/4 of the time) Simon was a good judge. Unfortunately, the other 3/4 he was either bored, contradictory, full of himself or a combination of the three.

    Pia’s leaving does not mean that idol is male-centric. Afterall isn’t Uncle Nigel still pimping Lauren?

    I suspect the judges believed that Pia was so ahead in the competition that they could provide more critiques to her than say Lauren whose Natural Woman was just as unconnected and restrained as Pia’s River Deep. While unfortunate, hopefully Pia’s early leaving will serve as a wake up call to the producers and judges to start providing more constructiver critiques to all contestants.

    • jb says:

      Thanks for the voice of sanity here, dctoronto. It’s refreshing.

    • aislinn says:

      The majority of those successful women were voted to their wins during the first 4 seasons of the show, and cell phone use/texting, while present, was a very different animal in those early years compared to now. It was more expensive and much less available to teen girls.

      I completely agree that the judges need to step up and get a lot more constructive in their feedback.

  12. Patrick says:

    Pia’s elimination was just a perfect storm of situations that was waiting to happen.

    The six reasons she’s gone:

    6.) Her fashion. She looked awful on Wednesday night. Considering how amazing she looked on Thursday, I’m betting dressing up like a zebra didn’t get casual fans to pick up the phone.

    5.) Waiting too long to do an uptempo song. She got Anoop Desai’d. Anoop killed ballads and kept getting damning advice from the judges that he was too boring and needed to do something uptempo, which killed his chance of making it farther because he simply wasn’t as good with uptempo songs. Waiting until Top 9, instead of Top 12, to do an uptempo song meant she had little room for error.

    4.) The Casey save. While I loved Casey during Elton John week, he did nothing to deserve that save beforehand, let alone without at least finishing his “I Don’t Need No Doctor” performance. The save should be for someone who can win the competition. Casey can’t win. There’s no way. And a Casey win would not impact the show positively as much as a Pia win would.

    3.) The constant judges’ critiques over Pia’s performance abilities and song choices, while very faintly praising her great singing ability and her insanely good marketability (hot chick singing pop songs = Platinum record). She and Stefano were the only two to get negative feedback, oh guess who the Bottom 2 were?

    2.) The tweens and cougars’ determination vs. Pia’s fans complacency. The tweens and cougars will vote for the boys until their fingers fall off and that’s that. For 6 men to get into the Top 8/9 in each of the last 3 seasons shows who’s watching and who’s voting. The demographics were just not there for Pia for her fans to get even the smallest sense of complacency.

    1.) She just didn’t sing that well on Wednesday. I pretty agreed with the Bottom 3 this week (I thought they gave 3 of the bottom 5 performances of the week).

    It was bound to happen. It was a perfect storm of factors that in all actuality/hindsight the fans should have seen coming…

    • Cathy says:

      I’m over 50 and I have been voting for the girls every year except Season 7, because David Cook was THAT good and deserved to win. I voted for Allison and Crystal and nobody else the last two seasons but most of the Cook fans favored Lee, so he won. I know that tons of older (and younger) women spent the whole 2 hours voting for David Cook every week in season 7, because I organized a pledge campaign on the AI board just for that purpose and there were hundreds of pledgees. The “cougars” CAN beat the teen votes (especially on the finale voting night), but the majority are just not going to go overboard voting for a woman. I couldn’t force myself vote 2 hours every week again for anyone else after David Cook. It was excruciating.

      • JB says:

        I’m 40 and loved Cook. But I also loved Brooke & Carly as well. I was super sad when Carly was voted off.

        Last year, I was a Crystal fan from the get go and she was the ONLY contestant that received any votes from me. In fact I detested Lee and still do. I still believe he was the worst winner in the history of the show(and I will now DUCK). The year before I loved Allison, Kris & Adam. I voted for all three.

