American Idol Recap: One-Night Standing

jessica sanchez idolWatching this week’s American Idol performance show was like going to a four-star restaurant for an incredible multi-course meal (under the watchful eye of head chef Stevie Nicks) only to get pestered by the Three Busboys of the Apocalypse to fill up on the stuff jangling around in their white paper McDonald’s bags: “Yes, yes, the Maine Peekytoe Crab with maroon carrot, volcanic garlic, and pickled carrot sorbet looks sublime, but this McRib with a side of McNuggets is what’s going to bring you to your feet with ecstacy!” Say what now?

There are, of course, a few different ways to interpret J.Lo, Randy, and Steven’s inexplicable standing ovations for middling performances by Heejun Han and DeAndre Brackensick. Maybe they were operating under Uncle Nigel’s instructions to create a “night of redemption” theme involving last week’s surviving Bottom 3 contestants that Ryan Seacrest could tout midway through the telecast. Perhaps they wanted to give some extra encouragement to the two weakest links in the Season 11 chain. (Tangent: Oh how the combo of “chain” and “Stevie Nicks” makes me want to open my iTunes and play this on repeat.) Or maybe the Idol judges are simply predisposed to any contestant who possesses a ‘Y’ chromosome, seeing how they jumped to their feet for four of the five men left in the competition (and heaped lavish “contender for the title”/”threw down the gauntlet” praise on the fifth).

American Idol: Advice (and Fantasy Set Lists!) for the Season 11 Top 9

To paraphrase Elise Testone’s Vegas Week solo, Idol is a man’s man’s man’s world. It’s just a shame that the three people with the Coke cups and multi-million dollar contracts seem to have forgotten it would be nothing without the franchise’s most successful women and girls. Take J.Lo’s response to Elise’s riveting end-of-episode take on Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”: “I didn’t wanna get up, but you made me get up!” Hrmmm…where was that ambivalence about rewarding Elise’s male compatriots?

Okay , okay…enough griping from me. Like I said at the top of this recap, we’ve got an incredible multi-course meal to discuss, so let’s dig in!

Colton Dixon: Lifehouse’s “Everything”
Note to Colton: You can tell the judges and mentors that you’re singing your “favorite worship song of all time” till you’re blue in the face, but nothing — I repeat, nothing — will convince them you’re not singing a romantic ditty for the lay-dees. I mean, dude, learn to keep the focus on what’s important, for me for you. Naturally, even Ryan’s intro tried to play up Colton’s dreamboat status — “Girls, here we go, it’s Colton Dixon” — but Colton just kept on keepin’ on, delivering the hook-free Christian rock anthem with a dewy-eyed earnestness that found him dropping to his knees to end the performance. The end result was tender and heartfelt — even if it wasn’t particularly distinctive — but I have to admit I heard several bum notes when the verse forced Colton into the lower end of his register. Randy kept chanting throughout the night that Colton had “thrown down the gauntlet” for his competitors and was a real “contender for the title,” but I wish he’d just taken the direct route: Don’t forget to vote for Colton just because he went first!

Idology: Erika Van Pelt on Wardrobe Snafus, Charges of Oversinging, Her ‘Old Lady’ Status

Skylar Laine: Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead”
Continuing a trend of unfortunate Ryan-isms, did anyone else wince over our host saying how Skylar would show her “sexy side” after the commercial break, only to discover that this season’s country phenom was tackling a song about a woman’s murderous response to violent physical abuse? And while Jimmy Iovine predicted Skylar could wind up in “a little bit of jeopardy” for picking a track with a “really narrow melody,” I sure as heck hope he’s wrong. “Gunpowder and Lead” may be a straight-shootin’ ditty without a lot of room for vocal runs and swooping holleration, but it allowed Skylar to show off what J.Lo called her “unbridled, can’t-keep-it-in-the-can energy.” Better still, when Skylar hit the final refrain, the ferocity of her delivery — and the physicality she brought to the stage — drove home the underlying menace of the story she was telling. I’m not ashamed to say I got chills. Still, I’m worried the No. 2 performance slot combined with muted praise from the judges and an unfortunate/bulky ensemble might lead to Skylar’s first Bottom 3 encounter.

Colton, Elise, and Phillip: Fleetwood Mac medley!
Just being completely honest, Elise’s fantastic, whiskey-soaked “Edge of Seventeen” was the meat in the sandwich of Colton’s serviceable “Landslide” and Phillip’s borderline manic “Don’t Stop.”

Heejun Han: Donnie Hathaway’s “A Song for You”
Look, I’m happy that Heejun is taking the competition seriously, and that he doesn’t want to disappoint his fans, but while his good intentions weren’t exactly the paving stones to hell, let’s not pretend he performed a miracle of Elliott Yamin proportions with his cover of “A Song for You.” And let’s not pretend that the judges did Heejun any favors by offering a standing ovation for a performance peppered with pitch problems, breath-control issues, and dicey diction. Heck, Randy himself admitted that Heejun “wasn’t perfect,” so instead of leaping to his feet and applauding, why not offer him some “constructive criticism” (air quotes courtesy of the Dawg) about hitting the consonants and extending his notes at the ends of his phrases? The worst part of the judges’ unfounded praise is it’ll probably buy Heejun another week or two in the competition — at the expense of more talented competitors.

Hollie Cavanagh: Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel”
Speaking of which, I’d say Heejun’s likely survival could spell doom for Hollie, who seemed to miss Stevie’s whispered entreaty that it’s not the size of the voice — or the shouting of a glory note — that matters. Had Hollie processed that advice, maybe she wouldn’t have barrelled through Carrie Underwood’s first post-Idol hit with foot pressed down on the accelerator, arms stiffly clutching the steering wheel, her big Cadillac of a voice thundering along with not nearly enough emphasis on nuance and finesse. But ultimately, it was Steven Tyler’s feedback that resonated most: “I wish you’d sung a different song.” Indeed, what’s frustrating about Hollie is her almost robotic approach to song selection and delivery: Because Hollie keeps picking Big Diva Ballads and delivering them without any deviation from their original arrangements, she inevitably ends every performance reminding you that she’s not quite Xtina or Whitney or Celine or Carrie, instead of driving home the point that — with a little honest coaching — she’s unquestionably more ready for prime time than, say, Heejun or DeAndre.

DeAndre Brackensick: Eric Benet’s “Sometimes I Cry”
Look, there’s no doubt in my mind that DeAndre possesses the tools to be a successful singer: He was terrific in Vegas week tackling “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” and his Top 13 take on “Master Blaster” was a fun, funky trip. But for the life of me, I can’t fathom what (aside from Uncle Nigel sending volts of electricity into their chairs) prompted the judges to give Deandre a Standing O for a vocal this week that was about as pleasant as listening to a Snowy Owl sink its talons into a frightened prairie dog and carry it back to the nest for disembowelment. The problem wasn’t so much DeAndre veering off pitch — although his big glory note went noticably askew — but rather, that he doesn’t possess the emotional maturity to connect with an adult song about heartbreak. Without the deep well of loss and longing that informs Eric Benet’s original, DeAndre’s cover became a whole lot of screeching and caterwauling, signifying nothing. Then again, he’s a guy, so maybe we should follow J.Lo’s instructions: “Pick up your phones and vote for DeAndre” to give him “a few more weeks” in the competition. After all, there are still four more girls to get rid of before we have to start picking off the boys, right?

Jessica Sanchez: Beyoncé’s “Sweet Dreams”
Jessica has a serious problem: She’s performing at such a high and consistent level, the judges won’t really give her effusive praise till she makes a blind man see, or cures a child’s broken limb, or at least brings a few new adjectives to Randy’s mumblemouth. Not only did Jessica’s spooky-slow riff on Beyoncé’s uptempo hit (and enigmatic “red door” staging) prove she’s willing to take risks and show some real artistry — whether or not Beyoncé has slowed down the jam in concert is beside the point — but her vocal was a thing of pitch-perfect, high-drama beauty. The way Jessica uses her ridiculously huge voice to alternatelty shimmer then bulldoze then glide across the words of her songs makes me think she’s got the potential to conquer radio, and maybe serve as fodder for RuPaul’s Drag Race lipsynch-offs for the next 10 seasons.

DeAndre, Joshua, and Heejun: Michael Jackson medley
Um, nice moonwalk, Joshua! Solid vocal, too, buddy!

Phillip Phillips: Jonny Lang’s “Still Rainin’”
After last week’s torturous mentoring session with Diddy — seriously, I’m still skeeved out about the availability of a pack of chicks stored somewhere in the recording-studio lobby — it was so nice to see Phillip come face-to-face with an adviser who really appreciated his musical point of view (even if she did add a footnote about him being “gorgeous”). I have to admit I couldn’t help but be swayed a little farther onto the Phillip bandwagon after hearing Stevie Freakin’ Nicks tell him that he’d surely have been invited to join Fleetwood Mac had he been pals with her and Lindsey Buckingham back in the day. I mean, come ON! And Phillip’s cover of “Still Rainin’” lived up to the hype. I loved his little ad-libs on the chorus, and J.Lo was right, the guy brings such an intensity to his performances that you can’t help but fall into his musical rabbit hole. In other news, Randy is friends with Jonny Lang, but there’s still no explanation for why he’s lasted 11 seasons on this show.

