American Idol Detroit Auditions Recap: Electric Motor (City)! [Updated]

american-idol-season-13-recap-detroit-jade-lathan-melanie-porrasDetroit, it’s gritty, it’s raw, it’s real. So, perhaps that’s why Jennifer Lopez wore a flannel shirt — without any discernable pants — during the first half of American Idol‘s Season 13 auditions from the Motor City.

I kid! I kid! OK, actually, I don’t. (I mean, what in a lumberjack’s nightmare was that getup supposed to be?) But in all seriousness, despite their best efforts, Jenny’s gams, Keith’s sunkissed glow and Harry’s wicked sense of humor couldn’t manage to steal the spotlight from the episode’s true stars: A dozen or so super-talented kids who got me genuinely excited about the battle to inherit Candice Glover’s crown and sash.

RELATED | American Idol: Relive Harry Connick Jr.’s Best (and Funniest) Week 1 Moments!

(Side note: Since Per Blankens & Co. seem determined not to mention our glorious Season 12 champ — hey, it’s not Candice’s fault Nicki and Mariah tried to turn the competition into Wigzilla vs Divasaurus — please allow me to direct you to the recently leaked “Damn.” Damn! Now go forth and pre-order!)

Anyhow, with the producers packing the episode with significant footage of a whopping 24 Golden Ticket recipients (from 40 total who were deemed worthy of going from Detroit to Hollywood), I’m gonna try to be pithy and focus on my 10 favorites — a harder task than I faced in last week’s Boston, Austin and San Francisco installments, to be sure. (Sorry, Khristian “disappearing accent” Davis, you did not make the cut.)

(Side note: I kinda loved how not all of this season’s montages are automatically yes-yes-yes or no-no-no situations; now, like Star-Bellied Sneetches and Plain-Bellied Sneetches, they’re sometimes jumbled together!)

My Top 11 Detroit Contestants (Had to Make Room for One Extra!)
(Not eligible: Marrialle Sellars — who got the pimp slot tonight, and whose audition was also shown extensively at the start of last Wednesday’s episode. Sheesh! How much of a head start can one chick get without being named Lauren Alaina? Marrialle’s pretty solid, though, and I liked how she discussed her father’s passing in inspirational terms, rather than maudlin ones.)

10. (tie) Sarah Scherb, “I Love The Way” | This Angelina Jolie-lookin’ chica didn’t get a ton of screentime, but there was a muscularity to her vocal that made me hit rewind. Plus, her tale about her dad’s work for Delta resulted in a priceless zinger from Harry to J.Lo about the airline: “It’s for people who fly commercial: You wouldn’t know, Jennifer. When I’m not on the Greyhound, I occasionally fly coach on Delta!”

10. (tie) Malaya Watson, “Ain’t No Way” | This tuba-playing cutie has an ebullience that leaps right through the TV screen, and that rendition of “Ain’t No Way” proved she’s got a knack for dynamics that belies her tender age.

9. Brandy Neelly, “Wanted” | I was psyched that J.Lo acknowledged Brandy was an audition in Season 11 (and last year, too), and her “Wanted” showcased the same spring-water clear tone and deliberate phrasing I’d remembered. OK, maybe the song choice was a teensy bit boring, but the goal was impressing Keith Urban, not yours truly, right? (Side note: I agree with Harry, not J.Lo, that she shouldn’t abandon that tiny bit of froginess in her tone. Discuss!)

8. Ryan Nisbett, “Angel” | Hipster with a heinous moustache, a fabulous pompadour and a stunning weight-loss backstory gave me slight shades of Adam Lambert mixed with Kim Carnes — if that makes any sense — as he scraped the upper edges of Sarah McLachlan’s plaintive ballad. The guy is undeniably distinctive (a major plus given that we’ve seen close to 75 Golden Ticket recipients in just three episodes), but I’ve got to ask: Why did Harry ding Megan Miller for pushing her voice too hard last week, but then let Ryan off without a mention of that gulpy crackle toward the end of the song? Sure, the kid had a cold, but he also veered once or twice into the shrill lane, no?

7. Jena Asciutto, “Rolling in the Deep” | I dug the quirky rhythmic choices Jenna made on the verses, but what really wowed me was the explosive power she unleashed on the chorus. Yeah, her diction was a tad, er, untraditional in spots, but there was a quiet confidence about the Detroit native that made me guess she was maybe in her early 20s, not the high-school senior she is.

6. Ayla Stackhouse, “Wings” | The opening few lines of the absolutely adorable Ayla’s Little Mix cover was a wee bit schizophrenic, what with its multiple shifts and tempo changes, but the final two-thirds showed true pop-star potential, with nifty syncopated phrasing and some impressive, booming notes on the chorus.

5. Melanie Porras, “Fever”/”Wanted Dead or Alive” | Was it Melanie’s physical resemblance to Haley Reinhart that made J.Lo pooh-pooh the 19-year-old’s “safe choices” on an acoustic rendition of “Fever”? Because, honestly, I didn’t hear “safe,” I heard seductive and restrained — accompanied by some pretty heady guitar-playing. The a capella twist on “Wanted Dead or Alive” felt less surprising to my ears, but I’m still intrigued to see where the Georgia beauty goes next.

