American Idol Recap: Mad About Bayou [Updated]

megan miller idolAmerican Idol traveled south tonight to Randy Jackson’s hometown of Baton Rouge, LA (city motto: “For Me, For You, We’re Sorry About the Dawg”).

I half-expected a visit to the local elementary school that houses the “Randy Jackson Memorial Alphabet Wall” (it contains only 11 letters) or maybe the Randy Jackson Museum, a damp cardboard box in a back alley that’s filled with mutilated copies of Haley Reinhart’s debut CD. (Nope, I’ll never get over dude’s mistreatment of one of the finest vocalists in show history. #EarthSongBlasphemy!) Perhaps we’d get to hear Randy name-drop Baton Rouge mayor Kip Holden (“Yo, yo, yo! Check it out: I was on the phone with Mayor Kip last night, yo!”).

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

But nope, if any of those moments happened on camera, they were left on the editing-room floor. That might be because Fox threw a bone to the Idoloonie nation this week and kept Idol‘s fourth audition episode of Season 12 to a crisp 60-minute running time. (Take note, network execs, the FCC will not fine you if every one of your reality-competition shows doesn’t run a full two hours.)

Over the course of the hour, we got to see extended footage of 10 Golden Ticket recipients, and while I wouldn’t bet my glass of Sauv Blanc that we witnessed the Season 12 champ in action tonight (except for maybe Burnell), the folks who got their “goin’ to Hollywoods” all seemed worthy of the honor.

RELATED | American Idol: Fox’s Mike Darnell Talks Unlimited Voting, New Theme Nights, Honest Judging

Since it was a double-recap night for yours truly (Hi there, Glee!) and since we’re still in the very early days of Season 12, I’m gonna weigh in on the episode’s vocalists in a Twitter-esque 140 characters or less:

Megan Miller, “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” | Pageant queen + crutches = joke? Think again! Spring-water clarity of tone! Righteous sense of humor! But why didn’t Nicki call her Pocahontas?

Charlie Askew, “Breakthru”/”Nature Boy” | Socially awkward charmer has voice w/ appealingly frayed edges, but hit a few wonky notes. “What was the second thing to mature?” Nicki!

Maddie Assel, “Oh Darlin” | Loves Haley Reinhart but lacks her vocal control. Masked and umbrella’d grandma to Seacrest: “I want to kidnap you and take you home!”

Paul Jolley, “I Won’t Let Go” | Is it wrong that Rascal Flatts tunes make me CTRL+ALT+DEL on the inside? Has talent, but uses “woodshed” as a verb. That’s troubling.

Dr. Calvin Peters, “Whenever Wherever Whatever” | Been dying for an Idol to sing “WWW,” but cute/sweaty doc only gave a B- cover of what Keith called a “Triple Black Diamond” of music.

Michelle Montezeri, “Tainted Love” | We only heard a short snippet, but girlfriend cranked the drama up to 11 and might’ve been on her way to 13 (in a good way).

Breanna Steer, “I’m Goin’ Down” | Good taste in choosing a Rose Royce classic, and she nailed the few seconds we got to hear.

Brandy Hotard, “Hell on Heels” | In maybe 10 seconds of footage, managed to blindfold the melody, stuff it in her trunk and take it places where it didn’t ask to be taken.

Dustin Watts, “She’s Every Woman” | Big hunky firefighter took a clear, unfussy yet not entirely exciting approach to Garth Brooks. All Nicki wants to know if he has girlfriend. Oy.

Burnell Taylor, “I’m Here” | Reticent cutie brought ‘Tasia-like ferocity to “I’m Here.” Mariah cried. Keith asked that he “dress for the occasion” in H’wood. Both valid responses.

Anyhow, with that, I turn the discussion over to you.  What did you think of the American Idol Season 12 Baton Rouge episode? Who was your favorite Golden Ticket recipient? 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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  1. The 1 hour format is so much better for these audition rounds. I get later during the live rounds that they need the 2 hours, but 2 hours for these auditions just drags. 1 hour makes all the difference. I am glad they focused on the contestants a little more. Liked the Miss. Baton Rouge girl with the bad knee, I liked the girl that auditioned after getting nominated from her grandma. Some decent talent tonight.

    • IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

      Agreed, we don’t need two hours for these first few shows. The auditions are my least favorite part of this process. I liked Charlie and Paul and Burnell, and I wish we heard more than just snippets from Brandy and Breanna.

      • MB says:

        I also agree two hours for the auditions is too long. They are keeping this format for when the live shows start. 2 hours for the competition night and one hour for the result night. They will probably keep this even when they have fewer contestants like they did last year. Don’t you remember all the filler crap last season.

    • Angela says:

      Fully agreed with every last word of this post. There were some really good auditioners tonight-definitely liked Megan and Dr. Peters, and the 17 year old kid towards the end was good as well, he seemed like a sweetie.

  2. Stacey says:

    Burnell was the best of the night. I felt like most of the girls soundes the same, no variety in them or their glitter headbands and country songs and cowboy boots. Thr one hour format is so much better. In fact, I couldn’t believe how quickly the hour went by. Mariah looked dreadfully bored tonight. Most of the time she was stonefaced unless she was giving her vote and although I agreed with Nicki last night in that situation she was incredibly childish tonight which discredited the fact I took her “side” last night. Everytime Mariah spoke she rolled her eyes or snickered or huffed or puffed and suprisingly Mariah didn’t retaliate. .this time. Maybe, because was so bored. I can’t wait until thw live shows start and I thought NO had the best talent yet.

  3. MB says:

    I am afraid to even say this till the live shows but I can’t keep quiet. I am really starting to warm up to these judges especially Nicki. I really thought I would hate her but I actually like her and how warm she is to the contestants. I never enjoy the auditions on AI but this year I have to say I am totally interested. Every other year I had the show on as background noise to doing something else. I hope this continues with the live shows and is not just a case of good editing.

    • Brandon says:

      I am with ya. Keith and Nicki are such welcome breaths of fresh air on this show. Mariah is a little snoozeworthy, but maybe she’ll perk up in the live shows.

  4. darcy's evil twin says:

    I completely agree about the one hour format. I can do without the bad auditions and the drama.
    I enjoyed nearly everyone that auditioned. I really enjoyed just the “snippet” we heard from Breanna Steer, who sang Mary J. Blige’s “I’m Goin’ Down” and the nurse that sang Pistol Annie’s “Hell on Heels”, which was a nice change of pace! The last guy that sang “I’m Here’ from The Color Purple had a real gospel quality to his voice.

  5. karen says:

    I really enjoy these judges. Especially compared to the train wreck that Steven Tyler and Jen Lopez were.

    • Terry says:

      Yes, they are definitely better than Mr. ‘that was beautiful’ and Mrs. ‘I got goosies’. I just wish they would have punted RandyJackass as well. He’s an idiot and 4 judges is too many. imho.

  6. Scott says:

    Not a fan of Dr Calvin Peters. His voice was okay. He sweats admirably. I liked Charlie and Megan. They were all worthy of Golden Tickets, and I’m a sucker for a parent rejoicing in their kid’s success. Good TV. BTW — Did I see, in the previews for LA, the short guy from the 1st season of the Glee Project?

  7. darcy's evil twin says:

    The geeky kid that had some syndrome you would only see on “House” reminded me of that Brent Lowenstern (?) guy.

    • deedee says:

      Yes! And also that kid from season 3 — John Stevens, I think? I wasn’t an Idol junkie back then, but I do remember channel surfing one night and catching Simon cutting him down, telling him he had no charm or charisma and that he had no business still being in the competition. *GASP* that was so shocking to me at the time! This was before I learned to expect that kind of casually delivered cruelty from Simon. Anyway, this kid reminds me of that guy.

  8. BarbL says:

    Have to concur that this years judges panel is shaping up to be much better than I ever expected. Makes me glad I changed my mind and continued watching. X Factor could learn a thing or two.

    • Bonnie A. says:

      Totally agree! I wasn’t going to watch this year but Nikki & Keith have really got me interested. BUT I’m hoping that they do as well on the live shows!