Joshua Ledet: Harry Nilsson/Mariah Carey’s “Without You”
Joshua once again took off his jacket — emotionally, not literally — while performing what Jimmy Iovine called (rather definitively) one of the five most challenging songs of all time. But while much has been said about Mr. Ledet Gospel-izing this season, I thought “Without You” was a huge departure from his standard-operating delivery. Oh, sure, he started quiet and gruff, and steadily built the song to a frenzied, howling climax (amidst a very weird forest of decaying trees). But this performance tapped into a well of pain and despair that Joshua really hasn’t drawn from during his Season 11 run. When he hiccuped for a moment — missing a note as he fought back actual tears — Joshua opened up and showed us he’s capable of breaking hearts, not just stirring souls, and maybe going farther in the competition than some pundits might’ve anticipated. In other news, I have to say that I am coveting my neighbor’s black-and-white braid-patterned jacket! And also, Randy spoke with Mariah Carey on her birthday. Or he got her voicemail. Or he posted a note as Dawg10213 on her fan site message board. One of those three things happened, I’m pretty sure.

Skylar, Jessica, and Hollie: Madonna medley
What this hodgepodge medley lacked in polish, it more than made up for in nice mini-moments for its participants. In particular, Hollie sounded incredible on “Borderline” — reinforcing the opinion of the Idoloonie Nation that it’s time for her to tackle some non-ballad fare, and by someone other than a Monster Diva Vocalist. Jessica, meanwhile, got to flex her vocal muscles on “Like a Prayer,” and dang if Skylar didn’t completely command all my attention strutting her stuff on “Express Yourself,” even if her mic seemed to go silent for a third of the performance.

Elise Testone: Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”
As much as I am flipping out over the opportunity to purchase the studio version of Elise’s Led Zeppelin cover on iTunes, I can’t lie: I loved her rehearsal-room duet with Stevie Nicks on Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” even more. (We need a full version, and we need it to happen on the Idol finale.) But back to the subject at hand. I got nervous when I heard Elise had picked “WLL,” especially since Adam Lambert had performed it with such hip-thursting gusto back in Season 8. But Elise brought her own energy to the song that was equally mesmerizing. Whereas Adam’s vocal and staging were utterly in your face — and, with his “every inch of my love” sneer, just a little nasty — Elise’s performance was more subtly seductive. The way she covered her face with her hand on the chorus, the way she reduced her voice to a sexy coo as she faced off with the guitarist, the sandblast power of that final “love” (preceded by an almost Shakira-like hip shimmy). Everything about this worked — and worked double overtime. How the judges weren’t already on their feet as she was delivering the final note is a mystery of Smoke Monster proportions. But who cares if J.Lo didn’t want to get up, or if Randy had to water-down his praise by noting “everybody wants to do this thing, they want to win this thing. It doesn’t really matter. Elise continued her climb out of the Bottom 3 basement, and along with Jessica and Skylar, proved that the Season 11 ladies are in it to win it — even if the judges are ambivalent about standing for (or with) ‘em.

Letter grades for the night
Elise Testone: A
Jessica Sanchez: A-
Phillip Phillips: A-
Skylar Laine: A-
Joshua Ledet: A-
Colton Dixon: B
Hollie Cavanagh: B-
DeAndre Brackensick: C
Heejun Han: C

What did you think of this week’s show? Who was your favorite? Who’s in trouble? Sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol news, interviews, 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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210 Comments
  1. Chris R. says:

    This is really shaping up to be an interesting season on AI! There are no consistently bad singers and almost all genres are covered. Your favorite contestant depends on the type of music you prefer. If someone is a big Phil Bailey/Debarge fan I could see where they would love Deandre who can do amazing things with his voice. Not my style of music (although I like Bailey as part of EWF). A few thoughts
    Colton – I love the uniqueness/character of his voice (I think you either like it or don’t) and he is one of my faves. But the folks that pointed out how his voice gets drowned out by the full band are spot on. Needs to keep it stripped down like he did on Billy Joel night. If he did an album of just Elton John/Billy Joel style piano songs I would buy it in a second.
    Elise – I have a weakness for rock women. Allison is my all time favorite. I suspected Elise was a rocker but never saw it until last night. I’m on the Elise train now. Great character and maturity in her voice.
    Skylar – Don’t know if I can recall a contestant that shows as much energy or attitude every week that Skylar does. Not technically perfect but she can perform. Has a big future in country music I think. Needs to do a slow number though.
    Heejun – Its odd. When I close my eyes I really like Heejun’s performances. Diction is a problem but he had a gravel tone (good thing) last night I hadn’t heard before. Still I couldn’t see myself buying an album.
    Hollie – A lot of criticism of Hollie this week but the last 30 seconds of Jesus Take the Wheel was the first Hollie performance I really enjoyed. First time I personally felt some emotion from her.
    Jessica – Unreal talent. Needs to work on connection but that will come in time. Never seems to miss a note. Effortless. I really want to see her do an uptempo number again. There were moments of Turn the Beat a couple of weeks ago I really liked despite the criticism. If she is going to win she has to be careful of doing too many ballads. Also R&B singers have not fared well since Fantasia
    Joshua – Does the old school gospel sound very well. Very nice guy. I could see there being a niche market for his music. But R&B has a hard time winning.
    Phillip Phillips – I have enjoyed his performances (especially last night). Hard not to watch. Another guy you either like or don’t depending on your taste in music but does his thing very well. I might buy his album. Would love to see him sing Somewhere Down the Crazy River by Robbie Robertson.
    Finally I agree there needs to be a Zeppelin night on idol. Zep is not all hard rock and has plenty of bluesy and mellow songs (Thank You, Going to California, Your Time is Gonna Come, Dazed and Confused, Fool in the Rain, Over the Hill and Far Away) that each contestant could find what works for them (except maybe Deandre).

    • TheBeach says:

      I love the idea of P2 singing “Somewhere Down the Crazy River”…great choice! I know everyone is saying he is a Dave Matthews clone, but I can definitely see a Robbie Robertson vibe from him, which in my eyes is a wonderful thing.

    • Faz says:

      It isn’t that Colton’s voice gets drowned out that’s the problem. We pray for those moments. It’s when you can hear his voice that it’s a problem.

      • Chris R. says:

        I agree that Colton’s voice is a matter of taste. I personally like it but I can see why others wouldn’t. For instance I never liked Elliot Yamin’s voice but others loved him. But to me that is why this season is so interesting. The voices are so diverse. Something for everyone.

  2. Andy J says:

    This was the best Idol show in a long time. Everyone stepped up to the plate tonight-some more than others but no one stank up the joint. But a standing O for Heejun and deAndre? And criticism for a beautiful and sublime performance by Hollie? I fear for Hollie tonight-if she is at the bottom tonight I can’t think of anyone better to save. Elise killed last night-one of the best performances in Idol history. And hopefully one night Skylar can cover a song by Brazil’s most famous country artist-Carmen Miranda Lambert. And Stevie Nicks gave such spot on advise-and was empathetic to the contestants to boot. A very good night.

  3. Erica says:

    I always look forward to your take on Idol, Michael.

    But please grade the judges weekly now. Haha. Oh and yeah I said this before but… new drinking game for Idoloonies. One shot of vodka for every standing O!

    Any comment on Randy’s candy accessories?

    • Muffy says:

      At least he wasn’t wearing a frightening pin….

      • Templar says:

        Speaking of haberdashery, how about a little commotion for Steven’s ensemble last night? He looked so smart and put together, i almost didn’t recognize him. Less is more. He looked great!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Oh, grading the judges. A spectacular idea, Erica.

    • dbaj says:

      or 1 shot of vodka every time JLo says “baby” condescendingly, or Steven says “beautiful” because he has only 3 adjectives in his vocabulary, & clearly, that’s his favorite one.

      • Joe Strummer says:

        Or one shot every time Randy namedrops

        • Krista says:

          This!

        • Delirious says:

          Speaking of names-dropping… I was really (and gladly) surprised when Randy mentioned Mutemath for Colton. Are they really that known? I quite like them (and recommend them, btw – go check “Chaos”, “Typical”, “Break The Same” or “Stare At The Sun”! And their latest album has a nice old-school vibe), so when he mentioned them, I was like :O

  4. Heaven says:

    s-s-sipping the haterade. The michael jackson medley was the best of the bunch. don’t be jelz

  5. McFudge says:

    I propose that in addition to one judges’ save per season, from here on out there must be a one-standing-ovation-per-season-per-judge rule.

