American Idol Recap: Do the Fight Thing

candice glover idolGodzilla vs. Mothra. Batman vs. Joker. Coke vs. Pepsi. Michigan vs. Notre Dame. Randy Jackson vs. the English language. These are the rivalries that define the modern age. They’re long-standing. They’re heated. And pretty much everybody’s got an opinion on ‘em.

And now we’ve got…Nicki vs. Mariah? Divas, pleeeease.

On tonight’s episode of American Idol — centered on the Season 12 auditions from Charlotte, NC — a pair of wannabe alpha judges stomped and roared in an effort to establish dominance. Show insiders trumpeted the imbroglio months before it happened. Fox’s promo department heralded it as must-see TV. But when you break it alllll the way down, who gives a flying frog about millionaire celebs bickering and cussing and throwing shade? Not me (even if, to be honest, I kinda understood and appreciated Nicki’s position in the dustup — especially since half her vitriol was directed at the unspeakably irksome Randy Jackson.)

PHOTOS | American Idol: 20 Songs We’d Ban Forever!

To put it another way, after 11 prior seasons of ratings dominance, you’d think Idol‘s producers would know the magic ingredients to the show’s success are the future Kelly Clarksons and Joshua Ledets and Brooke Whites of the world.

And the funny thing is, despite a lackluster opening hour, the Charlotte auditions actually delivered plenty of that amateur-singer-with-superstar-potential magic (along with a series of hilarious Nicki punch lines). Over the course of the episode, we got to see extended footage of 15 Golden Ticket recipients — including the fabulous Candice Glover, cut inexplicably during the Season 11 rounds but back in full-voiced glory for a chance at redemption. Wahoo!

Anyhow, with that in mind, let’s say no more about the carefully edited Nicki-Mariah blowout — indeed, we didn’t see the more explosive, expletive-filled shakycam footage that hit the Internet back in October — and instead focus on the talent. Who knows, maybe the contestant-centric vibe will prove contagious to Idol’s producers and judges? (I know, my optimism is really just delusion wrapped in a pashmina of goofy metaphors.)

Going To Hollywood
* Keith Urban stole the adjective right out of my brain when he described Brian Rittenberry‘s tone as “husky” (as well as cool), but the guy whose wife beat Stage 4 cancer made a few odd choices with his notes (or maybe he just veered off pitch) on “Let It Be.” I’m not sure I’d have given him a Golden Ticket, but I suppose the show needed to do something for the dude’s family after Ryan Seacrest grilled his wife about having a “hall pass” for Keith Urban — in front of their grade-schooler son.

* Jimmy Smith‘s “Bless the Broken Road” came off like a first-rate mimeograph of Rascal Flatts’ original, but I would’ve liked the judges to make him tackle a second tune to see if there was anything truly unique about his tone or delivery. (My money would be on “probably not.”) As for what prompted Randy to shout “let them eat cake in Hollywood!” as Jimmy left the room, well, that’s as much a mystery as whether or not Nicki’s hair actually was made of delicious cotton candy.

* We got a one-two-three of quick hits from Sarina-Joi Crowe, Haley Davis and Na’chelle Fullins-Lovell, but I’d be lying if I said any of them struck me as potential Hollywood Week standouts, let alone Top 20 material. Of course, the editors limited Na’Chelle footage to a series of “Mariah Dog Whistle (TM)” notes, without giving enough lyric or melody to decipher what she was actually singing. Even worse? We didn’t get to see if Nicki dubbed her “Nacho.”

* Please tell me I’m not the only one who briefly thought Randy was being sent back to 4th-grade English class when producers put him on a school bus to give Isabel Gonzalez a pass to the auditions. (I hear your rebukes of “Don’t insult 4th graders like that, Slezak!”) Then I had a good chuckle imagining Uncle Nigel asking Mariah to deliver the news. (“Daahhhling, you know I only do limos!”) But while Nicki declared she could listen to Isabel riffing all day, I found her tone to be ever so slightly strident, her power a little muted when she reached the ends of certain phrases. In the interest of brutal honesty, I’d rather see her come back and audition for, say, Season 15.

* I rolled my eyes right along with Ms. Minaj when Randy got all confused by Taisha Bethea describing herself as a rocker, then auditioning with a strongly sung “Folsom Prison Blues.” I mean, no one accused indie rocker Paul McDonald of having an identity crisis when he covered the Johnny Cash tune in Season 10, but then again he wasn’t a young black woman. Asked to bring out a second song, Taisha tried out Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” to less impressive effect, and Mariah said she simply couldn’t wrap her head around it. Why? Because the Lilith Fair era is over? Because only white guys with guitars slung over their shoulders should want to make aggressive music? Nicki made a salient point that it was nice to hear a black girl do something besides “typical R&B runs,” but I’m sure all it did was make Randy think “salient points have no place on this panel.” Oh, come on, I’m kidding: RANDY DOESN’T KNOW WHAT ‘SALIENT’ MEANS! The vote ended up split, two yesses (Nicki, Keith) and two nos (Mariah, Randy) but Keith had tiebreaker status for Charlotte, so on to Hollywood Taisha went.

