American Idol Recap: Smells Like (Thir)teen Spirit

creighton fraker idolIf there was a doctor in the house during Tuesday night’s American Idol telecast, he or she really should’ve rushed the stage at the 1:22 marker and called the official time of death for criticism. That was seconds after J.Lo, Randy, and Steven used words like “beautiful,” “mad cool” and “good job” to describe a performance that found “adorable” Eben Franckewitz wreaking havoc on Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” like a baby doing its worst to a diaper.

The message from the judges was loud and clear: Go ahead and do your worst. Sing as carelessly as Ashlee Simpson with her mic switched off and a backing track blaring through the speakers. Bite the head off a small woodland creature, if that’s how the spirit moves you! We’ll respond to it all in the same bland, encouraging playgroundspeak reserved for a toddler who puts his toys back in the cabinet. “Very good boy-oyyyy!”

But not to worry, Idoloonies: What the judges lacked in constructive criticism and insightful commentary, they made up for with an extended discussion of J.Lo’s Oscar-night nip-slip. Because (tee hee hee) 30 seconds of boob humor makes up for 120 minutes of half-truths, evasions, and new-age gibberish from a trio of multi-millionaires.

Okay, okay, enough of my kvetching! Because it wasn’t all bad news for the first live show of Idol‘s 11th season. Of the 13 guys who performed a number of their own choosing, only one or two were nails-in-a-blender, teeth-clenching disasters. The song choices were current and quirky — and didn’t include “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now).” And by my unscientific calculations, there was approximately an 80 percent strike on the night for hitting the correct notes.

So let’s break down our 13 performances — the judges added Jermaine Jones to the standard Top 12 lineup in what was referred to as a “dramatic” twist — with an eye on which five are most likely to advance to the finals during Thursday’s results-show telecast. (For the record, the top five vote-getters from the men’s and women’s pools will advance directly to the finals, with the judges filling out the remaining spots with their Wild Card selections. And just so you know, I’m generally going to avoid quoting the judges in this recap, since you can get a recap of their comments by filling up a balloon with hot air, and then letting it splutter and flail around the room before landing in a pile of dust behind your couch.)

Reed Grimm, Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger”
Things that really did not need to happen in the very first live performance of Season 11: A lounge-lizard arrangement of “Moves Like Jagger.” A bleeped profanity. Reed’s hips set to “continuous gyration” mode (how ghastly!) while singing lyrics like “take me by the tongue” (insert gagging noise here). Reed doing his “heh-heh, I’m a cool cat” giggle mid-performance in favor of actually singing on pitch. Randy trying to make the term “Season One-One” happen, right before using his only jazz reference (Casey Abrams) and only drum-player reference (Sheila E) in the same sentence. If I end up going to Hell for all the cruel barbs I’ve written during my eight seasons of recapping Idol, this is the video Satan will be playing when he greets me at the fiery gates.

Adam Brock, Aretha Franklin’s “Think”
You can’t really say affable Adam didn’t hit every note of this rollicking R&B ditty, or that he didn’t make a wise choice in selecting a song typically covered by female artists. It’s just that the performance was utterly utilitarian, like a perfectly okay sandwich you scarf down at your desk on a busy workday, and of which you’ll have no recollection a week or two later. By this time next season, you might have some brief rememberance that there was a bearded guy who had a Pittsburgh Steelers towel hanging out of his back pocket. Or that someone other than Matt Giraud and Kris Allen brought the term “white chocolate” to the Idol stage, resulting in a car-crash of double entendres that exploded in Randy Jackson likening himself to milk chocolate.

Aaron Marcellus, The Jackson Five’s “Never Can Say Goodbye”
Aaron had scored far less screen time this season than most of the Top 13 guys, and you could almost feel the resulting desperation in his rendition of “Never Can Say Goodbye,” in which he buried his big, powerful voice with unneccessary vibrato and a final note that was as shrill as George Costanza’s mother on Seinfeld. “That’s how you sing some vocals!” shouted Randy. Another day, another affront to the English language.

Jeremy Rosado, Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity”
Jeremy has one of those quiet personalities that tend to get overlooked early in the Idol season when there are still 25 contestants cluttering the stage and the average TV viewer knows no more five or six of their names. Maybe that’s why producers gave him the pre-performance sit-down with Ryan, who discussed his status as the “spirit stick” of the group. Either way, I thought Jeremy’s emotive, stripped-down take on “Gravity” was among the two or three best vocals of the night. I loved how he put a modern R&B stamp on the ballad while respecting the melody enough not to muck it up with unneccessary runs and tics. I chuckled when Ryan asked producers to show a screengrab of J.Lo and Steven’s faces “melting” during the performance, but truth be told, I suspect I had the same “into it” expression on my face as Jeremy brought the song to a delicate conclusion. If he gets cut on Thursday, I can’t promise I won’t be yapping about the injustice well into Season 13. (Side note: Did anyone else notice the letters “ooki” on Jeremy’s t-shirt peeking out from under his jacket? Twitter follower @joetranch wondered if he was paying homage to Snooki! Let’s hope not!)

Creighton Fraker, Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors”
Admittedly, I’ve spent the bulk of Season 11 railing against the way Creighton covers songs like an Olympic shot-putter, complete with pulled faces and unpleasant grunting and physical strain. But with “True Colors,” the guy proved he’s capable of restraint. Sitting on a stool with a rainbow backdrop that was yet another example of Idol producers giving us an exact visual representation of a song’s lyrics (uff da), Creighton stuck to the melody on the opening verse before ripping into the final chorus with an appealing growl, unique phrasing and intriguing riffs. He’s actually really talented. It’s just a shame nobody in the styling department addressed the guy’s hairdo, which looks like the result of a three-way scuffle among a mullet, a Mohawk, and a mangy terrier. That alone will probably keep him from the Top 10, as will the fact that the judges managed to spend half of their positive critique raising the prospect of Creighton getting the boot.

Eben Franckewitz, Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain”
Add this to Jennifer Lopez’s Book of Gargantuan Lies (probably due from Hyperion Books in summer 2012, because J.Lo needs more bling in her life): “You’re a great performer, you’re aware of what you’re doing, and you can really do this. So congratulations. It was a good job.” Now let’s translate that comment into truth: “You were visibly terrified, you had no idea what you were singing about, and a judge should issue a restraining order keeping you at least 500 yards from Adele’s music. I am so sorry, Eben. That was as unfortunate as your violet jacket is ill-fitting.” But wait! I hear something terrible in the wind: “OMG! HE IS SO ADORBS! MOMMY WE HAVE TO VOTE FOR HIM!” To which I say, “Remember when America eliminated Jennifer Hudson before John Stevens back in Season 3?” Those who do not learn their Idol history are doomed to repeat it!

