American Idol Recap: The Cutting Crew

american-idol-season-13-top-30-sam-woolf-Like a bowl of wasabi mac & cheese, Part 1 of American Idol‘s “Season 13 Top 30 Announcement Episode” was a mix of familiar comforts and spicy new twists. (Urgh, sorry, now all I want to do is Google Image Search wasabi mac & cheese.)

Predictably yet sorta comfortingly, we had The Elevator of Doom ©, The Misty Eye of J.Lo (™), The Keith Urban Sing-Along Hour, A Brutal Last-Minute A Cappella-Off (With Bonus “Mean Girl” Edit)! And there was even The Barnacle They Finally Detached From the Judges’ Table ripping through our bathroom doors with an axe, and cackling, “Heeeeeeere’s Randy!”

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And yet at the same time, newbie producer Per Blankens threw us a few curves: The first contestant ever to make it through to the voting rounds and be openly allowed to say the words “I’m gay” on camera. J.Lo actually schooling Harry Connick Jr. on his failure to recognize a star in his midst. And so many original songs by contestants that I actually found myself shouting “Holy Toledo!” (Yes, that was an overt Crystal Bowersox reference.)

By the time the two-hour installment ended with a shocking cliffhanger — OK, it was actually kinda expected, but I’m not gonna be the one to come between “shocking” and “cliffhanger” — we’d learned the identity of 17 of the 30 contestants who’ll partake in next week’s “Rush Week.” And while one or two eliminations kinda stung — I will remember you, Nica Nashae — and a few “yeses” seemed like mere pawns on the Season 13 chessboard, there’s already an impressive number of potential contenders for the mighty Candice Glover’s throne.

Here’s where we stand going into tomorrow night’s one-hour continuation of the Top 30 sweepstakes:

Top 15 Women (So Far)
Andrina Brogden
Bria Anai
Emily Piriz
Jessica Meuse
Jillian Jensen
Kristen O’Connor
M.K. Nobilette
Malaya Watson

Top 15 Men (So Far)
Alex Preston
Dexter Roberts
Emmanuel Zidor
George Lovett
Jordan Brisbane
Malcolm Allen
Maurice Townsend
Sam Woolf
Spencer Lloyd

Some additional impressions…

Top 3 Most Pleasant Surprises
M.K. Nobilette | Yes, I loved her matter-of-fact “I’m very obviously gay” comment to the judges — a long, long, long overdue milestone for a show that’s gone to ridiculous lengths to totally ignore the backstories and significant others of its prior LGBT contestants. But it was her hushed, lilting rendition of “The A Team” — yes, J.Lo’s “quiet storm” description was apt — that made me excited to see what she’ll do next. [Quick poll: Who should do "Fast Car" first -- M.K. or Majesty Rose? Yes, I am assuming Majesty advances Thursday night because I don't want to believe the universe would allow it to go down any other way.]

Andrina Brogden | There was an exuberance and sass — plus a depth of tone — to her cover of Ellie Goulding’s “Burn” that proved a major upgrade from her ho-hum audition. I hated to see Leah Guerrero — who got almost no screentime except for her enthusiastic support of her fellow contestants — get her heart broken, but in a head-to-head taste-test, Andrina was the hands-down champ.

George Lovett | Dude’s been under the radar the last five weeks, but he showcased incredible horsepower without ever veering into showboating territory on “I Won’t Give Up.”

Top 3 Headscratchers (AKA “Not Ready for Primetime!”)
Malaya Watson | Um, if Malaya couldn’t figure out that she and the band were in different keys for her solo performance of “I Believe,” do we really think she’ll fare any better in front of a roaring studio audience? Plus, even after Harry hit the “reset” button, some of her runs were more “high school band practice” than “symphony orchestra.” Put it another way: Was she really more qualified than Keri Lynn Roche?

Jordan Brisbane | When I can hear you gasping in the midst of Beyoncé’s “Halo,” then I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly. [Or as Yoncé ad-libs it: "I! Don't! Think! You're! Re-eh-eh-eh-day!"]

Emmanuel Zidor | I suppose his advance to the Top 15 guys was worth it just for his lift and spin of Ryan Seacrest, and then our intrepid host’s abject failure in pulling a reverse of the move — the two of ‘em tumbling to the floor in a ridiculous heap. Still, dude’s take on “I’m Goin’ Down” didn’t sound like the stuff of an eventual finalist. Wouldn’t it have been kinder to send him home with instructions to improve his techinique for Season 14?

Top 3 Solidified Front-Runners
Malcolm Allen | Holy heck, this kid has so much vocal control, I kinda wanted to see if he could perform the seven wonders — AHS: Coven style. (Sorry, that was a crazy comparison, but I miss Jessica Lange on my teevee!) How Harry questioned the dapper fella’s marketability is a mystery worthy of Jessica Fletcher — but thankfully J.Lo dismissed such nonsense with a flawless “I. Remember Him. Every. Time.” Plus, if someone as unpleasant as Chris Brown is still going platinum, then isn’t every human being alive “marketable” on some level?

Jillian Jensen | Loving the sandpaper-y quality of her tone, and her original track had an emotional rawness that was quite appealing.

Dexter Roberts | No idea what song this plainspoken fella was singing — my country knowledge doesn’t run as deep as I’d like it to — but Dexter grabbed my attention instantly with his authenticity and feeling. Plus, I’ll admit, his tearful collapse on the elevator ride back down to the holding room was awfully sweet. [10 Points for Stoic Boys With Tearful Centers!]

(OK, and probs the adorable Sam Woolf) | Don’t hate me for saying it, but the supercute teenager’s original song — written after his mom moved away from him — might not have been as powerful without the accompanying backstory. Still, he’s got a tone as warm and soothing as a fresh brewed cup of tea — and is close to a mortal lock for the Top 10 as anyone this season.