        This year I’ve thrown votes at several people: Lauren, Haley, James, Casey & Paul. Pia didn’t recieve any from me because get this: Not a fan of her style of music. I don’t care for the big diva type stuff. And that to me is what she would be if she had won. And I really, really don’t think that she has the personality of Mariah or Celine to to carry off the what is required to succeed like them. She’s good, but she’s not.that.good. She is also a bit stiff.

        People have to accept it. Obviously her fan base is a bit smaller then realized now. People lose interest in contestants if they are not moved by them, or if they don’t do something a bit different week to week(which doesn’t explain Scotty still so popular, but hey).

        If Lauren or Haley do something crazy awesome next week I will fully get behind them and vote my fingers off for them. It’s that simple.

        oh, and I know a LOT of men-friends who are actual musicians, musicians who get paid for what they do- who do NOT like most female singers. It could be that simple, her style of singing wasn’t appealing to a lot of males OR females.

    • zaza says:

      Instead of blaming the tweens and the cougars who watch the show and vote for the reason females are being eliminated, how about putting the blame where it belongs…on the young studs and old lechers who don’t watch and don’t vote. Because apparently only men vote for women, so it’s the men who are letting the girls down.

  13. COOKaineAddict says:

    Fantastic write up, as usual Michael, but it scares me to think that the voting public is so mindless that they are seriously swayed by the judges inane opinions? Speaking only for myself, I am not influenced by the judges comments, or contestants misguided clothing choices. I love music and am a huge consumer of same. I like to shut my eyes to really hear a sample of what I may be hearing on the radio or an album. I admit to being biased to male singing voices, and while I can enjoy listening to the ladies on the radio, I do not purchase their their work for my personal listening pleasure. So needless to say, I did not vote for Pia, and have voted for a different male every week because, unlike previous years, there is no stand out contestant in the whole bunch. And no, I’m far from being a teeny bopper. Back to the topic; the voting should be limited to 10 like on AGT. No texting and no online voting. Since the shows producers love announcing those big voting numbers, I doubt that will happen. People complaing about their favorites being eliminated should start voting for them, and I really doubt that they are. As far as the ridiculous show filler, and last night’s had to be the worst, use this time to finish tidying the kitchen, get a drink or go outside to smoke a cigarette.
    With all it’s flaws, I’m still hopelessly hooked on this show and never miss an episode. I thank this show for giving me Chris Daughtry, Kris Allen, Casey James and David Cook. This years highlight, for me, is hearing the fabulously talented David Cook sing out the loser, and anxiously look forward to seeing him perform the entire “Dont you Forget about me” on the finale show.

  14. Kim says:

    I totally agree with the judges role in this. I loved Simon & haven’t missed him most of the season. But even when I disagreed with his critique, it gave me something to think about before I voted. On Wednesday, night, Pia was the only one who got any criticism so it stood out. While I loved Carrie Underwood’s voice on Idol, I always felt like she didn’t have many “performance moves”, but it doesn’t seem to have hurt her career!

  15. Quinn says:

    I don’t really get why people are so shocked Pia got sent home. No one I know liked her. Water cooler talk in my office always came down to ‘yes she sings great but she’s boring. It’s like watching Miss American Idol when she sings.’

    It’s all well and good to blame the judges but she would have done well to listen to them weeks ago instead of assuming she was too good to bother. Had she amped up her performance skills she’d probably still be around.

    Not sorry to see her go. She’ll probably get signed and with any luck she’ll learn to perform on the Idols tour.

  16. Kelly says:

    So, I’m thinking that Lauren may be Idol’s last hope for a female winner. She may have what we’ve been calling “The Taylor Swift” factor. Granted, Lauren could and would sing circles around T. Swizzle, but she has that same pretty but not quite perfect, goofy, not completely confident vibe about her that appeals to teenagers. Let’s just hope the Swift Factor trumps the Bieber Factor.

    As for Pia, am I shocked she went home so early? Yes. Am I surprised she didn’t win? No. I think the other comments have been correct.