Chase Likens, Hunter Hayes’ “Storm Warning”
Sure, his vocal was as average as a bowl of instant oatmeal, and he struggles with pitch when he has to hold a note for more than two seconds. But hey, he looks like Brendan Fraser in The Mummy (thanks, Steven!), and he’s a “good-looking dude” (thanks, Randy) and he has “movie star good looks” (thanks, J.Lo!). That counts for a lot, apparently. Plus, Chase is the only country singer on the men’s side, so he won’t have to worry about any dreaded vote-splitting among his core fan base. So really, who cares that there are at least 10 guys who deserve one of the five “stools of safety” more than Chase does? Apparently not our highly paid and esteemed panel of “judges.” (It feels really good to put quotes around that word, by the bye.)

Phillip Phillips, Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”
Hey, hey! I know this game, Randy! Pick one of the night’s strongest performances, and then make it the only one you actually criticize! Yes, folks, it’s gonna be a looooong season. Which isn’t to say that Randy didn’t have a point about Phillip taking so many liberties with the melody of “In the Air Tonight” that it occasionally bordered on jarring. But on the flip side, at least the guy attempted to do something interesting with the arrangement, and he sang the bejeezus out of it. In fact, I’d say Phillip brought the menace behind the lyrics to life in a way that Phil Collins’ original never quite did (for me, anyway), even if the sax-heavy arrangement bordered on “late-night Cinemax, lovers in the surf” territory. No, don’t go back and re-read that last sentence, or this whole paragraph, because it probably doesn’t make sense. And in any event, Phillip is a mortal lock for one of the five men’s slots that will be filled by the public.

Joshua Ledet, Jennifer Hudson’s “You Pulled Me Through”
I kind of love that Joshua is known in some parts as “Mantasia,” because in a lot of ways, he reminds me of the polarizing Season 3 champ. Where some folks hear overwrought ridiculata, I hear a voice that has so much strength and texture, that draws from such a deep well of emotion, that I just can’t fault it. Even when it devolves into a gutteral howl or a melismatic seizure, I’m nodding my head and letting out a whoop of appreciation, because Joshua brings the excess where it’s appropriate, and not in a studied “look what I can do with my voice!” kind of way. He does it because he has no other choice. To love Joshua’s performance of “You Pulled Me Through” is to feel it to the tips of your fingers, clench said fingers into a fist, and (here’s where I agree with J.Lo) literally want to punch the guy in the face out of pure joy. Bonus points for the Dalton Warblers-esque blazer. America had better do the right thing here.

Heejun Han, Robbie Williams’ “Angels”
Everything about Heejun is entertaining, right down to his life goal of making people realize Asian folks can do more than get high SAT scores. Heck, even his mom is fun to watch. And that’s why I can’t be mad at people who want to see Heejun on their TV screens for the next three months. But I also can’t pretend that Heejun’s rendition of “Angels” didn’t expose him as a limited vocalist. The guy clipped his lines like your aged aunt clips coupons. He struggled to conjure up the vocal horsepower necessary for the big notes. He looked slightly overwhelmed by the vastness of the Idol stage. It wasn’t terrible — not by any stretch of the imagination — but I do wonder if Heejun’s personality will seem so endearing if, week in and week out, he steamrolls past contestants who actually deserve a shot at being the next Kelly Clarkson.

Jermaine Jones, Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father”
Like Heejun, Jermaine gave a decent rendition of a treacly Luther Vandross ballad, but there was an unevenness to the performance, and a decided lack of charisma, that I know deep down will change my “awww…what a sweet guy” to “get him the frak off my screen and bring back Elise!” in about three weeks’ time. Of course, by making Jermaine the recipient of the “last minute, dramatic” No. 13 berth, and by bringing out his adorable mom to tug away at our heartstrings, Uncle Nigel has practically guaranteed Jermaine a place in the finals, where he otherwise would’ve been no more than a semifinals footnote. To which I ask, “Is the ‘Gentle Giant’ character really and truly a necessary component of Season 11?” Personally, I’d take Jeremy or Creighton or Colton or Deandre over Jermaine 100 times out of 100. Which leads me to…

Deandre Brackensick, Earth Wind and Fire’s “Reasons”
Even though the judges failed to acknowledge it, there was a tremulousness to the opening half of Deandre’s performance that led to more than a few bum notes, and what’s more, his limbs and hair flailed around like a wind puppet in front of an auto dealership. But oh boy that big powerful chest voice toward the end of the song reminded me why I can’t abandon the Deandre bandwagon just yet. Is it possible that the soft-spoken teenager was just starting to get comfortable on the live Idol stage when his ho-hum song choice reached its climax? If that’s the case, it would be a shame if we didn’t get the chance to find out.

Colton Dixon, Paramore’s “Decode”
I’m going to be completely honest: I really didn’t understand Colton’s dreary, hook-free song choice. (Hey, J.Lo, it feels good to be honest! Try it sometime!) But there’s no denying the guy has a powerful, pleasing singing voice, and that he has a definite vision of how he wants to use it. Plus, he’s pretty handy at the keyboards, and he has magnificent/ridiculous hair that deserves its own Vevo channel. If America gives Colton’s Top 10 slot to Heejun or Jermaine, I fully expect our “judges” will remedy the situation and send him through via Wild Card.

And now, for my final verdict on the night:

Joshua, Jeremy, Phillip, Creighton, and either Deandre or Colton

Joshua, Phillip, Heejun, Jermaine, and (because life is pain) Eben

Your turn. Post your reviews in the comments, tell us which singers got your votes, and take our poll below!

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. Andrew says:

    My predictions would be Phil, Joshua, Jermaine, Colton, Heejun. And WC will be Reed/Jeremy.

    • sandi says:

      Reed is almost unbearable to watch. He reminded me of a dog peeing on a fire hydrant. Please, pleae, please don’t let him through.

    • just saying says:

      And Jeremy butchered one of my fave songs. Granted, I had the flu, so maybe i missed something. But i did NOT like his rendition. it’s a hard song to sing, it needs specific runs and octave grabs that i did not feel he nailed AT ALL. i like the kid, but if we’re just talking about how they performed last night? I wouldn’t pick him.

      • Nat says:

        Yeah, I’m so surprised Slezak liked him because he was actually my worst after Eben. I thought he was really out of tune and hit plenty of bum notes. Plus that song was boring when John Park sang it in semi-finals 2 years ago, and it’s still boring.

