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. Msmoore says:


    America votes thru:

    Wild cards:
    Either George or Malcolm

    • T Fan says:

      I won’t bother trying to list all who I think will or should make the top 13. But judging from the reaction on social media, it seems safe to say that list will most definitely include Majesty, M.K., Alex, and Sam.I It’s still too early in the game for me to have any favs, but I’m very disappointed that Maurice didn’t get his time in the spotlight. Good luck to all the rest.I won’t bother trying to list all who I think will or should make the top 13. But judging from the reaction on social media, it seems safe to say that list will most definitely include Majesty, M.K., Alex, and Sam.I It’s still too early in the game for me to have any favs, but I’m very disappointed that Maurice didn’t get his time in the spotlight. Good luck to all the rest.

  2. Angie_Overrated says:

    Like I said last night, I miss Kree, Candice, Amber and Burnell. This season has stupidly weak talent. Unless something dramatically changes in the next week, I may be out. Damn, I used to love this show.

    The Voice starts soon right?

    • deedee says:

      Yes, definitely weak talent. Disappointing after a promising audition phase.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Yeah, dude! Remember last year we had Amber nailing My Funny Valentine and Candice killing it on the John Legend song in this round? We had nothing even remotely comparable to that this year. Comparing the talent last year to this year is like watching a game of hockey between the Boston Bruins and your nephew’s pee wee league.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Last night, I was so frustrated because the girls were such a letdown. I’m rooting for Majesty, MK, and somewhat for Jessica and Malaya, but other than that, I was let down. I said in my head “Give me any finalist in the history of the show, anyone who was ever in the Top 12/13, over these people. And yes, that includes Nikki McKibbin, Carmen Rasmusen, John Stevens, Scott Savol, Sanjaya Malakar, Kristy Lee Cook, Tim Urban, Jacob Lusk, and Lazaro Arbos.” Really. I was that frustrated. Tonight, some of that sentiment still lingers. I really like Caleb, Sam, and Alex, but this whole season just isn’t invoking much passion. I didn’t even watch the first four seasons and I’m liking them better based on the albums and DVDs I have of select performances.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        And yet they let Paula Hunt go. As annoying as Jacob Lusk was, I thought he was an awesome singer. But I digress. It is rather slim pickens this year. The Voice is going to be amazing. I just know it.

        • Justin says:

          You are stupid, what makes you think The Voice will be amazing? The talent this year on Idol is way better than what we see on that boring show The Voice…

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Irony and wishful thinking are concepts that apparently escape you. I was kidding when I said The Voice was going to categorically be amazing. And I’d appreciate that if you disagree with me, to do so without ad hominem attacks. That would be awesome.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            We need a sarcasm font for the peanut gallery.

        • karen says:

          If The Voice is amazing it will be the first time ever. Just like Idol, The Voice has had some amazing singers and a bunch of mediocre or boring ones. I watch The Voice and there hasn’t ever been a season where everyone was amazing or interesting. There are just as many mediocre and/or boring singers on that show as there are on AI.

      • Justin says:

        Its only the semi finals, I feel like people have to be reminded EVERY year that the semi finals are always a little underwhelming. There has to be a lot of fodder we have to get rid of first before we rise to the top. Almost half of the people won’t even be here next week.

        You also can’t blame them for having nerves over the twist.

        • LeahKittyS says:

          I agree with you in most respects. My concern is the good singers being voted in favor of someone who looks more “the part” or something. Season 9 was looking to be the very best, up until Top 12 reveal night. I’ve been leery about the semifinals ever since.

          • Justin says:

            I see what you are saying, but please don’t write off a season and call it the “worst” already just based on the semifinals. Its very early.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            The “worst” thing was sort of a joke. I’m just frustrated because the contestants haven’t got a hold on me yet. I know it’s going to get better; I’m just impatient because I’m busy with schoolwork.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          Except that last year’s semifinals had truly memorable performances that blew the roof off the house. Kree, Candice, Burnell, Amber, and I’m sure there are a few I’m missing.

        • tealeaves says:

          Cannon fodder is for the top 36, or the top 24. Once we get to the single eliminations, the fodder should be gone.

      • Justin says:

        Also, here is what somebody on idol forums said which was a GREAT point.


