Idology: Why Lazaro's Got to Go! Plus: Angie's Theatrical Problem and The Rise of Janelle!

There’s disagreement brewing on this week’s installment of Idology. More specifially, my cohost Melinda Doolittle and I offer split opinions on the Beatles Week performances of American Idol Season 12 ladies Angie Miller and Amber Holcomb.

Is the former too melodramatic? Is the latter not dramatic enough? And who’s going to side with Jimmy Iovine?

RELATED | American Idol: 22 Fresh Theme Nights That Need to Happen Right Now

One thing we can agree on, though, is that Lazaro Arbos is overstaying his Idol welcome after another woeful showing on the Beatles’ “In My Life.” We also talk about the core problem with the Season 12 men, dish the in-the-nick-of-time comeback of Janelle Arthur and dissect the week’s greatest moment (two word hint: muhhh-ddy water).

RELATED | American Idol: What Should the Top 8 Sing for (Yet Another Installment of) Motown Week?

So press play below for the full Idology experience, and follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV for all my Idol-related news, interviews, videos and recaps!

VIDEO | Idology: Curtis Finch Jr. Questions Idol‘s Year of the Woman, Talks Playing ‘Bad Guy’ in Hollywood

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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202 Comments
  1. PcolaGirard says:

    Another great episode of Idology– thanks Michael and Melinda! I’m curious to see if Lazaro being called out by Jimmy this past week will make any difference in his voting numbers this week. Will America feel duped by him or continue to feel sorry for him? Loved last week’s episode overall and agree that we need some fresh themes! Also, I think Angie works best when she plays piano because we can’t see her being as theatrical when she does so. When she stands in front of a mic, I don’t think she knows how to do anything other than be theatrical.

    • Carmen says:

      Okay, for Angie this calls for the blind taste test. I’m going to listen again but without watching. Oftentimes, the visuals can be very off-putting with amateur singers. I’m going to let my ears alone decide. Back in a bit….

      • Carmen says:

        Okay, well, the first thing i noticed is that she actually started in a split second early after the instrumental introduction. The camera hadn’t yet panned in so you won’t see the visual for that but you can hear the word “yes” in yesterday jump the gun. She quickly corrected course; no big deal.

        Unfortunately I do hear the over-dramatization, the melodrama, throughout the song, even without the visuals. The cake is overbaked. Yes it’s good to hear emotion but in this case, to these ears, it sounds a bit contrived. I still admire her effort though and she does have a great voice. I’d add a couple of more things but I’ve got to go.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Yes, Angie on piano. Just yes. To me she looks like she misses her piano when she is standing at the mic.

  2. EVPandHC says:

    On Angie, I agree with Michael. On Amber, I agree with Melinda. Also, that final diss! Ooh! That’s cruel!

  3. Dan says:

    Where you at Jason?

    • Lunakit says:

      Agreed! Jason, you were missed….. And don’t try to tell us that you had “other commitments” or “other recaps to edit” or y’know, a life beyond TVLine…. bc all of that should come second to editing Idology, which should be your first priority….as it is ours. ;-) tee hee!

    • Dayrah says:

      Ditto!

  4. Blinged Up says:

    Another great Idology. Agree w/ Michael on the Angie/Amber thing.

    Agree with both that Burnell has the most gorgeous tone. He is my favorite guy by a mile — by 100 miles.

    Looking forward to Motown week — surely that will have some upbeat selections! One can hope….

    • Bob says:

      I also agree with Michael. My wife and I listened to the full versions without looking at the videos, and we agreed (not totally unheard of) that Amber’s was the performance of the week. As Randy says, after all this is a singing competition.

      • Teeny Bikini says:

        Amber everything about her is beautiful, including her voice. I wonder if the other girls are just better at emoting and thereby connecting to the audience. I hope stays out of the bottom for sure…

        • My Alter Ego says:

          Teeny Bikini, Amber is beautiful to look at and listen to. She has extraordinary potential. I love the effortless way that she sings. Her ability to emote (or not) may have something to do with that; it may have something to do with lack of experience or confidence. To me she seems to come across as a little shy, which also may have something to do with it.
          **
          I’m with you — I don’t understand why she was in the bottom 3 this past week, and she better not be this week — particularly if Lazaro gets a pass, yet again.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      I love Burnell’s tone, but he should start picking songs where he must move his legs, not his hands. He seems a bit stiff from the waste down, but he knows how move those hands. That’s for sure.

  5. QueenJ says:

    ALL the Idols are theatrical. Angie needs to get back to being an artist. Rearrange something at least. She’s not going to win trying to be Celine Dion but I’m not going to knock her for showing off her vocals when every other contestant gets praise for that. Amber isn’t seasoned enough, I agree with Melinda. It’s clear the producers gave the judges the memo to bus Paul, which is unfortunate since I agree he wasn’t the worst. Look for Lazaro going uptempo early this week if the producers are truly done with him.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      I would love to see Lazaro go uptempo. It makes him more comfortable. Maybe he will do better. Also, it would keep the show from being a snorefest.

      • LeahKittyS says:

        Lazaro tweeted earlier: “I really love my song this week :)” So if he sticks with whatever song he has now, he can’t blame short notice. It should be good. I really hope that, after all the clunkers he’s turned in, he can redeem himself in the Internet’s eyes before his elimination, like Tim Urban did back in Season 9.

    • MB says:

      Listening to the studios I thought Paul sounded really good. I totally agree he was slotted to go this week. They wanted to be positively sure a white wasn’t winning it this year. It was obvious from the way the judges were reacting he was going to be bussed. Paul was not my favorite by any stretch of the imagination but I am so totally done with the manipulation this season. This is why the show has lost it’s taste for me. Season 10 was pretty bad too but this year is the worse yet.

  6. Leah Hoffman says:

    So, I wait ALL WEEK for Idology and it’s only 9 mintues long? Boo.

  7. Temperence says:

    I’m fine with Lazaro getting a couple more weeks to see if the promise he shows pans out. if he rises, he could be the next Ricky Martin. If not, he’ll have had his chance. It’s not like any of the people that will be eliminated between now and then can touch Candice, or even
    Kree.

