American Idol Top 15 Guys Performance Recap: Let's Hear It for the Boys! [Updated]

american-idol-top-15-guys-performance-recap-sam-woolf-malcolm-allen“Intonation” is the new “pitchy.” Jennifer Lopez is suddenly astute and critical. And if you listen carefully, Season 8’s glorious, criminally underrated Allison Iraheta* is providing chill-inducing background support as part of Rickey Minor’s band. (*If you’ve never heard her providing lead vocals on Halo Circus’ “Gone,” go directly to iTunes, download it, then come back and finish this recap.)

This…is Season 13 of American Idol. And while Tuesday night’s “Top 10 Ladies” performance show sputtered under the unbearable heaviness of 15 women waiting for two hours to find out whether or not they’d even have an opportunity to sing for America’s votes, tonight’s bookend — starring the Top 10 Guys — settled into a groove far more quickly and far more comfortably. They already knew what was coming, and they adapted accordingly.

The only problem is, with fewer catastrophic misfires on the gents’ side, Thursday night’s results telecast — during which five men and five women will advance, followed by the judges’ selection of  three Wild Cards — is almost certain to cause pain and consternation among the Idoloonie nation.

Imagine if the pretty but questionable Spencer Lloyd rides that in-studio wave of sorority-girl applause past a more deserving dude? And what if J.Lo offering Emmanuel Zidor a second chance to prove his talent — after a gaspingly awful drubbing of a disco gem — pays dividends and carries him to the Season 13 Top 13?

Oh, such speculation is simply too much to bear. Let’s focus instead on how the Idol judges chose better bench-warmers tonight than they did Tuesday — and on how those perceived weak links might come back stronger, slicker and with better breath control in Season 14. (Good luck, Casey!)

Also positive: Harry Connick Jr. keeping it dangerously real (even when it meant getting booed). Keith Urban’s glow throwing some much needed warmth to offset the Polar Vortex (which is still a thing, right?). And the bittersweet tears of C.J. Harris’ girlfriend. (Every year needs a world-class crier, and combined with M.K. Nobilette’s supporting players, Season 13 may very well pick up an extra sponsor in Kleenex or Puffs.)

With that, let’s cut to letter grades for tonight’s performers:

Caleb Johnson: Faces’ “Stay With Me” — Grade: B- | There’s an appealingly brusque, Bo Bice-y quality to Caleb’s voice, and you can’t say he didn’t hit most of his notes tonight. That said, his rendition of “Stay With Me” felt too surface-level, too much like the emcee at a Thursday night karaoke bar, to position Caleb as a real contender. The winking sexuality of Rod Stewart’s original — and even the wayward energy of Skylar Laine’s legendary Season 11 rendition — were missing from Caleb’s repertoire tonight. I felt more like he was a dude at a local dive bar trying to convince us he was a rock star than a rock star digging deep into the tale of an ill-advised one-night stand.

C.J. Harris: Ray LaMontagne’s “Shelter” — Grade: B | So C.J. had a root canal on Tuesday, and still managed to show up for his live Idol debut 24 hours later looking like he’d just landed on the surface of the moon. That’s impressive, even if lidocaine was partially to blame. Better still, the Alabama fella’s growl was chock full of passion and purpose — even if (and this may be a controversial thing to say) I always feel like Ray Lamontagne songs provide a weirdly un-challenging path for southern blues contestants who don’t want to venture even an inch outside their comfort zones. Sure, he hit a few sharp notes — but I didn’t hear nearly as many as Harry did. Or maybe I was too distracted by Top 10 Ladies Briana Oakley and Kristen O’Connor blasphemously joining forces with the absurdly off-the-beat SwayBots.

Emmanuel Zidor: The Emotions’ “Best of My Love” — Grade: D- | “It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye!” my mom used to yell when my sisters and I were growing up. (Because parental love means imagining all the gruesome ways your children don’t even realize they’re in peril.) I’m not entirely sure why, but that expression popped into my brain as I watched Emmanuel awkwardly dance and attempt to engage the crowd while his pitch veered wildly like a screen door during hurricane season. It’s like, yeah, he’s a sweet guy who loved what Vonzell Solomon did with “Best of My Love” back in Season 4, and who doesn’t find that adorable? But did it actually make him qualified for a place in the competition over Maurice or Casey? It wasn’t exactly the loss of an eye, to be fair, but in the context of the competition, it was a sharp stick puncturing one of 10 legitimate Rush Week performance slots for the men. Click. Dialtone. Goodbye.

Sam Woolf: David Gray’s “Babylon” — Grade: A- | “This child just has something,” I Tweeted tonight while watching Sam perform. And I stand by my sentiment after playing back his performance a second (and then a third) time. Not only does the kid have perfect pitch (as J.Lo noted) and a tone as clear and clean as springwater, but he’s got an uncanny ability to inhabit a song, too. The words mean something to him, the music means something to him, and it’s palpable with every note. Harry complained a bit about Sam’s “confidence” issues, but he’s a teenager and it’s Week 1: Wouldn’t you rather throw your fandom to a contestant who cuts his own slice of humble pie over one who needs a piece shoved down his gullet at this stage of the competition? In other words, the kid is all right!

George Lovett: Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” — Grade: C- | Yikes. George is definitely a guy with plenty of raw vocal talent — there’s no trying to deny it — but his approach to “Grenade” was the equivalent of putting a filo dough through a meat grinder. His face etched with anxiety and fear, George tried to overcompensate with big glory notes and showy runs, but any hint of subtlety, nuance or emotional connectedness got lost in the mix. At last report, “Grenade” was being carried out of the theater on a stretcher and headed for Cedars-Sinai with multiple blunt-force blows to the head. The prognosis for George’s Idol dreams, alas, isn’t much better.

Dexter Roberts: Craig Morgan’s “This Ole Boy” — Grade: B | First of all, shame on Idol‘s wardrobe department for letting Dexter take the stage in a sheer white Henley with visible tank top beneath it. I mean, what good is Randy Jackson’s workshop (sentence should probably end here, but…) if you’re not going to test out contestants’ outfits beneath the lights and on camera? Infuriating! Superficial rant aside, though, I rather enjoyed Dexter’s laid-back, sweetly romantic country jam (a song I’ll admit I was hearing for the first time). The relaxed way Dexter throws in little snarls and “come ons” into the midst of his performances gives him the vibe of being a relative veteran in the midst of neophytes. Sure, Keith’s right that he needs to figure out what makes him distinguishable from other country male artists, but can’t that be said of anyone at this verrrry early stage in the competition?

Alex Preston: Damien Rice’s “Volcano” — Grade: B+ | Yes, yes, yes… I ought to demote Alex to a B for a blasphemous song choice; Phillip Phillips owns “Volcano” when it comes to the Idol stage, of course, and contestants who don’t learn their Idol history are doomed to be hounded by unflattering comparisons and general nitpickiness. But on its own merits, Alex’s rendition was strongly sung and beautifully played — while managing to capture a genuine sense of the danger and mystery that’s embedded in the lyric. If Alex is not one of the five guys advancing based on viewer votes, then J.Lo secretly delights in using public transportation. (Oh, that’s how we kid! J.Lo only rides the subway in videos and Kohl’s ads!)

Malcolm Allen: Anthony Hamilton’s “Comin’ From Where I’m From” — Grade: B+ | J.Lo wanted more “performance.” Harry complained that the vocal featured the “same exact run over and over and over.” But I couldn’t have disagreed more. Yeah, there were a couple of wobbly notes, and yeah, the song’s tricky rhythms tripped Malcolm up in a spot or two. But I felt so much angst and heartache in Malcolm’s rich tone — and enjoyed the way he dug down deep into the groove — that I’d have been more than happy to hear him come back for an unannounced encore when the show returned from commercial. Throw some votes his way; I guarantee you you won’t regret it come next Wednesday night!

Ben Briley: The Allman Brothers Band: “Soulshine” — Grade: C+ | First, some good news: Ben’s guitar playing was undeniably impressive, and the opening half of his performance featured a reasonably solid grasp on pitch. Once he’d completed his guitar solo, though, I felt like Ben’s vocals started staggering like a queasy sailor stumbling onto a dock, and eventually devolved into a not-entirely-pleasant sludge of growls and quavers. The judges and crowd clearly disagreed with my assessment, meaning Ben’s probably a lock for the Top 13, but it’s going to take more consistency (and better mic technique, if I’m being really fussy) to make me a convert.

