American Idol Recap: Test(osterone) of Wills

frankie ford american idolIn the spirit of National Beyoncé Week — brought to you by the National Football League, the United States Congress, the Internet and the House of Dereon — I begin this American Idol recap with the bastardization of a famous lyric from the Artist Occasionally Known as Sasha Fierce:

To the left, to the left. All the lady Idols in the holding pen to the left.”

Yes, folks, I’m still trying to sort out my feelings about one of the biggest changes to the show’s structure since my early days of recapping Fox’s reality behemoth — back when I identified with #TeamBo over #TeamCarrie. (Oh hindsight, you’re the cruelest mistress of all. Still, I bet even you have “Witness” on your iPod.)

But back to the curveball thrown by maniacal genius/kindly British uncle Nigel Lythgoe: Separating the annual/grueling Hollywood Week festivities by gender. Male contestants this week; future Haley Reinharts and Aloha Mi’Shos not taking the screen till next Wednesday. Yes, thanks to Fox’s crackerjack publicity department, we knew the change was gonna come — if you took that as an Adam Lambert shout-out, then ding-ding-ding-ding-ding — but tonight’s fast, furious two-hour telecast was kinda hard to process.

So many dudes. So many of them shown in less-than-bite-sized snippets. (Crumbs, really!) And not a single Carly Smithson or Crystal Bowersox or Theri to break the testosterone chokehold. A few guys were solid. Many were lyric-flubbing, pitch-averse disasters. A handful appealed only to the gay British chap who lives in Nicki Minaj’s medulla oblongata. But I wouldn’t bet the contents of my wallet — a book store receipt, a MegaMillions ticket that’s sure to make me a rich man come the weekend, and $23 — that we saw the 2013 answer to Phillip Phillps.

Ohhhhh, wait…I get it. The weak crop of boys — standing alone like the cheese at the end of “The Farmer in the Dell” — will be so thoroughly exposed by the end of this week, that a female contestant is bound to wind up with a groundswell of support and eventually reign over Season 12. The whole evil plot makes sense. Carry on, Nigel!

Anyhow, without going into a chronological recounting of the dozens of contestants shown singing two or three bars — or standing there grimacing and unable to blurt a single line — let’s relive the highlights/lowlights. As always, things kicked off with rows of 10 contestants lining up, then one at a time belting a capella numbers. Randy (wearing black shirt, black pants, and some of the ugliest white boots you could ever imagine) dug deep into his bag of clichés and told us the exercise would “separate the men from the boys.”

Among the “men” advancing to the Group Rounds: Micah Johnson, the guy who had botched tonsil surgery, on the strength of a lovely, lilting “Bennie and the Jets”; melody-phobic Curtis Finch Jr., for howling the phrase “Lord I Need You Now” over and over again; Lazaro Arbos, the cutie with the stuttering problem, despite visible nerves mucking up his version of “Angels”; plus Nate Tao (woot!), Gabe Brown, Gurpreet Singh Sarin, and a few other folks with Y chromosomes.

Eliminated: Karl “Gingers Have Soul” Skinner, Dr. Calvin Peters, Dustin “Hot Firefighter” Watts, and Brian “My Wife Beat Cancer” Rittenberry. (You have no idea who I’m talking about here, do you? By Friday, I won’t, either. Badum-bum!)

None of the Sudden Death decisions were particularly controversial, except maybe for a brief argument at the judges table over smokin’ hottie Cortez Shaw (who scored a Golden Ticket in Season 11, but was later cut with little explanation). Cortez got halfway up Mt. Whitney (via “I Will Always Love You”) with his clear, booming voice, but veered toward something strident and hiccupy near the end of his audition. (I think I detected a last-second and possibly unintentional key change, too.) Mariah said she enjoyed it, Nicki interrupted to declare herself “very very disgusted,” and things got momentarily tense. Would there be another expletive-filled rant? No, only Cortez advancing. (Whew.)

After that, Lythgoe & Warwick (not a hit songwriting team from the ’60s, believe it or not) pulled another random trick out of their bag and assigned teams for the Group Rounds — the better to create false drama/cut 23 minutes of footage of contestants scrambling to pair up with one another. This left us with what felt like three more hours of groups rehearsing, groups arguing, and groups failing to deliver a hot, tasty meal to the judges in less than 30 minutes. (Sorry, pizza delivery was slow tonight and it’s still on the brain.) Here’s what stood out — good and bad — among the Groups.

GOOD THINGS
* The night’s final group, simply known as Oz, scored scads of airtime thanks to NYC Subway singer Frankie Ford (pictured) griping about song choice, whining about his “asthma issues,” trash-talking his cohorts and bursting into tears before Oz even took the stage. Overlooked in the absurdity, though, was an outstandingly rich vocal on “American Boy” by Charles Allen. The burly fella delivered the verse just behind the beat, then threw in a nice riff on “t-t-t-t-take me to New York…” After 120 minutes of ho-hummery, what a treat to hear a fresh, rhythmic delivery brought to us by a robust and husky voice. More Charles, please, judges!

* David Leathers Jr., eliminated in the Season 11 Green Mile instead of underperforming Eben Franckewitz (#BlameJLo), served up a reasonably tasty vocal on Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time” despite his cohorts whiffing at least half their lyrics and then (to make matters more unpleasant) putting the “harm” in harmony.