Cut During the Episode
Keri Lynn Roche (whaaa? Her stage antics on “I’d Rather Go Blind” were a little histrionic, but girlfriend’s got a killer voice!)
Madelyn Patterson
Michael Simeon
LeBryant Crew
Sabrina Lentini
Casey McQuillen
Jessie Roach
Nica Nashae
Leah Guerrero
Plus a few other people who the show’s producers oddly didn’t bother to identify by name

Fates Still Hanging in the Balance
Casey Thrasher Vs. C.J. Harris [The "winner" of the Alabama guys' sing-off was left in cliffhanger mode]

Other thoughts…

* Why do Uncle PB & Co. seem hellbent on sabotaging Jessica Meuse? Her “Whipping Post” was clearly and vastly superior to Jesse Roach’s shaky “Do Ya,” her solo performance showcased the best original track we’ve heard this season (“Done”), and yet they had to show her failing to return Jesse’s compliment as the judges deliberated which raven-haired rocker would advance. (Maybe she was nervous — or just didn’t want to fib!) Color me vexed, either way!

* I loved Harry’s warning to contestants to keep it to themselves if they were feeling sick. That’s the kind of music-biz brutality for which these kids are signing up, so it’s best to not dole out gold stars and lollipops just for showing up, right?

* Not only did Spencer Lloyd’s original song have lyrics that could’ve doubled as a “public service announcement” (as Harry put it), but there wasn’t a whole lot of melody, either. I remain ambivalent about his prospects, even if deep down I know he’s going to advance to the Top 5 with the ease of Kris Jenner taking a selfie.

* Every time Alex Preston reminds us how “different” his style is, I want to pull a Patsy Stone and shout, “I’ll be the judge of that!”

* Finally, Melinda and I are gonna have an interesting time discussing Maurice Townsend when we shoot Reality Check on Friday. [Oh snap!]

With that, I turn it over to you!

What did you think of Night 1 of The Green Mile? Which singers stood out for you? Which cuts and advances left you yelling “What the…”? And have you already got a favorite heading into the Live Rounds? Sound off below!

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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329 Comments
  1. Davey says:

    There is nothing remotely unique or interesting about Dexter.

  2. I actually don’t think Jillian is a front-runner right now. Even with people being mad about her missing X Factor.

    • Peg says:

      You get to vote next week! You have the power to change it.

    • Was just about to say this. I still think she’s being cast as fodder and there’s plenty of talented ladies to take her place.

    • JM says:

      I agree. They haven’t really shown her much. However, I’m glad she made it. She’s good, and it would be cruel to broadcast her rejection again at the last minute.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Agreed. *And* I really like her. I look forward to voting my faves through…

    • Tusk says:

      My one thing about Jillian… one thing…. don’t make the ‘cry faces’ that were so excruciating to sit through during XFactor… so what does she do?? For the love of Mike :P

      (Please don’t have her Mom show up making the exact sad face just like XFactor…. Puhleeeze :( )

      Thank God they didn’t show more of her up ’til this point, I can’t take it :/

      Maybe an over reaction but Jeeez I really hated it :P

      • Lauren says:

        Let’s just hope that once Jillian is rejected again (which will likely be happening next week) she doesn’t then turn up on The Voice whining, pouting and crying.

        • Tusk says:

          I swear I want to see past it to actually listen to her talent, but I empathize w/ fighters, those who pick themselves up and start swinging. (One reason why Haley hit a chord with me)

          I cannot stand the Over the Top “Pity Me” personality. I wanted to believe that that terrible impression was due to XFactor editing/casting the personalities, then she does this, on Idol. :P

          I think I like Jessica Meusse, but I can’t be sure if it’s because she strikes me as a fighter who doesn’t give up, gritty. OTOH I’m not ‘in love’ with the tone of her voice, though I like the character and attitude of her vibe…..

          I will say, something about her reminds me of a young Bonnie Raitt

          I kind of liked what Keri Lynn Roche brought, vocals, personality, looks, I liked her performance tonight, but poof, she’s gone. There is a lot of good talent this year, but no ‘vocal’ has really caught me yet, so I have just the personalities presented to consider

          For now, though, Ms Meusse is most intriguing to me, we’ll see if my opinion of her tone catches up to my opinion of the rest of her :P

          • Ben says:

            Actually, in group week I felt like Jess Meuse was the Jillian Jensen “Pity me” type of person, which put me off her. She didn’t keep a positive attitude at all.

          • Tusk says:

            She JUST got put through, didn’t even have a chance to enjoy it when Momma from Hell attacked her, basically putting that her daughter was not put through on Jessica.

            Much different from Jillian who seemed to think that she had Demi on her side with all the crying and weeping, probably for 70% of her screen time ….ugh

          • Leticia Prado says:

            Hey, Tusk, are you the reason why I have Haley Reinhart´s “Better” on my ” Eternal Loop” playlist??

          • Tusk says:

            @Leticia Prado Yes, I hope it’s a good thing :) .

            Just doing what I can to help Haley as much as I can. I got to sing Happy birthday to her in Chicago last year, she and her family are salt of the earth, truly good people :)

          • Leticia Prado says:

            Yep, it is a good thing. And I am kinda jealous you met her, because I have no chance of doing so. Next time you meet her, send lots of love from Brazil from me.

    • Lauren says:

      I do not understand the Jillian love at all. I can’t see anything about her that would make her a superstar. Her voice is nice but not remarkable, she is not very attractive (harsh but it does count in the music industry) and her personality is really grating. I don’t see her getting past top 30 unless she has a huge built-in fan base from X Factor.

    • Ben says:

      I know, I know… it feels like people WANT Jillian to be a front runner. And I do get it. But I honestly don’t think she actually is a front runner. She simply hasn’t stood out.

    • I think its early to tell. The thing with this is usually the show picks the frontrunners, but this season I feel like so many of the “front-runners” are so unique that not everyone is going to get them. If Jillian plays her cards right I think she has a shot.

    • JVee says:

      Really? I’m not even a great fan of that kind of music, but I like him.

  3. I really disagreed with the judges a few times tonight. First off they kicked out Keri Lynn Roache and they kept Emmanuel Zidore and the very young and inexperienced Jordan Brisbane and Bria Anai. Wow. The males that are good are really good, but there are some guys selected to stay in the competition that are very weak. The females as a whole seem much stronger.

    • JM says:

      You bet I was upset about Keri Lynn!!! Still can’t believe it.

      • Tusk says:

        LOL, I decided right after her performance tonight, that I could see her being my favorite (liked her audition too), to which they go ahead and eliminate her…. Go figure :P

        • anon idol person says:

          We really liked Keri right up until her performance tonight. I was awkward and weird, not smart and I believe she was close to being top 30 until then the judges were not impressed. She could get away with moving like that to a rock song but not the song she chose. Besides she came off a little over confident.

