American Idol Recap: 'Nothing' Ventured, Nothing Gained

Imagine watching a boxing match where a fighter gets bound tightly to the corner post, then relentlessly pummeled by his foe. Or a race where one horse is led to the starting gate, only to be pointed in the opposite direction of the remaining runners. Or a figure-skating competition where everyone performs on ice, except for one girl who gets violently hurled into a lake and told by the judges, “Hey, it’s not our fault you couldn’t get the water to freeze!” That’s kind of what Wednesday night’s edition of American Idol felt like, with Haley Reinhart getting the proverbial slushie to the face from “judges” Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez, while her three competitors received nary a word of criticism despite experiencing pitch problems, facial malfunctions, and a general lack of believability.

I know, I know…I’ve been standing on my soapbox on the corner of Outraged Avenue and Fanboy Lane for three weeks now, and I’m starting to wonder if I’ve become the guy in the tattered cape and tinfoil hat, the one who can spot a conspiracy theory in everything from his favorite TV show to the contents of his refrigerator. (Sorry, I just tried something called “Siggi’s Icelandic-style skyr strained non-fat strawberry yogurt” and I’m not sure that’s what it was supposed to taste like. Could Cecile Frot-Coutaz be to blame?) I mean, is it possible that four months and 34 episodes in to Idol‘s tenth season, I’m as married to my personal narrative (the bus is coming for Haley!) as Nigel Lythgoe is to his (there is no finale without Lauren Alaina)?

Maybe so. But here’s the thing: I’ve never once said that Haley should be above criticism. In fact, I’m more than willing to concede that her rendition of “Earth Song” this week was flawed, and probably her least effective vocal since she stumbled her way through “Call Me” during Top 8 week.

What’s got my blood boiling, then? For starters, hearing J.Lo act as if Haley’s vocal was subpar in comparison to James Durbin’s listless, uninventive “Don’t Stop Believin'” by declaring “James comes out — he sets the bar.” (Lady, that’s not setting the bar, that’s dropping a piece of pipe on the floor. ) Or how about having Randy once again cast aspersions on Haley’s artistic identity, then act as if Scotty McCreery’s intensely hokey “Young Blood” cover was the stuff of sold-out concert venues. Or listening to J.Lo give a free pass to Lauren Alaina’s junior-miss pageant rendition of “Trouble,” but tell Haley that she and her fellow panelists will “never” go easy on her.

Oh, and on the off chance you didn’t realize how much the judges hated Haley and her rendition of “Earth Song” (or the fact that you were supposed to hate it, too), they had Ryan Seacrest call all four singers back up to the stage at the halfway point of the telecast so Randy could declare Round One a three-way tie between James, Scotty, and Lauren, and J.Lo could not-so-subtly suggest Haley as unfit for Top 3 duty — reducing this confident young woman to the brink of tears just moments before her second performance.

The irony of the situation is that the lack of tough feedback for Lauren, Scotty, and James has resulted in the chosen trio beginning to flatline as the season finale approaches, while the vicious campaign against Haley by the “judges” has probably played some part in her sure and steady growth from early-round cannon fodder into the kind of potential artist that has Lady Gaga squealing, “You’re going to kick so much ass, little pony!”

But even if you’re willing to entertain the idea that the “judges” have played a role in Haley’s growth these past 11 weeks, Idol also has to succeed on a different level — as an enjoyable piece of reality television. And frankly, it’s no fun to watch a panel of overpaid celebrities tell you that the sky is chartreuse, the grass is fuchsia, the water is tangerine, and that Haley is a piñata filled with delicious candy. (You just have to hit her with a stick a few more times to get your pack of Rolos. HIT HER! AGAIN! AGAIN! AGAIN!)

But enough about the “judges.” Because American Idol is not, nor will it ever be, about the “judges.” Instead, let’s focus on the Season 10 Top 4 and their varied performances from the “Songs That Inspire” theme and the Leiber and Stoller Songbook.

James Durbin: Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”
I always get a little skittish when an Idol contestant feels the need to start a performance by demanding more energy from the crowd — dude, I’ll get on my feet if you give me a reason — but James’ opening mantra here actually made me groan: “Come on Randy, I know you know the words!” (Uff da. I had to groan again after typing that, too.) Yes, as every Idol fan knows, Randy once played bass with Journey*, and with this performance, James proved that, um, he could maybe be the frontman for a third-rate Journey cover band? If he didn’t quit his day job? Harsh, I know, but James’ performance was peppered with flat notes, and was surprisingly short on energy. Even worse, he delivered the verses in a loose and languid way — without any punch or attack — that drained the anthemic ballad of its inherent drama. (*still doesn’t make him relevant)

Oh, and a quick side note: I loved the revisionist history in the banter between James and Ryan that suggested the judges were tough on him last week, when in fact, J.Lo, Randy, and Steven had nothing but praise for James’ renditions of “Closer to the Edge” and “Without You.” “It’s time to get back in the game,” said the contestant, as Ryan nodded his head and added, “and apparently James is back.”

Haley Reinhart: Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song”
On paper, Michael Jackson’s sweeping ballad was a bold and unexpected choice — certainly one of the better “inspirational songs” ever chosen for the Idol stage. But in reality, there were two problems with the performance. For starters, the opening verse didn’t sit very well in Haley’s register: Where MJ’s original is practically a cry, Haley’s wobbled out as unsteadily as a Fleet Week sailor exiting a Times Square saloon. The other issue is that “Earth Song” is supposed to be a slow and steady build, but a lot of its epic scope got lost in paring the track down to a two-minute Idol performance. That said, in Haley’s defense, I couldn’t get my head around the idiocy of Randy’s complaint about the chorus being shouty, considering it contains lines like “What about children dying? Can’t you hear them cry?” The whole point of “Earth Song” is a call to action, and it’s filled with outrage over the state of our planet and its inhabitants. You don’t ask for help by politely raising your hand, you grab a megaphone and you belt it out. I could get into Haley’s back and forth with the judges — I won’t lie, I loved how she gave a “Can you believe this b****?” look directly into the camera during J.Lo’s long-winded critique — but instead, I’ll turn it over to Steven for a change. (Quick! Look! He’s awake!) “They’re both wrong,” he said of his fellow panelists. “The audience heard it, and America heard it. Don’t believe them!”

Scotty McCreery: Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)”
It would be easy to say Scotty’s choice of Alan Jackson’s anthem about September 11 was a cynical move, particularly a week after the death of Osama bin Laden. (UGH. There’s a name I never wanted to write during an Idol recap). But Scotty is a kid who’s ready to kiss the grass, eat fried chicken, and drink sweet tea if he makes it to his hometown visit next week, so is it really a stretch to think “Where Were You…” — with its homespun point-of-view and its emphasis on faith, hope, and God — might actually be a source of inspiration to him? My real problem with the performance was the way Scotty reverted to some of his lazier habits, dropping the ends of phrases and allowing his voice to get swallowed up by the band and its backing vocalists. This would’ve been a perfectly fine performance — if we weren’t down to the final four, armed with the knowledge that stellar former Idols like Tamyra Gray, Chris Daughtry, La Toya London, Jason Castro, and Allison Iraheta all went home in fourth place.

(Side note to Ryan Seacrest: Stop trying to make “Scotty the Body” happen, okay? None of us are going to call him that, and it’s starting to make you look creepy. That is all.)

Lauren Alaina: Martina McBride’s “Anyway”
Aside from Haley’s “I (Who Have Nothing),” Lauren’s “Anyway” was the performance of the night — in spite of a gown that looked like it was made from J.C. Penny’s French brothel curtain collection and a song taken from Kristy Lee Cook’s Idol collection. There was a real magic in the way Lauren scooped her big notes and soared to impressive heights with the ease of someone just turning a few knobs on a dial, and for once, I felt like she was actually as focused on the lyrics as she was on the vocal performance. For once, Randy’s “America, Lauren is back in it to win it!” seemed like a spontaneous critique rather than a series of words the Dawg was reading off Uncle Nigel’s cue cards.

(Side note to Lauren: Stop trying to make “Peaches” happen, okay? None of us are going to call him that, and it’s starting to make you look creepy. That is all.)

Haley Reinhart: Shirley Bassey’s “I (Who Have Nothing)”
I loved that this week’s mentor Lady Gaga (who kind of looked like she’d filmed her segments in front of a green screen, then had a sparkling white room superimposed behind her) encouraged Haley to go “a little psycho” this week, which is exactly what she needed to differentiate her performance from Jordin Sparks’ iconic Season 6 cover of the same song. Whereas Jordin was the jilted ingenue, longing to walk alongside her unrequited lover, Haley sang from the point of view of a woman so unhinged that the object of her affection should probably seek a restraining order. When she dug into the line, “I can only watch you with, my nose pressed up against the window pane,” you could practically see our protagonist skulking outside a restaurant window, waiting for her chance to confront her man and try to win him back. Okay, okay…I’m getting a little carried away with the theatricality of it all — Haley + Gaga can do that to a gay — but honestly, this was yet another Idol Moment for The Lady Reinhart, and combined with “Benny and the Jets,” “You and I,” “House of the Rising Sun,” and “Rolling in the Deep,” it’s hard to fathom a Top 3 without her. Hopefully, Steven was right that Haley “Reinharted [herself] into the middle of next week.”

Scotty McCreery: The Coasters’ “Young Blood”
Honestly, Scotty couldn’t have been any cornier with this performance if he’d put on a black turtleneck and white facepaint, and put on a full-fledged mime act as he day-lee-vurrrd his cawn-tray dee-ih-tay. Everything that was cool and cheeky about last week’s cover of “Gone” was force fed five meals a day of Muscle Milk until the seams burst and the emperor was left entirely naked. Nice of J.Lo to absolutely assume Scotty’s safe passage into the Top 3, though. “Next week, we want a whole different side!” she chirped. Oh, lady, so do we.

Gaga’s mentoring session with Scotty, on the other hand, was an absurdist treat, as the skunk-coiffed diva tried to get the good ‘ol country boy to handle his mic like a hot dog, or his girlfriend’s tongue, until he was forced to kiss his cross, grit his teeth, and wait for it to all be over.

Lauren Alaina: Elvis Presley’s “Trouble”
Here’s a note I was hoping someone — the “judges,” Jimmy, Gaga, a random “all-star” music producer, a makeup person — would give to Lauren: If you don’t want to sing the words “I’m evil” in a song, then don’t choose Elvis Presley’s “Trouble”! It’s actually kind of simple, if you think about it. Just in case you missed the memo that this week’s theme was Leiber & Stoller & Lauren’s Redemption, we got a whole sit-down interview rehashing the fact that Steven Tyler referred to Lauren as “the one” right after her audition — and now her scorched-earth march to global domination is almost complete. With Nigel at her right hand and Jimmy at her left, Lauren will rule the Globe with a cruel and blood-stained fist. Her first edict, “Off with Taylor Swift’s head!”

Oh, gosh, sorry, no. LAUREN IS NOT EVIL. THE DEVIL MADE ME SAY THAT STUFF. But Lauren is also not a singer with the swagger or cadence to pull off a zippy romp in the vein of “Trouble” (or that gold sequined jacket from the Alexis Carrington Collection and 47 lbs of hair extensions). Her “don’t you mess around with me” warnings were about as threatening as a tiny kitten swinging at a ball of yarn, and she sounded downright winded by the time she got to the final few lines and ended with a jump and a squeak as the band hit their final cues. Steven, inching (centimetering?) his way toward redemption, wasn’t sure if he believed it. But he loooovvvves Lauren!

James Durbin: The Clovers’ “Love Potion No. 9”
James may not have wanted Gaga’s hands upon his hips, but her call for added drama and movement definitely helped elevate James’ take on “Love Potion No. 9.” I liked the fact that the resident rocker went into the week with an idea of where he wanted to take this silly little ditty, and indeed, he managed to put a harder-edged vibe on it without destroying the original melodies. There were moments where James’ voice got a little nasal, but his long and winding ending — with multiple pauses and fakeouts and blasts of guitar — was undeniably fun.

And now, on to our letter grades…

Tonight’s Letter Grades
Haley Reinhart: “I (Who Have Nothing)”: A
Lauren Alaina: “Anyway”: A-
James Durbin: “Love Potion No. 9”: B+
Haley Reinhart: “Earth Song”: B
Scotty McCreery: “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)”: B
James Durbin: “Don’t Stop Believin'”: C+
Lauren Alaina: “Trouble”: C
Scotty McCreery: “Young Blood”: D

What did you think of Top 4 performance night? Am I right to be so furious on Haley’s behalf, or do I need to simmer down? Who was your favorite? Who will and should go home? Sound off below, and for all my Idol news and commentary, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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  1. Owen says:

    With Dial Idol predicting Lauren Alaina safe tonight (and though DI has had some missteps during the last couple years, its never failed to be proven right this far into the competition) it is all but decided Haley will be going home. Is it because of Slezak’s Evil Judges? I doubt it. Everyone voting witnessed Haley’s startling, amazing comeback with “I Who Have Nothing” after a less than triumphant (though still somewhat potent) Green/Michael Jackson tribute We who witnessed Lee’s win over Crystal last year know the bitter sting of America’s enduring love and recognition of popular mediocrity over true talent. I’m not talking about Scotty and James. Though they have both had their rough patches, these boys have shown themselves to be true entertainers. And entertainers haven’t happened on Idol for awhile. We have experienced the joy of witnessing Scotty discover himself musically and, like Kris Allen, to take full advantage of the platform and tools he’s been handed…and to know what to do with them. James himself IS joy. Pure joy of performance. And any of us who have been to a concert lately know that a lot of rock and pop stars have merely a relative acquaintance with pure pitch. No, I’m talking about Baby Doll. Though a more talented singer than Lee DeWyze, she is a sweet 16 year old pile of potential. That’s all. She has never slayed on the Idol stage, she is only a few steps above a karaoke princess. Someone will someday write a coherent article or essay on the journey of Haley Reinhart. The girl once derogatively referred to as Haley “Scarnato” (I do believe Slezak himself once bemoaned she was in the Top 12 instead of his beloved … oh, that blond girl whose name I’ve forgotten) this beautiful girl clawed her way into the Top 4. I don’t think there’s ever been a contestant quite like her. Never a judges’ favorite, she earned their respect but had to work twice as hard to get it. But again, its not the judges, as Slezak goes on and on about. Its not Nigel, who obviously much prefers Lauren. Its us. Its America. Its those who saw both performances and somehow decided Lauren deserved a spot in the Top 3 over Haley. Lauren sang about Jesus. Lauren cried last week. Lauren once again called Ryan “Peaches”. Lauren sang merely okay. And on her second song was sorta lousy. Maybe we get the Idol we deserve.

