American Idol Recap: 'Rising' and Shining

At the end of American Idol‘s Top 5 performance show, I wasn’t sure whether I should pick up my phone to text-message votes on behalf of Haley Reinhart or use it to dial 911. On one hand, I wanted to reward Haley for getting up on the Idol stage and delivering the single best musical moment of Season 10 — and a second performance that would probably rank only a few slots behind. Conversely, though, I had just witnessed the judges’ panel committing criminal acts of foolery, vandalism, and perjury — and I wanted them hurled headlong into Reality TV Prison to rot indefinitely alongside disgraced former cast members of Joe Millionaire, Flavor of LoveReal World-Road Rules Challenge.

I mean, seriously, we had Randy Jackson implying that Jacob Lusk is a better singer than Season 6 champ Jordin Sparks. (Sure, I can pause for a second while you contemplate that statement, then ram your fist through the wall a few times.) We had Jennifer Lopez discouraging Haley Reinhart from taking musical risks. And then we had to endure everybody ignoring James Durbin’s borderline disastrous twinset of performances because he’s got a wife and a child and tears in his eyes and, well, Nigel Lythgoe’s not about to let actual singing get in the way of a good story arc, now is he?

Yeah, I realize the judges tried to play a “Get Out of Jail Free” card with a last-minute Standing O for Haley’s second number, but even that bit of praise was defined more by what the judges didn’t say — no acknowledgment that her performance was among the season’s best, no indicator that Haley had positioned herself as a contestant with a chance to make the finale — than anything else.

What I resent most of all, though, is that the judges’ shoddy treatment of Haley almost ruined what was an otherwise solid night of music. It’s not my idea of a good time to develop a tension headache over the course of a 90-minute telecast that ends with me raging against the TV set with indignant questions like “HOW DARE YOU EVEN SPEAK TO HER?” and “WHAT IS YOUR ENDGAME, YOU EVIL #^@&*^%$#*@#S?” Oh, sure, I understand that for whatever reason, the endgame is a James-Lauren-Scotty final three, I just don’t understand how Nigel Lythgoe & Co. got the idea into their heads that we want to watch a confident, talented young woman get bandied about like a holiday piñata week after maddening week. At this rate, if Haley survives the cut and cracks the Top 4, Nigel should just be up front with his agenda and ship her to the set of ABC’s Wipeout for next week’s show. There, she can sing her guts out while a gigantic foam club brutally pelts her about the face and head before dumping her into a tank of water. Fun for the whole family!

‘The Voice’ Recap: Second Chance Sweepstakes

Okay, I digress too much — and probably too furiously. Let’s move forward like my therapist might suggest and review tonight’s performances — based on a “Now & Then” theme of one current track, and one track from the 1960s — shall we?

James Durbin: 30 Seconds to Mars’ “Closer to the Edge”
Over the last few weeks, I’ve slowly but surely begun to appreciate James’ talents as a vocalist and an energetic entertainer, even started thinking of him as a potentially viable Season 10 winner, but this particular performance was a hot, honeyed mess. On the opening verse, James’ voice disappeared like it had been wrapped in Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, and even when he reached his comfort zone of big, howling power notes, he still had problems singing in tune. (That glory note delivered with upside-down mic was particularly unpleasant.) And yet, the judges’ praise was so effusive, I started wondering if they were speaking in some kind of weird code. (Actually, if you roll tape, not a single member of the panel said anything about him delivering a great vocal, but instead spoke of James’ general awesomeness, as well as new-age niceties like grabbing it and wanting it and being in it to win it.) Perhaps the richest comment of the evening, though, came when Randy declared, “Dude, probably not everyone was understanding when you said you were gonna sing 30 Seconds to Mars…” So let’s get this straight: It’s okay for James to sing a song that a good chunk of the Idol audience might not know, but a completely different set of rules applies to Haley? As long as we all know where we stand, Dawg.

Jacob Lusk: Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown’s “No Air”
I’ll give Jacob this much: The guy was completely and indisputably believable tonight as he delivered the lines “Can’t breathe! No air!” (Badum bum.) In all seriousness, though, “No Air” was one of the worst performances we’ve seen on the Idol stage in 10 weeks of live shows. Clad in his Dalton Academy “away game” blazer, Jacob punctuated his off-pitch shriek-fest by grabbing at his crotch area and punching at the air like a malfunctioning robot attempting to recreate portions of Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” choreography. (He also clutched his mic in a way that one of his fingers was intermittently/uncomfortably pointed straight at his nostril — not that you probably wanted reminding.) Naturally, this catastrophic performance had J.Lo encouraging more of the same, praising Jacob as having one of the best voices to ever grace the Idol stage — let’s pause for fans of Fantasia, Kelly, Carrie, Adam, Kris, Allison, J.Hud, Clay, the Davids (Cook and Archie), and even Kendra Chantelle to take a quick profanity break — and yapping about some master plan to get him to the final three, perhaps even the final two. (If this happens, I’m going to buy a copy of J.Lo’s new Love? album and set it on fire during the Idoloonies season finale. It should be in the bargain bin by then, right?) When Randy disagreed that Jacob should attempt to swim in Chris Brown and Usher’s musical lane, the contestant himself responded with a typically self-important, “I think I’m an artist who appeals to everybody.”

Greatest Idol Performance: Round 2 Begins With Blake Vs. Bo,
Elliott Vs. Ruben, Plus Adam Lambert, David Cook, & More!

Lauren Alaina: Carrie Underwood’s “Flat on the Floor”
I wish Lauren had taken Sheryl Crow’s advice to just stand in a strong position on the stage and sing it, but at least she kept the movement to a minimum and explored the appealing outer edge of her pretty spectacular vocal range. True, the Kentucky Derby-fast pacing of Carrie’s original was maybe a touch too quick for our little pony, but this push past Lauren’s comfort zone had unexpectedly interesting side-effects. I loved how raspy Lauren got on the repetition of “till there ain’t no sun,” and even though she actually sounded flat-out winded when she hit the final “where the sky can’t rain on me anymore,” it brought a breathless break to her voice that was undeniably lovely. Would you judge me harshly if I also gave props to Lauren’s hardware-heavy halter top, metallic fringe belt, and black thigh-high boots? For whatever reason, though, Randy amended his standard-operating “IN IT TO WIN IT!” ridiculata and instead offered a critique that, on paper at least, is significantly less effusive: “Lauren is in it, yo!” Yes, by virtue of being one of the five singers left in the competition, Lauren is indeed “in it.” Excellent word choice from a judge who has a Ph.D. in the obvious.

Scotty McCreery: Montgomery Gentry’s “Gone”
Midway through Scotty’s performance, my husband turned to me and declared, “I’d like this a lot more if I could just turn off Scotty’s face.” And while I can’t disagree that Scotty’s eyebrows made like the mischievous neighborhood dog who gets off the leash and makes a mess in your yard, I appreciated the kid took a risk and tackled a song with twisty, tricky cadences and a bridge that’s a borderline rap — and didn’t really miss a note in the process. True, the “Come and Play With Us” backup duo threatened to drown him out on a couple of occasions, but with this performance, Scotty managed to successfully combine singing and pretty solid dancing — an accomplishment you won’t find on any other male contestant’s résumé this season. Steven actually made a salient point about the somewhat puritan teenager benefitting from a dance with the devil, a comment that left Randy so befuddled, Uncle Nigel had no choice but to hit the override button until the dawg started barking his 147th “in it to win it!” of the season.

Haley Reinhart: Lady Gaga’s “You and I”
I know a lot of Haley fans are going to direct their cries of “sabotage!” at Jimmy Iovine for suggesting (insisting?) Haley tackle an unreleased Lady Gaga ballad, but I thought the choice was as bold as it was brilliant. (After all, did non-country fans really know Scotty’s Montgomery Gentry track going into this week’s episode? And gun-to-head, how many of us could hum James’ 30 Seconds to Mars ditty at this very second?) I’m not ashamed to say that some of my all-time favorite Idol moments have involved songs I’d never before heard (Kelly Clarkson’s “Stuff Like That There”; Stefano Langone’s “I Need You Now”) or had only the slightest famliarity with (Adam Lambert’s “Mad World”; Michael Johns’ “It’s All Wrong But It’s All Right”). And in all seriousness, I’d put Haley’s “You and I” right up there on any Season 10 Top 10 list. The underdog growler painted Gaga’s portrait of an intense and overarching love with such passion and pitch perfection that I was actually moved to tears from the nosebleed seats of my couch. “Finally,” I thought to myself, “here’s a song that’s perfectly tailored to Haley’s blues-rock aesthetic, and something that can finally put to rest any criticisms that she couldn’t be relevant to modern radio.”

Which is why it stung me all the harder when J.Lo began her critique with a tentative “Hey, Haley! Hi, baby!” that was as loud and horrible as the sound of a freight train bearing down an unsuspecting bunny rabbit. I could go into the specifics — Jennifer blabbing that maybe Haley hadn’t gotten the best advice from Jimmy; Randy suggesting “You and I” might not be “that great of a song” (and then having the gall to suggest some Joss Freakin’ Stone as an alternative) — but I’ll just point out that none of the judges had much to say about Haley’s actual vocal performance. Did she sing beautifully, with shades of light and dark? Was her voice filled with emotion? Did she work the stage like a budding superstar — starting from a languid, lounging position on the Idol steps and ending with a playful call and response with her backup singers? On all of these subjects, our “esteemed” panelists were suspiciously mute. I’ll say this: As the judges spewed their nonsense, Haley had more expressiveness packed into her narrowed eyes and grimly set mouth than J.Lo has managed to pull off over the course of her last three movies.

I’ve got to be honest: After hearing the judges give Jacob and James respective top-two and “in it to win it” predictions for what were arguably their worst performances of the season, then completely slamming Haley for one of her best moments, I could barely hear any of the night’s remaining critiques over the sound of my own blood boiling. With that in mind, I’m not going to mention the words “J.Lo,” “Randy,” or “Steven” for the rest of this recap. (Why spend any more energy or effort on people who’ve tuned out of the reality in front of them and are simply reading their lines from a pre-determined script, right?)

Moving right along…

James Durbin: Harry Nilsson’s “Without You” Much like Jacob’s rendition of “Dance With My Father” from a few weeks back, James couldn’t get through his rehearsal or his performance of “Without You” without getting overcome by his emotions. And while I can appreciate that it’s got to be difficult to be separated from your girlfriend and your young son to work in the unforgiving boiler room of American Idol Inc., I don’t think James deserves a free pass for a vocal that had more flats than a coaster factory. Yes, the young dad has been pretty consistent for the last five or six weeks, so I’m certainly not suggesting he deserves to go home based on one tough night, but in the pantheon of “Without You” performances on Idol, dude ranks far behind Carly Smithson’s standard-bearer (seriously!) and Kelly Clarkson’s close runner-up. If we were judging the show based on hardscrabble backstory and dewiness of eye in extreme closeup, I’d say it was time to queue up the confetti shower. But since this is still a singing competition (I think?), James needs to be aware that there are only three weeks left to learn how to harness his feelings when he’s at the mic, and work on that wobbly lower register.

