American Idol Top 9 Performance Recap: Such an Easy Game to Play [Updated]

amber-holcomb-american-idolAt first, I didn’t understand why American Idol needed to get Jimmy Iovine to endorse the John Lennon-Paul McCartney songbook at the top of tonight’s Top 9 performance telecast.

Then, as several contestants approached their ditties the way I might open an AP Calculus textbook — which is to say with bewildered ignorance and/or total indifference — I remembered: I’m an old man. Come to think of it, you’re probably old, too. And those Beatles songs? They’re history, like the Dead Sea Scrolls.

But who among us hasn’t scraped a little mold off an excellent cheddar or pricey Camembert from the back of the fridge, taken a taste and let out an expletive like an overexcited Nicki Minaj? “#@*% that’s good!” Every song on tonight’s set list may have been about three times older than Burnell Taylor, but the bulk of the Top 9 contestants proved at the very least enjoyable, if not utterly delightful, while tackling the Fab Four’s undeniable melodies.

So yeah, while it might’ve been nice to hear one or two or even eight more uptempo choices, I’m gonna put a lid on my kvetching and jump to assigning letter grades. Without further ado…

Kree Harrison: “With a Little Help From My Friends” | “What would you do if I sang out of tune?” asked Kree, delivering the night’s first lyric and making me chuckle a little bit. I mean, that’d be like me asking, “What would you do if I stopped production on Idology and forced Melinda Doolittle to do an entire YouTube series based around ABC’s celebrity diving competition Splash?” It’s simply not gonna happen. Still, while Kree looked gorgeous and her voice was as supple and pleasing as ever, there was something a little, er, low-impact about her performance (for me, for you). The notes were all there, but the energy was slightly muffled — to the point where, when the six-person chorus crashed the party on the opening refrain, I found myself sighing and thinking, “Isn’t it a little early in the season for dramatic choir reveals? And how come Kree’s not giving me 100 percent of the emotional abandon I need in my life right now?” Don’t get me wrong, Kree deserves to go directly to the Top 8 without passing go and without collecting $200, but it won’t exactly land her on Boardwalk or Park Place. Grade: B+

Burnell Taylor: “Let It Be” | Has everyone recovered from Burnell admitting he’d never before heard “Let It Be”? I mean, I’d have been less horrified if the kid had thought the tune was a Kris Allen original on account of our Pocket Idol’s Season 9 results-show cover. Nevertheless, you can’t judge a vocal based on its pre-performance package, and if I’m being honest, I kind of liked how Burnell’s gruffly soulful instrument sounded up against one of the Beatles’ church-ier anthems. What bugged me, though, was the blank grin that kept cropping up on Burnell’s face during the performance, an expression that left me wondering, “Does he have any idea what he’s singing about? Why am I getting the same vibe I got from “Flying Without Wings”? Where’s the electricity?” To keep the metaphor going, at this point in the competition, Burnell is a little like geothermal energy: A really good idea that hasn’t quite come to fruition yet. I’m interested in at least a few more weeks of research, though! Grade: B

Amber Holcomb: “She’s Leaving Home” | To my ears, Amber’s performance was so mesmerizing that I didn’t even notice her utterly random “industrial scenes” backdrop — not until she hit her last note and my husband asked, “What’s with those pictures of smokestacks?” (Maybe they were the source of all that white smoke that swirled around Amber and her chamber-music accompanists?) Far more vexing to me was the judges’ mixed feedback — Randy claiming the number started “slow and unsure,” Nicki demanding a change in lipstick color, Mariah admitting she’d never even heard “She’s Leaving Home” (!) — but no one giving Amber credit for a sophisticated arrangement that highlighted the soaring quality of her vocals, and gorgeous phrasing that brought to life the somberness of the lyrics. I wish Ryan Seacrest could’ve thrown a flag on the play and demanded the judges watch an instant replay (apologies for that possibly botched sports reference): Maybe a second listen would’ve opened their ears to the awesomeness they just weren’t appreciating. Or maybe they were just following instructions from Uncle Nigel in the first place? Grade: A-

Lazaro Arbos: “In My Life” | I appreciated Keith and Mariah offering some constructive criticism about Lazaro needing to start his songs in the right key, but the latter judge’s assessment that his merely “making it through the song” was “a big deal” would be as patronizing as telling Ms. Carey that she really earned that Golden Raspberry for remembering her lines and staying on set right through the very last scene of Glitter. Alas, Lazaro is so far behind the other eight runners in the field, it’s almost like he’s in his own race: Once his rivals pass the bleachers and cross the finish line, the likeable kid comes staggering down the straightaway all by himself and everyone feels the urge to cheer “Run, Lazaro, run!” And then he’s collapsing in tears and getting wrapped in a foil poncho (dyed canary yellow or hot pink) and you’re hoping Ryan will repeat his 866 number so you can throw some sympathy votes his way. The problem is that said sympathy votes will only serve to put Lazaro back on the track for another humiliating effort next week — which isn’t really very sympathetic, if you think about it. Grade: D-

Candice Glover: “Come Together” | Here come Miss Candice/ She come groovin’ up slowly/ She will throw you shank eye/ She will play with tempo/ Her voice makes you shake down to your knees/ “Muddy Water” low note/ Gives a case of the “squees!”

What bad production/ There be too much jump cut/ She works the stage but/ Where are the closeups?/ I say close your eyes, hear carefully/ A final jazzy run/ Has just been hit perfectly/ Come together, right now/ Girl can sing Grade: A-

Paul Jolley: “Eleanor Rigby” | If you can forgive the hinky falsetto notes that started and ended his performance, Paul achieved his personal best tonight. And if I sound a little like Paula Abdul trying to spin an Amtrak ticket out of a trainwreck — “Sweetheart, you have never sounded better on a song starting with the letter ‘E’!” — that’s not the case. I’ve consistently called out Paul for his lack of connection to the lyrics he’s sung in Season 12, but to me, he sounded vastly more at home as the narrator of “Eleanor Rigby” — painting pictures of fictional characters rather than baring his own heart and soul on stage. That comfort level and ease allowed us to hear Paul’s pretty natural tone rather than the strained, overdramatized version that made “Alone” and “Amazed” so unappealing. Alas, though, dude might find himself at risk mainly because he hasn’t met a Ryan Seacrest softball question he couldn’t fumble with an eagerness-to-please that always verges on desperation: Hint, even a scowl plays better on TV than a painfully forced smile. Grade: B+ B (upon second and third listen, methinks I was a tad too generous)

Angie Miller: “Yesterday” | Look, if Angie had been auditioning for a Broadway revival of Cats, then “Yesterday” was a rip-roaring success. But to my ears, her overwrought (albeit pitch-perfect) delivery was a triumph of staged, play-to-the-rafters acting over genuine gut feeling. And while the judges praised Angie as much as any contestant tonight, I felt like their comments were peppered with hidden caveats — Nicki mentioning how Angie could eventually sing “soundtracks for Disney movies,” Mariah daydreaming about hearing more “rock edge” from Ms. Miller, and Keith straight-up saying he could hear Angie’s focus drift in and out of the performance. Girlfriend has all the horsepower and accuracy an Idol contestant could want, but she needs to ugly-up some of the edges, worry less about celery-crisp enunciation and more about the meaning of the words coming out of her mouth. A shift back to the piano and a choice of uptempo — or heck, I’d even accept midtempo — number wouldn’t hurt girlfriend’s competitive trajectory, either. Grade: B-

Devin Velez: “The Long and Winding Road” | If you’ll allow a moment of Top Chef ridiculousness, it’s not enough for a chef to julienne veggies with machine-like precision, he’s also got to be a master of spice and flavor and the right temperature. And that’s why Devin — who continues to cut through every note with Ginsu-like accuracy — has yet to fully capture my imagination. Oh sure, I’m impressed by his technical merit, but where’s the artistic interpretation? Where’s the heat? Like Burnell, Devin’s facial expression is an issue: He often looks like he’s buffing the floors of his military high school rather than trying to become a pop star on America’s most venerable singing competition. Keith noted the disconnect tonight — asking for more heart and a little less “laid-backness” — while Randy actually asked for fewer runs. (Was that an Idol first?) Mariah’s get-out-the-vote campaign will probably keep Devin out of harm’s way, but I’ve got to be honest: While intellectually, it’ll confound me if Devin gets booted before Lazaro, emotionally I suspect such an offense won’t muster anything past a 2 or 3 on my Outrage-o-Meter. Grade: B-

Janelle Arthur: “I Will” | Janelle’s backdrop — a swirling heart-shaped Christmas-ornament projection — was tackier than Nicki’s attempts to get censored, but everything else about the night’s closing performance was sweetly subtle — and served to restore the Tennessee gal’s rep after several weeks of substandard vocals. It didn’t hurt that Janelle chose what was probably the night’s least-known track, allowing her to add some country instrumentation without conjuring up the vision of her pulling a flannel hood over the song’s head and throwing it into the back of an unmarked van. And Janelle’s lilting delivery — along with her avoidance of unnecessary glory notes — unearthed the hummingbird-delicate aspects of her tone. As Randy said, it wasn’t quite a yodel, but I don’t think I’d have called “foul!” if she’d taken it that far. Plus, that sensational white goddess gown with beaded top made her look like a seasoned star — and played right into Nicki’s ridiculous “be my bride” feedback arc. Now let’s get a second consecutive week of excellence and keep the Season 12 race exciting. Yeehaw! Grade: A-

Should Be Bottom 3: Angie (a scare would do her good), Devin, Lazaro (with Lazaro going home)
Will Be Bottom 3: Amber, Lazaro, Paul (with Paul going home)

Winner of “Idol Tour Fan Save”: Aubrey Cleland over Charlie Askew

And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of Season 12 Top 9 performance night? What did you think of the judges’ comments? Who was your favorite? Who’s going to be in trouble come Thursday? 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. Kinda feels like Deja vu. The ladies did great, Burnell did great, and the rest were not so good. Lazaro, Paul and Devin were the weakest of the bunch. Best 3 of the night were Candice, Kree and Angie just like last week with Amber and Burnell right there with Janelle surging. If this is the Top 6, and it should be at this moment, then that’s one of the strongest Top 6’s in Idol history.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Tonight was the first night I really enjoyed Burnell. He was great. I am kinda disappointed in Devin. I think the laid back thing is a little too laid back. I hope he sticks around.