        It’s just not, people. It really never has been. Yet, every season, almost like clockwork, this episode hits, and everybody freaks out and claims that the seasons is over. It’s patently ridiculous if you sit back and rationally think about what’s going on. The show is taking 20 contestants who have never sung in front of millions of people before, not to mention a live studio audience, and thrusting them into the national spotlight. It’s some scary @#$%. Sure, some seasons we have a rare couple of performances that are pretty awesome, but for the most part, the Semi-Finals are a place where the contestants do absolutely anything just to survive. They are worried about only one thing: advancing. They aren’t worried about delivering a “wow” moment. That’s not their job. If only five girls get through this week by America’s votes, that 6th girl’s job is to do just slightly better than one of them. You know what makes all this even worse this season? The fact that there are 5 contestants who didn’t even get to sing, and the ones that actually get to perform, aren’t aware of it until the last second, which causes even more stress to work around.

        It’s rough, but let’s not pretend that it’s unusual to watch some train wrecks during this stage of the competition. It happens. It’s common.”

        • tealeaves says:

          This was not just the first week of live shows. It was also the last week before single eliminations. Once we get to single eliminations we should only have 10-13 contestants who could all be top 5.

    • Justin says:

      Oh geez, you don’t hear that everyday(people missing last year). And seriously, the talent isn’t weak this year at all. You are complaining just to complain and its annoying.

      And yet, you can’t wait for the Voice to start? What makes you think the talent will be any better? That’s a pretty idiotic statement if I ever heard one. The boys did a fine job tonight, quit being a hater. And this years semis are WAY better than last year.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Dude, did your mother teach you no manners? You’re allowed to disagree with me, but no need to be a jerk about it! Even if I am wrong (which I’m not), you’re the one who’s looking bad right about now.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Justin, you are on the wrong message board. Please take your insulting, rude self over to the EW message board. People here tend to be polite and respect others’ opinons. Yes, we occasionally get snarky or sarcastic but it’s in good fun. You are just rude. Stop calling people “stupid”. Don’t use the word “hater”. How old are you? 12?

        • deedee says:

          LOL, there’s my totes fave word: “hater”! I can’t wait for all the children to sling the “hater” label on anyone who dislikes their special snowflake! That’s always fun.

      • MAB says:

        It’s really funny but when The Voice is on people are saying they can’t wait for Idol. There is plenty to complain about with The Voice also. The Voice is entertaining but it can’t hold a candle with Idol when it comes to finding real stars. You do not get as invested in the contestants like you do with Idol. I watch both and as bad as Idol was last year it still is my favorite.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          That’s because “The Voice” is all about the judges, who already have careers and are rich and famous. It’s an odd format. I do like the revolting chair concept, but that’s it.

        • Name That Tune says:

          I watched a full season of The Voice last fall (first time I’ve done that) and never once found myself wishing I was watching Idol. All I kept thinking about is how boring and predictable Idol has become. And how nice it was to have adult talent singing instead of teenagers.

          • MAB says:

            But The Voice does have teenagers. Last year Danielle won and she is a teenager and this past season Jacquie came in runner up and she is a teenager. I do like The Voice but it has not produced a star that I want to support after the show is over. It is good entertainment while it is on but it has not done well in promoting their winners. It is just a different kind of competition show on The Voice it is more a competition between the judges. Idol focuses more on the contestants.

          • Name That Tune says:

            The difference is that Idol has become the playground of the 15 to 21 year old. How many people over the age of 22 have you seen make the top 10 in the past 5 years?
            OTH, The Voice routinely features singers in their mid 20’s to late 30s. It makes a huge difference in the quality of the performances.
            Yes, The Voice gave us 16 year old Jacquie Lee, but it also gave us 28 year old Tessanne Chin. I can’t see anything that approaches Tessanne Chin in vocal ability and talent on Idol.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          I’d say it depends. There are seasons of the Voice that are total duds and I quickly lose interest. The Michelle Chamuel, Danielle Bradberry season comes to mind. Those 2 finalists were awesome, but everything leading up to the finals was a painful process, which I gave up on. Last year was Idol’s year of extreme talent that got all screwy thanks to the tumult with the judges and the producers overstepping their bounds. Huge wasted opportunity if you ask me, because so many of those finalists were amazing.

