American Idol Top 11 Performance Recap: Take This Sinking Boat, and Point It Home [Updated]

american-idol-top-11-recap-jena-ireneAt the risk of the universe saddling me with a hot pink catsuit, a gigantic tuba and a filthy trucker hat — three of the wardrobe items prominently featured on tonight’s Top 11 performance episode of American Idol — I’m gonna make a controversial confession: I miss theme weeks.

Don’t get me wrong: If executive producer Per Blankens does the unthinkable and reverts to some done-to-death cliché — like Motown or Disco or Songs From the Year You Were Born —  then part of me will root for The X Factor to reach up from its freshly dug grave and pull the House That Kelly Clarkson Built down into the fiery pit, Drag Me to Hell-style.

VIDEO | American Idol‘s Emily Piriz Talks ‘Stars,’ Harsh Harry’s Shaming and the Decision to Cover J.Lo

But Season 13’s looser guidelines — “This Is Me,” “Home,” “Any Song That Ever Made Its Way Into a Movie” (AKA “Songs That Were Done Better by Kris Allen”) — have, in too many instances, allowed contestants to choose songs they know so well or have performed so many times that it allows them to avoid any kind of risk and any kind of innovation or electricity that comes with it.

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The good news, however, is that after Top 12 Week’s total drubbing amongst the Idoloonie Nation and the Season 13 panel/Harsh Harry, a handful of kids dug deeper — in their vocals, in their song choices, in their arrangements — to try to prove themselves worthy of a legacy including (but not limited to) such past Idol standouts as Kelly and Carrie and Haley and J.Hud and Kris and David (pick your fave) and Candice and Elise and Melinda (and the list goes on and on).

The night wasn’t perfect — and didn’t warrant as many Standing Os as Keith and Jenny From the Block distributed — but it was one giant leap in the right direction.

Now, if Uncle PB can find the right mix of themes — or if “mentor” Randy Jackson (or a replacement for “mentor” Randy Jackson) can discourage contestants from choosing ditties that have been done to death or covered in a legendary way in prior seasons — Idol might just be able to get its groove back.

On that note of positive daydreaming, let’s jump right to letter grades for tonight’s performances:

Sam Woolf: The Beatles’ “Come Together” (Across the Universe) — Grade: C |  Look, I’m well aware that my inner Idol Historian can be a little ponderous, but that said, wouldn’t it have been nice if Sam had done a cursory Google search and determined that Carly Smithson, Kris Allen, Crystal Bowersox and Candice Glover had all previously tackled the tale of Old Flat-Top with (respectively) more power, more playfulness, more didgeridoo/creativity and more stankaliciousness than he could’ve ever hoped to muster? By comparison, Sam’s rendition was tentative and middling and behind the beat — failing not only to groove up slowly, but to groove in any way whatsoever. The encouraging take-home message was that Sam realizes he needs to stretch himself beyond his established coffee-house cutie-pie persona, but that’ll require a belief in his musical vision and a belief in the power of his own voice that he’s not currently exhibiting.

Jessica Meuse: Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound Of Silence” (The Graduate) — Grade: B/B+ | I was so captivated by the opening third of Jessica’s performance — when it was just her and her acoustic guitar — that I wondered for a second if I’d need to find a place for it in my 30 Best Idol Performances of All-Time gallery. And then, suddenly, a weird metronome-y clicking kicked in, somebody in the band botched their guitar line and two renditions of the Simon and Garfunkel ditty collided. The Season 13 rocker chick lost her way for a second — and maybe never returned to the brilliance for which she was initially headed — but as Harry noted, you have to give the woman credit for staying composed and staying the course. And I, for one, hope the voting public heeds his words — and backs ’em up with their votes.

C.J. Harris: The Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See” (Blow) — Grade: B+ | Even with the threat of Randy Jackson becoming my life mentor for the next three months, I don’t think I’d be able to recall one interesting thing C.J. did during the first three weeks of live performances. So imagine my shock tonight when the Alabama native hit reverse as if he’d just driven past a “Free Gemstones” kiosk and delivered a gritty, emotionally connected bit of blues that had Harry declaring he’d sang his way “back to the forefront” the Season 13 proceedings. It didn’t hurt that Rickey Minor & Co. seemed to add extra oomph to every part of the arrangement — especially the piano and guitar lines — but it was C.J. who led them down the rocky southern road. Now let’s see him do this two weeks running, and then maybe I won’t scoff at J.Lo cooing “front-runner!”

Dexter Roberts: Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” (Forrest Gump) — Grade: C+ | This was the musical equivalent of a $5 pitcher of Coors — crowd-pleasing, goes down easy, not gonna remember it in the heavy-lidded morning. Granted, Dexter’s lack of baseball cap and nifty haircut — apparently, the Idol stylists’ strike is officially over? — represented a major presentation upgrade, but at the end of the day, adding a University of Alabama football chant in the midst of a straightforward karaoke arrangement doesn’t mean you’ve taken a single risk or displayed an ounce of originality. And shouldn’t those be baseline requirements if you want to make the Idol tour?

Ben Briley: Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” (27 Dresses) — Grade: C | OK, get out your “Hypocrite!” signs and get ready to hoist ’em in the air. Because after criticizing Dexter for playing it depressingly safe, I’m gonna take poor Ben to task for playing it risky and delivering something depressing in the process. Again, credit must be given for Ben’s dapper green velvet jacket and well-groomed beard (finally!), but his hotel-lounge arrangement and peculiar phrasing of Elton John’s grooviest jam felt positively anemic compared to the original (and stacked up against Haley Reinhart’s epic, exuberant Season 10 take — which contained 77% more “hardcore bangage”). Even worse, though, the country rocker ended his rendition with a series of falsetto notes that sounded like a distress signal or the soundtrack to the “universal sign for choking.” If I got to tamper with the votes, Ben’s spaced-out effort wouldn’t result in elimination — just a good, solid scare — but I’ll be shocked if he’s not in the Bottom 3 come Thursday night.

Majesty Rose: Idina Menzel/Adele Dazim’s “Let It Go” (Frozen) — Grade: D+ | It pains me to write this because I’ve really adored Majesty all season, but this performance was a tragic case of trying to chop down a regal old elm tree with a Ginsu knife. The gap-toothed beauty has a gentle, bubbly tone and a great grasp on emotional nuance, but she’s not a Broadway belter with the power and range to tackle an animated princess ballad — especially not when she’s vacantly skipping around the stage and running out of air in the process. The judges all began their critiques as though they were about to eviscerate Majesty, then reversed course and said things like “superb” and “mostly good” and other words of encouragement. Still, their “What. Just. Happened.” expressions told the tale of a front-runner who’d just face-planted — and who could’ve used a harsh sting of criticism so she  can learn from it, regroup, and never tackle a power ballad (at least not without a radical rearrangement) ever again. (Side note: My use of the always-sharp Ginsu in the preceding analogy was not meant as a bitchy commentary on half of Majesty’s notes tonight, but in hindsight, it certainly could’ve been.)

Caleb Johnson: Adele’s “Skyfall” (Skyfall) — Grade: A- | Can we get a slow clap for Caleb, a guy who entered Top 11 week near the front of the pack and, instead of playing it safe and trying to hold his position, took one of the season’s biggest risks and put more distance between himself and his rivals in the process? I mean, for starters, it’s not every day you hear a male singer tackling Adele on a reality singing competition — let alone a guy with major classic-rock inclinations. The genius thing is, though, Adele’s James Bond theme has all the inherent drama and scale that a voice like Caleb’s needs to shine. He showed such wicked precision and enviable restraint on the verse that, as a result, the chorus became all the more spine-tingling. Granted, time limitations meant the song never quite got the chance to ramp up as fully as it ought to, but that pause before the line “We will stand tall” — and the ferocity of his sweet ad-lib — may have given him a fast-forward pass ’til Top 9 or Top 8 week at minimum.

M.K. Nobilette: Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love” (Hope Floats) — Grade: B | M.K.’s rendition was like a wildflower on the side of the highway: Delicate, pretty, a little ragged in spots and, while not exactly one-of-a-kind, certainly enjoyable in its own quiet way. I’m still not sure why M.K. traveled forward toward the judges’ table and appeared to be directly delivering her lyrics to Harry, J.Lo and Keith — on screen, the choice just seemed…perculiar? — and she still needs to try harder to not allow dead spaces to creep into the midst of her phrasing, but she’s setting herself up for an improvement arc. And what Idoloonie doesn’t love an improvement arc?

Alex Preston: Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová’s “Falling Slowly” (Once) — Grade: B+ | OK, so we’re four weeks in to the voting rounds, and Alex has now performed three songs either done incessantly (“I Don’t Want to Be”) or completely epically (“Volcano,” “Falling Slowly”) by prior Idol standouts. If I didn’t know better, I’d think the guy might be a glutton for unflattering comparisons. Still, while Alex’s take on the Oscar-winning anthem didn’t pack the oomph or the dynamic rise and fall of Kris Allen raising his hopeful voice back in Season 8, it did contain enough intriguing melodic and rhythmic twists that it couldn’t be dismissed as karaoke. Keith was right, the guy has a “raw fragility” to his voice that really captures the attention. And while he’ll need other colors and moods if he’s serious about taking a confetti shower on the Idol stage two and a half months from now, “Falling Slowly” was the perfect palate-cleanser after last week’s reggae-tinged misfire.

Jena Irene: Paramore’s “Decode” (Twilight) — Grade: A | I remember an old perfume ad from the ’70s with a tagline: “If you want to get someone’s attention…whisper.” But if you want to blow someone’s damn mind — or at least mine — you whisper, and then your roar, and then you bang on the piano, and you pretty much create an entire weather front right there on the Idol stage (stormy, with a chance of flailing!) because you’re adding huge portions anguish and ferocity to a bubbling cauldron of musical emotions. OK, yeah, I just wrote one of my most ridiculous sentences in 10 years of recapping Idol for a living. But Jena was simply that exquisite — easily sliding to the top of her range at a full banshee howl and not looking the slightest bit stressed, I might add — on a song that seemed to personify exactly the kind of artist she could be in the real world. I can’t even apologize for my effusiveness.

Malaya Watson: Jennifer Hudson’s “I Am Changing” (Dreamgirls) — Grade: B+ | Keeping it really real*, Malaya is no Jennifer Hudson — not at the age of 16, anyhow — and the judges interestingly couched their praise with comments about how great she’ll be in a few years’ time. Unfortunately, those very same judges are the ones who put Malaya in the Season 13 Top 20, and so we’ve got to rate her on what she’s doing now — not on what she might do in the future. The good news for Malaya, however, is that — despite Keith’s very fair assessment that she needs to find “places to rein it in” in a song — she showcased pretty accurate pitch and a heckuva lot of passion on Dreamgirls‘ ballad of self-discovery and self-awareness. And even when she went for the jugular — and then put the jugular through a meat grinder — her voice didn’t get tight and screechy in the way it’s done previously. The kid seems to be developing a better handle on her own instrument — on its capabilites and limitations — and combined with her big, goofy stage presence, that should at minimum make her a lock for the Idol Season 13 tour. (*That Randy-ism was used mockingly, I promise.)

Should Be Bottom 3: Sam, Ben, Dexter (Dexter going home) (And, yes, I realize this is at odds with my overall grades, but prior weeks ought to count for something, yes?)
Will Be Bottom 3: Sam, Ben, Jessica (Ben going home)

What did you think of the Top 12? Who were your faves? Who’s in trouble? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments! And for all my reality TV-related news, interviews and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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

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  1. Flicker says:

    My thoughts on tonight:

    1) Loved that the guys ditched the ball caps and dressed up for the occasion. Extra points for Caleb’s trimmed beard (finally). Loved the general visual transformation of the contestants and the “transformative” feel of the night.
    2) Loved Jena, Majesty, and Caleb (my top 3 this week). Appreciated that MK stepped it up.
    3) Did not like anyone even attempting to do Benny and the Jets. That song belongs to only two people: Elton and Haley. Please never attempt that song again if your name is not Elton or Haley.
    4) REALLY disliked Seacrest hanging out by the contestants right up to the last second before their songs started. It totally took the mood away. Even they seemed weirded out by it.
    5) And last but not least – J. Lo (and everyone else for that matter): please do not compare MK to KD just because they’re both gay. It is wrong on so many levels, I’m not even going to discuss it.
    6) Ps. Nice shot by Harry’s “in it to win it” comment. It looks like even the producers have reduced Randy to bizarre puppet moments.

    • Ben says:

      The KD comparison made me uncomfortable too, although I’m not going to jump to the conclusion that JLo made the comparison solely because MK is gay.

      • I had to hit the mute button as soon as she said KD Lang. I know that KD Lang has a very smooth kind of voice, and so does MK, but there has to be at least 1 other person that isn’t also gay that JLo could have chosen. I think JLo took the easy comparison and ran with it, while making me very uncomfortable. I don’t know, it was a really odd statement.

        • Yo says:

          JLo is not what one would call an original thinker. My biggest problem with her comment was that she seemed to assume the KD was either dead or no longer singing, as she insisted on speaking of her in the past tense. There were vocal similarities in style and smoothness, but…KD Lang could teach them all a few things.

      • Flicker says:

        a wise teacher once told me to watch what makes me feel uncomfortable, intuitively, without thinking, the first feeling you get. and ask yourself why. it was an eye opener for me.

        • Ben says:

          All I’m saying is – something that should not be said can be said either with or without intent, and I don’t judge which it was. I’m uncomfortable because it was a mistake to say it, either way.

      • The KD Lang comparison bugged me too. MK doesn’t even come close to the power and emotion of KD’s melodic singing.

