American Idol Top 9 Performance Recap: The Band That Rocks the Idols [Updated]

MB1_4935Nobody (who’s not an employee of Fox or Fremantle Entertainment) is going to pretend the current incarnation of American Idol is the best! season! ever! But for those of us with memories long enough to remember Kara Dioguardi’s “package artist” war cries/crimes, Simon Cowell’s predictable fake-outs and that time Ellen DeGeneres tried her hand at unfiltered critique (it’s OK… she lived to host the Oscars), perhaps we should stop insisting it’s the worst?

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Sure, the nine remaining contenders are a little rough around the edges. There’s not a single contestant with a full page of IMDb credits or multiple failed major-label deals or experience as the musical director for Celine Dion (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But without going all One Direction on you, that’s what makes them beautiful. Or in other words, it’s the growth-under-extreme-pressure arc that’s always made The House That Kelly Clarkson Built (With a Second Wing Furnished by Carrie Underwood) a home of wide-eyed, fun-for-the-whole-family thrills.

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The good news is that tonight, buoyed by an “I’m With the Band!” theme that released Rickey Minor and his motley crew of players from their sidestage cage and allowed them to integrate more fully with the performers, most of the remaining hopefuls showed dramatic (or at least incremental) improvement. Rome wasn’t built in a day — nor was Jennifer Hudson’s path to the EGOT, for that matter.

In other words, with seven weeks of live performances left to go, I’m starting to get more optimistic about the Season 13 extravaganza. I’d be even happier if executive producer Per Blankens took a cue from this week’s successes and moved the Idol house band to a more central location — the better for the contestants to interact with/feed off of/learn from/jam out with more experienced players. It certainly can’t hurt — especially if it increases the number of Allison Iraheta sightings per hour.

So with that in mind, let’s jump to letter grades for tonight’s performances:

Alex Preston: No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” — Grade: A- | Look, I can’t disagree with Harry about wanting to see Alex move away from the mic, start thinking about his season as a full set, and recognize that he needs to shake things up in terms of tone and tempo and movement. That said, his Mraz-y rhythmic choices and jazzy vocal flourishes (loved that “d-d-d-don’t speak”) transported the song to a space far, far away from Gwen Stefani’s vocal approach — without rendering the melody or the emotions unrecognizable. Without any discernably serious mentoring from Randy Jackson (man, the Dawg’s rehearsal comments are meaningless!), Alex continues to champion originality as aggressively as he rolls his pant legs. And isn’t that supposed to be one of the main points of this exercise?

Majesty Rose: Florence + The Machine’s “Shake It Out” — Grade: A- | I had serious reservations about Majesty trying to climb a peak as steep and treacherous as Mt. Florence — especially since none of her prior performances hinted at a voice with the range and brute power of Ms. Welch’s. Yet while Majesty’s intonation was by no means perfect, she brought a breeziness to the tune that felt more like making a Snow Angel at the base of the mountain — as opposed to strapping on her climbing gear and scaling the scary heights. Perhaps it was the ’60s waitress/stewardess jumper she was rocking, or the way she shimmyed with her tambourine, but I found myself agreeing with J.Lo that the technical imperfections were trumped by the good vibrations of the performance. Through her phrasing and physical energy, Majesty reminded us that, yes, it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back — but even the scariest of demons can be shaken out of one’s system. I believed it, therefore I dug it.

Dexter Roberts: Little Big Town’s “Boondocks” — Grade: C+ | This was another reasonably OK cover of the kind of soaring, propulsive country anthem Dexter’s been clinging to like a beetle to a windshield for five out of the last six weeks (and that you can hear in just about any saloon with live music in 50 states and parts of Canada). There was nothing especially wrong the Alabama fella’s “Boondocks” — but come on, I’ve had glasses of tap water that were more unpredictable and complex in flavor. And frankly, if Dexter isn’t interested and/or capable of expanding his musical offerings beyond “sparkling,” “still” or “tap,” (OK, “sparkling” is too out-there… who am I kidding?) then how does he really deserve to finish in the upper half of the Season 13 race?

Malaya Watson: The Beatles’ “The Long and Winding Road” — Grade: B- | How do you solve a conundrum like Malaya? On one hand, it’s hard to not respect the kid for making one of the riskiest song choices of the night — landing on an introspective Beatles classic to follow up her forays into R&B, Broadway and Gospel over the last three weeks. Plus, she continues to show great improvement in terms of restraint (no small task in such a short period of time). But while Keith was dropping platitudes like “you really showed me your spirit,” all I wanted to hear was a maturity in tone, an attempt to quash some of the nasally-ness that causes Malaya’s belted notes to come out on the barely tolerable side of shrieky. The good news for Ms. Watson is that the music biz really is a long and winding road — so she’s got time to perfect her craft, get a little better at conveying the depth of emotion in a song, too. The bad news? I’m not sure that even replacing Randy with a rotating roster of past Idol standouts would be enough to get her ready for a confetti shower by the end of May. (C’mon kid, prove me wrong!)

Sam Woolf: Plain White Ts’ “Hey There Delilah” — Grade: B- | Fun “fact”: The Idol wardrobe department fully intended to dress Sam in a plain white t-shirt this week. The garment in question, however, suffered a traumatic dryer accident and was recast as a dishrag for MasterChef Junior. And that’s how the show’s lone teen heartthrob wound up rocking a throw-pillow cover from the Kathy Ireland for Raymour & Flanigan patio furniture collection. But wait, shouldn’t we be talking about “Hey There Delilah”? (And no, I don’t mean Junot Joyner’s criminally underrated Season 8 rendition.) OK, so here are my thoughts on Sam. He’s got a lovely gruffness to his voice. He almost always sings in tune. He knows the strengths and limitations of his voice. But put aside his guitar, and he’s less Phillip Phillips or Kris Allen than he is Thia Megia or Aaron Kelly — a teenager whose knives aren’t yet sharp enough to cut all the way throught the meat of an emotional lyric. When J.Lo asked if Sam had someone in mind as he sang his song — and the SwayBots began to coo (ugh) — Sam seemed a little flummoxed, as if it hadn’t occurred to him to figure out what the lyric meant to him, specifically. Making matters worse, said emotions never seem to travel onto Sam’s face, adding another layer of disconnect to the proceedings. It could just come down to song choice, but I’m beginning to think Sam’s shortcomings are part of a larger problem. And that problem was he needed a few more years to ripen artistically before getting picked for the Idol Top 30.