4. Keri Lynn Roche, “Radioactive”/”I’d Rather Go Blind” | The judges wanted a second song after her gritty, deeply felt, excellently acoustic “Radioactive,” which made me go all, “WHAT? YOU’RE NOT WITHHOLDING THAT GOLDEN TICKET, ARE YOU?” Thankfully, my well of rage was percolatin’ for naught: After an equally intense “I’d Rather Go Blind,” she was on her way to Hollywood.

3. Sydney Arterbridge, “Loving You” | I’m a sucker for “Loving You,” even/especially the dog-whistle portions. So while Syndney didn’t put much of a new twist on the Minnie Riperton classic, her ability to nail every single note struck my fancy. It didn’t hurt that the 15-year-old really took her time with the tune, and didn’t try to overembellish the melody, the way young’uns sometimes do.

2. David Oliver Willis, “Too Close” | If you looked closely, you could still see the tracks across David’s torso, from where Nicki Minaj hurled him beneath the bus during last year’s Vegas round. (She said she didn’t like his terrific, bluesy rendition of “Fever,” but seemed to have an even bigger problem with the fact that he was married.) Which is why I was stoked to see the dude not only return to the audition room, but deliver a scorching, acoustic version of a dubsteppy track that was soulful, aggressive and perfectly in tune. (Was it just me, or did his arrangement give anyone else shades of Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Let It Ride”?)

1. Jade Lathan, “You Know I’m No Good” | I’m not gonna lie: For me, it was love at first listen regarding the sandpaper-and-squeak tone Jade showcased in a stunning Amy Winehouse cover. Long-time readers of my Idol recaps know that my attachments are frequently as enduring as they are sudden, so whether or not Jade survives Hollywood Week, you can bet her name will join the hallowed ranks of Aloha Mi’Sho (nee Mischeaux), Mishavonna Henson, Deanna Brown and Kendra Chantelle. (Check those ladies out on iTunes, would ya? You won’t regret it!)

With that, let me turn things over to you: What did you think of Episode 3 of Season 13? What did you think of the judges tonight? And who was your favorite Golden Ticket recipient? 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. Danny says:

    I absolutely enjoyed the audition show tonight. Maybe it’s bias because I’m from the area. It was really neat knowing a lot of the buildings, statues, road signs, etc they showed. I knew all the Michigan towns that were mentioned, and have been to most of them. This show had one of those down home feels to it for me. Even looking out the window behind the judges and seeing Canada across the river had a warm feel for me.
    For the people wanting enough of Haley, that one girl’s gonna bring back the reminders. If she sticks around, here come the comparisons.
    I didn’t realize there were so many left handed guitarists in Detroit. There seemed to be a lot of them. I thought the skit when Harry sang while Keith judged was hilarious. Overall this is going to be a great season I think. The Delta Airlines comment to Lopez was also a hoot.
    This is a little thing, but I like how the judges just get out their votes quickly and smoothly. None of this “200% yes” from the first one and then “1000% yes” from the next and so on. The obvious yeses they just send through rather than drawing it out.
    I think it’ll keep being a good season because Harry and Keith won’t let Jennifer walk all over them like Steven and Randy did. Harry’s an alpha male who’ll put Jennifer in her place. She’ll be better as a support judge, because she’s not leader material. Keith has her respect too. Something tells me deep down she didn’t respect Randy. Therefore I think she won’t be getting out of line this year because the other 2 will put the hammer down.
    Lots of outstanding auditions this year. I’d guess there were 10-12 in just this episode alone. I’ve gotten more enjoyment out of 3 audition shows this year than I did in all of last years shows. It’s off to a great start and I hope it keeps on going.
    A Detroit bias here, but I hope the winner comes from this audition. Even if the winner isn’t from Michigan (the one similar to Haley was from Georgia), I hope this audition brings home the winner. Though since I never lock in my favorite until the live shows, if someone from another audition is outstanding, I reserve the right to change my mind.

    • xx says:

      “Harry’s an alpha male who’ll put Jennifer in her place.”
      What the hell kind of misogynistic nonsense is that?

    • chris says:

      I think Harry’s behaving like the star of the show and not like one of three equals. He also isn’t as funny as he thinks he is. Last night his pretend audition was a slap in the face to the real contestants. If he doesn’t respect them, then he should at try to hide it.

      • Yo says:

        I never thought Harry went over the line into mean; he was hovering and dancing his toe over and back, but he never took the step. I don’t think Harry is mean-spirited , and gets power from his ability to be “one of us.” He pans his own lack of fame, and managed to zing Jennifer for not riding coach. (That was hilarious.)

    • Lisa says:

      Are you really from Michigan? Because that was Detroit , Chene Park, and the Belle Isle Bridge across the river. They were obviously somewhere on Belle Isle.

      • Danny says:

        Lisa- DOH!! ya got me. I kept wondering “where that little bridge there from?” I knew it wasn’t the Ambassador. I’ve been over that quite a few times. So I figured it was down river somewhere, like maybe River Rouge, Wyandotte or one of those cities. Yea, I live in Royal Oak. I did think it was Canada behind them though.