  8. ktbanks says:

    Haha. The look on your face at 1:10 when she mentions closing your eyes during Angie’s song is PRICELESS! I do love Angie’s voice, but I totally see where you/Jimmy are coming from on the theatricality/Cats thing. I’m hoping she can fix it.

    Also, you may be going to hell for the Devin joke, but I laughed at it, so I guess I’m joining you there.

  9. Loni says:

    Thanks Melinda for standing up for Angie! Her song was gorgeous. Yes, it might have been a bit dramatic, but it’s a performance people. She was the only contestant that really drew me in during her song and I felt like I was listening to her tell of her own personal saddness.

  10. Marlex says:

    Agree with Melinda on Angie. Yesterday is a dramatic song. I had no problem whatsoever with her performance.

    I liked Angie’s performance, but have to side with Melinda again that it wasn’t a fully realized emotional performance.

    • scooby says:

      Ah, but see, therein lies the problem. The song is dramatic, her voice doesn’t need to be. The melody/words are enough to generate incredible emotions. Angie over-egged the pudding. You don’t belt “Yesterday.” The song is the star here. There’s a reason it’s the most covered pop song in history. If you want to show off your voice, you need to pick a different song because simplicity and nuance are key.

  11. H says:

    I was disappointed by Angie and Burnell’s performances this week. Great singers, but they didn’t understand the depth and emotion behind their songs at all. Meanwhile, Janelle and Amber did, and their performances were terrific!

    • Claudia says:

      I totally agree with your views on all four. Angie esp turned me off with her dramatics/facial expressions. Burnell needs to learn how to use his hands but the worst part was his phrasing was a little weird. I thought Amber’s performance was gorgeous & this was Janelle’s best performance so far.

      • Sierra says:

        Not to mention her “free hand” gestures. I can almost understand a singer practicing in front of a mirror to see what facial expressions might work, but Angie seems to take it a step (or two) further, practicing what to do with the hand not holding the microphone, perfecting those oh-so-delicate-and-graceful motions…

  12. Temperence says:

    Hmmm. Amber’s vocal was vastly better than her voting position. Angie’s theatricality was spot on, though I wasn’t on board with her occasional changes to the melody. I want to like Devin beause his voice is gorgeous, but he is… so blank; he doesn’t move me a bit. I loved Burnel’s audition, but he’s been so plasticized since – he’s become a generic R&B drone that we’ve already seen a billion of and are totally mored with. Paul needs to forget the country and do pop-rock or alternative and crank up the theatricality (like Muse).

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I’m 100% there on your assessment of Paul. he really isn’t a country singer.

      • whosays says:

        Frankly, Paul’s a good-looking guy, but also somewhat effeminate in his speaking voice & gestures. The worlds of pop-rock, alt-rock, and classical-crossover are both ok with that in a guy; country, much less so. I can hear his voice going in any of those 3 directions. When he sings country, he sounds like a mainstream singer attempting country.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Agreed. Paul = good voice, but wrong genre. Maybe that is why he always seemed a little off to me. I couldn’t put my finger on it.

  13. Pat says:

    LOVE Idology! Thank you Michael and Melinda for brightening my Monday mornings!

  14. darcy's evil twin says:

    As usual, another great Idology! Loved Melinda’s dancing!
    Devin Velez is reminding me of Paul McDonald. Not because they look or even remotely sound alike – I just remember trying SO HARD to really like Paul, and I just…couldn’t…get there. Paul was so unique but turned in too many lackluster performances (and then I seem to recall he lost his voice). Devin is technically sound but reminds me of a kid singing “Ich Liebe Dich” at a high school level state music competition. In fact, Devin is also reminding me a bit of Pia Toscano.
    .
    I totally agree with Temperance (posted above) that Paul needs to forget country and go with pop-rock. I agree with Mr. Slezak and Melinda in their critique. Paul was pretty good last week.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Oh, I couldn’t stand Paul – nice teeth though. I get it. I like Devin, but maybe I am forcing myself to. He could use a few more years to work on emoting, but the boy can sang….

    • darcy the slutty twin says:

      Mmmm, Paul McDonald. Yum. I cannot imagine comparing Paul to Devin. Paul was sexy and hot and manly while Devin is….gay. Or at least gives off that vibe.

  15. Jake says:

    Amber is truly the best voice out there along with Candice– more people should vote for her!

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Agree. As for Candice’s performance of “Come Together”, WE’RE NOT WORTHY, Candice. The high water mark for me is when a performer makes me enjoy a song I can’t stand. Crystal Bowersox did it with Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason”.
        .
        Candice and Crystal Bowersox both managed to make me enjoy “Come Together”, probably one of my least favorite Beatles songs. Until now. I walking around singing “Come Together”. Muddy waters, indeed!

        • My Alter Ego says:

          “Muddy waters, indeed!” Yes, DET. Or, as a poster said on a live blog (don’t know whether I’m supposed to venture into these waters and mention it by name, so I won’t): “holy lower register, Candice!” I “frakkin” loved that!
          **
          DET, your assessment of your own “high water mark” is high praise, indeed. It is easy to dismiss “Come Together.” Hugely popular, without a doubt, but why?? (Interesting bass line, maybe? But it’s repetitious.)
          **
          But, as you pointed out, both Crystal and Candice have created such enjoyable versions, that you’ve given up your self professed aversion. Yes — high praise!

          And, then there’s Candice’s “holy lower register”!! Lawdy — she’s good!

          • HitTheGroundRunning says:

            She actually did sound even more exciting than the voice pro’s version now that I think about it. Perhaps. I’d have to listen again.

        • ejones says:

          Candice’s biggest issue is that she needs to look like a popstar not an American Footballer, lose some weight my dear.

          • Griffin says:

            Rude!!! Are you serious? It’s not about outward appearance all the time,

          • My Alter Ego says:

            Unkind and unnecessary

          • Vice says:

            She is quite the porker.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            I cannot believe you went there. That is low. Really low.