* The Four Tones (Micah Johnson, Vincent Powell, David Willis, and Marvin Calderon) brought soul and panache to “Hold on, I’m Comin'” despite a synth line so cheesy it could’ve been melted and splashed across the top of an Applebee’s entree.

* Redheaded stranger Devin Velez proved to have a very pretty, very intriguing voice on an a capella rendition of “Payphone,” but that apparently wasn’t worthy of more than a 10-secons snippet. (Thanks, Nigel!)

VERY BAD THINGS
* It seemed like every other group featured one or more members who struggled with their lyrics like a Kardashian attempting a 9-to-5 desk job. Johnny Keyser, who got the “arrogant” edit in Season 11 (via some hottub shenanigans and his decision to keep singing after a group mate collapsed in front of him), pinged my douche-o-meter again when he botched the lyrics to “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” then told the judges, “I took a risk…” on song choice, implying somehow that the creative decisions came down to him and him alone. Oh, and bee tee dubs, he chose the Four Tops’ classic despite claiming he’d never heard it. To quote Keith Urban, “What planet are you from?”

* Curtis Finch Jr.’s true colors started shining through (yes, that was an Anoop Desai shoutout) when groupmate Charlie Askew got sick — and dare I say said colors weren’t very attractive? “I’m here to send him home in the first place,” Curtis huffed, because apparently he enjoys winning without having his opponents show up? Then, when he and his compadrés got on stage, Curtis attempted to use his voice like a high-powered firehose and blast his rivals off the stage, but it was ultimately his lower register that wound up all wet.

* And then we had the group B Side, a quartet of messes (including Gurpreet) who achieved the odd distinction of combining aggressively opposing “harmonies,” a mean lack of rhythm, and a flimsy grasp on lyrics to Adam Levine’s “Payphone.” As Keith noted, the Maroon 5 frontman, despite being alive and well, had to be rolling in his grave. Randy repeatedly yelled “Stop!” (the first time I’ve agreed with him in about eight years). But Nicki, though, saw it differently. “That’s my favorite group!” she squeed, mainly because Chris Watson (the Jimi Hendrix-looking dude) fired up the crowd and boogied when he forgot his lyrics. “I’m not looking left and right for someone to save me!” declared Chris, which was an easy boast to make since no one on his right or left knew the lyrics either. Somehow, Nicki convinced her fellow panelists to give all four gents another chance — “Yes we forget lyrics, we’re human beings!” — and so I’m sure we can look forward to at least one of ‘em freezing up at the mic again during Thursday’s telecast.

Anyhooo…there were plenty more disasters on Night 1 of Season 12 Hollywood Week, but I’m going to leave it to you to point out anyone worthwhile I missed. What did you think of the episode? Were there any decisions that made you mad? Any contestants who got you jonesing for the live rounds? 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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120 Comments
  1. Nobody truly wowed me tonight if I am being completely honest. I thought there were some good performances but no one that just killed it and was completely amazing. I hope tomorrow we can really get a better grasp of some of these guys because so far it’s been pretty unmemorable. I had some high hopes for Curtis but his comments let me down tonight, if you aren’t humble now then what’s gonna happen if/when he goes further in this competition?

    • Tom22 says:

      Forget even wowing me… no one was even close,, this was altogether far and away the worst group of guys I’ve ever heard on the show. So many of the people who they were putting through didn’t even seem to understand the chords of the songs they were singing … couldn’t modulate verse to verse ..no sense of rhythmic patter on triplets etc. Many of the ones that could sing in harmony had no stage presence or personal charm. I guess there were a couple exceptions (the chis sligh rocker guy sounded like he knew where the music was going in his song in the short bit we heard of him). So many of the singers that had me going with them suddenly ended verses with the clumsiest runs that missed the resolve or broke with the swung beat they’d established with their other choices.

      I really wonder how much music these guys have listened to in their lives… if they’re musicians you think they’d be interested in the history of music an get a taste of all genres before gravitating back to what they liked. You could hear that musical knowledge in so many of the past years contestents. I could hear it in the voices of all country Scotty McCreery and Keep Metal Alive James Durbin that they actually had probably played some chopin on the piano when they were younger.

      I’ll go back and listen more… maybe the sound was bad on the TV or maybe the guys editing the tape this year don’t really have an ear to get the good parts on the final print.

      All told, its better to put people through that can look relaxed and happy with who they are in a confident way because if none of them can sing well, at least those will be comfortable to watch.

      End o my grumpiness .. maybe we’ll see better tomorrow…certainly I heard some glimpses of special ability between too many sour notes.

      • Fan says:

        Thank you for those comments. I enjoy hearing about the technical side of the performances.

      • Terry says:

        It’s all by design. They’re bound and determined to have a girl win this season. Let the OTT manipulation begin!

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        I have often wondered how many of these kids played an instrument, sang in a church choir, sang in a school choir, know how to read music, studied music theory, etc. I suspect they’ve done a lot of singing in the shower and with the car radio.
        And thank you – I also enjoyed that commentary.

    • ' says:

      I think it was clever of Nigel…. Those guys being among the girls, they would have been humilated, and would be so more hard to actually make a Top 24 with 12 guys, when none of them would be as good as the girls, and it would get evey fan angry on him, so he had two choices, he could split them up or mak an all female Top 24, and he went for the first one.

  2. Evan says:

    My favorites were shown for all of 5 seconds. Devin Velez and Christian Lopez. That’s better than nothing, I guess.

    I’ll make a bet: Devin Velez gets to the Top 5. Dude can sing.