    • Maddie says:

      Disagree on one point….Angie was not great but Janelle was, though she is not my favorite.

    • ado4586 says:

      Lazarus was absolutely dreadful tonight. He’s out of his league. But those tears he cried after the critique will bring in the votes. I felt bad for him, but it’s not the way he should keep winning.

      • Owen says:

        Okay, I find it hard to believe that Nigel can force the Minaj to say anything she doesn’t…but….does it seem strange how the judges (except Keith) downplayed Amber’s AMAZING performance and somewhat overdid Janelle’s very good one, Amber being an impediment to Nigel’s favorite Janelle’s entrance into the girl’s Top 4, one step more up the wrung toward Top 3 and higher? Also, Janelle did get Amber’s pimp spot this week, forcing Amber to 3rd…and this is so cynical….but that reel of Amber’s dad having all those children by at least two different wives…could Nigel think that might play into white America’s prejudice and thusly keep them from voting for this talented young girl who we are seeing grow as an artist right before out eyes?

        • Alienate says:

          I thought Amber’s performance was good. Good. Not great and Definitely NOT AWESOME.
          Janelle’s was Good as well, They are the weakest girls. And, Amber does have diction problems and a lack of maturity for some song lyrics. Get real about her.

          • akdar says:

            Completely agree. Amber’s performance was OK, but not awesome by any means. Boring. Same as Devin’s.

          • Lee says:

            I agree too. I didn’t care for Amber’s performance either–I thought it had too many runs in it. As a result, I didn’t feel emotionally connected to it. I was too distracted by Amber trying to show off her vocal skills.

            I disagree with Slezak. I found both Janelle and Paul’s performances monotone and boring. I think I like them both better when they get more emotional with their songs. Tonight, they both sounded sedated. The same can be said for Devin although I always found him sedated when he sang.

            I also disagree with Slezak about Angie. I liked her performance. I liked how she tried to do something different with a very familiar song–at least to the baby boomers. I especially liked how she emphasized the word “wrong”.

            To me, the best performance of the night was Candice. I liked how she made a hard rock song sound pretty jazzy.

            Overall, I did not care for tonight’s show. 4 out of 9 songs were familiar and have been done to death (Let It Be, Yesterday, The Long and Winding Road, Eleanor Rigby). And with the possible exception of Candice, none of this season’s contestants seem very creative with their rearrangements of the songs. I mean, where are the David Cook, Adam Lambert, Kris Allen, Haley Reinhart, Phillip Phillips? Yeah–these guys can sing but where is their creativity?! This is turning out to be a very lackluster season. Oh well–at least The Voice comes back next week. It’s a shame because I do like the judges more this season than last season–especially Keith and Nicki.

          • Mary says:

            I disagree I thought it was great. It might of been due to the fact I really don’t know the song but I thought it stood out. Was she perfect, no but I think she has room to grow, and would be viable in today’s pop music. I think she has more potential than Angie.

        • rio says:

          The judges consistently overpraise Janelle so much that it makes me like her even less. Tonight she was good–beyter than most weeks–but still not that impressive. This was the first week I liked paul, and the first I didn’t like Burnell. I always like Candice and Devin.

        • Leah Hoffman says:

          I’m a white American and that wouldn’t even cross my mind. I feel a little insulted, frankly.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Lazarus, LOL. It’s Lazaro. Lazarus rose from the dead, which Lazaro just might do tomorrow night. ;-)

    • GG says:

      I don’t get why the members of the band think that they have to play so loudly when Candice sings. I always complain that the band almost drowns out the stellar voice of Candice. Perhaps Candice shoud sing with one instrument to accompany her glorious voice

    • Will says:

      Speaking of deja vu, anyone else notice that Candice’s run at the end of her song on “me” was the same one from her audition of Syrup and Honey on the word “we” just extended a bit longer?

      Because I immediately picked it out, since I’ve been going back to that audition since it happened. It’s interesting that she’d make that choice, though it does make sense. Every vocalist has a set of intervals they’re more comfortable with – I know I do – so she probably gravitates toward that since it has so much grit and soul.

    • SallynChicago says:

      This was one of the most boring eps and boring song choices. Yep Lennon and McCarthy are OLD so why couldn’t they have chosen from a more recent McCarthy song like Live and Let Die or any others that he’s done in the past 10 years? No one, except Amber stood out for me. I like Devin’s voice, but boy is HE becoming boring with the slow songs. I had to turn off AI about 10 minutes before it ended. I couldn’t take it anymore.

      • Jaxguy says:

        Your comment is why I don’t watch this show anymore. I blame AMERICA for completely ruining this show.That “old” crap is OUT OF LINE. There are great songs from every decade and the Beatles are the reason we have the rich musical history we have. As I have stated here many times in the past the radio spews such garbage music many of us have forgotten what great music really is. From what I have gathered this is the year of the female winner, but I suspect America will blow it again and pick some middle of the road guy.(Although I have also heard there is no WGWG, so maybe America will be forced to break the mold) Don’t get excited I stopped watching The Voice last year when they eliminated the BEST singer on the show and voted for a mediocre one to win. I have a lot of hours of my life back.

      • Jaxguy says:

        Oh and to emphasize the irritating nature of your comment, Live and Let Die was released 8 years after the oldest song on last nights show and 3 after the most current. So again the comments about this show are just out of touch with anything that makes any sense. And by the way it was Beatles night not Paul McCartney night. I’m sorry I stopped watching because based on this song list this is by far the best song selection they have done for Beatles night.

      • Anna says:

        Does anyone even know any McCartney songs from the past 20 years, let alone the past 10? I know I don’t….even though he’s an icon and one of the best songwriters in pop/rock history, he hasn’t been relevant in terms of what’s current in music for about 30 years. And Lennon’s been dead since 1980. If these contestants aren’t familiar with some of the most famous songs in history, why would they have a clue about any of McCartney’s recent stuff that never even gets played on the radio?

  2. Vetle says:

    I do not get how Burnell and Paul got a better grade than Angie, and how Kree didn’t get an A.

    • Kim says:

      I personally think Angie is overrated, not a great voice

    • BummedOut says:

      Agree. Kree was the best or at least 2nd right behind Candace. She shouldn’t have gotten less than an A minus.

    • Christy says:

      I didn’t think Angie was that great personally, but she *was* better than Paul. Burnell was better than both of them though IMO.

    • sdexta says:

      My same thought!

    • deedee says:

      Angie was outright awful tonight. Overwrought, overly dramatic, bombastic, dreadful. “Yesterday” is a delicate, introspective song, and she gave it the High School Musical treatment. Unforgivable!

      • ado4586 says:

        Yeah, Angie was trying to hard to “look” emotional. It felt like acting. I actually recommended in an earlier post that she perform that song – but suggested she do it behind the piano. If she had, she would have cut down the schmaltz factor by 50%.

        Kree and Candice were my faves – with Burnell and Janelle tied, but running a distant third.

        • deedee says:

          It was acting, as usual. I never buy what Angie’s selling because to me, her delivery is always superficial. Tonight, though, because of the nature of the song and its iconic status, all the things that bug me about her style got magnified by a thousand. Her interpretation of “Yesterday” literally pissed me off, lol.
          Kree, Candice, and Amber continue to be my top 3. Burnell did a nice job (great tone!), and Devin was pretty good. Janelle doesn’t do it for me, but she was ok tonight.

          • TheGirlsRock says:

            You would have more credibility if you were not conducting a personal vendetta on multiple blogs. Did she steal your prom date last year or was it your lunch?

          • MamaLis says:

            ooo. You got her. Except ya didn’t. Dee’s never had a “personal vendetta” against any Idoler. Though of course that must be it if she doesn’t care for Angie.
            Little secret, thus far Angie’s not my favorite, either. Why? The Prom Date theory.
            She took my Prom Date; the fine fellow he was.