    • Danny says:

      I wonder how the 15 and 16 year olds are gonna hold up. In the past they’ve tended to fade. Generally speaking, a 22 year old is going to be better than a 15 year old because they’re more mature. Having said that, I’d say so far that every guy is better than any guy last year and most of the gals are better than pretty much any gal last year. So I’m generally pleased with how this season is playing out.

    • Jeremiah says:

      Cutting Keri Lynn Roache was the biggest mistake that the judges have made this season if you ask me. She had been in my top three going into the night, and she only solidified that position with her performance tonight. I don’t really know what it is about her – it’s more than just her voice, although her voice is incredible. She just has a really interesting way of performing that totally captures my attention. I’ll definitely be following her on YouTube.

      • MamaLis says:

        Maybe the 2nd biggest mistake. Have you heard and seen Jessica Basset on Ellen? Major makeover and Ellen released her gorgeous single on iTunes. (Which I bought! Which I hope everyone buys to support that girl!!!!!) But ya, that’s what this elimination reminded me of.

        • tvlover44 says:

          thanks for this info – i tried to download jessica’s song after her ‘ellen’ appearance, but it wasn’t on itunes yet. i’m thrilled to be able to buy the song now – it’s been going through my head for days!

          oh, and btw, note that her last name has two t’s — jessica bassett — for anyone doing a search on itunes.

    • tealeaves says:

      The Keri Lynn boot was a head scratcher. At the time I thought maybe they had so many excellent females they had to make some tough cuts. But then they let thru a few others that I thought they would surely cut if they were cutting Keri Lynn.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      I really, really, really dislike it every time they put through Emmanuel and Jordan.

      • tealeaves says:

        Agreed. They are both cannon fodder. Then with other contestants they ask, “Can this person really be the American Idol?” Why don’t they ask that of these two?

      • rio says:

        I may be his only fan in the Western hemisphere ( judging from the comments here), but I’m a fan of Emmanuel. His talent is incredible.

      • analythinker says:

        They certainly take away the spots from those better. But then again, “better”, “more deserving”, “suitable” is a matter of preference.

  4. Getty says:

    Emily Piriz was amazing! Why have they not featured her more during the audition rounds? I can’t wait to hear more from her.

    • They showed her a couple times and she wasn’t as good as she was tonight. I think her final solo was her high point, like she said in her own intro.

      • Name That Tune says:

        Can’t fall in love with a singer this early. Remember Angie last year? Everyone thought she was the favorite to win after Hollywood Week, but she burned out before the end.

        • tealeaves says:

          Angie ended in third place. Not really a burn out. First place Candice and second place Kree were also promising from the get-go.

        • Jenny T says:

          Angie ended up third so they can produce “You Set Me Free” as her first single, they couldn’t do it if she was second or third, both the winner and the runner up get their own singles for the finale. Voting her out third was the only way to ensure her song that we all fell in love with will get out and we’ll all buy it right away.

    • Lauren says:

      Love Emily Piriz! She is definitely my new favorite. What a powerhouse voice.

  5. Kaba says:

    I heard MK was amazing and that’s all I need to know when I watch it later. I knew I’d like her when I saw her audition then searched for her other videos.
    I’m rooting for her and Jillian right now.

  6. Peg says:

    Let the competition begin!

    I would be pleased if they started the season here every year!

    And not much to spoil.

  7. darcy the slutty twin says:

    Sorry but who made Jillian Jensen a front runner? This is her third time auditioning on Idol, she was known as a crybaby on X Factor. She’s probably a cannon fodder at this point. The Zidor guy is Jacob Lusk+Jacob Ledet rolled into one. I guess there has to be someone I have to actively root against each season.

    • Danny says:

      I think ya mean Joshua Ledet. I actually thought he was outstanding. He sang a couple of bad songs in the top 3, but until then he only had 1 bad performance the whole season. While I think Phillip was a worthy winner, I’d have felt the same had Joshua won.

      • darcy the slutty twin says:

        Yes, Joshua! OMG I am old! I recognize the talent, but was I annoyed by the always amped up to 11 performing style. Really, he was not that much different from Jacob Lusk performance-wise. Both mic-swallowing, overly bombastic, shoulder-shaking, lip-quivering performers. At the end of each performance, they always looked like they puked their guts out and are all spent and what not.

        • mike hollingworth says:

          ok d, I’ve calmed down now. After reading your last two sentences, my mind was spinning. How could d so accurately picture and describe in such stunningly accurate detail, my wife the Serbian princess Gordana Stevanovic and myself during/after one of our “get togethers”! So, after having reread your comment I realized that you were indeed talking about a couple of idol singers. Phew, too close…………too too close.

          • darcy the slutty twin says:

            LOL! You are funny, mike! I just was never a fan of the Jacob and Joshua style of singing. And the worst part was the judges kept egging them on.

      • JM says:

        Yep, Joshua Ledet was my pick to win. That guy made me emotional every time he sang. But alas, another white cute guy won.

        • tealeaves says:

          Isn’t Joshua Ledet the guy that never sang anything that was not at least 40 years old? Sorry, but top 3 is the most he could have expected. Great voice, but over-hyped.

          • Alice says:

            You mean the guy who sang Bruno Mars, Christina Perri, Fantasia, Mary J Blige, India.Arie and JHud? Yeah, nothing at least 40 years old. Riiiiiiiiiiiiight

          • tealeaves says:

            Ah! I stand corrected, Alice! Guess I never got over him singing “When a Man Loves a Woman” for the theme of “Songs from the year you were born.” All his performances just blended together for me after that. He always seemed to me like he was singing something from the 60′s.

        • Amy says:

          Alas, a talented, guy, worthy of the win, who received a majority of the votes and is now successfully selling records and concert tix, won.

          • JM says:

            You’re entitled to you opinion and so am I. To me, Phillip is bo-ring. Yet another finale I didn’t bother to watch after Joshua was eliminated. The other was when Haley was eliminated.

    • Name That Tune says:

      I think Michael just did.

    • Timmah says:

      She’s a frontrunner to leave next week.

    • Maya says:

      I’m actually all for Jillian this season. On X Factor, the sob story was stressed way too much, and I think she was only portrayed as a crybaby because XF was trying to throw a pity party. I’m trying to figure out why everyone thinks she’s a crybaby this season… When has she even mentioned the sob story once? I think she’s really talented and original, and she deserves to go far in the competition.

