American Idol Top 7 Performance Night Recap: For Those Who Managed to Rock, We Salute You!

american-idol-top-7-performance-recap-angie-millerI can’t get no satisfaction — not when it comes to American Idol‘s Season 12 theme nights, anyway.

I know, I know: A couple weeks back I put together a gallery of potential alternatives to the usual “Songs That Inspire” and “Songs From the Year You Were Born” — and I’d actually included “’80s Rock” and “No Ballads Allowed” among my 22 suggestions. So you think that Fox’s official announcement of “Classic Rock, No Ballads” for Top 7 night would’ve been cause for nothing but a joyful Headbangers Ball up in Casa Slezak.

Alas, the problem this week wasn’t as much concept as it was execution. First of all, Burnell’s post-performance chat with Ryan Seacrest hinted what most of us know too well: Idol persists in foisting a limited list of pre-cleared songs on its finalists, thereby stifling their creativity and imagination and ensuring we’re doomed to hear the umpteenth version of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” or “You Give Love a Bad Name” or “The Letter.”  Plus, Nigel Lythgoe’s borderline phobic treatment of songs written after the Year 2000 is becoming almost comical in its absurdity.

VIDEO | Idol‘s Devin Velez on Nicki Minaj Feud and That Infamous Trio! Plus: Bieber & Pink Theme Nights?

And don’t even get me started about the fact that Amber essentially sang a ballad. Or the fact that, in the interest of a “redemption edit,” Angie somehow got away with a 2003 Evanescence hit which prompted the producers to drop the modifier “Classic” and turn it into the much more expansive-sounding “Rock Night.” Is it any wonder they had the final two performance slots this week? (Subtlety has never been Nigel’s strong suit.)

VIDEO | Idol‘s Paul Jolley on the Bon Jovi Cover You Never Heard and the Full Story Behind His Beatles Track

Thankfully, a handful of performances managed to cut through the “been here, done this” aura that swept across the stage like so much dry ice. And hey, as my Twitter follower @mjdipaolo pointed out, at least the show seems to have put the SwayBots back in the quarantine barn down on the farm (if you’ll excuse a Walking Dead Season 2 reference). With that said, let’s jump to tonight’s set list and letter grades for every performance.

Candice Glover Ray Chew Idol

Burnell Taylor: Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name” | Look, I understand rock ‘n roll isn’t in Burnell’s “wheelhouse,” but he performed his Bon Jovi cover with such an absence of enthusiasm you might’ve mistakenly thought he was on the Martha Stewart show and learning how to correctly fold a fitted sheet. At best, the performance was a kid waving a white flag with embarrassment and begging for a free pass into next week, when he can get back to performing a ballad at the mic stand while moving nothing but his hands. At worst, though, it was an 18-year-old already so stubbornly attached to a narrow idea of who he is (or wants to be) as an artist, that he can’t be bothered to get creative, find a fresh approach to a new song or give us anything other than depressing karaoke. (For my money, the most honest feedback from the judges was Keith’s howl of laughter as the cameras cut away from the performance and to the judges’ table.) Sure, based on overall body of work, Burnell deserves to outlast Lazaro, but with non-efforts like this, it’ll be hard to muster up outrage if he doesn’t. Grade: D+

Angie Miller & Lazaro Arbos: Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” | For the second consecutive week, Lazaro proved his inability to handle learning the lyrics to more than one song per episode. Angie tried gamely to cover her partner’s missed cues and mumbled delivery, but by the midway point, it seemed as though the volume on her mic had been turned down, transforming the number into a showcase for the show’s background singers. That’s when my internal Siri tried to call up a memory of Joshua Ledet and/or Fantasia’s awesome “Crazy Little Thing” covers from prior seasons — heck, I’d have settled for Tim Freakin’ Urban’s — but like Clarice Starling hearing the screaming of the lambs, some horrors can’t be drown out. Grade: D

Kree Harrison: Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” | Let me preface this by saying that I think Kree Harrison has an absolutely beautiful voice. But contrary to Mariah Carey’s critique, I’m really starting to feel like Kree doesn’t always understand which songs are best suited to her instrument. I mean, “Piece of My Heart” is essentially The Giving Tree in human form: It’s about a protagonist who’s offered her man “everything a woman possibly can” — and you can hear that well of desperation in every tremble and croak of Janis Joplin’s raggedly warble. Kree’s version had none of those rough edges, and alas, none of its gut-level emotion, either. I want to give her a pass, considering she was dealing with a pinched nerve (and as Keith reiterated, another absurd pair of heels), but I’m not certain that Kree would’ve ever possessed the wild abandon needed for “Piece of My Heart” — even if she’d been in perfect health (and not saddled with movement-constricting footwear). I don’t want this to be a case of me loving the idea of a contestant more than the contestant’s actual musical output, but it’s starting to feel that way. Grade: B

[Side note: “Piece of My Heart” has now become such a knee-jerk, go-to anthem for rock weeks on reality singing competitions, I’m actually starting to root for somebody to tackle the otherPiece of My Heart” — the one released by Tara Kemp back in the early ’90s! At least it hasn’t been done to death, right?]