  2. Karen says:

    “And just so you know, I’m generally going to avoid quoting the judges in this recap, since you can get a recap of their comments by filling up a balloon with hot air, and then letting it splutter and flail around the room before landing in a pile of dust behind your couch.”
    Baha! You’d think they were grandmas watching their grandkid in a school play or something. Oh Simon, Simon, I miss thee . . .

    • Karen says:

      BTW, my faves were Phillip and Jeremy . . .

    • loaf says:

      I agree. I didn’t truly miss Simon until now. There needs to be someone who can tell them the truth. And I am realy sick of the nicey, nicey stuff. This is a competition, not a play date.

      • Michael says:

        Simon wasn’t really telling them truths. Simon often criticized the contestants merely for the sake of criticism. His critiques were geared towards the business end of music, not the technical aspects. While I thought that Jimmy Levine was wrong on a few occasions tonight, his is the type of critique that I enjoy. It was, at times, biting but infinitely more informed than most of what Simon ever had to say.

    • Leila says:

      Nigel on twitter is all mad at people who are criticizing the judges. He’s saying the voters don’t need the judges’ help to pick their favorites. Fair enough, but that doesn’t mean the judges aren’t influencing the viewers in one way or another.

  3. Ghost of Kelly Clarkson says:

    OMG! Some of those performances last night (Eben, Deandre, Reed) were absolutely painful to watch and listen to. Michael, given the voting demographics, I have no doubt that Eben will make it into Kevin Covais territory and will wind up in the top 8 this season.

  4. BG says:

    Crap… Well I guess that it was bound to happen sooner or later. Sleeze and I finally agree on something (Phil Phillips), and that the judges are being ridiculously too nice. Simon needs to end X-Factor and come back to Idol (and replace Steven Tyler, who is about as useless as a solar powered flashlight)…

    • TheBeach says:

      So glad someone else finds Steven Tyler absolutely useless as a judge and borders on embarrassing himself and the viewers. His only contribution is originating “Beautiful” as a drinking game.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Combine that with a drinking game every time Jennifer says “baby”, and Randy says “in it to win it” and we’ll all be meeting one another in person at AA meetings soon!

        • Louie says:

          If you change Randy’s to every time he says “C’mon!” with his hands up, you’ll pass out before the first commercial break.
          And it’s just sad when Steven goes last… it’s so obvious he’s only parroting what Jennifer and Randy have already said

    • M Girl says:

      @BG & TheBeach—I agree.
      @Nigel—dump Grandpa Tyler.
      @Simon—dump the X (unwatchable!!) and return to where you belong,,,on Idol.

  5. Q says:

    Josh Ledet and Deandre Brackensick are the best males.

  6. Renda says:

    Lest we not forget that Nigel tweeted today that all wild card spots could go to one gender and with the much stronger crop of ladies we have this yaer it’s entirely possible. Although women don’t tend to fare to well on Idol so who knows.

    • Ben says:

      Actually, I was thinking all to the men. It’s interesting how much division there is about this though. I think 8 guys/5 girls would be a reasonalbe split this season, but if the girls get more than 6 I fear we are in for a repeat of last year where the first 5 boots are girls.

      • Renda says:

        I could see that, but there’s strength in numbers. I just don’t think there are 8 deserving guys to be in the top 13 but from what I’ve seen from the women so far, they are all really talented.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Or season 9, the “Season of the Women”. Wasn’t Crystal Bowersox the only one left standing in pretty short order?

        • Ben says:

          Who proclaimed it the season of the women? Certainly not me. Katie Stevens was third placed of the women, and I think that pretty much said it all. I agree with that as much as I agree with people that think this is a season for the women.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            That was kind of my point, Ben. When they got down to the Top 12 or 13 (whatever it was that year) I seem to recall a lot of people thought the women were stronger than the men in Season 9. The first thing that went wrong was Paige Miles lost her voice, and it all went downhill from there – the women dropped like flies. When they all came back and did group numbers for the season finale the women were pretty darned good, though.

          • Ben says:

            Hey, I remember that, that was fun! But yeah, I mean last year I actually liked Ashthon, Karen, Thia and Naima a lot too. But I can’t say they didn’t deserve to be the first 4 out. I feel the same way about this bunch of girls. I like a lot of them, but it lacks depth. For me, the best that could happen for the girls is that we see the end of Baylie, Hallie and Haley before the top 12. But really, I can’t see anyone but Jen & Jess being deserving of top 6.

  7. Jerry says:

    Not gonna lie, I voted for Heejun. I know this is a singing competition but I absolutely love his attitude.

    • chistosa says:

      Actually it is far more than a singing competition. It is a competition to find an “idol”. If you look at top selling artists today, most of them are not great vocalists. It is the entire package. Bieber, Swift, Rihanna to name a few. But people can’t buy enough of their songs and flock to their concerts. Not for the voice, for the experience. Many technically perfect, pitch perfect vocalists cannot accomplish that. That is why the Pia Toscanos of the world get voted out and the Heejuns stay in the race. Who entertains you the most? So I’m with you. I prefer to see Heejun remain for awhile.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        On the other hand, look who walked away with all the awards at the Grammys – Adele, an amazing vocalist. Bruno Mars also has mad talent, as does Lady Gaga. It is kind of nice to have contestants that can actually sing. In the right key. 95% of the time. AND exhibit some stage presence.

        • TheBeach says:

          This +10. It’s so great, and so rare these days, to listen to artists like you mentioned above that don’t require the use of auto-tune (and yes, I’m looking at you J-Lo).

    • Joseph says:

      Heejun , just needs to be a lot more careful with his song choices.
      Taking on a moment defining song from a prior season like Angels was in my opinion a mistake.

      • M Girl says:

        @Joseph—you are so right about “Angels.” That is Little David’s song. Heck, Archie’s version is the ringtone on my cell phone.

      • just saying says:

        Ha! that’s funny. i couldn’t remember ever hearing the song. i thought it was bad song choice just bc i thought it was a bad cheesy song with no apparent melody or hook. and it’s your ring tone! one man’s crap is another man’s treasure, n’est-ce pas?

  8. Mike from CA` says:

    After last night, it’s clear to me that any interest in hearing actual critiques from the judges should be set aside if you are going to stick with Idol. Apparently, everyone is the best singer in the world and the best they have ever heard. Who told Nigel that America only wants happy dances and baseless praises from the judges? What happened to actual critiques and constructive criticism that the contestants could use to develop? I’m not going to go on one of those “I’m never watching again” rants, but it’s no wonder why Idol is shedding viewers. Watching Idol had turned into an often frustrating experience, and a big portion of that has to do with the pointless existence of this judging panel.