Jessica Meuse: Fleetwood Mac’s “Rihannon” — Grade: B+ | I’m with J.Lo in that I could listen to Jessica sing all day — her voice is just so clear and cutting and full of sneaky little twists. (I’m also gonna take this opportunity and admit to hooting and hollering when she got to the “dreams unwind, love’s a state of mine” refrain, because I wasn’t sure if it was gonna fit into her abbreviated Idol rendition.) But “Rihannon” was almost too tailored for Jessica’s voice — a slight case of Dexter Roberts Syndrome, if you will. I mean, given all her performing experience, it’s hard not to wonder why Jessica isn’t bolder in the song selection department, why she doesn’t attempt radical reimagingings of songs you’d never expect her to perform, why she gave us “The Crow and the Butterfly” in Top 13 week and has deliberately refused to rock our faces off or get out of the midtempo lane ever since. In other words, on its own, “Rihannon” was lovely. But as part of her larger body of Season 13 work, it was just a tad underwhelming.

C.J. Harris: The Steel Drivers’ “If It Hadn’t Been For Love” — Grade: C- | Let me take a page from my pal Melinda Doolittle’s Twitter page and say three nice things: 1. C.J.’s pre-performance package reiterated what a nice fella he seems to be. 2. I love watching how emotional his girlfriend gets while he performs. 3. I’m pretty sure he introduced me to a cool new song in “If It Hadn’t Been For Love” — if you subtract out the dozens and dozens of bunk notes C.J. hit while he delivered it. Meanwhile, as Harry Connick Jr. delivers his third straight week of “Work on your pitch!” pep talks to C.J., Malcolm Allen, Spencer Lloyd, Casey Thrasher, Maurice Townsend and George Lovett look skyward and shout, “That Wild Card shoulda been mine!”

Caleb Johnson: Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused” — Grade: A- | How come Caleb gets an A- for a straightforward cover of a song directly in his wheelhouse, while Dexter does the same and gets a C+? Simply put, because Caleb’s cover was explosive — making full use of the band to catapult his sound forward, working the stage with icy cold confidence, nailing every note square on the nose in the process. Plus, it’s not like Caleb’s been content to rest on his laurels, and it’s not like “Dazed and Confused” — with its wide swaths of wordless jamming — wasn’t a teensy bit audacious for a reality singing competition. This one was Rated R…for Rock on With Your Bad Self.

Jena Irene: Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life” — Grade: A | She might be just a kid, but I feel like Jena already has her Ph.D. in dynamics — and “Bring Me to Life” might as well have been her thesis. Like water, her voice just slips into the crevices and nooks of whatever song (and whatever genre) she chooses to tackle: There was the haunting beauty of the opening verse, the jolt of aggression on the chorus, the haunted crumbling of the “wake me up inside” repetition on the bridge. And above all else, Jena’s very specific tone and flawless sense of pitch and timing allow her to take ownership rather than to merely borrow the tunes she covers. And if her trajectory of growth continues in this direction, she might wind up taking ownership of Season 13 in its entirety.

Should Be Bottom 3: Dexter, C.J., Sam (C.J. going home)
Will Be Bottom 3: Dexter, C.J., Malaya (C.J. going home)

What did you think of the Top 9? 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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612 Comments
  1. kate'shomesick says:

    Alex B very different arrangement, it worked but didn’t do a lot to emphasize the lyrical content, sung well (one or two misses), confident and calm performance
    Majesty D NO, NO, NO, still no closing of the vocal chords, this is terrible technique, terrible!, on top of that she looked so uncomfortable wearing those shoes (don’t wear them- singing in heels is ALWAYS harder), looked nervous, scared and awkward, step in the right direction with songchoice
    Dexter D boring bar-singer-songchoice, same-old bar-singer-arrangement, doesn’t interest me bar-singer-performance, couldn’t be more insignificant bar-singer-vocal , bottom line: he would do great singing in bars
    Malaya C+ definitely most improved, but what she said about the road to stardom pissed me off hugely * (F for that comment), her belt is still screaming, musicality completely got away from her 2nd half of the song- so much room for technical improvement
    Caleb A- it wasn’t very original but it sure as hell was darn good, „It’s about the HUSTLE“ Malaya…“The HUSTLE“….
    CJ D Nice songchoice. I’m not sure CJ has a good ear. He certainly still has no idea what „singing“ means. He is not unmusical, there just obviously is no knowledge. His intontation is off because he doesn’t know HOW TO SING and you can’t learn that in a couple of weeks. End of story.
    Jessica C looked good, so many vocal issues…that’s definitely gonna take a toll on her voice longtime, pretty musical though, she’s smart and it shows in her before and after interviews
    Sam C sung a little too lyrically for the genre, nice arrangement, solid vocal, Keith’s critique was spot on, yes there could have been more connection to the lyrics but for gods sake stop prying about his lovelife. Kid is 17.
    Jena B+ she’s lovely, very likeable, about her unique tone: she’s definitely pulling her larynx up, pushing her chords together again: this is not a belt…it’s screaming (too breathy also)- It’s SO SO dangerous…my throat hurts- she could be GREAT. She’s not there yet but she’s trying and making good choices competition-wise. Good Vocalcoach please!