    And Curtis Finch… I love when good contestants talk crap to the cameras. Don’t they realize that they’re self-sabotaging?

  3. Allie says:

    Didn’t see anyone I loved but I am okay with that — bring on the girl winner.

  4. Pat says:

    One of the worst episodes of American Idol ever. Horrible. I saw maybe two singers that deserved to be in a Top 12, and not one legitimate contender.

    I’m of the opinion that it’s practically a miracle that any of the groups worked in the first place given that most were thrown together explicitly to cause drama (Country Queen/Frankie’s group) rather than for musical similarities and artistry. They should’ve just let them pick groups and WITH THE GIRLS. The twist was stupid and horribly executed. The manipulation is so HORRID and quick this season.

    The Somebody to Love group with Nick Boddington and Gabe Brown was the only thing even remotely enjoyable.

    Nice to see David Leathers again, he still needs a couple years.

    The amount of people that forgot their words and survived were ridiculous! Looking at you Johnny Keyser.

    Hoping this was a deliberate attempt to get girl frontrunners heading into the live shows. I hope….

    • Ty says:

      He sounded way better than a lot of guys that went through so, no, he needed to go through now.

      And he needed to go through over canon fodder Eban last year.

    • Tom22 says:

      The Army Seargent who could hardly fumble through the words actually had one of the best musical senses on the show and just couldn’t work through the music part with the Drama Queens . The queens were ok but they suffered too from the lack of chemistry and mi-spent energy.

      And yeah… the whole vibe changes to the worse with all guys and I’m sure it will also be ugly with all girls (maybe worse) The situation is so stressful in itself that its nuts to make a situation more tense with less ways to bridge through emotion.

    • karenb says:

      I really like Johnny Kiser’s voice. When he sang anyway. Can. Not. Believe. dude forgot his lyrics though. Did you hear him say “it’s been a nightless sleep?” LOL. Guess he was exhausted!

  5. Tom says:

    *sigh* This episode pretty much proved to me that I’m far more invested in the females than males this year. There are some guys that are good, I guess, but none of them seem like winners to me. The two hours felt sooooooo long as a result.

    • Terry says:

      excellent, uncle Nigel’s plan is working already!

      • suziehotrod says:

        You got to be kidding.

        Please cut the story lines and get to the singing part. It’s now the same thing as all those story lines that made X Factor so unwatchable. The story lines only start to matter after a couple of cuts.

        They sent to many people through.

        There were so many commercials they had to a recap after they came back from a break.

        It looked like they wanted to promote the homosexual agenda instead of producing a decent singing competition.

        They should have mixed it up and put the girls in there too. I couldn’t watch it. I switched to the history channel instead. I’m really only interested in the really good singers. They need to edit the bad and so so performances.

        Nicki was as funny as usual and a couple of the groups were really good. The girls are usually better but the guys get the girls votes when it really matters.

  6. Josh says:

    All the guys were sort of blah…not one really stood out in a positive way….Johnny Keysar will go far for being attractive and that alone, the stuttering kid will get far for his back story despite putting in a bad group performance….Papa Peaches getting through was shocking, as was ANYONE from Country Queen(they were all horrible, that guy in tights made me cringe…He’ll never get voted in). Still don’t think David Leathers is very good.

    Well I think it looks like we might have a girl winner because these guys stunk…and because the guys are stinkers and for the most part not that attractive, I think it’s really going to let a girl sneak through for the win(even if it means low idol ratings)

  7. kemgooner says:

    Hollywood week is always my least favorite so whatever gets it over fastest…this episode was okay, some groups were great and I am looking forward to seeing a lot of people individually again in a couple weeks.

    • Lindsey says:

      That’s funny… Hollywood Week is always my favorite part! I like that we get to see a bunch of different people compared directly in the groups, rather than as soloists in auditions and live rounds… And I feel like Hollywood Week seems the most “real” part of the whole process. The auditions and live rounds always seem so perfectly scripted and edited… I feel like we get to see people’s true colors during Hollywood Week! Wish it was longer! More Hollywood and less auditions would get my vote!!

      • zaza says:

        I like the group competition, because when a group gets it right, it sounds amazing and when they don’t, it’s a fast way to eliminate a slew of people. Generally speaking, if someone is good, they are going to shine no matter how bad the group.

  8. I have to say that for me no one person stood out (in a good, way, although more than a few in a bad way). It was interesting to see how badly some behaved without females around; however, I actually gave more than a passing sh#t about more performers than I thought was possible. Yeah, it felt more than a little manipulative, but idol did send packing the ones that I thought should be sent home (for various reasons) & they did send on most of the ones that did a passable job. It didn’t seem like a huge injustice had been pulled on America by the producers, as in past years. The judges also seemed less snarky than Hollywood weeks of old too & was it me, or was there more behind the scenes work? That was interesting too, & seeing some of the singers working instead of dramarama DID suck me back into the Idol audience vortex… The judges were for the most part (i.e., minus the dog who is irrelevant imo) pretty accurate and fairly gentle in their critiques. And KU cried again! What’s not to like about that!

  9. The Beach says:

    There were a couple of pretty decent group tonight but that was it. I thought the rest went from mediocre to horrible. But I was most flabbergasted when they put through (at Nikki’s demand) the group with the guy with the blond afro and scarf. The other judges were laughing at them and cringing the whole time. Each of them sung terribly and forgot the lyrics and yet they sent all of them through…totally shocked and thought maybe something was wrong with my TV. Sorry but I don’t know any of their names.

