American Idol Vegas Round (Part 4) Recap: Tonight I Wanna Cry [UPDATED]

idol season 12 top 20 guysWhen aliens finally come to Planet Earth — and if you’ve watched Battlestar Galactica or Contact, you know it’s just a matter of time — let’s hope the Cylons don’t judge the pop-cultural significance of American Idol based on its February 28, 2013 installment.

There are a thousand sleepytime metaphors I could call on to describe the tedious proceedings — gentle sheep leaping over fluffy clouds, the swooping descent of the Lunesta butterfly, a tin-soldier-esque lineup of the last letter of the alphabet (Zzzzzz) — but why not just speak the ugly truth of the episode: The final 10 guys competing for a spot in the Season 12 semifinals proved truly, depressingly unworthy of even nipping at the heels of past contestants like Matt Giraud, Anoop Desai, Michael Johns, Paul McDonald, Stefano Langone and Joshua Ledet (just to name a few) — none of whom managed to make it to their respective season finales.

RELATED | Fox Sets Finales for Glee, Bones, Idol and Others, Premieres for SYTYCD and More Summer Fare

Meanwhile, the show’s misguided insistence on gender parity — 10 men and 10 women advance to the Season 12 voting rounds, with only five each advancing to the finals — feels more and more like the barely seen iceberg about to sink the Titanic of reality TV cruiseliners. Three quarters of the men who’ll be competing in next week’s extravaganza aren’t worthy of bringing Candice Glover, Kree Harrison and Amber Holcomb their afternoon beverages!

Anyhow, before this recap is sunk by a tidal wave of rage and negativity, maybe it’s best for me to jump to the set list (complete with letter grades) for the Thursday-night show. I’m going to do my best in this recap to make no mention of the judges’ critiques, since this time around they were collectively as authentic, organic and relevant as Jennifer Lopez singing without the help of Auto-Tune:

Mathenee Treco: Elvis Presley’s “A Little Less Conversation” | Those who don’t learn their Idol history are doomed to repeat it: And unfortunately for Mathenee, he chose the kitschy, word-packed ditty that TKO’d no less than future chart-topper Chris Daughtry from the competition back in Season 5. To be fair, I appreciated that Mathenee actually brought some movement to his performance — it proved a welcome respite from the “stands at mic, raises hand during glory notes” style favored in these early rounds — but alas, dude just didn’t have the vocal dexterity to keep pace with the rapid-fire wordplay of Elvis’ original. Plus, Mathenee lacked the range to hit some of the song’s high notes, which intermittently turned his lyrical demands for “a little less bite, a little less bark” into poodle-being-stepped-on screeches. Oh, and the final nail in the coffin was shaped like Mathenee’s backwards baseball cap. (Gah! Srsly, Mathenee? Maybe that flies in the Bahamas, or a frat house, but not on the Idol stage. And if it’s a matter of being “hair challenged” — like myself — let Bruce Willis be your spirit animal. Dude is bald — and still damn hot!) Grade: C-

Gurpreet Singh Sarin: James Morrison’s “Nothing Ever Hurt Like You” | I’m pretty certain I haven’t experienced anything as astonishingly flat as the notes in Gurpreet’s big-stage debut since Ryan Gosling bared his abs in Crazy, Stupid, Love. On a scale of one to CTRL+ALT+DEL, this was a fatal system error. Grade: D-

Vincent Powell: Lenny Williams’ “’Cause I Love You” | Wait — Vincent used to be a background singer for Whitney Houston? And the Idol powers-that-be didn’t bother to share that intel till now because why? (I know, I know…insanity is asking the same basic questions of a reality TV producer and expecting different results.) Anyhow, Vincent wound up giving a solid, old-school soul vocal that was as rooted in the ’70s as macramé plant-hangers and floral-print polyester. There were moments — like that 25-second (approximate) glory note — where I felt like Vincent was serving more affectation than a genuine display of emotion, but I don’t think he missed a single note, so I’m gonna quit my quibbling here. Grade: B

Nick Boddington: James Morrison’s “Say Something Now” | Nick was one of the few Season 12 guys who headed to Vegas looking like a genuine threat to win the whole chimichanga, but in front of the big studio audience, his nerves seemed to get the best of him, and his clear and powerful tone gave way to a quivering glob of uncertainty (complete with a wayward falsetto interlude). Perhaps even worse, Nick’s song choice was as uninviting as a piece of cold, dry toast with coagulated butter: I know, I know…a lot of folks dig James Morrison, but just like female contestants’ recent obsession with Jessie J, I’m confounded by so many guys gravitating to James Morrison. I mean, hasn’t anyone noticed his songs don’t have any actual hooks? Grade: C+

Josh Holiday: An original song called “Better With You” | Look, all the credit in the world to Josh for eschewing conventional Idol wisdom (woohoo!) and performing one of his own compositions so early in the season. Yeah, the lyrics were a wee bit underwhelming, but the melody was pretty, and wasn’t it more exciting than watching yet another guy break out the cat o ‘ nine tails and administer a beating to a dead horse like “Against All Odds” or “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”? The real problem with Josh’s song — and I found it fascinating that not a single judge had the courage to say it — was that he simply didn’t sing it very well. The falsetto notes were far beyond Josh’s range, and I’d bet there’s never been a more dismal closing note in any Final 40 grouping from prior Idol seasons. No, seriously, I’d actually take a bet on that. Winner gets a new pony! Who’s in? Grade: D+

David Oliver Willis: Peggy Lee’s “Fever” | Oh hey, it’s a guy who got 11 total seconds of screentime since January, and he’s giving the absolute best vocal of he night! What do we do with him? Well, we have Nicki tear into him like a cat with a can of Fancy Feast, telling him he’s like a wayward relative breaking out his acoustic guitar before Christmas dinner. To which I say, I’d welcome a relative who had the skill and the confidence to take a well-worn golden oldie, rework it into a sexy blues jam, and deliver it with pitch perfection. No, David didn’t make “Fever” into a big, range-y extravaganza — I’m just gonna pretend Keith didn’t dip into Randy’s thesaurus and talk about the lack of “moments — but just because you’re singing in front of MariahCarey doesn’t mean you pile on the unnecessary embellishments. After all, in many instances a simple pine tree with white lights can be a far more stirring sight than a full light-up nativity flanked by Santa and his reindeer and a giant-scale inflatable SpongeBob, yes? Grade: B+

