Idology: Celebrating Elise, Defending Jessica and Sparring Over DeAndre and Skylar

Back in the early days of American Idol, contestants used to have to walk 10 miles in the snow to get to the live show, and standing ovations from the judges happened only a few times per season. On Season 11’s Top 9 Week, however, J.Lo, Randy, and Steven got to their feet for no fewer than five separate contestants — and a couple of them weren’t even the evening’s best performers.

On this week’s Idology, Season 6 star Melinda Doolittle and I discuss which contestants actually earned their standing Os, why Jimmy Iovine is making Jessica Vs. Hollie an either/or proposition, and what we’d like to see when it comes to Phillip and Colton’s pants. Plus, we engage in spirited debate over performances by Skylar Laine and DeAndre Brackensick, dish Joshua Ledet’s emotional break, and drop the phrase “the best move I’ve ever seen in my life” regarding a particularly ferocious vocalist.

So press play below to view this week’s Idology, then hit the comments with your thoughts. 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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  1. Rick says:

    Jessica has a terrific voice and has nailed every performance. She seems sweet and is also the best at choosing her clothes. However, there is something off about her performances and I just can’t put my finger on it. I think the term boring is too crude but she’s just not connecting with the audience in my opinion. And as much as I hate to agree with the useless judges they seem to feel the same way and I think that is why she has not received as much praise as her fans would like. I also agree that they are praising mediocre performances and it’s a travesty to Jessica. I wish the judges would just die scale it back and only praise truly great performances. I miss Kara and Simon, I think they could help Jessica by telling her watch she needs to do. She needs to change it up in order to win.

    • Templar says:

      Three words: flawless mechanical performance. This is what you would want and expect from a Mercedes Benz, not a singer. Jessica is a parrot, singing as her stage parents have programmed her to sing. Blech.

      • Bobbi says:

        Sounds like Templar has a crusade against Jessica. Now attacking her parents (do you knw them?). Just youtube the Vegas performance and the JHud cover, if that’s mechanical or a parrot then MORE please!

      • Cup of Joe says:

        Templar, stop being a d-bag to Jessica, will ya? I suggest you take a cold shower, tw@t!

  2. Rick says:

    * I wish the judges w̶o̶u̶l̶d̶ ̶j̶u̶s̶t̶ ̶d̶i̶e̶ scale it back and only praise truly great performances….

  3. gary says:

    Never tiring of Elise. Can’t wait what she sings next. Head and shoulders above every one else in competition in maturity, performance points, and confidence. Would love to see her sing something rockin from her for 80’s week to build on excitement, momentum and buzz surrounding her right now–something familiar like Eurythmics “Would I lie to you (…Ohhhhh Yeahhh!!!)” or Lenny Kravitz’ “Let Love Rule”(1989). Me suspects she will continue to go with songs she has sung before with her band. Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” is a possibility with her on Guitar or piano. Historically a top song but generally unknown to this generation and a little sleepy and forgettable if number one slot.

    One critique Slezak of this week’s Idolotry: The lyric in Elise’s “whole lotta love” you write out as Elise sings is not “desert…inggg”. It’s “discern…ing”. Specifically, “All those good times baby,baby I’ve been discerning”.

  4. RandomBlahBlah says:

    I thought I’d never get to the bottom of this page. It seemed forever.
    Anyway…so I get it that there’s some heat over Jessica. I will not elaborate further as this has been done by so many other fanatics above.
    So I did everyone a favor and conducted a case study..I got 5 random tweens listen to Elise, Jessica, Colton, Philip and Skylar’s studio version of their songs last week. These 5 random tweens DO NOT watch AI and are pretty much youtube/warcraft/mallrats, etc.. I didn’t specify who the artist were just played the songs in a shuffle mix.. Here’s the outcome:

    5 out of 5 said they will download/purchase Jessica’s version.
    3 out of 5 said Elise sounded angry and maybe she’s a crackhead (no pun intended)
    4 out of 5 said Philips version was okay and nothing more.
    3 out of 5 said Colton’s “band” is mediocre and yeah oh-so-twilighty. One girl said “was this from the vampire diaries??”
    4 out of 5 said Skylar sounds fun and they would buy her music.