        As for the misogynistic comment (from xx)- I thought it was pretty accurate. Lopez isn’t leading material, even if she gets paid like it. All her songs (that she doesn’t even actually sing) pretty much are terrible.

        Her movies apparently are just as bad from my understanding. I’ll fess up to never seeing one, so I may be wrong. What I’ve read though, is that she was pretty decent in Selena, but has tanked in pretty much every one since then.

        Basically it comes down to Harry and Keith aren’t going to let her walk all over them like Randy and Steven did. Because of that, I think AI will be a better show.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Yup, Danny. You made great points. I totally agree that JLo needs to be reeled in and Keith and Harry are doing a good job of keeping her obvious disdain for anyone younger-pretty-and-clearly-a-better singer than her in check. I didn’t think your comment was misogynistic *and* I also think people overreact too much. I thought your point was pretty clear. And so far, I am enjoying the show much more because of it.

  2. A lot of good talent tonight. Jade Lanthan, Maurice Townsend, Keri Lynne Roache, Melanie Porras. Each of them really stood out for me tonight. They each have a very distinctive voice, style and personality. I am awfully confused about Marialle Sellers. Why did they repeat her performance from last week? She was the 1st audition last week. Did they think we forgot? I don’t get it. Did they make a mistake last week, or this week, because something definitely went wrong.

    • rhonda says:

      I seriously think they are preparing her to win. If you notice, they did go into much more detail this time, and to tell her she looks like Miley and Rihanna together?
      Its fishy to me…. Illuminati.
      And did you see her necklace? Interesting shape… Ijs

      • Jaszy says:

        Yeah, but when I saw her again, I immediately thought “the black version of Miley Cyrus”, with that hair and that ‘look’. She was beautiful. She slick does look like a mash-up between Rihanna and Miley. That part is true. I DO think however, that she has better talent.

      • Aeol says:

        They can hype her all they want; IMO her audition was just as “good, but not even close to the best” as I thought it was last week.

    • Nicole says:

      It to late to sign to sing are coming to Philly search talent I love know how sign up

    • Mamabear says:

      Last week was just a preview for her audition tonight. Hey, does anybody know what song was playing in the background of her story when she was talking about her dad passing away? It sounded like a beautiful song but I couldn’t make it out.

  3. Kail says:

    Don’t wanna be anal or a nitpicker Michael but the song sang by Sarah Scherb is “The Way” by Ariana Grande. Just correcting in case someone perhaps wanted to go look up the original song & have a listen.

  4. marie says:

    What a superbly put-together episode, with a TON of talent and nary a jokester to be found (also an uncanny Haley Reinhart lookalike). This makes up for the disappointing second show. Last week, after episode 2, I wondered if Nigel had sneaked back in the building. Guess they booted him out! The show definitely seemed to get back on track this week.
    And isn’t Harry Connick just superb?

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Yay! Glad to read you agree with Mr. Slezak, marie!

      I had a meeting tonight and haven’t watched the DVR yet. I am SO glad to see Brandy Neelly and David Willis back! Hope to watch “Idol” in the morning!

      • marie says:

        You are DEFINITELY going to enjoy this one!

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          I’m excited to watch. I did see the last two auditions when I got home from my meeting. I saw Ryan Nisbitt sing “Angel” – that was the skinny kid with the unusual hair. I think I liked him – the problem is I absolutely, positively detest that song so I’ll need to listen again when I watch the recording.

          I was also surprised to see Marielle Sellars again singing “Grenade” since she opened the very first episode. Mr. Slezak took the words right out of my mouth – “Shades of Lauren Alaina”. I did like Marielle, though.

  5. Pat says:

    David Oliver Willis’ one of the most robbed contestants ever and he’s back better, stronger and ready. Go David!

    • Danny says:

      My thinking is anyone who got cut last year actually dodged a bullet. They’d be forever linked to last seasons disaster. This year they’ll be linked to the revival of the show.

  6. LeahKittyS says:

    I was impressed by how many standouts there were tonight. Between Brandy Neely, Ethan Harris, Jena Asciutto, Malaya Watson, and Maurice Townsend, Detroit certainly delivered. And I don’t have a problem with hearing Marrialle Sellars’ audition again; last week was just a preview, this time we get her whole story. The judges were great, especially Harry, as always. Another week and a half before Hollywood!

    • Danny says:

      I agree w/ ya Leah. I like how instead of turning it into a sob story, they turned it into an inspirational one. btw/ if ya do a story this year, could ya make it a cheery one? Last years was good, don’t get me wrong. We just don’t want ya to become known as the Pia (one style only) of the boards.

      • LeahKittyS says:

        LOL Absolutely. I hate horror stories, actually, but last year it was necessary with the way the producers had it in for the boys. It’s going to depend on how the producers (and contestants) behave, but what kind of story would you guys like to see this time?

        • Danny says:

          Something generally uplifting. I had forgotten that your story line last year was based on how brutal the show was. So that storyline made perfect sense. Even forgetting that it was based on how bad a season it was (ie, thinking that was your wheelhouse) I had thought something uplifting would be better this year. Uplifting would also fit this years theme.