  9. Alan says:

    I have a teenage sister and middle aged mother and neither would ever dream of voting for the atrociousness that was Eben’s “Set Fire To The Rain”… At least I hope they wouldn’t because then I’d have to disown them for all eternity!… But seriously, if America voted for THAT performance I will have lost all faith in this show and its audience.

  10. Brigette says:

    I actually think Heejun has an amazing voice and DOES belong in the top 10, but he just needs to work on NOT singing with an accent. I would be surprised if America did not vote in Deandre, and I would be shocked if they DO vote in Chase. Even though he’s the only country boy, he’s pretty bland and this is really the first we’ve seen him. I thought his performance was an embarrassment compared to everybody else. And Eben…oh, Eben…why are you here?

    • cpod says:

      “I actually think Heejun has an amazing voice and DOES belong in the top 10, but he just needs to work on NOT singing with an accent.”
      Nice backhanded racist compliment.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Oh, stop with the racism crap already. A lot of the people on these boards have been overloaded with PC nonsense and seem to think every other comment is racist, homophobic, Eurocentric, xenophobic, or some other ridiculous adjective when someone writes something that is FACT. That was a perfectly acceptable comment about Heejun. Adele sounds like a Cockney truck driver with a third-grade education when she speaks but when she sings, she sings beautifully. Does that mean I hate the English? Not hardly.

  11. bjp says:

    hey slezak, what about randy saying towards the end of the show that we just saw some of the best singers in the WORLD! it’s a joke. nice recap

  12. Leila says:

    Colton and Phillip will sail through. Not my cup of tea though. I think Deandre and Jeremy will be back as wildcards.

    • TheBeach says:

      I think Colton and Deandre are both better than their song choices showed last night. Colton’s song was pretty tuneless and Deandre, who has a lovely chest voice, needs to flaunt his falsetto much more sparingly.

  13. Princess Adora says:

    I just really need to point out how amazing Angels by Robbie Williams is. Even though Heejun didn’t sing it very well, I was extremely happy to hear it on American television (Archie did an amazing job of it in season 7 btw). That song did not get enough love over here when it was released in the ’90s.

    • TheBeach says:

      Here,here! I was afraid when Ryan introduced the song that is was going to be that Angel song that they use behind photos of poor, abused animals. I’ve always like Robbie Williams’ Angels.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        that’s “In the Arms of an Angel” by Sarah McLachlan, a song that should be banned from any singing competition. Ick.

        • jj says:

          I agree. I actually loved that song when it first came out and love Sarah MacLachlan, but it’s one of those songs that has been overused to the point where it has died… at least for a generation. I get that she loves animals, but what a horrible subliminal visual link to a beautiful song. I hate Robbie Williams’ Angels, btw. Well, I’ve never heard him sing it, but I hated Hee Jun’s version last night (not his singing, the actual SONG). And apparently found David A’s version forgettable last year, so… Blech. But I didn’t like The Notebook either. There’s schmaltz and then theres… SCHMALTZ.

    • Angela says:

      I love that song, too, always have. It’s so beautiful. Heejun’s version wasn’t bad, really-certainly nowhere near the level of horrid that Jessica Simpson’s cover was-but it is a song that does lend itself to a bigger voice. The right kind of vocalist has to pull it off, I think.
      Heejun sure was one of the better performers of the night, though, as was Phillip-his “In The Air Tonight” is one of very few memorable moments from the show for me. I agree with the overall feeling that many of these guys were just blech. And the judges, YES. For the love of god, we need a Simon Cowell moment, PLEASE.

  14. Candice Glover says:

    Maybe Heejun clips the end of his phrases because of his accent? I notice that’s how he speaks as well. I didn’t like ANY of the song choices, but both Phillip and Joshua performed well. Deandre and Colton are both undeserving of Top 12 finalist slots, but will go through due to hype from last year and this year.

    • T says:

      Well Candice…you should REALLY be on the show instead of reading about it :) I said the same thing about Hee-Jun. English isn’t his first language and I think he tries really hard to sing without it but he can’t help himself so he covers it up with the phrasing when he sings. I think he’ll get better with the coaching and practice. I love, love, LOVE him. True, he’s no Usher but I still think he has a great voice and his personality is adorbs!! He sings to mentally challenged kids for goodness sake!! He’s a total sweetheart.

  15. Owen says:

    What show are you watching, Slezak? You–YOURSELF–reported that Nigel told YOU that the judges were NEVER going to give much negative feedback. Whether its because they do not want to harm their shiny image or because they are contractually forced to parrot Nigel’s narrative(which I don’t completely believe) Nigel told one MICHAEL SLEZAK he will let Jimmy Ivovine do the heavy lifting when it comes to honest critiques. You were TOLD THIS! Jeeze. Why complain and complain and complain about it? Watch and recap a different show.

    • Gorm says:

      Good point. I forgot about this too. Its just a symptom of having high hopes for an honest competition with solid and technical juding, advancement based on iTunes sales not meaning less votes and a cast made up of the deserving not demographics. So much potential, always wasted to appeal to simpletons. Warwick, Fuller, Lythgoe, Iovene and both Frot and Coutaz need to get abducted by aliens.

    • Joy says:

      Personally, I wouldn’t mind the uniformly positive critiques if only they were *substantive* positive critiques — I’m not saying the discussion has to get all hyper-technical or anything, but there really is a lot of musical knowledge on that panel, so put it to use and spend the time explaining in layman’s terms *what* stood out about this performance. Tell us what’s distinctive about this particular singer’s talents, what was new/interesting in their interpretation of the song, how they’ve upped their game since previous performances… That kind of analysis would actually help me get more out of what I’m seeing. But when 90% of the feedback is generic “Beautiful, you’re a star!” stuff that I could sit here on my couch and say, there’s just no value added.

      • Sookie says:

        I like your point Joy. I would like to hear that sort of critique. Not mean or insulting, helpful.

      • My Alter Ego says:

        While, in general, I agree that the “judges” should be “judges,” I can also see a rationale in not being “critical” for the first two nights of the live shows. They’ve spent a lot of time whittling down all of the auditioners down to 24 (25, in this case) — they’re a “little” invested in the choices they made.
        Who, of those choices, makes it through this next brutal cut is out of their hands, so it’s to their benefit to “spin” their remarks (they’re not critiques; they’re remarks)in a positive way.
        Poor Creighton Fraker (mind you — I’m not a big fan of this guy)! But his rendition of “True Colors” was (unexpectedly) really nice — not OTT, as we’ve grown used to with him. And Jennifer says (among other things) “I don’t want you to go home.” What message does that really send?
        Right now, the contestants don’t need critiques — they need the judges affirmations. Once the selection made by the voters is announced, THEN the judges should critique performances.