Candice Glover & Burnell Taylor: The Box Tops’ “The Letter” | I’m still obsessed with Carly Smithson and Michael Johns’ ’70s-swaggery results-show rendition of this ditty a few seasons back, which is why I was extra stoked that Candice and Burnell took it in a funky-blues direction (look at me refusing to use the term “made it their own”). Keith was right that Burnell was a shining star, while Candice opened up a whole galaxy when she came wailing on the second verse, but their genuine chemistry made the stage-presence chasm a little less pronounced (aside from those moments when Burnell’s super-stiff arm began to spasm — probably because it wasn’t being allowed to “sculpt the head in the “Hello” video). (Also, a random question, but when was the last time “chasm” and “spasm” got to be in a paragraph together?) Grade: A-

Janelle Arthur: Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right” | I’d be lying if I didn’t point out that Janelle hit a handful (or two) of wobbly notes on the verses of Billy Joel’s hard-charging pop ditty. But hey, at least girlfriend was fully embracing the uptempo theme and working the stage like we’d all come to her concert (and, dagnabit, she was gonna make sure we all got our money’s worth). Better still, as Nicki noted, she’s managed to stay authentically country — but at the same time, show enough confidence to choose songs that, on paper, are daring enough that they could easily turn into catastrophes. No, she doesn’t quite have an engine in her vocal cords the size of Carrie Underwood’s, but then again, I don’t remember Carrie Underwood ever being this much fun during her Season 4 run. Grade: B+

Lazaro Arbos: Queen’s “We Are The Champions” | If I’m being fair, Lazaro’s performance (with maybe 70 percent of notes hit and a lot of aimless wandering) wasn’t anywhere near as painful as his violet and black-sequined tux shirt (paired with turquoise pants!), but it also didn’t have any more originality or gusto than what you’d hear on an average Thursday night karaoke competition at your local pub, either. Nicki can talk about Lazaro’s “Hispanic tease” and Mariah can lie and say things like “you did a good job,” but that’s only because brutal honesty makes Lazaro cry. And Lazaro’s tears make people vote. And when people vote for Lazaro, that means Kree or Candice or Amber or Janelle wind up in jeopardy. (Uh-oh. Why do I have a sinking feeling one of those ladies is going to wind up in jeopardy?) Lemme wrap this paragraph up before I put any other heinous thoughts into the universe. Grade: C+

Janelle Arthur, Amber Holcomb & Kree Harrison: Billy Joel’s “It’s Still Rock & Roll to Me” | This is a prime example of the whole not being equal to the sum of its parts. Or of a trio being as cheesy as an Applebee’s entree. Or of Amber’s jeans having holes large enough that a full sized adult goat could’ve daintily stepped through ’em. Okay, so every sentence of this paragraph has made less sense than the one that preceded it: Hey, could everybody reading this send me one of these? Grade: C

Candice Glover: The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” | I can’t disagree with Nicki about “Satisfaction” not being Candice’s best song selection of the season — ultimately, it’s one of those ditties that’s very hard to reinvent, or even drag out of its mid-’60s origins. Nevertheless, even with a broken toe, Ms. Glover managed to ugly up her notes with just the right amount of snarl and growl — and more so than any of her competitors, genuinely capture the rock ‘n roll spirit that was supposed to have pervaded the entire evening. Her disdain was palpable for that man on the radio with his useless information, and the high note she selected for the line “fire my imagination” was as flawless as it was unexpected. Plus, as Nicki said, she put her back into it with a physicality that was neither timid nor tame. I worry that Candice got a bit of a “diva” edit in her pre-performance package — which closed with the easily misconstrued quote “sometimes I want to punch [Burnell] in the face” — and is maybe getting set up as this season’s shock boot. But come on America, a Season 12 without Candice would be like Profiler without Ally Walker: Utter blasphemy! Grade: A-

Amber Holcomb: Heart’s “What About Love” | Congratulations to Amber’s incredible gams for scoring a Standing O from the judges! Oh, come on, it had to be the legs (or maybe the legs, plus the gold-and-black brocade jacket) seeing how Amber’s vocal on “What About Love” got a little strained at the very top of her register, and was delivered with the exact same intonations Amber’s used to cook up ballads for the last six or seven weeks. Granted, a lot of it was beautiful — as Randy noted, girlfriend is just effortless when she’s weaving in those little Whitney-isms to her song choices. But this was one of those moments I appreciated more on an intellectual “oh, she has such big talent!” level than from a visceral “damn! I’m feeling this all the way to the gut!” place. Which made it extra weird when Nicki started salivating about being “pulled in emotionally” and Amber believing every lyric she was delivering. Potato, po-tah-to, I guess. Grade: B+

Angie Miller: Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life” | Uncle Nigel pulled out so many tricks — special lighting, cool Tetris-y backdrop, a MONSTER wind machine, achingly loving closeups, more smoke! — to drive home the “Angie is back!” edit that I have expected to see a kitchen sink roll past guest guitarist Orianthi’s boots. But all the ridiculous trappings aside, Angie’s actual vocal performance ranked right at/near the top of the pack this week. Evanescence’s massive rock ballad sounds like it could easily pinch-hit as an end-of-Act-One ballad from a modern Broadway musical, and thus, Angie’s crisp enunciation and “I’m looking into your soul!” camera stares didn’t seem out of place. Girlfriend hit every note square on the nose, and while the judges whined a bit (“you should’ve stayed at the piano longer!” “you shouldn’t have worried about your shirt blowing up!”) it all seemed like nitpicking, or maybe Nigel yelling “Don’t go overboard! We’ll start the gushing next week!” into their earpieces. Grade: A-

Nicki-Minaj-No-Me-GustaAnd with that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of Season 12 Top 7 performance night? Did it rock, or was it all a bit too variety show? Who was your favorite? Who’s going to be in trouble come results night? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol-related news, recaps, interviews and videos, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

