American Idol Recap: See Me Running Through That Open Door? [Updated]

charlie askew american idol season 12A woman is going to win Season 12 of American Idol — even if executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is forced to stage a crossover episode with Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, plant a couple of hungry lionesses down in the SwayBot pit and let the male contestants get picked off in violent, carnivorous fashion.

Tonight’s live Semifinal performance telecast — featuring the Top 10 guys squaring off for (presumably, but probably more than) five spots in the finals — gave us a deeply uncomfortable preview of what’s to come, as emotionally fragile teenager Charlie Askew played the role of the baby impala, straggling behind the weary herd and laying down in the dusty plain before the predators had even arrived on the scene. His tearful post-critique collapse and explanation for why he needed to show a darker side of his personality — “all I can say is I needed to vent a little bit” — was one of the least enjoyable scenes in recent Idol history. Anyone tempted to vote Charlie through into the Top 10 because they hate seeing a child’s dreams get crushed should remember there’d be no kinder act than sending this kid home — and out of the national spotlight.

RELATED | American Idol Recap: Women on the Verge of a Righteous Breakthrough

Still, while Charlie’s fall made for very bad TV, it still beat watching the judges rise to their feet and lavish praise on howling hyena Curtis Finch Jr., whose rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly” put the gas in ghastly. To sum things up another way, when I’m getting ready to speed-dial on behalf of Elijah Liu — a contestant whose most powerful note probably wouldn’t blow a feather off a baby’s hand — then maybe it’s time for the show to consider a six women-to-four men ratio, or maybe even a seven women-to-three guys split. Jesaiah Baer, where you at girl?

PHOTOS | American Idol: 15 Singers Robbed by Voters

And don’t even get me started on tonight’s fashion choices: I haven’t seen this many white pants, unfortunate vests and acid-washed denim garments since the days of [insert your favorite mid-80s sitcom here].

Anyhow, before I kvetch any more, let’s get to tonight’s set list and letter grades:

Elijah Liu: Rihanna’s “Stay” | I’ll admit that after last week’s disastrous Bruno Mars cover and this week’s “I’m single and available” intro package — which was one slo-mo shower scene away from out-cheesing The Bachelor — I was ready to write off Elijah for good. Imagine my surprise, then, when the tall-haired teenager brought an appealing restraint and emotional honesty to the one song Rihanna knows how to sing live, too. Sure, Elijah can get a little mealy mouthed in spots, but he’s got a bright, pretty tone — and hey, at least he picked something that hinted he could survive in the Hunger Games of modern radio. I just wish the judges had given the kid a little more credit for his actual vocal and spend a little less time on his “relevance” and “marketability” (code words for: chicks will think you’re hot). Then again, considering Mr. Liu played the first hand in the ladies-man deck, I guess most of the blame falls on him. Grade: B+

Cortez Shaw: Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” | I have to give some props to Cortez for choosing the night’s only uptempo number, but like a chef who tries cooking a gorgeous rib-eye in a pot of lukewarm water, Cortez really didn’t do right by the material. His inflections and intensity — and even the little foot-shimmy dance steps — were very Thursday-night-after-work karaoke excursion, and as the judges noted, the arrangement was pitched so high that Cortez sounded intermittently strained. Plus, the denim vest and khakis (which Nicki righteously pooh-poohed) made dude look like an extra in a Color Me Badd video. As a result, I’d peg Cortez as “Most Likely to See His Idol Journey End on Thursday” among the Top 10 guys. Grade: C+

Charlie Askew: Genesis’ “Mama” | You knew right from the intro package about Charlie’s wispy moustache that the producers had had fun playing with their new toy for a couple of weeks and were now ready to drop him in the recycling bin. Which is why it doesn’t feel right for me to take shots at the boy’s unfortunate tie-dyed tank top or the silly feather earring or even the disastrous vocals — not when he looked as if his entire world was unraveling in the face of the judges’ legitimate criticisms. (Or perhaps it was already unraveling, just merely sped along by Nicki’s “I don’t wanna see your arms!” honesty?) Either way, the moral of the story is that there’s a dignified beauty in being one of the world’s awkward turtles, but that doesn’t mean every one of ’em should scramble to the Sea of Reality TV upon hatching. Grade: D-

Nick Boddington: Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” | On paper, Nick is my favorite male contestant of Season 12. He’s got a soft-spoken charm and a drive that’s brought him back to audition for Idol over multiple seasons. He tends to pick big, sweeping pop songs that haven’t been done to death on the show, and uses his musicianship and piano skills to give them his own little twists. He’s the kind of guy who can handle Ryan’s obtuse, insistent questions about his love of hats with a breezy quip like “my 20s caught up with me” (instead of screaming, “Dude, back off! People outside of Los Angeles sometimes lose their hair!”) But in practice, “Iris” turned out to be something less than thrilling. Pleasant? Sure. Inoffensive? Most definitely. But I’m not sure a month from now I’ll really remember anything about it, nor will I be able to conjure up much outrage if Nick delivering a foreboding lyric like “I don’t wanna go home right now” turns out to be prescient. Grade: B-

Burnell Taylor: “I’m Here” (from The Color Purple) | Nicki was spot-on that the “struggle and pain in Burnell’s voice is undeniable,” and to me, it’s a little reminiscent of the Idol grad who popularized “I’m Here” during her own Broadway stint, Fantasia Barrino. No, Burnell doesn’t have ‘Tasia’s raw performance magnetism — or else his feet-planted, ballads-only stance on the show thus far hasn’t allowed it to shine — but if he can quash the affected hand gestures and learn to work the stage, the potential is there. Oh, and let’s just be honest: If Burnell really wants to win America’s hearts, minds and supervotes, the absolutely hideous backwards calico cap and acid-washed denim jacket will have to wind up in the Dumpster, too. Like Keith said to Burnell at his audition, the time has come to “dress for the occasion.” Grade: B+

Paul Jolley: Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton’s “Just a Fool” | Paul has a solid-enough country instrument (in the vein of Rascal Flatts’ Gary Levox, whose music I’d rate as somewhere between unbearable and “baseball bat to the head”). But there’s a desperation in his eyes that obliterates his connection to the music, a quality that was only reinforced by him eagerly telling the judges he wanted to be in the pop-country lane “if everyone else wants me to be!” And so while I’d rank his performance among the night’s Top 5 — at least from an technical/aesthetic standpoint — I wouldn’t be upset to see him get cut in favor of Vincent or Lazaro (or any of the seven best women who sang on Wednesday). Because when it comes right down to it, I’ll take a flawed vocal with a side of soul (and really, who doesn’t sometimes order based on delicious sides?) over a decent technician whose emotions come off like mere pantomime. Grade: B-

Lazaro Arbos: Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” | If there was an award for Most Improved from the Season 12 Top 20 this week, I’d give it to Elijah. But first runner-up would definitely go to Lazaro, whose lower register wasn’t quite flawless (as Mariah astutely noted, getting her first “booo!” of the season — congrats, girl!) but who nevertheless hit the bulk of his notes. Also on the plus side? Lazaro showcased a rich, warm tone that I honestly haven’t heard since his memorable audition to “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” But if the fella is going to advance to the finals — and obvs, he is — here’s a few areas for improvement. 1) He needs to work on his musicality and phrasing — sometimes it seems like he’s chasing after the rhythm and forgets the intent of the words coming out of his mouth. 2) He needs to quit rocking outfits — fuchsia shirt, white jacket, gray pants! j’no! — that look like they got locked in the back of Don Johnson’s storage locker circa 1988. 3) It might help if he expanded his musical knowledge base beyond “Songs Previously Covered on Reality Singing Competitions.” A three-step plan to a new dawn, a new day, and a new trajectory that goes past 9th place? Lazaro could be feeeeeeeeelin’ good. (Sorry.) Grade: C+ B-