          I’d say it’s dependent on the talent pool from that particular season. This year is looking very weak thus far for Idol, but hopefully I’m proven wrong. I’ll give it another week or two to make that determination.

          • Name That Tune says:

            I missed the Danielle Bradbury season, but saw enough of the other seasons to recognize that The Voice favors older singers who have learned their craft. On Idol, you can see a steady decline in the ages of the contestants. In Season 9, there were 8 contestants over the age of 22, Season 10 – 3, Season 11 – 2 (one of them was Elise Testone, who was an old lady of 28), Season 12 – 3. The oldest contestant in the top 30 this year was 26 and he’s gone. What we’re left with is 15 to 21 year olds.
            Consider this: Both Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry were 26 during their Idol seasons, and it was not unusual to find 5 or 6 contestants over the age of 25 in those early Idol Seasons.
            Want to know why the girls were so bad on Tuesday? Because none of them were older than 21!

          • MAB says:

            I do wish they would raise the age on Idol but they won’t because it is the teens who control the charts now. If you check out the top 10 on the charts most of it is music anyone over 40 would not listen to. That’s why it is funny that we are always looking for a great singer but honestly the great singers are not making it in the music business. Someone mentioned Tessanne Chin on this site and said you won’t find someone like her on Idol. That’s very true but she will also not set the music charts on fire. I probably would not buy her music. I personally like the singer songwriter type music. Music has changed and Idol must change with it. I do draw the line on rap and hip hop though.

  3. Blinged Up says:

    Best of the night imo — CJ, Sam and Ben Briley. Then Alex…then Malcolm. Good talent tonight and I love the new workshop! Adam and Chris did a great job.

  4. Christine says:

    I don’t get all the hate for Spencer – and no I’m not a teenage girl lol! I watched how he interacted with the other guys and thought he seemed very genuine. As for his voice, he may not have the strongest one, but it is solid (I do like the raspy tone)! His charisma is infectious and everyone including JLo and Keith were enjoying his performance. I would like to see him at the piano again if he makes it through to the top 13. I feel like everyone is judging him on his looks alone and giving him a label he didn’t do anything to deserve! End of rant lol!

    Who I would like to make it…

    The other 4 don’t care, but if had to pick would be Emily, Briana, Kristin and Caleb

  5. Chris says:

    I would have picked Maurice over Malcolm and wish there was a place for briston. Anyways, my faves are spencer and Sam.

  6. Cj says:

    A lot of these singers sang better in hollywood week so I don’t get why no one told them to choose better songs.

  7. starmaker says:

    I enjoyed the voice and singing style of 3 of the girls and 3 of the boys, so even at this point for me. The judges belabored how tough it was to choose the 10 of each, and I’m sure it was — but, you can bet there was also some degree of producers input and checking social media stats for early popularity numbers involved.

    I think it’s good to see more diverse styles and types of music this year, and am hoping they won’t push everyone into the same canned 40 – 50 year-old music themes again this year

    An article I read that interviewed a high level producer from last year – commented that they realized they were going to have to change more of the old format to stop losing audience. I guess we’ll see. .

  8. Annie says:

    I’m one of the very few people on this site who genuinely wants Spencer to move on. I believe he did a lot better than a least half of the girls last night and a handful of guys tonight. It’s pretty clear that it’s song choice that is going to make or break him.

    I hope Malcolm and George get voted in as well. They both had pretty rough nights, but from both of their collective performances, they are the strongest vocally. Along with Caleb.

    My top 5 guys: Sam, Malcolm, George, Spencer, Caleb. With the wildcard being CJ or Alex
    Girls: Majesty, Jena, Brianna, MK, and… Can we just cut the rest?

  9. Here is how I imagine tomorrow going:

    Top 5 Girls are: Majesty, Jena Irene, Jessica Meuse, M.K., and Malaya
    Top 5 Guys are: Sam, Preston, CJ, Ben, and Spencer

    Wildcard (in my opinion) should be: Dexter, Malcolm, Caleb, Briana, and Emily or Kristen

    • Name That Tune says:

      Agree with the top 5 girls
      The guys will be Sam, CJ, Alex, Caleb and either Ben or Dexter.
      They need to keep 2 girls but the guys are simply better. So Malcolm will stay because he’s the better R&B guy and this season is missing an R&B singer amongst the guys.. Both Ben and Dexter will stay.
      That leaves one spot for the girls. It will be Emily or Briana.