* Okay, I said I wasn’t going to discuss “the fight” anymore, but since it erupted during Summer Cunningham‘s audition, I’ve got to reopen the door. In a nutshell, Summer chose to cover “Lean on Me,” but put a little bit of a country twist on it with some yodeling and a few twang-y breaks when she reached for the high notes. She sounded really great — not that anyone will ever remember it now. When she told the judges she’d “tried the country thing” but was hoping to move in a more soulful musical direction, Keith suddenly looked chillier than Nicole Kidman’s desperate housewife in The Others. “It’s like saying ‘I did the brain-surgeon thing!'” he huffed, and so of course, 15 seconds later, Randy used the offending expression again, telling Summer he could see her doing “the country thing more than anything.” (Discussion topic: Is the Dawg incredibly obtuse, or the craftiest sociopath ever?)

As the judges quizzed Summer about what type of music she listened to as a kid and tried to steer her back down a dusty country lane, Nicki remained oddly silent, grimacing irritably till she finally expressed anger that her fellow panelists were scaring Summer into claiming a position/genre that wasn’t her own. “We’re trying to help her as opposed to talking about her outfit,” Mariah snapped back. Nicki then told Mariah she should “watch the tape back and you’ll understand.” Mariah got indignant — “Really? So you watch the tape back every night?” — but when Randy started popping off about his “30 years” of experience, Nicki dropped an f-bomb and stormed off the set. Congrats, Summer, you’re through to Hollywood! Alas, though, I think it’s too early to congratulate Idol for retiring the worn-out idea that amateur singers with little or no music-business expeirence nail down a specific sound/genre before they can have a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.

* Keith said he could hear potential “through the nervousness and dry voice” of Navy reservist Brandy Hamilton, but let’s be honest: The judges kinda sorta had no choice but to give a Golden Ticket to the first brave soul to audition for them the day after Nicki and Mariah’s feud went nuclear. Brandy’s “All I Could Do Is Cry” was passionate, albeit not quite ready for primetime, but her parting words to the panel — “Please don’t fight; it makes us sad” — should be put on a plaque and mounted to the Idol judges’ table for the remainder of Season 12.

* Ashley Smith looked like she was getting set up as a joke contestant when the show’s producers introduced her eating a sandwich and praising its deliciousness. (Not that there’s anything wrong with sandwiches. Just ask Jeff Mauro!) But the contestant dubbed “Blondie” by Ms. Minaj infused Carrie Underwood’s “Cowboy Casanova” with effortless soul and rhythm — and Mariah was right, girlfriend’s got an “effervescent” personality to boot. With her nose ring and runaway hair and social-butterfly ways, she’s probably the kind of jelly for which Uncle Nigel & Co. aren’t quite ready, but if she gets cut before group rounds, it’ll be a crime against television.

* I vaguely remember Janelle Arthur from Season 11 — which I’m pretty certain is more than Randy can say — but on the silver-linings tip, had she not fallen short of the finals a year ago, we wouldn’t have gotten to hear what was a pretty mesmerizing take on “Where the Blacktop Ends” (mashed up with “Walkin the Country” for good measure). There’s a quiet charisma to Janelle that makes me think she might be a serious contender to follow in the footsteps of Underwood and McCreery, and should Ken Warwick get obsessed with the idea of a 2013 reworking of From Justin to Kelly, she’s got good comic timing. I particularly liked her raucous “Well, honey, you better open it up!” after Seacrest threatened to not open the audition-room door unless she’d earned a Golden Ticket.

* Rodney Barber used to be homeless and now gives to charity half the money he makes while singing on the streets of Charlotte. Nice guy. Big, booming voice. But way too uncontrolled and blast-y to get past Day 1 of Hollywood Week. (Here’s hoping the national TV exposure earns him more moolah in the future, yes?)

* Not to encourage Mariah and Randy to go overboard with the standing ovations this season, but really, who could stay seated after Candice Glover‘s epic rendition of “Syrup and Honey”? If J.Lo were there, she’d have squealed “Goosies!” (and then, of course, cut Candice without so much as a word of explanation in the Vegas round…like she did after Candice slayed “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” with Jessica Sanchez and DeAndre Brackensick). I could go on and on about Candice’s flawless phrasing, the way she balanced power and finese, her almost tactile emotional connection to the song, but instead I’ll quote Nicki Minaj: “I’m obsessed with you. I wanna skin you and wear you. I’m not even worthy to critique you.” Ditto!