Jacob Lusk: Nazareth’s “Love Hurts” Don’t all fall over at once, but I actually enjoyed the opening 30 seconds or so of Jacob’s performance — when it was just him, a harp, and Sheryl Crow’s tender, muted template. And then, all of the sudden there was bucking and stomping and screaming, and James shouting “It hurts! It hurts!” and then making a sound like “Wooohwaaahwaalllahwaahwaahehhuhhhgggblughibuhwahhh” (exactly the same noise I made when J.Lo critiqued Haley’s Gaga song). I know I said I wasn’t going to mention the judges, but since the sensationally awful Randy Jackson has spent 10 consecutive seasons on the panel, I must call him out for crediting Jacob with the highest note ever sung on the Idol stage. Has he truly forgotten Kelly Clarkson’s “You Make Me Feel Like (A Natural Woman)“? In fact, maybe dawg should be sent to detention to watch this YouTube compilation of Idol high notes starring Kelly, Adam Lambert, and Siobhan Magnus.

Lauren Alaina: Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody”
Lauren hit pretty much every note of Simon Cowell’s favorite song, and I’m not sure she’s ever looked prettier than she did in that light blue and white halter dress (and oversized “starfish” ring), but it was telling that there was a truncated sound bite from Sheryl Crow in her intro package noting how the song requires “a lot of emotional maturity.” Like a potato chip without the salt, or an apple sauce without the cinnamon, Lauren’s “Unchained Melody” was missing the crucial ingredient of deep and unrequited sense of longing. Which, to my mind, should make all the difference between finishing fourth on Idol or winning the whole kit and kaboodle.

Scotty McCreery: Elvis Presley’s “Always on My Mind”
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as Jimmy mentored Scotty about how stretching one’s artistry is a contradiction of staying true to one’s self. (Yes, because once a singer creates his first hit record, he should cease to explore any new musical or emotional territory, try to flash-freeze the magic of what made said hit, and then reproduce it with slight variations for ever and ever, or until he finally gets dropped from the roster of his soulless major-label conglomerate.) With advice like that, it’s a wonder Scotty managed to bring to life some of the regret and sadness essential to making this old chestnut hum. Scotty’s rendition didn’t quite match the gut-busting rawness of Fantasia’s, or the technical proficiency of Anoop Desai’s, but combined with his uptempo “Gone,” it was exactly the kind of showing that should take him one step closer to his confetti shower at the Nokia.

Haley Reinhart: The Animals’ “The House of the Rising Sun”
Thank you, Sheryl Crow, for suggesting an a capella intro to Haley’s “The House of the Rising Sun,” a move that may have stunned the awful, awful judges into taking a moment and contemplating the awesomeness of what was about to go down in front of them. I loved all the unexpected little choices Haley made in delivering the hands-down, absolute best performance of this Idol season: The hazy, morose delivery of the opening verse, which was infused with a hint of yodel; the way she dialed it all the way back on “oh mother, well, tell you children” when I was expecting her to power through with that big, belty growl; the gorgeous scatting high notes on “not to do what I have done.” Uff da, I could go on and list another half-dozen little things I loved about Haley tonight, but instead I’ll applaud her for standing tall in the face of harsh criticism, maintaining her confidence in her own abilities, and shutting up a panel of irrelevant judges with a performance mosty of us will remember for many Idol seasons to come. And as much as I realize Uncle Nigel is never gonna let Haley win this thing, her one-two punch of “You and I” and “House of the Rising Sun” was a victory in and of itself.

And now, it’s time to post some grades…

Tonight’s Letter Grades
Haley Reinhart’s “The House of the Rising Sun”: A+
Haley Reinhart’s “You and I”: A
Lauren Alaina’s “Flat on the Floor”: A-
Scotty McCreery’s “Gone”: A-
Scotty McCreery’s “Always on My Mind”: B
Lauren Alaina’s “Unchained Melody”: B
James Durbin’s “Without You”: B-
Jacob Lusk’s “Love Hurts”: C-
James Durbin’s “Closer to the Edge”: D+
Jacob Lusk’s “No Air”: F

What did you think of American Idol Top 5 performance night? What did you think of the judges? Who do you think is headed home? Sound off in our polls about tonight’s best and worst performances, head down to the comments to expound on said opinions, then scroll down for the latest three-part episode of the most important series on the Internet right now, Idoloonies. And for all my Idol news and commentary, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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  1. darcy's evil twin says:

    Great recap Slezak, but I would not have given Lauren such high marks for “Unchained Melody”, what with all the gasping and bad phrasing, plus the lack of the “money note”, as so many have pointed out. I also thought you were a little too generous with James’ “Without You” as well, but I loved your take on the show, as usual.

    I posted this previously, but the wrong contestant sang Nazareth. Haley should have sung “Hair of the Dog”. Perhaps she’ll use that next week. She should belt that song out and set the judging table on fire on her way out – but not before she takes one of Steven’s sparkly jackets! And when she wins she can sing Toby Keith’s “How do you Like me Now?”. :-)

    I felt the same way last year when they perpetually tried to kill off Casey James, whom I really enjoyed. I said Casey should have rocked the stage with his killer electric guitar and Hendrix’s “Purple Haze”, smashed the guitar, set it on fire, walked up and given Kara a big smooch on the lips, and then quietly walked away.

    • SharonM says:

      Agreed, especially about the Casey James part.

      • Marta says:

        I might also suggest as part of a kissing-Kara exit to do it shirtless. Bring it back to how it all started for him!

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          LOL! Casey could have taken off his shirt and given it to Kara.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          I just had a funny vision – Casey could have walked over to the table on the “‘Scuze me, while I kiss the sky” line, ripped off his shirt, handed it to Kara, and planted a big kiss on her lips.

          Now THAT’S an Idol Moment! :-)

          • zaza says:

            Any scenario that involves Casey J. taking his shirt off is fine with me!

          • Marta says:

            Any scenario involving Casey James a) taking off his shirt b) singing Jealous Guy c) laughing d) not sounding like a goat is a scenario I support!

    • Owen says:

      I repost from last night:

      Oh, give it up, Slezak. So they ruined the story you were trying to perpetrate, they sank the narrative you were probably sure would win you the Pulitzer for Pop Culture Blogging. Bitch bitch bitch. “…they (American Idol) have it against Haley, they are persecuting Haley, they want Haley not only to lose but be a blood sacrifice to the Gods of Scotty&Lauren-4-the-Finale.” THAT’S what you’re pissed off about. Haley was somewhat unfairly critiqued for her first song but then was given more than fair due to her absolutely fantastic final number. Plus: PIMP SPOT TWO WEEKS IN A ROW. And don’t say last week she didn’t get the pimp spot. Her preceding the James/Jacob debacle was enough to get her past Casey. Don’t you think the Idol people knew that. Ass.

      • Akash says:

        More like: give it up Owen. We weren’t convinced by your assessment the first time you posted it, and we’re not convinced now.

        • MrSideEye says:


          And furthermore Owen, I am sure Slezak would love for Idol to prove him wrong and “ruin his story” if it means Haley gets her rightful spot in the Top 3 or 2.

      • Owen says:

        Oh, and like his rants against the judges (who Rolling Stone, the bastion of coolness in rock, proclaimed to be the savior of Idol for exactly the reason Sleazk hates them) I do believe its time Slezak gave up this job to someone who is a little more fair. Has he ever championed a male singer? No. He likes some guys, pushes for certain guys when his favorite girl inevitably goes home, but come the hell on! Carley Smithson? That’s right, his pick was Carley over David. He likes the girls, he will always like the girls and that is a bias in one of America’s most-read Idol recappers. Besides being a bad writer.

        • The Ween says:

          Screw you, Owen! This is not a hard-hitting news story where he needs to be objective (although I would argue that loving Haley, or Mamasox, or ALLISON, is completely objective), he is being paid to give his opinions.

          I was only familiar with one of the songs in the first round last night, and that one had me screaming with rage at the television set. Not only was Jacob so completely horrible, but even the backup singers sounded off-key. It was just awful, and if I have to listen to him one more week I am going to…..

          Haley FTW!!!

        • HALEY'S COMET says:

          OWEN, WHO SHOULD SLEZAK GIVE UP HIS JOB TO? I’M GUESSING YOUR ANSWER WOULD BE YOU. LOL!! Slezak is a great entertainment critic, because he judges and listens with soul and passion. He does not take an overly intellectual perspective on entertainment…the way YOU do. I check in with Slezak every week, because I love his rants! And I find that most of the time I agree with his perception of how things played out on the show. He is popular because what he says connects with what many of his readers are actually feeling. It takes talent and honesty to be that kind of critic. Bye bye Owen.

        • tag says:

          Slezak’s writing is so colorful, I love it! I actually googled his name to find his AI articles (I’d never heard of TVline before). His opinions may not match mine, but if I wanted my own opinion I’d ask me for it. Heck, I even read your opinions without considering them “bias.” The judges opinions have been worse than useless. I’d say they were judging rehearsals instead of performances, since the two don’t seem to jibe, but then their “critiques” would be better thought out and maybe even articulate instead of just repetitions of “beautiful” or “in it to win it.”

          • Haley's Comet says:

            I totally agree, tag. I too googled slezak’s name to find him once he left EW. I had never heard of TV line before either. LOL

          • Kiki says:

            I too Googled Slezak to find where he was writing about AI. I find his opinions to be a heck of a lot more spot on then the crap the judges have been spouting all year. They seem to have nothing to say but a bunch of BS. Between the tween voting and the craptastic judging panel, sadly AI is no longer the show I adored.

          • Buster Cretin says:

            We all followed Slezak here cause he is the American Idol of the entertainment writer’s world. Slezak is the Kelly Clarkson to the other site’s Lee DeWyze!

          • flower says:

            Me too! I googled Slezak over to TV line. I usually watch AI then zoom over here in the morning! I loved Haley’s voice even before Slezak converted. Remember, he didn’t like her in the beginning.

        • stevenjaba says:

          You haven’t been paying attention. He championed Kris Allen on his season. Also, I think you need to relax a little.

        • Dani C says:

          Owen, why are you even on this message board? If this is your first time, i’ll forgive your ignorance. Yes, it would seem Slezak prefers female singers; so what?! i read his reviews b/c i find them funny, articulate, and, more often then not, accurate. The man has an opinion and he’s allowed to express it (you do too, so please don’t go down that route).However, there are an infinite number of AI message boards all over the internet. My suggestions is troll some of those until you find one that works for you. I followed Slezak from EW b/c i enjoy his take more than any other recappers i have come across. Doesn’t mean i go sh*t on other writers boards just b/c i don’t agree.

          • Owen says:

            I would be I’ve been following Slezak for as long as you have, perhaps longer.

          • Blair says:

            Owen, I have a suggestion for you: join those boards on the “vote for the worst” site. I’m sure they would welcome you with open arms. but we at this board obviously don’t need you. thank you.