Curtis Finch Jr.: R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” | Yep, despite a Standing O from all four judges, I’m giving Curtis a C- — and that’s not even factoring in my usual rule of dropping down a letter grade for anyone choosing R. Kelly’s preposterous slice of moldy drek. Curtis’ rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly” was as tortured a vocal as I’ve heard on the Idol stage in almost two years — every note twisting and writhing like a trout at the end of a fishing line, desperate to escape its cruel, inevitable fate, every word of the song battered and yanked with ham-fisted aggression as Curtis showed us not what was in his heart and soul, but rather every trick that was at the bottom of his cheap magician’s hat. (Presto! He made all four judges get out of their chairs! How positively Houdinian!) The final injustice, of course, came in the form of that squealing glory note — the love child of the adjectives “unnecessary” and “unpleasant” — and a run of notes that veered off pitch like a runaway clown car going over a cliff. There were flashes of undeniable skill — I can’t lie about that — but the overall effect was almost comical in its awfulness. Could the voting public really be duped into voting for a guy who described his Vegas Top 40 performance as “epic”? Lord, I hope not! Grade: C-

Devin Velez: Perry Como’s “Somos Novios (It’s Impossible)” | No doubt about it, Devin gave the night’s best performance — managing to sound current and cool on a song that most TV network execs would dismiss for being part of the undesirable “over 40” set. (But wait! I still buy things!) The transition to Spanish at the midway point was a nice touch — especially considering it was composed in that language by Mexican writer Armando Manzanero (or so the Internet tells me) — and Devin’s red sweater, striped shirt, black bowtie combo was one of the few snappy outfits all evening. It might be a little too early in the season for Mariah to be spouting off about the kid’s “potential to reach an international audience,” but he sure as hell is going to reach the Season 12 finals come Thursday night. Grade: A-

Vincent Powell: Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” | Had Vincent been placed second or third in this week’s lineup, his wobbly vocals and choice of Boys II Men’s very worst song might not have been quite as disappointing as it was stumbling upon ’em in the end-of-show pimp slot. But, alas, placement does indeed affect expectations, and that might be enough to keep the bespectacled soul singer out of the Season 12 finals. To be honest, I should’ve seen disaster (or its close cousin misstep) in the cards when Vincent’s intro package had him uttering the line “panties are good here and there” (yikes!), but far worse was the way Vincent began to oversing and overembelish the whole lugubrious number as if he was in an imbalanced Monster Truck vocal battle against Nathan, Wanya and Shawn. There’s no doubt the guy has talent, but if this is how he chooses to use it, maybe it’s time to invite Jett Hermano, Juliana Chahayed and Rachel Hale back into the competiton, no? Grade: C+

SHOULD GO THROUGH: Devin, Burnell, Elijah…ummm…errr…I guess Nick and Lazaro (or maybe Nick and Vincent?)

WILL GO THROUGH: Devin, Burnell, Lazaro, Paul and Nick

And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of the Top 10 men of American Idol Season 12? Who’s a lock for the finals? Who are you secretly worried for? Who’s definitely going home? 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. wow says:

    Burnell has a album voice already.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      True that. He was my favorite vocal tonight. I’m voting for him, along with Nick, Paul, Lazaro, and Devin. Don’t understand Mike giving Elijah a B+, I could barely hear him. But I agree, Charlie needs to get out of the national spotlight NOW before he hurts himself.

      • Miscellaneopolan says:

        I was one of the people who enjoyed Charlie’s energy last time out when he sang Rocketman, but even then I knew there was no way he could sustain it over the long haul. This crash was kind of inevitable. Poor guy. I maintain that he has a lot of raw talent, and if had been cut before I would have looked forward to seeing him come back more composed in a few years.

        • smdh says:

          There is no planet on which charlie was ever gonna have a career as a singer. What they did to him was just plain cruel. He never should have been put through to this stage.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            I kept thinking, “And Johnny Keyser was cut…why?”

          • Mercy Wright says:

            Agree. Why put Charlie, and Zoanette for that matter, up to national ridicule?

          • Alan Dvorkis says:

            Their need for a woman to win is why Johnny Keyser was cut. On sheer appeal alone, he would have gone far.The powers that be did not want that, and so a deserving singer was sent home.

        • Alan Dvorkis says:

          I loved Charlie’s Nature Boy. His voice and the song, a good match. He needed to be cut sooner, instead of being used for potential ratings. CHarlie in 2-3 years could go far. Charlie now obviously not. Idol deserves a ratings debacle for their manipulative ways.

      • Jake says:

        I love how these judges were “disappointed” with Charlie tonight…umm…were they not paying attention the last few weeks? Seriously, who are they trying to fool that somehow out of the thousands of guys that have auditioned that Charlie was better than all of them. The show is clearly tempting some kind of trainwreck disaster with this misguided choice.

        • Taylor says:

          I agree. I thought he did a terrible job with Rocket Man. He shouldn’t have even made the cut last week.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          They were also surprised at Zoanette. ??????

        • Tom22 says:

          Some of us saw different things. I did not think his rocket man was bad at all. I don’t think he was missing the notes nearly where some people imply and given how demanding the range of that song is, and the leaps up and down to individual notes at chord changes it was actually pretty impressive how he pinned them. I felt to that it was heartfelt and the notes didn’t feel like exhibitions of singing prowess but emotion. His voice is thinner than it should be for a star performer… perhaps that will improve with time.

          I was however moved to the opinion that this isn’t the right stage for him. I found his antics the week before sort of funny. There was an edge and a rawness last week in how it addressed the judges (even if he should have shut his mouth sooner). Clearly though, he’s not fit for the hazing the performers get as part and parcel of the show, and if he’s not up to playing along with the job in some form or another (and they give some leeway to be a bit strange like Sioban, or be aw shucks this is not me like Phillip Phillips …. but they need to do their job and hit the mark in the shows and act cordial enough)

      • Diana Starling says:

        I wonder if Charlie is bipolar. He has seemed pretty manic in previous performances and the disaster that was last night speaks for itself. At any rate he should go home and be away from this competition which is clearly too much for him.

        • Marianne says:

          Apparently, Charlie has a tumblr account (I haven’t gone there) where it indicates he has Aspbergers and loves to smoke weed. Mind you – this is hearsay. That being said – it is sad when Idol leads certain contestants on (Zoanette, too – not as tragic, but….) when they have no business being there. It DOES NOT make for good TV. It was a very uncomfortable moment when Charlie was breaking down. :(

        • Tom22 says:

          Clearly he has some mental health quirks and seems self aware enough of them to have coping mechanisms. He knew to contain his anger in the sense that he recognized it even if he couldn’t control how he felt. Not everyone is the same . I’d guess that he has had some counseling and isn’t ignoring that his wiring requires some attention to fit within acceptable borders (even if near the borders) while dealing with people.

    • Erin says:

      Agree but brother needs the help of a stylist.. Acid wash denim and backward tapestry baseball cap? Ugh. If I’m gonna have to look at this guy week after week please make it bearable!

    • AJ says:

      Devin is the only one worthy to make it through. I actually think he has the second best voice out of everyone, after Candice (maybie tied for 2nd with Kree). But send the rest of the guys all far far away from anyplace I ever have to see or hear them again.