    • CAT says:

      Wow, are you ever right about that! American’s bar is set SO LOW for popular culture anymore. Same principle applies to having Pia ousted before Jacob and Paul and Casey and Haley and Lauren. This should have been a Pia/Scotty final, pure and simple.

      • Joe Strummer says:

        No Pia had a good voice but no stage presence. She was NEVER going to win.

        • tomitweets says:

          Agreed. Pia is a big voice but no presence or emotion. Had she lasted she may have developed some.

          • Exactly. It’s tough to say what Pia would have become. Her legs were cut off before she could learn how to walk. A lot of these contestants have grown leaps and bounds over the past number of weeks. Haley is the biggest example. She has grown every week since Pia left. I can’t even imagine how good Pia would be at this point if she stayed in this competition.

      • Aaron says:

        Whenever I think of Pia now, I think of Bridget Jones listening to what she calls “Sad FM for the over 30s”…sorry, just watched that movie again.

      • Liliana says:

        CAT, while I agree that popular culture is held to a fairly low standard, I don’t agree with the pro-Pia sentiment. I think she’s brilliantly talented, but I don’t think she ever had what it took as a performer. A singer, but not performer. I am not a fan of Lauren, but I think she has a better shot out there than Pia had.

    • Darsy says:

      Oh yes, by all means let’s reward the pandering and vote someone through for mentioning Jesus. I’d LOVE to watch season 11 if that’s what people have to do to get America’s vote.


      • Kitty says:

        Just because someone mentions Jesus doesn’t mean they’re “pandering”. Some people do have a very genuine faith.

        • Joel says:

          I don’t Scotty mentioning Jesus authentically so much as him singing a song that praises ignorance!

          • Sam says:

            Seriously! I was concerned to hear him sing he doesn’t know the difference in Iraq and Iran. Yikes. And of course Randy praised the song for its brilliant lyrics.

          • ohbabs says:

            one can be related to the other. combine both and Bam.

          • Cari says:

            Oh you have got to be kidding me. Have you ever actually listened to the song? It’s not praising ignorance. At no point does it say, “I don’t know the difference between Iraq and Iran and that’s a good thing.” The point is that it’s not about politics, it’s about love. Whether you’re politically left or right, whether you know the difference between Iraq and Iran or you don’t, whether you’re old, young, black, white, yellow, green, whatever, this was a day that affected everybody, and the message is that you should hold tight to the good things in your life because tragedies happen. Instead of focusing on one line in the chorus, maybe you should try looking at the big picture and get a clue.

          • hooch says:

            I agree that the song is not “praising” ignorance. But not knowing the difference between Iraq & Iran is ignorance, and any American over age, say 14, should be ashamed of saying it out loud if it’s true.

          • econruth says:

            It’s not ignorance. You have to put this song into context of when it was written. Immediately after 9/11, before we invaded Iraq, before most of us even knew who Bin Laden was. Most Americans had only a vague idea of the difference between these two countries. We knew we had invaded Iraq in 1990, but that was 11 years before this and for most people it was long out of our minds.
            Yes, we should know the difference, especially with all the problems in the world today. But Alan Jackson was saying this thing happened and it doesn’t matter who did it, or where they were from. We were all hurting. And we needed to come together as a country.
            That all said – Scotty should never have picked this song. It is iconic in the country music world and will forever be Jackson’s. He could only be a pale comparison especially since he was all of 6? in 2001.

        • Michael says:

          You’re right. But if you think that Scotty wasn’t pandering, you’re way off the mark. When Carrie Underwood sang “how great thou art” on the Girls night out show, she wasn’t pandering. When Scotty kissed his cross to rise above what could potentially be considered sexual, he pandered.

          • Jen says:

            You’ve obviously never lived in the Bible belt. Many southern boys get very uncomfortable with sexual innuendo, and I imagine it’s worse on national television (knowing his parents, friends, teachers and pastor will be watching).

          • djm says:

            I agree – but then again I do not think there is anything remotely “authentic” about Scotty. He’s a 16 year old pageant queen that happens to have male parts “down there” (or at least I am assuming he does). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if he was a girl and Simon was judging he would have called him out on it a long, long, long, long time ago.

          • Irishize says:

            Yes! What you said! That whole thing with Scotty was just plain immature blather, second only to Lauren with her I can’t say evil bs. I hated both of them right at that moment.

          • Cari says:

            I think Scotty’s voice is authentic, but yeah, he does put on an act for the cameras, and his ego seems pretty out of control. I agree that Simon never would have let him get like this. But he didn’t get that way on his own. That’s what crappy judging does; it makes all the contestants think they’re the best thing since sliced bread. It’s pretty obvious that AI wants a kid to win this year, and if they can tap the country market too, more power to them. So they’re selling Scotty (and Lauren) as the obvious choice so they can have the next little Taylor Swift all for themselves.

          • Tarc says:

            Considering that Gaga is at least as much (if not vastly more) Christian than Scotty, he was 1) wrong, 2) stupid, 3) pandering, and 4) bigoted in his little ‘cross-kissing’ shenanigans. He lost any hope of my ever voting for him right there.

          • Joy says:

            Am I the only one who thought Scotty was clearly just teasing a little with that? He knew he was expected to be shocked by Gaga, and so he played along. Seemed like it was all in good fun, on both sides.

        • Tarc says:

          Just exactly how naieve are you?

      • gnatcar says:

        I agree.

        How many of our winners have been openly Christian?

        Do the math. If you don’t appeal to Christians and southerners, you have no chance.

        • Darsy says:

          Yeah, that’s the thing. It felt different–more of a Kristy Lee Cook ‘please don’t vote me off *WAVES FLAG*’ than a How Great Thou Art performance. If I ever felt like Scotty was doing it because he felt it (and if he DOES feel it, then he needs to learn how to show that authenticity), I might not have felt it was pandering.

          It’s one thing to be yourself, it’s another to know that guns, flags, and god get you votes.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Well then, I love guns, the flag, God, Jesus – but I prefer Haley.
            Quite frankly Haley might have found a gun to be quite handy the last two weeks! ;-)

      • Heidi says:

        Didn’t you notice in the ‘final recap’ before we were let out of school to vote, that they showed Haley’s impassioned but growly ending of MJ’s Earth Song (the part the judges liked the LEAST), and then showed Scotty singing about the fact that he talks to Jesus, Lauren singing that God is great….. Nigel Lythgoe could not be more obvious if he tried about how he wants the finals to go. Its all about money; and braggadacio – as in, Our winner sold way more albums than the winner of X factor or the Voice.
        And I’m not saying that Scotty and Lauren picked songs about God on purpose for votes; I’m saying that Nigel totally singled those portions of the songs as the final moment before we vote. He’s pandering and it sucks.

    • indy says:

      Season 9 top 4 dial idol had Casey James in 4th place. He DID NOT go home.
      Season 9 top 4 Dial Idol had Michael Lynche in 3rd place he however he DID go home in 4th place.

      Just saying the person in last place at Dial Idol “this far into the competition” isn’t necessarily going home.

      • Owen says:

        This is different. Its not who is at the bottom, its who is in the Top 2-Definitely Not Going Home column. Dial Idol has Scotty and Lauren as the Top 2 and definitely SAFE. That leaves James and Haley as 3 and 4. Haley’s only chance was for Lauren to be her three. I might be wrong, but I just don’t see Haley’s ever-increasing popularity beat James already-won over fan base.

        • indy says:

          I do understand what you are saying. I think she probably will go home. My only point was that even this far into the competition Dial Idol has been proven wrong in that the person in last place has not always gone home.

          This year DI has only had 4 last place finishers actually go home. Social networking numbers have been correct 5 times in showing who would go home. From yesterday to this morning Social Networking has the Idols ranked. Scotty 1, Haley 2, James 3, Lauren 4.

          • Joy says:

            DialIdol doesn’t CLAIM that the lowest score means someone is going home — they account for their statistical margin of error, and give a range of possible placements for each contestant. Usually there are several they list as possibly being in last place, and I think the only time they’ve been wrong with those this season was the week Pia left. This week, only Haley and James are listed as possibly coming in last.

        • B.Rich says:

          I seriously hope James is “this year’s Daughtry”, but Lauren or Scotty deserve to go home.

          • jennab says:

            James does not have Daughtry’s smoldering stage presence or maturity; he’s squinty, chubby, kind of creepy and WAY over-confident. Re: Scotty, when IS he going to sing “Freedom Isn’t Free” from the Team America soundtrack? Put it on iTunes for a buck–0-nine.

          • indy says:

            Comment for Joy above.

            I understand how dial idol works. They paint with a broad brush so they have a better chance of their predictions being correct. They do however have a person in last place every week and it isn’t always the person going home.

      • susela says:

        Dial Idol has been less accurate this year due to online voting. So I am not too worried about their prediction this week. (Although I wouldn’t mind saying goodbye to James.)

        • RTW says:

          Is Dial Idol influenced only by phoning in using the 1-866 numbers? What about SMS texting? I only vote by texting and I’m wearing the band-aids to prove it. :)

          • Aaron says:

            I’m pretty sure they only measure the busy signals, so I don’t know how they could calculate texting…I’m hoping that Haley had a massive amount of text and online support because I don’t want her to go home.

        • chistosa says:

          Dialidol has not been accurate at all this year. They can’t measure the power texting or the online voting. Just this week they had Romeo in first place and definitely safe with DWTS but he was the one who went home.

          Truthfully, every single one of the final 4 had at least one pitiful performance last night. Anyone is at risk.

      • Brian says:

        DialIdol had Pia safe this year when she went home. They also had Haley below Jacob last week and she wasn’t even in the bottom 2. The only sure thing is that Scotty is getting almost double the votes of anyone else, thanks to little girls mostly.

        • Liz says:

          I don’t recall DialIdol telling us the source of anyone’s votes. That’s a lot to read into a busy signal!

      • Art says:

        Dial Idol been remarkably inaccurate this year. Maybe the internet voting and increased texting are just making it irrelevant.

    • takakupo says:

      Comparing Scotty McReery to Kris Allen is a travesty. Pure travesty. Scotty hasn’t found anything musically besides the way to hold a mic and James Durbin has really lost himself in the last two weeks. The only performances of his I can actually say I loved or were entertaining to me were “Maybe I’m Amazed” and “Will You Still Love Me”.

      • How is no one mentioning the fact that the order got mixed up?? When does the person who sings first (James), then get to sing last? That leaves a huge impression on the audience. Sucks for Lauren who looked like she was getting the best spot of the night. Plus Haley had to go from getting hammered twice by Randy, first after her performance, and second after Ryan asked who needs to step it up and then go first in the second round. Given that she twice was told she was the worst thus far by Randy and Jennifer, she killed that second song. But was the damage done from that first performance?

        Honestly, I just don’t understand how they are doing the order. It’s true that not every person that gets that last spot is guaranteed to stick around, but it definetly doesn’t hurt, and given that Haley went in the middle, and her biggest competition tonight is James, it’s going to be tough for her. I am expecting her to go, and will just pleasantly shocked and happy if she sticks around.

    • mams says:

      No, Dial Idol is not predicting that. Not sure what you are looking at. It shows either Haley or James could be going home.

    • Amie says:

      Amen, America watched as someone was robbed on that idol stage and again tonight they will see her be robbed again. I’m done.

      • djm says:

        I was watching last night with a friend that does not watch the show and not only did I call it right that they were going to rake Haley over the coals, but I said word for word what Randy was going to say to Lauren before it even got to his turn. My friend was like “what is this about?” and I had to fill her in. Was Haley “perfect” during the Michael Jackson song? No. But neither was James or Scotty or Lauren, yet Haley is the ONLY one held accountable.

        Here’s the thing – I voted for an hour for Haley last night and it’s the second time all season I’ve voted (the first time I voted 5 times for Naima the week she went home). I hope Haley is safe just as a F-you to the judges and Nigel (whom I now officially HATE). But honestly, there is a part of me that hopes she goes home, because when she does I wont watch anymore. I can tolerate James but I despise both Scotty and Lauren so there truly is no point for me to watch if they are in the finale.

        • elr says:

          It was only my second time voting this season too. all my votes went to Haley. Not just because of the way the judges are treating her (my love for J-Lo is rapidly diminishing)but because of the way she sings. James may be all about the performance, and Scotty the voice, but Haley manages to combine both with grand style. If Haley makes it into the final three I will be giving her all the votes I can and if she goes then I go to. I was so hoping that this year would be different, but I won’t watch anymore after this season no matter what changes they make.

