American Idol Vegas Round (Part 2) Recap: Men of a Certain Range [Updated]

idol season 12 top 40 guysIf American Idol wanted to find its Season 12 winner via personal ad, the copy would probably read something like this:

TOP-RATED REALITY SHOW ISO BIG-VOICED DIVA | Been dreaming for six years now about discovering America’s next great female artist — though not the “current” type that looks and sounds like she spontaneously sprouted from the dark, moist corner of a dumpster. (Sorry, wannabe Ke$has!) Turn-ons include girl-next-door charm, working-class backstories and the ability to crush a glory note like The Rock slamming his fist down on an empty Diet Coke can. Turn-offs include pale-skinned males who’ve ever plucked a guitar, bass, violin, eyebrow or even a chicken. In fact, if you’ve got a penis, go to The Voice. Go directly to The Voice. Do not pass the SwayBot pit and do not collect 200,000 text votes. Willingness to share our affections with 11 prior winners a must. Reply to

And yet while The House That Kelly Clarkson Built continues the quest to find itself a new queen, the situation hasn’t gotten desperate enough for Fox to make Season 12 a ladies-only kinda party. To which I say thank goodness.

Oh, sure, the last five seasons of Idol have found me rooting for Carly Smithson, Allison Iraheta, Crystal Bowersox, Haley Reinhart/Pia Toscano and Skylar Laine, but would I really want my iPod to exist without the sounds of David Cook, Adam Lambert, Kris Allen, Joshua Ledet, Matt Giraud, Anoop Desai, Phillip Phillips, Michael Johns, Paul McDonald and Stefano Langone? (Don’t try to pretend “I’m on a Roll” isn’t one of your guilty pleasures, too.)

At the end of the day, Idol is all about giving power to the people, letting the American public overthrow the major-label cabal that gives us musical gruel like that Spears duet and tries to convince us it’s chocolate mousse. So bring on the guys — all 20 of ’em — and let them throw it down, I say! (And, hey, it’s not as if rootsy blues rocker Phillip Phillips, earnest country kid Scotty McCreery and pop-rock troubadour Kris Allen are really anything alike — aside from their Y chromosomes and pale complexions.)

Tonight’s two-hour Idol installment — which whittled the first 10 Season 12 men down to five (the remaining 10 will perform next Thursday and also be cut by half) — was weird and wonderful (and yet also totally confounding), with Nicki Minaj threatening to marry one contestant’s vibrato, make babies with another, and cradle a third male contestant in her arms (sibling-style).

Look, I understand that Idol is a TV show as much as it is a singing competition. I accept that successful musical artists need to have personality and personal charisma as much as they need to hit their notes. And I love that Nicki and Keith (and even Mariah and — heaven help me — Randy) were all able to articulate their myriad reasons for digging some singers while not responding to others tonight. I just get a little skittish when the cuteness of contestants’ faces or the adorkableness of their shtick starts trumping other folks who hands-down outsang ’em, ya know what I mean?

Anyhow, let’s cut to the set list for the second “sudden death” episode of Idol‘s 12th season — along with my letter grades for every performance:

Paul Jolley: Keith Urban’s “Tonight I Want to Cry” | Nicki’s mind might work in mysterious ways, but her ear continues to be a righteous organ. I loved how she picked up on the way Paul’s tone was “a little sweeter to the ear” in earlier rounds than it was when he took the Vegas stage with the big Idol band. Indeed, there was a strained quality — weepy, even? — whenever Paul reached for a glory note on “Tonight I Want to Cry,” and perhaps that’s what had Jimmy Iovine describing the performance as too theatrical. I know some readers have tabbed Paul as Season 12’s great male hope, but to me, his performances still read too amateurish, too eleventh-place. Remember, when the power moves to the hands of speed-dialing crazies, it’s better to be fantastic or catastrophic than it is to be just aiight. Grade: B-

Johnny Keyser: Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up” | “Get ready for some blue-eyed soul, America!” Johnny declared in his intro package, his seduction techniques as cheesy as a block of Wisconsin cheddar. Yet while the Season 11 Vegas evictee had been pretty underwhelming in his earlier rounds this season, I thought that after an opening verse that was less dynamic than your average GPS robo-dude, the latter two-thirds of “I Wont Give Up” were in tune and reasonably pleasing. The weird side-part in Johnny’s hair was a little too Ken Doll to have been anything other than an act of sabotage by the Idol styling team (as directed by Uncle Nigel), and he seemed to struggle a little to keep up with the rapid-fire cadence of the bridge, but as Keith declared when Mr. Keyser had finished, “That was…good?!” Grade: B-