      • srq2000 says:

        I might be wrong but the KD Lang comparison may have been because, it was KD Lang’s version of the Bob Dylan song from the Movie Hope Floats that they were comparing her to.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Up-vote! This was so much better than last week.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Totally agree on 3 and 4. And I you are dead right about #5 – it was a major faux pas for Ms. Lo. I am really glad MK stepped it up though, Majesty’s performance was tragic though…. I think she might be in trouble tomorrow night.

      • OhMy says:

        Make sort of stepped it. Better yes, but she still has trouble hitting her notes and keeping a proper tone. There were worse tonight though.

        • OhMy says:

          (Sorry iPad typing — I meant — MK sort of stepped it up)

        • Kersh Kurt says:

          It’s not so much her tone or her intonation. What’s killing her right now is her mannerism. She’s trying to sing a love song, made recently famous by Adele and it sounds beautiful vocally but her body movements reflect that of some dude doing a hip hop number. Basically what she sounds doesn’t match how she acts. She is pretty and sings like a girl but acts like a dude and that’s confusing the crap out of America.

          • Whitney says:

            I wouldn’t take it into the territory of America’s Gender Confusion because I don’t think it’s even that complicated. I think her MAJOR problem is that, as pretty as the sound she makes might be, I have yet to see her connect in the least. The pages of Idol history are littered with very lovely, talented people who never looked like they cared. And when a contestant radiates indifference, America feels indifferent in return.

    • The Beach says:

      +1000 on your #5. Besides both having short, spikey hair and being lesbian there is not really any comparison. MK is sweetly talented but kd lang is a monumantal talent from whom we don’t hear enough these days.

      • Davey says:

        KD Lang is on Broadway right now in After Midnight.

      • Right there with you on KD: she has the smoothest, richest voice I think I’ve ever heard. Could listen to her ALL DAY LONG. I can’t remember her doing any kind of vocal acrobatics other than that gorgeous vibrato. Sadly, I can’t for the life of me get what anyone (particularly the judges) hear in MK. I want to like her — love her song choices, really like her style choices, but her voice is SO outclassed in this competition. Of course, for that matter, I don’t think at least half this year’s Top 13 would have even appeared in any other years finalists group (except possibly Season 9).

        • LeahKittyS says:

          I’ll tell you what I hear in M.K. I hear myself. I am an alto, and I can pull off the songs she’s been singing in the competition. For as long as I’ve been watching the show, I’ve gravitated towards contestants who remind me of myself in terms of musical style. I never go for big ballad divas (although Jessica Sanchez was young and cute so I liked her); I always go for the folky, indie-types, especially women, who play guitar or have lower ranges. It was watching Jason Castro and Brooke White in Season 7 that inspired me to take up guitar. That’s why I had no problem with all the coffeehouse people in Season 9.

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            agree on season 9 Leah, the problem was , other than Crystal, that got rid of all the indie coffeehouse singers too early. But I’m with you, those are the type of singers I look for on Idol as well.

          • karenb says:

            Ahh thanks for the S7 flashback Leah. Loved both Brooke and Jason.

          • Thardy says:

            I really like MK’s voice too. I love the tone of her voice and her style. She’s also a beautiful girl. And she has a coolness about her. like when she embellished the song with some of her own flavor. I didn’t get Harry’s comment about losing 75 percent of the runs, what runs? He is obsessed with discouraging runs he even got on JLo’s nerves with it. I’m glad he is getting feed back about the bland middle of the road singers they chose. no runs, no embellishment, no fun, just barely entertaining. He must hate Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBell Luther Vandross and so on.

          • “For as long as I’ve been watching the show, I’ve gravitated towards contestants who remind me of myself in terms of musical style.”
            …and that would be her style choices and song choices, which I said I liked. I just don’t think her voice is strong enough to be in this competition. It’s not an unpleasant voice. But I hear better voices than hers all the time. I have trouble believing that she’s in the top 13 voices out of the tens of thousands that auditioned this year.

          • Yo says:

            I liked the coffeehouse people also. And I liked the coffeehouse people on The Voice last year, which I still think are an incredibly talented bunch who I want to hear from. And in the long gone olden days, I sang the same songs, too. MK has a good tone, but I am not sure she knows how to use it: there are many singer songwriters who would have trouble with a competition like this but are/were excellent performers and writers. Maybe if MK wrote her own music? Pitting a coffee house type against a diva is an apples and oranges competition, but so far MK has not been consistent, or even moderately good. Possibly a different environment.

        • tewence says:

          the last sentence of your comment is golden. right on the money. i agree that mk has a lovely voice and makes good choices. overall i am uninspired by this group of singers. feels more like a talent show this season. (i think alex is great and has a ton of potential, jena needs a little guidance but could end up having a cool niche, and majesty is a pure delight when she’s in her zone)

        • Anna says:

          I agree that MK has a “pretty” voice and is nice to listen to, but is that enough for American Idol? No. In a perfect AI world, Idols need to be able to sell out stadiums and give a hell of a performance, which MK cannot do. Her performances are so awkward to watch. I was definitely distracted by her gangster rap hand motions last night. About ten minutes before she performed, I told my husband I just knew she was going to sing To Make You Feel My Love, only to have it confirmed by Ryan a little later. It’s exactly the type of song she would sing, but it does nothing to show off her vocal skill. On top of that, she just seems ungrateful and misplaced – pretty much what Harry alluded to last week when he said she looks like she doesn’t want to be there. I’m just counting down weeks till she’s voted off and find it frustrating that others who were far better didn’t get in.

    • Mytake says:

      K.D. Lang > MK

      Asinine comparison by JLo. They aren’t even on the same planet.

      Also Michael, C for Ben???!! That wasn’t just a hot mess that was an blazing inferno at a landfill.

      • bobsaccamanna says:

        LOL blazing inferno at a landfill, perfect description. Plus, why play the piano if you can’t really play it, that didn’t help either.

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          As if his vocals weren’t bad enough, the very first chord in a piano-heavy song was flubbed. That was atrocious from start to finish. A grade of C is most generous. That was up there with Lazaro’s Karen Carpenter song where he didn’t modulate with the key change. However, Majesty gave Ben a run for his money for the distinction of worst performance ever in Idol history.

          • BenM says:

            Ben really was nowhere near as bad as Majesty tonight. A shame he flubbed his first piano note – but have we forgotten when Brooke White had to start her entire song again? To suggest that one ‘can’t really play the piano’ because he flubbed a note – dude, I have a DEGREE in performance piano and I wouldn’t be able to play the piano as well as Ben did on that stage while trying to perform a song in front the whole of the country. That’s just a mistake, not an inability to play the piano. Yes, he should avoid the falsetto.

            Personally, I like what he did to the song from an arrangement perspective (a stripped back version). I think if he hadn’t been in a suit (Michael may like it, but I think it was a significant chunk of why it came across as inauthentic), and had left out the falsetto, the performance would have been decent.

            And if anyone thinks Majesty’s performance was anywhere near the worst in idol history (or indeed, even anywhere near the one where Lazaro flubbed his key change) they have either an extremely bad memory or a lack of intention to be objective. Does no-one remember every performance Paige Miles ever did? Or the dude Bobby who did Copacabana? John Stevens doing Crocodile Rock (when it comes to falsetto, no-one could criticise Ben next to this)? Camile Velasco doing Goodbye Yellow Brick Road? There have been many complete and utter train wrecks on American Idol. Majesty added one to the list, but certainly it wasn’t the worst.

            Honestly, people are over-criticising this season by such a significant margin, its ridiculous. That night was a great night, Majesty excluded.

          • MAB says:

            Totally agree with you. So tired of the over criticism. To say this is the worse in Idol history is just wrong. I totally enjoyed the night and thought there was some outsatanding performances.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Oh snap, BenM! You tell ’em!
            I just didn’t care for Ben’s rendition of “Bennie”. But I enjoyed reading your comments.
            The worst performance in Idol history remains, for me, that Haeley chick that played the guitar and sang “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. It’s been about three seasons or so ago. She didn’t make it into the Top 10, thank goodness.

          • Shel says:

            @BenM – Great post. I do feel like there is some over-criticism going on this year. OTOH, what do you think about Harry insisting – as a group – that they are the best group ever?

            Thanks for clearly explaining why Ben’s bum note was just a bum note. I swear, people really do need to try to remember what a totally alien world they are all inhabiting right now. And, sue me, but it sounded a bit like a “messy” chord that Elton John does sometimes – add a little discordance? (If I am saying what I think I’m saying. lol)

            I think Ben looked completely uncomfortable in that suit. His hair was too controlled. Michael might think the stylists have been off the job, but I think that they are trying too hard to change some of these young people. Ben needed something — but not that.

            I also agree that the night, overall, was great. Most of them really stepped it up.

            Disappointment: No one, not even Harry, gave Majesty honest criticism. Seriously, I came away from their reviews wondering if there was something wrong with my TV. It did look like Harry was getting ready to let it fly, but then he didn’t. I wonder why. Did he suddenly remember how young she is? Or that she said the song was written for her? It is a puzzlement.

            I just hope that Harry stays true to how he sees being a judge. I disagreed with him last week that he had no time to give them any good feedback. (Toss in a dang opening phrase compliment, then get to the critique. Not really that hard….or dishonest.) But, overall, I agreed with him that he has a limited amount of time to try to re-direct, or teach each singer something.

          • Name That Tune says:

            @Shel. Majesty is 22, which puts her at the same age as Caleb, who is nearly 23 and Jessica. This isn’t about sparing her feelings. They have decided to tone down the criticism. So we lied to Majesty, which isn’t going to help her. She has now had 2 straight weeks of making poor decisions in her song choices. Another week of that and she’s going home.

          • Ben says:

            @shel – I understand where Harry is coming from. I think this group has the potential to be the best group; the most interesting, the most diverse. I just think they aren’t nailing it. To me, it hasn’t come across as though Harry is trying to suggest it has been the best season, just that there is no reason why these kids shouldn’t be able to make it one of the best, given the talent they have seen from each of them at times.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Dude, if you have a degree in performance piano and couldn’t play better than what Ben did on that song, you need to sue whatever institution you went to get your degree because that was horrendous piano playing. And before you ask, yes, I do play the piano so I know what I’m talking about.

          • ben says:

            @Angie – it simply wasn’t horrendous, and to say it was is disingenuous. Maybe I’m overselling my point, but the point is I’m not immune to the odd bung note, and its not because I ‘can’t really play the piano’. People get away with ‘playing’ the guitar on idol all the time without a blink. If you sit down and play like Ben did on that stage, you CAN play.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            @Ben – I respectfully disagree. Even without the bum note, it was horrendous playing. He got the notes mostly correct, but just getting the notes correct is not playing. Playing correct notes is not music. At my alma mater conservatory, even the non-piano majors would fail the basic keyboard skills classes if they played like that. And didn’t you hear Connick gently slam his playing as well?
            But I do agree with your critique of people’s guitar skills on the show. It’s kind of embarrassing to listen to what some of them are doing. I’ve been saying that for years, and finally Chris Daughtry called out CJ and Jessica for feebly faking their way through (mostly) correct chord strumming, and he was 100% correct in doing so.

    • Bartleby says:

      Did you hear Majesty sing tonight? She was atrocious. And I have nothing against her, she’s actually been one of my favorites through the first few weeks.

      • Amie says:

        Yup. That was bizarre. She’s one of my favorites. And she was TERRIBLE.

        • Ty says:

          I listened to the song and it was a terrible song choice, even if she did it with more power, that song is a dud.

          • Stormy says:

            She reminded me of a little kid whose parents make them get up and sing for company. No style, no energy, no star power, just a shy little parrot doing as they’re told.

      • Erin says:

        Yes, a hot mess. And although she is one of my favorites, I hated that none of the judges (Harry!) gave her a strong dose of the harsh truth that so many others have gotten. She floated off that stage grinning like a winner. Keith said she “can sing anything” (except Let it Go from Frozen).

        • BenM says:

          Given all three judges said it, I can only assume that in the studio some of the major issues with the performance (like where she was so quiet she was inaudible) weren’t an issue when she was standing right next to the judges. It doesn’t desperately explain how they missed the fact that she was frequently out of tune when she tried to leap about (this has been her biggest weakness all season – she needs to pick songs that don’t leap about).

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            This is certainly not the first time the judges heard something much better than what we heard at home. Overall, though, the judging has been great this season.

        • HMG3084 says:

          I think Keith knew she wasn’t going to sound good at home and even made that comment that home viewers might not hear what they heard.

          • Shel says:

            I agree. I actually think Keith said that to introduce the idea (to Majesty) that this wasn’t the performance of a lifetime. He also noted what a really tough song it is to sing, which it is. Someone absolutely should have been clearer that they had just listened to what was the worst performance of the night. They want America to vote smart……then they drop the ball on the one bad critique they really should have given.

          • Huntyr says:

            Except they don’t want America to vote smart, necessarily. They want people to vote in a manner that the producers believe will most help ratings.

        • billnyc says:

          Agreed! I love Majesty but that song just did not work…and…

          I was hugely disappointed that the judges didn’t give accurate feedback, esp Harry. The producers definitely had their hand in reigning in the “too honest” critiques from last week. Did you notice a repeated go-to line by Harry and Keith was “you’re on you’re way”? Def a talking point from the producers.

          This is a disservice to the artist, the listener and the arc of the show which should be a-chance-of-a-lifetiime to down-and-out-take-the-punches to rise-to-the-occassoin-and-win.

          • Mary says:

            I think it might be because of last week. When they criticized her last week she looked like a lost puppy. I mention it before she might have a breakdown on stage. Personally I think she has got loads of talent but too young. I agree she needs to be critiqued honestly. I believe there is a way to do that without harshness.