          • Suncatcher says:

            @elr – you just read my mind. Ditto that.

            Jennifer Lopez has been the biggest disappointment these past 3 weeks. I love, love, loved her until she lead the charge attacking Haley. And I was not even a Haley supporter! I am now.

            There is no doubt in my mind that JLO can (and has) been bought.
            (Randy just sold his soul years ago).

    • Jay says:

      Owen, I think there are a lot of good thoughts here, but I think you still don’t give credit to how easily certain voting populations can be influenced. Yes, the voters are ultimately responsible for what happens, but the producers are also responsible for framing a narrative based upon what they view as the greatest potential for record sales.

      • Li-Li says:

        So how do you explain Lee DeWyze?

        • MamaLis says:

          How (DO) you explain Lee Dewyze? UgH!!! I couldn’t watch last year. Like at all. ZZZZZZZZZ.

        • Suncatcher says:

          Explain Lee DeWyze? I think he was – with the exception of Crystal Bowersox – the ONLY one possibly left to vote for in a totally dismal, talentless year.

      • B.Rich says:

        Haley outsells everyone else by far on itunes. Why don’t the producers look at this for potential future album sales?

        This is seriously not making sense…

    • TheJeffJewell says:

      I would agree with you that trouble was not the best performace but to say she sang merely ok on “anyway” sounds like out and out denile, come on.

    • Yo says:

      I dreaded the approaching Lambasting from the moment Haley started to sing; thus, I could not enjoy her song. We all knew it was coming and what she sang would have little to do with it. Bluntly, I have never seen an Idol so abused in an ocean of plaudits for every other performer;it has nothing to do with the legitimacy of the comments, it has to do with the unwillingness to be critical to other contestants. Haley responded with earned upset, with self-respect. That said, she will go home tonight: America does not like young people who talk back; in a sense, Haley represents its own kids and Scottie the neighbors’. Lauren Alaina was quite good last night; Durbin was okay, but not sensational, and Scottie’s Youngblood was just goofy. The judges need to note that abuse and bullying does not make for good television. Or, for that matter, rabid fans.

      • CandaceTX says:

        between The Voice and Xfactor – I hope that his AI crumbles.

        Here’s the other thing…now that there are other singing competition show options out there, other singers are paying attention to who Hailey is being treated – and my take their talent to The Voice or XFactor.

        Uncle Nigel’s behind the scenes machincations might just backfire on him on future seasons.

        • Tusk says:

          If in fact this happens, I am grateful Idol was around long enough for Haley Reinhart to come into our lives. Whatever happens in the near future for her on Idol,I am looking forward to her album and to hear THAT VOICE LIVE!!

    • JLo's Lipstick says:

      …her name is KENDRA! I have not forgotten!

    • Julia says:

      As Randy repeatedly dissed Haley about Earth Song, I kept hearing in my mind the critique of James’ ear-bleeder performances of last week. “It may not have been pitch-perfect but it was emotionally perfect.”

      Why oh why can James get a free pass while the judges insist they “need” to be harsh on Haley?

      I wanted to leap into the TV and slap Randy and Jlo around.

      • emotionally perfect says:

        ITA with this! I think Haley’s Earthsong should have gotten the Emotionally Perfect award this week. For the first time in the finals, she really poured her heart & soul into a performance, she was so emotionally connected with that song. It’s the one thing that’s been missing from Haley, an emotionally connected performance, and we finally got that from her.

    • darclyte says:

      Sorry, but Dial Idol was made irrelevant this year because now people can vote via computer. Dial Idol can’t take those votes into account, and that’s why the results have been way wrong so many times this year. Just as a for instance, they had Ashthon and Pia both way out in first place when they each went home.

      And just because we’re talking about irrelevant websites associated with AI, VFTW also has never had any real impact. They have like 1,500 people who go to their website and vote on who should be their next pick after each one goes down, and they can’t generate enough votes at this stage to have an impact. Maybe in the earlier rounds when the votes were more split, but not now. Case in point, Jacob lasted only one week. Also, they no longer really try to vote for the worst. They picked Paul this season because they KNEW he’d outlast 5 or 6 other people, but then were forced to go with Jacob since he was so terrible. They now support Haley because she’s been in the bottom 4 times, but has a bit of a groundswell behind her.

      • Name That Tune says:

        Dial Idol been irrelevant since text voting. It has no way to account for that either, especially with advent of smart phones that can be programmed to automatically fire off SMS messages.
        If they didn’t limit the number of votes to 50, your average laptop could easily be programmed to vote millions of times in 2 hours.
        If you use DI at all, it should be used to help you spot trends. Looking at the raw numbers last week would have told you that Lauren was in the B2. It’s been unable to accurately predict Jacob Lusk’s staying power, which makes me think his support came from online voters and text voters.

        • Mark says:

          So DialIdol is useless, but it showed you Lauren would be in the bottom two. Got it!

          • Name That Tune says:

            The score is useless. Hey, I could have told you that Scotty was safe without a score. But saying someone will finish in position 2 to 4 is saying nothing.
            I said it shows you trends. But you can’t depend on it. They consistently showed Jacob Lusk getting the fewest votes for weeks before he got eliminated. So where was his votes coming from? The people who vote by cell phone or online. Not people who use a dial-up modem or pick up a phone and hand dial.

    • Name That Tune says:

      Be careful about intrepeting Dial Idol’s numbers. The score is virtually meaningless. Change over to the raw numbers. Haley #1 and James #2 in totals. That’s they way it’s been for 3 or 4 weeks now. It’s very close for the bottom 2 between Scotty and Lauren. I think we all will be shocked when Scotty goes home tonight.
      It’s heading for a James v. Haley finale.

      • Maddie says:

        Sure hope you are right!

        • Snsetblaze says:

          Then I would watch. I didn’t even bother the last two weeks (though I do love Slezak’s recaps). I can catch a performance if I want on the internet. I did vote though for Haley last night (got the numbers off the DVR, then deleted the show) while I was watching other tv because I think she’s getting a raw deal.

      • put the scoot in scotty says:

        Put the Scoot in Scotty! I had been on the Scotty-Haley finale bandwagon for a while now. But last night’s 9-11 song combined with kissing the cross after talking to Gaga, not to mention his manic 2nd song (reverting back to his old SNL parody of a country singer) really had me skeeved. If he’ll have a country singing career whether he wins or not, then get him off my TV and let the country folks have him. Better yet, let him run as Sarah Palin’s running mate.

        • Tusk says:

          Country folk can have him indeed. The thing is, all three contestants not named Haley have taken no risks, limited their growth potential, and succeeded in “niching” themselves.

          Haley on the other hand…Has been getting a constant stream of positive support from all kinds of artists, from varied genres. Thanks to twitter, by backing Haley those people throw their fan’s support towards Haley.

          A lot of those artists know from rejection and dealing with vastly inferior people who “know better” and feel they have “input”. And they too are taking note about how Haley was mauled nationally. I think Haley can draw from a huge pool of support post Idol and I and my credit card are ready to take a bite of whatever Haley cooks up in the future.

    • DDEE says:

      The AI Spin People get the first comment! You win, now go.

    • Jason McD says:

      Dial Idol has not been reliable this year. They had only 85,000 people voting. Last week they had over 60,000,000 votes (That’s less than 1% of the total votes from DialIdol voerts).
      This is a very small sample and if you look at the raw numbers, Haley has almost as more votes (28,000)than Lauren & Scotty (29,000) Combined. Plus Haley had more busy signals (2013)than Lauren (1671).

      This year they have been off so many times. Pia was supposed to be top three the week she went home. Casey was “supposed” to go home the week that Paul went home. Haley was supposed to go home last week, but Jacob went home (but if you look at the raw numbers, again Haley had over 35,000 votes compared to Jacobs 2,500).

      Again, you have to use their software, with a dial up modem, to register a vote with DialIdol. I think this is a very small demographic of voters that uses very old technology to do their voting. I can’t help to feel that more people use their cell phones or text their votes in. My partner and I text voted last night for the full two hours, non stop for Haley…I would say he voted at least a couple thousand votes between the two of us. We voted as much last night as the people who voted for Jacob using DialIdol last week.

      Sorry for the wall of text. :(

      • dial-up modem says:

        If you are under 35, you probably don’t even know how to set up a dial-up modem. Heck, you might not have a modem card in tablet or netbook. And if you are under 30, you probably don’t even know what a dial-up modem is.

        • Mark says:

          We have 5 computers here, not one has a modem. For whatever little that’s worth.

        • Name That Tune says:

          Really, don’t you think anyone under 35 is using their Smart phone? I certainly don’t use my laptop or netbook to vote for AI.

    • jman says:

      Owen, you act as if the final 3 have already been announced. To put any stock whatsoever into Dial Idol anymore, is just plain naive. Online voting and text votes make up a HUGE population. Probably as equal anymore as phoning in a 1-866 number.

      I have a feeling that Haley is actually safe. As someone pointed out, Social Networking sites that run polls this year have proved to be far more accurate than Dial Idol and they have Haley safely as the number 2 favorite right now.

      I think any teenage girl that likes Lauren’s style of music, is probably voting for Scotty. In fact, Scotty, Lauren, and James have their set fanbases. They aren’t growing either. Two weeks in a row now Haley has WON the stage and outshined all three. That won’t go unrecognized. She has her fanbase intact, and is GAINING fans unlike the others who are remaining the same.

      My prediction, Lauren goes home tonight (remember she WAS in the bottom two last week). And I think James peaked too early. I think Haley can take him down with another strong performance.

      James and Scotty have found their niche, but Haley’s true creative talent will win out in the end. I think it’ll be Scotty and Haley in the finals.

      • DDEE says:

        ^^^^^ this. totally agree!

      • indy says:

        The one site had these rankings when a contestant was eliminated. This was their overnight rank based on overnight numbers/popularity.

        They don’t predict but just report numbers and rank according to the numbers. 5 times the overnight numbers were correct. The numbers also reflected Pia being near the bottom in popularity when she went home.

        Ashthon, 13th when eliminated in 13th.
        Karen 12th when eliminated in 12th.
        Thia 10th when eliminated in 10/11th
        Naima 11th when eliminated in 10/11th
        Pia 6th when eliminated in 9th
        Paul 6th when eliminated in 8th
        Stefano 6th when eliminated in 7th
        Casey 5th when eliminated in 6th
        Jacob 5th when eliminated in 5th

        • franktown says:

          if you are referring to, they are predicting a lauren-haley finale right now. that means lauren is taking scotty’s votes, not visa versa. frankly i think lauren is more popular with the tween girls because they identify with her and root for her (like jordin sparks in s6). scotty gets some girls too, but he gets far because of the grandma vote and now the flag-waiving vote.

          • indy says:

            The people posting the numbers I am talking about do not have a .com.
            They only tweet and do not predict. They keep track of how many twitter and FB followers each idol has.

            They also post the number of new followers each contestant gains overnight after their performances.

            Its the overnight number that has 5 times correctly indicated who was going home.

      • Snsetblaze says:

        Plus I would think Casey’s fanbase went to Haley … and Pia’s and Jacob’s as well if they continued to vote.

        • ladyhelix says:

          What I can’t figure is where Jacob’s votes went (largely because I can’t figure out who was voting for him in the first place). Any ideas?

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Oh Lord, MADE ME LAUGH, BIG TIME. Seriously, I cracked up. And no, I don’t have an answer for your question. Perhaps Jacob took his fans and their votes with him to Lutherland.

    • DDEE says:

      DI hasn’t gotten much right at all this season. For instance, Pia was predicted to be safe the week she was ousted.

    • Oz says:

      Doe Dial Idol take into account the online voting which is new this year? I am assuming there is a large number of votes done online since it’s easier than calling.

    • Joe Strummer says:

      Note to Lauren:

      “Peaches” will never happen.

    • Haley's Comet says:

      CHEERS TO STEVEN TYLER for going off script and calling out Randy and JLO for picking on Haley. EW is reporting that Haley and (Lauren!) spoke out against the Judges negative attacks on Haley. Lauren even admitted that Haley is the best singer in the competition!!! Lauren also mentioned that she listens to Haley’s itunes recording over and over and over again…as to I!! We have so much in common Lauren, I totally agree with you Lauren, Haley is a better singer than all of you…

      Lauren should go home tonight, but Lauren has a stronger fan base than Haley. Lauren has over 100,000 followers on twitter, last I checked Haley has around 78,000. And Lauren and Scotty’s fans are FANATICS, LOL.

      Who’s going home? Well last night’s contest for final three was actually between Haley and James. Lauren and Scotty has had final three locked for weeks because of their huge fan base, and intensely loyal fans. As we saw last night the AI production team pulled out all the stops to make sure james make it into the the final three. They even gave him the pimp spot. (The pimp spot should have been given to Scotty since he is already a lock for the finals…that way the other contestants would have been on an even playing field.)

      There has been so much media buzz about the Judges negative treament towards Haley…that I actually think that the Judges negativity may work in Haley’s favor, and James might be sent packing TONIGHT!!

      • Tusk says:

        I read an expanded version of the Lauren statement. She actually said that sitting with Haley and the guys. When she made the statement that Haley had the best voice of the four, she prefaced it by turning to the boys and saying “sorry guys, but Haley…”. It also described Haley’s reaction to Lauren saying that Haley was verging on tears and very appreciative of Lauren’s support. So sweet.

        I am embarrassed at some venom I may have spewed Lauren’s way, this to me shows she does have a big heart and is actually very sweet, no made up persona here.

      • Suncatcher says:

        COMET! I LOVE your “Haley’s Comet!” Perfect!