    This maybe just 5 but if you look at the demographics..most of the influence seen on youtube/mtv/itunes come from the 13-26 age group. If Jessica is deemed to be dead in someone’s opinion, maybe it has something to do with age. Im just saying.

    You don’t have to be blessed with musical ears or a knack of weeding out missed notes or blotchy robotic movements. You just need to have a sense of likeness or akin to one’s musical style. Ergo, teens seem to go with trends. If it sounds catchy and goes viral ultimately it’ll be a success. The music industry has evolved to be a social cliche of sorts unlike before when it was a form of art and expression of one’s beliefs./feelings. I guess it still is but at the end of the day, it still is a business and in the business the key is to generate revenue.

    Jimmy Iovine said it best, Interscope/UMG invests in so much money on the artists they work with. Regardless of how they are currently, if these artists can move numbers and bring in the money, auto-tune robotic stereotypical mimicry may just work.

    Again, I’m just saying. ..

    Let the fussing continue….

    • Cup of Joe says:


    • darcy's evil twin says:

      and then there are Adele and Bruno Mars – two artists with mad talent that can actually write good music, sing, AND make money! I would like to think cream still rises to the top and Adele will outlast Nicki Minaj and, my personal favorite example of current dreck, Rhianna.
      The music business has ALWAYS been a business. Look at what Tom Parker did to Elvis, for crying out loud – then Elvis died and Priscilla really turned him into a cash cow . When Graham Nash sold “Teach Your Children Well” to Fruit of the Loom for a commercial my fellow baby-boomers darn near rioted because he “sold out”. Well, he got two million dollars, or something like that. Get over yourselves, people. Art and expression doesn’t pay the bills.
      The worst thing of all? Folks like Neil Young that continue to sing and whine about oppression and “the man” while using the system that has allowed them to become multi-millionaires to spout their nonsense. Good grief Neil, please stay in Canada. The 60s are SO over!
      Okay, off the soap box and back to the sarcasm. ;-)

    • Erica says:

      This is the most sensible comment I have read! Kudos. :)

    • ladyhelix says:

      Dude do you KNOW who Jimmy Iovene has worked with? Springsteen, U2, Lady Gaga, Patti Smith, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Stevie Nicks, Golden Earring, Simple Minds, Dire Straits, and John Lennon are not ALL auto-tuned robotic stereotypical mimicry. I think I understand what you were saying – but Jimmy has serious chops and has worked with some of the best. I felt compelled to mention that – thanks.
      As far as your tune=test (great idea!!) a question – how much do you think the lack of visual worked in Jessca’s favor (since she always sounds heavenly to me)? Is the robotic thing people have a problem with vocal – or physical? (I blame a lot of it on the shoes she chooses).
      Do you think the fact that most teenagers wouldn’t be caught dead watching idol (or allowing their parents to) impacts future sales for these artists? All I can say is thank goodness for our DVR!!

      • Marsaili says:

        My teenagers watch with me every week and have for years—and their friends watch as well. I don’t know where you got the idea that teens don’t watch—heck, all the swaybots are teens and when the Idols go home they are surrounded by teens. Where are you getting your ideas? LOL! ;-)

        • ladyhelix says:

          I have 3 teenagers – and their friends spend a lot of time at my house doing all sorts of things (playing board games, xbox, school work, music/sports practice, watching TV & Movies, eating) – but NOT watching Idol. And if they come home and it’s on (we have one TV) it is the only show they have ever insisted I turn off. (I just DVR it)
          So that’s where I “get the idea” that all teens don’t watch idol. We don’t watch a lot of TV – but we do watch things together – usually sports and nature – Dan will sit down and watch SYTYCD with me. I’ve gutted out Southpark, they’ve joined me for Buffy, we all love 30 Rock, Big Bang, and Once Upon a Time but despite the fact that the boys both sing in the top choir at the High school (#1 in the state) – they have never had any patience with Idol.

