American Idol Top 5 Results Recap: Save It Isn't So? [Updated]

American Idol Season 12 Top 5 ResultsAmerican Idol‘s math has always been fairly simple: He (or she) with the most viewer votes wins. The one with the lowest weekly tally meets a fate uglier than a Lazaro Arbos key change. And the ratio of judges’ feedback to actual contestant performances is roughly 237 to 1.

But in Season 12, one set of numbers simply hasn’t made sense: With a finale set for May 16 and a mere 10 finalists in the mix, only a Judges’ Save or a non-elimination week — without a subsequent double exit — would stop the season from ending prematurely. And you know Uncle Nigel and his Fox Overlords aren’t about to fill that dead Sweeps airtime with a one-time-only repeat of The Mob Doctor.

RELATED VIDEO | Idol‘s Lazaro Arbos on Sassing the Judges, Smuggled Whitney CDs, and ‘Courage’ Critiques! Plus: ‘No Way 5 Guys Could’ve Left in a Row’

That kernel of information — plus word from Idol’s publicity team that the Save was still in effect (despite the fact that in prior years, it expired prior to Top 5 night) — took some of the suspense out of the proceedings. I mean, Nicki, Randy, Mariah and Keith aren’t going to step in and veto the will of the voting public when there’s only four or three singers left standing, right?

After an astonishingly emotional return to the stage from Season 3 champ Fantasia (ooh wee, “Lose to Win” is a good’un) and the surgical vocal precision of Season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken, we got to the vital stuff:

Sent to Safety (in No Particular Order)
Candice Glover
Angie Miller
Amber Holcomb

Bottom 2
Janelle Arthur
Kree Harrison

Singing for Her Life
Janelle Arthur “Set Me Free You Keep Me Hanging On” | I’ve got to admit that Janelle’s rearrangement of the Supremes’ classic was one of my favorite Season 12 moments, but without her trusty acoustic guitar — and with a more piano-driven arrangement — some of Janelle’s angst and fire got stripped away. This was a good performance, but hardly enough to shake the vibe that she’s the No. 5 contestant in a very strong quintet. Randy revealed a 2-2 split on the panel, and without a unanimous decision, Janelle was eliminated.

A few other thoughts on the episode:

* I really do dislike a medley of almost any kind, but this week’s choice of Donna Summer seemed particularly grisly for poor Kree and Janelle, who are about as far from disco as Uncle Nigel is from being excited about music of the last 15 years. Plus, Angie getting dipped by a male dancer definitely ranks among the season’s 10 most awakward moments (right alongside Jimmy misogynistically weighing in on the Mariah-Nicki squabble with his “Women! They’re so silly!” brand of humor — gag).

* That Ford Fiesta scavenger hu…

* Oh, sorry, I dozed off during that last sentence.

* I’m always looking for reverse psychology in Jimmy’s Contestant Critiques, but after he described Angie as “a great technician” (yikes) and said her “Halo” came up short in the believability department, I’m starting to wonder if he simply isn’t that into her.

* Watching Paula Abdul “sneak” out on stage and congratulate Candice for her inventive, gorgeous “Straight Up” was one of the sweetest moments of the season — especially when the former Idol judge noted the 1989 hit had been “a best friend” to her. Do-do I still love Paula? Or at least her must-have Greatest Hits? In a word, yes — just not behind the judges’ table. #JasonCastro #NeverForget

* Clay Aiken may never be painted as a “commercial package artist,” but you can’t deny the size or precision of his voice. In my heart, I think his “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was the final swish of mouthwash intended to remove the taste of Lazaro Arbos (who tackled the ballad in his audition and as his Top 10 “victory anthem”) from the Season 12 stage.

* Jimmy forgetting his lukewarm Wednesday-night response to “Without You” and comparing it to a successful jump out of an airplane? Mariah saying she wanted to place Amber in a spot “above the top 2”? Have they finally gone too far in trying to make Ms. Holcomb happen? Discuss!

