American Idol Recap: Women on the Verge of a Righteous Breakthrough [Updated]

idol season 12 womenNever judge a book by its cover. And never judge an American Idol judge by a pre-taped, carefully edited episode. That message was made troublingly clear by the shenanigans that occurred during Season 12’s first live telecast — featuring the Top 10 women squaring off for (presumably, but hopefully not) only five spots in the finale.

Keith thought pretty much everybody — even the excruciating Tenna Torres — was just great. Nicki Minaj lowered the bar by treating contestants as if they were on the menu at KFC, drooling over their breasts and legs. And Randy Jackson pronounced vibrtao as if it rhymed with frittata, one of at least 100 instances of straight-up foolery that had me praying that he’d be snatched up and carried away by a savage band of Dothraki.

Yeah, the judges occasionally gave clear, actionable feedback, too, but the irksomeness-to-awesomeness ratio was off tonight for sure. (Khaleesi would not be pleased.)

But wait! Why am I talking about the judges when five of the Season 12 ladies entered the semifinals with roaringly good performances that backed up the judges’ claim that it’s the year of the female contestant? What hurts is that six, maybe even seven of ’em, made at least a reasonably good case that they deserve spots over most of their male counterparts. And the five-women/five-men gender parity favored by Uncle Nigel means a couple of gals will get the shaft — unless Randy’s hints of a Wild Card turn out to be true.

But enough of my yapping! Let’s cut to the set list and my letter grades and reviews for tonight’s performances, shall we?

Zoanette Johnson: Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It” | What happens after the Emperor (or in this case, the Lion Empress?) is exposed as being truly, upsettingly naked — thanks to botched lyrics, lethargic stage presence and a pair of short shorts that should be sent back to the bargain bin from whence they came? Nicki purses her lips, Mariah makes an “Oh dear!” expression, and Keith is forced to praise the “exhibitionism” of it all. In a few weeks, we’ll forget this performance ever happened. It’s the circle…the circle of liiiiiiiife. Grade: D-

Breanna Steer: Beyoncé’s “Flaws & All” | Okay, so maybe I was a little hard on the judges in the intro of this recap, but their lack of enthusiasm for Breanna’s performance had me wondering if they were reading off cue cards written by Nigel Lythgoe himself. (Oh who am I kidding? Nigel wouldn’t write his own cue cards — he’d dictate them to one of his junior minions!) In all seriousness, though, Breanna’s vocal restraint and expressive phrasing had me completely transfixed from beginning to end — even if there might’ve been a flat note or two in that final set of runs — and she’s got a quiet confidence that adds to the believability of every lyric she delivers. I couldn’t believe Nicki said Breanna was “straining throughout the performance” when, in fact, every note that came out of her mouth sounded utterly effortless. I mean, if Idol truly wants to produce a pop star who can knock the Katy Perrys and Rihannas of the world off their perches (without having to take out stock in Auto-Tune), it might be time to invest in a Breanna-as-underdog story arc. (Now here’s hoping it won’t take a Wild Card to get her there.) Grade: A-

Aubrey Cleland: Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry” | Aubrey is the grilled chicken sandwich of Season 12. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with her long legs and her pretty (if not particularly distinctive) tone or even her generic “I need to show my personality” answers to Ryan Seacrest’s questions. As Nicki pointed out, she displays genuine humility (even if she occasionally holds the mic a little too close to her mouth). And as a result, I won’t object if she’s one of the last 10 options on the menu. But if we’re keeping it really, really real, I’d rather have the bacon cheeseburger or the loaded nachos or the fried calamari or the Philly cheese streak or even the mini pizza, y’know what I mean? Grade: B

Janelle Arthur: Elvis Presley’s “If I Can Dream” | Look, I know Uncle Nigel has invested a lot of time and energy over the last two months convincing us that Janelle (along with Angela and Candice) are the three women who can bring back some much-needed girl power to The House That Kelly Clarkson Built. And for a while there, I thought he might be right. But after two straight lackluster showings from Janelle, maybe it’s time for Nigel to simply admit — as the old Meat Loaf song goes — that “two out of three ain’t bad.” While Nicki and Keith and Randy and Mariah were all paid handsomely to utter empty phrases like “best vocal of the night so far” and “you have that America’s sweetheart type of thing,” I couldn’t get past the awkward breaks and copious flat notes that pushed Janelle’s performance to the corner of Desperate and Depressing. At this point, Janelle is sounding less to me like Season 12’s answer to Lauren Alaina than she does the second coming of Kristy Lee Cook or Baylie Brown. Grade: C+