      • justsaying says:

        It was a HORRIBLE choice. You don’t sing a song because you like it, little girl. You sing it because it’s good for your voice! She shouldve left singing that song to singing in the shower. And my thought is that they didn’t criticize her about it because they really don’t want her in the bottom three. i had to call my mom to make sure i wasn’t crazy cause i couldn’t understand the lack of criticism!\

      • Leticia Prado says:

        Majesty knows she did a bad job. Take a look at her face when the performance ends. That is why she was happy with the feedback.
        Personally, I think it is unfair not to mention how all over her singing was, I guess they did it just to make sure she will be on the tour, but I don’t think she will be bottom 3. She has a nice fanbase.

    • Danny says:

      @Flicker- Yea, I got a hoot out of those “in it to win it” quips too. Randy’s getting paid $10 mil, so they have to make sure he contributes in some fashion. I also agree w/ #3.

    • bobsaccamanna says:

      I couldn’t agree more Flicker. This practice of Ryan hanging around with the singers until they are ready to sing is disconcerting to the audience and I’m sure to the singers as well. And I cringed along with you when J Lo did the KD Lang comparison for MK. Are you kidding me, the only thing they have in common is that they are both gay, vocally they are worlds apart, you are exactly right it was wrong on so many levels. The worse performance of the night was easily Ben but the whole night was filled with encore songs that were done so much better in previous seasons starting right off the bat with Sam’s lightweight cover of Come Together, done so much better in season 9 by Crystal. Haley and Bennie and the Jets , nothing needs to be said, and I’m sorry but Alex took a beautiful song like Falling Slowly and completely changed the melody, he has now had two bad weeks in a row.
      Ok so all that being said, I do agree it was a slightly better week than last week, and for me Jena stole the show, it was the only performance that really made me sit up and pay attention, I think she has real star quality. I know Caleb can really sing but I can’t seem to warm up to him, I just don’t see anything special about him, but admittedly he does have a good voice.

      • Davey says:

        Alex barely changed the melody of Falling Slowly, says someone who saw the movie 3 times and has seen the stage show 7 times, and has seen the composer of the song perform 3 times live. And none of his changes were hurting the song.

        • bobsaccamanna says:

          he changed it completely, go back and listen, he sang the chorus the same, but not the body of the song.
          I have seen the movie, the stage play, and Glen Hansard in concert, I know the song forward and backward, he completely changed the melody. And sorry but I disagree, the changes did hurt the song

        • Steph says:

          Wow, so which one of you is right about Alex and the melody? Alex is my favorite.

          • Ben says:

            Well, I’m not familiar with the song at all and don’t remember Kris Allen singing it (some of his performances have stuck with me – not that one). And I enjoyed Alex’s performance – perhaps it only affects enjoyment if you have a particular like of the song.

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            I like Alex too Steph, but, Falling Slowly is a great song , won the Oscar for best song in a motion picture some years back which was quite an accomplishment for an Indie film that wasn’t seen by all that many people. It’s a beautiful melody, it would be kind of like Jessica taking a song like Sound of Silence and playing with that melody. She sang it in her own voice but she didn’t change the melody, the parts of the chorus where Alex stuck to the song were actually pretty nice.

        • Yo says:

          I thought he did a very creditable job on the song. I liked the few changes I noticed, but I thought overall, he stuck to the original closely.

        • Anna says:

          Alex changing the melody of the song is exactly why I didn’t like it. His vocal seemed fine enough but the intro was terrible and didn’t fit the song at all. It got better as it went but he definitely changed it up.

        • Whiskey says:

          He actually changed the melody a lot (in the verse, not in the chorus), but I honestly liked his changes. He made it his own, without sacrificing the overall emotional impact of the song. And his final high note (he’d been taking the lower part on the rest of the harmonies) was lovely, and well executed. Overall, I think he was FAR better than the other performers.

      • LibbyxD says:

        I didn’t appreciate Alex’s Falling Slowly either. I really liked him in the beginning but he’s not appealing to me any more.

    • Angela says:

      Yeah, I cringed a bit at the kd lang comparison, too.

    • J. May says:

      I think the KD comparison is totally appropriate both in terms of MK’s style and sound. It has nothing at all to do with the fact that they are both gay, imo. Would you be offended if I compared Adam Lambert to Freddy Mercury?

      • bobsaccamanna says:

        It’s totally inappropriate given the fact that their vocal styles are completely different, her style and sound is nothing at all like KD Lang. And no I wouldn’t be offended with and Adam Lambert Freddy Mercury comparison because they have similar vocal styles. Your giving J Lo too much credit, it was a cringe worthy moment.

      • Mytake says:

        Clearly you have never heard KD Lang sing to write such a thing.


        • J. May says:

          I love KD lang and I’m just saying that MK’s laid back style reminded me at once of KD. I can hear MK now singing Constant Craving. There’s no need for anyone to invoke the gay subtext critique. If J. Lo. had compared her to someone just as good, but not gay, would that have been more appropriate for you? Also, I know that Adam is touring with Queen. That should be a helluva show.

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            Well then we will have to disagree, I think MK is an ok singer but in no way shape or form does she remind me of KD. And she does not have anywhere near the control or vocal power to sing Constant Craving. What would have been appropriate was for J Lo to compare her to someone who has a similar singing style, gay or otherwise, but KD Lang is not that person, at least in my mind she isn’t.

          • AndyP says:

            If you actually heard MK singing Constant Craving or Crying I suspect you would change your mind. I suppose there are lots of artists that you could compare MK to, but KD Lang is not one of them, not even close.

      • Flicker says:

        i’m in total agreement with bobsccamanna. i’m a big fan of the adam – freddy comparisons (i do hope you do realize adam is touring with queen in the summer). adam was also compared to elvis and many other great singers whom he evoked at the time he was on idol. but kd and mk, cmon.

      • Kersh Kurt says:

        Disagree. That KD Lang comparison was an inappropriate stereotype. MK’s style tonight reminded me more of a young Annie Lennox but her voice is something unique. Some say bland but to paraphrase Harry, “interestingly” bland. Her tone I feel is more similar to Julia Fordham with a folksy twist. In fact, I think she has the range to do Julia’s Happy Ever After if she’s up to the challenge. It’s definitely in her wheelhouse of songs by activists.

        • bobsaccamanna says:

          The very first time I heard MK sing, Annie Lennox came to mind for me too,and I love Annie. Unfortunately for MK despite getting up there in the judges faces she still looks like a deer in the headlights on stage and not comfortable at all. I would like her to stick around though because if she does learn to relax, I think we could see a really great performance from her. But, Annie Lennox would have been a much closer comparison in singing styles than KD, and if I’m not mistaken, Annie is gay as well. But of course that would have requirered J LO to have put some thought into her words before speaking. She makes Randy seem deep.

          • Peter Turner says:

            Annie Lennox may be a gay icon and she definitely supports all LGBTQ causes and is outspoken about children with AIDS but I don’t think she is gay. She’s been married 3 times, has 2 daughter’s, a son and sadly a miscarriage from one of the relationships. In fact she just married a gynecologist in sept 2012.

          • Kersh Kurt says:

            Yeah, neither Annie Lennox nor Julia Fordham is gay as far as I know. I do agree that Annie Lennox’s songbook would suit MK if there ever was an 80’s week. I can picture her tearing the competition with a soulful emotional version of Lennox’s “Why”.

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            Thanks guys I wasn’t sure about Annie, not that it matters, her voice is amazing, and I do hear a little bit of Annie in MK’s voice, but, unfortunately, none of the stage presence.

        • Peter Turner says:

          I can kinda see the calming smooth voicing akin to Julia Fordham but I would think she’d be able to do Annie Lennox’s songs better with her low register. What’s lacking is her sense of expression. She’s not able to sell that she’s singing passionately enough. The only vibe I get watching her is the sense of fear and panic as her eyes darts around the crowd. As she sang that Adele cover, she should have just focused on ONE person in the audience and imagine it’s her girlfriend that she’s singing it to. If she can nail that down, she’ll be in this competition for quite a while.

    • Yes yes yes says:

      GUYS, ARE YOU OKAY WITH A SIMON COWELL WEEK? LIKE A TOP 6 OR 7 WEEK WHEREIN THEY GO INTO A WORKSHOP WITH SIMON COWELL or have him a co mentor? (I know i know, but at least he’s funny – most of the times, unlike Randy).

      Btw, do you have any idea/rumors of possible mentors for any idol week? Like the oens we had before. Ive grown sick and tired of Randy-freaking-get-out-of-my-television-cause-youre-like-an-unwanted-post-sex-porn-Jackson).

      • Danny says:

        @Yes- I think the other judges wouldn’t want Simon back, especially JLo. He’d take over her spotlight. I didn’t care for the guy while he was on the show, or his other one. I think he’d be a good addition for a week though. I just don’t think the judges (Lopez & Jr) would allow it. Keith would.

        Huge LOL at your rant on Randy. He’s gotten the biggest free ride since Christian Laitner (college basketball player on 92 Dream Team that had Magic, Bird, Jordan, etc and won the gold medal in a landslide)

        • Yes yes yes says:

          yep, was referring to 1 idol week wherein he’s the mentor. i thinks its plausible since xfactor got cancelled, and ratings-wise i think its a smart idea… but i think JLO wouldnt want it lol

          and lol too on laettner hahaha big mj & lal fan here and go #lakers haha :(

      • Temperance says:

        Simon has no talent or coaching ability. HIs normal gig is to find people that are already great and put a spit polish on them so he can steal the cash.

        • Shel says:

          I would hate to see Simon back, in any way. The show has moved past him, I do not think it would be a comfortable fit. (For that matter, I wouldn’t want to see Paula back either.)

    • BurntWater says:

      I don’t want to be “that” guy on on the comment boards… but her name is k.d. lang (all lowercase)

    • Aubry says:

      Michael I usually agree with you but I disagree about your B3. wish Ben would go home but that is doubtful. My B3 Malaya, Ben and MK with Malaya going home.

    • Meme says:

      Caleb, Jena and CJ at the top! Majesty, Ben, and Dexter at the bottom this week, with I hope Majesty going home. I agree with you so whole-heartedly about the comparison of MK to KD. MK is sweet but her voice will never be anywhere close to that magnificent instrument that KD has. There should be no other basis for comparison. I also agree with you about Benny & the Jets … no one else should attempt that song on Idol … ever!

  2. james says:

    Um…. Jena? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN HIDING THAT? That was amazing! She should always stick to the piano and do these darker and interesting tunes. My #1 favorite of the night! GO JENA!

    • I just don’t want her to turn into Angie Miller. They pigenholed that girl with that piano last year. Everytime Angie tried to get back up the judges made her sit back down. I think Jena is great at the piano, but I think if she can pull off being able to move around as well then that will help her. The piano can giveth, but can also taketh away.

      • Ben says:

        Spot on.

      • The Beach says:

        This is definitely a concern since her two best performances by far have been at the piano/keyboard. It seems to ground her. She needs to get that same grounding from the mike stand.

        • Mary says:

          I actually enjoyed her performance last week, but having said that I do think she shines behind the piano. Song choice is going to be key for her.

      • tewence says:

        agree! though jena’s song choices have been a little questionable the last few weeks…perhaps the delivery was off more than the choices, but she finally hit her stride.
        i wonder if the judges were stuck on angie being at the piano based on that one performance in hollywood…it doesn’t seem like jena (until last night) had a magical moment at the piano, so the judges haven’t had their perception altered to thinking that she should stay there. it will be interesting to see what happens in the coming weeks with the jena/piano sitch.

      • BrazenSongBird says:

        Such a smart comment!

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Jena I have been waiting for that!! A++++

      • Danny says:

        I’m glad others saw it too. I was thinking I was maybe being biased. Jena’s kicking some tail. She’s been really good 2 or 3 times now. Last week maybe a drop, but overall I think she’s been solid, and tonight flat out fantastic.

      • The Beach says:

        She and Caleb definitely won the night IMHO.

    • Mark says:

      Last night Jena was the clear winner. It was the first performance of hers so far that I enjoyed. She slayed it. I would give Caleb second place. His vocal was superb, but I wish that he had changed up the arrangement a little–like adding a sizzling guitar line in the background in place of the strings. Not too much, just enough to give the arrangement some balls. CJ and Jessica would be battling it out for third on my ballot. For CJ it was a nice rebound, and for Jessica it was another week of getting close but not quite killing it. Her problem is that she keeps doing songs she’s done hundreds of times, and as a result there is nothing fresh about her delivery. That said, I loved it anyway.

      I have to give some credit to MK. For weeks I have been hammering her, for everything from her meek singing, her song choices, and her styling. Last night she stepped it up. She cleaned up her appearance, sang a nice vocal, and proved she belongs. Unfortunately, I still think she’s bound for the bottom three and will probably be going home. It’s almost impossible to pull out of the type of tailspin she’s gone through in the previous two weeks. At least if she goes, she’ll go out on a high note rather than her last two abysmal performances.

      The only performances that were total failures for me were Ben and Sam. Both were guilty of the same sin–lazy vocals that sucked the life out of two of my favorite songs. I expected better of these two. I don’t care about any previous performances of “Come Together” or “Benny and the Jets”, or who performed them. Those were just two lame-ass versions that will unfortunately live on in perpetuity on the internet.

      • MamaLis says:

        Unfortunately is right!

        I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about Ben’s performance. It was SO Lounge-Singer-Awful-Weird, that I felt even his wife was kind of chuckling. There’s something very 65-year old man inside of Ben that I continue to see with each performance. I can’t quite describe it, but if you’ve ever seen one of the elders sing at church or something, that’s what he reminds me of. And the way he was prancing around the stage with the weird, slow phrasing… EWWW. It was TERRIBLE!!!

        And to continue with my annoyance… I thought Dexter TOTALLY phoned it in. When the Judges affirmed his performance, I thought they completely gave him a Free Pass for the night!!