          • Miscellaneopolan says:

            ‘Muddy water’ low?
            .
            I don’t think we need to act like her weight is a non-issue. There aren’t many current pop stars who look like her, and Aretha Franklin’s day is long past. Jennifer Hudson was bigger for a while, but even she bowed to pressure and lost the weight eventually. Candice’s weight could honestly could become a factor when she tries to make it in the music business, so we don’t do her any favors by keeping quiet about it.
            .
            It’s kind of the elephant in the room…

          • LOLOL says:

            Candace looks like the elephant in the room.

  16. sdexta says:

    Thank you Melinda for standing up for Angie! I do see where Slezak, Jimmy, etc are coming from with the dramatics, but I didn’t care! I love the sound of her voice and thought her performance of Yesterday was really beautiful. Also agree about Amber. Excellent vocal, but not enough emotion…regardless, absolutely no justification for being in the bottom 3.

  17. Marta says:

    I’m not convinced completely that Janelle staged a comeback this week…. now, if she can be great back to back weeks, I’ll start getting on board. Somehow I think Motown won’t do her any favors, unless Allison Krauss has also covered a Motown track. Plus she’ll perform early I imagine. I don’t dislike her, but its a bit premature to suddenly this week think she’s as good as the other 4 women.

  18. Sara says:

    Ugh leave Lazaro alone. He has a fantastic voice – he has his off weeks but when he nails it, he nails it. And Angie is amazing the way she is. I would buy her album the moment it came out.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      When did Lazaro “nail it”? I guess I missed that performance.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      I like you. Stick around a while; we need your positivity.

    • houster says:

      Lazaro does not have a fantastic voice. The only time he came close to “nailing it” was with “Feeling Good.”

      • Julie says:

        Come on, be honest, he has a shocking voice – amateur at best. It’s all about the back story. Competition is very poor this year – where are the Adam Lamberts, David Cooks, Crystal Bowersox, Kris Allen, even Casey Abrahams? There is no-one with a personality, they’re all safe and, in the main (Kree and Candice excepted) dull. Nick Boddington was easily the best male singer but he didn’t even make the lives, real pity. Struggling to maintain an interest this year.

  19. marie says:

    Agree with Michael on both Angie and Amber. And of course – CANDICE.

  20. Lunakit says:

    Here is my week with Idol:
    Wed night: Read Michael’s recap and comments
    Thursday night: Read Michael’s recap and comments
    Weekend: Watch the shows from both nights
    Monday morning: (fave part of the week!) Watch Idology
    :-)

  21. James A says:

    Good job as always Slezak…But I have to say Amber is my least favorite girl and the least talented one left in the pack.

    • Alex says:

      Disagree… Amber, I think, is more vocally gifted than Janelle.

    • whosays says:

      Amber’s the only one in the entire lot who can handle some serious uptempo. Maybe the first idol in years who can do so. Remember when Jessica had some trouble with Turn the Beat Around last year? Well, when I heard Amber do “I’m Every Woman” a couple weeks ago, my jaw just dropped – she handled it with such ease, and that’s basically a modern-day disco song. I bet she could handle TtBA, and I hope she does something very uptempo for Motown week. It will definitely help set her apart from this pack.

      • karen says:

        Kree and Candice can handle uptempo. Really, what are you talking about?

      • My Alter Ego says:

        “Well, when I heard Amber do “I’m Every Woman” a couple weeks ago, my jaw just dropped – she handled it with such ease, and that’s basically a modern-day disco song.”

        @whosays: Here’s the thing. Amber tends to sing whatever she sings “with such ease,” that I fear that most people (defined as the general audience, lacking in some rudimentary knowledge of music) will not recognize how incredibly good she is. This is why I’m concerned for Amber. She belongs to be in same group as Candice and Kree.

        • Name That Tune says:

          And you should be concerned. She has been unable to get people excited. Anytime you do something with “such ease” you risk losing the audience. ‘Cuz most important things in life are not “easy”. It is why I am struggling to hear her connection to the songs she sings. And I am a Whitney, Celine, Mariah, Aretha, Adele fan.

      • houster says:

        Since then, Amber hasn’t done an uptempo song.

    • duke says:

      Say what!!??? Are we talking Amber that’s on AI?? That girl can sing

    • Dan says:

      Worse than Lazaro?

    • lemon says:

      Amber has one of the top two voices on the show.

    • John Tillman says:

      Amber is most definitely one of the most talented. Emotion is a whole other thing. But her vocal is always spot on and she’s younger and than a lot of them. To say she’s the least talented is completely off. Lazaro though, hit so many flat and sharp notes and he knew it. He’s a great person but needs more practice.

    • Carmen says:

      Okay, time for a blind Amber sing test. Back in a bit.

      • Carmen says:

        Amber sounded (and looked) beautiful, both with and without watching. The only musical miscalculation that I heard was when she opened up too aggressively on “She… is… LEAVING,” making for a slightly unpleasant edge on that long note. Otherwise very nice in every way for me.

        Why does poor Amber always get the meteorological (mis)treatment? One week she’s up against Hurrican Camille getting blown about, and then Beatles week they drop her into that maze of dry ice haze and see if she can find her way out (the poor violinists and cellists had it even worse since they were seated in it).

        Anyway, Amber is growing on me every week. Unlike a lot of the contestants, she doesn’t suffer in the visual close-ups. Her look, sound, and emotions were matched nicely for “She’s Leaving Home.”

        Also thought she looked stunning in her yellow dress. I am now officially an Amber fan. Then again, all the girls are very strong. Even Janelle stepped up and sculpted a beautiful performance. The poor guys are hopelessly overmatched this year, but then that’s probably not by accident, right?

        • My Alter Ego says:

          Carmen, I appreciate your “blind tests.” Initially, I thought: that it’s such a smart way of approaching this. Then I realized, I often do that anyway because I often listen when I can’t watch. It really makes a difference, doesn’t it?
          **
          Coming from a strong musical background, generally, I am more impressed with substance, rather than style. (Now, when one does both, i.e. Joshua Ledet, then other factors are at play.)

          “Miss Candice” is fabulous! While I recognize how musically good Kree is, and I can’t not acknowledge that, I don’t get the “connect” that others seem to. Angie is just too histrionic for my tastes. But Amber mesmerizes me. She does “what she does” so effortlessly.