  10. It goes back to the whole thing about why must there be an even amount of males and females? Shouldn’t it be the BEST contestants move on, regardless of gender. If it’s a Top 12 and it’s 6 guys and 6 girls then there is good potential(especially this year) that 8 or 10 girls that deserve it don’t make it while if there are only 4 or 5 good guys then 1 or 2 really undeserving guys will make it. How is that fair??

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Isn’t a little early to make that prediction? I think we have seen some good guys.

      • marie says:

        Agree! All we’ve seen of ANYONE so far is small snippets. I maintain that you can’t really tell definitively who has talent or not until the live shows where we can hear them sing entire songs – or 90-second versions, anyway.

  11. Guitar Blue says:

    Probably the least interesting Hollywood episode in the history of the show. Mostly a bunch of producer saves for “casting” purposes……………….This is a man’s world, but it’s nothing …without a woman or a girl.

  12. MB says:

    I did not enjoy this episode at all but then I’ve never liked Hollywood week. Too much drama. I especially hated how the episode ended with all that crying.
    There wasn’t anyone that wowed me and found this to be a really motley bunch. I really think they are working overtime in trying to get a girl winner this year. Maybe tomorrow night will be better but so far I am just not seeing any stand out guys. Looking forward to the girls next week.

  13. pandora__box says:

    is it official? idol has decreed no wgwg are allowed into hollywood week? the search for the next lusker/ledet commercially unviable idol is on? the boredom level cannot be exaggerated.

    • Josh says:

      haha yeah I don’t see the ratings doing so great come mid-season….does teen girls looking to swwon will only have Johnny Keysar and fingers crossed he doesn’t make it far.

    • zaza says:

      I would not count out the wgwg scenario just yet. Remember we still have solos with the band to come and one of these fellows might whip out his instrument…um..er…I mean his guitar…to the thrill of young gals everywhere.

      • MB says:

        I am so sick of all the whining about WGWG. The last two winners did well out of Idol better than any other singing competition that had woman and black men winning. The show is becoming more and more uncomfortable to watch with all the manipulation trying to appease all this garbage and make a girl win this year. There have been guys who were white and played the guitar who haven’t won in past seasons. Think of Paul McDonald and Casey James as examples who were much more the WGWG then that seasons winners. Both really nice looking guys who would appeal to young girls but they did not win. Enough already. Allow it to be a talent contest not a game of manipulation just to get a girl winner. First season of the XFactor a girl won. Where is she now? Scotty and Phillip are doing great because they were the right winners for their season not because TPTB manipulated their win. Give credit where credit is due. It is not the pre-teen girls who are blamed for their win that went out and bought their records. If the manipulation continues this season I am done with Idol and I am not alone with my feelings. The ratings are going down not because of who won but because the manipulation is just getting out of hand.

        • MB says:

          Just to make something clear I did not vote for Scotty season 10. I voted for Haley Reinhart who I loved and still do. I have to admit she did not set the world on fire with her album which I bought and did not buy Scotty’s. He did better than any other contestant in his season so I have to admit that even though he was not my choice he was the right winner for Idol. Phillip, I love and listen to his album daily. He is far more talented than many here give him credit for. Anyone I’ve shared his music with liked him. I have never once got a negative reaction to his music. He did Idol proud and it gave them the ability to brag how idol creates stars in their promotion.

        • teatime says:

          + 1,000,000 MB
          I am so beyond tired of the relentless anti-guy comments!

  14. AJM says:

    David Leathers JR!!!!!!! I was so excited to see him, he was robbed last year.

    • Cube says:

      He wasn’t robbed. He played a foolish “per-pubescent ladies man” angle last year and got dumped when the production team got what they needed out of it. Nobody would have voted for a grumpkin-looking Lothario . Hopefully, this year is a case of him cringing badly at seeing his antics on the screen and killing his vain character. Once he starts getting camera time again, if I hear “Mr. Steal Your Girl” out of his little mouth, I’ll know he once again didn’t make it.

      • Ty says:

        He was let go in favor of Eben, PURE canon fodder. He was one of the best singers on the show last year, including the guy who won (not saying much).

  15. Wesley says:

    Id say get rid of all the guys and make it a female only competition, none of them deserve to win. And looking at previous top 12s, maybe 3 out of the hundreds could be viable contestants.

  16. Angela says:

    The show started to become background noise for me after a while, ’cause hooooool-y crap, so many of them were so BAD. That seems to be common at this point in the show-for some reason, people who were fantastic in their first auditions often seem to totally fall apart when they do the group thing or whatever-but still, wow, I was wondering how many of these people even managed to get through.
    The best thing about the show that comes to mind was Keith Urban’s remark after some group butchered “Payphone”, about how Adam Levine wasn’t dead and yet he was STILL rolling over in his grave. I really do like Keith, he’s easily one of the bright spots in this season.

  17. marie says:

    Not the best episode tonight – in fact, one of the least entertaining, after one Hollywood Week show a couple years back where, I remember, no singing at all was shown. But then again, remember, we’re still seeing edited shows, and I get the feeling the blah show may have had just as much to do with a poorly constructed show as with any perceived lack of talent on the part of the contestants. Personally, I didn’t mind separating the guys from the girls,because after all they will be competing separately in the live semi-finals (unless they change that too), but I didn’t like the producer-assigned groups; at first I thought the motivation might be to streamline the selection process and ensure everyone would have a group, but yes, could well be they were going for potential drama. Could it be they were looking for personality clashes in the group calling themselves Country Queen, and decided to spotlight them anyway when what they actually got was far less drama than they were counting on?

