American Idol: What Did You Think of the Season 11 Vegas Round?

American Idol giveth, but it can also snatch away dreams with the brutality of a brickbat-wielding street thug. Tonight’s Vegas rounds — which saw the 70 survivors of Season 11 Hollywood Week putting together group performances of music from the 1950s and early ’60s — drove home that point, while driving several high-profile contestants to the brink of emotional collapse.

Indeed, just after J.Lo, Steven, and Randy finished two days of callbacks — complete with instant thumbs-up or thumbs-down votes on each contestant — they brought back all of the successful singers, gave a collective shrug and a “sowwy,” and sent a few more packing for good measure. It was the equivalent of commuting a man’s prison sentence, bringing him all the way to the penitentiary gate, then hitting him with the maximum taser volt allowed by law and tossing him back in his cell.

The moral of the story: Bad things happen when you think you’re too good to rehearse with the Vocal Coach from Hell (TM) or when you spend your days lounging in a hottub and talking about your laid-back approach to becoming the Kelly Clarkson 11.0.

On the plus side, though, the two-hour Vegas telecast brought us more singers per minute than any episode this season — and not just the same familiar faces. Jessica Sanchez, Season 10 Vegas survivor Deandre Brackensick, and Candice Glover, in particular, were sensational on a cover of Buddy Holly’s “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.” But oops! There go the dreams Candice used to have. There goes her heart getting cut in half. Yep, she was one of the tragic, last-second cuts. Why The Face?

Then again, why do I try to understand the vagaries of a show that denied Kendra Chantelle a Season 10 wild card after her scintillating rendition of “Georgia on My Mind”? Ours is not to reason why. Ours is to speed-dial like giddy tweens once the live shows begin.

Anyhow, I’m gonna get working on a full episode recap that will post Friday morning right here at TVLine. Until then, grab Sole and Mia, and hit the comments with your own thoughts. And for all my Idol news, views, and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Annie says:

    Great show tonight. One of the best ones that I’ve seen in years. I really enjoyed pretty much all of the performances.

    • SallyinChicago says:

      I missed the show but saw the clips and WOW! was this great or what? Nigel knows what he’s doing for sure. Why doubt him? And Peggy Blu — did you guys know she was on Star Search and was a winner?
      Deandre is my new hearthrob although I’m about 50 years old…be still my heart…and that hair! reminds me of Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans :)
      This was a good show. So hard to choose!

  2. Loni says:

    I still can’t get over Kendra! The injustice!

    • yeah says:

      Yeah last year was the year that finally 100% showed the show up for the total fake joke it is. I simply can’t watch anymore, I’m just following here a little or catching a few clips. Nigel, Randy, JLo had to go, or at least two of them.
      The Kendra thing was awful but even more awful was that it was just a harbinger (along with JLos mysterious, haha, so sweet she’s happy for now, comment about Haley at the end Hollywood week) of things to come as we soon saw with the Haley travesty.
      Idol can suddenly this year, barely, if even, beat The Voice in ratings.

  3. Marta says:

    I was really pleased with how many performances and contestants they squeezed into tonight. And I was SO SO glad they unhid Scott Dangerfield from us! I kept seeing his face in thr crowd and tonight we got to hear his soulful voice. (Sorry the same can’t be said for Hallie Cavanaugh. What does a sister gotta do to get some camera time??)

  4. This was a really jam packed show. Jessica Sanchez blew my mind. Where has she come from? Lauren Gray was spectacular, I missed hearing her voice, it’s been awhile since we last heard her. Elise Testone, Aaron Marcellus, Jen Hirsch and Erika Van Pelt killed it. I like them a lot. I don’t get that Eben kid, he is a puzzle to me. Overall this was a really decent episode. Light on the drama, and actually focused on a lot of singing. Crazy that this singing show actually showed us a lot of singing. Doesn’t happen a ton but it happened tonight.

    I think there are some incredibly strong talents, and I think there are some weaker people. Hopefully next week will provide more great singing, rather than useless drama.

    • T says:

      Well on “The Voice” it happens all of time. No unnecessary group crap, no fainting and carrying on, no fake bad auditions, just singing. I used to love “Idol” and am still watching (for now) but to be honest, I just want to hear them sing. That’s it.

