American Idol Top 9 Results Recap: The Night Goes By So Very Slow

american-idol-season-12-top-9-resultsIf Jimmy Iovine ruled the world, American Idol would run like Game of Thrones.

Botch your lyrics: Get presented with a deadly crown of liquified gold. Screw up your glory note: Be forced to eat a raw stallion’s heart (right down to the last morsel). Get voted out by America (or screw up his sound-booth engineering): Find your head on a spike outside the gates of the city.

Like it or not, though, Jimmy’s approach would never work in real life: I mean, for starters, if Jessica Sanchez hadn’t survived the Season 11 finale, we wouldn’t have had the pleasure of hearing her perform her dancey-dancey debut single “Tonight” (alongside Ne-Yo) in the midst of the Top 9 results telecast. Last year’s runner-up worked the stage like a boss, and proved that not every Billboard-bound diva needs an injection of Auto-Tune to deliver note perfection with a side of sass.

And while Jimmy began the episode boasting of how he’d fired 110 assistants back in the day — “put that on your f****** show!” he giggled — his Mentor Feedback Moment (aka “A Recap of Idol Recap Comments Sections That Also Falls in Line With Uncle Nigel’s Pre-Determined Story Arc”) was fairly spot-on. Kree and Candice and Amber were amahhhzzz. Janelle has dark-horse potential. Amber Angie has potential but can’t be so high-school theater geek. Lazaro was the “bottom of the pile.” Oh, and also Jimmy said Lazaro was lying about having only one day to learn his song: ESCANDALO!

That last named contestant and his lustrous locks weren’t going anywhere, of course. I mean, his tears from Wednesday’s performance show — along with a season’s worth of good will — had to be enough for a Top 8 placing. We all knew it, even if it made us feel dismayed. And then when Ryan introduced the episode by declaring “we could be in store for a surprise,” it was clear one of Lazaro’s compadres would be catching a grenade for him (yeah, yeah, yeah).

Okay, okay let’s cut to the critical shenanigans.

SENT TO SAFETY (in no particular order)
Lazaro Arbos
Kree Harrison
Candice Glover
Angie Miller
Janelle Arthur
Burnell Taylor

Paul Jolley (as expected)
Devin Velez
Amber Holcomb (ILLEGAL! but, yeah, I called it last night despite her being in my Top 3)

Fooled ya! They didn’t reveal ’em this week!

Paul Jolley: “Alone” | Sorry, clear-voiced but passionless country dude, this rendition was as rocky as your Top 20 Results Night victory anthem. And a crumbling final note sealed the deal: No Judges’ Save for Jolley.

Good news: Ryan played a funny highlight reel from Amber’s dress rehearsal where she struggled to come down a set of stairs despite an insane amount of dry ice engulfing her tiny frame. Funny stuff, and a much needed dose of relatable screen time to make viewers fall in love with her.

Oh, and before I turn things over to you, a few more points of discussion:

* The Top 4 guys sang “Got to Get You Into My Life.” That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

* The Top 5 ladies sang “Here, There and Everywhere,” and if several (or all 5) didn’t have such promising solo careers in front of ’em, I’d suggest the ladies of X Factor‘s Fifth Harmony get to work on the necessary voodoo dolls.

* Jessica Sanchez & Neo’s “Tonight” sounds like a hit to me — even though there’s no Ke$ha gargling bile in the background or anything.

* Casey Abrams sang “I Saw Her Standing There” complete with jazzy inflections, his upright bass, some scatting and a really manky beard. It was just ai’ight for me.

And with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of Season 12 Top 9 results night? Did the right person go home? How’d Lazaro survive? And did you dig Jessica Sanchez and Casey Abrams? 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. Tahoe Mike says:

    It just seems wrong that the guy named Paul went home on Beatles night.