  1. Lois Benton says:

    The producers are idiots. American Idol is losing voters, so let bore the remaining viewers to death and do the same songs–with the same arrangements!– that we’ve done over and over for 12 seasons! Good idea! Candice tried to fit her own thing into the pre-arranged arrangement, but then it just went back into same old, same old. Ya know, if the band can’t handle learning new songs, get a new band. This show is not worth of either Candice or Amber. At least Amber got a new song. She’s always lovely. Candice had a broken foot, but she brought some energy to her performance anyway. Kree dialed in her performance. Angie has a beautiful tone and would be a fine star on Broadway. But when there’s not a big distance between Lazaro’s performance and Janelle’s, that’s a really bad show. “No ballads.” Not so much when slower tempo songs are allowed. How about a theme “Songs producers have to pay megabucks for and that cut into their profits.” I’m down with that, but I’m gollderned if I’m going to hashtag anything.

    • Luke says:

      I agree with your whole goldarned post!

    • Tom22 says:

      Only songs written in the last 15 years every week might be a good start. While I liked some of the older ones in the past, they’ve just been so worn out on the show ….and these contestants just don’t seem up to the skills it would take to both force and add artistically to the arrangments in a way that requires them to have a complex muiscal understanding and a bulldog personality to convince the very top tier band and director that they had a vision that would work.

  2. Lois Benton says:

    Someone really ought to sue American Idol. I can buy Candice’s itunes performance of I Can’t Get No Satisfaction separately, but, in order to get Amber’s What About Love performance, I have to buy the whole Top 7. I will never do that. I will never subject myself to Lazaro’s voice on my ipod. I do appreciate that Lazaro really does look like Ricky Ricardo and he is totally cute, but I am not putting him on my ipod.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      If it’s not available individually now, it should be in a few hours. Trust me, I’ve bought these things several times before.

  3. Danny says:

    I thought it was the best night of the season by far. No one was brutal- at least individually. I thought Orianthi was great. I thought 4 of them did excellent. I may be in the minority, but I thought Candice had her best night tonight. Janelle had her 2nd best night. Angela had her best night of the live performances. Amber had her best night too.

    Burnell and Lazaro also had their best nights, though since I don’t care for those 2 that’s not saying a whole lot.

    So overall, I felt it was the best night of the year.

    My list for the night would be
    1) Candice
    2/3/4 (Janelle, Amber, Angela- no real order)
    5) Kree
    6) Burnell
    7) Lazaro

  4. Atlgal says:

    Ugh …. So bored again! These kids are not connecting with their song choices so even the great singers ( ex. Candice, Kree) come off like very good karaoke to me. No moments, no creativity and that starts with production and these LAME THEME NIGHTS and minuscule cleared sing list. After 12 seasons of watching I’m afraid this will probably be my last. Why keep watching the SAME old tired songs ( from decades ago!) be performed and usually worse than it has been done about five times prior? #Side topic: how does Joshua Ledet not have a record deal yet? Now those were some MOMENTS last season… Going to you tube to watch him SLAY ” It’s a Mans World” again! Hmmm thought , those songs were just as old then, perhaps this seasons contestants just don’t have the ingenuity and creativity of former contestants to “make it their own”.

    • Timmah says:

      I agree. I have not re-watched a single performance this season, because there hasn’t been one worth it. In past seasons (and I’ve watched all 12), there have been at least one, and usually several, worth reviewing every week. I’ve never seen so many phoned-in performances and awful arrangements of tired songs.

  5. RM says:

    Obviously, no one is into rock classics (instead of classic rock). If some of them have never heard of the Beatles, they have very insular musical backgrounds. Freddie Mercury’s legacy got tarnished twice in one night. For a while there, Orianthi might have got fed up, grabbed the mic and showed the kids a lesson or two. Kree and Candice did passable karaoke versions of rock classics. They had nothing to lose by playing it safe. Janelle’s countrified Billy Joel was the only unique sounding song. It was not a great song choice, but it was different than the original. Amber just cannot do a non ballad uptempo song. 70’s Heart was when they rocked it! Neither can Burnell. Randy was right that he was struggling to keep up with the beat and made the song hokey. The producers really highlighted/rewarded Angie by giving her the last performance, using the wind machine, and clearing an Evanescence song. It wasn’t easy taking a 4 and a half minute Evanescence song and condense it to 90 seconds. Angie is no Amy Lee, but who is? The song highlighted the strength of her voice which was always questionable when sitting behind the piano. Surprisingly, she can belt it like Carrie Underwood. It would be great if Carrie covers the same song tomorrow for the full 4.5 minutes. Strangely enough, she loves doing rock covers at her concerts.

  6. Vetle says:

    A tad bit disappointed with the performances. I’m waiting for REAL gut-wrenching moments. Candice had to pretty stellar, A+ moments for me: Ordinary People and I (Who have Nothing), and she has been pretty solid on pretty much all her other performances. Janelle had Keep Me Hangin’ On. And Kree had Stronger. I also think Angie was brilliant on her two Vegas songs. I haven’t really been like “OMG, this is flippin fantastic” on many performances. I need more “House of the Rising Sun”, “Mad World”, “In A Dream”, “Heartless”. I would die if Candice just did something completely a capella, even partly! And I need Kree to bring some nasty and some grit, like she did with “Evidence”.