Bryant Tadeo: Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” | I’m not going to pretend that Bryant’s performance was the kind of show-stopping delight that can catapult a singer from cannon-fodder to front-runner (a la Allison Iraheta’s “Alone,” to name one example). But the handsome, snappily dressed fella colored nicely inside the frame of Billy Joel’s original, didn’t try to stretch it into an awkward shape or beat it to death with the melisma stick, and displayed a quiet confidence that I’d have happily tuned in to see for another two or three weeks. That, however, wasn’t the kind of situation for which the judges were looking. So maybe next season Bryant can course-correct and drop some flirtatious comments to Nicki or gut a classic song and toss its melody and entrails into the SwayBot pit. Then we’ll see about the semifinals, kiddo! Grade: B-

Burnell Taylor: John Legend’s “This Time” | I really enjoyed Burnell’s audition to “I’m Here,” and thought he sounded pretty promising in Hollywood Week as well, so it stands to reason that I may return to his fan base in the future. But there was something strange about his tone on “This Time” that just didn’t sit well in my ear (or my other ear, for that matter). Maybe I got distracted by Burnell’s geek-chic bowtie makeover. Or maybe it was his “Mariah on Red Bull” hand gestures. Yo, for me for you, though, it was just ai’ight, dawg. [Side note: Help me, it’s way past my bedtime and I think some kind of evil spirit is trying to make me morph into Randy. To my hubby, if you’re reading this and you notice Haley Reinhart’s indispensable Listen Up! has been deleted from our iTunes, you know what to do: Bring in an exorcist!] Grade: C+

Lazaro Arbos: Keith Urban’s “Tonight I Wanna Cry” | No, Lazaro, I wanna cry, because after listening to your grisly Keith Urban cover — liberally peppered with bum notes and a total lack of breath support — all I can think is how your spot in the semifinals should’ve gone to Juliana Chahayed or Rachel Hale or Jett Hermano (or even Shubha Vedula or Isabelle). You’re cute as a basket of puppies, and you’ve got a heartstring-tugging backstory, and I wish you every success in life, but the problem is you’re not even remotely ready for the rigors of this competition. And no amount of eggshell-walking by the judges — Nicki telling you you “played it safe, but in a good way” or Keith saying you have a “spirit that burns through your vocal” — is going to make it otherwise. I wish they’d had the courtesy to cut you tonight — which would’ve given you a shot to return next season — but I guess it’s not part of the masterplan. Le sigh. Grade: D-

Cortez Shaw: David Guetta & Sia’s “Titanium” | Oh, and I know I said I was trying not to discuss the judges’ feedback, but Keith’s summation of Cortez’s performance was equal parts fascinating, astute, and absurd. For sure, he had a point that Cortez’s slowed-down arrangement of the massive dance hit was “incredibly unforgiving” and that, when he did find the correct note, he actually sounded pretty great. But how come no one pointed out that right from the opening verse, the song was pitched far too high for the handsome student’s instrument. Listening to the guy stretch in vain to reach the soaring peaks of “Titanium” was like witnessing a feeble octogenarian trying to grab a jar of jam from the top shelf in the grocery store. The task is impossible, the embarrassment factor is high, and it’s probably going to end with broken shards of glass and besmirched deliciousness. Maybe the judges put Cortez through based on his prior work — or maybe they advanced him because he’s hot (aka “an interesting artist for today’s scene,” according to Randy Jackson, but I really wished they’d dropped the pretense that somehow this was a performance worthy of a Top 10 finish (and a spot on the Idol tour). Oh sweet hell, no. Grade: C+

ADVANCING TO THE SEMIFINALS: Vincent, Lazaro (wha?), Cortez, Burnell, Nick
ELIMINATED: David (srsly?), Bryant, Mathenee, Josh, Gurpreet

Anyhow, with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of the fourth and final Vegas round of American Idol Season 12? What did you think of the judges’ decisions? Who was your favorite? Did David get robbed? Was Lazaro the recipient of the Danny Gokey Backstory Gold Medal? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol-related news, recaps, interviews and videos, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Blinged Up says:

    What the what?? I found a favorite boy tonight and I knew Michael was going to give him an “A.” Came over to look…..and…..a C+??? And now I’m reading some negative comments? I’m so suprised! I LOVED Burnell tonight. Thought he was the best by far!! Okay, music enjoyment is subjective. I sure hope he makes the cut next week — I think he’s fabulous!

  2. HTGRWHOM says:

    Wow sounds like the train has gone ever further off the rails. What a shame. Last Wednesday it all started so promisingly and now it just gets worse every show. Glad I didn’t bother watching. I still hope they have four wild cards and bring back some of the girls they cut otherwise it’ll be too hard to watch and I think I will just save my time.
    If they are gonna send up cannon fodder to give the girls a chance why not just have gone back to unbalanced seasons and given us like 8 girls and 4 girls top 12 then instead of an apparently ugly disaster?

  3. Bill Nye the Science Guy says:

    After watching a few episodes, I understand why the ratings are so low. Something really seems off this year.

  4. dani says:

    The problem with David was, yeah he sang but withzero heart.

  5. teatime says:

    My favorite of the night was David. He did not make it, My second favorite of the night was Bryant. He did not make it. I already liked Cortez. I was fine with his performance tonight. I appreciate that he makes ‘interesting’ song choices. Based on previous performances, Nick deserved to go thru. What he did tonight was not a problem, it was just a little sleepy. So my picks would have been: David, Bryant, Cortez, Nick, and I guess Vincent. Only 2 of my top 4 got thru. This was the first time I heard Vincent and that was very old shool to me, but I understand that he sang very well so it makes sense he was in the top 5.

  6. Elaine says:

    The only man worthy of competing with the women is Vincent. Period. It’s a tragedy that some of the deserving women won’t be in the final 20 because Nigel’s insisting on the 50/50 split. There’s gotta be a better way.