    *That is not why you become a musician. I see why someone younger might think that that’s important (and might see idol as a shortcut to become a star)but honestly I think it’s so wrong and it is an insult for every true musician. It’s naiv and stupid. If that’s you’re mindset- what are you gonna do when success goes away, when you’re auditioning for everything and get nothing, when you’re struggeling to pay for food… She obviously has NO idea what the business is like. Earning your living as a (self-determined) musician is a huge privilege already. Go on a reality tv thing if you want to be a „star“….leak a porntape…party with KimK but don’t interfere with the chances of people that worked so hard and know why they are still at it. It has to be about the art. Otherwise- go do something else but don’t insult me and my peers.

    Will be bottom 3: Sam, Majesty, Dexter (going home: surprise?: Majesty?-maybe Sam)
    Should be bottom 3: Majesty, Dexter, CJ (going home: all of them)

    • think a few people stepped up tonight, and some continued to stay the same or worse. Obviously Caleb was in his element and killed it, but Jena was amazing as well, she just does whatever she wants to with her voice and does it naturally. Jessica and Majesty also did a really nice job. Dexter and CJ continued to distance themselves from the others. Week after week the judges tell Dexter to change things up and tell CJ to stay in tune but neither do, although both say they can. I don’t get it. Malaya, Sam and Alex were decent enough, but nothing too outstanding.

      • Flicker says:

        Nice blog!

      • OhMy says:

        I thought Malaya was plain awful. Difficult song so perhaps some bonus points there. Her vocals were really bad though. She must have incriminating photos of someone important, because nothing else explains the judges’ continued gushing over her.

        There were some better performances tonight than before. CJ had some moments, but lost it. Caleb wasn’t bad, though doesn’t have the range of Robert Plant (who does?). Dexter sounded better than he has in the past.

        Jena and Jessica were the best to me.

        • Linda says:

          I am completely baffled as to why the judges continue to tell Malaya she’s wonderful. What are they listening to??

          • Stormy says:

            The producers.

          • Yo says:

            Many people in other places seem to think Malaya is wonderful. I love who she is, but her voice barely qualifies to me. This is one of those “different strokes” kind of things. I just don’t think she is a singer at all.

        • Juju says:

          With you on that. I found Malaya screechy and sharp. Or, in Idol lingo, pitchy ptchy pitchy.

          • marie says:

            1. Thanks to Harry, the non-word “pitchy” has been eliminated from the Idol lexicon.
            2. Malaya’s pitch was pretty much spot-on (there may have been one or two questionable notes, but no more than that); her very obvious work on vocal control over the past couple of weeks impresses me very much.

        • bobsaccamanna says:

          Thank you, I was wondering what the judges were thinking especially JLO calling it beautiful. Malaya’s vocals were god awful, I actually cringed a few times especially when she turned up the volume on a song that doesn’t need to be loud. I agree, Jena was the best, Caleb was ok but you can’t fake your way through Robert Plant, and Caleb kind of sings everything the same, which might work on most rock vocals but not Robert Plant.

          • Jojo says:

            In the minority here, but Malaya sounds perfectly fine. Maybe you just don’t like the tone of her voice, but I felt a massive amount of restraint coming from her.

          • rio says:

            She’s better than she’s getting credit for here. She’s just a kid,; so she says dumb things. She improves every week, and she’s one of my favorites. Hope she lives to sing again.

        • Ben says:

          It’s just – I just can’t begin to fathom, it makes no sense to me whatsoever – how people could describe a performance like Malaya’s as having ‘really bad vocals’. I had to go back and listen to it again, just to make sure I wasn’t completely mad. Nope, I wasn’t. I know there is subjectivity as to what one enjoys or doesn’t enjoy when it comes to music, but in terms of whether or not vocals are ‘really bad’ – there is an objective answer to that, and Malaya’s simply were not whatsoever.

          • OhMy says:

            Different understandings of what is good.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            OhMy, there’s a clear distinction between “her vocals are not for me” and “her vocals were bad.” Malaya’s vocals were objectively very good. Whether you like what she does stylistically is another issue entirely.

          • OhMy says:

            @ Angie_Overrated — nope — she has a weak, thin voice that doesn’t carry. She wavers around notes without discipline and her voice does not have a solid tone. Now. it is true that that particular song was completely out of her league. There might be some songs she could carry, but I have heard no range in her voice. Like many singers, she shrieks when she goes high.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Ohmy, I say this in the politest possible way, but you are dead wrong. She sings better than most folks on the Billboard top 100. I say that with no hyperbole.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Oh god, I just reread your post. It’s Jacquie Lee deja vu. Can you people please learn what a shriek is?! If you think Malaya is shrieking, you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to singing.

          • OhMy says:

            Angie — yea as a gigging musician, I suffer from a bit too much knowledge.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            OhMy, as someone who sings in major opera houses, has a masters degree in voice from a top 2 conservatory, and teaches voice to students (some of whom sing pop and Broadway), I suffer from having a heck of lot more knowledge than you do. With all due respect, you are very very wrong.

          • OhMy says:

            Angie — totally different kind of singing. And you have no idea what I know.

            Denver is a city in Colorado is an objective fact. Denver is a good city is an opinion. You don’t get to claim your opinion is objectIve fact if my opinion is opinion.

            Anyway, let’s meet back here in five years to see if Malaya is a pro. Anything is possible, but I’m guessing not.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            OhMy, good singing is good singing. Any working vocalist needs to continue training, and in my teacher’s studio there are jazz vocalists, Broadway stars, and yes, a few pop vocalists. It’s all more or less the same technique. And there are objective standards for good singing that are as clear as “Denver is a city in Colorado.” What you’re failing to do is recognize that your opinion of Malaya’s style is necessarily indicative of her talent, which it is not. Whether you like her or not, you are objectively incorrect in your technical assessments of her. I would stake my career — nay, my life — on it. You are wrong, kind sir. And since you were the one who upped the ante with “I do gigs,” I’ll up the ante further and say my gigs are WAYYYYYY bigger than yours. :)

          • OhMy says:

            Angie — yea, no you said you were a vocal teacher first. But in any case, I promise you I know a significant amount about statements of facts and opinion. Let’s go back to Denver. Let’s say we create a definition that says a good city has these qualities . . . and look, Denver has these qualities . . . therefore, Denver is a good city. The problem is a creation of a definition is not objective — it is an opinion (even if we can get experts to agree on it — even if we take a poll). An American might say a good city is . . ., a Zambian might say a good city is . . . and so forth.

