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!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. teatime says:

    Nothing about this episode was fun. There was not even a single funny comment, was there? I can’t think of anything.

  2. Chuck says:

    OK, granted Curtis seems like a massive dork, but anyone that doesn’t think he gave one of the 5 best performances tonight, against this miserable competition, is totally voting personality over talent.

    • Tom22 says:

      A perfomer’s stage personality is part of his/her talent. They’re entertainers

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I put him in the top 5, even with that horrendous, grating note at the end. I tend to watch them with my eyes closed so I’m only hearing the vocal.

  3. darcy the slutty twin says:

    How old is Elijah? Because I don’t wanna feel bad about wanting to see him shirtless. He makes me wanna….

  4. karen says:

    Was it just me, or was Charlie really not that bad? At least he wasn’t off tune on like Rocket Man. I thought the judges were too hard on him.

    • Joe says:

      It was just you.

    • Tom54 says:

      I didn’t think he was that bad, either. I’ve definitely heard worse on Idol.

    • Tyriq says:

      I also didnt think Charlie was that bad. Awkward and strange but not “bad”. Maybe the judges/producers are just ready to see him go. They’ve created a monster.

    • jason says:

      II agree! I liked Charley! He picked a good song and his vocal is original! At least he is not boring like 15 of the top 20! I hope he makes it through!!!

      • Mary says:

        I rather have boring than a derange little boy who actually cannot sing.

        • Joe Strummer says:

          I’d rather have deranged any day over boring. You probably listen to Kenny G and think it’s jazz. “We don’t want to offend anybody or make them feel uncomfortable”.

          • Mary says:

            So if he makes the top ten and has a complete meltdown if the judges say anything negative – you would find that entertaining?? I was not offended by him I was concern for his mental being.
            There is a difference.

          • JASon says:

            The guy cried when he was criticized. He may be over emotional but to call him deranged is exaggerating a little bit.

    • Gailer says:

      I do not think he was bad at all

  5. Daniel says:

    Devin = B+
    Burnell = B+
    Elijah = B+
    Paul = B
    Vincent = B
    Lazaro = B
    Curtis = B
    Nick = B
    Cortez = B-
    Charlie = D-

  6. Matt says:

    Did Nicki really tell Curtis to stay in the gospel lane? Wasn’t she the one who walked off set because the other judges were telling a girl to stay country? I can’t with her.

    • Joe Strummer says:

      The difference was that Randy and Mariah were putting her in a lane that she didn’t want to be in. There’s nothing wrong with staying with your strengths. There’s also nothing wrong with branching out to do other things. It should be for the artist to decide though.

  7. Sarah says:

    It was a lot easier to pick five standouts last night, but after some consideration I’m going with Devin, Paul, Lazaro, Burnell, and Cortez.

  8. Davey says:

    I’ve been watching Idol since the beginning but I don’t like any of the singers this year. And the performances feel like they came out of some past decade. So out of date.

  9. Teeny Bikini says:

    I couldn’t sit through Charlie’s performance the first time. There was just something so desperate, sad and off-key about it. But now I just saw the interview at the end of the song, and I am a little concerned. That was a cry for help if I’ve ever heard one. I don’t think the show caused this unrest in his soul, but I think the show brought up some deep-rooted stuff he needs to deal with “off the the air.” Oh, I so help hope he goes home for his own sake and health. Wow.

    • AlyB says:

      That has to be one of the most disturbing interactions I’ve ever seen on any kind of reality show. Even if he is the beneficiary of some massive sympathy vote that pushes him into the top 10, I hope someone behind the scenes has the good sense to get him out of this pressure cooker. I don’t want to spend the rest of the season wondering if he’s going to have some kind of nervous breakdown and I don’t think the other contestants should have to deal with someone soooo emotionally vulnerable when they’re in the middle of their own high pressure situations.

