American Idol Season Finale Recap: Low and Steady Wins the Race

Sometimes I seriously question my obsession with American Idol. After all, there’s no other show on television that consistently causes spikes in my blood pressure — whether it’s from the blind fury I feel toward the show’s inept and inconsistent judging panel, the frustration I experience with its thoroughly uninspired theme nights and song lists, or the rolling rage of wondering things like “Where the frak is Pia Toscano’s finale duet?”

But Wednesday night’s Season 10 finale managed to dilute my cynicism, erase my grouchiness, and bring real human tears to my eyes. Call me a sentimental fool, but after two hours of mostly terrific musical performances, the sight of 17-year-old Scotty McCreery hugging his family and fellow contestants, then collapsing into a puddle of joy and disbelief and confetti, was the kind of happy ending that was hard not to love — regardless of whether or not it was carefully manufactured in Nigel Lythgoe’s laboratory. Regardless of whether or not you secretly hoped a trap door might open up in the stage and send Randy, J.Lo, and Steven down into the pit with the Rancor. And regardless of whether or not, deep down, you really felt the title belonged to Haley (or Lauren or Pia or James or Casey or Paul).

Scotty, for his part, is not a perfect Idol winner. His Season 10 run was one that favored a brand of hardwired musical consistency over qualities like artistic derring-do, moment-making creativity, emotional beauty, or vocal explosiveness. But he certainly took us on a journey, starting as a polite, baseball-playin’ kid who wowed the judges with the impossibly low tones of Josh Turner’s “Your Man,” detouring through a Hollywood Week nightmare that threatened to turn him into a joke (“nuts of wonder”) or a pariah (Jacee Badeaux-gate), and then reemerging as a legitimate threat for the crown with a steady stream of country ditties and very few missed notes over 12 weeks of live competition. I can think of a lot worse ways to bring an Idol season to a close than watching Scotty try to catch confetti on his tongue. The Season 10 champ is a very good singer who still has room to grow once he leaves the show, and he seems awfully likable, too.

Which isn’t to say that Season 10 — Idol‘s first without irascible Brit Simon Cowell — wasn’t one of missed opportunities, too. Kendra Chantelle and Lauren Turner got inexplicably passed over for Wild Card berths. Pia Toscano got held to a different standard of judging and went home too soon. Steven Tyler turned out to be nothing more than Ellen DeGeneres in a wig and Chico’s sportswear. Randy Jackson continued a ten-season tradition of playing Idol‘s parrot on a perch: Mindlessly squawking the catchphrases fed into his ear till his voice faded into white noise or made you want to throttled him. And J.Lo? She disappointed most of all. The erstwhile Jenny from the Block spent a few weeks giving succinct, insightful feedback, then gave it all up to follow the Lythgoe party line, giggle her way through the serious work of trying to help the finalists become better artists, and throw stank eye at Haley Reinhart, the improving underdog who threatened to be the hair in the soup of a preordained Scotty-Lauren finale.

Exclusive: Nigel Lythgoe on Haley Bashing,
Twitter Rants, and SYTYCD Changes

Wednesday night, none of that mattered, as the judges were relegated to brief “highlight reel” packages, Jimmy Iovine went the way of Brian Dunkleman and disappeared completely, and Stefano Langone and Naima Adedapo respectively dropped funny zingers about Lauren and Scotty being better suited to American Juniors and having Similac on their breath.

‘American Idol’ Performance Night Recap: ‘Mother’ Load

And then there was Scotty giving props to runner-up Lauren Alaina, delivering a post-victory smooch, and saying they’d been together since the start and would stay together going forward. Do we have a showmance on our hands? Let me say this: I honestly, deeply, and truly could not care less about the love lives of two people who aren’t old enough to venture unaccompanied into a voting booth. So let’s move on to the business of rating the night’s musical performances, shall we?

Musical Performances

Season 10’s Top 13: “Born This Way” You know what’s worse than cacophonous harmonies and botched notes? Aggressively Auto-Tuned backing tracks that render one Idol’s voice almost completely indistinguishable from the next. And also skipping the “don’t be a drag/ just be a queen” breakdown of Gaga’s self-acceptance anthem. #Weak. (Side note: If Gaga was in the house, why not have her take the stage with the Idol contestants? That should be the minimum cost of business for getting a full segment to promote your latest single, no?) Grade: D

James Durbin and Judas Priest: “Living After Midnight”/”Breaking the Law”
I’m still not entirely sure why James was dressed as a patrolman for the Village People Police Dept. (or maybe he was channeling “Justify My Love”-era Madonna?), but I got a kick out of seeing the Season 10 rocker beaming his way through a performance bursting with pyro, sirens, and generous interplay with lead singer Rob Halford. Grade: B+

Idoloonies: James Durbin Talks Flaming Pianos,
Metal ‘Revolution,’ ‘Waterworld’ Inspiration

Jacob Lusk, Kirk Franklin, and Gladys Knight: “I Smile”
Yeah, Franklin’s loopy/inspirational(ish) shout-outs (“all the tornado victims!”) were peculiar, but I was happy that the Pips’ headmistress used invisible fishing wire (or some other magic) to reel in Jacob’s vocals whenever they threatened to careen over the musical waterfall of good taste and common sense. (Oh, Gladys, where were you to reel me in when I was writing that last sentence!) And I’m upgrading this from a B- based on Ms. Knight’s glamorous black sequined cape alone. Grade: B

Casey Abrams and Jack Black: “Fat Bottomed Girls”
It was like Casey took everything I liked about his Season 10 performances — the jazzy sensibility, the sublime phrasing, the sense of comfort in his own skin — and flushed them down the toilet in favor of this sweaty, mangey, nose-to-nose comic-off with Jack Black. (Spoiler alert: Caseylost!) The only thing less appealing than Casey’s relentless hollering (“OH YEAH” “PUH-LEASE!”) was the unfortunate introduction of those dancing chicks in fluorescent booty shorts. Ryan succinctly summed up the entire reason for this performance as Casey and Mr. Black exited the stage: “Jack’s new movie Kung Fu Panda II comes out tomorrow.” Grade: Ugh.

Haley, Pia, Ashthon, Karen, Naima, and Thia (with Beyoncé): Beyoncé medley
I’d have preferred it if the producers pared down the number of songs in the medley — and thereby cut back on the number of rocky transitions and tempo changes — but every single one of the Season 10 ladies (even Karen and Thia!) managed to sound fresh, current, and in tune here. Haley and Ashthon slayed those harmonies on “If I Were a Boy,” Thia and Karen were better on “Irreplaceable” than anything they’d done all season, and Pia more than proved her uptempo prowess on “Déjà Vu.” By the time Amazoncé emerged in full “Pose! Face!” mode for “Crazy in Love,” I was hooting and hollering from my couch. Grade: A-

Haley Reinhart and Tony Bennett: “Steppin Out With My Baby”
Can I express my boundless happiness that Uncle Nigel & Co. gave Haley a stripped-down jazzy moment (opposite a living legend) where she didn’t have to compete with Bandzilla or an overbearing track? Every note of the song was perfectly delivered, and the smile on Haley’s face after Tony gave her a couple of mid-song twirls was a thing of joyous beauty. Grade: A

TLC with Ashthon, Naima, Karen, and Thia: “No Scrubs”/”Waterfalls”
Hello, was anybody’s mic on? Grade: D

Scotty McCreery and Tim McGraw: “Live Like You Were Dying” Which was lower: Scotty’s voice or Tim’s hat brim? In all seriousness, though, this was a totally fine performance in which superstar McGraw looked more than happy to share the mic with the Idol upstart. I just wish every A-lister on the roster had been forced to split their screentime with one of the Season 10 Top 13. I mean, celebrating the contestants’ season-long journeys is kind of the point of this exercise, no? Grade: B+

Marc Anthony (flanked by a gyrating lhasa apso) Apologies in advance for not knowing the name of the song Mr. J.Lo performed, but he sold it like a calorie-free, full-flavor cheeseburger. Special thanks to Jennifer, too, for not mucking things up by opening her pie hole. Grade: A-

Tom Jones and The Men of Season 10’s Top 13: Tom Jones medley
I loved how the guys fully embraced the camp spirit of Jones’ songbook — and didn’t take their choreography too too seriously, either. Paul’s voice sounded terrific on an all-too-brief slice of “She’s a Lady,” and where was Stefano’s penchant for falsetto, uptempo performances up till now? His rendition of “Kiss” was crazy sexy cool! Grade: B+

Lady Gaga: “Edge of ReasonGlory”
Welcome to Fox’s family-friendly programming hour, where simulated sex on a giant rock formation and the dulcet tones of Clarence Clemons’ sax can peacefully coexist. Grade: B

Lauren Alaina and Carrie Underwood: “Before He Cheats”
Carrie was serving a major Kristin Chenoweth vibe with her silver one-shoulder number, white short shorts, and feathered hair, no? I kinda wish the producers had picked one of the Season 4 champ’s uplifting ballads (rather than her scorned-chick-on-a-felonious-prowl ditty) to showcase our squeaky clean runner-up, but Carrie showed gracious restraint and let Little Lauren keep up. Grade: B

Beyoncé: “One Plus One” Note to Jennifer Lopez: The next time you say a performance defies any kind of judging, it’d better be as unbelievable as this. Thank you. That is all. Grade: A+

Bono, The Edge, and Reeve Carney: Something from that doomed Spider-Man musical I keep reading about Um, guys, can we get to the results already? Grade: No, seriously, can we get to the results already?

Steven Tyler: “Dream On” What was with the jarringly abrupt ending to the Aerosmith frontman’s performance? Was Cecile Frot-Coutaz worried the loose cannon judge might start dropping f-bombs? Aside from that bit of weirdness, though, there’s no denying Steven remains in incredible vocal form after all these years. I sorta wish he’d been joined by James Durbin (or even better, Fantasia, who once memorably covered “Dream On” with Pat Monahan at a VH1 event) just to complete the Idol circle of life, so to speak.Grade: A-

Scotty McCreery: “I Love You This Big” (victory ballad) Scotty barely got out a note of this treacly albatross of a debut single, which was probably the right move. Also: Way to leave Jack Black hanging for the hug, dude! Grade: N/A

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

One Hundred ‘Save the Growler’ Points for Acknowledging Randy Jackson’s Abysmal Performance Throughout Season 10
Awarded to whichever editor spliced together the Dawg’s inane “in it to win it” litany, and to Ryan Seacrest, for cheekily telling Randy, “We gotta get you a new writer.”

Worst Places in the World to Watch the Season Finale
All I could think when Ryan cut to footage of those raucous viewing parties in Raleigh, NC, and Chattanooga, TN, was this: “How are they going to keep everyone silent when Haley starts performing?”

Worst News in the World for Matt Rogers and Mikalah Gordon
What? Idol couldn’t shell out a couple bucks to have the former finalists check in via satellite feed from said viewing parties in Raleigh, NC, and Chattanooga, TN?

Most (Unintentionally?) Creepy Comment from Ryan Seacrest
“Tomorrow, you can own a piece of a superstar!” (commenting on the Thursday morning availability of debut singles from Idol‘s teenage finalists)

The “Teaching Is Great, But…” Prize
It was nice of Ford to dole out new Focuses to Scotty and Lauren’s teachers, but way to kill the buzz by promptly turning around and telling their students they could get any Ford vehicle they set their teenage hearts on

The “Ryan, Move Your Head!” Award
Anyone notice Lee DeWyze (not invited to sing during the finale, by the bye) intermittently popping out from behind Ryan’s noggin as he introduced that goofy segment of the Season 10 finalists discussing Lauren and Scotty’s ages?