Tenna Torres: Faith Hill’s “Lost” | Tenna seems like a sweet gal, and I kinda dug her slinky navy-and-tangerine minidress with the criss-cross bodice, but…uh…how do I put this tactfully? The bleating, tremulous tone of her voice — at least to my ears — is about as musical as an old attic door being slowwwwwly opened by the Ghosts of Brenna Gethers, Camile Velasco and Carmen Rasmusen. (Memories…) When Tenna hit the line “I’ll scream if this isn’t love,” all I could think was, “But wait — she’s already screaming!” I know, I know…I was trying to be tactful and instead I’ve just hurled a verbal martini into Tenna’s face. But I feel like somehow I need to counteract the uniformly positive feedback this woman got from all four judges — with Randy calling the vocal “so beautiful” and Keith declaring it a “really good job.” I mean, how far can Tenna get based on her attendance at Camp Mariah a decade and a half ago? Sheesh! Grade: D

Angela Angie Miller: Colton Dixon’s “Never Gone” | There are a lot of things I like and appreciate about Angie. The way her voice really comes to life, as Keith noted, when she’s at the piano. Her clarity of purpose and absolute confidence to choose a recent Christian-rock it from a very recent Idol alum that the average home viewer probably hasn’t heard before. And then there’s her undeniable charisma. There are moments where she pushes her vocal a little harder and farther than it needs to go — Angie needs to always treat that instrument of hers like she’s sitting on top of a dressage course, not imploring old Bessie to finish plowing the field before sundown — but she’s a mortal lock to crack the Season 12 Top 10 — and she absolutely deserves to be. Solid vocals and song-choice risks need to be rewarded like that, no? Grade: B+

Amber Holcomb: Whitney Houston’s “I Believe in You and Me” | While Amber earns the dubious distinction for the night’s least imaginative song choice — remember, this is the same bit of treacle Randy assigned to Melinda Doolittle the week she was eliminated in Season 6 — and while she delivered it without a great deal of originality, the jaw-dropping breeziness with which she executed incredibly difficult runs and ad-libs should absolutely carry her to the Top 10. (A standing ovation from all four judges won’t hurt, either.) Keith gave excellent advice that it wouldn’t hurt Amber to occasionally hold a note without any embellishment, but what’s exciting is that the kid has a rawness (and what I sense is a lack of experience) that hints she might be weeks — maybe months — away from reaching her peak. How crazy-good could she get? And how much do Idol voters love themselves an improvement arc? [Side note: Can we all agree the less said the better about that awkward moment where Ryan Seacrest confused Amber’s mom and stepmother for the same person? Okay, good, thanks. Now back to your regularly scheduled recap.] Grade: B+

Kree Harrison: Faith Hill’s “Stronger” | Listening to Kree’s voice is like going to a cabin in the mountains or a secluded lakehouse after too many months in the big city. She’s got such a pure and refreshing tone that you just want everything to go quiet — except for maybe a handful of birds and a cricket or two — so you can breathe it all in. When she hit that massive high note on the word “cry” — I think that’s the one Keith called “an F-sharp above high C,” but my technical knowledge doesn’t extend that far — I let out a “whoop!” of approval from my living room couch. Like Nicki noted, even when she’s stretching her range to its fullest, she never sounds abrasive, and that’s a rare quality indeed. It can only help Kree, too, that she’s got a sly sense of humor that allowed her to engage in some hilarious banter with The Lady Minaj. After Nicki made several comments about their betrothal, Kree finally grinned to Ryan that she was just trying to do her wife proud. That’s the kind of moxie-to-talent balance we saw once upon a time from a gal named Kelly Clarkson, no? Grade: A

Adriana Latonio: Destiny’s Child’s “Stand Up for Love” | Adriana’s performance was so pageanty, I expected her to end it with a speech about promoting world peace and “education like such as in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq.” I know, I’m a nightmare, but I’ve been flying my bitch flag for so many seasons that I don’t know any other way. Grade: C-