      • darcy the slutty twin says:

        Jillian is so tragic and dramatic, just a few seconds of her was exhausting. I am rooting for her to go home next week.

    • neaorlean says:

      There’s always a Jacob Lusk/Joshua Ledet guy there, the Black Gospel Guy, it’s like the WGWG but without the guitar and with a lot more bow tie… And the judges always are head over heels with his voice and technique, and I always feel like, seriously, we all can do runs, tone it done a little bit, dude, it’s annoying as hell. Was it last year when they kicked that guy out first? That was good to see. Sometimes all you need is to keep it clean and simple, these guys always go for the overkill.

  8. Danny says:

    Of the ones who’ve made is so far my favorites are Maurice and Jessica. Emily was a nice surprise. I hadn’t noticed her before. I agree w/ Matthew above in that I don’t think Jillian is a front runner.
    …..
    I liked the intro. I’ve always felt that people who announce they’re sick are looking for sympathy. Jessica Sanchez did that a few years ago. It took me a few weeks to start liking her because of that. It’s sort of like sports in that if you’re that hurt, don’t put on the jersey. Otherwise play to win and don’t make excuses.

    • darcy the slutty twin says:

      OK, my memory probably needs to be refreshed. Did Jessica mention she was sick or was it the producers/Ryan Seacrest? And didn’t they say she was sick AFTER they gave her a tongue-bath for what was a solid performance?

      • Danny says:

        It may have been the producers. Maybe someone else knows for sure. If so I guess I shouldn’t have held that against Jessica. It was before her perfomance though. Either way (before or after) I’d rather just not know. There’s been other cases where it’s been announced and I’d rather just not know.

      • analythinker says:

        Maybe HCJ was referring to that girl Munfarid spoke on behalf of (I already forget her name!)?

        • darcy the slutty twin says:

          Yes. Plus Harry was still probably pissed that she hugged the judges, possibly transferring her germs. She was also the one who hilariously promised her booted group mate front row tickets.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      LOL. I actually rewound Harry’s intro and watched it again – I enjoyed it so much.

  9. Lauren says:

    I was absolutely stunned by what they showed of M.K. I didn’t know she had such a beautiful voice. I guess because we barely saw her before. I also have to say that I really like Jessica’s voice, even though she has been made out to be kind of a pain. Overall, I am REALLY excited for this season. There’s so much talent!

    • Danny says:

      I’m a little slow here, well ok a lot slow. I didn’t know MK was a lesbian. I had thought all this time it was a 15 or 16 year old guy. DOH!!!

      • Lauren says:

        I like the contrast between her look and her voice quite a bit. I also like how low key she is and how she doesn’t showboat.

        • Golfchicknyc says:

          LOVE MK!! I’ve never heard her sing and so excited she made it; she has a gorgeous voice. She’s brave to be so open about her sexuality on such a Public forum. It will be awesome to watch her develop and blossom on the show. I say ditch the baggy clothes and embrace your inner KDLang!!! You are beautiful!!!!

      • Var says:

        When MK audioned in SF I wrote down “boy ?”. I wasn’t sure until last night. Also, somehow I missed Emily Piriz, Jilian Jensen and George Lovett in the earlier shows. Yes, some of the people they put into the top 30 will definitely be cannon fodder. The cream always rises to the top, though.

    • I love Jessica and honestly I don’t think the edit they’ve given her has been fair. She seems super sweet on social media and I really feels like she just cares about her music and that says a lot more to me. Love her tone and her originals are brilliant.

      • Danny says:

        Andrew, you noticed that too eh? It seems like she’s going to be this years designated punching bag with the edits. We’ll see how the live rounds play out. I don’t think it’s a full fledged problem yet. If it keeps up though it’ll be really annoying. No one who lives in a city with an awesome name like Slapout deserves this kind of editing.

      • Lauren says:

        I’m definitely not going to let that “b1tch edit” keep me from voting for her if she performs like she did in her solo performance. Right now she’s my favorite female voice!

      • Tess says:

        The way they are treating Jessica thus far sort of reminds me of how they treated girls like Elise Testone and Amanda Overmeyer – basically girls with grittier rock voices that someone in the Idol family doesn’t seem to want to allow to get too far. They find the need to paint them as being difficult, inflexible, not likeable, too rough around the edges to be loved… Oh Haley Reinhart too, the more grit and oomph she put into her performances the more determined they were to get her out of there. Seems like whenever a female contestant has even a hint of a rock vibe they want to make her into a b*tch rather than just allow her to be a little rough around the edges and possibly come off as likeable in the process.

        • Mark says:

          You might be on to something. I’ve noticed the same kind of pattern–rocker chicks are never “in it to win it;” they can’t “sing the phone book and make it sound good;” and they never make you “feel like you’re at a *insert name* concert!” I’m not sure when that became a thing, but I suspect it might be traced back to Carly Smithson. AI hyped the hell out of her in Season 7, but the voters just didn’t get on track with her so much and she went home in a disappointing 6th place. Ever since then, rocker chicks have gotten the bum rush out the door. On the other hand, this show places more emphasis on youth than talent, and Elise Testone was pushing the limit at 28.

      • darcy the slutty twin says:

        Right now I am loving her as well. On another note, WHERE ARE THE HOT MEN?!!!!! Seriously, I cannot function without them?

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          What, sister, you don’t think Spencer Lloyd is hot? He’s not your type? What’s the problem?

          • darcy the slutty twin says:

            Sister, he is a BOY. I need a Phillip Phillips to tide me over. A real MAN. And his Hollywood week shenanigans completely turned me off this Spencer kid. He looks and acts like a douche.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            You sure are fussy. Perhaps you need to be watching daytime soaps instead – if there are any left. ;-)

          • MamaLis says:

            I love watching the Darcy’s. LoL

      • Crownfire says:

        They’re setting her up as the underdog. Did you notice they cut her original song “Done” short? They’re showing enough of her to get everyone intrigued, and when they finally let her sing, watch out! This girl is for real. Go check out her stuff on Youtube or Reverbnation. She may not have the voice that some of the front runners have, but she’s got heart to spare.

  10. Pat says:

    Emily Piriz went from a nobody to a contender tonight.