* It’s a shame the judges and producers spent so much time on Ja’Bria Barber‘s peculiar pasttime of “frog-giggin'” (code for stabbing bullfrogs on a spike, then cutting off, frying and eating their delicious legs), but if she were a white male and shot deer for kicks, I bet she wouldn’t have been treated in quite such odd-duck fashion. ANYhoo…Ja’Bria’s inclination to sing “Pride and Joy” — and even her understanding that she was doing “Bonnie Raitt’s version” (an indicator she knew it was originally Stevie Ray Vaughan’s tune) hinted at a musical knowledge and confidence you might not expect from a 16-year0old diva. The fact that she hit every note while adding some sway and sass (I’m not even sure J.Hud could’ve been so convincing warning, “you mess with him and see this woman get mean”), makes me hopeful she’ll fall closer to the Allison Iraheta end of the teen-contestant scale than the Katie Stevens/Thia Megia side.

* And finally, we had Young, Gorgeous Mom With Sad-But-Hopeful Backstory (aka Seretha Guinn), who had me hooked the second she said she was singing the theme from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Thank heavens it was on-point, too, since Seretha’s cutie-pie Nicki-obsessed 3-year-old daughter London was leaning against mommy’s leg while she sang it. I didn’t think it was necessary for the judges to ask for a second tune, especially since it was clear from her soundtrack jam that Seretha has a cool, jazzy style and hits her notes with surgeon-like precision, but why hold a sleepy version of “How Do I Live” against her when it’s so much more fun to blame Randy? (Side note: Little London bringing a bear called Dun-Dun for her idol Nicki, whom she’d also dubbed Dun-Dun, has to be among the Top 10 most unabashedly adorable moments in Idol history, yes? Discuss!)

And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of the American Idol Season 12 Charlotte auditions? What did you think of the Nicki-Mariah bout? And who was your favorite Golden Ticket recipient? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments. And for all my Idol-related news, recaps, interviews and videos, 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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123 Comments
  1. Andrea says:

    I voted for Ashley Smith because she had me at “Mmm… this sandwich is amazing” and then did great on “Cowboy Casanova”! But I loved Candice Glover, and some others in Charlotte too :) Pretty good episode!

    • Episodes are growing on me for sure. There is definitely too much judges at times, but I get that at this point it’s tough to identify with the contestants. Hopefully as the show continues we will get less focus on the judges and more on the contestants, especially if they are good. If they continue on and on with the judges then it’s gonna be tough to ever find a certain contestant or group of contestants to root for. They have to find the right balance, and I think they have found it quite yet.

    • Angela says:

      Yeah, her rendition of “Cowboy Casanova” was good stuff. There’s been a few notable voices thus far in the auditions, I am interested to see how they’ll do as the weeks go on.
      As for the “alleged” or “real” Nicki/Mariah feud-I care about it as much now as I always have, which is to say, “Not at all.” That’s not the reason I’m tuning in and I’d be perfectly happy if “Idol” let that whole drama BS go.

    • Tina says:

      For a good part of the show, since the start of the episode,Nicki seemed uninterested and like she wanted to be anywhere but there. I think a big part of that was where she was sitting. Sitting on the end of a group of friends sometimes its hard to be a part of the conversation and you can feel left out. Keith, Mariah and Randy seemed to be gelling well together. At the commercial breaks she was always on her phone. But then when she was sitting between the guys, she was more lively and bossy. Just a theory. I actually got her point about the country singer, but her delivery was all wrong and unprofessional. She needs to go.

  2. scorpiosue1102 says:

    We all know that there was much more to this fight, but dare I say I got what Nicki Minaj was trying to say??? Why does anyone have to be boxed in a genre right now. If the girl is soulful country….so what?

    My favorite was Seretha. I LOVED the way she sang Fresh Prince of Bel Air. It showed that she can change a song and make it interesting.

    • RodMod says:

      I could’ve told you (and the millions of others who presumed Nicki to somehow be at fault, or just plain ghetto) to spare the judgement when that video surfaced in October.

      But…*SIGH*…I guess it’s best you guys got to see it for yourselves.

      Perception and presumptions can be misleading.

      For example:

      Miley Cyrus: 1 Boy(s) in three years. Called a slut on the daily basis.

      Taylor Swift: 13 Boys(s) in three years. ….?

      • Greg says:

        Its called editing, and they clearly subbed in that little spat instead of the real fight that went down. I dont know why anyone would think that was a more accurate representation than the leaked video.

