American Idol Vegas Round (Part 1) Recap: Sudden Death and the Maidens [Updated]

american idol season 12 top 40 girls vegasA few of the details might’ve varied, but tonight’s installment of American Idol was, at its coal-black, mercenary heart, a less dusty reenactment of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.

Oh, sure, Ryan Seacrest went with his standard, “This…is American Idol!” intro (as opposed to the more ominous “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, dyin’ time’s here“). And no, there weren’t any feral, bloodthirsty ragamuffins in the front row (just some smiling or occasional booing family members of the contestants). But there was indeed a chiseled Australian dude (sporting better highlights, a more exacting ear, and a shaper sense of humor) and a dominatrix overlord (played by Nicki Minaj instead of Tina Turner).

Make no mistake, though, the “two men enter, one man leaves!” carnage was no less brutal or bloody. Ten wannabe Kelly Clarksons entered the Las Vegas stage that typically houses The Beatles: Love show, but only five advanced to the semifinals and a chance to find out if America’s speed-dialing populace wants to hold their hands, so to speak. (Ten of the guys will compete Thursday night, then 10 more ladies next Wednesday, and 10 more guys next Thursday, leaving us with 20 semifinalists in total.)

The 120-minute telecast featured only a few full-fledged train wrecks, but three or four performances which hinted that — with a little improvement/confidence boost — our Season 12 winner might possibly be in the house. If a secondary story arc emerged, it was the exceptionally salient feedback offered by judges Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj (and occasionally Mariah Carey). Let’s hope these highly paid individuals continue to “knock it out of the park” and earn their salaries instead of falling back on empty “that was beautiful”/”you look beautiful” platitudes favored the last two years by Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez.

As for Randy Jackson, on a night where blood spilled freely as a Game of Thrones battle scene, the “fourth judge” somehow managed to avoid being told “goodnight” by Keith and sent to a hasty, tearful retreat down the exit ramp of doom. Oh well, there’s always Thursday night, or one of next week’s episodes, right? (Yes, Nigel Lythgoe, it’s never too late to trim the panelist whose feedback is a haphazardly welded combo of whatever Nicki and Keith already said.)

Anyhow, let’s cut to the set list for the first “sudden death” episode in Idol history — along with my letter grades for every performance:

Jenny Beth Willis: Trisha Yearwood’s “Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love” | As someone who’s covered Idol for a living for nine years running, I pride myself on having a pretty good recall of the show’s myriad contestants and their bodies of work. Alas, though, aside from the fact that girlfriend tried to make a public case for the ghastly union of pink tulle and black lace, all other details of her performance have already washed away from my memory banks like common decency and good judgment from the brains of a Kardashian. (Oh, don’t be upset — I’m just kidding: The Kardashians don’t have any brains!) Grade: C+

Tenna Torres: Natasha Bedingfield’s “Soulmate” | In all fairness to Tenna, I’ll admit I had as much of a problem with her piteous song choice as I did her actual vocal. I mean, really, you want to make your first impression on Idol voters with the lyric “most relationships seem so transitory”? Why not sing a few lines from the U.S. Tax Code or the list of ingredients in a can of Red Bull? Anyhow, despite the judges’ praise for Tenna’s “vocal control,” I heard quite a few rough patches in the lower notes of the opening verse, and some hinkyness of tone when her voice opened up on the big, belty parts of the chorus. Still, I’ve got to hand it to Nicki for pointing out that Tenna’s super-heavy hairstyle aged her by a good 10 years. Since she’ll be back on our screens for the semifinals, here’s hoping she also scraps the severe blue eyeshadow and troweled-on clown-blush, too. Grade: C

Adriana Latonio: Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way” | I’m not sure why Ray Chew and the Idol band gave Aretha’s R&B classic such a tinny, soulless arrangement, but Adriana brought to it a rich, husky tone and a relatively unfussy delivery that catapulted her from potential cannon fodder to legitimate contender. Keith and Randy’s standing ovation perhaps set the bar a tad low for that sort of thing — what the heck would they have done if confronted by Joshua Ledet’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”? Showered him with hundred-dollar bills? — and left me wishing the judges had instead used their time to give the 17-year-old some constructive advice. Like, for instance, she ought to tackle something upbeat and current on Top 20 night to avoid any dismissive pigeonholing as an old-fashioned or outmoded balladeer. Grade: B+

