American Idol Recap: Kings of King

A sudden rush of panic filled my chest at the start of American Idol‘s Top 6 performance episode Wednesday night. All season long, I’ve been craving genuine musical and emotional moments from the contestants (and to a lesser extent, the judges), and what’s the first thing I see? Costumes! Jennifer Lopez dressed as a tasteful figure skater. Randy Jackson imitating a dandy school boy. And Jacob Lusk channeling a pre-makeup Fizbo the Clown.

Even more disconcerting, though, was host Ryan Seacrest — the carnivorous breath of Carson Daly and NBC’s buzzy singing competition The Voice hot on the back of his neck — frantically trying to pump up the volume of the live studio audience. “We need that energy!” he panicked, acting like a guy trying to move a table full of knockoff watches and not realizing he’s loaded with genuine Rolexes.

The Voice Premiere Recap: I’m Already Addicted. Does That Make Me Crazy?

But just like you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t make assumptions about the quality of an Idol episode based on the vagaries of the show’s wardrobe department or the momentary desperation in its host’s voice. Because at the end of the 90-minute telecast — buoyed by the melodies of the Carole King songbook and the low-key mentoring of Babyface (aka “A Fine Choice to Replace the Judge on the Far Left or the Judge on the Far Right in Season 11”) — two contestants managed to come as close to having “Idol Moments” as anything we’ve seen in weeks, and better still, not a single solo performance had the hand-in-the-trash-compactor factor of Jamie Foxx and squawking a soundtrack cut from an animated bird movie. Yeah, Randy Jackson revealed he doesn’t know the meaning of the words “turned the other cheek,” but after 10 seasons of foolery, it’s pretty clear dude doesn’t know the meaning of anything, right?

[Side note: Was Randy’s low-rise soul patch a new development this week, or have I been too stupefied by his endless stream of drivel to notice his facial-hair patterns these last four months? No matter, let’s dive into the performances — solo first, followed by duets.]

Jacob Lusk: “Oh No Not My Baby”
I could make a joke here about the appropriateness of Jacob choosing a song with the words “Oh No” at the start of the title, but that would be far too easy, and perhaps just a bit too cruel. And anyhow, Jacob had enough problems with Jimmy Iovine offering this final pre-performance assessment of his chances: “He’s an incredible singer, but I think he’s in the most trouble.” Translation: This young man is 24 hours away from starring in the Lifetime original movie Whatever Will I Sing for My Exit Performance?: The Jacob Lusk Story. To be honest, Jacob could do far worse than giving an encore of his Carol King cover, which had a lightness to the delivery that’s often been missing in most of his performances, and riffing that at least stayed in the general vicinity of the song’s melodic structure. On the downside, though, several of the big glory notes on “Oh No Not My Baby” were noticeably sharp, and the outfit — blue and white plaid jacket, yellow shirt, turquoise cardigan sweater, yellow sneakers, and purple bowtie — was busier than a Sandra Lee tablescape. The most troubling part of Jacob’s on-screen time, though, was enduring all three judges praising Jacob’s utterly hokey dancing — which was slightly better than the modern dance recital I attended last weekend (in which a creepy man spit a whole hard-boiled egg out of his mouth), but slightly less ready for prime time than Stefano Langone’s tentative hoofing during “Closer” last week. How J.Lo, a former professional dancer, could say that Jacob “killed it” on the performance aspect of the number has me completely flummoxed. Does she really believe that all dance is created equal? Oh, and what about Randy’s critique: “Hopefully, America gives you some votes and you stick around”? I mean, if The Dawg wants Jacob to crack the Season 10 Top 5, then who exactly does he want to be eliminated on Thursday? (We’ll get to that answer in a moment.)

Lauren Alaina: “Where You Lead”
I’ve got to admit I’m endlessly frustrated (and mildly fascinated) by Lauren’s trajectory in this competition. To be fair, her rehearsal footage this week once again proved she’s got an enviable vocal power and a lovely tone, but it also made me feel like her entire artistic persona is a construct she builds each week in direct response to feedback from Jimmy and the judges. Last week they all harped on about Lauren’s crisis of confidence, so this week she dove deeper into the ridiculous idea that she’s afraid of stretching her voice. (Next week, maybe she’ll fetch the newspaper!) I loved how Babyface asked Lauren if she’d ever gone for a note and missed it, and managed to draw out the obvious truth (nope, she hasn’t) and a coy little giggle.

The problem is, with so much time focused on answering the question “Who is Little Lauren?” the big-voiced teenager seems to be giving short shrift to song selection and emotional connection. I’m hardly one to advocate a big diva ballad every single week, but someone needs to sharpen Lauren’s instincts and stop her from choosing drab midtempo ditties that decrease the chances of her having a breakthrough moment. “Where You Lead” was a particularly colorless effort, as Lauren mechanically hit her marks — perform brief shimmying dance, wave arm toward crowd, pop up between animatronic backup singers, head to steps, select pre-screened “cute guy” from audience as prop — while the light in her eyes dimmed enough to reduce her family’s monthly energy bill by 20 percent. Please tell me I’m the only one who was overcome with an urge to look away fro m the TV when Lauren snuggled up next to 19-year-old Drew to finish the performance. Despite the judges’ praise — “Clap! Clap!” demanded J.Lo, while Steven insisted she had “manifested the light” or some such gobbledygook — I wonder if Lauren might make her initial trip to the Bottom Three this week.

Scotty McCreery: “You’ve Got a Friend”
And the award for best mentor comment of the season goes to…drum roll please…no, Jimmy, sit down, we’re not handing out a trophy for your erroneous opinion that “You’ve Got a Friend” is the “most romantic song [Scotty has] tried to sing yet.” Instead, the prize goes to Babyface, for suggesting Scotty go “airy” on the opening verse, the better to pump up the contrast when he brings the Full McCreery to the chorus. Yes, Jimmy, I know you had a similar comment, but Babyface’s was more clear and succinct. Seriously, dude, sit down.

American Idol All-Time Greatest Performance Top 64 Bracket Tourney Begins With Adam, Elliott, Ruben, Etc!

In all seriousness, though, in this, the ninth week of live performances, we may have finally witnessed a genuine Idol Moment for the likeliest Season 10 winner, and it came just seven days after getting his first solid, actionable dose of constructive criticism from the judges. (Ahh…the magic that can happen when the judges stop handing out gold stars and actually focus on doing their jobs.) And it wasn’t just the restraint on the chorus, but also the intensity with which Scotty tore into lines like “take your soul if you let them — but don’t you let ’em” and that closing run of “I’ll be there, and I’ll be there, and I’ll be there.” With apologies to Thia Megia, this was Scotty painting with all the colors of the wind. Sure, I’d have been happier if those colors hadn’t contained Scotty’s grotesque blue-leather jacket — would we allow the kid to don just jeans and a simple Henley or t-shirt one week? — but if you can’t always get what you want, and sometimes you have to settle for getting what you need. (Look at me making a reference to Season 9’s Crystal Bowersox, who’ll perform on Thursday night’s results telecast!)

James Durbin: “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”
Speaking of Idol Moments…how hauntingly beautiful was James’ nearly a capella opening verse on “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”? As he stood there bathed in a single spotlight, his voice shattering the silence of the auditorium, James brought back memories of Bo Bice’s transcendent “In a Dream” from Season 4 (which happens to be an entrant in our ongoing American Idol All-Time Greatest Performance Bracket Tournament) not to mention the male Idol innovators who’ve had unexpected breakthrough moments tackling tender material penned by female artists (see David Cook’s “Always Be My Baby,” Michael Johns’ “It’s All Wrong But It’s All Right,” etc). Heck, James was so good tonight, he almost drew a salient comment from Steven Tyler, who noted folks might download James’ iTunes recording just to save a piece of the a capella goodness. I won’t lie: I experienced a slight pang of disappointment when the drums and jangly guitars kicked in on the chorus — oh how I miss the intimate Idol moments that Jimmy and his team have poached to the point of extinction — but by the time James brought home the final chorus, he’d given the ditty a bittersweet urgency that deserved every accolade it received, except perhaps for this piece of mangled English from Randy: “What I loved tonight is you turned the other cheek, because tonight, you weren’t just a great rock singer, tonight you proved that you’re a great singer, and that’s the most important thing. The most important thing is that you’re a great singer, dude.” Um, getting past the Dawg’s three uses of “tonight” in the same sentence and the unnecessary repetition of  his concept of “the most important thing,” I have to ask: Is Randy aware that “turn the other cheek” doesn’t mean “change up your performance style,” but is actually a Biblical reference that refers to the act of not seeking revenge, of not responding to aggression with more aggression? I could chalk it up to a simple slip of the tongue, but Randy used the same term this week to describe how Scotty used the judges’ critiques to improve his performance (closer, but still not quite there, Dawg). All I can say is forgive him Lord, for he knows not what he’s blathering.

Casey Abrams: “Hi-De-Ho That Old Sweet Roll”
I could go all Paula Abdul and say that Casey looked beautiful tonight — and truly, it was nice to see him in a tailored black suit, chartreuse tie, and black fedora, instead of one of his typical laundry-pile ensembles (or those orange plaid shorts he wears to rehearsal every single week). Or I could excuse his catastrophe of a vocal by quoting Jimmy Iovine: “Casey’s the type of artist who thrives living on the edge of creativity.” But that would be completely ignoring the fact that 45 seconds into the number — after strolling across the stage, interacting with “his band,” and smoothly delivering the verse — Casey abandoned his musicality like it was forged from pure asbestos, and retreated into a series of scowls and growls and grunts that covered up his unwillingness (or perhaps his inability) to sing in tune. On his final run in particular, which Casey gleefully delivered surrounded by a semicircle of musicians, you could hear him start to reach for a note on the word “ho,” miss the mark entirely, and turn it into a growled “oh yeah,” followed by a short burst of falsetto scat, and then a final ugly grunt. Oh, did I leave out the self-satisfied smile? Yes, Casey, give yourself a round of applause: You’ve gone back to exactly the type of performance that lost you your initial fan base and prompted the use of the season 10 judges’ save. And all the judges can do is ramble onabout how their scalps itch, or how you’re in your element, or how you’re “different and entertaining.” Yeah, okay, Randy did blurt out the words “less growl” after the audience started applauding and the cameras were cutting away from him — but I think I may have only noticed because I’m paid specifically to listen to every second of the telecast. I hope and suspect the rest of the nation had already turned to the fast-forward or mute function at that point.