        • teatime says:

          I agree. That fight was total BS. There is no way that was the argument that caused all the fighting. Judges disagree all the time. That is not what the real drama was about.

        • dj says:

          Exactly. I think initially they leaked the footage thinking it would attract viewers, but they got enough negative feedback that they decided to gloss it all over in the show. I’m fine with people getting irritated and taking a break, but threatening violence is another matter.

    • Josh says:

      I agree. Nicki Minaj seems to be about letting them discover their voice…I mean look at what happened with the rocker girl…Do you think if she came in looking like that weird Kantz girl they’d ever question her rockerness? Nicki is definitely my favorite judge and Keith’s pretty great too. Mariah is by no means bad(she has good insight) but she’s very much about setting a genre…and lord knows “the Dawg” is a lost cause.

      • Lisa says:

        I have to agree with Nikki on this one…by button holing these singers to one genre in the is not showing all they are capable of, their range. Let them be who they want to be and if America likes it they will vote accordingly! You tell em Nikki!! Never thought I would say that by the way!

      • ejones says:

        The Dawg tried it with Haley with his “I’m confused ….”.

    • Chrissie Kirk says:

      I’ve been very unhappy for quiet a few seasons when it all started with the “what kind of artist do you want to be?” and then the judges putting a contestant into a box and drillng it into them…wtf? They aren’t managers or talent scouts or a big fat record label executive–they are just judges on a singing contest. I cannot recall them harping constantly at Carrie Underwood about that. Leave it alone. Let ‘em sing. I couldn’t agree with Nicki more.

      • teatime says:

        My biggest issue with Kara was that she kept harping on trying to figure out “what kind of artist are you” or “what type of song would I write for you.” We already had Randy doing that all along, saying things like “I just did not get that for you.” Or “I don’t think that’s the type of album you would do.” It was a real problem to have both him and a song writer on the panel and both of them needed to put the contestants in a box with other existing artists.

  3. Greg says:

    What a cop out. They didnt actually show the big fight between Mariah and Nicki, we all know from the TMZ footage that it was a lot more serious than that. They must have been afraid of what it would make Nicki look like, since she is coming off so likable otherwise.

  4. Annie says:

    It’s a shame that the promos have been about the so called fight, since this episode was full of a lot of talented singers. The build up to the argument probably turned off a lot of viewers, who missed seeing contestants like the girl who eats frog legs, Candace, Seretha Guinn, and Janelle Arthur.

    The stupid thing is that the argument was fine. Nicki had a good point, and Randy and Mariah had their opinions. It was just a simple case of the judges disagreeing about something that mattered, and something that related to the show, but that’s not how it has been presented in the press or the promos.

    • Don't know why I'm so fixated on the frog's legs says:

      TOTALLY off topic, obviously, but did anyone else kind of just roll their at the judges during that frog bit? They were so appalled. “People EAT FROGS how STRANGE?” I was just like, yes. People eat frogs. All over the world. In the South. In France. It’s a thing. And they really DO taste like chicken.”

  5. Kristi says:

    Is it just me, or was the Nicki/Mariah “feud” a whole bunch of nothing?

  6. Candice was great. I’m still mad at the judges from last season for that madness. I also thought that Taisha was great. I had a hard time understanding what was up with Randy and Mariah with that one.

    • teatime says:

      Taisha was one of my favorite auditions so far. When I thought they were not going to let her thru, I was wondering if this would be a very short season for me.
      BTW since when is Johnny Cash a confusing audition choice for someone who says they are rock?

    • Too true says:

      Randy was such an asshole. Taisha and Summer can sing whatever the hell they want.

  7. marie says:

    I agree that Candice was the best we heard all night in an episode of some pretty darn good voices – a cut above the rest for sure. For the first time this season there is someone I actively care about hearing again.

  8. Vikki says:

    Loved Candice and The Joshua Ledet cover of I Believe playing in The background After her auditon. Ashley and Seretha were Great also!

    • IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

      Oh good, I’m not the only one who noticed that. And I can’t wait to hear more from Candice. She better make the live shows. And the finals. And the tour. Or I’m bringing out my claws and then you’ll REALLY see some mad diva action.

  9. HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

    “even if, to be honest, I kinda understood and appreciated Nicki’s position in the dustup — especially since half her vitriol was directed at the unspeakably irksome Randy Jackson”
    .
    +1

  10. Owen says:

    I sorta love Nicki Minaj

    • JW says:

      Me too. I see how some people could find her annoying, but I forget all that when she stands up for the contestants that Mariah and Randy find “confusing.”