        Great comments. I TOTALLY agree with all of it.

        I wonder if anyone noticed that Lauren almost sounded like Haley last night with her last song? She was growling just like Haley! If ever there was a compliment for Haley, THAT was it. Lauren is a good kid.

    • haley & kris says:

      “I don’t think there’s ever been a contestant quite like her.”
      I think Haley & Kris Allen have weathered similar journeys on Idol. Well, unlike Haley, Kris was never really maligned. But the weekly depimping by the judges just left me agape each week. But at least in Kris’ favor, he was part of arguably the best across-the-board top 4 in AI history (ok maybe some would argue S5 or S7 takes that prize, but YMMV). Whereas Haley is clearly in a different league from the remaining top 4, both musically and vocally.

      I would say that Haley’s sound is entirely unique from any other female finalist that AI’s ever had. Ironically, the only person who sounds remotely like her is our original Idol, Kelly Clarkson. And they both share the ability to handle a variety of genres while adding their own signature to it.

      If Haley doesn’t win, this will be the 2nd year of Special Olympics Idol, where you win for trying, instead of for being the best.

    • Davey says:

      If Scotty’s second song is entertainment, I’ll pass. Steve Tyler’s comparing Scotty to Pat Boone is so apt. He’s like something out of the 1950s.

      • Mark says:

        Right, that’s the problem with Scotty who is supposed to be a lock commercially. Say he was putting on a 90 minute “show” down the road. There is room for at most 1-2 throwback songs. Everything else has to be legitimately current. Now, look at his Idol journey. Can you describe it as anything but the exact reverse of that? I mean he’s a nice kid, can sing in his small range really well and is obviously popular. But I don’t see how this works commercially unless he gets amazing songs written for him. This has been, for example, Jordin Sparks’ problem having a bigger career (she’s doing OK, but….). You can’t simply take talent, insert music, and produce success. A lot of it is about the songs. And apparently, just getting them is harder than it seems. They are a more finite quantity than the singers. The massive success of Taylor Swift is, yes, the fact that she’s a young, pleasant-looking woman who seems authentic in small part. But mostly? She writes all these catchy, infectious songs people just wanna hear.

      • flower says:

        I think Scotty should go home this week. His “Young Blood” was so corny! I usually think he does okay, but that was so horrible that it was nightmare-inducing. I kept on thinking that he was joking. As for Haley, I am beginning to think AI is doing it on purpose. It helped Kris Allen win (I would not have voted so fervently if it wasn’t for the stupid Judges) and it will help Haley. My guess is Haley is probably winning in iTunes sales, and the producers know it. So I think they are secretly helping her win by abusing her publicly. Or all that abuse makes no sense at all.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Scotty has demonstrated he has a range. Besides, even if he didn’t it never hurt George Strait, with his 6 note range and over 50 number one hits that all sound the same to me.
        I think Scotty could benefit from some coaching on stage presence. (I posted this before – sorry) – if you listened to Young Blood without watching it, as I did, the vocal was quite good, but based on the comments here the visual must have been WAY distracting!

    • Suncatcher says:

      SLEZAK AND OWEN! I TOTALLY agree 100% with the both of you on last night’s events. There has never been a more blatant effort to get rid of an Idol contestant – in its history. I am so disappointed that JLo is involved. I am not surprised at all about Randy’s culpability. These 2 should be totally ashamed of themselves.

      HOORAY FOR STEVEN TYLER WHO HAD THE GONADS TO TELL HALEY TO “NOT LISTEN” TO JLO AND RANDY. He knew they were full of it – as does Haley, and now (finally) most Idol viewers.

      And how phony when they gave Haley a standing ovation for her second song (knowing the audience was on to them) – and then tried to take the credit for Haley’s miraculous recovery! Whaaaaat? BOTH PHONIES!!!


      Haley, I hope you get your hometown parade this weekend! You MORE than earned it, girl! No matter what happens, you will always be remembered as the fighter with the voice who never quit.
      Even Gaga got it.

    • satchvai says:

      You were so dead on with your wall of text, I just have to say I thought I was reading the next Nostradamus when I read this the other day!

  2. amy.. says:

    Not a Haley Fan, but voted for her last night because I think she was thrown under the bus harder than Kris Allen. She handled the criticsm very well considering. Lauren would have been a puddle on the stage.

    • Darsy says:

      This is a very good point that I haven’t seen mentioned before. People were trash talking Haley’s facial expressions but at least she managed a smile. A few weeks ago Lauren’s voice cracked and just the mention of it with the heaped praise about how it’s totally okay had her in tears.

      The double standards in Idol lately are just disgusting.

    • Cooper Nielson says:

      Plus, Haley has taken criticism (and bottom 3 appearances) VERY good-naturedly for more than two months now. Most contestants would have broken long ago, and she is JUST starting to show cracks now.

    • josie says:

      I haven’t been a Haley fan either but she has been winning me over and James, who I have been a fan of, has been getting a free pass from the judges. The way they treated Haley made me want to vote for her which I did for 30 minutes via text despite the fact that the Earth Song was not that great. But neither was Young Blood or Trouble and although Don’t Stop Believin’ was far superior to Without You the week prior it still wasn’t as good as it could have been. I was crushing Randy’s head between my thumb and index finger as he went on and on. Jlo is even worse because she tries to act like she’s Haley’s buddy while twisting the knife. James shone on Love Potion Number 9 which was unexpected and good and Haley kicked a$$ on I who have nothing. I didn’t see anything that remarkable in Lauren’s Anyway–sounded very standard to me.

  3. indy says:

    J Lo said “This is why we can’t take it easy on you” What J Lo didn’t say was… and since uncle nigel doesn’t want you we can never give you a pass like we do for the other contestants.

    I had tears in my eyes and on my cheeks during I. Go Haley!

    • Verity says:

      What I hated about that comment was the implication that the “judges” were responsible for her improved performance. “This is why we can’t take it easy on you…because we push you to perform this well!” Uh no…Haley does that for herself because you won’t help her.

    • Steph says:

      I too had tears shamelessly running down my face during her 2nd performance. There was already a huge knot in my throat from when Randy decided to back the bus up once more & declared the three-way-tie between everyone but Haley. Then Ryan announces she’s up next as they cut to her turning her back to the camera so we can’t see her tears. I really didn’t think she had it in her to pull off what she did with IWHN… I haven’t been this upset/emotionally involved with a TV show since Captain Phil died!

      • amy.. says:

        Has Idol ever had the contestants switch order for their 2nd song???
        That seemed unfair on top of the biased judging.

        • Jason McD says:

          I was thinking the same thing Amy. I yelled at my TV, “Why is Haley up next!?!?!?!”

          If they were going to switch up the order, they should have done reverse order or something more fair, but I don’t know if they can be fair this year.

        • MrTemecula says:

          So true. They gave Haley the spot right after the James firework and then stuck her in first in the second round. They seem like they were trying to lose her in the middle. Scotty is safe no matter where they place him and so it looks like they were trying to engineer their final. I am sure they don’t want an all country final since 20% of America would tune out and since James still has a larger fan base than Haley, they are going all out for James. Rocker vs Country. These people are shameless that they don’t even bother with an appearance of fairness. Too bad Haley is making a fuss and is better than James and Lauren and wrecking their plan. However, I hope it is a all-country final. I like some alt-country, but an Idol wreckage of an all-country final will impart some great lessons. That will teach them to give better critique and stop the manipulations.

          • Mark says:

            As popular as country music is, I kinda think it’s lack of play in big city markets and chunks of the midwest, northeast, etc. would cost more than 20% of the audience. I mean the Nielsen’s might hold up somewhat, but the actual, paying attention viewership of Lauren vs. Scotty would be probably half of what almost anything else would get, even though the TVs will be on. Kinda like a Super Bowl when it’s 35-10.

        • Lynne says:

          Not switched, but they made Kris go back to back right after his duet with Danny. Kris had to change during the commercial and go right up and sing his solo. On the other hand Adam went first on his solo, but last with Allison on the duet. That was also the night they basically gave Danny a pass on his ending scream!!!!!! during “Dream On” You saw the judges scrabling to come up with what they were going to say. Randy gave him an A for effort and Simon mentioned the horrible scream, but that he would still be there next week. However, they didn’t like Kris’ good performance of “Come Together” and were very critical of it!

    • Ward says:

      My revised theory is that the Haley bashing is not coming from Uncle Nigel. It is J.Lo who doesn’t like her and has never liked her. And stupid Randy just follows her lead (original thinking is not his strong point). Jimmy Iovine now likes her.

      • MamaLis says:

        Totally agree. Def think Jimmy is rooting for Haley. Look, I also agree with most of these posts- Haley got robbed, Haley is technically superior, Haley should make Top 3, etc.. But what I think has been missing for Hale, is the ’emotional connection’ with people. As annoying as James/Lauren/BillyBob are >> we know their quirks and personalities and frankly… that they really WANT to win AI. After x weeks, I can almost say that I know nothing more about Haley now – than I did when she started. I get she plays it ‘close to her vest,’ – but I think that’s hurt her. Which of course is unfortunate, cause she’s great.

        • Tusk says:

          apologies but you are not seeing the forest from the trees.

          -You know nothing about her because she has been given minimal exposure from production. If you have been actually watching Idoloonies you would know she had no Ryan stool chat until Idoloonies called it out a couple of weeks ago, and next thing you know…she has stool time talking about “you and I”. That is Zero Ryan stool time until, what top 6? Even Karen Rodriguez got one….of course you would know that if you watched Idoloonies.

          -The recent and biggest evidence of the minimal support is last night. When they showed the intro about the final three getting to go home. Scotty, James and Lauren were shown in activities at home. What did they show for Haley? Her Milwaukee audition where her father hoisted her on his shoulders after she got her ticket. They had no footage to use of her in her home town like the others.

          Pls rethink why you know nothing about her and follow the cookie crumbs.

      • Tusk says:

        Point 1: JLO doesn’t like/Jealous of Haley.

        -Agenda one for JLO is pushing her “product” which looks thin and vacuous against TRUE Natural and earned talent.

        -The JLO brand pales to the Haley Talent. Take that last gasp of relevancy, “honey” they will be few and far between in the future.

        Point 2: Randy vs Haley

        -Jump back in your way back machine to Haley’s audition in Milwaukee. Remember when Haley pointed out that Randy was part of the crew that rejected her a year earlier? You look at Randy’s face and see that he didn’t really care for being called out. Jennifer said something about “hah she has a grudge”, and Steven “well, I wasn’t there” as they approved, Randy ever the lemming also followed suit in praise (Is he capable of independent thought?).

        -He tried to make up by saying some crap about Haley actually has gotten better when it was obvious, He didn’t even recognise her earlier.

        Conclusion: We are still in the middle of some copious amount of “Douchitude”. Advice is to put on slicks because the level is pretty high.

      • Zgirl13 says:

        Yes! Jimmy Iovine likes Haley (because he sees she sells the most itunes) and Randy does NOT like Jimmy Iovine so he goes against anything Jimmy likes. It’s really a battle between those two men. JLo is a stereotypical catty female who feels threatened by a gorgeous, sexy woman who can sing better then her. JLo giggles and loves all the boys and can barely say anything nice about any of the girls unless she feels she has the upper hand. Watching the judging on Idol this year makes me so angry, but I can’t stop because I’m hoping Haley prevails!

  4. Kevin C. says:

    To me “Hokey and Cornball” is to “Young Blood” (and many of the other Coasters song) like “Emotional and Overwrought” is to “I (Who Have Nothing)”: Precisely the correct way to sing it.

    • Joel says:

      If that’s true — and I don’t doubt it is — than singers should stay away from songs meant to be sung “hokey and cornball”, which included both this and the awful “Swingin”. That said, I hated “Where Were You” even more — not because he did his traditional “lock dem doors” vocal dip as the very first thing (which he was counseled not to do), and not because he was drowned out by the background music, but because that song that song is an offensive ode to ignorance and it just made me mad. Don’t know the difference between Iraq and Iran? Pick up a newspaper, moron! Country can be simple, but it doesn’t have to be stupid. That fact that Scotty says it represents us all made me turn on him even more. I agree with most who think Haley’s done. She gave the best performance AND the worst performance last night, and I think the Wittle Wauren will get enough sympathy votes after going crybaby last week.

      • Jessica says:

        The song was written 10 years ago before the wars began and before the Middle East was discussed on every newscast, in every newspaper, and before most people used the internet as a primary news source. I remember thinking at the time that the line was ignorant, but also that it applied to many older people I knew. Its a song meant to appeal to the common American experience, not serve as a geography lesson. It was also written in quite a short amount of time. I believe it was a personal reflection, just sort of written quickly in the heat of the emotion of the event.

      • Katie L. says:

        Agree that the song is dumb. It’s not a good thing that you’re ignorant about what’s going on in the world, and the fact that it’s worn as a banner of pride in that song made me uncomfortable.

        • Joy says:

          It’s not stated in the song as a point of pride; it’s an admission of the speaker’s shortcomings. It’s an acknowledgment of what a lot of people felt — that 9/11 was a wake-up call that there was a bigger world out there they needed to be engaging with, and they are trying to get up to speed (“I watch CNN, but…”), and yet it feels sometimes like they’re in over their heads. It’s not saying “Ignorance is okay;” it’s telling people that even when we feel overwhelmed, we’re at least responsible for knowing and holding onto our values — which was actually a pretty powerful message in a time when leaders were using “We know more than you” attitudes to try to justify a lot of ethically dicey actions to the public…

        • db says:

          You are dumb. The song is much better than on the floor on the floor on the floor that is a mega hit. your generation are most ignorant because you all envision yourself as enlightened. You are niave….at best….

