American Idol Top 10 Results Recap: Nobody Wins From This Misery

erika van pelt brunetteShed no tears for the 10th-place finisher on Season 11 of American Idol. (Well, unless you feel sorry for said contestant having had to endure the up-close sight of Randy Jackson’s sequined creepyface/Golliwogg/Tubby Toast pin during Wednesday’s performance show.)

But in all seriousness, this season, it seems there’s a little less sting following in the footsteps of such Idol footnotes as Julia Demato, Jessica Sierra, Lisa Tucker, Chris Sligh, and Chikezie — at least when you consider how incredibly deep and evenly matched this season’s Top 10 truly is.

What’s more, the evicted singer got one helluva consoliation prize: A spectacular live performance by Season 10’s shiningest star Haley Reinhart, debuting her jazzy fantastic new single “Free.” That birdcage! That slinky red dress! Those slinky red vocals! Honestly, if “Free” isn’t a hit, there should be some kind of Congressional act shutting down every pop radio station from Hawaii to the northern tip of Maine. (“No Earworm Left Behind!”)

Hang on one second. I need a second. Just a second to compose myself, take a few deep breaths, and convince myself that I’m not actually apopletic about tonight’s deeply annoying results, which ended with the ouster of a mature, subtle vocalist who — with a little more confidence and a little less unnecessary foolery from the judges — coulda been a top 5 contendah. Ugh. Let’s talk about some of the non-results aspects of the telecast before we get to the elimination:

* Kudos to the Top 10 for not going the lipsynching route on “For the Longest Time” — perfect choice for the group number! — and actually sounding pretty good in the process.

* Randy should never, ever try to be funny. That’s what he was trying to do with his “Steven and I chose that outfit for her” comment about J.Lo’s “super pink” dress, right?

* Some interersting notes from Jimmy Iovine this week. He’s right that Skylar needs to get creative and show growth if she wants to win this thing. (Which is exactly why she shouldn’t have taken the one country hit written by Billy Joel this week.) And I had to agree with him, too, that Heejun’s performance was nothing more than a “stunt gone wrong” — and certainly not the kind of performance that’s going to inspire Interscope to spend its money on recording and promotion. I disagreed, though, with his notion that Phillip should only take a stand and be himself once he’s out in the real world. The Idol viewing audience is savvy enough to spot when a contestant is making making music and fashion choices that don’t feel authentic, and that’s when they stop picking up the phones and voting. Not to say that Phillip shouldn’t be willing to stretch himself as an artist — and as a potential star — but that doesn’t mean he should have to hang up his guitar or perform to a gaggle of swaybots just because that’s what Diddy would do.

Okay, on to the results…

Sent Immediately to Safety (in Order of Announcement)
Hollie Cavanagh
Skylar Laine
Elise Testone
Jessica Sanchez
Joshua Ledet
Colton Dixon (Seacreast faked-out, again!)
Phillip Phillips

Bottom Three
DeAndre Brackensick
Erika Van Pelt (loved how she grabbed some maracas from Elise: “I’m bringing the party with me!”)
Heejun Han

First One Sent Back to Safety
DeAndre Brackensick

Lowest Vote Getter
Erika Van Pelt

Last-Chance Performance
Erika inexplicably chose “I Believe in You and Me” (as opposed to “What About Love” or something with a rocky edge), delivering it with husky bombast, but hitting a couple of rough patches along the way (maybe due to tears?). It wasn’t enough to score a Judges’ Save from Randy, J.Lo, and Steven (those are only for guys, as you all know), and thus it’s another woman down, another woman down, another woman — who brought some emotional maturity and sexy-ass hair to the table — who bites the dust.

Now it’s your turn. Did the right person go home? Don’t you think with a few more weeks under her belt, Erika could’ve grown into a serious contender? (Heck, even Jimmy said she should be at the top of the pack this week!) How the heck did Heejun survive? And what did you think of sleepy/cool Lana del Ray?

p.s. Sorry, Erika, if Idology led you wrong with that whole “dye your hair black” business! We really thought it might work.