  6. m says:

    I just have to quote Idolatry from season 8 because it was spot on re: Jesus take the wheel

    Slezak: “No offence to Jesus, but I just don’t like that song.”
    Kristen: “I don’t think Jesus likes that song. He’s like ‘leave me out of this!”

  7. BobN says:

    Great honest review. Got ask though where you come up with some of your phraseology.

    “about as pleasant as listening to a Snowy Owl sink its talons into a frightened prairie dog and carry it back to the nest for disembowelment. ” = Phenomenol

    • Mom of 6 says:

      Phraseology has to be part of his secret. I suspect, though, he might have watched Frozen Planet on Sunday…there was some great Snowy Owl talon footage there.

    • Jessica T. says:

      My only problem with the Owl Simile is that Snowy Owls don’t live in the prairie, unless you call tundra frozen prairie, but then again, prairie dogs don’t live in the arctic.

      … about as pleasant as listening to a snowy owl sink its talons into a frightened … um … mink? …

      Clearly, you are not an ornithologist, Michael, but I forgive you because you like horses.

    • Dallas says:

      How about, “…Randy spoke with Mariah Carey on her birthday. Or he got her voicemail. Or he posted a note as Dawg10213 on her fan site message board…” ?? Esp the 10213! Ha!

  8. RD says:

    All in all it was a pretty high-quality show performance-wise last night.My personal favorite was Joshua-I just feel that when he’s ‘on’ he takes you to some electric, uncharted places.In concert the guy could be mesmerizing,and I’m not even that fond of that style of music.I really should be backing Elise,but I didn’t find her performance anything but predictable,perhaps because I love zeppelin so much.My other fave was Jessica who,I agree with you,Slezak,was just about pitch perfect and for her age I find this quite staggering.The other big plus last night was Ms. Nicks,who was graceful,heartfelt and above all,constructive.More please!

    • Gale says:

      I agree completely with you, RD! I always look forward to see what Joshua will do – there is a mystery about him. Last night he took that song to a place I didn’t expect. And Jessica has such artistry. I like PP too. Elise is a good song stylist, but I don’t love her voice. It sounds like she has spent too much time in smoky bars. Skylar will have a career in country music.
      Not too interested in the rest.

      • TheBeach says:

        That “too much time in smokey bars” tone is one I find very appealing in a number of singers…just personal preference.

        • elisefan44 says:

          yeah, i’ve been listening to elise’s ‘whole lotta love’ since the show, and i’m just in love with the tone of her voice. can’t wait to see what she does next!

  9. Eve says:

    Possibly helpful example of an American Idol voter: My mother, age 73. I called her last night and asked her who she was voting for. She said Heejun. She likes him. Because she thinks he’s cute. I told her this is the problem. Old ladies like her and little teenage girls vote for the boys they think are the cutest instead of the best singers. I told her she needed to vote for Elise just in case. So she said she did. But then she revealed that she thought the voting limit was 10 votes, just like on America’s Got Talent, which she also watches. So, everyone, get to schooling your old people and your teeny boppers in who they should vote for. They might listen to you, even if they only vote 10 times!

    • macy says:

      Your mom sounds adorable Eve. But why not do her a solid and just let her vote for whoever she likes instead of controlling her votes? Just a thought. Geez, she is just as entitled to have Heejun be her idol as you are to have Elise be your idol.

      • Eve says:

        Oh, I let her vote for him. :-) I just asked her to throw some votes in there for Elise, too. She IS adorable, but she has given me so many great “suggestions” over the years that sometimes I can’t help giving her some of my own. The ever complicated mother-daughter relationship at work. :-)

    • JK says:

      Wow, you certainly are the patronizing little cow, aren’t you? Your “old” people and your “teeny boppers” – how fun for you to be in the perfect demographic!

  10. Sean D says:

    I have to say Mike, this is the first week we’ve disagreed. I loved DeAndre’s performance and thought it was the best of the night, I think it speaks of far more artistic intent and ambition than he’s been showing the past few weeks.

    My Ranking:
    1. DeAndre
    2. Elise
    3. Phillip
    4. Jessica
    5. Joshua
    6. Skylar
    7. Hollie
    8. Colton
    9. Heejun

    • MusicFan says:

      “I loved DeAndre’s performance and thought it was the best of the night, I think it speaks of far more artistic intent and ambition than he’s been showing the past few weeks.

      My Ranking:
      1. DeAndre ”

      Agree!!!!

    • Yo' says:

      Wow. I will never understand this. Deandre reminds me a lot of when I used to affect my opera voice at age eight. It cleared the territory nicely.

    • The Good R&B says:

      I agree with you 100%! I can understand why people may not have liked DeAndre’s performance because of the pitch he sang the song in. However, if you listen to the original, DeAndre sounded as good if not better than some parts of Eric Benet’s version. Maybe it’s because I grew up listening to R&B artists like Smokey Robinson, Prince, DeBarge and Maxwell… idk but I thought he killed it last night! It was like the return of good R&B.

    • Musiqluvr says:

      I wholeheartedly agree! Deandre was my favorite of the night! I fear he’s in trouble though because the people who appreciate Maxwell, Robin Thicke and their falsetto brethren do not make up the American Idol voting bloc. Heejun deserves to go home (even though IMO Hollie surprisingly was worse last night) because although it was his best performance to date it still didn’t rise to the level of his competitors.

      Slezak, I’m surprised by your review because you have been able to appreciate Deandre’s other great moments (master blaster and hollywood week) and last night he was nearly pitch perfect and made it seem effortless. I’m assuming you’re just not a fan of the song but you shouldn’t let that cloud your view of his delivery.

      • My Alter Ego says:

        Musiqluvr, perhaps the problem is that Deandre does falsetto with an ease (and, very frequently, flawlessly) that people don’t get: a.) how good he is; and b.) that maybe it’s not as effortless as he makes it seem. And that impression of “effortless” may be part of the reason some people think he doesn’t connect with what he’s singing.

        I don’t know — he wasn’t my favorite last night. Elise won that hands down, followed by Joshua, by Deandre’s performance filled the third spot of my top three.

    • Idolhead Ed says:

      So you are the five who liked DeAndre. I also have to assume you bought William Hung’sCD.

  11. Sandi says:

    Phillip looks as though he is going to pop a vein in his forhead. His face is actually a little scary when he is singing. I don’t care what the judges critic, I continue to LOVE Joshua

  12. Josh says:

    I can’t say as I’m jazzed about Skylar as you are, but I agree on everything else. I think Elise is who I’m rooting for this season.

  13. Realist says:

    “…doesn’t possess the emotional maturity to connect with an adult song…”

    This exact phrase also describes what’s lacking in Jessica, Hollie, and Skylar. None of these teens are convincing in their performances of adult songs.

    • Chris says:

      Which is why it is necessary to project beyond the silly themes and song choices on this show and imagine how each of them will do with their own music. I always try to keep that in mind, but it’s not always easy for me to do.

      • TheBeach says:

        Totally agree and I think that is why last night was basically a success. They allowed the singers to pick a song in the genre they like and are familiar with instead of foisting a theme night on them.

        • marie says:

          Yes, yes, yes! I really wish Idol would give us more of these and fewer of the constricting theme nights.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Or even if they have theme weeks maybe they need to either expand the theme a bit or get more songs approved. Or both.

        • ansa says:

          I Agree! The night was so good because everyone was familiar with the songs and they chose songs that best showcase their talents…I loved it!

  14. Ed says:

    All in all, as everyone has said thus far, last night was a great night. But there are a few gripes I have to vent about…

    1) I’m probably in the minority here but is anyone else annoyed by everything to do with Colton, especially his vocal commitment to his religion? Is he going to join Tim Tebow on the “Jesus Will Save the World” tour? I get it, you’re a Christian and you have every right to talk about it the way you want but let’s not pretend to cry after every performance and dedicate it to God. I just find everything about him fake. Does anyone else think his outward devotion to his religion will eventually seal his fate? Will Uncle Nigel ask him to tone it down a bit – or is he playing RIGHT into the arms of middle America?

    2) Skylar is an entertaining performer, I’ll give her that, but I’m still not convinced she’s a good singer/artist. Slezak, you have criticized Hollie (rightfully so) for not straying from diva ballads, but why not give the same criticism to Skylar for only sticking to country/pop? That said, I’d much rather listen to her that Scotty McDreary (yes, I spelled it that way on purpose).

    3) One last point, I swear, I 100% agree w/ Slezak on the blatant show of sexism by the judges. I know Elise got a standing ‘O’ but let’s be real, that was one of the best performances of the season thus far and the judges should have been standing up half way through that performance.

    Should be eliminated: Heejun and DeAndre
    Will be eliminated: DeAndre or Hollie

    • Shana says:

      I agree with you regarding Colton, he seems to be pandering to a certain voting block now…Heejun and Joshua are more subtle and I think that’s more appropriate.
      At any rate, Colton knows how to play the game! Wish he would take Philip or Jessica’s approach however, and make it all about the music.