    Gotta say I’m lovin’ Keith and Nicki as judges. I look forward to their assessments. I don’t always agree with them, but they are the antithesis of Steven and Jennifer.
    They’re not afraid to constructively critique these kids honestly. What a refreshing change from last season. I even give Randy a few kudos for allowing himself to be critical this year (though I get the feeling Uncle Nigel told him he has to be because he’s so critical so much of the time compared to last year, even though he’s got a much better group of singers). And Mariah, well, she seems to be taking the position of the “judge who’s nice 95% of the time”…. so kinda the J-Lo replacement. I’m getting to the point where I’m thinking about listening to Keith and Nicki and skipping over the other two. Hopefully, Mariah will be more comfortable with constructively criticizing these kids (for their own good) when it gets to the live rounds for the final 10. Fingers crossed.

    In closing, I’m blown away by the talent with the women this year. I wish Idol wasn’t making such a big deal out of it and just let the talent speak for itself. Oh and PLEASE FOR GOD’S SAKE, let these people chose their own songs. I can’t stand it when the freakin’ mentors push a song on the kids that they don’t want to it.

    Oh, and God, I love that there’s no huge production numbers, what-seems-like-5000 dancers and hundreds of background singers like X Factor does. The overproduction on that show irritates me to no end. Please AI, don’t overproduce these people. Let their talent shine through.

    • Tom22 says:

      Yay Elaine ! I’m with you . Listen to Mariah more closely each time and you’ll hear she is calling out specific things while she is being positive, and saying many other things by what she purposely does not praise but will praise specifically if warranted. She’s very sublte but she is listening accutely.. she remembers the entire performances and can call out exactly where the contestants showed particular artistic flare and name the phrase and can hear where they began to trip and got disconected in a way that made the following parts worse. Like I said.. she’s very sublte and I’m hearing more what she means as I listen more.

      Did any of you catch that “jersey girl” imitation Nikki did , praising the contestant for one of the values Mariah likes best. Mariah does that jersey girl thing … they’re both sharp as tacks.. people hear the vulgar parts from Vikki and sometimes dismiss that someone can say stupid vulgar things for sport yet call on and reveal a lot more under the hood when they choose..and with far less wordiness than me.. thats for sure.

    • Elaine says:

      Oops and Burnell as well, though I did find his hand movements a tad distracting/overdone at times. Great voice.

  7. teatime says:

    America should have started voting at top 40. The 20 who got cut are just as promising as the 20 who the judge’s selected. American would not have done any worse than that and at least all the remaining 20 would be contestants with strong voter support.

  8. Mellie says:

    This is getting more disappointing by the episode. Ugh. I would rather get rid of half of the top 10 boys left now and go back and take some more girls. Please? I -would- have picked:

    1. David
    2. Vincent
    3. Bryant
    4. Burnell
    5. Nick

    Nick was so disappointing after his last Hollywood performance, but him being disappointing was still enough with tonight’s… crap. Honestly. Two nights in a row where I find myself disgusted by their choices. I swear that the other judges are just sick of fighting with Nicki, and she won’t give up on her opinions so they just give up. Keith seemed to hate sending Bryant home, which he should have. This was embarrassing. Embarrassing.

  9. John says:

    Tonight proved the deck is fully stacked against a guy winning this year. What a lame episode. It’s not tough to see why the show’s ratings have dropped like they have. Lazaro didn’t have any business being in that top 5 other than sympathy.

  10. Nedsdag says:

    I love how people in here are knocking the diversity of this year’s Top 20 and the decline in ratings. Let’s face it, no show will reach the heights of 20 million viewers a week ever again, especially with cable, public television, and Netflix as competition. Besides, what’s FOX going to do, cancel the show? They have too much invested in AI and nothing to replace it with. Nor do they feel the need to give the OK three to four hours of new scripted shows. Plus, AI is one of the top 10 shows in many minority households.

    Personally, I was bored with David. He was just doing warmed over Robert Cray from the 1980s (if you do not know who Robert Cray is, see YouTube).

  11. RW says:

    That is the worse episode of Idol I’ve ever seen! This makes Lee Dewyze and Taylor Hicks look like Mega Super Stars. I’d rather listen to Randy Jackson babble than watch this horrid mess. And I officially want to punch Nicki Minaj in the face and knock her out for the rest of the season. Nigel should be strung up by his testicles for what he’s put together for this season!

  12. Jake says:

    Personally, I find that I’m ONLY interested in the girls this year. I’ve watched about an hour of each of the guy’s performances both this week and last week and turned both of the male episodes off half way through it.

    I could tell from the first hour tonight that I wasn’t going to really like any of the guys, nobody has grabbed me and held my attention like any of the woman that have gone through.

    I seriously hope, and will vote almost exclusively for women this year.

  13. MyTake says:

    The whole problem this year as many have noted is the show is bound and determined to make a girl win this year. Boys have been winning for several years due young girls being far more likely to dial/text in votes so the voting process is unbalanced. Maybe they should try fixing that rather than what they have decided to do instead.

    We all know and can see every week, and it’s becoming more sickenly obvious every show, that they HAD to have not accepted the absolute best male singers that auditioned. None of us would even KNOW that since when the truly great male singers auditioned, they would tell the guys “sorry not good enough” and not show us the audition at all.

    This has to be fact even though nobody can really prove it. Or at least not we viewers. Of course the shows producers know it. But it has to be fact simply because there is no way in hell that the top 40, then 20, now 10 male singers were the BEST male singers the producers/judges saw from the hundreds of thousands of guys auditioning this year. The statistical probability of every single top 10 male singer being a worse singer than the bottom 10 of every other years top 20 is just too high to believe.

    When Nigel decided to falsify the show and lie to us the LEAST he could have done was be a tad subtle about it instead of beating us over the head with the “manipulation” stick.

    As much as I really can’t stand a single male singer, i’m sorely tempted to vote for a guy just to give the middle finger to AI and their blatant rigging of the show.

    • Tom22 says:

      Other than not being as clear in their word choice on the shows as they could be, they’re not “rigging it” in a corrupt way. They’re casting a musical entertainment show (as the producers have said in interviews)… this isn’t quite WWF wrestling as there is some true control given in very limited ways to the contestants they chose.

      They could be a slight bit more upfront about playing “noah’s arc” and even saying that they were casting purposely to discover different types of singers to compliment the stable of recent past winners (i.e. they can say.. “we’ve started the careers of a number of cute white boys.. lets let them have some time to continue to develope their careers before we turn out anoth boy to compete with them and lets see if we can get a girl or guy in a different mold representing the family.. you the viewers can choose among all the different other possibilities other than the cute pop/rock/pop/country boys.”