Spencer Lloyd: The Fray’s “Love Don’t Die” — Grade: C- | What does it matter what I think? All those sorority chicks in the audience, deafened by the sound of their own screams all night, could hear nothing but the sound of their own lust as Spencer grinned and strutted his way through a performance that read “popular boy deciding last-minute to enter the high-school talent show.” Spencer’s thin, breathy voice had about as much chance against the band as a guppy trying to sink its teeth into a pihanha, and his brief attempt at falsetto was about as much fun as slapping a brick wall with one’s open palm. On the plus side, Allison’s backing vocals (OMG, what an injustice!) percolated through the arrangement, and Harry (bless his honesty!) decided to not be a mouthpiece for the producers by insisting, “This was not good.” Look, I’m fine if America wants to crown Spencer and Marrialle as prom king and queen, but when it comes to my Idol, I need that duo walking the plank Thursday night, ok?

With that, I turn it over to you.

What did you think of the Top 10 guys? Who were your faves? Which pre-performance cuts made you most upset? Take our polls below, then sound off in the comments!

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:

    Wow, that was an improvement. It took all of 2 singers to exceed last nights show. MK was my favorite last night. Today Caleb, CJ, Sam, Alex, and Ben (loved the little guitar solo) all did better.
    I also liked the comradery of the guys as they went to the couch. It seemed a lot more friendly than the gals.
    On the mentoring, I didn’t like it yesterday. Now I’m wondering if it was because so many sang so terrible. Today I was fine with it. I liked how Chris said he still gets nervous on tv. I had to laugh though when CJ also played his guitar after Chris suggested he not play it. Poor Chris probably thinks no one’s listening to him. Even Randy didn’t bug me today. Maybe that’s because overall the singing was a lot better.
    One feeling that I also had yesterday was all the singers should have gotten a chance. They could have had the judges already in their chair. That’s 1 singer. They could have done away with some of the interviews. That would have easily left enough time for all 15.
    Maurice was my #1 coming in- Since the singers were mostly pretty good, at least I can sorta see why he didn’t get a shot. Emanualle and Spencer (I wish they’d quit pimping him, I don’t care for the guy- too smug) are the only ones who I didn’t think belonged there. George and Malcolm had tough nights, but I thought they at least belonged.
    So overall between the 2 groups, the way I see it is there’s 5 pretty good guys. There’s 2 pretty good gals, + 2 other gals from Michigan that I have a rooting interest in. I’m looking forward to a good season.

    • trimaran12 says:

      Glad to see you coming around on the mentors! I would blame first night jitters, the awful format, the long walk through the gauntlet, and poor judge/producer choices for the bad performances last night.

      • Danny says:

        You actually made a pretty fair point last night. Not sure if ya caught my reply or not. The gist of it was that I wasn’t hating on Chris and Adam. I was looking forward to seeing them. I just didn’t feel we got enough insight from em. Maybe my perspective was down because so many of the gals did so poorly. I dunno. Either way, since enough guys did pretty well I’m in better spirits tonight.

        • trimaran12 says:

          I did see it, thanks. I think the guys learned some lessons from the girls’ struggles. Hope we see better performances from the ladies in the future.

      • claudia says:

        Maybe I would agree with you if the 1st girl hadn’t been so good but Majesty Rose was able to overcome all that & do a great job. If anything it should have been easier for the ones that came after her. I don’t think Bria & Marrielle have anything to blame except maybe their own hubris.

    • OhMy says:

      Well, it was an improvement, I guess, but that isn’t saying much. One can only hope for significant improvement of girls and boys or this season is over.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Again, great review. “George and Malcolm had tough nights…” I was reaaaaaally rooting for those 2 and it just didn’t work for me. Too bad. Aside, from Emmanuel – who I think is completely out of his depth now – the rest were generally okay for me. I enjoyed this show. I wished they hadn’t ended with Spencer. He’s just so ordinary (as a vocalist) – but of course, he will be around for a while, for obvious reasons.

      • Danny says:

        @Teeny- Yea, the Spencer pimping bugs me. To give him the last spot means he’ll probably be voted in. If not, they’ll save him. That means someone like George or Malcolm, who actually belong there but had rough nights, get one less chance to make it. I’m figuring the top 5 are all pretty obvious and will be voted in or saved.

      • ChellemaBelle says:

        I just don’t understand the fascination with Spencer. He may be a very nice person, but the level of hubris shown doesn’t yet factor in with the talent level. And agree with all the posters that it would be nice to have all the singers perform. It’s almost like going out to eat with your parents who decide to order for you and cut your food.

    • JM says:

      Glad you pointed out the commraderie of the boys. They really supported each other. The girls couldn’t wait to fake-smile into the camera. Except for MK, who hugged some before she sat down.
      I wish CJ had listened to Chris. I think his vocals would have been better.
      Actually, I DON’T see why Maurice didn’t get a shot. He was either #1 or pretty high on a lot of our lists. He goes down with Savion and David as another WTF moments.

    • Ben says:

      I watched the mentors during girls night again. They really weren’t as bad as it seemed. Even Randy wasn’t quite as bad as I thought (he offered a couple of bits of advice in there somewhere). Chris was even really quite good.

    • Tom22 says:

      I loved the show ! I think I really loved 9 of the 10 performances !? I’m struggling still who to vote for.. 10 30 west coast. I pretty much listened to all of them twice (nice how much time you can save to hear the tongs twice when you fast forward through any seen with Randy in it!) …I’ve got to go listen to them all again on my headphones walking the dog ! To my ear, the band was a night and day improvement for me from yesterday… suddenly the keyboard player and bass woke up and were able to give something for the guitar player and back up singers to bounce off of.. Idols got a great drummer but the rest of the rhythm section just didn’t feel like they were taking q’s last night.. but very very good tonight. Why talk about the band? because.. it really effects the singer’s ability to keep the energy up and emphasize rhythms in way these songs demand… if the band isn’t great 10 million viewers get to hear a young person sing a mediocre performance often due to lack of a foundation to build on.. but ..back to the positive..damn I liked a lot of performances and look forward to listening to them all again.

      • JayNC says:

        It seemed too like the band toned it down a bit. I was able to hear the guys sing last night, whereas the band overpowered some of the girls. The girls night just seemed too frantic and loud and anxious, the guys was much more relaxed.

  2. I think the Top 4 guys were obvious tonight. I think Sam, CJ, Caleb(Slezak definitely low-graded him) and Alex did amazingly. That 5th spot was hard to pick. I think they were either not that good (Emmanuel, Spencer), underperformed (Malcolm, George) or were just middle of the line(Ben, Dexter). It’ll be interesting how it all shakes out tomorrow night.

    • Danny says:

      I’d agree with your top 4 except add Ben as a solid 5th. All 5 in no particular order. I also think your Emanual/Spencer + Malcolm/George observations are spot on.

    • LB says:

      I agree with your top 4 but also would include Ben. I surprisingly really liked him.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Definitely agree with your Top 4. I really hope Caleb makes it in – the show really needs that kind of theatricality/talent mix. I miss it. He just knows how to “work” a room. Plus, his voice is dope.

    • S. says:

      Oh totally, Michael you don’t “get” Caleb, clearly. You didn’t put him top 10 to even make it tonight. That 80% vote off number on the poll was garbage too. I supported him but I didn’t even bother to vote because those polls were clearly pointless and dumb. Some of the Idol audience poll numbers were scary. People I knew darn well wouldn’t make it got a ‘yes’ poll result in their favor, then the judges cut them as they should’ve. Caleb’s getting in and no way was Sam an A- with Caleb a B-. Definite A- for Caleb. Liked but didn’t love Sam’s actual vocal. His look and vibe is great though so I’m blaming the song choice. The judges were right about Sam’s opening not being quite right and Sam even knew it cuz he made face (which reminds me, don’t make the face, Sam, pretend it was awesome because maybe the crowd didn’t notice it til you did that).

      • Elizabeth says:

        I just looked Caleb up on Youtube (something I’ve done for several of the other contestants but hadn’t bothered to do for him yet)….and boy is he awesome. There are a few “produced” tracks on his page and his voice sounds unbelievable on studio recordings. Check out the original song “Down to the River.” I definitely think growing his hair out was an image improvement though…gives him a more authentic rocker vibe.