  10. Guitar Blue says:

    Had to catch-up on MJ’s, as we played an early gig tonight – — but what I seen— the guys who sang fairly well on their chosen material, were still mostly boring. ———————Might be just me, as I always prefer watching the girls unless a guy is a cool rocker, folk/rock or bluesman – of which there are none, zip in this group. Mostly lounge singers, which is a good viable way to make a living, but maybe the Idol machine can manufacture something out of one of these guys..A comment I liked from the review ” howling hyena Curtis”

  11. Joe says:

    I think Charlie reads the message boards, the blogs and learned he was the Vote For The Worst contestant and snapped. I won’t even get into how he’s mentally unprepared for this; he’s vocally unprepared for this. But the show built him up and when he started with the “I’m bigger than the show” antics, you knew this was coming. He’s going to get through because America is filled with morons who will weep for the poor kid and vote their hearts out. They turn this show into Queen For A Day again and again. But anyone pretending Charlie is a viable recording artist is kidding themselves. He’ll be must see trainwreck TV for a few more weeks.

    • deedee says:

      Agreed. I’ve been afraid of this the whole time, but must say, I wasn’t expecting such an early meltdown. I thought Charlie would revel in the notoriety the way Sanjaya did – getting in on the joke and transcending it to become the cult hero for the season. I thought the negative effects of it all would show up once the 15 minutes were up. But Charlie is not as strong as Sanjaya was, and the pressure is crumbling him before the real competition has even begun.
      I sincerely hope he’s cut tomorrow.

      • Mich says:

        People seem to forget that Charlie has some form of autism (I wanna say Asperger’s, but I could be wrong). He can’t handle the stress and criticism the way a Sanjaya or a Zoanette could. He needs to go home and get treatment asap.

  12. jane says:

    WTF was that. God, and to think I complained even a bit about DeAndre’ last year. I’m pissed. These just can’t be the best 10 guys that tried out this year. Maybe 1 or 2 actually deserve to continue on. A girl will win this year, but it will be a hollow win.

  13. cdehart40 says:

    People need to vote for the voice not the damn look all the time why is the best vocal towards the bottom clearly curtis has the best voice why aren’t people seeing this bring in music most of my life he has the voice that moves a person but most people want the looks STUPID

    • Joe Strummer says:

      People don’t like him because he’s arrogant and he makes uninspired musical choices and he oversings everything.

    • flutiefan says:

      i do NOT think he has the best voice. i don’t even “watch” the show (it’s on as i listen), and i was soooo turned off by his style. just because YOU think he’s the best doesn’t mean i do, nor does it mean he is.

  14. Harvey says:

    I usually agree with ya, Slezak, but Burnell getting the same grade as Elijah? Elijah getting a passing grade at all? Almost every note of Stay was a struggle for him to hold.

    For a second last week I thought Vincent could steal Curtis’ spot but it doesn’t seem likely now.

    • MC says:

      I think, if the voters are smart about excluding Charlie, your top 5 guys will be Burnell, Nick, Devin, Curtis and either Paul or Lazaro.

  15. Sally says:

    Props to Seacrast for quickly recognizing and appropriately responding to an uncomfortable situation with Charlie. He’s worth the millions he earns!

    • LeahKittyS says:

      I am totally with you on that one. Why do these pages never have a “Like” button?

    • Scott says:

      Seacrest was very capable in that interaction. I’m trying to picture what Whatever Kardashian and Mario Lopez would’ve done with Charlie if this had been on whatever the hell it is they host. America’s Got Talent?

  16. Bob says:

    Wow, so many different opinions on here tonight. Here’s my two-cent’s worth: I reluctantly rate Curtis as the best. True, he is somewhat sickening, and he definitely went a little too far at the end of the song, but he has such nice tone, good range, and an ability to carry a tune. I rate Elijah, Devin and Burnell next. Elijah’s talent is more restrained and subtle, but the guy didn’t miss very many notes at all. Devin was boring until he switched to Spanish. The energy level really picked up after that. Maybe he should do a whole song in Spanish. Burnell is impassioned and quite unique and interesting. I sometimes find his musicality lacking, but he is perhaps the male contestant I most look forward to every week. Lazaro was so much better than last week. Nice tones, very tender, pleasing quality to his vocals. Vincent was awful, I thought. Nothing pleasing about the song or the performance, which is too bad, because the guy can actually sing. Nick sounded out of breath through much of his song. Other times it sounded like he was straining. I want to like Nick more because I think he has a lot of artist in him, but he hasn’t interested me the last two weeks. Paul, I find odd. Awful song, especially the ending which was just a lot of yelling. Charlie–what can you say–grating, screechy, bizarre. Poor man. Go home. Cortez brings up the rear again. He is absolutely the worst. All of the notes he tries to hold wobble or break, he is rarely on key. Terrible. I hope Curtis, Elijah, Devin, Burnell, and Vincent make it. I rated Lazaro higher than Vincent tonight, but I definitely think V has more potential.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Bob, I reluctantly agree about Curtis Finch, Jr. I tend to watch the singers with my eyes shut so I’ve missed a lot of the shenanigans described here but he is good, even if he’s not “current”. But Devin is not current either – also a good vocalist but kind of dull. Someone below said it best – bring back the WGWG. :-)