Haley Reinhart: “Beautiful”
While Haley gave my third-favorite performance of the evening, I can’t help but wonder if she’d have been able to complete a trifecta of genuine Idol Moments (along with James and Scotty) had she not suffered ear-monitor issues seconds before the start of her number — note her tentative “yeah?” when Ryan asked if she could hear herself — and had the sound mix not sounded like Haley’s vocal was being run through a 1970s tape recorder, with the band and backup singers cranked up to provide direct competition, instead of harmonious accompaniment. I loved that we got to hear the peaks and valleys in Haley’s vocals — the lilting beauty of her upper register, the whiskey-soaked rawness of her trademark growl — and on the chorus, I definitely felt the spirit of Carole King’s empowerment anthem shine through. (And oh how I love a good empowerment anthem on the treadmill.) That said, Haley sometimes seemed to struggle just a bit with the song’s sudden shift in tempo and intensity. And seeing how she’s been in the bottom three for four out of the seven weeks the Season 10 finals — and seeing how Randy threw his verbal dung at Haley when it came time for critique — I am going to spend the entire day stressing out that anything less than total awesomeness could cost her a shot at cracking the Top 5. Well, hey, as a consolation prize, at least J.Lo finally acknowledged that Haley has one of the best voices in the competition. #TeamHaley has to take its positives anywhere the production drops ’em.

As for the week’s trio of duets, it pains me to say they felt like something of an afterthought, little cups of sad cole-slaw that fill out your deli platters.

* Casey and Haley’s “I Feel the Earth Move” was far and away the best of the bunch, with lovely harmonies, some nifty phrasing by Casey (loved his “d-d-d-down”), and a couple of potent riffs for Haley.
* Lauren and Scotty’s “Up on the Roof” ranked a distant second. I thought Lauren actually sounded amazing on the wistful ballad — oh how I wish this had been her solo selection — but Scotty’s way-off-the-mark harmonies sat in the soup like a clump of hair.
* And would you believe me if I told you I’ve tried three times now to watch Jacob and James’ “I’m Into Something Good,” and I keep blacking out. The details are blurry: J.Lo adjusting her skirt, off-key screeches clanging against each other like Game of Thrones swords, and…were those sailor outfits on the boys? I always find myself waking up as Steven Tyler says something like, “I wasn’t sure it was the most award-winning performance,” and then I know I’m dreaming, because the Aerosmith frontman hasn’t said anything of any value since the live performances began and the Idol editing team couldn’t mask his particular brand of nonsense.

And now, on to the letter grades for tonight’s performances…

Tonight’s Letter Grades

James Durbin’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”: A-
Scotty McCreery’s “You’ve Got a Friend”: A-
Haley Reinhart’s “Beautiful”: B+
Casey Abrams and Haley Reinhart’s “I Feel the Earth Move”: B+
Lauren Alaina’s “Where You Lead”: B-
Lauren Alaina and Scoty McCreery’s “Up on the Roof”: B-
Jacob Lusk’s “Oh No Not My Baby”: C+
Casey Abrams’s “Hi-De-Ho That Old Sweet Roll”: C
Jacob Lusk and James Durbin’s “I’m Into Something Good”: D

What did you think of this week’s show? Who was your favorite? Who deserves to go home? Sound off in our polls, then hit the comments to justify your votes. And for all my Idol news and commentary, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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  1. jason says:

    i can’t believe how much credit scotty is getting. a low, deep, and unusual voice doesn’t constitute a good voice. he sounds the exact same on every song and he’s become predictable. and he was way off key on his duet with lauren. next please!

    • DogBoy says:

      I agree. Even when his singing is pleasant like his solo last night– the eyebrows, the TRex microphone grip, and awkward stage presence are more damaging.

      • djm says:

        I am just curious what kool-aide Michael is drinking when it comes to Scotty. Here’s my issue with him. Sure, his voice is pleasant enough and I truly believe he will sell millions of CD’s for the label, but let’s call a spade a spade – he 100% of the time has less-than-zero connection to what he’s singing. He is the male equivilant of a beauty pageant contestant – hit mark A – then mark B – then smile, turn, nod just so – hit mark C. Sorry, but to me that is a problem. And week after week Slezak will call people out for the most random things, yet little Scotty seems to get a pass. Sorry Slezak, but when it comes to Scotty you sound just like Steven Tyler. Say what you want about Jacob’s outfit last night, but at least it looked like he put more than 1 second of thought into it unlike Scotty every week.

        • maryb says:

          You said exactly what I was thinking! He has zero emotional connection to the music. Beauty pageant contestant is right on. I thought they were going to give him “pointers” and was surprised when they heaped on the praise. Am more surprised to see Mr. Slezak join in. During the performance I was yelling, when will this end?

        • Fernando says:

          I certainly can’t speak for Mr. Slezak, but many people do seem to think Scotty is the front-runner this year. I think that’s partly because unlike most of the other contestants, he’s pretty consistently in tune, and of course he’s never been in the bottom three.

          But I also think a lot of people who don’t care for country music or don’t know anything about it believe that you don’t really have to have much talent to have a country career. That’s just not true. If anybody with a little bit of charm could be a country star, we should be seeing Phil Stacey, Josh Gracin and Bucky Covington burning up the charts.

          I love country music (although admittedly I don’t listen to the type of radio country that Scotty does) and I DON’T think he’s ready to record/tour, however nice his voice may be. Not even close. Country music is all about an emotional connection and that’s among the things missing in his performances.

    • jaime says:

      i thought scotty sounded pleasant last night and have always liked the tone of his voice, but i was just bored. every is saying that he changed it up, but it sounded (to me) like the same thing we’ve been hearing for weeks. maybe i need to listen again…

      • DN says:

        Scotty is a prototypical country singer: Safe. Nothing artistic in any direction, just safe and clean. He’s got a built in country audience that will fervently vote for him, do it does not matter what he sings or how he sings it. That’s country music for you.

        • Fantastic says:

          Scotty is a fantastic country singer. Listen to the award nominated Country Strong soundtrack and compare their voices to Scotty’s voice. I love Scotty’s voice more than the singers on the Country Strong soundtack.

        • h says:

          Stop hating. Scotty is very talented. His voice is similar to the country music duo Brooks & Dunn. Scotty is going to have a amazing career.

          • -I think Scotty’s voice is very different and thus makes it very difficult for him to go extremly the opposite of what he has been doing. Last night’s performance was as close to changing it up as he has done all season.
            -I loved J.Lo’s comment after Lauren and Scotty went, she fawned and praised Lauren and then said to Scotty “you were good too”. That was really funny and honest, because she did really step it up. I wish she did that during her individual performance.
            -Jacob should be going home, if not Casey because they were easily the most weak of the bunch last night. Lauren could potentially be in Bottom 3, but I don’t think she is going home. Jacob going home would be my ideal first choice.

          • jason says:

            you can’t compare scotty with ronnie dunn! ronnie dunn is an amazing singer! amazing! scotty is josh turner….who i like but i don’t want him to be my american idol! he just doesn’t have enough depth to his voice.

    • Owen says:

      Didn’t Slezak once say about Paul that singing on key wasn’t always that important. Yet here he is, spitting in the face of all his Idoloonie guests, showing his musical ignorance, and placing Casey BELOW Jacob and Lauren (cause I can’t argue that James and Scotty did some wonderful last night). “Oh, did I leave out the self-satisfied smile? Yes, Casey, give yourself a round of applause…” This prejudice of perceived egomania from a boy barely in his 20’s is appalling. If Casey is a little high on himself, well then so is James. And if so, who cares????

      • Lee says:

        Well said.

      • Jonathan says:

        Seems like there’s more egomania on stage than usual: James (“I have a vision! I’m better than the people who did this song originally, I know because they told me!”), Jacob, and Lauren are inexcusable. Haley and Scotty seem to have the best attitudes at this point, based on what we’re being shown, for whatever that’s worth.

        • Jonathan says:

          I’m also disturbed by how completely external Lauren and Jacob’s sense of worth is. They seem to have no ability to judge themselves and their moods rely entirely on the approbation or criticism they receive. It’s worrisome, especially for Jacob who’s 23 but seems like a teenager and is obviously deeply repressed (“Let’s do the nasty” is delivered like Steve Carell in The 40 Year Old Virgin: “it feels like… a bag of sand”).

      • marie says:

        Very true.
        Casey still sucked, though.

      • Joel says:


        You reveal yourself to be more self-deluded than even Jacob is. Slezak hated Casey for all the right reasons, reasons that had to do with an overall inability to sing and a completely annoying way of covering it up with unappealing gutteral sounds, not about singing on or off-key. Put another way, it’s about singing inability, not missing notes. Truth is, the boy cannot sing. He can act, mug, growl, grunt, and work out his face as a substitute. But that can’t be excused by either the words “different” or the word “jazz”. Casey was by far, BY FAR, the least entertaining performer of the night because he was the opposite of entertaining. And that lack of insight is what makes his judge-fueled ego so offensive. Jacob and Lauren were mildly entertaining by comparison (though I thought Haley was close to un-listenable). The ignorance and delusion starts with Casey and ends with his “anything-different-is-awesome” fans.

        • Owen says:

          Okay, Joel, tell my why, each of Slezak’s former beloved “Idol” Idaloonie guests, plus Kelly Clarkson and a host of other real musicians say and/or tweet that CASEY is their favorite? Today on Jim Canitello’s webshow, Kris Allen said his favorite was Casey. What is the disconnect between random viewers/bloggers and musicians? What do they see that you don’t? It not just one or two. Its a lot (not all, Adam has come out for Haley). But. Why does no one ever answer that question. Sorry, why don’t Haters ever truly think about it and truthfully answer that question?