* I’m not saying Jimmy was wrong about Kree not doing the best job in song selection this week, but he totally saw this week’s results before predicting she might be in jeopardy, right? That said, the long and meaningful shot of Kree and Janelle hugging felt like the show trying to subtly transmit the blonde country girl’s votes directly onto the brunette one.

* Call me an unrelenting megafan, but I lost my damn mind when Fantasia’s lower lip began to quiver on the final refrain of her awesome new single “Lose to Win.” This was absolutely the best Ms. Barrino has looked and sounded on the Idol stage since her confetti shower at the end of Season 3. And nobody feels their music like she does. #WomansRevivalYes Hey, an idea? Instead of the Ford Fiesta B.S. moment, though, wouldn’t it have been a better use of the car manufacturer’s money to sponsor a second performance by ‘Tasia? Or maybe allowing the lovely La Toya London to grab the mic and delight us for a couple minutes?

Your turn: What did you think of Season 12 Top 5 results? Is Top 4 week too late in the show to be using the save? Is a non-elimination week and then cumulative results from the next two Wednesdays the most fair way to extend the season? Sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol-related news, recaps, interviews and videos, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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

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  1. caro says:

    WAS Kree in the bottom three? I thought Ryan said “no particular order. “

    • Joy says:

      He did at first, but then when it was down to Kree and Janelle, he said “This is your bottom two.” So I guess the “no particular order” just meant that we don’t know how Angie, Amber, and Candice ranked.

    • Bonnie L. rosen says:

      Caro, Ryan did say “in no particular order” but then added “the first person who is safe is Candice Glover”; then “the next person moving forward to next week is Angie Miller”; “and the third person going to safety, towards the stools will be….let’s see it…Amber Holcomb is safe. Go on over there.” “Back on this side, unfortunately, that means Kree and Janelle are the bottom two this week so after the quick break, find out who will be singing for the save. We’ll be right back on American Idol”. (Since I recorded it, I just watched this part again, for you! Those were Ryan’s exact words. Hope it helped!)

  2. Mateo says:

    OH MY on Fantasia….she was the “best performance of this season”……I was weeping like a baby at the end of the song…….except can American Idol put their camera people like through a some sort of camera bootcamp….I mean why the cut to Keith at the end of the Fantasia song?……do we really need his reaction in order to better appreciate her greatness? I mean really. I get dizzy at all the cuts and movements the camera oompa loompas are making….makes me nuts and kinda nauseous. k. thanks for listening.

  3. LeahKittyS says:

    Okay, apparently my American Idol Horror Story is not attracting attention anymore. So here’s a poem.
    “Amber and Angie and Candice and Kree
    These are the ones who do it for me”
    That’s what I said weeks ago, way back when
    The Idols were going from twenty to ten
    Janelle of sweet voice and golden hair
    Was the first girl to leave us (that’s only fair)
    Curtis leaving first was the best of all
    And it was no shock that the next cut was Paul
    It was tough losing Devin and then Burnell
    But they should be okay because they sing well
    Lazaro fooled me with one good song
    Because then he got cocky and lasted too long
    To those who complain that this season’s no good
    Hang tight, for soon we’ll be out of the wood
    It’ll be a great finale, just like before
    Now let’s hope they get their act together for the tour!

    • Guitar Blue says:

      ha ha, pretty good poem!

      • LeahKittyS says:

        Thanks :) And for anyone who’s interested, the next installment of AIHS is directly underneath my comment that begins “Clay and Fantasia sounded wonderful.”

    • that was a good poem you got, but I hope good enough to urge at least 30 million people who watched before but recently not anymore to watch the show again and support the remaining 4 girls…but actually you got a point in your poem, nice..=D

  4. Bonnie L. rosen says:

    For those of you who don’t get Fantasia’s appeal, go to YouTube and listen to her rendition of “Summertime” from her American Idol finale. It was simply brilliant, beautiful, heart wrenching….. well, you get my drift. Even Simon has said that it was the best performance EVER on Idol!