Candice Glover: John Legend’s “Ordinary People” | It’s always a good sign when I don’t take any notes on an Idol performance, since that usually means I’m throwing a Gospel hand/hands, chair dancing, or hitting my husband’s arm and yelling nonsense like “GET IT, Candice! You better WORK, lady! [Insert two or three excited expletives!]” And yeah, that pretty much describes my response to Candice’s superb reading of “Ordinary People” — which proved to be the perfect marriage of modern R&B swagger and old-school jazzy inflections. If Candice’s instrument is the expensive sportscar of the competition, then girlfriend is its Helio Castroneves, rounding each bend in the melody with hairpin precision, knowing exactly when to throw in a growl or a run, and when to just hit the note head-on. She understands every word of the songs she chooses, which is why she was able to bring to vivid life Legend’s relationship-situation jam. (Damn that final “maybe we should take it slow” was breathtakingly pretty, wasn’t it?) Nicki’s silent salute and Mariah’s “the goosebumps continue” weren’t effusive enough, but my guess is they’ll have a few more months ahead of them to full board the bandwagon. Grade: A

Ans with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of the American Idol Season 12 Top 10 women? Who absolutely must advance to the finals? Who surprised you? Who’s definitely a goner? 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. Timmah says:

    I like Breanna a lot. She’s attractive and current. Too bad they gave her the death spot.

  2. Top 5 for me is Breanna, Kree, Angie, Amber, and Candice. Think the wildcard will be given to Janelle.

  3. asherlev1 says:

    Boy, did Breanna grow on me! Obviously my top three are Amber, Candace and Kree. But honestly, there were so many people that I was just like – Shubha, Rachel Hale, Jett and Juliana were sacrificed on the altars of the cannon fodder the producers used to stack the deck. NOT COOL.

  4. Larali says:

    This gender ‘quota’ really irks me about AI. It is a talent contest after all. And that trascends genders.

  5. RW says:

    Kree was good but did you see the size of her rear end? Haven’t seen an ass that big on the Idol stage since Skylar Lane.

  6. James says:

    Adriana did so great the last time, why oh why did she not pick the right song!

  7. J. May says:

    Can I have Season 11 back?

  8. Gailer says:

    Angie peaked in Vegas. Sick of her already. Amber and Kree were the best. Bring on the guys please

  9. Vetle says:

    While Adriana’s performance wasn’t very good, I still think she could squeeze through. Underdog syndrome + judging from the internet she has a decent sized following, I’m thinking that Alaska probably is pretty supportive.

    I do however want Kree, Angie, Amber, Candice (DAYUM SHE CAN SAAAANG) and Breanna or Aubrey. I wouldn’t be mad if Janelle got through, but I don’t think she necessarily deserves it.

    • Timmah says:

      Unfortunately, Janelle will get in over Breanna and Aubrey. The voters love country girls.

      • Trouty Mouth says:

        Unfortunately for the international viewers like me who love the show but hate the fascination with country and Christian music.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Right. Because rap songs about b*****s and hos and “capping people” are SO much better than songs about drinking, cheating, divorce, and prison. Okay, so that probably wasn’t the best argument, but what’s your point?

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Well they’d better drag out the dogs and dead people to vote in Alaska because I don’t think the state has a total population of one million.

      • Timmah says:

        Adriana is leading DialIdol, for what it’s worth.

        • soundscene says:

          Never underestimate the voting of a state that doesn’t have to compete with other states to get through on phone lines. But DialIdol has been less reliable since text voting started.

        • Name That Tune says:

          Dial Idol is deceptive with 10 singers. It’s a score based on busyness.
          The actual vote totals have her last &Angie first. Which matches Twitter.

        • lemon says:

          With Dial Idol you have to click on “raw numbers” to get the true picture. Right now, the DI raw numbers have Angie, Janelle, Kree, and Aubrey as the top 4.

          • teatime says:

            Yes. DialIdol has a problem estimating if they do not have enough data. When you look at Adriana’s raw numbers the counts are low. So they did not have a lot of data to work with. She got a high number of busy signals per vote. But if the sample is too small it is not a good estimate.