      • Davey says:

        The lyric about not knowing the difference between Iran and Iraq rubs me the wrong way. I was right there on 9/11 staying at a hotel across the street from the WTC when the planes hit the towers and that song doesn’t capture the horror for those living right there in NYC.

        • Mark says:

          By 2001, we had already lived through the Iran hostage crisis, the Iran-Iraq war, the first Gulf War (started by Saddam’s Iraq invading Kuwait). If you didn’t know the difference, you were — and are — an ignorant fool. By the way, neither of those countries have a freaking thing to do with 9/11, which was brought upon us by terrorists mostly from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Egypt (some, at least, trained by Al Qaeda in Afghani camps that the Taliban gov’t allowed to exist).

          • Tusk says:

            You beat me to the post. Also, wasn’t OSBL trained by US forces in Afghanistan when we decided to help them vs the russians? Seemed to recall something like that.

        • Tusk says:

          And let’s not forget that Iran and Iraq had NOTHING to do with 911. Saddam Hussein was NO threat to the US. He was a minor, self important dictator but NO THREAT.

          OSBL (not going to spell out his name) was a Saudi(a US ally) as were some of the hijackers.

          Not knowing Iraq and Iran only begins to speak to the stupidity of the song and its connection to 911.

          The only good thing about Scotty doing this song is that it could have been worse. He could have sung that Toby Keith embarrassment about putting a boot in someone’s @ss. Thank God for small favours.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            I love that Toby Keith song. Haley should sing that song to JLo and Randy. ;-)

            Wow, there must be a lot of sad, sorry Dixie Chicks fans here.

  5. Kelley B says:

    Did anyone else feel like Scotty was about to announce his candidacy for President last night? I won’t deny he sang the song really well but his preview package transported me back to the 2008 election for some reason.

    • N says:

      Huh? In what universe would ANYTHING in that performance remind you of either Obama or McCain?

      • Kelley B says:

        Any presidential campaign really. “I love my country!” “America!” “I am patriotic!” “God and country!” We get it.

        • Tusk says:

          Just had a thought from your comment. Is his similarity to a young G Bush more than a coincidence?

          The republicans really have no frontrunner. Newt Gingrich who prosecuted Clinton for infidelity and had a mistress of his own, not to mention served his wife divorce papers as she was fighting cancer, and recently figured he could wash his past sins by becoming christian. This is your latest republican to throw in their hat joining Sarah Palin and Donald Trump.

          So is it that far fetched to think they cloned GW and Scotty’s future will include a brain transfer? All I know is if I see a young version of Dick Cheney I’m getting the heck out of Dodge.

          BTW Tongue is firmly placed in cheek ;)

    • Darsy says:

      More like 2000 or 2004. Just when I thought Scotty couldn’t channel Dubyah any more than he has, he came out with Young Blood. I keep waiting for him to say ‘now watch this drive.’

    • absolutely says:

      Yes, precisely what I was thinking!

      Actually, I was thinking that Sarah Palin should grab this guy asap as her running mate, and she’ll have the white house faster than obama can say OBL is dead.

  6. Clo says:

    You weren’t alone in your outrage… While hardly a great performance for Haley, compared to karaoke James, she was a superstar! And for the judges to have such consistent hate on for her compared to the other 3 just makes me want to dial for HR until my fingers bleed.
    Oh, and she also has the most talent.

  7. Buggu says:

    ‘Am I right to be so furious on Haley’s behalf ? ‘ YES , You very well are .! I voted for the first time this season …for you know who… HALEY ..coz since the judges and producers are trying to sabotage her , she really needs us to sail through..I hope she got enough votes to make the TOP 3 hometown visit..

  8. Brian says:

    Where does Lauren’s “Trouble” dress rank on the list of least flattering outfits ever worn on Idol?

    • the real wendy says:

      #2 right behind the dress she wore for the first song!

    • zaza says:

      I feel sorry for the stylist. You just know she is pulling her hair out and screaming “It’s not me…I didn’t pick it. Lauren won’t listen to me.”

    • tia says:

      I’m going to start calling Lauren, DJ Tanner. She reminds me so much of the Deej in looks, personality, and (lack of) style.

      • Mark says:

        Right, and she’s supposed to somehow be “current”? Since when are Scarlet O’Hara and the ladies from Dynasty current?

    • Tusk says:

      Erm, seems to me Lauren might have a wing of those outfits let alone a list. They really don’t know what to do with her.

  9. Frazz says:

    Haley better pull through tonight… I already have my tickets for saturday at the racetrack to see her perform!!!

  10. dj says:

    I hope Haley doesn’t go home tonight. With what she’s been through, she deserves the private jet and parades and hometown hoopla. But does anyone doubt that if she does make it to top 3, she will get the kind of edit of her hometown visit footage that makes it seem like no one showed up? And she will probably get crap as the song picked for her to sing. I do hope she makes it, though. She deserves it. I voted only for her last night.

    • Marta says:

      They’ll do what they did with Katharine McPhee… do a backyard barbeque scene at her house and a few low-attendance pep rallies. (Although, I always thought it was clearly obvious that in LA where EVERYONE is trying to be a star- the “community” really didn’t care that much about McPhee)

      • Elizabeth says:

        I’ve just realized that I have absolutely no idea where Haley is from, what she has been doing with her life pre-idol, who her family is, siblings, etc….I’m just stunned at how they have made her invisible.

        • JB says:

          She’s from Wheeling which is a suburb about an hour north of Chicago.

          Seriously, I never power vote. And I voted a lot for Cook and then a little less so for Allen, Lambert(yeah I know, both of them) and then Bowersox. However last night I powervoted for Haley. And I HATED her the beginning of the season. I was furious she was in the top 12(I wanted Kendra, bahh)and wasn’t a fan the first few weeks. Then Bennie & The Jets kinda changed my mind. And as the weeks went on(and Paul went home) she grew to be my favorite. She really, really grew the most as a performer this year out of everyone else. I’m just done with James. I liked him a bit but now he overdoes everything and the judges refuse to call him out on his missteps. He’s becoming more out of tune every week.

          I love the way Haley throws her all into a song. She’s the only one of the 4 you can tell truly feels it and GETS it. I don’t know folks, but the more I read online the more I get the feeling she may have just gotten a HUGE boost last night.

          • Sebby says:

            You know JB, I have heard this A LOT about Haley from many people—myself included. I was an unabashed James and Casey fan and did not care for Haley all that much. But this girl has grown on me SO MUCH and I think it’s because she has grown so much as an artist this season. And isn’t that what the judges all preach, since Season 1? I haven’t been this much behind a contestant since David Cook. And what REALLY FLOORS ME is how certain people—I’m talking to YOU judges and producers!!!!—just can’t admit they were wrong. Haley may not have been a part of their plan from the beginning, but she’s there and she is gaining so much momentum when all of their “chosen ones” are flatlining. The only reason I can come up with for their constant railroading of this truly talented singer is that its a way to boost ratings. Seriously, look at how outraged so many people are on all these AI boards. In a year where Idol has some hefty competition from other singing shows, it needs all the ratings help it can get. Controversy=huge ratings. They have given Haley absolutely NO HELP. They haven’t told us anything about her backstory…they throw her under the bus over and over and over again….but she’s still there…and winning over more and more fans. Maybe I’m naive, but its hard to believe that they can’t see that their treatment of Haley is actually helping this girl AND her growing fan base stick around.

          • Tracy says:

            Sebby -I’ve been wondering that too. The producers must be aware of backlash. I suspect they are also manipulating those of us who hate being manipulated.

        • Li-Li says:

          Haley is from a modest suburb of Chicago (right next to where Lee DeWyze is from) and both of her parents are very talented singers and musicians. Her younger sister is also musically talented. They gave Crystal Bowersox far more “back-story”, and that was not necessarily a rosy picture.

        • Amie says:

          I believe she’s from Chicago and she was in college studying Jazz

  11. Liz says:

    It’s hard for me to imagine that J.Lo goes home at night feeling like she has helped any of the remaining four contestants. Even Lauren said to the press last night, Haley is a better singer and she (Lauren) deserves more criticism.
    Honestly, at this point, Haley would probably rather finish 4th and take her recording contract and run with it. Let Lauren and Scotty give up their childhoods to the Idol machine while she hangs with much cooler people (Paul, Casey) and develops her already leaps-and-bounds better talent,

    • Joel says:

      What recording contract are you talking about. I like Haley as an occasional on-target AI contestant, but few would buy an album of hers. Her voice is just too thin and she’ll probably front-load the album with songs that don’t fit her at all.

      • Jason McD says:

        I will buy her album the day it comes out. She is amazing, love her voice, love what she does with it and would go see her in concert as well.

      • Tarasa says:

        Instead of making sweeping (and wrong) statements, why don’t you simply state that YOU don’t like her voice and YOU won’t be buying her album.

        Please don’t speak for me and my buying habits.

      • Ed says:

        I have already a CD from Haley with all her itunes recording.

      • Snsetblaze says:

        I’m not sure I’d buy it but I would borrow it from the library. I can’t say that about Scotty or Lauren. You’d have to pay me a lot to listen to them. But that’s assuming that she gets a recording contract … we should never make that assumption with anyone but the top 2. Many of the contestants don’t get anything (though this has gotten a lot better since season 5 where many of the top 10 had contracts) or if they do, its self-produced or with an independent company and the album does not get much distribution in the U.S. (but does ok in other countries.)

      • Mark says:

        I’m sorry for this cause it’s going to be a tiny bit mean. But thin like Lauren Alaina?

    • karenb says:

      I so agree with you, but I would love to have more performances from Haley! Hangin with Paul and Casey, though, wouldn’t be such a bad deal.

  12. Darsy says:

    I couldn’t help wondering whether you were throwing stuff at the TV or chugging from the bottle during last night’s show, heh. Myself, I was screaming at the screen ‘SHUT UP RANDY’ over and over because he just would NOT stop rubbing it in about how much he hated Haley’s performance. I wanted to be able to pause the whole thing, walk over to him, and say in his face, ENOUGH ALREADY.

    Her performance of Earth Song wasn’t her best, but the lengths to which they went (Randy’s broken record trying to convince everyone he’s right and the recap of ‘In Case You Forgot, Haley Should Go Home Tomorrow’ which really felt contrived and downright insulting) to persuade us that Haley’s the weakest link just made me mad enough to vote all through my voting block for Haley, as well as log in and vote online (ps. Anyone else feel the burn when, during the website pimp spot, Ryan pointed out that Casey and Paul were there, but dissed Julie Zorilla?) for my allotted 20 votes.

    The rest of the show just made me long for season 8. If ‘switching it up’ (or ‘turning the other cheek, as Randy would have us believe) is doing the same old but with different George W. Bush facial expressions, count me out of the ‘fan’ column and into the ‘watches the trainwreck’ one.

    • marie says:

      Julie Zorilla? I thought I saw Pia in the audience next to Casey – THAT would be a diss. If it WAS Julie Zorilla instead, not so much of a diss, I think, because after all, she didn’t even make it out of the semifinals.

      • Tusk says:

        How is that a diss with Pia?

        Just from my observations all these guys, (except maybe Jacob who can’t see past his “vast” talent ;)), have a fondness and support for each other.

        My respect level rose even higher for Pia post elimination when she stated that what really made her sad was she was going to miss the process and all the other contestants. She would never cave in to the choosing who was best. She also strikes me as one that never relied on her beauty and probably did work hard to get her talent. She also was not given much production so was termed cold and no character by the general public.

        I would guess that Haley and Pia have a high level of respect for each other.

    • Tusk says:

      I saw her too and was surprised at the non mention. I saw earlier, after Casey left he was tweeting about going to lunch with her and Haley (there’s a pic online of Haley enjoying a shake). She strikes me as a less confident person than Haley and I even had a thought, if she couldn’t make it she might as well hitch onto Casey’s star. If anything there is probably something between those two than Casey and Haley. Also, they never pointed out Paul’s twilight lady friend sitting further down form Casey and Julie.

    • Zgirl13 says:

      YOU CAN VOTE [50] times online, just in case you will be voting for Haley next week :)

  13. cheryl says:

    Unfortunately, Michael, this season has become about the judges. Just read the message boards. Thank goodness for your recaps. They are the voice of reason in what has become a very bizarre idol world. The backlash from the judges unbelievably biased critiques will jettison Haley into the finals and possibly the WIN. GO HALEY!!

  14. jane says:

    And that’s the problem. Last night it became obviously uncomfortable that it was about the judges.

  15. JAO says:

    Good review … I share all your sentiments about the evening. I couldn’t believe that the judges put down Haley so much, while not critiquing anyone else. Scotty creeps me out — would love to see him leave and just leave the Top 3 to James, Haley, and Lauren – with Haley winning it all. She is beautiful, has many shades of colors to her vocal style. Lauren will be good with some more training and seasoning. James is interesting (I did like Love Potion #9 – it was fun), however, I worn’t be buying his mp3s.

  16. takakupo says:

    It’s definitely Randy’s season to go home. Ten years with “Pitchy” and “Dawg” was enough. I don’t think I want to hear “In it to win it!” next year, especially if it comes out of his mouth.

    James – Meh!
    Haley – Best of the night.
    Lauren – Kristy Lee Cook did “Anyway” better. In fact, she owns it.
    Scotty – Please be the shock elimination tonight! PLEASE!

    • Sam says:

      Apparently, Randy is programmed with only one critique per season with all of his “in it to win it” nonsense. I wish he would go back to his “pitchy” critique since most of the finalists have had major pitch problems.