          • Nael says:

            He does have musical talent, and that’s what people see.
            And exactly this makes it even sadder that he sometimes choses not to use it at all and falls back to growling, pulling faces and whatnot instead of delivering a good musical performance.

            I admit the first time it was kinda funny and “out there”, but the second time it slowly turned into “again? meh”, and now it’s annoying.
            Hairy growling things are zoo material, not Idol stage material. (I don’t mean this in a bad way, I know he CAN do better. I just really wonder why he sometimes doesn’t)
            It is surely costing him a lot of votes.

          • Li-Li says:

            It’s because musicians know music, and can discern who is really musical and talented, and they aren’t just following – like sheep – what the producers try to shove down the audiences throats.

          • T says:

            yeah, casey is a musician’s musician. he’s just disappointing us because it seems like something in the process has ruined his musical compass. i’m not sure what it was with him – his ego being stroked in a bad way? he’s still so young. when he watches the season back and thinks about what differentiates his good and bad performances, he’ll learn. i’m really looking forward to his solo stuff.

        • @ Joel says:

          yes, yes, yes, yes, and, ah, yes.

        • aislinn says:

          You obviously feel strongly in this opinion, but I have to disagree with you. I think Casey overuses the growls, but the boy still shows more true musicality and creativity than anyone else on that stage. The performance of this song had a nice arc to it, starting small and nuanced, and building to a jazzy climax. I do think he sometimes lets himself get too carried away in the excitement of the performance, but to me it’s a free flowing fusion kind of improvisation, not a “judge-fueled ego” driven act. I enjoyed this number a lot, and will likely buy it. His duet with Haley was fantastic – the two of them have been wonderful whenever they’ve been able to sing together.

        • John says:

          Completely agree with Joel here….but for me, Casey hasn’t made sense for several weeks (and I’m a bass player!)

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        My name is darcy’s evil twin, and I’m a reformed Casey fan.

        Slezak said singing on key wasn’t important. SINGING on key. Not growling on key.

        Casey’s song started out nicely and just when I thought I was going to fall off the wagon, WHAM! He turned into growly Casey.

    • Laurel says:

      I TOTALLY agree with you Jason !
      Scotty just bores me to tears .Every song sounds the same it’s monotonous.
      And I can’t stand the over exaggerated facial expressions.
      He ruined one of my favorite songs .
      The only positive thing I can say is that at least he didn’t hold his microphone like a flute this week.

    • Ledette says:

      Scotty has an amazing voice, but he still doesn’t excite my interest. He sounds much older than he is, as in Lawrence Welk old. This is in contrast to how he holds the microphone, like a kid about to lick a dripping ice cream cone, and this is confusing to my senses. And I like country music, just not maudlin country music.

      My favorites for many weeks now are James and Haley. Their voices, their personalities, and their musicality . . . they never bore me.

    • JBanana says:

      seriously! Scotty having a moment? He was sooooo boring on You’ve Got A Friend!!! I feel like I’m watching in a different universe. I found it painful to make it through watching the whole performance. His held-out high notes were like long flat-lined television emergency broadcast testing beeps. (do they do those anymore?) Ugh.

    • flivr says:

      AMEN, AMEN. B.O.R.I.N.G

  2. darlene says:

    I agree with this. Scotty and James OWNED the night.

  3. Can't beleive I still watch says:

    I am so glad you thought Scotty had a moment. I was mesmerized with his performance. I think thats the first song of the season I would down load onto my Ipod. I liked James for the first opening versus and then he lost me. Just don’t like the tone of his voice when he sings hard. Love Baby Face, actual advice!!! Why do the judges only give my favorite singers any criticism? Also did you notice how hard Ryan pushed Randy to hug James? Very Creepy.

    • Robin says:

      I loved Scotty’s live version…it would have been my first AI Itunes purchase of the season…the studio version is way different. James and Haley were good live too…studio version is about the same.

    • Bat Country says:

      He was copying “The Voice” and it didn’t work. Ugh….

    • Kim R says:

      I agree. I thought Scotty did a great job. I also liked James in the beginning & middle but not so much at the end of his performance. I think the screaming ruined the tone he had set. Lauren has a lovely voice. Hayley is great. Casey is so talented but I think gets caught in old habits (the “growl/grimace”). I do not think he is egotistical though.
      Jacob….I thought was horrific. Is it just my ears? He was off more than he was on. I don’t understand how he can have the lowest votes on this sight every week & be safe on the show! I sure hope this is the week he gets to go home. :)

  4. JayK* says:

    James Durbin – Holy crap. Where did that come from? I thought that was the best James has ever sounded by a country mile. Between this week’s straight-up SING.ING. and last week’s entertainment value, I am over my “Not Adam” problem and am fully on the James wagon.
    Scotty – Speaking of country miles, this was the first week I actually found Scotty interesting to listen to. I picked up a magazine when he started, but then found myself drawn right into his performance.
    Lauren – All I could do was watch Brett and think, “Awkward. Awkward. Awkward.”
    Casey – Yup, it’s official. Over him. I was 100% behind Casey the first few weeks, but I’m done.
    Jacob – Is he still here???
    Haley – Good, but no Moment. She needs a Moment.

    And question: Don’t potential Moments become Not Quite Moments when we’re told by Jimmy Iovine that a Moment is coming?

    • JayK* says:

      Drew? I totally heard “Brett”. Either way, awkward.

    • RT says:

      Your point about the “Not Quite Moments” is exactly right. It feels like the producers, mentors, judges etc. are desperate for a “moment” and are trying hard to manufacture or manipulate one into occurring. It’s almost embarrassing how they are trying to make it happen. True moments just happen organically, which just doesn’t seem likely this season. When they do happen, it definitely elevates the season.

      • agrimesy says:

        EXACTLY! Moments on Idol have always been an “organic” development of great song choice, personal interpretation, and complementary instrumental arrangement that magically came together as a performance that wasn’t staged or cued or schtick. Jimmy Iovine is so rigid, the contestants have to completely reject him in order to have that opportunity to risk being great. It’s back to the same argument as before that Idol is cashing in on songs that will sound good in the studio and sell on iTunes. The show has no energy.

      • Snsetblaze says:

        I totally agree with the “not quite moments” point. It seems like because Jimmy Iovine and the producers are so involved, the kids are not really able to think much on their own — and therefore a moment may not happen. There have been some very good performances this season – but only Durbin’s last night and Haley on “Moanin” and Casey’s Georgia on My Mind in the semi-fianls even approached about half of Crystal’s performances last year or Lambert’s the year before or Cook’s the year before (all of whom had more than one moment during their seasons).

    • Irishize says:

      I had the same feeling this week! I admit I’ve never been a big James fan, and I did have some problems with the Adam wannabe thing, but the last couple of weeks I’ve started to actually like him, and this week, well, he had his Idol moment in my opinion. I thought “geez, he really does have a voice in there” and I realllly liked this performance. This might actually cause me to make the first (and probably only) download of an itunes performance. At this point, I am pulling for James to take it all.
      Best moment? The intro to the James/Jacob duet. Who else thinks James was not really kidding?? ;)
      And although I try to just ignore Jacob, that SUIT!!! I know they kept criticizing his repetitive suits, but OMFG that was the ugliest mess I’ve seen. Jacob, time to go home, you’ve overstayed your welcome.

      • Teena says:

        I didn’t think James was kidding either. I think he knew he was stuck with Jacob for a duet and was trying to make it at least seem funny.

        • Joel says:

          It’s obvious that James thinks of Jacob as we all think of Jacob (“Church”!), so I appreciate James’ playing along without seeming rude. (while Jacob never realized the joke was on him). That said, James clearly has genuine admiration for Scotty. Both moments gave James points in my book.

          Jacob now seems like a child lost at the mall — “Mommy? daddy? I have this big lollipop of a voice but where do I go now? And why do I feel like people are laughing at me? And where do babies come from? Ooooh… look at that pretty outfit in the clown store…”

    • Laurel says:

      I agree with JayK on everything but Scotty.
      He just bores me to tears.
      However the rest of his critique is SPOT on.

  5. Delon says:

    This show should change its name to The Ick Factor. Between involuntarily cringing and rolling my eyes i felt sick. The non-musical moments are getting increasingly hard to bear. Randy has officially crossed the line of being tolerable. Why did Ryan put Lauren twice in a sexually uncomfortable situation, first with the audience guy and then with Scotty. Stop sexualizing teenagers. It’s gag-inducing.

    After seeing The Voice watching this episode of AI proved that Nigel is trying to choke our souls.

    • Robin says:

      So over the judges…request for a new panel. Babyface, Shania Twain and Harry Connick Jr.

      • Stella says:

        SPOT ON!

      • marie says:

        I’ll vote for that!!!!!

      • Joel says:

        Babyface, Doogie, and Adam! (I know we need a Paula memorial slot, but whatever…) Adam was one of the best mentors in the show’s history, and has extra insight as a former competitor. Doogie needs to be there to at least come close to Simon. Someone has to call out when contestants are pathetic. How many of us FF through all three judges now? It was much more fun when I FFd to Simon.

        • Li-Li says:

          Yes, Joel! I also fast forward through ALL the judges’ comments, every time. Why listen? There is no tension, no mystery, nothing remotely helpful or interesting. Just the judges looking beautiful and saying beautiful things. Wake me when it’s over. Unless Haley is in the finale.

        • Gale says:

          My YES was to the original post, NOT to Adam, who got kicked out of Lady Gag’s birthday party for being drunk and uninvited. Gross.

          • robin says:

            Ummm…your point being ? Steven is an ex-junkie and Adam was an excellent mentor last year…

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        At this point I am just about ready to take Scary Spice, Pee-Wee Herman, and those guys that sang “The Macarena” as judges.

        *sigh* – I had such high hopes!

      • NedPepper says:

        Nah, keep J-Lo. She’s the “face” of the franchise now and IS CAPABLE when she feels like it of giving constructive criticism. Steven Tyler is a waste and Randy is nothing more than a puppet for the producers and I actually feel embarrassed for him when I listen to him yammmer on. It’s time to let go, Randy. It’s been a long and…interesting…run. Bring in Connick Jr. to replace him. And anyone with a pulse is better than Steven Tyler. Although, I’d dig a real music producer that is not Jimmy Iovine on the panel to give some tough critiques.