          And, maybe that’s her problem. Maybe viewers want to see “effort” when it’s unnecessary.

          • Carmen says:

            Thanks Mae (is that okay?). I too am all about the substance over style. The commercially successful “stars” have both of course, but just the musical substance is more than enough for me.

            Joshua Ledet was wonderful, as you say, and had both. I’m loving both Miss Candice and Ms Kree this season. Kree’s performance was low-key this (past) week which is fine. Candice stood out as usual. Both have a wealth of talent and i look forward to hearing more from both. Amber is definitely underrated. I don’t care if she wins or not; I just like hearing her sing. Angie is hard to watch but has talent; just needs to tone down the drama. Janelle did well this week, very well.

            I have no interest in any of the guys this season. None. Some of them have good voices but don’t do anything interesting with it, imo.

            Anyway, nice chatting with you. I wish I wasn’t so busy last week and could’ve joined in on the Beatlemania more. It’s so up my alley.

          • My Alter Ego says:

            @Carmen, MAE is fine — in fact, I have some really fond memories of when I went from My Alter Ego or Alter Ego, to MAE (I generally see it in all caps, though, like an acronym).
            **
            I wonder who you’re referring to when you say that the “commercially successful” have both (substance and style). Given that a great number of “commercially successful artists” (and I use the term “artist” exceedingly sarcastically) seem to rely on autotune, which, for me, throws substance out of the conversation), I’m less kind than you are.
            **
            Joshua Ledet is an anomaly. He’s the “Daniel Day Lewis” of music. By that I mean, as an actor, DDL, takes on a wide variety of roles, tends to do whatever homework he thinks is necessary, but when we see the finished product it isn’t “Daniel Day Lewis portraying (fill in the role)”, but his transformation into the character he’s portraying. Joshua did that with music. He let the music consume him (for the most part — there were a few exceptions), and then what we witnessed (saw and heard, but I think “witnessed” describes it better), is how that song transformed Joshua. But Joshua can sing! He doesn’t “gesture” at a specific point because it was a “camera opportunity” — he did it because “that’s where he was at that moment.” Some people don’t like his voice and/or style, but that doesn’t mean that Joshua isn’t vocally really good or that his performances aren’t electric and genuine.
            **
            So, back to AI Season 12, four of the five women (Candice, Amber, Kree, and Angie) all have extraordinarily good voices, and Janelle’s is certainly better than some of the remaining men (well, one, anyway). I prefer Candice (or should that be “Miss Candice”) and Amber because my (jazz) ear picks up on the great riffs they add, and, in Amber’s case, I’m so worried that people aren’t getting how incredibly good she is . (Sigh — the voting populace rarely seems to recognize that which is “musically good.”)
            **
            Ms. Kree is as gifted as Miss Candice and Amber (Miss Amber??). But I always hear those country leanings, and that genre is just … not … something …. I …. find …. palatable. But, I WILL NOT dismiss Kree’s musical abilities because of that. I think that she said that she had a cold during the past week. So, between having to operate on stilts (at least 4 inch heels that she’s probably not used to) and, perhaps, some cold medication to get through performance, I’m completely willing to overlook this performance as another anomaly.

            And, then there Angela, now Angie, (maybe shortened more soon?). The “Marie Osmond/Debbie Boone” mentions keep coming back. Technically excellent, but, to me, is far more removed from what she’s singing than Amber, and, thus, can’t “sell the song.”

            Janelle has had her ups and downs. TPTB are in her favor, but, ironically, that may be the continuing downfall of the show.

          • Carmen says:

            Great Post MAE!

            Yes, you are correct that some people achieve commercial success through gimmicks, auto-tune, and other utterly undeserving paths to stardom. Most of them don’t last though. I was referring more to deserving artists who ‘put it all together’ and create a compelling frission of all the elements that make musical performance special.
            Thus, a solid and lasting impact on the scene. Of course there are deplorable exceptions to that idea (too many exceptions I’m sure but i don’t pay much attention to them).

            Interesting that you are of a jazz background. Mine is classical. Our musical experiences surely inform our perspectives on the various AI contestants. I was one of the few who was pulling for Katherine McPhee many years ago because I just loved in vocal tone, control, and expression. That was the year that Taylor Hicks won. Ugh.

            As for country music, I enjoy it somewhat. More-so the Folk sounding side of it. I am a big fan of Carrie Underwood who, to bring this post all the way back to where we started, is one of those artists who has it all; Style, Substance, Personality, Musicality, Everything.

            Always nice to get your take on things. I really wish i hadn’t been so freaking busy this past week so that i could’ve posted more on the Beatles week of performances. I love the Beatles! Remember Paul McDonald’s Hollywood Week (i think) duet version of Blackbird with that lovely voiced girl I can’t remember the name of now? That was just wonderful. I wasn’t even particularly a fan or not a fan of Paul’s (kind of neutral on him) but that song was magic the way they turned it. Simply beautiful.

    • My Alter Ego says:

      Oh, Amber is far more gifted! The girl sings ridiculously difficult stuff (I’m thinking of her rendition of the Whitney “I Believe in You and Me”), and tosses it off as effortlessly as though it were “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” Janelle’s not … even .. close.

      You may not care for Amber’s style, her voice, whatever … but Janelle is not remotely close to being in Amber’s league.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      I wouldn’t say that. Weakest girl? Yes. Weakest in the pack? Hardly. Even at her worst, she is miles ahead of the men, and I say this as someone who prayed for Burnell and Devin to make the tour.

      • My Alter Ego says:

        LeahKittyS – Amber the weakest girl??? Seriously?? In popularity — perhaps. In “true musicality,” if you really believe this, then we need to have a serious “come to Jesus” talk – and I can’t begin to tell you how ridiculous and painful that statement was to me. ( DET, no offense intended, I promise!)

        Your prayer was granted (regarding Burnell and Devin – and it should have been.

        • LeahKittyS says:

          Sorry if I offended. Going into the finals, I thought Amber was stronger than Janelle. But I love country music and am not so much into Amber’s “little Whitney” vibe. Even if she went contemporary R&B, that’s not the kind of music I typically buy. And Janelle is on an incline, not to mention all the promotion she got in Hollywood to carry her through. Still, either one of them could be the first woman out.