Brandy Hotard: Travis Tritt’s “Anymore” | I have to admit it took me a few seconds to realize that Brandy hadn’t been tied up in her dressing room and replaced by The Bachelor’s crazy/vicious recent evictee Tierra LiCausi. (Seriously, I wouldn’t put anything past Tierra if it earned her more primetime exposure. Also: She and Brandy could totally be cousins!) Unfortunately, though, that kind of backstage drama wasn’t available to add a little spice to a vocal that was as basic as an egg-and-cheese sandwich at your local diner. Brandy wasn’t terrible by any stretch — as Mariah noted, she had some lovely moments in her middle register — but the psych nurse’s flaws, however, allowed Keith and Nicki to flex their astuteness. The former noted an “emotional-connection inconsistency,” while the latter wondered “why are you smiling when you’re singing ‘my tears, my resistance’?” In Season 12, a “pageant delivery,” as Nicki called it, just isn’t going to hold up. Grade: B-

Shubha Vedula: Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” | Shubha’s performance was as a little like her silver space pants: Not entirely right, but certainly not boring. I loved the way she began “Born This Way” while seated at the piano, slowing the Gaga track down to a cabaret-style ballad. After just a few bars, though, Shubha was on her feet — and the arrangement took on a stiff, midtempo vibe that found the 17-year-old over-enunciating and shimmying arrhythmically while throwing in run after unnecessary run after unnecessary ruu-uh-uh-uh-uhnnnnn-uh. Still, while Keith was right that the performance became “confusing” by virtue of Shubha trying to “cram a lot” into a 90-second window, it has to be pointed out that she deserved credit in three areas: Hitting a good 90 percent of her notes right on the nose; showing some real creativity in reimaging a well-known hit; and choosing to go uptempo on a night dominated by ballads. Alas, though, the judges weren’t quite ready for such a complicated jelly, choosing safer (but blander) performances over Shubha’s flawed but daring effort. Grade: B

Kamaria Ousley: Kelly Clarkson’s “Mr. Know It All” | I hate to side with Randy Jackson on anything, but he was speaking the truth when he said there was nothing redeemable about Kamaria’s vocal this week. As Nicki pointed out, it was as if the experienced background singer decided to put some “throaty-twangy” effect on her voice — my notes read “sounds like she’s swallowing a giant vitamin while singing” — and barely hit a single note in the process. I mean, things were so grim I was actually relieved when Mariah dug deep into her bag of “say something nice” and complimented the woman’s shoes. (Fashion side discussion: Should Idol keep Kamaria on staff to help Kree, Tenna, Adriana and Amber pull their looks together? I’m voting “hell yeah”!) Grade: D+

Kree Harrison: Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)” | I’m not sure I quite concurred with Nicki’s assessment that Kree made sweet love to “Up to the Mountain” this week — to me, she sort of tapped into its positive life force via some kind of musical Reiki — but it definitely was the climax of the first Season 12 Vegas telecast, if you’ll pardon the expression. Kree’s got a wealth of experience in her voice and a casual weariness to her delivery that sets her apart from everyone else in the competition. I loved how Keith highlighted that while Kree is being labeled “country,” that there are clear blues and Gospel influences in her voice as well. And just as important, girlfriend never oversells a note or forces a run. If Kree is willing to take some risks with unexpected song choices and daring arrangements, there’s a chance she could do one better than the woman who first brought a Patty Griffin tune to the Idol stage: The incomparable Crystal Bowersox. Grade: A-

Angela Miller: Jessie J’s “Nobody’s Perfect” | Angela certainly ranked among the week’s Top 5 vocals, but I found it fascinating how the judges focused mainly on the self-penned track she performed during Hollywood Week rather than on what she did with a Jessie J cover this time around. “Don’t overdo it. Don’t force anything,” pleaded Nicki, without ever coming out and saying that there more than a few moments where Angela’s vocal got overly bombastic and threatened to veer off pitch. A little constructive criticism about contrasting big notes with softer touches might’ve helped. On the plus side, though, the Massachusetts teenager stalks the stage like a seasoned veteran, and wore the heck out of that little black front-button romper. Grade: B