  5. Bonnie L. Rosen says:

    By the way, as I just rewatched the actual results, Amber did NOT start out running….not until Ryan said “Congratz Amber! Good job! RUN ON OVER THERE!” Yes, she was very excited when she saw (and heard) her name, as were Candice (GO, Candice!) and Angie but Ryan told her to run.

    • Danny says:

      I’m the one who made that post. I missed Ryan’s comment. My bad. Wait, I wanna do my Lazro impression. Hit was telling me something about Haley and I missed the key change. It’s his fault I posted that.

  6. Buffy0631 says:

    I must be one of the few who just doesn’t get the appeal of Angie. I did like her at first, but she has this disingenuous air about her that really runs me the wrong way. I don’t get why people think Jimmy et al don’t like her. Her first song last night was off pitch and kind of a mess, yet they ALL praised her like the second coming. I’d rather see someone with tremendous talent, like Candice, who may not display giggling and flirty moves, win, rather than someone who is trying so hard to be dramatic that it just seems fake.

    • Bonnie L. Rosen says:

      I totally agree with you, Buffy. As I commented earlier in this thread, Angie strongly reminds me of a beauty pageant contestant who ‘sings’ for her ‘talent’ category. For that, her singing would be okay to good but for Idol? No way, IMO. I proudly admit that I was (& I guess I still am) a ‘Claymate’! I adore Clay’s voice. But, in his season on Idol…2…, he often was criticized by the judges and guest judges for being too dramatic and “Broadway” but they ALWAYS gave him his props for having an incredible voice! Guess he showed them when he landed his role in Spamalot on BROADWAY! LOL Angie is no Clay, talent-wise.

      • Jamie says:

        Yup on the beauty pageant remark. Did you notice the way she was walking when the 5 were introduced at the top of the show before the opening credits rolled? Looked like she thought she was on the catwalk. Someone needs to remind Angie that this is American Idol, and not America’s Top Model.

  7. Lois Benton says:

    Janelle’s a little sweetheart. I’ll miss her. I liked the Vince Gill song, although, with some exceptions, I find country music boring. I also find Angie boring. I bet she’s on the hot seat next week. Can’t dedicate to Boston every week.

  8. Guilherme Santos says:

    Someone spoiled that the producers want a Candice X Amber finale, and on the last couple weeks its becoming really clear. Both group performances last week and this week were made for both of them to shine. They giving a stand O and Jimmy giving props for her tentative performance of Without You? Sure,her last song was great, but keep it real once she miss it. Algo, I wondering if they will use the save on her next week.. Like, do a week withou elimination, calling all them safe in no particular orther, and carry the votes to a week to another is one thing, but if they actually show the results next week, eliminate on contestant and than use the save of her (probably Amber I´m assuming), it will be totally unfair at this point. It would totally give her a free pass to top 3 or even top 2, and put all the other girls in jeopardy.
    So, I´m really hopping they are not going this far. We have 4 good talent ladies now, let this be a fair competition between then, having 4 performances each in the next couple weeks to win a spot on the top 3. No save, no drama o overpimp one contestant.

  9. Guitar Blue says:

    By the time the next show is finished, all of the top 4 will have plenty of exposure on national TV. ……..If, for instance, Amber is destined to be a major star, she could finish 4th, like Daughtry, and a Label and Management Co. would grab her and see if they could make some bucks off her promo………
    If she fades fast against other names rising or already in the business, she’ll be another ex-idol that has to search for a label to back her or find financing to do her own releases…..

    It takes a hit song to get a ladder-up in the business, re-doing old Diva songs won’t take anyone very far. Just as Kelly, Carrie, Jordin, etc. – had to get out of the Idol bubble with some newer, relevant material in order to get their 2nd legs after the show — so anyone there now will have to find a new song that can become a current hit to stay relevant in the music buyer market..

  10. Trouty Mouth says:

    Disappointed. Janelle really won me over with YKMHO, and even though I’m not a country fan, I’m going to miss her being on the show. Fingers crossed for a Candice/Amber/Kree final 3.