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. j. says:

    The right person absolutely did not go home. Hers was definitely among the better performances that night. It never even occurred to me she’d be voted off, but then who’s doing the voting…

  2. Erika was great. It totally should have been Heejun or DeAndre to go. This is just further proof that teenage girl votes for cuteness out-number the adult votes for most talent.
    I have found it harder to have a clear-cut favorite top 3 this season though, as there are at least 6 that are worthy. I’ve even had to borrow the hubby’s cell for voting just to dole out deserving votes.

    • FreeHaley says:

      Yeah it should have been one of those two. I don’t think Erika would’ve had a shot to win or even top two, but she didn’t deserve to go out quite this soon, certainly not before those two.

  3. tomitweets says:

    Erika was hands down my favorite but I knew she would never last. She was too sophisticated and subtle (thank you for the word) for the Idol voter. Sad she went out when clearly Heejun should have gone! Vote for the Worst comes in to play again! I can’t wait to hear her perform somewhere, sometime.

    I think it’s Diddy’s fault for suggesting that a member of Red Sox Nation sing like she was in the middle of Yankee Stadium! ;D

  4. Michael – Please tell me that your entire Haley assessment was sarcasm. (Sorry, I’m slow.)

    Erica was actually one of my faves but she has such a unique and rich voice, I’m hoping someone will pick her up. I don’t think she needs an Idol win.

  5. Blake says:

    I was so upset Erika went home. It was so undeserved. Especially with Heejun, Deandre, and Phillip surviving. All of whom are much less talented than Erika.

    On a bright side, Haley looked, sounded, and acted like a superstar tonight. I’m so proud of her. She was my favorite from her first audition and I’m so happy to see good things happening for her!

  6. Deb says:

    I’m surprised more viewers are not commenting on Erika’s lack of screen time – that’s why she did not develop the fan base like some others. She never got the pimping or screen time during the auditions that the others received. How many times have we seen Hollie’s back story or clips of Jessica, P2, Colton (and his sister), Heejun, Deandree.

    TPTB needed to give Erika a later singing position. They did not do that. This was her 2nd time singing 2nd. Elise never got the screen time either, but her very first performance on the live shows she got the pimp spot and that introduced her to America. And when she struggled to keep American’s vote, they went out of their way to give her props on Wednesday night when the judges standing ovation and bringing the 2 young students up on the stage. At the end of Wednesday’s show when Ryan asked who did great, the judges did not mention Erika – yet Jimmy made a special point in his critique she deserved to be at the top of the heap based on that performance. So let’s face it – if she had sang near the end or had that pimp spot the results would have been completely different. Bottom line — TPTB decided long ago — she was not going to be in the hunt. Putting Heejun’s silly performance near the end of the lineup proved that point. It’s entertainment first. They have it all figured out.. they know who they want to make the top 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 just like they did last year. Only problem was Haley was not their pick for the top 2 and they made sure that did not happen.

    And re: Heejun’s little pity party – don’t be foolish..he knows exactly what he is doing. Low self esteem has nothing to do with it. JLO – good grief gal you grew up in the bronx.. don’t forget your roots sweetie. Wishing him well with all his friends back home. What a bunch of BS. He’ll do whatever he has to – to get what he wants. He’s simply a con artist – classic manipulator.

  7. marie says:

    F.U., WORDPRESS – I am using a different computer today; you recognized my email address, you #(*&@, and let me type my entire @#)(*$# comment – and then, when I pressed “Post,” only THEN did you #)(*$#)(* make me log in – AND ATE MY COMMENT AGAIN!


    Yes, I am STILL extremely annoyed about this!!! Damn it to hell, TVLine, can’t you please do anything about this? This platform is truly archaic – no mobile posting? Give me a break!

    Ok, to try this AGAIN – the jist of what I tried to post was that I was disappointed that Erika left, but not surprised, but I won’t bother to elaborate why I’m not surprised, as “THIS is AMERICAN IDOL” and the reasons she was not voted back in are obvious, if sad.

    I have to agree with Michael Slezak about Phillip’s standing up for his own way of doing things. I’ll admit that I muttered a “Good for you!” when he took the stage to perform the night before dressed very casually in gray. One of my most dearly-held values is to be true to yourself, and to do things your way, at very least in very personal but ultimately trivial matters such as what kind of clothes to wear. I have no trouble believing Phillip when he says that for him, what’s important is the music; that echoes with me, and although I recognize that many other people feel things like image are as important, I feel the same way, that the actual music is the most important thing. I can feel that from him in every performance, his passion for and commitment to the music, and although I don’t think he has the very best voice per se, this is why I would rather listen to Phillip for two hours than to non-emotive, ice-cold, mechanical, technically-near-perfect Jessica for five minutes. Bravo, Phillip, keep doing it your way, and don’t take anything from anyone that you don’t feel is right for you; this way, whether or not you ever make a career for yourself in the very, very tough music business, at least you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you did it for reasons that matter to you and that you didn’t sell out.