Isabelle: Billie Holiday’s “God Bless The Child” | There’s no doubt Isabelle’s got a beautiful, robust voice, but I felt like she threw more runs into “God Bless the Child” than Usain Bolt’s entire track-and-field career. That lack of subtlety extended to her phrasing and her peculiar rhythmic choices, too, making the whole number seem as labored as Kree’s felt effortless. As Mariah noted, Isabelle might’ve fared better with no accompaniment aside from a simple upright bass and piano. A last name might not have hurt, either. Grade: C

Amber Holcomb: Rodgers & Hart’s “My Funny Valentine” | And finally, from The Office of Contestants Uncle Nigel Has Made Sure Were Neither Seen Nor Heard Over the Last Two Months of Idol, we welcomed the very lovely and very talented Amber Holcomb to the stage. I mean, if you’re beasting through a song so easily that Mariah Carey threatens to smack you, then you know you’re doing something right. And indeed, Amber knew exactly when to press down on the gas (vocally speaking) and when to ease up — the contrast between her simple notes and her complex runs was delightful. No, her phrasing was not as delicate or refined as Melinda Doolittle’s back in Season 6 (thus my initial instinct to give her a B, not a B+), but if I’m being fair, Amber is a different kind of singer. I’d like to see what the kid can do with an uptempo Amerie or Toni Braxton track. Heck, she might even be able to take one of Britney Spears’ classic melodies and infuse it with 100 percent more humanity! The good news is, if she continues down the path she began tonight, Amber should have plenty of time to show us what’s in her bag of tricks. Grade: B B+

And on that note…

Put through to the Top 20 by the judges: Tenna, Adrianna, Kree, Angela and Amber.
Eliminated by the judges: Jenny Beth, Brandy, Shubha, Kamaria and Isabelle.
Robbed: Shubha (Okay, the performance was a little peculiar, but at least it wasn’t dull!)

With that intel in your ears, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of the first Vegas round of American Idol Season 12? What did you think of the judges’ feedback in a live setting and how did you feel about their decisions? Who was your favorite? Did Shubha get robbed? 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. darcy's evil twin says:

    Wow, ladies and gentlemen – we have a judging panel. I hope this continues. How refreshing to hear actual comments related to, well, judging!
    I’m a little late getting on here thanks to a late dinner and watching “The Americans” but it’s funny how everyone is echoing what I thought – I would have kept Isabelle or Shubha Vedula rather than Teena Torres. Shubha had a few rough spots but she was attempting to jazz things up a bit and actually do some entertaining. She’ll be back next year.

    Best hair in the competition went to Brandy Hotard. I love the song she sang (“Anymore” by Travis Tritt) but it wasn’t the best choice for her, unfortunately.
    I had Angela Miller’s hairstyle in about 1985,

  2. dani says:

    Oh MichaelMichaelMichael! Are you kidding me?? They were right to put Amber on last cause she stole the show and my heart. Tears came to my eyes.A+

  3. Hmr says:

    Marie Osmond…I mean Angela Miller UGH. Sick of the pimping already. I guess the competition is over? Amber impressed me.

  4. kcostell says:

    Shubha reminded me of Rachel Zevita from season 10 — so much potential, tossed away in a performance that had a lot of bizarre choices and just tried to do too much.

  5. Guitar Blue says:

    IMO – and that of several people here that watched or just FF’wd to the singers – no one is jumping up& down over any of the girls tonight. Kree is the better all-around singer for a pleasing tone, rather than high-pitch swoops & melisma – – — but she looks more like she’s working with the stage crew rather than aspiring to be a performing artist.

    If they come-up with some pretty good guys that can both sing and perform –, these girls from tonight are not going to be a challenge to win the show.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Idol doesn’t pay for the wardrobe until they make the top 12 so I’m going to cut Kree some slack on the wardrobe. But yes, a good stylist could jazz her up a bit.

    • Name That Tune says:

      It’s a good thing that the stylists haven’t got a hold of them yet. The word pageantry starts popping up &the girls are toast. I hope we see no evening gowns this year.

  6. Larali says:

    FYI… did you notice (i am sure you did) that Mr. Curtis Finch did not bother to clap after any of the girls’ performances? I am actively disliking this guy!