    • David says:

      Then why bother to have judges at all?? They should just put Grandma Steven in a rocking chair and give him a shawl. At least then it might be a bit more believable when he rambles “that was BEAUTIFUL” to every contestant!

    • kab says:

      Yes, it is a good point that Slezak had fair warning, but it is still extremely frustrating! Just go and watch one episode of the Sing Off to see amazing, professional judges who are tough, but constructive, and only improve their own image in the process…

    • SallyinChicago says:

      They shouldn’t have celebrity judges — esp. if they don’t want to criticize fellow musicians. They should have critics from the RollingStones magazine as judges.

    • Carol says:

      Please don’t be mean to Michael. If you don’t like his recap go read someone else’s.

  16. Mik says:

    My five favorite performances of the night came from:
    Phillip Phillips, Jeremy Rosado, Colton Dixon, Joshua Ledet and I-can’t-believe-I’m-saying-this Creighton Fraker.
    – Phillip has long been a favorite of mine. The only reason why I’m not fully invested in him yet, is because Nigel likes him too. Only complaint: He needs to stop moving away from the microphone every time he checks his guitar. He did that on his final performance before final judgement last week too.
    – Jeremy Rosado was really good. I actually think he has a decent shot at making the top 13.
    – Maybe it was the song, but I got goosebumps when Creighton Fraker sang True Colors. I’m still not sold yet. It is still the only good performance I have heard from him all season.
    – Colton is the only male contestant who did some kind of rock. I appreciate that. The 5% blond is probably gonna get a lot of votes from Team Teenagegirls, now that Eben didn’t deliver.
    – Joshua Ledet was reaally good. He’s gonna go far.

  17. poisnivy says:

    Oh Michael.. I must admit, there have been times in the past where I kinda wanted to punch you, but I can’t deny that your critiques don’t have me rolling on the floor with laughter. I agree so whole-heartily with your thoughts on Eben.. he is the last one in the world who should be allowed to sing Adele, and for the “judges” to praise all the fodder that was last night.. sigh, I’m glad I can use my dvr to skip the drivel.

  18. Gail says:

    They better save Deandre if it comes to that!

  19. Marsaili says:

    If Eben makes it through I’m never watching Idol again!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Not really. I just think it’s hilarious when people say stuff like that!
    I agree with Michael, I don’t think the night was a terrible as some of you would have us believe—I enjoyed it well enough—the only performances that I really didn’t like were Eben and Chase. And it wasn’t because Chase wasn’t good—I just love that song and he was so boring singing it–even if he does have great stage presence and charisma.
    Eben, well, I just kinda blanked out after a while—I am a new Adele fan and I am still learning her music–but I REALLY didn’t like how he sounded singing her song. Bless him, he does have a nice voice, if you are into soprano choir boys singing hymns. I don’t think he should have been put through this year—he’s not ready, he needs to finish going through puberty.
    My picks for the night—Colton, Phil, Joshua, Deandre, and Creighton. Yes, I am aware that it won’t turn out that way.

  20. karenb says:

    Slezak, I was having the worst day ever-until you posted the link to the REAL White Chocolate! all is well now. Thank you.

  21. Owen says:

    And what is this bull about Reed Grimm not “singing on pitch”? I just went back to look and listen and again: bull-expletive. There was nothing “lounge singer” about Reed’s performance; “lounge singer” implies cynicism. And there is not an ounce of it in Reed Grimm. He’s a spaz, yes. But it comes from joy. The joy of performing, The joy of singing. The joy of music. Its a little weird. But that kind of body-possessing joy embarrasses people. So I’m not at all surprised Reed is not a popular contestant. But he is a talent. As much as anyone on that stage last night.

    • I’m on the Reed Grimm train, too, as is my husband, who’s studying jazz piano. The guy is a jazz musician, not a lounge singer, and I really enjoy him–though I’m sure he won’t make it through.
      I also really like Creighton and I thought Joshua was spectacular. I am not yet on on the Phil train, but I’m waiting at the station.

      • Ben says:

        Why are you sure Marilyn? Because of TVLine? I know tons of people for whom Reed was their favourite of the night, and I’ve seen him in the top 5 of many non-TVLine polls. Plus, I kinda think he is a strong shot at a wild card if he doesn’t get voted in.

    • syb says:

      I thought Reed was the best of the night, and it’s rare when that’s my opinion of the first singer to take the stage. He’s quirky and I’m not crazy about his schtick when he isn’t singing, but so far I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve heard him do musically. I think it’s his personality that bugs Slezak.

  22. Gorm says:

    Fantastic recap. Good to hear some vitriol and snark again! Poor David Leathers junior, getting passed up for the most obvious boat anchor of a contestant ever.
    Heejun needs a ton of work but could really grow into a strong contestant quickly. He’s self aware enough and has a solid foundation for self improvement. I just think he’ll get plowed under by the clumsy hands of Iovene and his Rock Mafia/other dingus in “wacky” clothing/hamroll with “wild” hair, team of producers and song stifelers.
    Also, its time to face facts that the Idol judges arent judges anymore. They are status elevator, blandishment bearers, window dressing and appeal-brodeners. They have probably been asked not to judge except when told to by Unkie Nige. Its the only way I can explain away the annual and repeated failings of the entire panel. Ellen, Steven, That Lopez Woman have all been given their marching orders to avoid turning off the viewer with icky-icky-negativty. There isnt much genunine criticism out there in the real world. Grades are inflated, movie reviews are bought and sold, performance reviews are hamburger-style. The former-judges job is now just to breakup the singing segments and keep the whole thing inoffensive to as many ears as possible.

    • dgman says:

      “They are status elevator, blandishment bearers, window dressing and appeal-brodeners.” Spelling aside, this is by far the best quote of the week regarding AI:one:one…yeah still can’t make that happen RJ…

  23. Templar says:

    It was a rough night, but here are my impressions: Reed Grimm = don’t let this creep anywhere near the children. A. Brock = Danny Gokey part deux, Deandre = bound to get the teen girls vote, Colton = white bread & mayonnaise, J. Rosado = great voice, but not Idol material, Aaron M. = nothing special there, Chase L. = will get country + girl vote for a while meh, Creighton F. = see ya, PP = hated what he did to that song, but he’ll be around a while on looks, Eben = a mess, Heejun H. = no, just no, Joshua = one of the best, Jermaine = great vocals, not an Idol.