      • jerrired says:

        Agree. If a girl doesn’t win this year (which is a strong possibility, despite the Idol producers’ attempts to ensure a girl winner), I really think Devin could win. So far his performances have impressed me the most. And I don’t even remember seeing him before the top 40. I do hope a girl wins this year, but Devin is the only guy I would not be upset if he won.

        • Ty says:

          Devin is the most Elliot Yamin like contestant I have seen in a long time.

          Elliot Yamin like contestant = Contestant who consistently knocks songs out of the park week after week.

    • Joline says:

      Maybe. But this whole competition is starting to feel like Star Search.

  2. Erin says:


  3. Dan says:

    … I guess there are males too…

  4. -It says a lot that almost all night I was looking at what all these guys were wearing and really looking at how it looks too retro or out of character or a weird color choice, meanwhile I don’t remember a thing the ladies wore but I remember their performances. It says a whole lot.
    -I can’t wait until some of these guys face off against the girls because to think that someone like Charlie is in the same competition as someone like Kree or Candice is so crazy to me. It doesn’t even seem like the same show. It’s true that there were some really nice performances tonight, from Burnell, Devin and Lazaro/Curtis. But are the best 3 on the same level as even the 5th or 6th best female? Not so sure.

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      Okay, I’ll talk about what the guys were wearing, but you brought it up!
      Actually, I just wanted an excuse to complain about Lazaro’s pants. They were some weird wide cut that made him look like a frumpy soccer mom below the waist. I couldn’t stop looking at them. The vocal was an improvement over last time, though, although almost anything would have been.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Ha ha. i thought I would be the only one to notice those pants.

      • Ty says:

        I will say that Lazaro seemed to be adequately… filled out though. I gave him votes for that. Am I shallow?

        • Dave in Alamitos Beach says:

          Haha, yes I noticed that as well. I think the pants were, uh, roomy in order to give the kids room to move around. Methinks Lazaro could have a very different career of singing or ice cream don’t work out. ;-)

      • Tom22 says:

        Lazlo remided me of Ricardo Montaban – and I mean that in a positive way. Retro. He looked so much more comfortable with that jacket on too(and easier to watch than being afraid he’d sweat through his shirt. (do they put icepacks in inside pockets to help him cool off /).

        Montoblan and maybe even Ricki Ricardo, and hmm there must be more current ones, embraced their accent in a very suave way. I think Lazlo is probably more secure and can work on his artistry more if he doesn’t concern himself so much with attempting to pronounce words in newscaster style English. The song choice, like tonight, needs to suit the accent but I think that is a wider song book than just ballads. Many Beatles songs would come off ok too. I think he just needs to avoid things like Maroon 5 or songs with many quick words.

        Devin though, seems to need to sing in Spanish to catch his confidence. I caught a little heat here for calling his Spanish fiery and Lazlo was an example that I don’t think latin songs need to be fiery. The thing is Devin himself changes into more of a manly man in Spanish. Would any of you agree that he seems like almost an effeminate sort of gay (most gays do NOT play gender roles – so note my adjectives, not all whites sound like rednecks either). Suddenly when he starts singing spanish he grows a set of cojones and (that doesn’t mean anything about his preferences although suddenly I’m thinking he’s more interested in girls ) …well it is a confidence where he really owns the stage.

        I wonder if he can bring that same swagger and confidence to his English parts of the songs. I love his voice and feel for the music but I love it even more when he also takes command of the lyrics rather than feeling a bit more of a slave to them.

        • karin says:

          Compare Lazaro Arbos’ performance of ‘Feelin’ Good’ last night to Adam Lambert’s stunning performance of the same song in Season 8 and you’ll see why Lazaro should go. His vocals and musicality don’t measure up. Or compare to 13-year-old Carly Rose Sonenclar’s performance at X-Factor auditions in September of 2012.

        • Name That Tune says:

          Agreed Devin seems more comfortable in Spanish. I didn’t like the first part of his performance but when he changed to Spanish, his singing went to another level. The question is how long can singing in Spanish carry him?

      • Kim says:

        I actually googled “what’s up with Lazaro’s pants?”, lol. I can’t stop looking either, and it’s every pair he wears, not just one pair. Strange and not attractive…

    • Jessica T says:

      Could someone please find out where Paul Jolley got his black pleated dress shirt? Must have one for the SO!

  5. Vetle says:

    I haven’t watched. Don’t care. Nick and Vincent all the way. Devin is aight too.

  6. Christina says:

    There’s something very irksome to me about Curtis Finch Jr. Aside from that, song choice has been incredibly boring to me these past few nights.

    • Erin says:

      He is sooo off putting. I can’t see him going too far; many might feel his singing deserves to move on but who would actually want to vote for him?

    • The Beach says:

      Agree and deduct 100 points for singing that treacly, over-done “I Think I Can Fly”…ugh.

    • annehedonia says:

      Arrogance, an out-of-bounds ego and a sense of entitlement to not an Idol make. I’m from St. Louis (his home town) and just: noooo waaaaaaay would I cast a vote in his direction.

      • Wendy says:

        Ha! I am also from St Louis and I agree with you. No city allegiance could ever get me to vote for him – The ridiculous fawning commentary from the judges was sickening. They will be surprised if he doesn’t get enough votes – they don’t seem to notice how obnoxious he is. I didn’t even think his vocal was decent last night.

    • Tom22 says:

      For the first 15 seconds he had won me over to being genuine. His comment (in the clip) about being called Junior and feeling he didn’t have a name of his own, reflected in the first part of the song, and I was Ok, this guy knows he’s not that comfortable in his own skin and bares his heart and wants to change that. Suddenly when he gets to the confident part, it has no relation or tenderness to the goal of over coming the insecurity and he flips into the in the face posturing of a kid trash talking the kid in front of him on a ball field (I’m thining tanner, original bad news bears). He’s telling us he can fly, not telling himself he can free himself of the baggage and be unfettered and gliding high etc.. Did not work for me againg even as he was far better the first few phrases.

    • D says:

      I haven’t liked Curtis since Hollywood week….he’s comes across as arrogant and self-entitled.

      • Amy says: too. Though last night, I actually thought he seemed a bit humbled. Except for the “epic” comment up front..I was like..”wha-at? …did he really just say…?!” Maybe he meant the whole experience, and response…not his actual performance?

  7. sg54 says:

    Its really hard to pick five guys. Painful really. Its not that everyone one of them is terrible. Thats not the case at all. Its just that so many of those guys are coasting in the mid-lane, and they just fall into obscurity. Burnell was absolutely brilliant, and I really enjoyed Devin. I just hope both of them shake it up once and awhile to stay current, because i have no idea how either of them would end up on the radio. Nick was meh, but i still love him from hollywood week so im giving him my vote. Cortez dissapointed me a bit, and Lazaro surprised me a bit (btw he needs to stop wearing pink. i havent seen him wear any other color.) I just don’t know.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      His audition shirt was blue. Though his bow tie might have been pink or purple.

    • Erin says:

      Forget the pink for Lazaro. It’s his pants I find…distracting. Not saying good or bad just, noticeable.

      • Miscellaneopolan says:

        Right? Puffy parachute pants. If he gets into the top 10, and he definitely has a shot, I’m sure the stylists will give him some smoother lines.
        Honestly, Lazaro’s damn pants were one of the most memorable things about the episode for me.

      • Amy says:

        Bad. Weird fitting. Dorky. Needs better pants.
        But yes…I agree with Sg54 above (actually the entire post on everyone, exactly, could have said same about them all) but regarding Lazaro…beyond the pants…he did surprise me last night a bit..I’d written him off. Still….will not be “the NEXT A-MERican Idol!!”