    It was great seeing Haley again (although the sound mix wasn’t great and I had a hard time hearing her). I know, though, that I’m in the minority in that I didn’t care much for the song. If that’s indicative of the kind of material that’s going to be on her album, I’m afraid for me she might go the way of Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta, and maybe one or two others with whose Idol recordings I had to content myself when they released albums of material I felt wasn’t very good. I’ll keep an open mind, though, and hope I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Wow, since you were so angry I read every word. Remind me never to get on your bad side.
      I think you hit on why I like Phillip (but can’t explain why) but am none too crazy about Jessica (and can’t explain why) even though Jessica is obviously talented. I wouldn’t be upset if Jessica won but it’s not the type of music I’d buy even though I could listen to Barbra Steisand for hours.
      And why CAN’T these Idol grads release a decent CD? David Cook did, though.

    • Realist says:

      “…non-emotive, ice-cold, mechanical, technically-near-perfect Jessica…”

      Sounds about right.

    • While it was admirable for Phillip to stick to his own ideals, I just don’t see that hunger to win. At least with Colton, he sure knows how to play the game and plays it quite well. That being said, I cannot quite get behind a guy who’s just not blowing away people with his renditions. Sure he can makes songs his own, but let’s get real here: His competition is putting out more noteworthy performances. It’s a BIG difference to make a song your own and actually doing a great rendition of it. Phillip’s good, I’ll give him that, but as great as people say, not by any means.

  8. Chris says:

    I’m OK with Erika leaving. She was realistically no better than a top 7 finisher anyway. For my taste, she, Deandre, Heejun and Colton are all interchangeable in terms of the bottom group (although in reality Colton probably rates higher with overall viewers). Whether she left 10th or 7th doesn’t matter. It would not have made sense to use the save on her. Since it has to be used before top 5 it should only be used on someone who has a realistic shot at the top 5, I think that would be any of those I haven’t mentioned plus Colton.

    I don’t understand the Heejun hate. He’s very entertaining, and although he didn’t sing well this week, he can sing. His studio version of “My Life” is actually pretty good. There are far worse singers than him making a very good living as singers.

    Had no idea who Lana del Ray was prior to her performance. I thought It was very boring. Loved Haley’s bluesy side last season, more so than her “jazzy” side. From her first single it looks like she’s leaning more toward “jazzy” post-Idol, which is a shame. I didn’t care for the song or her performance.

    • Ana Muti says:

      Heejun got the seal of doom from Uncle Jimmy when he said HJ was making a mockery of AI. There isn’t going to be any recovery from either that or the ‘unlikable’ edit Uncle Nigel is giving HJ. I don’t know if it’s deserved or not, as anyone can be edited to look like a little monster back-stage, but HJ didn’t do himself any favors in the way he acted during his makeover with Tom H, or in front of Jimmy and Diddy. Ya just don’t want to give them ammunition to make the ‘bad guy’ edit any easier.
      That Steve was obviously pissed off at HJ after his performance told me more than Jimmy, though; where there’s smoke, etc. Too bad, as I like HJ and had hopes he’d go to the finals.

    • My Alter Ego says:

      Chris, “Free” is not “jazzy” in any way, shape or form. If if was, I’d probably be onboard.

  9. minikittykitty says:

    It’s probably no big deal but. On Annie Barrett wrote an AI recap story also titled: Nobody Wins From This Misery. It didn’t say what time it was published but knowing that Michael posted his pre-recap with the same title fairly soon after the show I am thinking… ??? Don’t they (EW) have their own layout people to come up with titles for articles?