          • Marsaili says:

            Ok, I’ll give you that—but I think your kids are the exception rather than the norm. All my kids’ friends watch it—my facebook friends who have teens watch it with their kids. And the fact that teens are always prevalent in the audience and at Idol event shows that it is still very big with teens. I’m not saying ALL teens watch it, but I would say the audience for Idol is more teens and their parents than any other demographic.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      That’s a good survey but it’s not without bias. I wouldn’t expect teens to get Zeppelin.

      • Marsaili says:

        Well, I’d have to disagree with you there—if the teens have parents that are my age, who grew up with and on Zeppelin, then they would probably know them as well as they know their music. My kids all know Zeppelin, my 16 year old is teaching himself to play guitar and Zeppelin and Aerosmith are his favorite bands. Most of the stuff he listens to ranges from late 60’s to mid-90’s. My 6 kids whose ages range from 6 to 24 grew up on Zeppelin, Beatles, Stones, Dylan–and 80’s metal and hair metal, LOL! Most of their friends were the same way. My boys who watch with me remember Adam Lambert doing WWL and felt that Elise blew Lambert away—and I agree! We were all enthralled with Adam, we all voted for him—but I think Elise is the Rocker chick who can actually give Adam a run for his money!

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          But Marsali, you didn’t do the survey so I think we’re referring to a different subset of teens. I wouldn’t expect teens that liked Jessica to like Zeppelin. I think that would be two different subsets of kids.
          I have a pre-teen niece that loves Justin Bieber but she also likes Adele and walks around the house belting out “Bad Romance” (she doesn’t know all the words, thank goodness). I’m betting she would prefer Jessica to Elise if I asked her. Her older brother likes AC/DC and a lot of the old rock bands but he doesn’t like Bieber at all. He’s probably more like your boys. He used to play that Guitar Hero game and ask me to guess the song. Once in a while I would purposely get one wrong – his mother warned him that I would know every last song but I would miss one occasionally just to make him feel a little better. I’m guessing he would prefer Elise, P2, and possibly Colton, depending on the song.

    • RandomBlahBlah says:

      I never did expect a plethora of responses, but seriously, everyone has a say on their bet. And as so it goes, may the best contestant with the most number of votes win. So give respect to those who choose to follow their idols.

      Sometimes, the best slap in the face is one wherein you don’t really need any words to say.

      So if your idol wins, that a slap right there to everyone who dissed you before.

      We should all have coffee now.


  5. AllyNoelle8 says:

    Okay. I love Colton, and Joshua. But for the most part I can handle people having opinions on them. But when Scotty was brought up, things got personal. I’ll just say one more thing, American Idol WILL NEVER find another Scotty. Ever. Period. Scotty is IMMENSELY talented, the best country voice by far and imo the best overall voice ever. His voice is legitimately BEAUTIFUL. He worked hard to get his album released just a few months after he rightfully won, and went PLATINUM four months later, when most artists don’t even go platinum ever in their careers. He’s now touring the world with one of the biggest names in country music, Brad Paisley. On top of that, He’s going to high school and is on the frekin HONOR ROLL for gosh sakes. As if he isn’t wonderful already, he keeps excellent grades. He also plays for the baseball team, all while deciding what COLLEGE to go to. He’s an extremely intelligent kid and knows that he always should have something to fall back on. He already has a very strong career that will just keep getting stronger, but it’s still wise of him to be thinking ahead and not just dropping out of school to work more on his career. He just won the ACM for new artist, I Love You This Big entered the charts at 32 making it the highest debut for a debut single since 1990. It went gold within 3 months. He sang the National Anthem in the first game of the world series, and has presented at the CMA awards and sang with Josh Turner at the music festival, plus he has performed at the grand ole opry. PLUS he’s sang at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He won the new artist award in the American Country Awards, and was a performed on the first CMA country Christmas. AND, he was in the Disney World Christmas Parade. Oh, and he set records for being the first country act to debut at number one on the billboard 200 with their debut album, and the youngest man to open at the top of the chart with his debut album. So for those of you saying he’s not the best singer, I think I just provided enough proof that I can say PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT.