    • Louie says:

      I don’t understand how Randy, even with 10 years on the Idol panel, can even compare his opinions and critiques with the stars he’s “judging” with… His smug self-satisfied look after he finishes his comments are always nauseating. I’m glad Steven has a book and JLo has a CD to hawk while he has nothing.

  17. Marta says:

    If Haley goes tonight… I honestly don’t know what their “narrative” will be next week. Could be a reallllly boring show- that I’m sure will turn frustrating with the lack of Haley/revisionist history that tries to make us believe that the judges have given critique to Scotty, Lauren, and James throughout this season. (“You’re back!” “Much better!”) Much better than what? The nonsense praise you gave him/her last week?

    I’m so disappointed in this season.

    • Elizabeth says:

      If Haley goes tonight then American Idol will be over for me, possibly for good. I can’t stand being force fed this dreck. It has been miles worse this year than any year before. I’m just sorry that as “So You Think You Can Dance” is my absolute favorite show on television, Nigel will still get me as a viewer.

      • Marta says:

        I’m with you Elizabeth… Bring on SYTYCD! Although, Idol Producer Nigel does leave Judge Nigel (who I usually do like) a little tainted for me. Booo.

        • sytycd says:

          Don’t think for a minute that Nigel doesn’t try to manipulate us on SYTYCD either. The promising teens are always hyped over the seasoned pros. AI 10’s Lauren reminds me very much of SYTYCD’s Molly.

          • ladyhelix says:

            True (Molly & the pouty guy) – but last season they did get some good teens (Lauren, Kent, etc.) who had great attitudes, great sense of self, great sense of humor, great competitors, and who could dance. I have my fingers crossed – May 26th!

    • agrimesy says:

      It’ll be . . . “Beautiful! You’re in it to win it! This is the hot one tonight, Amer-i-cuh! You know what was wrong with that? NOTHIN! It was really good, baby. I loved it.” . . . for all three of them one mediocre performance at a time. Ryan will say, “Which one is at the top right now?” THEY ALL TIE! THEY ALL WIN AMERICAN IDOL!
      But, they don’t all win. They can’t all win. This show has lost all meaning.

  18. Ronnie says:

    I don’t have the energy to talk about the bias and hatred slung towards Haley.. nor the crowning of (not-evil) Lauren, or having James sing 1st and last nor (jesus loves guns and war) Scotty.
    so I will let Chris Colfer tell Haley something about bullies:
    “Most importantly, to all the amazing kids that watch our show and the kids that our show celebrates that are constantly told no by bullies in their school and they can’t be who they are … Well, screw that, kids,” Colfer said, holding up his Golden Globe.

    • meg says:

      You are so right. Randy and JLo are just simple little BULLIES. We have them at our middle school and it’s no wonder when we watch them on family tv.

    • Paola says:

      RIGHT ON, RONNIE. Best comment ever. Haley, don’t let those bullies get you down. You’re better than them. JLo is probably just jealous she doesn’t have your vocal chops.

      Power voted for the first time in my LIFE. Put my new iPhone to good use. GO HALEY!

  19. Lee says:

    Utterly sickening performance by J-Lo and Randy.

    • Pam says:

      Agreed. My 10 y/o asked me why they hate Haley so much and says she’ll cry if Haley goes home tonight. What a bunch of b.s. spews from the mouths of Randy and JLo. They literally do make me sick.

      • this says:

        Exactly right. There’s never been so much interest & buzz in AI since S8. This is the way they had to do it – bus Haley every week, and you’ll get the internet buzzing, ratings up, etc. Watch thurs nite as ratings go up.

  20. Jords says:

    I’ve been an Idol fan for 10 seasons (and a Randy Jackson un-enthusiast for about that long)… but I’ve never seen a reshuffling of the order for a second set of songs.

    Has that ever been done before like it was last night for James’ pimp slot?

    • susela says:

      I don’t recall this ever happening. Honestly, if they wanted James for the pimp slot, why not just have him go last in each round? This way, Haley is in even more danger with people maybe messing up the numbers.

    • McFudge says:

      Don’t remember that ever happening, either. I don’t like conspiracy theories, but when you see Haley sing, get ripped to shreds, get pulled BACK on stage right before she’s set to sing again and ripped one more time for good measure, something they NEVER do, well, I start thinking that conspiracy is just what that was. If she hadn’t just killed I Who Have Nothing, the narrative would certainly have been complete.

    • LIsa says:

      Nope never, done cuz it wouldnt be fair. ..they givr james the pimp spot every week except last week when sucked lol the favoritism is soooo obvious now

  21. Julie says:

    Scotty McDreary has a nice voice, but his ridiculous performance demeanor- his caricature of country singing – ruins it for me. How is anyone taking him seriously? Artistically,he flat-lines every time- there’s no actual interpretation of the song, on either an emotional or musical level. It irks me no end that they could have gotten this kid with the amazing voice to grow a little and they actively choose not to. What a garbage show this has turned into this season.

  22. NMR says:

    Michael, how did you not comment on the fact that James was given both the opening and closing spots while Haley was sandwiched in the middle? I’ve never seen someone be able to both open and close the show in all my years of watching Idol. Such crap and so unfair.

    • Cameron says:

      Wouldn’t that mean that Lauren and Scotty were sandwiched, too?

      • Jason McD says:

        They were in the middle as well, but they had better spots. Haley had second and fifth. It totally messes with the dialing scheme of things. If they would have gone with they have ALWAYS done, then her numbers would have been 2 and 6. How many people may have dialed 6 by mistake thinking they followed the same pattern they have always done.

        I like how Dancing with the stars do it. They get assigned a number and they have it all season long.

        • Ward says:

          Or think of this conspiracy theory. With James last in the pimp spot (and doing well), people might dial 8 which is really Lauren’s number which gives her an artificial boost.

        • Anon. says:

          2 & 6 were Haileys numbers. They gave them out during Earth Song.

    • Ali says:

      Adam Lambert – top 4 Season 8 – opened with his solo and closed with his duet with Allison.

      That same night had Kris Allen performing literaly in back-to-back slots which was even worse then last night where at least Haley, Lauren and Scotty had more then a commercial break between their songs.

      • Jason McD says:

        But to me that actually makes more sense, going in reverse order…not shuffling everything around like they did…Doesn’t make it any more fair, but it makes some sense.

      • LIsa says:

        STill different as was duet and not their solo performances, no one has been pimped like james in the history of the show….i try to remind myself that its not his doing but its hard not to rage when he faulters and they still swoon over but bash haley so hard

      • ladyhelix says:

        Poor Kris – and didn’t we refer to his number with Danny as “Mortal Combat: The Duet Edition”?

  23. Paul says:

    J Lo “lost your voice when you were back there behind me” comment during Lauren’s (once again) lazy performance of Trouble had me wondering is it too much effort for J Lo to actually swivel around on her chair. Then again, that would require her to actually judge the show rather than follow the producers’ narrative.

    • JLo's Lipstick says:

      a la The Voice!

    • Jason McD says:

      It was actually almost critique. I think she started to say something that was semi negative about her performance, then remembered that she couldn’t say anything bad about her.

      I’m hoping that Jimmy comes in like last week and really tells them how it was. I hope he doesn’t revert back to saying stupid s**t like before.

  24. Shay says:

    Why did they change the order of performers for the 2nd round? Slezak, I have to admit that last week I was worried you took the “Haley:Meet Bus” theory a little far but after last nights show there’s no denying she!s being thrown off the cliff of this show. I was embarrassed for AI on multiple levels. We will see what happens tonight but I can’t get over the blatant favoritism for James. I really wonder what Simon would have had to say last night. All season, actually…..

    • Tkav3 says:

      Me too. Wish some reporter would ask Simon his thoughts, as if he’s actually watching. The word rubbish comes to mind though.

  25. MSD says:

    Random Spotting the audience: Julie Zorrilla wearing Haley’s AWFUL beaded headband thing for her interview packages!! Anyone else catch it? Loved when they’d show Casey and Julie– clearly backing and supporting Haley.

  26. Michelle says:

    Did anyone else think of South Park’s Ladder to Heaven episode when Scotty was singing that Allen Jackson song? I kept cracking up at how the song is a giant pander towards a specific demographic. For those non-SP fans, out there, here are the lyrics:

    Where were you when they built the Ladder to Heaven?
    Did it make you feel like crying?
    Or did you think it was kinda gay?
    Well I for one believe in the Ladder to Heaven
    Ooh yeah yeah yeah, 9-11
    I said 9-11 9-11 9-11 9, 9-11

    Anyway, if Haley makes it through tonight, I will gladly stop drinking Diet Dr. Pepper for a whole year. Excellent recap as always, Mr. Slezak.

  27. Gina says:

    I vote for the simmer down. Yes, the judges are beyond ridiculous. Not for blasting Haley (some of which, IMO, is totally deserved) but by ONLY blasting her and not the others, who are equally deserving. In spite of popular opinion, I am totally unimpressed this season–with everyone. I don’t care who wins at this point. But, I would be surprised if Haley lasts beyond this week.

    She is doing herself absolutely no favors by the way she reacts to the judges. She went from a total unknown to having a world stage. Yes, it’s annoying. Yes, it’s infuriating. But, by standing there and taking it, with a smile, she would win more fans (and return the focus to where it belongs: on the asshat-y judges whose behavior would “shine” like a hideous pea-green light if she didn’t turn the attention back to her own reaction). Instead, everyone is looking at her as she rolls her eyes, flares her nostris and talks back, and some may think she looks like an ingrate with a diva-in-training complex.

    You wanna win? You gotta play the game. That’s the rules for AI. Unfair? Yes. But, that’s that. The one that wins is the pageant person. Not the rebel.

    • sara says:

      hard to play the game when rotten tomatoes are constantly being thrown and you (and you alone). Never been bullied, have you?

    • Calum says:

      I think Haley has probably realised that she’s not going to win, which is why she is a little less eager to please the judges and more kind of in it for herself now. I get the feeling she’s just a girl exasperated at the hand she’s been dealt with, and it’s nice to see someone attempt to retain an iota of dignity for once. She’s not there to shine a light on the judges, she’s there to perform to the best of her ability.
      And I know it’s probably obsolete now but… #SaveTheGrowler!!!

    • adamziggied says:

      Fact is, when you are being bullied, you can only take so many hits to the face before you simply have to hit back. I didn’t see her reactions as talking back; I saw it more as her finally defending herself which has been a long time coming. I wish, frankly, she would have walked off the stage when they drug the 4 out for another 2 minutes of beating up on her. It was simply an ugly thing to watch and most uncomfortable. Deplorable conduct from a “family” show. I’m done.

    • uncmick says:

      I agree. The unwarranted criticism just generates sympathy votes UNLESS they can get the contestant to lose their cool and talk back. If their mission is to get rid of Haley with that, then mission accomplished.

    • Joel says:

      Gina, you are utterly correct. Contestants need to stand there and take it, good or bad — and if she didn’t know her inappropriately-growly “Earth Song” stank up the place, then that’s on her. If a contestant talks back and responds ugly like she does routinely, it’s show suicide sooner or later. Those who do it either have never watched Idol or are too dumb to know better. It’s a case of her needing to grow up. I sometimes like Haley a lot, but in many ways, she’s no more mature than Lauren.

      • Ken Adams says:

        Define routinely? If my memory serves, this is the first time she’s ever said anything disagreeable. Last week, she shrugged it off and said she probably should have sang a “hit” like they said. Girl is being bussed harder than Ruby Bridges in The Ruby Bridges Story. Please don’t make sweeping comments about her attitude when clearly you’d rather her melt down and cry than stand up for herself in the face of blatant discrimination by the judges.

    • jaime says:

      I don’t think she was that out of line last night. The things she said back to the judges were not bad- she was just sticking up for herself. and i think she’s been gracious up until this point and i’m willing to give her a pass one time for finally letting them get to her and being defensive.

      • Tkav3 says:

        I agree. I usually cringe when contestants talk back but I felt she needed to defend herself at this point and not just take it. She usually is restrained, laid back and smiles and I give her props and btw she’s 20. I don’t know too many mature 20 year olds. For most of us, it doesn’t happen til late twenties, thirties even. Go Haley!

        • ladyhelix says:

          Several times she was ASKED (by Ryan or the Judges) for a comment. That was beyond tacky (considering what was going on)

    • Jason McD says:

      There is a difference between Haley talking back to the judges compared to some past contestants. Most of those contestants “knew” they were the s**t and paraded around like Divas. Haley has grown as an artist, shown range as a singer and had was off a little bit on Earth Song last night. After weeks of being told how horrible she is, when she sees other people being told how amazing they are, even if they fall flat on their faces, I would be wanting to talk back to. Actually, i don’t think I would handle it even close as well as she does.
      Randy has bullied her and bullied her all season long. Jennifer has to a lesser degree. I actually think Jennifer wants to help her, but for some reason can’t express that well…Or she is just being manipulated by the Producers.
      I never bought into this “Conspiracy” stuff before, but I’m full board now. They are going to have to make some major changes to the people behind the scenes next year for me to watch next year….Oh and they need to dump Randy & Steven off at the bus stop as well.
      Jennifer has actually had her moments of clarity and given some good feedback, so I’m willing to give her a chance.
      How crazy is this, I wish they would have kept Kara around, she was actually really good last season.

      • Tusk says:

        Might have agreed with you about Steven before last night.

        But Steven had a “I’ve had all I can stands, and I can’t stands nomore!!” moment. Could you have imagined the savagery had Steven not stepped in while Randy was hollering the same negative opinion over and over louder and louder?( Haley: I know,I know what you said…” LOL).