J’DA: Adele’s “Rumour Has It” | “I applaud your originality,” said Keith to the contestant who rocked more makeup and glitter than your average RuPaul’s Drag Race contender, and yet also sported enough stubble to be deemed acceptable by The CW’s standards and practices department. J’DA’s vocal wasn’t terrible, though — especially when you add dramatic floor writhing and post-performance snap-tasticness to the equation. Sure, J’DA probably should’ve avoided covering one of the most universally lauded voices of his generation, but if I had to choose one of the night’s “spectacle” performers to advance, I’d have chosen him over Charlie. (Uh-huh, I went there.) Grade: B-

Kevin Harris: Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” | It was strange to hear Randy had bestowed the nickname “Buttah” on Kevin, considering the appealing graininess he displayed on the verses of Bryan Adams’ hokey soundtrack hits. Yet while Nicki was spot-on that Kevin was the first male contestant to offer up a Grade A vocal in Vegas, she also pointed out his fatal flaw: A low-key personality that might not “pop” with the at-home audience. Then again, to be fair, Kevin didn’t exactly have time to build a connection with the Idoloonie Nation in the 3.6 seconds of screentime he scored prior to Vegas. But methinks his real fatal flaw was the excessive restraint he used while sticking mostly to the song’s well-worn melody. Mariah huffed that she didn’t care for the song choice when she knew Kevin was capable of “taking a note and bringing it 56 places.” Which made me want to scream, “Oh grrrrrl, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.” [Insert your own joke about Mariah’s role in getting Glitter to the big screen here.] Grade: B

Chris Watson: Otis Redding’s “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” | Is it wrong that I was so distracted by Chris’ giant headkerchief with monstrous side bow that I had to use the “seven-second jumpback” button on my DVR to start the performance over again? I mean, that thing had enough fabric to dress every model in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue — with a little left over to make a set of two rhinestone-studded dishtowels and a tea cosy. Wait, what were we talking about? Oh, Chris’s vocal. I mean, the guy has an above-average set of pipes, but his arrangement of Otis Redding’s R&B classic was as vacant as the Bates Motel after a special visit from “Mother.” Nicki’s whole bit about heating pain and soul and struggle in Chris’ voice left me a little confounded — unless she was trying to say dude was giving off a cruise-ship kinda vibe and then got sidetracked by visions of that stranded Carnival Triumph and its mortifying bathroom situaysh. Grade: C+

Devin Velez: Beyoncé’s “Listen” | Of all the guys who performed this week, I’d say Devin has the best shot at making it to the finale, because A) he’s got a really beautiful singing voice; B) he’s brimming with quiet magnetism; and C) his main rival Curtis continues to come across as a massive tool. To my ears, “Listen” was maybe 10 percent too big and too sophisticated a number for Devin (at this stage of his career). The kid nailed every note, but he lacked just a little of the anger and budding empowerment Beyoncé uses to punctuate certain phrases in the original Dreamgirls version. Nevertheless, Devin’s seamless transition from English to Spanish was a deft touch, and brought out yet another astute, unflinching bit of feedback from Nicki: Devin’s a nice-looking kid with warmth in his eyes, and his bilingual delivery makes him more marketable. Nothin’ wrong with that! Grade: B+

Elijah Liu: Bruno Mars’ “Talking to the Moon” | Like Devin, Elijah is also a nice-looking kid with warmth in his eyes, but I’m going to end the comparisons there before my computer CTRL+ALT+DELs itself in protest. You see, my trusty laptop was in the room for Elijah’s Bruno Mars cover, and we agreed it had all the heft and substance of a store-brand marshmallow. The kid’s falsetto was barely audible over the Idol background singers, the entire section of “ahhh-ahhhs” was unquestionably flat, and there was a juvenile quality to his tone and phrasing that made me certain he’d be the first singer cut from the Top 10. But nope, quite the opposite happened. “You look like a freakin’ pop star,” contributed Keith. “So relevant and now.” Nicki — daring/desiring to be different — declared that she’d sign Elijah to a major-label deal today, on account of his sweet face and general marketability. “I like that you’re Mexican and Chinese,” added Mariah, “that’s a great combination.” (Good thing Elijah’s parents had the foresight to procreate in a way that appeals to Ms. Carey; she should dedicate “We Belong Together” to them at her next concert.) Only Randy made sense (kinda), lamenting the lack of “moments” in the vocal. And when I have to type the words “Randy made sense” (in that order), it’s time to wrap up the paragraph and consider a pint glass full of gin. Grade: C-