  8. Owen says:

    I gotta say Keith and Nikki seem off about Curtis. I don’t know if I’m reflecting back to Hollywood but I see neither goodness nor light nor God when listen to that shady queen. Even his interview package came off smug. Now, I’d definitely give his singing better than a C- tonight, but I sorta hate him so that’s okay. If we’re talking real goodness and light, well, that there would be Lazaro, which is part of what people are responding to, not just his plight. Plus, I think his singing this week was better than either C+ or B-.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Yay! Another Lazaro fan! And I agree about Curtis. Confidence is a virtue in the music world, but he is just plain smug. And what was with that high A towards the end? Totally unnecessary. He’s not getting my vote tonight.

    • teatime says:

      I agree! They were talking about how he makes everyone feel happy when they hear him sing, or something like that. (I’m not even inspired enough to replay it to get the quote right.) They made it sound like he was this bright, sunny, infectious character. Nothing made any sense.

    • marie says:

      Oh yes, Owen, I agree completely with your comments about Curtis: no light, no goodness, no warmth.

    • Name That Tune says:

      You know the judges were raised in black Southern Baptist Churches. And Curtis brought the overdone I can fly to Church. He did what he is trained to do build it slowly until the end. He understands how much do it, cuz he does it every Sunday back home. I give hhim credit for doing it pretty effectively, but it does give his performances an affected feel.
      In a similar way, Lazaro is just as affected and cheesy in his performances. He just comes across as more likable. The problem is that it is just so difficult with this group of guys to find 5 solid performances worth sending through. Devin and Burnell are No.1. and No.2. I would have to go with Paul and Nick I (both kind of boring) and then I am stuck.

      • Joy says:

        I actually doubt any of the judges grew up Southern Baptist. Mariah was raised in New York by mother, who is Irish; Randy’s from heavily Catholic Louisiana; Nicki’s family is from Trinidad, which is mostly Catholic and Hindu; and Keith…well, I guess Australia IS “southern,” but… :-)

        • Name That Tune says:

          But Mariah gets her church hands going when she’s feeling it, as does Randy &Niki. Hey I live in Colorado & have attended a few black churches that are influenced by the Southern Baptists. You see a Curtis singing nearly every Sunday. And if your goal is to leave the parishioners feeling uplifted, happy and hopeful, that style works.

          • Name That Tune says:

            There’s also something called Evangelism with the goal of spreading and growing a church to places you wouldn’t think of like NY Trinidad and even places in Afruca. The evangelical part of black churches is pretty wide spread.

          • Joy says:

            Sure, it’s possible — it’s just not particularly likely, statistically speaking. You certainly don’t have to be a Southern Baptist to pick up the “church hand” thing; and especially from Mariah, it comes off to me more as an affectation.

          • Name That Tune says:

            Joy the church hands is the clue. And remember Mariah is tri racial being Irish American, Afro. American, & Afro-Venezuelan. She’s got an Afro-American grandmother. And grandmothers are very respected in the black community.

          • Joy says:

            NTT, you’re missing the point — the church hands thing is not remotely exclusive to Southern Baptists. I’ve seen it (and done it) everywhere from United Methodist to Church of Christ congregations, and even the occasional especially spirited Catholic church. (The Southern Baptist church I attended for a while as a kid was actually one of the stodgier ones…) It does have its roots in Southern black culture (which encompasses lots of different denominations, NOT just Baptist), but these days you can go to a worship event full of white and Asian college students on the west coast, and the hands are still all over the place. But as for Mariah, I didn’t think she had much contact with her extended family growing up, and like I said, she seems more affected to me.
            @NOLAAttorney — you’re right; I’ve seen lots of stats on religious demographics in Louisiana, but never a regional breakdown, so I didn’t realize it was that heavily differentiated.

        • NOLAAttorney says:

          Randy is from Baton Rouge, sometimes referred to as “the Bible Belt.” I seriously doubt his background is Catholic. I think you are thinking of New Orleans, Joy.

      • Tom22 says:

        they went to a pretty soulless group of black churches then … well I guess that’s rude of me, but I didn’t see the hope of the lord pushing him but some tense internal mechanism. The judges see it a different way though – maybe they’ve been in Hollywood too long and/or are accustomed to the personal grit it takes to make it there and find the idea of faith quaint (but that is also a personal reflection on religion of mine, I’ll admit)

        • Joy says:

          Not to wander too far off topic, but for many people, faith is precisely what helps sustain the “personal grit” demanded by day-to-day life. It’s not about expecting God to make the world easy on you; it’s about looking to Him to give you the strength to do what YOU have to do to survive in it. :-)

    • Spot on. Lazaro has such a sweet, genuine vulnerability and likeability: a quiet strength in the face of trials. Love the guy. I had almost written him off from last week, based on performance, even though he was a personal favourite. But this week…he pulled it off. Great to see him smiling so confidently and hardly any sweat!
      Whereas CFJ??? Talented but just can’t buy into him. Don’t dig his personality, style or manner.

  9. Dan says:

    When in the poll you find yourself voting for Elijah as one of your top 5, you know there is something wrong with the world…

  10. Kristi says:

    Curtis makes me cringe when he sings. His facial expressions and singing feel so overwrought and inauthentic to me. Definitely a less than stellar group of guys this year. If a girls doesn’t win this season with the deck stacked in their favor, they never will.

    • Ed says:

      Curtis over sings EVERYTHING! Plus I really hate how he has a fake crying look on his face after every performance. My guess is that 5 women and 5 men will go forward along with two wild cards that will likely be filled by 2 more women.

      • teatime says:

        I would not count on the wild card(s) going to the girls if the right guys don’t go thru based on votes.

        • The Beach says:

          I thought the same thing. I’ll bet if America doesn’t vote in Curtis (fingers crossed) that the judges will give him a wildcard.

          • Marianne says:

            The inherent problem is that girls vote the most, and girls vote most for boys. Boom. No cute WGWG in the mix? Doesn’t matter – the girls will imagine up “cuteness” in one of the guys and hitch their tweeny / teeny -bop, mega-texting / voting “wagons” to him. (unless they rig the votes / show – which I believe they would do)

        • Robin says:

          Call me crazy but in the years past don’t we usually get about 13 contestants and we vote a few off before we get to the top 10 or 11 for tour? I have only tuned in the last two weeks so I do not know if the format has been changed. That being said I think the top ten should be Kree, Breanna, Candice, Angie, Jannelle, Devin, Burnell, Lazaro, Paul and Nick. Wild cards…Give us two more girls and one guy.

      • Nobody important says:

        AGREED!!!! It make me so happy to go on here and see that there are people who agree with me about Curtis, that he is arrogant and over-sings. I’m still fuming that he made it though. I’m pissed that Nick went home. If there is a wild card, I want it to go to him. He has been my favorite. I agree with all the other guys that went through. Burnell was great, so was Devin. And I also really like Paul and Lazaro. But, I still believe a girl is going to win. And by that, I mean Angela. But I wouldn’t mind if Kree or Candice won….

    • Elena says:

      “If a girls doesn’t win this season with the deck stacked in their favor, they never will.” HEAVILY stacked in their favor. Lord, what a motley male crew!