          • Danny says:

            oh, meant to add: uplifting within reality. An Idol doesn’t have to save the world or anything.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            Yeah, saving the world’s a bit much. Uplifting is my favorite kind of story. But there still has to be some element of contestants going missing one by one, or getting separated somehow, because that is the nature of a reality competition show. That’s the fun part about the finale, when everybody comes back together.

  7. Matt says:

    Did Melanie Porras remind anyone else a little bit of Haley? She had a sweeter voice, not as gravely and certainly didn’t throw in the patented growls, but she had a very similar quality and vibe. Both laid back and bluesy. And there is a physical resemblance, too.

    • marie says:

      I noticed a definite physical resemblance, but not so much of a musical likeness (other than the simple fact that she sang a jazz number).

      • Emma says:

        Aside from the curly blond hair, I really don’t see it. But hey, anything that gets peeps reminiscing about Haley Reinhart is good in my book!

        • Jaszy says:

          You got that right?! Love Haley! However, I agree with you, she did remind me of Haley in the looks department, but I know that they are not similar in the genre department. To me, Melanie gives off a more folksy/indie blues vibe with grit. She is different from Haley. For one, I didn’t hear as much as I would’ve liked to have heard of Melanie’s audition but it seems like her range is slightly limited; Haley had a pretty extensive range. But other than that, she was great. Definitely one to watch, and YEP, it’s because she reminds me of Haley Reinhart, one of my favorite contestants of all time on Idol!
          Now if only there were lookalikes of Angela Miller and Elise Testone and Kendra Chantelle. This would be the best season yet!
          ( I just knew Slezak was going to mention Haley when talking about Melanie. I don’t mind that at all. Keep Haley alive, Slezak. This is YOUR blog!)

  8. marie says:

    Oh, this production team is SO much better than their predecessors. The extremely brief snippets we saw of just a few joke auditions – in a few cases, with contestants not even named, if I remember correctly – were exactly as much of those that I would want to see, and were mercifully free of ridicule and meanspiritedness. And only, what, maybe three more-extended clips of substandard (but not inane) vocalists? WITHOUT jokey music/sound effects to emphasize that these folks are being made fun of? Heaven! I feel like Idol has finally passed adolescence and grown up. Yay!

    • Alex says:

      I miss the bad auditions. The show was a lot more popular when they showed more of them, too. Hmm….

      • Roboa says:

        Hi Nigel

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Good riddance to the bad auditions. There is no joy in ridiculing singers like that. It’s sadistic and unnecessary. This is the first year I’m actually watching the auditions and it’s because they (mostly) got rid of those.

    • Timmah says:

      ITA, Marie. It feels like they’ve finally stopped insulting our intelligence, not only with the lack of joke auditions, but also by not focusing on the predictable sob stories.

  9. Jim says:

    Brandy Neelly was my favorite. i love a good returnee like her

  10. J. May says:

    Is it just me or are the judges this season leaps and bounds more helpful and constructive in their observations about the people trying out? It’s actually really cool to hear real musical jargon being tossed around by the judges. Maybe ’cause the Dawg ain’t there?

  11. Jason says:

    People blame idol’s falling ratings on the Niki MAriah feud. THat is absolutely illogical and riddiculous. The ratings dropped because the panel was BORING!!!! The feud lasted one episode on screen! MAriah’s boring commentary went on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on!

    The ratings also dropped because they messed with the formulas of having a lot of cute guys in the competition. Idol is most popular with young girls and old women> And with out anyone to lust after and a Mariah Carey droning on for 45 minutes of an 80 minute broadcast you got everyone going over to Adam LEvine babbyling on for 45 minutes of a 90 minute broadcast.

    • Danny says:

      Yea, the commentary’s from the judges were way to long on both last years AI & the most recent voice. I’ve actually timed it before. Nikki would babble for longer than some of the contestants sang. Mariah was up there too. Both had some 2 minute rambles basically saying nothing of substance. Even when it’s quasi constructive, like on the Voice, Christina was going on & on & on & on & on & on for over 2 minutes at times. This years Idol panel seems to get right to the point and keep it short. I hope that continues in the live shows.
      One thing that I think hurt Idol last year was because of 4 judges (even if they were good) take too long to talk. That’s time that a contestant could be singing. It used to be when 12 singers, they got 1.5 minutes to sing. As the contestants got knocked out, each would get like 10 seconds longer per song to perform. Last year though, it was pretty much 90 seconds no matter what.

      The Voice had 3 minute songs at times vs. Idol (season 12) always being 1.5 minutes. That makes a big difference in how well the contestant comes off. I hope Idol goes back to giving them longer times as people get eliminated. For that matter, let em do a complete song.

      ps: a lot of my posts are akin to the judges talking forever

  12. Patricia Moriat says:

    The illusion has been shattered. I always thought the city skyline behind the judges was real but the only way they could have gotten that Detroit skyline was if they filmed the auditions across the river in Canada.

    • chris says:

      The Boston auditions are filmed in Foxboro, MA yet the backdrop makes it appear to be filmed in Boston.