      I agree with your comments about Paul and I think he’d be better if he reeled it in and sang more like Nick, quite frankly.

  17. Tyriq says:

    I think they had to stay in the box this round for some reason. Nobody worked the stage. Everyone was pretty stagnant.

  18. Timmah says:

    All I can say is, they’d better not waste any wild cards on the guys.

  19. Billie says:

    1. Amber 2. Angie 3. Candice 4. Kree and 5. ???
    1. Devin 2. ??? 3. ??? 4. ??? 5. ???

    I hope Nigel is right about his tweet about the ‘Top 5’ girls because the boys I think will advance are: Charlie, Curtis, Devin, Lazaro, and Paul. :(

  20. JenD says:

    i adore devin. calling him boring on AI is like calling Casablanca boring after watching too many Transformers movies. he has a beautiful voice.

    • Mafs95 says:

      Yeaaah! He’s the only boy who hasn’t disappointed me yet. He’s great and he also has a likable personality. With some training, he may go far in the competition!

  21. Lois Benton says:

    I like Charlie and I thought his rocking out was good. It sounded very nice through my computer speakers, but, on my TV, his lower register seemed not as strong. He was on key, though, and he aimed for high notes and hit them, which some of the men didn’t. Curtis was the best again, followed by Burnell and Devin. VIncent was good, but seemed off in parts. But I feel that those four should go through. I do not like Jolley at all, and I’m not too keen on Nick. Lazaro wasn’t horrific, but, I’d prefer Charlie over him any day.

  22. Tom22 says:

    [quote] 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-[/quote]

    I think you won me over with this MS … I was going to cast Charlie some votes for at least having some edge and I thought it was entertaining as all hell to see him livid on stage I guess at his edit (yes, perhaps I was laughing AT him and enjoying that). I don’t hate his voice as much as many of you.. I think its a pretty good tool with enough range to express himself even if it isn’t beuatiful. But… Keith did put it right… he’s got something.. probably could be a decent front man for a band that had some oddballs that could really play guitar or something…but, like you said … why reality TV for him? I’m not thinking the self destruction will be pretty after that anger…even if there was something to it.. its only going to bring bad feelings all around.. so, I’ll wish him well elsewhere having enjoyed his tv persona for a few weeks sucessfully.

  23. Anna says:

    Sorry, Michael, but the last thing Devin sounded was cool or current. He is so old fashioned. He is 18 going on 70. Perry Como? Seriously? Does anyone under the age of 60 even know who Perry Como is? Devin even dresses about 30 years too old.

    I will say that he has a very good voice. I don’t know if the singing part of the songs in Spanish is genius (the Latin market is huge) or just gimmicky, but if he doesn’t start making better song choices it may not matter because he’ll get voted off the show.

    Also, people, please please please do not vote for Charlie. Aside from the fact that his vocal was a hot mess, the kid is obviously emotionally fragile and likely will not be able to deal with the pressure of being on this show as the rounds advance. There will only be more pressure on the contestants going forward, and he totally fell apart after receiving what I’d describe as mild criticism. He should go home and get some psychological help. Once he’s stronger emotionally, then he can try to pursue a career in this business.

    • Linda says:

      Finally – someone else who’s not wild about Devin. I just don’t see it – or hear it. Thought I was the only one.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        It’s all relative. Devin is just so much better than the rest of the guys. No one said he was cool or current. In other seasons he might have been gone by now.