          • deedee says:

            No, I’m on this blog expressing my opinion about an Idol contestant who I consider grossly overrated. Pretty sure that’s the sort of thing people do on an Idol site. What kind of “credibility” do I need for that?

          • deedee says:

            LOL, MamaLis, you too?! Prom dates just can’t be trusted around that oversinging hussy! ;)

          • analythinker says:

            I agree with everything deedee said. And no, I don’t know deedee (tho it seems like we think alike most of the time ;)).

            I just don’t get any genuine vibe from Angie, except once when she sang her own song.

          • Name That Tune says:

            I’m agreeing with deedee. Earlier this season, Paul was criticized for being too theatrical. Angie’s performance was exactly that. She didn’t sell the song. She basically is living off her performance in Hollywood when she sang her original song.
            I loved Candice because she showed she can rock it out as well as sing a lovely ballad. And I agree with Michael on Kree. Can’t really find fault with the vocal but it was just a bit too sleepy for me. I liked what Amber did with She’s leaving home – it was original and creative but I don’t think she sold the song.
            So that leaves Janell and Burnell as 2 other performances I am pleased with. Not in the same league as the others but good enough.

          • waterbug says:

            Totally agree with all you said.

      • Bob says:

        I agree about Angie. At times during the performance I was reminded of some of William Shatner’s notorious renditions of classics.

      • Nephtalia says:

        Yeah, I agree with that Prom Date theory. It’s like hating the popular cheerleader. At the beginning of the season, my favorites were Kree, Angie, and Amber. Tonight, I spent more time voting for Angie. I actually rewind right after her performance and watched it 3 times like I did for Candice last week. She looks good, she is a great musician, write songs, confident, great voice. She is the complete package. I feel like if she wins, she has Kelly and Carrie’s superstardom potential. She is ony 18 so has room to grow. And is the type of girl, 12 years old would buy her poster to put in their room.

        • tewence says:

          THANK YOU! i don’t get the hate for her…it has jealousy written all over it. also, i think her doe-eyed, big-smiled, young innocent girl image makes people feel like she is fake…or trying to be perfect…or something. i personally don’t see it that way. but let’s not forget she can freaking WRITE SONGS! AND perform them well. it’s interesting…she can out-sing phil phil any day but people thought he hung the moon. i don’t get it.

          • Anna says:

            Why is it jealousy if someone doesn’t like Angie…or any of the other contestants, for that matter? Not every viewer is going to like the same contestants, you know…

            In Angie’s case, we don’t really know if she’s a good songwriter. We’ve heard one original song, which isn’t nearly enough to judge by. For all we know, the other contestants write songs, too. Didn’t Charlie perform an original song for his sing off last week (although, to be fair, Angie’s original song was much better than his)? Haven’t some of the others mentioned that they write songs, as well? I think I remember hearing them say that.

            And unlike Kelly and Carrie, in my opinion, she isn’t likely to go the mainstream music route. I hope the people who love Angie will support her when she puts out a Christian music album….because to me she is a female Colton. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up signing with the label he is on.

            There’s nothing wrong with being a Christian music artist. But name one who actually gets mainstream radio play or who is considered a mainstream star. There aren’t any. People who aren’t into CCM likely have no clue who Chris Tomlin or TobyMac is, and they are huge huge huge stars in the CCM world. So if she goes that route, as I bet she will, people won’t even hear her music once she’s off the show, unless they are Christian music fans. She’ll probably be successful in that genre and will have a nice long career. Even though I think she’s being pimped way too hard by the show and I think she’s bland, I’m not going to say that she’s not talented. She has a nice voice, and she plays the piano pretty well. But I don’t see her coming anywhere close to having Kelly’s or Carrie’s success. Any of the other 4 female contestants are more likely to have more mainstream success, than Angie.

            But that’s only my opinion. Yours may be very different than mine. Which is cool.

        • HitTheGroundRunning says:

          Yeah it’s is the hate the cheerleader thing. Just look at (or maybe rather not hah) Splash and the model did a head first dive from tied for highest platform and got lowest votes while others went in feet or belly first and got cheers (but they were not with model looks other than the one guy). People were even hissing and booing her not getting sent home (and half the others landed belly or feet first). Hot guy with all the skills in the world doesn’t even bother to try and go in head first and gets highest scores from everyone. This explains the voting on xfactor/idol too.

      • as says:

        Thank you…agree 100%. Over-staged—over-sung—-she completely Broadwayed one of the prettiest acoustic songs of all times. I don’t care if they flat-iron her 80’s hair and put her in black every week…..Angie belongs on Glee. Nigel, you’re ruining your judges credibility with those critiques. Bottom 2 for Angie….she hasn’t had a ‘you’re an artist’ moment since that one pit-stop at the piano.

        • ado4586 says:

          You hit the nail on the head!!!! I don’t think anyone will dispute the girl’s got a set of pipes on her, but her performances would fit perfectly on Glee. Her pretty vocals are drowning in drama sauce when she’s not behind the piano.
          And for anyone who doesn’t notice this about her – you probably have a blind spot or a high tolerance for schmaltz.

          • Tom22 says:

            Problem is that people like Glee. and.. I won’t even give it the benefit of being schmaltzy… at least as I know the present use of the term. If someone is going to go for the schmaltz.. play it to the point of a caricature. (Clarkson’s “stuff like that there”) . That wouldn’t likely be a good idea for “Yesterday” but better than the a halfway connection to me personally. I’m not really seeing any complexity of wishes and dreams etc coming through from Angie yet. She looks like she’s got some personal grit. She just needs to put who she is more in her performances… lay the soul bare…show where it hits bottom.. show where your dreams are:… not with a loud voice either.. emotion isn’t about how loud and excitedly a musician sings…. or being more sad.. emotion isn’t only about being sad.. its the mix of sadness with dreams etc. That was the big issue for me with Yesterday… it was only about the past.. not a contemplation about what Time means in relation to love etc.

      • Amy says:

        Well said and ICAM. I was trying to find the words that encompassed it in a nutshell; you just did.
        And I started the season with Angie as a frontrunner, but she immediately lost ground for me after the “original” (not that she’s not talented), and she loses more each week, even when the vocals are good. I’ve been trying to analyze why, for myself, she lost frontrunner status…some are asthetic reasons,(dated, goofy look); some personality, (I’ve never before resented an AI frontrunner for being pimped as “the one”, until Angie…I think Michael’s spot-on, “a scare might do her good.” I’m not connecting with her personality and find her somehow annoying now. Vocally, sometimes just over dramatic and no connection…a singer never interests me when vocal gymnastic overrides emotional connection to lyrics. All that said…not like “she needs to go home” or anything…

        • Amy says:

          I take that back…Scotty. Though I don’t think I “resented” his continued front-runner pimping that year as much as was completely baffled by it.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Scotty wasn’t pimped nearly as much as Lauren Alaina, who was pimped from her audition. To me personally Lauren Alaina was the most blatantly pimped contestant ever on Idol. JMO.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Should have read “pimped non-stop from her audition.

          • Tom22 says:

            I’m not seeing the “pimping” with Angie in any huge way relative to other contestants. The are sounding up beat about her, probably as they know she has a fan base… but they weren’t trying to give her edges with the back story etc. Kree seems to be the one they feel like they need to give the most help to. I’m happy that they are because she’s a great singer that might be slower in connecting a true charm that is a bit quiet for the audience to connect with immediately.

            She’s really needed the help with the styling It wasn’t that her style was bad at all before but that make up and fit of clothes just wasn’t pefect enough to bring out a warmth in her. Her black out fit subtely showed her hips a bit more … a little more feminine form… a few subtle highlights and slightly warmer accents in her make up has made her glow a little more… while still being exactly the same person we can see the warm inside her better.

            They really brought out all the stops flying that small time texas Mayor in last week and they keep pounding on the Country music roots she has…. to help bring in some of that audience as well as more middle america audiences with the warmth. I thik she came across more as a city girl which is fine for City people but a bit offsetting to other parts of the country.

            Pimping takes many forms. Sometimes its good.

      • Daniel says:

        yeah cuz you can sing better..go to her Youtube channel! you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    • Anna says:

      I did not like what Angie did to Yesterday. She didn’t connect to the lyrics or the meaning of the song at all. And glory notes do not belong in that song.

      She is really overrated. Nice voice for sure, but she just comes off as so staged rather than natural…especially when she isn’t at the piano.

      I still don’t understand why they are overpraising her. If TPTB think she is going to be a mainstream pop star, they really need to get a clue, because she is going to head straight for the Christian music market once she’s off the show.

      • Hamish says:

        I absolutely agree with your first paragraph. When she sang “I said something wrong” and held “wrong” for so long it became unmusical. Yesterday is the most recorded song in history for a reason, and there’s not a lot of vocal gymnastics which makes the song better. In fact it seriously detracts from the song. This was a complete whiff by Angie.

  3. Julian says:

    Lazaro is painful to watch. There, I said it.

    Now I feel like a jerk.

    • That’s why although he should be, he won’t be voted off yet, not when Paul is still around. I think Paul goes tomorrow. I mean Lazaro was 4th last week, he had a bad week this week but not sure if with his crying and the after-commercial explanation of why the judges “picked on” him that the fans who voted for him last week won’t vote for him again.