        • HTGRWHOM says:

          oh wow i hope dial idol is so wrong on everything! Zoannette and Adriana, two of the weakest three are in???

  10. Guitar Blue says:

    Obviously there will be at least one, if not 2 wildcards. Jannel and Kree are both from Tennessee. Kree was in a movie previously, and a little more polished as a singer, and has a better, smoother range. There is a slight disadvantage to be competing with someone in the same home state for votes……………………………………………………………………… I see a number of people hoping Breanna will make the top 5 — and I see her as “on the bubble”, not impossible to slide in with lots of votes from her home State area, a possible wildcard if she doesn’t……

    • Name That Tune says:

      Wild Cards only delay the inevitable. You get maybe 2 more weeks of an Amber or Breanna or Aubrey. This is going to be a contest between Kree, Candice, and Angie,. If Janell survives tonight, she could be #4.

  11. Idolhead Ed says:

    For me there were at least 6 girls that should be singing in the final. Amber, Kree, Candice, Janelle, Angela, and Adriana. But only The Zone epically failed tonight. Kree did herself a giant favor after she sang as well as when she sang. She showed a Kelly Clarkson type personality and that is as important as the singing. And for me Amber is just awesome. She has that perfect tone in all her range. To think Candice and Amber both got cut last year. And one more thing………………… all the guys suck. But you can bet there will be 3 o4 girls gone before one guy goes.

    • C says:

      Not this year.

      • Joe Strummer says:

        Yes, this year. The girls are not that great. Very unimaginitive and boring.

        • Mafs95 says:

          I disagree. The girls are usually the first ones to be eliminated when the guys are either singer-songwriter, “querky” type of singer (“artists” as some people like to call them) or hugely talented guys with big voices. This season, there’s not a single one who belongs in that category. I’m actually surprised to see how most girls show more artistry and take more risks than the guys: I’m talking about song choices, melody changes, original songs, etc. They are not the best thing we ever had on Idol, but some of them are quite good!

  12. The Beach says:

    No one has mentioned this new voting system and how it could affect the outcome. Does this mean people, some of whom from out of the country, could set up multiple Facebook accounts and download multiple apps and vote 50 times with each one?

  13. Guitar Blue says:

    Nigel put in the new voting system to raise the number of times the average viewer votes. They have to do something to shout about millions of votes again. Power voters, if they are that interested and want to take the time, can still register hundreds of votes through different methods. Eventually the fan pages of some of these contestants will be advising about all the many ways to keep pounding-in multi-voting systems.

    • Name That Tune says:

      I think it is an attempt to be more like The Voice. Give us more ways to vote. But if you can text with AT&T, the 50 Facebook votes is meaningless.

  14. D says:

    This year, I keep watching Idol for two reasons: Keith Urban’s great critiques and feedback to contestants, and Angela Miller.

  15. syb says:

    I thought Aubrey was better than Breanna tonight (I had their positioned reversed last week.) I too think they’re competing against each other for the fifth or wild card sixth spot. Angie was everything I hate about Christian contempo tonight, and ditto for Janell on the country side. I also find Tenna grating, but I also find Amber grating, although Amber is unquestionably the better singer of the two.
    Candice and Kree are in a class by themselves to me, even though I didn’t care for Kree’s song choice, and I love Ordinary people too much to hear it worked over like Candice did.
    Zoanette, we hardly knew ye. I would not be shocked to find out that the behind the scenes movers forced her to sing that. It had nothing whatsoever to do with Zoanette and was designed to feature everything wrong with her vocals.

    • HTGRWHOM says:

      Hah I dislike Ordinary People too much to have it worked over by Candice.
      Overall I’ve liked Aubrey more than Breanna.

  16. karen says:

    It will be interesting to see how the top girls handle assigned songs or specific artists and genres. With Kree’s background as a demo singer, she could prove formidable in those later rounds.

  17. Kate says:

    Great recap! I smile every time you write The House that Kelly Clarkson Built! :-)

  18. seattlejohn449 says:

    was anyone else disgusted by the promo FOX aired during IDOL tonight for Gordon Ramsey’s Hell Kitchen with the message GORDON RAMSEY…HE’S NOT A PANSY…how can IDOL be gay-friendly and yet have advertising so blatently homophobic?