    There actually was a good deal of singing shown, but just seconds of any given contestant, so it was hard for me to really get a sense of who any of them were. There well may be some great guy singers there, but we didn’t get to see them long enough to recognize them tonight. We’ve seen better Hollywood Week shows. Let’s hope tomorrow night is more satisfying.

  18. I didn’t think it was awful; some of them were pretty good and Idol’s format still works better than any other singing show out there. Was underwhelmed at the talent, but I feel like the focus was on drama tonight, maybe some better performances will come tomorrow.

  19. Name That Tune says:

    I’m glad they cut the drama surrounding forming groups. HW has always been a waste of time for me & bores me to tears. I got to see them sing & that’s all I care about. With the top 40 leaked, I got to see the ones who make the cut. ThereI are only 2 guys who look like candidates for P2’s crown – Devin Velez & Johnny Keyser (if he can pull it together). Those 2 have heartthrob vibes all over the place.
    It definitely feels like TPTB are doing everything they can to shift the scales to favor a female winner, but if one of the cute guys have anyaction amount of talent, it’s another male winner – but maybe not a WGWG this year. 0

    • Ty says:

      I think there is a black hole of the cute white guy that gets womens hearts aflutter this year. Devin is not on the level of a PP, and while Johnny is in terms of appearance, a lot of people, including Slezak – HATE him. By hate what I mean is they don’t like him and get a negative vibe about him, I think this will prevent Keyser from getting that kind of blind PP like support.

  20. deedee says:

    I really didn’t enjoy the gender segregated Hollywood round tonight. It lacked energy. We need all the Mars/Venus tension that adds some life and variety to the auditions. Nigel putting people into prefab groups is fine, but next year, let’s bring back the mixed groups. This was just an unnecessary, and unproductive change in structure.

    • Timmah says:

      I don’t know why Nigel decided to mess with Hollywood week. That’s typically the best part of the show, because a. you get the excitement and energy of having every remaining contestant in the same room, and b. you get the drama of a guy like Scotty McCreery trying desperately to find a group. This time you had neither.

  21. pandora__box says:

    color me biased. i’m a rock and roll chick. 1000’s of songs on my ipod. no gospel. no divas .no country. no pop da pop. if this the yr idol decides to ban r and r and wgwg? it will have jumped my shark. which means, gee whiz guys, i ain’t watching, and i ain’t voting, and i sure as hell ain’t buying from itunes. good luck with that product, 19.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I kind of agree, being an old rocker chick myself. My favorite performance of the night was the first group that sang Queen’s “Somebody to Love”. I really liked Nick Boddington and Mathenee Treco’s voices. I know a lot of viewers don’t care for that Matheus guy from The Glee Project but he was good on this number. I think Gabe Brown was the guy that should have been killed and eaten for screaming his way through the greatest rock song of all time, “Gimme Shelter”, during his audition but his schtick worked for me here.

  22. Vetle says:

    I barely remember the names of the contestants, but I do remember enjoying the voice of one of the maaaany black guys. He was one of the bigger guys, and I think his last name was Allen, or something. Google and youtube says Charles Allen. I think it’s him. Nate Tao was pretty good, again, and he’s super cute. I agree with Nicki on Cortez, well, I wasn’t disgusted, but I didn’t enjoy it. I do remember liking his audition in 2011 though. Mathenee Treco seems like a good singer, but he also strikes me as a Clint Jun Gamboa-esque type of singer, in that he might oversing. A lot. We’ll see. I’m just excited for the girls.

    • Ty says:

      Agree on Nate Tao, very cute and attractive face, the kind of look you could be proud showing friends and even parents for marriage (not just a #$%^ty call look to him).

      • Josh says:

        Okay wow…that’ a quick jump.

      • Tom22 says:

        lol, I agree though that he was one of the few that looked positive and comfortable on stage and actually understood the melody and chords to the songs, stayed on pitch and had a pleasant enough voice. Still .. he just didn’t seem to be the deep artist type with something in his soul he wanted to pour out or inspire the world with (that doesn’t need to be loud, its just exuded.. cold be paul simon or bruce springsteen , or neil diamond….gotta feel like there’s a guy just waiting for the right song to tell his story with). But, he was nice and charming and confident and could sing which is a hell of a lot better than most of the contestants.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Tom22 – you kind of hit the nail on the head for me. Nate is quite good but left me a little cold. But hey, Carrie Underwood was as boring as watching paint dry when she was on Idol – and look at her now!

  23. teatime says:

    I really enjoyed the show tonight. It was very funny at times and there were some truly memorable singing moments.
    – So far for me, it works that they split the guys and the girls. If they want to end up with an even number of each, it only makes sense to split them until they get to that point.
    – I was surprised that Karl was cut. I think he is very good. Other than that I don’t recall being surprised by anyone who was cut. I like Frankie but he did not even just flubb the words he just hummed his line. So I could see where they needed to let him go at this point. Mostly I was surprised by a couple of the people they sent thru after these performances.
    – I really liked Nick Boddington’s voice. I don’t remember seeing an audition for him but my ears perked up as soon as he started singing and I had to look at the TV to see who it was. I also noticed Mark La Duke for the first time tonight. I had to look him up on the Idol site to find his full name. I also really liked a couple others I did remember from the auditions phase such as Nate Tao.
    – What was up with forgetting the words, though? All these songs had straight forward lyrics. I am surprised at how many of them cannot remember a few lines. Perhaps it is that the nerves kick in since it is also extremely stressful to have to work with a group of strangers at an important time like this. It was too funny that they had one group on camera joking about how few lyrics there were to learn and then none of them remembered any of the lyrics in the sections of the performance that was aired for them.
    – I am glad they let the one group thru with the turbinator. I enjoyed the performance even with all the garbled words. They still kept to the melody and sort of sang something.