Charlie Askew: Elton John’s “Rocket Man” | Question: Were the judges actually being serious with their feedback about Charlie’s “fearlessness” and originality? Because what I saw was a teenage boy with visibly shaking hands stumbling his way through an Elton John classic and hitting maybe 60 percent of his notes in the process. When Charlie finally got off his knees and stood, his vocal improved, but then he went in for some ad-libs that kerplunked with the awkwardness of a giraffe collapsing on a skating rink. If that wasn’t painful enough, we then had to put up with Charlie “cutely” interrupting the judges and firing up the audience, the better to turn critique time into a victory lap. (Note, he really didn’t want to hear Randy’s astute assessment that “it was a bit stage school” and that apparently his fellow panelists just wanted to forget the quality of singing and make it all about the performances.) Okay, so Charlie had scored a big victory for weirdness in front of 17 million viewers. He’s just a kid! He was just having a quirky-good time! But it’s not going to be so cute in three or four weeks’ time when the ladies of The View and The Talk and half of the country are asking “Who the hell is voting for Charlie Askew and why is he lasting over contestants with better voices?!” I’ve felt it since Charlie’s audition: He’s got a sweet, unique tone to his voice, but I don’t think he’s ready for this jelly. Ready or not, though, here he comes. Grade: C-

Jimmy Smith: Radney Foster’s “Raining on Sunday” | I’m pretty sure Jimmy was just under the melody from the very start of his performance to the bitter end. I’d write more about the whole sad spectacle, but every time I try to recall the details, the Lunesta butterfly tempts me with her siren call, “Sleep, my child, sleep!” Grade: C

Curtis Finch, Jr.: Luther Vandross’ version of “Superstar” | I know Curtis is going to draw comparisons to Season 10’s Jacob Lusk and Season 11’s Joshua Ledet because he’s a flashy black guy with roots in Gospel music, but I say “Bzzzt!” to that. To me, Curtis has got a slicker, more ’70s soulster vibe than those fellas: Plus, he’s more of a stylized, intellectual vocalist than someone who’s singing directly from the gut. Take that falsetto run near the end of the performance: You can’t tell me Curtis hadn’t planned exactly where to insert it, and hadn’t practiced 100 times or more exactly how he was going to deliver it. But that’s not saying I didn’t enjoy the old-fashioned Vegas-iness of Curtis’ cover. I mean, the dude is really good, and he knows hot to transport you to a certain time and space. It’s just his personality that’s gonna do him in long before we’ve boiled the Season 12 soup down to the Top 5. I can’t be the only one who watches Curtis on stage and sees him thinking, “I’m good…I know I’m good…but I’m gonna pretend I don’t know how good I am…even though every facial expression and movement I make tells you that I know I’m good — maybe even better than I actually am.” Props to Nicki, then, for telling the guy to quit the humble act. “You know damn well you’re goin’ thru!” Amen, Sister Minaj! Grade: A-

Put through to the Top 20 by the judges: Curtis, Elijah, Paul, Charlie, Devin
Eliminated by the judges: Jimmy, Kevin, JDA, Chris, Johnny

Favorite Ridiculous Moments
* Mariah saying she agreed with Randy about Paul Jolley’s performance, then adding she felt a little differently than “other people on the panel.” Is it possible she can make it to May without uttering the word “Nicki” (AKA she whom the lamb shall not name?).

* Randy critiquing Johnny Keyser with this gem: “For me, it felt a little bit kind of just an okay performance, for me.” Well spoken as always, Dawg!

* Keith howling “Baby?!” and Nicki roaring with laughter after Randy used the word to start his critique for Chris Watson.

* The absurd theater that was the Tie-Break. I mean, the judges called in Jimmy Iovine to break some kind of mythical tie, but only presented him with one contestant: Paul Jolley. Without a second singer in the mix, Jimmy wasn’t breaking any tie at all? I mean, he didn’t know if the judges had settled on a Top 4 and were debating between Paul and Devin or Paul and Johnny or Paul and Charlie or Paul and Chris? I’d have had more respect if each of the judges had selected their own favorite from the pool of 10 to advance, then called Nigel Lythgoe out from behind the wings and said, “Okay, Overlord, tell us which one you need to round out the cast!”