  11. HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

    Well I guess they got what they wanted since I tuned in. But wow they are grasping at straws. Either that or now covering something much better. They’ve had one judge get PO just about every year and walk off. Why did it get treated like WWIII by every news station (and I say news stations since even avoiding pure tabloid shows, you couldn’t avoid hearing about it on the semi-tabloid shows (i.e. what passes for the evening news))? It seems like the production probably fed the story out to everyone and tried to drum up interest way, way beyond what it was worth. Or decided it was such a mess that they are now hiding the full extent of it or something.
    .
    Also interesting is that it actually, and contrary to led on expectations, seemed to be aimed rather much more at Randy, which made it actually not such a bad thing in the end for all the BS he has pulled the last two seasons.
    .
    Was that really any worse than when fill-in-the-blank stormed off the set during auditions just about every other year?
    .
    And Randy can get annoying with you have to be this who are you who are you, which he also tends to very randomly apply to people, probably depending upon whether production either loves them, wants them gone because they are becoming a threat to who production loves, or because production wants them to be a certain particular type. Not that you can’t have some point with that stuff but….

    • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

      Make that: “Either that or they are covering up something much bigger [and just making it seem like nothing].”

  12. HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

    Or more simply wow did they show drum up a BIG freaking deal over nothing.
    .
    And maybe Randy did deserve someone storming out on him for once with what he has done the last couple seasons whether on his own or at production behest.

  13. HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

    Just me or is the sound mix awful? Almost every voice sounds so harsh and Senn HD600 are not exactly known for doing that. Almost like they were mixing on something that had some crazy departures from flat and while making that sound flat they sucked out the sound and made it all thin and harsh and tinny.
    .
    ???

  14. Paul says:

    I actually really appreciated what Nicki was saying in the whole ‘drama’ thing. I think she’s definitely over the top, but what she said there made perfect sense. I thought Randy & Mariah were being a bit ridiculous. Yes, it’s important to know who you are as a singer, but there’s no need to box people into one specific genre.

    • MB says:

      Its exactly what Randy did to Haley season 10.

      • James says:

        Ya, and considering how badly Haley’s album flopped, maybe the dawg was right.

        • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

          OTOH it got far better reviews from critics than most Idol albums have and she is the only contestant invited to Lollapalooza and Carnegie Hall and none of the songs she helped write even got released as a single. And it’s not like it was a mix of every genre on the album.

        • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

          And it can’t help it when the very show you are on is constantly trying to slap you down and give you the B edit and they turn 3/4rs of the audience against them that might help someone start to go viral despite relatively modest marketing push.

    • Bobbie says:

      I think MC and Randy were trying to imply that she needed to figure out what her genre is. And at that age, shouldn’t she know anyways? People say that MC and Randy shouldn’t “force” her into a catergory, I think they were trying to give her direction, afterall wouldn’t THEY know what they’re talking about? And anyone who thinks that argument started this whole Nicki & Mariah “feud” is an idiot. Idol obviously didn’t show the whole thing, much more happened but who cares. Funny how no one mentioned that Keith clearly didn’t like the girl’s comment about “trying the country thing”, he started this mess (technically) cause the chick hurted his feelings.

      • teatime says:

        Keith was with them too. Nicki said he was not who she was reacting too. But from what we saw, for the premise of the argument we saw, he was just as culpable of sounding like he might not even send someone to Hollywood if they had not already picked one and only one musical genre to define themselves.

  15. Nancy says:

    Thanks for including the song. Easier to remember.

  16. MB says:

    Where did Mariah have to hire extra body guards because of this. There has to be more to this whole thing then what was shown. Besides this argument wasn’t just between Mariah and Nicki but it was more like it was between Nicki and the whole panel. I agreed totally with what Nicki was saying but I think it should not have been done in front of the contestant. I felt so sorry for the girl.

    • teatime says:

      Exactly. What they showed could not have been the real argument that caused Nicki to carry on about Mariah being disrespectful to her, or to cause Mariah to be so concerned.
      In this argument, Nicki was 100% right, nothing outrageous was said by anyone, and so what if she left the panel irritated because of that disagreement?

  17. Jonny Fantastico says:

    I can’t believe it, but lo and behold, not only do I have a lot of respect for her on this show now, but I’m kind of on her side.

    I’ve been saying this since the first time they showed her getting “out of line”: if you truly have the talent to shine, why pigeonhole someone into one set genre?

    I could go even deeper as to it being the very same reason she’s judged musically, but I think you get my whole thought process on that.I think it was a really grand stand on letting someone naturally shine as opposed to showing them which way the light should lead them.I really am in shock for these next words, but Nicki may have been the best thing to happen to this panel in a long time.

  18. asherlev1 says:

    This show is making me a Nicki Minaj fan out of me. Honestly, I saw her point. And I freaking appreciated it.