      • Sandi says:

        Are we this cynical now that the boy must be pandering if he mentions his faith? It couldn’t be that he’s deeply religious and feels the need to express that? I’m an agnostic Northeast liberal and I have no problem with him or his God.
        -
        The theme was “inspirational music.” The guy is deeply religious. I wouldn’t expect him to lay down a Katy Perry song.
        -
        Hey, I don’t particularly like Joshua. I could say that he’s too “churchy” for me or is trying to appeal to a certain audience but instead I’ll just say the truth. He’s just not my thing. Colton doesn’t have to be your thing but that doesn’t make him a manipulator who’s trying to use God and religion to win American Idol.

        • TheBeach says:

          I didn’t get that last night was “inspirational” music night. I thought it was supposed to be “favorite songs by your music idol” night. Maybe I heard wrong.

        • junebug says:

          Sandi,this is one of the wisest things I’ve read on here in a long time. I felt the same way the year Adam Lambert was on. There was a lot about him personally that I didn’t agree with, but I couldn’t deny his talent as a singer. He was amazing. I wish more people would focus less on the personal and more on the talent. Oddly enough, my beliefs line up with Colton’s, but Deandre is my favorite singer. I think he has amazing talent.

          • Jason says:

            I think Colton is talented he just has pretty awful taste in music. Although I do like White Lion but Lifehouse and Paramore? GUy should be doing Radiohead or Kings Of Leon

        • Vicki says:

          Wow, I hope it wasn’t “inspirational music” night for Skylar’s sake.

      • NedPepper says:

        RE: Colton….

        Kris Allen was and is very religous. He never rammed it down people’s throats. It seems…gross…to use your faith as a way to get people voting.

      • Tom22 says:

        The religious mantra’s don’t bother me in themselves. I can deal 100% with Tim Teboe saying far more knowin especially how he walks the walk of his talk.

        My issue with him, is, he’s just strikes me as uptiight and a bit of a Tony Randal chararcter type.

        Its the kind of posturing to be “deep” when really a guy grounded like Phillip Phillips joking about the world yet staying true to friends and calling out weirdness “i wasn’t into that” like the girls in the rehersal room is true “deep” as in having a solid foundation and not being self concious.

        He just is sort of unlikable to me because he seems to think too hard about things rather than being and , to the extent the faith is bothersome its because he brings the same lack of ease to that subject too.

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      I also get kind of annoyed by Colton’s blatant displays of sincerity, but that’s just because I have a heart of pure black pitch. I don’t think he’s faking; I think he’s actually just a nice, vulnerable, God-fearing soft-rocker. It’s not my style, but I can respect it. I find myself liking his performances in spite of myself.
      .
      To be fair, Skyler has strayed from her country/pop box a bit. Her cover of Where Do Broken Hearts Go was quiet, effecting, and in my opinion pretty great. Last week’s Shameless also had more of a slow burn quality to it. At any rate, she’s shown a lot more versatility than Hollie.

    • marie says:

      I’m about as far from religious as you can get, but Colton’s emphasis on his religion doesn’t bother me at all: I just tune it out, and realize that if he’s planning to be a singer of exclusively Christian music, I definitely won’t be interested in his post-Idol career. Personally, I don’t get the impression he’s being phony about it; his religious devotion seems genuine to me, and while I don’t share it, it’s harmless and inoffensive.

      • Joe Strummer says:

        This is the first time I’ve heard about Colton’s Christian Faith. Why is everyone getting all bent out of shape? It’s not like he’s singing a Christian song every week.

        Did I miss it or has he said something about his faith before?

        • Miss Otis Regrets... says:

          Same here. First mention of it that I recall. And it wasn’t an overtly worshipp-y hands-in-the-air song he did either. I’m no Christian nor am I a fan of Christian pop, and I have a pretty low tolerance of proselytization. So I’m thinking you’d have to be especially sensitive to get bothered by that…

    • TheBeach says:

      I agree but I guess if Colton wants to Gokeyize himself and play to the Christian music audience and intends for that to be the type of musical career he wants to pursue, then so be it. But if that’s the case, then stop with the Ace Young googley eyes for all the ladies. Pick one.

      • marie says:

        I’m puzzled: so “Christian singers” are not supposed to be flirtatious? Why *can’t* he be both?

        • TheBeach says:

          I don’t know, Marie. Maybe I’m off-base here since I don’t listen to that music genre. It just strikes me as a bit disingenuous to be singing a song of praise to a higher power and flirting at the same time. Perhaps the two can co-exist.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Listen to country music. Very religious, moral people singing songs about cheating, drinking, prison, murder, etc. – and Jesus. Do you remember Barbara Mandrell’s variety show? It was only on for one year but she would sing a song like “Married, but Not to Each Other” or “You Can Eat Crackers in My Bed Any Time”, and then she and her sisters would perform their gospel music segment.
            One of the funniest interviews I ever saw was Reba McEntyre on Jay Leno, telling a story about her then young son asking about one of her music videos where she blew up her husband and his mistress in a boat. Her son was asking her why it was okay to kill them and she was trying to explain it was just a song.
            We’re Christians but we aren’t dead yet, LOL.

      • Mel says:

        Oh, right. Because Christians can’t express romantic interest or fall in love. Listen, people, if you or your children ever have the experience of being loved by a genuine Christian, then watch out. You’re in for kindness, loyalty, compassion, faithfulness, devotion, and integrity. Wow, it’s terrible, and we should stop Colton from ever inflicting that on another human being.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I’m a conservative Christian and I live in “middle America”. What DOES that mean, anyway? that term cracks me up. I don’t find Colton’s opinions one bit bothersome. I also absolutely loved Adam Lambert and still do. I don’t believe it’s an “either/or” proposition. Country singers are some of the most religious, moral people you’ll ever find but wow, you’d never know it by the songs they sing. They’re just songs. They’re stories set to music and songs about life. There are plenty of “less than religious” rock songs I truly love. But they’re songs and don’t interfere with my personal beliefs.
      Some of the contestants are Christians, some aren’t. Some express their beliefs, others keep them private. Several of the winners have been practicing Christians. Whatever your religious beliefs may be do NOT miss the opportunity to hear Carrie Underwood sing “How Great Thou Art”. It’s an amazing performance.

    • Trouty Mouth says:

      Agreed. Colton’s fans are even worse. They’re probably the most bigoted and judgmental fandom out there (even including Klainers).

  15. Chris says:

    I don’t get the criticism of Hollie. I thought her performance was very good, one of the best of the night for me along with Elise and definitely ahead of Jessica. With such a deep lineup this year, it’s getting to the point where a potential top 3 contender will be in the bottom 3 with what should be Heejun and Deandre. If I had my pick it would be Colton, but my guess is that it will be either Skylar or Joshua. No disrespect to them, but SOMEONE has to be in the bottom 3.

    • I Heart Chuck Bass (and Damon Salvatore) says:

      I’m with you. I would rather have a flawed, but emotionally in-tune, performance from Hollie than a pitch-perfect performance from Jessica that is absent any connection whatsoever.

    • Gale says:

      It always seems to be that Hollie is trying too hard. She needs voice lessons to r e l a x and bring out some nuance in her vocals.

  16. macy says:

    Michael, you know I love you but I figured out that JLo’s “Baby…” is equal to your “Look…” (see DeAndrea and Heejun paragraphs.
    *
    DeAndre has a really beautiful voice, the likes of which are highly regarded in the R&B world (along the lines of Eric Benet, Prince, DeBarge, Phillip Bailey, Terrence Trent D’Arby), so it is easy to see why the judges love it. Maybe you are just not into that specific type of R&B enough to appreciate it? I thought it was beautiful.

    • MusicFan says:

      It was beautiful, Macy. One of the very reasons I fell in love with him is because I am a huge Prince fan and he did Eric’s song justice last night.

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      Agreed! I thought this was Deandre’s best showing in weeks. Whether or not he has the “emotional maturity to connect to an adult song about heartbreak,” the song just fit his voice like a glove. He could fake his way through the connection to a song like this and I wouldn’t know the difference.

    • Ang says:

      Did anyone else notice that Jennifer Lopez started out after Elise’s performance with a “baby”? I was about to have a fit and paused it to tell my husband that I was about to have a fit if they tried to pan Elise’s performance!

  17. Michael C. says:

    Slezak, are you working for Gloria Steinem? ENOUGH with the boy bashing! Your argument seems to be, “Girls haven’t won in a long time, so it’s their turn.” It’s nonsense. This is a talent show, not a vote on the ERA. I don’t understand why you simply couldn’t have waxed about, after having suffered through a dismal last two seasons, we finally have a good group, and that last night was one of the best overall performance nights in years. Instead it’s horrific Heejun and DeAndre bashing, and passes to your pets like Skylar, who sounds EXACTLY the same on every song and whose main talent seems to be stomping the stage, and yet who gets all the love from you because she’s female. Is DeAndre a weaker singer than Elise? Objectively, yes. But my God, give it a rest–his falsetto is beautiful, and it at least telegraphs that he’s willing to try a level of difficulty we haven’t been getting in many a season. If a woman wins this year, great–but it should be because she earned it, not simply because of some odd call for Idol affirmative action.