The “They Sell Black and White Clothes at the Clown Shop?” Trophy
Randy’s white tux with black piping (paired with black bowtie with white piping): A thing of stunning hideousness

Wonderfully Unexpected Cameo
Sarah Sellers’ Lips! (Too bad we didn’t get to hear her voice, too, eh?)

Unexpectedly Racy Cameo
Haley’s garter: Rated G for Grrrrlllll!

Segment That Was Cute Until It Went on Too Long, And Then Got Cute Again at the End
Casey and James arguing over whose ouster was more shocking, then getting shut down by Pia

Things You Should Not Miss on Now That Idol Season is Over
Let’s not lose touch just because the confetti has fallen from the Nokia rafters, okay? All summer long, I’ll be recapping The Voice, Platinum Hit, So You Think You Can Dance, and all your favorite reality shows!

And with that, I turn things over to you. What did you think of the Season 10 Idol finale? Did the right person win? What were your favorite and least favorite performances from Wednesday night? Sound off below, then hit the comments to share your thoughts, feelings, and conspiracy theories. And for all my Idol news, reviews, and interviews — including video Q&As next week with the Season 10 Top 3 — follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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  1. EvaneSam says:

    Is it just me or is Taio Cruz’ single Positive about Haley Reinharts journey on Idol. Listening to the lyrics I couldn’t help but wonder. It sounds as if it was written especially for her.

    • Mingyao says:

      wasn’t that song the result of the contest they were having on “help Taio Cruz write the lyrics” or something… Maybe a lot of Haley fans submitted lyrics for the song LOL

      • Haley fans have nothing to feel bad about. She did an unbelieveable job. She is by far the adult favorite coming out of this show and it’s possible that with her jazzy gritty voice she can have a career.

        Congrats to Scotty. He was consistent week to week, he did what the judges wanted him to do, and never had a really brutal week. He did all he can do, plus he is a teen boy with a southern charm and love for his mama, that’s honestly all a boy on this show with a decent voice has to do.

        Will a girl ever win this show again? I really don’t know. Those girls are going to have to be the next coming of Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, otherwise they will be like Lauren Alaina and Crystal Bowersox, so close yet so far.

        • takakupo says:

          The winning girls have by far, been the best selling winners of the show so far. Each artist has gone platinum (with the exception of Lee Dewyze who MIGHT get his shot within a few years if he keeps working at it) including Taylor Hicks but the girls are in a league of their own, garnering grammys, People’s Choice Awards, MTV Music Video awards, etc; and making most money. With the advent of the super stars, Kelly and Carrie, it’s easy to eclipse the other stars that were born still early in the competition (Fantasia and Jordin). Regardless of whether they don’t sell in the hundreds of millions, Fantasia and Jordin still shined in their respective seasons as stand out divas who could sing their hearts out. Though the demographics have changed, I still believe it is possible for a girl to win Idol if they have the same star quality as any of the four girls mentioned above.

          • nah says:

            Nah, they don’t. Haley had the quality and the voice to sing chart topping Adele and not only could she not even make top two the show didn’t even want to give her a shot at it!

          • nah says:

            And don’t forget she won the crucial last weeks and still couldn’t make it and had the show actively trying to make sure she didn’t make it.

          • Name That Tune says:

            @Zaz – Pia got criticised for more than singing ballads. They were clear they didn’t like her performance skills
            Just listened again to her vocals. She is simply a great singer. In fact, the two best female vocalists this season – Haley & Pia – were routinely criticized. Nobody else. Justthose two.

          • Zaz says:

            @Name That Tune

            Not really — how did they criticize other than her horrific choice of songs? And even that was muted. A weak suggestion to sing a different style (which she ignored for several weeks). She was not that great of a singer — I think her subsequent performances — the dancing show, the tonight show — show that. She sings ok, but nothing to write home about. But in any case, the judges hardly criticized her.

        • Musica1 says:

          A female won’t win if they sing like the females this season did. If any of them had sung during the show the way the did on the finale, I would have voted for them. But they didn’t. Turret were either of key or incredibly boring. Haley made a good run at the end but it was probably too late by the time she stopped growling too much and started singing those sweet notes.

          • Joseph says:

            Singing is more then just notes and words it is also about emotional connection and for the most the female performances this year they failed on the last and most crucial part of their performance.
            Even Haley and Pia both which are favorites of this crowd did a horrible job taking it to the level that would transport an audience to the story they were singing about.
            As for Lauren not winning this year give me a break this was not about her being female but rather the mistake that she did not wait until she had something to sing about.

          • Name That Tune says:

            A girl won’t win until they change the voting system. We got nonthreatening WGWG again for the 4th straight season.
            I’ve said this before. 1000 people with a Smart Phone & a little app that Fires off an SMS every second for 2 hours can deliver 10 million votes. It doesn’t take an obsessed teen to do that. But it tells you that a small number of people can have a big impact on the outcome of the show.
            If Nigel and company are wise, they will limit the voting. Yea, they won’t be able to brag about 120 million votes, but they will get a better outcome.

          • WGWG says:

            Crystal Bowersox sang beautifully throughout and didn’t win. Pia Toscano sang beautifully and got booted early. So did Alexis Grace.

          • Zaz says:

            Michael writes, “Pia Toscano got held to a different standard of judging and went home too soon.”

            You mean the different standard where she was never judged harshly at all even though she sang only passably? The only judgment given her was the one where they quietly suggested she sing something other than the boring ballads she sang. That’s it. Nothing else. Haley was held to a different standard. The judging Pia was THE standard of this horrible season — and that is mostly no judging.

        • Blair says:

          Yeah, congratulations to Scotty. He stayed in his lane, did what the judges wanted him to do (just be “in it to win it”). Was himself (a good ol’ boy from the south). Loved his mama, and had an ok voice. The red carpet was always out for him. He just needed to casually walk down it till the end of the season. He never had anything to worry about. In the words of his look-alike comic counterpart, “What, me worry?”.

        • Brecken P says:

          Crystal lost despite outsinging every one of her competitors on almost every night. She’s really one of the best contestants Idol has ever seen; if she couldn’t win against such terrible competition, I’m not sure a girl can win again unless they change the voting system.

          • Ren says:

            Crystal wasn’t the best in Season 9 — Siobhan Magnus was but the judges (Kara & Simon) stripped her of her confidence. Remember “Paint It Black” and “Think”? If she were on this season, she might have won. Crystal is missing something, that is why she will never be a major star.

          • pjp says:

            I have Crystal’s cd, and I just love listening to her sing. I think her vocal qualities are unequaled on AI.

          • kai says:

            Uh, Siobhan is gone and forgotten. what has she done lately? Crystal has an album that is outselling the Idol champ.

        • Kaya says:

          I’d just like to point out that it’s not just adults who like Haley. I’m a teenage girl, and I was rooting for Haley (and Casey) the whole season. I couldn’t care less about Scotty, though I don’t hate him.

  2. Georgia says:

    I must admit. I’m no scotty fan but I was pleased he won. He seems like such a nice, genuine kid and I really hope that’s true. I feel like he’ll stay grounded and be a really great country singer. There were other great choices but ultimately I’m happy with America’s decision.

    The finale was great because we got to rediscover what a great bunch of personalities this group was!

    • flower says:

      You did realize that this was a music competition, not a popularity contest right?

      • GeorgiaPat says:

        I guess there’s another “Georgia” on the scene now, so I’m trying on a NEW user name. When I read the message about scotty (lower case) being a great country singer, I thought my alter ego had taken over my computer! Anyway, thanks, Michael for the great recap (and for continuing with Idoloonies after Idolatry). I’ll definitely follow Haley’s career, and will focus on “The Voice” for the rest of the season.

    • Lana says:

      There is nothing wrong with just being a country star, in fact I could care less if my country singers ever cross over. I finally heard Scotty’s voice on the radio and it is gorgeous, he hits each country note perfectly and as long as he finds great country song writers he will have an awesome career. He needs to look up Wyn who was on CMT’s Nashville something (can’t remember name right now) and he wrote bunches of great songs, most with a lot of humor which Scotty likes. It was a great finale and I am soo happy to see that Slezak is going to recap SYTYCD show as it is my very favorite competition show, I was bummed to think this was the last time to read his recaps.

  3. DS says:

    Gaga’s song is called “Edge of Glory,” not reason.

    • youdundoneitnow says:

      oooooooooooooo slezak. you got a gaga song WRONG. Hold on to you hat, sir. this about to get ugly….

    • amylola says:

      do you recognize sarcasm? that’s how i read it.

    • McFudge says:

      A slight misnomer, since from the looks of things she definitely went OVER the edge? And with MARK! Bitter, party of one here.

      • djm says:

        Tell me about it! If she’s gonna jump couldn’t she take someone besides Mark with her? All of the guys at the finale party I was at all thought the same thing.

    • Yo says:

      So I guess Gaga was about to do what I thought she was about to do before she and dance person jumped? Oh Gags, hon, you don’t need to go there!

    • Delirious says:

      And while at it (ie. correcting stuff?), mr Slezak could’ve gone against what seems the norm (out of “serious” music publications), and critizise how they completely failed to acknowledge Steven Tyler’s backing band for his performance. I mean, yeah, they’re not Aerosmith, or the Stones, fame-wise, but I think Stone Temple Pilots (sans vocalist Scott Weiland for the performance) at least deserve a mention by either Tyler or Seacrest? I was quite disappointed by that, especially considering the fact that they kinda gave a nudge to harder musical styles with Judas Priest, and all…

  4. Teena says:

    You still refuse to utter Danny Gokey, don’t you Michael? Steven was amazing in his too short snippet of “Dream On.”

    • AW Baimun says:

      Danny Ggg….aaaagghh…. he-who-shall-not-be-named was sitting at home saying “So THAT’s how that song is supposed to be sung…. wow.”

      Also Michael… the outfit that Durbin was wearing was a clone of Rob Halford’s from the British Steel era. Heck, it could even be Rob’s original stagewear since he’s put on a few dozen pounds and probably can’t fit into it any more.

      For those not in the know, the Mark Walburg movie “Rockstar” is losely based on Judas Priest. Rob Halford, the biggest singing voice in metal, left the band after admitting that he was gay and was replaced by Tim “Ripper” Owens that the band found singing in a Priest tribute band in the midwest.

      • Jason McD says:

        He actually didn’t come of the closet til several years after leaving Priest. He left Priest on July 4th, 1991, he came out of the closet in 1998 during an MTV interview.
        The subject came up because Rob had shot a video for the first single from his second post-Priest era band 2wo(Two). The video was directed by a famous gay porn director and used porn stars in the video. He was being interviewed on MTV when he finally acknowledged the rumor that had been going around for years that he was a gay man.
        I’m a gay metal head and Rob is my idol, I followed his career closely and double checked all my facts with Wiki and different bios on the web.
        AW Baimun is totally correct about the James’ outfit, the movie Rock Star, and Rob probably not able to fit in his old clothes anymore. hehehe

        • Tusk says:

          Many a summer jamming to “Breaking the Law” with the guys in the day here.

          I saw one of those behind the music shows in which Halford talks about coming out, and other Metal musicians commenting, one of them saying something like, “so all the leather, studs and whips, kind of make sense, now” (Because back then the only place to get that gear was in sex shops, which is where Halford shopped) LOL.