      • Yo says:

        They also filmed in Cambridge, which is across the river from Boston and not in Boston at all. There actually was not much Boston there, except maybe for the inside of some hotel (which was more likely in Foxboro at Patriot Place).

  13. karenb says:

    Wth I missed Idol tonight?! Grrrr. Thank goodness for Slezak’s recaps.

  14. Brandy says:

    So. many. good contestants tonight! And not just good voices, but interesting people. And goodness, I love these judges. Season 13 is so refreshing!

  15. Michael says:

    Anyone know the name of the first song they played in the background? Catchy beat. They played it in between the first couple of contestants.

  16. AlyB says:

    I have to say tonight’s auditions were the best so far. The whole show was filled with talent I’m looking forward to seeing again. With a few notable exceptions, I wasn’t that wowed last week.
    My favorites tonight were:
    Kerry Lynn Loved her whole vibe. She had an incredible tone and great nuance to her delivery.
    Bryan Watt Beautiful, soothing voice and easy in the eyes :)
    Melanie Porras Definitely one to watch. She has an innate musicality that you just can’t fake and I think she can sing just about anything. That’ll serve her well in the Idol format.
    Jade I just love this girl. From her style choices to her professed live of Amy Winehouse, she’s a contestant I can get behind. Especially if she keeps singing like she did tonight.
    Maurice Townsend Nice tone, ease with dynamics, great sing choice and the cutest family ever on the show!

    There were a lot more I liked tonight too like Paris, Ryan and Erhan. As always Hillywood week is make or break it time so we’ll see how they stand up to the pressure. I’m certainly happy with what I saw tonight and think we have some serious contenders in this bunch.

  17. danin says:

    Liked the hipster kid,alot.Liked the very first woman contestant,Marielle,Amy Winehouse,young dude w/4 kids, blonde guitar country dude, really were so many, I am amazed you guys remember everyone’s name.

  18. Tahoe Mike says:

    I was glad to see Brandy Neelly back, I liked her last season. I liked the Haley look alike too, maybe just for the flashback moment. I just hope she haunts Jlo.

  19. Lana says:

    This year is going to be fantastic, but Michael please get over the Haley thing and Jlo. It is getting silly to dislike someone because she wasn’t nice to Haley. I’m enjoying her this year, but the guys are my favorite and I love the bromance. The talent tonight was awesome and such diversity it really is making this season pure joy. I could have watched this episode over and over. The new producers, so far, are doing the right thing. Here’s hoping they continue. Michael I love you but please let Haley go.

    • Jaszy says:

      This is exactly what we need to keep Haley alive. A look-a-like in the form of Melanie Porras.
      This is Michael’s blog! He can post what he wants and if he wants to keep posting about Haley Reinhart in every blog, let him! You don’t have to read it.
      I personally don’t mind it. Haley = ROBBED!

      • Paris says:

        If she’d been robbed, she’d have gone on to greater success than the winner as Adam Lambert did. Seems to me Scotty is doing great and Haley has faded into obscurity except among some Idoloonies. She and Pia were polarizing contestants and were despised by the greater majority of Idol fans. JMO

        • ChrissieK says:

          Thank you thank you thank you…I counted down and boom! there it was, Haley’s name and I say the same thing…if she was that freaking good why didn’t she go on to become a star even though she was “robbed” by Idol? Jennifer Hudson went on to great fame and fortune, why didn’t Haley? I thought she was ok and I didn’t cry when she had to say good bye but the boards just keep her name popping up for years on end. I shouldn’t feed into it though so forget I said anything!

      • Robin says:

        Yeah, if people don’t want to hear about Haley, then go read someone else’s blog. Obviously Michael is a big fan of her, why should he have to avoid mentioning her? Because some people don’t like her? It’s not like the criticism of J.Lo is unwarranted (and I’m a big Jenny fan, honestly).

  20. Timmah says:

    Can’t agree with the #1 ranking of the Amy Winehouse girl. I thought her audition was all over the place. I’d probably rank Faux Haley at the top.

    • S. says:

      Yeah definitely disagree about Jade Lathan. Her voice seems to be good and I want to give her credit for that, but it’s hard to know if it’s the real Jade we’re hearing. That Amy Winehouse vibe is an affectation. Sing a non-Amy song, she won’t sound like Amy. It’s purely from listening to Amy’s song and singing along so much that she took on the vocal styling. She’ll be shown up for it in Hollywood or it’ll at least sound weird when applied to another song since it isn’t organic. I hope her real tone is enough to get her through. Who knows if it’s unique? Right now she’s copycat.

      • waterbug says:

        I feel the same way about the persona, (not the voice and talent) of black Miley. Please original-ize your persona in hollywood!

  21. gemapet says:

    Agree tonight’s contestants were hard to narrow down to a top 10 – do you know who the guy shown after Jade was? The audition with Keith playing guitar – thought he was good too.

    • marie says:

      Keith playing guitar to accompany an auditioner: how adorable is that? The kid must have been over the moon!