  7. Mellie says:

    I am very interested on what you have to say about Tenna, Michael. Everyone in our household really enjoyed what she did. Not the best of the night, but she was a definite top 5 for us.

  8. WendyT says:

    Amber Holcomb = A+++++

  9. Kelly says:

    It was painful when Shubha was cut. It was a bad time for such a strange performance but she still livened things up a little bit. There were far too many dreary, serious ballads and a general lack of fun this evening. Shubha at least tried something upbeat. Tenna was just horrible. What the hell? She reminds me of Stacy Francis from X Factor and I hate to tell her but she’ll be getting the boot sooner than later.

  10. I would have preferred Isabelle or Shuba getting in over Tenna, but I don’t think anyone was ROBBED tonight.

  11. Lois Benton says:

    Such an astonishing array of talent on display tonight! But, Michael your grades are off, and, forgive me for saying, so is your sense of pitch, it seems. Amber, Adriana and Tenna were STUNNING tonight. I was laughing with delight and amazement during Amber’s and Adriana’s performances; Tenna didn’t give a performance, she gave a symphony. Kree was right on their heels of the top three, and Angela was right behind Kree. The others all had exceptional voices and their performances all had some good parts, even when they chose the wrong song or couldn’t hear the band. Shubha, come on, be honest, overcome your previous bias: She picked an overdone song with no range and no oppurtunity to show any shading to her voice. She then started well enough and then stomped all over it, in the worst way. She has a terrific voice, but needs to learn subtlety and emotional truth; maybe the rules will allow her to return next year. Amber was the standout, and, even with all this talent, it’s not even close. I know in your eyes, “My Funny Valentine” is Melinda Doolittle’s song (a great version of a great song), but, get over it, not anymore. This kid is amazing. “My Funny Valentine” , she’s 17, for golly’s sakes, and she delivered it as if she had a life’s worth of experience and had been singing standards for 20 years. I LOVE her.

    • dani says:

      Wow Lois very good critique. I wrote last night that Michael was off about Amber. They were smart &right to go last cause she was the best. Stole the show and my heart.Brought tears to my eyes cause she was so good and has that nice lowish (no pun intended) voice. Great minds think alike..I agree with your other assessments of the other singers.And you brought awareness to me of Tenna’s lack. For me she had a contracted vibrato and that is unappealing to me.

      • dani says:

        Oops You liked Tenna ..meant I was made more aware of why I did not Enjoy Shuba’s performance via your notes about the lack of shading in her voice. But I thought Remnants was ok…just didn’t like her too tight vibrato.

  12. kat says:

    actually, the first person to bring up to the mountain on an idol stage is Kelly Clarkson during Idol Gives Back in Season 6.

  13. Mike says:

    Giving Shuba and Angela the same grade is an absolute joke.

    • Lois Benton says:

      Amen to that. If Angela’s a B, then Shubha was a c-.

    • Pat says:

      I have to agree.

    • HTGRWHOM says:

      Just because you may have liked what Shubha did before doesn’t mean it happened tonight! And it was hardly THAT daring of a song choice, it only seemed daring at all because it followed all the sleepy stuff. It was a wreck even if not to the level of Kamaria.
      It demonstrated that she has (certainly on that given night at the least) zero ability at all to keep up with anything up of that sort and to be able to deliver tight crisp fast notes like that and keep right on the beat. She sounded like she could barely even talk half the notes never mind sing them in that whole section. Past the piano, it just went all sorts of wrong.
      Maybe you can say that you’d still prefer her in the top 5 going by the sum of all the weeks before and say the dreary style of Tenna and forget about half or more of Shubha’s performance last night, but no way the heck she can get a B if Angela and a few of those others got a B too! She clearly stuck out to me as one of the three who clearly had a much rougher night than all the rest. Utter insanity. (And how does Brandy get knocked down more for smiling during one phrase than totally botching half the song??)

  14. Name That Tune says:

    Wow, just peaked at the guys spoilers for tomorrow night. After tomorrow no one should doubt that TPTB are sweeping the house of the cute WG.
    I’m beginning to think we will see an all girl finale.

  15. Guitar Blue says:

    While everyone has their own taste in music, performance style, genre’s, etc. — as on this blog alone, it’s easy to over-rate someone that is singing in competition on TV; against others that are not especially “the whole package” – at least yet.