  17. Sharon says:

    I find it interesting that many of the comments here include the words “Pia wasn’t my favorite, but…”

    Well maybe that’s why she was eliminated.

  18. Kathi says:

    Personally, our house found Pia boring and she put us to sleep. We were never fans. I can’t help but wonder if other households felt this way. Pretty-sure. Good voice-sure. Boring-boring-boring.

    I can see that you have gone the way of angry fans and blame other contestants for her outing.Really? And, Stefano was not given all high praises on his song – he was blasted by Randy. Only Stefano and Pia received criticism and those are the ones who hit the B2. Pia’s fans also got complacent and probably split votes with Haley – that’s their fault. You may have your personal choices that you favor, as does everyone, but blaming others that have stuck around is not the answer. I expect more from you Michael.

    Also – have you noticed the edits some of these kids get? e.g. Scottie gets a handful of men sitting around the recording studio gleefully clapping at how good his studio song is. Stefano gets Iovine beating him up one more time – or this week it was – same edit. Check out the subliminal messages this week. They are there.

    • COOKaineAddict says:

      Kathie, thanks for reminding me that the studio drama videos is just one more thing I ignore on this show. It’s possible they beat up Stefano to incite the tweens to power vote? Reverse psychology? I dont know. Speaking of Stefano, the OTT praising of Pia after her ouster seemed unusually cruel for Stefano. They, in so many words said “Stefano, you suck, we hate you, and you should be going home, not Miss America.” The kid looked like he was crying at one point. He’s not the best, but he sure isnt the worst.

      • Kathi says:

        I think he’s really getting blasted by angry tweets, etc., never mind the booing in the audience, the judges’ unprofessional response. This was his last tweet:

        All I can say is it wasn’t right. And anyone that thinks they have a clue on how I feel or what I’m going thru as a PERSON, has NO idea…

  19. Mb says:

    Hmmm the judges told Stefano to open his eyes and he did – the next performance. They told Casey to shave and knock off the angry face pulling and he did – the next performance. They told Pia to quit singing ballads weeks ago and she didn’t. And now everyone is shocked and saying the judges aren’t judging?

    • joline says:

      What are you talking about? The only time Pia didn’t sing a ballad she got the least votes and now she’s gone! Maybe she should’ve just done what came naturally to her and paid no attention to the idiotic judges.

  20. Kathi says:

    Chris Daughtry, David Cook, Jennifer Hudson, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, and even Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson – Tweet their shock and outrage over the results.

    I bet they didn’t vote. Just sayin’.

  21. JenniferForPresident says:

    The show has jumped the shark.

    There really is no reason to watch.

    There was something magical in the seasons with Fantasia or Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood. It was like you were watching a star being born – on raw talent alone. Just talent.

    If there are no judges to help these kids finetune and/or truly build their skills and folks are not chastised for being overly indulgent on a song – what is the point.

    Don’t you think that Simon wouldn’t have called Jacob on his stupid comment on Wednesday? I don’t really thinks it’s the contestants…The judges are not doing THEIR job.

    Steven I was so excited about you – but you are such a huge disappointment.

  22. Sandi says:

    Michael – I’m with you 1000%. My first reaction was to blame the judges. Stephano was mediocre at best but when even a hint of criticism emerged from Randy about it, he was basically told to shut up by J.Lo and disagreed with by a half awake Steven Tyler. Maybe if they had actually did their job and told America how weak his performance was, he would have been sent packing instead of her. And I don’t even want to get started on way they treat Jacob. He gets up there and wails like a drowning cat, J. Lo watches him like she found God and the rest of them kiss his sashaying rear end.

    Why even call them judges anymore? They are cheerleaders. There’s no constructive criticm, no distinction between great, good, and plain old mediocre, no tangible advice…They are ruining the show. And I disagree with whomever said that the judges should pick who goes home from the bottom 2. I wouldn’t trust them with that at all. I could see it being a Jacob Lusk/Casey James finale in that scenario.