    • Liz says:

      It’s like Nigel read The Hunger Games recently and said “light bulb, we need some coupling on this show!” Of course Ryan is game to go along with anything awkward and I just wanted to smack him for embarassing Lauren like that. I think I also gave Scotty the stink eye for being so forceful about the “just brothers and sisters” thing; obviously he wanted to cut down any rumors but it came off as mean to Lauren.

      That said, though, I died laughing when he gave her that incredulous look after her complement/compliments mixup. It had a Miss Congeniality feel to it.

      • Snsetblaze says:

        That mixup reminded me of Kelly Pickler. I always thought Lauren was a bit more like her than either Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson.

      • Joel says:

        I did enjoy the complement/compliment “Jessica Simpson” moment, but did you catch that the subtitled line from the producer/interviewer ALSO misspelled complement? It said something like “How do you compliment each other?” We all know Lauren isn’t MENSA material, but that kind of mistake from AI production is pathetic because that mistake was the point of the whole clip!

    • allie says:

      I watched the Voice on Tuesday and LOVED it. Tried watching AI last night and eventually recorded it on my DVR so I could fast forward. The theme night was just as bad as I feared – YET AGAIN, these kids look irrelevant for the current music industry. Slezak, I know we are all hoping for a “moment” but Scotty wasn’t even CLOSE last night and James was a victim to the producers mishandling AGAIN. He was amazing accappella. If he had been allowed to do more of that with perhaps a little of his own soft guitar it would have been a moment. But it went downhill the second that horrid band chimed in. The rest ranged from average (Haley) to truly horrific (Jacob/James duet). The best moment last night didn’t begin to compare to the worst moment on the Voice.

    • julie says:

      The “Ick Factor” — I LOVE it!!! (Hope Slezak picks up on this…)

    • Can't Sleep says:

      Ick Factor is right. Lauren generally makes me feel nauseated with her lackluster performances. The guy didn’t look all that thrilled to be singled out like that & on his own probably wouldn’t ask her out. So why embarass both of them like that? She’s young enough as it is & girls like her tend to get the wrong kind of attention anyway. She’s a chubby girl as it is & kids are cruel.

    • djm says:

      Sorry Delon – Ryan will stop putting Lauren in “sexually uncomfortable” situations when she herself stops singing about them. Last nights song talked about being surprised to be satisfied by just one man – did you not have a problem with that?

  6. Ruthi says:

    Love you Michael, great review like usual!

  7. Li-Li says:

    Oh Michael, I do love you, but James Durbin as the favorite? Come on. Yes, the beginning of his song was lovely, but then he launched into an ordinary – and then characteristically screeching – version, and the fact that he was playing guitar did not really impress. I really was hoping that Haley would have done a scorching, bluesy version of this song as a ballad – I mean, think of the lyrics:
    Tonight you’re mine completely,
    You give your love so sweetly,
    Tonight the light of love is in your eyes,
    But will you love me tomorrow?
    They really are very tender – do I want James screeching them? I think not. And the total cringe moment for me was at the end, when he yelled, “You better love me!” Talk about not connecting with the lyrics. Ugh.

    • Alex says:

      Screeching? WTF are you talking about???

    • trent says:

      Word. Decent vocals, but a complete butchering of the song’s emotional content.

      • Alex says:

        Like how?

        • Li-Li says:

          Read all the lyrics. But if you love James no matter what, then you just won’t get it.

          • Alex says:

            I know all the lyrics thank you. There is nothing to get. This is really desperate and lame, just say you don’t like him and I’ll respect it, don’t make up crap about him, that’s low.

          • Leslie says:

            I know that song inside and out (considering I was 4 when it came out) and I thought James sang the heck out of it and there was no screeching. If you hate James no matter what, the you’ll just hear things whether they are true or not.

      • Jonathan says:

        I’m with Li-Li and Trent on this one. Nice point about the lyrics vs. the delivery, especially.

        • Li-Li says:

          I actually like James. Just did not like his over-the-top last second half and ending of this very sweet and tender song. I blame the “mentors” – not James. Obviously James’ fans will like anything he does, and prefer that he give his usual full-out performance every time. It just didn’t work for me at all. I still appreciate his talent. I guess that needed to be spelled out.

    • The Wheeze says:

      Put down your glass and quit drinking the haterade. Hands down James owned last night. Between his pitch-perfect solo performance and being able to shine while being partnered with Jacob on duet he OWNED it. This is coming from someone that did not like him at all during the whole audition process, and someone who was 100% behind Casey. Jennifer was spot on last night when she said James has been consistantly good (not always great) all season.
      Haley and Scotty – were both great last night too. Haley’s poor shoulders must be hurting after carrying Casey the whole duet.
      Lauren – Did not love it or hate it.
      Casey – Wow what a disappointment. He started the song so well, and then as soon as he threw off his hat he quit singing and growled/yelled the rest of the song. So over him.
      Jacob – Not his worst, but he is still my least favorite.

      My bottom 3
      Lauren, Casey, and Jacob

      Casey or Jacob need to go. I think Casey could be in trouble. His solo left ALOT to be desired and during his duet he was the albatross around Haley’s neck. Where I think Jacob was okay on his solo, but was definitely helped by James on his duet. Either way will make me happy.

      • Lee says:

        I agree that Casey’s solo was only half good…but to say he was the “albatross around Haley’s neck” is simply absurd. I am not a Haley fan, but those two together are really good. He is solid and she gets better…

        • Snsetblaze says:

          I thought the duet was great (way better than Katelyn Epperly’s rendition of the song). If its on Itunes, I’ll buy it. I also loved the solo. But overall, I will admit, Durbin was the best of the night by far. I did not like him at all in the audition process – not because of his voice or the comparison to Adam Lambert – but more because of his attitude.

        • SharonM says:

          I thought Casey’s solo was fun to watch, but the iTunes download is really good.

      • Jonathan says:

        Nice use of contemporary slang, The Wheeze. Please don’t tell others that they’re not allowed to think something by claiming that they’re jumping on a bandwagon (which is especially nonsensical since the majority here seem to have loved James). Some weeks I’ve loved James, others I’ve been bored or disappointed by him. Last night I thought he started out wonderfully and then devolved into a screechy mess. I’m glad you, Randy and J-Lo enjoyed it. I’m sure he’s safe either way.

        • The Wheeze says:

          @Jonathan-What? Who? When did I say anything about bandwagon?

          • Jonathan says:

            I interpreted “quit drinking the haterade” as: “those who did not like this performance are deluded and not thinking for themselves.” Perhaps that’s not what you meant.

    • GSOgymrat says:

      I appreciated the change. It was a nod to the Shirelle’s version and stayed within James’ rock sensibility. I thought it was more sincere for James to sing this version then to try to fake vulnerability.

    • KSM says:

      Wow, I just watched James’ performance and I thought it was amazing. I mean, the original version of this song wasn’t very “tender” to use your words. I think it was a great rock version of this song. But, you’d have to like rock ballads I guess to like this.

    • chistosa says:

      Have to agree. The beginning of the song was incredible, best moment on Idol this season. Didn’t care for the rest of it. Even Steven Tyler indicated he was disappointed when he left the tender performance to descend into rock again.

    • Alex says:

      I’m going to give Li Li & Trent the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are purists who feel that lyrics shouldn’t be reinterpreted. Yes I know the original meaning of that song, but songs are basically poems set to a melody and therefore can be interpreted otherwise. That’s what James did when he sang this – he gave it a new meaning (singing to the voters) – so he did connect with the lyrics – he made it work for him.

      • Erin says:

        True that… this song always brought to mind a girl clutching her pillow in her room hoping to get a phone call the next day. I’m glad James brought a different flavor of longing and hope, and yes, mad desperation at the end. Loved it.

    • Kim R says:

      I agree about the screeching. I thought James started out so great & was hopeful that he would just how us how much of a voice he really has, the one I’ve seen glimpses of in his past performances but never really got to hear through a whole song. I was dismayed when he started to “screech” it out in the last bit of the song. I literally hated the last note. I wished he had kept the tone he had started with. He does have a great voice, it is too bad he didn’t just let it have its moment. :)

      • Sophia says:

        I agree with Kim completely. I didn’t mind that he shifted into a rock version and I don’t think all high-note rockers are screeching. I just think James did not sound great when he shifted — if you focus just on the vocal, it’s shouty and uneven. That the opening was surprisingly lovely (who know James could nail a delicate phrase and stay on key?) is true, but I think James had a moment more because the bar has been lowered for him than for any other reason. Most of his previous performances have been laughable. So it’s like a revelation to see a half great performance. Sorry guys.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Folks, music did NOT start with Nirvana, Alanis Morisette, and all the other depressing “complaint rock” stuff that some of the readers grew up with. It’s no wonder teen suicides went up! “Total butchering of the song’s emotional concept”????? Seriously?

      I pointed this out previously, but you have to consider the time during which Carole King wrote “Will You still Love Me Tomorrow?”. It was a simpler time. It wasn’t unusual for tender/depressing/wistful (pick one) songs to be delivered in an upbeat, bubblegummy, happy-pop manner. That was the style. Listen to the original version by The Shirelles. For crying out loud, as Exhibit A I present Lesley Gore’s “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To”. Her boyfriend, Johnny, leaves her for party guest Judy (and gives her his ring!) and Leslye Gore delivers that news as if she just won the Powerball!

      The follow up, “Judy’s Turn to Cry” (when Johnny comes back to Leslye Gore) is delivered in EXACTLY the same manner.

      Some of you younger readers should compare the lyrics of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” to the delivery.

      I’m in agreement with the Leslie that posted above on this one (we must be about the same age). Sorry, I don’t mean to go all “crabby grandma” on everyone (love that phrase, by the way) but James did a great job and I think some of you are taking this emotional investment just a little too seriously. On the other hand I would like to see more emotional connection, which is alltogether different, from Lauren, but heck, she’s 16. The only thing I was connected to when I was 16 was my geometry book!