        When I watched him, I felt like I was watching his LAST song, in his LAST set, at the end of the day, in some Music Fest somewhere in Alabama (or wherever he’s from). It was like, “And here’s a little Ditty everyone knows and loves: Blah!”

        But ultimately I completely concur with Michael. Ben should absolutely go home.

    • Meme says:

      Jena was a breath of fresh air!

  3. Danny says:

    This was a much improved show. It had diversity, for the most part pretty good singing, and a positive vibe to the whole thing. A few of them had their best weeks. A few others stayed solid. Sometimes it takes a week or 2 for a season to settle in.
    Anyone still down on the show this week? If so, it might be time to watch something else. I thought they were all at the very least solid and a few exceptional ones.

    One little thing against it is I do wish the judges were in their seats to begin the show. It’s a small thing, but that takes a minute or 2 for them to walk out. That’s time that could be given to the singers. They need to sing longer than a minute and a half. As there’s less contestants they need to sing longer. Today would have been great if each song was an extra 10-15 seconds.

    The Voice lets their contestants sing up to 3 minutes sometimes. At least last year they did. That gives those people more time to develop their songs. Please Idol, let these kids sing longer. I did enjoy the skits though. Those were often hilarious. Alex might have a second career as an imitator.
    As for the show, Sam was decent enough. He got the show off to a nice start.

    Jessica!! WOW!!! I (for now) respectfully disagree with the judges on that one. I loved it. It’s been a few years since I’ve liked a performance that much. Any faults in the song weren’t her fault. I’ve wondered before if she was gonna get the bee’s itch treatment this year. I’m thinking now that’s just what’s happening. If the judges keep panning her, I’m not gonna like it. For now I’ll view it as a respectful disagreement. I thought she was outstanding.

    I really enjoyed CJ too. Glad he’s back. So three people into this we’re off to a pretty good show. I like the song choices of everyone so far. He was just as good as Jessica, if not better.

    Dexter did add his own lil “Roll Tide” to Sweet Home Alabama. They apparently missed that. No, not the best version I’ve ever heard of the song, but still I’m liking the show so far.

    Ben(ny and the Jets)- Not bad, but short of what Haley did a few years ago. Keith hit one thing spot on. Change it up, then when they do the judges pan on em. Make up your minds.

    Majesty- I’ve never heard that song before. I thought she was ok, but this has been a pretty good night so far, so not sure where she’ll place.

    Caleb- Another really good job by him. So far every live show he’s been my #1. He did well this week too, but he was middle of the pack today. Not quite as good as CJ and Jessica, but still pretty dang good.

    MK- By far the best she’s done. I’m thinking she’s lost her fan base though, so I have doubts to will it be enough.

    Alex- Another great choice. Understated. He’s just got a real good feel to him.

    Jena- WOW! I loved this one too. I almost feel biased w/ her and Malaya, but both of them I thought kicked some serious tail. I’m not saying that just because she’s from this area.

    Malaya- Her singing is finally catching up to her personality. I was wondering why they gave her the pimp spot before she sang. Afterwards, I felt she deserved it. Like MK, I think she may have lost her fan base. If she leaves, she can at least say she left on an excellent performance.
    My top 3 are Jessica, CJ, Malaya, Jena, and Alex. Yea I can’t count, but those were the one’s who got an A from me. Caleb would be an A- IMO. Overall this to me was a fantastic show.

    • Ben says:

      Danny you just made a point which I never considered before but I think is completely and utterly on point – in some ways Idol could be limiting its growth by forcing songs into too short a time frame.

      • Danny says:

        @Ben- Yea, let em sing a little longer. There’s a whole slew of places when ya think about it that they could find the time. If ya think about it, the whole Idol performance is I’m guessing 5-6 minutes when ya count judges comments, preamble, Ryan chatting a bit w/ em. So when ya lose a contestant, if they’d give that time and split it up evenly among the others, it would let them grow some more.

        Would anyone know why they don’t let them just do full songs? Except that someone might pick a 10 minute song (they could limit that) I have no clue as to why. Is it in the contracts with the original artists or something? If anyone knows I’d appreciate any info. Thanks in advance.

        • marie says:

          Heck, my guess is simple: they will limit the length of the songs before they’ll lose one penny of advertising revenue from commercial breaks. It’s a basic truth that the primary purpose of any show on commercial television is to sell soap (or cars or pizza or insurance or whatever) and in so doing to also gain ad revenue.

          • Yeah, no way they’d lose advertising time. But there is so much garbage time WITHIN the show that would be better served with more singing. Did we really benefit from hearing the contestants “audition” to be one another? Lose just that bit of “humor” and the contestants get to sing the entire song… and the quality of the show goes way up.

    • Name This Tune says:

      You are generous with your As. Just Caleb and Jena get an A from me. We got some strong B+ performances from CJ Malaya and Alex. The rest were just average.

    • Max says:

      You have never heard Let It Go…

  4. First off Jena killed it tonight and I hope this propels her further because she has one of the most dynamic, exciting voices in the competition. Tonight I feel like I differed with the judges a good bit. I think that Alex, Caleb and Sam just weren’t as good as they said they were. I still love them, and want them here but they just didn’t sing their best. Dexter just sings karaoke every week, he is the best at karaoke but it’s still the standard version at all time. CJ was good, not standing ovation worthy, same with Malaya. Ben could have cost himself. I think Jessica was pretty good, despite the band messing with her. MK is still likely in trouble given her track record.

    • bobsaccamanna says:

      Definitely agree with you about Alex, Sam and Caleb, especially Alex and Caleb. For Alex, there’s nothing wrong in trying to make a song your own, but to completely change the melody to make it almost unrecognizable is not really making it your own, and in the process you’re ruining a beautiful song. Sam is just not capable of singing a Beatles song, and really , is just not ready for this kind of competition, however pleasant his voice might sound. I think Jessica was just way better than the judges gave her credit for, you could immediately tell that the band had screwed up and she held it together pretty good in the face of that. You can take Dexter, Ben and CJ and make them one contestant, and leave some room for someone a little different.

  5. Ben says:

    Is that the first time Adele Dazim has been covered on Idol?

  6. Roger says:

    All of me by John Legend if Majesty makes it through to the Billboard Top 100 “theme” next week.

  7. Jai says:

    I totally agree with you. The lack of a limiting theme has kept the contestants from choosing something challenging and unexpected. Taking a risk can lead to a disaster or something amazing. Without theme weeks – we wouldn’t have had David Cook singing Mariah Carey, Kris Allen singing She Works Hard For the Money, and Adam Lambert singing Ring of Fire.

    • Yes yes yes says:

      Or Sanjaya Malakar’s Bésame Mucho! :p

      • kate'shomesick says:

        which actually was a pretty good performance^^…

      • NJIdoloonie says:

        Remember why it was good?! JLo and her ex Marc Anthony mentored him on that song.

        • kate'shomesick says:

          it was also good because Sanjaya was kind of a good singer and a very musical kid (with good spanish knowledge :D). He just picked the worst songs and obviously the producers took advantage of him (he was a kid back then) and made him their little “provocative clown”…so the public turned against him completely (minus crying madly in love girls). It really was a shame.

    • Jenny says:

      I agree that not having limiting themes isn’t forcing the contestants to step out of their comfort zone. Grant it some of the themes were old and over used, but these themes have been too broad. Caleb was those closest to stepping out of the box. Never would have thought of him singing Adele. But the contestants have to think about the songs and not just choose something because you can hit that high note. Contestants like David, Kris and Adam would take songs and connect with them. They were able to sell the message. Too much over the last couple of seasons I have been seeing people smiling while performing a song about a break up.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Yup, I can’t believe I miss the themes, but I do. What bugs me more is when a contestant says they have sung a song a millions times – and then, proceeds to bomb. That is my way of saying I want my Jessica back. These last 2 weeks have just been weird of her in a bad way.

    • deedee says:

      Completely agree. The wide open themes are pointless. Aside from the interesting performance opportunities the old theme weeks used to provide, they also forced contestants to learn new songs from scratch within the Idol time frame. Much more challenging than picking songs from your repertoire that can fit any one of the loose “themes” this year. I mean, if you’re going to have songs from the movies, make it limited to songs made famous by a movie, or songs nominated for Oscars. Bennie and the Jets is a movie song? Come on now.

      • Ben says:

        Agree deedee. Actually, my favourite themes have often been picking an artist with a decent sized song book, and getting them to pick songs. I’m not saying I need another Elton John night, or another Barry Manilow night, or another Bon Jovi night, or another Bee Gees night… however, I enjoyed all of these the first time they happened. I’m sure they could find plenty of artists who have been rarely, or never, covered on idol but who have great song books that could be brought out for an evening.

        • Stormy says:

          So, new theme nights are called for. Disney songs, Rat Pack, Folk Songs, Jazz, R&B, Broadway songs [that never made it to the movies], patriotic songs, and if all else fails gregorian chants. LOL

      • The Beach says:

        Excellent point about requiring them to get out of their wheelhouse and (hopefully) master an unfamiliar song in just a few days.

      • Shel says:

        deedee – that is exactly what I was thinking last night, starting with Jessica’s performance. When she said (again) that she does this song all the time, I felt a little let down. I do think having to learn a new song helps them to grow, and keeps them all on an even footing too.

        I wonder if the producers have them so busy doing other things that they don’t have time to spend learning songs (or they think they don’t)? I also think if someone, like Jessica, has done a song a million times, is she open to hearing any constructive criticism about it or her performance?

        Jessica has not looked like herself in weeks. It may be a small thing for some people, but I miss her dramatic eye make-up. She is looking a bit too prettified – like they want to change her, but let her keep her pink stripe thinking that’s enough to bring out her edginess. I found her striking during Vegas week. Now she is just another (very) pretty girl.

        • Mary says:

          I think Keith nailed it last night with Jessica. She looks terrified on that stage and the band is not helping her. Her voice is gorgeous and I hope she stays in it awhile, but she needs to loosen up and realize she is on stage not in a bar singing.

          • AndyP says:

            Oh, I don’t think she looks terrified at all, but she does have a vacant look in her eyes at times during her songs and I suspect that comes from singing in a rowdy bar over a lot of noise and no one really paying attention to her.

            I thought she did a great job on the song.

          • NJIdoloonie says:

            Remember Cree had the same problem.

        • MamaLis says:

          I caught that too, @ Shel: “again” Jessica chose a song that she’s sung 500 times before. I don’t think she should tell us that; I know I feel let down as soon as I hear it. I think CJ and Ben have also done songs they’ve included in their set list 100 times before.

          Also, I don’t think the contestants are any busier than they’ve ever been in Idol history! In fact, I have a “theme” week: Songs you’ve never done before!!!!

          Let’s try THAT on for size!

    • Tess says:

      People only started complaining about theme weeks because after a while it seemed like Nigel couldn’t come up with new ones and we were just seeing the same stuff year after year and then The Voice came along without theme weeks and suddenly people were like “why do they have to have theme weeks at all? Just let them sing what they want to” but I think we’re seeing why overly broad themes equate to almost not having a theme and why that doesn’t always work – it doesn’t force them to be creative or do something they aren’t used to doing a hundred times over to the point where they could be well proficient in singing the song but the song has sucked all the life out of them when they do it. The Voice might not have themes but someone else is still picking songs for the contestants so it’s not always something in their comfort zone. Often the best performances on Idol come from those that take a theme week and the limited song list and pick something out of their wheelhouse and surprise us. So maybe more limiting theme weeks aren’t as bad as we were thinking they were…?

      • Mary says:

        I am not sure it is because the theme are to broad, I really think only a few knows how to change up a song. They are all young and probably don’t have a clue who they are as an artist. We got spoiled with David, Kris, Adam and a few others that could be an interesting twist to a old song.

        • Mark says:

          Bingo! I don’t think anyone ever advocated doing away with themes entirely. The complaint was that the themes they were using were stale, tired, mildewy, and a little rancid. Most of them had no relevance to today’s market. And it was too much to expect some of these fledgling artists to conceive new and amazing arrangements for these tired old songs. A few contestants in past years had that talent, and most of them made it to the finals. But I haven’t seen any evidence yet that anyone in this group is skilled at arranging compositions. If they are, then Randy is stifling them. If these kids are forced to do the same old songs we’ve heard over and over and over ad nauseam, be prepared for the show to resume it’s downhill slide into oblivion. It can get worse, and it will.
          That being said, I wouldn’t mind if the themes were tightened up just a little, and if the contestants were dissuaded from doing songs that they have already performed a million times. A rote performance not as bad as a colossal failure, but it’s still not great TV.

  8. Idina Menzel/Adele Dazim’s “Let It Go” (Frozen) = I’m just dead with this.

  9. Elena says:

    For me, CJ, Alex (who should be at least an A-), Jena, and Caleb were the best. Alex’s version of Falling Slowly was different enough from Kris Allen’s for me to appreciate it as a separate being. His voice is absolutely gorgeous and he did a beautiful song like that justice. Jena did very well too, and I’m glad she decided to go back to the piano. I feel like her comfort level is better behind the keys and that allows her voice to shine. Much better show tonight overall.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Jena should crazy glue herself to that piano. That seems to be when her magic happens. Loved her tonight.

    • deedee says:

      I know that Alex is a good musician and all that, but I simply can’t connect to him. There a cold remoteness about his whole presence and it keeps me at arm’s length. His oddball clothing choices don’t help either because I don’t find them endearingly quirky. I just find them unappealing.

      • ThatBob says:

        Alex’s whiny voice is like fingernails on a blackboard to me. I would rather listen to a dental drill.

      • Mary says:

        Thank you I have to agree. Something about his voice just doesn’t pull me in and his attire doesn’t help. I try to listen with my eyes close and still cannot get a connection.