      • MyTake says:

        I think you misunderstood me, or perhaps i’m misunderstanding you. I’m not suggesting they are rigging the show to end up with a girl winner over a “cute white boy” or a “cute pop/rock/country boy” (of any colour).

        I’m flat out saying that they have rigged the entire show right from the get go, meaning the auditions, to ensure that the very best male singers (of any colour, any genre, any look, with or without guitar or any other cool instrument) never made it through to Hollywood (or even made it to our eyes) in order that the show will have a female winner.

        This has nothing to do with allowing past male winners getting some breathing room before AI churns out another male winner.

        In my opinion this is completely about the viewers getting sick of the lopsided voting process heavily weighted towards boys winning (due to young girls being the majority of voters) and viewers voicing that unfairness to the point AI felt they were losing viewers to that (and they have been). So rather than fix the screwed up voting process, they instead decided to “fix” this years shows to ensure (or so they hope) a female winner.

        One of the easiest fixes would have been to limit votes per device. Sure SOME tech savy people would have got around any such limitation but most people wouldn’t have. But then Ryan Seacrest couldn’t be given such statements to make such as “we had 32 MILLION votes last night which was 15% more than last week!!!’ thereby not so subtly telling the world how wonderful their show is and how many people are hooked on it yadda yadda.. gag. So yah, rather than fix the real problem (the voting process) they instead came up with this ridiculous season of making sure only mediocre male singers got a ticket to Hollywood.

        • Name That Tune says:

          MyTake, it’s an urban myth that teen girls determine the winner. They are not watching the show. According to Nielsen, teen girls comprise 7% of the audience & preteen girlsI make up another 7%.. The majority of the viewers are in the age group of 35 to 64 comprising 54% of the audience. And seriously, don’t you think it is the adults who own the smart phones that can power vote? I no longer have AT&T, but when I did, I could vote endlessly with my smart phone programmed to automatically text for 2 hours. But that means I was willing to pay for unlimited text messaging. I don’t know how many teen or preteen girls who can independently afford that.
          The other side of this is that they want a girl to win. They just don’t want a cute WGWG to win. Should one of these guys catch on (and I can see 2 or 3 of them doing that), they still accomplish their goal. It might be a black or Hispanic male, but they broke the curse.
          And the other issue they are dealing with is the stagnation of the show. I think the producers & Fox want to see the audience grow. So some changes need to happen. That means a different type of singer to attract a different type of viewer.

          • HTGRWHOM says:

            Considering that they say the average teen sends something like nearing 4,000 texts a month I think it safe to say that most have unlimited txt plans. That said they did say that half the Idol audience is over 45 and half under. I think there is still a decent percentage 25-30 and under though.

          • MyTake says:

            Name that Tune, where are the recorded and proven statistics that show it’s an urban myth that teen girls determine the winner. I’ve read, but can’t link to any of those old articles, that say that teen girls DO have a far larger weight in the voting process than other demographics (teen boys, older people etc.). If you have 14% of the viewing audience making 65% (number made up to show a point) of the votes then yes indeed they can determine the winner.

            I don’t have children but of all my friends with teenagers, I can say that every single one of them has unlimited texting on their plans. Of course the parents pay for it and it’s a security/safety thing. That doesn’t mean the teens don’t use it for anything else they want though since it is free. Also there are several apps that you can text for free. You mentioned you could program your phone to auto text for 2 hrs. How many 40+ yr olds know how to do that, or more importantly WANT to do that? Did you do it? You knew how, so DID you?

            For whatever reasons most adults can’t be bothered to vote, or if they do make the effort they might throw in a vote or 2 with whatever device they are most comfortable with. Although I don’t have proof, i’d bet a weeks salary that adults vote FAR FAR less than teenagers.

            Now, this is totally my opinion but I totally believe that they want a girl no matter what. They stacked the male deck with black and hispanics IN CASE all their “fixing” doesn’t work and a guy wins anyway. That way, even though they won’t stop the people complaining that a girl never wins, they at least will stop the people that say non caucasians never win.

            So my opinion is 1. they want a girl, 2. if their machinations still don’t produce a girl win, they are hoping that at least a non white male will win.

          • Name That Tune says:

            MyTake, the folks at Nielson published this data. It’s been available on the Internet for quite some time. It’s an easy and convenient excuse to blame children for these outcomes when they don’t watch, their mothers and grandmothers do. Some children may watch with their mothers and some men may watch with their wives but this show belongs to adult females. And in my circle of friends, that observation holds up. The men I know don’t watch but their wives do.

          • Name That Tune says:

            HT -Nielson has also studied the voting. The average voter is text voting. About 38 I times each. And it’s adult females who vote.

            If the kids aren’t watching why would they vote 4000 times? In 2 hours, I could vote about 10,000. times on my smart phone. But my plan also cost $140 per month. And you can only do that if you have AT&T. Can’t do it with Verizon, Sprint, Cricket, or T- Mobile. So who do you think is paying for those plans?

          • teatime says:

            I have never seen any fact based statistics about who votes the most on the show, or what demographics vote for which contestants, or why. If anyone can point us to actual data, please do so. I can’t imagine how anyone would even compile that data.

        • Mary says:

          I agree to a certain extent, but I think it will backfire on them. If nothing else they are loosing their core audience who can’t bear to watch. I don’t think even limiting votes will help insure a female winner, (look at the other shows, the voice rigged it for a female winner and XF had one but nobody have even seen her). The show is 12 years old, several other singing shows, and the demographics have not changed. I personally don’t care if the winner is male or female, I just want talent. I also want the winner to be supported no matter what, even if it is not their chosen one. I think Jimmy has been doing a pretty good job since he took over, but lets see how he does if he gets one of these guys. The producers have to live with their actions and time will tell if it was worth loosing viewers just so they can have a female winner, if they do get one. In all honesty I truly believe in the last few seasons except one, the right person won. I might not care for their style of music but I would not have supported any of the females except for maybe one.

          • Name That Tune says:

            Mary, they are losing viewers anyway. Last year, you knew in January that P2 was going to win. Made at least half of the season not worth watching. I didn’t even tune in until the live rounds &I knew the entire time who was going to win. That is why the show’s audience is shrinking. This year I have no idea, but at least the chance is there for something different.