      • Lana says:

        Seriously, you need to start doing recaps. Even if I don’t agree with you you make me smile, if I agree then its laugh. Either way you are very entertaining and I want you as a BFF. HaHa

      • dgman says:

        Yo Darcy! Not you…the evil one…I get what you’re saying about song content vs delivery. A contemporary example would be OP’s “Funeral in his heart”

    • aislinn says:

      I agree with you completely Li-Li. I don’t quite get the way that so many people have swallowed the James Kool-aid. I think he’s got potential, but he tries too hard, and when he does, it falls short. The song started well, but it devolved into an unpleasant arrangement that did become too strident at the end. His tone is raw heavy metal in his upper register, and it was wrong to apply that to this ballad.

    • Joe says:

      I liked James’s performance from the beginning all through to the end. James was NOT screeching. I have to agree with the comments by Alex. I really do believe that James can win it all. Scotty is good, but James excels as a performer and sings well. Thank you Leslie for your comment which was right on.

  8. darlene says:

    Oh, and am I the only one who thinks Babyface should mentor instead of Jimmy? I mean, he gives way more helpful advice.

    • The Wheeze says:

      How about instead of a mentor Babyface replace Steven or Randy as a Judge.

    • Yo says:

      Oh yeah! And I kept getting annnoyed with Iovine, who seemed to not want him to talk. Baby Face is excellent at what he does, and, besides, I find him incredibly attractive.

    • Kelly says:

      This week was the first week Scotty held the mic correctly instead of like a flute! Success! I’m guessing Babyface told him, but perhaps the teasing from the contestants last week made him straighten it up. Regardless, that one subtle change made him so much better.

      I’m a country fan, and if Scotty doesn’t tone down the cheesiness factor, I honestly don’t see him becoming that big in the country industry. There is an authenticity to country music. If he wants to headline arenas and not Branson jamborees, he has to do more of what he did tonight. He needs to sing with sincerity; he needs to connect with the music. Country music doesn’t need a Josh Turner impersonator.

      • RobNJ says:

        I am not a big country music fan, but know enough about the music to say you are spot on with that critique. I keep thinking how genuine Randy Travis and Alan Jackson were. I point these two performers out because I believe Scotty is going more for their style of country as oppposed to say Rascal Flatts or Keith Urban.

      • StorytellerGal says:

        The problem is that he’s a 17-year old boy. He doesn’t have the life experience to tap into yet. You have to have had your heart broken a few times before you can tap into the vein that runs through all best-selling Country music songs.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        In all fairness I think Scotty has proven to be more than a Josh Turner impersonator. He needs more maturity and life experience, though. It’s clear he’s never been drunk the day his mama got out of prison, only to have her run over by a train when he went to the station in his pickup truck to get her!
        The very best country songs tell stories from the heart and Scotty’s just not quite there yet. He has a good vocal and can easily coast through songs like “Swingin”, but it will be a while before he can really understand the concept of songs like Randy Travis’ “On the Other Hand”, or Alan Jackson’s “Drive”, which is possibly one of the best country songs ever written.

    • JBanana says:

      Babyface was excellent. It was so interesting to watch him actually working with the singers, and giving them useful and detailed technique suggestions. He actually got up out of his chair! He seemed to actually care about helping the contestants.

  9. Sabrina says:

    Funny, for the first time my daughter actually liked a bit of Haley’s performance. I agree that Scotty and James both had moments. Though I also agree it would have been better for James to stay soft for the entire song. The duets were painful to watch, truly horrifying when you get to the last one. Read the interview with Steven Tyler in Rolling Stone this month, very interesting. He clearly did tune out about the time they started filming the live shows. It is implied he was insulted by some of the producers antics. Guess we have another month then we can hear his side of things. I don’t think they took into account the fact that he is a sensitive artist when they hired him. I am amazed he is still sober after the horror of this season.

    • Sabrina says:

      Oh, and I enjoyed Scotty’s performance for the first time because he stopped with all the tics and antics that are so annoying. First week he sang a song without smirking, smiling at inappropriate moments and did not raise his eyebrow for no apparent reason.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      Thanks for the information. I’ll check out the interview.

  10. Musica1 says:

    I also thought James and scotty had moments. And I wish the sound mix had been better for haley. I agree with your scores and have to wonder if the James and Jacob duet was some kind of punishment for james. What did he do wrong? Jacob or casey definitely need to go. Preferably Jacob.

    • Alex says:

      Agreed what the hell were they thinking pairing James with Jacob?! They should’ve paired James with Lauren, they paired her with Scotty twice before!

    • Snsetblaze says:

      The problem is that Jacob’s voice does not mesh well with anyone left in the competition. It was pretty obvious when the four guys performed together a couple of weeks ago – Paul and James together were ok but Steven and Jacob’s voices did not mesh with them. Casey and Haley compliment each other. Casey and James would probably be ok and Haley and James would probably be ok. Scotty and Lauren – well their both country and teenagers and that is why they were put together. Their voices at times can compliment each other – but it did not happen last night.

  11. blingedup.susan says:

    ITA with all of your grades this week, Michael.

    I started this season as a Casey fan. He was my favorite. Then I decided I didn’t like him so much. Then he won me back. Last night, I decided I’m done with him. He won’t win me back again. Done.

    Scotty gave his best performance of the season. Haley is always awesome. Randy was possibly more annoying last night than he has ever been.

  12. darclyte says:

    I had wanted Idol to hire Babyface as a judge, so it was nice seeing him here…and boy, how I wish they had replaced Randy with him. Another person who I suggested is LA Reid who will be a judge on X Factor.

    Jacob looked ridiculous. I liked that it wasn’t “typical Jacob,” as it wasn’t “Gospelly.” Yeah, I just invented that word. What of it? I thought that he sounded ok at times, showed restraints, and looked to be having fun. I still didn’t much care for it and FF thru it. Once I heard the judges, I had to go back to watch the whole thing,but it wasn’t worth it.

    I’m tired of Lauren’s nervous giggle at the end of nearly every song she sings. She never fully connects with her songs and her eyes dart around. I thought that the last 2 weeks she had finally connected with her songs and stayed focused, but not last night. And what was with the random guy she brought on stage? She’s 16, he’s 19, and Ryan made sure to point out the creepiness of that. I read that the kid was clearly a plant as he left after her performance using the doors that are off limits to the public and are used by the production. Think where James and the drummers entered from last week. Also, when she went for the first batch of big notes as she went down the stairs, the backup singers sang so loudly that they nearly masked her foibles. Nearly. I bet that the Idol production did that to try to help “cover” her. With only 6 left, she could be in the Bottom 3 for the first time and I think she maybe should be, but she won’t. She looked nice.

    Haley & Casey did the best duet, but was it necessary? She sounded MUCH better here than in her solo, but then so did Casey and he didn’t do much singing. Steven was the only judge to comment here due to time constraints.

    I think this was my favorite Scotty performance yet. It wasn’t country at all, even though his twang came out at times. It was the kind of crossover song that could make him and Idol millions of dollars. I like that he barely had any low notes, he held the mic correctly, he didn’t make weird eyebrow moves, and it wasn’t a “Scotty” performance that we’ve grown used to. This was >this< close to an "Idol Moment."

    Speaking of "Idol Moments," I think James had one. Yes, you're pretty much out on an island here. Almost all of the comments that I've read pick this as the best of the night, and one of the best of the year. The funny thing is that at the end, he's on stage holding a guitar getting heaps of praise and I'm thinking, "Oh no, another WGWG might win!" WGWG means White Guy With Guitar. That's who's won the past 3 years, and a 4th time would be Nigel's worst nightmare.

    Scotty and Lauren's third (!!!) duet of this season wasn't as good as their last one, but better than their first one. Lauren did MUCH better here than in her solo, while Scotty was more "old Scotty" and was just ok.

    I thought Casey started off good, and I thought that it was gonna be a cool, "smooth jazz" take on the song. I loved the piano tinkling and the interplay with the other musicians, but then it all fell apart. He went back to his angry stalking of the stage, smacking hands instead of shaking them, and had the angry face and too much growl. It's telling that NONE of the judges commented on his singing, only his performance. If he got booted before for this type of performance, it could happen again.

    I like Haley as a person. She seems to know a LOT about music, and not just "current" songs. She seems odd, interesting, and fun. She has a nice voice. I don't think she knows how to perform though, and her solo was just off. I think the technical problem might have thrown everything off as it all seemed rushed including the judging. I read that the technical problem was her ear piece fell into her dress.

    James & Jacob KNEW that this was going to be a disaster. Had Jacob gone home last week as I had hoped instead of Stefano, this would have been so much better. As it was, they had a LOT of fun with it, and James sounded pretty good. At times, their voices did blend, but rarely. This wasn't the song for Jacob's voice.

    Bottom 3 will be Jacob for sure. Most likely Haley, although going so late might help her. The third will either be Casey or Lauren with an outside shot of BOTH of them instead of Haley. Jacob should go home this week and the Idol people tried their best to guarantee it by having him go first. Almost every poll, website, blog, recap, review, and comments that I've read peg Jacob to be the one going.

    • chriss says:

      Ditto to everything you said. I’m so disappointed in Casey – I loved him at the beginning of the season, and he’s gradually pushed me away. I thought last night’s performance was going to be a great version of the song, but the minute he threw his hat away, he threw the rest of the performance away with it.
      Also, the duet between J & J – I loved how James seemed to have an “Okay, I’m stuck singing with this guy. I might as well have fun with it” kind of attitude. That was the only redeeming thing about it for me. Hopefully, Jacob will finally be gone after tonight.

  13. Robyn says:

    my favourite male idol tackling material by a female artist was anoop in season 8 doing cyndi lauper’s true colours – still listen to it on my ipod :)

    and i think we would all like to see slezak’s playlist of empowerment anthems so we can copy it for the gym!

    • blingedup.susan says:

      I’m with you on this! Would LOVE to see Michael’s playlist of empowerment anthems. (Hint, hint.)