    And one more vent. Yes, I realize that little girls are doing the bulk of the voting but when did they all decide they don’t like females? This wasn’t an issue the first few seasons so why now? They buy music from female artists so why don’t they vote for them? I bet Simon Cowell is doing a happy dance right now as people will start running in droves from this show and hope for something better with X-Factor.

    • shelbar says:

      I agree with the comment about the Judges really being cheerleaders. They don’t judge anything. Give them all pom poms and send them to the Dallas cowboys cheering squad for practice.

  23. V says:

    Let’s be honest here.

    Should Pia have gone home before Stefano or even Paul?


    Would Pia have won?


    At one point or another Pia would have gone home. It was 3 to 4 weeks premature, but it would have happened.

    I absolutely understand how this happened. After being extremely surprised (but NOT shocked), I talked to my buddies. Here’s the thing: Pia is on everybody’s top 3, but rarely at #1. People only vote for their #1s.

    Then there are contestants like Haley and Stefano that have already been in the bottom 3 and that always feel in danger. Their fans all rally to vote for them. Meanwhile everybody thinks Pia is safe and would rather vote for their favorites than someone they believe have it in the bag.

    As for all the shocked and appaled people out there, don’t be hypocrits and blame America. Did you vote? Coz I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t vote, and I won’t until the finale. Why would I invest time and money into someone that early in the game? lol.

    Pia played it safe, and so did the voters. It’s a shame she’s leaving, but she would NOT have won. I still don’t get why America is so keen to voting for dudes, when the winning AI dudes have all been DUDS lol. Most succesful idol winners? Kelly, Carrie and dare I say Jordin. And Fantasia technically lol. Least succesful? Taylor, Kris and Lee. HMMMM. I sense a pattern.

    Just saying.

  24. Bob says:

    In retrospect it’s easy to blame Pia’s consistently boring performances as the reason for her leaving but I put a lot more of the blame on the voting system. I don’t fault the teenybopper crowd for voting for the cutest boy but by allowing unlimited votes and now by allowing internet voting, the producers are catering to that crowd which does not vote on talent. It’s no wonder so many Idol winners have less than stellar careers. The talented ones too often lose.

    Even though I didn’t expect Pia to win, I think she deserved a lot more weeks on the show. This upset just might be the kick in the pants the judges need to start actually judging instead of just lamely praising every performer.

  25. Sophie says:

    OMG. California Dried Apricots! I just got done cleaning the coffee I spit out off of my iPad, floor, wall, dog, etc. Slezak! You are such a delightful fool! Some things I think I think after last night: 1. It is about the voters people. I know many of us are outraged over the travesty that was Pia’s ouster, but we clearly didn’t vote enough for her. She is talented, but not enough to build a strong AI fan base. 2. I know some of you don’t want to accept this, but that AI fan base is largely female, with heavy concentrations of young teens and cougars. There is very little about Pia that appealed to either of those groups. 3. The regular celebrity guest stars (judges) really don’t have that much influence over the vote, but they were sooooo stupid to bite the hand that feeds them and scold America for this travesty. I hope Uncle Nigel is talking to them about the stupidity of throwing gasoline onto a raging fire. 4. AI has gone out of it’s way to appeal to a female audience this year after several years of primarily appealing to that very audience. Thus, it’s core strength may eventually be it’s downfall. Unless, they just cut to the chase and instead of having half men and half women in the finals, why not have half Maroon 5 wannabes and half Bieber wannabes? That is what we have primarily ended up with the past several years (sans Bowersox) anyhow. AI is a guilty pleasure for women and girls (and gay men) in America. A 13 year old girl can feel guilty about voting for Paul or James. A 43 year old cougar in black leggings and a float silk zebra print frock can feel guilty about voting for Scotty. Who do you feel guilty about voting for Slezak?