  10. darcy the slutty twin says:

    Just wanted to drop by and continue my Caleb-hate: He looks and sounds horrid. I feel like I don’t want to see that.

    • deedee says:

      Why do you hate him? He’s pretty entertaining.

      • darcy the slutty twin says:

        He’s obnoxious, loud and seems full of himself. I also think he’s a dochebag with the vintage jackets and the mic stand during group rounds. It’s not like I’m alone in this since the judges questioned his authenticity and Harry mentioned the mic stand.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          But his performance tonight was decent. I was a bit surprised.

        • The Original Lemon says:

          On a night where most of them let their nerves get to them,Caleb came out with his amazing voice, range, and performance ability, and gave us a show. I don’t think he’s going anywhere. He’s amazing. However, I know what it’s like to just not like a contestant, no matter how much everyone else does.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            I can’t say I love him or detest him. I think he has decent talent. But, as I told my husband, this is NOT what you hear on contemporary radio. Would anyone that wasn’t around when JC was walking around in his sandals care to comment on my observation? I listen to contemporary radio and singers like Caleb are not what I’m hearing so I’m assuming the judges put him through for his showmanship.

          • The Orginal Lemon says:

            Caleb sounds like a 70’s Rock Frontman. It’s not for everyone, and not “modern.” But many of us just don’t care.Talent CAN win over timeliness. Adam is a great example of that.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            I agree, but Adam could sing anything from any genre.

  11. LeahKittyS says:

    Sometimes I feel like I’m only still watching this show to get material for my stories. (By the way, part 2 of “Treasure of the Twelve Kingdoms” is up; sorry I forgot to label it.)
    Of the girls, I really only need Majesty and MK to make it in for me to be satisfied. Among the guys, Sam and Alex are my big must-haves. I would also like to see Jessica and Caleb advance, but other than that…just give me whoever. Except Marialle. Take her back, you don’t even need to refund me. Get rid of her, give me my must-haves, and then do whatever you want.
    It’s sad. The show I’ve loved for so long and invested so much time in is dying. I think I’d rather it ended after last season. It’s like a dying pet; it’s hard, but you just have to stay until it takes its last breath, because of that place it’s always had in your heart.

    • starmaker says:

      to LeahKittyS- I agree with the four you mentioned. They all bring something different, unique and more “today” in vocal styles. The live audience does get caught-up in all the screaming, high notes, runs and dynamics — but I mostly enjoyed the 4 you mentioned.

    • Justin says:

      Like I said before, here is a great point somebody brought up on Idol Forums…You can’t judge the whole season based on semifinal rounds. Its just nuts.


      It’s just not, people. It really never has been. Yet, every season, almost like clockwork, this episode hits, and everybody freaks out and claims that the seasons is over. It’s patently ridiculous if you sit back and rationally think about what’s going on. The show is taking 20 contestants who have never sung in front of millions of people before, not to mention a live studio audience, and thrusting them into the national spotlight. It’s some scary @#$%. Sure, some seasons we have a rare couple of performances that are pretty awesome, but for the most part, the Semi-Finals are a place where the contestants do absolutely anything just to survive. They are worried about only one thing: advancing. They aren’t worried about delivering a “wow” moment. That’s not their job. If only five girls get through this week by America’s votes, that 6th girl’s job is to do just slightly better than one of them. You know what makes all this even worse this season? The fact that there are 5 contestants who didn’t even get to sing, and the ones that actually get to perform, aren’t aware of it until the last second, which causes even more stress to work around.

      It’s rough, but let’s not pretend that it’s unusual to watch some train wrecks during this stage of the competition. It happens. It’s common.”

  12. Holl says:

    I basically think the workshop is worthless. I DVR the show and fast forward through all that garbage to get to the performances.