And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of the first half of the American Idol Top 20 guys? 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 Kevin 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. Lois Benton says:

    Oh, man. Curtis (! Cast, with his own permission, as The Villain!) was the ONLY thoroughly fine vocal and ONLY good performance tonight. So, I guess we’re rehabilitating Curtis now. I wasn’t quite sure about whether his seeming to stalk the space was creepy or not, but I watched it a couple of times and decided I liked it. As for the next best, I liked Elijah’s voice a lot, even if he totally ruined the song at the end. The high part at the end was really bad, but his tone is delicious, all little Michael and Bruno Mars. But the competition is hardly fierce tonight, so, of course he should go through. C-, Michael? What are you putting in your TV? And, Charlie, my main man. I love Charlie. Best song choice of the night. But Charlie has let nerves get the better of him and he has been reading blogs and, as people will do at 17, getting all excited and full of himself and letting that get in the way. What I love about Charlie is his connection to the music, his immersion in the emotional truth of the song, living the song, and his total musicality. I liked his vision of the song very much. His nerves took him out of the song tonight; I could see him shaking; I could hear it in his voice. Experience or Eckhart Tolle are the only cures for that. But where he meant to go was clear, and I liked that. He has a lot of charisma too. I pretty much hated everyone else. As for the ones that were put through, I hated Jolley a little less than I hated Devin. Actually, I really hated Devin and would have put through any number of people before him. My husband though he was good, though. That’s where Jimmy Iovine comes in.

  2. nl says:

    All I know is that tonight made me really really miss @thedavidcook and @davidarchie!

  3. Billie says:

    If I were the judges the boys that should rightfully go to the next round are Devin and Curtis, and for the remaining (unnecessary?) spots should go to Johnny, Paul, JDA, and Kevin (whichever three from the four). The first five girls went throught were right with the exception of Tenna. I’m not sure if it should have been Shubha due to her polarizing performance though. That’s my insight.

  4. Billie says:

    If I were the judges the boys that should rightfully go to the next round are Devin and Curtis, and for the remaining (unnecessary?) spots should go to Johnny, Paul, JDA, and Kevin (whichever three from the four). The first five girls went through were right with the exception of Tenna. I’m not sure if it should have been Shubha due to her polarizing performance though. That’s my insight.

  5. darcy the slutty twin says:

    Devin Velez does not have a face for TV. Curtis Finch would have been a perfect fit in Candice Glover’s Hollywood round group singing “Hit Em Up Style.” I CANNOT stand him and his OTT singing. I am now mourning the loss of my two sexual fodders, Johnny and Jimmy. We haven’t even seen Jimmy’s chest yet! I’ll bet it’s shaved and massive and…..oooops! Busy fingers! That Elijah kid has nice arms.

  6. kt says:

    I appreciate the fact that Charlie is different and that’s what people find endearing, but the vocal is weak. Just because he’s someone I could support as a human doesn’t mean I want to hear him sing.

    Curtis easily had the best vocal tonight, but came off as so affected and full of himself that I don’t think I’d ever be able to vote for him.

    There is no way that they didn’t see better guys audition.

    May be a girls year after all.

  7. ceebee says:

    My wish list for a “BIG” tv moment…a bottom 2 of Charlie and Curtis…and Charlie STAYS!! the Look on the face of Curtis would be the BEST part of this Season!!

  8. Scott says:

    Gotta say I think Paul is very talented and I believe will make it far in the competition! Charlie though I can’t see how or why he made it to the top 20

  9. Scott says:

    And also even though I can’t see why Charlie got to the top 20 I do agree he seems like a very nice and great guy! It’s just it’s not Personality Idol

  10. Mary says:

    Michael I couldn’t of picked 5 so I passed. The only one I found entertaining was Jada and we all knew he wasn’t going through, and he really shouldn’t have due to his singing. I am not on twitter, but please someone inform Nigel to have a show no slow songs allowed. AI is too obvious they want a girl to win. I think it would of been better if they mingle the groups so we could have the good with the bad. I thought Paul Jolly ruin my favorite Keith Urban song. Keith should of stopped him and showed him how it was suppose to be sung. The only one I thought was okay last night was Devin. Nigel needs to stop with the manipulations and put through some decent males or this season will backfire for sure. They might end up with female winner, but no audience to help support them. I am hoping some of these guys will get rid of the stage fright or nerves whatever it is and have decent performances. I personally want a good singer whether male or female that maybe stands a chance.