            You have defined a good singer broad enough to include her, I haven’t. Now, we can call it a draw or what have you, but it’s still opinion. Now if you to make a claim from authority, go right ahead — but that’s not a fact. And you may very well be right that your gigs are bigger — probably true. But I do a ton of them. And opera ain’t jazz.

            If she were your pupil, you might grade on a curve and call her good for a high school student, but that’s it. But, I can go to my local high school and find a dozen kids who sing as well as her and you could too. But an adult, no . . a week or ago, a visiting German woman (not a pro) sat in an sang a song with us. Blew the roof off — fantastic. A completely different ball game.

        • Martha says:

          Malaya has a lot of talent/potential/great personality and I love the new glasses, but she should have waited four years, gotten more experience, perfected her delivery of a song. She needs maturity.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            I kind of agree with you, Martha. On all accounts actually. The only problem with your suggestion is I’m not sure Idol will be around in 4 years.

      • Shaunna says:

        isn’t the entire premise of this Television Show to find a Star?

        • OhMy says:

          (depends on your definition of star)

        • tvlover44 says:

          not to mention, didn’t malaya put scare quotes around “stardom” when she was speaking about it? (need to rewatch to confirm i didn’t imagine that). at any rate, i did not think she was saying that’s her goal, but that ‘the path to “stardom”‘ is the path (the narrative context) in which she finds herself as one of the final contestants on american idol.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Ha! So how do you “really” feel. :) I love when you talk about vocal technique… I was a little annoyed about the stardom comment too, but then she’s 16 so I cut her some slack. I can see Malaya’s improvement – but I really have no idea what kind of musician she wants to be. For me, I would switch Jessica and Majesty in your bottom 3 – I just want to so much more from her (from both of them, really). I really expected Jess to blow me away with that song choice. Seemed perfect. But it was just meh to me.

    • Gailer says:

      Love your comments. I give you an A. Majesty is no Florence that’s for sure.

      • OhMy says:

        Yes, Majesty wasn’t very good, but then Florence isn’t Florence either (at least singing live without a lot of studio help).

        • Temperance says:

          Florence sounds pretty much like she does on the record when she sings live. Feel free to check out any of her live performances on Jools Holland for examples.

    • marie says:

      Don’t you think you’re being a little hard on Malaya? She’s an irrepressible, bubbly young girl of 16. She’s a little star-struck: she’s a KID. From what she says, I didn’t at all get that she’s focusing only on stardom to the detriment of musicality: I got that she was excited, bubbling over, pumped up on adrenaline in the best possible way.

      • Danny says:

        @Marie- I’m with you on that one. She’s not vain when she says it. She’s excited. I’ve never gotten the feeling from her that she wants to be a “star” just so she can pay $10,000 to have someone wash her feet. I absolutely adore that kid. I still don’t think she’s the best singer- though she’s improving by leaps and bounds. She’s by far the one I’m rooting for the most though.

      • JM says:

        I agree. She’s 16 and speaks before thinking things through (like most 16 year olds).

        • OhMy says:

          Most 16-year olds aren’t in a national adult competition. Pretty sure she wasn’t forced to do enter. If she wins, she doesn’t win American Idol Junior. So . . .

          • JM says:

            National, yes. Adult?????? Of course she wasn’t forced to enter–what has that got to do with anything? So if you’re 16, don’t enter? Yes, she should watch what she says, but give her time. She can’t mature overnight.

          • Stormy says:

            They should raise the minimum age to 18 or 20.

      • kate'shomesick says:

        I know I’m being hard on her. I think it’s necessary. Lots of 16 year olds that went on to become musicians or are training and trying to make it as musicians – I know- would never say that…because they’ve educated themselves about music and what it means to pursue it as a job. I would never have said that something like this when I was 16…

        • Ben says:

          You must be the most amazing person ever. You also must never been on American Idol, a hype machine which continues to consistently tell you it is sending you on a journey of stardom from the moment you step onto the show. Don’t judge Malaya for buying it – judge the show for selling it.

        • marie says:

          Kudos to your 16-year-old self, then. But to suggest she is not serious about music…for heaven’s sake, the kid plays tuba in her high school band! Tuba! Can you think of a nerdier instrument than the tuba, and yet, she chose it. I think that indicates some kind of genuine interest in music.

          • marie says:

            Wait, that was a crappy thing to say to anyone out there who may also play the tuba. Sorry! I can’t play any instrument, so what the heck do I know!

          • Stormy says:

            There were moments last night when she reminded me of Keiko Agena [Lane Kim on Gilmore Girls].

      • Name This Tune says:

        Malaya dud a nice job on a tired old Paul McCartney song. I am very close to ranking her a hair above CJ. If she were just 2 years older she would be there with Jena.

        • Blank Slate says:

          Long and Winding Road – “a tired old” song? Oh my goodness. I hope you’re like you know huh okay wow like under 5 years old because otherwise there’s not a musically inclined peron who could dismiss one of the classics of any era!

          • Name This Tune says:

            I am 60 years old and very clearly remember that song when Sir Paul first sang it. It’s never been a great song, especially considering who it comes from. And now it’s just old and tired. Like Paul himself. Just YouTube his last live performance of it.

          • S, says:

            Don’t worry about it. The week wouldn’t be complete without Name This Tune getting something wrong. A Beatles song being tired? Bah humbug.

          • Name That Tune says:

            Yup, a Beatles song that was a dud. If I look at the whole Beatles catalog, The Long And Winding Road would be in my bottom 5.
            But, of course, many of you think you know The Beatles. If any other group had sung that song back in the day, it wouldn’t have gotten air play. But The Beatles could do anything, even crap, and it would still sell.