  10. Owen says:

    Who thought it a good idea for Majesty to sing that song? My god. And then they gave her positive feedback???? Yes, it was a better show…still…I am wondering if the powers that be talked to Harry and the other judges about cooling their harshness, and maybe upping the standing ovation quotient. Not to favor any specific contestant as in the Nigel years, but Americans are lemmings. If TV, movie and recording stars tell them the contestants are bad, they’ll believe it and that’s a good reason to stop watching. Idol is a TV show. Ratings matter. These producers owe it to their network to produce a successful show. These judges are paid a lot of money fueled by revenue generated by high ratings. Hell, we who love the show are allowed to watch it because the show is successful in its ratings.

  11. Name This Tune says:

    3 performances stood out. Caleb Jena Malaya. I am still not sold on Malaya, but she has earned most improved. And I am worried about Majesty. Girlfriend deserves a trip to the bottom 3 and a ticket home.

    • Danny says:

      I have a Malaya bias, I’ll fess that up. She’s from this area so I’m rooting for the local girls. In the past I’ve liked her mostly because she was local. I kinda knew she was outclassed here. Most young singers are when competing against those in their 20s. This week though, I felt she did a standout job.

      • Ben says:

        Malaya’s runaway baby was a mess. Her other three performances have been raw, but in my view all of them have actually been pretty good, regardless of weaknesses. She was probably my favourite last week (in an admittedly average show). Malaya seems to have a lot of people who are determined that she is not as good as she actually is – but in a show like Idol, this can be a blessing long term.

      • deedee says:

        I adore Malaya with all her imperfections. She’s a bit of a floppy puppy right now, but with some growing up, she can focus her talent and end up being quite good. Not everyone enjoys her sort-of-muffled tone, but I happen to think it’s interesting and unique.

      • Owen says:

        I just love this girl though. Sometimes she can’t control her talent (control is obviously very important), and sometimes her talent alludes her. But as a person, she just makes me happy.

        • Danny says:

          @Owen- Well stated. I love her enthusiasm. I don’t think she’s the best singer, but as a person she’s just so easy to root for. It almost takes ya back to when life was all fun and not a care in the world.

      • Mary says:

        I wish I saw what everyone else sees in her, but I can’t. Her personality is great but her singing is not there. I cringed every time she starts to sing. Improved yes I guess but still has a long way to go.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Totally agree. Malaya has improved, but her belt-y turns into screeching awfully fast. Also, for me that song was way outside of her emotional wheelhouse. That is a grown Woman’s (with a capital W) song – if you know what I mean? But she’s heading in the right direction, I think. I had to re-watch Majesty – b/c I was a little shocked at how bad it was… Bottom 3? Wouldn’t surprise me.

      • Name That Tune says:

        At the heart of it, that’s the problem. The kinder, wiser thing would have been to tell Malaya to try again in 2 or 3 years when she has had a chance to grow into her voice. But here we are. I just hope this doesn’t turn into some wierd Lazaro twist.

  12. kiteplayer3 says:

    Yea, I was about to give up the show until they pulled their big guns and hold unto us. It might not be the best night for all the episodes on idol but probably the biggest night in this season. I don’t understand people associating idol in ordinary singing competitions where contestants need to bring out their lungs to give high notes and satisfy the audience, we need artistry that can survive the business. Nonetheless, I am keeping my fingers crossed that the show can maintain this level.

  13. Michele says:

    I can’t watch anymore. I’ve been a huge Idol fan since the start. The talent is in bearable and untalented and unattractive. Love the judges but if they did the choosing they didn’t know what they were doing. Bye Idol, for now.

  14. omar says:

    jena is the haley reinhart of this season… i believe she will go far, and deliver some amazing performances

    • Danny says:

      @Omar- I think it could be Jessica in that she seems to be getting treated less than great by the judges. It’s not as vicious or quite as obvious as it was towards Haley, but there’s that undercurrent that she can’t do anything right.

      • Mytake says:

        I have to completely agree with you. I’ve been saying to myself that for some reason the judges have been harsher critics of Jessica than is warranted by performances alone. When she’s “good” (maybe not great) she gets worse criticism than someone else that was clearly terrible. It’s like they dislike her for some reason other than her singing and that colors their judgement. Haley went through the exact same thing and it torpedoed her chances unfortunately.

        • Ben says:

          If Haley had been praised to the skies every week, I just about guarantee you she went out earlier. There was never any way she had any shot of winning that season – thats not on Haley, its simply demographics. The over-criticism seemed to raise her profile and actually help her last longer.

          • Danny says:

            You’re probably right. Her profile got raised in my eyes because I saw she was getting boned with the judges. There were some great performances to go with it though. Back then I watched the show with people and rarely came to these types of blogs. For the most part, even people who weren’t rooting for her figured she was the best, at least among the people I knew.

            It was like this little blonde chick kept overtaking our personal favorite. It never occurred to us that Scott was going to win the thing going away. I didn’t realize the power of the country vote back then. Scott was a shoo- in to take it down.

      • Teeny Bikini says:

        Seriously, Danny? Jessica has been sharp two weeks in a row. If you say you play gigs non-stop *and* you say you’ve sung a song million times [exaggeration :)] then people [and by that, I mean me – ’cause I am all the people] expect you nail, karate chop, and kick the crap out of said song. If anything, the judges are being nice. I find this judging panel to very fair….

        • Danny says:

          @Teeny- overall I do think they’re fair. Except w/ Jessica. She’s not my fav this season, though she’s one of them. Last week I replayed it and I didn’t think she was that bad. I didn’t think she was sharp all the time. I’m not saying I thought she was great, but not brutal either.

          Then this week the band messed up on her. I thought she handled it pretty well.
          I do agree w/ your take on she should probably quit saying she’s done this one before. I’m not as riled about their treatment of Jess as I am back when Haley was getting doused w/ kerosene. 1) It’s not nearly as bad and 2) Jess isn’t doing as well as Haley did. I’ve just started to sense they’ve picked her out. I could be wrong, we’ll see how the season plays out.
          So far this year I’ve thought 2 out of her 4 live performances (tonight and two weeks ago) have been real good. Last week and top 30 week she was decent. So she’s up and down.

          It’s not just what they’re saying, but the tone. I can’t put a finger on it. It just seems like she’s the designated one to be singled out. For what it’s worth, I’d have her in about 4th overall. So I’m not saying I think she should win. Just that I’m not getting good vibes on how they’re treating her. Maybe she’s bringing some of that on herself. I noticed in the skits she was the one who didn’t get the funny comments. I dunno. It’s just a vibe I have.

          If I’m wrong, it wouldn’t be the first time. I guess I’ll find out in the weeks to come.

          • Teeny Bikini says:

            @Danny. We must disagree every week. It’s fun… :) I don’t know what’s going on with Jessica, but if she could just get back to her “Crow and Butterfly” performance level and stay there – I’d be super happy.

        • Ben says:

          I agree Teeny. I like Jess, and I like her style, and I like her voice. I also understand why she has a strong fan base. But she is not completely nailing these performances. She is having issues with both pitch and with presence. I think the criticisms are fair.

        • Thardy says:

          Agreed teeny. For someone who says the have so much experience she give a dry emotionless performances. She is dull and disconnected.

      • Tess says:

        Jessica is definitely getting the harshest critiques from the judges and there are definitely others who are worse than her that seem to get free passes by comparison. Not saying everything Jess does is perfect, but like this week she was doing pretty good and then the band totally screwed her song up and she just kept going because what else could she do – I’m glad Harry pointed out that it was the band that messed up because I immediately thought there would be people who would think she messed up when it was definitely the band that was off (makes me wish she just sang and played the whole thing on her own without the band). Two weeks in a row now she’s been in “death spots” in the performance lineup (not sure if that matters as much as it used to since people can vote during the show now) and this week she was given at best a lukewarm response even though the biggest issue with her song was the band. Plus, JLo pulled out the “do you think you can win this?” line to put doubts in the minds of viewers. It would not surprise me if Jessica is in the bottom 3 tomorrow, but it wouldn’t be deserved and if she’s in danger of going home they better use the save because this week’s issue was the band’s fault not her.

        • Yo says:

          What can I say? I liked this week’s performance. She has a very defined style. You either love it or hate it, I think.

        • Mary says:

          I think she needs to get out of her shell. I love her voice but she looks vacant sometimes on that stage. I don’t know if it is stage freight or what Keith mention last night. She has to get out of the bar mentality and perform like she is on stage. I want her to go far, love her voice, but she needs to find a way to step it up. JLo is right she has to believe she can win and show the audience that is what she wants.

      • Simon says:

        Noooo!!! Even comparing the two is sacrilege! Haley was my favorite from her audition. Jessica’s voice is really wobbly and nasal. I can’t stand it. The only exception was 2 weeks ago when she was surprisingly pretty good. That’s my opinion. But Jessica and Haley are also completely different stylistically. It’s apples and oranges.

    • analythinker says:

      I’m not ready to compare the two. Haley was more consistent three weeks in, at least for me.

      • Danny says:

        @Anal- Oh, I think Haley’s a lot better singer. Haley’s my #1 all time Idol. Jessica might be top 40 or somewhere in that range. I didn’t mean it in terms of how good each of them were. I meant it more as in I see similarities in how they’re getting treated.

        • analythinker says:

          Um, I agree with you on your Jessica-Haley comparison, I did not agree with Owen on his (?) Jena-Haley one :D

          (Btw, I think I should really change my name, at first I thought a portmanteau of analytical and thinker was brilliant… until someone called me Anal, LOL).

          • Danny says:

            @ A N A L L Y- This is actually my 2nd reply to this. I think I messed up w/ an emoticon or something. The gist of the first one if it shows up here somewhere else was “DOH!!! I was hoping you wouldn’t catch that. I guess it’s pretty hard not to eh?” I at least get to grin again at your comment. That was pretty funny. You obviously didn’t have anything up your backside when ya came up with that reply.

          • Danny says:

            Uggh- I truly meant that title in a respectful way. I spaced the words to imply that it was me who was slow and didn’t catch on. It came out just as bad as my first post to ya. I think I’m gonna quit while I’m “behind” here. Sorry about that. Can I just call ya “A”

          • Ben says:

            Danny – better ‘A’ than ‘anally’.

          • analythinker says:

            I can’t reply to you, Danny, but LMAO, you just made it worse! Haha, it’s okay, part of the consequences :D

            Yeah, Ben, I think “A” is better.

            The one thing about Haley is that the better her performance was, the more absurd the critique. I just didn’t get it about these competition shows, they throw someone under the bus for favor of the one they want, but what’s the point? Aren’t singing competitions with contestants who can SANG is what WE all want? Give us the best singer (and performer) of the bunch as a winner and we’ll be happy, no?

      • Ben says:

        In that season, I felt Haley’s first three weeks were quite weak, and was astonished she hadn’t gone home. It was only after that I felt she took off.

        • Danny says:

          @Ben- I didn’t really even notice Haley until Blue, whatever week that was. I vaguely recall a conversation in maybe top 13, top 12 week. I had thought she sang w/ Paul in the Vegas rounds and someone telling me “no, she sang w/ Jacob.”
          I was for James, Julie Zorilla (if ya remember her) and Pia at top 24. Pia sang great that week and I was like “oh yea!!!!” Then as the weeks went on, I remember thinking “c’mon Pia get it together. You’re letting that blonde girl whip your butt!!”
          Then Benny and the Jets sealed it for me. Then the slop treatment, and the train took off. I remember when Jennifer had her BS “I don’t wanna ‘nother girl to go home” comment, at that time I still didn’t have Haley on top. I had James. Haley passed him even though James kept doing pretty well.

          • Ben says:

            I think Benny and the Jets was her third week, and it was the week after that in which I began to like Haley. I never liked her Benny and the Jets, in fact its a song which I simply don’t think suits the idol format at all. It was the exact opposite of Emily Piriz singing Oh La La for me – an incredibly sexy performance from Haley, but in a song that didn’t warrant it. I know I’m in the minority there, but it is possibly still for me my least favourite Haley performance (and Blue was the week before that, and I did like it (still play the studio on my ipod), but felt that it was technically deficient. She really pulled it together later).

          • LeahKittyS says:

            It was Haley’s fourth live performance, fifth if you count the semifinals. Semifinals was “Fallin’,” Top 13 was “Blue,” Top 12 was “I’m Your Baby Tonight,” Top 11 was “You Really Got a Hold On Me,” and then the Top 11 Redux (after Casey was saved) was “Bennie and the Jets.”

        • Gerry says:

          She had me at Fallin’

      • Teeny Bikini says:

        This. Exactly. +10000

    • GG says:

      I was a huge fan of Haley during her season. However Jena’s voice is profound…geez what a talent. Jena’s voice kind of reminds me of Byork. Is that how you spell the name of the singer who wore the Swan out fit to the Oscars or the Grammys

      • Leticia Prado says:

        With a J – Bjork.
        But we gotcha.

        • GG says:

          Thanks Leticia

          I later looked up the spelling of Bjork on the net but I failed to type a correction …my bad. Jena’s voice reminds me of Bjork’s belting melodies Regarding Haley, I did in fact purchase her CD. Her rendention of Benny And The Jets was superb so enough with the Haley insults. Laticia, the Haley comment was not directed at you but at those who do not respect that this foremat also discusses Idol facts from the past

    • Mark says:

      And the Cult of Haley returns! I’ve got news for you people. Haley didn’t win season 10, and she isn’t going to win this season, either. Move on. It’s a whole new season.

      • LG says:

        Thank you! I wonder if all of these people who comment that they love Haley actually bought her CD. Yes, she was great on the show. Didn’t buy her CD as the songs were not great.

  15. Forwardad says:

    Agree with most grades felt CJ should be A-. No way does Dexter go home.