  14. RTW says:

    If I could describe last night’s show in two words, it would be: Big Pimpin.

  15. jazzy says:

    I think James performed the best song of the entire Idol season last night. I hope he does more melodic rock like that in the future, it showed his fun side and he didn’t seem to be trying so hard with the showmanship, it just flowed.

    OK, here’s where a lot of you will disagree, I liked Jacob, the suit, the attitude, the song.

    My guess is that Casey is going home. Exactly right Slezak, 45 seconds in the growl came back to haunt us and wouldn’t go away.

  16. Debbie M says:

    Fizbo the Clown. Too funny. Anyway, Scotty sounded great with that laid back version. Went to iTunes this morning and it is a TOTALLY different version. More uptempo and very country. I’ve also read that a lot of people had trouble getting through on Scotty’s phone numbers and were getting some phone sex line instead. Didn’t that happen a few years back and they had to do a re-vote? It would suck if he got in the bottom because of a screwed up voting system (not that the voting system isn’t screwed up enough as it is.)

    James gave me a flashback to Bo’s shining moment. I don’t know why more of them don’t ever go completely a capella because I’m sure most of them are more than capable of it. The audience seems to love it.

    • SSC says:

      For Jacob, my thought was PeeWee Herman! Even looked like PeeWee when he was “dancing” (or a little boy who really needs to go the bathroom!)

  17. manylayers says:

    SO frustrated with the over production this season…I’m to the point of feeling badly for Lauren…she’s not my favorite, but it’s like the producers are treating her like their life size barbie doll…spackle her with make up…choose terrible songs…and dress her up in…ugh….

    I recall feeling for Kris Allen as I do for Haley…he was so GOOD and the judges were just mellow about it..then they were shocked to see him at the end of the season.

    America generally knows what it’s doing.

    disappointed for the judges..they started off so good in Hollywood…blaming that on over-production too.

    • janie says:

      Lauren is 16 years old.. the producers cannot do anything to her without getting approval from her mom.. have you seen her mom?? makeup spackle and tacky dresses seem to run in the family.

  18. Li-Li says:

    I find it almost comical that after they sing, the contestants look to the judges nervously, as if they will offer ANYthing critical. Can you even IMAGINE what Simon would have said to this group? They are all good, yes, but Simon would have had them shivering in their boots, and making them work to improve. I can’t imagine Simon giving Lauren a pass every week – she really is very ordinary. J-Lo and Steven Tyler are as good as Ellen – you just expect them to say something treacly and totally ignore any negative aspects of the performance. The judges are so obviously just basking in their own star-power. I think that Haley is the only one with real star quality. She’s beautiful and has a unique and amazing instrument. I can’t imagine the finale without her.

    • Petra says:

      No, the whole schtick of Cowell and Dioguardi was cutting down and sabotaging performers they didn’t like (Kris Allen, Allison Iraheta, Siobhan Magnus, Casey James) while going over the top for pets (Archie, Gokey, Big Mike, Lambert, Lee Dewyze).
      Cowell was NOT about improving performers, but belittling his non-faves to hopefully diminish their performances so his annointed faves would be in the Top 2.
      And Kara was worse. She hated any female singer not named Bowersox on the two seasons we were stuck with her as a judge. And Kara went from “cougar!”cheerleader to saboteur of Casey James in one week’s time.

  19. LilBubba says:

    You nailed these performances, Michael. I rarely agree with you so much, but yes. You got it. I’m not a fan of James, but he was my favorite of the night, maybe because that’s one of my favorite songs of all time. But I thought he was amazing. I also have to give credit to Scotty. I didn’t know he had that in him, frankly. I’m still mad frustrated with Lauren.

    I can’t believe I’m going to say this, because I literally have such an aversion to Jacob that his voice gives me seizures, but I enjoyed his duet with James. Maybe because the tone of it was light and James was there to balance out Jacob’s ridiculata.

  20. Muffy says:

    Jacob killed it dead and not in a good way

  21. CAT says:

    Jacob – Nice to see him move a little and go uptempo, but he had a lot of pitch problems. His voice has amazing power and tone, but no control. And it was a struggle to look at his awful outfit without wanting to throw up!
    Lauren – LOSE THE BOOTS!!!! THEY DON’T GO WITH A BEAUTIFUL DRESS!!! I thought this particular song showed how limited her vocal range really is. Her voice was cracking all over the place (and, unlike Steven, I don’t think that’s a GOOD thing!) and the ending, with the little giggle, was really weak.
    Scotty – The arrangement with the strings was beautiful. All the affectations that seem to bother people so much (the sideways microphone, twitching eyebrow and sidelong glances) were gone. He strayed a little TOO much from what has become a classic melody, but his vocals were excellent.
    James – By the way, sir, there is a “T” at the end of the word “tonight”! But his voice sounded wonderful, which a lot of people have failed to pick up on, even after “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Maybe I’m Amazed”. Except for the last “tomorrow”, I think he overdid the high notes, but he is my new favorite, now that Pia’s gone (go figure!)
    Casey – The hat looked ridiculous–it made his head look ENORMOUS! I loved his PERFORMANCE (particularly the hat into the audience and the little piano riffs at the beginning), but he hardly sang–he just talked loud and snarled. Time for this guy to go, but VFTW will probably keep him here for another week at least. (Nigel, another reason to limit votes to only a few per number!)
    Haley – Fabulous, except for way too much melisma at the end.

    The duets were fairly negligible. Time to cut the show down to an hour on Wednesdays! I actually enjoyed James and Jacob the most because they were just having so much fun, and they sang mostly solo lines instead of really badly pitched harmonies like Lauren and Scotty.

    • Jonathan says:

      Had we seen Casey play piano before? That impressed me. I do wish he’d reign it in, though. I know he can sound great, early on he impressed me with his control and the variety of tones he could conivincingly (and tastefully) use, but his growly improv has definitely aged poorly and is seeming a bit lazy. He’s still more entertaining than several other finalists at this point.

      • j. says:

        I agree the piano was the one and only great moment of Casey’s performance. I sure wish that talented kid was getting some guidance. What a disservice they are doing him.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Don’t forget the hat! The hat was good.

          how great would that song have been had Casey just sat at the piano and proceded to SING THE SONG.

  22. JJ says:

    I am sick to death of Randy saying negative things about ONLY Haley. Verbal dung. Exactly!

    • Lyn says:

      YES, especially after what felt like 20 minutes of fawning over Lauren and her sudden, phony-baloney self-esteem trauma. That said, though — Haley picked one of my least favorite CK songs. With so many touching, wrenching, jazzy and soulful songs to choose from, why pick that cheery-bland one?!? And since each of the guys has a built-in constituency and Lauren is being inexplicably promoted by the judges & show, I’m afraid Haley will go home tonight.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Lyn, I agree. I spent many years as a teenager singing songs from the “Tapestry” album into a hairbrush mic, and “Beautiful” was my least favorite tune. Still is! I love Haley and wish she’d chosen just about anything else.

  23. says:

    One more thing……

    WHY did they change Scotty’s performance from the beautiful arrangement on the live show to that jaunty Hee-Haw version that is on itunes? Why?

  24. Cornelle says:

    I went all “The Voice” on this week’s Idol show and closed my eyes to listen to the singers. Here’s my “blind” review:
    1) Jacob: Ouch, make it stop.
    2) Lauren: Why is she still here?
    3) Scotty: probably sealed his spot in the finals
    4) James: probably won and should win the whole thing.
    5) Casey: Oh, dear
    6) Haley: “Fine”

    • Sabrina says:

      I have done this for years when I don’t seem to “get” why people like someone. I think it can help to get over their annoying habits and tics as well as to really focus on the vocals. But AI is not about good voices as Simon liked to say, it is about the performance as well. And this year the performances are often tentative, over produced and sometimes just painful (Jacob) to watch.

    • julie says:

      “Oh dear” is right! I could barely recognize Carole King’s songs last night. Casey has been the one I’d been rooting for and most looking forward to — expecting a musically enlightened rendition of one of King’s great tunes … and what a total disappointment!!! He took one of her least memorable numbers, wore a ridiculous costume, and ground up the song, whatever it was supposed to be, into an absolute caricature of I don’t know what. What a lost opportunity with a great songbook! (And the judges didn’t say a word! Shame on them!)
      Simon would have said, “From your song-choice to your half-baked singing to your over-cooked performance — everything was bad about this.” I predict Casey will be sent home.

  25. OK says:

    Please, please Jacob go home.

  26. Tracy says:

    I’d had been thinking that Lauren sounded much better in the duet than in her solo and was glad to have that impression validated by Slezak’s (as always brilliant) review. So why was that? Less nerves? Less worrying about moving around the stage? Whatever it is, I wish she would do it all the time (since I’m expecting her to stick around regardless of my preference for other contestants).

  27. adamfan says:

    Scotty bores me, I know what he will sound like even before he opens his mouth for the first note.
    I have been a fan of James since day one and feel that there is something very special about his voice, a nice tenderness,vulnerability,a very ear friendly tone. I really enjoy him.
    Too bad that Lauren seems to be loosing her mojo, I hope that this whole story that Nigel seems to be creating, of a girl who overcame the odds, will not hurt her.
    Casey, I don’t get him. Yes, he did show great promise in Hollywood, but has been iffy since. He reminds me of an angry preacher from the south when he sings.

    Is Mr. Tayler even interested in the tiniest bit in being there?
    Babyface was actually very good, maybe he can kick Jimmy out of his seat and just finish the season.

  28. Ann Marie says:

    All I could think of when Casey came out in the fedora was that he’s been reading Michael’s reviews and decided that the magical hat might save him! On another note, I’ve been searching all season but haven’t been able to see the ‘awesome talent’ that’s been talked about (and pushed down our throats) regarding this group…to me they’re all just average and that’s about it….pretty much all on the same plane (to nowhere)….I haven’t been able to find a favorite in this bunch and I truly have been trying…. but last night I finally saw something special and it was in James…I loved it! PS….was your review a little late today Slezak?….or was I just anxiously waiting?