          • My Alter Ego says:

            LeahKitty S, you didn’t offend me, but Amber’s vocal abilities and Janelle’s vocal abilities are quite different, and Janelle pales in comparison. However, Janelle appeals to a broad group, I suspect, which will probably get her through a few more weeks.

      • deedee says:

        Leah, Amber may not be “there” yet in terms of performance, but her voice is ridiculously strong. Janelle, imo, is by far the weakest girl in the competition, and I might even put her behind Burnell … possibly even Devin. Of all the girls, I see Amber as having the most whole-package potential because she’s drop-dead gorgeous, has a killer voice that is impossibly effortless, and is very young with plenty of time to gain experience. I have a feeling Jimmy might sign her to a development deal because she can grow into a very marketable artist.

        • Name That Tune says:

          I think Jimmy is bullish on Amber. As well as Candice Kree & Angie. I think he’s having nightmares about Lazaro though. Trying to toughen him up & grow him up on the national stage.

  22. Alexa says:

    Lazaro is the one guy who is getting tons of votes regardless of performance quality (e.g. he was #4 during Top 10 week in voting despite sounding pretty mediocre and certainly worse than the other contestants), so the producers needed to take him down a notch and decrease his likeability – hence him being called out on the whole “one day to practice” quote. Such a manipulative show . . . you’re getting a female winner regardless because the men this season are terrible, so there’s no need to keep on pushing.

    • houster says:

      But cutting him to ribbons probably had the opposite effect — many more sympathy votes for Lazaro. Why do you think the rankings were not announced last week? Most likely because Lazaro was in the Top 3.

      Historically, the way the judges get rid of an unwanted contestant is to give him/her benign comments after the song — sort of like when Randy says that it “was just a’right for me, but much better than last week.” That way, many people who vote will be satisfied that the judges and Iovine are not going after Lazaro, with the result that he will get fewer sympathy votes.

      • Name That Tune says:

        Houser you have it. He most likely is sitting at #2. He does need to go home but saying anything negative about him is only going to the fires burning. The less said the better.

  23. LeahKittyS says:

    Oh my gosh, Mike, I love you! Cats is my all-time favorite musical, and you pull off a hilarious reference only a minute into the video! Seriously, why do you two not have a segment on TV.
    Great show as always, but one minor complaint: no video medley of The Four Bosses who sang the heck out of “Come Together?” You raved about them all on Twitter, I was expecting you to pay tribute here.

  24. Vice says:

    I agree with Melinda that Angie was sublime this week and clearly the best. Candice actually reminds me a lot of Melinda…Excellent vocals and what not, but certainly not very pleasant to look at and a tad bit boring as well as its always the same ol’ vocal with her.

    • whosays says:

      Interesting, because I would have said just the opposite.

      Angie makes every song sound like the same song. I even watched all her YT vids – she sings a wide variety of songs of varying genres, but after I hear each song, I can’t remember what song I heard, and all I remember is that I heard Angie singing it.

      Candice OTOH brings jazzy riffs to Ordinary People, soul-sistered I’m Going Down, and rocks out on Come Together – possibly my favorite CT on AI, even though I love both Kris and Crystal. Candice proves that she can sing a wide variety of genres, staying to the genre will bringing something extra to it.

    • marie says:

      ????? What? “Excellent vocals and what not, but certainly not very pleasant to look at and a tad bit boring as well.” Classy remark, insulting both ladies!

    • JR says:

      What? Candice and Melinda “not very pleasant to look and a tad bit boring”. Those ladies have such dynamics with just their voices! I’m sorry, I respect every opinion but that’s just wrong.

      • Vice says:

        Come now…we all know that Candace and Melinda aren’t winning any beauty pageants anytime soon! They both can Sing the crap outta any song but after awhile it just get so boring and lame…Reason why Candace will finish 3rd and its the reason Melinda will finish 3rd. Angie is Blake and Kree is Jordin!

    • Name That Tune says:

      LOL but isn’t Adele kind of the same? As well as Aretha and a few other great black female singers.
      While you fret about silly surface issues Candice is on her way to a successful and lucrative future.

      • deedee says:

        But, Name That Tune, it’s not a surface issue! According to Vice, a woman who couldn’t win a beauty pageant can “sing the crap outta any song” and somehow magically transform it into something that is “so boring and lame”. Amazing, isn’t it?

  25. Richard says:

    Why is Michael wearing one of Lazaro’s shirts?

  26. Billie says:

    MY ‘IDOL’ THOUGHTS
    Hmm, I see, Michael has a point in Angie’s latest performance in a sense that is was way too theatrical on a platform like American Idol. But just like Melinda said I guess you somehow gave her credit that she was able to partially connect (if not fully which I absolutely do not think so) to the song compare to others. In Amber’s case, I agree with Melinda in a way that she’s giving this Carly Rose Sonenclar vibe, technically well but I think that when she hears to a song and when she figured out what the mood was then that is the mood she’s going to show when she’s going to perform like she did during her Beatles’ song, since the song sounded sad she will perform it sad and not going to any other place at all since she didn’t understand what exactly the song was about. I mean the girl looks like a freaking cute pop star, but it’s very fine with me if she’s the first girl going home in the Top 10, as long as it will benefit Candice to go longer in the competition. And a one-week strong performance from Janelle is not enough for me to believe that she’ll continue to do well in a sense that she has the tendency to push her voice a bit too much out from her comfortable range just to compete with belting vocalists of the show.

  27. Danny says:

    I thought 4 of the 5 gals did pretty well. I think the judges gave Kree good marks because of what she’s done in the past. I’m still waiting for one of those “WOW!!” songs though.

    My overall top 5 is now:
    1) Amber
    2) Candice
    3) Angela
    4) Janelle
    5) Kree

    They’re all pretty close. One great song could take Kree from 5 to 1 or on the flip side if Amber didn’t do well next week she could be #5.

  28. fullyCOOKed says:

    Paul going and Lazaro staying is ridiculous. Don’t hate the show, hate the voters.