  16. kate'shomesick says:

    Sam B chilled in a good way (no forced „performing“), GOOD vocal, weirdly heard a little Elvis in there
    Jessica B- great song, little low on energy, better vocally, reacted very professional, the band get’s an F
    CJ D- he has no idea what what he’s doing musically or vocally, artistic intention?
    Dexter C love that song but it seemed so calculated, pretty good karaoke version
    Ben B no cap, obv. producers want him gone, he really is such a good singer/musician, there’s nothing „to figure out“ he’s an entertainer (could he be a „recording artist“?…if that means he has to be Rihanna- NO!)
    Majesty D NO technique, like NONE, who let her sing that?, verse flat and breathy, chorus sharp and throaty…ugh
    Caleb A- perfect song choice, could have looked up more, really nothing big to critique here
    MK C- musical and everything, just not enough technical prowess
    Alex A songs been a little overdone since Kris did it (really well)but…Alex captured the essence perfectly, so musical
    Jena B+ good song choice, get the „piano effect“ but really ~5 chords?, dynamics really choppy as well
    Malaya C+ here is why:dangerously forced belt.I’m a singer=can’t listen to that kind of shiz, my throat hurts.Other than that: real potential so…

    should be bottom 3: Majesty, MK, CJ (CJ going home)
    will be bottom 3: Ben, MK, Majesty (Ben going home- idol producers I’m coming for you)

    • Yes yes yes says:

      nooooo. this is the best cj has performed…

      • kate'shomesick says:

        yeah…it’s still not good enough…I think gave him an F for everything else so. From a musicians standpoint he’s just doing what he thinks is good/working but I bet you he couldn’t explain the choices properly

      • Teeny Bikini says:

        This was CJ’s very best. 100 % agree.

        • kate'shomesick says:

          I’m not saying it wasn’t. I don’t know if really should get into dissecting what he does (vocally and musically) on a board like this. I would if there was interest but I don’t want to impose too much…and frankly I don’t know if the general public cares…so I tried to explain what I think of his work as short and as frank as possible

          • Teeny Bikini says:

            @kate’shomesick. I actually like your explanations. A lot. I just have a soft spot for CJ – it has nothing to do with logic. I just thought for *him and only for him* – that was better than what he usually does. If that makes any sense? I am grading on a curve, m’kay? ;)

          • Ben says:

            I completely agree with you that Ben is consistently the best of the three country artists – yet he seems to be given short shrift by the judges. Is it because they feel he is coasting and should try harder?

          • Adam Fachry says:

            Well, you should. Because, your explanation why you don’t like CJ comes off more like a biased hate than an insightful critique.

          • kate'shomesick says:

            Ok…I already posted this further down…but am gonna post it again. Here’s what I think: I’m sure he is a lovely person but he doesn’t belong on this show. He isn’t a good instrumentalist, he has NO vocal technique, his musicality/musical understanding is limited to what he feels is right…The result is flat dynamics, phrasing that sometimes doesn’t make sense, singing using his vestibular folds (yes I had to look that up- I’m german), almost no tilting of the thyroid cartilage…(all signs of bad technique)and so on. I’d actually love to take a look at those vocal chords. I’m pretty sure they’re not in good condition. Maybe the general public thinks that doesn’t matter….(“it’s american idol and not the voice/the musician)”- I think it does. It SHOULD! I trained my entire life to be a good singer, versatile, a good dancer/performer, a good musician, a good pianist…and I still work hard every day to make sure that I can do my best with what’s given to me (musically…). So this is how I judge. I’m sure that he could improve but that would take years of training and understanding that obviously doesn’t come natural (or intuitive for him). Again: I’m not saying that he shouldn’t sing and play guitar. There’r talent, sure but he should do it for fun…I’m sorry but I had to get this off my chest.

        • kate'shomesick says:

          @Teeny Bikini: thanks again…I know exactly what you’re saying and it’s totally okay :D. He is very likeable..I tend to get too critical from time to time. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to music…

    • The Beach says:

      I so agree with so much of your critique. Wish Ben had picked a better (for him) song. He is probably second only to Alex in musicianship and besides, I think he witty and fun. A poster last week, can’t remember who, said that in picking a song don’t just pick one because you like it. Pick on that shows off your voice at its best.

    • Temperance says:

      Nah, CJ did an A- job – you just don’t have a clue about blues. Sam was a totally misfire – E for deeply bizarre choice. Ben was a D – OK karaoke. Jena took the night, with Alex and CJ right behind.

  17. analythinker says:

    Caleb is the most consistent, Sam is getting overshadowed by Alex (in terms of artistry and creativity)…

    • The Orginal Lemon says:

      Sam is turning out to be all hat no cattle. Alex is just extremely talented.

      • Trouty Mouth says:

        Sam’s suffering from a sad case of Andrew Garcia syndrome.

        • analythinker says:

          Oh, I hope he does not! Although I agree with whoever posted quite some time ago that his original songs sound the same… I still like him though. He just needs challenging -while still suitable to his voice- songs.

  18. Yes yes yes says:


    • Flicker says:

      what are your predictions for bottom 3? ben, jessica and malaya?

      • Yes yes yes says:

        As much as Sam deserves to be in the bottom 3, he wont be there (and i dont want him eliminated as well but i want him to feel being there)…
        Should be bottom 3: Ben, Dexter, Sam.. (Yes, Majesty was prolly the worst tonight, but she has performed well the past few weeks and judges really loved her – well we all do).
        Will be bottom 3: (1) MK (Sadly Yes, I think she has lost some fans)
        (2) Ben…. and (3) Jessica? (Hopefully Dexter’s here too as I want him to go, but country votes will prolly move him up this week and the next).

    • Mark says:

      Here’s the thing: AI is not a talent show, it is a TV show. The best don’t always win, and the worst don’t always go home when they should. You have to look at who’s doing the voting, and the prior voting patterns. These are more important factors than the performances. My prediction: MK, CJ and Malaya will be the bottom three. MK and CJ don’t deserve it this week, but I don’t think they have strong enough support.

  19. Michele says:


  20. Pete says:

    Well producer manipulation has returned. A horrendous version of Let It Go by Majesty and they praise her for it?! The powers that be obviously want Ben gone. The judges have torn him apart for the past two weeks for solid performances. Overall, the show was better this week, but still havent felt JLo’s “goosies” for any of the performers. And what was with the “in it to win it” dig toward Randy by Harry. Harry is coming across more arrogant each week.

    • Davey says:

      I don’t understand why the want Ben gone. He actually cleaned up well last night. But I got through easily voting by phone for him so maybe he will be gone.

    • Name That Tune says:

      Yea, I got the distinct impression that TPTB decided to go back to the old ways and lie about substandard performances. But at least they aren’t breaking out the endless Standing O’s.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      “Well producer manipulation has returned.” I kinda felt the same way – when they didn’t give it to Majesty straight. I mean that was awful. If they’re gonna talk about Jessica’s sharp notes before and after commercial breaks – then they should also nail Majesty when she does not hit *any* of the high notes that her song is known for. As for Ben, I think this week the “critiques” were justified….

    • Owen says:

      Yes, the producer manipulation has returned, but as I explained above, I think for a different reason. I don’t think the producers have a “chosen” one like Nigel did. I think they just want the judges to be less harsh (especially to favorites such as Majesty), because if the contestants are bad (as deemed by America’s Star AI Judges) that means people can stop turning into the show cause its a waste of time when there’s a sitcom on another channel, thus leading to the ratings lag the show is in the middle of. Again, if they are manipulating, its not to favor a contestant–its to keep the show on the air!

      • Name This Tune says:

        Owen my friend, it’s already a waste of time. I saw every performance on Daily Motion before AI had finished airing in my time zone In a third of the time. Was done casting my votes by 7 pm. Because the Idol app lets me vote as soon as the voting opens on the East Coast.

  21. Bartleby says:

    I’m sorry that you have a weird allegiance to Majesty, but if she had the worst performance of the night (which she probably did), then she belongs in the Bottom 3 (which she does).

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      … and she certainly does.

    • Ben says:

      I disagree on the principle. I think if someone is clearly the best (or one of the best) singers every week and has an off week, that shouldn’t mean they automatically should be in the bottom 3 that week. Whether or not Majesty is that singer, probably no-one is so good this season that they should be immune from a bottom 3 appearance.

      • Mary says:

        But she had an off week last week. Don’t get me wrong I think she is talented but in all fairness if you base it on performances she should be in the bottom three. Maybe not going home but she should be there.

  22. MAB says:

    I really enjoyed tonight and feel it was a great improvement over the past week. I voted for several contestants tonight. I liked Jena, Alex, Caleb the best but did not feel anyone was awful. It was a good show and I feel I got Idol back.

  23. dre says:

    JENA DESTROYED THAT SONG (in the best way possible). can’t believe she didn’t get pimp spot. Just Amazing. My new fave. (Still miss Emily though)

  24. I was so disappointed with Majesty it got to the point I was actually angry. Has anyone heard the Sam Tsui piano mashup of Let It Go/Let Her Go on youtube? It’s amazing. I thought she was going to do it like that but make it acoustic, because her head voice and falsetto are so beautiful and airy. If she had, it would have really been a moment. Instead, she decided to be insane by lowering the key and belting it like Idina Menzel. What in God’s name was she thinking??? What were her mentors thinking? How did literally no one show her the acoustic cover and urge her to do it even though it has over 5 million views? So incredibly disappointed, she turned her Idol moment into a trainwreck, blew her opportunity, and lost my faith in her completely.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Ugh… Majesty has totally forgotten what we/the judges liked about her. An acoustic version would have been Perfect. She needed to separate herself from the Idina Menzel, if only for that fact, that Idina can blow and blow hard. And Majesty is just not that kind of singer – who she was before was just fine, great in fact. I hope she gets another chance.

    • Georgina Sparks says:

      Sam Tsui, like most YouTube “stars”, is technically proficient but is incredibly dull vocally. Majesty shouldn’t be taking vocal cues from him of all people.

      • kate'shomesick says:

        He actually isn’t very good technically. There are lots of pretty dangerous things he does vocally…

      • “Dull” vocally? What does that even mean? Lol. I think his upper range sounds lovely and more importantly, he’s really creative when he does mashups.

        And if she is a better singer than him than she’d be able to do a slowed down version like his more justice than him. At this point she would have been better taking song arrangement advise from Sanjaya, because I can’t imagine it being worse than what actually happened on stage.

  25. What the Deb? says:

    This may be the first time that I agree with Michael’s top 3. I absolutely loved what Jena did with ‘Decode’! You know how there are some people, that when they go into their upper register, you get butterflies thinking if they are going to make the note? When Jena goes up, I trust her. It allows me to stay in the moment of the mood she sets.
    Caleb gave such an incredible performance, he totally brought me back to the David Cook era. It was restrained where it needed to be, and flew up and out to the stratosphere. I mean that on the best way!
    Majesty…poor Majesty. That song was the absolute wrong song for her range and abilities. She’s not a belter, she’s more of a finesse-ER. If she had some something that was a little more subtle, I would have enjoyed it. When they try to hit notes completely out of their range, it is painful to listen to the struggle. That is where having the right mentor matters, to tell them the truth!

    • OhMy says:

      “That song was the absolute wrong song for her range and abilities.” That song is the absolute wrong song for every human being in the world (to sing or hear).

    • Ben says:

      Yeah. She isn’t Whitney, shes Corinne Bailey Rae. Tightrope was perfect for her. Fix You’s first half was perfect for her. She needs to stop trying to be a belter, because she already has a zone and its a good one.

    • Alexislucy says:

      Funny, I was hearing a lot of David Cook in Caleb’s Skyfall performance. He has a great, smoothe and powerful voice-showed great restraint when he needed to. For him I think he can kill it with song choices that make him more current and individual. If I recall it took Cook a few weeks to begin to get recognized and really break out.

  26. Vivi says:

    Jena does nothing for me. Her performance of “Decode” was mostly screaming and warbling noises. In fact, all of her performances have been meh.

    Majesty choked big time. But I can’t really use the word ‘choke’ because in her mind she thought she killed it.

    My favs of the night were CJ, Alex, and Caleb. In that order.

  27. donie says:

    “Sam, please explain the lyric, ‘He shoot coca-cola’.”

  28. LeahKittyS says:

    Man, what a relief! Now some of these performances are real keepers. I know Majesty was off tonight, but I love her and I love Frozen and she’s shown us how awesome she can be, so I want her on tour. No one was really bad enough for me to demand their immediate exit. You know what I really want to happen? A repeat of the Casey Save in Season 10. Someone notable gets voted off who doesn’t really deserve it, the judges use the Save, and then all 11 of them get to go on tour! Can we make that happen? Please?

  29. Brille says:

    I thought it was a snooze-fest, except for Caleb, CJ and Jena. But 3/11 is not very good.

  30. Owen says:

    I still think Slezak has blinders (earmuffs?) on when it comes to Jessica. Yes, the band was behind but only for the first two bars. Then she continued to sing (and look) like someone who had never sung this song before, didn’t know the melody, was scared of the melody, her tone was reedy and her vibrato obnoxious (thought the last two are subjective to taste). This despite (or because of) the fact she has been singing this song in her act for years. His continuing to back this singer is reminiscent of his mind boggling Carly Smithson devotion, though at least Carly could sing.