    This episode had the most interesting group of people, imo. I enjoyed and believed in a greater percentage of the auditionees. I gotta give the win to Taisha though. God only knows how far she’ll make it. T_T

  19. Hanna says:

    Dare I say Nicki Minaj is the best AI judge since Simon? She’s certainly has 1-800-TOO-MUCH on speed dial, but she’s passionate, funny and her arguments are valid, if not articulate.

    • Lana says:

      I definately agree with D and Hanna, I too was not happy about Nicki being a judge but I just love her and think she has become one of the most fun judges ever on AI. Also she and Keith and Mariah actually give great critiques. Sometimes I don’t agree but I’m not hearing with as good an ear or I don’t like the genre, I know its not because they don’t know what they are talking about. For once I am very, very happy with this group of judges, bickering and all and I have become a Nicki fan even if I am still not a rap fan.

  20. Brigette says:

    CAN-DICE! CAN-DICE! CAN-DICE! Um, I don’t even think Randy remembered her. Lame. Nicki Minaj is still crazy ANNOYING but I did like that she called out Randy & Mariah for trying to get that one girl to declare a genre. It gave me Haley Reinhart flashbacks.

  21. Bobbie says:

    Its safe to say that Mariah nor Nicki will be back for Idol next year.

  22. It wasn’t Nicki vs Mariah, but Nicki vs Randy. I totally agree with Nicki. Why is Randy trying to pigeon hole her, and why does Keith/ Mariah/ Randy need to ask what did music influenced her, listened to growing up as if that’s the only direction she can go? I could even hear Keith’s annoyance with “I did the Country thing…” as it was a personal atack on him. Argh!
    LIVE ON Nicki! You’ve been the most honest and daring enough to butt heads with Uncle Nigel.

  23. Kat says:

    Michigan vs. Notre Dame!!! Your lack of sports knowledge is showing Michael. There is no rivalry in college football more famous than Michigan vs. Ohio State!

  24. Dan says:

    I’m seriously LOVING Nicki Minaj on this show. I really appreciate the feedback she’s been giving, she’s quirky as heck… she’s just making the show a little more interesting that it would have been with just Mariah, Keith and Randy.

  25. Booya says:

    Was waiting for Slezak to bash AI for the judges fighting and bickering the same way he and others did with X-Factor. Nope. Not happening. He’s an AI apologist drinking the kool-aid for a show that can do no wrong apparently. Ignore the judges, it’s all about the contestants.

    and the sheep go “baaaaaah”

  26. igor says:

    shocked to say i was totally on nicki’s side. i’m not a fan but she was right. and things wouldn’t have gotten so bad if randy didn’t throw his 30 years of experience in. that is a passive aggressive bitch slap.

  27. bbl says:

    I love Candice, but I gotta say that Ja’bria Barber’s audition was awesome. Love the blues and that little girl can sang ‘em. Talk about tone, control, soul and swag — she’s got all four.

  28. Ellen says:

    Never mind Nigel’s vying for press and viewership, I’m all over this years panel. I am not a fan of Mariah’s or her hair flipping diva ways and never have been. She has always been over rated (ducking from the hoards of fans throwing things) IMHO. But, I think she might add something interesting to the panel. I love looking at Keith and I don’t care what he says. Randy is more delusional than ever. Nicki, I ♥ me some Nicki. She is a breath of fresh air. She is herself in a way Steven Tyler could never be. She is young and tuned into the music industry. She is well rounded even though most don’t expect her to be. I appreciate her honesty, candor and sense of humor. The nicknames are great. I’m just hoping for a better season and some real talent for a change ( meaning not just the standouts… just a decent top 10).

  29. American Idolit says:

    Rodney Barber sung with a Sammy Davis Jr. affectation. Sounded forced.

  30. Linda says:

    Ja’Bria Barber is Baby-Melinda (or should I say “Baby-Mindy-Doo”)! Am I the only one who recognized that? Michael Slezak, you didn’t notice the total resemblance (voice and all)!?!

    • Kim R says:

      I was just about to comment this exact thing! I was waiting to read it in this morning’s recap. As soon as Ja’Bria started singing Melinda came to mind. I can’t believe the judges spent sooooo much time on the frogs. It is not an odd thing where she is from. My word. Anyway….just wanted to say I whole heartedly agree! :)

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I started to write that in my comments below and then I saw it here. She absolutely reminded me of Melinda Doolittle!

    • marie says:

      You know, now that you mention it, I think I was registering that at the time…subconsciously.

  31. Jenny says:

    That was a major edit to make the fight different than what we saw over the summer. This was a fight between Nicki and Randy with Mariah in the background. There is a part of me that feels like the whole Mariah/Nicki fight was over a completely different thing. We definitely didn’t see everything.