      • Josh says:

        But on the voice you have to listen to Adam Levine….Not many people make Randy Jackson look tolerable…

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          OH, holy cow, you get a “Made Me Laugh” :-)
          I thought I was the only person on the planet that couldn’t stand Adam Levine. Thank goodness.

          I’m traveling and won’t be able to watch tonight’s “Idol” until I’m back home, so I appreciate Mr. Sleazak’s column and all the comments.
          Glad to read they finally showed Scott Dangerfield!

          • marie says:

            :( darcy’s evil twin, we must agree to disagree on this one: I feel silly about this, but can’t help it, Adam Levine is my new secret crush – he can’t sing for *@&#!, but he’s SOOOOOOOO cute…(hides)

        • selma says:

          I love Adam

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            He’s a self-indulgent celebrity – I’m a Blake Shelton woman myself. More down to earth.

        • yeah says:

          Not many people do. As in zero people do. Adam Levine is 1000x more tolerable x10000 more tolerable than Randy Jackson, come on man.

      • cathy says:

        I agree. Hate the drama. I get enough drama in my real life. I watch tv to relax and be entertained. Even tonight’s show was not really entertaining.

    • Johnny says:

      Jessica Sanchez looks like she’s 40 years old.
      Haley Johnson was cute, but she didn’t stand out much.

  5. B.Rich says:

    Jen Hirsh continues to kill it every time along with Joshua Ledet.
    Nice to finally hear Deandre and Jessica Sanchez.
    Skyler is better than her brother, they just like keeping the contestants who almost made it the year before.

  6. Anna B says:

    I know, I was SO psyched to see Hollie Cavanaugh make it through. It’s weird at this point that they haven’t even acknowledged her existence, given how much of a storyline she had last season.
    Also, I know some people don’t, but I LOVE Heejun. And I LOVE the Phillip Phillips/Heejun bromance that seems to be happening. They should give those two their own tv show.

    • Erin says:

      Heejun is definitely one of my favorite contestants this year. I would totally watch the ‘Heejun & Phillip Phillips Bromance Hour’

    • Elizabeth says:

      Until further notice, I love Heejun too. He might outstay his welcome but right now he cracks me up.
      I was really surprised that they got rid of Johnny Keyser and Jessica Phillips.

    • Cheryl says:

      My daughter and I scream, “Bromance!” whenever we see the two of them together. LOVE them!!

    • Snsetblaze says:

      I love Heejun’s personality (he cracks me up), but I’m lukewarm on the voice. I’m glad he was classy enough to thank the vocal coach (with the other guys following). I don’t think many contestants ever do that. They should.
      Anyone want to bet that they put him in the chair with cowboy jerk for the last men’s spot? Cowboy jerk was pretty awful this round (though his partner was actually pretty good) that I was suprised he went through.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        I’m glad to read someone else is lukewarm on Heejun’s voice. I thought something was wrong with me.

        • marie says:

          I hear what you mean – he’s not awful, but there’s something whiny / too vibrato-y (ugh, horrible word, sorry!) in his voice that makes me say “Almost” instead of an unqualified “Yes!”.

  7. Anna B says:

    Also, what a shocker that they got rid of Johnny Keyser! Was really expecting him to make it through.

    • Auds says:

      Johnny & Phillip were my picks to make top 10 from auditions. So sad to see Johnny go. I also now like the guy they compared to Casey (minus his “mommy” meltdown), but I don’t remember him from auditions. The country girl, Skylar?, was pretty great too. Mostly, this season has been boring & no real stand out talent at all.

    • JOsh says:

      Did they show his performance?

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Shocked to read they got rid of Johnny Keyser. Wow.

      • Sarah says:

        They didn’t even have the decency to show his performance…and after they invested so much camera time and promo on him all season…so as to get us attached to him? He had one of the top voices and top faces this year. The Judges loved him. This is really poor television. I wonder if there is something we don’t know about? Or producer manipulation?