      • gemapet says:

        Maybe it was a clip where the audition will be shown in full in a later episode, but it was in the middle of the show, not the very start. Looked like the guy already had a ‘golden ticket’ and then handed his guitar to Keith.

  22. laurirose says:

    How soon they forget! Michael, I thought for sure that when you listed Aloha, Mishavonna, Deanna & Kendra at the end, you’d remember to include our mutual fave, Jesse Langseth.

    Also suprised you didn’t mention how hilarious Harry & Keith are together, even more in Detroit, and of course Harry on his own is truly making us laugh out loud (like the Confessional scene). Love this season’s changes: breaths of fresh air.

    PS. Any idea if the superb songstress Ms. Glover will tour her new album?

  23. S. says:

    Someone has to acknowledge the awesomeness of a clip from the BBC’s miniseries version of “Emma” starring Jonny Lee Miller and Romola Garai being in this Reality Check. Love that so hard.

  24. Alan Dvorkis says:

    The show is much improved, however J Lo needs to go. She annoys me when she sighs or worse babbles nonsense while the contestant is singing.random chatter, Her audition comments are either cliche or a slight variation or worse a repeat of what Keith or Harry says. Shame she is there to detract as the talent is terrific and the other judges both knowledgeable and entertaining.

  25. Forwardad says:

    Can we please move from Hailey? I know I know it’s Michaels blog. I get it she was robbed…but she’s not walking through that door. Let’s find a new idol who will win on their own talent – not Haley’s.

  26. Kiki says:

    It’s funny watching Harry’s face when people audition because you can really see how much music is apart of the man as I saw him hold back winces and stank face at any little bad note uttered LOL

    • Yo says:

      But, unlike many judges, he looks thoroughly engaged in the auditioner’s performance. In itself, that is unusual. If you remember, Simon Cowell spent entire performances mentally counting his money.

    • JayNC says:

      Harry is the BEST IDOL JUDGE OF ALL TIME.

  27. jaxguy says:

    Wow…I didn’t love Jade…..
    I thought there were quite a few way better….
    I’m not sure she will go very far…

  28. Adam FR says:

    What’s with Miley Cyrus look-alikes on Idol these past two seasons? Last season, it was Angie, and this time we have Marielle. Lol.

    Tbh, it surprises me how this season they managed to find contestants with guitars that are not all white guys, which makes me wonder, where have they been all this time? I love the fact that these contestants defy cliches and generalizations, something that idol’s been learning from The Voice, it seems.

  29. TD says:

    Slezak resolution–I will not mention Haley Rinehart for at least one week. Can it be done?

  30. Mark says:

    Is it possible for there to be just one recap where Haley Reinhardt is not mourned? It’s been what, four years now? Move on, nothing to see here. Sure, she was treated unfairly by the judges, and maybe she was the best performer on one of the all-time worst seasons of AI. But you know what? She wasn’t that great. I admired her spirit and she had a few good songs, but overall, she’s not a star. She would have been eliminated in the bottom half of the top ten in most seasons. It pains me to say this because I genuinely did like her, but it really is time to stop obsessing over her. Actually, that time was three years ago. Let it go, people let it go. If she were really that great she would be making a name for herself in the business. She has, at best, a small cult following who are led by Slezak and are all vocal here. But the rest of the world? Couldn’t pick her out of a set of her own promo pics.

    • Paris says:

      What he said!

    • waterbug says:

      OMG…exactly what he said!!

    • LG says:

      I’ll give Slezak credit for not mentioning Haley’s version of “House of The Rising Sun” for once.

    • Haley Rocks! says:


    • Tusk says:

      Worst seasons? I recall S10 was given credit for ‘reviving’ the down slide Idol was experiencing up to S9…. In fact they had to add shows to the tour it was so popular ….

      The facts don’t bare out your characterization that S10 was “one of the all-time worst seasons of AI”, sorry :P

      • Mark says:

        You can remember S10 any way you want, but what I recall from that season was the return of Nigel; the season-long “country cuties” script; the elimination of five consecutive females at the start of the finals; the inception of a two-year occupation of the judging panel by Steven Tyler’s senile and incoherent grandmother; the country bear jamboree finale; and Scotty McCreery seemingly singing the exact same song every week on his way to victory. S10 did not revive the franchise; it was, instead, the beginning of the end.

        • Tusk says:

          The popularity of the S10 tour after the season, Many articles crediting 10 after dreadful S9.
          Season 9 being worst rated, cancelling dates…these are facts, not opinions like S10 was worse than S9 … if there was a beginning, it started there, causing them t bring Nigel in…facts

        • Tusk says:

          Oh, and “the end” that happens to include two multiplatinum, very successful winners in Phillip and Scotty still on the rise, again, not opinion, facts

          • Mark says:

            I’m talking about the television show, not the tour. Look at the ratings for the last four years–they’re down precipitously year after year. Last year was down 25% from the previous year and 50% from four years earlier. And this year? Down again. Those are television facts–the only facts that matter.