    If Lazaro doesn’t go home this week, this season is slightly ruined for me. Love the girls, but the level of boys this year really drags the show down, and the lack of good THEME weeks. Bring on P!nk week. Songs Never Performed on Idol. Unplugged week (we even have this as a regular theme in Norwegian Idol!). Personal Idol week is also pretty good (highest rated episode on whatnottosing), remember we had Jessica on Sweet Dreams, Elise on Whole Lotta Love for instance. AND THEY GOTTA STOP WITH THIS DUET/TRIO ON PERFORMANCE NIGHT NONSENSE. Keep it to once a season, like season 8, 9 and 10. Last year each contestant had TWO solos at final 7 (part deux), they better have that next week for the final 6 (or final 7.2).

  7. Anna says:

    The girls did amazing as usual. I wish the producers didn’t ‘force’ a girl to win now the show is all predictable now.

    I wish the top 10 was the current girls plus Johnny Keyser, Charlie Askew, Devin, Burnell, and Curtis, that way, there’s more competition. This season seems bland compared to the past seasons like 5, 7, 10, 11. I just hope the contestants will step up BIG TIME.

    I like Kree and Angie the best because they can really rock the stage out no matter what they sing. The rest of the girls are great too but the guys seem inferior compared to the girls.

  8. Mikko Makitalo says:

    Sorry to say, but I do not feel I am watching Idol at all, this is just some another singing competion, cannot even be compared to the former seasons. I wonder, what in the world has happened? I think, that the main reason is, that finally the producers have “achieved” to get the ultimate grip of everything in the show, and that has killed it.

  9. Chuck says:

    On a scale of 1-10:

    Burnell 2 (Dude)
    Angie/Lazaro 0 (word-forgetting is an automatic fail)
    Kree 6 (where’s the raw emotion?)
    Burnell/Candice 7
    Janelle 5 (bad song choice)
    Lazaro 3
    Amber/Kree/Janelle 3
    Candice 8
    Amber 7 (BALLAD!)
    Angie 6 (still too Lea Michele-y)

  10. tom says:

    People call Nicki a bad judge without thinking, based purely on the current hate bandwagon for her. But if you read this article, there are a lot more “as Nicki said”s than “as Mariah said”s. In fact, Nicki is mentioned the most, because she’s pretty much the only judge whose opinion you know and understand, even if you don’t agree with it.

  11. Nephtalia says:

    Tonight was supposed to be a Rock week. The night was pretty boring for a Rock week. I really feel like while Nikki honesty is entertaining to us. It really does not foster creative freedom. Add to that the limited song list the contestants have to choose from. This season is a real bore.
    I would say Angie is back, but I really loved ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Shop around’. So to me, tonight was another stellar performance just like those two. I am one of those 20 something lady that loves the pop artists like Katy Perry, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Demi, and Miley. Angie is sending that same vibe. So, I vote for her. Kree is such a nice human being, I would not mind seeing Angie lose to her.
    But to me, if Idol wants to be current again. We need nights with performance like what Jessica Sanchez did on the result night. Nights like Beyonce Super Bowl half time show. For the winner and those kids to be successful, their concert has to have moments like this. So why not learning to do that now.

    • marie says:

      LOL, with THAT kind of “current,” we would pretty much have “X Factor 2” and I’d tune out, myself.

  12. Adam Fachry says:

    What’s with the whole Burnell has a crush on Amber? I thought he was gay.

    • Tahoe Mike says:

      Apparently just a virgin.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      I heard tell that 4 out of this year’s 5 men were gay; I guess the straight one is Burnell. But I’ve also heard that all 5 of them are gay, so maybe he’s bi? Or the crush on Amber thing is a joke? The only ones we have decent evidence for in terms of gayness are Paul and Lazaro, with the pictures of them with their respective “boyfriends.”

      • marie says:

        Oh wow, in 2013, who even cares?

        • LeahKittyS says:

          Because it’s going to affect whether or not the main voting block of this show gets behind them. It’s stupid, I know, but Middle America, especially older Middle America, is not the most tolerant place. Paul was caught on camera being all cute with his sweetheart, and now he’s gone. Yes, Adam Lambert has similar pictures circulating during his season, but he had the talent to make up for it. This men’s cast doesn’t have that kind of power. Which means even if Lazaro outlasts Burnell, his chances of passing any of the women are all but shot. And now that Lazaro’s “boo” has been caught on camera with him, Burnell may have been smart to talk about having a crush on Amber.
          Here are the pictures; Laz’s supposed boyfriend is a very nice piece of work.

    • deedee says:

      Nah, Burnell is the only guy there who doesn’t strike me as gay.