  9. Waffles says:

    Nothing really spectacular tonight. Megan surprised me because the way they built her up I was expecting her to be one of the crazies. I don’t like to be a hater but I absolutely hate Nicki and hope she gets so sick she has to quit the show.

  10. Just became a Nicki fan says:

    You hate someone so much, you wish they get sick Woww. I just now realize just like Jordan was an amazing player but suck as a manager. Not every great singer can be good mentor. Mariah’s range might be the best thing ever and there might not be no comparison with Nicki vocal abilities. But as a mentor, Nicki is amazing and Mariah snooze worthy. Love Mariah to death, but it’s true. And I am feeling the same pimping of Burnell like they did for Joh. It was good but I believe there was better. He does not have that it. The doctor’s voice might be not as good, but I would go to his concert before I go to Burnell. I am so happy Nicki did not stand up. Idol needs to start producing stars.

    • deedee says:

      I didn’t jump up and down for Burnell, either. He was ok, but not last-audition-of-the-night-worthy. And since many folks have been comparing him to Joshua Flippin’ Ledet, let me add my $.02 on that: Josh was a more interesting and better singer. There.

  11. forwarddad says:

    I liked how Keith kind of mentioned to Burnell that when he goes to Hollywood – he might want to dress for the occasion :-)

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Lord, most of them could use that advice. Do they tell these kids to dress like homeless people? Sometimes I wonder.

  12. Myrna says:

    I loved that kid Charlie, but I sadly wasn’t a huge fan of his voice.

  13. Ella says:

    Liked the two headband girls the most (Megan and Michelle). Force me to pick another, and maybe I’d go with Paul or Dustin). Burnell was great, but that one off-key bum note mid-song kind of killed it for me (I know, a total nitpick).

  14. marie says:

    I like it SO much better when the audition shows are edited to focus on the talented contestants instead of on the joke auditions. Last night’s snappy hour-long show was quite enjoyable, and I agree with MS that everyone put through to Hollywood seemed worthy, so far. I was superiors surprised but I didn’t miss the second hour at all!

  15. Delon says:

    Keith’s face during Burnell’s audition was the best moment of the episode.

  16. Vetle says:

    Nobody caught Matheus from The Glee Project 1 in the preview for the Texas auditions? I’m not sure if I’m kinda excited or very nervous. I found him kinda unlikeable at times during the glee project, but his voice is a pretty good rocker voice.

  17. Annie says:

    Unless we just aren’t seeing the best parts of their auditions, I feel like most of the people headed to Hollywood so far are just cannon fodder. While I’m glad that the judging panel isn’t being evil and mean-spirited, at the end of the day Simon Cowell really made this show. Don’t know what Randy is still doing there and Mariah should be really thankful that they are paying her beaucoup to be so blah.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I disagree – I think we are seeing some real potential!
      Remember Season Lee DeWyze won? During the audition process we all kept posting, “Wow, they must be hiding the really good people”. Turns out they weren’t! And to add insult to injury some of the kids we thought had the most potential didn’t make the top 12, or 13, or whatever it was that season. (Lily Scott, Kaetlyn Epperle). What’s odd about that season, though is I remember several auditions, which I normally don’t remember. I remember Lee DeWyze, Crystal Bowersox, Casey James, Kaetlyn Epperle, Lily Scott, and Andrew Garcia’s auditions. And I think I remember them because most of the auditions were dreadful. I may not remember the exact song they sang but I do remember them auditioning.

      • Vetle says:

        I have a pretty good American Idol memory. I’m pretty sure they didn’t show Lilly Scott’s audition and they barely showed Lee and Crystal’s audition as well. I actually liked a lot of the contestants on season 9, but too many people got robbed, and too many failed to live up to their potential. The voting that season was just stupid. (Katelyn, Lilly and Alex Lambert not making the top 12), Siobhan Magnus only getting sixth place, Michael Lynch and Aaron Kelly making it way to far. I remember going into the top 24, I was super excited, thinking this season had one of the best top 24 ever. I remember I had like 7 girls I liked, initially not liking Katelyn (but she became my favorite after “The Scientist”). Then we got stuck with Paige, Lacey and Katie in the top 6 girls… ugh. And Aaron, Tim and Andrew for the boys…

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          I remember Lilly Scott singing “Lullaby of Birdland” but now that you mention I believe that was during Hollywood week, not the audition. At my age I should never rely on memory!
          You’re correct about barely showing Crystal and Lee’s audtions but they both made an impression on me.
          Paige Miles actually has a very good voice but was plagued with a cold or something when they got to the live shows.
          And that was the season of the infamous “Pants on the Ground”.