    • COOKaineAddict says:

      Great question, that will not now, or ever be answered in public. Who did you vote for, Michael? Pssst.. ya can DM the answer to me over at twitter. You got my address. Waiting.

  26. Christie says:

    I still can’t believe Pia went home – does not make me look forward to the rest of the season. She in my opinion was the best singer of the competition. For everyone who thinks Pia didn’t “connect” or “inspire”, did she really connect or inspire less than Jacob or even Stefano? If I hear one more comparison to Jacob and Luther Vandross I’m going to freak – please, please download a Luther song if you don’t know Luther – there is absolutely no comparison. I do think most people probably assumed she would be safe because of how good she has been and therefore didn’t vote for her over others they thought would be closer in the vote – heartbreaking.

  27. V says:

    Oh and as for Simon yes I miss him to pieces. But I think he wouldn’t have liked Pia lol. Or Casey. Or even Scotty. Well maybe he would have liked Scotty a little bit.
    If this was Simon season, Lauren would have already won. She’s the kind of commercial girl Simon LOVES. So yes I miss Simon, but I’m glad a kid like Scotty or someone unusual like Casey gets a shot. :D

    But o dear when Stefano sing, I can hear Simon’s accent in my “this was horrendously boring”. lol.

  28. PatD says:

    I just finished watching the Idoloonies from last week. Interesting that Michael mentioned the “stank” factor the week before we see Haley sitting on the couch and obviously reveling in the Pia boot.

    Karma’s a bitch, girl.

  29. ziggy says:

    I was FURIOUS and saddened by Pia’s exit. I voted for her every week and told myself as I was dialing, “she’ll be fine, but I may as well bump her numbers that much further.” How foolish of me to think that viewers would see consistently amazing vocals, poise, humility, beauty and transparency as something they want in their Idol winner. I will no longer watch this season; I’ll simply read these awesome recaps and watch Idoloonies. Thank you, Mr. Slezak for your eloquent outrage and chastizing of the judges. Seriously, you rock.

  30. Cameron says:

    Sorry Michael, but you’re just as guilty as the judges. People read your recaps and watch idoloonies and base opinions on the contestants, too. Happy you’ve jumped all over the Hailey bandwagon, now? Hailey wasn’t going to draw votes away from any of the guys (just the nature of how america votes), but Lauren and Pia have a lot to lose by everyone’s new love for Hailey. She’s considerably less talented than either of these girls. She should have gone weeks ago, but will probably break Top 5, maybe even dare I say Top 3.

    • takakupo says:

      Why is it that whenever someone is despairing in a woman’s elimination, they start tearing at other female contestants? There are plenty of poor singers on the male roster (Stefano, Casey, etc;).

      • anon says:

        And Paul.

      • Cameron says:

        I already answered this question. Due to the nature of how america votes, Hailey, Lauren and Pia share votes. By praising mediocre talent, you draw away votes from 2 very talented young ladies. Not trashing Hailey, just stating a fact. Vocally, the most talented is Pia, followed by Lauren. Hailey is a distant third. Entertaining wise, Hailey has the most personality, with Lauren second, followed by a very distant Pia. If the judges (and Michael) want this to be a vocal competition, don’t praise Haily’s mediocrity. I actually prefer to watch someone who entertain’s me. I do however realize that Pia is the most vocally talented.

  31. shelbar says:

    I’m not upset Pia was voted off. I don’t like ballads from women sceetching out high notes with NO emotion.

    I was mad the judges blamed us {america} for Pia’s elimination. We didn’t kick her off, we voted for who we liked best and obviously she
    wasn’t one of them.

    Have each phone be able to vote 10 times. I don’t vote endlessly for 2 hours. One or 2 times, then off to bed.

    As mad as people are for Pia being voted off is as mad as I am for Scotty and Jacob still being there.