      • Miscellaneopolan says:

        Yeah, there’s no way he’s going home this week, not after all the attention they gave him. It’ll take two or more trainwrecks before he’s cut loose. Poor, poor Lazaro.
        And it’s not his pants that are silly. It must be his legs. He has birthing hips.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Oh, don’t feel bad. I can’t do it. So I’m glad you did. I always feel sad when he’s done singing. Sigh. I think there is something there, but there isn’t enough time to nurture it. He needed 3 or 4 years to be ready for this show. There I said it um… kinda.

      • My Alter Ego says:

        Yes, you, umm, kinda did. I agree with another commentor: he really needed another, at least, two years for this. It’s agonizing to watch.

    • Keith says:

      People will vote for because they feel sorry for him.Does anyone care that Angie has hearing loss in both ears?

      • ado4586 says:

        I forgot about that about Angie. You brought up an excellent point.

      • tewence says:

        whoa! how did i miss this?!

        • ssc says:

          I had forgotten this, too. It hasn’t been mentioned every time she hits the stage. With Lazaro, you can’t miss his disability (and yes, when the stuttering is that severe, it’s a disability). As a mom, I want to take Lazaro in my arms in a big hug and tell him, “It’s OK, baby. Mama wishes she could make it all better, but she just can’t!” He does have a pretty good voice, but he needs more time to be ready for a cometition like AI

        • Nephtalia says:

          Tewence/ Last year, Idologie nation spent the whole season trashing Phil Phillips and he still won. Same for the year of Lauren and Scotty. But critics are a good thing. And Idologie nation kept those guys on their toes. I really think this was Angie best performance by far without the piano. Once Jimmy mentioned that pageant thing on top 20 no matter what she does that’s all they are saying she is doing. Kree lost both of her parents by 19. Of course, the way she emote would be different than a girl that has pretty much a perfect childhood. And she has to act to connect to some of the emotions on some lyrics that she has not experienced. But to each their own, we don’t always agree.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Well you can feel like a jerk along with me! The very last thing I want to see on my television, right after those nitwit Kardashians, is a guy crying. Yikes! Can you even entertain the notion of David Cook crying after a less than favorable critique?
      Okay, that’s off my chest. Adios, Lazaro.

      • Lisa says:

        Speaking of David Cook…he sang the H-E double toothpicks out of “Eleanor Rigby” in his time and Jolly’s rendition, not anywhere near David’s!! I had to grab my IPod and get my Cook on just to make sure and yup…David sang his little tushy off!

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Yes, I mentioned that to my husband when Paul sang “Eleanor Rigby”, although I didn’t think Paul was as bad as the judges thought he was.

        • gregk says:

          I commented last week that Eleanor Rigby should be retired after D. Cook blew me and everyone away with his version.

        • crabbypantz says:

          While Paul was singing Eleanor Rigby, I kept flashing back to David Cook’s season. Now HE had a moment with that song. Paul’s rendition was no comparison to Mr. Cook – or the Beatles. Lazaro should be voted off this week, but I think it will be (and should be) Paul. With that, I am off to google Cook’s cover of that great song.

        • sdexta says:

          Thank you for mentioning David Cook’s excellent performance of this song! David’s version was much better than Paul’s, no question.

    • Tess says:

      Don’t feel like a jerk – when ya gotta go, ya gotta go, and Lazaro’s gotta go. He was by far the worst of the night. No reason why we should pull punches or feel sorry for him just because he has a speech impediment. I applaud him for trying his best to overcome it, but the others are better now and it would not be fair for him to stay over any of the other 8.

    • Name That Tune says:

      The best way to deal with the Lazaro situation is not to discuss it. He gained 4000 followers on Twitter during last night’s show. The harsher the criticism, the more popular he is.

    • Mark says:

      I was watching American Idol with my parents last night and then Lazaro performed and I said that I was going to watch something else and went downstairs. Only because I was on the verge of tears and then went downstairs and did actually cry cause I felt so bad for him. I really like Lazaro and hope he stays for weeks to come. He’s such a cute guy too. I know I shouldn’t vote based on backstory/cuteness but this isn’t the Voice :P

  4. Doniel says: what world did Janelle outsing Angie tonight..

    • Phan says:

      Seriously! Inquiring minds would like to know. Angie was easily the best of the night.

      • Miscellaneopolan says:

        Right? I wasn’t expecting for her to top Candice or Kree tonight, but this was the first time I thought she outperformed everyone else and lived up to some of that hype. Although to be fair, those intense close-ups helped her performance feel more intimate and intense than it otherwise might have, but I still loved the contrast-heavy vocal.

        • ado4586 says:

          I don’t think anyone will disagree that Angie had a stellar vocal. It was her performance that was flawed, and because of that, it pulled the whole thing down a notch. Her overacting ends up giving the opposite effect. If you have to over-act the emotion “sad”, then it becomes disingenuous. Consequently I emotionally disconnect from the moment because I’m feeling like I’m getting a “Fame” version of the song.

          • tewence says:

            while i think we don’t agree about our general view of angie, i can UNDERSTAND why you would say that. i do have a slight rebuttal, though. there are a few reasons why i personally think her performance worked (not just because i think she’s awesome, but after re-watching it with a different mindset).
            1. she is young. i know this excuse can’t always be used, but as a former dancer, i can remember being young and trying to emote as much as i could. she deserves some credit. at least she knows its important. i’ll admit that i sometimes fall into the trap of treating the teens as if they should perform like 30 yr olds, but she can’t be expected to perform like an adult. (though there ARE teenagers who can, but i think they are a rare breed).
            2. even if it seemed disingenuous at times, she was far more connected to that song than the majority of the other contestants were to their respective songs. i mean paul jolly? really?
            3. i have read some mention of “broadway” in some of these comments, but is a broadway style performance in and of itself a bad thing? i just see that as another trick up her sleeve (even though i didn’t really get the broadway vibe from it)…also, (and probably most important), when you are performing in a large space, you almost have to be over the top so it reaches everyone in the audience all the way to the last seat in the last row. doesn’t always make for good TV performances, and perhaps she should have thought a little more about that since she is appealing to the TV audience, but at least she TRIED to connect some sort of feeling to what she was singing. i personally appreciate her effort. thxbutnothxjanelle.

      • Lisa says:

        That SONG is what made Janelle outstanding tonight. The melody and pacing, that IS one of the most perfect sons that the Beatles ever wrote IMHO.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Thank. YOU! And how is Janelle even in the same universe as Candace.

    • marie says:

      She did. Tonight, Janelle absolutely out-sang Kree.

      • marie says:

        Whoops – I meant to say, Janelle out-sang Angie, but tonight, she also did out-sing Kree.

      • Christy says:

        I agree with you and this is the FIRST time I’ve enjoyed Janelle. Angie fans just can’t admit she didn’t do all that well tonight. She was the worst of the girls!

        • Miscellaneopolan says:

          Janelle also gets points for choosing the most obscure Beatles song of the night. And she finally returned to her sweet spot: soft, tender ballads that don’t feature any glory notes. It was a very anti-Idol kind of performance, but definitely her best showing from the live rounds.

          • deedee says:

            I’d say most obscure song goes to Amber.

          • Miscellaneopolan says:

            Do more people know ‘I Will’ than ‘She’s Leaving Home’? I wouldn’t think so, but neither one were among the band’s big hits.

          • MC says:

            It was pretty damn good. This is the Janelle who enthralled me at the beginning of the season. She stayed in her comfort zone and in the perfect key for her.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            I would put “I Will” and “She’s Leaving Home” at about the same popularity level. For anyone over the age of 50 I suspect both songs are very familiar.

          • Jake says:

            I didn’t even know the song she chose until I actually listened to it afterwords…and I’ve owned “The Beatles (The White Album)” since 2009

          • deedee says:

            I’m very familiar with “I Will”, but am only vaguely familiar with “She’s Leaving Home”. Maybe that’s because my grade10 bf made me a Beatles mixtape and included I Will. Now that I think of it, that mixtape was my Beatles education.

          • Lisa says:

            Hey, I’m not 50 and I know those songs!😊

          • Lisa says:

            But then again as far as music goes, I am an old soul I guess.

          • MC says:

            Exactly. People waiting for the glory notes were probably thinking, “Gee, this is no good.” It felt more authentic to me because it was a real interpretation of a song as opposed to just vocal gymnastics.

          • gregk says:

            “I Will” is much more obscure than “She’s Leaving Home” which was on the Sgt Pepper album, one of the greatest albums of all time and the Beatles masterpiece. Hard to believe but it seemed like nobody on Idol recognizes this or never even listened to this iconic album.

          • txssr says:

            Pretty sure the song Janelle sang was on an Alison Krauss album. I never knew it as a Beatles song. Janelle didn’t copy Alison’s version exactly, but that may be how she knew it would work as a country version.

          • JON says:

            I’m so surprised people are saying ‘I Will’ is such an obscure song. It’s such a popular song here where I’m from. (Philippines). But I didn’t know this was from Lennon McCarthy.