  13. Tahoe Mike says:

    Brunell: You Give Love A Bad Name.. To quote Lester Bangs in Almost Famous, “There is nothing dangerous about you.” What music DOES this kid know? Week after week it’s “I never heard this song.”
    Angie and Lazaro: Crazy Little Thing Called Love: I’m going with the famous words of Herbert Morrison, as he reported on the crashing of the Hindenburg, “… it’s a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen. It’s smoke, and it’s flames now … and the frame is crashing to the ground, not quite to the mooring-mast. Oh, the humanity and all the passengers screaming around here. I told you, I can’t even talk to people whose friends are on there. Ah! It’s–it’s–it’s–it’s … o–ohhh! I–I can’t talk, ladies and gentlemen. Honest, it’s just laying there, a mass of smoking wreckage. Ah! And everybody can hardly breathe and talk, and the screaming. Lady, I–I’m sorry. Honest: I–I can hardly breathe. I–I’m going to step inside where I cannot see it. Charlie, that’s terrible. Ah, ah—I can’t. I, listen, folks, I–I’m gonna have to stop for a minute because I’ve lost my voice. This is the worst thing I’ve ever witnessed. ” There was only one survivor.
    Kree: Piece Of My Heart; Too clean for Janice. That song is a yelp of pain, and I got none of that. I would rather have heard her take on Heart, or Stevie Nicks. Michael S. summed up my feeling about this one very nicely.
    Candice and Brunelle: The Letter: Did someone have to tell Brunell that a letter is like an email that has been printed? Candice sounded great.
    Janelle: You May Be Right: There is a rocker chick in there somewhere. She made it work with her voice. Janelle is one of the best stage performers in the bunch. I look forward to seeing Candice each week because I know she is going to bring it and kick butt, Janelle, however, is the one I look forward to seeing what she is going to pull out of her boots next.
    Lazaro: We are the Champions: Dude is no Freddie Mercury! “No time for losers..” `Nuff said.
    Amber, Janelle, Kree Still Rock and Roll To Me: Amber looks HOT! I think this could have been better if they worked on it for a while. There is a level of cynicism in that song that is beyond these girls years, but is pure Billy Joel.
    Candice : (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction: Well I got mine. I did notice that she dropped the “No girl reaction,” line and I wish she had changed it to boy reaction, or fan reaction, or voting action, or something, anything; but repeating the opening “No satisfaction” line made it sound like she forgot the lyric.
    Amber: What about love: Not wild about the cliche song choice, but she did a good job with it. I’m liking Amber more and more each week. I kind of doubt Brunell’s taste in music, but his taste in women is spot on.
    Angie: Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life”: I’m not calling that rock and roll, maybe a power ballad at best. I don’t know the original, so I can’t say if she did it justice or not. I kind of feel that she cheated the theme a bit.
    It goes without saying that Lazaro has got to go, but I predict that Angie will finish last and get the save, which must be used this week or not at all.

    • CAS says:

      “No girl reaction” = “No girly action”, if I recall correctly. Couldn’t have been changed to anything you suggested. And Mick Jagger repeated the “No Satisfaction” line plenty of times in the song. I didn’t notice anything amiss.

      • HitTheGroundRunning says:

        Actually you don’t recall correctly ;) the OP had it right. Even with your version they coulda gone “no manly action”. Whatever though I never even noticed it to begin with to be honest, the performances are so cut up anyway.

    • Media Ho says:

      Tahoe Mike, you’re lucky I’d finished my iced tea so I didn’t spray my monitor several times. Great commentary!

  14. ventboy says:

    Mike, you are unreadable anymore. I came back tonight after several weeks away, to see if you were just having a bad week or two. I guess not. Maybe you should find something else to write about, something that you don’t hate so much? Siobhan’s Dad is turning over in his grave, and the rest of us are wondering why you decided to suddenly turn into a total whiner about everything, as if Idol was inflicting itself on you, rather than the other away around. You used to be so good, man; the Adam interview, the Siobhan interview, your first videos with Melinda, your love for the show…

    What happened? You stink this year, even more than Nicki. Are you getting tired of the show? You have the right, you’ve been at it for a long time. I personally hope that you will come back and be your old self. I care; I just hope that you still care too.

  15. Adam Fachry says:

    First of all, I knew Angie was not gonna pick something completely uptempo, but Evanescence? Like, come on! If you wanna do power ballad or a deceptive one, do 80s U2 circa The Joshua Tree.

  16. Jon says:

    Did anyone notice that there was no commentary from Burnell about Lazaro? Only the girls.

  17. Jenny says:

    Burnell hit the notes but thatis about all last night. I am one of the few who didn’t like what Blake Lewis did to You Give Love. However I would take that any day over what Burnell did. Talk about having no connection to a song. But it was more the visual than anything. He looked so awkward. He hit the notes, but had no clue how to perform. His performance was so robotic. I guess if he can’t stand and sing a ballad he doesn’t know what to do.

  18. Jenny says:

    Also not going to take the excuse “I didn’t know this song”. Go to freakin’ YouTube. There are hundreds of versions of people dining these songs from the original artists to school choirs.

  19. Sylvester says:

    When Randy blurted out that tired old word “wheelhouse,” I wanted to hurl my drink at the TV. Maybe he should be paying close attention to Ms. Minaj’s form of critique, which is funny, fresh and fantastic. I’m hoping Nicki comes back next season, and Randy goes riding off into the sunset … he is starting to look more and more foolish every week.

  20. Tahoe Mike says:

    Just realized it: no Jimmy Iovine “mentoring” sessions this week. Did anyone miss them?
    I’ve been thinking that it is time to clean house with the vocal coaches, and get some new ones. Not only do we get the same songs over and over, but we get the same arrangements and styles. I think that the same old coaches, giving the same old advice are a big reason the show is starting to feel same ol’ same ol’. Do any of the coaches there really know how to teach rock, blues, jazz, or anything but those same old standards and ballads?

  21. Holly says:

    My hands-down favorite was Candice. And that cute little white doggie:)

    • Scott says:

      I noticed during Candice’s song that they were flashing up all the contact info for her on the screen while she sang. I didn’t notice it for the other singers — not during their initial songs (of course, they do it during the wrap-up at the end). Am I just selectively noticing things?

      And a big shout-out to Orianthi the guitarist. I thought she was the star of the night.

  22. EVPandHC says:

    Predictions for bottom 3:
    Burnell, Lazaro and…… Janelle.