    • ben says:

      Yes and no. If Lazaro was in the bottom 2, I’d have been fine with Paul going. I still think he was the only one there who didn’t deserve to be there (Lazaro at least sang really well on top 10 boys night to get in.)

  29. karen says:

    Angie did absolutely nothing for me on Yesterday. I like the tone of her voice, but I just can’t shake the Debbie Boone “You Light Up My Life” association. As for Kree, she makes it looks so easy, but she’s by far and away right up there w/ Candice in terms of talent and prowess.

  30. Kevin C. says:

    At this point two seasons ago you could have easily made the case that Haley Reinhart was suffering from an even bigger emotional disconnect than this year’s guys (between the big smile she kept on her face through “Piece of My Heart” and “Blue” and the sultry/sexy vibe she tried to bring to every single song that was great for “Bennie and the Jets” but not so much for “Fallin'”).

    • Kevin C. says:

      (hit post too early there)

      …but that’s something that can be picked up over time. By Top 7 week there was a massive difference in Haley’s performances.

      • JASon says:

        I hat when people say emotional disconnect. it’s like you want them to act out the words or something! WHo cares! If the vocal sounds great which Haley’s did on every performance she did! Who cares if she looks sad when she’s singing Blue or Piece Of My Heart. Blue was one of my favorite performances by her. I didn’t even notice she was “emotionally disconnected”. I relally don’t even no what that means except a lame reality show comment for a lame reality show culture. You’re not supposed to act something out! Just sing the freaking song!!

        • deedee says:

          Incorrect. Emotional connection does not mean “acting out the words”. If that’s what it meant, then I would have loved Angie’s “Yesterday”. It has more to do with understanding the mood or tone of the song, and conveying it to draw in the audience. That’s why “I Who Have Nothing” was equally good performed by 3 different singers (Jordin, Haley, and Candice) with 3 different interpretations. We, the viewers or listeners, connect to the music when the singer knows what s/he is singing about.

    • teatime says:

      Haley is a great example of a contestant who took a while to catch on. She is one of my all time favorites yet she originally was not on my radar at all. It took that one performance to really wow me, and then I could appreciate the variety that she brought to her performances. I need to hear a variety of performances from a contestant.

      • Carmen says:

        Another thing that was so appealing about Haley was her utter fearlessness. She knew who she was and when she was onstage there was always authenticity about her, even when she was stuck in pussycat mode early on.

      • HitTheGroundRunning says:

        Interesting, I actually picked her as winner right off the audition!

        • JASon says:

          For me it was “Blue”! Of course I had never heard that song before so maybe that’s why I was so impressed by it!

        • teatime says:

          The first thing I remember is her singing Blue. I think of that as a country song and I just thought it was an oddly interesting performance. Then there were a couple performances where she was, “That girl who sang Blue. She’s always kinda interesting.” By the time she performanced Moanin and Rolling in the Deep, I was hooked. I was familiar with Rolling in the Deep and really liked it and I was kinda blown away at how she just slightly changed the phrasing and inserted her own personality and gave a great performance. I had never heard Moanin’ before and that performance was just fantastic. I remember being a little irritated by Randy’s comments about Rolling in the Deep and IIRC there was already this builidng irritation that the judging for her was unusually luke warm while several other contestants could do no wrong. The rest is history. Everything else she did was good to great. I particularly loved her performances for You and I and Earth Song, while those were two of the most harshly judged!

          • jane says:

            Sometimes when I’m having a bad day, I watch her “victory” song, the encore of Bennie and the Jets from the top 3 results night! And when I hear Adele sing Rolling in the Deep I’m always waiting for Haley’s little scat near the end, and am sad it’s not there.

          • AlyB says:

            I fell in love with Haley when she did God Bless The Child . I do think it took her a few performances once she made the show to get her footing but once she did Bennie and the Jets she started her trek into Idol history as one of the best female vocalists. I bought everything she sang on the show and I haven’t done that for any other contestant.

          • teatime says:

            Come to think if it, I was like this with David Cook, too. I thought he was one of the Davids, or maybe one of the Cooks, but there were a lot of good contestants and I really couldn’t keep all the names straight. I would forget about him until he showed up on stage to perform and then I would think, “Oh, yeah, this guy! He always does something different. I bet this will be good too.” Ironically, for me, Innocent was an important performance for him. It was not one of his jaw droppers and it is not one of my favorite performances from him. It was not one of the more celebrated performances that night and Simon dissed it. I didn’t know the song at all so I had no idea what changes he was making and I didn’t really get the gist of the lyrics listening to it that first time and in a 90 second format. Yet it was still good, and interesting, and memorable. It said a lot that he chose to perform a song that was not at all well known but was a song that meant something to him and that was worth knowing. It was all part of the whole package of an interesting and accomplished and versatile artist with their own distinct point of view.

  31. Shaun says:

    I think Angie needs to break away from the big vocals and seperate from the other 3 girls.She just needs to show how great she is at modifying songs to suit her needs.

  32. forwarddad says:

    Well hope you voted? I liked Angie better when she was Angela.

  33. ben says:

    Michael, I have always, always thought Jimmy reads your column. He has had uncanny change of views to suddenly align with TVLine/general public. Is this necessarily a bad thing? Not sure – I think it can be at times, because sometimes it just sends contestants up an even more futile road. Some people in the competition should just be left to be themselves, because they’ll never win either way.

    I am loving Burnell. Here are my rankings right now.
    1) Candice
    2) Amber
    3) Burnell
    4) Kree
    5) Janelle (moving on up)
    6) Devin
    7) Angie (wow, even I didn’t know I had her this low till just now).
    8) Lazaro

    • karen says:

      I think Jimmy’s smart enough to figure it out on his own w/o having to read Michael’s column. Except for the fact that he’s dead wrong about Kree “over singing.”