        • lemon says:

          Janelle reeled me in tonight. That was an exquisite performance. The women this year just blow me away. I am not an Angie fan, but she sang well. Her number was very Sarah Brightman/Musical Theater….not necessarily a bad thing.

        • Harvey says:

          It doesn’t hurt that Janelle is adorable. I could see her making the top 3 or 4 if she keeps improving.

          • Bob says:

            See, that’s what I hate about the whole thing. Janelle is quite fetching, and you can just imagine Nigel thinking about his two previously anointed front-runners Kree and Candice and worrying that neither one is anywhere near what today passes for a marketable pop star. So he puts beautiful Janelle in the pimp spot and feeds Randy and the other judges the rave reviews to regurgitate.

        • Shaun says:

          Gotta defend Angie to the death because she’s get Toscanoed right now!!She is a perfectly great singer,stop hating on her hair,looks,acting etc etc.Stage presence can be learned!

          • analythinker says:

            You can defend her all you want but by definition, opinions are not hate. And she doesn’t need to learn stage presence, she’s mastered it. My problem with it is that it comes across as not genuine. That’s MY opinion.

        • Scott says:

          I liked Janelle, except for the final note. Way too predictable, from the note, to her looking at the camera and closing her eyes. Show some originality! Surprise me!

    • Claudia says:

      Agree – I ranked the ladies – Amber, Candice (or Candice, Amber), Kree, Angie, Jenelle. I ranked the men – Devin, Burnell, Lazaro, Paul. Paul was the worst of the night – he sang one of my favorite songs & butchered it. At least Lazaro is improving – I don’t think there’s any hope for Paul.

      • Davey says:

        Um. Paul at least sang the notes whereas Lazaro was off key all through the song.

      • Mary says:

        How can you say Lazaro is improving. He was off key the whole time. Time to face it he is out of his league. I give him prompt for trying out but he will never survive in the music business and people who keeps voting for him will end up hurting him more in the long run.

      • HitTheGroundRunning says:

        How did Lazaro improve when he had his weakest performance this week? Paul has been better than some of his earlier performances, if still kinda struggling in ways.

    • Davey says:

      Both Angie and Janelle were sleep inducing. I felt like I was watching TV from the 70s, and in a bad way.

    • deedee says:

      In my world.

    • Nedsdag says:

      They were both OK, nothing more, nothing less.

    • white lancer says:

      Angie was probably my favorite of the night for the first time tonight…although Kree gives her a run for her money. Candice was great, of course, but I’ve heard that song done too many times for it really to have as big of an impact. And Janelle definitely stepped it up, making the ladies 4/5. Sorry to say, Amber really wasn’t all that great tonight (though still better than most of the boys) and in no way was among the top three of the night.

    • Tom22 says:

      Meaning to song.. use of triplets (with one beat paused) that are vital to the entire sway of the songs.. .. hmmm what else… owning the song like the John lenon and all of them did.

      Its like this. The singer has the stage. Either we listen to them or we walk out, but if we’re there they are in charge and they are telling us how they see life and we’re curious to here their way of putting things that they are CONFIDENT in PHilosophically. Singers are poets and philosophers… tellling us about love or .. with the Beetles, often about the meening of life.. how today relates to tomorrow, how love relates to our every day rut of being caught up in the news stream (last shooting, gun law yada yada thats unecessarily owning part of our minds).

      Kids today are liek “whatever” ..give me the long an short of it.. blah blah blah… people used to like to chew things over. I guess the true rappers chew things over.. I could get into their music if it weren’t so rude and anti police and misagyinistic..but at least rappers own their message and try to juxtaposes important things in life and “tell us how it is”.

      The kids just don’t seem to be able to own the songs and I don’t think hardly any of them undertand how to work the sways of a shuffled up beat into a 4 4 rhythym which has actually a lot to do with the meaning of the songs.. the hesitatiion and contrasting of the statements aren’t just set apart right with hitting each main word on the down beat.

      • Tom22 says:

        wow that spelling was atrocious, I always forget I can’t edit here.. after hundreds of posts.. .. one day that will change. ?

  5. Jake says:

    I absolutely adore amber and she honestly should not only be in the top 3 but should be number one. Superb vocals. Devin is amazing and Paul is great too.

    • penza1998 says:

      Totally agree! I think they are extras tough on amber, Candice, and Kree because the judges know they will go far and take their advice. Angela really looked very beauty paegent tonight and she didn’t get any negative reviews. Amber’s performance was the most beautiful, mysterious and underrated performance of the night!

    • TB says:

      I’m with you on Amber. It’s amazing what a fresh song choice will do for you. I love Kree and Candice, but there is no way to sing those songs without sounding like you’re covering a song from 1964. They’re just dated.

    • lemon says:

      I think Jimmy helped her chose that song, with the intention of her putting her modernizing spin on it, the way she did with Funny Valentine. She not only had to learn the song, but she also had to learn a rather challenging, sophisticated treatment of it….all in 2 days. I think it was REALLY ambitious, and needed a little more rehearsal…..for any performer. That said….her gorgeous lower register was as beautiful as ever.

      • deedee says:

        I wish the judges were a little more encouraging with Amber. I think she needs the positive feedback to help her get comfortable in the competition. She’s starting to loosen up and feel at home on stage, but a bad critique might inhibit her again.

        • The Beach says:

          Actually, I wanted to throttle Randy tonight when he said Amber started off a bit sleepy but got much better when she hit her “glory notes”. That song is not supposed to have “glory notes”, you putz.

          • Bob says:

            Right! I thought this was Amber’s best performance of the competition partly BECAUSE she dialed it back a bit. She has such beautiful tone, she doesn’t have to over-sing at all. She is so effortless and smooth when she goes into her upper register.

          • marie says:

            Hear, hear!

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Well no kidding. Thanks for reminding me about Randy’s idiotic comment, Beach. Now I’m mad all over again. I thought Amber did a wonderful job with the song.

          • Bill says:

            Definitely Amber! She really pulled me into the song. And she has done that week after week for me even though I am ALWAYS completely put off by Whitney or Whitney-type songs. It’s telling that she can make them sound so fresh and current.

      • lemon says:

        We may have enjoyed Amber’s performance tonight, but I worry that her supporters are into her ‘Whitney’ stuff, and won’t vote for this. And yes, it’s possible that Nigel didn’t like her placing so high last week and took steps to mess with her momentum. Randy sounded like he was reading from a script.

        • deedee says:

          Amber didn’t place so high, lemon. She was solidly mid-pack … behind Lazaro! If anything, Nigel should worry that she’ll free-fall out of the show.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Anyone that would vote for Lazaro rather than Amber after last night’s performances needs to (a) listen to some Lennon/McCartney songs, and (b) turn off “American Idol” and stick with, oh, I don’t know, “Cops” or “Here comes Honey Boo-Boo”.

    • deedee says:

      I love Amber too. Thought she did a fantastic job tonight! Her personality is understated (which I love), but it may be a bit too low key for people to really remember her. I’m a little nervous she’ll get lost in the crowd and land in the bottom 3.

      • MC says:

        I don’t know if the Amber fans on this board plan on voting for her, but she will be in trouble if her admirers don’t deliver the votes. She sang a slow-paced obscure song and I (like Nicki) thought she was a little bored while doing it. She didn’t sing it with enough conviction for me. She was technically fine, though. A lukewarm response, her low key personality and a rather sleepy, obscure song could easily land her in the bottom three. I think the judges would save her, if necessary. They can’t let Amber leave before Lazaro. Any idea of integrity would totally go out the window.

        • LeahKittyS says:

          Actually, I think Lazaro would beat himself up if Amber went off before him. They’re total BFFs and he knows he’s not the best of the group.

        • scooby says:

          Please, “She’s Leaving Home” is on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, one of the most influential albums of all time. It’s only obscure if you don’t know your Beatles, and if you (i.e. Idol auditioners) don’t know your Beatles, you’re trying to be a musician why exactly? Music history, people. It’s clear now that Mariah was dropped on her head as a child if she doesn’t know that song. It’s one thing not to have memorized it because it’s not one of their #1 hits, but never heard it ever? The only way for that not to happen is not having heard Sgt. Pepper’s and that’s pretty jarring for someone at her level to admit.

        • Tom22 says:

          I’m pretty sure Amber will get enough votes to get through, even if she is nearer to the bottom than the top.

          The huge thing for me, was that I saw the huge progress in her singing that I Knew she’d get from access to top notch professionals. Her raw voice and control of that voice was all there. She had connections to the songs she sang all along. What she needs help with is in when to hold back on a run and when the runs she executes with grace, fit a place in a song.. .. and which words exactly need to be focused on to convey the meaning that she relates to, to something that the audience hears meaningfully.

          I heard that all begining to take hold in Amber… but I do think the song was a bit too subtle in meaning and in the interestingness of tonal changes for a broad audience to connect to. Still, the progress in the areas I mention really bodes well for her to be able to do some really noteable performances of songs the audience know’s down the line as the field narrows.

      • lemon says:

        Oh my goodness! I just listened to Amber’s studio version of SLH! Man, if she had done like that tonight, she could have won the night. It’s goose-bump inducing!