    For some reason, I think Janelle’s gonna need the save this week. And I’m not pleased despite her lackluster performance.

  23. Mary says:

    I actually enjoyed the show, wasn’t a train wreck I thought it would be. My top performances were Amber and Angie, Which Angie surprise me because I really haven’t cared for her. I really think one of the boys are going home, I hope it is not Amber. I actually think she is the whole package, even more than the top girls Candice and Kree.
    We all know who should go home but I have a bad feeling he has at least one more week.
    I just think it is so wrong that they critique him to avoid a backlash. After listening to him sing that song, I went back to season 8 and listen to Kris and Adam perform the hell out of it.

  24. marie says:

    I absolutely know what Slezak means about wondering whether he’s more intrigued by the idea of Kree rather than by the actual singer: I notice that much as I don’t want this to be the case, Kree is slowly sinking in my estimation, while Janelle is gradually rising.
    Re the duet on The Letter and Candice and Burnell “making it their own,” just want to mention that their bluesy rendition was not original, but was rather the Joe Cocker version of the song (yes, Cocker had hits with several covers).

  25. Matt says:

    I think Mariah’s comment about Kree picking the right songs is about how they sit in her voice, not necessarily the emotion. That’s why Mariah talked about being able to see Kree making an album because she knows who she is artistically.

  26. CAS says:

    Burnell: REALLY enunciated his words perfectly and I liked that he didn’t do any “sculpting” and moved around more. But he did seem uncomfortable and the kick at the end and the by-play with the guitar player were a bit ridiculous.
    Kree: WAY too smooth and refined. Needed a lot more grit, but her voice is still pure perfection.
    Janelle: She seems to be growing much more comfortable with performing and did a good job with a stretch out of her usual style.
    Lazaro: His voice is too weak for this song–or was the band too loud? I felt like I couldn’t hear him very well. The movement around the stage was good, and I loved the little jump at the end. But….what is up with his PANTS? They’re borderline indecent. And the sweating?
    Candice: I thought at the beginning that she was going to be too low and smooth. Then….fabulousness ensued!
    Amber: Short shorts with those boot-style shoes makes her look like she has club feet. The key change in the middle of the song was wonderful, and the set was terrific, and she seemed a little more connected with her lyrics than I’ve noticed in the past. But she did a BALLAD! That defeated the entire purpose of the night! NO BALLADS ALLOWED–is she totally unable to do anything else?
    Angie: Loved, loved, loved. The wind, etc. at the end was AMAZING! (I realize this is heresy to Mr. Slezak, but it reminded me of Haley and “Rhiannon”, if I remember correctly, which is always in question at my age.) Along with Candice, the best of the night.

    Angie/Lazaro: Angie must have cringed when she knew she’d be paired with “the forgetter”. LAZARO MUST GO!!!!
    Candice/Burnell: Really nice harmony and good chemistry between them. Terrific, although Candice was surely reining in her voice to keep a good balance.
    Janelle, Amber, and Kree: Amber had the best voice of the three, but I was so distracted by her ludicrous non-jeans that I don’t remember much about the actual song.

    Burnell will go, although Lazaro should for forgetting words twice in a row. I actually think Kree or Amber might end up in the bottom three with those two.

  27. Christina says:

    The fact that you gave Angie’s dated Evanescence performance an A-, I just.

    I could actually not disagree more with your overall opinions of the remaining contestants. And your dislike of Burnell is so strange.

    This review is a joke. Bye.

  28. Guest says:

    The theme was classic rock no ballads and a few of the contestants did ballads because its their comfort. I usually like Burnell because he’s different and not doing all the “I can hit high note at the end of my song” like most of the others. He was performance wad bad, but vocals were ok. At least, he was doing something out of his comfort zone. My issue is he didnt put any effort into it. He looked so uncomfortable. His songs choices have been awful these past few weeks. It’s really sad because I think he has a lot of potential, but he can’t keep using the excuse of not knowing songs. It’s getting weak. He was the only contestant that I felt brought emotion to a song, but that’s been weeks ago. No one is wowing me. I’m tired of the same thing week after week. Everyone is predictable. There’s no connection or emotion. Angie going last with the huge production and non-classic rock recent popular song was just wrong and so not fair to the others. The show was just a complete mess. I’m still have not seen a true standing O or wow moment. Lazaro and the tight “see my bulge” pants cause I can’t sing has to go! Kree needs to NEVER wear stiletto boots EVER! Shouldn’t the fall last week a hint? I love Kree, but something is missing. Connect with the meaning of the song! Id rather see emotion than hitting the high notes. We all know you can sing. So disappointed with this season. There were some good people in the Top 40 that were cheated a spot. Anyway, if Lazaro is in the Top 6, I’m done. Im still can’t believe he’s in the Top 10. I sympathize, but come
    on. Please let him go home!

  29. Natalie says:

    An I the only one that feels so annoyed with the message they are sending Angie. “no no, stay in your comfort zone, don’t do something risky” when I have liked the performances they have critiqued like that. “no no Angie, be repetitive, it worked for Scotty so it will work for you.” I also liked that randy said the evanessence song was the genre she in her heart liked, he seemed to have given better critique than the others the last two weeks for Angie.

    • Nephtalia says:

      No you are not the only one. If she does not grow or take risks even if she wins it will pigeonholed her to Christion pop and you won’t get too far career wise on that.