  2. Willow says:

    It appears a ton of people are all on board with Janelle now? I guess I wasn’t as crazy about her Allison Krauss-esque cover this week. I think she still has a lot of proving herself to do….but maybe she’s had people all al

    • Tusk says:

      I thought this was definitely her best voting round performance, unfortunately, IMO, she’s got a long way to go to catch up to Candice, Kree and Amber.

      I agree with Jimmy…Angela is ‘acting-singing’ and last night’s performance, it affected her singing. The notes she chose and over enunciating (over emoting?), Marie Osmond would have been more convincing :P (I can totally see a Colton Dixon/Angela Miller ‘Variety Hour’ ala the Donny and Marie Osmond Shog :X )

  3. LeahKittyS says:

    Would everyone please stop calling Lazaro a liar?! He was answering Ryan’s question under pressure and couldn’t think straight. He’s too nice a guy to lie for sympathy votes. I know; I follow him and the others on Twitter. For him to say something untruthful like that, he’s either not very bright and easily confused, or he’s caving in to backstage manipulation. Or a little bit of both. But of all the words that could be used to describe him, malicious is the very last one. That is all.

  4. Tusk says:

    I’m an unapologetic fan of the Liverpool Lads (same as my much more famous Idol from Wheeling, Illinois)

    And speaking as a dyed in the wool Beatles Fan, I say unto you, Amber impressed me the most on a night I expected to be ‘meh’….

    Candice and Kree are ready for prime time, Angela needs to add a few more years of experience to add depth to her talent, be less ‘pageanty’… Janelle has the country vote.

    That leaves Amber as the refreshing ‘unexpected’ . I have no expectations of her, but have been more impressed with her with each performance.

    That is what I enjoy the most when it happens on these types of shows….the unexpected surprises, and her name, thus far, is Amber :D

    • Tahoe Mike says:


    • deedee says:

      Ditto. I also hope each year for an unexpected favourite, and Amber came out of nowhere for me this time! If she’s kicked off before her time, I’ll still have Candice and Kree to root for, but underdogs are more fun, so I’m hoping Amber sticks around.

    • Joey says:

      Agreed. Season 10 Haley was the unexpected surprise for me. This season it’s Amber.

    • marie says:

      When you listen critically to her tone and phrasing, Amber is really pretty terrific. I hope that she does go far in this competition!

  5. Steve Sepultura says:

    Paul Jolley and Devin Velez……more than just friends? Very interesting body language demonstrated between them.

  6. Adam Fachry says:

    All the men on this season are not only gay, but they are bottoms. No wonder they’re the at the bottom of the pack.

  7. Hilary says:

    I thought Lazaro did a poor job with one of my favorite songs, but I can’t say tears weren’t streaming down my face after his critique. And I don’t think he was intentionally lying about learning the song last night. He said ‘like last night’, which could just mean it was new to him. I’ve wondered if he was faking the speech thing, but I don’t think he is. It’s still amazing how well he can sing when he can’t talk. I have a slight stutter, but never stutter when I’m singing because I already know what I’m going to sing. Stuttering comes from not forming your thoughts in sync with your mouth. But sadly he will be gone soon. Glad he is on the tour. He’s an inspiration to a lot of people.

    • Mary says:

      Sorry, but that is the name of the game on AI. You have to learn new songs in a short period of time. Maybe he should of done a little homework and practice a few – it is not like AI changes up
      the song selection. Your right he made the tour, Which I don’t think he should of, so America should let him go and practice his songs for that.

    • Lola says:

      I like your comments. I wish him well, and believe he IS an inspiration to a lot of people.

  8. James A says:

    America got it right this week. Hopefully they will continue to get it right and next to go with either be Amber or Devin or Burnell (all 3 suck compared to the others) Lazaro needs to stay for the parody of this show to continue.