  11. I’m not sure why Malayla is on the head scratching list! She is fantastic – I liked her from the beginning. I also really like Emily. Not sold on Jillian. I’m hoping CJ makes it over Casey, although I like them both; CJ seems more original and soulful. Tough putting them together like that.
    I hate the pretend drama from the judges, and the first time Keith spoke he cut right to the chase and I was hopeful he wouldn’t get caught up in it, but someone must have told him to draw it out.

    • Mafs95 says:

      I love Malaya and she was amazing when she sang “Brand New Me”, but when she sang “I Believe” I found her a bit shouty. I think that’s because she’s 16 and doesn’t have much experience.

    • JM says:

      Hate the drama too. I find myself FF through it.

    • Ryanne says:

      I love Malaya!

    • Timmah says:

      I think Malaya sounds like someone is strangling a cat. Don’t get it at all.

      • darcy the slutty twin says:

        Heee. Malaya is definitely a shouty kid, but to answer Michael’s question: Yes, I think Malaya deserved it over Kerry Lynn Roche who was hilariously ridiculous during her final solo. I just CAHNT with her ridiculous try-hard slinky moves. I couldn’t stop laughing. To quote Harry: I feel like I don’t want to see that.

        Alex Preston, Jillian Jensen: I feel like I don’t want to see that.

  12. The Beach says:

    Sam Woolf has not missed a single note in this entire competition, which in itself is pretty amazing. Know what else is amazing? That kid’s complexion. What 17 year old guy is that pimple-free? I sure wasn’t! :-)

    • analythinker says:

      First impression (first audition) lasts :)

      • Amy says:

        Exactly. Me too. First impression, first audition was the most powerful for me of all the (albeit great) auditions this year. I just got that feeling with him that I had for all other frontrunners or winners other years. And certainly NOT because he’s the “cute guy girls will love”….he has “that It-factor” wrapped up in legitimate talent. I know it’s early. I know there (sadly) will be backlash for him being judged unfairly on his possible “popularity” or “judge pimping” (because they clearly love him), as people unfairly have done in the past for legitimate talents. Love Sam. So interested to see how he progresses!

        • analythinker says:

          Yes, yes, and yes to all of that, lol. I just feel the vibe. *high-five*

        • My Alter Ego says:

          Sam seems like such a throwback to an earlier, more innocent era.

          ~~~~

          Like Majesty Rose, his performances are devoid of pretension, and full of promise of greater talent not yet discovered.

    • MamaLis says:

      No he hasn’t. Nor has Alex Preston. That’s what I’m saying. These two guys are brilliant, for real.

  13. Mafs95 says:

    The biggest surprise to me was Bria Anai. I didn’t like her that much on the previous rounds (audition + HW day 1) but tonight she brought it. I thought she was amazing and she went UGLY instead of trying to do it all pretty and unnecessarily overembelished.

  14. Danny says:

    He’s one I’d like to see just sing but not play the guitar.

  15. danin says:

    Who is Dexter?? Was he the country singer?

  16. darcy's evil twin says:

    Well, I am such a dork. I thought M.K. Nobilette was a guy!

  17. Khs says:

    Loved Sam Woolf’s original song! Favorite solo performance of the night. Overall very good show tonight.

    • Kaw says:

      I really liked it too! Would buy that song for sure. It sounded very similar to something Ed Sheeran would do, but I’m ok with that.

  18. comicthought says:

    I always find myself confused when it comes to Dexter. His voice is hands down one of my favorites in the competition (I’m a sucker for southern country-blues voices) but he just doesn’t look or seem like the kind of guy you would find on American Idol. He’s a nice guy and he’s not butt-ugly or anything, he’s just very…I dunno. Maybe I’m crazy. I’m not saying this out of spite either, like I said, I think he’s really talented.

    I also love Jessica, but I feel like all the 15 year old girls are going to go “That goth chick is mean, I’m not voting for her #meanie,” which sucks because I really love her voice. Same with M.K.

    There were some definite head scratchers as well but I’ll let the live rounds do the talking there.

  19. The Beach says:

    Not a fan of Jordan Brisbane.

  20. JM says:

    Can someone please explain to me why the show just CAN’T have two country singers from Alabama??? They have multiple powerhouses, multiple singer-songwriters, and several people who I can’t put a face to when you mention their name. Yet two guys I DO remember can’t be on the show, because they are too similar. Just. don’t. get. it.

  21. Cah says:

    Emily Piriz was absolutely fantastic! By far the best one we saw tonight.

  22. Jorge says:

    Can I just say that I’m utterly devastated about Leah Guerrero being cut tonight!! The only performance we saw from her and she was flipping amazing!!!

  23. Watching this next to my cat who freaked out when Tatiana squealed.

  24. JM says:

    Just have to say I’m very happy for the following:

    Alex Preston (Michael, I have my boxing gloves on!)
    Maurice Townsend
    Dexter Roberts
    Sam Woolf

    MK Nobilette
    Jessica Meuse
    Jillian Jensen
    Andrina
    Kristen
    Emily

    So far, I think the woman have a much stronger group, and we haven’t gotten to Majesty, Kenzi, Austin, etc.

    • Timmah says:

      I agree with most of that list. Alex is maybe the first WGWG that I’ve liked, because he doesn’t just use the guitar as a prop.

    • MamaLis says:

      Oh my Lord, finally! Alex Preston is genius to me! His you-tube Fairytales is amazing. He and Sam Wolfe, musically, are the frontrunner talents by far. He’s quite quirky and I’m not sure how that will play, but I absolutely love what he does.

      • JM says:

        MamaLis, you and I should get into the boxing ring with Michael; he dissed Alex AGAIN above. His style IS different. And he only mentioned it, as a way to explain why he didn’t think he would be in the top 30. It’s not like he’s throwing it in our faces all the time.

    • rio says:

      I’m always irritated by the show’s “gender quota.” Why do we have to have an equal amount of boys and girls? Why not pick the best singers, period? Doesn’t that quota mean that some talented person is eliminated?

      And why, last night, after the obviously gay Emmanuel was chosen, did we follow immediately with the obviously gay MK? Is there now a male/female gay quota?

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        You get a Made Me Laugh. I thought the same thing. I don’t think being gay should be a consideration any more than gender or race. Just pick the best singer. I like MK; I don’t care for Emmanuel, whatever his race, gender, or sexual preference.