  30. Blinged Up says:

    First, I meant to vote for Burnell last night because I do not want Lazaro to outlast him, but I got busy and didn’t…..I hope others voted for him. If he goes tonight, (even though he didn’t do well on Bon Jovi) I’m going to be disappointed.

    Secondly, as fabulous as the girls are, it is going to be boring to have an all girls Top 5. Sorry, it just is. (imo)

    Lastly, I don’t know anyone in the real world who is watching Idol! That gives this Idol loon a sad, sinking feeling. And I mean no one – not one person – that I know! Sad.

    • marie says:

      I kind of see what you mean, Blinged Up. Although I enjoy the performances of four of the five remaining ladies, that will be kind of strange. Personally, I’d prefer that Burnell outlast Angie into the top five, but I think it will be the five women.
      Clearly a case of WAY too much producer manipulation: we all know they were bound and determined to get a female winner this year, but they may have REALLY shot themselves in the feet in terms of credibility and viewer interest. They might have actually killed Idol with this.

    • HitTheGroundRunning says:

      Yeah, the last time I knew anyone in the real world watching A.I. was season 10.

  31. Guest says:

    Oh. In response to Burnell with no comment in Lazaro’s video. I didn’t see anything wrong with that. I really think there’s no drama there. Candace even talked about Burnell trying to do a April Fools prank on Lazaro. I also don’t know why people think Burnell gay. I could care less, but it looks like with the Amber video he’s not. His comments on her video were funny. I like seeing these sides of the contestants. I thought it was cute. Probably the best segment of the night. I prefer that to the duets. Scrap the duets! Let’s see 2 solos!

  32. marie says:

    Several weeks ago, I speculated that, deservedly or not, Lazaro might well be the last man standing in the contest.
    Well, I have a sinking feeling that that might come to pass tonight, as I suspect that Burnell might get the boot tonight (no way would he get the save). We’ll see.

  33. Guest says:

    I hope Burnell gets the save. That’s so not fair that Lazaro gets to be the last boy. If he is that means Amber and Janelle might leave before him. Lazaro has the second largest follower behind Angie. I won’t be surprised if Amber got the least votes tonight and gets the save.

  34. Jessica says:

    Last night… I thought Candice was best. I believe she can sing anything and should be the winner. I know this is crazy but I liked Lazaro on his solo. It had at least some spunk/edge that relates to rock. That’s bad when Lazaro gets it when the others can’t. The bad part of this is he’s probably going to stick around for another week. That said Amber and Janelle did well keeping true to what they do. Kree need to change something up but I also tend to think she just might not care to win. I’m hoping bright eyes Angela will be in the bottom 3 but thinking Burnell is the one to be going home. I have to say it’s a bit unforgivable on rock night to give us songs like this-I think Burnell picked out the best song.

  35. Guest says:

    I voted for Burnell because I don’t want all females in Top 5! It’s going to be a scream fest if that happens. I’m praying Burnell gets another chance and picks the right song, but he’s so clueless. I doubt that will ever happen. How can you botch Bon Jovi performance then do good on the Letter? He didnt have to prance around on YGLABN. He can move behind the mike. He stated that’s the only song he knew, but he did well on The Letter. I firmly believe he’s lazy and doesnt want to put any effort. Maybe, there’s something going on where the guys already feel like thy are going to lose because the producers want a girl to win. He and Lazaro are really not trying at all. Lazaro doesn’t even want to learn the lyrics. He’s also starting to become arrogant. He’s not even appreciative of being in the Top 7. He knows he’s out of his league. I hope he goes home or bows out gracefully. I doubt it. Another few more weeks I think.

  36. Gailer says:

    American Idol=American Karaoke…saw this assessment somewhere else and ITA! Trainwreck of a season. Do a Bobby Ewing shower scene and bring on some guys.

  37. waterbug says:

    Unfortunately BuHnell will be exiting stage left tonight. Lil Rickie had attitude last night and he will be there another week to reek havoc on group songs and duets next week.

    • Guest says:

      If Lazaro stays, I’m rooting for him! He will get all my
      votes. I’m with Gailer. I hope he messes up all their plans for a female winner. This is such bogus crap! Just horrible. No effort whatever by these contestants besides Candace. I am starting to get tired of her over singing, but at least she’s trying to bring something to the table. Angie has a great voice, but just looks so staged and pretentious. I’m not feeling it. It’s like she knows he has this in the bag. I really hoped for a Kree and Burnell finale, but Burnell had disappointed me with his laziness and lack of trying to find an choose a song that fits his voice. He thinks his tone is enough to carry any son he picks without really putting effort to see if it fits. Kree is dead in th face. Beautiful voice and she needs that push to own the stage. Yesterday could have been her moment, but she chose to just let her voice do it and try and move I those awful heels. Come out barefoot! Show some spunk! Get gritty with that song! Sell it! Janelle tries, but I didn’t like song choice. Amber has a great voice, but the song was too big for her IMO. She was straining in parts of the song. Why standing O for her? Yes, she looks the part, Candace beats her hands down. I guess Candace is not the Angie or Amber package. I also wish Candace would take it down a notch and just sing. No need for pause and hit high notes at the end. It’s getting tiring. It would be great to see her and Kree in finale as well. I’m sorry I’m tired of the shoving Angie an Amber down the throat. They did songs that should not have been allowed for class rock week. If Burnell is gone, Lazaro for the win!