          JP pioneered that leather/studs look. It was actually a pleasant surprise that even after coming out, Halford still holds his position as one of the Metal gods among metal heads. Credit to Metal fans.

        • AW Baimun says:

          You’re correct about Rob not coming out publicly until 98. I figure that the other members of Priest knew he was gay whether it was made public or not. The public’s attitude towards homosexuality (particularly in rock circles) became a very different place in the years between Freddy Mercury’s death and Rob Halford’s public admission. I’m a straight man, but Freddy and Rob were idols of mine when growing up and later playing in rock bands.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          There’s something about “gay” and “metal” that just strikes me as counterintuitive. Kind of like “gay” and “country”. You don’t see a lot of that, either. ;-)

          Don’t care that Rob Halford is gay, in fact, I had forgotten he came out of the closet until I started reading posts on these boards. That’s his personal business. If he’s happy then I’m happy for him.

    • GinaBallerina says:

      But Teena, Danny was inarguably, self-admittedly terrible on “Dream On.” To suggest he duet with Steven on it would be mean, not nice. It was better of Slezak not to mention him.

      • Teena says:

        LOL, Gina! I wasn’t suggesting a duet! (God forbid!) Danny was beyond awful on that song and in attitude. I am just noting that Michael seems to have determined that he isn’t even going to give Danny bad press. I am with Kristin with glasses on this one!

    • Suncatcher says:

      I wish we had gotten much more Steven Tyler and much less JLO last night!!!

  5. Chad says:

    Haley did a killer job. Can’t wait to buy her music.

    • tamara says:

      I think that Tony Benett duet might have gain her lots of older fans, like the ones Pia has.

      Btw, Haley’s got some cool&sexy dance moves!! when given a coreography, the arm thing stops being a problem! :)

      Michael, I also thought Carrie was showing lots of restrain, trying to let Lauren shine. Great duet partner, since we already know she’s awesme, she tried to make it all about Lauren. Grade A+ for Carrie!

      • djm says:

        True story – at the party I was at last night there were about 6 people all over the age of 50 and every single one of them said that they didn’t like the Haley/Tony duet and that she seemed “disconnected” during the perfromance. I went home and watched it again and I just have to assume they were all either on crack, or suffering from some sort of mental dimentia. Seriously – she looked like she was having the time of her life and she sounded incredible.

        • hooch says:

          I was at a bridal shower last weekend and everyone was going on and on about what a brat Haley was and “Can you believe she had the NERVE to talk back to J-Lo? Who does she think she is? Oh I just love Lauren and Scotty they are both so cute!”. I was honestly very surprised.
          I realized in that moment that American Idol is not about music AT ALL anymore. I’m not even sure the problem is with teens now. I think it is older people who are upset with today’s youth looking to support “good/wholesome kids” in the hope that their own kids will turn out like that.

          • Terry says:

            I would much rather my kids turn out like Haley. Fall down – get back up and keep on going. In the bottom 3 four times early on – take it in stride with a big beautiful smile. Get picked on – never let them break you. Be criticized more than anyone else – stay strong and deliver the best performances of the season. I don’t care what the votes show, for me, Haley won Idol this year!!!

          • Amanda says:

            @Terry, Thank you sir beautiful comment. Although I’m only 2 years older than Haley, I work closely with teenagers and have an 8 year old sister who struggles daily with self acceptance and the image of teenagers projected by the media.

            My sister hated Lauren, loved Haley (which is shocking since I thought all the sparkly tutu dresses and Miley loving would sure win her over, but well my sis has inherited me and brother’s wider taste in music as opposed to generic country pop) My sis and her friends are form their young age faced with issues about their femininity and self confidence, and although I love Lauren, I do not think she is a role model in any way. I’d love my sister to be like Haley when she’s older, confident in both her talent and femininity, a family girl with big dreams and whole lotta personality that she should not feel the need to apologize for.

            end. rant.

          • M says:

            My mom loves Haley and I was telling her about this whole talking back to Randy debacle she said, well “aren’t they happy that she acknowledged the fact that she heard his “critique” ” LOL

          • L says:

            @Terry – +1

          • Suncatcher says:

            Tell you friends at the party that Haley did not talk back to JLO. It was Randy. It was after he had gone on and on and on ripping her a new one (over FICTION) that she finally said (politely), “I got it Randy.” Even Nigel Lythgoe, when interviewed by SLEZAK, said “Randy was kicking Haley when she was already down and (sic) that was wrong.” And he had NO problem with what Haley had said.

            Ask your Haley hating friends also why it is that David Cook (who I adore) can IN THE 2007 FINALE, stop, go over to Ryan, take the microphone and verbally challenge Simon Cowell regarding the horrid comments he made to David – AND get a public apology from Cowell the next day – and no one called him out like they did Haley who did far less???


          • flower says:

            It also might be the location you live. I am a Mom and I don’t watch AI for a role model for my kids. Yes, my 8 year old daughter liked Lauren, but she also listens to Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber so I don’t think she has developed any musical taste yet. I watch AI so I can discover someone I may want to download music for. I live in Seattle, so that may be the difference. We think with our own brains here. I don’t like having people (judges, producers) tell me what I am supposed to think. I know some regions of this country like to be spoon-fed opinions, thoughts, etc.

          • Aaron says:

            I think this is why bullying is such a huge problem in America right now…there is such a huge stigma about actually sticking up for yourself…you get labeled as a “bitch” or “unlikeable”, therefore everyone feels like they must take the punches…I’ve known a lot of people who disliked Haley for the same reason, and I completely wonder if they have been watching the same show that I’ve been watching for three months…if anyone couldn’t see the blatant bias and opposition against Haley (from the judges) week-to-week then America is stupider than I thought. Instead of admiring her for defending herself against such ridiculous “critique”, everyone now thinks she’s a bitch. Such bulls***. I guarantee that if Scotty had showed a bit of attitude (that is to say if the judges ever actually criticized him, which they didn’t), all these people would be glossing over it and be harping on the judges for how “mean” they were to Scotty…

            …sorry, I could go on and on and on about how Haley was the ragdoll of season 10, but I will desist.

            …and it’s funny people would think it’s such blasphemy to talk back to Jennifer Lopez…my cat has a bigger vocal range than her.

        • Over 50 says:

          I’m 51, I thought Haley was fantastic, but Tony was a little creepy.

          • Tusk says:

            I never got a “creepy” vibe from him but did anyone notice the spin Tony did after he danced with (twirled) Haley? That might have been the most “energetic” I have seen him move in years!

            I think dueting with our resident Chicago chanteuse infused Tony with a little bit of her energy. I have a feeling Haley impressed the guy, and she certainly performed like she belonged on that stage with the living legend

          • larry says:

            @Tusk- 100% agreed!

          • Suncatcher says:

            “OVER 50” – Congratulations! You have to be the only one in Tony Bennetts decades old, professional, award-winning career to have ever called him “creepy.” You drinkin’ much last night?

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Tony Bennett creepy? Really?
            Ever seen pictures of Charlie Manson? Sure you have, you’re 51. He’s creepy.
            In this youth-oriented society I thought it was marvelous to see Tony Bennett and Tom Jones on the show.
            Marilyn Maye, who sings the American Songbook like nobody’s business, is in her 80s and still performing. I’ve long said they should have her as a mentor on Idol. She still packs people into her shows when she performs.

        • Madabout says:

          I agree with you and I’m over 50. Also, didn’t watch the finale but listened to Haley downloads and am more impressed every time I listen. She was awesome singing with Tony and unlike the earlier Haley, moved as fluidly as she sings now. Love her.

        • Lana says:

          As someone over 50, those 6 people must have had a hearing problem, did you see them wearing hearing aids? Haley with Tony was awesome and I don’t know what made them think she was disconnected. Maybe they were big JLo fans and felt they weren’t allowed to love Haley’s singing.

        • kai says:

          I completely agree, Haley is often disconnected when she sings. Even when she speaks in interviews, she is saying what she is supposed to say, but you can tell she doesn’t REALLY believe what she is saying. There is something not honest and truthful about her. Her attitude is very defensive like she could give a F%%# about anything.

          • Miguel says:

            I think she’s been very sincere in her interviews other than when asked about the biased judging. In that case, a little caution is in order since she is still contractually connected to the show and viewers like you condemned her whenever she reacted to it in the slightest on the show. You are right thought that at some point she did begin to not “give a F%%#” what the judges had to say because she’s experienced enough to realize it was seldom valid.

    • susela says:

      I so hope she stays in this jazzy genre instead of going full-out rocker as she seems poised to do. She was beyond fabulous and really held her own with Tony. Best duet of the night, hands down.

      • Yo says:

        If Haley would just put out an album of jazz standards, I would buy five of them – and I have never listened to jazz. Oh, please, Jimmy, don’t pick her off! She is way too good for that!

        • lukien says:

          Don’t worry, bet Haley will follow her idol’s footsteps and release a dance album about fever, entertainment, glory hole, tornados and trainwecks, then moaning and growling her way off in some awards.

          • lukien says:

            then all of you so-called fans will worship her feet, the goddess of all goddesses, will stab (i mean thrash) anyone who dares saying something negative about it, embracing her transition to a dance diva as a revelation. long gone the jazz, don’t care. she’s untouchable, rite?

          • Blair says:

            On the contrary, I believe Haley is much smarter than you giver her credit for. She grew up in family that was influenced by a wide variety of music genres, and Haley has tons of music sensibilities. I am sure she will stay true to herself and create her own path, and appeal to a wider range of people than past idols have. I, unlike you have faith in her. No offense intended. ..just how I see it. GO HALEY!

          • Bat Country says:

            Umm, she comes from a family of musicians. Don’t bet on her selling out to one of the few genres that doesn’t suit her voice.

          • L says:

            Word is she already flat turned down the first two singles they gave her but agreed to go with the third.

      • marie says:

        Who’s to say she can’t do both – or even more? She has the musicality for it. There’s a fantastic opera singer, Renee Fleming, who has released, in addition to operatic arias, albums of both rock and cabaret songs, and performed all three completely convincingly. Not that I’m suggesting Haley sing opera, but I think such genre-crossing is totally imaginable for Haley.

        • larry says:

          Exactly. A jazz standards album is fine and sometime I’m sure she will but she’d probably be wiser to do a more Adele-type thing first and strike while it is hot, it’s a rare chance, and do the jazz standards album second while still continuing on with somewhat more mainstream, she can do both; maybe even eventually along with Adele-type stuff mix in a little zep type stuff (of course i has to be written; it is one thing to cover these and another to either write or get someone good to write all this for you).

      • Name That Tune says:

        It was when she did her “Moanin'”{ duet with Casey that I thought she’d found her lane. Too bad the judges didn’t think of that when they chose her song in the Top 3. She’d have WOW’d us with that.

        • My Alter Ego says:

          I agree completely. That’s when I recognized what she should be doing with that extraordinary voice of hers!

          That said, why would the judges, those very individuals who had another agenda (two of them, anyway), want to do something that would make her star shine even more?

          Given comments from around the world that I’ve seen on this blog during the last few weeks, because of her talent, her versatility, her very “Haley-ness,”, I think Haley will do just fine!

      • My Alter Ego says:

        Since Haley actually can do it all (except, perhaps, opera — and, I’m not ruling that out), be patient. Even if the first releases aren’t to your liking, keep her in your radar, because ultimately she will probably record something that you want to hear/buy.

        I can’t wait to see her career take off!!!

  6. aunt_deen says:

    I was pretty whelmed by the show as a whole, although I did think Beyonce and Gaga were really good.