    Kree is a better singer than Angela Miller, but Angela is a more dynamic package to put before a live audience. But neither of them have the potential to win it all, IMO.

  16. Chuck says:

    I’m mostly in line with Michael’s judgments, but for the life of me I don’t know what people heard in Amber’s performance to garner this much praise. She had trouble keeping the pitch, and frankly, there’s never been a Rodgers & Hart song that was improved by r&b runs. Melinda Doolittle, who sang it as it was intended, will always own My Funny Valentine on Idol.

  17. Jason says:

    Hey Slezak, get your facts right. Kelly Clarkson was the first person to sing “Up to the Mountain” on Idol. It was on the “Idol Gives Back” special and it was astounding, towering over Kree’s very good performance and Crystal’s good performance… Now, if you meant it was the first time performed “in competition”, then say that~ cuz you know we’ll call ya out….
    Anywho, I was pleased with many of the singers tonight and I have to say I loved the judges… My top five would’ve been 1) Kree 2) Amber 3)Audrina 4) Angela (the producers and judges need to settle down with their pre-ordainment of her as the winner though) and 5) Isabelle… I’d put Shula in 6th with Tenna in 7th. Regardless any of those three I just mentioned wouldn’t make into the top ten anyway. As for the other four, it’s gonna be a good fight!
    So far so good on this season of Idol!

  18. Matt says:

    Doesn’t any one notice tenna is the contestant like zohnette they have them every year and they always make to live shows since its an easy decision for America u can’t have twenty perfect singers

  19. marg says:

    of course adriana will sing old because if he followed your advice for a newer song she woudnt have made it past the vegas round like her friend shuba who did lady gaga’s born this way. she needed a song that will showcase her vocal prowess. and aretha’s songs are so hard that only great singers can do it justice. i dont know about joshua ledet all he was is a great performer but his vocals were just like screams and less pleasing to my ears. like the grammy winner adele said the music is always for the ears. ledet will never be a mainstream hit because of his style. i can never listen to him while on headphones.

  20. jenna says:

    i love that mariah keeps telling these kids how their next records should be and what she would like to hear from them “regardless of this competition.” it’s nice since it puts things in perspective, all the often these kids and the show give the air as if nothing exists outside of this buble and as if this show is only key to success. it’s just a show. just another competition…

  21. Kelly says:

    I do not get the Shubha love. She is sweet and charming, and has confidence and some stage presence (despite the very awkward “dancing” tonight). But every time she has performed I hear this nasal, breathy-hitchy chipmunk tone to her voice that is actually repellent to my ears. No one else heard this?

  22. lenna says:

    dont get the kree love. to me, she is boring. in fact, mostall of them boring and i have already forgotten them by now.

  23. Spellman says:

    Tenna was horrible as usual. Squeaky tone and I honestly don’t think she has the control that the judges were commending her for. Isabelle and Shubha was robbed! Wasn’t feeling Adrianna’s performance alot cos I think that she still needs lots of polishing to be done. I wish there’s a wildcard round or something that’ll give Isabelle and Shubha another chance cause they really really deserve it.

  24. Kate'shomesick says:

    Urgh…I just spoilered myself….shouldn’t have done that…I’m already devastated about the choices for the first male group….

    By the way: Curtis Finch Jr. is really THE most unlikeable character I’ve seen for a long time on idol. Let’s hope the voting public sees that…

    • deedee says:

      Yeah, I made the mistake of peaking at the spoilers too, and … urgh.

    • HTGRWHOM says:

      Who is this Curtis Finch Jr. that everyone is going on about? Some new producer sitting near the stage who was glowering at the contestants or something?? (I skipped last week and most of the auditions so maybe they introduced him at some point?)

    • teatime says:

      PLEASE no spoilers! I had to jump out of the thread because the show had not started yet. But I already read too much.

  25. Holly says:

    Yes, Shubha was robbed! She was interesting and upbeat, even if her performance ended up being a little mixed up. She has way more potential than Tenna, so I’m disappointed they sent her home. However, they may have been looking ahead to next week’s round of females. Perhaps the judges think that Melinda Ademi has a stronger hand with the young pop singer/dancer thing. Hopefully Shubha will try again next year.