    In the end I will buy the CD of the person I liked which is not necessarily the winner. Adam Lambert, Michael Johns.
    1. The top 24, they kicked way to many off to start, should of let America decide who stays or go.
    2. Adam lambert set the bar way to high{and David Cook]. I don’t sit in excited anticipation of anyone’s performance. It’s like I’m on a crusie ship being entertained by wannabes. No real break through stars with anyone this year.

    Maybe I’m burned out with idol, I don’t feel the passion or star quality with anyone. Sure some are good but none are great.

    Right before Pia sang her swan song, was there a bum note from the piano?

  32. allie says:

    EXCELLENT commentary Slezak! I totally agree that the judges need to take a long hard look into Jacob’s mirror and I bet they won’t like what they see. However on the plus side, I think it will be very interesting now to see what happens with Pia. There hasn’t been a decent winner’s CD since Cook and even that was just ok. The final two are locked into contracts that benefit AI a LOT more than they help the winner… until a long, ugly legal battle ensues. Pia might actually have a chance to make a decent album now IF she gets a good team behind her like J-Hud & Daughtry did. It will be interesting to see what, if any, reaction we get from AI next week. Will the judges admit culpability or at least start doing their jobs? Will Nigel do anything to attract more male viewers to break up this ridiculous voting block of 12 year old girls? Will we ever see a saner voting system that more accurately reflects how many CD’s will sell? (you can text in 12,000 votes but you aren’t going to buy that many CD’s or downloads). Or will it be the status quo until Stefano and Jacob end up in the finale? UGH!!!!!!

  33. Guy says:

    This is what happens when you Save someone who really didn’t deserve it. Idol is dead to me. The best person who should have won or at least come close leaves. This is wrong and the judges hopefully have had a bloody wake up call. This is a joke that Pia was eliminated. Not happy JAN! I can’t vote because i live in Australia but the fact she was eliminated over at least others who are far worse than she is has just really annoyed me.

    Judges need sacking!

  34. LisaH says:

    Yes, there is a bias against women. However, the greater bias continues to be a geographic bias. Does anyone think a New Yorker realistically stands a chance of winning American Idol ever (or anyone from the East Coast or West Coast, for that matter)??? There is no question that the winner will be from the South this year. There have been a couple of Midwestern fluke winners in the past, but this show has always been dominated by Southern voting blocs.

  35. Iblis says:

    Slezak, you are usually “uber” perceptive, why didn’t you mention Jennifer Lopez’s less than pleased reaction to Iggy Pop’s performance? Would be interested to hear your thoughts on why she seemed to be so freaked out by him. That was brilliant TV.

  36. professor says:

    Every week I could tolerate Haley’s writhing and growling and Jacob’s overwrought nonesense knowing it would all be counterbalanced by Pia’s pure gift. I still think it’s a great season, but my enjoyment has been reduced by about half!

  37. Karen says:

    I understand that people are upset. I am upset. Did I vote my fingers off for Pia last night? No! Was it because of what the judges said about Pia? No! I have Pia in my pool to win the whole thing but did not do the voting to have her win. The judges not saying negative or positive things about the contestants has nothing to do with who I vote for. The people and the celebrities that are saying America got it wrong, did they vote for Pia non-stop last night? Did David Cook, Chris Daughtry and the others vote? If they did maybe she would not be gone. America got it wrong, but they got it wrong because they did not vote. Not because the judges gave their critiques the way the did. People did not vote. The End. By the way, that includes me. :(

  38. L says:

    Well, I’m going to continue to read your recaps and of course, watch Idoloonies, because it is fabulous, but I’m not watching the show anymore. Any shred of credibility that was there has evaporated. Pia was, by far, the best singer on the show. So, I hope their ratings fall and Pia has a fantastic record. I’ll be one of the first to buy it.