      • LG says:

        I think Caleb could put on the greatest performance of all time, and Slezak isn’t going to like it. He was fantastic last night. I do hope that if Caleb does make the Top 10, that he doesn’t just sing rock songs from the 70’s. I like Sam and hope he makes it through, but that was not the best vocal last night. Definitely not an A-. I would also like to take this time to mention Haley Reinhart because she wasn’t mentioned in this recap.

    • The Beach says:

      Shaking my head at Slezak’s B+ for Malcom’s performance.

      • Mercedes S. says:

        Agree. He was my third from the bottom. The worst – Emmanuel and Spencer.

      • Mytake says:

        Malcolm was terrible. Can’t fathom how he got more than a C-.
        Doesn’t matter how great these guys were in past performances, if you are going to grade them on their “current” performance, then do that. If you want to grade them based on how good you think they are based on their whole body of work then state that. Malcolm was off pitch and all over the place. It was cringe worthy.

    • JayNC says:

      I think Dexter will make it ahead of Ben. He is just so likeable and pure fun country.

  3. Fern says:

    Not as impressed as everyone seems to be. But I was surprised how much I liked Ben Briley.

    • Jase says:

      I’m with you. Tonight was just as underwhelming as last night for me.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Ha! Me too. I have a hard time remembering the names until they hit the Top 10 though… Ben seemed really authentic. I wouldn’t mind at all seeing him in the Top 10. It will be close, for sure.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Took the words right out of my mouth. Weakest season I can ever remember. But if I had to pick based on tonight’s performances, then I agree it was Ben Briley. Not getting all the Alex and Sam love.

    • wingsstef says:

      Yeah last night was not too impressive either. There were some good people, namely Sam and CJ so I hope they advance,but for the most part as a whole, the men were not better than the woman. Maybe it was nerves because of the 5 people cut? Hopefully they are better next week.

  4. Jase says:

    Maybe it was not knowing whether they were coming or going, but I honestly didn’t think ANY of them sounded great. Sam, Alex and Malcolm just sounded mediocre (despite being terrific in their prior performances) and the rest ranged from bad to awful. For some reason, this season’s first live performance week — BOTH guys and girls — failed to produce a single wow moment.

    • Danny says:

      I’ll agree w/ the no wow moment, but how many have ever had a wow moment on the first show in seasons past? Siobhan maybe?? I’m not even sure if that was the first night for her. Overall I just look for solid performances on the first night. As they get more comfortable on stage they tend to improve. Overall I liked what I saw tonight.

      • Danny says:

        Check that- Pia had one. Then she went south. Still, not to many have wow moments the first night. Add in the format making them nervous and I was pretty impressed.

        • Jason says:

          Carly Smithson, Jason Castro and Adam Lambert all had Wow moments on their first week!

          • Danny says:

            @Jason- I’m not doubting you, though I don’t remember them. Even so, the 3 you came up with + my 2 make 5 total wow moments in the first week. So I guess that means 1 wow moment every 2-3 years for a first night.

          • trf says:

            Agreed. The entire cast of guys and gals feel more raw and amateur than in seasons past. No pros in this group. Ugh. Not impressed here. No must see contestants yet. Emmanuel is more comic relief then contender. imho.

        • will says:

          Pia never went south. If anything most people complained about her being the same level of awesome every week.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Nope, no wows. But I saw potential. I am hoping with this night under there belts, they can just relax. I think the format, in general, is not conducive to solid performances, let alone wow moments.

    • DJ says:

      Jase, I agree – nobody this week gave me an “I could win this show” performance. I will say that the three (in my opinion) that came closest were MK, Majesty, and Sam.

  5. Lauren says:

    1. Alex
    2. CJ
    3. Sam
    Rounding out my Top 6 are Malcolm (not his best but his voice is just great), Caleb and Ben. I felt bad for George cause he has potential but tonight was a mess. Dexter is forgettable and ordinary. Emmanuel was fun to watch but no comment on his vocals. Spencer was all-around terrible, but since they stuck him into the voting rounds (with the pimp spot no less… as if he needed it!) we are likely stuck with him for awhile. Gotta say, the guys made a bigger impression on me than the ladies overall.

    • Danny says:

      I had to laugh at your Dexter comment. I had forgotten about him, exactly as you said. He was the one with the breasts. Too bad I’m straight or he mighta been kinda cute.

      • Jase says:

        Nuh uh. Emmanuel also has boobs!

      • JM says:

        Wow. So much hate on Dexter. I love him, and quite frankly, don’t give a rat’s behind what he looks like. He sounds genuine and great.

        • Danny says:

          As a person he seems like a great guy. This is a singing show though. I’m lost as to why anyone who doesn’t do cartwheels over someone who was average is considered a hater. The fact is it was the guys boobs that reminded me of him. I don’t see how that’s hate.

          • JM says:

            Okay, so if someone said the only thing they remember about you is your boobs, you would take it as a…compliment?

          • Danny says:

            @JM- no, I’d take it that I had too much hair on my chest. He’s trying out as a singer. I’ve tried out for college baseball and hockey teams. Sometimes ya aren’t remembered for what ya hope to be. That doesn’t mean people are hating me. In baseball there were better players. In hockey I actually made the team. Ya don’t always get what you’re trying out for. That’s life. That doesn’t mean hate. There was nothing vicious in the comment. It was simply what I remembered the guy for.

          • Adam Fachry says:

            “I’d take it that I had too much hair on my chest.”

            Oh…hello Danny, it’s nice to meet you.~

      • Lauren says:

        The only thing memorable about Dexter was his shirt, which made me LOL. It was like a see-through white long-sleeved top with a white tank underneath. WTF was that about?

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          OMG, my husband hubby’s comment on that shirt was “he’s wearing a manssiere”. I think the stylist should be fired. that shirt looked ridiculous on him. it looked like something Richard Simmons would wear.

    • S. says:

      Did you see George’s face, he looked pretty mad but was trying to contain it. Maybe he just has an intense look but he was upset. It’s not the judges’ fault that was a hot mess. I like him. I’m sad that we didn’t get to hear him at his best. He slayed it in Hollywood but we didn’t get to see his initial audition–the only one out of the top 30.

  6. Jobless says:

    I thought Ben Briley at least deserves a “B”. Don’t understand the tepid reaction to his performance which I thought was pretty good. Based on what we’ve seen the top 13 should be made up of 8 guys and 5 girls.

  7. Jase says:

    And Spencer Lloyd is so underwhelming. Yeah he’s pretty, but he also KNOWS he’s pretty which comes through in his personality. I mean, I’d hit it. But I’d be ashamed of myself the next morning.

    • trimaran12 says:

      He’ll go far but Spencer will lose out to Sam Wolf. The wgwg need a healthy dose of humility to go with their looks and talent.

      • Jase says:

        When the F2 ends up being Spencer vs Sam (come on, we all know it will, the tweens & cougars that make up the WGWG coalition voting bloc got to sit out the Idol election last year while the rest of us chose a woman of color who could actually sing, but this year, they’re back at the polls), if Sam defeats Spencer, it would’ve all been worth it.

      • Timmah says:

        Phil Phillips had zero humility and marginal talent and still won.

        • trimaran12 says:

          He had the perfect “aw shucks, I’m gonna be me and not succumb to these Hollywood trappings” thing going on. Whether or not that was real, I don’t know.

        • Steph says:

          PREACH! One of the main reasons I couldn’t stand P Squared was how full of it he was.

          • Timmah says:

            Full of it, and full of himself. He doesn’t even give Idol any credit for getting him to where he’s gotten in his career.

        • Owen says:

          Oh Timmah. Begone before some drops a house on you.

          Phil Phillips had buckets of humility and talent enough to be one of the best selling of recent Idols. I was a Jessica fan, but I don’t deny the boy what he’s got.

        • MAB says:

          Phillip Phillips is one of the most humble performers out there. Yes he was true to himself and did not take the fashion advice but to say he has 0 humility is just wrong. Any of the journalist that interviewed him always commented on his humility.

        • Jeremiah says:

          I didn’t watch all of season 11, but I certainly never got the impression that Phillips is arrogant or full of himself. And to say that he doesn’t have talent, well…everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but it can’t be ignored that he’s had an incredible amount of success. And personally, I think that his best songs are some of the one’s that he’s written (e.g. “Man on the Moon”, “A Fools Dance”).