  11. Holly says:

    This year on Idol they have cast the most dreamy, sexy, intelligent, hot guy ever! Keith Urban, I’m in love with you! Oh, there were guys singing tonight? Umm, didn’t notice…..

  12. Chris says:

    Is anyone else wondering when Mariah’s going to get fed up with being the fourth judge to comment? By the time they get to her she’s usually got nothing to say that someone else hasn’t already said. Why did they go back to four judges???

  13. Bobby says:

    Thanks Darcys evil twin Love yr comments. Great to see u back year after year! And u forever for continuing to make us laugh and worship at yr idol altar. Love Keith urban and Nicole Kidman how lucky is that woman to be able to share her life with him! And did Nikki or Mariah ever make eye contact? Nikki body language always facing toward Keith? And Mariah incessant hair patting. Love her on Qvc or hsn. Watched her for hours once flipping thru channels. She was major pregnant sold hundreds of thousands of product in five minutes alone. Now that was entertainment.

    • BobbyAnn says:

      Ps can’t wait for the live shows fwhen charlie goes totally askew and they bring back mr johnny so far I don’t think any of these guys will make it not even the devin guy who should. Jda should give them all pointers on stage presence

  14. Joy says:

    Charlie is sanjaya and tim urban combined!! Are you kidding me???? Terrible

  15. ChrissieK says:

    Didn’t last year give us kinda bland “guys” and really rocking “girls” and a girl is gonna win and we got saddled with (no offense to the man) Phil Phillips strumming his guitar? And I feel like it is a rerun right now (but Curtis, sorry man, you are no Joshua, not even close). Why did they allow Jda with the heavy, glittery 5 o’clock shadow be part of the top 20 MEN is just totally beyond me (Charlie makes more sense). I thought he could really sing it, bring it because we didn’t know much about him, hadn’t even heard him up until last night. High School Talent Show, that was the level that Jda reached and he just wasted my time.

    Oh yeah I was sitting there last night saying “right on Randy” or “Randy’s right” as I was thumbing thru my magazine and then I caught myself and thought wtf is going on, I’m agreeing with RANDY?

    Nicki disappointed me with all her having your baby slobber over the guys last night–many ewwwy moments came out of her mouth (and maybe THAT was making Randy sound good and righteous?)

    Mariah got into it a bit more last night (must have brushed up with a dictionary that morning over coffee?) but man does that woman have the hand movements and yes, I know, your nails look pretty so stop it!

    Keith…Keith is awesome and Nicole must bless her luck every single day.

    Ryan…what you been doin’ to your hair? It’s bad, it’s really bad. Too long? Too far over to the right? Shorten and shine it up, now!

    The girls have it all over the boys…at this point.


  16. Waffles says:

    The boys were all awful last night. I would be happy to not hear any of them sing again If they are stacking the deck to ensure a female winner though, they picked an awful bunch of women on Wednesday to vie for the crown. So far, none of the singers of either sex they put through are worthy of being the next American Idol. It’s looking like it is going to be a horrible season.

  17. Gailer says:

    Why was I more excited about Idol during H’wood week? But I do love the new judges except MC seems to be like Brit Spears was on XFactor, a nonfactor.

  18. Kate'shomesick says:

    Sooo…here it goes. I know a thing or two about music and also singing…If I had to choose 5 (and I think all 10 were subpar mainly because of nerves and also sound-issues!!!) I would have chosen Charlie, J’DA, Johnny, Jimmy and maybe Devin.

    Charlie is interesting and he has a really beautiful instrument…he’s clearly lacking the technique and he was so nervous that it was almost hard to watch but I’m impressed that he kept me glued to the screen and got through the song as well as he actually managed to.

    J’DA was hands down technically the best singer. The “nasally” quality that some are complaining about- 1. I didn’t think it was all that nasally 2.that’s how you get your voice to resonate…it’s supposed to be around your upper lip, cheeks, nose and forehead. The performance itself was theatrical but I liked it. (in a modern popstar kind of way)..other than that: We all knew J’DA had no chance to go through which is sad enough.