    • Owen says:

      “Reed Grimm = don’t let this creep anywhere near the children.”
      Really? Really? You people are awful.

      • Gorm says:

        He puts out an affected and irresponsible vibe, like someone forgot to take their maternal vitamins. There is something “wrong” with him that many, many, many people can feel is off. Its a natural long evolved biological function to spot the sick animals in the herd. Dont get mad at us of Reed Grimm and his manic behaviour crazy eyes ping that instinct.
        He is an unsettling person that wouldnt be allowed near my family either.

    • Paramour says:

      Shame on you Templar…but shame on me for laughing.
      Hope to see perform again:
      Hope to never see again:

  24. MSD says:

    For once, I really really hope the girly teen vote sends Deandre through (either that or the judges save)- But it pains me to even think it’s Eben they send through over Deandre. While not his best showing last night, Deandre’s talent and potential for being a great finalist is lightyears beyond Eben. I promised myself I wouldn’t get attached to a talented teen after Robbie Rosen last year– but it looks like Deandre might go the way of ‘ole Aladdin thus leaving me all kinds of bitter and disapointed….

    • Paramour says:

      Why did Aaron Brock say he had a “big black woman” in him? Why did she have to be big? I will leave it at that.

    • chistosa says:

      I am not absolutely sure that teen girls will go for Eben. Most of the teens I teach are huge Adele fans and that song was barely recognizable. And there are other nice looking contestants to lavish with their power texting. He may be going. Even though DialIdol has him in first place with their DialIdol score, they have him near last in the raw numbers which last season were more reliable.

      • Ben says:

        I haven’t met anyone, in any demographic, who claims they are voting for eben. It seems to me that the teen “I don’t care what people sound like” vote is heading for HeeJun, Colton, Phil and DeAndre.

  25. Michele says:

    I love your recaps. You always say what I was thinking during the performances.

  26. The Truth says:

    The contestants and the voting masses need judges, not cheerleaders.

    • Ben says:

      The contestants need judges behind the scenes, not one sentence criticisms live that barely scratch the surface. The idea that judgements live on the night have any use to the singers at all is way off. Add to that, the voting public really don’t need to be guided. Want proof of that? Simon would have guided them towards Tiah Tolliver. I’m so glad we are beyond the stage where we have someone telling us to vote for people that should be going home because he finds them saleable. The reality is, as much as people love to slam the judges here, the show is better of for them not giving any major criticisms, and would be improved even more by longer performances that cut out ‘judges’ critiques altogether. They should be there more as occasional commentators – their job is to pick the top 24, the rest is our job.

  27. Joe says:

    Heejun is pretty awful as a singer but because he’s sarcastic and deadpan that means he’s in. Woo hoo!
    Eben is Satan. You know it to be true. That means he’s in.
    Chase is a dreamy County fried Frankenstein. That definitely means he’s in. Yee haw?
    The rest of the guys might as well pack it up because those 3 “characters” will go further in the competition than any of the other men.
    You think they won’t? Have you been to this dance before?
    And the award for the night goes to Phil Phil for his Dave Matthews impression. I honestly think Dave knocked up a groupie on tour many years ago and Phil’s Mom is gonna have some ‘splainin’ to do to Mr. Phil down at the pawn shop. Nigel, if you read this please have a DNA test episode to prove Phil’s lineage.
    I’m hoping the gentle giant who was born to sing Old Man River freaks out tonight and tries to eat Seacrest on stage.
    Josh Ledet is probably the best male vocalist since Lambert on the show. That means if he gets through he’s destined to be a “shock boot”. I can already see poor Eben crying through a grin as Josh watches his clip package.
    Reed “I’m a manny” Grimm actually thinks he’s awesome sauce. If there was a man born for cruise ships and amusement park singing, it’s Reed. He reminds me of the at that time in the closet kid at my school who played, tap danced and sang Boogie Woogie Bugle on his trumpet while his Mom squealed in the front row. When it was all over she yelled at the audience for not clapping loud enough. Shudder.
    I don’t even know what to say about Deandre. He’s falsetto wallpaper.
    Anyone else think Nigel showed the Gokey look alike’s house, which was a very nice house, as a way to turn voters against him? Who will vote for a guy living in a nice house who trained as a chef at Le Cordon Bleu? He got neutered in his clip package from any votes.
    The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. Well he does exist and his name is Eben Frankasomething.

    • jj says:

      Thank you!!! I said the exact same thing about Philip!!! He’s been impersonating Dave since day one. Random dave growl in the middle of song? Check. Crazy early Dave foot twisty gyrationswhile playing guitar? Check. Which reminds me, I need to find out when DMB tix go on sale for this summer… So thanks Philip Phillips, for that. :D

  28. lukien says:

    I’m bit worried about P2 … overly
    pimped contestants never actually won:
    Gokey, Lamebert, Alaina.
    Coz I really want him to win, his growl
    is growing on me. And after seeing
    the entire show 3 times (here in Asia
    it keeps on repeating on StarWorld) …
    the only memorable GOOD performance
    is his. Joshua is good, but I can’t
    remember a note or a tune of what he’s
    singing. Remember H2 well because of
    his well-known song (in Asia, I guess
    Robbie Williams wasn’t big in US).
    Reed is awful, Chase is ok and Eben …
    is disappointing, expected more from him.
    Creighton … surprised that he’s
    not over the top but still not crazy
    about him. Can’t see what people see
    in Colton tho … Jermaine is ok I guess
    Can’t fault a gentle giant altho
    Johnny would make P2 run for his money …
    Btw … why nobody picks up P2’s sincerity
    in saying that he ain’t a fame-whore
    Like a certain runner-up from past season
    But he wants to be known making
    Sweet music … And Jer-bear is
    good also I guess, but good enough???

  29. David M. says:

    re: Jeremys t-shirt beneath his jacket – it actually read BROOKLYN because thats where he grew up. I know because his cousins are my friends here in NYC. #TeamJeremy

  30. Chuck says:

    I’m not as concerned as Michael is about Eben making it through. Seriously, who could have liked that?
    I didn’t think Colton was very good, but he knows how to play the game. Mark my words, he’s still going to be there in late May.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I agree, Chuck. I’m giving the teenybopper vote to Deandre. And Colton has definitely figured out how to play this game. good comment.