        • Ademm says:

          Well Name This Tune, as you say — Malaya was a dud.

      • Kim R says:

        I agree. Malaya is growing on me week to week. She’s like the “Sue Heck” of Idol. :) And as far as Michael’s comment that her notes can get a little shrieky? Um….one word…Fanatasia. I’m truly enjoying Idol this season. Harry brought me back. :)

      • deedee says:

        @Marie, I’m totally with you on Malaya. Her goofy enthusiasm and teenagery blurts are so cute in my eyes. Nice to see a normal teen for a change, instead of the jaded, prematurely “sophisticated” kids we often see.
        .
        I also love how she’s taking this competition so seriously, trying to improve each week, taking in the notes by her mentors, and not thinking she knows it all or knows better than everyone else. She’s not the best singer of the bunch, but Malaya is one that I root for and cheer when she pulls off a good performance.

    • Steve says:

      It’s American IDOL. Those kids auditioned to become stars, not to become musicians (which is not something you need to win a contest to become).

      • kate'shomesick says:

        Yeah and I think it shouldn’t be encouraged…it’s nice to be known…it’s nothing if in the long-run you can’t back it up with work (at least for 99%)…

        • Steve says:

          There’s zero point to the show if not to make (at least) one of them a star. That’s the entire premise in a nutshell. I can understand your point, but only to an extent, and that extent doesn’t include chastising someone for aiming to become a star on a show meant to produce stars.

          • kate'shomesick says:

            No- there would be a point- it’s showcasing your talent, grooming it and getting a foot in the door. I’m not chastising her for trying to become known…I’m questioning whether she knows why she wants to be known AS A MUSICIAN…she could wait until she’s 18 and do “the bachelor”…- that would make her famous somehow…

          • tealeaves says:

            It’s a competition for a recording contract.

          • Name This Tune says:

            I think we have forgotten the title of the show is:
            AMERICAN IDOL:THE SEARCH FOR THE NEXT SUPERSTAR.
            Maybe why the kids are confused.

    • Temperance says:

      Sam can’t even manage to take a song that’s absolutely perfect for him and not make it into a cure for insomnia. Frankly, I’d rater not see him again at all. CJ couldn’t sing the melody through large sections of the song (though I love his style), and Dexter is always a generic cover band singer for weddings. In the face of that, the rest looked brilliant.

    • Ben says:

      When people make technique the ultimate judge of talent and whether something is good or bad, they miss the point. It doesn’t matter – often ‘technical deficiencies’ become vulnerabilities that people like about their favourite artists.

      • Ben says:

        Looking at my comments tonight, I must be in a grumpy mood. I guess I’m just sick of people channelling Simon Cowell – I feel that this season is being way way overcriticised in these comments – and Michael’s post today I gave a big cheer to, because it felt like he was trying to balance that out. He is completely right – the negativity about this season is ridiculous. Tonight was actually pretty damn good.

        • Ben says:

          I promise to be less grumpy next week :)

        • Mark says:

          Which is kind of funny since Michael has been as negative about this season as anyone else. What was the title of his last column? Oh yeah, something about a winner by default? Hardly brimming with enthusiasm.

    • Blank Slate says:

      Michael Slezak: It’s not coming to me: J HUDSON, EGOT?? Somebody ‘splain it to me, please.

      • Shroom says:

        That’s someone who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Rare combination, but there are a few who have managed that.

        • Ben says:

          And should I say. Malaya tonight? She sounded, to me, like a season 3 Jennifer Hudson. JHud has come a long way since then, but that is how I felt Malaya sounded tonight. Really a similar tone and timber. Its a promising sign.

          • Susan says:

            I agree. Actually, I thought that Malaya had one of the best performances of the night. Unlike many of the other contestants, she really seemed to connect to the lyrics emotionally and really seemed to interpret the lyrics, plus she continued to demonstrate beautiful restraint and an understanding of dynamics. And she’s only 16!! Plus she has a huge personality and seems very grounded (despite her off-the-cuff “star” comment). I agree with Harry that she’s a singer with huge potential.

        • Blank Slate says:

          Oh! Yes. I see it now. EGOT. Has J Hudson really won all of the aforementioned?!

          Thank you for your help. I was guessing “Equal Golden Opportunity Talent.” :)

          • Mike says:

            hahahahahaha sorry this made me laugh so hard hahahaha :p ur so funny!!! :)

          • Elizabeth says:

            Change that to Equal Opportunity Golden Ticket and it’s more Idol specific.

          • CandaceTX says:

            JHud (to date) only has the O and the G of the EGOT (with the O being the hardest of them to win, IMO). But she is young. The Emmy and the Tony may surely come over the course of her career.

            It took Rita Moreno 15 years to reach EGOT , and Liza 25 years (but only after she was given an honorary Grammy) and Streisand 7 (after she received an honorary Tony).

            In looking this up, I uncovered this fun fact. Did anyone know that James Earl Jones achieved EGOT* (*2011 honorary Oscar)? And both Mel Brooks and Whoopi Goldberg made EGOT competitively. Its a very interesting list.

        • MAB says:

          I don’t think she won an Emmy or Tony.

    • karyn says:

      I think everyone is way too hard on Alex, who in my opinion is quietly winning this each week. I disagree with the emphasis on “moments” that Michael and Melissa talked about on last weeks show (link above). I like Caleb and Jena but it isn’t hard to force everyone’s attention to you when you scream and fall down and light the stage on fire (literally). It’s amazing when someone like Alex can sit still and sing quietly and make us all lean in to hear him. He has done this consistently all season.