  11. TheWiserView says:


  12. I agree to a (or some) comment(s) that with Kree being in the bottom 2 after weeks of being on top 2 or 3 makes Idol very incredible, but I’m not sure if the female Top 4/5 will let Idol attract back more than 20 million viewers it had lost after its peak in season 6. But anyway, wouldn’t it be better if the 2 sexy lady legs of the top 10 + Candice will fight for the last 2 slots in the finale, because Angie has her own unusually great world when she’s in the piano or i don’t know…Amber is consistent every week but I’m mad when she gets into bottom 2 or 3. How about Candice? She is incredible, she picks the right song choices and has a large fanbase, much as Kree (oops I forgot, she landed in the bottom 2 in Top 5 week) and Angie do. I don’t know, but I hope many US viewers will return to watch American Idol, especially with the remaining 4 girls vying for the title (not guys)..

  13. deedee says:

    I’m reading Michael’s update now, and his paragraph about the Fox overlords not wasting sweeps week with a repeat of “The Mob Doctor” just jogged my memory about something Nigel said recently. Remember there was an announcement a couple of weeks ago that there will be a fairly ‘big surprise’ on the show, but we’d only find out before (or at the) finale? I wonder if the extra week is related to that.

  14. deedee says:

    ” In my heart, I think his “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was the final swish of mouthwash intended to remove the taste of Lazaro Arbos (who tackled the ballad in his audition and as his Top 10 “victory anthem”) from the Season 12 stage.

    I thought the same thing as Clay started singing that song. It was the last nail.

    • Real Deal says:

      doesn’t clay have a newer song in the market? why that song? not that i dislike it but televiewers deserve to hear a new record from him coz he sings well

      • marie says:

        I didn’;t much care for it either. Never was a big Clay fan – he’s ok but not my cup of coffee – but, aside from the possibility that the song was chosen – consciously or not – to wash away the last traces of Lazaro, I was thinking, Way to make yourself sound current, Clay…phooey. Hated that performance (yes, I intentionally used the “H” word there, but for the performance, NOT Clay himself, whom I have no reason to hate. THAT’S an appropriate use of the “H” word.)

  15. Karen says:

    Even though it was fair enough that Janelle landed the no. 5 spot, I was really sad to see her go. She just seems to be so genuinely sweet, and the girl has talent. And what a performance to go out on. Stunning. STUN-NING!

    • Real Deal says:

      she has to go, the four left deserve to stay. if anyone from those left were eliminated, judges will use the save of the season

  16. Vighorois says:

    Maybe they should have another Idol Gives Back. I mean, with so many tragedies in recent months or days, they probably should do something about it next week. On another note, who’s better (worse?) when it comes to long, random, incoherent comments, Paula or Mariah?

  17. Michele says:

    Best Idol results show in years. Fantasia = perfect! Clay still sounds amazing!
    Final results as they should have been. Bravo to Idol for allowing the weakest link to be eliminated.

  18. ATM says:

    Does the save ever runout this year?

    • marie says:

      I get the feeling there’s no definitive answer to that. I suspect the producers are winging it: i.e., they know who they want to win, and so if needed, they’ll instruct the judges to use the save to give their chosen contestant a chance at the win if she needs it to continue.

    • syb says:

      LOL, if not, I guess we can resign ourselves to Amber winning no matter how many people vote for her.
      I can just hear it.
      Ryan: “And the Winner is…Candice Glover!”
      Randy: “Wait, wait! Ryan Ryan Ryan–We have conferred. I mean “we.” There’s only one Dawg, hehehe, but 4 judges ho ho ho. Ryan, the judges have decided to save Amber! This is your American Idol America! In it to Win it. Amber’s the winner! Yo yo yo!