        Steven, for that sir, you have earned your paycheck for this season. A gentleman and an artist, I tip my hat to your galantry.

        • ladyhelix says:

          I answered a “hey – buy my new single” tweet from Steven Wednesday with “If you’ll pay attention on Idol tonight, I’ll buy your single. Deal?) Now I’m going to buy his book too!
          Yes I’m well aware he never saw it – and if he did it didn’t register – but I feel I owe him.

    • stefanie says:

      Thank you for expressing my exact thoughts, Gina! In Slezak’s own words, “America likes their American Idol with a generous helping of humble pie.” When I think of Haley last night, I remember her face during the critiques. That is not the way to play the AI game.

      • joy2011 says:

        I remember them too and also have watched them several times. I saw a young girl being berated over a song that she felt in her heart. She was so excited after she sang because of the audience reaction so much so that she was doing a little dance then she got smacked down. She was tearing up and used a very common defense which is to stand up to the bullying instead of showing the tears. For some people it is very hard to let people see their vunerabilities. I’ve gone back to all her videos and she has been given more negative critiques than positive and remained quite throughout. I guess everybody has their limits.

      • Cup of Joe says:

        The problem is the AI game has been changing every year. Without Simon, those judges have no credibility AT ALL. At least with Simon, he held a lot of gravitas.

        These figureheads have never been doing their jobs except only to one person (and a horrible one at that), so why pander to these morons?

    • CKK says:

      I am a middle-school teacher, so I know eye-rolls, attitudes, and huffiness.

      I detected none of these behaviors while watching Hailey live, nor when I re-watched her on YouTube. To me, it looked like Hailey was softly explaining why she chose not to change-up the ending.

      Considering the fact that the ‘judges’ dump a truck of crap on the girl weekly, it seems, I think she behaved rather graciously, and I am not even a huge Hailey fan saying this.

      • Tusk says:

        add to that Randy’s use of Pinnacle. Earth Song was Michael Jackson’s pinnacle?

        As a teacher you have probably encountered your fair share of blowhards who throw around multi-syllabic words that they feel make them smart, but used out of context or or misused entirely.

        That and “turn the other cheek”. Randy needs your tutorship. Please help him he knows not what he says.

        Also about Haley’s reaction, have you noticed most that bring this up ignore the FACT that none of the others received, if any, criticism? Or they say she should take the critiques like the others? What critiques like the others? Like someone already said about James saying he had to step up his game from faltering last week? He got praised continuously. When have the others had to shut up and take their critique?

    • RT says:

      Lauren did not handle the judges’ sort of criticism well earlier in the season around the 2nd or 3rd week of live shows either. She stood there rolling her eyes and pouting through the hole thing. I think Haley’s responses to the judges were not inappropriate, especially given her situation.

  28. Alex says:

    Slezak, I can’t believe you didn’t mention the second-most egregious dissing of Haley this week — inexplicably switching up the order of the singers for the second song so that she sang first instead of James. When has Idol EVER done that? If there was any doubt that the producers wanted Haley gone, then that stunt put it to rest.

    • Jay says:

      That was my straw and camel back. These producers are jokes.

    • jules says:

      Add to it that it was right after Ryan paraded the four of them on stage and asked who won the firs round. How did Haley ever gain her composure so quickly???!!! Extra props to Haley.

      I actually voted for the first time last night after the judges (and producers) awful behavior. And I don’t really care who wins but I only voted for Haley.

      • Jem says:

        Ah been reading too many articles just to check the opinion trend so I don’t remember where I’ve read it. There was a mention of Haley losing it (stalking off the stage and cried her eyes out during the break). I think it was in the comments section, though, so not a good source.

        Before I read that, when I heard she was going next after the a$$hatery that Randy pulled with the three-way tie, I was thinking “Haley, I hope you cried your eyes out just to get the frustration outta the way.”

        • Tusk says:

          I also read that. It was on the E! article about things you missed that weren’t on TV. It also said, as Haley stormed off just waving a hand to the audience, trying to hide her tears, Ryan and Nigel ran to Randy and Randy was heard saying something like “what was I supposed to do” -not 100% on the quote but along those lines.

          I have a feeling Randy had a talking to about “overselling” the script. What an @sshat.

  29. KC says:

    All I could think during James’ version of Don’t Stop Believin’ was cheese. Haley could have done better on hers, Scotty’s performance was manipulative, and Lauren sang well, but was overshadowed by her dress (which reminded me of Carol Burnett’s Gone With the Wind skit). Change in performance order? Puleeze. Haley killed the second song, JLo was undeniably condescending with her “Baby, we do this for your own good” critique. Scotty – all I could wonder about was what Simon would have said about that performance. Lauren again performed well, but someone give her some fashion advice. Really hating the judges now, especially Randy. And I’m someone who hasn’t been invested in this show at all this year. Haley doesn’t deserve what has been happening to her.

    • Nonny says:

      ROTFL at your comment about the “Gone With the Wind” skit. Last night, watching her in that RIDICULOUS dress (at least she didn’t wear cowboy boots with it), I knew it reminded me of something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. THANK YOU!

  30. Maureen says:

    So sad that dialidol is predicting Haley to go home. Last night, I kept wishing Ryan would grow a pair and ask the judges why they only criticize Haley. He needs to be more like Cat Deeley on SYTYCD. Last year, when the judges were slamming Adechike for the exact thing they praised Jose for, Cat called them on it. How I miss Simon being the voice of reason and unscriptedness.

    • RT says:

      I did like that Ryan said something like “What’s she supposed to do with that concoction of critques?” last night after Haley’s first song. It didn’t make up for them being so hard on only her, especially after James’ not-so-great first song which supposedly “raised the bar” according to JLo. If that was the bar, then Haley definitely sailed over it with the first song, and cleared by even more with her second.

      • Tusk says:

        What JLO lacks:

        A Heart (Can’t imagine when she views this back she doesn’t feel guilty)

        I read last night/behind the scenes, after Randy’s 1st shredding and commercial break before, Haley walked off stage in tears and JLO just shrugged. I didn’t really have an opinion of her before, I’m not in her demographic. What is certain? I have an opinion of her now ;(

        • Suncatcher says:

          @Tusk – I am with you in my 360 degree change in opinion of JLo.
          She has lost my strong liking of her in the beginning of this season. Her true colors are (now) shining through.

          I wonder if JLO (and Randy) is reading any of these posts?
          I’ll bet JLO will be a COMPLETE PHONY tonight and start kissing Haley’s a$$ only because JLO knows she is toast as of last night – and it’s alllllllll over the internet just as she is trying to sell her pathetic CD. You make your bed. You sleep in it honey…

          Lovin’ the (major) backlash coming at JLO and Randy tonight.

  31. beechnut says:

    I didn’t love Haley’s first song (didn’t really MJ’s version, either,) but I voted over and over for that girl. I couldn’t believe that the judges did that to her again!

  32. Jeremy says:

    I don’t disagree at all about the outrage over Haley; however, the same nonsense went on two seasons ago with the judges’ favoritism of Danny Gokey (with weeks of subpar performances culminating in the SCREAM) over Kris Allen (who always performed well and had several oustanding performances). That criticism ended up with “Heartless” and a Kris Allen victory. I’ll take that tradeoff any day.

    Speaking of conspiracies, has anyone else ever noticed that no Kris Allen performances are on Youtube? Every other great Idol performance can be found there, but the powers that be have completely removed Kris’ performances. The only performance of a halfway-decent quality that I can find is Man in the Mirror.

    • already bored says:

      Oh, I did notice that there is virtually no AI performances from Kris on YouTube. Few months ago when I discovered American Idol(I know slow, BUT I did grow up in another country and haven’t watched much TV and don’t like most reality TV.), I decided to “educate” myself and although I could find all ther other performances(granted I watched only one performance per contestant that people said was “the moment” for her/him)from all seasons but I couldn’t find any from Kris. I never thought much of it, but you made a very interesting point.

      • not just kris but all S8 says:

        That’s not just true of Kris Allen but of S8 entirely. Even during S8 they were taking down the vids faster than you could put them up. Perhaps they thought it would keep ppl watching the show, since they couldn’t watch the vids afterwards. It was maddening – I remember going to YuKu (or something like that – the chinese equiv of YT) to watch S8 performances back then. Now, even if you google Adam, Allison, or Danny, you’ll mostly find their post Idol stuff, hard to find their S8 performances.

        • already bored says:

          I don’t know about during the time season 8 was on. I did not even know about American Idol. I said few months ago, and ONLY YouTube. And, I found Adam’s performances and Allison’s performances just fine at the time. Tried to find 2 each for Adam and Allison, and found them with no problem. I do not know about other times. Maybe I should have been more clear on that. But, yeah, from what I have seen at thet time it was only Kris’s performances that I could not find.

  33. off with randys head says:

    The week Pia went home, dial idol had Pia in green, declaring her safe.

  34. Carrie says:

    I am not on the Haley train. I don’t think that she is relevant and I don’t think she will make a good artist post Idol. What would she sing? What style? Over-emotional heated angry songs? People don’t like to be screamed at over the radio.

    • GSOgymrat says:

      What is this “radio” device of which you speak?

    • kt says:

      You realize she sang Adele and Lady Gaga this year, both of which are current, relevant artists. And did I mention she was amazing for both of those performance? Cuz she was…

    • meh says:

      I agree…this is all drama here…everyone out to prove their point and their expertise in artistry/music. Ah..give me some good music to run on a treadmill with. I don’t need the opera voice with pitch perfect range to get me to run a marathon. SAVE THE ROCKER JAMES! I think he is going to be under bus tonight cuz of all this backlash from Haley.

    • karenb says:

      You’re on the wrong board if you’re not a Haley fan.

      We love Haley here over in SlezakLand.

    • Jason McD says:

      Carrie, I think you have been listening to Randy too much. She has clearly showed the type of artist she is. It is funny when you have so many other artists supporting her (Adam Lambert, Kelly Clarkson, David Cook, Lady Gaga to name the ones off the top of my head, all pretty relevant if you ask me) that it shocks me when people don’t understand the type of artist she is.

    • Mark says:

      Right, they like having profanity spewed at them. So she probably won’t make it as a hip hop artist. I see people below mentioning Adele and Gaga. Certainly Haley is closer in type to Adele, who just sings her rear end off with a unique sound (hmm, that seems familiar). Too bad Adele can’t sell any CDs, downloads or concert tix, right? Oh, also, I love Adele, but Haley is just a wee bit more attractive.

  35. Tego Livi says:

    I can’t believe someone did that stupid Journey song. I think I hear it now more than I did when it was actually a hit. Olivia Newton-John’s Don’t Stop Believing is a better song than that.

  36. Maria G says:

    I hope Haley doesn’t go home tonight, but I’m ready if she does. After all, Chris Daughtry finished fourth and look at him!

    As for James singing DSB, I found myself longing for Corey Monteith’s vocal on it… and the guy isn’t even that great a singer to begin with (I still wonder how he’s the lead singer of New Directions on “Glee,” but that’s a different story).

    Randy is… no. I’m not going there. And J-Lo is wrong, wrong, wrong.

    • Jason McD says:

      I was thinking the exact same thing! Don’t get me wrong, I really do love James and wouldn’t mind at all if he won…I would actually jump up and down if he won (just cus I know Haley has a very slim chance of winning), but he wasn’t great last night. He wasn’t bad like last week, but he was decent.

  37. Joe Strummer says:

    Slezak got it right. It’s not that the judges criticize Haley. It’s that that’s all they do. She is on a different standard than the other contestants. I don’t know if they think the other contestants can’t take it or what, but because of it the only near “idol moments” are given to us by Haley.

    To Paraphrase REMEMBER THE TITANS –“Simon was a mean cuss but he was a mean cuss to everyone.” and “the judges aren’t doing these kids any favors by coddling them.”

    When Jacob left he actually thought he will have a recording contract waiting for him. What record company would want him. No one wants a gospel artist that can’t carry a tune and that has to scream into the Mic any chance he gets.

    If Lauren is so fragile, maybe this isn’t the business for her. ANY criticism and she starts blubbering like she can’t take it.

    Someone needed to call Durbin out on the Journey thing. Not only was he sucking up to Randy (Really Durbs?) but the song has been done much much better on Glee and if you are not bringing the emotion it had there, don’t bother with it.

    Oh, I’m also sick of Randy namedropping Journey all the time. He’s not on any of their albums a s a bass player. I mean did you play bass with them once when they were in a crunch because their usual bass player broke his hand or something? Oh, and Randy, Journey and Aerosmith are not the greatest rock bands in the world and Steven Tyler would actually agree with you. Journey probably is not even on my list of top 2000 rock bands of all times so shut up about them already.

    I tried to vote for Haley all night last night but it was always busy. Either that’s a good thing or a conspiracy to keep her from getting votes. I don’t know.

    • Mark says:

      Per the oracle (aka Wikipedia): From 1986 to 1987 he was a session musician for the rock group Journey. Jackson played on Journey’s 1986 album Raised on Radio.

      • Joe Strummer says:

        So he ws a “session” musician. This means he was never really part of the band. Plus he was a session musician for them AFTER their so called “glory days” when they had all their hits.

        Randy– Shut up about Journey already!!!

  38. Sharkey says:

    I’ve been watching the videos of previous years’ performances, and are so blatently different from MOST of what I’ve observed this year. After watching AI last night, I was so outraged at the judge’s downright hateful critique, I actually did something I’ve never done before…I dialed Haley’s number for a solid half hour. It may not help, but it made me feel marginally better. I’ve also decided that if Haley goes tonight, I’m done for the season. But then again, I’m not in the demographic that the producers care about.