        • deedee says:

          Bleh, Siobhan was one of the worst contestants ever, imo. For me, she was like the perpetual joke auditioner week after week, and I couldn’t for the life of me understand what all the praise was about. Her crazy screams were just … urgh. Season 9 was the only season I didn’t watch obsessively. I even *forgot* to watch the finals between Lee and Crystal! FORGOT! That never happened to me before or since!

    • Mary says:

      I agree with you in the beginning of AI that Simon added to the show, however, the last few years I thought he hindered it. The last couple of seasons you could tell he was bored and did not want to be there, also he was downright rude. I still believe he sabotage season nine. I think these new judges are doing great; this is the first year since season 8 I have actually watched the auditions. I know it is probably the editing but I find them entertaining. I hope they are good during the live shows.

      • BarbL says:

        I started watching AI the last year or so that Simon was on the program. I tuned in to see Simon, actually. I was disappointed–I thought that he phoned the last year in. Whatever they paid him to do, he didn’t do it. His new program, the X Factor US, has been another disappointment as he’s just not there. I think he’s not going to continue XF after this next season. I think he’s bored with producing musical competitions and will move on to producing movies as he said he’d like to do.

  18. Brendan says:

    “Is it wrong that Rascal Flatts tunes make me CTRL+ALT+DEL on the inside?”

    THANK YOU! I am so glad that someone else feels that way. I don’t get why so many people love the whiny nasal voice of the lead singer and choose to sing their songs. It’s the go to song for pop/country auditions.

  19. vincent dante says:

    Michael: Here in the South, we have a tendency to use the term woodshed quite often. Probably use that phrase more than we even gig frogs. LOL

    • Kellan says:

      More on “woodshed” comment… it’s not just a term used in the South. Also used by professional musicians and vocal coaches in NYC. (I was a B’way actor/singer in a former life.)

      It was a semi-cute comment, Michael, and I think I know what you were going for there (re: Paul Jolley), but the term as a verb is even defined on (albeit labeled as slang).

      Woodshed: verb (used without object)
      2. Slang. to practice a musical instrument assiduously and with a specific goal in mind: He’s woodshedding for next week’s show.

  20. RD says:

    I just know that the kid from the Glee project is going to be my pet hate this season-he had such an attitude on that show.

  21. Word Money G says:

    Please, AI Producers, do the right thing. Get the dawg off the panel for the live shows. More Keith, more Nicki (although you can calm down, dear). Mariah can smile and be Steven Tyler.

    Randy just has no useful purpose anymore. It was a good run.

  22. Haley FTW says:

    I flove that Maddie mentioned Haley Reinhart as an infuence, along with Beyonce and Adele. That is so f’n awesome!

    • Sugar says:

      Yeah, because Haley Reinhart has turned out to be such a big star…opening the various shopping malls and all…. I’m sure Beyonce and Adele would be thrilled to know they are lumped into the same category as Haley. lol!

      • teatime says:

        It’s not all about super stardom.

      • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

        Most of the guest mentors on the show had had pretty good things to say about her.
        Lollapalooza and Carnegie Hall are pretty cool shopping malls.

      • Spice says:

        Beyonce was showering Haley with compliments when she was a mentor on the show IIRC, and I don’t think Adele would have a problem with it either since Haley did a wonderful cover of her song RITD. Haley was a great story her season, she got people engaged, and here she is still inspiring. I think that’s f’n awesome too!

      • Sugar says:

        Then, obviously she has improved since her pathetic performance on Idol last year.