    • Templar says:

      No argument from me. I met Scotty at a CD signing and he’s as well mannered and friendly as he seems on TV, respectful and open. He’ll be around the music world for a very long time.

    • ladyhelix says:

      I will defend to the death your right to have an opinion, even if I do not agree with you. Scotty’s a great kid, and that tickles me. I’m just not a fan of his music. No problem – we all get our vote.

    • Marsaili says:

      I totally agree with you Ally–I would put Scotty at the same level as Carrie and Kelly. People don’t get him, I understand that—-he isn’t a Brad Paisley or Kenny Chesney but Josh Turner is HUGE and Scotty is more like him with that low voice. I wanted Haley to win more than anything last year—but honestly, I kinda knew from the very beginning that Scotty was going to win, there is just something about him—and his album sales and awards since winning Idol prove it.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Scotty is a nice, decent, talented kid. I do like country although the country he sings is not my favorite style, but I’m happy for him and wish him continued success.

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      I like Scotty and am happy he has had so much success, but I want to point out that fame, money, and everything else that comes with success are by no means necessarily correlated with being a good singer, to say nothing of being “the best singer.” I think Scotty is very talented, but I would never say that those who think otherwise are wrong. Appreciation of music, like appreciation of any other art form, is relative.

    • K. says:

      Loving the Downton Abbey reference. ;)

  6. Erica says:

    Wow this has become a Jessica thread. As a mom, I appreciate her being a “good student.” She knows her place, she is young. She knows that not listening to the ones who have made it in this business would not do her any good in life. Maybe it would hurt her chances on AI, but really, I think most of these finalists are using the show as a springboard. I am pretty sure they all want to win but maybe winning is the icing on the cake for them. What matters most is that they get signed.

    Now on to other finalists. I know it was Michael who mentioned that Josh Ledet is a love him or hate him finalist. Well, I don’t hate him but I cannot bring myself to root for him.

    P.S. I root for many finalists this year mainly Jessica, Colton and Hollie.

    • HudsonRiverside says:

      Perfectly stated! Imagine how Jessica’s haters would react if she was rude, not a good listener, lazy or really precocious? You see a poster already trying to create some weird fake back story of pageant parents, lol. I find it refreshing that we have some really talented people on the show apparently still respectful, and humble but also quite hard workers who appear to all get along!

      • Marsaili says:

        *sigh* AGAIN, not ONE person in this thread of Jessica has said they hate her or has said that she wasn’t talented. AND she has been on the talent circuit her WHOLE LIFE so in a sense, she does have pagent parents. Stop making issues where there aren’t any—no one hates Jessica and if anyone is being hateful it’s the people like you that can’t see anything beyond Jessica. There are 7 other talented people on this show other than Jessica and people are going to profess their admiration for them as well as Jessica. The people that are the most rabid Jessica fans can’t see to admire her without either dissing the other contestants or dissing the people who like them. So tell me, who are the haters?

        • Erica says:

          I think you cannot single out Jessica fans for being rabid or defensive. Just read this thread. She is freaking 16! What do people expect from her? If she is a good student, she is a robot. If she were a little bit more abrasive, I am pretty sure she would be called a b*tch.

          Also, there was a poster here who said something about her family. I think that is foul. They are not part of this show. I have seen her interviews where she said she was thankful to her parents for their support. She knows she is a minor and thus, her parents being there mean a lot to her. She seems to be the one who wants to do the singing, not her parents. They are not being bad parents for supporting her.If my daughter had the same passion as Jessica, I would do the same thing as they did. You do not know anything about them (and neither do I) so let us critique Jessica but not her parents.

          No one ever drags the family of Hollie (who is also a minor) in these threads. So, to me it means people want to attack Jessica and her family personally.