      • Marianne says:

        The inherent problem is that girls vote the most, and girls vote most for boys. Boom. No cute WGWG in the mix? Doesn’t matter – the girls will imagine up “cuteness” in one of the guys and hitch their tweeny / teeny -bop, mega-texting / voting “wagons” to him. (unless they rig the votes / show – which I believe they would do)

    • Hello Kitty says:

      He always looks like he is trying to hold a #2 while he is singing

  11. Marta says:

    Color me surprised when the judges didnt get excited about Nick. I thought his performance tonight had redemption written all over it compared to last week. Hes such a nice change when he’s at the piano. All my 50 votes plus some phone votes go to him.
    Under praise of Nick and overpraise of Curtis? Booooo!!!

    • asherlev1 says:

      SERIOUSLY! I was over the moon over Nick’s performance. Seriously underpraised!! Only Keith had good things to say, which was super disappointing.

    • Shaun says:

      That 50 vote thingy is probably the dumbest invention ever to hit Idol.

      • tom says:

        maybe you like voting till your fingers bleed, and your time is not valuable, but mine is…5 seconds to put all my 50 votes for Devin…done ! best idea yet !!!

        • MC says:

          Well said. It was possible to place 50 online votes each of the last two years, but they had to be cast one at a time with a separate code for each one. Now it’s all in one batch with only one code…it’s just a convenience, time-saving thing.

        • Tom22 says:

          I agree it a great improvement in voting parity. Even say people cheat and get 6 Facebook accounts. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have internal policies in cooperation with Facebook to weed out fakes and just not accept more than a certain number of identities per computer device(they know that that a few family members might share a computer) I don’t really love the Facebook policy entirely that you must use your real identity, but I am on board with the spirit of the policy that they do not want disposable identities.

          Even with some fakes, the average type of voter can spend 5 minutes and get 50 votes in. In the past they might have spent 5 minutes and got a few votes in for their favorites and one or two for others if they even voted more than once. Their votes were entirely lost with one kid texting 300 times with quick fingers over a 30 minute period.. maybe 50 or 100 times more votes.

          With the Facebook mechanism , exploits and that same power texting limit that discrepancy to maybe 5 or 7 times the number of votes and any more would stick out like a sore thumb to Facebook itself who might help idol flag those. 5 or 6 times might be a lot, but that is a hell of a lot better than 200 and even more , and that is the extreme. The legitimate Facebook users who would have voted 15 times will now be level, instead of 3 times the voters who voted 5 times for their favorites and 2 or three for their second favorites.

          Voting will be far more reflective of the numbers of voters while still allowing some mechanism (texting) for really exited people to put a little, but not as overwhelming influence in.

          • Dave in Alamitos Beach says:

            I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about this. I think the change in voting is the best thing to happen to AI since Nicki & Keith. It levels the playing field and really makes you think about who you are going to vote for and how much you liked them. I think I voted like this in descending order of number of votes: Lazaro, Burnell, Devin & some pity vote for Vincent. In the past I would have voted maybe three times for Lazaro & Burnell and called it a night.

    • CAM says:

      Thanks for saying this. I thought he was terrific tonoight and the judges were ridiculous. He was one of the best of the night.

    • flutiefan says:

      i loved Nick! thought his phrasing and choices were perfect.

  12. Cristal says:

    Lion metaphor is so unfortunate given today’s news, but not your fault.

    Like devin. That’s kinda it.

  13. Mel31602 says:

    Elijah was surprisingly good (tho I’m not a fan of that song) but he prob has little hope after going first. No one really impressed me but i liked Devin Lazaro and Paul and I know Burnell is popular tho I never liked his tone. Paul has a shot since everyone was subpar tho Curtis prob is a locked well (I liked him better than Slezak but he didn’t deserve standing o). I’d be okay w Vincent getting thru as well based on how good he was last week or Nick for his solid tone. Pretty much anyone but Cortez or Charlie haha

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      So it’s interesting that Paul Jolley is the closest thing we have to a “white guy with a guitar” stereotype this Season, although he’s sorta missing the guitar. I don’t really truck with the theory that these guys have won on principal; with the possible exception of Lee Dewyze I think they all made good cases to be the winner, but it will still be interesting to watch Jolley’s trajectory, especially considering that I found his performance to be just a few notches above ‘okay.’

  14. Gailer says:

    Yea! Guys!!! Sorry girls, I won’t be voting for y’all again. :)

  15. Christina says:

    Other than Burnell and Devin these guys suck. They’re going to put 5 through ?$/?

    • Owen says:

      And Devin was SOO boring…

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Curiously there was no mention of Devin’s song choice by the judges. My husband and I are old and we struggled to come up with who sang, “It’s Impossible” (I thought it was Johnny Mathis, he thought it was Paul Anka. We were both wrong). He was very good but yes, a little dull.

        • marie says:

          Ha! I was wracking my brain for the original artist on that song too (I have to admit, I did eventually come up with Perry Como – my grandma loved him – wow, I’m OOOOOOOOLD!)

        • The Beach says:

          I was wracking my brain over that too. I was sure it came from an old musical.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            no, that was “The Impossible Dream” – oh, so many jokes in there. :-)

        • Joy says:

          Christina Aguilera recorded it a few years ago with Andrea Bocelli, so I suspect there are quite a few younger members of the audience who’ve heard it before.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Really? did not know that. I’m not fond of “It’s Impossible” or “Traces” because those were two songs I played on the organ because of easy chords.

    • joelscorp says:

      I agree with you… Except for the part about Burnell and Devin. Truly the worst girl is way better than the best boy. And if you’re gonna wear a backwards baseball cap, know I’m hitting FF before note one.

  16. Willow says:

    What an anticlimactic ending with Vincent- that was awkward. He was all pumped and was prepared for them to lavish him with praise annnnnnnd nope. I didn’t think he was awful- but he clearly is not a chosen one anymore.

  17. EVPandHC says:

    A- for Devin? He was super old-fashioned. Nice voice, but that’s it.

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      He was rocking a bow tie. Now that I think of it, he, Lazaro, and possibly Burnell have all sported giant bow ties at some point this Season. Are bow ties back? When did this happen?
      I enjoyed his performance, probably more than any of the other tonight. Old fashioned, yes, but very competent, and he has a charm about him.

  18. Owen says:

    And just what did the judges hear this week with Charlie that they didn’t hear last week?? I’d argue this week he was at least was in tune (though his voice went to more interesting places last week). Why encourage the kid in one messy, odd performance and then trash him for another? Plus, I hope Slezak is SOOOO happy that instead of talking back to the judges this week, the poor, odd boy was trying to hold back tears.

    • Rachel says:

      The thing with Charlie is he’s to young for the competition physical and mentally. Im sure if he waited a few years his voice would be much more controlled. He’s just not ready for AI right now and needs to be sent home unfortunately.

      • marie says:

        Yes. The thing about Charlie is, he actually is a very intelligent singer, he makes good choices, and his pitch is spot on – but his voice is just not good enough, or not good enough YET. And he’s as frail as a butterfly with a broken wing, poor kid.

        • joelscorp says:

          No, the thing about Charlie is he suffers from depression. What began as a goofy over-compensation for that has turned into an adolescent nightmare of humiliation, complete with meltdown. But my wife and I were both impressed with how Ryan quickly recognized it and applied direct empathy.

          • Mich says:

            I was really impressed with Ryan in that moment. I can only imagine how uncomfortable and disastrous it would’ve been if Khloe and Mario were in that situation.

          • Joline says:

            Good point Mich

          • Derek says:

            I agree- Ryan showed a side not from a telepromter, but his heart – My respect for Ryan truly changed at that very moment

          • Jen says:

            I could not agree more and it was the most real I have ever seen Ryan act.

          • D says:

            Ryan’s empathy for Charlie in that moment made up for all the “cheesy” moments he’s had over the years….because acted like a real host, reacting in the moment, instead of a scripted host reading a teleprompter. Good for him!