    Johnny had a bit of an off night but also clearly had trouble with the sound mixing…which was pretty bad for the first half of the boys…then it got a little better. I for one think, and I didn’t even like him that much beforehand- that he still did a good job with the song and I really liked the quite confidence and the charism he suddenly displayed…it all seemed really simple and honest and nothing distracting was going on. Also I think out of the boys he would have had a lot of places to develop to…musically…(price question: was that cross on his chest strategically placed^^?)

    Jimmy was very solid and I like that. Also I think he is charming…

    Devin’s vocal was very overwrought, his technique is pretty questionable and I found him to be pretty stiff also the enunciation really bugged me but his vocal material is good enough.

    Paul has no consistent voice…his upper and lower register are two different things: horrible technique…also I find him to be generic and I don’t see him as a musician. His singing would have been finde for a highschool alternative rock band.

    Elijah was very boyband-1990s (THAT is nasally guys)…which is ok but his valsetto just wasn’t there and the songchoice didn’t help him…too early to tell if he could actually go places with a bit of training…

    Chris’ vocal was surprisingly ok but the whole sheebang was just kind of meaningless…
    did he know what he was singing about…?

    Curtis. I don’t want to judge people by the few minutes we see them on a scripted, twisted and superficial tv show…but I’m going to go ahead and actually say it: he seems to be an egomaniac. His vocals are ok, old-fashioned and he is doing stuff to impress others but not because it’s actually artistically necessary or even in order…I don’t feel any passion from him just pure calculation and narcisissm. I think he’ll be just fine without advancing…advancing will probably hurt his character even more…and his chops are good enough to go earn money with it…I just don’t want to see him on idol because I don’t think there is room to grow (he has already utilised his potential) …well, at least not in the right direction…

    Kevin: everything was ok, the breathing was out of control and I didn’t mind it at all…I couldn’t remember him, He was the only one I had to look up afterwards…He doesn’t belong on a big stage and I found him quite likeable.

  19. Billie says:

    Hey Michael! Remember when the judges said that it’s a ‘girl’s year’ during Season 9? Despite having the Crystals, the Lilys, the Katelyns, the Siobhans (Paint It Black, Think), and the Didis (Terrified), there are lots of guys who ended up much further in the competition: the Aarons, the Tims, the Andrews, or even the Caseys, and the Michaels. And we have a winner who-is-not-used-to-fully-stay-on-pitch-while-singing Lee DeWyze. Call me pessimistic! LOL

    But seriously, oh gosh please let a girl (who is deserving) win this season. And I do appreciate Lee DeWyze. :)

    • darcy the slutty twin says:

      Casey James was the blandest of the blands and stayed on far too long. Lots of gays tonight. And I don’t even mean JDA.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      And I appreciate that you appreciate Lee DeWyze. Sure he wasn’t the best the show or the season had to offer, but that finale could have gone either way for me and I have both of their debut albums (it’s good stuff). I wish people would stop bringing up what could have been and just accept what happened for what happened. There is a rhyme and reason for everything, and maybe at the end of it all we will understand. As for the guys who made it through last night:
      Paul: He’s better than his song last night. We’ll see.
      Devin: Nice voice, looking forward to hearing again.
      Elijah: Why? Just why?
      Charlie: Every season needs a cute teenager who doesn’t last. Season 10 we had Brett Loewenstern. Season 11 we had Eben Franckewitz. With the current format, I will be surprised if Charlie makes the finals. He’ll need to be at the back of the lineup to even stand a chance.
      Curtis: Like the voice, hate the personality. Again, we’ll see.

      • Billie says:

        To LeahKittyS,
        I’m not thinking the ‘what could have been’ stuff and I already accepted what happened for what happened, I actually don’t care anymore what happened during that underwhelming season. My point is that the pimping that the amazing, talented girls are getting by the show might backfire at them and then we ended up just like what happened during Season 9. Do you now understand? Ugh.

        • LeahKittyS says:

          Yes, I understand. But for some reason, I don’t necessarily think the heavy promotion of girls will get us a guy winner. The only girls who have specifically been promoted are Angela, Candice, and Janelle. And while past trends indicate that early frontrunners never win, patterns can always be broken. Or, if the judges/producers can give someone like Kree, or one of the understated ladies like Adriana and Amber, just the right amount of hype without overdoing it, this year’s Crown Ruler could very well be a queen. Yeah, last night was abnormally rough, but I expect the talent to be down this year overall. This is Season 12, and every third season tends to be weak. (See: 3, 6, 9).