          • Marsaili says:

            1. Hollie is not a minor.
            2. No one said anything “bad” about her parents other than they were “pagent” parents—which they essentially are that—she has been on the talent circuit her whole life. That isn’t saying anything bad—just that they have been taking her from contest to contest her WHOLE life practically.
            3. NO ONE has said anything disparaging about Jessica as a person. Any comments made were purely about her performance—which many people find as lacking some of the connection that the songs she sings needs. Even JIMMY mentioned that.
            4. Not everyone is going to worship Jessica. There are 7 other contestants in this show and they have their fans, too. Some of the Jessica fans feel that if you don’t “get” what they are feeling, then there is something wrong with you—when they just need to accept that Jessica, as talented and wonderful as she is, isn’t everyone’s cup of tea as a singer. But, again, I will state as I did initially—Jessica fans are calling those who aren’t falling all over her “haters” when no one has said they hated her, or denied that she was hugely talented. Get over yourselves, stop with the insults and go about worshiping your Idol and allow others to do the same.

          • HudsonRiverside says:

            Her parents are *not* pageant parents. Pageant parents take their kids to Pageants, not musical competitions. Just like parents who take their kids to track meets, swim meets, science fairs or gymnastic events are not called pageant parents. That’s how performers get better, by doing it live. That AGT clip clearly shows that her father was in Iraq, I think its disrespectful to imply otherwise. They have a daughter who excels and works hard on her talent. Encouraging that is much better than making her a cookie cutter person. What most Jessica fans see are completely misleading insinuations from people who know nothing about her parent’s intentions. I can see her channeling her focus on music because her dad was away at war much more than simply invalidating them. Plus, we aren’t hearing anything but admiration directed at her parents unlike competitors in the past – true or not. Also Deandre says his parents are there because he’s a minor and he’s been at the competition twice. Definitely a double standard is applied to Jessica by some non fans. Doesn’t matter after tonight, we saw that singing ballads isn’t all that easy… sometimes it takes a Mercedes! :) Lastly, I said they were ALL really talented and hard working not just Jessica.

  7. Amy says:

    “The” Elise move..yes on the hand, but to me it’s when she crouched down by the guitarist (I think she covered her face a little then too)…Beast Biotches!!

    Phil vs. Colton..first, Colton’s jacket was cool, and I like him better than his performance this week (liked Piano Man best) but I agree, Michael…if it came down to one of them, Phil Phillips is my guy. And DEFINITELY loved his performance and song choice from this week..didn’t even know the song or writer, nor is P.P. the type voice I usually like for very long…but I LOVE him and his voice, (and not just cuz he’s “CUTE Biotches!!”)…he’s had me every week..he’s always “in it” as you say. Love him.

    Skylar…first, I love Skylar and definitely don’t think she should be 9th or 8th to go home. She knows her lane, and has delivered solid, clean performances every week. She could go do this now. But that said…I have found myself saying same as Melinda each week…in support of Skylar….she has needed to “change it up”…and especially because I bet she CAN! She’s overdue to sing something “tender” or something that will not conjur up the “fist pump jump” (Melinda’s right…more than two times, at least the jump has been.) I love what she does. But I think she’s got the goods to do other stuff, and show range too…she needs to now…or America may say ok, “we’ve seen all she can do, let her go do it now, next.”

    Hollie…started out as my favorite “big voice” this year… but she’s definitely fallen behind in gaining momentum. Love your take on this week’s performance, the set and Iovine’s “non-advice” to her. Yea…Big Ivoice does Carrie…is as good as bad karaoke on Idol, unfortunately…too typecast for her, and never going to match Carrie…so go another, surprising route! (I say, all ladies alway, stay away from doing ANY song from Idol’s Queen of record sales) Anyway, Hollie is definitely talented and cute, and her voice has a great and unique quality, that I think isn’t quite honed, mature and definitely not showcased best as it might be on Idol’s recent weeks and as they get closer to final countdown. She has a huge voice, and power on the loose, and seems she hasn’t yet learned how finesse it….THEY SHOULD BE MENTORING, or the vocal coaches helping her with that. I’d LOVE her to surprise us with something other than a big ballad and nail it, N.O.W.