        • Tusk says:

          If you think about it, many of the overconfident contestants got nailed. They showed Johnny chilling in the pool and laughing that the other’s were stressing (practicing) while they were chilling.
          Gabi got cut eventually after ‘complaining’ that she was the one that had to hold up the rest of the group…that’s what she was embarrassed about when she left.
          The group with that Brittney look-alike, they boasted about how they didn’t want to waste the coaches or the band’s time. They didn’t need to practice because they were professional entertainers. The one with the injured boy friend was so full of herself and left the competition in the worst way. 2/3 of that group made it.

          • Tusk says:

            correction I meant to say 2/3 of that group DIDN’T make it.

          • yeah says:

            Maybe that was Miss Spears. Her name is Britney. She looks like Britney. If it looks a Britney Spears and is named like a Britney Spears, maybe it’s a Britney Spears hah.

    • ohreli says:

      Something weird must have happened with Johnny….it doesnt make sense that he was so good and then cut without even a clue as to why….i bet we are going to hear more about what happened soon….

  8. Brandy says:

    Awesome show tonight. Nigel knows what he’s doing. A few of my favorites were cut, but wow–there are some great contestants this year. This season could be really interesting.

    • anon says:

      So you’re the “second” person who had to point out “Nigel knows what he’s doing”. Hmmmm…..looks like one of the “Idol” production assistants is on blog comment duty. And if he REALLY knew what he was doing, the top 24 wouldn’t have been leaked 3 weeks ago!

    • yeah says:

      If you knew what you were doing your ratings wouldn’t have crashed for last year’s finale compared to what they should have been and you wouldn’t be only barely, if even, beating The Voice.

  9. marie says:

    Probably the best episode yet. Lots of talent on display. A breath of fresh air for Idol. More like that, please!

  10. Auds says:

    The cowboy dude NEEDS TO GO! And for them to keep cowboy over Johnny was just an injustice. I thought the show basically sucked, considering they just let everyone through until they realized the effed up & then cut everyone after. STUPIIIID….

    • Anna B says:

      Totally agreed on cowboy dude Richie. They should have cut him, no question. I think they are hoping he might be a Scotty 2.0, but he’s not.

      • Otto says:

        I actually don’t think they’re hoping for Scotty 2.0, and they’ll probably cut Richie to avoid it. Not that Richie would win, because he doesn’t have a tenth of Scotty’s likeability, but I don’t think they’ll put him through to the live rounds because he’ll just come off as a Scotty wannabe.
        I was really disappointed to see Johnny go. I actually never saw him sing poorly, so that was a very confusing decision.

        • Templar says:

          Huh! I’ve seen 3 references to Richie being like Scotty on blogs, but I don’t see that at all. He reminds me, much more, of Clay Aiken. Scotty is all grits & greens, down home and Bible-thumping. Clay is a bit more sophisticated, aware and calculating. I don’t believe Richie has as big a voice as Clay’s, but if he’s willing to put himself into the coaches’ and stylists’ hands, he could go farther than you’d expect.

          • Riley says:

            Really, Templar? A teenaged Southern boy with a twang who sings with a deeper-than-expected country voice doesn’t remind you of Scotty McCreery? And DOES remind you of Clay Aiken?

          • JJ says:

            @Riley When did Colorado become part of the south? I get the more like Clay than Scotty thing though.

          • Stacy says:

            @JJ- ever since a map showed its existence just over New Mexico.
            Riley never specified southeast. The two singers are extremely similar.

          • Parson says:

            @Stacy Wrong answer. Colorado is no farther south than Kansas or Missouri, neither of which is considered a southern state. They are mid-western states. Colorado is considered a western state as are Utah and Nevada.

    • Kevin C. says:

      Going into tonight I would’ve been happy to see the cowboy gone for good, but his performance with Jermaine was just too good. I think eliminating him after that would have been an even bigger injustice.
      I’m curious to see Johnny’s group performance from Vegas, which I guess is the one with the broken link on the Idol site. For all we know it was so much of a train wreck that it explains everything.

    • Sookie says:

      I agree that the should have kept Johhny and dumped Mcbootscoot. Although I loved Jermaine and the harmonies were good, I thought the cowboy’s voice was just weird. Anyway I love Jermaine!