    Caleb – Is my favorite in the competition. He can really sing. Love his voice.
    CJ – He was also a favorite of mine. I was really hoping he would make it through.
    Emmanuel – Listen, he’s funny, and at times when serious he can sound good, but his voice was all over the place, and that song was not a good choice. This is not Broadway.
    Sam – I like him. His voice is smooth. He just needs something more likable about him, he seems very blah to me.
    George – Another…really? Just seems like JLo has too much influence, especially with the picking of Emmanuel. His key was waaaay off. Tune was off…was flat.
    Dexter – I knew they were gonna put a country guy through and out of them…not a fan.
    Alex – I really like this guy. There’s something about him. I think he’s extremely talented, and I love the cool vibe from him, even though he says he’s awkward. I love that song and it was such a good song choice.
    Malcolm – Good voice and I like him, but such a weak song choice. It showed no range that his voice can do.
    Ben – Sorry, but not a fan. He’s weak compared to Dexter. His voice is pretty bad…at least that’s what my ears are saying. It is really laughable they put him through. The other guys on the couch are so much better.
    Spencer – Oh boy…the girls are going to love him. He seems stuck on himself. Baaad song choice. He was good in HW week, but this was a bad. Trying to use that sex charm is not going to work on this end….be prepared for all the little girls.

    I like Caleb, CJ, Sam, Alex. That stupid Spencer better not take a spot from one of these.

  13. Adam Fachry says:

    If only Emmanuel was god vocally, I would’ve done a wordplay everytime I mention his name, similar to JLo’s but in ‘french’: Z’adore, as in J’adore. But instead, all I wanted to do when I heard him open his mouth was: Zidon’t-you-dare-sing-a-note!

  14. darcy the slutty twin says:

    I couldn’t help but chuckle at Michael’s overly dramatic description of Allison Iraheta’s background singing as “chill-inducing background support.” I kept picturing Allison doing werewolf howling noises while the contestants sang. To be honest, I never would have noticed Allison’s background vocals, even if I wasn’t completely distracted by Dexter’s undershirt-over-sports bra fashion statement.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Worst. Fashion. Moment. EVER.
      Not only that but who did Dexter’s hair???? I would guess Farrah Fawcett but she’s deceased.

      • darcy the slutty twin says:

        You get a Made Me Laugh, sister! I wish he would have borrowed one of Caleb’s douchebag jackets/coats!

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          I rather like those vintage jackets, but I’m old. Even the worst of the bunch would have covered up that awful shirt.

  15. darcy's evil twin says:

    “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”.
    Mr. Slezak, you get a Made Me Laugh for one of the funniest comments EVAH! George Lovett twisted the head off of one of my all-time favorite songs and crapped in the hole. Geez, did none of the mentors/coaches mention “subtelty”? Or did the emotion of the moment just take over his good sense? Whatever. He could have killed that song in a good way. Such a shame.

  16. darcy's evil twin says:

    I sure would have preferred Maurice and Casey go through rather than Emmanuel and Spencer. Lord, I crack myself up sometimes. Like that would ever happen. I guess if the judges based their decisions on actual singing rather than, oh, I don’t know, Ouija Boards, fairy dust, and unicorn farts that might have happened. Then again, they heard more than 47 seconds of singing.
    My favorite performances were…
    Ethan (he’s a real gem! And I like him better than P2 at this stage of the game)
    Sam (who will win)
    Ben (who sounded like an odd cross between Van Morrison and Joe Cocker)
    Caleb (who WILL sing “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” before this competition ends. Bet on it!)
    C.J. (I’m not quite on the C.J. train yet and I can’t stand Ray LaMontagne – he’s right up there with that whiny Sarah chick whose songs are on the ASPCA commercials).
    If this competition doesn’t end with Sam and Spencer in the Top 2 I will do naked cartwheels at the local mall.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      You know, I am going to change my vote on C.J. and go with Dexter. Despite the Richard Simmons shirt and the foo-foo hair.

    • darcy the slutty twin says:

      Sister, you KNOW mike hollingsworth is now hoping and praying those two don’t make the top 2 and he will be waiting at a mall near you!

    • deedee says:

      Man, what do you have against Canadian female singers?? (but I do happen to agree with you about whiny Sarah from ASPCA)

    • LB says:

      Ethan didn’t perform last night. Did you mean Alex?