    Not 100% crazy about Nicki as a judge. She is constantly trying to steal attention, but in this “fight” I did completely agreed with her. I also do feel like she is engaged with the singers. But I thought the same withbthevlast panel and then they fizzled. Waiting for live shows before giving full thumbs up or thumbs down.

  32. Allan Stanwick says:

    Is it too late to just get a better judge than nicki minaj in the middle of the season?

  33. darcy's evil twin says:

    Candice Glover! Wow! I also enjoyed Ja’bria Barber, And Ashley Smith was a total surprise. She didn’t exactly choose an easy song.
    .
    While the (sort-of) contrived drama gets old and boring I had the same thought Mr. Slezak had – Nicki Minaj was right on the money in her comments regarding pushing the contestant as to what genre of music she liked. I’m sure it’s difficult enough to stand there and sing, let alone do it while getting harassed about “what type of artist ARE you, terrified person?” by four intimidating celebrities. And let me add what a lot of other people have written – I thought I was going to detest Nicki Minaj but she really brings something different to this program and I am loving her and her crazy but often on-point comments.
    .
    I absolutely remember Janelle Arthur from season 11 (WWWG – white woman with guitar) and I’m not so sure she didn’t also try out for Season 10. Liked her as well!

    .

  34. darcy the slutty twin says:

    Well, I loved both Thia Megia and Allison Iraheta. Didn’t like Katie Stevens. Love, love, love Nicki Minaj and her sensible comments and crazy facial expressions. I really CANNOT stand Randy Jackson. I’m bummed there were no shirtless hot guys this ep.

  35. darcy the slutty twin says:

    How lame was it that Randy clearly had no idea who Candice Glover and Janelle Arthur, even though I remember him getting the “goosies” when Candice sang her part in “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore.”

    • marie says:

      (DST, pretty please, JLo is gone, hallelujah – can we retire “goosies” too? Please with sugar and a cherry on top?)

      • darcy the slutty twin says:

        Sorry about that. Hah. But I’m pretty sure he was “feeling it” when Candice sang last year. I mean, he really didn’t remember her from last season. And he had the nerve to give her a standing ovation! Why did you cut her then?! Instead we got the likes of Reed Grimm, Shannon Migraine and Skylar Laine (sorry, Slezak loves her but I cannot stand her nasal singing).

  36. Johnny says:

    I really hope Candice isn’t the producers’ “chosen one” this season. I love her voice but must loathe her by default if the producers pimp her to no end.

  37. Just became a Nicki fan says:

    Suprisingly, I really love Nicki too. She is really a breath of fresh air. I watch 2 min last week and switch the chanel. I think that was my mistake. The way she gives them nicknames so cute! She is so real. And not trying to be something for production. She is just Nicki. Unexpected delight! The auditions rounds were always so boring. Now, I am so looking forward to next week.

  38. Mary says:

    I actually enjoyed the episode which quite frankly, I usually don’t care for the audition rounds. I think they showed too many bad singers up front, but it did get better. Boy the producers really edited the real fight out, which I am grateful for. The only problem for me is that I think they are letting too many country and R&B singers through. I like diversity and I think they are trying at all cost to avoid rock and pop. I hope I am wrong but I believe the show will be boring if there is not a variety. I’m looking forward to the live rounds and see if the judges can keep up with the good critiques.

  39. Hello Kitty says:

    Dun Dun was NOT A BEAR! IT IS A CAT!!!!!!!! A Pink Hello Kitty doll!!!

  40. Just became a Nicki fan says:

    One more thing can we get rid of Randy and get JLo or Tyler back, pretty please. Or let Nicki, Maria and Keith do the job alone, they are really on point with the good critiques.

  41. CAM says:

    I have been surprised by Nicki. I thought I’d hate her, but instead I’ve found her to be often insightful and funny. She is far more intelligent than I thought she’d be and for the most part has been more supportive of the contestants than the others. While I recognize Mariah’s talent and have heard her give some good critiques, she comes across as being full of herself. She needs to stop pulling on her hair and using a tone that comes off sounding as if she feels superior to the others. I like Keith so far. Randy? Well, I had hoped they’d remove him, but I guess Nigel and the others still feel they have to have one judge on the panel who has been there before. Ugh! And yes – I could have done without the stupid fight. Several GREAT contestants last night!

  42. RD says:

    Nicki Minaj-the best Idol judge.Who knew?

  43. Chuayjai says:

    Janelle Arthur was in Season 10 too. She and Paul McDonald did a duet in the Las Vegas round, I believe.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I believe that was Kendra Chantelle but I’m still thinking Janelle Arthur was on season 10. Maybe season 9? Time flies when you’re watching Idol!