  6. Eli says:

    The ladies once again were better than the guys

  7. Mike says:

    Saying Angie gave one of the worst 3 performances of the night is one thing. But when you consider the entirety of the season, suggesting she should be in the bottom 3 is ridiculous.

    • Don’t worry – Angie’s not going anywhere. Strong fan base. Unfortunately neither is Lazaro, and he needs to go.

      • Tom22 says:

        Yes. Unfortunately its pretty clear that Lazaro doesn’t really know music. What is worse is that he doesn’t seem to really want to know music . He’s got to give himself a crash course in the roots of rock and soul and jazz and even some classical music to be able to catch the rythyms from the other genres that persist into pop music. He doesn’t seem to want to from the clips we’ve seen. There isn’t a curiousity in his eyes about it…from hollywood on.

    • deedee says:

      If you base the results on tonight’s performance alone, Angie deserves to be in the bottom 3.

      • Shaun says:

        And there’s hater #1

        • marie says:

          You wanna know what *I* hate? Fools who think an OPINION = HATRED! Just stop it.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Exactly. People are expressing their opinions. Once in a while someone posts something offensive but by and large I think people on this message board keep it decent.
            I tend to listen to the contestants with my eyes closed. Angie’s vocal was very good, although I would agree her interpretation was a bit overdone. I understand why her stage presence bothers some people but it doesn’t particularly bother me – probably because I was raised on 1970s variety shows. :-)

          • tewence says:

            i think part of the problem is (and i am guilty of this, too, sometimes). we all know that text is easily misconstrued, but take deedee’s comment above. there is nothing in that comment to suggest that it is his/her personal opinion. it almost comes off as “you’re wrong, what i’m saying is fact.” but then again, perhaps that can also be chalked up to perception.

          • deedee says:

            tewence, of course I was only expressing my personal opinion. Everybody here is only expressing personal opinion. These are not facts we’re dealing with, but it’s just tiresome to write “imo” after every thought. What I was responding to was Mike’s objection to Slezak’s opinion because Slezak wasn’t taking into account “the entirety of the season”. Slezak was basing his critique on last night’s offering, which he (and I) thought deserved a trip to Bottom 3. But taking into account the entirety of the season, he (and I) know better than to think she actually will land in the B3.

      • Will says:

        Nah. At the very least, Lazaro, Paul, and Janelle could all easily be placed below her purely on actual quality of vocal and pitch. Anything else is just personal opinion about what voice or genre or type of personality you like. I tend to support the best vocalists, so my top three is the same as last week’s official top three. If your subjective system causes you to support people with weaker voices, that is completely your right and prerogative, but there’s no reasonable way to claim Angie was bottom three unless you’re using a set of factors that have nothing to do with her voice.

        • deedee says:

          Singing is not just about voice and vocal strength. It’s also about feeling, interpretation of the song, connection to the audience, delivery style, etc. Everybody votes subjectively – even on vocal quality. The only thing that isn’t subjective is pitch.

  8. Teeny Bikini says:

    I love Kree. She is my waffle. I just hope the first spot doesn’t send her home….
    Burnell – um, dayum. As Ms. Dolittle would say, “Sang heffa.” His tone is honey. This was the first time I enjoyed him.
    Candace – keep rocking it. You are my second waffle. Those are my top 3.
    But I had to relisten to Janelle’s performance. I don’t get the A-, unless A is the new D. Maybe I missed it.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I’m in the minority with you, Teeny Bikini. I don’t get all the hype about Janelle’s performance, either. Oh well.

      • deedee says:

        I didn’t get Janelle either. I thought she was pleasant, but weak.

      • Mary says:

        This was the first week I actually enjoyed her performance. She is not my favorite but I thought she did well. I will give her credit for not doing a song we have heard 1,000 times on AI. My top
        tonight was Amber, I hope she is not in the bottom.

    • The Beach says:

      I guess it’s just me but I find Burnell’s tone to be really thin and reedy. But I agree totally about Candace and Kree.

  9. duke says:

    Amber killed it tonight (Her performance was underrated though) and also Kree

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      I was glad Amber laid off the frantic runs that had almost become her trademark. And yeah, they didn’t give her enough credit for: A) picking a song that hasn’t been done to death, and B) singing it with power and conviction.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        I’ve been waiting for years for someone to sing that song on Idol. Yay! It really is one of my favorites.

        • Miscellaneopolan says:

          Y’know, they could have a theme night of “Songs by the Beatles that haven’t been done on American Idol before” and the contestants would still have DOZENS of great songs to choose from. Get a little creative, people!

      • gregk says:

        Glad that someone finally did a lesser known Sgt. Pepper album song. Still waiting for someone to perform “A Day in the Life” from it, which is generally recognized as the Beatles best song. Would be a strong challenge though.

  10. Davey says:

    Absolutely hated Angie’s performance. I hope Paul doesn’t go home because he was not the worst tonight. Kree continues to be my favorite. I also liked Amber tonight.

  11. You gave Paul the same grade as Kree…….um NO. Paul was B, Kree was an A! Devin was at least a B or B+.

    • The Beach says:

      Agree. No way should Paul get as good a grade as Kree. As for Devin, since he sang one of my least favorite Beatles songs, I didn’t mind that he changed it up a bit.

  12. Carol says:

    I’m 22 and I knew every song sung tonight. What’s Mariah Carey’s excuse?

  13. Sam says:

    I thought Angie gave a superb vocal. Excellent restraint and control with a beautiful tone.

    • Seems like we are the only ones with ears here tonight, because I definitely agree! She gave the best performance in my opinion. Do not understand all the negativity towards her – especially in a season of subpar talent, she is a gem.

    • marie says:

      Nah, to my ears that was pretty far from “restraint”; more like 1-800-TOO-MUCH.

    • Joe says:

      Restraint? Seriously? She held the word “wrong” for a 60 second glory note while performing the song as if she were doing an assignment for the Glee Project. The only thing that was restrained about her performance was the fact she didn’t crumble to the stage and only to have Nigel instruct fans to shower her with red roses and cheer her back to life.

      • deedee says:

        LOL, before I read your post, I was about to say – maybe people are getting “restraint” from that performance because Angie opted against accompanying herself on a flaming piano. But yours is much funnier. :D

  14. beth says:

    Kree was definitely not just a B+ though :(

  15. Amber gets an A-? Really. She did better than Kree? I strongly disagree. Kree was on tonight. Amber, while not terrible, was so under pitched half the time I couldn’t listen to it any longer.

    • marie says:

      I agree with Slezak: Amber was better tonight. Keeps was a little uneven and some notes were NOT good.

    • Owen says:

      Under ptich??? Under pitch??? There’s opinion and then there’s just….bad hearing…? And I’m being generous there…

  16. Kristi says:

    How in the world can you say that Angie should be in the bottom three???

  17. Christina says:

    Surprisingly good performances this week but please NO MORE BALLADS! Theme next week : ANYTHING BUT A BALLAD!

    Standouts: Candice, Paul (I didn’t think he was nearly as bad as the judges said!), Angie, Janelle

  18. brandon69 says:

    I dont know what michael’s problem with Angie is. her performance was excellent and deserving of much more than a B-. I think Burnell proved again he is a great vocalist, though there are things he can’t control that put him in a tough position to compete.

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      You mean his near-monosyllabesy when he stops singing? I’m not getting much personality off the guy, although he probably has the most distinctive tone of any of the remaining contestants.

      • Sandy says:

        I know that will turn people off but I could get over personality or lack thereof if the vocals are there. The vocals are what make me want to buy his singles.

  19. Scott says:

    I missed Lazaro’s song — came in just after the commercial break when Ryan was talking to the judges. I did notice that his wrap-up snippet at the end was very short. And he looked defeated.

    Everyone was on key that I heard (Candice ’til the end) — that’s unusual for Top 9. But Paul is so forgettable. I know there were strings, and fog. But what did he sing? Every time, it’s 10 minutes later and I’m trying to remember, and can’t. Same thing with Devin. Beautiful voice. I guess I’m saying they have not had a “moment” and they really could have used one tonight.

  20. Dan says:

    Strange… Everyone is from a small town…

  21. Christine says:

    Michael, I usually agree with most of what you say, but tonight I think you are drinking some bad water! Amber was not that good, the song was so boring and those low notes were ugh! I loved Angie and Devin, thinking they should be in the bottom three – I couldn’t disagree more! And some of those other grades?? A B+ for Paul? Can’t wait to read your actual comments – but I still luv ya!

  22. Wesley says:

    Devin and Angie in the bottom? No way. Paul was flat half of that performance, and his falsetto was really grating. His strong notes were the big ones and he obviously needs to stick to those. I thought Angie was solid, though the end sounded weak but it was obvious she was choked up so it wasn’t exact. Devin I thought was fantastic, he can just sing anything truly. I don’t exactly see eye to eye with you there Michael.

    Lazaro really needs to go now. He is obviously the weakest one of them all. I can only deal with so much of not being in pitch until I just have to mute the TV.