  9. Jessica says:

    Paul gone-that’s great. Nice to see the teenagers aren’t voting for the cute boy. Brunell I feel is the only good singer from the guys. The guys get lost behind the music a lot. Lazaro isn’t an inspiration to me. Yes his back story in auditions has been the only AI one to have me cry and I find it to be cool that he tried out , he’s a nice kid, he got his boost-money now from tour- now it’s time that people quit giving him the sympathy vote. He knows he’s getting it-that’s why he is talking more and that’s what i find to be pathetic. The girls are really good (Candice and Kree are amazing) I am glad that Jimmy called Angie out. I hope Devin is next. Motown -yikes-not sure how he can make it another week after that. Jessica Sanchez-ugh moving on but Casey was amazing! I really enjoyed that

    • Bob says:

      The teenagers aren’t voting for the cute boy because they infer that he’s gay–not that there’s anything wrong with that . . .

  10. Shawn says:

    I missed the show last night so I read the recap, here’s my thoughts. Paul was going to go home sooner or later. Sure his performance on Wenesday night wasn’t as bad as the judges made it out to be, but I knew his time was coming. As for as Lazaro goes, I am upset that he’s still there and wasn’t even in the bottom 3. It’s like he’s being held to a different standard than what the other contestants are, and it’s not fair to the other contestants. Like for instanse if I were a manager of a grocery store and had a bagger with down syndrome, and he is caught stealing, and the punishment for stealing is termination. Should I say “Well he probably doesn’t understand right from wrong so I’ll just give him a warning.” If I did that and it got out to the other employees that I did that, and they are saying something “Well if we’re caught stealing then we’d be fired for sure.” By not firing the down sydrome employee who was stealing I am not being fair to my other employees. It’s the same with the whole Lazaro situation. Lazaro has a disorder which endears himself to people, and causes them to want to see him succeed even though his compeitiors have easliy outpaced him. He doesn’t get such good feedback from the judges, and starts crying and saying he had only one day to reherse his song to and makes people feel sorry for him and start voting for him out of pitty. I hate the idea of him being the last guy standing when we have guys like Devin and Bruenell who are far superior to him, and I don’t like the thought of him outlasting one of the girls who far exceed where he is. My advice to people who vote for Lazaro is stop holding him to a different standard and because if you keep doing it then we’re might likely see Angie, Candace, or Kree in the bottom three while Lazaro is sitting on the couch having been declared safe.

  11. Billie says:

    I am happy to see Jessica happily performing again, that performance was a SMASH!!! I am helping and hoping for her success! Anyways, here is my weekly intellectual rankings of the remaining 8 finalists!
    8. Devin Velez (down from no. 7)
    The most vulnerable contestant up for elimination next week has been doing well in the technical skills department, but more emotional dig from him is needed and a temporary departure from his ballad repertoire might help him advance for at least one more week.
    7. Burnell Taylor (down from no. 6)
    He needs to work on his somewhat sleepy song choices and start creative with his cool voice.
    6. Amber Holcomb (down from no. 5)
    I like the whimsical vibe during her latest effort, but like Devin and Burnell, IT’S TIME TO SWITCH THINGS UP, GURRRL!
    5. Janelle Arthur (up from no. 9)
    I’m now having a feeling that there’s only 1 spot between her and Amber in the Top 5, but since Janelle fared better the previous week, Janelle has the advantage to carry on for the next coming week.
    4. Lazaro Arbos (2 weeks no. 4)
    Oh dear. Poor Lazaro, with all the back-to-back bad performances and scheming going on around him, I hope he’ll be able to survive; keeping him focused and delivers an improved performance.
    3. Kree Harrison (3 weeks no. 3)
    Maybe this Motown week she can deliver another bad***, Evidence-like performance that people really do want to hear her sing right?
    2. Candice Glover (3 weeks no. 2)
    From downtempo, midtempo, and uptempo, she sings well at any tempo! All she needs to work on is the intriguing artistry then she’ll get this.
    1. Angie Miller (3 weeks no. 1)
    I don’t get her recent performance. I guess it’s just that she’s still leading.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Why is there no thumbs-up option on this website?