    • MSD says:

      I agree that Colton knows how to play the game. The best Idol game players are the ones who channeled said knowledge into carefully crafted moves and choices (i.e David Cook, Adam Lambert). On the flip side, there is also a breed of game player who plays with an overt, unabashed, throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks type of strategy. (dare I say, James Durbin).
      Time will tell where on the spectrum of game play Mr. Dixon falls.

    • TheBeach says:

      Uh, I sure hope you’re right about Eben and that unmentioned predictive website is dead wrong (wouldn’t be the first time) because they have Eben at #1 with over 44% of the votes…Yikes !

  31. darcy's evil twin says:

    LOL Mr. Slezak! First, I’m glad to know they bleeped out a bad word during The Grimm Reeper’s performance. I thought it was my satellite feed. Two snaps and a twist for this comment, “If I end up going to Hell for all the cruel barbs I’ve written during my eight seasons of recapping Idol, this is the video Satan will be playing when he greets me at the fiery gates”. I’m not so sure Satan didn’t have something to do with that performance.

  32. John says:

    For me, it was Jeremy, Phillip, Joshua, Creighton (although he doesn’t stand a chance) and then maybe Deandre or Colton. Honestly, I’m not getting the Colton praise, but maybe he’s more marketable than some of the others that outsang him last night. Love Heejun, but that was kind of painful. Highlight of the night for me was Jeremy, who is right up there with Phillip in the song interpretation department.

    • Devond says:

      Creighton might actually have a chance. He’s been featured every round and gave a decent performance. I thought there was no chance of Haley making it through after her awkard “fallin” but somehow she made it through. She wasn’t even pimped that much. Ya never know

  33. Jos says:

    This is my third idol recap I read(I’m at work and bored!)…There is a reason I save the best for last. Insightful and funny, my favorite part of Idol is Michael’s recaps haha.

  34. Vetle says:

    Graaaades please?

  35. Tom22 says:

    I’ve got a sweet spot for low voices. I like spiritual bluesy music. I’m with the guy on a personal level.. I want him to suceed from his sense of humor (sometimes eclipsed by nervousness).
    I can’t stomach listening to Him… my ears ache, I hit the fast forward button, I come back and try to listen again.. grit my fingers and do it.
    My problem is that the overtones in his voice.. natural harmonics or timbre or what ever you call it, are jarringly out of key . His lead in pitches to melody notes have no playfulness with the chord progressions, and are oftne plain wrong as if he were tuning into a note rather than making a chosen approach it it….ugh.. I can’t stand it and, like i started, I love a good barritone in a gospel show or something.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I agree. Jermaine Jones is completely lost on me as well and I’m older than dirt – he has a nice voice but there’s nothing about him that says “current radio” and I can not figure out why they brought him back. I swear I still keep expecting him to bust out with “Old Man River”. He belongs in a group. This is just bizarre. Does he have compromising pictures of the show’s producers with farm animals or something?

      • TheBeach says:

        Hey Darcy, wanna make a bet that if Jermaine actually lasts that long that he will indeed sing “Old Man River”?

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Made Me Laugh. :-)
          this “save” is one of the most perplexing moves ever on Idol.

          • Ben says:

            I think it was made because the judges were worried about the emotional impact their rejection had on Jermaine. But I also do think he deserved a shot.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            But out of all the thousands of kids in all the gin joints in the world that have said, “This means so much to me”, “This means EVERYTHING to me”, “I’ve waited my whole life for this”, “I have nothing to go back to”, “This will change my life”, “This will change EVERYTHING”, “I am doing this so my (pick one of the following) spouse/grandma/mother/baby/dog/parakeet will have a better life”, “I want this so bad” (Mrs. Grammar Person would like to reming them it’s “I want this so BADLY” – adverb), why Jermaine? If anyone deserved another chance out of pity it was that homeless kid that dropped out of high school and his mom had walked out on them.

          • Ben says:

            I actually think his voice deserves the shot too. But I think he was on the edge of being selected anyway, and they felt he had really taken the rejection hard. It’s just my guess at the human side of why the deicison was made – I don’t think it was a stunt like x factor (although pretending there were 4 options probably was).

      • My Alter Ego says:

        D.E.T. it’s rare but this is one of those times that I must respectfully disagree with you (although not completely). Jermaine doesn’t have a (merely) nice voice, he’s got a gorgeous, rich, resonant voice. But you are correct — it’s not a “current radio” voice. His voice has operatic/musical theatre qualities which means, of course, he won’t stay long on Idol.
        Personally, I would LOVE to hear the guy sing “Old Man River” and I like neither the musical that it came from, nor the song itself (overkill!!).
        One of the things that we typically hear contestants say when speaking of their Idol experience is that it is a platform for them to be heard. Maybe through this second chance for Jermaine, he will garner enough exposure that his name will come up for the kinds of musical opportunities that his voice is so richly suited for.

    • Carol says:

      In all seriousness Tom, why don’t you try to send him a tweet? It seems like you have some great insights, which when combined with his natural talent, could produce something really beautiful.

  36. Sookie says:

    I couldn’t watch Xfactor because the judges just sniped at each other but this love fest is much worse. It’s just another example of the “everyone gets a participation trophy” society we have become.

  37. Louie says:

    Most eyeroll-worthy “critique”? <— correct usage of quotations
    When Randy said they've never had a bass voice on the show before… umm, someone just won last season

    • Louie says:

      And while I’m riding the Randy-hate train (season-pass y’all), it was so embarrassing the way he inserted himself in every conversation between any of the other judges and/or Ryan. Really pathetic how desperately he wants to be noticed

    • Ben says:

      Scotty was able to sing low, but he really wasn’t a bass voice. The closest we have had to Jermaine is Anwar Robinson, but frankly even he was just a baritone. Jermaine truly is a bass.

    • nodak says:

      I came on this site, expecting to see a comment on this statement by the “milk chocolate” dog, Randy Jackson. Boy, he has a short memory. I wouldn’t call Scotty McCreary a tenor!

      • Ben says:

        Most people are not really a tenor or a bass, but fit comfortably as some kind of baritone. Is anyone really trying to claim we have had a voice like Jermaine’s before? Or are they just taking another shot at Randy with word semantics because thats the cool thing to do…

  38. MikeGC says:

    Joshua Ledet got up there and screamed his lungs out for 90 seconds. THIS is singing? For those of us who suffered through Jacob Lusk’s ridiculous, over-the-top wailing trying to out-do Patti LaBelle last season, the thought of enduring another season of hyena-worthy screeching is too much to bear. Being able to shatter glass does not an Idol make, folks.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Shattering glass – like the old Memorex commercials. Now THAT would be entertaining, LOL.