    Loved seeing Durbs perform with Judas Priest, considering that Rob Halford gushes over Adam at the drop of a hat.

    I suppose we can excuse Tony Bennett flubbing a line or two at his age. Haley sounded fantastic.

    AND NIGEL LYTHGOE YOU ARE A DOUCHEBAG. Two hours plus in the finale and you couldn’t give three damn minutes for Lee DeWyze? Grow a soul, will you?

    • lo says:

      yes its okay that he missed one word in the song…not more…he is 84 years old

    • beth t says:

      From a tweet it seems Nigel did want Lee to give out the winner’s trophy, and Lee opted not to. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Was that taking a stand or being petulant?
      Lee did perform his single earlier this year – he doesn’t have anything new on the radio, and I’d think any appearance would only have been good for him. But I do think it was a snub to have no performance time for him. Not even a duet with one of the contestants?
      I think I give Lee credit for even showing up at the finale.

      Overall – enjoyed the Finale show 1000x better than the final 2 performance show! Especially happy with the Haley/Tony duet – want that! And Steven Tyler singing was a good moment. Fell off the couch laughing at the Randy “tribute” – spot on! Enjoyed seeing Mark Kanemura dance with GaGa.
      Loved Scotty’s moments at the end – not a big fan of the kid or his music, but those shots of him hugging and finally breaking down a little and catching confetti on his tongue were sweet – there really is a 17 year old boy behind that voice!

      • Teresa says:

        I’ve been trying to imagine how the Lee hands over the trophy moment would work. I don’t see it being good.

        When Kris won, they sort of tried to make it moment. A trophy girl carried it out and Ryan announced it as she shoved it into Kris’s hand. Then he stared at it like he was thinking, “How am I supposed to sing while hauling around this gigantic paperweight?”

        I don’t remember anyone giving Lee the trophy.

        So, either Lee would get completely lost in the aftermath of the announcement — at that point, no one is going to look at anything but Scotty’s face (or Lauren’s since she conveniently turned him upstage to smooch him), or else Lee gets his “moment” by coming out before the accountant with the results card and gets to stand there awkwardly for two minutes.

        It’s lose-lose. The proper way to give Lee the respect he deserves as the 2010 winner is to have him sing a freakin’ song. I don’t care if it’s terrible. Anything else is a slap in the face.

    • marie says:

      Agree re Lee. I did not like him at all, do not like him, and with a gun to my head would swear he can’t string three notes together on key without AutoTune, but he was last year’s winner and so deserved a slot on the show.

      • lucky says:

        I agree 100% with this comment. Poor cousin Phil!

      • Aunt Sassy says:

        Weren’t we all tortured anough last year during the finale when Lee won? Sorry, but if they never bring him back it’s too soon. Besides, he has already said in an interview that he doesn’t want to ride the “Idol wave” so it sounds like the producers did him a favor and helped him off of it. Sorry, but he can’t have it both ways.

    • Carol says:

      I read on (maybe in the comments?) that Nigel tweeted that he had invited Lee on stage to present the American Idol trophy (is that trophy a new thing?) to the winner, but Lee declined.

      • marie says:

        Yeah, what trophy? I take everything Lythgoe says with a whole truckload of salt.

        • Carol says:

          I agree with your opinion of Nigel, but there really was a trophy — Ryan Seacrest handed Scotty a microphone-shaped trophy, and then Scotty handed it to James to hold while he sang.

          • marie says:

            I was talking to my partner at that point so must have missed it. I stand corrected on the trophy.

      • yeah says:

        hand over the trophy? plus there was no trophy!
        give us a break Nige

      • Suncatcher says:

        Lee tweeted back that he turned down Nigel’s offer to present the trophy to Scotty because Nigel asked him only 3 minutes before the event was to happen. There would be no rehearsal, he had no lines, etc. Lee felt it was wrong and politely declined. Now Nigel is again under the gun from everyone about this mess – and he’s trying to make it look like he was the good guy and Lee was being “petulant”, as someone called him here. NOT so.

        Mom always said, “There’s 5 sides to every story – and you better get all 6!”

        I have a new found respect for Lee DeWyze.

    • Erin says:

      Lee DeWyze doesn’t deserve 3 minutes, let alone last season’s crown. Yes, I am still extremely bitter about this, as Mama-sox was clearly superior in every way.

      • larry says:

        I’m bitter how they beat down Haley and who made final two and who won but that said I’d think it stinks if they didn’t let Scotty sing next year! (although I don’t expect I will be watching since they appear not one little bit to get it and I feel they will move to even more meddling and they have kept the same useless pair of parrot piece judges again)

      • Suncatcher says:

        Dude! Blame the voters – not Lee DeWyze. (And I was voting for Crystal also).

  7. Slezak Fangirl says:

    I just want to say THANK YOU to Slezak for another fabulous year of insight/laughs/grace/warmth. I always say I’m going to stop watching Idol, but that would mean not reading Michael’s reviews – and I just can’t go there.

    Slezak – you’re the best thing on the Interwebs!

    • Ronnie says:

      I’ll add my thanks as well. Michael, you made the entire season more enjoyable.
      I’ll also add my thanks to all the posters here who bantered back and forth all season. The chats we all had were fun, insightful, infuriating, heartwarming, and passionate.
      We all didn’t agree, but for the most part it was fun and passionate talk by most everyone. We had the following:
      – Screams of Casey being so original and deserving the save
      – Flip outs over Pia’s ousting
      – Screams that Casey didn’t deserve the save
      – Why are all the women going home!
      – Steven, stop your risque comments about Lauren
      – What is wrong with Paul’s voice
      – Casey keeps creeping me out / Fans don’t know Jazz
      – What happened to the Stephano of Wild Card round
      – Judges? Judges? We don’t need no stinkin’ Judges!
      – Jacob and the Ego machine
      – The Durbs! Bringing excitement every week
      – The Durbs! His fans flipping out when he left
      – The Haley express… TVLine goes bonkers for Haley
      – The backlash against boring consistency of the final two
      – The frakkin’ judges… an almost universal disgust!
      – Realizing Scotty/Haley are actual teens and kind of sweet people
      We all had our favorites and we all flip out when we saw things we didn’t like… but I think for most it was all out of a passion for music along side the desire to see an amateur/unknown make us stand up and cheer.
      Love you all, and thanks for making a frustrating season so much more enjoyable.

      • Carol says:

        That was really sweet Ronnie, and sums up the season really well. I’ll miss the idle Idol banter here. MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH LOVE to Michael Slezak!!!

      • Jessabean says:


      • Ronnie says:

        oops, I said “Scotty/Haley are actual teens and kind of sweet people”
        . I meant Scotty and Lauren (my Haley love blinded me)

      • Blair says:

        Thanks, Ronnie. Ditto to your sentiments. Enjoyed your insightful posts as well. It helped make a somewhat sub-par season of idol tolerable.

      • wendeeloo says:

        I want to get in on this Slezak love-fest too. While I couldn’t get on the Pia train with you, and you weren’t sharin’ my (early)season love for Casey – You are the winner of the color commentary crown this and every season – I know a lot of us are missing some of the EW co-workers who would crack you up to our delight. But so happy you still have the remarkably able assistance of Jason Averett on Idoloonies – whose talent compliments yours beautifully. My god, that one episode of ‘loonies’ when you put out an appeal for Haley actually made my tears bubble up! And who else got a sit-down with that tweeting fool who refers to me as a ‘moron?! I tell myself I won’t watch next season because I can’t stand any of the judges so you may be truly my go-to guy come January. Here’s hoping we still get to see/hear Casey’s interview and, of course, Haley, who for me is the revelation of the season.

      • Lily says:

        @Ronnie – You forgot Kendraaa! (and Jason Averett, there’s a Buffy slayer reference to be had on this!) Great summary!

        • Ronnie says:

          Oh my, the Buffy “Kendraaaa”! What amazing awesomeness! I cannot believe that I didn’t pick up on that Kendra-Buffy link. My friends and I still crack up chanting it the way she did on Buffy, with the rolled “dr” … you made me laugh, thanks :) Go “Kenddrraaaa”!

      • Lana says:

        Thanks Ronnie for putting into words how much fun it is to read the recaps, then the comments and then to comment too. I’m hoping it will be just as fun with SYTYCD

      • My Alter Ego says:


        In total agreement with message to Michael Slezak for his witty recaps.

        Also, I want to say, that in a very summarized way, you’re quite good at the recaps yourself!!!

    • jodi says:

      totally agree

    • djm says:

      I can sum up my feeling for Michael by copying his opening sentence and tweaking it a bit “Sometimes I seriously question my obsession with Michael Slezak. After all, there’s no other writer on the internet that consistently causes spikes in my blood pressure” – but yet I still can’t wait to get to work every morning after the performance show and read what he has to say about it. I buy my pumpkin cake, get some coffee and then spend the next half hour reading and re-reading his recaps and the comments from everyone here. It’s something I treasure and it is the only thing about Season 10 I will miss. Well, Haley too, but hopefully she’ll release music soon.

      I have decided that this is my last season of AI. I have said this in years past but Slezak has always dragged me kicking and screaming back into the mix. So next year I have decided that I will not watch the show, then read Michael’s comments the next day and then check out the things that sound interesting on YouTube. So Slezak, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! It’s been a blast again (as per usual) and I will see you next year. (Although I will follow your reviews of SYTYCD, but it’s just not the same).

    • allie says:

      fangirl – lol, I totally understand your point but I can attest that you don’t have to watch AI to have a great time reading Slezak’s blogs. I promised my husband I’d stop watching if Haley got thrown off and, as an AI addict, I am proud to say I stayed true to my words. I read the recap and you tubed Haley’s duet and I am perfectly happy – don’t feel like I missed a thing. I won’t watch next year if they keep the same judges but I will continue to read the blog and youtube the better performances – wastes a lot less time that way!

    • Esse says:

      This! And I’m definitely looking forward to his SYTYCD recaps now. :D

    • Bat Country says:

      Hear, hear. You are probably one of the best (read as: agrees with me the most) music critics I know. I will continue to follow you on SYTYCD.

      Glad of your score on One plus One. That performance moved me to tears. I also agree the six ladies (without an awkward Lauren) at the beginning were really strong, diverse, and exciting. I would love to see just those six on tour together…

      • sherimoonzombie says:

        Wow, I thought that second Beyonce performance was DREADFUL. Like tied with the Casey/Jack Black number for worst of the night. I’d much rather had a chance to hear a song from the top 13 cast offs.

      • tvlover44 says:

        gotta agree with sherri… on this one – i couldn’t *wait* for that beyonce song to end! it was just a boring as hell song, torturous.

    • Suncatcher says:

      HEY SLEZAK! THANK YOU! For a great season that kept us laughing despite the indignities and incongruities AND for talking me down from a bridge every week.

      Can’t wait for Season 11! Will be following you on The Voice et al in the meantime.


    • SlezakFan says:

      Hey, looks like more than one person likes my alias ;-)

      I can’t agree more. Reading Slezak’s reviews every Wednesday and Thursday has been the best thing for me for the season!

  8. lorena says:

    Best part of the finale was tony bennett and haley!!! I learned to love her and this just made her like a thousand times cooler!! I am obsessed with Tony Bennett since I was about 7 !!

    • EvaneSam says:

      I will be disappointed if Haley doesn’t bring out a swing album sometime in the near future. She would sound AH-MAZING.