          • Tusk says:

            Not having to do w season 10, saturation of singing competition, ageing format and disastrous Lazaro woman must win manipulation affected more than S10, ratings went up s10, compared to S9, which still contadicts your notion S10 was the beginningmof the end, when S9 is considered worst, before S12 , of all AI seasons. Its obvious you will see what you want to see despite evidence, so not point going round and round…

  31. marie says:

    Mr. Slezak, puzzled by your comment re how the producers “seem determined” not to mention Candace Glover: not sure why / where they WOULD in the context of the current season’s shows – ?

  32. Blinged Up says:

    Michael, you mention Haley all you want. We will never forget!

    Another good audition episode, although I start having a hard time remembering who is who at this point.

    Lastly, hope they’re checking ID’s. No way was that guy with four kids 26. I’m sure he said 46 and they misunderstood. It’s not just because of the four kids — he just doesn’t look like a guy in his 20’s.

    • waterbug says:

      Maybe that will be the scandal of Hollywood–46 year-old masquerades as 26 year-old! Ha! Seriously, he doesn’t look a day past 28! ;)

    • Robin says:

      Agreed, I think what separates Slezak’s blog from all the other Idol blogs out there is his knowledge of and references to past contestants. Can’t understand why people get so annoyed by mentioning someone he is a fan of.

    • Mark says:

      Micheal Slezak: This meeting of the Cult of Haley will come to order. Please bow your heads. Haley, Oh Haley, you are the Darling, you have walked the Long and Winding Road. We gather in your House of the Rising Sun, with the blessings of Page and Plant. You are the Benny and we are your Jets. Please bless us with your sacred gravely voice.

      Michael Slezak: Ms. Doolittle, please lead us in an incantation against evil.

      Melinda Doolittle: Please repeat after me. J Lo sucks.

      Crowd: J Lo sucks.

      Melinda Doolittle: J Lo is mean.

      Crowd: J Lo is mean.

      Melinda Doolittle: J Lo must be punished.

      Crowd: J Lo must be punished.

      Melinda Doolittle: Nigel sucks.

      Crowd: Nigel sucks.

      Melinda Doolittle: Nigel is evil

      Crowd: Nigel is evil.

      Melinda Doolittle: Nigel must be banned.

      Crowd: Nigel must be banned.

      Michael Slezak: Thank you, Ms. Doolittle. Friends, at our last meeting there was a proposal to have a statue of Haley erected on the Nokia Theater stage so that all who follow the blessed one will remember the suffering she endured on our behalf. To date we have raised $12.00 toward the statue. People, we must dig deeper and find the funds to honor the memory of the Idlest of all American Idol contestants. A star such as Haley only orbits the Earth once every generation. If we do not mention her every single day after every single Idol performance, who will do it? Not J Lo. Not Randy. Not Steven Tyler. Not even Ryan Seacrest. It is up to us to remind the world of the heinous crime that was perpetuated against the unchosen one. Only we can educate our children so that they, too, understand the horror of the day that shall live in infamy.

      Now let us bow our heads and listen to her sweet sweet voice.

      Michael Slezak: Go and spread the word of Haley the Righteous.

      • Lana says:

        @Mark, this made me laugh, cute. I want to clear up something that everyone is not understanding. I don’t hate Haley but I don’t blame Jlo or Randy or Nigel or anyone else for her not winning. They have nothing to do with who wins, its America who votes and we will vote for who we want no matter what the judges say. I recall many times when Simon would say you are not going to make it thru and yet they did. There are several years that my favorite didn’t win {Adam, Clay, Melinda…} but I didn’t hate the judges for it and they didn’t get the blame because I was smart enough to know it was America who voted. I have gotten over it and I continue to buy their CD’s. Mention Haley all you want but it is stupid to blame any of the judges for her not winning cause the real culprit is America, she was not liked by enough American’s to make her the winner, so if you must hate someone for her loss you need to hate a nation, not a little ole’ judge who can’t force anyone not to vote if they want to vote.

      • Owen says:

        Only one comment??? This was brilliant. I loved Haley as well, but Slezak’s constant harping on her over the years has lessened my affection for her. Applause, Mr. Mark.

      • Tahoe Mike says:

        I am not donating any cash for the statue, but I will call in 75 times to vote in favor of it.

  33. Steve F. says:

    First of all, no mention of Harry’s “audition” before Keith, complete with job description of “Lounge Singer” and age listed as “29*”? Although, the confessional was funny, and his busting on J-Lo for not knowing what coach on Delta Airlines is will be an Idol classic!

    Loved Haley Rinehart 2.0, aka Melanie Porras! Whereas Haley has that jazzy feel, I thought that Melanie got a smoky blues vibe. I really hope she gets past the Hollywood round.

    Sydney Arterbridge killed it on the high note… and now I want to see Jill Goodacre (Harry’s wife) sing it, based on his description.

    Also glad to see David Oliver Willis back to audition – I too thought Nikki Minaj had slighted him big time last season (but given how that season turned out, perhaps he should be considered lucky).

    Overall, lots of great auditions (minus the guy who commented on J. Lo adjusting her mike… what was that all about, dude?).

  34. Shelly says:

    What was the name of the young man from Chagrin Falls, OH that sang Frank Sinatra on last nights (1/22/14) episode?