    • Louie says:

      I just don’t get all the love for Joshua and Jeremy… Can they sing? Definitely! But with one I’m always expecting a church choir to pop out, and with the other I’m expecting animated woodland creatures to wander in

  39. Pat says:

    Aaron was a lot better than you’re giving him credit for.

    • Ben says:

      Absolutely. So was Reed. And so is the voting for ‘who was best’ for Aaron and Reed on every other site I looked at. I’d swap Creighton and Jeremy with Aaron and Reed. But the rest is pretty good. The 5 will be HeeJun, Phil, Joshua, Colton & probably Jermaine. I think Deandre, Reed & Aaron are the guys worthy of a wild card shot, if my top 5 were correct (I’d happily have Reed or Aaron in the top 5 ahead of Colton or Jermaine.)

      • Ben says: (a site which I find to be more reliable than any other in predicting results) is currently saying the top 6 most popular are Phil, Josh, Colton, HeeJun, Reed & Aaron. Following that comes Creighton, Deandre, Adam, Jeremy, Chase and Eben. It’s worth noting that the poll, although beginning only from the end of the show, was set up before it and thus does not include Jermaine. I kinda feel happy about that given my above comment, and hope that it does reflect America’s voting on the night.

        • syb says:

          Gotta say I’d be surprised if Chase did that poorly. Good looking guy sings country music. I didn’t think he was very good myself, but I’d assume him to be a shoo in for this round.

          • Ben says:

            I think a lot of the bland country singers that get in, get by more on charsima, than their looks. Chase seems to lack personality and charisma completely. That may account for why? If Chase or Eben get in, I’d be sad, as they were both clearly a cut below the other 11. But look around the internet, and you’ll find that most polls have them both hovering at or near he bottom.

  40. bill says:

    Creighton … is it possible there was reverse psychology going on with the judges during their comments to Creighton? Meaning, constantly infusing that “people are going home” would encourage viewers to remember to vote for him.

    • Sookie says:

      Not to mention the extremely odd comment by Randy about people overlooking his backstory. I actually did a google search to see if there was some sort of scandal. The only thing that turned up was a very nice article in the New York Post about how he found his birth parents.

      • Spider3tattoo says:

        I kind of had the feeling that Creighton was telling us he was gay in that back-story. He said he ‘didn’t fit in’ in the midwest and moved to NYC where he could be ‘different’. Which might explain Randy saying what he said, implying an out gay person would fail? i.e. rumors etc about why Lambert didn’t win. /shrug I think it’s silly, but that’s what I got from that. His back-story, his words, his song choice all pinged my gaydar.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Old person here – I’m a bit surprised anyone cares about people on singing shows being gay. I sure don’t. It seems like Clay Aiken came out of the closet and everyone yawned. I’m not sure why it would really matter.

          • Spider3tattoo says:

            I’m of the same opinion Darcy…but apparently not everyone is as open-minded as they should be in this day and age. I’m on the other side of 50 myself. I think it should be about who would be the best choice regardless of who meets them in their bedroom.

  41. Haley's Comet says:

    I usually agree with Michael, but this time I must take issue with all this love for P2. It seems like a lot of people loved that performance, but I didn’t get it at all… I thought he was flat at the start, and that he surprisingly found a way to make the song both unrecognizable and irritating. It does not help that he tends to look constipated when he sings.
    Beyond Joshua I don’t have anyone yet that I really like on the guys’ side. I am open to liking a bunch of them. And I like Heejun’s personality a lot.
    Did anyone notice that when they panned the Top 12 women standing in the audience that it looked like a Vanderbilt University sorority mixer? Wither diversity, AI?

  42. Davey says:

    I hope Creighton makes it. They need a different type on this show and his voice is good. Randy seemed surprised when he said he could sing. At least Jennifer and Steven were nice. But why did they put him through if they thought he would be eliminated?

  43. down(ton) under fan says:

    @ Eben: take some notes on covering Adele’s “Set fire to the rain”

    Class dismissed….

  44. Cho Chang says:

    I’m not sure if you’re underrating Colton or overrating Creighton. Otherwise, spot on as always.

  45. Bonnie A says:

    “which looks like the result of a three-way scuffle among a mullet, a Mohawk, and a mangy terrier”
    That made me laugh out loud! You described it perfectly! What a way with words you have, Michael

  46. Stefania says:

    My prediction for the top ten is:
    1. Phillip
    2. Joshua
    3. Colton
    4. Heejun
    5. Eben
    With a wildcard pick of Deandre.

  47. ceebee says:

    Phillips IS talented…but I can’t stand to watch him do his Dave Matthews impersonation….and….he reminds me of a Flamingo since he kept raising his leg off the ground so often…..between the Flamingo…and the Hairography of Deandre — the AI choreographer is going to have their Work cut out for them…..

    • Joe says:

      The leg raise thing is also lifted from the Dave Matthews bag o’tricks. Everything he does with his face, voice and body is 100% Dave Matthews. For a Dave fan like myself that’s seen him probably 50-60 times live since the early 90’s it’s downright creepy. He reminds me of the douchey guys in the parking lot before DMB shows with their acoustic guitars trying to pick up girls pretending they are Dave.

  48. Davey says:

    I guess Eben will be this year’s Tim or Sanjaya. Ugh. Awful.

  49. SallyinChicago says:

    So far only 2-3 of the guys impress me. PP, Deandre and surprising AARON. They have potential.

  50. darcy' evil twin says:

    This is how I think the public will vote: Phillip Phillips, Joshua Ledet, Colton Davis, Chase Likens (I may be wrong but Country is big), and I’m going to go with Deandre over Evan for the teenybopper vote. For the wild card choice it will probably be The Grimm Reeper, as the judges will keep him in for the entertainment value, but it should be Jeremy or Creighton. I see Jeremy Rosado as the Robbie Rosen of this season.

    • Renda says:

      Totally! Also Robbie did gravity last season too…weird

    • MSD says:

      I’m still not over Robbie Rosen. He would have benefited SO much from the old semi-final format of 3 weeks— that talented kid didn’t get a fair shake. I fear for similar reasons, Deandre will be this year’s Robbie.

      • Lo says:

        AGREED!! Robbie absolutely should have made it last year. The 3 week semis showcased growth from people who made really weak first impressions (anyone remember David Cook’s “Happy Together”? Didn’t think so), and the people who are absolute trainwrecks and have no shot at winning usually get sent home anyway. Now, where they send half the contestants home in one week, it almost solely depends on who has gotten the most screen time so far.