      • Teresa says:

        In an ideal world, someone’s got a WWII script out there, featuring a romance between a sexy swing band singer and a plucky boy in uniform. Because I want to see Haley play the singer.

        Oh, and there should be a part for her platonic bass-playing friend (who secretly yearns for her).

        • marie says:

          (As long as there is NO part in the film for Jack Black.)

        • Tusk says:

          Don’t forget she told GaGa she loves acting so, not entirely impossible she tries ACTING out.

          just need anything new from Haley. Bummed no single yet, and while the Bennet duet was cool, I NEED A FRESH BATCH OF REINHART PLEASE

    • Carrie Ann says:

      I have not learned to love her but think her duet with Tony Bennett was terrific. I also thought it was obvious that she knew how fortunate she was to be singing with him. Good for her.

      • Tusk says:

        Speaking of being “fortunate she was to be singing with him”, curious that Casey didn’t perform with someone he admires from the Jazz/Blues genre.

        Instead we got Jack Black, tho while mildly entertaining, pulled him(Casey) farther away from his musicality and closer to his primal/angry/grunting side, which I don’t think did him any favors.
        Caveat to the above comments in that, they may have not had a choice, Black was promoting KF Panda 2 and Bennet was also promoting so their inclusion was a fait accompli :).

    • SL says:

      Listening to Haley with Tony Bennett and seeing her perform throughout the season, if I had a Vegas casino, I’d sign her in a hot New York minute for a long run. She can come out and sing rock (with her parents in the band), then turn around and sing jazz with a legend like Tony Bennett, then do a great country song like “Blue.” She’s attractive, dresses well, looks like a star, and has a superb general music background. There’s something there for everyone. She won’t be a Lady Gaga type star, but she certainly can have a long, long satisfying career. Great job! (P.S. Her performance with Tony Bennett was the performance of the year.)

  9. Matt says:

    Really, Michael? You liked that tuneless monstrosity that Beyonce performed? The last time I checked, a song should have a least a shred of a discernable melody. Blech.

    • Yo says:

      I loved Beyonce (she is indeed an Amazon) and compared to her forbear JLo, her performances are downright wholesome. Good is good, there is no denying.

    • Lee says:

      Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I thought I was the only one ready to shoot her or myself over that rambling monstrosity of a “song.” It was awful and she was worse. In fact the only thing I saw all season that was worse than that was the Beyonce video that debuted a week or two earlier…

    • marie says:

      I’m right there with MS re the Beyonce number! The song may have been rather strangely constructed (which I happen to not mind), but you can’t deny the power of that woman’s incredible voice! That IS how it’s done, indeed (yes, “shut your pie hole, Jennifer”)! Also right with MS re Marc Anthony’s performance: another powerhouse of a blow-the-roof-off pure voice (wish I DID know the name of the song because I’d buy it: can anyone help me with that?). Along with Carrie Underwood and Haley’s duet with Tony, these were the highlights of the show for me. Honorable mention to Steven Tyler.
      And thank you, MS, for calling out Casey on the ridiculous waste of time that was his dopey routine with Jack Black: not that I’m implying he’d give a damn, but Casey would have a very far way to go to re-gain the respect I had for him at the very beginning of the season as a musician.
      Side note: Slezak, do you know your delightful word “ridiculata” has been adopted by a writer at another website with which which you’re familiar? (I think you coined the word; apologies to the other writer if I’m wrong and she was not merely copying you.)

      • Carol says:

        Marie, I did a search online and Marc Anthony’s song is called “Aguanile”; I found it on Marc Anthony’s CD entitled “El Cantante” from 2007.

      • jennab says:

        I agree with Marie, Beyonce absolutely KILLED on the show! I love that she said, “Can I sing for you, America?” Sub-text: UNLIKE J-NO! And though I don’t know his music that well, I agree that Marc Anthony ROCKED! J-Lo should go back to featured back-up dancer. LOVED Haley and Tony Bennett, and thought the Tom Jones medley was a hoot.

        Suggestion: until Amy Winehouse returns, Haley should work with Marc Ronson; and in response to Slezak’s tweet re: Alison, she should work with Linda Perry. Make it so!

        • marie says:

          Interesting idea for Haley – that could work.
          God, how I miss Winehouse – I hope she gets sober and healthy some day. What an amazing talent.

          • Scarlett says:


          • marie says:

            Proof positive right here! Haley does Winehouse – with a really bad band, but she’s super. (Posted this elsewhere in the comments, too; felt it belonged in both places.)

        • seattlejohn says:

          why not Alison channeling some of that bluesy Amy Winehouse vibe too? her debut album was screwed up trying to be current and pop and was a mess…her strength on the show was that strong bluesy/soulful essence…Linda Perry is too trendy and not even close to having a timeless, powerful, heartfelt voice like Allison…imho

          • marie says:

            Not sure Alison would be right for Winehouse-like material and production (Haley, yes, could well be), but definitely agree that her debut album did her no justice at all. I still listen to Alison’s Idol season recordings; listened to the album exactly once, which was enough. I really hope she puts out some recordings (for adults) suited to her talent.
            And I am banking on Haley being strong enough and sure enough of herself to release an album that showcases her talents and is not hampered by generic pop crap (although surprisingly Adam Lambert’s own debut album contained way too much over-produced pop crap when I expected a work of artistry – hope Haley fares better!).

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Melody? A song should have a melody? Matt, what century are you living in, LOL?
      Clearly the Jack Black/Casey number and Beyonce’s second song were quite polarizing.

    • Lizbeth says:

      I think Beyonce is a good singer and good entertainer–but I don’t like the songs she does. IA–very little melody and about three chords in the songs. But, that is what is popular on pop radio. Wonder how many chords Pia’s song will have–LOL

    • kirain says:

      yeah, I don’t think that was great

    • dgman says:

      Did B. really sing those “make love to me” lyrics on this show? Kneeling and pleading for it is certainly not a good look on her.

    • Mingyao says:

      Beyonce was belting out to something I refused to listen to.

    • Mara says:

      I completely agree Matt. Beyonce’s song was terrible. So repetitive and boring. And so damn long. I thought I was in a church service where the gospel singers never shut up. This is what all the song was, “Make love to me, Make love to me, Make love to me, Make love to meeee”. For 20 minutes.

      And people complained that Lady Gaga was too risqué for children who were watching…

  10. Joe says:

    I thought Scotty did a really good job singing with Tim McGraw. Out of the 2 left standing, I’m glad he won. It’s pretty funny that he started out as a joke contestant who apparently only knew one song and won the whole thing but he seems like a nice kid and I feel better about him winning than I did about Lee last year who beat a clearly superior singer in Crystal somehow.
    Wittle Wauren is the one who should be upset the most. This thing was gift wrapped for her and she really dropped the ball this season. With a few years and some perspective she’ll look back and realize that the lack of “moments” for her did her in. She had the voice and the package they were looking for, but she never had the execution. I think she missed the boat on straying away from country a couple of times and really blowing things up. Imagine if she pulled off an Adele song? People would have went nuts.
    In the end, I think Haley had the best season. I wasn’t a fan in the beginning although I always thought she was insanely hot and had a good voice. I just didn’t know who she was. Now that I know that Haley can do big band to classic rock, I’m sold on her. She had the most range out of anyone on the show probably since Kelly/Latoya/Adam/Fantasia. That’s some pretty good company to be in and I hope she has a great career out. Ended up loving her.
    Not mad at Scotty for winning though since I felt like the mission of the season was to give this thing to Lauren and that mission wasn’t based on results on the stage. I think Scotty will sell tons of records and I think country music is going to embrace him. His real moment after winning last night and during the hometown visit are what will make his career for him.

    • marie says:

      Lauren / Adele? Does not compute, LOL.

    • Mel says:

      Lauren missed it big time on Tuesday by singing that first country pop song as contestant’s choice instead of singing “Candle in the Wind.” That was the song she came the closest to having a moment with, and if she’d done it again, it might have been amazing.

  11. Evan says:

    Most eyeroll-worthy moment for me: James comparing himself to Daughtry, saying they’re the “shocker rockers” who were supposed to win. I know it was part of a comic sketch, but it seems like he really thinks it. James: Nice revisionist history. At one time or another, the judges tell half the Top 12/13 that they could win.

    • Ronnie says:

      That was the joke. He was making fun of the judges saying everyone could win. Casey said the same about the magazine cover.

      • Evan says:

        Lol- I was watching at a restaurant, reading the captions when not distracted by friends. Should have held my judgment…

        Still- James has a huge ego.

        • Merrilyn says:

          It might be helpful to read up on the symptoms/signs of Asperger’s. Perceived cockiness/ego is part of their lack of social skills and awareness.

  12. EvaneSam says:

    I love James but I was pissed off that he got to sing for 4 minutes several songs with Judas Priest but Haley barely had 2 minutes to sing her duet with Tony Bennett.

    I really would have liked to hear them more. Maybe even a Haley/Casey duet for old times sake.

  13. Scarlett says:

    Lady GaGa deserves WAY more than a B, Michael, for “Edge of Glory”. And yes, she should have appeared with the girls on “Born This Way”. Or done a little duet with Haley on a bit of “You & I” (love that song!). THAT would have been great. And did you not catch the daggers from hell look from the woman sitting next to Lee DeWyze in that “move over Ryan” shot? OMG if looks could kill!

  14. Rose Lina Salehud Din says:

    From the beginning I choose Stephano & Scotty – I love him singing, couldn’t recall which site I was amking my statement about “if not Stephano, Scotty ….hahaha…what is more important (being selfish & cruel at the same time) Scotty win and what is there not to love about the sweet kid – go figure and thank you americans for voting him

    • seattlejohn says:

      was totally surprised by and loving Stephano killing Prince’s KISS…if he had done this before he probably could have made it farther in the competition

  15. Kellie says:

    Awesome recap again! My only saving grace throughout this season is your articles! Will def follow your next set of articles!! Can.not.wait.for.Haley.Slezak.interview

  16. Lizbeth says:

    Jeez Slezak–Your blatant dislike for Casey just baffles me. Constant digs at this guy. I am starting to think that the Casey idoloonie interview file was either corrupted by you on purpose–or you just don’t want to show it. Maybe–you never bothered to interview him in the first place.

    Casey was paired with Jack Black. The producers made that decision–not Casey. Maybe they did it cause Casey is a fan–maybe they did it cause Jack Black’s movie is hitting theaters –or both. But, Casey didn’t sign Black to do the finale. Jack Black is a comedian. The audience was expecting something funny–not a serious jazz performance from them. I am also sure that the idols don’t have much say about what their performance will be like with the guest stars. I thought Casey did a great job. He held his own with Jack Black–who is also quite the wild entertainer

    I am not the only one who thinks so

    You need to lighten up. The competition was over. This performance was supposed to be fun

    • susela says:

      Well, I agree it was not Casey’s finest moment. It brought out his worst tendencies. Had they given him some soulful bluesy jazz number, he would have shone the way Haley did.

    • chistosa says:

      Lizbeth, do you remember the episode where someone told Casey he would be perfect to play Jack Black’s brother in some film? And Slezak gave props to Casey for his musical ability. His critique is that Casey had a last chance for all of America to see his incredible talent and he played it for comedy rather than showcasing his talent. It was a loss. And yes, he was given Jack Black and I am sure their performance was directed but it did not showcase the wonderful talent that Casey has. Valid critique, not Casey hatred.