      • Mark says:

        Alex has won some weeks, but not last night. Caleb was so far in front of everyone else after his performance that I was not going to name a second place finisher, and instead just go on to third place. But then Jena came in and surprised the hell out of me. I didn’t think she had the capability to match Amy Lee, but she proved that she was up to the task.
        But here’s what bothered me about both of my top two. Neither one of them brought anything original to their performances. They were both excellent, but 100% by the book copies of Led Zep and Evanescence. I don’t know what either of them could have done to those songs to make them a little more original, but in the end they were both straight up covers.
        This is where I agree with karyn, a little. Alex gets third place for me on the night, not just because he sang it well, but mostly because he took an old song and made into something new. The creativity he displays week in and week out is a huge part of the reason that he is staying far and wide of the bottom three. Based on his entire body of work to date, he’s probably the frontrunner.
        Finally, my award for missed opportunity goes to Jessica. This was her chance to really rock out and show her power, and instead she did another MOR song that downplayed her talent. There was no fire in her performance. Even Stevie Nicks makes me feel something when she sings it. Jessica looked like she belonged in the band, but her sound was the same as every other week. She’s letting Jena take her spot as the rock chick on this show. I had hoped for more from her.

        • MamaLis says:

          Great comments, Mark! I’d have to agree with you on everything! Really…. everything!

          If I could, I might add:

          – CALEB: Everyone talks about his vocal chops. But what struck me about Caleb last night was this great ability to dig into, interpret, and SELL his lyrics! He personifies EXACTLY what the Coaches continually try to hammer into the rest of the contestants: Feel something! Tell a story! Tap into the emotion or message! Caleb is truly gifted in this way.

          – ALEX: I think you’re 100% right about his overall body of work thus far, Mark. The kid is genius and I’d venture to say he’s on a totally different level insofar as to what he can do with arrangements and a song. I just hope he makes some awesome choices coming up and takes all the feedback from today to push himself even further.

    • Good comments, especially about the vocal technique, or lack thereof, problems exhibited by many of the contestants. Most of these kids were not ready to be on this show this year, except for Caleb and Alex Preston. This is like American Idol Juniors, too young and not ready for prime time this year. It is sad after you consider the flawless and mature singing heard last year from Candace Glover and Angie. The choices the judges made this year are insulting!

      • MC says:

        ITA. I was going to make that reference to American Idol Juniors a few days ago, but I’m glad you said it. I do prefer a mature sound. Some young singers are very capable of that, including a few on The Voice this season. I would probably feel better about this bunch on AI if Kenzie, Austin Wolfe and Madisen Walker (all very young singers btw) were among the finalists, but it seems like they really shortchanged us on the talent this season.

    • kaki says:

      Agree on everything here…. and still wonder what I am missing with Majesty, because I have never liked her performances. I was shocked at Michael’s praise…. not so much with the judges.

    • A says:

      Why are you so down on Majesty? I know she did some some issues with the song but she had such confidence that, as JLo said, I didn’t care. I loved her. I was so happy to see her come in and do so well tonight. No she doesn’t have the confidence of Jena yet but she was on her way there. I wish Majesty could have Harry as her mentor. He could do so much. And I’m really annoyed with the people on these boards who fuss about the breathing. It never bothered me and I never noticed it until all of you people harped on it. Then I noticed it. Until I decided hey, It doesn’t matter to me. Then I didn’t notice it anymore.

    • No clue how he can give Majesty such a high rating based on how the song was sung , it was so so badly done , and I think we have reached the point where personality is not enough ,
      based on last night Sam or Majesty should be shown the door

  2. Flicker says:

    I am in complete agreement with those grades this week! With the exception of Dexter and CJ, who pretty much were at about a C. That’s my bottom two this week, with Malaya third.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Totally agree. It’s hard to pick the third position, but I feel like it should be Sam or Jess. But mostly Sam.

      • The Beach says:

        I thought it was ironic that Sam sang a Plain White T song since that’s kind of how I see Sam…dependable, traditonal, comfortable, always looks good and clean…just not very exciting.

        • Teeny Bikini says:

          @The Beach. I like his voice. I think when he starts understanding and connecting to lyrics, his performances will resonate more. That is my hope anyway. I no longer see him as a front runner though… Weird how the tables turn on this show?

  3. Danny says:

    Great show tonight. At least the performances were awesome. My take on it was that it started out brutally. I hated those medleys. That time could have been spent letting them all sing longer. Add 20 seconds to each of their songs. With a night as great as tonight that’s time that could have been well spent on extra time for each singer.

    Alex- A little sleepy, though I was still less than thrilled with the original medley. So maybe that’s more on me than Alex.
    ..
    Majesty- MUCH better than last week. It occurred to me here that as much as I like Harry over anything that was on last year, he’s too clinical about his judging. I want the guy around, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that as much as he wants the contestants to have passion, he’s got this mental checklist that he goes through and never really enjoys a song for what it’s worth.

    Dexter- I’ll probably be in the minority here but I liked it. I’d never heard the original though so I have nothing to compare it to.

    Malaya- WOW!!! I loved this. I thought the judges were too understated in their praise. I’m just loving her improvement. And here’s what I do like about Harry. 2 singers after I was wondering about him, his comments to Malaya about simply working hard and letting the stardom thing fall into place was spot on.

    Sam- Another one I enjoyed. Outside of the original medley’s this is turning into a pretty good show. Keith’s quip on Harry was hilarious. He’s quick with the wit. Harry should avoid all confrontations with Keith if they’re going to involve a quick wit. Keith way out guns Harry in that regard.

    Jessica- I loved it. Along with Malaya my favorite performance up to that point. For me tonight this show is about the judges being inconsistent. It’s like every other song they botch it. I felt Jessica all the way on this one. I felt the judges weren’t going to praise her no matter what. Even Harry appeared to switch gears in the middle of his judging. How how ironic this song has the words “will you ever win?” in it. It’s like Jessica never will with this set of judges.

    CJ- I know I’ll be in the minority here but I enjoyed this one too. Yea, the singing wasn’t perfect, but at least each song has a different feel than the one before it. So far, for me (for you) there hasn’t been a bad song in the bunch. I mean that of tonight’s show, not as in CJ’s AI journey.