  26. EVPandHC says:

    Kree was the best of the night. She really is a dark horse. 8.5/10
    Angela did well, but I felt that she was oversinging. Still, she did great. 7.5/10
    Amber was good, but not outstanding. 6.5/10
    Adrianna deserved to advance, but I wasn’t excited. 5.5/10
    Isabelle was dull, but she sang better than Tenna 5/10
    Tenna is not gonna stop the chipmunk comparisons. 4/10
    Jenny Beth was boring, and her left arm movements were weird. 3.5/10
    Shubha did way too much with her arrangement and she wasn’t robbed. 3/10
    Brandy was so pageanty and delivered the wrong emotion 1.5/10
    Kamaria shot herself once by singing Kelly. She shot herself again by singing with no correct note hit. 0/10

  27. Annie says:

    Anybody else totally seeing Rose from “2.5 Men” while Kree is singing? Couldn’t get that image out of my head.

  28. Gale says:

    Kree was by far my favorite. But get that girl a stylist, stat!

  29. Mary says:

    I agree with who went through except I would of put Isabella over Tenna. I think half of the girls problem with getting votes is they do not do uptempo songs. They all sang really well, except the backup singer, but my god the songs were boring. Shuba at least tried to go uptempo but failed in her delivery. I am loving Keith and Nicki, however I think we are going to have to tied Keith down. You can tell he is passionate about the music but a couple of the standing O I thought were not quite warranted, but I can overlook since he gives intelligent critiques. I hope both Keith and Nicki continues it on the actual live shows.
    Mariah gave some good feed back but she needs to speed it up.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I’m going to give Keith a bit of a pass on the standing Os. I think he’s just over-enthusiastic and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

  30. reeveb says:

    I hope Angela reels in her look in addition to her performance. Teeth are soooo white, lips are soooo red, hair is sooooo big. Girl we see you! You could come out with no make-up, sweats and a baseball cap and run the table. Also so curious if she will take an unabashedly Christian angle a la Amy Grant? … And if that helps or hurts her just in terms of voting?

  31. Loni says:

    Speaking of look-a-likes here… Kree is the spitting image of Melanie Lynskey, don’t you think?

  32. Sasha says:

    Michael I know you love Crystal and I know this doesn’t count as a “contestant” song BUT for Idol gives back so many years ago Kelly Clarkson sang the living daylights out of that song and Crystal’s version didn’t come close to it.

  33. nikki says:

    it was actually Kelly Clarkson who introduced Idol to Patty Griffin. she sang the same song for the inaugural Idol Gives Back.

  34. Stacey says:

    Only mistake I though was not putting Isabelle in. I though she was much better than Teena or even Adriana. But Adriana was surprising in her young, but confident approach. But I though Isabelle sold her song a lot better than Teena. If by chance they do last chance wildcard spots. I hope Isabelle gets a second chance.

  35. darcy the slutty twin says:

    Wow does Tenna sound like a mouse squeaking. Was Kamaria’s performance the worst ever on Idol? Angela looks so much like Miley Cyrus that I just can’t.

  36. Karen says:

    Just wanna say that crystal bowersox wasn’t the first contestant to bring ‘Up to the Mountain’ to the Idol stage. While it wasn’t while she was competing, Kelly Clarkson performed the most riveting version of it on Idol Gives Back (can’t remember if it was season 6 or 7, though). But I loved Kree’s version as well

  37. spongebob says:

    I agree with the judges’ choices except for Tenna (obviously) and Amber (less obvious). I don’t know if I’m the only one who didn’t feel anything at all while she was performing. I felt like she was just singing & force-smiling. Just wasn’t honest. No connection for me even though technically it was great! Unlike Melinda’s classic rendition of the song in S6, where I felt every note she sang. Nicki was the only one who saw right through her. I think Shubha & Isabelle were robbed. Their performances were even better than Angela for me because Angela turned a bit too theatrical. Just MHO. :)

  38. Jiggy says:


  39. fullyCOOKed says:

    They’re gonna pimp Angela right into getting booted off by the voting public. History shows they dont put up with having a contestant overly sold to them.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      While you’re right in saying heavily promoted contestants don’t typically get the crown, they are all but guaranteed to go far. I’m thinking back to Season 8 and the heavy promotion of Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey, and Lil Rounds. All of them made the tour, and Adam came close to the crown. And let’s not forget the long runs of Chris Daughtry, Melinda Doolittle, David Archuleta…so if we hold true that winning isn’t everything here, heavy promotion isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

  40. anna says:

    Kree >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> everyone else. Angela, Amber and Adrianna had their moments, and all have nice voices, but they aren’t very interesting performers. Kree was so natural and effortless. And I appreciated the fact that she didn’t feel it was necessary to wear some prom dress or other overly fancy outfit.