          • MAB says:

            Totally agree with you. He is in the process of putting his second album together and I am very excited about it. He is my all time favorite Idol and I follow him and support him totally. I think he is very talented and one of the reasons I like him so much is because of who he is. He is so humble and has such a witty sense of humor. He has not let success go to his head in anyway. All during Idol he was very sick but never capitalize on that for sympathy. He wanted it to be about the music and not his illness. He was ripped apart on this board by people who had no clue what was going on with him. Right after Idol before the tour he had a 10 hour surgery to correct his kidney problems. Was barely recuperated yet still went on tour. He has grown as a performer greatly since Idol and has never lost his awe of winning Idol and grateful heart to his fans. I respect him greatly.

      • JM says:

        Can someone please tell me what WGWG stands for? I’m guessing ‘White guy’ and then???

      • LB says:

        I’d hit Sam before Spencer any day. My 13 year old daughter agrees (although her criteria was cuteness and not hit-ability).

    • analythinker says:

      Lol. I’d trade him or Emmanuel with Maurice.

    • Steph says:

      Yeah I’d hit it (Spencer) like a Jeopardy buzzer…over and over and over again. I’ll take Walk of Shame for $1000, Alex.

    • CapitalW says:

      The faces he makes everytime he gets the chance to be on camera are just–I don’t even know if I find them funny or irritating. I don’t know if anyone caught it but at some point Ryan was gathering the remaining guys and he let Jordan talk about what it was like waiting for your name to be called and Spencer was just smiling and contorting his face. I just find him weird is all and it is NOT Heejun-cute at all. Also, the whole time the guys were waiting I just got that vibe off him like he knew his turn was up anytime soon. He probably checked the spoilers online but still. Smug and being obvious about it much?

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      LOL! “I mean I’d hit it…” Best comment evah! Um… I really can’t stand him. He’s headed for the Top 6 – at least. Grrrrrr….. For me, he’s the new Lazaro, but you know.?.. cuter.

      • analythinker says:

        Is there any way we can all prevent that? I mean, if we’re on this board mostly agree about it…

      • Jase says:

        In the Idol Hunger Games, Spencer is Gale and Sam is Peeta. Guess which one America (Katniss) will eventually settle on?

      • Adam Fachry says:

        Speaking of hitting and tapping, is it just me but of all the middle america men, Ben is the one worth tapping for? I do like me some bear every now and then. But I actually did gasp when I found out that he was only 24! I thought he was at least, 27.

  8. MAB says:

    Aw, so much better than last night. I think the guys crushed the girls. They were so much more entertaining. There were several that I liked. The only one I felt should not have gone through was Emmanual. He is the guy Marielle and I bet both go through as wild cards.

  9. We sure have different opinions about a few of these! I thought Caleb was the best tonight, despite Skylar Laine’s version being my favorite. I thought Malcolm Allen kind of fell apart, despite him being one of my favorites in semis. I’m not crazy about Sam Woolf, but he was somewhere in the B range, and his song choice was incredibly smart.

  10. karenb says:

    Absolutely Phillip Philips OWNS Volcano. We had a moment of silence at home during the commercial when I played The Real Deal’s version.

  11. Jobless says:

    Impromptu Top 13:





    Wild Cards:

    Spencer(if he doesn’t get voted in they won’t let him go)
    CJ(between him, George, and Malcolm – tough choice)
    Emily(bad song choice, still love her voice)

  12. Kris says:

    So let me get this straight… When the judges give a critique and say “That type of song choice didn’t work for you and it wasn’t good.” Didn’t they watch the rehearsal!? …It couldn’t have changed that much in less then a day… So then WHY pick that person as one of the 10 if they already know it’s bad!? Makes no sense. Unless the 5 unpicked guys rehearsals were somehow worse?

    Oh well. At least tonight was better then last night.

    • Owen says:

      I found that strange myself….

    • Danny says:

      Kris- an entirely too logical post for an emotional board. I tip my hat to ya though.

    • Ben says:

      I was actually thinking that last night on reflection of Harry’s comments about Emily.

      • My take/a couple of thoughts: it’s been suggested that the judges’ decisions aren’t based solely on the rehearsals, so theoretically if the judges like you a lot based on other performances they’ve already seen, you could be chosen for the Top 10 despite dislike for your song choice. Also, they have to pick 10, so it’s possible someone got put through because the judges disliked the other song choices more and had to put somebody in. Finally, although it’s never been stated, I doubt the Top 10 choices are all unanimous. Harry not liking Emily’s song choice, standing alone, most likely wouldn’t be enough to keep her out of the Top 10 entirely.

        • My Alter Ego says:

          All excellent points, Kevin. And might I add, that although it’s never explicitly acknowledged, the producers tend to have their hand in the choices as well.
          Which, I suspect, had something to do with David Oliver Willis and Savion Wright being cut last week and Maurice not getting to perform last night. All so that George Lovett and Malcolm Allen could move forward and then not perform up to par.
          Cutting Savion last week may have been a blessing in disguise for him. He’s grieving — justifiably so. He needs time to go through that and begin to heal. And a consequence may be that he’ll become a better musician — and since we’ve enjoyed him so much already, wouldn’t you appreciate his growth even more?
          Well, I’m still not quite clear whether those chosen for the final 30 but not selected to perform get to return. If so, hopefully Maurice will try again. As for David Oliver Willis, who is so very good that it broke my heart yet again, that he didn’t get through (again) this year — he might be better off trying The Voice. And I don’t really like that I’m saying that.

    • ChristmasGoosies says:

      Some viewers were watching to see which 10 boys were to be put through last night. The judges, meanwhile, have long since forgotten boys 11 – 15 and are focused on boys 1 – 5. Normally boys 6 – 10 are canon fodder, but the girls were so bad on Tuesday, the judges had to be careful about which boys are 6, 7, and 8 because those boys deserve to fill all three wild cards. We can tell by the judges comments who is complete canon fodder or boys 9 & 10.

    • Mary says:

      I doubt they even watched the rehearsals but I will say it is entirely possible to do well in rehearsals without the audience and cameras on you and then do poorly on the show. I still think all the contestants should of been able to sing but I am not to upset about tonight top ten. A couple are there for entertainment and to be honest I am not that upset about it.

    • Name That Tune says:

      There’s a simple answer to that. The ones who didn’t get chosen had the same issue and worse.
      If you are choosing between 2 singers who both made bad song choices, you choose the best singer.
      If you are choosing between 2 singers who delivered subpar vocals, you choose the better vocalist.
      It should tell you something about the ones who didn’t get chosen.

  13. Arden says:

    Dear Sam, please accept this box of confetti and spare us a lot of time and Connick Drone Syndrome. Thanks!

  14. Teeny Bikini says:

    * I love JLo 2.0. Where ever this version came from – I hope she stays? Smart, *really* insightful, and not biased toward any one singer. Go on, Miss Thang.
    * The only performances I could remember were CJ (who killed it) and Alex (who is really growing on me) so that’s who I voted for.
    * Michael, I love Sam too – but there is no way that was an “A…” performance. It was flat and that song did not highlight what is special about his voice or him.
    * Spencer and all his mediocrity will cruise to the Top 6 easily – and it annoys me to no end. * * All and all, waaaaay better than last night. Interestingly, though – I started the night with faves (Sam, George, Malcolm, CJ) and ended the night with completely different ones (CJ, Alex). The results will definitely be interesting.

    • Kaba says:

      I’m not seeing the JLo 2.0 you’re seeing. Especially since Keith and Harry almost NEVER agreed with her critiques all night.
      Mer >.>

      • Danny says:

        Yea, she’s just getting wound up. She’s starting to talk more and more (sorta like my posts, but at least no one’s forced to read em). Give her a week or 2 and she’ll start interrupting them, talking over them and so on. I had thought Harry wouldn’t allow that kind of thing. I can see her pushing her limits with these guys too though.

        On the good side, I do think these guys are influencing her some. She knows who didn’t sing well. Even if it’s one of her favorites, she won’t just praise a bad performance knowing Harry’s behind her about to tell it like it is.

      • Teeny Bikini says:

        Kaba, What does she have to do? Donate a kidney? Volunteer? Fly in coach? What? This is best she’s ever been, I know that’s not saying much ;)

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          I know what you’re talking about. I saw her on Ellen promoting the show, and I almost forgot what a horrible person she is. She’s disguising her contempt towards humanity rather well this year.

        • ChristmasGoosies says:

          JLo is pretty to look at, especially for her age, and I’m interested in her clothes & hair styles, but she’s so UNATTRACTIVE when HC Jr or KU don’t agree with her. I would LOVE just once to hear H or K, or better yet, both H and K talk over her critique.