    • MC says:

      I’m hoping Devin can avoid the bottom three this week. He sang Temporary Home (a super emotional song) without a hint of emotion, but was much improved on The Long and Winding Road. It has been covered to death and he made it seem fresh.

  23. Laura says:

    I seriously feel like Amber is the Hollie of this season. Her voice is great, but her performances just aren’t there for me. Burnell, on the other hand, is perfection to my ears. I could listen to him sing for hours and hours….

  24. Julie Taylor Says says:

    I almost agree 100% with your should/will go home picks. Lazaro is basically the little puppy with 3 legs that someone takes a picture of and puts it on Facebook and it get’s 45,000 likes. He’s just not good. But he won’t see even the middle of this week’s votes, I think.

    Kree and Candice have now just solidified that they are on another level. Where others ebb and flow (I’m looking at you Janelle) they’re always on top. Janelle was however fantastic tonight. Burnell was good, although MAJOR side eye to not even knowing Let It Be, of all songs. Amber was also good as well, but the song is the least known of all of them tonight and she went 3rd, I’m worried for her the most. Devin and Paul were just there, but neither of them were bad. One of them will go home, I think. Hopefully Paul because I do think Devin has the potential to figure it out. This year’s Hollie Cavanaugh.

    Angie is now headed for completely insufferable territory for me. That was a bloated mess. She can sing, but I was not at all on the same page as the judges. She is like the Anne Hathaway of American Idol.

    • Christina says:

      “Lazaro is basically the little puppy with 3 legs that someone takes a picture of and puts it on Facebook and it get’s 45,000 likes.” is so accurate it hurts!

    • ali427 says:

      “The Anne Hathaway of American Idol”–that is BRILLIANT! I totally agree.

    • deedee says:

      Ha! Excellent descriptions, Julie Taylor. You are spot on with all of it (except I didn’t think Janelle was that spectacular).

    • Will says:

      “She is like the Anne Hathaway of American Idol.”

      In that she is incredibly talented and deserves to win lots of awards?

      • John says:

        No. More in that she never turns the acting “off.” Every gesture, every movement … totally staged. She’s practicing in front of a mirror too much … and it shows in her delivery.

      • Julie Taylor Says says:

        well in a way yes. But I really meant she tries extremely hard to make it look like she’s not trying at all and it makes it look even more try hard than if she just sang. No doubt she’s talented and deserves at least top 3, but girl just needs to turn it down a notch. I was waiting for a single tear to roll down her eye at the end.

  25. John Clayton says:

    I love you Slezak, but you just gave Kree and Paul the same score. Paul, who claimed he couldn’t make the song country, and then was shown up by Janelle. I just… I have no words. I hope you correct this when you do your full recap later.

  26. JoMarch says:

    Absolutely fantastic rendition of “She’s Leaving Home” by Amber. Great arrangement; terrific voice!

  27. marie says:

    While I’m mostly on board with the judges this season, sometimes their perceptions just seem wildly off. Amber was under-praised, and Angie was really over-praised. Angie’s performance was – and I never thought I’d hear MYSELF say this – way, way too theatrical. This is The Beatles, hon, not Broadway. I thought Amber was quite good. I’ve heard Kree sounding better. For once once, Janelle impressed me.

    But CANDICE – really, need we say more? She is just SO superb.

  28. Dan says:

    Why do you people keep paying attention to this fake, fabricated crap? All I know is that people who are real, deserving musical idols, like Ian Curtis, David Byrne or Bob Dylan, would never come any close to having any recognition in this. And look how big they are compared to, well, the “idols”…

    • Dan says:

      You stole my name!!

    • Keith says:

      Why do you leave comments about a show you don’t watch or like

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      Oh, if only American Idol had existed in the 60s! I can just imagine the judges telling Bob Dylan to go for bigger notes.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Made me laugh! :-)

        I can hear the judge’s critiques on Bob Dylan now…
        Keith: “You know, Bob, what I really like about you is your voice is SO unique. No one else on this program sounds like you. In fact, no one else on this planet sounds like you. And if there’s life on Mars there is no one on Mars that could possibly sound like you”.
        Nicki: “So, Bob, you know I love you, right? And you know how I said another contestant’s voice was like waffles with Aunt Jemimah syrup? Well, your voice is like..Grape Nuts. With no milk. But there’s something very special about you, Bob, and I love your originality”.
        Randy: “So, dude, it was really brave of you to sing an original song, but I’m not sure ‘Everybody Must Get Stoned’ is the best choice for this program. But dude, don’t be afraid to put some more runs in there!”.
        Mariah: “Bob, what I like about you is you aren’t afraid to be who you are. You just sing and draw me right into your..uh..your special brand of…uh…nasaly-sounding, complaining brand of protest music. But next week I’d like to hear something happier…more upbeat… I want to see the FUN side of Bob Dylan. Maybe you could sing ‘Chapel of Love’?”

  29. I love the Beatles, but that was another Ambien night of Idol: ballad-soaked, McCartney heavy — with some of Mac’s most turgid, Easy Listening numbers. And a much-beloved Lennon song mangled by Lazaro. Sigh…

    • The Beach says:

      I hear ya. I love “In My Life” so much that it is really painful to hear it butchered. Couldn’t Lazaro have sung “Yellow Submarine” or something? He was dressed for it.

      • deedee says:

        Hmm, he was dressed for it, wasn’t he. Maybe Yellow Submarine was his original song before he was mysteriously forced to change it last minute!

  30. Billie says:

    Fave Kree, amazing as always, but why not another bad***, Evidence-like performance this week? Again, loved Burnell’s tone but he’s in clear jeopardy to me. I love the whimsical vibe of Amber’s performance, but her pitch issue and underrated comments from judges this week might do hurt her. Gosh, I can’t believe for saying this but Randy thank you for saying the truth about Lazaro’s performance, it was bad. I hate that it was a last-minute song choice to him though (Nigel!!!). I mean how can he be better without a real criticism? But seeing him at the brink of really tearing up…oh dear…he might escape the chopping block again this week. Sorry Michael, he’ll not be in the Bottom 3, he has an established fanbase. For me, this is not one of Candice’s super strong weeks (sorry my favorite, Crystal was better), I mean ballads and midtempos (her favorites) are her strengths, but I’m glad she switched it up this week. I’m having a feeling Paul might be a real dark horse for the next coming weeks just in case he made it. And uh oh…I don’t get Angie Miller, but I think she is so winning this. Mariah seems to like Devin, so do I. But why Devin? You’re kind of plateauing right now. Keith astutely pointed it out, more emotional dig from him is needed while maintaining his tradition of being a technically amazing, superiorly light vocalist. And of course, an improved country Janelle is safe for another week.
    My ‘Bottom 3’ bet: Kree (crazy, I know), Burnell, Amber
    My ‘going home’ bet: Amber (she might be saved though)
    BTW can’t wait for Jessica’s new single (feat. Ne-Yo) and her performance tomorrow! Please don’t disappoint, your fans have waited pretty long for this! :D

    • dani n. says:

      I think Devin is in trouble this week. And really Lazaro needs to go..I agree with pretty much all, that you said.

      • Billie says:

        I don’t think he’ll be the clear one going home though. I mean he’s in the Bottom 2 with Curtis last week and he’s in the second-to-the-last-performance slot, therefore an “up” in votes for him.

  31. Becca says:

    I loved Janelle tonight. I have to wonder if part of it was because her song was the only one of the night I hadn’t heard before – if that added a bit more excitement to the performance. Whatever the case I thought her vocal was super pretty and solid. Her tone was lovely.
    Also enjoyed Kree’s and Burnell’s performances, and didn’t think Paul was anywhere near as bad as the judges seemed to think. It’s saddening, though, since he’ll probably go home instead of Lazaro.
    Didn’t get the hype for Candice’s or Angie’s performances.

  32. TB says:

    A million points to Amber for picking a fresh song.

    • CAS says:

      “I Will” is a fresher song than “She’s Leaving Home”. I used to hear “She’s” on the radio back in the day. I never heard “I Will” other than on my copy of the White Album.

  33. Chuck says:

    Kree was a little off form tonight. It’s the first time I’ve thought she was trying too hard.
    Burnell was good.
    I thought it was Amber’s best performance.
    Lazaro was OK after the key change, pretty hopeless before that.
    Candice slayed it.
    Paul’s treatment of Eleanor Rigby made me cry.
    Angie is the female Devin.
    Devin is the male Angie.
    Janelle was pretty strong, but she’s going to have to punch it up eventually.

    • Barb says:

      Am I the only one who heard that Kree was sick this week? I think it was Jimmy that mentioned it. She had a cold, from what I got out of the mention.

      • dani n. says:

        No. You’re mother only one who heard. Kree has a cold.

        • dani n. says:

          Sorry.Freaking. auto correct. You’re not the only one.

          • teatime says:

            lol. Your “not the” got changed to “mother.” I thought you were insulting her but I was not sure why.

          • Barb says:

            I’ve had my share of “Damn You Autocorrect” bloopers too <3
            Good to know I wasn't just hearing things, though. I was thinking she was very professional about it; didn't make excuses, just sang around the cold.