            And I have to admit that I enjoy Nikki’s honesty. She admits that some of these boys are just eye candy (read Cortez & Elijah), which we always knew was true but nobody said it.

          • Mary says:

            @Name that tune. I understand they are loosing viewers, but I think rigging the show like they have this year will make them loose more than the normal drop. Nobody wants to watch a bunch of okay singers. I understand everyone knew P2 was going to win. He is not my cup of tea but in all honestly the only female I thought would of had a shot was Holly, but she wasn’t the chosen one. I believe the true problem with the females is that the producers cast big voices and do not show their personality. Mariah type singing is not in style.

          • HTGRWHOM says:

            What about Elise? She was not Mariah style.

          • Nedsdag says:

            I do not think it will backfire on them. People will still watch the show (or in some cases DVR it), but there’s more competition out there and AI will never again reach the 20 million a week high from their heydays. I for one am interested to see which girl will challenge AI chosen ones of Kree/Angela, both of whom I do not see as being major stars. Perhaps someone in the middle of the pack will challenge. Besides, as someone of color, it’ll be interesting to see who among those will be a threat, Zoanette notwithstanding.

          • HTGRWHOM says:

            It’s pretty dangerous to enter top 20 round with only but Kree and Angela as the saving grace’s for the season. If either or both start faltering….
            maybe Curtis will at least be consistent but I’m not sure his style will really rile up tons of passion in the end, he is good though (but I think Joshua was better and had more power to get people going). And I guess some will like Candice

          • Wendy says:

            I think Curtis will be out next week because his poor personality and annoying style while he sings will not get him votes. I don’t think the judges have noted it yet.

  14. Mikko Makitalo says:

    I think separating boys and girls was a big mistake, sort of richness and excitement we have grown to get used to in Idol has been lacking because of that.
    Also top10 live shows compared to top12-13 feels poor in AI. I think they said they wanted to change this “because all the other shows” bla bla, so although they are the most watched show, they are constantly lacking self confidence and copying other shows (like last year “bringing back” Jermaine Jones – like Melamie Amaro in XF US – with pimp spot to steal away a slot from some serious contender, like Jen Hirsh.

    Also, what is this “Sudden Death”? The results feel to me partly pre meditated, so what’s the use of “competing”?

    I also think, that it’s big mistake to choose proceeders because of their background stories. I think back in the season 10 they did the right thing NOT to choose Chris Medina because there seemed to be better singers than him, and Chris, I think, was way more interesting than Lazaro.

    Lazaro’s STORY was important, but why this is going towards the direction “Who has the best story”?

    I am also amazed, that among the tens of thousands of male singers you could not really find even a couple of decent singers??? And how didn’t David Leathes jr have room among top20 boys? And what happened to Charlie Allen???

    It seems like we are going to have all time boring performances from the boys’ side, and I wonder, if it’s because of too much manipulation from the producers?

  15. Jake says:

    Really not excited about anyone in this Top 20, which is unusual, I think. The reason for this is probably that they gave significant airtime to some interesting people/voices and then cut them, while leaving behind some of the more muted personalities and people who hadn’t even been mentioned yet. Plus, the clear manipulation in favor of the women makes it obvious that the producers will do whatever they can to make America vote for the girls (and they’ve really already one it, as there is not one male I can see with a legitimate chance to win). I think I’m done for the season.

    • deedee says:

      With all the blatant manipulation, I won’t be surprised if this is the first year Ryan won’t be able to announce record-breaking voting numbers at the finale. By giving us bargain-basement talent – just so they can force a desired outcome – I can see the voters not being too inspired to power-dial for anybody.

      • teatime says:

        Not the first year. Season 9 did not have record breaking numbers. The total was less than seasons 8 and 7.

        • deedee says:

          Oh, really? Thanks, I didn’t know that. Maybe that’s because I hated season 9 so much, I barely watched. Totally forgot to tune in for the finale, too.

        • HTGRWHOM says:

          Yeah season 9 may have been the first one to not get the big finale ratings bump compared to previous week’s ratings. I think it was almost 30% off par! Also note that was a season where the manipulations first got totally out of control.

          • HTGRWHOM says:

            Actually I was talking about Season 10 not Season 9. Perhaps 9 had some votes going down, but S10 was the one where the viewership didn’t jump the amount it normally does when you go from top 3 week to top 2 week and it was way off what used to happen in that regard in terms of relative numbers.

          • Name That Tune says:

            The truth is the ratings have been steadily declining since season 7, when Idol was at its peak (37 million viewers). Each season since then has seen a loss of viewers and only season 1 had fewer viewers than last year. Prior to season 8, there was a lot more diversity in the competitors. Since the show became the WGWG contest, it’s lost viewers.
            On the flip side, the vote totals continue to go up every year to a high of 131 million last season. So about 20 million viewers produced in 130 million votes. I know I didn’t vote. These kind of numbers are the result of text votes.
            Idol is a cash cow for Fox. Only the Super Bowl can produce more viewers & idol used to provide the kind of ratings of the Olympics or the World Series. It no longer lives in that elite universe.

          • teatime says:

            Season 5 had the highest ratings with almost 37 million watching the Finale. Season 7 had higher finale ratings than season 6, but both 6 and 7 were down from 5. This was not unusual at the time given the overall decline in network TV viewership. Season 8 was slightly down and then season 9 slightly down more. Season 10 saw a bump in finale ratings but still not as high as 6 or 7. Season 11 had the lowest finale ratings of any season, but this is also the season that needed to compete with a popular season of The Voice airing during some of the same months.

          • HTGRWHOM says:

            The S10 finale bump was an illusion since it makes it sound like the S10 finale was a success and that S11 would maintain or grow. You need to compare the finale first in relative terms and second the the previous top three week. S10’s finale was 25-30% off the bump that the show normally gets from whatever the top three ratings happened to be. In other seasons they always got a huge jump for the finale but for S10 a chunk that jump was suddenly missing. And to the surprise of those who read it the wrong way, S11 started with an instant 25% loss of viewership compared the what it had been doing. I think they clearly annoyed a whole slew and they gave up after S10, most of those who did so, giving up after top three.

          • teatime says:

            Finalew voting totals jumped starting with season 10 because Facebook voting was added that year.