  19. Real Deal says:

    frankly, i did not like the performance of fantasia. she growls like a tiger, i prefer jessica sanchez’ growling instead, much pleasant to the ear

  20. marie says:

    I agree with MS. Medleys of any kind are usually from the devil, but this one in particular seemed unrehearsed and pretty dismal. The show can find a better way to fill three minutes than that.
    As for one of MS’s questions, I haven’t had the chance to read all the comments here yet so forgive me if someone has already mentioned this, but as for
    “Is a non-elimination week and then cumulative results from the next two Wednesdays the most fair way to extend the season?”
    At first, I’d be tempted to say yes, that’s tolerable, but on further reflection, not really. I agree with MS that for TPTB to interfere with the voter’s results at this late date by permitting the save is unacceptable and not playing fair, but when you think about it, to do what MS speculates about here really comes down to the same thing, isn’t it? Here’s what I mean. To avoid any accusations of “bias” or anything else, let’s invent two hypothetical contestants; let’s call them Alice and Mary. Let’s say in top 4 week, Mary gets the lowest number of votes, and Alice is second lowest (of course we may not know that, because they’re not eliminating anyone that week, and so may not even tell us who’s lowest, etc.). The following week, Alice is lowest, someone else – not Mary – is second lowest, so cumulatively, Alice gets the lowest total for the two weeks and gets eliminated. Mary got a free pass – the same as would have happened had they elected to use the save the previous week, allowing Mary to continue, and then eliminating Alice the following week.
    Either way, the problem is the way the show was scheduled: too many weeks, too few contestants.
    Maybe they should eliminate the save altogether. Of course, if they still want to “cook the books,” they can, because who knows whether the votes really count all the time, anyway; I mean, I’d like to think they do, but I wouldn’t bet money on it.

  21. PDW says:

    There could be a charity Idol week – where they announce no one goes home. I seem to recall that happened once. With Boston and West in very recent times, they could do it easy and we would get another day of the top 4.

  22. angelstorm says:

    Fantasia looked and sounded great !
    Paula coming back was awesome :) Great touch
    The only thing I didn’t like was Kree being in the bottom 2 :(

  23. Jessica says:

    I wasn’t a fan this week of the results show. I have no idea what the judges problem with Janelle was. Was it the whole WGirlWG thing they have tried so hard to avoid? Guess we’ll see how she does in the music business.I get not using the save though-there is nothing that Janelle could have done right even for an extra week. I also don’t want 2 girls going home in one night. I’m not getting the love for Amber. I love her legs but based on vocal talent I hope it’s Angie or her next to go home. I just don’t understand how Amber can sing a Mariah Carey song not all that great (and another boring ballad) while still getting votes. I don;t get it but as long as there will be a Candice win at the end of this it will be perfect.

  24. Kait says:

    The producers are really trying to keep it close and interesting this year. First, Angie bombs top 9 week with Shop Around, and gets criticized by the judges on a night when the other girls shined, and the very next week gets the, “Angie’s Back!” edit, with the pimp spot, the wind machine. etc. Next, they keep Candice off of the judge’s and Jimmy’s top 3 lists (except Mariah’s), and then give her the pimp spot the next week to make it seem like a very dramatic comeback. Then, Amber is in the bottom two with Lazaro, and they immediately give her the pimp spot the very next week (and 2 standing ovations, only one of which could arguably be deserved). Now Kree is in the bottom two, after being in the top two last week. I would bet money on the fact that she will get the pimp spot next week, and the, “comeback” edit. Janelle was the only girl contestant who was expendable to them, and now she is gone. I think that especially in light of the tremendous ratings dips, they want this season to appear more exciting and closer than ever. When it comes down to it, nothing is really more boring than one person running away with it. I think they are hoping that dangling a contestant right on the edge of the cliff, and then seeing them make a huge “in it to win it” comeback statement the next week adds drama, excitement, and drives people to vote.

    Don’t get me wrong, each contestant made the most out of their pimp spot opportunities. Angie’s “Bring Me To Life” and Candice’s “Lovesong” were both the best performances of their respective nights, and although Amber made a misstep with “Without You”, her second song was beautiful, and surely what people will remember (hence the advantage of the pimp spot). However it does make me wonder if the producers might be giving certain contestants extra help picking songs, extra time in a mentoring session, extra advice that is actually helpful or SOMETHING the week after they have a bump in the road, in order to maintain a close and exciting race.