    • macy says:

      Amen Michael C.!!

    • MusicFan says:

      “Is DeAndre a weaker singer than Elise? Objectively, yes. But my God, give it a rest–his falsetto is beautiful, and it at least telegraphs that he’s willing to try a level of difficulty we haven’t been getting in many a season.” Amen Michael! AMEN!!!!

    • Jay says:

      Thanks for saying, Michael C, what I’ve been thinking since last year’s Haleyfest. I’ve always enjoyed reading what Michael Slezak has to say about the performances and will continue to; however, I have started skipping over the guy-bashing propaganda and intense Elise (for example) pimping (which makes for a quick read..). Why does Elise (for example) have to be triumphed to the detriment of any guy in this contest? That being said, I am scratching my head over the standing O for Heejun, but figured that being there live gave them a perspective of emotion that I didn’t have at home.

      • junebug says:

        I totally agree. As a woman, I would be ashamed if a woman won simply because she was a woman and NOT because she deserved it. There are several singers, male and female, who are worthy this year.

    • Muffy says:

      I agree. Plus, I feel like there are a lot of people against P2 because he is a WGWG. How unfair is that?

      • Cup of Joe says:

        I’ll tell you this much: he ain’t all that as people (and the judges) make him out to be. His performances just sound the same. And sure, rearranging songs is fine but you also gotta make it exceptional.

    • Name That Tune says:

      No, his point is Idol made it’s reputation on the backs of Kellie Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, not Rueben or Tayler Hicks or David Cook or Lee Dewyze or Kris Allen. Scotty is closer to Carrie and Kelly because he’s pure country. I’m sitting here right now looking at only 2 performers who actually have a real shot at winning this thing, and they are both White Guys. We’ll get a bone from one of the girls and maybe Skylar makes it to the top 3. Only one Diva will make it beyond the top 5 – take your pick between Hollie and Jessica (my vote is Jessica), and after that it’s just target practice to see who gets picked off first. Does it really matter if its Heejun or DeAndre or Joshua or Hollie who goes first?

      • Yo' says:

        My sense last night was that the producers/judges will push for a Colton, P2, Jessica finish. The problem is that the males are so overpraised, everyone is convinced of their singular wonderfulness. Last night there were maybe two standing O performances and five out of six males got one. That ain’t right.

        • Miscellaneopolan says:

          Colton, Phillip, and Jessica are indeed the chosen “horses” in this race.
          .
          But the producers are throwing some serious love toward Elise. They gave her a standing ovation last week (on a night when standing ovations actually meant something) and they gave her the pimp slot this week. It seems like they want her to go far, if not to the very top.
          .
          Oh, wait. I’m wrong. Jimmy identified Joshua, not Phillip, as one of the horses. Maybe Phillip’s ascendency just goes without saying.

    • dgh says:

      Completely agree Michael C.!

    • Eman says:

      His falsetto would be nicer if it was the minority of the song and not the majority. There are very few artists who can pull off a career singing mostly falsetto songs and many of them are part of a group and not the lead singer. That is why 99% of the music you hear on the radio by guys is not sung only in or mostly in falsetto. The chest voice and head voice has a much more pleasing sound than a falsetto. Using falsetto for effect now and again is nice but to sing the whole song in it is not nice and he was flat all over the place. What he needs is lots and lots of vocal lessons to harness his talent and learn how to really sing. That would help with his pitch problems and his breathing issues.

    • Lana says:

      Totally agree with Michael C. I couldn’t say it better. Enough of this male and female thing, who cares about what gender wins just that the winner be good. This year it is really okay with whomever should win, they all are that good. This year every episode is fun cause the talent is amazing!!

  18. brichb says:

    Last week Elise had her “Bennie and the Jets” moment. I can see her starting to follow the Haley trajectory now. Please keep it up Elise!

    • Meghan says:

      We can only hope!!

      • Kiwi says:

        As long as that trajectory doesn’t involve going home third… or worse, going home the week you perform Led Zeppelin… ;)

        • Shelley says:

          Meh, Elise can go home anytime now. Big difference between Haley & Elise for me, I could listen to the Lady Reinhart sing all day and all night long. Elise on the other hand I can barely stand for a minute and a half. I don’t get people saying Elise is this years Haley, um no she ain’t, not by a long shot.

          • Miscellaneopolan says:

            I was enthralled by Elise’s Zepplin cover this week, but I admit that it’s kind of exhausting to listen to over and over. Vienna, on the other hand, I’ve listened to plenty.

  19. Chris says:

    Michael I hope you will explain further the “big glory note went noticably askew” comment regarding DeAndre’s performance. I’d like to hear more about your insight and what it should’ve sounded like.

    Don’t bother with the download of Elise’s WLL download – it’s atrocious. Skylar’s is rocking though and I’d recommend DeAndre’s but obviously it’d be a waste of your money.

    I forgot about the weird dead tree stage setting for Joshua’s performance. I guess it was a metaphor for his singing career after the show… sorry but I just don’t see him going big at all.

  20. Bonnie A. says:

    Great review, Michael!

    Glad you were also wondering why DeAndre and Heejun received standing O’s for subpar performances, especially on this episode! I thought I wasn’t hearing the performances correctly on my TV or something.

    But they’re cute guys and will probably be around for awhile, probably in place of Jessica and Hollie–too bad!

    Have no idea who will be going home tonight. I voted LOTS for Elise, Phillip and Colton (and I’m a grandmother who votes for good singing!)

    • McFudge says:

      I had higher hopes for the judges earlier in the season…..they actually seemed to be giving helpful advice for awhile. Last night was ridiculous – I might even go so far as to say insulting.

    • Fitzie says:

      Yes, what you said. I thought maybe there was something wrong with my speakers when Heejun and DeAndre got standing O’s. There were many problems with Heejun’s performance and DeAndre needs to hit more of the notes when he decides to do a whole song in falsetto — there were a couple of times when he was singing that it sounded like fingernails on a blackboard.

  21. C says:

    Colton – Really enjoyed his passion. Words still need to be clearer.
    Skylar – OMGoodness, is country music stupid or what? Every song a soap opera with the same solution–murder! At any rate, it was a marvelous performance. I wish I could bottle her on-stage energy.
    Heejun – Was that really “A Song For You”? I didn’t recognize the melody at all–and he didn’t put the “s” on the word the way Jimmy told him to. His voice does not have the range or the smoothness for this song. Hearing him sing back to back with others in the trios and the recaps make it clear that his is the worst voice in this competition.
    Hollie – Excellent, but a 16 year old can’t really make this song work. Better than last week.
    It would be a shame if she goes now, but I think she will.
    Deandre – Just awful. DO NOT sing an entire song in falsetto. It sounded like freakin’ Tiny Tim. Please, either you or HeeJun have to go this week, but you’re both guys, so you won’t. (See comment above re: 73 year old woman).
    Jessica – Undeniably terrific voice, but still seems robotic.
    Phillip – I don’t like his voice at all, but his performance was excellent. (Despite the fact that he had a smile plastered on his face for the whole time that his “world was slippin’ away”).
    Joshua – Fine till he began the melisma and screeching before the second chorus. Then it just got completely out of control. And his jacket looked ridiculously too small–like he lost his and had to borrow one from someone else just before he went on stage.
    Elise – I don’t like her voice at all, but it’s totally suited to this song and this was the performance of the night.
    Bottom three: Deandre, HeeJun and Hollie, with Hollie going home simply because she has two X chromosomes in every cell.

    • MusicFan says:

      The song DeAndre sang was made to be sung in Falsetto (check out Eric Benet’s version). Why don’t folks get that… not many Prince, D’Angelo, Eric B, Earth Wind and Fire, etc fans out there I suppose.

      • C says:

        I don’t care if it’s meant to be sung in falsetto. I can’t stand Prince, and Earth Wind and Fire aren’t anywhere near as whiney. I won’t listen to a song that’s all falsetto and I would never buy a CD done by someone with songs that are all falsetto.

        • MusicFan says:

          Go listen to Philip Bailey sing Reasons and the if you can stand it watch DeAndre’s back. I’d say Philip went extreme Falsetto and DeAndre gave it warmth.

          If you’re just not open to the sound that’s ok too.

          • C says:

            I definitely am not open to that sound. But, beauty is in the ear of the listener. We’ll just have to agree to disagree. BTW, Earth Wind and Fire does not sing their songs totally in falsetto.