    • seattlejohn449 says:

      why would you hope Lazaro survives since “all the back-to-back bad performances’ should land him in your #8 position and halfway on his way home…he has international publicity, a fanbase and a spot on the tour which is more than his bad vocals deserve

      • Billie says:

        So that as a viewer it will be bearable to watch seeing him sail through in every round of the competition by delivering improved performances. I know it’s painful to see him at such a high rank, but I mean I’m not only basing my rankings on their vocal performances (which Lazaro has been bad), but also their potential on how far they can get in this competition. Lazaro was confirmed no. 4 last week, has a fanbase, the ‘sympathy votes’ recipient this season, and he’s even cute to make teenage girls vote non-stop. Maybe you need some reality check mmmkay?

        • seattlejohn449 says:

          my reality check is based on singing ability and Devin, Amber and Burnell are all way better than Lazaro and have much greater potential at giving improved performances and getting ahead in the top 8 plus making records I would be interested in hearing…Lazaro just doesn’t measure up vocally in what is purported to be a singing competition

  12. ChrissieK says:

    You know, I actually wouldn’t mind it if the show “lied” and next week proclaimed Lazaro with the least votes and sent him home. I watch him when he’s laughing and smiling and talking with the other kids when they are sent to the safe side and he doesn’t seem to be so afflicted at that time. I think he almost over does it when he has to answer a question. I think there are those who send in the pity vote and those who vote for him with glee because he is so bad. Oh how I wish Charlie had been put thru to the top ten instead of Lazaro. I suppose he can return to Cuba a hero one day.

  13. marie says:

    I’m purposely not writing this in reply to anyone else’s comment, but can we please refrain from personal attacks on Lazaro? Yes, there was inconsistency between when he said he learned the song and what Jimmy said, but is there nowhere in there for subtle differences in meaning (i.e., perhaps he really wasn’t COMORTABLE with the song, and/or didn’t feel he knew it WELL ENOUGH to perform live, until the previous night)? I for one believe he was genuinely upset (which is NOT to excuse Ryan and the judges trying to soften the blow; that, I think, was unfair preferential treatment), and so, I’m willing to give Lazaro the benefit of the doubt. What purpose does it serve to label the kid a “liar” for this?
    And for some to speculate that he’s either exaggerating or even inventing his speech defect to gain sympathy…well, what can I say about that except to wish those saying those things would grow up, AND grow a heart?
    Meanspiritedness on this board makes me sad, because most posts here come across as having been written by thoughtful, mature, and, yes, definitely passionate and opinionated – AND interesting – commenters; the small percentage of cruel and juvenile posts stands out most distressingly in an overwhelmingly intriguing and delightful public forum.
    (BTW, for the record, I’m not writing any of this because I’m particularly a fan of Lazaro’s; in fact, I think he’s the weakest of the remaining contestants, and probably deserves to be voted off next.)

    • JASon says:

      I think what happened is he was originally to do that song. The nhe tried to change it and rehearsed another song but they told him he had to stick with his original song because the studio recording was already done. SO he had to relearn it!

  14. Rusty says:

    Those of you voting to Lazaro just need to step away from your phone, tablet or PC…or however you;re voting. You;re not doing him any favors by letting him think his singing is worthy of his placement on this show. He so needed to go at about #40. Yes, his back story is compelling and amazing. But he’s not even CLOSE to being the singer of any of the other remaining 8 performers. Dude, it;s been fun but it;s time to go. Past time, actually.

  15. syb says:

    Jimmy said Kree tends to oversing AGAIN! Credibility penalty flag.

    Jessica is a real singer and pretty enough to overcome the fact that she actually has talent in the genre. But song left me cold.

    On the other hand, I loved Casey’s cover. Fun, jazzy, totally Casey. Guy loves music, and loves to make it. That’s so clear. He did look a little like a guy who might be holding a “Will Work for Food” sign, but he’s always been an iconoclast, at least as applied to AI contestants.

    Paul was the wrong eliminee, but that’s Idol for ya. His days were numbered anyway, as are Amber’s and Devin’s.