    • Flicker says:

      she has great potential, and there are flashes of it when i think she could win it all. but she isn’t emotionally connecting to the song, to the audience. there is something about her, i think if she opened up and showed vulnerability, she’d be a lock for top 3

      • Jaszy says:

        Definitely. And I want that sooooo bad for Jessica. She’s just so frustrating. I really wish she would open up more. I think she has the potential to win this thing. I REALLY do believe she could win. It’s just that sometimes she gets in her way. It doesn’t help her that the band messes up either and that the judges are slick going Haley Reinhart on her. Ughhh! I know she’s capable of blowing people away and giving us goosies. This performance was good. You can tell she has an amazing voice. I feel it’s time for her to belt something out like Jena did or like what Majesty tried to do but failed. Jessica has the range to do it. I love her so much. I really hope she’s not in the bottom 3. I voted for her 300 times. She’s great!

        • billnyc says:

          Agree! For some reason she feels rigid. But I think Keith gave good advice (I am paraphrasing from vague memory) that this isn’t a smokey bar that she has to touch the microphone and “scream” and stay center (figuratively or literally) for people to hear her. She can use the “air” and space of the theater to open up to the song. I feel she’s a paper thickness away from breaking out. Let go to the song Jessica!

    • Ben says:

      I definitely feel like Jess is looking more comfortable each week. But you are completely right, that she still did not look completely comfortable, and there still seem to be a lot of people with blinkers on to the fact that her performances seem to be stuck in a low gear because her fear is holding her back.

      I’d love Jess to truly break out, and I think she is capable of it. J Lo asked the right question tonight when she asked Jess if she believed she could win. It’s that conviction which Jess appears to lack.

  31. Davey says:

    Jena was wonderful tonight. I’m sorry Jessica turned Sounds of Silence into a dirge. It wasn’t a good song choice. I wish I could love Caleb’s Skyfall but he didn’t reach all the notes — I wish I hadn’t seen Amber Carrington do the song on The Voice where she absolutely nailed the song. Alex at least did something new with some of the notes of Falling Slowly without hurting the song. Not sold on Malaya and her hand gestures were ridiculous.

    I thought Ben was more interesting than Dexter tonight. At least as a musician he doesn’t have to do country songs all the time. But perhaps he needed a more dramatic song. Don’t hate me, but I gave him a lot of votes because I want him in the top 10. My other votes went to Jena and Alex.

    Some of the other contestants have their fans bases so they didn’t need my votes.

    • JM says:

      I agree about Ben. I hate it when the judges say they don’t know who you are just because you don’t sing the same genre week after week. How boring is that??? And I REALLY hate it when they say someone is not authentic. The judges have NO idea what’s going on in the person’s mind to tell them that. They can say that the performance felt ‘forced’, but to tell someone that they aren’t authentic is just way outta line, IMO.

      • Renee says:

        I didn’t care for Ben’s performance at all, but I did think the criticism – particularly Harry’s – edged towards cruel and a bit of a character insult (about being affected, sounding like he was in a play) rather than helpful feedback. I was glad Keith addressed the seemingly contradictory criticism – ‘who are you as an artist/show us diversity’ and I thought Caleb was a great example of that and wish they’d emphasized that more. And it is an understatement to say I have NOT been a Caleb fan – yes, he can sing but the local bar cover band shtick wore thin for me quickly. Taking ‘Skyfall’ and doing a straight up, no flourishes version while not sounding like karaoke Adele was great – he did a song that wasn’t in his genre and made it his own without breaking the song structure at all. Also a number of these songs have been done to death and by great singers – when you do a mediocre or even unremarkable version of a classic you shouldn’t get much credit for that. A competent easy to sing cover doesn’t deserve kudos at this stage. If Jena is go to be the breakout she needs to get a move on in terms of consistency and I have to say that Majesty has a lot of ground to make up — that Let it Go was almost a Danny Gokey ‘being torn apart by farm machinery’ Dream On moment. While as we know, it’s good not to peak early – these guys look like they may never peak at all lol,

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      It’s easy to be more interesting than Dexter :) It’s hard to hear “Benny and the Jets” and not hear Haley R. That said, Ben’s performance was just completely odd.

  32. The Beach says:

    A little off-topic but…as I was watching the beginning of The Walking Dead last Sunday I was really loving this hauntingly beautiful song playing in the background. When I googled it I found that the names of the song is “Blackbird Song” and is sung by…wait for it…Lee DeWyze. I never thought I’d be typing that but it’s great and is now downloaded. Check it out.

  33. Angela says:

    Agreed, the theme actually weirdly worked tonight overall. There were a few people who clearly did take some lessons from last week and it was nice to see.
    I liked MK and Alex the best tonight, and I’ll agree on bumping Jessica’s grade a little-I felt for her when the backing instruments started to throw the whole thing off. The second hour in general was a LOT better than the first-I can agree with the grades for the latter half of contestants.
    So yay. A little improvement here and there. Here’s hoping that trend continues and we see some of these people blow it out of the water in the coming weeks.

  34. OhMy says:

    Most of these songs were from movies in the same way the words “how are you?” are are from the movies. Yes, you can find them in movies, but they weren’t really written for the film. Sweet Home, Can’t You See, Sound of Silence, Benny and the Jets, Come Together, To Make You Feel My Love?? Of course, some were. Unfortunately those included that treacle from Frozen.

    So why have a theme, if it isn’t really a theme?

    • Brille says:

      They should just change movie theme week to “Songs from Shrek” week LOL – there are 13 songs in Shrek 1, 14 in Shrek 2, 14 in Shrek 3 and another 11 from “Far, Far Away Idol” — that should give them enough choices from a range of genres for songs that were maybe just a little bit represented by one or more notes in a movie. lol

    • Lynn says:

      Agreed. Playing a little fast and loose with the theme. And why Ben was called out on his selection while Dexter was let go, not really sure. CJ, at least had a plausible explanation for his choice.

    • jaded says:

      “Sounds of Silence” was in “The Graduate” and is on the soundtrack. That’s in the movie!

      • OhMy says:

        Uh, yea — all I mentioned were. But the song was a song — a famous song — a hit song — before the move was even thought about.

  35. Teeny Bikini says:

    1) I need Majesty to never to do that again. I love her too, Michael, but how is she not in your bottom 3? I would not be surprised if she were voted out.
    2) Michael, I agree – and I can’t believe I agree – but I miss theme nights. These folks need to be pushed waaaaay out of their comfort zones – not as far as Ben went though [that was painful]. 3)Two weeks of completely sharp performances by Jessica is no bueno. You graded her too high. I want my “old” versions of Jessica and Majesty back pronto.
    3) This show was better than last week, but that’s not saying much. I feel like the producers reeled in Harry’s directness and that is no bueno. The contestants still have miles to go – and they need to be called out when they are not performing up to par.
    Top 2: Jena and Caleb
    Bottom 2: Ben and Majesty (I feel like Majesty is going home…and I don’t like it, but I can’t say it’s wrong either…)

    • bobsaccamanna says:

      I think they definitely put a horse’s head in Harry’s bed, I agree Teeny. The show was a little better than last week based mostly on the great performance by Jena, at least for me anyhow. And Jessica was so much better than the judges gave her credit for.

      • Teeny Bikini says:

        @ bobsaccamanna. “a horse’s head” LOL!!! That’ll do it, I guess.

      • marie says:

        “Horse’s head”! HA! Yes, I agree, it was something like that!

      • The Orginal Lemon says:

        LOL, yes, Randy went after Harry last week, Harry pushed back…..and now Harry is speaking in canned platitudes. Obviously, Randy has loads of influence and power. After all he got 10 mill, and Harry only got 5.

        • billnyc says:

          I KNOW. I was afraid that after last week that the producers were going to reign Harry in this week. And that seemed to be the case. I was really disappointed. If producers think harsh criticism is going to turn viewers away, I think the opposite. Having us watch bad performances and then the judges saying “great” or “you’re on your way [up]” is insulting to me.

          I really felt Harry’s previous week critiques were spot on … I learned something (I don’t know the technicalities of music but I do know when something’s wrong and hearing a good critique helps me understand what I know I don’t like but can’t articulate) and the contestants receive invaluable feedback that counter the “yes, you’re great” people talking in their ear. Not to mentioned Harry always softened the critique to assure the contestant and audience that these were just comments to push them and improve them, that they did have it in them (I MEAN come on that is the best kind of story arc to have, from down-and-out-taking-the-punches to rise-to-the-occassion-and-win! Why would a producer squash that?)

          • Mary says:

            The thing is last week Harry was harsh, to harsh for me. I think it is possible to give negative critiques without being cruel. The best judge and teacher will give the negative with some positive and Harry did not do that last week. I like that he is honest but his delivery needs work. I think Keith tries to give the bad and reinforce it with some positive Harry needs to learn the balance IMO.

    • Danny says:

      @Teeny- I’ve gotta disagree w/ ya on some of this. I thought it was an awesome show. If anything, I felt they were a lil harsh on Jessica. I felt what went wrong in her performance wasn’t her fault. Ya get 90 seconds to show what ya have and the band behind ya messes up? These aren’t seasoned pros. I thought she handled it pretty well.

      Where I agree is I wonder what happened to Majesty. She was ok (I didn’t know her song, so hard to tell) I guess, but what happened to the Majesty that I liked so much earlier? I want that Majesty back.

    • JM says:

      I hear ya, TB. I’m afraid for Majesty as well. In all fairness, that was the worst of the night, and yet, I don’t want her to go…..

      • Teeny Bikini says:

        @JM. I know :( Talk about the worst timing ever… She’s thiiiiis close to the Top 10. Sigh.

        • Trouty Mouth says:

          She won’t go home. She has enough momentum to stay in the competition based on her previous performances.

      • The Beach says:

        There’s no way I can see Majesty leaving. I think her fan base will keep her there even though she bombed. And if, by chance, she were voted out then I guarantee the judges would use the save. I think it will either be Ben or MK, maybe even Jessica. (none of whom would be my choice to go BTW).

        • Ben says:

          Excatly. NOt sure why people are worried about Majesty leaving – there is zero chance that she goes home on this show while the judges have a save up their sleeve.

  36. Kaba says:

    MK’s tone is just lovely. I just need her to finally come into her own, and it looks like she’s on that track now.
    Ben….If Ben or Dexter aren’t in the bottom 3 I will be so amazed by their idiotic fanbases. Ben was abysmal. I mean…when he hit his falsetto I genuinely imagined it being locked away and never heard of ever again.
    Jena was Yes. Just Yes. Caleb was Yes as well. capital Yes
    Malaya actually appears to know how to dig into those old school songs, nice. I liked her vocals
    Dexter…go away already
    CJ. Loved him
    Jess, boring. But get’s brownie points for powering through that obnoxious band flub.
    Sam……first to make me hate “Come Together”
    Alex, good

    • JM says:

      Yes, Dexter should be in the bottom 3. Anyone who can bore me with ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ deserves to go home.
      I disagree about Ben, though. I’d rather watch him entertain me than the bores that were Dexter and Sam.

      • Kaba says:

        Oh no, trust me, I’d sooner prefer to see Dexter go home than Ben for those same reasons. And arguably that applies to Sam and Come Together…how do you make that song soul-less…how?
        Nonetheless, Ben was as embarrassing to watch and Majesty. Ben’s performance literally felt like a school talent show performance, especially with him starting off by playing a limp piano intro.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      I really enjoyed MK’s tone tonight as well. Ben or Dexter could go. I guess I prefer Dexter – just because he is the most generic country singer I’ve seen on this show. But it’s hard to out-awful Ben’s falsetto travesty that seemed to go on and on and on and on…

      • Kaba says:

        I don’t think I’ve heard a falsetto so terrible.
        That was awful

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          Are we including Paula DeAnda in this comp group?

          • Kaba says:

            Oh no, that was bad. But Ben beat out Paula as far as what I heard. It sounded like a joke

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            I just compared the two. Yes, Ben was worse than Paula. Not sure why anyone would go up there if they didn’t know they were going to nail it. It was clear as day Ben had no idea what he was doing in a falsetto, which again is all Randy’s fault. That’s the coach’s responsibility. My coach tells me all the time when something I did sucks. That’s their job!!!

          • Kaba says:

            I’m starting to truly believe that Randy is paid to sit on his ass at the couch during the shows. There were 4 inexcusable performances tonight.
            Sam singing (boringly) Come Together…why?
            Dexter singing that mess and somehow making that boring…why?
            Ben’s performance was 1-800-WHY????
            Majesty….nothing about her performance indicates that it was even strong during rehearsal. Never again Majesty

            I sincerely need them to bring back having various mentors each week because Randy is a poison.

        • Blank Slate says:

          Uh… THE WORST???

          Have you heard Danny Gokey’s falsetto scream killing DREAM ON and any glass repairmen within 100 miles of that …. Noise?

          I rest my case, Your Honor.

          • Mary says:

            A for Effort though.

          • Kaba says:

            And Ben’s is still absolutely terrible, so idk where you were going with this.
            If anything his was still one of the worst. So I’ll stand by what I said, g’day.

      • Ben says:

        MK had a really strong come back performance tonight – it was back to what got her voted through from the semi. I hope its enough to save her.

        Having said that, I’m not sure who should go. I would have pegged Dexter on personal preference, but he will probably survive on the strength of voting. I would have pegged CJ on past performance, but he also had a solid come back night. It all leaves me wondering if MK goes home despite the fact she upped her game.

  37. Ronin says:

    I’m starting to wonder if my TV was broken, or if most of you are tone-def. Majesty’s performance tonight, compared to at least a half-dozen others, was AWFUL. I want to like her so much, but she simply cannot sing power notes. She weaves back and forth, in and out of tune, and it’s glaring. She needs to stick in her “lane,” as Harry told Jessica, and not go all over the musical roadmap. For me, she came off as cartoonish (and not in a good way) and grating.

    Caleb was fantastic–his voice control is amazing, and that is not an easy song to sing. CJ and Jessica were spot-on for who they are vocally. Alex did a good job with “Falling Slowly,” but frankly, they ought to start retiring AI songs like they do major hurricane names. Once a song has been slayed by a Kris or Haley, it ought to be banned forever.