    • Billie says:

      Mariah huffed that she didn’t care for the song choice when she knew Kevin was capable of “taking a note and bringing it 56 places.” Which made me want to scream, “Oh grrrrrl, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.”
      Another thing Michael, Mariah can do justice to any song even if she will bring it to 56 places (see My All), it’s her style, that’s what she’s used to do so I guess she thought and suggested that Kevin Harris might do that to while still sounding good just put his own twist on it. People should be less harsher to Mariah because she’s at the tough spot to judge, she’s fourth and last. It’s nice that she can still deliver insights after Keith and Nicki since they almost said all what’s important.

  20. iMac says:

    Michael, it’s blasphemy to put Curtis Finch’s name in the same sentence as Joshua Ledet. I could’nt even watch Finch he was so over the top. As far as the conspiracy, Jimmy obviously knew beforehand the four that were going through.

  21. Alina says:

    I really really love Charlie’s voice (he’s got a little bit of Jeff Buckley to him that’s very rare in terms of tone)… but I’m pretty sure I would love it even more if left to mature for a couple of years. The kid needs way more control than he currently has. It’s such a shame that the judges don’t filter out the ones that could obviously benefit greatly with some time and experience, and instead let them through for Idol to chew and spit in a couple of weeks.

    Other than Devin, I’m not impressed with any of the guys. Curtis is good but I can’t stand the guy (fake vibes all over), Paul is cute as a button but nothing more and I had to go up to the article to remember Elijah (I know, promising!).

    I would’ve chosen Devin, Curtis, Johnny, Kevin and Paul or J’DA to go through and told Charlie to come up in a couple of years or start making his own kind of weird and wonderful music at home.

  22. betsy says:

    I was really hoping one of the boys would have a breakout moment, like when Elliott Yamin sang Moody’s Mood for love. Or when Casey did Georgia jazz-style with his stand-up bass. One that I’d want to watch the video back over and over again and really care about the contestant getting through. I thought Randy was right (what? I’ve never said that before!) and that the guys were just blah, no moments, nothing that blew my hair back. In fact, if I weren’t such an AI fan, I would wonder WTH kind of stupid show is this and quit watching after last night.

    • Guitar Blue says:

      I have a group of people/open party that come to my place on Idol nights and some watch closely, some do more visiting than watching. 5 tv’s so we have people spaced-out over 2 floors, but discuss after the shows.

      Several people, including myself, feel that this season so far, is the worst in memory. For this year’s scouting crew and these Judges to come-up with what we have seen in the first 20 so far, is puzzling to say the least.

      I work in the music biz myself, on a small, local level — and I work with people who are genuinely way better than some of those who have been in the top 40 on this show.

  23. zaza says:

    My thoughts on last night’s male performances? Pardon me while I barf and yawn at the same time!

  24. Loni says:

    I thought the show was just down right boring last night. Or was that just me?

  25. B. says:

    Someone may have already said this but the tiebreaker was because the judges were not unanimous. 2 wanted Paul to stay, 2 didn’t. In comes Jimmy. He chooses Paul.

    • teatime says:

      If Jimmy said no to Paul, then what would have happened? If he was the only one they were split on, would only 4 have gone thru? They said weeks ago that 5 would go thru.

  26. Lois Benton says:

    Charlie needs to know that when the judges are commenting on the performance, the contestant can NOT talk unless asked a direct question. People at home can’t understand what the contestant is saying anyway and trying to get a bon mot in there is just rude. It’s not a dialog on live TV and all that happens if you try is that the judges and the producers will be annoyed and the audience uncomfortable. Ryan usually gives the contestants time to talk after the judges, but, if not, all a contestant can do is just grin, wave or shrug.

  27. Mikko Makitalo says:

    I do not feel anybody was robbed, because none of them was great, only Curtis did quite a god job although not sparkling, but i cannot stand his arrogance. 3-4 ladies were phenomenal last night, the guys were all flat.

    Makes one also wonder if David Leathers jr really was not as good as these singers chosen? Looks like all live show contestants should be ladies, when the chosen guys’ quality looks like this. hopefully this was just off night for them all.