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      I disagree with you about Deandre. I thought this was a strong night for him, but I’m glad someone pointed out Joshua’s Baby Gap jacket. There’s fitted, there’s tight, and then there’s whatever that was.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Quoting C, “Skylar – OMGoodness, is country music stupid or what? Every song a soap opera with the same solution–murder! ”
      That is so darned funny! I started thinking of some other country songs about murder, some of which were also hits on the pop charts – “Ode to Billie Joe” , “The Night the Lights went out in Georgia”, “Papa Loved Mama”, “Long Black Veil”, “Old Red”, Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Delia’s Gone”, and the Dixie Chicks’ “Goodbye, Earl” (another song about an abused woman killing her man!). “Goodbye, Earl” created a huge controversy when it was released but surprisingly “Gunpowder and Lead” did not.
      There’s also “Bubba Shot the Jukebox” (he didn’t kill a person, but he shot the jukebox because it played a sad song), “Murder on Music Row” – where some traditional country singers lamented about the death of traditional country music, and one of my favorites, “Pardon me, I’ve Got Someone to Kill”.
      (And just for the record in the song “Fancy” the problem is solved with prostitution – not murder.)

      • Shelley says:

        And if I could add one to the list… Martina McBride “Independance Day”

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Good one, Shelley! Perhaps Idol should do a “Country Music Murder Songs” theme night. :-)

          • My Alter Ego says:

            D.E.T. as always, you are a hoot!

            However, am I the only one who thinks that it’s a bit hypocritical when a certain part of the lyrics of “You Ought to Know” have to be revised because AI is a “family show” but songs with a message of murderous intent are perfectly OK?

            I mean if it’s only a song (to refer back to another one of your posts)? Really???

            (P.S. I do realize that you aren’t the one dictating this, but I’m just putting the question out there.)

  22. chistosa says:

    I have read your re-caps for years, Michael, and I almost always agree with your analysis. However this year I have a different opinion. First, I do not think Skylar is that good. I liked her first two performances and like her less each time she performs. As to Jessica, her voice is amazing. Possibly one of the best technical voices ever on Idol. But I do not enjoy her performances. So I don’t vote for her. I have been unable to connect to her in any way. Hollie is not ready for prime time. She is wooden and sings the wrong songs. Monster voice, but not an idol, not yet. So I have to say I am voting for Elise and for the men. I am not a teeny bopper although I teach them. I am not an old lady grandma. But Phillip and Joshua appeal more to me than Jessica and Skylar. Not a male vs. female thing nor a teeny bopper voting for a cute boy. Just a woman voting for the ones I would most likely enjoy seeing in concert. That is Elise, Phillip and Joshua.

    • chistosa says:

      One more thing. I am not influenced by what the judges say at all. So over praising a contestant whom I did not like does not make me re-think my opinion. Their opinion is for ratings and show business. It means nothing to me.

  23. Sasha says:

    Joshua was really good but I prefer Kelly Clarkson’s cover of it from season 1

    That said….heejun better go home.

  24. MusicFan says:

    Michael I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about and echo Chris’s comment. Please do explain and then while you’re at it why don’t you skip over to a Prince fan discussion board and criticize his live performances. DeAndre’s performance was one of the best of the night. I thought Elise sucked and her itunes track sucks even worse. Jessica stole the night in my opinion and come one folks – if Hollie is the one in the very bottom of course they will whip out the save. Elise is ranking in the top 4 now.

    • MamaLis says:

      I totally get & agree with Michael. DeAndre was a bit like a wounded animal last night and additionally lacks the maturity and connection to his songs. And just because DeAndre can hit his falsetto doesn’t make him anything close to Prince. Come on! He was (again) all over the map and really seems to be lost this season. And when you back his performance up to say… Joshua’s, technically and emotionally, there’s just no comparison.

  25. jazzy says:

    How can you give Colton a B? Also did you not hear the smooth purity of his voice on landslide? Agree with the other comments. Also, while I respect anyone’s religion, I don’t want it shoved in my face. What if I waxed on about the Torah, huh? Still lovin’ Colton though. I’m sending Holly or Skylar home, good voices and all, they’re not stars. Heejun gets the personality vote and gets to stay a little longer, Deandre has star quality and deserves to stay a little longer. Rock on Elise!

  26. Miscellaneopolan says:

    Last night was a good night, a very good night. I honestly don’t think there was a single bad performance. Elise was my favorite, because duh. But Jessica (control!), Colton (vulnerable!), and Phillip (intense!) were all very good too. Joshua and Skylar gave strong performances but both had hiccups that put them just below their competitors. Joshua’s passion caused him to go flat in the latter half of the song, and Skylar completely botched her lyrics about a third of the way through. Still very good, though.
    .
    I liked both Heejun and Deandre. Yes, Heejun still can’t fully pronounce his words and doesn’t quite have the power of the other contestants, but I love that song and I think he did a very tender, relatable take on it. As for Deandre, I don’t think his performance deserved a standing ovation but I do think it was his best showing since Master Blaster. He seemed far more comfortable with the song than he did with his Billy Joel tune from last week and the R&B sound suited his voice. At any rate, both of them made more of an impression on me than Hollie, who has just done the same thing week after week after week. If she’s voted out tonight, and of the available choices I think she should be, the comparisons to Pia will be so pronounced as to be eerie.

    • Ben says:

      Tender and relatable describes Heejun perfectly. Does he have the best voice? Patently not. But it does frustrate me when people refuse to judge idol on anything wider than purely how well they can sing. I’d take someone like Heejun – technically deficient but incredibly soulful and sincere – over someone like Pia Toscano any day. I suppose this is where my opinion differs from Michael, because although I agree that Heejun’s performance was the worst vocal of the night, I can’t agree that it was the worst performance.

  27. Tom says:

    My thoughts exactly on Jessica … i mean they are handing out standing O’s like microwavable chicken at Costco, and Jessica doesnt get one for that performance?? She is like Tiger woods in his hey-day. If he wasnt winning he was stalking the top and always putting pressure on the other players, no mistakes… Gloria estefan aside … Hopefully in the next week few she pulls another “moment” and really stakes her claim for the title because she deserves to be there … BTW she may be the best stylist of any of them this side of Colton …

    Hollie reminds me of the girl you meet at school who already has the boyfriend and you are never going to get in with her. plain, safe, suburban and boring … really should steal a little from Jessica in the style department…

    Not really diggin Colton … just too much with the look and way he carries himself …

    • Jett says:

      I agree with you on Jessica, Tom. I feel like everybody says she’s predictable because she slays it every single time. I mean for the judges to give Hee Jun a standing O and Jessica not just because it was ANOTHER great performance by her was just a puzzle to me. Looking at the posts, Deandre seems to have divided voters. Yet, everybody, including the judges, seems to agree Jessica gave a way-above-average, if not a great, performance. But guess who got the standing O. She has been the most consistent of the lot. But she doesn’t seem to get enough credit. I agree that the praises for her performances have been watered-down a bit. A classic case of “humiliating if u fail, commonplace if you succeed.” Have somebody perform any of the songs she has performed thus far in the way she performed them, I bet the judges would be swinging from chandeliers if there were any. Just sayin’.

  28. macy says:

    Regarding DeAndre, said Michael: “a vocal this week that was about as pleasant as listening to a Snowy Owl sink its talons into a frightened prairie dog and carry it back to the nest for disembowelment”.

    Michael, really? You have your favorites as does everyone, but how about being fair? You said that it is not because DeAndre was off pitch (true, he wasn’t) but because he lacks emotional maturity. So because of that supposed lack of emotional maturity you heard that disembowelment nonsense? I know you need to be funny but that description is just a little bit beyond inaccurate and unfair.

  29. Katie @KatieRud81 says:

    I’m feeling sort of confused by this season of Idol. The post a few days back about the best Top 10 in the history of the show got me thinking- would I rather have a season of 10 people I find perfectly serviceable or a season with a couple of people I feel very strongly about (either good or bad)? I honestly think the latter is what I would prefer.

    In that poll I voted for the season of the Davids (and other good artists). David Cook, whom I adore to this day and manages to be the ONLY person who has ever gotten me to pick up a phone and vote for a contestant was someone I felt very strongly for from the get go. I think it’s a great thing to have contestants in a season that you both love and hate.

    Last night, while vocally lovely (for the most part) was a snoozefest to me, mainly because with the exception of Elise (possibly) I couldn’t see myself buying an album of any of these contestants (haha, look at me pretending I still buy albums).

    I like a few people this season- but I don’t like them enough to be invested in caring about who goes home. This may be where Idology, Michael and Melinda have to enter and pull me through a season

    The judges and their standing ovations are becoming very much akin to the boy who cried wolf. When a genuinely great performance happens, you can hardly believe their effusive praise because they had them out like a candy at Halloween (look ma! Another Snickers bar!)

    • Davey says:

      Boy, how quickly we forget. Remember the season of Lee DeWyse which was excruciating to sit through from week to week. If Casey James and Crystal hadn’t been there that season I would have stopped watching. I’m enjoying most of these singers. And we don’t have singers like Kristy Lee Cook or Haley Scarmoto or whatever her name was who are bad over and over and never go way.