          • joe says:

            Jlo care less about the show, she there for herself, didn’t you see the Hollywood Reporter story that claims she’s there for herself, showing off her clothes and hair styles, forget the contestant, she there to enhance her career??

    • The Beach says:

      Teeny, I agree with you that JLo is much improved and I think Danny above makes a good point that Harry and to some extent Keith 2.0 have helped the transformation.

      Gotta disagree with you though on Sam being flat. I didn’t hear that at all. The kid is most always pitch perfect.

    • Adam Fachry says:

      Flat? Not at all. But bland? Yes, indeed.

    • pmet says:

      Not biased toward one singer?? She had Emmanuel sing a cappella part of ANOTHER song because he was so horrendous and she wants so badly for him to go forward. She would not have done that for Dexter or Caleb, imo. She has added a few comments that I thought were, while I won’t go so far as to call them insightful, on point and helpful. However, once the word “goosies” came out, it was flashback time.

      • Mary says:

        She probably wants him to go through because he actually was entertaining. Which I am not opposed to. Sometimes you need that comic relief.

      • Teeny Bikini says:

        @pmet. Look, Emmanuel could sing an extra song, channel Pavaroti, Celine Dion and Whitney Houston at the same time and he’s never gonna make to the next round. Maybe JLo felt bad for him – I kinda did. I think he’s an entertaining guy who sings atrociously for the most part, but last night there was an extra heaping of hot mess going on… I am really talking about favoritism “over time,” but since it’s the first show – I guess it remains to be seen. I still think JLo 2.0 has improved, but honestly, there was a pretty low bar to begin with…

  15. Owen says:

    Malcolm a B+???? Yes, I know: you had to give Melinda’s other favorite a C…but this guy was just as bad. And you know it, Slezak! Melinda knows it too. Why on earth would you try to give this man a grade possibly two points higher than he deserves just to keep your Reality Check companion happy? Or are you just saving face cause you put him so high on your lieder board?? You have made some bad, bad calls in the past, Slezak, but this proves to be the most egregious! He was bad, the judges told him he was bad and you HAVE to know he was bad possibly one of the worst of the night, but give him a B+???

  16. Adam Fachry says:

    Are you happy now, Slezak? With the fact that Briston Maroney didn’t get the chance to perform?

    It is an improvement, but that doesn’t say much. Sam Woolf is vastly overrated, and I can find myself getting annoyed by him until the finale (this kid’s future placement is as obvious as it gets).

    There’s still some major injustice: Emmanuel, Spencer, and George over Briston? American Idol just lost its chance to finally get a genuinely fascinating WGWG talent (yes, I hereby would like to declare that Briston is much better than the likes of Kris Allen, P2, David Cook, Scotty McCreery, and the guy who won season 9 Lee something combined)

    Looking forward to hearing more from CJ and Ben.

    • karenb says:

      Gasp! Bite your tongue! 😉

    • deedee says:

      Ay-ay-ay. Briston’s voice was nails on a chalkboard for me. What on Earth did you hear in him that you can make such an outrageously over-the-top declaration?

      • The Beach says:

        ITA . I found his voice to be whiny, nasal and not pleasant to listen to.

      • Adam Fachry says:

        Yes, maybe for Idol (or the masses in ), he’s a bit of an acquired taste. But growing up, I’ve been listening to a lot of alternative/indie music, and he genuinely can make a career out of the aforementioned scene. I hate to sound like a broken record, but his voice can actually turn out to be versatile. He can do folk, punk, slack lo-fi, post-puk, indie-pop, baroque-pop, psychedelic-rock, I don’t see him fall into the generic male singer-songwriter, adult-contemporary categories from which the likes of Dave Matthews, John Mayer, David Gray, Gavin DeGraw, Howie Day, Ryan Cabrera came. I see him as the next Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend, Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys, Kristian Matsson a.k.a. The Tallest Man on Earth, Stephen Malkmus from Pavement, Mark E. Smith from The Fall, Kevin Barnes from Of Montreal, Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips, Jeff Mangun from Neutral Milk Hotel, artists who may not be virtuosos in terms of vocal skills, but are unique in their own ways.

        I’ve been on this board long enough to find out that a lot of you prefer someone with quirk to virtuosity. So the fact that most of you can’t appreciate Briston, baffles me.

        • Adam Fachry says:


        • Adam Fachry says:

          *in general (ughh sorry. I typed all this on my phone)

        • ChristmasGoosies says:

          Preferring quirk to virtuosity? Not this forum. Thank you, forum.

        • To Adam: I thank you for a well-written post offering a clear argument/justification for why you like Briston, even if I don’t agree with your conclusion. Musical taste is highly subjective, and I think we’re all a product, at least in part, of our environment, i.e., the type of music we grew up listening to. A person can sing with perfect pitch and be technically proficient, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will or should like listening to them. For myself, I can tell you that I didn’t recognize a single person you mentioned as seeing Briston as the next of, and I’ve only heard the names of a couple of the bands (Vampire Weekend and Flaming Lips) you mentioned. Clearly, the music you prefer is quite different from the music I prefer. But that doesn’t mean I think you have bad taste — just different taste. And if America had chosen to put him into the live shows, I would have accepted that and kept watching the show while most likely FF’d through his performances. As for American Idol, I first and foremost look for someone whose music I would actually want to listen to after the show’s over, but I recognize that the show isn’t designed to crown my personal favorite as winner. Last year, I preferred Kree to Candice. However, I understood that many others felt differently, and I wasn’t insulted that Candice won. I think message boards like this would be better off if more people kept in mind just how subjective music and talent are.

          • Adam Fachry says:

            Thank you for appreciating my comment, Kevin. Agree with your point on taste, which is why I said that Briston may not be for Idol or the masses, but I just wish he was at least given a chance.

            I actually listen to a lot of different music. I rooted for Candice and Kree last season because I’m a fan of classic soul and country as well. What I’d like to point out is–even though music is subjective–how people should stop dismissing someone’s quality right away just because he/she is not the kind of contestant they listen to normally. The reason why I mentioned those artists was not just for the sake of throwing names. What I intended to achieve was for people to acknowledge the fact that just because he lacks in commercial appeal musically, doesn’t mean Briston can’t fit into the other sides of the music world.

    • Ben says:

      I thought Briston deserved to sing, he had an interesting voice. But he wasn’t a contender to the throne at all.

    • Mary says:

      Your opinion but are you serious. I for one am doing a happy dance he didn’t make it. His voice was like helium sucked from a balloon. I am not a fan of a couple of the guys you mentioned but all of them sounded better than him.

  17. JM says:

    Much better tonight although there were still some nerves.
    REALLY upset that Maurice didn’t get to sing. So much better than Emmanuel and Spencer. I hope he, Savion and David come back next year, or go to the Voice.
    Favs of the night and impressions:

    Sam – You could tell that he was trying to look into the camera but had a hard time with it. Still good performance.
    Dexter – LOVE this guy. He’s just so authentic, and it was so cute when his grandma and ma held up the ‘Dexter’ signs.
    Alex – This guy is amazing. He and Dexter really seem like people who truly love music, and it shows.
    Ben – Surprised Michael gave him a ‘C’, because he surprised me. He sang way better than I expected and was really comfortable on the stage.

    Random thoughts:
    Felt sorry for Caleb having the camera fixed on him for soooo long after he sang.
    CJ is so nice and sweet–I just wish he would’ve listened to Daughtry and ditched the guitar to focus on his vocals.
    Sickening the way the girls squealed for Spencer. Looks like he’ll be around for awhile…

  18. Jase says:

    So many of these guys (except for Sam) were SO unattractive, that when Spencer came out at the end, it felt like a visual palette cleanser.

    Too bad he had to go and sing.

  19. Chris says:

    I dig Caleb and I welcome his subtle over the top personality. He is a performer too. The vocals are great. He prowls with authority. And it’s a blast to watch. He should start every show. Bring it.
    Loved what Keith said to CJ – “If you believe in what you singing and you are connected to the lyric I won’t be able to tell if it’s sharp or flat, I’ll just know I’ve been spoken to.” Amen. CJ you sing from a place that is REAL. Great song choice! Love me some Ray L.
    When Harry was going on about confidence to Sam and he said something like, “a couple of the first phrases you seemed to shake your head like you were exasperated, like you were just ahh “ which is funny considering Harry’s musical knowledge arrogance. It was clear to me that the band and Sam just weren’t on the same page and it took to the first chorus before he was able to get locked in. Sam there is something very special about you. Yes sir, keep on keeping on.
    I adore Dexter. He is the real deal and that is why. I dig the advice Keith and Harry gave him because it’s true. He’s totally authentic. I hope he’ll revert back to more bluesy tunes.
    Alex is dedicated to his craft, and his craft is playing music. He did a fantastic job tonight. EXCELLENT song choice, and I dig him and his guitar. One to watch for sure…
    I’m not sure I can get on the Spencer wagon. Yes he’s very handsome, but his voice is weak and thin and cracks at several points. And like Harry said, “it just wasn’t good”. But tween America will keep him in it, so hopefully he’ll improve.