      • yeah says:

        Oh dear, I saw some clips. I think Nigel has pre-picked this dude to win just like last year. Sound crazy and insane to think he wins it all? Well what did people say about Baby Lock Them Doors last year during Hollywood week?

  11. Josh says:

    Honestly I wasn’t feeling Heejun tonight for the longest time. I just thought he was faking into the camera…that he was playing and joking around…but then he sang and then cried and it was like “Yup, this guy is awesome”, haha. I really like Phillip Phillips too. I think he finally showed some diversity tonight, though I wish we could have heard more…But he at least showed he wasn’t just Dave Mathews. The part he sang fit the song well and sounded terrific, Also he could survive without his guitar and he kept the spazz hands/legs to a minimum.. So go team Heejun/Phillip, haha. Though my final judgment on both will be how they do Wednesday.
    As for girls…Jen is great, though I’m confused with all the long haired blondes. The only one who stands out to me is Haley/Hallie/Holly(not sure what her name is haha). She kind of looks like Kim Basinger and sounds fantastic.
    As for the girls

  12. RushmoreJimmy says:

    I think they are setting the cowboy up for a final heartbreaking cut, he’s not likeable at all like Scotty. Not too sad about Johhny Keyser..a little too full of himself, can’t believe he kept singing after the girl fainted. Could this be the year some black male’s contend for the title?? I saw about 3 or 4 that could make a run at it.

    • anon says:

      Yes! The cowboy guy is a USDA grade douche.

    • ohreli says:

      Oh please, everyone get off the “Johnny kept singing” crap. Every body was dizzy and fainting and spaced out…you think he was thinking clearly?…so he sang a couple of more notes…Besides, what was strange about a fainting girl in Hollywood? They were dropping left and right, and everyone knew it wasnt a big deal…if it was supposed to be a big deal, would you know it from the judge’s reactions?????

  13. Kevin C. says:

    I don’t suppose it’s possible for the judges to advance Colton Dixon but send his hair home?

  14. Joseph says:

    I think it comes down to a few basics ,
    If you can not learn 1 new song and sing it well in one day with the AI a staff helping you then you should not be on the show.
    PLUS . understand some basic rules,
    Say thank you and listen to the vocal coaches and the AI staff.
    If you have any attitude then be ready to go home because you will not get the needed votes from the judges or the audience.
    Show up and be ready to work 7 long days until the end of the year.
    Divas are not going to win or anyone that talks smack about others.

  15. Joseph says:

    BTW , just listened to Jermaine Jones & Ritchie Law , they sounded really great , just needing someone to sit Ritchie down and teach him the about the gift one gets when they are humble

  16. Cheryl says:

    Is that Alex Freaking Wong in the audience?? Is he a contestant this year?

  17. Richard says:

    11 minutes left on tonight’s show here. I would like to say that I feel this year overall talent is really lacking.I don’t see any real standouts other than, maybe 6 decent possibilities. it was cruel how they made the final cuts tonight

  18. Ty says:

    @ Slezak HATING on Johnny Keyser’s hot tub lounging…
    so the hell what !!!
    I can tell this must get under your skin, you must have had someone do less work and get promoted ahead of you, but sometimes people happen to be better even if they do less, its not fair it just is. Reed Grimm can work a thousand days longer than Johnny and that will not make him a better singer, same goes for Phillips.
    What kind of embittered attitude gets all pissy over the amount of effort put in vs the result. Get over it, at the end of the day, the results matter, and Johnny sounded better than alot of people that went through.

    • Trinket100 says:

      About Johnny Keyser by the pool. His group practiced in the pool, short snippet shown of them singing and snapping their fingers, and the vocal coaches were busy with day 1 groups, the second day groups had a day to relax before they had to perform and a couple of hours by the pool does not mean they did’t practice at all in that 24 hour period. I can’t believe how judgmental some of you people get and you have so few facts about what really happened. I hope none of you are ever on a jury. I would expect that many of day 1 performers relaxed by the pool while the last 10 groups saw the coaches and performed on day 2. and also Johnny made it past the performance and was cut in the final cut after all were called back.

  19. Twila says:

    I didn’t see it and was very confused to see them send him packing. Anyone else see it?