    • Name That Tune says:

      DET, I know you love Maurice, but he’s 26 years old and Idol is the playing grounds for the 15 to 21 year olds.
      I’d love to see him try out for The Voice,’cuz he’d have a chance to turn somebody’s chair.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Name That Tune, I do not disagree with you. I thought from the beginning Maurice was too old. Honestly, why doesn’t Idol just lower the uppper age limit and be honest! But he was the better vocalist. David Cook was 25 when he won – I wonder if we’ll ever see THAT again?

  17. Mercedes S. says:

    Michael, ever though of doling out “The Total Idol Package” scores? Much as I dislike Spencer as a singer and a person (wasn’t he the one who picked a song he knew well and then refused to rehearse it with his group?), I’d give him a 9 TIP score. Yes, voters are shallow.

    I’d give Sam a 10 TIP score, though. That poise and talent and budding looks – imagine him two years from now!

  18. Kiki says:

    Sam and Alex are in a league of their own…already gifted artists who can’t be crammed into a mold. Sadly, no way will Alex win. The young girl demographic won’t permit such a quirky, odd-looking guy to triumph on this stage, but I already envision Alex being welcomed into the indy music community and doing extremely well.

    And Sam has a helluva chance to win, not only because of his abundant talent but because it doesn’t hurt to have classic guy good looks.

    We have a LOT of amazing singers among the guys. Really, really good ones. I love them all, really. And what a shame we couldn’t see all 15.

    The guys are far outshining the girls this year. We have some great girls, but none can eclipse the pool of guy talent.

  19. sonya says:

    Loved Loved LOVED Sam Woolf, Alex Preston and Spencer Lloyd! They were my favourites! I just hope that the three of them get through!!!

  20. Kyle Swihart says:

    About who the producers are pimping, agreed that Marialle has to go. Her over-the-top- cheese fest, even while she was in the singer’s lounge, was cring-worthy. She better not be part of the top 13. If Spencer gets voted in or is a wild card, I am fine either way. Even though I liked his Great Big World cover better during Hollywood week, I still think his performance was better than several of the guys last night. At least he is staying more within himself, unlike Marialle.

  21. Mary says:

    Better show than the girls but to tell you the truth I am not upset on who made it except maybe Spencer but I figure he would. I know Emmanueal is not that great of a singer but I have to say I found him entertaining. I know he won’t last but I would gladly suffer a few shows with him instead of Spencer. Sorry but I hope he doesn’t make the top 13. I have never been impress with Sam but I will say he changed my mind tonight. My top that I hope make it is CJ, Sam, George – even if he had a off night and the country guy can’t remember his name. The fifth spot can go to Caleb.

  22. Shawn says:

    What a difference the guys made. After Tuesday I was ready to give up but I tuned in last night and the guys brought it. While no one knocked my socks off they were leaps and bounds better than most of the girls that performed. I liked Sam and CJ the best. Spencer I’d like but there is something about him that screams douchbag to me and I don’t like how they are setting him up to be the “hearthrob” of the season. I have a sinking feeling he’s going to be around for a while though.

  23. steve s says:

    After that debacle 2 nights ago, leaving all the hot babes on the bench (yes, looks DO matter in a singing contest) im SURE the producers laid down the law to the judges last night……..”Spencer WILL be in the top 10.” Can you imagine the outcry on this board from the teeny-boppers and cougars if that lad had been sent home?

  24. Jess says:

    I’m so over Harry’s constant need for attention.

  25. karen says:

    I just do not get the love for Spencer. Sure he’s good looking, but there have been a lot of good looking guys on Idol through the years, most of whom could sing and perform better than this guy. He’s not a rock artist and his performance last night just came off as try too hard and fake. His voice is not particularly strong, either. He’ll probably sail into the Top 10, but if he finishes higher than 6th or 7th, that’s just wrong (unless he suddenly gets a lot better).

    Alex, Sam, Malcolm, CJ and Dexter should be the 5 guys left standing.

    • steve s says:

      Karen==== It just might be because he seems to be head and shoulders better looking than anything else in the field. I agree, in prior years he would not make the cut, but this is a bad, bad bunch appearance-wise. “In the land of the blind, a one-eyed man is King.”