    • AlyB says:

      Omg thank you. Devin has a terrific voice and my grandmother would have just wanted to squeeze him I’m sure. Then again she was a huge fan of the Lawrence Welk show and is sadly no longer with us. Senior cruise ship lounge singer? You bet. He’d be a smash. American idol 2013? Not so much.

      • LeahKittyS says:

        Current or not, he’s one of the few guys this season who can stay on pitch for a whole song. Therefore he better be in.

  24. Timmah says:

    I never thought I’d say this, but… could we bring back the white boys with guitars?

  25. Katie says:

    To me, Burnell was my favorite tonight. I was only able to vote for 3 favorite performances, and the fact that Elijah was one of them doesn’t speak well of the guys in general. While Elijah was boring, at least he had some connection with the material. Whereas Curtis is probably technically better than any guy in the competition nothing about his talent comes off as organic. He knows every single movement and note he is going to hit before he even comes out on the stage. It comes off as “do this specific run here, take mic off stand, step forward, step back…” It’s too robotic to connect with. That’s not even going into the fact that he doesn’t come off as likable. For someone who has clearly been influenced by the church and gospel music, it’s interesting to me that he isn’t a warmer personality.

    Charlie, Charlie, Charlie. I really hope that the “awkward turtles” of the world all were inside their shells and were unable to get reception to vote for him. The entire thing from pre-package to end of critique only served in making me uncomfortable. It would be the most humane thing to have him go home this round. He shouldn’t have even gotten this far.

    The whole Charlie incident made me really appreciate Ryan though. He handled that so well.

  26. LOLOL says:

    What a sad bunch of boys. Where’s the hot one? No eye candy?

  27. darcy the slutty twin says:

    Curtis Finch, Jr. was a giant F. What a pompous, clueless ass.

  28. debbie says:

    According to Dial Idol, Charlie Askew got the heaviest call volume of the night. Oh the Horror! People watching this show really have a sick sense of humor. Is Vote For the Worst still running? If somehow Charlie gets voted among the Top 5, Idol should cook the books and keep him out. His performance was the most embarrassing I’ve ever see on Idol. They had no business advancing him this far when he is clearly making an idiot out of himself. It would be a Crime Against Humanity if he somehow advanced over someone more deserving like Nick Boddington or Paul Jolly. Please, Idol do the right thing and keep him away!!

    • jason says:

      You’re an idiot! Charlie wasn’t that bad! He is the only different contestants( he likes rock amongst a lot of baladeers) I really like him! He is my favorite and the show would be boring without him! I think the panel doesn’t understand rock!

      • Mary says:

        Wow mature remark. Charlie was bad and he is different but not in a good way. He is not mentally capable of handling the critiques or the pressure of this show or the music business for that matter. He was unraveling and I agree with Debbie, people have a sick sense of humor to watch to see more of it. I can’t stand all the ballads but I do not find that to be entertaining.

        • Joe Strummer says:

          You don’t know what you are talking about.

        • Joe says:

          Mary – The scary thing is all the people who voted for Charlie, and I’m expecting a lot voted him, did so as a favor because he was sad & crumbling on live TV and they secretly want to watch that happen again and again. What a mess.

    • Scott says:

      I like Charlie’s voice, I’m just afraid of the future for him is he’s put through. It’s like looking at a big tower of plates just about to tip over onto the floor.

    • deedee says:

      I don’t think Charlie’s performance was that bad. It had some good moments, and in no way was he making a fool of himself. I agree that he should not make it to Top 5, but for his own well-being – not because it would be “a crime against humanity”.

      • JASon says:

        That’s why Iused the word idiot. Saying it would be a Crime Against Humanity is being a little dramatic don’t you think. Pretty much every male singer on the show is mediocre and wouldn’t even come close to making the top ten of the last two years. Charlie’s voice was not bad. I enjoyed it way more than the other performers.

  29. alia says:

    Okay, I’m just saying it, I liked the guys more than the girls. I know most don’t. I find the girls incredibly boring song-choice wise. even the ones I liked picked boring songs. I’m not getting the “girls are better” comments everyone is always making.