          • Owen says:

            The difference being is I try to stand up for the cast and producers, the people who give us a show to deride. The talent. That is NOT what VFTW does. You people are WAY more Vote For the Worst.

        • Joy says:

          Season 5, Slezak’s favorite was Elliott. Season 4, Bo. Season 8, Kris was only his second favorite, but he didn’t just start championing him after Allison left — he was pointing out that Kris wasn’t getting nearly his due from the producers/judges as early as the first or second week of the finals.

        • Akash says:

          Owen, you lost me completely when you described Rolling Stone magazine as “the bastion of coolness in rock.” Maybe once upon a time dude, but that hasn’t been true for at least 10 years.

          • KJ says:

            Rolling Stone was last cool in 1989 when they named London Calling the best album of the 1980s.

            Slezak is paid to talk about his preferences. He does. He does his job better than those judges, who haven’t done anything to make these artists better. They took a strong stable of vocalists and turned them into placid, uninteresting singers. So few performacnes have been memorable.

            Slezak, though, has delivered his snark with grand humour. And Jason’s editing is perfeection.

            Slezak and Jason have made this season of Idol tolerable.

        • genome38 says:

          Rolling Stone, the bastion of coolness in rock????? Hahahahaha! Rihanna, Gaga, Snooki? Rock?

      • Haley's Comet says:


        Owen, have you downloaded any of haley’s songs on itunes? She is by far much better than anyone who now remains in the competion. JLO herself, admitted last week that Haley has one of the best voices in the comp., yet the Judges and indeed, idol continually undermine Haleys performances and downplay her abilities. How could you suggest she perform a previously unheard Lady Gaga song, and then condem her for performing the song that Jimmy and the AI producers shoved down her throat. By the way she SLAYED…SLAYED that lady gaga song. I think that was one of her best performances to date.

        Like SLEZAK I too am upset with the treatment of Haley on this show.—–Comment by haley’s Comet – May 4, 2011 08:47 PM PDT Reply To This Post

        Well, yes I have downloaded Haley. But Haley’s talent wasn’t the argument.—-Comment by Owen – May 4, 2011 08:55 PM PDT Reply To This Post

        Owen, since you’ve downloaded Haley’s music on itunes, you should be familiar with her amazing talent, and the fact that she is arguably the best singer remaining in this competition. Having said that, it’s clear that the AI production team is trying to undermine and downplay Haley’s abilities in favor of contestants like James, Lauren, and Scotty. With all of this in mind, Mr. Slezak’s outrage is JUSTIFIED and appropriate. I do not agree with your rant against Mr. Slezak.—Comment by Haley’s Comet – May 5, 2011 06:20 AM PDT

      • jenna says:

        i’d just like to add WHY THE HELL is there so much american idol coverage?!?!?!?! I know you are obsessed with this deadbeat show slezak but all of these posts are cluttering my newsfeed.

        • Georgia says:

          There’s so much American Idol coverage because Michael Slezak has very loyal fans of his own who have followed his American Idol columns and “Idolatry” shows for several years. I never visit the “official” American Idol web site anymore.

      • Charlotte says:

        MS is pimping Haley and it is working. I like the girl, but don’t think MS is doing her any favour by turning her into a victim.

        • Jason McD says:

          She WAS a victim last night. They threw hew under a freaking bus, I would call that being a victim.

          She was AMAZING last night on both songs, but somehow they gave her bad remarks for doing a song (brilliantly btw) THEY didn’t know. I didn’t know the first song Scotty did, but that didn’t distract me from his great performance. James’ first song I didn’t know either, and hated it…not because I didn’t know the song, because James didn’t do his best (and I love James), but they didn’t say a word about not performing a song people didn’t know or mention that James wasn’t on his game last night. They only received praise!

          Gaga has been playing You and I on her tour all year and she also performed it on Good Morning America last year, even my mom recognized the song from GMA. Just because the album isn’t out yet, doesn’t mean nobody has heard it.

          It is idiotic to slam her for singing a song nobody knows because when they do crazy theme nights, there is a very good change that half of the songs or more are going to be unrecognized by the audience.

          Lets start judging people on their voice and performance.

          One more thing, did Randy really have the balls to say that the Gaga song wasn’t a very good song when they are going to show the new Gaga video tonight on the show?

        • Joan says:

          The only thing that really surprises me is how Slezak *conveniently* forgot Siobhan Magnus magnificent rendition of “The House Of the Rising Sun.”

          IMO, Siobhan completely sang rings around Haley. I think the undeserved standing O for Haley and no one mentioning how much better the song was sung by Siobhan was too kind to Haley, who should have been gone weeks ago.

          Fortunately for Haley, (conspiracy theory) Pia, probably the best of the girl singers and a threat to whoever the powers that be, have slated to be the winner was *tossed* in favor of Haley. Pia should have been the last girl standing. Haley was an afterthought and a leftover from the other Haley named Scarnato (down to the shorts)

          Haley has nothing to complain about. Just the fact that she’s still there is a miracle, having survived (maybe) bottom twos quite often several weeks back. She’s only there, because the *big guys* feel embarrassed to toss yet another girl off, but that day isn’t far off.

          • Jason McD says:

            Can’t Disagree more.

          • Toots says:

            I like lauren, Scotty and James for different reasons but disagree with you strongly about Haley! She is the best now by a mile and a half. The judges have been hard on Haley while screechy and pitchy vocals are given a pass. Smithson, Jennifer Hudson, Daughtry and others have been booted too soon but Simon and Paula never praised such pitchy performances as the judges are doing now! Pia was great, gone too soon. This group of judges are a mess.

          • Deltasue says:

            TOTALLY AGREE!!! SLEZAK~ GET OFF THE HAYLEY MERRY-GO ROUND!!!!We can’t always get what we want!!!

      • PSC says:

        I mean dude, seriously, you are getting repetitive and boring

      • agrimesy says:

        You guys! Owen is a troll. It’s his job to spread disease. Don’t feed him . . . He’ll go away.

      • Truth says:

        Owen has ‘shoes

      • the real wendy says:

        Owen… rewatch the last performance. The absolute F-YOU look from Haley at the end of HOTRS was everything the judges deserved. From the beginning of the season! SHe (and Mr. Slezak) should absolutely be pissed!

      • Deltasue says:

        Agree with the pimp spot, Owen. Isn’t that enough to make you happy, Slezak? Give it up, Slezak; sometimes life isn’t fair!

      • Darsy says:

        This really smacks of bitterness, Owen. There was not one but TWO times in that show where they talked about how it was okay to sing a song not well known, and yet Haley was blasted for it.

        I honestly didn’t like her at all at the beginning of the season, but her good humor and talent got me to the point where I am firmly on her bandwagon. The proof is in the behavior we can all see: in the way the judges consistently tear her down, how we know next to NOTHING about her yet we know many things about the other contestants, and the topper was tonight’s crapfest on her by the judges. Consistently letting other performers whiff by because they got emotional or are too scared to hit high notes would be tolerable if they didn’t renege on that every time Haley sings.

        By season 10 if they don’t know that their negativity affects voting, I’d be shocked.

    • kai says:

      Umm, Slezak was one of his worst enemies and gave Casey James absolutely no credit for his talent. He was not the best vocalist, and made some questionable song choices, but he was talented and had a lot of soul. They totally threw him under the bus and Slezak was right there helping to push the bus over him a couple of times over.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Oh trust me, I remember Slezak’s lack of respect for Casey, but Slezak is an entertainment writer and he’s entitled to an opinion. The judges, on the other hand, need to JUDGE.

        • Owen says:

          But what if they are judging? What if they don’t hear the Haley we do. What if they prefer someone else? They are going to have favorites, they are going to push for someone they think is great, they are going to have to save a little face on national TV and continue to push through someone they once thought would be the sure-fire winner. Maybe they know they have the power to keep someone in by somewhat downgrading a contestant they don’t think is worthy? This is all understandable. This has been the case since Idol began. Simon Cowell, who we all seem to miss SO much, was the biggest abuser of this particular slight of hand. But it is their prerogative and why they are there. But it is America who actually decides. We have the power, we are the ones who can dial. I do not believe Nigel and Jimmy and the judges are in a tiny room below the Idol stage around a rectangle table, rubbing their hands and putting their evil heads together to decide how to sabotage Haley to make Lauren shine brighter. What if they just have different opinions than us. What if the people in the TV and music industry have different opinions than us?

          • Haley's Comet says:

            Owen you said:
            “I do not believe Nigel and Jimmy and the judges are in a tiny room below the Idol stage around a rectangle table, rubbing their hands and putting their evil heads together to decide how to sabotage Haley to make Lauren shine brighter…”

            You stament to me indicates, that you have naievly refused to consider the AI’s production teams control of this show. AI has always been a singing/reality show, and as with all reality show’s the producers manipulate’s things to create the story line that makes the best TV. Those of us who love and are addicted to the the talent aspect of AI often get frustrated when the producers sacrifice talent in favor of a GOOD story line. And here lies the frustration that many HALEY-IANS are having with season 10. Haley is a magnificiant, quirky, exciting singer. She should win this show, however,they haven’t created a story line around Haley, and to them she is not good tv. Good tv would be a Lauren/Scotty finish. Good projected sales would be a Lauren country pop album along the lines of Carrie and taylor swift. Haley’s talent are being swept under the AI rug, because they don’t belive that she is as marketable as Scotty or Lauren.

          • Owen says:

            Oh, and as for the Voice judges that Slezak thinks are SO much better than the Idol judges…let’s look at Blake Shelton’s recent tweet of Shania Twain’s song “Any Man of Mine”
            @BlakeShelton: Rewriting my favorite Shania Twain song..Any man who tries Touching my behind He’s gonna be beaten bleedin’ heavin’ kind of guy.

            I am not kidding. Douche actually tweeted this today.

          • Owen says:

            @Haley’s Comet. That’s Bull. The underdog winning is always the best story. Haley had been in the Bottom Three more than any other contestant. Her winning would be the story. Now, I’m not naive enough to think Nigel doesn’t want a Lauren/Scotty finish. Of course he does. But as stupid as Randy is, I just have always believed he has favorites. And no, its not obvious to everyone that Haley is the best singer. I have had real world conversations with people who hate her. Its opinion. And my calling out Slezak on his awfulness, and people on here calling me out on mine is DIFFERENT than insulting the integrity of three people who are on Idol because they must have done something right in their careers to be there. Does Nigel want a certain outcome? yes. Do the judges follow orders that would put their integrity at risk? Read Stephen Tyler’s piece in Rolling Stone and you’ll find out no. They don’t.

          • joy2011 says:

            To Owen- I wasnt going to post today but when I read your remarks I couldn’t let it go. While I can appreciate your opinions, using a word like integrity in the context you used it, especially in relation to the judges, you should know the meaning of the word. Integrity-adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

          • NedPepper says:

            You know what’s interesting? I put Haley’s performance on Facebook last night. Her HOTRS. And it got likes from a A TON of people…people who hate American Idol.

            I’m not sure what that means, other than they saw a great performance and thought, “This girl can sing.”