    • OhMy says:

      “Loved what Keith said to CJ – ‘If you believe in what you singing and you are connected to the lyric I won’t be able to tell if it’s sharp or flat, I’ll just know I’ve been spoken to.'”

      Well, first of all — there’s an important “if” in that sentence. Second, it’s only sort of true. It’s the low rung of a ladder that is quite tall.

      I do think there’s something in his voice that works, but not tonight.

    • JM says:

      I heartily agree with almost everything you said. Dexter and Alex are my favs. However, I just don’t feel the same as you about CJ. I think it was the guitar (he should’ve listened to Daughtry), because I wasn’t feeling it.
      Also, when Keith stated that unlike others, Alex knows how to play a guitar, I think he was talking to CJ.

      • Teeny Bikini says:

        Love Alex. He really did it for me tonight. There is something very genuine about CJ that moves me. Since his audition he has been rough around the edges, i.e., his intonation is off half of the time and his guitar-playing is meh – but there is just something about the dude that is special. I hope he makes it through…

        • Chris says:

          Yes, CJ is very special. He sings from a place that is real and I hope we’ll be able to hear that as the show progresses. When you get going on “theme” nights its hard due to song choice, but song choice is key.

      • Chris says:

        Well Keith is a self professed guitar playing guru :) It may have been… but I don’t judge folks on their guitar playing skills. Dexter and Alex are quite fabulous!

  20. NikkiMGirl says:

    Sam had the performance of the night. He chose a great song for his vocal ability and while Alex’s performance is no where near as great as Phil Philips version I thought he had the second best performance of the night. Spencer and Emmanuel were train wrecks. Everyone else was just blah.

  21. tealeaves says:

    Tonight was a good night. Alex, Sam, CJ, and Malcolm were my favorites going into tonight and they all got to sing! Malcolm’s the only one of them who fell a little short tonight. I’ve liked all his previous performances much better. Caleb and Ben also had notably good performances tonight. It was a good show overall. I appreciate that if they had to leave 5 out, they left out several of the teenagers.
    Now if the voting leaves us with several of the more promising girls, this could be a good season after all.

  22. Kaba says:

    Jesus, the “these guys are unattractive” bs is annoying.
    The amount of people complaining about wanting quality talent then complaining about the guys looks. Please just shut up. Jesus

    • Anne says:

      talented AND somewhat attractive – yeah we are demanding. honestly chubby dudes with good voices doing covers are pretty common – check out your local bar scene, kaba – it’s a moob gold mine.

    • JM says:

      Amen, sister!!!

    • Jase says:

      Honey, do you see any spinning chairs on this show? Looks/Appearance/Package is TOTALLY part of the equation on Idol.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      Or how about one or the other? You either have to be super talented and ugly or vice versa. This year the requirement seems to be as follows: untalented and ugly. These top 20 are a real mess. I can’t wait to hear what the people who called Tessanne Chin (i.e., the 70 year old cockatoo) are going to do with this motley crew.

      Yes, yes, yes… I know there’s one or two talented ones and I know there are one or two cute men and women, but overall the talent in the music and looks departments are weak sauce this season.

      • Mary says:

        Your opinion and you are entitled to it, but I think there are a few good ones in this bunch. The whole package is part of the equation on the Voice to. Grant you it is the voice first but many talented singers were dropped by the judges and I can almost guarantee it was due to the way they looked. Not fair but in today’s market being competitive you have to have both. I personally think beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  23. Khs says:

    Michael, I love you, but really: Malcom? Are you kidding me? I don’t get that. Loved Sam Woolfe, how sweet is his voice!! Really enjoyed Alex’s version of Volcano but I couldn’t get Phillip Phillips version (mood lighting and crazy good backup singer included) out of my head. Overall great night from singers and judges–vast improvement from last night!

  24. Kaba says:

    Nonetheless, the guys tonight were an improvement and if I could pick 5 I’d definitely go with:

  25. marie says:

    A whole GALE of fresh air after the truly forgettable gals’ show last night.
    First, I really like this judging team. Even JLo seems to have stepped up her game.
    There were several excellent performances tonight, and not a one that was totally without merit.
    My favorites were Caleb: a real pro already; Sam: I usually don’t care much for the youngest contestants, but like Alison, this kid is proving a really enjoyable exception; CJ; to a lesser degree, Alex and Dexter.
    Ok, I’ll get ready to have rotten fruit thrown at me, but Emanuel is actually a pretty good singer (and Mr. Slezak, “Best of My Love ” is from the disco era, but it is not a disco song). Get past whatever you might find irritating and just listen to the voice. He’s good! A lot of control. NOT Jacob Lusk 2.0; they’re nothing alike.

    • rio says:

      Amen. That little snippet that JLo called for showed what a huge talent he is. He just needs to tone down a notch or two. He’s a born entertainer.

      • marie says:

        Yes! I was surprised but pleased that JLo actually asked him to sing again, a capella (evidence of how she really does seem to be improving as a judge, improbable as that would have seemed before the season started). The resulting song fragment was quite well-sung.
        I guess you and I are in a very small minority here.

  26. Name That Tune says:

    This is looking a lot like Season 10. They will give us 6 or 7 girls, and most will be eliminated by top 7. I can easily pick at least 3 guys who are locks for the top 5 and only one girl who has a shot at the top 5.
    It’s almost a reverse of last season. They went out and found the weakest girls they could and passed them through.

    • Timmah says:

      I agree. I wouldn’t be surprised if the top 5 were all guys.

    • MC says:

      Exactly. Cutting those five very talented girls last night was inexcusable. They are obviously clearing a path for a male winner (probably Sam Woolf). People who hated last season will love this one. Oops, I’m not one of those people. Thank goodness for Shakira and The Voice. I’m looking forward to their new season.

    • pmet says:

      I totally understand they are “casting a show” and that, as a result, some extremely talented singers will be left on the sidelines while less talented but polarizing contestants get through. Happens ever year. However, this year with the girls was a true head scratcher. They really left outstanding talent on the bench while bringing forth 3, possibly 4, very questionable contestants — Bria, Marialle and Malaya. Even Kristen seemed more pageant-like than true musician. I was yelling for Austin, Kenzie, Andrina and Brandy. At least from the snippets they had shown us, those four showed more soul and talent than the ones put through. And the performances on Tuesday night on reinforced my opinion. I am quite disappointed on the ladies side and I fear after the voting I will be even more disappointed on Thursday. And yet, I continue to watch. Such is the pull of Idol.