  20. Carrie says:

    Great episode! Nigel knows what he’s doing.

  21. lynn says:

    awesome show tonight! two hours went by so fast! can’t wait to read Slezak’s recap tomorrow.

  22. Alex says:

    Am I the only who hates Reed Grimm? He makes my skin crawl! Everything he does, and that stupid fake smile all the time makes me want to throw up. I don’t even think he’s that talented. He’s so cocky I can’t even begin to take him seriously.

  23. Ilo says:

    Would somebody please explain (credibly) why they cut the super vocally talented Johnny Keyser so abruptly and with no fanfare after they spent so much time showing his lovely face (and tonight, body!) on camera this season?

    • ohreli says:

      This is one of the hottest questions right now…someone should start a “WHAT HAPPENED TO JOHNNY?” website!!

    • Templar says:

      There’s a rumor that he got signed to a label and per his contract couldn’t continue. And his video from Vegas has been pulled. I don’t know if any of that is true, but I’ve seen it on a couple of sites.

  24. Grace says:

    I think we are in for a great season! Great show tonight! Loved Jessica Sanchez-that girl is one to watch.

  25. James says:

    Man I am so pissed that Colton’s sister went home…not only was she hot as hell…but damn that girl could sing! What a bunch of BS! Ah well If Colton makes it he’s got my vote every week!

    • Kevin C. says:

      I was actually surprised the judges initially advanced Schyler on the first day in Vegas — her solo felt out of breath and just off in general, and the rest of the group’s performance wasn’t particularly memorable.

  26. Ahmed says:

    Finally, an episode that reminds me of why I love this show. I’ve been following Jessica Sanchez on Youtube for quite some time and that girl can saaang. And YAY for Scott Dangerfield and Hollie Cavanaugh making a comeback! I really hope they feature their solos next week. Add to that some of Jen Hirsch and Erika Van Pelt, and this season will be miles better than the last one. Even the judges were on tonight, giving really precise and constructive criticism. Randy spoke in whole sentences for crying out loud!! Can anyone who lives in hell tell us what the weather is like down there? Is it feeling unusually nippy?

  27. Brielle Von Hitler says:

    Reed Grimm and Adam are complete attention-whores. I hate them. Brielle’s bitch face is one to watch. As usual, she was the centerpiece of that group number. The Amanda Seyfried-lookalike – Cari Quoyeser, shoudln’t have been eliminated. She sounded good to me. Ashley Robles pops up for a second just to get eliminated.

  28. darcy's evil twin says:

    Oh, man! They finally showed Ashley Robles and she got eliminated? I really enjoyed her audition.

  29. Jaime says:

    Noooooo, Aubree Dieckmeyer. I was so sad to see you go.

  30. David says:

    I thought they were going to show more contestants this year… Then why do I feel like they are focusing on the same contestants each episode. And what is going on with Hollie Cavanaugh. I liked her a lot last year and have seen her face a couple times, but have we ever actually heard her sing this season?

  31. Steve says:

    More to come on Johnny Keyer’s demise…gurantee it. No reviewer has even brought up the fact he was not shown performing his final performance in spite of the attention he got up to that point! Something’s rotten in Denmark!!!! Maybe he didn’t tell the truth on his application re: prior professional experience, commitments???

  32. Keisha says:

    I’ve slept with Johnny Keyser. He’s pretty good although a little self-centered.

  33. SluttyGurl says:

    I wanna sleep with Heejun, Johnny and Phillip!!!

  34. scrutinizer says:

    does anyone know if ashlee “joy hop” altise made it through? i know they sent her to hollywood week but they never showed her singing or getting cut. i really liked her.

  35. Louie says:

    I have a new favorite… and her name is Jessica Sanchez.
    Thank the Idol gods that they found a filipina girl with some real vocal chops (sorry Thia, Ramielle, Jasmine and Camille)

    • Aisha says:

      The only problem with that is the population tends to vote en masse regardless of how the person sings, so it becomes an ethnic competition rather than a vocal one.

  36. Lemonthec H. says:

    I had a physical response to the Reed, Elise, Haley, Eben number where my stomach started turning. Can you imagine what Simon would have said about this hot mess?