    • Name That Tune says:

      Look that was a serious mistake putting him through to the top 20. Lay that at the feet of the judges. Sometimes the kindest thing to do is let him down gently and early.

  19. Dan says:

    Also, I completely agree with Nikki. Nick should have stayed with the melody of Iris.

  20. Chris says:

    I have to believe that he producers will immediately create a wild card round to name two more (and the will be girls) singers to make it a Top 12. The guys were horrible overall.

  21. Toia says:

    I have avoided idol the last 2 seasons but I caught the “I believe I can fly” business all I can say is Nope. That was silliness and the reaction baffled me. That song is not ok to sing any more and the over performance of it was just to much. It was just a reminder as to why I stopped watching

    • sg54 says:

      Its a shame that you’ve avoided it. A lot of great things have happened since Lee Dewyze. Haley Reinhart, anyone? Casey Abrams? The brilliant combination of Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Hollie Cavanagh, Skylar Laine, Colton Dixon, Elise Testone, and Deandre Brackensack last season? You’ve missed a lot! This is season is turning out to be a bit dull, but you never know what could happen! Theres magic on that stage sometimes and you shouldnt miss out on it.

      • LeahKittyS says:

        Heck yes! Season 10 and 11 were my two favorite seasons.

        • marsaili says:

          I agree, seasons 10 and 11 were the best, for me, for you, for me…..

          • darcy the slutty twin says:

            Me too! With the exception of Jacob Lusk and maybe Karen Rodriguez (who was tolerable), I loved everyone on Season 10. The girls were fantastic, and the men were hot. Hello, Stefano Langone’s yummy arms! Season 11 was great, just wasn’t a fan of Colton and Joshua Ledet. Phillip Phillips and Heejun Han filled my fantasies.

        • HTGRWHOM says:

          S10 was both the best and the worst season ever. It had the amazing Haley ride and some interesting stuff from Casey and quite a few different styles. BUT it also had the single worst, most disgustingly off-base manipulation and all-time worst judging on Idol ever and ended in the most boring all country finale ever. Both thrilling and maddening. In some ways it reached all times heights and yet also sent the show on a rapid decline as more chunks of viewers got disgusted with fake super over the top manipulation.
          S11 had some interesting contestants although this time one of the most interesting couldn’t even quite make top five and the fakery and poor judging continued although never to the hideous heights of S10.
          This season they seem to think that yet even more manipulation is the answer. Some of it trying to get a female to win is at least for a bearable reason but

          • MC says:

            People talk about how much they loved Elise or Skylar or Hollie, but they were never mentored on this show. They were never treated by the producers as serious contenders to win. The plan from day one was for PP (or the next most convenient WGWG) to win.

          • MB says:

            I disagree totally on season 11. Joshua was the favorite one. Nigel even admitted that. Has anyone ever in the history of Idol had that many standing O’s. He never once had a negative critique except when Jimmy already knew he was a goner and then he blamed himself not Joshua for giving him the wrong song. PP was thrown under the bus a couple of times but his fan base was too strong for them to derail him. I really think they were hoping for a Jessica, Joshua finale with Joshua taking home the crown.

          • MC says:

            @MB – The singing and the voting are completely separate things. Of course they are going to compliment the best singer on the show. Nigel also know that compliments and standing ovations are the consolation prize for a deserving loser. Nigel has access to voting results every week and the trends become obvious early. He knew PP was dominating the voting every week. Try to remember how many times PP was in the bottom three, but Josh was there a couple of times. Also, the judges pulled their punches when PP was off. The most negative comment he ever received was Randy saying, “Dawg, I wasn’t really feeling it this time.”

          • ejones says:

            Wikipedia gives the stats for the recent Idol tours, season 10’s figures are far better than season 11. The standard for judges standing O was so easy in season 11, one guy got one during the pre-live semi and did not get through even through the judges wild card. I suspect this relaxation in standard was a way of justifying how the jerks treated Haley.

          • Owen says:

            I’d have to go on record as Season 11 beating Season 10 by a hair. Well, a long hair… Those kids were mostly astonishingly good and dissimilar and commercial. The idea that no one has signed Skylar yet is mystifying.

          • flutiefan says:

            “most boring all country finale ever”? I LOVED IT! one of my top finales. to each his own…

      • J. May says:

        Season 11 was the best since Season Crystal…I mean Season 9. Seriously, the crop they have this year seems so lackluster compared to Josh, Elise, Skylar, Jess, etc. But the season is young…

  22. Annie says:

    Been waiting for someone to sing passonately in Spanish for many seasons. Devin is my favorite guy right now. Curtis can sing but is extremely unlikeable. Lazaro was very good and suprising tonight… but can he hold on over time?

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      I love Devin. LOVE!!! However, I have never really seen a contestant so brazenly obnoxious and completely oblivious to it like Curtis though… I really hope when he watches the shows back he sees – his clear ick factor. There is enough ick to fill an ocean.

  23. MB says:

    I am so totally dissapointed in tonights performances. Even my favorite Nick did not kill it. I am still hanging on to his rendition of Stars. There was not even anyone I was close to liking. I am angry with what TPTB did to the show this year. In their push to get a girl winner they made a mockery of the guys.
    I am also really upset what was done to Charlie. He should never have gotten this far and it is obvious how fragile he is. They blew him up and shot him down. He got more praise then warrented and he went out there thinking he could do anything. The result was devastating. I pray people don’t vote for him out of sympathy because that could only go for so long and the longer you allow this to go on the worse it is going to be. The whole thing made for very uncomfortable TV and was really heartbreaking.

    • Chris says:

      I agree…I have a special needs son with Sensory Processing Disorder and OCD, and to watch that happen on TV was no joke. He nearly seemed suicidal by the end.

      • LeahKittyS says:

        That’s what I was thinking, too. I have Asperger Syndrome and have been in programs with kids who have more severe issues, so I know Charlie’s type. For his sake, he needs to get out of there ASAP. Vote For The Worst is doing him no favors by encouraging people to vote for him. If America does not have the good sense to eliminate him, then those other contestants and everyone behind the scenes better be as loving and supportive as they possibly can, or this could end very, very badly for the kid.

    • Holly says:

      So true. This year both Charlie and Zoanette were, to me, “joke” contestants that were put through just to play up the humiliation when they flame out on national television. The difference is that Zoanette has a personality that makes her oblivious to criticism, but Charlie has a fragile psyche that could be very damaged by the process. It was terribly cruel to let him get this far. Shame on you, Nigel. This kind of manipulation has ruined Idol for this season.

      • MB says:

        I thought exactly the same thing about Zoanette. They did the same thing to her built her up and then shot her down on live TV. If she was not such a strong bubbly personality she also may have crashed right in front of us. I never understood either one of them getting as far as they did, they should never have gotten pass the auditions. Shame, shame on the producers for playing with peoples emotions and dreams in such a cruel way. I lost a ton of respect for Idol because of crap like this.

      • Joy says:

        I actually don’t think they put Charlie through as a joke — he wasn’t the best singer, but we weren’t seeing train wrecks until these last couple rounds, and he seemed to have very solid stage presence. That’s enough to give a young male contestant top-5 potential if he’s got the right personality to have mom/grandma appeal, and Charlie was definitely nailing it on the latter count. Even after “Rocket Man,” it wasn’t obvious that he was a disaster waiting to happen — he clearly had no idea what to do with his voice, but there were moments when his tone was flat-out gorgeous, and if he’d proved to be a quick learner, they would have gotten a fabulous “growth” arc out of him. Given how comfortable he SEEMED on stage before tonight — cracking jokes with the judges, and so on — I don’t think anyone expected him to break down if things didn’t go well. He seemed like he’d be another Brett Loewenstern or Kez Ban, the quirky outsider type who’s just happy to have had the opportunity to be a part of something.