  34. John Clayton says:

    Slezak- I don’t know if you read the comments, but I hope you do. The reason Paul was eliminated had less to do with his vocal, and more to do with the absence of country twang in Paul’s voice. For someone who had his authenticity questioned weeks earlier by Keith, showing that he can sing without that country sound was the nail in his coffin. Country people don’t like to listen to people who are “faking” the country song— just look at Danny Gokey’s album sales— just to sell records. Country is all about authenticity, and Paul lost it that week. He tried to claim he couldn’t make the song sound country, and then later was shown up by janelle, who had no problem sounding country. You missed the whole point of why Paul was eliminated this week. IMO.- Mac, mjsbigblog.com

  35. Teeny Bikini says:

    Look, I don’t get Janelle. I thought she was awful. I can’t connect with her. There have been waaaaaaaay better country singers on this show. She is ordinary at best, and that includes Beatles night.

    • JR says:

      I’ve been quite disappointed on Janelle for the last 2/3 weeks, but this week she actually sang really well. I didn’t love it, I’d actually put in 5th place after the other girls but you can’t deny that vocally she was good. Now if you talk about not connecting with her, that’s just another story but she’s not “awful”, for sure.

      • AlyB says:

        I don’t think she’s awful at all. She has an incredible sweetness to her tone that really came through in I Will. That said, the other girls are vocal masterclass to her high school talent show. She literally ran out of breath at least twice in the first part of her song. She also has not delivered consistently. I think last week showed just how pretty her voice could be but she lacks technical skill and the other girls just flat out ousting her.

        • Teeny Bikini says:

          You know, I really loved her in Hollywood. I thought for sure she would win, but all of the stuff I loved is gone. She has talent somewhere, but she might need a few more years to focus on her breathing and consistency and a personality – wouldn’t hurt either.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you Teeny Bikini – I feel the same way about Janelle. She ranks right above Lazaro in my list.

  36. danimal12 says:

    Amber picked the wrong song, pure and simple. With the whole Beatles catalogue to browse, she chose a little-known ballad that few know and even fewer like. She was forgettable.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      She didn’t have the whole Beatles catalogue to browse. The list the contestants were given to pick from only had about 20 songs on it. As for ballad after ballad, Amber said once on her Twitter that picking uptempo songs is a big risk (because you’re more likely to go off pitch if you’re moving around?) so I’m not counting on one from her anytime soon.

      • lemon says:

        Apparently, Amber wanted “Yesterday.” If she had sung that, “Let it Be” or “I Will,” while wearing a white Grecian Goddess gown, and sitting on a stool, she wouldn’t have been in the bottom. When people talk about “feeling a connection,” (a VERY subjective and personal thing,) they are usually talking about something visual. It can even come down to the camera angles, which can be manipulated by the producers.

        And yes, I hope she does a ballad. There’s a reason they do them more. Uptempo songs are very risky, even we find them entertaining.

        • lemon says:

          Even “if” we find them entertaining.

          • lemon says:

            Oh, and I’m also waiting for the show where they put any of the other four women in high heels, on stairs, with a fog machine.

          • deedee says:

            I think the heels are hurting Kree as well. She looks a little hesitant on stage at times, and I completely blame the 4 inch heels they make the girls wear. Add stairs and fog, and it’s over.

        • LeahKittyS says:

          Whoa, whoa, hold up. What that a jab at Janelle? That was a jab at Janelle. And I’m not gonna take it. You broke Rule #2. I have rules this season, starting from Top 20 onward:
          1. You do not diss Kree Harrison.
          2. You do not diss Janelle Arthur.
          3. You do not diss Candice Glover.
          4. You do not diss Angie Miller.
          I also had Rule #5: “You do not diss Amber Holcomb,” but she was in the Bottom 3 this week, so America already dissed her and I have no control over that. America also broke Rule #6 “You do not diss Aubrey Cleland,” but they’ve made up for that. And Mike here is making up for Rule #7: “You do not diss Breanna Steer.” Seriously, why did they not do Wildcards this year?

          • Carmen says:

            I had to think awhile before I remembered who Aubrey Cleland was ;)

          • lemon says:

            Nope, not a jab at Janelle. Vocally, she is not in the same solar system as the other ladies, but she has her charms. I liked Janelle’s performance last week. It was a jab at the manipulations of the producers. Amber was ahead of Janelle the first week. Maybe they/Nigel didn’t like that? These kids have little say in how the production is set up for their numbers.

          • Jim says:

            diss, diss, diss, diss, diss on Janelle Arthur!

        • houster says:

          Actually, I think Amber should have sang “Till There Was You.”

          • My Alter Ego says:

            Except the theme was songs written by Lennon and/or McCartney. “Till There Was You” was covered by the Beatles, but was written by Meredith Wilson (for show, The Music Man.)

  37. Chandra Peskin says:

    Keith Urban is the ONLY musically knowledgeable judge on the show. Shouldn’t that be a basic requirement? Instead they have pretentious, obnoxious ghetto judges like Nikki on the show and Ms. Diva-Mariah has never heard of “She’s Leaving Home” from the Sargent Pepper album. Seriously! So freakin ignorant. Not to mention, most of the contestants hadn’t heard some of the most iconic Beatles songs before (my son is young and a budding musician and I made sure he knows his music history). I really wish they wouldn’t have Beatles week – it’s so depressing to know most kids & adults in America are so bleeding ignorant about the greatest music ever produced.

    • karen says:

      Uh, Mariah Carey has had more #1 hits than any solo artist in U.S. history, and is one of the best-selling music artists of all time with more 200 million records sold. She knows “nothing” about music? LOL.

  38. Splinterette says:

    Angie Miller was my pick to win this year — after seeing her on at the piano — but now every time she sings I keep yelling at the TV “Stop looking at me!” Seriously, Angie, STOP looking at the camera. Also, She’s Leaving Home is one of my favorite Beatles songs and I thought Amber butchered it — not with improper singing, but with improper interpretation. I am disgusted every time someone says they want to be a singer and doesn’t know The Beatles — there is NO EXCUSE!!!

  39. Bonnie A. says:

    I’m more on Melinda’s side in the reviews this week. I like Angie’s singing if I didn’t look at her too much–think she should go back to the piano. I liked listening to Paul all through the season so far, but without watching him. His voice is special, I think.

    Amber has a beautiful voice but may need maturing before she can be more emotionally appropriate in her singing. I was glad they showed her during rehearsals on the show–that helped to get to know her better.