  35. Jim Welker says:

    I think #5 on the list of Mike’s best of the night was my favorite audition! The very first person who auditioned was also excellent! I didn’t feel the Two black girls who they all said would go so far were that great! The girl who sang “WINGS” was ok! She doesn’t compare to Ellona Santiago singing it in X Factor! I also felt that a couple they all said no to were good enough to go through…The kid, Newberry and the guy with the good raspy voice, playing the guitas who had a beard! The talent was finally good this year! To me, however, I really haven’t yet seen a singer who I feel could win it all!

  36. Amy says:

    Love your recaps, Michael! With Harry Connick Jr. being so fantastic this year and bringing so much to the show, the recaps should have a “Harry’s Best Lines” section to along with the highlights. :)

    He could almost warrant his own recap. This season is off to a great start! Let’s hope it stays that way! Thanks for all the recapping. Keep up the great work!

  37. Jim Welker says:

    I fell that the best so far was Briana Oakley from the first week! She has the capability to go very, very far….Possibly win! She’s the only real standout so far; My opinion!

  38. Dimitri says:

    Michael, I just listened to Candice Glover’s new single. I know it’s tough to be objective about her since you are a fan. I think we can all agree that she is a worthy American Idol champion and has a tremendous voice. No dispute there. However, that new single “Damn”….I am not feeling it at all! The song seems forced. She is too good of a singer for this to be her debut song. To recommend that song? Your better than that Slezak.

  39. Jim Welker says:

    Damn is damned terrible! I always thought Amber should have won last year! She had the look and voice!

  40. Jim Welker says:

    I think Harry is slacking a little from the first week as far as his judging talent saying Sellars and the girl who sang “WINGS” were real contenders! They were OK, BUT NOT THE PICK OF THE LITTER by any means!

  41. kate'shomesick says:

    I loved the guy that sang “Waiting..” by John Mayer with Keith playing guitat…looked it up on the american idol page- Jared White…they could have given him a name tag on the show…pity

  42. Tusk says:

    I wasn’t even aware that Marrialle Sellars had been shown that many times until Michael pointed it out in the review….

    That being said, hers is the one audition that really ‘popped’ for me. Her vocals have room to grow, but she has pluses in so many areas of what’s needed to mex out her potential in the entertainment business
    BTW I didn’t see resemblance beyond Melanie Porras’ hair, to Haley. I hope her camp doesn’t overly employ that similarity to gather votes. She needs to show what makes her, her. Her success should not come because of “who she’s like” JMO
    Finally, as a true blue fan of Haley’s who deeply believes her talent should be heard, I’m glad that in her journey to build her brand to succeed in what she’s set out to do, she get’s a mention once in a while. It’s not been the easiest/smoothest road, if a couple things turned the right way instead of the way they did, the outcome for Haley might have been better. So Michael mentions her in his blog….Maybe someone who doesn’t know her, looks it up and becomes a new fan…..

    Less we forget Idoloonies was at it’s peak in popularity during Season 10 with multiple episodes each week, each expertly edited by Jason. Story telling 101: Every good story must have a good villain. For Michael, Jason and Idoloonies sakes, the role was filled by JLo and Randy. Haley filled the role of the Damsel in distress, underdog.
    Step back from your ingrained hate and see it for what it is, good story telling, all the Idol’s were cast, each filled a role, each filled a niche. Michael and Jason’s narrative. They were so effective in the narrative it left an impression for Haley in many of us.
    Ultimately Idol, to me, is ‘discovering’ a talent, from the beginning, nurturing it and watching it grow. That talent for me, is Haley. Everyone has their theories and value judgments, bottom line, she’s a young woman with talent and conviction to make a living at something the majority of us only wish we could have the talent and conviction to do…
    So Michael mentions her once out of a whole review, out of all the subjects he covers in reality TV… Is it that big a deal that people have this intense dislike?
    So he mentions Haley, he’s a fan… why is that so dreadful?

    • Terry says:

      You want to know what is dreadful? Your lecturing of other posters! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion whether they agree with you or not! And before you go calling me a hater, I was a huge fan of Haley on idol and I like when Michael mentions her. But I can also understand that not everyone was and it might be annoying for some people. Que Sera!

      • Tusk says:

        LOL show me where I lectured? People are complaining about a once in awhile reference, which I defended.
        Poster upstream claimed S10 was the worst season, which I refuted, then I defended Michael’s right to talk about a favorite…. Lecture? At least I didn’t post a whole mock trial as that same “I’m a fan of Haley, but let me post why I don’t like mention of her and say nothing about the episode” guy above :P

  43. Bizz says:

    Maurice Townsend singing So High…best of the night, by far.

  44. Mamabear says:

    I really want to know what song was playing in the background during the piece they did on Marialle Sellers when she is talking about her dad passing away. Anybody know?

  45. Hish says:

    Does anyone know the song playing in the background after David Oliver Willis sings?

  46. Vetle says:

    Ryan Nisbett sounded a lot like Reece Mastin, just me?

  47. Melanie C says:

    I think Majesty Rose will be a powerful competitor.
    Tim Riley sings the good old soulful country music that I grew up on with a earthy freshness.
    Good luck to both of you.

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