      • MAB says:

        The reason the girls are going crazy for Spenser Is because last year there was nothing to get excited about where the guys were concerned. They were starving for eye candy. Spencer also can sing even if his performance was not the best last night. I myself am not too convinced about him because personality is important too and he got the bad boy rap in Hollywood week. That may turn some girls on even more but not me. To me the jury is still out on Spencer. I personally like Sam more and I think he will appeal to the teens more than Spencer. He is someone I would like my granddaughter to date.

  26. Mark says:

    OK. Perhaps all is not lost. There were some good performances last night, and only a few clunkers. Much better than the night before. For me, the five who must advance are Caleb, Ben, CJ, Dexter and Alex. Then I would save Malcolm, Sam and George. No saves for the girls. In fact, there were at most three on Tuesday night who are even in the same league as the guys.

    Is it just me, or do the men seem older than the women? I wasn’t watching the audition rounds, so I don’t have a lot of background on these people. But if I’m right, it only makes sense that the men are so much better because there aren’t so many that are just out of or still in high school. If I’m wrong, then just delete this paragraph and move along.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      They need to save the girls that didn’t make the cut – Brandy and Austin.

      • The Orginal Lemon says:

        Brandy should have sung, and had a chance. But she may have impeded their agenda. People always wonder why a super talented person is cut over a less talented one. It’s always to “herd” us into voting for their choice. Always has been.

      • Mark says:

        I would save Austin, but I don’t think they are opening it up to the ten that didn’t get to sing. If they were deemed not good enough to sing live, why would they be brought back? It’s not logical. But this is Idol. Why should I expect logic and reason?

  27. ChrissieK says:

    Dear Alex Preston,

    I love you and your tremendous talent…your singing voice gets me right HERE. I wish you nothing but the best this entire Season 13 on American Idol and hope that you will end up wearing the crown in May.

  28. Leah says:

    When people on these forums and bloggers (such as MS) compare Idol contestants to being the same as karaoke singers on a Thursday night, I often wonder WHAT KARAOKE BARS ARE YOU GOING TO!?! Seriously. I am a former karaoke hostess and DJ. I have never heard anything the caliber of any American Idol performance in a bar. And, I have seen thousands.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      I have. There are karaoke bars in SF that cater to a professional crowd with only a few duds. Ditto that for NYC. I’ve been karaoke bars in NY where I had to stop and remind myself I wasn’t at the Royal Opera House or the West End.

  29. Stormy says:

    No 1 Bi**h That they kept Emmanuel and cut Maurice. Ridic.
    Having said that:
    Caleb is good but won’t last.
    CJ is sweet and had a good night. He’ll be around awhile.
    Emmanuel, Oh Please No!
    Sam, not for me, but the girls will like him.
    George, boring.
    Dexter, yes. caught a bit of Webb Pierce in him.
    Alex, Lewis on Suits meets Lee DeWyze. No.
    Malcom, mediocre.
    Ben, needs a makeover, but very Zac Brown Band. He’ll do.
    Spencer, Fabian 2.0. NO.
    The show is improved, but the talent is not. JMO

  30. J says:

    Ok. I didn’t comment on girls’ night but yay! Majesty and *swoon* MK! The guys? Wow Sam Woolf makes me feel funny and I would go to jail if I acted on it and I loved Malcolm’s performance. I really think he’s the one to beat. I hope Harry can withstand the Simon Cowell boo’s. He certainly doesn’t deserve them.

  31. MAB says:

    No you are not Marie, I like Sam too. There is something really special about him and he is becoming my favorite and I am far from a teeny bopper. I have a teen granddaughter.

  32. joe says:

    Criminal Minds” brought in more viewers than “American Idol” for the first time ever. Fox’s “American Idol” tumbled to its lowest score ever on the night — beaten head-to-head in total viewers by CBS’ “Criminal Minds” for the first time. (9.9 million vs. 9.8 million in the prelims), another reason why the sponsors are pulling the plug on Idol??

  33. Meme says:

    I hope the ones that go forward are the ones with the best voices and star potential. This shouldn’t be about anything else. If I would pay to see them in concert some day or buy their CD because they have moved me, that’s what it’s all about! Inspire me and make me want to hear what you will do next! Adam Lambert did that week after week in Season 8. Sam and Alex were at the top of the list last night.