            If I had posted a Scotty performance or James or Lauren? One I’d be ashamed of myself. And two, people who like rock would laugh at James, people who like male country stars would probably say some very awful things about Scotty McKaraoke, and who in their right mind other than tween girls would EVER buy a Lauren album?

            What I get from this? People who like real music dig Haley. People caught up in American Idol’s manipulation machine and love the show will vote how they’re told to. I know, because I talk to them too. But guess what? THEY WILL NOT BUY THE WINNER’S ALBUM. And they never do.

          • CHarlotte says:

            I am liking Owen more and more ;-)

      • Joan says:

        QFT. How Slezak was a tool and helped destroy Casey James was disgusting, especially when you think of who won. The offkey special, Lee DeWyze. UGH.

        • Owen says:

          I was going to let Slezak alone until last weeks horrible treatment of Casey, implying the kid was arrogant, etc, when every appearance he’s made since has shown the opposite. Though not exactly a cyber-bully, Slezak can be very negative and nasty. Casey read all the blogs and I’m sure those false assumptions were probably hurtful to the kid. You can not like a contestant, but to throw aspersions on their character? Ass. I know you sheeple thing Slezak is the butter on the toast, but in the Idol recap world he’s Jacob Lusk. No, that’s too good for him. Read Annie at EW for her humor, Jim Cantiello at MTV news for his heart and MJ for her smarts. And Ricky’s sweet.

          • Darsy says:

            I have to agree I was totally disgusted and disappointed in the way my favorite performance of the season, Your Song, was LEFT OUT of the recap that week. Not a mention.


    • Angela says:

      The judges also have a memory problem as is that Lauren Alaina performed Unchained Melody before the top 24 was chosen

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        I couldn’t believe they didn’t say something – I remembered she sang it before because I thought, “Oh NO, that s****d the first time!”.
        Pick something with shorter, easier phrases, Lauren!

      • Lily says:

        Lauren’s usually pretty dependable about hitting her notes, but she had some runs in “Unchained Melody” this time that made me cringe. The only two consistently good performers this time were Haley and Scotty, otherwise it was pretty ghastly.

    • darclyte says:

      When they said he was going to do Nazareth, I laughed and thought, “Come on, sing Hair of the Dog!” LOL. Now THAT would have been an “Idol Moment.” Just not a good one. Oh, for the missed opportunity!
      I don’t think singing “No you’re messing with a SOB” would be allowed on AI anyway, but if so then either James or Haley would be the ones to do it properly.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Oh, the thought of Jacob, thrusting in those white pants, singing “Hair of the Dog”…no. Just no. But you made me laugh!

        • Did I really? says:

          Was it just me or did Jacob, during the recap of the second song, grab his crotch while thrusting his hips? Ew.

        • John says:

          “Put your hands together everybody for Mr. Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate”

    • Kari G says:

      Thank you for commenting on the issues with Lauren!!! My husband was listening in the other room and he yells out “What the hell was that? She didn’t even hit the notes that makes the song nor was she even able to hold the notes she did hit.” What has happened to this season!?

    • Li-Li says:

      Oh, wow – what a great idea. A Haley and Casey James duet!

    • ChristineOH says:

      OMG– Haley singing Toby Keith’s “How Do You Like Me Now!” LOVE that, for theme and that fact I think she would sound awesome.

    • Paloma Pigeon says:

      Exactly! Watching them sabotage Haley totally reminds me of they way they treated Casey last season. And to have Sugarland on (which Casey has been opening for this spring) and to not even mention him. I hope his album sells more than Lee’s that’s for sure.

      And when Jimmy said “no one has delivered the opening of HOTRS a cappella like that before” I went “…until Siobhan Magnus last season.” Jimmy stop trying to sabotage Haley. Please please please just leave her alone. Hang in there Haley.

    • Totally agree about Lauren. I feel that she could have had her “moment” during Unchained Melody and missed it by this much. She really was close, but didn’t push it far enough to make it great. She has it in her but only shows it in bits of pieces. Steven Tyler told Haley that she is one song away from winning this thing, well I think the same way about Lauren. Lauren sings every song very well, and is cute and bubbly, but I don’t remember being the best of the night. She always near the top, but she hasn’t reached the point where she should be at this time in the competition.

      Jacob needs to just be gone. The judges going nuts over this guy is nuts. To say he has the best voice of anyone ever on stage is ludicris. It’s just silly. The guy had one great performance in Hollywood week and has ridden that all the way to the Top 5. He is this year’s Andrew Garcia for sure. And that’s not a compliment.

      • joy2011 says:

        Agreed. Don’t they remember Michael singing a Womans World or Ruben winning they were both better r&b singers, for that matter Clay Aiken had a more powerful, soulful voice.

  2. jess says:

    Scotty surprisingly impressed me with “Gone”. Haley was good, James had a really bad night and Lauren was solid.


  3. Ronnie says:

    My busy day calls, so I’m just going to share my previous notes (apologies to those who already saw it).

    Simon Cowell real quotes, applied to tonight.

    For Jacob: “They are being quite polite. I mean … it was terrible.”
    “I presume there was no mirror in your dressing room tonight.”
    “You sounded like Cher after she’s been to the dentist.”

    For James: “I like you. I’m just not buying the hype tonight.”

    For Scotty: “You have the personality of a handle.”
    “I think the audience at home deserves better than that.”

    For Lauren: “Come back and wow us next year,” … oops too late.

    For Haley: “That was 100 times better than the other performances tonight.”
    “There are no airs and graces about her. … I like her.”
    “A natural. A total natural. And I like you.”
    “You are a saucy little thing aren’t you”
    “This was the only performance which stands up in the real world — tonight you were the standard.”

    and Simon then turns to Randy:
    Simon: “What normally happens when you speak in public, Randy?”
    Randy: “I’ve had a few people cry.”
    Simon: “I can believe that.”

    • sarah says:

      Oh how I miss Simon, especially with what they’ve done to Haley. I don’t think Uncle Nigel would be getting Simon to read off a script like the new puppets.

    • MDEP says:

      I love this, lol. JLos comment about Jacob being one of the best singers to ever be on Idol made me REALLY miss Simon.

    • SybilT says:

      I have generally not missed Simon this season, as Simon was pretty much phoning it in the last two seasons. But you can give criticism without humiliating people (as JLo has VERY occasionsally shown this season) and both James and Jacob both deserved and needed it last night. James’ first song was horribly off-key, and both of Jacob’s numbers were ear-splittingly bad. Among the very worst I’ve ever seen on Idol. It’s been all downhill for him since “God Bless the Child.” His sell-by date came and went long ago. Why the judges continue to perpetuate the myth of Jacob the fabulous singer, I don’t know. He has no control over his voice, and he’s self-satisfied and sanctimonious to boot.

  4. Jake says:

    Right on, Slezak! I agree completely with your critiques and your lambasting of the judges, which they completely deserve – my wife and I were literally shocked at their absolute inconsistency in praising two horrible performances by James and Jacob while bashing Haley for a very good take on “You and I.” Haley’s performances were the two best of the night by a mile – I text voted for her multiple times, which I’ve never done for any contestant before. I hope many others followed suit.

    I thought James’ and Jacob’s first two songs were possibly the two worst of the entire season. “No Air” belonged on a bad audition reel it so bad. I actually thought James’ second song was bad as well – I would have given him a D rather than a B-.

    Scotty and Lauren were both solid but predictable. I have a hunch Lauren could be in trouble tonight, but in all likelihood Jacob’s time has finally come. I think Haley will be safe due to the backlash of voters wanting to keep her around just to spite the judges. At least I hope so…

    • sarah says:

      I hope people don’t vote for Haley out of spite. I DO hope that they vote for her because she is the best singer in this competition and deserves every bit as much as any other to wim that confetti shower.
      I, who usually watches but doesn’t partake in voting, had my finger on redial for an hour last night. At ~10 second/ vote, thats 360 votes. I hope she’s safe by 359.

      • Jake says:

        I agree, Haley is the best of the Top 5. I just hope she survives and gets the votes, regardless of the voters’ motivations…

      • Buster Cretin says:

        I don’t think people will vote out of spite. For me, the idiot judges wrestled me out of my complacency to vote this week. I stopped voting seasons ago, but last night I voted for Haley BECAUSE of the idiot judges… I can’t stand still and allow this injustice. No Air? No Fair! I was actually HOWLING WITH LAUGHTER at Jacob cause he was so bad. I found it funny! And when he got praised, it just pissed me off… So not out of spite, but to make it right! Hopefully there were others like me!

        • Merrilyn says:

          Same here. I’m a very occasional AI voter, just voting once or twice for one or two of my particular favorites a few times a season, and that’s usually it for me. But I was so furious with what they did to Haley last night, I voted for her dozens of times by phone, and then did the same online. Fingers crossed that it helps her stay another week!

          • Deltasue says:

            Again, people, vote for Hayley or any other contestant because you really like their talents, not out of spite for the judges! She’s had plenty of “pimp spots” to help sway listeners.

    • not says:

      I agree with Jake on pretty much all counts.

      I’m going to have an AI judge’s moment and completely flip flop on Slezak. When he railed against Casey a few weeks ago, I thought he’d gone off the deep end after his breakup with EW, but tonight he took the rant right out of my mouth. My husband walked in just as Haley was finishing her second song and I told him I was done with AI if they panned that performance. Fortunately, even they had to admit it was great, but still didn’t give her the respect she deserved by pointing out that hers were by far the strongest vocals of the night.

      I normally like James and am not appalled at the idea of him in the finals, but he was awful last night and I can’t believe the judges failed to call him on it. I’m sorry but I could pick a song that means a lot to me and warble my way through it with a lot of feeling, but they don’t let me do it b/c I’d sound as bad as James did last night.

      • not says:

        I meant to add that my one criticism of Haley is that she kept the male gender in the lyrics (it’s “been the ruin of many a poor boy and God only knows I’m one”). Sometimes, I think it’s cool when singers leave the lyrics alone (eg Mamasox on Maybe I’m Amazed), but here, it made no sense. The Animals flipped the gender to male – the original folk/blues version was about a girl working in a whorehouse. (Just looked this up to confirm I was right, but some also speculate it was supposed to be a prisoner in a women’s prison. Either way, it definitely wasn’t a guy.)

    • toomuchtime says:

      I agree with Jake. I like James and believe that he is incredibly talented. This was the first time that I thought James was terrible – both songs. I liked Jacob at first but I can’t stand him anymore – he is arrogant and always out of tune and the judges don’t critique him honestly. I think that Haley has been great all along. She’s always in tune and she has a wide genre range – blues, soul, pop, etc. The judges have ignored her all season. As you said – Scotty and Lauren were both solid but always sound the same. I usually don’t vote but I did vote last night for Haley – she’s really talented and has been treated BADLY by the judges.

  5. SharonM says:

    Yes, Haley gave a great performance of HOTRS, but honestly I am sick of hearing the same songs season after season. Is the list of song choices that limited?