    Jessica…I’m not a big Beyonce’ fan and haven’t yet checked her version, but I thought Jessica turned in another great vocal and good performance. And she’s showing what Hollie is not (not to pit them one against another…I think they really are different)… at least some versatility, and some better performances.

    Deandre…falsetto singing for whole songs are just not my thing, so for me it was like for you Michael, but Melinda’s right…it was a good performance and vocal.

    Joshua…good job. While I haven’t wanted him to take every song to church …this week he did again…but I liked it.

    Getting down to top 3 is going to actually be painful this year. So much talent, in so many styles.

  8. Amy says:

    Sorry, longer post than I thought. blah blaaah. owell. done now!

  9. T_T says:

    I have a strong feeling that Elise will win this year because not only that she is great but because she has the least haters. Others are great as well but they surprisingly have so many haters. It’s kinda funny. It is getting clear to me now why others say AI is becoming less credible. Maybe they should just stop the whole voting process and just have like 10 judges to decide who the winner should be. Just my 2 cents.

    • Templar says:

      I’d settle for them limiting the number of calls per device so that the winner is really the most popular with all of the viewers. Teens with cell phones have skewed the results for the last four years.

  10. kingshan05 says:

    Jessica is boring. And I’m not even sure how big her fanbase is without her filipino fans (from the philippines) who can’t even vote on idol. Tweets, youtube views, blog comments are from her filipino fans who “again” can’t vote on idol.. She’s overrated and overhyped in the philippines because of her filipino blood.

    Elise is my idol this season.

    • PanchoV says:

      Congras! Possibly the silliest theory I’ve read on this thread. Yea, that duet with Joshua was boring. Yea, the Filipinos can not vote but she makes the top three every week anyway so how does that math work? Maybe Mexicans are sneaking votes in ninja style hyuk.

  11. K. says:

    I freaked out (in a good way) during Elise’s performance. So flawless. So amazing. All the awards for Elise. Like why would you not want to get up for that Jennifer?

    I cannot get on the Phillip Phillips train. I just don’t get his appeal. I do sort of see the Dave Matthews comparison, but when other people go on about his artistry or his own style….I dunno I just think he’s off key most of the time?

    • PanchoV says:

      I thought Elise did not need the big loud chorus this week. They were not in sync with her and the arrangement was not complementing her style. If we heard her voice better without that big choir I bet the judges would’ve been more positive.

      • K. says:

        I was talking about her Whole Lotta Love performance, but I agree with you about this week’s performance. I guess the choir with the song made sense, but yeah it was too much and it didn’t work at all with her voice.

  12. Kanne says:

    i dont get the hype around Philip. i’m pretty sure i’ve heard that kind of voice and style before. And he’s getting boring week after week with the same singing over and over again. Elise is more entertaining to watch. I’d choose her over Philip, 100%. And as a teen, i’d pick Colton over Philip.

    I also believe that Jessica is still in the learning phase and has a lot more to give…and i’m excited to see that in the next coming weeks. she’s actually the one im excited to see every week. well, I just love her. she’s so young and new! and she sings the songs that i love :D
    (OT: I heard Hollywood’s Theater of Arts gave her a scholarship..she deserves it )

  13. paul09 says:

    Jessica ftw!

  14. Seker says:

    I am going to comment on Cup of Joe (aka ‘STFU’) – am (already) getting sick of the endless ‘Jessica Freaks’ everywhere that this little kid is the greatest thing ever and bashing everyone else over the friggin head with it
    Get a grip – not everyone loves ballads – not everyone (unlike you) wants to hear the same 80’s 90’s ballads regurgitated over and over again SOME of us want to hear individuality a voice that distinguishes them from the rest

  15. Leora Yancey says:

    On Season 11′s Top 9 Week, however, J.Lo, Randy, and Steven got to their feet for no fewer than five separate contestants — and a couple of them weren’t even the evening’s best performers.

  16. Hollie an either/or proposition, and what we’d like to see when it comes to Phillip and Colton’s pants.