  28. connerc says:

    I would have advanced four of the guys they chose – all but Elijah – and prayed there were six good ones next week.

  29. Mikko Makitalo says:

    i watched again ladies’ performances, and i have got to say: I am really grateful having witnessed Adriana, Kree and Amber performing. They were not just very good, they were great and miraculous to me. (And Angela was good also, although did not shine to me). This is best in AI: they had not shown Adriana and Amber at all, and out of the blue sky these kind of performances! All the 3 I mentioned are to me real nourushment to my ears and heart, and it is such a joy.
    So it is crowdy in the ladies’ department.

    Where as guys’ department seems to be empty. We did not heard even a hint of something fabulous last night. I so much hope, that we could witness something surprising also from the boys and especially from the ones, we have not really heard yet.

  30. Timmah says:

    I know I shouldn’t try to make sense of what Randy says, but did he actually say last night that Carrie Underwood was an exception to the rule that current country singers have the range to do pop and rock? I played it back a couple times to try and make sense of his nonsense, and that’s what it sounded like.

    • deedee says:

      I think what he said was: some country singers – like Carrie Underwood – are exceptions to the rule (of staying firmly within the country genre) in that they can sing not only country, but also pop and rock. So he was paying Carrie a compliment, saying that she has big range. That’s what I got out of it.

    • Guitar Blue says:

      ^^^^^^^^ I caught that also — Randy sways between sometimes a real talent judge, then talking nonsense or just dropping names of all the famous people he knows or played Bass guitar for 30 years ago.

      Mariah is often pointless or just says something to be nice —- she can’t wait to hear their record, but then they have to let them go. — we ain’t never gonna be hearing these guys that don’t make the upper levels on the radio, And when the show’s over, she won’t be spending her money on promoting them either.

  31. STM1 says:

    I hate the way the show treated J’DA. I think he really carried himself professionally throughout, and yet in group rounds the producers had to force some fake-stereotypical drama by matching him with some cowboys and now, seeing Randy laughing as if he was looking at a joke, not even criticizing seriously and the cherry of ryan mentioning not seeing so much glitter since the glambert, WTF? i cannot recall him ever wearing any glitter! ah, yes, they are both gays so of course they are the same :/ someone should really remind the idol production team that 10% of the population is kinda the same num of blue eyed ppl in the world, and you wouldn’t expect every blue eyed person to sing similarly or dress similarly. blah
    Sorry for the PC moment, it just irritates me.

  32. Adrian Arciniega says:

    Even though Johnny Keyser was a little lackluster last night, I still would have preferred him staying over Charlie Askew. Johnny, vocally, is in another class over Charlie.

    • Guitar Blue says:

      ^^^ – in my opinion — Johnny & Jimmy are both better in terms of vocal ability for the average song than Charlie. But the show wants the Charlies, Zoanette’s and a diverse group of characters for a while. The ability to sing “well” is only part of the criteria. If Keith Urban were 21 and just trying for the show, he probably would have been sent home by now – unless he fit one of the slots they want to use for the show.

      • Trouty Mouth says:

        Plus it seemed kind of unfair to set Johnny (and David Leathers) as “the comeback kid” and “season 11 veteran” only to give him the boot.

  33. syb says:

    I could only vote for 2 for last night. I’d have left the other three spots vacant in case next week produces more than 10 good contestants.

    What a dorky bunch. LOL.

    Devin and Curtis can sing. The rest of ’em are to vocals as Cal Tech is to college basketball.

  34. Guitar Blue says:

    Did any of you kids see Kree Harrison (top 10 girl this year) in the movie “Chasing The White Dragon”?? It was released in2008. The Judges made sure not to mention it.

  35. Rick says:

    Maybe I have high expectations but I did not like any of them! Charlie was at least entertaining but he for the most part sucks. I only like 3 of the girls, man I hope they find some more talent within the next 20. This season sucks so far, I mean Randy is the on;y judge that is making any sense! Something has really gone wrong here.

  36. Billie says:

    BTW my late post here, my favorite three performances (in order) this week: 1. Kree 2. Adriana and 3. Devin. :)

  37. Gale says:

    This new format of the Vegas round is flawed and phony. The producers want to make us think that the judges’ deliberations and final decisions occur during the last commercial break, and that Jimmy Iovine hasn’t been privy to the discussion. Um, ok Nigel, if you say so.