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Wow. I did not catch that (I don’t pay much attention to the commercials). Whose dumb idea was that?

    • Name That Tune says:

      Geeze. If he’s so homophobic how is it that last season’s Red team was filled with lesbians & last season’s winner was gay?

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Maybe the term “pansy” has nothing to do with being gay in the ad. Of course there was a time when “gay” had nothing to do with homosexuality. There was a time when a “pansy” was just a wussy person. And it rhymes with “Ramsey”.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I just have to ask – where do you people get the idea that “Pansy” and “gay” are interchangeable? This is news to me.

      • marie says:

        Hi DET, was wondering when you’d come around. Maybe it’s a geographical thing; I’m in NYC, born and raised, and when I was a child, “pansy” was indeed a derogatory term for a gay man (one of many, I’m afraid). Happily, I haven’t heard that usage in many years, but I too was startled at that reference in the Hell’s Kitchen commercial. So maybe it was in use particularly in this region years ago.

        • Name That Tune says:

          Ramsay is British. After 10 seasons of HK, we know he doesn’t care about the nature of his words. If he thinks you’re a dolt, he says it. If called someone a pansy, he was not referring to their sexuality. He thinks you’re weak (like being someone’s b*tch – which you wouldn’t have a problem with).

      • Terry says:

        where I grew up ‘pansy’ just meant ‘wimpy’, not anything to do with ones sexual orientation.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Here in the Midwest ‘pansy’ just means ‘wimp’ to my knowledge. Maybe stuff does start on the coasts and move inland. Who knows.

  19. Anna says:

    Kree and Candice were far better than any of the other girls. I mean it wasn’t even close, those 2 blew the other contestants totally away. My (distant) third choice would be Amber.

    I don’t get the praise for Angie. She’s got a pleasant voice, but she’s boring. There’s nothing unique about her. And performing a mediocre Colton Dixon song didn’t help her. She is not even close to being a pop artist — to me, she is a Christian music artist. Which is totally fine, but not what the powers that be are trying to promote her as.

    Janelle has been underwhelming for a couple of weeks now. Rachel should have gotten through to the Top 20 instead of Janelle based off last week’s performances, and tonight’s performance didn’t do anything to correct the thought that the judges put the wrong country girl through to the Top 20.

    As for Zoanette? That was one of the worst performances I have ever seen from an Idol semi-finalist — and there have been some downright awful performances in the past. Yes, she can be entertaining, especially compared to the other female contestants, who on the whole are pretty boring personalities. But she never should have made Top 20, because she cannot sing. I’m not sure she even hit one note in her performance tonight.

  20. Bibs says:

    I only disagree with you on Tenna (I actually kinda liked her performance) and Breanna (I don’t see anything original in her. They could choose her or Aubrey and I’d think they are the same person, with the same pros and cons, and I absolutely can’t see her winning idol, even though I can’t see Tenna winning either). So can we both please agree on having Juliana Chahayed back and send her through to the top 10 alongside Angie, Candice, Amber and Kree? Yes, please.

  21. Trouty Mouth says:

    I wanted to like Angie, but she paid homage to one of my least favourite past idol contestants ever, and that just made me like her less.

  22. Lois Benton says:

    How can anyone even vote in your poll? Four ladies were truly GREAT. One was near-great (and a stunning, shining star, to boot); four were very, very good; and one was bad (as always; Guess which?). Candice and Amber are in a dead heat for total, number-one greatness. Angela and Kree are tied at number two, for also great; Breanna is amazing and near-great. Everyone else but Zoanette were very, very good, if not very exciting. Breanna is the Haley Reinhart of Season 12. She damn well better go through. I’ll be disappointed if Candice, Amber, Breanna, Angela and Kree don’t go through. Any other result is an injustice and would be a blight on the show. Candice, Amber, Breanna, Angela and Kree are all different, but totally wonderful. I don’t get your hate on Tenna; she actually came in at sixth place, in my objective and well-informed opinion. (!) May I remind you that, as I recall, you and other bloggers hated on Haley Reinhart until around the Top Eight week. (Props to me and the voters; we got her at Day One.) Maybe it was just the fashionable thing to do at the time, to despise the wondrous Haley, in spite of all evidence of her astonishing talent. Sometimes, bloggers get it wrong, and, for awhile at least, America gets it more correct. I do get your disappointment in Janelle; I feel the the same. I appreciate that you don’t want to give out F’s, but putting Tenna anywhere near the same league as Zoanette? That’s just wrong.