    • Vetle says:

      uh, It’s only the second time HoTRS is performed on Idol.

      ah.. the second time my favorite contestant does that song, which is also one of my all-time favorites (of course, previous contestant was Siobhan).

      • SharonM says:

        I posted in haste. The comment wasn’t aimed at only Haley… I kind of meant it in general. I guess sometimes this show makes my head spin.

    • Georgia says:

      I think it’s a very, very limited song list.

  6. Amazed says:

    I am still so stunned by the judges critics. I too was floored by their praise of James & Jacob. I also thought Lauren sounded so out of breath the entire song. Not one judge ever critic’s anything. I like James but I find he is flat and doesn’t hit the notes very often. He is too busy running around giving a concert. Jacob I just don’t get it. He is so off putting. His songs are a mess. I would enjoy him in Church but that is it. I crack up every time you play him dancing in his white pants though Michael. Haley was incredible. I hope she stays over Jacob.

    • Maria says:

      OMG, this!! So much!! The song was too fast/too wordy for her, and SHE IS NOT CARRIE (nor is she Kelly Clarkson, for that matter). I just wish she’d go away… which won’t happen, of course.

      With you also on Haley. She rocked the house!

    • Maria G says:

      “I also thought Lauren sounded so out of breath the entire song.”

      OMG, this!! So much!! The song was too fast/too wordy for her, and SHE IS NOT CARRIE (nor is she Kelly Clarkson, for that matter). I just wish she’d go away… which won’t happen, of course.

      With you also on Haley. She rocked the house!

      (Had to repost as somehow my quote was deleted)

    • Wheezer says:

      I agree with you on the praise of James and Jacob left me thinking WTF, but I actually liked both of Lauren’s performances last night. Poor James is my favorite had a horrible night and I blame the judges for all the animosity I am reading regarding him. I especially, feel bad that people are not respecting his mini-breakdown as real, but a play at votes. It is not his fault that it was over pimped by the machine of Idol. Remember he does not pick the sound bites or edit the show in anyway.
      I DID want to stab Randy in the eye with a pencil when he made that comment to Jacob about having a better voice than Jordin Sparks or even Chris Brown for that matter. The crap he says is beyond ridiculous!

      My bottom 3 would be James, Scotty, and Jacob.


      • zaza says:

        I’ve been a James fan from the start, but even I’ll admit his first performance wasn’t great. He should have done more singing and less wandering about. But his second song was lovely. Yes, he had some wobbly notes, but I believe that was because of his heart-felt emotion. Kid made me cry like a proud mama bear! So even though I agree that Hayley had the better night, I don’t think it’s necessary to trash James. I would love to see a James/Hayley finale and am voting in a way to try and make it happen.

        • Wheezer says:

          That’s what I was thinking! Why do have to hate everyone else in order to like James or Haley. I want a James and Haley final too!

        • JLo's Lipstick says:

          James’ studio track of without you was much better. I think his homesick emotions got in the way of his vocals. Gotta control that. Next week, I hope the old James is back!

          As for Hailey, I like her singing, BUT, BUT, must she growl in every dam song?!?

  7. CindyofAngels says:

    Jacob Lusk is the most overpraised singer to ever grace the Idol stage, and ranks among the worst of the Top 5 Idol contestants ever — AND he’s unlikable! I have not enjoyed one performance of his, do not understand why he even made the top 24, and am dumbfounded that he has made it this far. Who is voting for this insufferable, annoying excuse for a vocalist?

    • boswell says:

      Of all the comments I’ve been reading, this is the most dead-on. All the other controversy aside (Haley’s lack of recognition week to-week, boorish Scooty, and ‘lil Lauren)Jacob’s lack of talent and personality has been the best evidence that AI is no longer a true singing contest. NO ONE, I repeat–NO ONE can convince me that the AI producers did not put Jacob in the top 13 over the votes of the audience. When singers, talented singers like Kendra, are left for dead in place of singers like Jacob, it is obvious to all of us AI fans that the glory days of AI as we’ve grown to love are gone, long gone.

    • Buster Cretin says:

      Well CindyofAngels, the reason you don’t like the Lusky Stank is that you’re too afraid to look in the mirror! Don’t you know the Lusky Stank appeals to everyone? If the Lusky Stank goes home tonight, it won’t be because my dog dropped dead at the sound of his ear piercing wail, no, it will be because you and I together could not head down to our local Albertsons to buy a vanity mirror to start at ourselves all day.

    • TrainWreck says:

      I have to echo everything CindyofAngels said. The stink of the Stank is more intolerable than pretty much anything on earth.

      I am not a fan of jazz/blues so therefore have not really been a fan of Haley. I had to vote for her last night tho because she gave 2 of the best 4 performances of the night (less growl. less growl). But mostly because I can’t bear to see yet another worthy competitor go home before Jacob.

    • Teecie says:

      I agree 100%. HE MUST GO HOME TONIGHT.

  8. Angela says:

    JLo must assume that the American public has never heard of youtube. Because they could type in Monster Ball You and I. From there the person will see this Then they can can judge Haley’s performance for themselves.

    • Wheezer says:

      Really? I am sure she has heard of Youtube, and I happen to agree with what JLo said about Haley taking a risk singing a song that most people do not know, or have not heard before. Personally, I thought the performance was good, but not great. I do think the judges were too critical of her performance, but I for one do not think anything they say is relevant anymore. I mean James is my favorite, but I have ears and I know he had a bad night on both performances, while Haley had a good performance and a GREAT performance.
      1. Haley
      2. Lauren
      3. Scotty
      4. James (It pains me to put him here!)
      5. JACOB (Go home, Go home, and take Randy “Dawg” Jackson with you!!)

      • Erin says:

        Yes, I feel that pointing out that it may not be a great idea to do an unknown song is fine if the performer doesn’t do a great job…it’s like attributing the fail to the song. But when the performer blows the doors off the sucka, then they should be COMMENDED for taking a risk that paid off. Kinda like a “I was worried at first…”

      • Jason McD says:

        The lack of knowledge of a song does not make it ok to slam an great performance and Haley should have been given credit for doing something risky, just like James was a few weeks ago for doing the song Heavy Metal (James rocked that song btw), a great Sammy Hagar song from 1981. Did they give him crap for doing a song that “nobody” knows. Of course not, they praised him for being himself, taking a risk and rocking the house. I’m pretty sure most of the people watching had no clue what the hell it was, but still liked it enough to vote for him. I bet a lot of them didn’t know who Zakk Wylde was either.

        I don’t know why it is okay to cover an “unknown” old song, compared to a new one? Isn’t it safe to say that there are as many people in their teens/20’s that have heard HOTRS as many times has they have heard You and I? Unchained Melody was last popular in 1990 with Ghost, how many of the audience members were born or old enough to remember that? I know these are amazing classic songs, but it doesn’t make them known to younger generations, that’s why I used the “”.

        Lets just ask the judges to be fair and consistent. That’s all I want from them. If they are going to give shiny stars to everyone for doing their best, then give it to EVERYONE, don’t single one person out for something stupid.

        • marie says:

          “Let’s just ask the ‘judges’ to be FAIR and CONSISTENT…”
          Sigh. May as well go howl at the moon.
          They are not paid to be “fair” and / or “consistent,” they are paid to say whatever the producers want them to say.

  9. John says:

    I’m with you all the way around. Jacob HAS to go home this week, and Haley has to have a ton of momentum right now. Just because she doesn’t have the clearest market position doesn’t mean that the judges have to verbally take her down. If Randy isn’t gone next season, I’m not sure I will want to invest in this show again.

  10. Rupert says:

    So this morning I clicked Idol on my DVR. One way to know who the idol powers that be want to win – the four “cast members” listed on the show description – Ryan Seacrest, Lauren Alaina, Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez … sigh.

    Here’s hoping the right person goes home!

  11. Marta says:

    Spot on recap, Slezak– Very therapeutic as I still try to cope with all that happened last night.

    Among many things on my mind- I would honestly like to remind James that in “putting it all out there each performance”, you have to be prepared that it a)might not be well received b) what you “put out” might not always be your best. And that, fellow commenters, is the most glaring difference between the Durbs and Lambert. Adam not only knew that he wasn’t for everybody, but he tried different stuff out (hello Ring of Fire) without a “This is going to be the best thing ever and the judges will love it” mentality.

  12. Jason S says:

    Slezak- first time I agree with 99% of what you said! I’ll vivas far asthat was my favorite Idol performance ever!!! And James – I know alot about metal! Rob Halford is the best singer ever! James Durbin has never done one song that completely impressed me! The empires is naked with that cat!! He was virging on gokeyism with the crying!! And smaltzy!!

  13. darclyte says:

    Hi Michael. While I appreciate your support of Haley, sometimes you’re out of your mind. You keep talking about Aloha Mischeaux and Mishavonna Henson who, if it wasn’t for you, nobody would ever hear about again. If they had talent…then where are they? Lily and Katelynn from last year? Jesse Langseth, who is the sister of Johnny Lang…don’t you think if she was really “all that” that she’d have an album because of her connections through him? Melinda Doolittle…what has she done? She was a front runner her season, but took YEARS to put out an album…and it did nothing. You like to champion these ladies, but really NONE of them have done much of ANYTHING of note. Sadly, Haley could be another one just like those.

    Look, I like Haley even though I didn’t at first. But she’s been in the Bottom 3 like 4 times. I would LOVE to see a Final 2 of her and James if nothing else than because it gives the finger to Nigel’s Scotty/Lauren final that he’s been hoping for. I honestly feel that they’ve been the best 2 on the whole this entire season. But, “America” doesn’t seem to agree.

    As far as Haley last night, her final performance was really good, but it wasn’t the best overall of this season. Her first performance was decent vocally, but was overall spotty. Someone needs to work with her on how to perform. Smiling is admirable, but she smiles during most of her songs,even if it’s not appropriate (such as Rolling in the Deep.) She has no idea what to do with her free arm, and it’s almost comical. Often when she performs, she squats like she’s going to pee on stage. I think she’s been criticized more than the others, often for less, and last night they criticized her for an “unknown” Gaga song, yet didn’t really comment on if she sang it well or not (it was passable.) Yet, where was this when Casey would sing songs that most of the AI audience also would never have heard from? At least Gaga is the type of music that is EXPECTED to be on AI, right?

    Jacob should go. He was terrible. While I was happy that all 3 judges decided to FINALLY say somethings last night, they were waaay off on Jacob (except Randy after the first song.) I don’t get it.

    I thought Lauren looked nice, and did pretty good with the first song, but she muffed the second. She was flat, she missed notes, she butchered the word “need” near the end. And THAT wasn’t worthy of judging? Seriously?

    I thought Scotty has really stepped up. He’s another that I haven’t much cared for, but he nearly had a “moment” last week, and I liked the performance of his first song. I thought he sang the second song ok, but it was more “typical” Scotty. Still, he’s really stepped up his game the past few weeks. Less eyebrow and mic noneense too.