        All of that is not to say that the producers are not capable of intentionally setting up a vulnerable kid for the sake of ratings — they’ve done it often enough before (Jacee Badeaux and group night, anyone?). I just don’t think this was one of those times.

    • donie says:

      I was impressed that Ryan managed that moment quite decently and said some appropriate and kind things.

    • Maria says:

      If Charlie does get voted off, then IDOL should do the decent thing and help him out with some therapy and a good job. They should do whatever they can to support him. It was obvious even before this how emotionally fragile he is and they have to take some responsibility for putting this kid in the national spotlight….. They’ve become multi-millionaires off of these kids, let them spend a bit to help one of them out when he needs it the most. It’s the right thing to do.

      • Jen says:

        You are absolutely right Maria. Maybe they could make him some sort of side line reporter or backstage interviewer…something.,…anything. I seriously thought he was suicidal after that performance. Thank God Ryan dealt with him with empathy.

    • HTGRWHOM says:

      Yikes. Sounds like they decided to also take the worst aspect of X-Factor, the build-up and then utterly destroy and humiliate people for drama and ratings. Ugh.
      Why when they tried to take in parts of X-Factor and The Voice did they take in the WORST parts of those two shows. Well they haven’t done the crazy over production part, at least not yet (of XF).

    • Angela says:

      Yeah, that whole bit with Charlie was honestly one of the weirdest, most unsettling moments I’ve ever seen on “Idol”.
      I’m genuinely worried for him now. I really hope he can find someone/something to help him with whatever isseus he’s going through.

  24. Chris says:

    Hate to say it, but I believe the severity of Lazaro’s stutter is a bit of a fraud. I notice that when judges are talking to him and he’s thanking them there is no stutter. However, in his videos, he can’t get two words out…

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Actually, I’ve been watching him closely and, both in his taped and live interviews, he doesn’t stutter when saying short phrases. It’s only in long sentences that he struggles. That’s understandable. My sister and I both grew up with speech therapy, so I know a thing or two about these conditions.

    • Owen says:

      You don’t know how stuttering works, do you, horror show?

    • Ron says:

      I understand what you’re saying. But here’s how I’ve noticed things. When he is responding to the judges it is very short, and usually just two words (e.g., “Thank you” or “Why’s that?” or something to that effect). I think the reason, like in his video packages, he has a more difficult time getting two words out is because they’re not singularly two words, but rather two words in a longer, more thought out sentence. I think that’s when it gets extremely difficult for him, when he’s trying to string together sentences instead of one or two or three word responses.

      • The Beach says:

        I thought the same thing. He seems to purposely limit his responses to one or two words which is a smart thing to do on his part. He does seem like such a sweet, genuine guy.

        • Dave in Alamitos Beach says:

          Yes, I caught him answering “kinda” to more than one question last night, even when the answer wasn’t exactly correct or illuminating. I’m guessing he has some “safe” words or phrases that he relies on.

  25. 1. After reading the last two night’s of grades I can only assume that Slezak’s F key is broken.

    2. I have always felt Charlie Askew was going to win this thing. I won’t change my mind until I actually see him voted off. We all know this show’s voting is ruled by the 12 year old girl. Charlie seems like the only one that that group would gravitate to.

    3. I find it hilarious that all the same people who loved Joshua Ledet’s screechy, annoying vocal gymnastics and cocky attitude now hate Curtis Finch’s screechy, annoying vocal gymnastics and cocky attitude.

    • Holly says:

      I didn’t find Joshua to be cocky in the least. On the other hand, Curtis is pompously arrogant. And not nearly the singer that Joshua is.

    • Maria says:

      1. Joshua Ledet, not cocky at all…. Jacob Lusk…more like what you’re talking about…
      2. Charlie would never be an American Idol, not even with the little girls, but I have to say I hope he sticks around and gets enough exposure to find his niche in the business and have a career… not as THE AMERICAN IDOL, but…… definitely earning a great living doing something in music that he loves.

      • Mary says:

        I disagree, he is not emotionally capable of handling the pressure and it would be cruel to have him go on. These judges weren’t even that bad with him how do you think he would be able to handle the real music business. If by some chance he does stick around ( I prayer not) the judges will be afraid to say anything negative toward him and that will only give him more sense of false security. Lets be real, at this stage he is not talented and mature enough for this business. Personally I think Nigel should have him off the show now, even if he gets voted in, which I hope did not happen.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      ” I can only assume that Slezak’s F key is broken.” Dang, that shiznit is funny!!

    • deedee says:

      And I find it hilarious, Jason, that you lump Curtis Finch and Joshua Ledet into one amorphous blob of singer.

    • flutiefan says:

      #3. ALL DAY. #3.
      can’t stand ’em both!!!

  26. Scott says:

    My choices are Paul, Nick, Lazaro, Devin and Vincent. They are all awesome and hope they make it!!

  27. YowzaPowza says:

    I hate every guy this year.

    • kate says:

      Nigel and co. will be very happy to hear that. Their plan is working like a charm. A girl will win this year come hell or high water.

  28. Tommyo2000 says:

    Hopefully the do unbalance it a bit to let more,girls through … I could see six girls … Candice, Kree, amber, Breanna, all deserve it .. Then Angela And Aubrey … Both better than all but the top 2 guys …

    • lemon says:

      @Tommyo2000: Agree. I wish we could have 8 of the women along with Burnell and Paul for the top 10.

      • HTGRWHOM says:

        How about we get Angie,Amber,Kree,Candice,Breanna,Aubrey for 5 plus wild card and then add Juliana and Melinda as two wild wild cards. And then no WC for guys and then we have the traditional top 13.

  29. Holly says:

    Would love to take your poll Michael, but I can’t come up with 5 guys out of this bunch I would even vote for once. Dismal.

  30. Jessica says:

    I heart Charlie. He’s the only rocker on the show and he’s so young and sweet. I hope he at least gets to the final 10.

    • Trouty Mouth says:

      Charlie, a rocker? Bitch please. When I think rocker, I think Adam, Elise and Allison.

      • alia says:

        Adam a rocker! LOL funniest thing I ever heard. After those two crappy pop/dance albums he put out? I don’t think so.

    • Timmah says:

      I’m hoping he makes it too, otherwise this season’s going to be deadly dull.

      • Joe Strummer says:

        Going to be? Change the name to American Snoozefest. All we get are tired choices and predictable singing.

    • Mary says:

      Are you serious !!! Anyone who wants him still on the show has a thing for disaster. Next time it might be worse. I think he needs HELP now.

  31. darcy's evil twin says:

    If I’m forced – Devin, Burnell, Paul, Nick, and OMG Curtis based on tonight’s performance -even though I hate that song and would almost rather stick pencils in my ears than listen to it.
    For the love of Jesus, somebody PLEASE do something with Burnell’s clothes.
    Oh dear – Charlie. Worst song choice ever. What Randy said. Genesis will never be the same for me.
    Sure wish they’d cut him.

  32. Tommyo2000 says:

    Oh, BTW, does anybody in the compition really want Charlie in the house for 4 or 6 weeks… I mean who know how he might react to the pressure? … I would be scared for him and them, and I mean that in a real way …

    • Owen says:

      Um.. I don’t think he’s actually dangerous. To himself or others. I think he’s just different. Damn some people are stupid.