    • marie says:

      (Hmmm…actually, it’s putting Tenna anywhere near Haley that’s all wrong…)

      • Lois Benton says:

        Well, I wasn’t really comparing Tenna to Haley–that honor goes to Breanna–but Michael putting Tenna in the same league as Zoanette (or anyone else who we’ve seen so far in this competition, for that matter) lacks perspective. I loved Tenna’s performance in the Top 20 girls; it was really lovely. Last night Tenna was as good as, if not better than the other girls. I’ll grant that Tenna, Aubrey, and Adriana were all very close in performance in quality, although I would place them in that order. I could think of nice things to say about most anyone, but one thing I couldn’t say about Zoanette is that she sings in key, with any musicality, subtlety or feeling for the music or lyrics.

  23. Muriel says:

    Kree, Candice, Angela and Amber should be a lock. The last spot might be a tossup between Breanna, Aubrey and Janelle.. I think I prefer Janelle slightly over the other two because I like her old-school country vibe.

  24. angelstorm says:

    Go on Kree – GET IT ! That’s it. It’s official. She’s my favorite this season.

    (which sucks because I swore I wouldn’t pick a fave after the ridiculousness that was the Jessica Sanchez sabotage of Season 11)

    • Beezy says:

      I agree there is no one even close or more worthy of being this years Idol but Kree Harrison! What you see is what you get and what I see is greatness. She is my Idol winner! And she’s saving her best for this last run! We haven’t seen the best of Kree yet! Just wait, watch and then VOTE!

  25. Scott says:

    My top 4 were Cree, Candice, Angie and Amber. The Morning News show (Fox Affiliate) I’m watching right now was showing Candice singing in their recap. Not sure what that means :)

  26. marie says:

    You know, thinking back on it, I’d have to say that Candice’s “Ordinary People” is my favorite performance so far this season. I watched it again immediately, and remarked to my wife that I wish I could hear her sing the whole song, not just a 90-second Idol-edit version.

  27. marie says:

    And after that show, tonight we get to hear the guys.
    I’m depressed already.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      LOL. I was just thinking the same thing. They were just showing a promo on TV for tonight’s program with “the guys” and I thought, “Oh dear”. Let’s hope they surprise us.

  28. Dan says:

    What is the definition of “moments?” :D

    • Joe Strummer says:

      It’s Randy’s new work he’s going to overuse a million times this season. They probably told him that he can’t use “pitchy” and “for me for you” and “you can sing the phonebook”.

  29. professor1453 says:

    Michael, I love your joke about Randy’s pronunciation. But it will go over better if you correct the spelling on the word “vibrato.” ;)

    • mike says:

      Wondering what a “cheese streak” is as well! Must have been a late night recapping at the Slezak residence!

  30. professor1453 says:

    Yes, the second, higher note on “cry” was the F-sharp. This professor of music theory was interested to discover (or find confirmation) that Keith is fluent in such knowledge.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Keith is an incredible talent. A lot of people dismiss country music but so many of these artists really know their stuff and are very knowledgeable. If you’ve never listened to country music and you’ve never heard Keith Urban sit down with the guitar and just sing a song, you have missed a real treat. He’s amazing. A few years ago at one of the country awards show he sat down and with only his guitar as accompaniment he sang “You’ll Think of Me”. Wow. Just wow.

      • Mary says:

        I will be the first to admit I am not really into country, but I love Keith Urban, Always have. His voice and guitar playing is fantastic. He is a perfect example, less is more. I guess I fall into the category of wgwg.

      • Annie says:

        “You’ll Think of Me” is what first brought me to Keith Urban.