    Caleb- WOW!!! THE!!! BEST!! OF!! THE!! YEAR!!!

    Jena- Pretty dang good in her own right. I haven’t enjoyed 2 back to back like this since James and Haley did Muse’s Uprising and Adelle’s Rolling in the Deep back in week 7 of Season 10.

    My top 3 were 1) Caleb 2) Jena 3/4 tie Jessica/Malaya
    Bottom 3, saying this even though I enjoyed all 3 were CJ, Dexter, and believe it or not Alex.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      “Caleb- WOW!!! THE!!! BEST!! OF!! THE!! YEAR!!!” Agree.
      Alex in the bottom? No sir. Not even close.

      • Danny says:

        @Teeny- c’mon, you were wrong last week. I get to have a crack at being less than perfect too yanno?

      • Danny says:

        On a serious note, when I wrote that, I was going to address you and Ben specifically, as in “Teeny and Ben, I know ya won’t agree, but tonight I had Alex in the bottom 3″ Then I changed it to “believe it or not” figuring it would be a more general comment.

        • Teeny Bikini says:

          @Danny. Please stop saying Alex + bottom 3. It hurts a little bit more every time… ;)

        • Ben says:

          @Danny – until Caleb sung, Alex’s performance was, for me, the best performance of the season so far (and yes – Caleb definitely trumped it).

          • Ben says:

            On the other hand though, after CJ and Dexter I can see why people have trouble picking who genuinely deserves the last bottom 3 spot though. I have Sam in it, but Sam was also pretty good tonight. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a shock contestant there – or, indeed, the return of Majesty.

          • Mary says:

            I guess we all have different taste, I know he won’t be but Alex should be in the bottom – for me he took the life out of that song.

        • chris says:

          Gotta agree that Alex had an off night. He’s starting to get boring.

    • Max says:

      I agree with most of Michael’s grades, except for Alex, whose arrangement didn’t really fit such a melodramatic song, who I think should have gotten a B-, and Malaya, who I think should have gotten a B or B+ (B+ more so for improvement week to week, and believe it or not, she was actually my favorite last week)
      Jena did great, but I’m not a big fan of the song. Still, her TONE tho.
      Caleb: I loved it!!!!! And I’m glad he didn’t choose What Is And What Should Never Be (property of Haley) or Whole Lotta Love (property of: Elise and Adam)

      • Max says:

        Also: Majesty, in my opinion (I refuse to use the evil abbreviations ;) ), was rough on some of the notes on the latter half, and it felt a little sliced up with so many lines being skipped on the verses.

        • Matrix says:

          Majesty started out as a front runner for me, but her last three performances have been subpar. Her confidence is gone and she doesn’t have the pipes to handle the songs she is selecting (Let It Go, being the primary example). I will be very surprised if she makes the top 5.

    • Temperance says:

      The judges aren’t botching anything. It sounds a lit different live than over the recording devices for TV. They have the best judging ever on the show this year, hands down.

      • Tom22 says:

        Great Show ! What a night and day difference in the way the band worked tonight compared to the rest of the season ! Some of the performances were really insane…that interpretation of the Zepplin song? Smokin.. i’m like .. I hope its on itunes…..
        .
        But… who said it.. the judges actually had a LOT of great comments but I think a lot of them needed translating for people… they were actually far more positive that they might have sounded…they were more excited about what they saw enough to have hope and eagerness to dream of what else the singers could do to really take it up a notch and sometimes they tripped over the praise on the way to they eager hope. (ok.. that’s how I heard them… guess i’m positively excited enough to put praise in their mouths…
        ..
        .. But who said it about Caleb…gotta look up the exact line but, I was just talking about how insane Ricky Minor was on that bass.. f that was Thiiick, and it was Harry right? he’s like the Front Man Caleb was like the one that came across as leading the band.. pulling them forward with that thick sound….. When I’ve been harping on the band its because if we’re going to hear more than just acapella, each additional member up there has to be all in and LISTENING to each other, and the singer… a “Band” isn’t “ok , I did my job” a band is like an acrobat team one balancing on the other… that drummer needs to feel the bass needs to feel the guitar, rhythm an keys… they’re not doign their own thing but responding tight tight to each other.. and OK I’m saying this because
        … it was really cool… to be learning from them listening instead of complaining… they know so much more about what they do than I do… but when they are doing it the way they know is good.. and I’ve got to think they felt it tonight far more .. The definitely saved some of the best for last…
        … (I really really dug the whole sound of CJ’s number and I think Keith and Harry ‘s comments really pinned down what they could see within grasp to let him have taken that sort of thing to a really great plane if he’s able to stick around…. but, the band was both cool in its own right but listening carefully to him as well as each other… like it came acrross as Caleb pulling forward the guys were listening to him and shifting just so with his shifts of the groove to restart with him etc (hell thats where they know the words not me) … it just was fun for me to hear.. and yeah, don’t need a big drum set to have an awesome drum performance.. washboard.. stand-up bass. cool deal.
        .
        The whole show from the start was that way for me…well some cooler than others (really caught fire at the end there) but I never felt the band distracting from any singer tonight and always felt them there keeping a much tighter groove and keeping the songs rolling while listening to each other and particularly the young singer with a conscious mind in their inflections.
        .
        Damn.. just so happy to see it .. and the kids all made big improvements…even if i’m not going to call any of the earlier performances “best ” evers I was definitely enjoying all of them and wishing that the ones that were rough had just another couple rehearsals with an outside singer mentor to work them through a couple attainable things….. I disagree with lots I’ve read panning … some things.. winding road could have been a utter train wreck and it was really pretty good for me in interpretation and intent although I’m not really sure her voice is quite mature or trained yet for a few of those notes, I hear the approach to the phrases as pretty cool…and I liked the first number pretty much.. ..more than I usually groove with him but I wasn’t constrained by any pre-occupation with a song I knew and (lol you’ve heard from me already).. I’m kind of selective on which words I hear in lyrics .. pretty malleable in my mind hearing what I think the singer is saying with his tone and getting images from words but .. heck we’re all different. Majesties was almost there and she’s one that the few extra dress rehearsals and a powerful guest mentor (can’t have beonce or gaga every week but they’d have lifted her confidence and made a few key attainable corrections/directions for her…
        .
        Ok.. other people were writing blogs in the comments so that was mine ! : ) Great deal having that young band talk to the kids in that question and answer.. those were some pretty real questions in ways that generation speaks… that thing about “expecting to hate your band member” some days and training yourself to “poof” release it extends to so many negative energies that I could see the AHA moment in their eyes and , well again, there is a translation error … I know, with my teenagers.. they expect more things to be unsaid and get taken far off track when you add something extra (twitter ? they need it distilled and know how to add the water themselves?)… Anyway.. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and next week.