    I’m not sure if James was off on that first song or it was the sound mix. He did have some issues, and seemed to “lose” the song while interacting with the crowd. But, his performance glossed over many of those issues. He clearly had some issues with the second song, but I felt that it was due to his emotions. While not completely losing the song, I felt that he held it together for the most part. He’s had a could amazing performances in a row, and while these aren’t on that level, they were still MILES ahead of Jacob.

    If there is any justice on AI, then the Bottom 2 will be Jacob and Lauren with Jacob leaving. I have a feeling that Haley will be in the Bottom though (whether 2 or 3.) Please let it be Jacob who goes though.

    • darclyte says:

      I hate typos. At the end of the Scotty comment, it should have read, “Less eyebrow and mic nonsense too.” In the James comment it should have read, “He’s had a couple of amazing performances in a row…” Would LOVE to have an “edit” button. D’oh!

    • kai says:

      I agree, Slezak is out of his mind in love with Haley. This is turning into blog to support Haley and I’m sooooooo tired and over hearing him rant about how Haley is getting dissed. Do i agree that the judges have not given critique where it is due? Yes. I don’t think they have ever given Jacob criticism and that is a travesty. But they also pimped Casey for way longer than he deserve. He offered more in theory then in actual performances and to let him get away with the growling was just inexcusable. But seriously, Slezak has gone off his rocker with his love for the girls who can do a lot with her voice, not to mention her lips, but little emotional connection to anything she is singing, or any kind of dancing stage presence. So over it and so over Idoloonies. I want her off, just so I don’t have to read or hear about her anymore. I still blame her for taking Kendra’s spot!

      • Cari says:

        Hear hear! I’m not jumping on the Haley bandwagon anytime soon. I can’t understand a word she growls, and I’m shocked that so many people who ripped into Casey for his growling turn around and support Haley. Honestly, she’s the reason I stopped watching a few weeks ago, after she shouted her way through Bennie and the Jets. There were so many better contestants in the top 24 that should have made it before her.

        • Tom K says:

          Everyone has their own tastes – but I can’t imagine there actually are people who could have truly disliked “Benny and the Jets”. There are just performances on Idol where, whether I like the contestant or not, there is no denying how good the performance itself was. I wasn’t a huge fan of Adam Lambert – but “Mad World” was so over the top awesome that there was no way to criticize it. I haven’t heard Haley “shout” any song this year, honestly.

          • darclyte says:

            I honestly didn’t like her performance of Benny & the Jets. It was a bad song choice for her, and I just found it annoying. As Simon would say, “Sorry.”

          • CAM says:

            Really? You don’t have to imagine it. I am not a Haley hater, but I hated that performance– “Benny and the Jets s s s s s s”

            Haley has a lot of talent but she needs someone to work with her on song interpretation. She just doesn’t get the lyrics much of the time. She is sexy and beautiful when she sings, and when she’s on, it’s great. The problem last night was that she didn’t really understand what the song is about. Classic Haley– on key, acting/sounding sexy, growling, but not too much. But if you really listen to the words, it isn’t a song that should sound sexy and joyful– it’s about pain and destruction.

  14. Arthur says:

    Here we go, Slezak finds a way to b**** about how poot little Haley was mistreated when they gave her a pimp spot and a standing O.

    You got to be kidding me.

    • GinaBallerina says:

      Lol! I was thinking last night “I wonder if the conspiracy theorists will give up now.” I guess not.

      I don’t dislike Haley but I don’t love her either. I cannot help but think that some people are supporting Haley as a way of sticking it to the “powers that be.” Hey, I’m all for that as much as the next smart Idol viewer, but we have to remember that these singers’ careers go beyond a tv show (well, some of theirs I should say). I’m not going to like someone just to serve a purpose on the show itself. I have to think “am I going to like this person in the real world of music”? And for all of these people, including Haley, it’s a big Probably Not!

  15. Kelly says:

    I like that you gave Lauren some respect. She may not win Idol, but we’ll be hearing a lot of her on country radio.
    Haley’s “House” was amazing. “You and I” was solid. I think it’s good that she got critiqued with that song. It put some fire in her final number.
    James is just ugh… “Without You” was just a travesty.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I agree about Lauren. I personally don’t care for her, never did care for her, didn’t like her audition, she’s been over-hyped (why?), and for the love of Jesus I can’t figure out why she keeps getting a pass for no breath control and not supporting her notes. It has nothing to do with the country thing – I grew up with country music and my husband is a big country fan. Country boasts some of the finest female vocalists around – Allison Kraus, Reba McEntire, Sarah Evans, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, and Martina McBride – Martina is the best there is, hands down! And everything comes to a halt at our house when Reba comes on the stereo, belting out “Fancy”.

      But, I do agree we’ll be hearing her on country radio. Look at Kellie Pickler. It’s a huge genre and there’s room for everyone.

      • marie says:

        I think Lauren faces a number of problems: lack of vocal / breath control, lack of vocal confidence / self-assurance onstage, and an overall fearfulness seemingly born of having to finally face some critical analysis (albeit seldom from the Idol “judges”) while having been told up to now nothing except that she’s (already) a complete and exceptional singer, which she clearly is not: in short, she’s just too damned young as yet.
        Does she have the raw materials? Could be; I’ve heard hints of a lovely instrument in there. But I think she desperately needs some solid, professional vocal coaching – and I’m not talking about transitory, slapdash attention from a revolving-door series of Idol mentors / coaches whose concern is to craft a profitable TV show and not to nurture and develop these kids as singers, but rather about a professional singing coach with whom she can study for a few years until she matures as a singer (and as a young adult woman).
        She hasn’t been getting that from Idol, and by definition she is not going to get that from Idol.
        Yes, the country market is wide, but I still wish Lauren had waited a few years until she was more truly ready, vocally and emotionally.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          I agree – and I kind of felt the same way about Siobhan (sp?) Magnus.
          I just DO not understand why the judges don’t give some solid criticism and suggestions more often.
          OOPS – “Fancy” is on the radio. gotta sing! :-)

  16. Denise says:

    Re: Haley’s awful treatment

    I used to get upset at the determination of the judges to shuffle Kris Allen out the door in favor of Gokey. He ended up winning.

    • Ktct says:

      I was thinking the same thing!

    • GinaBallerina says:

      I do love Simon but, man, I will never EVER forget his face (or any of the judges’ faces) when Ryan sent Kris to the finale first!

      They were like “but it was supposed to be Adam vs. Danny! WAH!” : )

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Why DID they all like Gokey so much? Never got that. Gokey was SO “un-Simon”.

        • cookie love says:

          Gokey could sing. That’s why. Like or dislike his peronality, he had a great voice. (He messed up one note all season and was crucified for it.)

  17. Agustin says:

    I am beyond furious with the persistent Haley bad reviews by “super singer of the World” Jennifer Lopez and the black deaf guy sitting next to her. Steven doesn’t even count.
    Hailey is BY FAR the best of the crop right now. Her rendition of a poorly known Gaga song DOESN’T give the judges the right to criticize her. The voice was impeccable. It doesn’t matter if the song was Top 40 material or not. Absurd.

    Then, a well deserved standing ovation of one of the best moments is AmIdol season 10 so far.

  18. Akash says:

    Total freaking cosign on this entire recap!

  19. jw says:

    When Jacob started with “No Air” I gave up on the episode and turned to “The Middle” and was gone for good.

  20. Nancy says:

    Anybody else rooting for an all girl finale. The guys this year are beyond overrated. Jacob and James were beyond pitchy last night and Scotty is to cheesy for me.

    • Casey J says:

      I am definately rooting for an all girl finale. I think if its anything else, we will have a male idol for the fourth year in a row. While I liked David, Kris, and Lee, the only songs I’ve purchased were David’s. On the other hand, I have all Kelly’s, Jordan’s, and Carrie’s albums. I have nothing against a male winner, but it just seems that the female winners put out music that I’m more likely to listen too.

  21. Jason S says:

    Anyone else love when Haley rolled the dice when she sang”my father was a gambling man!”

  22. evs says:

    I think you should burn J.Lo’s cd regardless of Jacob’s placement. Great idea. Will try to get you one of Iovine’s baseball hats to boot. Stank warning

    1 hope you do a big interview with Haley (5 parts and all that) after this Idol conundrum evicts her because the producers know no better. i think it’s all on her face, when even after a performance like House of the Rising Sun she is prepared to be ridiculed. I really hope they don’t bag on her tomorrow either, and she survives another week. As for the rest, more Sheryl Crowe less everybody else. Seriously love that woman. After last night, even more so

  23. jason says:

    bravo slezak. best recap this year.

  24. Delon says:

    Haley shut ’em up alright at the end. So far she had 3 Idol moments(Benny, Moanin’,HOTRS), 4 if you count Blue (2 of which received standing ovations from the judges) as opposed to none from other contestants. What else does this girl have to do to be deemed as the front runner?

    • Joel says:

      You must live in Haley’s head. Her voice is too thin and too studded with ornamental yodels and easy growls to ever have an Idol moment. Only Scotty and James have come close (and not last night). Haley, at her best, is solid and listenable.

  25. SybilT says:

    I was delayed in watching the show last night, so by the time I watched I already knew about the assjudgery. I was still shocked by how unspeakably bad Jacob was on both songs, and how bad James was on his first. The second James performance wasn’t good either, but at least it wasn’t as much of a train wreck as the first. And yet, both Jimmy and the judges were pimping him HARD. WTH?

    You could see on Haley’s face after the first song that she knew she’d been bussed. That she nonetheless came back out and brought the house down with House of the Rising Sun shows she’s not just a great singer, but one tough cookie. Respect. Total respect.

    • dgman says:

      OK boys and girls today’s word of the day is brought to you by SybilT.
      Say it with me now….”assjudgery”

  26. GSOgymrat says:

    I enjoyed the recap but I disagree about Lauren’s performance of “Unchained Melody”. It was just amateurish and pales next to numerous other people who have performed the song.
    I loved seeing Sheryl Crow and wish some of the contestants had taken more of her advice. I know most people would disagree but I think that Jacob’s “Love Hurts” could have been a breakthrough performance for him if he had followed Sheryl’s advice and kept it intimate throughout. “No Air” was just a nightmare.
    I agree with Slezak that James does not deserve a pass for his vocals just because he misses his girlfriend and baby. He doesn’t deserve to go home though. How is he going to make it on tour?

    • Steph says:

      IA about Lauren… she didn’t even attempt the glory note at the end and once she was finished the song she looked like she was ready to pat herself on the back for a job well done. The judges are puffing her up as much as they did to Casey at the beginning. It’s obvious she feels no need to push her boundaries or show any real artistry.

      • susela says:

        I agree! Lauren has backed off from the big notes time and time again. Yet after the song, she stood there looking as pleased and proud as a three-year-old who’s just p**ped in the toilet for the first time.

  27. dkw says:

    Last night left me seething, and yours and other recaps that can cut through all the BS make me feel a bit better. But as the Lionhart recently tweeted: “There will be an answer. Let it be.” So I will. She is wise.

    Here’s hoping for a shock elimination today. I’d like Jacob to stick around just to see the judges enter full-blown panic mode. I want Jacob’s wails to occupy their dreams. Lord knows they do mine.