    • ziggy says:

      TOTALLY agree with you. In a perfect world, the judges, producers and contestants will be rattled by Pia’s crazy-early exit and really do things differently, but I suspect nothing will change and Randy-JLo-Steven will be back to their inane praise of crappy performances as soon as next week. I’m really looking forward to Pia’s album, whenever it is created and comes out. I’d actually pay to see her live too, her voice is meant to be heard live!

  39. Lory R says:

    2 Comments. First although it’s obvious that the only viewers who are actually still voting are the young teenage girls ( I am a 47 year old mom who still loves the show but haven’t voted since Adam Lambert) I really hated the way Ryan, the judges (and producers) were basically yelling at us viewers for getting it sooo wrong! Come on people. There will only be one winner! Which means all but one will eventually have to go! Stop critizing the viewers for making their choice as they want.
    Secondly, I’m not a fan of Jacob, but I thought the way Ryan delivered the news he was safe was particularly cruel, even for Ryan.

  40. MFW says:

    I love Steven Tyler and JLo and Randy are great too, but they have all become completely irrelevant during the live rounds of the show. During the auditions around the country, they were great, but once they sat down at that judges table, they lost their ability to be constructive. I hate to say it, but if Simon were still here, Pia might also be. He offered the most constructive, real feedback. Now it’s as if everything is viewed through rose-colored glasses, all sweetness and light. The judges are supposed to be ‘industry professionals’ and they need to earn those huge salaries, not just look pretty!

  41. ChrissieK says:

    After not having seen Pia’s name very often on message boards, there certainly is a whole lot of written anger about her being least popular this week and sent packing! If there was that much love for her, then why did she go? Because no one thought to phone in those votes in her name is why. I thought it was very unfair of R. Jackson to behave the way he did when it came out of Ryan’s mouth (so confusedly, yes?) that it was Pia who was packing for home. So he was saying that Stefano should be waving bye-bye? Nice one Jacks. VftW is keeping Paul on, the tweens who do the majority of the phone votes are keeping all the testosterone on stage and now everyone is freaking about the way the voting is set up for Idol…it has been this way for 10 YEARS people so get over it. One by one they drop and I wonder will it be another not-glowing-too-brightly star again this year who will become American Idol?

    • McFudge says:

      Probably. Unless it’s Scotty, who also has his flaws but which are things I’m convinced can be overcome in short order. I know Scotty’s not everyone’s cup of tea b/c country’s not their thing, but I think he has the most potential to be a successful singer on the national stage. Good voice, nice boy, loves his Grandma, comfortable on stage, young but perceptive, and if he pops it up just a touch it’ll work even better for him. If Lauren or Haley could ramp it up some and become more consistent (and age appropriate, Lauren), I’d say they’d have a chance to be nationally successful, too.

  42. Regina says:

    I absolutely agree. I put the blame on the judges, too. There is a large portion of America that really does rely on the experts to tell them what’s what. And, that tiny bit of niggling doubt…that “yeah, we love you BUT…” was all it took when they overpraised absolutely everyone else.
    So, really, the best singer went home.
    As happened when a different set of judges did the same B.S. to Melinda Doolittle.
    Next week, I can almost guarantee it will be a “blame America” but–yet–everyone is wonderful on stage! Best year ever, dawg! They’re all in it to win it.
    Bullcrap, as usual.

  43. takakupo says:

    Michael, I think it’s pretty crazy for you to blame everyone and not ask if you have some stake in that pot too. Ever since the finals began you’ve been raging on about how understanding you are of the elimination of the female contestants. Ashton was too diva, Karen was too spanglish, Thia was too pageanty and Naima had these pitch problems.

    All the while you never really acknowledged the fact that the boys had severe lackings (you glazed over so many things when it came to the guys). Jacob has been the only one you’ve really been hard on (and for good reason too) but you treat the rest with kid gloves. I don’t think it’s just the judges to be blamed for Pia’s elimination. I think it’s the mass bloggers and big blog names like you who have a lot of the blame to take as well.