    • darcy the slutty twin says:

      No. It was some other generic blonde chick who dueted with Paul McDonald. Can’t remember her name.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Wrong, twin sister who escaped when someone left the lock off the attic door.

        http://unrealityshout.com/blogs/american-idol-2011-kendra-chantelle-and-paul-mcdonald-impress-blackbird

        • darcy the slutty twin says:

          Oh so that was her name. She escaped my mind. Not very memorable.

          • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

            She was quite memorable, especially for knocking it out of the park during the save me sing-off while the other contestant was a total wreck and then Randy and co saving the one who was a wreck and spouting all sorts of nonsense, probably because the production wanted to change the panel diversity, but it came across pretty ridiculous since the one of them sang 1000x better in the sing-off and then didn’t get picked, so why bother have made them sing for the lives? And for much of the rest of the season people kept bringing her up as someone who was missed.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Okay, according to the internet (so it MUST be true) Janelle Arthur made it to Hollywood Week in season 10 and to Las Vegas in season 11. I’m not posting any links because every source I found contained a variety of Idol spoilers, so you’ll just have to take me at my word.

      • darcy the slutty twin says:

        There was a Janelle on Season 9 who made it all the way to the voting rounds (top 24? 36?). Janelle Wheeler, I think. Blonde also. Or I must be imagining things. I need some naked male torso in the next ep! Keith Urban’s will do.

  44. I couldn’t believe Randy didn’t remember Candice Glover or even try to fake it. Rude.
    The kids & I totally thought Ashley Smith was going to be a horrible joke so she blew us away when she sang so beautifully. My 9 year old just wants her to get a makeover. I think these two had the best voices last night.

  45. Hello Kitty says:

    @Chuayjai – no that was Kendra Chantelle and Paul Macdonald singing Blackbird

  46. Guitar Blue says:

    While singing without a band or at least a guitar or piano to accompany, doesn’t always give a good test of an artist’s performance abilities – I saw no one who had that special unique, distinct quality that would cause many people to want to buy their album, or pay $35. for a ticket to their concert.. They need to let the wannabe’s use soundtracks.

    While it used to be the Simon and Paula show, it’s now the Nicki Minaj show – and the focus is pretty much all about the Judges, along with the “ain’t it awful” acts, the sad side-stories and Seacrest running around in a race car.

    This is why the ratings have fallen the past few years, and they went to 4 Judges and paid a kings ransom to Mariah and Nicki – to try to rev-up ratings — but still using a lot of the same old format that has dropped ratings about 25% from where the show was a few years ago.

  47. Goodbye AI says:

    OMFG Nicki’s voice is soooooo annoying, I can’t stand it, i just can’t stand it. I’m out!

  48. marie says:

    Trying to box an auditioner or contestant into declaring one firm, fixed genre is ridiculous for many reasons, the first of which is that these are young people, with little or no professional experience, who simply may not have yet made up their minds about their musical direction – perfectly OK – and who may in fact, if successful, go on to enjoy careers producing music in various genres. But perhaps the most absurd reason is: Theme Nights, anyone? Where it’s mandated that many of the contestants step outside their musical comfort zones and demonstrate flexibility and competence in a variety of genres? What would Randy say if, on Musical Theater night, a contestant chose to sing something completely different, asserting, Well, I’m a country singer, I don’t sing Broadway? Would he nod his head in agreement and say, yes, you’re right, I told you you’re a country singer, you don’t have to sing this other genre? Of course he wouldn’t.

    The attack on Summer – yes, attack – was meanspirited, unfair, and baffling. Nicki was in the right here.

    • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

      Actually yes Randy would say just that. The last couple seasons he was fine if someone turned say Musical Theater Night into yet another baby lock them doors country song with 100% country style. That is unless it was someone they didn’t want top 3, of course.

      OTOH, yeah, say back season 1 they made them step out and sing those weeks at least to some degree in the week’s style and it was applied evenly.

    • darcy the slutty twin says:

      I love you marie! Exactly what I wanted to say!

  49. jane says:

    I’ll agree with most of what you said except for the last audition. If you just listen to the voice without the cute kid and the boyfriend who almost died it was just ok. The first “Fresh Prince” cover was good but didn’t really require much singing. The 2nd song showed how limited her voice really is. I thought a few got by on their story more than the talent last night. Rodney Barber couldn’t sustain a note, but who would cut a guy who helps homeless people out?

  50. nchamlong2 says:

    Good for Brandy Hamilton putting judges in their place by saying “Please don’t fight — it makes us sad.” That took a lot of guts on her part! I noticed the judges seemed a lot more subdued after that. You go, girl!

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