          • teatime says:

            HTGRWHOM, that is more analysis than I have ever done. That is a helpful way to look at it. There are a lot of factors that impact the ratings from one year to the next including overall trends in TV viewership and competing shows. Looking at how the ratings change over the course of a given season would be a better indicator of how popular that season was and how popular the final few contestants were.
            Season’s 1, 3, 4, and 6 had female winners. The guys did not break even until season 8 and as of the end of season 9 there were 4 girl winners and 5 guys winners. If someone is to argue a ratings impact due to too many guys winning, season 10 would be the earliest season we would start seeing that.

          • HTGRWHOM says:

            I think with S10 you had the manipulation first start to become utterly blatantly clear to a lot more people for the first time and the fact that that also led to an all-country final I think did it in for a bunch of people. I know that not one of my other friends has watched a season since. And I’ve skipped about half of each season since.

  16. asherlev1 says:

    You make everything so much better, Michael. Thank you for venting so I can stop my own venting. Reading this recap was cathartic.

  17. Bonnie A. says:

    I’m glad you liked David Oliver Wells, too, Michael. He was my favorite of the night–so nice to have all the notes sung on key, and with some spirit. I was very sorry to see him sent home. It was a bad night of performances–I think there were five really bad ones in a row in the beginning. I agree with you, why couldn’t Julianne or Rachel take one of those boys’ spots? Ugh!

    I think reading your comments is the only thing keeping me watching this season right now. So disappointed.

    But I still like Keith’s judging and (most of the time) his very insightful comments. He listens well to the music and obviously understands how to perform well.

  18. Lois Benton says:

    Isn’t Vincent Powell really Curtis Fitch’s twin brother, but less gay? Is Curtis Fitch (Do I have the name right?) really upset right now? LAdies and Germs, the Ann Lander/Abby Van Buren feud is back on again, now. And, as Forrest Gump said, That’s all I have to say about that. That being tonight’s show. Rude and objectionable, perhaps, but there it is.

  19. Timmah says:

    First Juliana, now David. It seems playing a guitar is a no-no with Nigel this season, white guy or not.

  20. marie says:

    Yes! Thank you for calling out the judges, Mr. Slezak. I felt exactly the same: their critiques felt about as genuine as the proverbial $3 bill. Then again, I could sort of pity them, because unlike me sitting home on my couch, they are not able to simply mutter, This is just garbage.
    This is the first time I can remember not voting in the poll: I sincerely can’t pick ONE, let alone FIVE. NOT ONE of these guys impressed me at ALL – not a single one. Not even Nick or Cortez, both of whom had given performances earlier that I had enjoyed.
    I also agree with Mr. Slezak about the forced gender parity; it does the show, the audience, and the contestants disservice. And while I applaud the format change that allows us to hear at least one complete performance from each contestant before the voting rounds, this splitting into two groups of ten of each gender reeks as much as the deplorable battle rounds on The Voice.
    I don’t agree with the letter grades this time: were you marking on a curve? You were being generous: I’d have given out a slew of Ds and Fs and that’s the end of it.
    In a word: Ugh!

    • deedee says:

      Me too, Marie. I started to vote in the poll and then abandoned it after checking off one. David was the only one I sort of liked last night. In a normal season, David would have probably been my 4th or 5th choice, but this season, he’s top of the pack — and he didn’t even make it through!

      I hate the gender separation in these rounds, too, but in recent years, Idol has always ended up with equal numbers of girls and boys in the top 10, and it hasn’t really been an issue. That’s because when there’s a roughly equal level of talent in both genders, it works out ok.
      This is the first year that I want everyone to vote VFTW-style as a rebellion against Nigel’s insulting tactics. Let’s give him a winner from among the uber-bland contestants he banked on NOT being a danger to their chosen one(s)! >:-{

  21. Mary says:

    I just couldn’t watch. I switched it over a couple of times and saw Cortex butcher Titanium. When Keith critique it I was screaming you can slow it down and have it sound great, watch Kris Allen version at Then I saw Lorenzo killing (not in a good way) Keith’s beautiful song and said no more I can’t. I feel sorry for Keith because none of these guys have done his songs any justice. He tries to say it nicely but he is probably thinking WTF.

  22. metitometin says:

    After everything I’ve read, it appears the judges minds were made up before last night. Either they decided who they wanted to advance beforehand or the producers made up their minds for them. Disgraceful. So basically it didn’t matter how anyone did last night, the 5 moving on were already pre-determined. Why even go ahead with the phony show then if the whole thing is a fake? Why are we even watching? Why even make the 5 who weren’t going to advance regardless, sing? What an embarrassment.

  23. Evan says:

    That was way harsh, Tai. I actually liked last night’s episode. At least those that were bad chose off-beat songs (Gurpreet, Nick, Josh) or tried to liven them up (Mathenee). I’d take the worst of this lot over the worst of the previous Vegas nights, including the girls’ groups. And I’d argue that only the second girls group had more good singers than this group (as I liked four of the guys last night– Burnell, Vincent, David, and Bryant. I was struggling to find two or three good singers last week). There I said it.

    I’ll also be interested to hear Melinda’s take on this group because I didn’t think they were nearly as pitchy as you did, Michael. That’s becoming your go-to comment. You’re turning into Randy circa Season 3! ;-)

  24. Jess says:

    Last night Nicki was the only judge who didn’t stand for Vincent. This is at least the fourth time that has happened. What’s her deal?

    Mathenee Treco ‏@Mathenee

    @MariahCarey anytime you want to have me over for tea or brunch or a chat, I’m ready. I love you. You’ve changed my life. I’m so grateful!

  25. American Idolit says:

    I’m going to say it now: Vincent Powell looks like a chubbier version of LL Cool J.

    He shall forever be known as LL Cool V from now on, haha!

  26. DQ says:

    First time since American Idol debuted that I am not watching. This show has gone downhill in a huge way. Sad–I used to love it.

  27. Wendy L says:

    Does anyone know if the show is going to allow the actual top 10 votegetters to go thru next week – Or is it still the top 5 women vote-getters and top 5 men?

    • dj says:

      What I heard was the guys and girls sing on different nights, so it will be top 5 girls and top 5 guys. :(

      • HTGRWHOM says:

        I hope they add in a wild card round then and another 5 girls, not picked, sing off so they can make it a top 13 in the end with 8 girls and 5 guys or even 14 and 8.