    – I am lovin’ Nikki as a judge so far.
    – I am lovin’ Keith as a judge so far.
    – Dare I believe this might be a good judging year? I can only hope.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I was also a bit surprised Karl Skinner was cut. It appeared to be “R&B Night on Idol” and IMO he certainly delivered from what I heard. I think if he’d been a large black man he might have been put through. I thought he was certainly as good as, if not better than some of those that were put through to the Group Rounds.
      And I am also loving Keith and Nicki as judges. I went into this show thinking I was going to detest Nicki Minaj. She’s been a breath of fresh air.

      • karenb says:

        Completely agree with you on the judges. Thought for sure I’d be pulling my eyes and ears out with Nicki and now I can’t believe how much I like her. Wasn’t sure how Keith would go over. He’s hilarious! Easy on the eyes too ;) Maybe he’s out WGWG this year?!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I also agree re: splitting the boys and girls. We’ll see how that goes when we get all those emotional girls together, LOL. I’m having flashbacks to drill team camp. Yikes.
      Other than “More than Words” the lyrics to the songs should not have been that difficult. I think the somewhat uneven melody of “More than Words” makes it a bit more difficult to remember if you don’t know the song already.

  24. Timmah says:

    Boring episode, couldn’t even make it through the whole thing. But at least since it was all guys, we can say that we saw the winner tonight.

  25. Guitar Blue says:

    Was a time when Idol was always #1, but too many games, scams, casting tricks ( some tonight should never have advanced in a bonafide talent show, but are used as “characters” for the next episode) are costing them some viewers. Bring-on the girls……………………………………………………………………………

    Nielsen Television – TV Ratings for Primetime: 2012-13 Season-to-Date
    Top 20 Network Primetime Series through Feb. 3, 2013
    Rank Program Name Net Viewers
    1 NCIS CBS 21,768,000
    2 SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL NBC 21,443,000
    3 THE BIG BANG THEORY CBS 18,609,000
    4 NCIS: LOS ANGELES CBS 17,984,000
    5 AMERICAN IDOL-WEDNESDAY FOX 17,392,000
    6 AMERICAN IDOL-THURSDAY FOX 16,758,000
    7 PERSON OF INTEREST CBS 15,920,000

  26. Ty says:

    BTW, that one group with the guy and the fro and the teal pants, the ONLY reason they are still around is that Nicki wants that teal pants guy BAD. She was looking him up and down hard, and was like NO – He CAN’T leave yet. Because that group was horrible.

  27. Diz says:

    They got rid of that Kayden kid no reason to watch anymore.

  28. The Beach says:

    I wonder if the Iraq war vet who brought his “miracle” daughter in for his audition is still in the contest after having to come clean this week about all the lies he told about being blown up by an bomb or has he been unceremoniously shown the door.

  29. Tahoe Mike says:

    How much better would tonight have been, if they’d all come down with a mystery flu and started dropping like flies??

  30. Tom22 says:

    I guess Kez passed the girl test? She’s whatever she chooses to be for me but I wonder if they checked her driver’s license to be sure so the Male divas from tonight wouldn’t feel unfairly treated. (ok.. I meant that in good spirit.. I hope it read with a smile ; )

    • Trouty Mouth says:

      Kez is definitely a chick. I’d be more confused about “JDA” than Kez.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Someone needs to tell the guy that JDA guy that thinks he’s Boy George he’s about 25 years past his expiration date with that ridiculous look. Glad to see those shiny silver pants I sent to a thrift store years ago found a new home, though.

        • karenb says:

          There you go again. Cracking me up. It was just a matter of time! 😝

        • marie says:

          Oh, c’mon, by now that look is merely “classic”! (Personally, like it or hate it – that look, that is – I couldn’t help but reflect on just how far Idol – and American society in general – has come towards tolerance in a very, very few years; lightning fast, really. Compared to JDA, while he was on Idol Adam Lambert looked downright conservative. And quite a few openly gay contestants this year in general, and Kez, who is unusual and endearing for it. Hurrah for diversity! And for guys in kill-yourself high heels I myself would NEVER dare to try!)

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Oh, marie, I spotted lots of “classic” looks last night. I spotted guys that looked like Jimi Hendrix, Bobby Sherman, John Fogerty, multiple incarnations of Luther Vandross and Teddy Pendergrass, Crosby, Stills, Nash, AND Young – and just about every guy that went to junior high school with me!
            .
            The sexuality question is not the issue with me with JDA – I just didn’t care for the Boy George look the first time around and it doesn’t go any deeper than that. Plus, JDA looked better in those pants than I EVER did! So I’m a tad jealous – ha!
            .
            What I loved about Adam Lambert, besides his vocal ability, was his ability to change his “look” depending on what song he was singing. I’m sure the stylists helped but IMO that is a wonderful talent regardless of any sexual preferences. Not only did I look forward to what Adam was going to sing – I was anxious to see how he would look to fit the part.