  31. darcy's evil twin says:

    I just watched the DVR of the program and wow – some GREAT performances. I voted in the poll and my top five were the same as everyone else’s and by and large my opinion on the performances were quite similar to Mr. Sleazak’s.
    I put Kree, Candice, and Angela at a tie for the top three. Their styles are quite different so it’s hard to compare them. Kree is amazing and probably my favorite due to personal preference. Candice has an old-school R&B thing going on that we don’t see much of anymore. I’ve been lukewarm on Angela up to this point but wow – Colton Dixon should be proud. I liked her pink lipstick better than the bright red as well.
    I would put Amber behind those three just on sheer vocal ability and technical execution alone. For the fifth place slot I give it to Breanna and I agree with everything Mr. Slezak wrote and I have NO CLUE WTH Nicki Minaj was hearing.
    Not sure what the judges heard with Janelle (I guess they were hearing Nigel coaching them in their earpieces) but that was dull. She just hasn’t done a thing for me for three seasons now and tonight is no different. But she and Aubrey probably deserve wild card slots because they’re better than most of the guys. So does Adriana, for that matter. The word “pageanty” has been way overused but Adriana’s performance WAS pageanty.
    Teena and Zoanette. Oh dear. Thank you, Mr. Slezak for your “Emperor Has No Clothes” comment on Zoanette. You took the words right out of my keyboard.

  32. Tommyo2000 says:

    Breanna needs to stick around, its too early for her to go … I realyy want to see what she will develop into if she can stay around a while … there is a subtle sexiness in her singing that I dont see with anybody else, plus she has a swag that is cool …

    Aubrey has the package, but not the personality yet … Thats Pia … not sure if she can come back after making it this far, but a year or two of experience might help her out …

  33. Mary says:

    Wasn’t a bad show tonight, but my God they have to do uptempo. I was getting so bored I almost turned it off. My favorite tonight was Amber, even though she picked a Whitney song and close second was Kree. My pick for top five (so probably won’t happen) would be Amber, Kree, Candice, Angie and Breanna. I know she is a chosen one, but Janelle does not deserve a spot. Part of me felt like the stage was swallowing them up. I personally wish that the guys sung first and then we vote for the top ten. I do not understand why Nigel is insisted on have even amounts. It should be the top ten period, even if it is all girls – which I doubt it would of been. He played to much with the format that it is not enjoyable.

  34. kate says:

    Your vibrato joke loses some of its punch when you spell it wrong.

    Also, nice job going with the fried chicken fast food joint for the joke about the black judge.

  35. Lisa says:

    You know how when you see something incorrectly or mishear something, you spend the next 5 minutes or so thinking, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I thought that was XYZ!” That’s how I felt when the camera showed a wide view of Tenna Torres. I could not get the shock of seeing cartoon-type Jessica Rabbit-ish bare chest created by her dress with a pink top and very unfortunate placed navy blue accents. And them Nicki’s “classy” mention of boobs right after this thought is in my head? Oof. Not a great moment.

  36. David says:

    I am really disappointed with Idol this season. The judging panel is terrible (except for Keith Urban). Most of the singers they have put through are just boring. And Randy has already broken out his tired old cry of “in it to win it.” It is obvious that Nicki has been told to tone it down for the live shows, but she is still the most annoying judge on any competition show ever. The ratings speak for themselves. The show is nose diving quickly. It needs a complete overhaul if there is going to be a next season….and judges who are not necessarily big names but who know how to choose real talent…

  37. C says:

    I think the reason a lot of the girls are sticking with ballad/diva style songs is because they feel they need to showcase every possible vocal skill they have just to stay in the competition. Once they are safely in the Top 10, will get to go on the tour, and only one will be eliminated every week (and I think this year, it’s safe to assume the first few eliminations will be guys), they can relax a little. But, I also think they need to be steered in a more energetic direction by the choice of theme nights. And, perhaps a “No Ballad Night”, as suggested earlier, would be a great idea.

  38. waterbug says:

    wow… in the poll Tenna falls below Zoanette. What a sock in the forehead!

  39. waterbug says:

    I love Keith Urban’s constructive and civil comments. I love Nicky’s comedic and insightful comments. I think Keith will be AI’s most loved judge and Nicky will be the most funny.