    • Jonathan says:

      Memory is getting fuzzy, but as I recall he was phenomenal on everyhing up until Vegas (especially “Georgia on My Mind,”) and I thought “With a Little Help From My Friends” was great during the finals, but most of the rest has been middling (admittedly I enjoyed “Harder to Breathe” a lot but I can see why it’s polarizing).

  29. Margie says:

    If you want proof that the “producers” have screwed with this season, go listen to Scottie’s studio of You’ve Got A Friend. That studio is a JOKE and so obviously not Scottie. It sounds like the only place it could be performed is a square-dancing hoe-down.
    Whatever and however that song came to be performed the way it was last night is either a testament to the television producers or Scottie himself because instead of being one of his best studios, it is far and away his worst.

    • Caroline says:

      You know, what is it that they don’t get about overproduction?? NO ONE LIKES IT!!! Can you hear us now????
      There is something compelling and real about a live performance, I’ve always preferred them to the vanilla recordings. Except when the person is a no talent that for whatever reason is being pimped out and they can’t deliver in reality.
      I am a huge Adam Lambert fan, but I have to say this, his live shows far far surpassed his cd music, because they just cleaned it up (as if he needed it) toooo much. There was a lot of soul and emotion missing there, and I am praying the new one will rememdy and not repeat that.
      Why are we always trying to focus on one, or even a few, bad notes?? Not very many, no make that no one is pitch perfect every single note they sing, and when they clean it up for the studio it’s just boooorrrrriiiinnnnggg. I like to hear the character in the voice, that’s what makes it real.
      Now if they are consistently off key, then they shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

      • agrimesy says:

        I totally agree with you. I’m sick of over production in the music industry. ALL Adam Lambert’s live performances are far and away superior to the studio recordings. I listen to his acoustic EP and GNT Live CD often! In interviews, Adam has stated that he is aware FYE was over produced and that he intends to remedy that by puttting the vocal up front where it belongs. Unfortunately, there are way too many “artists” these days who can’t really sing and need autotune and drum tracks to hide that fact. They are vocalists but not really SINGERS in my book.

  30. Greggggggg says:

    James channeling Axl Rose singing a Carole King song? No thanks…

  31. Jake says:

    I thought Haley was the best of the night, followed very closely by James. Scotty wasn’t bad, but I didn’t connect the way Slezak did, and found it a bit sleepy. Lauren was good but not great, I enjoyed Casey for the most part, and Jacob was the worst again. He should be going home, but I have a bad feeling it might be Haley…

  32. hooch says:

    I laughted when Randy said “turn the other cheek”. Ohhh Randy, that was dumb.
    I also laughed when Scotty corrected Lauren for thinking “how do you two complement each other” meant “what compliments do give each other?” haha! Cute.
    My favorite performance of the night was Lauren’s performance in the duet with Scotty. Seriously — why didn’t she sing that as her solo ?? She sounded awesome. I think she should stop doing that shimmy dance she does constantly when she performs. It looks childish. She really does pick the bad songs (for this contest). Aside from Candle in the Wind on Elton John week, and the first week when she did the Reba song, I can’t remember anything she’s done.
    I hope Haley doesn’t go home! But I didn’t love her performance this week.
    I enjoyed Scotty’s the most. James was good also but I think he’s getting a little cocky — which I used to say about Scotty but he appears to be toning it down lately.
    Please let Jacob be going home.

  33. Paco says:

    I thought Lauren bringing that guy up onto the stage and then ignoring him for the rest of the song till the very end was soooooooooo awkward. I literally couldnt believe that she just brought him up for no reason, then left him there…

    • dp says:

      that random guy wasn’t random at all. The producers arranged for him to be there, he apparently exited the studio after lauren’s performance.

  34. Nancy says:

    If Lauren doesn’t pull it together Scotty and James will be the final two. Btw did anyone see how uncomfortable Scotty was when Ryan tried to inmply that he was having a showmance with Lauren. I was laughing so hard to see his face turn a ghostly white.

  35. JVC says:

    Haley completed the trio of good performances. I have to place here second w/ James because the broadcast was interrupted repeatedly and I missed all but the last few seconds of james’ performance (I’ll watch it later today). But I have heard it was great so I’ll give him that. Until then, scotty is the best of the night to me, because he instantly got my attention and I’ve heard the song before I just couldn’t remember the name of it. So if i guy should win the 4th year in a row (ugh) it should be Scottie because we need to break the chain of white guy rockers (kris allen being part rocker) w/ guitars. As for going home: Casey Abrhams. I’m sorry I’ve tried keeping an open mind about him (I’m still bummed we lost Pia) but he went back to the performance that almost got him eliminated. In fact between this week and last week he’s gone back to the same pattern of performances that led to his almost ouster. And I’m really getting pissed at the judges for praising him. I know they like casey but just because they like him doesn’t me they should praise him even when he isn’t great. So I’m pretty much done w/ Casey but should he somehow survive this, Jacob will go home. I did feel bad for him, and I hated the way duets were handled. They should’ve paired them up randomly. Oh well. Bottom 3: Lauren, Casey, and Jacob. Going home: Casey or Jacob.

  36. agrimesy says:

    I voted for Haley alone, but I think she’s still going to hit bottom three. Her entire package and performance was set against her with only one exception. Babyface called her an artist. He saw how quickly and capably she responded to his direction. I do think I detected a glimmer in his eye that looked a lot like dollar signs. Please, worthy producer of pop music, take this angel under your wing and make her a star! Unfortunately, the ear piece fail, the drowned out band, Randy’s “verbal dung” (thanks for that image Slezak), and Ryan’s rush to get the final duet on stage all diminished Haley’s performance. She sang fine, but the whole thing lacked continuity. I really hope Haley goes forward.
    I’m worried about Lauren emotionally because EVERYTHING makes her cry these days. I actually agreed with the judges that her squeaks and breaks are vocally interesting. I don’t think her confidence got boosted for pushing herself, though. I think it still scares her to death. It really could be a bottom three for her this week.
    Jacob has totally lost me now. He sang well, but it wasn’t enough. I didn’t enjoy his vocal or his stage presence.
    Scotty, as I feared is not really a very good singer. I am glad he explored his upper range, but when he tries to hold a note, it just abruptly ends like he didn’t gauge the air control correctly. It won’t matter, though. There are lots of successful entertainers in the music industry who don’t sing that well.
    James should have chosen a different song. “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” is about a girl feeling pressure from her boyfriend to have sex. I know it’s totally sexist of me, but James playing some vulnerable teen who’s unsure if his girlfriend wants to take advantage of him just made me shake my head. As far as the acoustic part, I like it when James sounds like Axel Rose. I wish he would do just one song without screeching. His wail is not melodious. I also think he was very uncomfortable with the hug from Randy. He went from celebratory to introverted in seconds flat. He started randomly strumming his guitar while Ryan yacked on. It was awkward.
    Casey is the one I want to go home. If he is talented, he certainly has no idea how to deliver without antics. He’s annoying.
    One last note. The relationship teasing and fan crush crap was totally inappropriate. What were they thinking?

  37. AJ says:

    I was truly glad to see Scotty and James finally step up to the plate last night. Now at least I’ll have some reason to keep watching if the horribly inaccurate (but incredibly likely) elimination of Haley takes place tonight. If only that damn band would have taken it down about 10 notches, her performance might have been brilliant. There were times where I was sure she was singing beautifully but it was almost impossible to hear over bandzilla. I hope America has the common sense to see she’s miles ahead of Casey, Jacob, and even Lauren despite the show’s pimping of them, but I’m not counting on it. Anyways, truly the best show since Pia’s been gone. My rankings:

    1. Scotty – A- (and I was totally ready to give up on him by last week)
    2. James – B+ (as Slezak said, beginning was GENIUS, but I thought the rest was just good. Could have been THE performance of the season if he had done the whole thing acapella)
    3. Haley – B+
    4. Lauren – B- (so sick of her failing to come even close to her full potential every single week. I think she really needs the wake up call of a B3 placement)
    5. Casey – C
    6. Jacob – C (actually, possibly his best of the whole season, but even then he’s still worst of the night)

  38. Paloma Pigeon says:

    Sigh. I hate to say it. I love Casey, but Jacob was better last night. I think Casey is going home.

    I do not get all the praise for Scotty. I don’t think he connected emotionally to the song AT ALL.

    • CAT says:

      It really doesn’t matter. If there’s any sanity in this world at all (although that’s totally doubtful), Casey or Jacob will go this week and the other will go next week. Then Lauren and Haley will go and… sigh… we’ll have yet another all male final. The only reason I think Jacob will go first is that Vote for the Worst has chosen Casey as their successor to Paul. Casey really was over the top awful last night.

  39. GIgi says:

    The back up brass or back up band was too loud and overpowered Haley’s voice

    Here we go again with Haley being sabotaged

    Please Haley next time insist to the producers that you want to go pella or acoustic or simple piano and try a slow performance

    • Bat Country says:

      It sounded to me like they turned her mic down right at the beginning of the performance…

    • j. says:

      Yes, Haley should have done this with just piano. Another point the judges could have made and didn’t.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      That was my comment earlier. someone gave Phil Spector and his Wall of Sound a week-long pass from prison. Haley started singing and here came the Wall of Sound! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!

  40. suki says:

    “little cups of sad cole slaw”—-oh, I love it!!!

  41. hi says:

    wait…i’m so shocked everyone thought lauren was good on her duet with scotty…everyone in my house heard her yelling those big notes and it sounded terrible! she was completely shutting scotty out by overpowering him with her off notes. she needs to go

  42. Paco says:

    Whoever picked James Durbin’s outfit for his duet needs to be fired, that was not flattering on him at all.

  43. abc123 says:

    Oh, how I missed Pia Toscano when it was time for James’ duet. How perfectly their voices gelled together… That pairing would have been just as sweet and compatible as Haley/Casey or Lauren/Scotty. Jacob never should have made it this far. And with those three perfect couples, they could have just declared the season over right then and there and given the contestants their record deals… One can dream, can’t one? ;)

    James had a true Idol moment last night. Haley had two, with Bennie and the Jetts and Moanin. Casey’s was Nature Boy. The other three didn’t really have one.