    Loved Janelle because “I Will” was such a personal favorite Beatles song of mine when I was 18. So glad it was performed so gorgeously. I’m in that age group where I know every word of every Beatles song–I listened to them by the hour. Hard to believe that this generation doesn’t know those fabulous songs.

    I have always thought Jimmy Iovine reads Michael’s comments and then the readers’ comments before he gives his reviews.

    • Carmen says:

      Yes, Paul was very hard to watch with his constant, maudlin engagements with the camera.

      • Carmen says:

        None of them should be trying to seduce the viewers with camera action. Just sing the song and ignore the camera. If your singing is “special,” then (most of) the audience will know it and appreciate it. If not, then no amount of camera sex will make up the deficit.

        • LeahKittyS says:

          “Camera sex” LOL. Actually, I read in “Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul” that the director advises contestants to “make love to the lens.” So blame him.

          • Carmen says:

            Yes Leah, I’m sure you are correct about that. AI wants all the “face time” they can get during performances because it amps up the emotional effect on viewers out in TV land. Contestants need to guard against giving in to these producer pressures too much because such (close-up) face time can just as easily amp up negative reactions as positive ones, especially when it comes across as artificial, which is often the case.

  40. Guitar Blue says:

    Tonight we’ll see how the top 8 might compare to the better auditions on The Voice.

    Since Devin has barely escaped elimination twice, he won’t get a save if he’s last/ 8th place. …………………..Amber would be saved at this point, but neither of the guys would be.

  41. ChloeSunshine says:

    Janelle did do a really wonderful job with her song. I don’t know if she knew it or not but Alison Krauss does a very similar version of “I Will” on a greatest hots album released in the mid nineties. Look it up on YouTube, they are both very pretty renditions.

  42. scorpo says:

    Hey Michael, I am dying for you to share with us the reason for your last minute wardrobe change. Did you spill coffee on your shirt or did it clash with the set? I know it had to be something like that for you to wear a shirt fresh out of the package without having had an iron touch it first lol.

    • don says:

      Thanks Scorpo, my thought exactly. Any self respectin’ gay man irons or steams before putting on a shirt. What happened Michael?

  43. HitTheGroundRunning says:

    Agreed with Melinda on Angie (BAD Michael!) and with Michael on Amber (BAD Melinda!).

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      Agreed with both pretty much 100% on every last other bit though. (although I think Candice could’ve been even better yet than she was wit that song)

  44. teatime says:

    Come Together put Candice on the map for me. For the past two weeks I was mostly interested to hear what Angela and Kree would do. After them, I have been holding out for Devin or maybe Amber or maybe even Burnell to have one performance where everything clicks. I don’t think any of those last 3 will win, but I think they have the potential to have a fantastic performance that changes their momentum. Now, this week, I am most interested in what Candice will do next.

  45. JR says:

    My ranking this week (best to worst):
    .
    Candice Glover
    Amber Holcomb
    (GRADE A)
    .
    Angie Miller
    Kree Harrison
    Janelle Arthur
    (GRADE B+)
    .
    Burnell Taylor
    (GRADE B -)
    .
    Devin Velez
    Paul Jolley
    (GRADE C+)
    .
    .
    .
    Lazaro Arbos
    (GRADE D-)
    .
    .

  46. Sandra says:

    Love Idology – the analysis this week was right on the mark for me. Can’t believe one of the networks has not grabbed you yet. Would love to see you do a weekly segment on Entrainment tonight! I would like to think that Jimmy reads and watches because some very important points are made.I agree that Paul sounded really good last week. It does make you think that they wanted him to go home because there was no reason for the looks on the judges faces or that they purposely made sure it got camera time. It was very much like they were trying to give him a little push off the ledge.

  47. Wendy says:

    Listen to Amber again on She’s Leaving Home, Melinda. When she hits the word “free” in “Stepping outside,she is free” sounded like someone who was feeling cool, night air on her face, which was a unique take on an incredible song.
    My dream final two are Amber and Candice.

  48. LeahKittyS says:

    I’m not sure whether it’s because of an even playing field or less interest in this season, but I can’t bring myself to post prediction ranking charts like I did last year. Based on how everything’s gone down so far, all I can say is this:
    I agree with what Nicki said in an interview earlier today that Angie, Candice, and Kree are the frontrunners. There is a wall situation with those women that even Amber and Janelle must struggle to penetrate. Last year I was constantly making predictions as to who would finish when, but this time around I can only make two predictions.
    With regards to the Chosen Three:
    1. One of them will be a shock elimination.
    2. The other two will be in the finale.
    I predict these because there was also a wall situation last year with Colton, Jessica, and Phillip. Colton was the shock boot, and the other two became the Final 2.
    Thoughts?

  49. Guitar Blue says:

    I see around the net that Amber is now getting more attention – though in the bottom 3 last week, she seems to be getting some good mentions.

    While Lazaro is getting dissed a lot, Devin & Burnell are not gaining any substantial traction among the guys. Even though some of the middle-of-the-road voters may split-off some votes for Devin, he’s got the biggest hill to climb to become relevant in the competition.

    It will take another 3 weeks of eliminations, and possibly burning the save, before it becomes a real competition.

    • lemon says:

      You should read the comment section for Amber’s SLH on itunes. She’s definitely got some buzz going.

      • houster says:

        The studio version of Amber’s “She’s Leaving Home” is at least 10 times better than how it sounded live. The studio version of Candice’s “Come Together” is not as good as the live version.

  50. jane says:

    Love Michael and Melinda! Amber was great this week and is still my favorite. I’m not quite over her being in the bottom 3. I still don’t get Burnell. I hate his tone and apparently the only song he can sing well is that one from the Color Purple. He sang Let it Be like some cheesy Lounge Singer, with the weird hands and permanent smile. He could not have understood those lyrics less. Paul was never in real contention to be the next American Idol, so it doesn’t really matter to me which way he, Lazraro, Burnell, or Devin go. Don’t count Lazaro out for breaking up an all female top 5. If any of the guys are going to do that, it’ll be him. He’s got the cute guy and sympathy votes in his pocket. He better not stay past Amber or Candice, or I’m done with idol! Even though Janelle was good this week, she’s still the weakest female contestant and could go before a guy.