    OR maybe this is all an over-analytical conspiracy theory, and the contestants are just extra motivated to win after a scare. Either way, I think at this point any of these girls has the potential to step up to the plate any given week and deliver a showstopper. It will be interesting to see who makes top 3!

  25. syb says:

    Yay ‘Tasia!

    Jimmy was in orbit this week. I don’t think he made a lick of sense, and he contradicted himself anyway. I usually think he makes a decent point. Now I think he’s not even watching.

    That group song was awfuller than usual, and that’s saying a lot.

    I thought Clay sounded pretty wonky myself, especially on the front end. The last note was Idolesque. Other than that, I thought it was pretty squirmily awkwardly, has-been-ish bad.

    • Harrison says:

      If you thought his singing was not so hot, what about what many of us heard from Fantasia.? Her poor, underprivileged, overly dramatic take on everything is tiresome. The beginning was promising, but then she resorted to her over the top emoting She did look good. She is what she is, and I see they didn’t choose to film much of her story since Idol. How could they?
      This household was happy to see Clay again, and thought his voice was smooth, effortless and powerful. Low tones are excellent. Kudos to all he has done to better the world.

  26. Harrison says:

    Sorry to see Janelle go. Thought Amber and Kree were far weaker than she on Wed. Janelle is certainly as good as Kellie Pickler, and look where she is. Not worried about this cute country girl.
    Meanwhile, what a treat to have Clay Aiken return last night. Still heart stopping vocals, super personality, and i really admire all the good he has done since Idol. Can’t say that for many.
    Fantasia looked the best I have seen, and her song was good at first, but she resorted to the screeching, crying and shaking for effect, and it turned me off once more. Odd that they centered on LaToya instead of Fantasia for the back story.
    Still feel Angie has the most commercial voice and presentation. Candice has the best actual voice, but doesn’t grab me at all. Kree has a problem, as country does not seem to fit her, and that’s where she wants to be. Amber has been better on other nights. Don’t like the undeserved pimping for her, as she hit some bad notes. Makes me suspicious.

  27. Adam Fachry says:

    With Janelle gone, it’s safe to say that we won’t have a WGWG winner this season. Unless Kree decided to learn how to play it and bust out the instrument this week. Or Angie turns out to be the woman version of Kris Allen and declares to the world that besides piano, she’s also skilled at playing guitar. LOL

  28. Melanie Desi says:

    I’m thinking that the Save is still in play — didn’t they institute it because of Daughtry being eliminated at #4?
    If we have top 4 this week and they use the save and no one goes home, then there will be a second week of top four performances. If they don’t do a double elimination at the end of the second top four, then they will have added the week Michael thinks is missing.

  29. Dera says:

    I agree with the top three. Thanks America for getting it right.

    My top 3 in order is Amber, Angie, Candice.

    Loved Fantasia’s performance. IMO best performance of the season and I preordered her album om iTunes.

  30. darcy the slutty twin says:

    Wow Amber and her vacant performances are here to stay. I wonder why the judges and TPTB are desperately trying to make this dull girl happen.

  31. Jess says:

    What was the best piece of advice she received from the judges when she was on the show?
    “I think maybe when Mariah said for me not to let anybody get me down. That’s how I was able to come back for 3 years is because I didn’t let it get me down. It’s just so true. You have to continue to not let people get you down. Just do your thing.”
    Does she know who the two judges were that voted to use the save?
    “Keith told me it was him and Mariah. But Randy came up to me afterwards and [said] ‘I’ve been loving you from the beginning, from season 10.’ It’s so confusing, you just don’t know. It’s weird. I’m guessing it was Keith and Mariah who were pulling for me, but I know that Randy is too. It’s just weird. I don’t know. I don’t even know what to think…Mariah has been so sweet to me. And so complimentary. I was happy about that. I love her so much.”