      • JM says:

        LOL! Yes, many have said this (gender quota) for years, but it doesn’t look like anything will change.

      • marie says:

        Now let’s get some undeniably talented transgender kid in the mix some season soon, and see what the producers do! Common sense would of course suggest that you assign the contestant to the gender s/he prefers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that were to prove difficult for TPTB. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if something like this sort were to help spark the demise of gender quotas on Idol, the producers just throwing their hands up, befuddled.
        Or maybe I’m being dippy and idealistic; that would be the “old hippie” talking. Another part of me just doesn’t see them getting rid of gender quotas any time soon.

      • Heidi says:

        I think folks should always announce their sexuality as it lends credence to their talents. NOT. Who cares? It’s their voice, not who they choose to be sexually. I wonder when we’ll hear, “I’m obviously a heterosexual.”

        • SR says:

          In MK’s case though, it made sense. It was the judges who were pointing that she wasn’t “typical” idol material, and it was very obvious what they were getting at. She just bluntly stated what they were already implying. I doubt she would have said anything if they hadn’t basically said “We loved your voice, but not sure if you’ll fit on this show with you being a butch lesbian and all”

  25. Bonnie says:

    I’m surprised nobody else has mentioned Kristen O’Connor! She has a solid pop voice and definitely has the “look” to be a pop star. She has the whole package IMO.

    She was the nursing student.

    • Ryan says:

      I totally agree! To me Kristen has major dark horse potential. Someone with her voice, which can handle both big pop songs and smaller acoustic ones (check out some awesome covers she has on youtube). Plus, you can’t deny she looks like a pop star already. Imagine what’ll happen when the idol stylists get a hold of her.

      • tealeaves says:

        Sorry, but I’m not checking out anyone’s youtubes. Every year I get told that this one or that one is amazing because they have some great youtubes. Then they don’t deliver the same on show. They gotta deliver on the show. That’s what I’m voting on.

    • Lauren says:

      I found her voice unpleasant to listen to. It was too shrill and whiny for my liking.

      • The.Orginal.Lemon says:

        Agreed, Lauren. I don’t dislike her voice as much as you do, but Kristen is, at best, a middle of the packer.

    • Bonnie A. says:

      Another Bonnie who really likes Kristen O’Connor, too! There’s something about the way she phrases the songs, and her tone that really appeals.

    • Name That Tune says:

      All I could think about was how Tessanne Chin nailed Unconditionally last fall. Mind you, there was nothing wrong with Kristen’s vocals, they just lacked that sense of power and soul that Tessanne brought to it.

  26. The Beach says:

    Sorry Mr. Slezak but I really disagree on your Front Runners trio. I would give it to Sam, Spencer, maybe Emily (who is terrific) and the yet to be seen Savion and Majesty Rose.

    • Danny says:

      Savion and Majesty are 2 I’m waiting for also. Majesty is young, so it wouldn’t shock me if she tapered off some down the road. I think Savion will be strong all the way through. If I had to pick a frontrunner at the moment it would be Dexter. Not that I think he’s the best, but country artists tend to get a lot of support. I also think whoever survives between CJ and that other guy (name escaping me, Casey maybe??) will be a frontrunner. Again, not because they’re the best, but because they’re country.
      ….
      If I had to pick my personal frontrunners at the moment it would be Savion, Majesty, Maurice, and Jessica.

      • Danny says:

        And I’d like to give myself a pat on the back for getting my reply to Beach directly under the post rather than have it be a seperate post that makes no sense on its own.

      • CandaceTX says:

        I hope the attention that Savion is (deservedly) getting for his talent spills over into the investigation of his older brother’s murder last month. Its baloney that in the same TX town where James Byrd Jr was dragged to his death, the coroner ruled it an “accidental overdose” when his brother was so obviously murdered (throat slit, one ear and two teeth missing, no drug history.. do not equal an accidental overdose).

    • Mary says:

      I love me WGWG but for some reason, Sam and Spencer doesn’t do it for me this year. I think there are way more talented guys than these two, but I am not surprised they made it.

      • MamaLis says:

        Ya, well strap yourself in for the ride because they’re both going to be with us for a LONG time. One based on talent and one based on the Idol-girl machine. Actually, the former will probably have both working for him so in that I present you with one of our top three, folks. =)

  27. KR says:

    I thought Leah was a lot better than Andrina, based on the performances they showed.

  28. Marta says:

    George Lovett got my ears to perk up for sure! I loved him on “I Won’t Give Up”. It gave me shades of Joshua Ledet when he plowed through “Jar of Hearts” in Hollywood Week. Powerful and captivating…. I hope more good things to come for George. Also, he looks like a young R. Kelly, no?

  29. tealeaves says:

    I loved the show tonight. SO many great performances.

  30. Marta says:

    Another lookalike comparison…. Sam Woolf could be Shaun White’s baby brother. Here’s hoping 2014 is kinder to Sam than it has been Shaun!

    • Danny says:

      Sam’s a good singer, but maybe both he and Shaun would be better served if Sam let Shaun use his guitar as a snowboard.

    • Stormy says:

      This may sound weird, but I took an instant dislike to Sam Woolf for no discernible reason. In past seasons I’ve had similar reactions to Crystal Bowersox, Jessica Sanchez, Kris Allen, David Archuleta and Haley Rinehart. Based on this I predict Sam should at least make top 3. LOL

  31. danin says:

    Which one was Kerri Lyn Roach? AndI thought Madelyn Ramsey was good and surprised they let her go.

  32. Name That Tune says:

    Tomorrow, the top 30 are revealed, but it gets brutal next week. Look at the list of 17 tonight and remember that 17 performers will be gone by next Thursday. Of those who are left, who do you want gone and who should stay?

    • Danny says:

      How are the cutdowns being made? Is it from 30 directly to 13? Do the people vote all of them or is it some mix of voting/judges save? Are they having 15 singers each of 2 days? That seems like a lot.

      • analythinker says:

        I read somewhere that not ALL Top 30 will sing, only selected ones will. I’m not sure what people would say about its fairness though.

      • Name That Tune says:

        Their doing some kind of mentoring with Randy, Adam Lambert and Daughtry next week called “Rush Week”. Tuesday is Top 15 Girls, Wednesday Top 15 Guys. Thursday is results.