  34. Lourdes says:

    How did you not like Angie’s sublime phrasing? Slezak, you really need to watch that back. She actually made “Yesterday” a refreshing choice, which is not at all what I expect when people cover the song. Also, don’t get the love for Janelle’s song. It was “ok” but didn’t go anywhere for me. Kree should have ranked higher, easily.

    • Vetle says:

      I agree. I think Angie made “Yesterday” sound more fresh, she added some contemporary elements with her voice.

    • Nephtalia says:

      I agree Angie modernize Yesterday to me. I love it. It was actually my favorite of the night. Janelle received the pimp spot. Kree was consistent and Candice is in another league. Burnell was okay. The other guys were forgettable. I am voting for Kree, Angie and Amber tonight.

  35. John says:

    Spot on with the Should Go and Will Go predictions. Elijah is sitting at home waiting for the right moment to work that Lazaro voodoo doll.

  36. dani n. says:

    My grade list: KREE-A(girl had a cold!) BURNELL-A ( it was sweet) CANDICE-B+(could have done more), JENELLE – B+ (and I don’t like her), AMBER B(and she’s my baby) They shouldn’t have had her walk in.The magic Jimmy experienced when they were one on one was cause they were one on one and Amber could feel the song.They should have created a more intimate environment on stage for her.Then she would have “murdered”the song.PAUL- B+. DEVIN-B. ANGIE-B-(she was gonna in damndest out stylistic choices during the song and hit sappy for me) LAZARO-D

  37. sl33py says:

    My Favorites for tonight: Kree Harrison and Burnell Taylor. i do not agree with Janelle’s grade i still think she has weak vocals

  38. Marlex says:

    Kree, Candice and Angie were definitely my Top 3 tonight, with Janelle a close fourth. I’m not a Beatles afficiando, but I knew all of the songs except for She’s Leaving Home. I liked Amber’s performance, but I thought her phrasing was odd (not knowing the song, I don’t know how much was her and how much was the song).

    Kree was solid and made it seem easy. I loved that Candice went up-tempo, but there were a few times when she and the backup singers seemed out of sync (not sure who was off). I really liked Angie’s performance and have to disagree with Michael on that one. Janelle also souned the best she has in weeks.

    Bottom three: Lazaro (sorry, buddy, but that wasn’t good… no), Paul (inconsistent at the beginning, plus I’ve heard David Cook’s studio recording of that song too many times for Paul’s performance to stack up) and Devin (I like that he took a chance, but it was a bit sleepy).

    If I had to give letter grades:
    Kree Harrison: A
    Burnell Taylor: B
    Amber Holcomb: B+
    Lazaro Arbos: D
    Candice Glover: A-
    Paul Jolley: C+
    Angie Miller: A
    Devin Velez: B-
    Janelle Arthur: A-

  39. Jenny says:

    I’m sorry. I just had to take “Ballad” Idol off my DVR. I am just bored to death with the same performance week after week…singer after singer. In the past seasons, singers tried to do different things and it made the show interesting. It is just boring ballad after ballad. Slow build up…run…power note…final run…hold final note…repeat.

    • teatime says:

      It is like when a movie is an unexpected hit, and then they make a sequel. But the sequel, instead of building off everything that was fresh and interesting about the original, picks up on everything that was just okay and a little unimaginative and just magnifies that x10.
      I feel like the producers are controlling this a lot more this year than in some others, and they are seeing to it that the most performances are not as original or interesting as they could be.

  40. Dan says:

    It is time for my weekly cheer… KREE!! KREE!! KREE!!

  41. Chris says:

    I have no idea why Nikki would tell Paul his performance was stale and forgettable and not say the exact same thing to at least 6 other performers tonight. Furthermore, Randy was just a damn beast to Lazaro. You are a judge (though I wish every season he’d be voted) who is there to offer constructive criticism. I hope Ryan continues to call him out if he pulls that again – absolutely ridiculous. And to give such praise to Angie and dismiss Amber’s performance? I think tonight must have been a joke – or they are starting the old antics up again – they were clearly deaf over those two. I appreciate Angie’s talent but there was nothing naturally forthcoming there. Well rehearsed I’d say and from where I sat and heard, not that great tonight. I liked the Amy Lee reference though – but I hardly think she’d be any more believable rocking it up. I haven’t connected with her yet…..

    Candice you have Mary J written all over your stage performance and I LOVE IT! GET IT GIRL!!! You are a WINNER!

    Candice, Amber, and Janelle (bought time firecracker) for me tonight.

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      I thought Angie was great tonight, better than she’s been yet. I don’t think there’s a ‘rocker’ in there, certainly not in the way that Elise Testone or Allison Iraheta were rockers, but there’s a bit of pop edge that I wouldn’t mind seeing more of.
      Also, does anyone else think that Angie was doppleganging Kelly Clarkson a bit tonight? From certain angles, she looked really, really similar. A bit on the nose, there

    • Barb says:

      I might be wrong, but I think Nikki took offense at Paul’s come-back of “I’m Jolly.”

  42. Miscellaneopolan says:

    So apparently each week every contestant but one will perform a ballad. This week Candice went uptempo, and it was predictably great. But I gotta say my favorite was Angie. I’m a bit surprised by Slezak’s grade because I thought her ‘Yesterday’ was terrific. I loved the contrast between her big power notes and the softer, almost raspy ones. I thought it was one of the most emotive performances of the Season so far.
    So Devin’s in military school, huh? Goes a way toward explaining his consistently solid but never-quiet inspiring performance-craft.

  43. Lois Benton says:

    Always with the D-, never a well-deserved fail. Surprised that Janelle took “I Will” and didn’t do Allison Krauss’s version. Not bad; not bad at all. If any of the other four girls get anywhere near the bottom three, I’ll spit nails. I’ll spit fewer nails if Burnell does, and fewer still if Devin goes. But really, honestly and truly, Lazaro has had his fun; he and Jolley both need to go this week and next. I might feel better about Jolley if he had sung a better song, Julia, maybe, or something else, like I WIll, with a pretty meoldy and not much opportunity for anything but subtlety.

  44. Christy says:

    Burnell and Amber are my favorites and I’m scared they’ll be in the bottom 3 along with Paul. Lazaro’s crocodile tears are going to buy him another week. I also wasn’t a big fan of Angie’s performance. Talk about overrated!

  45. Jacob P. says:

    My grade list:

    Kree: B+
    Burnell: B-
    Amber: B-
    Lazaro: D-
    Candice: A-
    Paul: C
    Angela: A-
    Devin: B+
    Janelle: C+

    Should be bottom 3: Janelle, Paul, Lazaro (Lazaro leaving)

    Do you guys agree? Disagree?

    • Ali says:

      I do, those are very similar to what my take was. Although I might rank Amber just a hair higher and Burnell a little lower. I for one just did not enjoy his tone and thought his vocal came off a little strained. Was surprised by both the judges and Slezak’s take on it. Really thought Candice killed tonight and Angie switched up Yesterday just enough, really good vocal too. Kree really impressive as well. Producer manipulation or not, the girls are really bringin it this season! Devin is my fav of the guys.

  46. Bree Turner says:

    Kree and Angie were the best of the women

    Devin best of the men

  47. marie says:

    Re Devin: more runs in that song than in a thrown-away pair of stockings. Geez, when RANDY says “too many runs,” you KNOW they were way over the top! I don’t believe I’ve ever heard him say that before.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Devin is so good vocally – but I almost got the sense the judges were trying desperately to give a critique that would help him hang around. “The Long and Winding Road”, like so many Lennon/McCartney songs, has a lovely melody that doesn’t really need a ton of embellishment.

      • Ali says:

        Good point about the runs ruining the melody; just makes them seem so inorganic.

      • marie says:

        Agree re the quality of Devin’s voice. He’s someone whose record I can actually imagine buying some day. (I’m SO glad we didn’t hear “Imagine” last night, BTW.)

  48. Jaclyn says:

    I am getting increasingly worried that while there are some amazing singers we are in for a boring season with typical song choices and safe same lane performances. I can’t see any of these contestants coming up with an amazing new song arrangement, or pushing genre boundaries or generally breaking out in new ways. It will all be good, but I need some wow and surprise in my AI.

  49. Marta says:

    I through all 50 of my votes to Amber for fear that she will get lost in the shuffle.

    Lazaro clearly should go, but won’t. Devin and Paul are in trouble. The end.

  50. karen says:

    Michael, that must be a typo next to Kree’s grade: I think you meant “A”, right? Re-watch her performance, dude. I’m anticipating your “cross through” correction by the time tomorrow’s full recap is posted.

    • Bob says:

      Kree was not that good tonight. The rendition was directionless, it had parts that sounded like wailing. She turned the damned thing into a plodding anthem, of sorts. To me, there was nothing remotely appealing about the performance. And I actually think she has a nice voice.

      • dj says:

        I kind of agree. I liked Kree tonight, but didn’t love the performance. I blame the arrangement. I think she sang well, but there were places where a run was substituted for lyrics that were there in the original. It made it kind of disconnected, IMO.

    • Joe Strummer says:

      Kree sounded like a pale imitation of Joe Cocker. VVVVeeerrrryyy Karaoke!!!