  30. Ashly says:

    Last night I realized that Nigel and Co REALLY do not want a man to win. Not only can they not sing/perform, but there’s no room to even let a cute guy with a guitar slip in accidentally. I’m not saying that this group of men are homely, but the men have been more attractive in the past. I’m kind of disappointed that they’re rigging it this way. If they want to increase the chances that a woman will win, they should limit the number of votes not limit the amount of talent. I’m not saying they should add more attractive guys but the crop of singers they have just aren’t good/entertaining to watch. I don’t care what a person looks like but they need to have charisma and a stage presence to be enjoyable to watch week after week. And from what I saw last night none of these men really have it.

  31. marie says:

    I just want to agree with everyone here expressing appreciation and admiration for Ryan’s very very wise and caring response to poor Charlie. At that moment, I wanted to hug BOTH of them.

    • Axel says:

      I would hug Ryan first and then take Charlie to a quiet place where he can speak and tell what is actually going on in his heart. After that, I will hug him…

  32. Mary says:

    Sorry Michael I couldn’t in all good conscious vote for 5. Devin and maybe Brunell but to be honest I would not purchase any of their music. I hope to God nobody voted for Charlie. That was the creepiest situation on TV ever witness. I prayer that they had a counselor on hand, because honestly I actually thought he was going to crack. He is unstable to say the least it would be a tragedy to have him go on. Actually I think Nigel needs to let him go no matter what. This is not good TV. Nigel needs to change the rules and let American Vote for the top ten no matter if it is an even amount. Take the total votes and the top five go through and then have the other top ten sing again and America votes for the last five. No wild card no saves let the chips fall where they may. The bottom five goes no more chances.

    • Robin says:

      I agree with you. Shame on Ryan for asking Charlie to tell us how you really feel! It was obvious at that point that he was about to come undone. He looked like a beaten dog during the judges comments and they should have just ended his time on stage and went to commercial. But no TBTB love to see a contestant flail and flounder. My family was all watching and we were appalled! For his sake I hope his idol journey ends tonight.

  33. ginaM says:

    Really curious to see how the public votes. The women outshone the guys in fashion sense and singing chops. But wonder how the votes will pan out. Even if they sneak in more girls with possible wild cards, the may still get eliminated faster than the guys. I remember they tried that a couple of years ago and the women fell fast and furious. Also on both sides, there seems to be similar singing styles. It will be interesting to see if the big showy voices cancel each other out. I really wish there were a couple of rock and bluesy singers to balance out the old fashioned ballad singers.

  34. Mafs95 says:

    I only liked 3 guys (Devin, Paul and Burnell) so my Top 10 would include those and the other 7 girls I enjoyed (Angela, Candice, Amber, Kree, Janelle, Aubrey and Breanna), even though it’s an impossible combination. Oh well.. it seems we have another season 3 or season 6 LOL

    • Jim says:

      I agree with you Mafs95 – this would be my top 10 too with the exception of Janelle but not sure at this point who I would replace her with. Can we just have a top 9?

  35. Axel says:

    After watching Ryan handling Charlie… I think that Ryan is ready for marriage… :-)

  36. Gailer says:

    Elijah Liu: Rihanna’s “Stay” Michael, you are so wrong in your grade, my teen walks in and says turn that off, that is such a great song and he is ruining it. ;)

  37. Blinged Up says:

    Love Burnell. Worried about Charlie.

  38. marie says:

    This morning I find myself hoping that Charlie’s parents have stepped in and convinced their son to withdraw from the competition. That’s really what needs to happen to spare him any more pain; I really am afraid for that young man when he is eventually voted off, as will happen, tonight or, heaven forbid, later in the season. I’m hoping that an announcement that Charlie has decided to go home is the first thing we hear tonight. I hope he never has to hear her was voted off, at any point, because it truly seems that would crush him.
    Of course, if he were to withdraw, that would mean that, in the event he had not actually been voted off tonight, someone else who HAD been voted off would get to stay, but that would be preferable to putting that young man through any more torture.
    May I also mention that I am totally disgusted with VFTW. I would occasionally read them just for the outrageousness of it all, but they have gone much too far this time in encouraging votes for Charlie. Way to go, jerks: grow up.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Have we seen Charlie’s parents at all? I can’t remember. Maybe they showed his mom during tryouts. Was she the one that said he had an “undiagnosed condition”?