        RUSH WEEK
        During a special three-night IDOL event, the hopefuls will have their last chance to impress the judges and America. On the season’s first LIVE show, airing on a special night, Tuesday, Feb. 18 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live /PT tape-delayed), the 15 remaining female contestants will face their IDOL fates; the 15 male contestants will do the same on the following night Wednesday, Feb. 19 (8:00-10:00 PM ET live /PT tape-delayed). On both Tuesday and Wednesday night, the voting lines will open immediately after each LIVE show. On Thursday, Feb. 20 (8:00-9:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed), the Top 13 finalists will be revealed in the first results show LIVE from Los Angeles.

        • tealeaves says:

          So we are cutting more than half of them with the first voting round? That is a terrible idea. It always works best f to cut just a few of them first, then have at least one more voting round where we can hear all of the rest again. In fact, three voting rounds would be best, to then get us to the top 13.

      • Name That Tune says:

        So if it matters to you. Remember To Vote next Tuesday and Wednesday!

  33. Katlynn says:

    It’s a headscratcher how anyone can consider crybaby Jillian Jenson a frontrunner, but Malaya a headscratcher. Honestly, I see Malaya as a dark horse to win the show. Jillian is not a frontrunner and has no chance of winning.

    • totally agree!! Malaya has so much potential and her voice is memorable to me… i get excited to see what shes gonna do every week, and feel the same way about majesty

    • MamaLis says:

      Um.. additionally, I wouldn’t hold your breath on Malaya, either. Sorry. Have you watched, over the years, how people with consistent pitch issues fare? Not so well. In most all cases, under tremendous pressure, with millions of people watching, and less time to prepare as the weeks go on – it only gets worse.

  34. marie says:

    Not sure how I felt about the new format for this episode. Very different, seeing the judges’ final cuts so early in the night. But I guess it’s ok in that we got to see a complete segment on each contestant, from final solo performance to the cut / keep decision.

    • Del Rhea says:

      I was very confused by this. I kept checking different tv guides/sites to see if I had actually missed an episode earlier in the week!

  35. analythinker says:

    God, I just love Sam Woolf. There’s just something. (I’m NOT a teenager, by the way.)

    • LizzieB says:

      Lol I feel exactly the same(not a teenager either) The minute I heard his audition I checked his youtube videos and boom. He’s got three? originals out there including the one he sang tonight. I’ll admit he needs more influence, inspiration and experience to make his songs more distinct from each other. They could easily be mistaken to have very similar melodies and themes. But the kid’s 17. He’s got serious vocal chops. Like a cross between Rob Thomas and Ed Sheeran haha. Go Sam!!!

  36. Ben says:

    My most pleasant surprise: Alex Preston. My biggest headscratcher: Probably Jordan, but there are a few there that just don’t really seem like I’ve connected with them, including Jillian. Biggest frontrunner: Spot on with Malcolm Allen, but not the rest.
    -
    Having said that – not sure who the last 13 are, but it feels like they are going to include an awful lot more people who I feel are frontrunners, and a lot less placeholder ‘get cut before 13′ type of people. I also wonder if there is a coincidence between the fact there are 13 places in the final and 13 people left to reveal. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the bulk of the final 13 made up of people who are revealed tomorrow night.

    • Danny says:

      Ben, I thought America started voting at top 31. Are the judges taking us down to 13?

      • Name That Tune says:

        No, America votes, starting tonight. We get to chose between 2 people for that final spot. Next week, we vote on the Top 10 with the judges choosing the final 3. So think about who are the top 5 girls and who are the top 5 guys. I can tell you there is at least one of the top 30 who will be revealed tonight that belongs in my top 5 girls.

  37. marie says:

    Again, as I say every year, I wish the minimum age were higher. Malaya and Jordan might be very good singers some day, but not YET. To be honest, as impressed as I am with Sam’s talent, as he was singing I said to my wife, I’d like to hear him in two or three years.

    • Danny says:

      Marie- I’m w/ ya on that. The kids tend to fade. I like a few this year at the moment, but if the past is any indication they’re more than likely fade. Think of any activity. It can be sports, work, just anything really. Are there any activites where 15 year olds are better than 20 year olds? Singing is the same way.

  38. kcostell says:

    CJ caught my attention tonight. I want to hear what he does next.

  39. Pierre says:

    Am I the only one finding Alex Preston’s voice a bit…whiny? If not somewhat bitchy sounding (pardon my language).

    • My Alter Ego says:

      No, Pierre, you most certainly are not the only one to find his voice a bit … whiny. In fact, I find it a lot whiny. Ugh — he should stick to playing the guitar.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I really like Alex Preston and have enjoyed his performances. He’s a very good guitarist; but when he auditioned I wasn’t sure i would like to sit through an entire concert of Alex Preston. I still feel that way.

      • MamaLis says:

        I’m with ya, Darc, as much as I like him. I think he’s really interesting and really talented. He performed his song on youtube with this Lynyrd Skynyrd dude and it was impressive. He reminds me of a Casey, with the 10 instruments in the room that he plays. I also think the show needs kids like him and Sam and Jessica – to add musical diversity and to take things up a notch before it becomes the end-game vote-fest for the cutest boy.

  40. McFudge says:

    The only people whose names I remember are Jessica Meuse and George Lovett. I guess that tells me all I need to know about who my current favorites are. There were a bunch of good ones, though.

  41. jaded says:

    I want to buy Jessica’s song “Done.”

  42. Alan Dvorkis says:

    I know they r under time constraints, but it is a singing show, so I wish they would show more singing. I wish they would show all the groups sing in their entirety. I wish they would show more of the solo performances, especially of the final 70, including those that get cut. I would rather 2 weeks spent on the final 70 to 30. Yes it would draw out the process, but it would make it easier to follow all that you may have liked from the audition to live. I know they had fewer contestants but X Factor New Zealand showed entire performances throughout the lead up to live. It worked extremely well. Nevertheless, this years Idol is infinitely better than last years rigged game, where they tossed all the good males to insure a female win. This years talent is above average compare to the last 4 idol seasons. The judges r better. I look forward to a good season. I am surprised that Johnny keyser did not try again.