  31. forwarddad says:

    I think some if these groups spent too much time on choreography and notnenough on singing.

  32. Olivia says:

    There weren’t many great performances but I enjoyed Curtis Finch Jnr. My favourite moment of the night was when Keith said “With lyric and melody gone, I’m done. Hang on to One!” Love Keith Urban!

  33. darcy the slutty twin says:

    Cortez Shaw was a mess with that Whitney Houston number. Curtis Finch, what a douche! Johnny Keyser looked like a demented serial killer. And nobody took their shirt off! What a disappointing episode!

  34. karenb says:

    I girl will win. Uncle Nigel has chosen all the weak guys to ensure a win. Bummer.

    • Terry says:

      I agree that they’re stacking the deck in the girls favor, but why is that a bummer? We’ve had 5 wgwg winners in a row. 5!!!! Why not give the girls an advantage this year, and if she can sang her butt off, I have no problem with it. Of course her victory may be a little tainted because of the manipulation, but idol has never cared about that!

      • deedee says:

        I guess it’s a good sign when Nigel has to go through all these machinations to stack the deck in favour of a girl winner. It means that the audience vote really does determine who wins. Otherwise, Nigel could just designate the winner each year, and fashion the show around that outcome. Democracy is alive and well in Idolandia! .. I think. ha.

  35. darcy's evil twin says:

    Well, can I get a freakin’ witness?????? Welcome to “It’s 1960 again and Large Black Man/R&B Night on Idol”.
    .
    Maybe Johnny Keyser should have put his (backside) back in the hot tub this season – maybe he would have remembered the darned words to “I’ll be there”. (Keith – “I’m from Australia and I’ve heard that song”). WTH was THAT about? I don’t know how he got put through. I told my husband I would say the problem with forgetting lyrics was they were singing songs that were nearly as old as we were, but groups also screwed up “Payphone” and that song by One Direction – and those are current songs.
    .
    The first group that sang “Payphone” (with the Turbinator) was simultaneously awful and entertaining. Bizarre. I enjoyed the group with Nate Tao.
    .
    The group that sang “Wouldn’t it Be Nice” ran it down, backed up, ran over it again, and squealed the tires on the way out of town. But there was one nice vocalist – Does anyone know if that Christian Lopez guy plays the guitar? He reminds me a lot of Bobby Sherman (showing my age here).
    The stuttering guy should NOT have been put through. Isn’t one Josh Groban enough?
    .
    I also am loving Keith Urban as a judge and I LOVED his shirts. Thanks to my husband for pointing them out to me.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Sorry, the Four Tops song is “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” (not to be confused with the Jackson Five song).

    • deedee says:

      I agree with you that Lazaro should not have been put through, but not because he was a copy of Josh Groban. Rather, it’s because he’s really not all that good. He is pure back-story, and that is not a good enough criterion for a music career, or even a reality-show win for that matter.
      .
      But Idol thinks he’s entertaining, so he’s in. Meanwhile, poor Lazaro doesn’t understand that he’s being used for his novelty value, and thinks he’s in because he’s just that good. He’s not. This is the sort of thing that makes Idol evil

  36. Mary says:

    OMG, I understand Nigel wanting a girl to win, but this episode was so painful to watch. There is only one or two guys that stood out, putting the weakest of the guys thru will only end up bitting Nigel and AI in the A..s. This was the worst Hollywood week show ever. I’m not sure if it is because it was separated by the guys or girls, or because all you saw was a
    mega second of their singing. To be honest I am kind of hesitate of watching tonight, I might just wait till the top 20 are picked, since Nigel is picking them for us.

  37. Kim R says:

    Totally embarrassed by the Frankie break-down at the end of the show. And way to go Idol powers that be, to totally exploit young people falling apart. So nice. Following them down the street like paparazzi.

  38. TrulyRoxie says:

    I think they sent through some people that they shouldn’t have (whatever happened to “you forget the words and you’re done?”) and sent home some people they shouldn’t have.

    • Terry says:

      Forgetting the words at this stage of the game isn’t fatal. Scotty McCreery (I Hope You Dance) and Haley Reinhart (Carry On My Wayward Son) totally forgot their lyrics and both ending up deservedly making it all the way to the top 3. Of course forgetting the lyrics at top 3, ahem Haley (You Oughta Know), is fatal.

      • Tom22 says:

        Many of those lyrics you Oughta know were Family censored. They had used that song in the past (does she go down on you in the theatre) wasn’t deemed appropiate for prime time. Why the show would pick that bitter vengeful song for anyone is beyond me. Talking about your child as a ‘cross you bear” burden is crass too. Its one thing choosing that song but another to be assigned it.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          I’m not a prude, but if you can’t sing the words on network TV at 7:00 in the evening, please choose/assign/whatever a different song. “You Oughta Know” just keeps turning up like a bad penny.
          And this is for Terry – there’s a difference between forgetting a few lyrics (“nuts of wonder”) and not remembering ANY of the lyrics (Johnny Keyser).

          • Emma says:

            And that was the “judges” pick for Haley! After all the times they criticized her song choice, they made her sing that? smdh

      • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

        Didn’t another contestant forgot a key change that night (top 3) and still survive? Plus the other contestants mostly got songs they knew well for all three songs (all with original lyrics left as in the original). Anyway I doubt that couple word stumble made a difference either way. Now the constant (phony) btch edit and random judging for the prior 10 weeks….