      • Lizbeth says:

        I do think Michael really dislikes Casey for some reason. Very little positive to say about him all season. He praised someone like Paul who had some pretty weak outings. But, Michael always had it in for Casey.
        However, if he doesn’t like Casey as a singer or musician that is fine. But, to give him crap about doing a comedy performance when he is paired with Jack Black–doesn’t make sense to me. What did he think was going to happen in the 2 minutes they were given? Jack Black is trying to sell a movie and he is going to be crazy up there and do his shtick. Was Casey supposed to play serious jazz bass while Black was running around the stage? It was all tongue and cheek.
        I would have loved for Casey to come out and do some jazz–but that wasn’t going to happen last night. Casey couldn’t have done jazz every performance during the competition either–because the masses wouldn’t like it and either would Iovine.
        So, I think Casey had a lot of fun and committed to his performance with Black. I don’t think it will hurt his musical future. People know what he does. It may even help him in other areas of show biz

      • Ronnie says:

        I agree. I really disliked this performance, but not because of Casey. Its because this was not a musical performance, it was a comedy-variety performance. It was not about the music or singing, making Casey look like he is not a serious artist. Instead it made him look like a parody of an artist, which I don’t think he is.
        Jack Black should be nobody’s musical idol and mentor. Unless you want to be the next Dr. Demento or Weird Al.

        • Liabeth says:

          Here are Haley and Casey being interviewed after the finale. Note–Casey says he was jealous and wishes he could have played bass with Haley and Tony B.

          So, he would have also loved to do some jazz if he could. Not saying he doesn’t love doing the comedy as well.

          • haha says:

            Casey was like “yeah nah baby, you, you, you, she was good with the judges man, those judges I wanted to beat them up and she was she was she was just [laughter]”

          • Owen says:

            God I love Haley and Casey!! And I really, REALLY hate Slezak. Totally unnecessary dig at Casey in his review. Yes we know, ass; Paul: good. Casey: bad. Really? I didn’t like all of Casey’s performances…but, Slezak. Dude. Did you SEE Paul’s performances? Oh, right, he sang a song with the blonde you worship for some reason. The blonde you wanted in the Top 13 instead of Haley. Question: is Slezak’s taste too bad to be critiquing a music show? Yes. Yes it is.

        • Blair says:

          I think I kind of need to say, um “What was everyone expecting when it was announced that Jack Black would be performing with Casey?” I like Casey as a musician too, but anyone familiar with JB knows he’s gonna come with his crazy, over-the-top, comedic style. And I’m sure Casey knew this, and welcomed the chance to be a comic partner to his idol. I see there’s a side to Casey that can be humorous and wildly entertaining. He’s another of the few out of the crop of idol this season that is multi-faceted, and could potentially go in different directions. Of course, yeah, people that look at this performance seriously may miss the point that this was meant to NOT be taken too seriously.

      • Yves says:

        Yeah but the point is it’s NOT CASEY’S FAULT nor his choice to ham it up!!!1 He was given that task and he just did it! I know he loves Jack Black and he was psyched but critique him if he was given Jazzy Esperanza and he decided to growl and make faces… cmmon now?

        • Jennifer says:

          ABSOLUTELY! Like, what was the guy supposed to do? Not enjoy himself? For some reason TPTB decided to love him for his humor over his jazz, and while it’s unfortunate, and while I would have loved to see him show his musical genius one more time, this is what we got. He kind of got screwed in that sense if you ask me, because everybody else got the chance to be taken seriously with their duets. It’s the producers who should be given the “Ugh” grade…Casey had fun with what he was given and it translated to the audience in my opinion.

      • marie says:

        Exactly, chistosa.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      there’s music and there’s entertainment. That was entertainment. People are taking this WAY too seriously, and I’m looking at you, MS. Lighten up!

      • Ronnie says:

        People taking this too seriously… No way :) hehe, I think we could make that a tag line for this place at times. If nothing, this season brought out the passions, good and bad (I wasn’t immune myself). But your right, it’s a reality TV show about singing and needs a bit of perspective at times.

    • EvaneSam says:

      Well if you check the American Idol website there is a Behind the scenes clip with “Who would be your dream duet partner” (or something like that) and Casey said Jack Black. So yeah …he probably didn’t have anything against singing with JB.

      I for one liked it. It was funny, they didn’t take themselves too seriously. I just would have wished to see a Casey/Haley Jazz duet or somethign more in his lane.

      • marie says:

        The sad thing is, for all his inherent musical talent, seems slapstick comedy and silly shenanigans ARE Casey’s chosen lane. Pity.

        • Tusk says:

          EXCEPT, “slapstick comedy and silly shenanigans “, is part of what jibes with Haley’s Cool Jazz Chick vibe.

          He makes her laugh. They aren’t shy about their closeness “as musical friends” ;). That lucky bastage :)

    • Aoife says:

      You know who would have been hilarious for a comedy-up with Casey that could still have let him rock the upright base? William Shatner. He could read out commentary from the judges. “Yo, yo. Yo, dawg. He’s in it. To win it.”

  17. MrsFitzDarcy says:

    All in all a pretty boring final. Love Haley. She is the Renaissance Woman. Lady Gaga and Beyonce show you can sing and dance live. Casey shows his youth in making bad persona-molding choices.

    And why isn’t the Daily Racing Form having you do post-race recaps?

    • Emma says:

      “And why isn’t the Daily Racing Form having you do post-race recaps?”

      Oh my God, that’d be brilliant!

    • marie says:

      I’m pretty sure GaGa’s vocal was pre-recorded: there were times towards the end of the song where she wasn’t even lup-synching but the vocal continued. That wasn’t the only lip-synching on the show; TLC also was pre-recorded while the finalist girls sang live along with them, which was weird.
      Beyonce’s solo song was nothing BUT sung live, and sung with a power that completely blew me away.

  18. Bob says:

    Scotty deserved the win. I only hope they don’t turn him into another bland, contemporary country boy. He’s unique in the way Randy Travis was. Country needs more traditionalists, not cookie cutter bores.

  19. rochelle says:

    I don’t like country music. I have zero interest I’m Scotty and Lauren’s upcoming albums, but I must say that him winning and all the hugs were the cutest things I’ve ever seen. She seemed genuinely happy. He seemed somehow shocked . It was adorable.

    Also this may be the first idol winner that I think probably was number one in votes every week

    • susela says:

      Clay Aiken was also the front-runner throughout the entire competition; hence the suspicion that they somehow mucked up the final count. But yes, I don’t think Scotty was ever number two—he had it in the bag the whole way.

    • beth t says:

      Sometime after Season 4 Nigel admitted that they never announced much about the vote counts because Carrie was so far ahead throughout the competition there basically wasn’t one. (A competition).

    • claudia says:

      I seriously doubt if it was “one device, one vote” that Scotty would have ever been a frontrunner. I was surprised that he survived the top 12 boys round since his treatment of Jaycee & his botching of Hollywood week were still fresh in our minds. But apparently pre-teens don’t care about that.
      As for Lauren, I know a number of people who liked her best & when questioned, none of them gave as their reason her awesome performances. They all said things like she’s so cute or she seems really sweet or she has a really good tone to her voice & they all gave her a pass because of her age. But no one I talked to had bought one itunes or planned to buy her CD.

      • pjp says:

        AI, the television show, is a pageant where America gets to select the winner. THe voters look for a certain degree of talent, but they are drawn in by the story lines and personna that the show chooses to hang around the neck of the contestants. America is manipulated into liking some more than others. That is why some of the best voices and most talented people have not won in the past. This show is not about finding a successful recording artist. That’s the record producers problem. AI just wants viewers- they don’t care about record sales.

    • MamaLis says:

      It was adorable!! I’ve watched it 4x on my DVR & it still brings a tear to my eye!! And unlike Slezak, my interest IS piqued at the thought of a Scotty/Lauren Showmance. Those Christian Country Crooners could have a little Johnny Cash/Loretta Lynn thing going!! HA! Also btw, what up with Scotty’s Mother? I’ve not seen her deviate from a baseline smile and standard level of excitement all season! “The Judges liked your song? Great.” You won? Great.” Even her “hug” was barely two-armed. In fact, beware the hug that comes with a ‘pat.’ I’m just sayin’……. Anyway… kudos to Scotty. He does seem like a very likable kid.

  20. Kate says:

    The more I think about it, the more I like Carrie and Lauren’s duet. If we remember our Idol history, Carrie wasn’t the favorite to win that year. She also was green and had some awkward live-post Idol performances. Then she came out with “Before He Cheats” (and that video!!) and BOOM, she’s Carrie Freakin’ Underwood. Six years later, the girl who was Lauren is now the Idol. No, I don’t think Lauren’s as good as Carrie… yet, or maybe ever. But when Carrie won the season, she wasn’t as good as ‘Carrie’ either.

    And I loved the U2 Performance. Third favorite of the night after the Beyonce melody and the Haley duet!

    • Stacey says:

      Agreed. Everyone though Carrie was boring, had no stage presence and Bo was the one everyone loved. So people were calling foul when she won. Now look where she is.

      I think the Carrie/Lauren would have been sassier but Lauren’s voice was shot, and wasn’t able to keep up with the vocal demands of that song. Which is why she was kept out of the girl’s numbers and wasn’t seen as much singing. She picked singing with Carrie (her idol) over the group numbers…

      We have seen her do well with the sassy numbers before. So if her voice wasn’t so weak; I think it could have been something special. But yeah, she definately needs work on her stage presence. But she’s sixteen. Not everyone can be confident. And if you’re already sick.

      I love that Carrie was gracious enough to slow down and not be shown over power her…

      I am intrigued to see where Lauren takes her career. I think she could be very good with the right songs, and the experience. I am sure the tour will help tremendously. And there is less pressure with being runner up. So while I am sad she didn’t win as a Lauren fan. This could be a good thing for her…

    • JP says:

      I disagree – I thought Carrie had that season the minute she opened her mouth at the audition. And seems to me she was a favorite the entire season — pretty sure she was never in the bottom three.

    • Aaron says:

      I disagree re: Carrie in her season. In my opinion, she was the favorite the whole season…especially with Simon, who had a hard-on for her since the audition…

      …when she sang “Alone” during top 11 week, it pretty much sealed the deal for her and led Simon to say not only would she win, but she would sell more records than any previous idol. I guess Bo gained momentum and gave her a run for her money, but it was all about Carrie that season.

  21. Paloma Pigeon says:

    I wish Pia had been given more to do during the group numbers, her one solo was very rushed. I wish James could have sung ‘Dream On’ with Steven, didn’t Steven promise he’d do this? Why couldn’t everyone have been onstage singing ‘Dream On’ instead of the Spider Man thing? Like you said, it’s just a series of synergy opportunities. Lady Gaga was borderline parody of herself. Beyonce and Marc Anthony were great. Poor Lee Dewyze. All in all, better than last year.

    • susela says:

      I think Steven promised the duet IF James was in the final–that is, one of the final two. I’m glad it didn’t happen and that Steven got his (truncated) moment.

    • chistosa says:

      While I would have liked Pia to perform a solo or duet as well, I believe it is only the top 5 that get to do that. Ergo, James, Lauren, Scotty, Haley and Casey. The others performed in groups.

      • Paloma Pigeon says:

        Yes, you’re right. It just seemed like we heard from Thia, Karen, and Ashton quite a bit in the group numbers and Pia only once. I agree with Slezak that they could have cut a couple of songs in the medley and allowed everyone to take a bit more time with everything.