      • Katie @KatieRud81 says:

        I think you missed my point. The point was you can have a stable of good/great singers in a season, but if you don’t want to cheer for (or against) someone it’s just boring. These are lovely kids with good voices, but I don’t feel strongly one way or another about them. That makes the show boring to me.

        • nodak says:

          I understand your point completely, and I agree with you. I usually feel pretty passionate about 1 or 2 of the Idol contestants, but, in spite of their good voices and great variety, I can’t find my “Crystal Bowersox” in the crowd. There is no one that I tune in to hear. I just watch from a combination of curiosity, habit, and wanting to be in the loop when people talk about this show at work.

  30. Arnie says:

    If Hollie gets a plane ticket home tonight, I doubt the judges will save her. I really-really like her, but Nigel will have them save the save for someone with less ability and potential, but is more buzzworthy. She’ll get Pia-ed.

    On another Nigel note. I’d bet his IPod is full of tunes performed by inductees in the All Hype and Marginal Talent Hall of Fame.

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      I’ve been wondering about that save. The way I see it, the Idol machine is guaranteed to have someone who is at the very least buzz-worthy no matter who wins. If Skylar, Jessica, Colton, or Phillip win, they’ve got someone who can sell a bunch of records. If Elise wins, they’ll have someone who will go on to become, if not a commercial sensation, a successful, self-sustaining artist. I think Joshua and Deandre would probably have a harder time getting sold to the public, but at least the Idol producers would be able to say that black men could still win the show, and a win for Hollie would allow them to say the same thing about girls. The only thing I think might be bad for the show is if Heejun won. That could be kind of embarrassing. Otherwise, I say just use the save at the first opportunity to get it out of the way and then sit back and watch the blood fly.

  31. Andy J says:

    At least Joshua Ledet’s version of Mariah Carey’s “Can’t Live Without You” was better than Bulgarian singer Valentina Hasan’s version of “Ken Lee” (check it out on YouTube). And was I the only one who was faked out by JLo’s Baby to Jessica last night?

  32. Phillip Fan says:

    Heejun sounded ridiculous. Eliot Yamin you are NOT.
    Deandre has no idea what he is singing about _ I can’t sit through his lifeless performances.
    Colton – I don’t get it. He is lucky he is a dude. That should lock him into top 4 – but I still don’t get it.
    Phillip = yummy. And that dude is riveting. He is becoming my fave. Me likey.

  33. Betsy says:

    frankly I think Joshua is in danger. The song last night didn’t fit him at all – it was like he was wrestling with it the entire time.

  34. Sam says:

    Once deandre and heejun go home, it will be really interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out. Everyone has a strong fan base and there are a large amount of them who could win. Once it gets down to 5, even 6 every elimination night will be a shocker. I have no fInale predicitons unlike last year. This season is so talented and im really invested in it.
    I have to say i thought jessica’s performance was mesmorizing. She did a great job. I didnt think hollie’s was as bad as the judge’s thought. After she finished i didnt think it was amazing but a solid job. I think phillip is so special and talented, but im worried for when they make him sing mainstream songs because they just dont fit his voice. Joshua is great but he needs to change it up a bit and give something different, same with hollie. I like how phillip switches between uptempo and slow every other week. I like heejun and i think he does have a g

  35. Sam says:

    Once deandre and heejun go home, it will be really interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out. Everyone has a strong fan base and there are a large amount of them who could win. Once it gets down to 5, even 6 every elimination night will be a shocker. I have no fInale predicitons unlike last year. This season is so talented and im really invested in it.
    I have to say i thought jessica’s performance was mesmorizing. She did a great job. I didnt think hollie’s was as bad as the judge’s thought. After she finished i didnt think it was amazing but a solid job. I think phillip is so special and talented, but im worried for when they make him sing mainstream songs because they just dont fit his voice. Joshua is great but he needs to change it up a bit and give something different, same with hollie. I like how phillip switches between uptempo and slow every other week. I like heejun and i think he does have a good voice, but this season every else seems to be more talented. Skyler is fading in the background for me and i love her so i hope she kills it next week. Colton seems nice, but i cant get over his attitude in hollywood week when his sister was cut ” its just not right. This is sick”. I hated when he said tht but i have to get over it cause he is good.
    Lastly, i wonder how richie law feels about phillip and heejun making it this far. Does he have a twitter cause i would love to see his opinion. Guy was an evil version of scotty.

  36. rwfblog says:

    The Fox affiliate in Orlando, FL screwed up bad. They showed commercials during Jessica’s intro package, extending halfway into her song. :( At least I assume it was a local problem, because I haven’t seen anyone comment about it.

  37. rwfblog says:

    The Fox affiliate in Orlando, FL screwed up bad. They showed commercials during Jessica’s intro package extending to halfway thru her song. :( At least, since no one else is commenting about it, I assume it was a local problem.

  38. Davey says:

    Much as I like Skylar so was so darned perky last night that I think she missed the story of the song.

    And after reading all the negative comments about Colton I watched his performance online because I had come to the show last night 15 minutes late and I have to admit it was one of his better performances because the emotion seemed real. Even though I can’t quite relate to a love song to the power above.

    I hope Dial Idol is wrong, wrong, wrong because Jessica Sanchez is listed in the bottom 3. Which would be a huge joke.

    I’m not sure what Jessica has to do now but she deserves to win this thing. Her only flaw is her youth but she is going to be big. Plus she’s not the conventional blonde all American type that American Idol keeps giving us. She needs to pick a different kind of song perhaps that shows her most vulnerable side.

    I am curious to see where Elise lands in the competition. It does seem that Jimmy is behind her. But you never, never know with this show. JLo and Randy might turn against her at any moment.

    Because they love, love, love Phillip and Colton.

    • chistosa says:

      If you look at the raw scores on Dialidol you will see that she is much higher than that. For some reason last season and this the raw scores are more accurate than the full Dialidol score. Having said that, I am not a Jessica fan. I admire her voice but everything else leaves me cold. I agree about Skylar, I did not enjoy her performance at all last night. Elise was the best of the females. She is more the whole package to me than Jessica.

      • Name That Tune says:

        That would be due to it being early in the season. And DialIdol doesn’t have anyway to track smart phone voters or those who vote online, neither of which ever have a busy signal. So the sample that tracks people who actually vote will look closer to the real situation then a system that tries to measure the people who are trying to vote, but can’t get through.

  39. PFitzDC says:

    Agree with you on all but two…

    The Madonna trio was dreadful…(not as bad as the Michael boys, tho). Those girls just didn’t have the sexuality and substance that Madonna has and it came off as frothy kaoraoke.

    Can’t get on the Joshua bandwagon with you. He’s more grounded that Jacob Lusk, yes, but it’s still all about vocal theatrics. There’s something “off” about this kid–I’m not sure what it is, but he tends to look dead in the eyes 75% of the time and just disconnected and disengaged. When someone asks him to engage, like JLo and the smile, he always seems to be on auto pilot, with a split-second delay.

  40. Jay says:

    My favorites from last night were Colton, Phillip, and Skylar, and I also liked Deandre and Joshua and Jessica. I don’t dislike Holly, but I’m waiting for her to try something besides ballads. To be perfectly honest, I probably would have liked Elise’s rendition of “Whole Lotta Love,” but I wasn’t ready for another version of a song that was one of my favs that Adam did. It may be I’m part Golden Retriever, but I’m loyal to Adam and his rendition.

    Colton’s version on iTunes of “Everything” is magical. Sure he maybe had a couple wonky notes during the live performance, but it was still great. Of course, I couldn’t get the picture of Clark and Lana dancing at prom out of my head while listening to it.

    Phillip is always just mesmerizing to watch; can’t take my eyes off him when he performs. He should try a different tempo next week though, just to show that he can mix things up a bit. Love that he sang Jonny Lang this week! All obviousness aside, my dream song for Phil would be “Gravedigger” by DMB or just about anything Jack White has written.

    Having seen Garth Brooks in concert during his prime, Skylar shows a little bit of that “Garth spaz” on stage that makes her an exciting performer.

  41. Sandi says:

    My opinion:
    -
    Colton – I have been a Colton fan since last season when I yelled at my TV as they told him he was flawless (or some similar adjective) and then didn’t put him through. But I couldn’t get into this song. It just didn’t seem to go anywhere for me and felt dull. Don’t get me wrong. I still would vote for him a hundred times if I actually voted but I wasn’t feeling this performance.
    Heejun – Gets the award for most improved but should still get booted for least promising.
    Deandre – I disagree completely with Slezak. I thought he sounded like a young Prince and I was captivated. I hope he’s safe!
    Jessica – What a stunning performance. She can do no wrong in my book.
    Elise – Sorry, Adam KILLED WLL and I didn’t think it lived up to that. But…she was still fabulous.
    Joshua – I’m genre biased so I just can’t get into him. Also, I wish he’d strip it down and captivate me with a moving performance. Instead, I feel like all I get is vocal gymnastics.
    Phil Phil – Consistent but never stunning. I absolutely love him but I’ve yet to see a true “moment” from him.
    Hollie – Like Erika, I think she has a fine voice but it just bores me. There’s just nothing unique and captivating about her – for me.
    Skylar – I adore her. I’m not a country music person but she could turn that around for me. If she had pitch problems, I didn’t pick up on it. I was too busy enjoying her enthusiasm and charisma.
    -
    I know a lot of people say they’d buy a CD from Idol contestants but I rarely do (except for Adam, David C, Bo Bice, Carrie, and Kelly). However, I would buy CDs from about at least half of them. This is definitely one of the strongest seasons ever.
    -
    Bottom 3 – Heejun, Deandre, Hollie but I think anyone could have a surprise bottom 3 appearance especially Joshua.