  16. Bob says:

    Wow, is Jessica Sanchez an awful performer, or what. I just watched a video of her number with Ne-Yo. First of all, she has to be just about the worst dancer I’ve ever seen. Fortunately she didn’t try to dance much, but she doesn’t even move at all well on stage. Her voice is competent, I guess, but she exudes absolutely no energy, no personality, and no charisma. And there is nothing really pleasing about the tone of her voice. She’s going nowhere. Ne-Yo completely carried that performance. That guy is a legitimate entertainer. Casey is fun and brings passion, but he’s never going to make anybody forget Ray Charles or Dr. John.

  17. Aly says:

    All I can say is LAZARO NEEDS TO GO. It is painful to watch him not sing well and sweat profusely at every performance.

  18. sandi says:

    Lazaro is this year’s Sanjaya. eally can’t sing. He is this year

  19. hmr says:

    I think it will be a boring season if all the boys are eliminated all at once. I don’t want Lazaro in top 3, but unfortunately, he will most likely make it. Devin needs to have an “idol moment” next week in order to avoid elimination. His voice is amazing.

    Speaking of amazing Casey’s album is very good! I enjoyed his performance last night. So what happened to Casey’s post idol elimination interview Michael Slezak?

    JSan’s stage presence has improved. She reminds me of skinny JLo with better vocals.

    AI should follow Glee’s lead and have a guilty pleasures theme night. Ha ha

  20. as says:

    Now I understand why Lazaro had no friends growing up. First off, he throws the pity me ‘stuttering’ card at the drop of the hat and uses it to advance in the most pathetic ‘no pride’ fashion. Secondly, from the beginning, he’s been making excuses and changing his story….I didn’t know the song….they made me change it yesterday….Jimmy makes me nervous…..block block block block block. Why would Paul and Devin and any other singer like him? He sings poorly over and over again and yet he advances and the others go home because the judges are treating him like a handicapped child and he milks it.

  21. JASon says:

    Am I the only one that thinks Amber is winning the RNB Diva off over Candace. Not to mention commercial potential!

  22. A pathologist says:

    I saw American idol for the first time a few years ago when Lee Dewyze won. I really liked the show and it had interesting singers. Bowersoxs, Casey James, Lee, then Casey Abrahams, Paul McDonald, Haley, and last year Philip, Elisec and Hu Jan. they had such talented kids. to me this is a very boring season. The worst of the four I have watched. It will be nice if a girl wins, but it seems like reverse sexism, except for Burnell, the boys are without any charisma. It can’t be that there were no better choices in the auditions. Devin is great in Spanish. Very bland in English and he needs a better stylist. Lazaro, terrible. I feel like not seeing AI anymore if he keeps singing. He is no AI material. Hopefully he will go next week. I heard Melinda Doolittle suggest last year that they should change the voting system. Perhaps that is right. Anything so that Lazaro gets eliminated.

  23. Samantha says:

    Angie’s going to win. I can guarantee it.

  24. Mari says:

    oh wow I had already forgotten about Jessica but boy she gave us an amazing professional performance tonight! I’m gonna buy this single.

  25. Johnny says:

    I’m noticing also there was no rankings this week. I’m thinking its because after they revealed them before the people got lax in voting specially after seeing Lazaro never land in the bottom. So I think if they had shown the rankings this time it would have proven not many must be voting so I think they just made their own bottom 3 with Amber hoping she get a voting surge after this when Candi probably was in the bottom and Lazaro was #1. Jessica ft NeYo sounded like Ne-yo (kinda) ft Jessica.

  26. JR says:

    I like Jessica’s song a lot, but that’s because I actually appreciate pop / club songs. I think she’s doing it right by sing age appropriate songs

  27. Jay says:

    I was never a Jessica Sanchez fan until she sang Tonight! Where was all that upbeat tempo and sass when she was a contestant? She could have won with songs like that.