      • marie says:

        You know, I really don’t know if we have seen his parents. I guess I’m just expressing a hope that someone will intervene on behalf of that poor kid and stop his pain, both in getting him out of the competition which is clearly not a good situation for him, and in the more general sense.
        Someone else commented that the producers should take the preemptive step of removing him from these competition. That would be a decent move. Time will tell what happens.

  39. C says:

    Hoo boy! What choices we have in these guys! One totally unbalanced guy who can’t possibly handle what he’s trying to achieve, seven others who are (at best) dime-a-dozen pop star type guys, and two totally over-the-top melody disguising melisma fanatics! Devin and Burnell are the only two who have decent vocals at all. I vote for seven ladies and only three guys this season for the Top 10!

  40. darcy's evil twin says:

    Keith’s reaction to Paul’s comment about wanting to be the “Male Taylor Swift” was just priceless. That was hilarious.

  41. Billie says:

    Last thing to say based on Nigel’s tweet, I think the ‘Top 5′ girls are: Angie, Candice, and Janelle (those three are being pimped since before Las Vegas rounds then we have new legitimate contenders with pimp spots during last girls’ night Amber, and Kree. That is my final prediction. :)

    • Mary says:

      Well I agree with this except Janelle. I think she lost her spot after the last two weeks and I am hoping Breanna is in or even Aubrey.

      • Billie says:

        CONSPIRACY THEORY ALERT! I think Janelle is still in, you can tell the judges are lying about her recent performance saying it was good I guess to help her advance to next round even though it is not and who did that to make them say those? Of course, Nigel. Is there any smart reasoning why the first Las Vegas round of Janelle which is slightly better got constructive criticisms from the judges while her latest effort which is weaker got none? OHCMON :roll: :roll: :roll:

  42. Jessica says:

    Last night-wasn’t great. It feels like we’re picking out the best out of mediocre. I hated the over praise of Curtis. He is not a messenger from God-he is a guy who sings in his congregation the same way each week (he will get really obnoxious in the next 2 weeks when he doesn’t change it up -because he can’t) I don’t buy it for a bit. I really hope he doesn’t get the vote b/c American people don’t need to look to that guy for anything. Devin-he gave the most when he sang in Spanish. Spanish songs aren’t my thing. Everytime I see Nick it just makes me think of Matt Giraud-and how great Matt was. Lazaro and Vincent were my fav’s. Once again though-just good. Not great. We got diversity, and marketable guys for the teenage girls in the guys b/c there wasn’t stand out talent. I see a all girl top 3. I hope so anyway!

  43. Brigette says:

    Can you please include old footage of Lusky Stank’s version of “I Can Fly” into this week’s Idology? It would make my life, thanks.

    • Joe Strummer says:

      “I Believe I Can Fly” should be banned from American Idol. It is one of the most overrated songs of all time and has been done to death. Anyone that sings it should be pulled off stage with a cane.

  44. Mike says:

    I thought Charlie’s performance was great. I don’t know what the hell the judges were hearing as well as most people on this site including Slezak. I have been hearing the audio only on repeat and it sounds flawless. Sure it was a little dark but so what. I felt it was emotionally powerful. I can find no flaws in Charlie’s pitch. Remember it is a rock song, and not some pretty pop. I do find the look unfortunate but that can be improved with a stylist. Keith should be more careful about saying people are not genuine. Nicki spoke a lot of absolute rubbish. Charlie is discovering himself so just let him be. No kid at that age wants to be thought of as a baby. Randy is just an ass with his laughing and comment that it was terrible vocally. You could see that Charlie was hurt after Keith and Nicki but teared up after Randy. Sure Charlie felt like crying, he is only 17, after hearing such harsh stuff from the judges.that I don’t agree were legitimate criticisms. I hope he gets through as I would much rather hear him rather than most of the other contestants that are just wannabes and have no hope of being true artists. I think Charlie has the potential to have a career in music.

    • wat says:

      Are you high?!?!?

    • Jim says:

      I think you need to get your TV or surround sound fixed because you clearly have an audio problem. Or maybe an ear doctor?