      • Carol says:

        Yes, but it was actually the top 6 (including Jacob at #5 and Casey at #6). They couldn’t give Pia a solo without giving one to Stefano and Paul as well, who finished ahead of her. I would have liked to have seen each of the top 13 get a solo/duet, but at least they were fair about it and didn’t favor Pia over others who finished ahead of her.

      • marie says:

        James, Lauren, Scotty, Haley, Casey – and Jacob. Top 6.

  22. Louis says:

    I agree Michael. Wonderfully entertaining finale. I too was wondering when Pia would get her duet. After all the hype created with her ouster, would have been nice for the producers to throw us Pia fans a bone (but Randy “The Dog” Jackson undoubtedly would have uttered that said bone was in it to win it.) Loved everything about Haley last night. She didn’t seem the least bit upset to be there… Joyous is a better word. She simply sparkled on the Tony Bennett duet. I wonder what Uncle Nigel thought about one of his SYTYCD graduates Mark grinding and doing other unmentionables with Gaga atop the rock? I don’t believe you’ll see that choreographer on this season’s addition of Nigel’s other show. Watching Scotty after Ryan announced winner was really cool. How nice to see genuine joy on the Idoldome stage. Thanks for another fabulous season of recaps ( and this week’s Idoloonies with the fab Carly Smithson!)

    • pjp says:

      Still laughing about “Randy “The Dog” Jackson would have uttered that said bone was in it to win it.” Witty!!

  23. CAT says:

    Well, after all the conspiracy theories, horrible judging and wrong results, we still ended up with one of the three (Pia, Lauren and Scotty) that everyone picked as the winner from the VERY beginning. So, with all that out of the way, some random thoughts about last night’s finale:
    1. Men’s voice age better than women’s. Gladys Knight made Jacob sound good, whereas Tom Jones, Tony Bennett and even Steven Tyler sounded very much like their old selves.
    2. Why does a show that puts so much stock in being “current” and “relevant” (can’t you just hear Simon’s voice right now?) have the contestants doing duets with people like ….Tom Jones and Tony Bennett.
    3. Scotty has a better voice than Tim McGraw, even though that song was not in Scotty’s “sweet spot”. So much for people thinking that Scotty isn’t good enough to make it in country.
    4. Why didn’t Pia have a duet? I know, I know she didn’t make the Top 5, but they can break their own rules–they do it all the time. Just that little bit we got to hear had me longing for more and sighing for what could have been. Also, where were she and Haley for the TLC number?
    5. Why didn’t Karen and Thia compete like they sang last night? Even allowing for nerves, they could have done much better with more lively song selection. Last night proved they can sing it.

    So, that’s it for another season. By next year I’d like new judges and a new voting system.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I thought the same thing about Karen and Thia – and Naima, for that matter.
      Call me a conspiracy nut, but I honestly think they were all given crap to sing (or encouraged to sing crap ) to get them out of the way! Same with Pia.

    • KV says:

      Tony Bennett sounded okay at 85, but I was embarrassed for Tom Jones…he was a major powerhouse in his day and the boys doing his songs was way more fun than listening to him sing now.

    • Mingyao says:

      5. Why didn’t Karen and Thia compete like they sang last night? Even allowing for nerves, they could have done much better with more lively song selection. Last night proved they can sing it.


      That’s what we were discussing at home, we’ve seen a few videos of Thia on youtube and that girl could sing.. I do not know what happened to her when she got on the AI stage. Had she sung/performed like that she would have definitely made it further.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Conspiracy theory alert (and long – it’s margarita time already) – Ashthon got herself eliminated fair and square, but Kendra Chantelle and/or Lauren Turner should have been put through as wild cards, IMO, but they weren’t because they’d be competition for Lauren Alaina. Who was the girl that was breathtaking on “Speechless”? (but then she tanked on something else). Remember Crying British Girl? funny how she wasn’t ready for Idol but Lauren was. Hmmm……

        Naima sang a lot of jazzy/Ella Fitzgerald stuff prior to the Top 13, and she was so interesting, but then suddenly – bait and switch – she was singing reggae and doing African dances – and I’m sure no one was doing anything to try and dissuade her! If there are enough voters to keep two teenaged country singers in this competition, reggae and African dances probably aren’t a good idea. Bye-bye Naima!
        I think Karen and Thia were given choices of bad songs to sing or encouraged to sing them. Thia sang boring ballad after boring ballad. Karen, after telling Jimmy Iovine she didn’t want to be the girl that sang in Spanish all the time, is given a song where she sings…wait for it, a little Spanish! And it’s boring and pageanty. Both of these ladies had lovely voices and demonstrated they had personality and could move the other night, even on the skyscraper heels. Same for Ashthon. Where was that Ashthon during the competition?

        Then there’s Pia – yea honey, keep singing those ballads so we can get your drop-dead gorgeous *** out of here as well! To top it all off we’ll dress you like you’re trying out for a remake of “I Dream Of Jeannie meets the Ottoman Empire” and we’ll get Phil Spector a weekend pass from prison and give you one of his ancient “wall of sound” numbers to sing. Pia demonstrated she could do simple yet effective choreography on group night with “Grenade”. But Pia left as well. She did have a wonderful voice!

        Honestly, I think Nigel and Company wanted all the women out of the way to make sure there was no competition for Lauren Alaina. The men slowly eliminated themselves due to no assistance from the judges, although IMO Lauren should have left before James, Paul, and Stephano.

        The fact Haley hung in there so long is a miracle. She actually did what a contestant is supposed to do – grow and take risks. The fly in the ointment here I don’t think TPTB saw coming was a huge fan base for Scotty. They probably saw him as safe, boring, and somewhat geeky-looking, and they were sure no one would vote for him. (I think that’s why he was put through over that John Wayne cowboy guy, who the judges said wasn’t ready, LOL).
        The cute girl vote would go to teenaged, non-threatening Lauren Alaina, whom Nigel deemed to be some sort of “Carrie Clarkson” who could sell lots of records on both charts (no, not country AND western – pop and country).

        And it almost worked, by golly!

        • Lily says:

          @Darcy, I think you are right and more than any other reason, the WGWG Scotty S10 result is why there is suddenly serious talk about changing the voting rules. In recent years up until S10, the producers were not supporting a female singer to win in the finale (Syesha Mercado, Allison Iraheta, Crystal Bowersox did not get the fawning treatment and producer push – the producers favored David Archuleta, Danny Gokey, and Lee DeWyze). But now that they’ve actually tried to get a female singer to win and failed (by a landslide), they’re realizing it cannot be done anymore, and that the rules must change to get back control of this money machine from a bunch of autodialing pre-teen girls – especially since those girls don’t buy the albums after their favored boy wins.

    • Eurydice says:

      With Tony, Steven and Tom – none of their voices sound like their old selves, but I don’t think their primary appeal was about them being good singers. Steven was all rock god, Tom was all sexy swinger and Tony’s about smooth style and interpretation. If they can still pull that off, then people think they sound the same. And I think Gladys sounded just fine, not the same, but still an artist.

  24. susela says:

    Slezak, why the snark over Marc Anthony? I’ve always wondered why the heck he and Jennifer were married, and I finally understood after watching them together. Watching him do his thing—he’s a mega superstar in the Latino market—I realized she probably looks up to him as much as he admires her. It was great that, after being the “star” all year and People’s “Most Beautiful,” etc., etc., she came out as a backup dancer for her husband. And that booty shake was pretty impressive.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Marc Anthony has one of the best voices on the planet – hands down! He’s huge in the Latin market and I don’t think a lot of people realize that fact.

    • Ronnie says:

      He gave the performance an A-, and his comment about Jennifer was about her bad judging all season. I agree with Michael that it was great she just danced and didn’t feel the need to interject herself into the song. A little snark towards Jennifer didn’t take away from his overall positive review of their performance.

    • Robin says:

      There is a Behind the Music on VH1 about Jennifer Lopez. I have seen it twice and it is great. It really shows how much love and respect she and Marc have had for each other over the years.

  25. Stepmom says:

    Someone once told me when ending a relationship that apathy is worse than feeling hatred. That describes my feelings of the show last night. I truly did not care and that is so much worse than hating or disliking the final two. I have nothing against them as they are nice young people with talent. But it ends there for me. I only watched to see Pia sing, which obviously didn’t happen. Also, Haley got what seemed to be about a two minute vocal while James, Jacob and Casey went on and on and on. The girls’ medleys were so good and showed that America got it wrong voting most of them out so early. Not to mention that Lady Gaga and J Lo’s booty shake were ridiculous and embarrassing for the younger audiences watching. I feel like it was a very disappointing night and it makes me sad that my 10 years of Idol viewing may be coming to an end :(

  26. Sean D says:

    Fantastic work this season Slezak! So glad I found TV Line; those first few weeks frantically searching through EW for you was a dark time. Looking forward to the Idoloonies finale!

  27. Laurien says:

    “Aguanile” is the name of the song Marc Anthony sang. Great recap as always Slezak.

  28. JVC says:


    I got ask, do you have any theories or post some ways for females to do better in season 11? The show needs to restore faith the female contestants can succeed on the show. I mean if the best singer gets voted off at 9th place, is there any point for female to try out? Still Scotty rightfully won the show. At first i wanted lauren to win, but I never once thought about downloading any of her songs. There might be 1 or 2 i might download, but still her run showed that the age limit should be raised to 18 and 35. Lauren as great of a voice she had, lacked maturity in song choice and appearance. But it has got to suck for Lee or his fans at least to not be invited back to perform. All the other winners from the 8 seasons prior and in Lee’s season were invited to perform in the finale. Oh well.

  29. GS says:

    While I like Sleazak’s writing way better than Annie at ew, the grades for those performances are crazy! Haley was not that great but give her A for all the koolaid drinkers still screaming she was robbed. That second Beyonce song sucked beyond words and you gave it an A+??? I haven’t seen one person say they liked it. And you give Marc Anthony who looks like he escaped from a crack house and can’t sing worth a crap the same grade as Steven freaking Tyler who was awesome and nailed his screaming notes just like he did 20 yrs ago? Of course you diss on Lauren’s and Scotty’s duets b/c they robbed Haley. Sometimes I really have to wonder what motivates these writers and where their ears are when they watch this show.

    • C says:

      The group numbers, where you hear the performers do a couple of lines back to back, with no time inbetween to forget what voices sounded like, REALLY showed that the Haley love was out of control and totally misplaced. Of all the girls, hers was the most harsh and unpleasant tone to listen to, except for (maybe) Naima.

      • Tom K says:

        I take the opposite opinion – people who “stand out” from the crowd are typically the ones that get noticed. American Idol is not usually about finding a choir – it’s about finding new, unique talent. Haley again showcased why she stands out amongst the crowd – some like it, some don’t (different strokes for different folks) – but the most important thing is that everyone NOTICED how different she was. And that’s part of the reason why so many are excited about her.

      • wow says:

        You must be joking! She was the only one who wasn’t an interchangeable whatever. She had the voice that stood out and she used with subtly and nuance, wasn’t just plain flat like the rest. Maybe you need better speakers/headphones.

    • LadyBug979 says:

      Agree with everything you said. Except Marc sang just fine but yes not as good as Steven.

    • Tom K says:

      Michael is just like us – he has people he likes, and those he doesn’t. People who love James, for example, are going to go crazy over most everything he does – good or bad. Same with Haley. Heck, same with any current superstar artist on the market. If you love Christina Aguilera (for example), there probably aren’t going to be too many songs on her CDs that you are going to dislike. It’s all about personal taste – Michael likes Pia. Michael likes Haley. Hence, their grades are always going to shift upwards.