    • marie says:

      Even established artists with decades-long careers occasionally forget the lyrics to a song they’ve sung for years, even that they’ve written. It can happen to anyone: anyone can make a mistake and no one is perfect. “Forget the lyrics and you’re gone” was never fair, and should not be policy.

      • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

        Quite true. Chris Martin messed up a song at one concert I saw and ended up cutting it short and having them start all over from the top. And you know what…. no big deal, whatever, made a joke, everyone laughed and it was all good.

      • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

        Plus on Idol, especially Hollywood week you are learning tons of new lyrics snap and on vritually no sleep and under intense pressure, about as harsh and tough on the memory conditions you can get. The whole thing is such a low-sleep/pressure cooker though taht they probably just want those with the sort of memory that will do well given that for the show so they don’t have to deal with too many flubbed lyrics making the show appear a mess, in the end it is a TV show not real life or a true contest.

    • fullyCOOKed says:

      What happened was Simon wasnt there to axe all those losers. Whats gonna happen when they have to memorize 3 songs for the finals.

  39. MEL31602 says:

    Totally agree on your positive standouts Slezak. I would also add the stuttering guy to that category(who was way better than his audition) and the Matheny guy that another poster mentioned above me. Was not too upset by any of the cuts b/c most of my faves this year are girls. And I’m one of the few people left who still likes Johnny, who I thought redeemed himself vocally with his performance yesterday

  40. fullyCOOKed says:

    They put thru all these wannabees and no singer songwriter types because they dont want another one of them to win 6 yrs in a row. They want a girl to win. What may backfire is people like me who voted for all but one (dont do country) of the last five winners probably wont vote at all.

  41. JPRausch says:

    I think it’s horrible the only eye candy–Griffin Peterson and Dustin Watts–were sent packing with little to no fanfare. What a bummer.

  42. betsy says:

    I do not like hearing the stuttering guy sing – he doesn’t enunciate at all and he sings straight through his nose. I was very surprised he made it through.

  43. WTH says:

    After last night the only one I am the least bit interested in is Nick Boddington!

  44. teatime says:

    I expect Hollywood shows to have very little singing and less good singing. I liked that we saw so much singing last night even if that means we saw more singing from people who will not still be there by the time of Top 40. Within a couple weeks we will be down to 10 guys and then 5. I expect at least 5 of these guys will hold up a serious contenders.

  45. connerc says:

    Who is the other boy who got through with Lazaro? Heard maybe 7 seconds, but he sounded good. I don’t remember him from auditions.

  46. YowzaPowza says:

    Either this is the worst crop of guys ever, or we’re getting some very clever editing in order to start rooting for a girl early on, and following her throughout the show. I’m piqued by a few of the guys, but I’l reserve judgement or admiration until I can see them perform alone. Admittedly, they were awful last night, but I’ll withhold full judgement until I see just a little more.

  47. marie says:

    Things I’m keeping in mind at this point:

    1. We have not seen all the guys who were put through. Every year, when we get to the live shows, there are always at least a handful of contestants whom we haven’t seen before. So…
    2. Too early to decide the producers are stacking the deck in favor of a female winner.
    3. Edited episodes never show you the whole picture: they are put togegther for dramatic effect, and you hear only tiny samples of songs. We can’t really tell with certainty who is terrific, who is just ok, and who is downright bad until we hear them sing live – and the more songs we hear from a given contestant over the weeks, the better we can judge their innate talent.
    4. We haven’t seen the second guys’ Hollywood Week show yet: we might get a little more info on talent there (but not the whole story; see #3).
    5. We haven’t heard much from the girls and women yet! (Showing my age; I just CAN’T refer to a female over about 19 as a “girl.” Sorry, I just CAN’T.) Their Hollywood Week shows might be edited to show them in a better light than the guys, or just as much to their disadvantage. Again, the live shows offer a much more reliable indication of the true abilities or lack thereof of the contestants.

    I’m still liking the new judges – but again, their input on the live shows will be the only way to tell for sure whether they have the right stuff. I’m betting they do; I think we have people here who really know music, seem to want to relay bad news or criticism in a kind and constructive way, and appear to be willing to disagree with each other. We’ll see.

    Up to now, despite not loving last night’s show, overall I’m encouraged about this season. I like two weeks for Hollywood Week, don’t really mind the format changes so far, and really appreciated both the continuing trend to showing fewer trainwreck auditions, and limiting the shows to three weeks, during that portion of the competition.

    I gave up on The Voice after a season and a half, gave up on X Factor after a handful of loud and annoying episodes, have never even watched America’s Got Talent based on what I’ve been told, and I think The Sing-Off has been canceled, unfortunately. There’s a reason Idol is still on the air for its twelfth season: it really IS the best reality singing competition there is.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      marie – agree with everything you’ve written here.
      Sadly, the Sing-Off was cancelled. Those kids were so talented they practically brought me to tears on that program.

  48. freethinker says:

    With most of the guys being minorites, R&B types, gays, overweight guys, it is very obvious that they do not want another WGWG winner. Without a WGWG to vote for, it looks like a country girl will probably have to be the one middle america votes for, so my guess is that a country girl who is very sweet and safe will win this year.

  49. RoG says:

    Not one that I would pick the phone up for. Sad.

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