  27. LeahKittyS says:

    (Scene: the open ocean. The storm has finally subsided, and the QUEEN HALEY is still. In his cabin, Captain Harry pulls himself up, leaving the map on his desk, and makes his way out on deck. The crew is still tied to the ship by their safety lines, but the lower mast has fallen down.)
    Harry: Is everyone okay?
    Majesty: (Standing up straight) Shaken but not too stirred, Captain.
    Harry: Good. You can all cut yourselves loose, it should be smooth sailing from here on out.
    Sam: How can you be sure, Captain?
    Harry: Just trust me, okay? Now, we need to get our bearings and make sure we’re still going in the right direction. Who’s got the compass?
    M.K.: Right here, sir.
    Harry: If we’re not still going southwest, we need to turn this ship around. Someone get me a glass of rum; my head hurts. But first, the hard question…did we lose anybody?
    (There is a moment of silence. They crew members cut themselves loose)
    Malcolm: I only counted twenty-one of us left, Captain. Nobody went overboard, but the lower mast came down.
    Jessica: I told him that was going to happen.
    Alex: The other ten are trapped underneath. They weren’t dead when we looked, but…
    (Harry goes over to the fallen mast and lifts up the sail. Austin, Andrina, Brandy, Briston, Casey, Ethan, Jillian, Jordan, Kenzie, and Maurice are lying flat under the mast. They are still breathing, but painfully. After the crew lifts the mast off their shipmates with all their strength, Harry heads back up front.)
    Harry: Get them to the sickbay. Kristen, stay with them. Take someone to help you. Everyone else, resume stations. We have to get to that island.
    Malaya: What’s the hurry, Captain?
    Harry: There’s someone else after that treasure. We have to beat him to it. (Crazed voice) I can see him in my head. I hear him. He’s almost there. The land is in his sight. He’s laughing at me! I can’t let him steal it from me!
    Emily: Captain, maybe you should take a rest. It’s been a rough day–
    Harry: I’ll rest when I see the gulls picking at that rat’s dead body!
    Caleb: Captain, you’re losing it! Just go back to your cabin for a while and–
    (Others shout their agreements. Harry turns around and fires his gun.)
    Harry: SILENCE!
    (When all is quiet, the sound of singing is heard from a distance. Harry is breathing heavily, and his eyes are wide.)
    Harry: I’m the Captain aboard this ship! You do as I say! Or else!
    (He fires his gun again. The others gasp.)
    Alex: Uh oh, he doesn’t look too good…
    Bria: No, he doesn’t, and I can hear why!
    Spencer: It’s the Siren!
    (Everybody looks off to the side. A siren with a striking resemblance to Jennifer Lopez is sitting on a rock, vocalizing as she stares at the QUEEN HALEY.)
    George: She’s messing with his brain!
    Marialle: And she’ll mess with yours, too, if you stay out here!
    Majesty: Quick! Someone help me tie the captain up! Get him into his cabin! All men to the cargo hold! Sorry, M.K., you gotta go in, too!
    (The women usher the men into the cargo hold as Majesty and Malaya tie up Harry in his cabin. It’s a challenge for them as he struggles and protests. When they are done, they go back outside to help the other women move their injured shipmates. But Majesty looks up at the sight of a man walking towards the side of the ship.)
    Majesty: Neco? What are you doing?
    Neco: That girl…she’s singing…
    Majesty: Neco, no! Don’t go to her!
    Neco: I can’t help it…she’s so beautiful…
    (Majesty tries to hold him back, but Neco cannot be stopped. He walks right off the plank and falls into the ocean.)
    Majesty: Neco! (Turns back to the other women) How are they doing?
    Briana: All ten are still breathing. But these bruises are really bad.
    Kristen: I’m feeling a lot of breaks here.
    Majesty: Well, if it’s just bruises and broken bones, I can take it. We’ve had enough death today.
    Sam: (From below) Is it safe to come out?
    (Pause. The distant singing continues for a while and then stops.)
    Jena: (A little shaky) All clear. Hang on.
    (She unlocks the cargo hold opening, and the men come back up.)
    Ben: I don’t know about you, but I think we were missing someone down there.
    Majesty: And he’ll stay lost. Neco’s dead.
    (The men look to each other in shock.)
    Malcolm: Dead? But how?
    Malaya: The Siren got him.
    CJ: Man, it’s always the good ones…
    Dexter: And how’s the captain holding up?
    Jessica: Not good. I heard him hollering while they were tying him down. The Siren song must be set in deep.
    Spencer: Well, when’s he gonna be back to normal?
    Emily: How should we know?
    M.K.: Great. So now we’re out in the middle of the ocean with no captain. (Consults the compass.) And thanks to that storm, we’re pointed in the wrong direction.
    Emmanuel: Well, what are we standing around for? Somebody go take the helm!
    Sam: I’m on it.
    (He goes up to the helm. Some others carry the fallen sailors down to the sick bay.)
    Marialle: None of us have been this far out before. We have to have a captain.
    Majesty: We will. Calm down. Let’s just get to the island in one piece first.
    Jessica: With a broken mast and a torn main sail? It’ll take a miracle.
    Majesty: (Joining Sam up front) Well, God works in strange ways, so who knows.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Oops, forgot to add at the top: And now, a continuation of “American Idols and the Treasure of the Twelve Kingdoms.”

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Again, I’m sorry that it’s really long. I promise it won’t be this long when we get to the Top 13.

      • Justin says:

        You should make a website of all your fanfics. I would seriously love to look at what you did for past seasons!

        • LeahKittyS says:

          Oh, these aren’t my real stories. These are just teasers to go along with the results. My real Idol stories are long and drawn out, with lots of musical numbers (like “Glee” but no high school.) Glad you like what I do. I was hoping to get them up on Deviant Art last summer, but that never happened. If I get around to it this year I’ll post a link here or something.

    • elizabeth3613431 says:

      Oh, Leah! You have outdone yourself. I laughed at least five times. Jennifer as the siren–classic!

  28. Michelle says:

    I thought CJ Harris was amazing tonight! Sounds like exactly the type of voice and music that I would download and listen to! He was definitely my favorite.

    PS- Does anyone else read the recap in Michael’s voice?

  29. AlyB says:

    My favs to move forward are CJ and Sam. Poor Sam turned red as a beet he was so nervous but despite that, I think he sang really well. CJ wasn’t perfect but there’s something so engaging about him that I really want to hear more. The rest I’m not all that thrilled about.
    Spencer is going to make it through if the crowd reaction was any indication. I don’t think he’s as easy on the eyes as Ace Young was and certainly nowhere near as nice. There’s an arrogant streak about him that really puts me off. His vocal was just shy of mediocre. He may do better. You just know he’s going to get the chance. I was actually a little stunned that Alex sang Volcano. No one can touch the job P2 did on that song so he suffered by comparison. That said, he’s obviously musically gifted and has an interesting voice. I wouldn’t mind him getting through. Dexter would probably be fun to watch. This seems like a top 5 I could live with. Ben would be my pick instead of Spencer but I doubt that’ll happen. He may slide in instead of Dexter or Alex.
    I think Maurice would have been a great addition to the show. I have no idea why he was left in that room and Emmanuel was on that stage. I know there are a lot of Caleb fans here. He has a great voice but reminds me a lot of Meatloaf and I was never a fan. I keep imagine him singing Paradise By The Dashboard Light. Campy and fun yes but not really what I want in an AI contestant. Malcolm and George are solid vocalists but neither had a good night and I don’t think they’ll be voted through. One of them will likely get a wild card though.

  30. Jason says:

    AM I the only one who thought MK was completely awful!!! A) She picked a song with 3 notes. 2) SHe sang about 8 or nuine noted in a song with only three notes. 3) Incredibly borign 4) Not much star appeal.

    What did I miss in that performance that should give her a top 13 spot?

  31. Scott says:

    Dexter really comes across kind & classy and country music is a top vote getter during Idol.

  32. kate'shomesick says:

    Sam for the win- seriously for song choice alone- the kid likes David Gray…

  33. J says:

    A big round of applause to Sam Woolf for choosing such a brilliant song “Babylon”. For a 16/17-year-old kid, he sure gave a glimpse of music knowledge broader than his peers. I see a Spencer v. Sam fandom coming. LOL

    Caleb was brilliant. He is a guy that is as comfortable on stage as he is comfortable in his own skin. Wow. What a way to start the show.

    CJ is a cool dude. Hope to see him next week. Nerves got the best of him in some parts of the song. I think that’s why he went sharp at times.

    Alex is the darkhorse in this competition. This is a genius in musicality, and what a unique voice.

    The guys overall were entertaining. What a difference from last night.

  34. Hate to say it, but so far the boys side is looking stronger than the girls. WGWG winner will be back this year, I bet. Ugh,

    LOVE HARRY! It is so damn refreshing to see a judge keeping it real. Instead of boos, the audience should have been saying “truuuuuue”.

  35. J. May says:

    I don’t know about anybody else, but it depresses the heck out of me that Allison is singing background vocals :( Otherwise the guys did a great job overall.

    • marie says:

      Well, sure, it would be great if she could have a successful solo career instead.
      BUT, things could be a lot worse: she is singing for a living, which is more than can be said for hundreds of thousands of talented others who would also love to be successful in the music field. She’s not waiting tables or bagging groceries or whatever else (not that there’s anything at all wrong with either of those jobs) like most would-be singers.
      AND we get to hear her each week on Idol!

  36. Ryan says:

    Going into tonight (after the girls’ miserable showing last night), my prediction was that C.J. Harris would win this season. I’m still thinking this could happen.