      At the same time, we need to be fair – he graded Haley’s “You Oughta Know” very low – I believe it got the lowest grade on Top 3 night from him. So it’s not just “Hey, it’s Haley – automatic A+!” Michael was actually fair throughout the season – admitting when she was off. It’s only the people who think his blog is a complete Haley Love Fest who refuse to acknowledge that everyone who loves Haley has criticized her too. None of the Top 13 are perfect – but I believe some are much more ready than others. Haley included. Along with Scotty, James, and Pia – they all could sell a single right now. (which doesn’t necessarily mean it is SMART to release a single from them right now)

    • because says:

      He didn’t score their duets as high because they seemed a little out of place like amateur vs. true pro while with Haley it was like she belonged there and was one of the invited guests.

      I also thought Casey outsung Jack Black even if the stained grunts were a bit too much, that one ugly grunt probably shouldn’t get used so much.

    • adamziggied says:

      Just so you know officially, I am one person who thought Beyonce was genius in that song. She can sing! And since I’m on a roll, Marc Anthony was the second best genius! He can sing! I guess my ears, as well as Slezak’s are open.

  30. Kim R says:

    I, for one, really enjoyed Casey & Jack. I thought it was fun. :) I’m glad Scotty won out of the 2 that were left. Still feeling the sting of a mistreated Haley.
    For a show who bleeped out a contestant saying they owned a Schit-zu (sp?) I can’t believe Gaga have fake sex on top of rocks & Beyonce begging for her man to make love to her AND JLo doing some sort of strip tease without the stripping was considered okay. Perhaps I’m being picky but the audience is full of kids….there has to be a line somewhere. :)
    Love the taped pieces…so funny. Muted Spider-man. That’s my 2 cents! :)

    • LadyBug979 says:

      Good point about GaGa, and Beyonce. I had forgotten about the “Schit-zu thing. Not that it should matter it is a family show and that obscene behaviour should not be allowed.

    • Liz says:

      It wouldn’t be Idol without the occasional “That’s probably not family-friendly…” moment. They also wouldn’t let TLC say “broke [arse]” but I believe I heard someone slip that word in during one of the earlier performances.

    • Kevin S says:

      I confess to muting quite a few parts of the finale, but mainly because either the performer (Jacob) or the genre (James/Judas Priest and metal; Jacob and gospel) aren’t my cup of tea. I had Casey and Jack Black turned low because I wasn’t interested a comedy routine (JB singing is definitely not my cup of tea), as well as Beyonce because I got bored very quickly with the song. Overall, I enjoyed the finale though, particularly Randy mocking, James/Casey/Pia “most shocking” bit, even Scotty winning despite the fact that I prefer Lauren’s tone over his more old fashioned type of country sound. I won’t buy his album, but I intend to buy albums from Lauren, Haley and Pia.

  31. maureen says:

    I love you Slezak, but I don’t agree with you on the Casey/Jack Black duet. I thought it was fun. Casey had mentioned a few weeks back how much he liked Jack Black, so it was nice that he got to do that.

    I also loved how the guys got so into their Tom Jones medley. They looked like they were having a blast. And, man, does Tom Jones still sound good!

    I wish they’d put Haley and Tony Bennett in the studio and release their song. I can’t imagine how she felt performing with a true living legend.

  32. Darcy says:

    I agree, it would have been nice to see Pia paired with someone too, and more duets with this years idols or former idols with the ‘big stars’. Was kind of surprised they allowed lady Gaga’s performance on ‘family friendly’ idol, no? Loved Beyonce – she was intense. Loved Haley too. Muted Casey and Jack Black. Overall, it was a thoroughly entertaining show. I didn’t watch Tuesday nights show, too boring, but I watched last night hoping to see Haley perform a new song! wishfull thinking I geuss.

    • Billy says:

      “Muted Casey and Jack Black”.
      Glad to hear I wasn’t the only one that thought that shriekfest was just awful, and not the least bit humorous. (This coming from a fan of both Casey and Jack.)

  33. Tiffany says:

    Had a weird moment when Scotty won. Don’t know why this was even funny, but when the confetti rainshower started, my husband started singing “She’s your Queen” from the movie Coming to America. Just thought I would share that with y’all.

  34. LadyBug979 says:

    It didn’t matter to me which one won. They were both phonomenal singers. Congratulations to both of them. All of the top 13 are great singers. Still love the judges. Hope to see more of this years group. Some are still giving Lauren a hard time on these boards, but I thought she did a good job with Carrie last night. Wish they had let Lee sing. Seemed like a slap in the face to not let him sing and then let him be seen 5th row in the audience. Shame on you AI. But having said that I am hooked on AI and am looking forward to next year.

  35. SpyKi says:

    Haley’s garter! HHHNNNGGG

  36. kpax5 says:

    lady gaga’s performance is the best of the night. orgasmic! i had chills all over. i LOVE her song! and even if beyonce looks so much older now, there’s no doubt she’s still as mesmerizing as ever. flawless!

    • Billy says:

      I hope for the sake of your progeny your comment about Gaga was meant only as a joke.
      If that lip-synced, simulated-sex-on-a-rock, falling-off-the-edge performance was your idea of “best of the night/orgasmic” well…please just stay out of the gene pool.

  37. Genevieve says:

    Re: Scotty and Lauren’s teachers: did this happen while they were back in their hometowns? If so, did Haley invite a teacher too ?( I think it was the top three, no?)… I wonder if this means that the top 2 was already organized…hum…

    • GS says:

      I’m sure they did the same for Haley on her visit but she wasn’t in the final 2 so her pick didn’t get to be there or get a car. But it’s so much more drama for you Haleybots to scream conspiracy theories on the web.

    • Kim says:

      No disrespect, but enough with the conspiracy theories already! Haley invited one of her teachers too. It was filmed during her hometown visit, but not shown on the show.

  38. PB says:

    What??? No mention of the “trophy”?????

  39. EvaneSam says:

    Is it my imagination or does Haley always bring out the best in her duet partners. Ashton never sounded as good as on the Beyonce medley. Then there was Casey (who sounds good anyways but damn that Moanin’ was freakin’ awesome)

    Al in all that Beyonce Medley was freakin awesome and hot…I can’t get over it.

    • GS says:

      So I guess Tony Bennett sucked before he sang with her too, huh since she has so much power to make everyone sound better??? Yes it is just you. Her voice was grating in the group/duet numbers as it is alone.

      • Geez says:

        Jealous much?

      • EvaneSam says:

        Jeeeze, chill out man. Don’t get all Huff’n’Puff on me. Tony Bennett is amazing, I never said he sucked. I meant the contestants. Over the course of the show we had several duets and Haley’s were always great. And there was also the Scotty/Lauren duet but the others were kind of (as the dawg would say) pitchy.

  40. Chris says:

    This is the third recap I’ve seen make a Village People comment about James’ attire. It was an homage to Rob Halford, singer of Judas Priest, who wore that stage attire during the late 70s/early 80s. And yes, Halford is gay, so there’s your Village People connection.

    • GS says:

      Thank you! I guess only true metal heads would know this but I knew as soon as I saw him why he was dressed that way and loved it! And I’m still tripping over Rob Halford being gay. He’s still got his metal presence and voice though and I loved that number!

    • Owen says:

      No, James looked just like a young leather boy I used to do at The Spike in the 90’s…

  41. Joey says:

    Slezak, as an English Major and future English teacher, I just want to take this opportunity to praise your writing. You are a damn fine writer my reality tv lovin friend. Thanks for the quality and creativity.

  42. Carolyn says:

    You alluded to it above but I still think it the height of Ridiculata that the Lyrics to “You Oughta Know” which has been on this season and last must be changed to be logically incoherent and yet this season we have had the following.
    A former Pussycat in a barely there Swan costume, girating and singing, “I Like it Right there, Right there, Right there.”
    Gaga and Mark (I love him) dancing (simulating sex) on a giant rock half naked.
    Katy Perry and Kanye West – nuff said

  43. cibele says:

    Great recap, although I might say I’m surprised with Gaga’s B. I thought it was lame. Loved Haley and Tony Bennett. In my opinion the best performance of the night.

  44. Alex says:

    How American Idol could not even acknowledge that the Big Man, Clarence Clemons was up there with Lady Gaga (they only gave him a second of camera time and never gave him a shout out) was terrible. They’ve been trying to land Springsteen for years and it’ll never happen after the way the treated his bandmate.

  45. MDEP says:

    Slezak recapping SYTYCD? Another reason to look forward to this season :)

    I would have loved to see Scotty and Lauren joing Steven Tyler for Dream On.

    On a side note, I thought Naima sounded great and stood out during the group numbers.

  46. Yo says:

    The women were sensational last night! Thia and Naima in particular. Naima has so much spirit. I enjoyed the Jack Black/Casey number, but thought the former(who I never, until last night, had much use for)outsung Casey. Casey has all the right sensibilities, but not much of a singing voice; I decided he should go into production, he would be excellent. Very good show, thoroughly entertaining, even in a musical house studded with antiques. The show featured an unusually diverse group of contestants, all of whom I pray will progress in their careers. They all deserve to perform. If only Lauren Turner had been there. Sigh.

  47. agrimesy says:

    Hey, Slezak, thanks for getting us through Idol with our sanity! It was a tumultuous season but always entertaining. You have an uncanny ability to turn angst into art that I appreciate whole heartedly. The best thing is, I met a wonderful new artist named Haley Reinhart that I will continue to support for years to come. Every year I consider ditching this show for good, but the truth is I will be back next season, a helpless Idoloonie.
    That being said, I also enjoyed the results finale. The highlights for me were: Haley with Tonny Bennett, Jacob with Gladys Knight, then a tie for third Top 13 girls with Beyonce and Top 13 boys with Tom Jones. (Let me also take a moment to shout out to Stephano for his falsetto Kiss . . . DUDE! just WOW!)

  48. Ward says:

    Two things: 1. I also wanted a Pia duet (and thought it was coming when she wasn’t part of the TLC group)

    2. Scotty won without ever having the pimp spot. Never once. Methinks he was always the runaway favorite in voting.

  49. SajiNoKami says:

    Favorite performance was: the guy’s group medley, they were insanely comfortable on stage, just the whole vibe was positive and well, damn, Stephano, who knew? It really showed how different they all are. None of the guys had remotely similar styles or sounds. Then James, was adorable like usually.
    The two segments: ‘They’re Kids’ and ‘Most shocking’ were quite entertaining and cute.
    Loved James with Judas Priest.. James looked kind of slezy and I liked it. I enjoyed all the duets to a degree, none of them made me want to turn the show off. Funny what Michael says about Scotty wanting the stage alone, other sites think Tim wanted the stage alone. The Carrie and Lauren duet, really pointed out what Lauren was missing: Charisma.
    Randy’s segment, the only thing going through my head: Randy, this is not funny! Can’t you see how worthless you were this season?
    I did like the new gaga song… but really? it is a family show girl, can you be a bit considerate?
    I personally wish that it was a requirement to have contestants in each song, the show really should be about them, not stars pushing junk… at least it was to a minimum this year.
    the opening number, it was a train wreck, but did prove something: s10 loves group songs… they come off so excited every week to do them, especially James.

  50. Barbara says:

    Overall, it was a good season, thought Haley was great and Scotty was good like Lauren. I think the biggest disgrace was not having last year’s winner, Lee DeWyze, who is our favorite, not only did he not sing, because he was not asked, but not to even mention his name, that is pathetic and people know it. Absolutely pathetic, Nigel.