    Bottom three: Lauren, Casey, Jacob. Bottom two: Casey, Jacob. Eliminated: Jacob.

  44. RTW says:

    Off topic, but my prayers to those facing those devastating storms down south; I’m praying for your safety more than Jacob’s elimination, and that’s a lot of praying! Okay, now on to some things I noticed:
    – Lauren has a strange tendency to not give full eye-contact during her performances with Scotty or to that boyfriend prop. Also, she still seems to be very emotionally fragile even when receiving positive “critiques”. She has a beautiful voice but it feels like it’s being underutilized. Also, like Thia, does she fully understand what she’s singing?
    – Scotty does seem to strain his voice when reaching a higher register, reminiscent of Stephano. It needs to be effortless. It was just good for me.
    – Haley did well, but I wasn’t a fan of the song choice. If she really wants an Idol moment and if she wants to be taken seriously as an artist, she needs to sing a serious song. We’re not seeing enough maturity on this show song-wise, so if she can sing an inspirational or serious ballad of some sort, she will turn heads.
    – James did very well. I enjoyed hearing him sing than screeching. This is the type of performance that will distinguish him from Adam Lambert because it showed skill and artistry. Best of the night in my opinion (and I didn’t need effin Randy to say or show me that).
    – I think Casey’s done a 360 and has gone back to performance #1. I love the guy, will buy him his first beer, but at this stage in the game, my votes need to go to the next AI, and that performance did him no favors I’m afraid.
    – Jacob. I honestly don’t remember anything from his performance except that costume.
    – As for the duets, loved Casey and Haley’s. What a great couple on and off stage, they work and sound well together. Ironically, Casey sounds great on the studio recording, wish he’d bring that on stage. I mentioned that Lauren has trouble with eye contact in her duet, but she also out performed Scotty. Scotty had some real harmonizing problems. As for Jacob and James, as Michael mentioned, I too just blank out. What a disservice to James, ah well, it is “Producer’s Idol” anyhow.

    • Irishize says:

      (quote) – James did very well. I enjoyed hearing him sing than screeching. This is the type of performance that will distinguish him from Adam Lambert because it showed skill and artistry. Best of the night in my opinion (and I didn’t need effin Randy to say or show me that).(endquote)
      Obviously, you are not a fan of Adam, and that’s ok. But I have to take exception to saying that he has no skill or artistry, if you really believe that and are one of the people who are always referring to his “screeching” then you have also obviously never really listened to much of his music. He has one of the most lovely and technically correct voices out there. Did you really find “Mad World”, “Tracks of my Tears”, “If I can’t have you”, etc to be without skill or artistry?? Seriously??
      At least I am able to own up to the fact that I didn’t really care for James in the beginning, and with the weeks going on, I have come to see him as much better than I first perceived, probably now my favorite of those left.
      And I was one who made the Adam/James comparisons, and while I still think he is somewhat following in his footsteps with his look and style, I’m no longer seeing that as neccesarily a bad thing. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery….

      • RTW says:

        Let me try to make this as clear as I can because I think you totally misread me. My comment was not a knock on Adam AT ALL. It’s undeniable that James is comparable to Adam, but the point I was trying to make was I liked James’ rendition of this song. He made it his own and was true to himself, which I feel sets him apart from walking in Adam’s footsteps. That’s all that I meant.

        • Joe says:

          And you are right to say that. Mad Mad World was the one time we really got the genuine Adam Lambert on Idol. everything else was a show or a put on for the sake of being showy – like showing off.

          With James, he does similar things, but there is an authenticity to them; even when overdone, you get the feeling he does it because it is truly what he feels and how he envisions it – its an extension of himself, while most of Adams performances on idol, while technically amazing, just also had a sense of detachment.

          You can easily tell this is the truth because the music Adam has made post idol is a LOT more genuine, and there is a real connection there in his album. But comparing Idol to Idol and their time there, I actually am finding myself enjoying James as an artist more, and thing the lack of authenticity is ultimately why Adam didn’t take home the prize.

          • JC says:

            Totally agree with you as to why Adam did not win the season. No doubt Adam has the talent….but Simon was right in his criticsms of Adam when he told him he was very cabaret….like an Actor playing a rocker. I still believe theater is the right stage for Adam. I also understand why Adam was guarded and unwilling to take us to that genuine place… is a Mad world after all. To be fair, in retrospect Adams Mad World, Black and White, Change is gonna come….make more sense now that he is forthright about his sexuality….but that was confusing to America compared to American Pie familiarity of the eventual winner. While James is not American Pie, he is 100% authentic. Authentic as rocker, talented as a singer, and transcends story telling by actually taking us with him to what he’s feeling while performing. I have not understood why so many Adam fans have felt threatened by James’ success….but I think this is part of the reason. My view…neither of these guys are wannabees. James is a rocker. Adam is an actor. They both are terrific entertainers.

          • Robin says:

            Wow! Interesting opinions and I love how we can watch the same thing and see/feel different things, because if we were comparing the two, I have found james to be disconnected, different strokes for different folks…

  45. wordgirl says:

    Am I the only one who did not enjoy Scotty? One of my all time favorite songs and I just didn’t get it.
    James totally owned the night and in a season where I haven’t yet found a favorite, I think he might finally be the one.
    Please dump Iovine and all the producers. They’re the reason we haven’t had any “moments” this season.

    • JJ says:

      No, you are NOT the only one! If you didn’t “get it” last night,wait until you go to iTunes and listen to the Yee-haw, square-dancin’ butchering of one of our all time favorite songs!! It’s just awful.

  46. carla says:

    I’m sorry but I’m so mad Casey got the save. He is obnoxious to watch, never quite understood why he was so fantastic in the first place. After last night’s “song” and I put it in quotes because he was not actually singing, I am praying that he is sent right to the dreaded stools. He needs to get off his high horse, stop oogling over the fan mail, and lay down the act right now because it doesn’t make him likable to sing like a serial killer one week, get one step away from groping J.Lo another week, to a caterwalling growl and moan fest that was so uncomfortable I had to look away..

    Casey, please leave the growling to your girl Haley, who I voted for about 8,000 times.

  47. Aubry says:

    Oh so last night James put on his Cook Halloween suit and ya all love him. A poser is a poser and when will James do something unique and not copy former idols?

    Loved Scotty. Loved Haley

    Did not like Casey or Jacob

    • Irishize says:

      There’s some merit to what you say. I had been saying it all along ;)
      But although last night might have brought to mind Cooks “Billie Jean” moment, I still think he finally had a real connect to the song moment going last night. I really enjoyed that performance, and I had not been a big fan until recently.
      As for the Adam/James and Cook/James comparisons, well, I can’t really argue with that, there is something to the fact that he dressed and sang like Adam in the beginning, then changed it up with the slow down, maybe trying for a “mad world” moment, and this week, the look, the hair was def reminiscent of Cook, but maybe the boy just can’t seem to find his own hook yet, maybe he’s just trying to ” walk in the paths of greatness” hahahaaaa loopy Paula reference.
      I’m ready to give James a chance, I think he’s really trying, really trying to show us that he’s versatile, that he wants this, versus some who just are determined to do what they do and force us to like it :::coughCasey::: or I am so gonna make me a country cd when I’m done here so I could care less ::scotty::: or if you don’t like my caterwauling it’s cause you’re racist and can’t look yourself in the mirror:::Jacob:::

    • JamesFTW says:

      Aubry, What are you smokin? James has brought a new variety into Idol, heavy metal, Judas Priest, etc..Just because he is a white guy with guitar you think he is a copy cat? Please…..And because he has a scream that is way better rock edge than Adam’s, he is perceived to be copying Adam? SMH…

      • JC says:

        Totally agree with you on the freshness and new energy James has brought to the Idol stage…not to mention the millions of new viewers who have joined the “give metal a chance” movement. If you are going to accuse James of copying someone, then at least have it be someone who was original. David Cooke version of Billie Jean…was a copy of someone elses cover. Adam’s hairstyle and wardrobes had all been worn before by other flamboyant performers who were imitating rockers. By no means was he first. In contrast last nights version of WYSLMT was totally fresh. If you look at James youTube performances from years past, you’ll see that he has been making cover songs his own for years….and his influences are the original artist. If anything…the one comparison that rings true for me is how emotionally connected his fans are. It is similar to the fanbase of another underdog from season 5. Both James and Elliott are the real deal….”good souls” who have struggled through life….but have god given talent.

        • Robin says:

          It is very hard for me to buy your assessment of James when it is on the back of dismissing Adam, too bad, because James might be a decent sort instead of the poseur he appears to be…

        • JC says:

          My intention is not to dismiss Adam at all. In fact I do not understand why he is even mentioned here. My point is that it makes no sense to say that James is “copying” any recent idols when you can look back and see that what he’s doing on idol stage is something he has been doing for years. My other point is that all artist have influences including Adam and David… I can’t go along with calling one a poser and not the others. Finally I believe that James’ fans are growing in terms of their “emotional connection” to him and it is not because of his backstory, and not necessarily because of his god given talent, but rather because of the pure joy and pure emotion of his performance. For me…its authentic.

  48. StorytellerGal says:

    First, I love that you used the word “flummoxed” – make the reader think a little! I think you might have a little English teacher in you…. Second, anyone else want to see a Jacob / Lauren duet? I think his tendency to caterwaul might force her to bring her A game for once. She’d HAVE to push herself to keep up.

  49. julie says:

    I could barely recognize Carole King’s songs last night. Casey has been the one I’ve been rooting for, and who I was most looking forward to last night — expecting a musically enlightened rendition of one of King’s great tunes … and what a total disappointment!!! He took one of her least memorable numbers, wore a ridiculous costume, and ground up the song, whatever it was supposed to be, into an absolute caricature of I don’t know what. What a lost opportunity with a great songbook! (And the judges didn’t say a word! Shame on them!)

    • Julie says:

      Simon would have said, “From your song-choice to your half-baked singing to your over-cooked performance — everything was bad about this.” I predict Casey will be sent home.

  50. Black mad woman says:

    U are all racist! Team jacob and james