  37. LizzieB says:

    I wish Sam had sung Babylon with a sorta different arrangement. I can’t get enough of his actual cover on youtube though:
    I really really like Sam. I can’t wait ’til he becomes more comfortable and confident with performing on the Idol stage. I hope more people(other than teenage girls) would start believing in this kid.
    I was really looking forward to Malcolm’s performance and I surprisingly agreed with JLo’s thoughts on it.
    I’m not sure how I stand with Alex. He is super talented and all but I just need to connect with him more I guess. Volcano though? I was thinking about PP the whole time. That beautiful singer in the background, the dark stage, the harmony in the chorus. The camera work. It’s still one of my favourites.
    I wasn’t irrititated with Caleb tonight. He didn’t come off as pompous as he did in the hollywood rounds so that could’ve been just the editing.
    I’m still so disappointed that Ethan Thompson isn’t part of this. The guys are missing what Ethan was supposed to represent vocal quality-wise and genre-wise.
    Also seeing Ethan Harris sit and wait anxiously everytime they showed the waiting room was killing me. I wanted to fly out there and give him a hug!!! :( I feel like this kind of tv should have serious ethical constraints.

    • LizzieB says:

      Oh and CJ!!!!! Love that guy. He’s just so sure of himself that I just don’t question how he presents himself as an artist. None of that bull that others have to use to advertise themselves with(cough cough)

    • marie says:

      “I hope more people(other than teenage girls) would start believing in this kid.”
      Trust me. It’s been over 40 years since I’ve been a teenage girls, and this kid has won me over; he’s the happy exception to my usual non-interest in the teenage contestants. I suspect I’m not the only one.

  38. Phan says:

    Michael, I love Idology, love your recaps, but you’re out of your mind and losing at least 20 “Save the Rocker” points if you think Malcolm’s hot mess of a performance deserves a B+. He wasn’t good tonight and had zero flow in his performance.

  39. kate'shomesick says:

    Sam, Alex and Caleb were far superior to everyone else…on musicality alone. I’m really rooting for these guys.

  40. The Orginal Lemon says:

    CJ was my number 1 guy, but I have to say–Caleb bumped him to the second spot tonight. Wowwwww Caleb….what else is there to say. He gives a show worth the ticket price. I agree that CJ is sharp, or ” a bit off”….however you want to describe it, but it almost doesn’t matter, because his intensity and artistry are very, very, uncommon. It’s almost like he’s an actor in a movie…you can not take your eyes off of him, and he is still my solid second place for the guys. He has lots of competition though in Alex and Sam. What a great group of guys. I feel for Maurice, who should have been up there…..

    My number 1 overall is still Majesty. She just has it all…the musicality, the voice, the look….. I think she is starting to understand that it’s not just about having a gift, it’s about giving a gift…..When you are that talented, and unique, you are giving us all a gift when you sing, and I think she’s starting to get that…..

  41. DJ says:

    Caleb killed it! He is by far the star of this show.

  42. Timmah says:

    Emmanuel, I really Zabhor your singing.

  43. Ayelet says:

    Ugh, at this point I’m starting to think Harry Connick, Jr. could kill a puppy on stage and Michael would still be singing his praises.

  44. danin says:

    Nah.Nah.Slezak,you’re off.Caleb was a solid A-A+.Ben a solid B-B+. I love CJ’s song choices and if he could put that voice together he’d probably be my favorite..but like Malaya his voice is not controlled enough..he sings out of key or something.I’d give him a B-,C. Sam,B+-A- another good song choice. George&Malcolm had an unfortunate night.It’s too bad cause they both have beautiful voices.And then man,Alex coming in w/volcano another good song, but I’m not hooked on his voice yet,can tell though dude has a ton of talent-B.My surprise was Ben, I really liked him.Alot.B+. And how do we get rid of Spencer??

  45. Forwardad says:

    Every stylist should be fired. Poor dexter not one thing worked, and tell those same stylists that tying a shirt around the waist is just stupid.

    I hope they give Malcolm another shot.

  46. Magali says:

    Compared to last night nightmare (except for MK) this was much better indeed! Caleb for the win!

  47. fred5977 says:

    I only have one comment, wait, two comments on the night. One, the guys definitely had a better night than the girls. Two, I can’t believe no one has pointed out the unfair advantage JLo gave to Emmanuel. BS

  48. Rebecca Parker says:

    As I suspected, Harry didn’t scold any of the boys on their inappropriate choices. I mean, read the lyrics to “Stay With Me” – if he’s going to scold Emily for her chosen lyrics, why not do the same with the guys?

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Because Caleb is a grown-up, and he looks like it. Emily is barely out of childhood and still technically a teenager.

      • Rebecca Parker says:

        They’re both legal adults.

        And Emily’s song was about female empowerment. Caleb’s song was about using and discarding a woman sexually.

        Harry just comes across as hypocritical to me. If you’re going to play the “inappropriate lyric” card, play it equally. He does not.

        • Dvr’ed it- I was lucky enough to be at a Kris Allen show. He is a fabulous singer/songwriter/musician/entertainer. Looking forward to seeing other Season 8 fave Allison with band when I watch.
          Results seemed pretty predictable to me. Hoping Sam, CJ, and Malcolm go thru. I think Casey did himself in with song choice if spoilers are to be believed. He picked Because you loved me? Can’t imagine that impressed in dress rehearsal. Spencer? Ugh, Alex – can listen but can’t watch. Sorry. The grimaces are scary. Funny because Kris A makes the weirdest faces and movements when performing but it doesn’t frighten me!

        • bobsaccamanna says:

          You’re exactly right about that Rebecca, Harry seems all over the map with his critiques and it’s too bad because I like him. I don’t get why people were so upset that only 10 of the 15 girls were allowed to perform but seem ok with it last night for the guys. It still isn’t right and it still makes for terrible, egg on your face television for the 5 guys left standing there at the end. I’m sorry if I dont trust the judges or Randy to pick who gets to sing, but I just don’t, how can you trust their judgement when somehow they thought Emanuel should perform, because that was god awful. I had to walk two blocks to go get my skin back from where it had crawled. What started out as such a promising season is coming off the rails, you could almost see it in the judges faces last night. I’m an Idol lifer, but, I’m sorry, I dont see any potential stars in this group of guys and girls. And when I hear michael say something like Phil Phillips owns the song Volcano, it makes me think he has never listened to the original. The song needs the female vocal to sound right, and there is only one Lisa Hannigan.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Hey, bobsaccamanna, how are you?
            I don’t think anyone was “okay” with only 10 of the 15 guys being allowed to perform. I think after we saw how they handled the night with the girls everyone was just more prepared or had accepted this was how it was going to be.
            Like you, I do NOT get the Emmanuel pick. If someone gave me a choice of watching that performance again or poking out my eyes with pencils I would start sharpening pencils. And now I HATE that song.

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            hey Darcy..I went through and read most of your posts, you still crack me up :)
            I was filled with hope for this season based on what I thought was the best audition weeks in years, now, I’m not so sure. But I’ll stick with it because obviously I’m the type of person who thinks torture chambers make nice vacation spots.

        • Name That Tune says:

          Here’s the difference. They are both legal adults, but one looks and plays the part of the rocker dude seducing a girl. The other made a clumsy attempt at being a sexy, rocker chick and it failed.
          Even if she is 18 and isn’t a virgin, she looks about 15. She didn’t sell the song.
          Think about it. Who is more believable – Beyoncé singing a song about taking a guy to the floor or sweet little Miss Emily?

          • Rebecca Parker says:

            But his critique wasn’t that she wasn’t selling the song. That is not what he said. He chided her for singing a song about sex.

            So we should judge people on how they look? “Sorry ma’am, you can’t vote even though you’re 18 because you look 15.” She’s 18. She can sing about sex if she wants to.

          • Name That Tune says:

            Actually it was. He asked her if she understood the lyrics. Have you read the lyrics? Let’s look at the first verse:
            You got me down on the floor
            So what’d you bring me down here for?
            You got me down on the floor
            So what’d you bring me down here for?

            If I was a man I’d make my move
            If I was a blade I’d shave you smooth
            If I was a judge I’d break the law
            And if I was from Paris
            If I was from Paris
            I would say
            Ooh la la la la la la la [4x]

            You got me up on your swing
            So when you gonna shake that thing?
            You got me up on your swing
            So when you gonna shake that thing?

            Exactly what thing did she want him shake?
            And who would be more believable singing this – Beyoncé or Emily?

  49. Magali says:

    On Spencer, to quote a great song by The Streets : “You’re fit but my gosh don’t you just know it!”

  50. Tusk says:

    Sam Woolf is going to haaaaard to beat ….