  28. Jessica says:

    The only thoughts I had in my head was a) this is a bad season like the Lee Dywyze (not looking him up on how to spell his last name) year b) No WGWG winner this year! Yay! C) I feel we will *definitely* have a girl or black guy winner! Yay!! Sorry for the “black guy” term-definitely no prejudice here just happy b/c we have some good choices! (not including that cocky/fake Curtis Finch Jr guy) I am feeling like this season feels tougher and I like that, although is the talent really shining out? Not yet for me. I felt like the 5 right guys went through tonight. I do feel bad for Larenzo b/c I’m waiting for the strong slam next week on “his confidence” when tonight they should have mentioned for him to work on that. I feel none of these guys/girls have done their AI research. Just a few of my thoughts.

    • Jessica says:

      Bad season meaning i don’t feel like anyone really stands out yet. Normally I have a strong favorite by now. I’m looking forward to next week(s) and seeing who shines. Hoping I’m wrong and they really get it together.

  29. Nedsdag says:

    I love people in here saying “I won’t watch the show anymore,” when you know darn well, these same people who are “upset” will be back next week when the real competition begins. I haven’t had a favorite in years on this show, yet I am looking forward to watching the train wrecks that are Zoanette and Charlie or even TCOs like Angela fly or fall (I think the latter).

    • HTGRWHOM says:

      Looking at the ratings you are more wrong than right although certainly not all wrong. Already some have posted here they skipped last night.

      • Nedsdag says:

        Around this time last season, AI had lower ratings than other shows at the same time period. The next week, the ratings went up. It didn’t help that spoilers came out telling people who made it, so people who were unhappy that their favorites didn’t make it, didn’t watch. Next week may be different.

        • HTGRWHOM says:

          Perhaps. And I was one of the ones not happy with what I read in the spoilers and mostly skipped wed and all of thurs.

        • MB says:

          I totally agree with you here. I was totally bored and even fell asleep last night knowing who was and wasn’t going through. I listened with a different heart. I hope they keep the spoilers at bay for now on. I don’ t mind the songs coming out hours before and trying to guess who is singing what but elimination spoilers are really bad.

          • deedee says:

            I didn’t look at the spoilers for last night on purpose, hoping it would help keep my interest in the episode. No luck. Because almost all the contestants last night were bland-to-just-plain-bad, the fact that I didn’t look at the spoilers made no difference whatsoever. None of them deserved to be there in the first place (with the possible exception of David). Bleh.

        • HTGRWHOM says:

          But the ratings did seem to drop a lot starting with S10 finale and have seemed to trend more and more down.

          • teatime says:

            But The Voice started during S10. During Idol S11 The Voice S2 did even better than its first season and had very high ratings. That could be expected to have impacted Idol ratings if many viewers picked one show verses the other. IMO The Voice started off great last fall for S3 but then lost momentum later in that season. Even so, if the Voice maintains ratings like its last 2 seaons I think that can be expected to have a negative impact on Idol ratings. All that being said, I think the main thing Idol needs to due is limit the judges/producers manipulations in order to maintain the highest ratings of these singing shows.

          • HTGRWHOM says:

            Yeah but the voice was already running during top 3 so it doesn’t explain the much smaller viewership bump for the finale, I think the whole you know who manipulation thing combined with than ending up with an all one genre finale on top explained it. And then when the next season started off nearly the same amount…. I mean who knows for sure.

  30. Guitar Blue says:

    The reason some of the better singers from the auditions and Hollywood – some which we never seen – were cut, is because of the producers casting priorities. That has continued into Vegas; they have used some for show fill, then consulted with the Judges to get rid of them. ………………………………………………. for either the reason of overcasting one “slot/type/area/character” of the show; or because the artist has become a threat to another that the producers/directors prefer. Sometimes there are also good singers that don’t mesh well with the vocal coaches or cooperate with the directors in the “spirit” of what the show wants from them……………………………………………………………………………..The Judges have input and pull, but they are being paid big money to make certain decisions that are in-line with what the casting directors and producers want. Therefore you have sometimes seen a decent performance and most of the judges give good accolades to someone, then cut them at the end of the hour.

    • Annie says:

      Good points, Guitar Blue.

    • HTGRWHOM says:

      Exactly. But I think it’s been backfiring. Starting with S10 and the Haley debacle where you could clearly tell they started thinking she might be a threat to their chosen Lauren they brought out ever dirty trick. When you start going as over the top as they have the last few seasons it just starts turning too many people off.

      • deedee says:

        I still prefer them putting through a few threats to their chosen ones, and tearing them down week after week, rather than putting through blatantly mediocre talent in an effort to make their chosen ones stand out. With “threats” (like Haley), we get: 1) good singing all season, 2) a reason to band together in outrage over their shabby treatment, and 3) a real competition.

        • HTGRWHOM says:

          Yeah that is better than this no doubt.
          (Although even better is to put them through and then if they take off let them take off and run with that instead of trying to force the script. ;) )

          • deedee says:

            You mean, be transparent; choose contestants based on talent; give honest, consistent critique on a performance-to-performance basis; and trust the voters to know what they really want?
            Hahahah!! Good one, HTGRWHOM!

  31. Amy says:

    …I tried and tried and tried….and could only choose 3…Vincent, Nick (because I loved him in Hollywood week, even if not last night…but feel he has better in him, at least for a bit..then we’ll see..), and David. Glad your poll let my “only 3” go through, but sorry, I guess I slanted your poll.

    In fairness…I fell asleep during last few guys (not hard last night), so how could I judge?!
    Glad towelhead is gone…I was like….have we proven yet it’s “American the Melting Pot Idol” so we can let go of the guys that are here just to satisfy the “diversity quota?!”
    He. Was. Awful. bah-bye.

    Didn’t see Lazaro, (will watch the rest On Demand), though I thought too that he had run out of his sympathy pass…sorry, sweet guy. And as far as cutting him so he could return next year….I don’t think that could be part of the “masterplan” as you say, Michael, because of his backstory. They couldn’t ignore the stuttering story next year, yet couldn’t replay all that again…hence…has to play out this year…but probably not for much longer. I think the ones that return are always ones we haven’t seen too much of the year before…once you’ve had lots of air-time on “your story”…seems like a rerun the next year. I may be wrong, maybe there have been some returns like that, but I can’t think of any..