  10. Ah, my favorite Jane Eyre movie EVER!!!!!! Oh, this was about idol. :)

  11. Ana Muti says:

    I don’t know if I’ll continue watching AI. I didn’t watch the finish of the series last year because it became obvious that country was going to win, the only contest being whether it was going to be male or female. I’m not interested in country.
    I’m also not interested in the big voiced diva types (ala Melanie Amaro from X Factor), so I’m ‘meh’ on Jessica or Hollie. I wish them well–both girls have fantastic voices and talent, but I’m just not interested in them as entertainers.
    Phil2 and Colton aren’t my demographic, and to my tastes Josh is more gospel than pop.
    Heejun is a could-have-been that has disappointed me no end. The judges (and I) originally heard something in his voice that was good enough to pass him through to the live rounds, but for the last 2 weeks his vocals just haven’t been there. But the bottom line is that it wouldn’t matter if he sang like an angel because for whatever reasons his stage presence/personality simply doesn’t come off as likeable, a fatal flaw in this kind of entertainment.
    So like last year, I’ll probably just read Michael’s recaps and not bother watching the shows.

  12. Nelson C. Neto says:

    I’m sorry if someone has already commented on that, but as I was watching the show, I realized something during the ford music video: are the top 4 already defined? Phillip, Colton, Skylar and Jessica were the four that couldn’t be found by the rest of the group, and in the end, they were so ahead, that they left the other six watching them leave (to stardom?)… Maybe it’s just my imagination, but that could be true… What do you people think? Personally, I could totally see those 4 in the end together, hopefully with Phillip being crowned…

  13. Ana Muti says:

    Forgot to add that if I had to choose someone I’d like to win? It would be Elise. She’s got the most unique voice on the show, is creative and mature, and knows who she is. I like her attitude that she’s not going to let the show change her. I don’t have any illusion that she’ll win, but her music is what I’m most likely to listen to and download.

  14. Amanda says:

    Yeah, you were right! Haley Reinhart’s new song really was killer! …If, by “killer,” you meant that I wanted to kill myself after hearing it! You are correct, sir!

    Seriously, Haley was terrible last night and she was terrible last season. I don’t understand why everyone is still fawning over her.

    • Angela says:

      Did that make you feel good about yourself? SMH. Haley was fantabulous on Thursday and she was the best thing about season 10!

  15. teatime says:

    The judge’s save should have been used for Erika. With Jermaine’s elimination last week, they are going to use the save at some point this season. These 10 are all going on tour. They all have talent. Saving Erika this week would have just meant that they ALL had one more performance week.
    The judge’s save has been in place for 3 years. For 3 years they have saved a male contestant. I expect they will use it for a male contestant again this season. Whoever it is, it will just give him one or two more performance weeks. They should have just given that to Erika now.

  16. Shel says:

    Haley was AWESOME! Song was fantastic, the dress was gorgeous (as was she), loved the set. Good luck to her!

    Poor Erika – NOT her time to go at all. Bet the judges wish they had phrased their constructive criticism a little more constructively!

    I do think she might have grown into more of a contender with some more time on her side. I would have liked to see that happen, especially since the judges seemed to be saying we weren’t seeing the “real” Erika yet. At the same time, this is a strong group of singers…I am afraid there may not be a lot of wiggle room among the voters – they have their favorites already.

    Erika did a nice job on her last song, but definitely the tears choked her up. The judges were right not to use the save – they had saved her once already.

    Nice to see Joe Perry & the birthday song for Steven.

    FF thru Lana.

    Loved the group song – very well done, great harmonies, great movement. Really liked last week’s too – do we have a new choreographer working with them?

  17. sybl says:

    Superficial Idol voters never let me down.

    Well actually they always let me down when it comes to a female singer with any sophistication at all in her vocals, but I meant they never ever surprise me.

    Sorry Erika, I tried.

  18. FreeHaley says:

    Not sure why this seems to be so hidden away and hard to find, Haley’s video version of what she did last night:

  19. Rasta says:

    I was only watching Idol cos of HeeJun. So If hes kicked off I wont be watching anymore& i know alot of others that feel the same way& we arnt asian. So fyi its not just asians voting for him. & no one is mocking him. He is truly a great singer. Its strange to see asians not supporting other asians when they are already outcasted in society. Maybe they are major haters and cant handle seeing a fellow asian doing something good in this world. As for me I dont care what race you are. If your good then your good & youve got my support. Im all for chasing dreams.

  20. Wild says:

    Lol I read through all these and I didn’t see Joshua mentioned more than a couple times.