  42. marie says:

    For me, Colton was the weakest of the night – yes, weaker than Heejun or Deandre, both of whom, although far from flawless last night, I found more pleasant than not to listen to. Heejun’s vocal tone I find soothing, although I wish he’d work (hard!) on enunciation. I happen to like falsetto, and Deandre’s is actually quite prettty.
    Though I’ve enjoyed some of his past performances, Colton seemed to be struggling vocally last night – major pitch issues in his lower register, although being buried in the mix didn’t help him.
    Two contestants who just do nothing for me are Hollie and Jessica. Good voices, yes, definitely, but they leave me totally cold. There’s no passion there, no real emotional connection with the music, and consequently there’s nothing there for me to connect with. Little teenage wind-up singing dolls who should have waited a few years to acquire some life experience and maturity: you need more than the technical goods to be a good singer. I will admit, though, that while listening to Jessica last night, I did find myself thinking, Yes, she certainly can sing (and somehow this realization leaves me flat).
    Not Skylar’s best performance, but there’s just something so real about her, I find myself enjoying every one of her performances.
    Phillip – I just get a real kick out of him. No problems with emotional connection there! What honest-to-goodness passion and commitment!
    And Elise – well, what else can I say? Such a pro, such vocal control – brava.
    I find this season, genuine musicality and an obvious love of singing and performing that just blazes off the stage trumps a tecnically pure voice with little emotion behind it. For me, the singers who seem to be having the best time onstage – like Phillip and Elise – are the ones who can make me have a good time listening to them.

    • Justin says:

      Colton ALWAYS struggles vocally, which Michael usually alludes to in his write-ups. I have no clue what people see in him. His voice completely lacks any kind of distinctive quality so instead he strains really hard to let out a strange-sounding yelp to try to make up for that. His whole act is forced and contrived.

  43. Yanis Khamsi says:

    Slezak! Tell Jason Averett that Johnny Lang’s real name is Jon Langseth. His sister is Jesse Langseth from season 8. Interesting bit of trivia.

  44. Justin says:

    - The three best of the night were hands down Elise (please stick with HARD ROCK if possible; it really suits you), Phillip and Jessica.
    - If this was a competition is based on actual singing talent, Colton would go home next. He has a very thin, very generic voice and his forced and affected yelp does not change that and neither does his emo hair or skinny jeans. He’s also the most contrived and pretentious contestant they’ve had in years. Sadly, he’ll be around for many more weeks thanks to playing the Jesus card and his look appeals to tween girls.
    - I like Skylar, but she is not deserving of an A-. Yes, she is fun to watch and full of energy, but she also screwed up an entire line of her song and was all over the place vocally.
    - It wasn’t one of Joshua’s best, but I thought he did a decent enough job. It was a nice and heartfelt performance.
    - I didn’t think Deandre was bad at all. It’s just that style of singing isn’t for everyone. I do agree he lacks that emotional connection that comes with age and life experience. Then again, some teen singers just have that inate ability to connect (Allison is a good example).
    - Hollie seems like a sweetie and is all kinds of cute, but she has fallen big time in my estimation these past few weeks. I’m sick of the subpar ballads. She’s also having pitch problems throughout her songs.
    - Heejun’s tone is great but his performances are almost always sterile and sleepy. Time to go home, bro.

    Bottom 3 SHOULD be: Colton, Heejun and either Skylar or Hollie
    Bottom 3 WILL be: Deandre, Hollie and either Elise or Joshua

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      I’m surprised so few people have mentioned Skylar’s vocal mishap. She just up and forgot an entire phrase! She recovered, but still, a boo-boo.
      .
      I REALLY doubt Elise will be in the Bottom 3. The combination of a great performance, momentum from last week, and the pimp slot should keep her out. I don’t look at Idol stats, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Elise’s fan-base is swelling.

  45. Mary says:

    Why is it suggested that people should change it up when P2 and Skyler NEVER do a slow, tender balad, but they’re NEVER called on it? I’m not sure if either of them are able to do it.

    • Anya Stark says:

      Doesn’t P2′s version of In the Air Tonight count? That was quite slow and “tender”. Hee.

      P2 reminds me of P3, the bar in Charmed.

  46. junebug says:

    Deandre was freaking amazing last night. His voice in both registers is incredible. Most people can only sing in one. I love that he isn’t a one trick pony yet stays true to himself. The only performance of his that I didn’t like was last week when he listened to the guy who supposedly knew what he was talking about. Deandre is much better when he follows his own instincts. His biggest flaw is his lack of confidence. When he trusts his instincts, he is amazing.

    • ThemApples says:

      AGREED.
      Deandre’s talent is siiiiick! He just smolders when he’s in the zone, crazy talented.
      Not some people’s cup of tea apparently, I don’t get it.
      LOVE DEANDRE. My favorite idol in a loooong time.

  47. Name That Tune says:

    We’re not at a point in the competition where I am absolutely in love with any of these performers, but I do know who were my bottom 3 and that was Heejun, DeAndre and Hollie. Don’t see Hollie actually at risk, but sending either Heejun or DeAndre home would be the right choice. After that, the judges are going to have to exercise some wisdom in their save.

    BTW, I get that full-out blast that Skylar does, but it’s going to get old in about 2 weeks if she doesn’t tone it down and show us a softer side.

  48. Gale says:

    DialIdol has three categories in the drop-down menu: busy pecentages, raw numbers and DialIdol score. They are usually different from each other. Does anybody know which one is the best indicator?

    • Name That Tune says:

      When I’ve tracked Dial Idol, I think the score is more reliable at the end of the season than the beginning. It’s usefulness is limited by the fact that many voters no longer rely on land lines to cast their votes – the use cell phones (smart phones are particularly powerful and greatly skew the voting) and online voting. Dial Idol can’t track those votes, and there is never a busy signal.

      So I tend to look at total votes early in the season, then switch to the score when there are 5 or less performers.

  49. marie says:

    Plenty of commenters here – including me – are talking about a lack of real emotional connection with the material because of the extreme youth, and its associated lack of life experience, of some of the contestants. The *only* young teenager on the show I’ve ever really enjoyed was Allison, who somehow managed, even at a young 16, to not fit this particular mold.
    X Factor is even worse, with its 12-year-old minimum age (one of many reasons I don’t care for and don’t watch that show).
    But it’s futile to hope Idol will ever really raise the age limit to a more reasonable 18 (or even 19 or 20 – yes, I really *am* dreaming now!). Clearly it’s NOT intended as a show ONLY for adults.
    I’m just indulging in a little fantasy here…

  50. TheBeach says:

    I’m gonna nitpick here. Not because I don’t like the contestants, I do. These are just little things that for my personal enjoyment, I wish they would change:
    Heejun: please put consonants at the end of words that have them.
    Phillip: that scrunched up face when hitting the high notes looks like you’re about to pass another kidney stone and I know you like the grunge look but you would look hot in a plain black t-shirt and Levis that fit…not asking you to sell-out.
    Hollie: please stop passing the mic from one hand to the other on every note.
    Joshua: those jackets are just to tight. Maybe you could borrow something from Phillip.
    Elise: You have a beautiful smile, please use it more often.
    Deandre: falsetto, falsetto, falsetto
    Colton: Enough with the “I’m so tender and yet sexy” Ace Young expressions
    Jessica: Let loose, have fun, life’s short.
    Skylar: This ain’t the Tina Turner Review. Take it down a couple of notches
    JMHO

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I thoroughly enjoyed your commentary, Beach, but you realize all the Heejun lovers are going to clobber on you and call you “racist”.
      I especially liked the comment about Skylar and the Tina Turner revue. That’s funny, but I’ll say this for Ike and Tina – they really knew how to put on a show. I feel like Skylar’s rushing her songs a bit and I’d enjoy them more if she sang them at a slightly slower tempo.

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      I too enjoyed the commentary. Joshua HAS to know how silly he looked in that jacket. HOLLIE would be like “This is too tight.”
      .
      So I agree that Heejun should improve his enunciation, but is that asking too much of someone with a thick accent? I mean, I’m not a linguist, but is it even possible for someone to overcome habits that I imagine by this point are very deeply ingrained in the space of a few weeks, especially when that person has to meet all the demands imposed by a show as busy as American Idol? Is there Idol precedent for this?