    Was underwhelmed last night…but liked Vincent, and David, who at least…SUNG. I agree with you Michael, about Vin’s glory note, being more style than emotional connection. And I’m will Keith on that….I always want that connection in my singers…to the song, and then ultimately to moving me. Vocal gymnastics are easier for singers than that authenticity and connection…that’s the ticket for a great musical artist to me.

    I am still loving Keith’s critiques.
    Nicky was weird last night…still loving most of her directness, and often agree…but last night, when she didn’t love David…she seemed weirdly negative about something that just wasn’t bad.

    Randy, who I don’t hate like you Michael, (but so enjoy how he annoys you :)…giving you some of your best lines), makes some sense to me too, NO, REALLY! I agreed with him a few times last night.
    Mariah’s..”Finally, period.” was her best critique yet.

    That’s all for me…can’t say I really digested all of this week’s shows yet….again, will watch On Demand, what I missed.

    • Sheila says:

      Nicki seemed pissed to discover that David was married. “Oh hi wife” Are all the other guys she gave a pass to single? It’s going to be a long season if all she does is act like a cat in heat with the cuter guys and talk about getting out the hood with those with hard luck stories. It’s old and boring already. David should have made it to the top 20.

  32. Guitar Blue says:

    One good move now, is that TPTB will be turning it over to popular vote, where at least some of the pretenders, clowns, wrongfully promoted and side story slide-throughs;— will get sent packing. ————————–

    But, there will probably also be some unexpected eliminations due to the voting demographic — where someone considered a favorite by press and promotion, isn’t really a voters favorite at all.

    • Mafs95 says:

      I’m afraid either Janelle or Candice (if so, than please be the former!!) will be sent packing before Top 10. I don’t know why, it’s just a feeling that I have… I hope I’m wrong.

      • sg54 says:

        but then they would probably be the one thats gets a second chance. remember season 10? they saved casey, and the bloodbath of women eliminations began. i doubt they want that again.

  33. Easycinderella says:

    Slezak: Danny Gokey sings Aerosmith. You owe me a pony!

  34. LLA says:

    David was the best of the night. Really nice vocals & good phrasing..He sings like a musician. Very cool arrangement of the song too, I couldn’t believe the judges (or is it Nigel) panned him. Well, I should say I believe it–cause it’s idol. That was the only performance that I thought was very good. The rest were average or sucked pretty bad. Maybe they don’t want any guy who can play the guitar this year.

  35. Sheila says:

    Nicki is a sexual harassment suit waiting to be filed. Her reaction to the male contestants is over the top. If Randy, Keith or Jimmy made similiar comments about the girls over and over again, people would rightly be up in arms. The way she reacted when she found out David was married was disrespectful. I bet he would have made it if was single,

    • bbl says:

      Firstly, if you think the judges haven’t had all of the contestants’ bios right in front of them since episode 1, you are living in a dream world. How is it disrespectful to be disappointed that someone you find attractive is not available? Seems flattering to me.

      Secondly, most pop stars — and celebrities in general — are sex symbols to one degree or another, and they use that to make more money. Sex sells, from The Beatles to Beyoncé. They aren’t competing for a job at a law firm; they are competing for the chance to use both their artistry and their *image* to make lots of people money. I’d actually welcome a little flirting from the guy judges, at least then there would be some more honesty coming out of their mouths.

  36. Nicki needs to go!!!!!!!!!!

  37. Luci says:

    I guess the best way to ensure that a cute white boy doesn’t win the show is to not have any cute white boys on the show! #stackingthedeck

  38. Stacy says:

    Oh come on, Idol. I call shenanigans. David was BY FAR the best of the night. Trying to pretend like there was something wrong with his performance is just ridiculous. Be honest. Uncle Nigel saw that he was going for the Kris Allen crown and terminated his “journey” with extreme prejudice.

  39. Geekette says:

    Cylons aren’t aliens. :p

  40. captain says:

    this is where I really miss christian lopez

  41. Guitar Blue says:

    It’s no use even trying to pick the best “singers/vocalists” from the top 20, as Idol & Co. have an agenda this year – which includes boosting certain types of contestants and styles into the top 10. ……………. and helping to make sure certain other real threats to their formula have been eliminated — or will get dissed in the voting rounds………………………………………………………next week, watch for “it was just ok for me”, from Randy, soft, passable but not great praise from Mariah, a double-sided review from Keith, and a dissing from Nicki — and you will know who the directors/producers in conjunction with the Judges —- have already discussed trying to move-out. ……………………………… now voters will have to rally to become part of the game.

  42. Mafs95 says:

    I don’t know if it is because I loved Season 11 (the contestants, not the judges) but this season seems a bit boring to me. There are some good ones, but none of them makes me want to jump out of the chair like Jessica, Elise, Joshua, Skylar and P2 did. Ok, maybe Angela did it when she sang her original song in Hollywood, but that’s it.

  43. Mel says:

    The first thing I want to ask: can we finish this season, and invite back all those who have not passed a couple of recent seasons through the Top 25? I am ready even to return Tatiana Del Toro, thank you.
    I don’t know what Aaron thinks looking at these guys, I don’t want to imagine what he thinks Holly Day looking at the girls. Why cut the girl who makes a backup of Jessica now?

  44. Elsa says:

    I really, really enjoyed David. It’s a real shame they did not move him forward. It doesn’t make any sense, especially with the abysmal performance of the other guys. I’m so mad.

  45. Jessica says:

    I have to say I thought David was very boring (except for “sizzle” end part). Maybe a bad song choice-that is such a good song and i don’t think he made smart choices. Very old fashion also. Mathenee and Bryant I thought also had horrible song choices. I was shocked when hearing how Bryant was talking about just being a relaxed Hawaiian guy and he sings “New York State of Mind”??

  46. Guitar Blue says:

    Remember that girls sing Tuesday this week, boys wednesday, results Thursday. Voting begins, power voting still allowed.

    A fairly small geographic area, if organized behind their regional candidate and knowledge of how to use multiple voting systems — can off-set a volume of casual voters that vote a few times by phone.

    Song choice, genre, stage setting, personality and performance skills will be as important as vocal skills.