  38. Annie says:

    I think that you are giving Burnell too much credit Michael, I don’t think he’s being stubborn, I just don’t think that he has enough self awareness to realize that that was a lazy karaoke performance. He also doesn’t have the musical knowledge or self knowledge to pick songs that suit his voice and strengths, or to at least alter the arrangements or his delivery to make the songs work. Unfortunately, this is the case with a lot of this season’s contestants.

    • Guest says:

      I completely agree. Burnell has potential, but he’s being lazy. He has a unique quality in his voice. If he took the time to really pick the right song, he could have a wow mement. It’s not just about hitting high notes. It’s about
      evoking emotion from the viewer. He has that ability, but only does it with limited and more recent songs that he like (John Legend, India Arie). You can limit yourself of you want to grow as a singer. This was a great opportunity for him to shine, but he has shown no growth. He’s been going backwards. Well, none have really shown growth except for Janelle, but they have range and depth in their voices which Burnell does not have except for Lazaro. He is not relevant, but can potentially be a contender because of pity votes. I’m sure these people will buy his cd and it will go platinum. Yeah right.

  39. Ty says:

    If Idol is going to keep doing these god-awful duets/trios, can we at least have something a bit more current that the contestants would actually ENJOY performing? Something like Rihanna & Ne-Yo’s Hate That I Love You for Amber & Burnell would at least be somewhat fresher.

  40. CharChar says:

    It’s terrible that the contestants have such a limited set of songs to choose from. Singing songs on the show covered brilliantly by contestants in previous years (last night – Blake Lewis, Adam Lambert, Haley Reinhart) is just a temptation to think of those performances instead of the current ones, in my opinion.

    • Guest says:

      Is there really that much of limited selection? Also, it was stated that they are getting refusals on clearing songs. How did Angie get her song? Has that been done before on Idol? I don’t remember. I think contestants should be advised against picking songs that were already done. Especially if it was done unless they are doing something totally different with the song. The format needs to change anyway. Why not more popular recent songs? Get the list on the Top 100 on ITunes. I guess i’ll be watching the Voice now.

  41. Karin says:

    A big part of the problem was revealed last night … it’s the band. There’s no drive there. And for rock’n’roll there has to be a good driving rhythm section, which for the most part wasn’t there. Candice comes closest to true rock vocally, but the band wasn’t behind her. Why didn’t they strip it back to a four-piece band, and let us hear the idols really sing? Rock doesn’t need orchestration. I don’t know if they just aren’t rehearsing with the band, or if they don’t have enough experience to sing with a live band, or if the band director is just crap.

  42. joey says:

    I think they are all in it to win it.

    Burnell–in it to win it.

    Candice–in it to win it.

    Ricky Ricardo– innnn ittttt to wwwwinnnnn ittttt.

    Janelle— in it to win it.

    Amber– in it to win it.

    Angie– in it to win it.

    Kree— in it to win it.

  43. betsy says:

    I have been a HUGE fan of Idol since I started watching in Season 4 and look forward to it every year and don’t miss an episode. But – even though I do love Keith and Nicki as judges – I’m getting so bored. I’ve even missed a few episodes and end up missing some singing because we’ve switched channels for a few minutes. I just can’t care about these contestants very much at all. They’re fine, whatever, but nobody makes me want to pay attention for very long.

  44. bfralia says:

    I thought the two duets were geared to demonstrate the superiority of the girls over the boys. It definitely worked! Lazelo SHOULD go home tonight and I hope he doesn’t get the sympathy vote again.

    I thought Angie did Evanescence (sp?) proud! Then I’ve always loved that song.

    Cudos to Orianthi! You can definitely tell she’s a Sheila by her accent, don’t need but a few words! Hope she stays around for Carrie tonight.

  45. LeahKittyS says:

    Here’s my commentary on the possible results:
    Is anyone else noticing parallels to Season 3, the last season to be dominated by women? Jennifer Hudson, the big powerful diva, was shockingly sent home in 7th. But now the judges can use their Save to prevent one of this year’s ladies from leaving. Lazaro could be like John Stevens, the cute sweet kid who outstayed his welcome, and Burnell could be like George Huff. And then we have an all-female Top 4. Thoughts?

  46. JASon says:

    So is Lazaro the worst fianlist to ever make the top 10? Is it between Sanjaya and Lazaro? Or would TIm Urban creep in there?

    • LeahKittyS says:

      I don’t particularly mind Lazaro’s singing, but if you insist, I’ll call it a tie between him and Sanjaya. Tim Urban kind of redeemed himself before he was eliminated, as did Kristy Lee Cook. I didn’t watch Seaso 1-4, but I’ve heard tell of people named Carmen Rasmusen, John Stevens, and Scott Savol who were just as bad and made it past 7th place.

  47. Vice says:

    Angie was clearly the best this week followed closely by Candice and Kree.

  48. Rivky says:

    Most seriously!!! If Mariah does not stop saying “DAAAHHHLING” I will jump up and throw something at my computer :)

  49. Maya says:

    The theme next week should be something like “Sing a song that came out in the past 2 years” and there should be a secret theme for only the contestants to know that is “if Nigel Lythgoe tells you to do something, ignore it and do what you want.”

  50. the bean says:

    Burnell was terrible, absolutely ruined Bon Jovi. A singer of any age who has never heard of Let It Be, by the Beatles is pathetic. Candice is so amazing, killer vocals, best girl on Idol ever. No one should ever (really mean Lazero) try to cover Queen… Adam Lambert and Chris Allen killed We are the Champions and Adam killed Crazy Little Thing Called Love when he toured with Queen last summer – kiss of death for Angie and Burnell.