    Shubha had the most entertaining performance, but she had way too many different ideas and they didn’t really blend together all that well — she should have remembered that less is usually more, when it comes to this stuff.

    I loved the judges — all of them (even Randy!!!) make some very good comments and provided thoughtful criticism.

    Final note — most of the girls needed to dial back on the makeup. Again, less is more.

  41. em says:

    Last night was the first time I really watched Idol this season. Count me as one of those people who loved Shuba’s performance. Once I heard the sitar kick in, I was hooked (but yes, it did help that all the other songs were ballads). But I do agree with the judges’ decisions for the most part, and I don’t think I’ll miss Shuba too much in a couple of weeks from now.

  42. Callum says:

    I don’t get what the judges saw in Amber. She had no emotion at all (critique they gave to Brandy). She was overdoing the song (critique they gave to Shubha), a very ancient song (critique they gave to Isabelle). Why didn’t they critique her, then?!

  43. Trouty Mouth says:

    Angela is good, despite giving me Colton Dixon vibes, but it’s time for her to call a moratorium on Jessie J covers. It’s worse than Scotty “baby lock them doors” McCreery and his love of Josh Turner.

  44. Trouty Mouth says:

    I couldn’t properly enjoy Adriana’s performance of “Ain’t No Way” because I’m always going to mentally compare it to Amber Riley. Also, Jenny Beth = wtf?

  45. marie says:

    Sigh…time for a cranky aside re: the continued mangling of the English language these days. First, on another show, we had a contestant named “Cheesa” who insisted her name was pronounced “Chessa” despite the two “Es” clearly denoting a long-E sound; now, we have a contestant named “Tenna” who asserts that her name is pronounced “Teena” despite the single “E” followed by the double consonant that absolutely indicates “TEN-uh,” with a short “E.” (You know I’m right: notice how many folks posting here, clued by the way her name is pronounced on the show, are writing “Teena” instead of her preferred spelling of “Tenna”.)
    Heaven help us!
    Ok, got that off my chest, /rant!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      LOL. Thanks for forcing me to remember “Cheesa”. I had forgotten her.

    • Joy says:

      Cheesa was Pinoy, so her name was probably based on Spanish phonetics — in Spanish you’d say “Cheh-ess-a,” but with the two “e” sounds rolling together in a way that, to make it manageable to English speakers, you have to either painfully overpronounce (“Chay-ess-a”) or simplify to a single “eh” sound. She apparently went the former route.
      Tenna, on the other hand…no idea what her excuse is.

  46. Kevin Podgorski says:

    While it was not part of the competition portion, Kelly Clarkson first brought Up to the Mountain to the Idol Stage…and believe me, neither Kree nor Crystal B lived up to Kelly’s exceptional version!

  47. JB says:

    Someone needs to tell Mariah, Less is more.

    You need to provide critique but when you get too long winded you come across as someone who is compensating because they don’t feel like they’re being taken seriously.

  48. darcy's evil twin says:

    I just saw a promo for tonight’s “Idol” on TV and if I’m not mistaken I think it just told us which five guys make the cut!

  49. robbie says:

    These judges are pretty great, they were over-scrutinized in the beginning. Mariah, as said, needs to get to the point more, but when you get down to her tactical comments, she has the most potential to make the contestants improve week to week and across all 4 they all provide some really balanced feedback. She is the empathy of the group but she can also be the coach, so I’m really excited to see more of that. (I wonder what words of wisdom she passed along to Shuba, seing a vocalist some singers truly idolize offer feedback is why she’s worth the $$, it brings the emotion up one level)

  50. kate says:

    Can we talk about Randy quickly? Explaining that Nikki wasn’t serious about going bald and then telling the second contestant that this was actually the start of the night? Well, not for any clever or respectful comments from his side.