      • Joe says:

        It’s admirable how much time you spend on here defending the bruised peaches of the competition.

      • My opinion says:

        Wow your remark is unbelievable. Unless you are a professional nobody knows if he is dangerous. People snap for many reasons, look at the profile of many kids who have gone off the deep end. Many of people who are bullied are dangerous to themselves and others. Why take the chance for a stupid reality show.

      • Tommyo2000 says:

        Why does a concern about a kid who completely changes his look, talks about his need to vent, says “everybody thinks I am this happy kid, Im not”, and looks somwhere between crying and anger when being critiqued, seem stupid?? I did not try to analyze him, nor did I decalre him dangerous, only looking at the signs of someone that might need some help. Maybe a reality show, where brutal critiques are entertainment, is the wrong place for him right now … Thats my point …

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Yes, that was some uncomfortable television. And I’m worried about him as well.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Agree. Charlie seems mentally unstable for some reason. It is really bizarre. I think he should go home for his own safety. For realz. He’s just too young for this right now. I mean emotionally.

  33. Marlex says:

    Props to Elijah and Lazaro, two contestants who had no business making it through last week, for bringing it tonight. They weren’t the best, but they were far, far from the worst. Lazaro had good confidence, again more so than many of his competitors, and I thought pulled out a very pleasant vocal.

    Devin was tops for me tonight, especially since him going bilingual two weeks in a row should have felt like pandering (at least on this show), but he made it feel so natural. I can’t speak Spanish at all, but I felt more connected to him during that part of his song than I did to Curtis.

    Honestly, it’s almost easier to work my way from the bottom to figure out who should move on. Charlie and Curtis are out for sure.

    On the top, Devin, Burnell, Nick, Lazaro…and… Elijah(?!)

    Devin I think it a legitimate contender, and I’m thinking Curtis will go far just because someone with his type of voice has pretty often of late.

  34. dani says:


  35. chaka says:

    yeah all i have to say is… a girl is definitely winning this year.

  36. Scott says:

    The switch to Spanish thing is quickly becoming the shriek-out-the-high-note shtick that sank Old Glass-Blower Siobahn. Once is enjoyable. Two is Meh. If he does it a third time, he’ll go home. I like Devin’s voice though. Charlie has to go — I’m afraid for his life, actually, he seems on a steep downward arc. And Curtis can home too. My God he irks.

  37. Owen says:

    Okay, conspiracy theory, conspiracy theory. Gather ’round! Now, do you think Elijah scared Nigel, as how good he probably was doing in rehearsals, this kid who performed SO badly in the first Vegas round that I’m sure Nigel originally thought him simply fodder. But this adorable, Bieber-esque kid delivers a good vocal and is charismatic to boot! Why, Nigel could probably see in his mind’s eye the tween girls reaching for their phones en masse! So…what to do, what to do? Put him first! Death slot! And then put that gorgeously hot Cortez in second! Whew, that almost blew his Season of the Woman narrative!

  38. asherlev1 says:

    I care about Nick and that is all. If Nick makes it through, I won’t even have it in me to be outraged or upset or care about any other results.

  39. Maria says:

    For me there is only Devin, Burnell and Vincent, the rest all jumble together into one forgettable fog. Curtis… man, that guy is Jacob Lusk all over again. He just overdoes it everytime and if for some reason he sticks around for a while, his over-the-top performances are just going to become more and more irritating. And frankly, all that “he just wants to bring love to the world and help the world” stuff rings about as sincere as a 3-dollar bill. Talk about saying one thing and doing another — it was in perfect display in Hollywood week and the things he said about Charlie when he was down. After those comments he made in that situation, all that “I want to make the world a better place” rings completely phoney. Sure wish we could have a 7 girls, 3 guys split tomorrow. Talent would dictate it to be so. Oh well. I figure Curtis is gonna be there, but… wish#1…… American vote him OUT.

  40. deedee says:

    Charlie Askew played the role of the baby impala, straggling behind the weary herd and laying down in the dusty plain before the predators had even arrived on the scene.

    Oh, Michael, you are truly a brilliant writer.

  41. marie says:

    Oh Michael, I was busy downloading Candice’s Ordinary People from last night for my iPod or I’d have gotten here sooner to see that you’ve already said exactly – I mean, EXACTLY – what I was going to write about Charlie and Curtis.
    Poor Charlie. I told my wife that I really hope he’s voted off because he really can’t take the pressure. I wanted to die a million times watching him.
    And I cry a big fat “FOUL!!!” on Curtis. He really stank; that sustained off-note at the end provoked a coyote-like howl from me, no lie. That was an assault on my ears, no other way to put it. WHAT were the judges listening to?!?!?!?!?!!!
    There were a very few guys who did pretty well – Devin, Burnell, maaaaayyyybe Paul (maybe not) – but that’s about it.
    Unlike last night, I’m already beginning to forget tonight’s show – and I don’t mind at all.

  42. JPRausch says:

    With only a supposed Top Ten and the finale date already set for May 16, the math doesn’t add up. May 16 is more than ten weeks away. Clearly a wild card round was planned from the start, undoubtedly to let producers stack the deck even more in the ladies’ favor.

  43. forwarddad says:

    Why are you shouting?

  44. donie says:

    I haven’t seen much of this season and hadn’t caught Nick before. I looked up from my iPad for that performance and enjoyed it — not perfect, but it was interesting. From the intro package and interaction with judges, he seemed down to earth, open, pleasant and smart/sexy. Again, just going by tonight, but he has become one I’ll root for.

  45. Chris says:

    I don’t have any problem with an artist laying it out and leaving it on the stage, but Charlie is not ready for the national spotlight. I like that Keith told him to start a band and be their great front guy because he does have a good range (rock sound). I’m not saying I’d be a fan but there is a place for him.

    I am still rooting for the same guys and hope the mentor’s/coaches help to boost their talent.

    Paul – I think he’ll work it out.
    Nick (slightly ahead of Lazaro at this point)

    As far as leaders of the competition though “for me” hands down Kree, Candice, and Angela (but Amber has great potential if she can break top 5. She’s sneaky that one).

  46. Teeny Bikini says:

    I could only vote for Devin. I think all of the other grades are a letter grade too high. Charlie deserved two FF’s. What the hell was that? The kid is actually unraveling “before” the competition really starts. Yeesh. Send that baby boy home.

    What a tragically boring lot of singers. Did Nigel put downers in all of their food or something? How did he actually get them to sound that awful? That dude is sinister. Curtis Finch Jr. is soooooo annoying and affected and his voice was just painful tonight. Stop winking at the camera already. Ick. I want him gone – like yesterday.

  47. duke says:

    Just simply atrocious! My top 5 is Burnell, Devin…and others America will choose!

  48. andy j says:

    I’m on the West Coast so I have not seen this episode yet, but…I cannot seriously look at Devin Velez without thinking of Tintin. Seriously, the guy looks so much like Tintin its almot eerie. And what the heck is up with Charlie Askew? Is he unleashing his inner JDA tonight?

  49. brandon69 says:

    I think Devin is really gifted though he does not quite have the ideal personality for a talent show. Lazaro is very likeable and has potential. Poor Cortez seems like a nice guy but he is on his way out. I think many people here are being a bit harsh on this group of guys. The season 9 group of males (with lee dewyze coming out on top!) was even less talented.

    • Mary says:

      That is the scariest part, one of these guys might actually win. I think that is what everyone is complaining about. Nigel has stacked the deck and this might just be a nail in the coffin.