  28. SYTYC Judge says:

    The judging on this show is completely ridiculous. I would like to see the judges on 60 Minutes watching the performances and their critiques with the reporter and defend what they said about each and every performance. Seriously. The folks on Deadwood should really deal with these clowns in addition to being humorously placed in Idoloonies. (Kudos for a wonderful Idoloonies last week!!! I look forward to whatever you come up with next.)

  29. Buggys says:

    Thank you and Amen to that! How can those judges hold their heads up after repeatedly pummeling Haley for her talent and heaping praise on Jacob? I have, admittedly become a fan of Haley through the course of season 10. I was thrilled with both of Haley’s performances last night. I can well understand the look on her face as she endured yet another bashing from those weak kneed excuses for the judging panel. Ridiculata? To the extreme. I can easily believe that their comments are all being written for them prior to the contestants walking on stage.

    If there is any sense (hearing) in the american voting block then Jacob will be gone after tonight. He does not deserve to be on that stage any longer.

    Can you possibly force the producers and judges to read your blog today? I think they need to be smacked with a dose of reality because they are lost!

  30. AlyssaG says:

    Haley’s performance was the first true Idol moment this season. Made me realize how forced all other “moments” have been thus far.

  31. Beth says:

    I absolutely loathe the song “House of the Rising Sun”….but last night I loved it!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      My husband and I chuckled at The House of the Rising Sun. First, it’s about a house of ill repute. Hubby was in a band back in the 60s in junior high (wasn’t everyone?) and everybody played “House of the Rising Sun” because of the easy chords. If you played piano you always played it as well because it was fairly easy and repetitive.
      But Haley was wonderful last night!

      • tag says:

        Really? All this time I thought it was some home for wayward boys or jail or something. I’ll have to rethink the lyrics.

        • not says:

          I posted this above, but it seemed more apropo here:

          My one criticism of Haley is that she kept the male gender in the lyrics (it’s “been the ruin of many a poor boy and God only knows I’m one”). Sometimes, I think it’s cool when singers leave the lyrics alone (eg Mamasox on Maybe I’m Amazed), but here, it made no sense. The Animals flipped the gender to male – the original folk/blues version was about a girl working in a whorehouse. (Just looked this up to confirm I was right, but some also speculate it was supposed to be a prisoner in a women’s prison. Either way, it definitely wasn’t a guy.)

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            I remembered it as a folk song and no one really knew the origins, but perhaps it did have a female gender originally. I didn’t even notice – I’ve heard the song so many times I forget the gender issue.

  32. bean99 says:

    This is the 1st time I’ve agreed with you on Haley. She was pretty good in the 1st song and very good in the 2nd and didn’t deserve the judges’ criticism while they raved about James in both songs. I won’t even complain that she got the pimp spot yet again. :)

    James was horrible last night (as was Jacob) but we know TPTB want James in the f2 so they’re trying to convince everyone that he should be in the finals. I have a feeling that his votes aren’t as high as they’d like us to think and that’s why they’re pushing him so hard.

    I hope Jacob goes home and also for the 1st time, hope Haley doesn’t. I’d laugh my head off if James went home instead.

  33. Annoula says:

    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned or noticed this yet, but I just went on iTunes, and Haley’s HOTRS has 997 ratings and she’s at 5 stars. The second most frequently rated song is also Haley’s, but it’s in the 300’s. Scotty comes in third with less than 230, and everyone else is less than 200. Jacob doesn’t reach 3 stars for either performance.

    I may be wrong, but the people who go on iTunes to buy these songs, do some or many of them vote? I really really really hope they do. I mean, producers should be looking at who is selling, shouldn’t they? The people who gave high ratings to Haley are buying her song, right? 997 vs. 224 (Scotty) is a big difference.

    Why do I feel like it’s opposite day every time there’s an AI episode on? Is this some extreme version of reverse psychology?

    Last night was the first time I officially wanted Simon back, because that judging was a travesty.

    • Steph says:

      Take a look at her YouTube numbers too…. Last night when I went to bed HOTRS had 300 views, this morning its at 29,000! She is also constantly ahead in online polls (I realize not all Idol voters go online to these sites but still).

      I hope when the season is over they release the actual voting numbers because I really wonder how much judges/producer manipulation has played into the vote tallies.

    • RTW says:

      And how satisfying was it to zoom passed J-Lo’s album on iTunes to look for the AI downloads?!

    • ohreli says:

      The logic of comparing sales vs Idol votes would make sense if everyone could only vote once. The ability to vote multiple times is so stupid. Its like the producers arent interested in measuring the quantity of the support but the fanatical quality of the support. Very undemocratic, IMHO.

  34. Elizabeth says:

    You need to send a screen capture of the voting to Uncle Nigel & Crew, specifically if Randy thought Jacob Lusk’s “No Air” was anything but a friggin travesty!

    1) Country songs on Idol: we don’t need to smack the song on its head with a fiddle or slide guitar. Call me crazy, but I’d rather hear the singer, which usually happens on country songs – you hear the vocals more than the instrumentals!!!

    2) Being able to scream in the same key for an extended amount of time or hold a glory note does not make you a great singer. Thats like saying Scotty’s trick shot from the Idol Mansion means he should’ve won the NBA MVP instead of Derrick Rose this week.

    3) If I’m Haley, and I get bounced tonight, I flip the double birds and walk off stage. She did give the best performance of the season so far. And I’m not a Haley fan by any stretch of the imagination.

  35. JayK* says:

    I’m at the point now where I skipped through Randy and Steven’s comments. I can’t even listen to them anymore. And that was the most JLo has ever looked like a grandmother, right?
    No Air = the worst Top 5 performance in Idol history.
    If Jacob doesn’t go home this week I may have to kill myself. He makes my ears want to cut themselves off.

    • Lori says:

      We DVR the show and managed to cut the 90-minutes down to 20. Nobody wants to hear what the judges say anymore.

    • JayK* says:

      Oh, and can I just say, Michael John’s “It’s All Wrong But It’s All Right” is one of my favourite Idol moments ever, it’s in my Top 25 on my iPod, and I HAD NEVER EVEN HEARD IT BEFORE. AS IF THAT EVEN F***ING MATTERS YOU $^#^#$%@&#&*$*#. Thanks, I’m done.

    • Monty says:

      I can’t agree with that. Remember Gokey’s “Dream On?” Uff da.

      • Teecie says:

        @ Monty: Gokey’s “Dream On” was better than Michael John’s “It’s All Wrong …”? You’re kidding, right?

        • JayK* says:

          No, I think Monty means that “Dream On” was worse than “No Air”. While Danny’s whole performance was bad, for me it wasn’t catastrophic until the screaming at the end. (I have only watched it the one time though.) I think No Air was catastrophic from start to finish.

  36. marie says:

    As MS says, so it’s ok for James to sing a largely unknown song poorly and largely off-pitch, but not ok for Haley to sing another largely unknown song incredibly well?
    What IS the dol game plan here? Did the producers instruct the “judges” to bash Jimmy’s song choice in the interests of bashing Haley?
    I can’t believe they REALLY think the audience will react with, “Oooh, I don’t know this song, therefore I don’t like it”?
    Did the idiots not even pause for a moment to realize that by that logic, EVERY MUSICAL ACT SHOULD PERFORM NOTHING BUT COVER VERSIONS?
    Did Aerosmith fashion their career singing only well-known songs? For that matter, has the tiny-voiced JLo done that?
    Beyond ridiculous.
    And re Lauren’s “Unchained Melody” (we’ve heard THAT one a million times on Idol, so I guess by tonight’s logic, that was an ideal choice): “There’s nothing to judge”? REALLY??? Poor little Lauren ran out of breath several times, completely backed off the chance at the glory note at the end (proably because she was winded), and added way too many extraneous vocal trills. That was at best a mediocre performance – but THAT was evidently too perfect to judge, while Haley’s fantastic turn on the GaGa song got her soundly thrashed.
    Totally agree with MS’s prediction of a James-Scotty-Lauren final 3, which the producers will engineer no matter how the voting actually goes (I believe that, but for some reason, I was still compelled to vote for Haley repeatedly last night – only the second time this season I’ve voted at all). This show is a sham, but still I watch for the chance to hear performances like Haley’s two last night.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      ^What Marie Said.
      I honestly think Stephano could have done justice to “Unchained Melody”.

    • GinaBallerina says:

      Very good post!

      And to answer your question about J.Lo, why yes, yes she did. She ripped two songs away from Mariah Carey with the help of MC’s evil ex-hubby, who was the head of Sony Music and both women were signed there. It’s well-documented. That duet she did with Ja Rule (who?) back in like 2001? She had to record that because Mariah had just recorded a song with him.

      I know this doesn’t really connect, I’m just in a bad Idol mood and had to get that out. I thought J.Lo being on Idol would change my mind about her but it hasn’t. She’s not worth anyone’s time.

  37. Lori says:

    Didn’t Siobhan Magnus start off House of the Rising Sun a capella also?

  38. tag says:

    Okay, I’m finally going to vent about Jacob: When he started his songs he sounded more like a woman than a man, and when he was screaming “It hurts” all I could think was that he was in labor. I know, that was mean, but claiming to be an artist who appeals to everybody? No, not even close. Saying “Let’s Get it On” was too nasty for him and then grabbing his crotch? No, and double no. No, just no, please America send him home.

    I was so rooting for James, I even wondered if something was wrong with my TV when he started singing, but no, Lauren sounded great, so I have no idea what happened to James this week. I’m certain with more time to get his emotions under control “Without You” would have been great, but his actual performance wasn’t.

    Scotty’s “Gone” did not highlight his vocals, and “Always on My Mind” was so sleepy. The problem isn’t subtlety, it’s quiet intensity Scotty didn’t bring last night.

    Lauren sounded great on “Flat on the Floor,” but she never seems to get enough breath. Her growl brought a smile to my face. “Unchained Melody” felt like a cheat, since they cut out all the soaring parts, but her performance wasn’t terrible. Faint praise, eh?

    I was so mad when they critiqued Haley’s song choice, and so happy Jimmy Iovine seemed to be on her side for once. Haley sang great, especially in comparison to so many weak performances from the other contestants who got rave reviews. I’ll admit Siobhan’s “House of the Rising Sun” was better than Haley’s, but Haley’s was the best performance of the night. I’ll be tearing out my hair if she gets booted tonight.

  39. JVC says:

    Thank you Haley for giving house of the rising sun to us. I love that that performance got whooping 75% on the polls he posted. And it’s time to say goodbye Jacob. I was so done with him after that no air performance. Someone needs to teach james how to control his emotions when he’s singing. And i felt like he was just phoning it in on the first song. I voted for haley tonight harder than ever before last night. I want her to win.