    • anon says:

      Glossed over, not glazed.

      • dgman says:

        Great…now I want a donut!
        But seriously…it’s too bad that Pia (whats her last name Tostada? Zadora?) got eliminated. Perhaps if she doesn’t get signed by any label she can be hired to do hair and makeup for this year’s winner…just sayin’

  44. McFudge says:

    The judges need to ask themselves, over and over, each time someone sings, “Will people buy this person’s records?” “Will someone pay to see this person in concert?” “Does this person have flaws that seem fixable, or are they probably hopeless cases?” “Does he/she have enough raw talent to work with?” And then be honest enough and have the balls to tell them. Reality shows are free and you don’t have to leave your couch to watch them. Good enough to be entertaining on a reality show is not the same as good enough to sell CDs and concert tickets.

  45. Buggys says:

    All of the Idol contestants would do well to remember that they are playing to a voting block of “America” consisting mainly of 12 year old girls. Celine does not play well with that group. Yes, I am well over the age of 12, and I do vote, but not nonstop for 2 hours.
    I find myself listening to the judges this season and imaging what Simon would be saying. A little honesty and hard truth would be refreshing going forward. I believe we all knew that Stefano and Jacob would be bottom 3 and that they belonged on the stools. No one would have been shocked or sorry when one of them went home. Pia was never my favorite but no way should she be gone at this stage especially when her fellow stool mates are left to carry on.
    I am wholly disheartened with the “mentoring talent” of, Gwen Stefani (what?) for a fashion course??
    The performers last night were pathetic and third rate. How about getting someone who has talent rather than people who are desperately trying to gain fans? The Idol stage has become the island of misfits.

  46. GaryfromCinci says:

    I enjoy how Ryan tells America it’s all your fault!..LMAO.. Sad but true. The problem I see, and have always seen, is that the voting system is a failure. Every year Seacrest touts how many bazillion of votes Idol gets, smashing record after record… Balderdash! The only true evaluation would be a simple 1 – 2 votes per phone line and 1-2 votes per email address. Idol again has become victim to the “popularity” contest and a system that can be easily manipulated by places like and mad teenagers in love with terrible talent like Scotty McCreary. Chickens coming home to roost never bothered me much.

    • GSOgymrat says:

      That voting system would never work because then Ryan couldn’t say “we received 50 million votes last night”. The numbers would drop and that would be bad.

  47. Ward says:

    First, let’s call Randy, Jennifer and Stephen “panelists” rather than judges, since they don’t judge, nor do they want to. Stephen was great up to the live shows, but I think he scared shut-less of being on live TV.

    Second, a simple way to have the judges have an influence without being too harsh (since they don’t want to be) is for them to close the show with each judge saying which were their two or three favorite performances of the night. If one of their favorites is voted off then they can be shocked. But after giving only giving one contestant criticism why are they surprised?

  48. Stacy says:

    The show would work if everyone voted for who they wanted off the show instead of voting for their lousy favorite.

  49. stevenjaba says:

    I was absolutely shocked by Pia’s elimination. That said, I did a little thinking – did I like Pia’s singing? Yes. Was I ever remotely motivated to pick up the phone and vote for her? No.
    I think this was part of her problem – her performances were technically perfect but lacked any passion. It would have been nice though to have more time to see that develop in her.

  50. Laurie says:

    We grew tired of Celine Dion twenty years ago. Pia chose to sing the Celine Dion version of River Deep, Mountain High. No matter how many times Tina Turner was mentioned on the show, Pia did not even remotely try to emulate Tina in her performance. The kind folks at AI did their best to convince us she was channeling the amazing Tina Turner. The truth of the matter is that what we were really getting was a Celine Dion knock-off. And who wants that?

    • GSOgymrat says:

      I would rather listen to someone WHO CAN SING IN KEY than the others because none of the other contestants can sing an entire song without screwing it up.