      • Mike says:

        I listened to the audio only to avoid being distracted by anything else. Charlie was on key throughout and pitch perfect. He went for the high notes and hit them. Regarding the screaming, guess what, the rock genre has a lot of it. Just ask Steven Tyler. On the whole, I thought it was a very good take on a Genesis track and I appreciate Charlie’s guts to even take on such a song.

    • Mary says:

      This is a reality singing show and sorry If you thought that performance was great – more power to you, however; the majority do not agree with you. If he doesn’t want to be thought of as a baby then he has to take the criticism with the praise. It is obvious that he is not mature enough to handle the critiques. We are not in grade school where everyone gets a trophy. Like I told my kid growing up every action has a reaction, and it is obvious that Charlie did not like the reaction,
      even if he was experimenting. He said he was venting, well national TV is probably not the place to do it.

      • Mike says:

        I should clarify that I found the audio performance great. It seems most people on this website do not understand rock. If you listen to the audio only more than a few times, it sounds very good.

        The visual aspect can be improved without any doubt. A stylist would help to shape Charlie’s image and he needs to figure out better his moves on stage.

        I don’t agree with a lot of people on this website making a big deal saying that they are worried about Charlie and that he should be sent home for his well being. Charlie had an emotional moment there but it is fully understandable given that he had just received a earful moments before.

        What’s with Ryan for even asking Charlie how he really felt when all could see that he was crushed by the judges comments. How many people, leave aside 17 year olds have their most vulnerable moments shown live on TV. Yeah, Reality TV and everyone gets their fix.

        People should think back to when they were 17 and maybe you would not have done so well. Give the kid a break, 10 min later he would be fine. Everyone needs at least a few moments to get themselves together after hearing bad news.

    • JASon says:

      I agree with Mike. I think the judges(and obviously Slezak) don’t understand rock. Charlie has a cool voice. He’s just a little green and has a weird nerdy style. Love the kid.

      The judges are awful. They have eliminated pretty much any contestant with any originality and kept 9 boring singers and Charlie.

      I really hope Charlie makes it through!!!

  45. Lunakit says:

    You’ll probably never see this at the bottom of 311 comments, Michael, but I am giving you a standing O for this line:
    ……….”the love child of the adjectives “unnecessary” and “unpleasant”…………
    ha haaaaa…. love you!! :-)

    • D says:

      This was my favorite line Slezak wrote this week:

      “…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.”

  46. Carly says:

    Burnell is a STAR. I can see him getting gobbled up by industry peeps post idol. We need a new contemporary, current(and young) R&B singer to be up there with the likes of Frank Ocean and Bruno Mars.

  47. You Go Girl says:

    Although Curtis is putting on an act, he will get through. I have a feeling the producers are going to “shape” this top 10 once they see the results. Maybe the 10 ten vote getters overall that will result in a 7/3 or 6/4 female to male ratio. Some of the singers who were cut last week before voting were better than many in this group.

  48. Rusty says:

    And to think I thought I was the only one who didn’t like Curtis last night. Nice to know I’m not the only one who can;t stand it when a singer can’t hold a note for even half a second and instead must showcase their “runs”.

    • C says:

      I thought I was all alone, too. He got a huge ovation from the crowd, though, so I fear we may have to put up with him and the other melisma addict (whose name escapes me right now) for a few more weeks at least.

  49. Guitar Blue says:

    Some of the blogs here discussed the average viewer’s age, and the surveys showing that voters are predominantly female. //////////////////////////////////////

    Other info I have read in books and articles released about the show, where random surveys have been done, also indicate that the median age of an Idol viewer is around 47 – and females are far more likely to take the time to vote, than men are./////////////////////////////

    Most in this age group are not big fans of what is “current” in music, and don’t like most of it anyway. So we see contestants constantly rehashing older songs that the audience might be familiar with. ///////////////////// this is part of the reason why Idol is slowly losing it’s former sky-high ratings, as most teens I know these days are not really “into” watching Idol because it simply does not relate to their taste in music.

  50. Yo says:

    Saying Curtis “put the gas in ghastly” was so right on I have been in intermittent giggles since reading it. Perfect.