  40. soundscene says:

    Here’s my grades for the night:
    Zoanette: F — it was a hot, unlistenable mess from start to finish
    Breanna: C – Vanilla R&B with a side of bland
    Aubrey: C+ – More spirited than Breanna, but still quite unmemorable
    Janelle: B – I agree with Keith that her old-school country vibe is cool; I don’t think this was a miss for her, even if it wasn’t her best
    Angela: A- – Effortless. That’s what I remember thinking when she sang. And she’s different from the rest of the girls (not country, not R&B, not really current pop, either)
    Amber: C – I didn’t get the love for this at all. She rushed through that song with no thought of how any of the words should be phrased. She also terribly oversang the song. It didn’t need that many runs. I don’t care if she can hit the notes if she doesn’t know how to interpret the notes.
    Kree: A – Once again, effortless, even if I wasn’t such a fan of the song.
    Adriana: D – I felt bad for her.
    Candice: A – She reminds me of Jennifer Hudson, but perhaps more assured than Jennifer was during her time on Idol. Again though, not fond of the song choice.

  41. alfa says:

    Ugh, I hate country music THIS BIG! The fact that there’s a country singer on the judges panel now and that the contestant currently leading the poll is country, makes me glad I decided not to watch this season. I wouldn’t be able to stand it.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Well, I feel your pain. I hate rap but plenty of other people love it. Country is hugely popular, like it or not. They have a country singer judge on the panel and country singers on the show for the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks- “That’s where the money is”.

      • HTGRWHOM says:

        Didn’t pop and rock and the like generally sell more way than country, at least before all changes in sales with downloads and all (I got the impression that country music listeners didn’t drop off CD purchases as much though once that stuff got going)? Country tended to not be so popular in the major population areas I thought. NYC has it’s first country station again in something like 20 years. Yes, not ONE station that played country for decades. (that said they a country station here often has more listeners than elsewhere due to the huge population even though the percentage of total audience is relatively minute)

    • HTGRWHOM says:

      I really hope Kree gives up the country thing and goes rock, basically anywhere else for a bunch of weeks now.

  42. Kill American Idol already. It’s over. It’s a joke.

  43. Joe Strummer says:

    I find all the females incredibly boring and without a creative bone in their body. I don’t want to have to sit through another r&b ballad done with no pizzazz or excitement. what was the theme last night? The worlds most boring songs –>> and sing them as predictably as possible?

    I like the new judges but this might be the most boring year of Idol yet!!

    Maybe they should rename American Idol this year to American Snoozefest.

  44. Guitar Blue says:

    Safe & easy predictions – 1. Angela & Kree are top 5 girls. 2. Zoanette and Tenna sent home, no wildcard. 3. While Candice seems to be a favorite in some of the write-ups, and will likely make top 5 by vote or wildcard, she will never make the final top 3 — Amber has a better chance to get that far.

  45. karen says:

    Kree has the goods to sing anything, which will be really apparent in the later rounds when the contestants have to tackle songs that are not particularly of their choosing, such as an Elton John week, or what have you. She will be able to change it up with bluesy wailing kind of song in the style of Bonnie Raitt, or a rocking tune in the tradition of Linda Ronstadt. She’ll also be a sentimental favorite if she sings one of her own self-penned tunes, especially the one she wrote about her late mother. She reminds me of Trishia Yearwood, who was also a demo singer in Nashville before she hit it big.

  46. Maria says:

    My top 5: candice, kree, angie, amber and (last spot to aubrey, breanna, or janelle would be okay with me and yes, all 3 of them are more deserving than the #3,4&5 of the men). Some wonderful singing last night. Hope there are no horrible surprises Thursday.

  47. Ann VerWiebe says:

    Poor Amber’s Mom! “Oh, that’s your stopmom.” Lame, Ryan, lame.

  48. Daniel says:

    Angie and Kree final two.

  49. Teeny Bikini says:

    The reason the judges were not excited about Breanna is because it wasn’t exciting. Her performance was deadly boring as well. Here is an example of delicate voice that is skillful – Juliana. Breanna has limitations in that department. Moxy is her thang – and the judges loved it when she was sassy. I don’t why they just don’t stay in the lane in which their voice works best? If your thing is moxy, then do that. If you are the girl at the piano, then do that. Stick with what works. But I guess one would have to “know” what works first…

  50. Bob says:

    What’s this world coming to: Keith Urban tells Tenna that it takes guts to “tackle a Faith Hill song,” yet nobody says anything about Janelle trying (pathetically, I might add) to cover one of Elvis’s most powerful hits. I mean seriously, Faith freaking Hill??