  34. Jessica says:

    Day 2 I’m still not very impressed. I like Sam and that’s it for right now. M.K. for the girls and that’s it for right now also. That’s not a good start of a season to me. It was so bad and wrong of me when i watched today but I was happy to see that they picked Spencer b/c he’s goodlooking- it’s something to add to the stage. That is so wrong, I know. I’m really hoping next week is better after this 1st week.

  35. Jim Welker says:

    Best of the night…..Woolf and Caleb….Look for them to be in final 5 with girls Rose, MK, and Oakley (In finals t end of show)! I picked Oakley to win it all….Stickin’ to it! Woolf is so good! Majest on the girls side is so cute and talented! Good talent on men and women this year!

  36. davey says:

    Ben deserves a much higher grade than Michael gave him. Sorry he can’t see the guy’s clearly talented.

  37. clearly confused says:

    “Intonation is the new pitchy” — is ‘intonation’ the correct word to describe pitch? Intonation can change a statement to a question by raising the voice at the end of a sentence. Does this describe whether or not someone is either flat or sharp? Harry Connick Jr. is a fabulous musician, but I have been wondering about this new word that’s being used. Any thoughts?????

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I believe (whoa, using the Wayback Machine here) “intonation” can mean how accurate your pitch is – or staying on the note and not going sharp or flat. If I remember correctly Harry was commenting on singers getting so emotionally involved in the music their song that they were going sharp.
      Any musicians care to bail me out?

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Sorry, there was supposed to be a “slash” between the music/their song.

      • Mamatyrone says:

        Intonation the correct musical term for when a voice or an instrument is in tune with the tonality of the music. It pertains to the individual notes as well as the key the song is in. Sharp means it’s slightly above the pitch or note, flat means it is below. Just as instruments in a band or orchestra will always tune up and to one another, vocalists too must tune to the tonality of the accompanying music or perhaps to other singers, as in a choir. A well trained ear (and HCJ has impeccable ones) can hear right away whether a singer’s intonation is spot on. Laymen may sense that something is simply ‘off’. CJ, Malcolm, Marrielle, and Bria whom HJC called on it, all sang slightly to severely out of tune. Certain performers can get away with singing slightly off tune, at times it’s a stylistic choice, at times it’s unintentional. Often it has to do with not being able to hear oneself or the accompaniment properly (you’ll see that on a big stage the singers where ‘in-ear’ monitors with wireless remote packs on their clothing. Every musician has moments where they sing or play out of tune, for whatever reason, however if it is a persistant problem, well…better to keep your day job. -From a lifelong professional musician and music teacher

        Hope that helped.

  38. Luke says:

    I’m so glad there is a guy who is going to get a lot of young girl voters, AND he is actually talented, and interesting, to my ‘older’ group – Talking about Sam. But Alex is the one I voted for last night since I think he might need the help. If he stays, I bet he is appreciated more each week – and there will be either less concern about his looks, OR he will start looking better and better due to his talent. It CAN work that way, oh ye of shallow standards….

  39. Evan says:

    I’m actually kind of proud of myself for seeing that George Lovett disaster coming. His tone sounded good in Hollywood, but there was a slight vibrato that coated everything, making me wonder if he was wobblier than that performance showed us.

    Turns out, he was.

  40. T Fan says:

    I won’t bother trying to list all who I think will or should make the top 13. But judging from the reaction on social media, it seems safe to say that list will most definitely include Majesty, M.K., Alex, and Sam.I It’s still too early in the game for me to have any favs, but I’m very disappointed that Maurice didn’t get his chance in the spotlight. Good luck to all the rest.

  41. Apey says:

    I’m really not getting the whole Spencer thing (maybe I’m just too old). When I look at him all I see is Jim Halpert from The Office.

  42. Sara says:

    Ugh. Spencer Lloyd and Ben Briley shouldn’t have made it over Casey or Maurice.

  43. Phillip Phillip’s version of Volcano is the gold standard. It was the first time the song had ever been performed on Idol. Alex Preston should have acknowledged Phillip when he talked about the song.

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