  40. Susana says:

    I agree with you on the majority of the performances except for Lauren’s “Unchained Melody”. She was cutting off the ends of phrases and had no focus, looking around as if to see if anyone was still listening, I would have graded that one a little lower

    As for the judges, you can actually catch them looking down at their “scripts” while spouting their babble. These people are paid millions of dollars, one would think if they are going to force feed us the producers opinions, they could memorize that crap, instead of glancing down at their cheat sheet like it’s 6th grade algebra class…

  41. ezrasace says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of the dismal treatment of Haley. I hope the voters can see the sabotage by the ‘judging’ panel. This is the first time I have purchased any of the music; I was so blown away by Haley’s “House of the Rising Sun”.
    James and Jacob were the worst of the night and received the best praise. If they really are looking for the most relevant artist to be a star, they are looking at the wrong people. I don’t know. I am enjoying “The Voice”……

    • Erin says:

      You know you are dead on with this Haley treatment when my 74 year old mother (Hey, she had me in her 50’s) asks me why the judges only criticized “that last one who sang so well?” If my old ma can see this is a sham, than anyone can. She also wondered to me why they didn’t play up the whole story of the girl who almost went home in the beginning only to make a huge comeback and possibly win the whole show. She loves that story and says, “they never even mention how far she’s come… you’d think they would.” Indeed.

  42. Suncatcher says:

    When Haley is voted off following Jacob Lusk, (according to the script), she should sing the same song James sang when he burned down the piano. Only this time, she should burn down the judges’ desk.

    Now THERE’S a super star exit.

  43. kalspa says:

    I could write about 1,000 pages on what I witnessed last night on Idol, but for brevity’s sake, I am going to go ahead and focus on three performances.

    Scotty’s “Gone.” This is the type of song that will be all over Scotty’s first album. This is why I will never purchase, download (legally or illegally) or accept as a crappy Christmas gift a Scotty McCreery album. He sang it and performed as well as any current Country star could, but it is just not my cup of tea. I will tell you though, that if he wanted to have an Idol moment that would have been talked about for days everywhere and for years within Idol circles, he should have changed the already cornball lyric of, “Gone like a civil war solider, bang bang,” to Gone like OSAMA BIN LADEN, bang bang!

    Lauren’s “Unchained Melody.” My wife had the best take on this: “I was ready to love this performance. I wanted to be able to jump off the couch and scream for Lauren. But it just didn’t get there.” This performance was a microcosm of Lauren’s entire “Idol Journey.” This was supposed to be her Idol moment, the spot that secured that top 2 or 3, but she just didn’t get there. She is (to infuse a little Randy Hyperbole into the proceedings) the most anti-climatic performer in Idol’s history. I can’t help but think that if this was five years from now, either Lauren would have went for the note that everybody who is expecting to create a ‘moment’ with Unchained Melody needs to go for, or she would have realized her limitations and picked a different song. 16 year olds, what are you gonna do? Unfortunately, she put us on a roller coaster and instead of taking us on the drop, she had us depart on the emergency exit stairs, a little confused and longing for the ride we were expecting.

    Hailey’s “You and I.” First, Jimmy Iovine made her choose this song. There is no question in my mind. Michael, when you inevitably interview Hailey, I want you to do your best David Frost, and force the truth out of her on this one. There is no way she wanted to do that song. Funny how her first every Coca-Cola sit down interview was all about pre-defending her being saddled with that song and trying to convince us that she really really wanted to do it. I still don’t know the name of her hometown or any of her relatives. *sigh* That said, she gave an amazing vocal performance per usual, and then you know the rest. If is funny (funny lame, not funny haha) Hailey is the embodiment of what the process of this competition is supposed to be about. An unknown girl, never considered a front runner, giving stronger, braver performances each week until she takes the crown. She is the story Nigel, and you didn’t even have to manufacture it. Maybe that is the problem. We didn’t need you to get Hailey, and you need to be needed.

    • Angela says:

      Lauren performed Unchained Melody before the Top 24 was chosen in front of the judges

    • Dani C says:

      Great post! I agree w/everything you said; especially the part about Haley’s journey. That’s how it used to happen on the AI stage…finding an unknown talent and unleashing them on the world. All the pimping really started in Season 8 with the Davids (i love both, i’m in no way dissing them…please don’t hurt me)…Kris managed to throw a wrench into the producers plans in 9, but he worked hard (for the money) to get to the top 2, and he had zero help from anyone. Maybe Haley can work some of that magic and make it to the final 2 as well. If not, i will anxiously await her exit interview w/Slezak. I’m thinking she needs a bouquet of African Daisy’s; she’s kinda hippy dippy, but also bright and colorful.

  44. CAT says:

    Jacob – MUST GO! His first song didn’t suit his voice, and his delivery was too choppy with too many short phrases. The beginning of “Love Hurts” was excellent, but then he started going off into far too much melisma and a totally unnecessary shout at the end.
    James – Really disappointed in how much he went off key in both songs. His vocal was really good in “Without You”, but his words were awfully slurred. I mean, I KNOW that song, and I still couldn’t understand what he was singing.
    Lauren – Ditto for the words on her first song. And, she messed with the melody too much on “Unchained Melody”, although she dressed well for the first time in the competition. This girl really has no vocal range at all. She has no strength in her lower register, but doesn’t have the confidence (or the ability?) to hit a high note. To leave out that high note in “Unchained” is like leaving out the beef in beef stroganoff–all you end up with is wet noodles.
    Scotty – Terrific first song. Loved the energy. Then, “Always on my Mind” was a perfect contrast. No problem with vocals AT ALL!!!
    Haley – First song had a very limited vocal line. In the recap at the end, I counted a total of the same four notes sung over and over. Didn’t like that at all. But she hit a grand slam with “House of the Rising Sun”. I don’t like her raspy voice – I think it’s ugly sounding. But that was the perfect song for her and she did it amazingly well.

  45. dctoronto says:

    It occurred to me last night that whoever wins, 19/Interscope are going to have to work hard to make this year’s idol and runner-up a top 40 contender. Everyone has a specfic niche and I don’t see much crossover/pop appeal.
    James is going to release a guitar heavy album that will be of little interest to most music buyers and will probably alienate a good portion of his fan base
    Lauren is a lightweight Carrie Underwood whose album will be in the bargain bins within a year.
    Scotty’s seems only interested in doing 70s country and I don’t see a big market for that.
    Hailey (whose album I’ll buy) will probably release something in the vein of Sheryl Crow/Adele
    I don’t think we’ll ever hear of Jacob again after tonight so I am not going to bother speculating.

  46. Pam says:

    The judging is just beyond ridiculous. I love it when someone sings a song I don’t know, and Haley was fantastic on You and I. Both of her performances were the best of the night. Why didn’t the judges call Lauren out on her lack of breath control? Oh, and seriously, Michael? Her dress for Unchained Melody? I thought it was awful – she looked like a 40 y/o divorcee singing on a cruise ship. Someone find her a stylist who knows how teens dress stat! And the judges not telling James about his off-key singing last night? Although, to be honest, I think his problems with his first song were the band’s fault because they were just way too loud. Again. I can appreciate James feeling emotional with his second song, but that’s no excuse for not singing well (see JLo’s comments to Jacob when he sang Dance with My Father. Oh, how quickly they forget!) But I just pray that Jacob’s time has FINALLY come. He is waaaaaay past due to go home.

    • GSOgymrat says:

      Yes, someone in hair and makeup hates Lauren.

      • kb23 says:

        She reminded me of the women from Lawrence Welk with that outfit…

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          I thought the same thing. She looks older anyway, but that ball gown was just awful for a girl her age. I wouldn’t wear that thing!

    • RD says:

      I agree-I thought the GaGa song was ideal for Haley and she did a great job with it.Just the sort of song she should be singing. The judges failure to recognize this speaks volumes for their total lack of effectiveness as judges.

  47. Lynne says:

    I still can’t get over the fact that Scotty looks like Alfred E. Newman!!

    • Nael says:

      I agree!
      Especially with all his eyebrow-wiggling and wannabe-sexy-glances. It’s like watching a country singer parody show at a comedy festival.
      I actually really like his singing, but I don’t see how he can be a serious country singer unless he totally reworks his stage-behaviour.

  48. Rick says:

    Love Haley, don’t you just want to punch the Dawg in the chops every time he speaks?

    Hey Mike, maybe you can answer this, how is it that Haley can do an unreleased song but an artist can’t sing one of their own? I remember MamaSox complaining about that last year.

  49. allie says:

    LOVED the Youtube clips of the glory notes and Carly and Kelli singing Without You. Anyone who thinks this crop of contestants “are the BEST EVER” needs to take a listen. James was awful. Truly horrible last night. Gokey’s scream was better than that mess he was yelling yesterday. I had to mute Jacob’s 1st song & almost went blind from the crotch grabbing. I went into shock at his 2nd song – once the choir and the brass came out I knew it was going to be an epic catastrophe. Lauren and Scotty both sound better doing uptempo country & while I can’t watch Scotty and his mic w/o wondering why in the hell no one helps this child I did enjoy both of their songs. Haley, hands down, was the best of the night both times. When she goes, I go….and probably for good. The judges and Jimmy aren’t even worth mentioning anymore. I am looking forward to one thing… which winner will win in CD sales? The Voice or AI? My bet is on the Voice.

  50. Chris says:

    I agree that Haley was the best of the night but I do think she shouldn’t have sung You & I. Honestly, the girl should ignore anything that comes out of Jimmy Iovine’s mouth after hello. He does not have her best interest at heart and she should know this by now. Suggesting she sing a song few people know was his way of reducing her number of votes. I’m not familiar with Montgomery Gentry’s Gone but it seemed to me that Scotty was way too happy for a guy singing about losing his girl. Is he supposed to be glad? I, too, wish there was a way to mute the visual when he sings. Once again singing contemporary songs was not successful for the Idols. The “Then” songs were better but overall, I’d give the night a C. Only Haley had a successful night for me.

    • Erin says:

      You are reading my mind. Jimmy is not Haley’s friend. I’ve often felt that Scotty never emotionally connects to any of the songs he sings, he just play acts. When Ryan suggested he’s singing to that “one person” Scotty literally shrugged and said “who is it?” And the faces, oh god those faces.

    • ohreli says:

      Yeah, Iovine complains last week that Haley doesnt know who she is as an artist, and then comes up with the brilliant epiphany that Haley is the next Lady Gaga! Ummm….I like them both, but only someone completely oblivious to subtle nuances and details could equate the two.

    • algalhi says:

      My first reaction when Jimmy “gave” Haley the Gaga song was that they were using Haley to advertise Gaga’s new album. I actually thought it was a win-win situation, and really, when Gaga offers you her song to sing, would anyone turn her down?

      I bought the iTunes studio version of Haley’s “You and I” and I really love it! Will be interesting to compare Gaga’s studio version to it. I saw a YouTube with Gaga singing it in concert and I wasn’t impressed, but then it is taken by an amateur video camera in the audience. Haley put her rock, rasp sensibility to the song and made it her own.

      I just wish the judges would have given Haley feedback on her performance and THEN suggest singing a more familiar song. These judges need judging themselves! (I guess we are doing that!) Do you all really think that the judges are given “talking points” and asked to deliver them to the contestants?