  43. Kenneth says:

    i actually think of the people shown today…only Spencer and Sam could be considered as frontrunners….not Dexter, Jillian or Malcolm….i do think the fact Jillian was high profiled in another show is going to help her, but with the calibre of females like Briana, Majesty, Jena, Kenzie (those are the females i’m very much expect to make it tommorrow and also as frontrunners…briana and majesty are definitely frontrunners) and a few others i’m probably not thinking of…it might be tough for her to crack top 5 girls…

    • gdv says:

      Why not Malcolm? I find him to be the most current of the male singers, and definitely a good performer. He gets my attention every time. And I have no idea why Harry was doubting his marketability. The guy’s got style!

      • tvlover44 says:

        malcolm’s the one whose ‘superstition’ audition capitivated me the most and has stayed with me over these past weeks. i was very moved by his solo performance and was delighted he made it through. i love the quality/sound of his voice but also his energy (as in vibe). i also liked when he asserted how far he will go – hope that doesn’t turn folks off, as i was moved by his grounded confidence. there are many others i like who are in the top now, but he had me from moment one.

  44. Amy says:

    Sam Woolf FTW. He’s “the one”, the only one I’ve gotten “that feeling” about this year, and it only solidified tonight. Just feel it. And the judges…had that look about them, and things they said to him..
    That said…not saying he’s my favorite, though he might be. I really like him, think he’s got a unique vibe about him and his talent that only keeps increasing each time I see him. He maybe already is my favorite, just because he just stands out in a way I can’t even put my finger on to myself at this moment. Sounds good, has original material that sounds good, looks good. Boy, I sure hope he doesn’t get complained about for, of all things, his skin color, sex and guitar skills!…cause he has legitimate talent. (Loving his grampa’s excitement too.)
    THAT said…I also think Majesty Rose is a contender. Tonight,without really watching the whole show (got home just as it went on and was in the kitchen preparing dinner some of the time, back and forth; going to really watch it On Demand, tomorrow), I “saw in my head” a Sam Woolf/Magesty Rose finale. LOL…we’ll see if I even come close. I also started to “envision” Idol tour; I thought CJ will be on tour. Liked, again, what I heard from him. Liked the “blue collar” guy with the hat (sorry don’t recall his name for now.) I think Caleb, who I liked a lot during group week, will be in tomorrow’s show…hope he makes it; like to see more. And didn’t pay much attn to the girls tonight…didn’t feel I remembered some of them..again, will watch better tomorrow.

  45. Amy says:

    The one girls besides Majesty I was looking forward to seeing more of was Melanie, who I’m still surprised, apparently, didn’t make it, and bummed we didn’t see why…she just “disappeared.”

  46. darcy the slutty twin says:

    Can anybody tell me what song Kristin O’Connor sang during Hollywood week solos? The song that had endless “no, no, no”‘s?

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      No, no, no, sorry, I can’t, sister. We don’t hear enough of some of these songs to know what they are, although we did hear a bit more of hers. I told my husband she reminded me of Selena Gomez and he did not disappoint – he said, “Who’s that?” :-)

  47. Idol says:

    American idol didn’t give a good enough reason to cut Megan Miller. She sang make you feel my love (first Hollywood solo) and Stars (final Hollywood solo) yes she messed up her lyrics during groups, so did half the other contestants. There are already videos of her singing make you feel my love and stars, and they are quite amazing. If she messed up, they would’ve shown it. What puzzles me is, Megan didn’t make it through, yet Spencer, whose original song was VERY cringeworthy, did make it. Ones a female who is talented, and the others a male who has a pretty fave an can play instruments. Seems a bit sketchy to me..

    • Kevin says:

      how’s it sketchy? women and men are judged separately, that’s why it’s the top15 MALES and FEMALES

      • rio says:

        And why is it that way?

        • darcy the slutty twin says:

          I don’t know why but it’s always been that way. You still question it now, on the show’s 13th season?

          • Idol says:

            No I don’t really question it, I just thought that by 2014 Idol would realize they don’t find superstars anymore and actually search for talent. I feel bad because people such as Angie last year who deserve to have a career, she didn’t even get signed, and I haven’t heard any music from Kree, who has a fantastic voice! Idol isn’t being fair to the contestants.

          • Name That Tune says:

            The real question for you is:
            Why do they bother to show us any of that at all? As a viewer/voter, I have absolutely no voice in the process so why should I invest my time in the auditions and Hollywood week? Which is why I skip all of it.
            Next week is the first time I get to express my opinion on things and have it count. So that’s when I start getting invested in the show.

      • Idol says:

        Teenage girls have always been he top demographic, for many shows not just idol.. Yes they say it’s separate male and females but there are some males that will get cut that deserve to be there over spencer. I’m sorry, but he wasn’t overly impressive. Honestly if anyone else had sang an original song like that, they wouldn’t have said “it shows us you can write” because the lyrics were kind of.. Strange..

  48. TVAddict says:

    I’m crushed Casey McQuillen (brunette Jenna Mays) got cut. One of my favorite auditions.

  49. maaricle says:

    Can I just say that the production and editing on idol this year has REALLY enhanced the show for me? You can really really really feel the difference, so bravo to the team of people responsible for that change.

  50. LeahKittyS says:

    I love how we saw most of the positives and hardly any negatives in detail. Kind of offsets all the cruel “twists” this season. It also lets me know if I agree with their decisions, and so far I have no major complaints. M.K. coming out was awesome. And as for that “cliffhanger?” Trust me, they’re both going through. They’re audience darlings; no way they’d send one packing.

    • Danny says:

      Hey Leah- Make sure ya check out Reality Check. You got a mention in it. Pretty neat. As for both of em going through, if I knew ya better I’d make a bet with ya. I think one of em gets cut.
      ….
      I don’t think there’s a need to have 2 singers face off against each other like they have this late in the game. That’s the 3rd one now. Like the one girl says, it made her feel defeated. There’s no need for that unless they do it for all of them. I think picking a few duos is just to create some un-needed drama.

      • LeahKittyS says:

        Yes, Danny, I saw the shout-out. I am honored. And it’s not fair to make a bet with me. I am as confident as I can be in my prediction because I read the “S” word. Though I agree these pairings are completely unnecessary until they get get down to the last two spots.

      • anon idol person says:

        They’re both going through. No doubt about it! Either the judges cut someone else or had it planned from the start. America will eat up the down and out dad storylines and “wearing their heart on their sleeve” of them both, no doubt!