        • Haley is awesome says:

          I think you must have her confused with someone else because she was awesome when she was on Idol and she’s awesome now, plus she wasn’t on last year, she was on season 10, so looks like you’re the pathetic one sugah

  23. betsy says:

    I was sad when it was over – if they could do a two-hour show that was like this one-hour show (lots of GOOD singing, much less nonsense) then two hours would be great!

  24. Rusty says:

    Keith Urban is really growing on me as a judge. He has good insights and has a quick wit with some of his comments.

  25. Emma says:

    Haley Reinhart “one of the finest vocalists in show history” – Slezak knows what’s up!!! He has great taste and I agree with him 110%
    I encourage anyone who hasn’t already to buy her debut album “Listen Up!” it’s awesome, I’ve listened up a thousand times and I still love it as much as I did the first time.
    Oh My!

  26. HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

    I actually was liking Maddie even before she said what she said hah.
    Although I still find something horrible wrong with the sound equilization, everyone sounds tinny and harsh and grating, almost every female and even many of the guys to the point that it makes it hard for me to judge since all the voices sound so harsh to the point of distraction.
    (And yet listening to any other source and it sounds great and since I’m using really good equipment and headphones that are not exactly known for making things thin or harsh I’m thinking they must be mixing the show with Beats headphones with even extra bass tuned into them or something and some other weird things going and then coming up with this painfully reedy thin harsh mix.) Or maybe the vocal tone simple hasn’t been all that nice from almost everyone so far this year?? But they’ve even praised some for gentle tone, so I tend to doubt it. It’s like they are tuning it to match some poor HDTV speakers or something and by making it sound good on that making it sound horrific on something better??? I don’t know. Maybe the voices are just not sounding smooth in the audition rooms.

  27. ventboy says:

    Mike, my man, can you PLEASE quit it with the Randy jokes? We get it, you don’t like him. Enough, already. Find another joke.

  28. ventboy says:

    Oh, and woodshed IS a verb to musicians. Common, you didn’t know this?

  29. Cherry says:

    I hope past idol contestants will get to help out the kids with their song arrangements depending on the theme each week. I think this will help everyone: the contestants coz they’ll have someone guiding them who can actually relate with them, the show coz it’ll bring back fans and viewers, and of course the past contestants coz everybody would appreciate added exposure no matter how big or small their careers may be.


    Gender bender week where they can only sing songs by artists opposite their sex. They can ask past contestants who were known for it in the show to help the kids: David Cook with always be my baby, Kris Allen with she works hard for the money, etc.

    On rock week they can have Daughtry, Adam Lambert, etc

    Country week with Carrie, Scotty, Kellie Pickler, etc

    Soul week for Elliot Yamin, Melinda Doolitle, Joshua Ledet, Taylor Hicks, etc.

    RnB week for Jordin sparks, Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson

    Really, they have plenty of idols for every possible theme and they should utilize it! :)

  30. teatime says:

    This week I found Wednesday’s show far more entertaining than Thursday’s.
    The drama on Wednesday was watered down. That was only an issue because they advertised it ahead of time and then showed something not much more dramatic than disagreements from previous years. Come to think of it, maybe they always do advertise when there is going to be a conflict no matter how small. But the entire two hours were very entertaining. Also, there was a high number of contestants I really liked. For me, Thursday we kind of a snoozer. I have replayed Burnell’s performance 3 times and I still don’t get what people think was so exceptional. No one else that night really grabbed my attention though several were good and have promise.

  31. Guitar Blue says:

    Last I heard, Haley Reinhart had sold about 60,000 albums, but was still cut by Interscope Records in late November. Iovine likes to make money while the iron is hot from the exposure of the show, then cut em when he actually has to spend some money and take a little risk to promote and arrange touring gigs for the artist.

    That’s why he has a net worth of around half a billion dollars. Sign em, make a buck & boot em. Same story for many ex idols.

  32. shirli Kahanovich says:

    If Paul Jolley will go through, you can use “Kyle XY” as his character – the sweet innocent beautiful young man…

    and I LOVE you and your posts – I watch idol just to read you…

  33. PeaceMaker says:

    Michael, woodshed is a singing term. Look it up. Love you.

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