  39. JGM says:

    I’m hoping Lauren DOESN’T win American Idol (for a lot of reasons), but as we judge her, please remember she’s only 16 years old (and a very young 16 at that). I think she’s done phenomenally well — both singing and taking criticism — considering her age.

    • Darsy says:

      Look at Jordin and Allison and then try to type that comment again with a straight face.

    • Jason McD says:

      I have to agree with JGM on this one. Some people are just able to handle things better than others. I don’t think Lauren was ready for this at all. Not only emotionally, but also vocally. She has an AMAZING voice, I love it, but she doesn’t have full control over it yet, you can tell. She gets winded easily and just doesn’t have full confidence in it yet.
      So yeah, Jordan and Allison handled things differently, but it could be because they were raised differently. Who knows.

      • jordin and allison were older says:

        jordin & allison were both 16 at audition time and 17 by their finales. lauren was 15 at auditions and 16 now. that one year from 16 to 17 in a teen girls life is like 5 years of maturity growth.

        plus jordin & allison had both competed on other competition shows before – jordin on america’s most talented kid at age 14, and allison on quincenera (in mexico?) at age 15.

        jordin & allison are better compared with scotty, who’s 17 now, or aaron kelly, who was also 17.

    • Tusk says:

      You won’t find me on the anti-Lauren bus. Did you read her statement of support of Haley and agreement that Haley is the best singer and she (Lauren) deserved more criticism?

      She may have written her ticket out of top 3, but give her credit!! She defended a friend, and was foundation of support for Haley after the show. Did you see her flash a look of concern Haley’s way when Haley reacted as if she was hit in the gut by Randy’s “everyone is first but Haley” asshatery?

      Where were the boys? Seriously? The only one to stand up for a friend that needed the support was a 16 year old girl?

      I know the guys realise that making a similar statement is unwise, but this was about humanity, of not just standing there and watching a mauling. These guys need to grow a set.

      My opinion of Lauren is set after this. She has Spunk and Heart and is just a girl chasing a dream, but understands humanity more than her male counterparts or the Fat @sshatery, or the way passed her prime, clinging on, sacrificing her soul, shadow of herself JBlech.

      No you will not find me on the anti-Lauren wagon

  40. Tahoe Mike says:

    Randy is the reason there is an unwritten rule in Rock and Roll that the b_ASS player never gets to talk!!
    This is such a throw back to past seasons of Idol where Randy and Simon would each select a champion, and spend the rest of the season irrationally praising them and bashing the other guys contestant, while marginalizing everyone else.
    The Gaga bits were disappointing. I would love to have heard her comment on Haley singing the crap out of her song last week. And, after the build up, they were right; I will never guess what she said to Scotty because they left it out. WTF??
    Did anyone else on the west coast see Gaga talking about the microphone with Scotty? I got Jimmy Iovine talking about them being made for each other, Scotty kissing his cross, and Gaga calling Scotty conservative, but none of what they were talking about. Did that get edited for the west coast, or just the station I was watching?

    • Wesley Israel says:

      LOL As the lead singer of a rather unpopular rock group that no one here has heard of we never listen to the bass player. Except Jason Newstead.

    • Tusk says:

      It was the bit, supposedly, where Gaga told Scotty he needed to treat the mic like his girlfriend that if he didn’t stick his tongue down her(mic/girlfriend’s) throat she would leave him. Which lead to Scotty kissing his cross.

      I’m paraphrasing because I didn’t see it either on the west coast.

      There was a moment during commercials that was just the Fox logo and no sound. About 2 minutes. No, I didn’t see that either. Apparently the west coast got an edited “Live” show. Pathetic, to invite Gaga then edit something that half the country already saw.

  41. julie says:

    One possible explanation for the judges constant praise of Scotty: They don’t look at a close-up of his face during his entire performance as we do — so they can ignore the shtick?

  42. Michael says:

    the question is, at what point do I stop my investment in this show. I have watched since day 1, season 1. I have a lot of personal investment of time in this show, and every year, it starts off with so much promise, then thud.

    Kris over Adam, for shame.
    Lee over Crystal, for shame.

    As entertaining as James is, he is a meek, meek, version of Adam. Adam could blow James off the stage.

    Lauren has potential, but is no where near the level that Carrie was at this stage.

    Scotty, I like, and I’m not country. I just can’t stand looking at him, he looks like the boy on the cover of Mad magazine, and the faces don’t help.

    Haley, love her. Don’t know how relevant she is, but I really enjoy her singing.

    Question is for me is, am I done with Idol? I have already gotten to the fastforward mode, and not watching results night. A James/Lauren finale would probably be the last straw. Would tune in to see Steven Tyler perform though.

    • Teena says:

      I know what you mean, Michael. I have been watching since season 6, but have watched the other seasons on AI Rewind. (Where did that go, anyway?) I didn’t mind so much, Kris over Adam. Loved them both. Lee over Crystal was a travesty. Imagine if Allison had waited until this season… I feel like something that I have always enjoyed so much is slipping away. I am going to have to go check out The Voice, X Factor and whatever the other one is, I guess. Boo

    • Jo says:

      I feel the same way. I stopped voting when Kris won over Adam. What a travesty that was. I didn’t watch much of season 9 because of my hate for the show after that but have watched this season from the start because I eventually calmed down. I think now I won’t watch next year and it’s mostly because of the blatant manipulation going on. I agree that Haley’s first song was terrible but when the others don’t get any criticism ever it becomes really unfair and that’s what has everyone angry. Has James ever been criticized? Scotty one time I think. Lauren only for needing to be more confident. It’s ridiculous and manipulative. Also, Scotty’s pandering to the christian voters is disgusting and his ridiculously corny performances just make me gag but he’ll win so yeah, not watching next year.

  43. susela says:

    You’re right to be furious, Slezak. After a promising start in the audition rounds, the judging has turned into a joke. It has been wildly inconsistent and biased. (And if I hear Randy say “You’re in it to win it!!” one more time… His utter ineptitude as a judge has been exposed in this Simon-less year.) If they would offer criticism across the board, every contestant would benefit. But to criticize only one…!!! I don’t know how Haley takes it. Randy saying that James, Lauren, and Scotty were tied for first after the first round was egregiously cruel.

    • Dani says:

      Even Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser tweeted yesterday exactly what you just said “if I hear Randy say ‘You’re in it to win it!!’ one more time…” and he said he was voting for Haley!! *so yey Bob!!*.

      I thought Haley was ok on The Earth Song, FAN-FRAKING-TASTIC on I Who Have Nothing, “I’m just Lauren!” was pretty good on Anyway, and James was good on Love Potion No. 9. The rest was… “eh”.

      If Haley goes home, on the finale I’ll skip most of it and only watch the numbers with eliminated people I liked.

  44. Some Haley honesty says:

    Slezak, you are brilliant and have added immensely to my Idol enjoyment. But you’ve gone Haley blind. A “B” for Earth Song?? Seriously? If James had been that weak in the soft part you would have brutalized him. If Jacob (thank HEAVEN he’s gone, by the way) had screeched that relentlessly in the chorus you would have been merciless. If Lauren had pouted like that at the judges criticism you would have savaged her. You can’t average in You and I. Stand Alone, you MUST admit Earth Song was a “D” at best!

  45. JLo's Lipstick says:

    Bravo Slezak….Brav-frcken-O! Excellent read!!! LOL You are in it to win it (sorry couldn’t resist).

  46. Teena says:

    I like them all, but I really like Haley. I can’t wait to see what she does once off Idol.

  47. zaza says:

    I’m not a violent person, but every time Lauren opens her mouth to speak I want to sock her straight in the face. Is it just me?

    I thought James did better on the whole this week than last week. He wasn’t perfect, but I still liked him. Haley wasn’t perfect either, but she had some good moments too. The bulk of my votes went to the two of them.

    I also felt that Lady Gaga had some really good advice for the contestants. I wish she could have mentored all season. I was hoping she would come right out and praise Haley for her performance of “You and I.”

    • Maria G says:

      every time Lauren opens her mouth to speak I want to sock her straight in the face. Is it just me?

      Nope. I change the channel whenever she performs.

    • Lindsay says:

      Not sock her in the face, but I do start gagging. However, this little quote from her about the judge attacks on Haley made me love her a little:

      “I wasn’t a happy camper about that. That made me a little ill. I’m sorry, but Haley has the best voice on this show and she gets the most criticism. I deserve a lot more criticism than she does. I’m Haley’s no. 1 fan.”

      • Jason McD says:

        That takes a lot of guts to say something like that. I’m very impressed with Lauren for that comment.

    • Teena says:

      I bet she did praise Haley for her performance of “You and I”. It is probably sitting on the cutting room floor as I write this.

    • Max says:

      I feel the same way about James….and Lauren (a little) and sometimes Scotty (although he is more bearable then the rest). Worst of all is when the judges start speaking- I cannot stand the sound of their voices. Forget punching them in the face, I feel like roundhouse kicking them to Chuck Norris’s time so he can…do bad things to them…

  48. CAT says:

    Michael, I don’t know what you are listening to, but there wasn’t a single pitchy note in James’s “Don’t Stop Believing”. “Love Potion #9” had a few. I think you’re just convinced that James always has a few bad notes and throw that in to stay consistent. At ANY rate, here’s my recap.
    James did two good performances. I REALLY liked the first one. “Love Potion #9” is such a stupid song that I can’t get into it, and he got a little irritating with his stopping and starting at the end, but he did well with both.
    Haley – Sorry, everyone, but I still don’t like her voice. It doesn’t have a pleasant tone to it at all. Unless she’s rasping and growling (which I don’t like), her voice doesn’t have much power to it at all. “Earth Song” had beautiful bits to it, but it ended with way too much over the top growling (which used to be called “screaming” when it was applied to other contestants in the past but now seems to be a desirable thing because Haley does it.) And “I Who Have Nothing” was also way too snarly. A 16 year old Jordin Sparks was able to convey more passion in that song with pure smooth power that I still remember as one of the best Idol performances ever.
    Scotty – Both vocals were flawless. And, for people who don’t like his eyebrow tweaks and facial expressions, lighten up! He really has developed the whole performance package now and he’s just plain fun to watch in his up-tempo numbers. Plus “Where Were You” is a wonderfully touching song on a bunch of levels.
    Lauren – I think she will go home this week. “Anyway” is one of my favorite songs and her performance was terrific. But “Trouble” was just a dumb choice. It was too repetitive, had no real range or melody line…and if you don’t want to sing the words of a song, pick another one, for heaven’s sake! There was no WAY she could convince anyone that she’s evil.
    Scotty and James for the finale!

    • perfesser says:

      You are EXACTLY right about Haley!! Thank you.

      • Tim says:

        This is what I’ve been saying. Haley has a thin voice that’s completely unconvincing on a song like IWHN that needs to be delivered with power and passion, not gimmicky growling and screaming.

    • Pam says:

      James went flat on Don’t Stop Believin’. Listen to it again.

    • Robin says:

      Agreed on almost everything except James being pitchy on DSB. That was not good! I’m not drinking the Haley kool-aid either. She does have good voice and is consistently very good. I think Lauren goes home too. The other 3 would make for a good top 3. Just saying!

    • james says:

      you know i completely agree with you. I don’t like scotty and you seem to, but other than that, you are spot on.

      I am not trying to be mean to the all the haley lovers here but the first song was really bad. I think it wouldve been bad had anyone sang it.. The second song she did was better but did you notice how she had that echo-y effect on her voice? I once dated a karaoke DJ and when he put that effect on my voice, i sounded 100X better.. so i wonder if that was part of why she sounded better?

      btw I just pulled up the picture on american of the 4 of them and is it just my imagination or does Lauren look like she has been crying??

      I think if lauren had waited about 3 years and then came back.. she couldve won.. but she is not mature enough now to win. She doesn’t connect well with the songs.

  49. Amy says:

    I feel like I too am becoming a broken record when it comes to the pummeling of poor Haley. I can’t get pass the obvious manipulation of this season. It is just so annoying and disheartening. Did you see Uncle Nigel’s tweet? Sorry, Uncle Nigel this moron is just trying to call you out on the truth. Also, am I the only one who thought Lauren looked like DJ Tanner circa 1995 in that second outfit?

    • jane says:

      yeah, Nigel tweeted AFTER the voting closed.

      • Aubry says:

        Nigel tweeted so he could attempt to say, not me I did not set this up, I even said Haley was best. But it was after all was said and done.

        Dial raw and Dial score are complete opposites. Haley has the top 2 lines in raw. So anything could happen. We also now have on-line voting and the unable to garnish Text voting. If my tweeter feed is anything that matters people got ticked off and voted and texted for Haley.

        I would love B2 to be Lauren and Scotty with lauren going home so Nigel could S@ck it. But even if that happened Nigel would pull Haley and pretend she didn’t have enough votes. He is EVIL like that.

    • Erin says:

      SERIOUS QUESTION: If we are all on board with the obvious agenda set on Haley’s ouster, what is to stop Nigel from having her name read as the lowest vote getter regardless of true outcome? I mean, with her terrible feedback, everyone would just assume America voted accordingly. This has been nagging at me all day.

  50. Andy says:

    And what about the odd reshuffling of the order of performances? Why would James get both the first and last slot? When have the producers ever done that before? That put Haley’s last performance as far away from the end of the show and out of the voters minds as possible. Can’t really call these conspiracy theories. This is conspiracy fact. The producers want Haley to go. Sadly, they’ll probably get their way tonight.