    I love MK’s voice, but her biggest problem to me is her personality. I told my wife she ought to change her name to “Whatever,” because she honestly doesn’t seem like she even likes to sing, much less be on Idol. It’s so weird.

    I think the judges did dial it back a little bit tonight, but frankly, I think that as a whole, the contestants were just better than they were last week. I think the Idol judging panel works best when you have a brutally honest hammer (Harry), an emotional supporter (J-Lo), and then someone who fills the gap in between (Keith). I think they’re still finding their way.

    • Ronin says:

      Edit–I meant to say the judges (regarding my comment on Majesty), not the commenters on here.

      I do wonder if the sound live in the studio is THAT much different from what we hear at home. Them praising her was ridiculous.

      • elizabeth3613431 says:

        It made me wonder if the spiritual advisers told the producers that Majesty was THIS CLOSE to an epic breakdown, which the producers conveyed to the judges.

    • Mark says:

      I love Majesty, but someone needs to make her understand that she is not a power singer. If only she had someone with experience to mentor her, someone with a longstanding relationship to the show, maybe someone who produced Mariah Carey and would know what a power singer sounds like. If only. Maybe that’s too much to ask? Never mind.

  38. Davey says:

    I’m not feeling C.J. His voice does nothing for me.

    • The Beach says:

      I have to agree with you. Tonight is the only time he as sung in tune but still, I could walk into any of the hundreds of honky tonk bars across the country (hmm…not such a bad idea now that I think about it) and hear the same or better.

  39. Annie says:

    Majesty and Malaya are both adorable and quirky, but tonight was just not great for either of them vocally. I want to see more of them on the show because of their energy and personalities, but I don’t know how long they’ll be around. MK was actually pretty great tonight, I thought. Jena and Caleb wowed.

  40. kate'shomesick says:

    So…Since I can’t vote: People, vote for Ben…clearly the producers want him voted off…and I have to say I would hate for them have their way so easily (since Ben clearly shouldn’t be going home)

    • Owen says:

      Then who really SHOULD be going home? Dexter? He’s actually solid. A little boring but very much in that old school country tradition. Majesty? I’m not ready to give up on her NOT WINNING yet, let along go home. MK? Sam? Who would you honestly send home instead of Ben? And I say that as someone who appreciates Ben’s desire to change things up. But he should have KNOWN that falsetto was painful. Then again, no one pointed out that if Majesty wanted to do Let It Go, why not do a smaller acoustic version…

      • kate'shomesick says:

        I did grade everyone ….a couple of comments higher up. I would send home CJ (and MK). I know, I know. This is controversial, since everyone says it’s his best performance to date…yadayada. Here’s what I think: I’m sure he is a lovely person but he doesn’t belong on this show. He isn’t a good instrumentalist, he has NO vocal technique, his musicality/musical understanding is limited to what he feels is right…The result is flat dynamics, phrasing that sometimes doesn’t make sense, singing using his vestibular folds (yes I had to look that up- I’m german), almost no tilting of the thyroid cartilage…(all signs of bad technique)and so on. I’d actually love to take a look at those vocal chords. I’m pretty sure they’re not in good condition. Maybe the general public thinks that doesn’t matter….(“it’s american idol and not the voice/the musician)”- I think it does. It SHOULD! I trained my entire life to be a good singer, versatile, a good dancer/performer, a good musician, a good pianist…and I still work hard every day to make sure that I can do my best with what’s given to me (musically…). So this is how I judge. I’m sure that he could improve but that would take years of training and understanding that obviously doesn’t come natural (or intuitive for him). Again: I’m not saying that he shouldn’t sing and play guitar. There’r talent, sure but he should do it for fun…I’m sorry but I had to get this off my chest.

        • The Beach says:

          So as a music professional, what is you opinion of Jessica’s vibrato because I don’t enjoy it.

          • kate'shomesick says:

            it’s faulty technique. It happens when the balance of backing with the diaphragm/pelvic muscles and the amount of air being let out is off. Also there isn’t enough closing of the vocal chords/folds which can happen when you don’t tilt the thyroid cartilge enough and try to press the air out instead of letting it sit in regions where it can actually resonate (upper nose/cheeks). It’s not very dangerous (it can be if you try to push instead of work out the problem carefully)it just doesn’t sound very pleasant and it corrupts the vocal control, phrasing, intonation…singing a proper coloratura would be almost impossible with that kind of vibrato. I would try to fix that by learning to control different technical aspects your using while singing: first of breathing technique. A natural vibrato happens when the vocal chords are swinging freely and the balance between helping muscles and air used is in tact. If the vocal placement is good you can hear more overtones which makes the vibrato richer and more pleasant (it also makes the voice sound rounder and more voluminous)- you could find that listening to a good opera singer like Diana Damrau…A good singer also has a pretty big amount of control over his vibrato. Opera singers that don’t have usually worn out their voice by singing too much and/or difficult repertoire with unsteady or wrong technique. Hope I kind of explained it – kind of- this isn’t my native language so…. Jessicas technique overall isn’t too bad though. There are lots of things she does right. I don’t know if she had any training and if so how much and what kind of training it was so…

          • N0S4AT2 says:

            Jessica’s vibrato reminds me of a goat or a lamb being slaughtered!

        • Mike Hollingworth says:

          Hi Kate………do you live on Vancouver Island?

    • Mary says:

      Can’t help you out, performance was not good. Actually, I do not care for him or Dexter so either can go.

    • Jared says:

      I gave all my votes to Ben. I really don’t want him going home. It was a misstep.

    • Kersh Kurt says:

      Ben’s in trouble. That southern baptist farmboy fan base of his is not gonna react too well to him singing and professing his adoration to one of the most flamboyant gay icon in this day and age. He could have picked any song from the movie Walk the Line or Urban Cowboy but he picked an Elton John number from a movie he never saw? 27 Dresses? Is there something he was trying to tell us?

  41. Kaba says:

    Nonetheless, I need various mentors to come back asap. They need different takes even with Harry and Keith there. Cause God in heaven KNOWS Randy is by no means remotely close to enough.
    Holy hell

    • Mary says:

      Why does everyone blame Randy. He is not the only Mentor back there. What about the vocal coaches and music coaches. None of them tell these kids they are off? Randy is not my favorite but I am really starting to feel bad for him that he is taking all the blame for the contestants mishaps on stage. It is not his fault if they take a dump up there.

      • Kaba says:

        I don’t see why Randy wouldn’t get at least majority of the blame if he’s going to take on the role of being a mentor and actually watch these people pick and practice their performances. If everyone else fails Randy is supposed to be the failsafe, so he shall take the utmost blame.

  42. Elizabeth says:

    So I guess I’m the only person who just didn’t get that song Jena did. All I could hear were the drums and I’ve seen all the Twilight movies and that song didn’t ring a bell at all. Maybe it was because I had 3 teens talking through it..I guess I will pull it up on YouTube to see what I apparently didn’t hear. Regarding the other contestants, I’m wondering if the band is resistant to really changing up songs or TPTB are not encouraging it or what. The karaoke nature of most of these performances is really boring me.

    • MC says:

      Sam’s rendition of “Come Together” was very karaoke. It was weak and uninspired. It’s like he was thinking, “Oh, my parents like this song. I guess it’s okay for old folks, but not really worth my time.” You can randomly pull up many good covers of that song on YouTube, but this wasn’t one of them.

      • LeahKittyS says:

        I don’t think Sam was bad tonight. Maybe I’m just a sucker for cute boys and the Beatles. But I will say Carly did it better. As did Kris. And Crystal. And Candice.
        See what I’m getting at? It’s not so much song choices that bother me on this show as much as it is song repeats. Once a song has been done so many times on the show, someone needs to put a moratorium on it.

        • MC says:

          What about singers who have never been on this show? There are plenty of excellent versions of “Come Together” (not all of them by superstar professionals) and this paled by comparison. I guess it was a C by AI standards, but it was a D- in the real world.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            Then maybe I’m just very easy to please. Believe me, I am. Which is why I’m still watching this show. I’m like a cat when it comes to entertainment; I’d be happy with a ball of string.
            (Cue the inevitable joke about a ball of string having more personality than most of these contestants, but I beat you to it, so there. And I disagree with that.)

        • Mary says:

          I don’t mind hearing a different version as long as it is good, that wasn’t up there for me. That is not a song you should sit down on and he did for more than 1/2 and then got up and walked around. No energy whatsoever in his version. He is lifeless on stage.

  43. Laura says:

    I loved sam a lot!! his voice was perfect!

  44. bobdavidblog says:

    The problem with them doing more current songs recently is that when it comes to the next theme – Billboard Top 100 songs – a lot of them have already been sung by the contestants!

  45. JM says:

    Show Thoughts: Best of the night: CJ, Alex, Caleb and Jena.

    Worst: Dexter, Sam and Majesty

    Loved the clips (even if they did steal them from ‘The Voice’).

    Will they EVER get the sound, mics, band right on this show??? I mean, it’s only been on 10+ years! What they did to Jessica was so unfair.

    Random Thoughts:

    ‘I’m going to change light bulbs, my underwear, my socks…’ – hilarious!!

    Are Keith’s kids really named ‘Sunday Rose’ and ‘Fifi’??? He was joking, right? right?!

    Many of those movies I haven’t seen either…

    Is it written in her contract that JLo’s beauty be mentioned on EVERY show???

  46. karenb says:

    On every commercial break I pulled up Kris Allen’s versions of all the songs. Haley’s Bennie & the Jets too. Oh how I long for those days. I’m just not feeling it with S13.

  47. David H says:

    1) People are being too hard on Majesty tonight. It wasn’t that bad. Ben had the worst performance by a mile.
    2) Both Jena and CJ had incredible comeback performances. They earned my 50.
    3) Caleb was my third 50-vote winner tonight. I loved what he did with that song. I wanted to include MK in that group, but her outfit got and automatic 10 vote deduction from me.
    4) Overall, I was finally impressed with this season’s group.

  48. lla says:

    It was the best live show nite so far. But, I am very unhappy with the band and sound. I thought it would be better with Rickey Minor coming back–but there have been a number of screw ups. Poor Jessica–they totally f’d her song up. I give her a lot of props for getting through it. Additionally, it’s hard to get the full impact of a gr8 song like “The Sound of Silence” when it’s cut to a min & a half or so. That song is all about the brilliant lyrics. You just can’t the meaning across in such a short time.

    Jena did great tonight. Would have been even better without the band. Whenever they came it to the song–it was drowning her out. She really had to almost shout.

    Majesty had a bad night. She has picked songs that are not right for her the last two weeks. She needs to stay with the more delicate songs that fit her beautiful voice and vibe. I don’t think she is suited for the big diva songs at all.

    JLO Don’t compare AI contestants (gay or straight) to KD Lang. That’s just idiotic. KD Lang–very few professional singers in her league

    My grades

    Sam He left his comfort zone but wasn’t all that (C+)

    Jessica B She got screwed-still needs to connect a little better w/ audience (B-)

    CJ Best performance he has done on live shows (B)

    Dexter. Nothing special (C)

    Ben He did something different. Didn’t work too well. He doesn’t play enough piano to take on that Elton J song either. (C-)

    Majesty See above (C-)

    Caleb Very consistent. Never a bad vocal (A-)

    MK Her best on the live shows I believe (B-)

    Alex. It was ok. He needs to connect more with the audience. He’s interesting though (B)

    Jena Really nice. Would have even been better without bandzilla (A)

    Malaya. Good effort. She’s young and can’t quite handle that song. She shouts and goes off key a lot. But she’s so young–plenty of time to get some vocal lessons (C+)

    • Name That Tune says:

      I agree with your assessment, but Jessica is starting to lose my support. Fine, the band was off, but this is a song that you say is part of your “set”. So why don’t I feel your connection to the lyrics? She always sounds like she is holding back or just can’t let go enough to show us she knows what she is singing about.

      Because it’s such a disappointing crop of girls, she still holds the #2 position on my girls list, but that ain’t gonna last if she doesn’t step it up.

      • lla says:

        I think Jessica does have problems connecting with the audience,. Keith pointed out she is used to small venues and has to adjust to the tv thing. But, the band really messed that up and she did stay with it. I heard a diff song behind her for part of it and some weird drumming clicking sound. It would have thrown a lot of people off. “The Sound of Silence” is so lyrically driven that it’s very difficult for a singer to show a connection to lyrics that are half cut out due to time.

        • Name That Tune says:

          So last week, it was the same issue, except they blamed it on the earphones. This girl performs in front of a live audience for a living and she is choosing safe songs – the ones she plays in her set back home. Which means she has sung them a lot – probably at least a hundred times. I doubt everything is perfect every night in that bar back home. So it’s becoming an excuse to underperform. If the song is in your set, and there’s a screw up with the sound system back home, do you lose the melody? Or shouldn’t you have committed this song to that part of your brain that just knows how to do it?
          I am curious to see what happens when she has to learn something new and can’t fall back on her set of songs that she knows really well.

    • bobsaccamanna says:

      Very good comments on all perfoprmances lla I agree with just about everything you said, although because it’s a song I really love and has performed much better on the show, I probably would grade Alex a little lower, especially agree about Jena and bandzilla, for a second there they threatened to drown out her fantastic vocal.

  49. Shawny says:

    I wish they would stop with the LIVE pre-performance interviews…totally ruins the surprise of the set and the outfits they’re going to wear and sort of also takes me a minute to adjust to the mood of the song a lot of the time. :/ Ben’s was especially painful with Ryan standing at the piano as Ben started singing.

  50. Kimbo says:

    You hear a falsetto like Ben’s in the backgrounds of horror movies.
    Falsetto so bad I was tempted to call upon angels to purify that demonic sound.