        • Tom22 says:

          Went to itunes and bought Caleb, Jena, Jessica, CJ and Dexters performances… CJ and Dexters were wholly based on the band and the arrangment.. and I checked out all of the other covers and orgininals and the idol band version more than made up for the weeker idol lead singers..! thats the way guys .. love it. And for you “but this is a siniging contest” folks.. no.. I didn’t vote for those guys .. just bought the music they were a part of (even if a minor part of)…well Minor was a Major part of.. err Good stuff. Got the start of a rocking bluesy album.

      • Tom22 says:

        (as if I didn’t say enough already) The show also continued to be a winner with what they’ve been doing right.. the show outside of the singing was funny…like a live music variety show should be.. that Harry Ryan shoe thing worked… corny ? sorta but its all comic timing and they had it.. made me happy.. as did the jumpbo gummy bear… it was all comfortable and friendly and made me feel good. They’ve had that down in a way they have never ever had and it is great …. needed the great music of course and the blog above showed my pleasure with that… Ok other people better write longer comments so I don’t feel wierd.. I’m reading your guys too..not just typing and running…. I like reading peoples thoughts or I wouldnt’ post my own.

    • Foxfire says:

      My top 3 tonight are Caleb, Jessica and Jena as well. I loved Jessica singing Stevie Nicks and think she did a great job. I’m glad I’m not the only one who enjoyed CJ too. Just listening to the words to his haunting song had me mesmerized so he must have been doing something right. I admit Dexter and CJ aren’t progressing as fast as some of the others but I would rather someone else go home than one of them. I keep hoping with a little more time they will start to show improvement. I’m glad to see Jessica is starting to get over the worst of her nervousness when performing. Isn’t Jessica the only girl who hasn’t been in the bottom 3 yet? A very good sign for her.

    • Mike says:

      Caleb is a complete fake and fraud! If you liked that performance you have never listened to Led Zeppelin. He is not even worthy a Led Zeppelin tribute band! He had no range, and yells one note. Last year he was not eve e rocker now he is? The whole cast is bad this season, and I am saying this as a long time watcher of the show.

  4. Mike says:

    Jena is just SUPERB. Her voice is just phenomenal.
    Jessica might sccop this from the boys after all. She may win this whole damn thing. I think she’s starting to understand the quality of her voice and it’s really starting to show. Would love a JESSICA VS JENA FINAL.
    Alex – really digging his version of the song.
    Sam – voice still the same – really good, but needs more energy. ALEX VS SAM IS OKAY TOO, BUT MAN, A JENA VS JESSICA FINAL WOULD BE FANTASTIC.
    Malaya is starting to move in front of the pack. Her song choices the past few weeks have been spot on. And she’s delivering them very well!
    Caleb. No more words. Just fantastic.
    Should be bottom 3: CJ, Dexter, and….. hmmm? Sam?
    Will be bottom 3: CJ, Dexter, Majesty
    Will go home: Dexter

    • Danny says:

      @Mike- I’d have Jena vs Caleb in the final right now. I could totally live with Jessica being in there though. I don’t think she’ll get that far however. She can’t get any love from the judges. I know it’s not supposed to, but I’ve got to believe that influences people’s votes.

      • Mike says:

        I agree. I agree.

        This is why I love Idol this season. The constant change of the “top pack.”
        I can Jena, Alex, Caleb easily going to the finale. Jessica and Sam can go there too if they perform well enough.

      • Teeny Bikini says:

        @Danny. I think the judges are entertainment. I am happy when they say smart things. But wouldn’t trust their opinion on what condiment to put on my hot dog. There are times they are completely inconsistent or spend 15 minutes talking about a giant gummy bear. So give people a little credit for thinking for themselves. :) For example, Jess has never been in the bottom even though the judges critique her thoroughly every. single. week. Jess needs to push a little further. I still feel she’s a bit tentative. There is still room for improvement. That’s not a bad thing. Just a regular thing.

        • Danny says:

          @Teeny- Yea, what was the gummy bear thing about? I felt that the judges were great one singer, then brutal the next. I don’t mean that as in harsh comments, but more how they acted. Tonight the contestants were all rock solid but the judges were inconsistent. I think the people on the boards aren’t influenced by the judges. My guess would be that they’d have some influence on the general public though.

          • Stormy says:

            Not just inconsistent, but rude. They kept Dexter standing there like a fool waiting for feedback while they pulled their stupid gummy bear schtick. And IMO the producers are sabotaging Jessica. First the band screws up one of her songs, next harry shreds her. This time that duty fell to Keith.

        • JM says:

          Teeny, I so agree about the judges. This isn’t The Voice. I think they’re trying to capture what people like about that show, but it just doesn’t have a place here. A little joking is great (we certainly don’t want boring or ridiculous judges), but they are going too far sometimes.

          • Danny says:

            @Stormy- Good catch on them being rude to Dexter. No matter what one may think of his singing, he’s chasing a dream, helping their show, a nice guy, and should be treated with respect.
            @JM- Good catch on them trying to emulate the Voice. That schtick just doesn’t work on AI. Keith’s quip was funny. It was spontaneous. A lot of their other goofing off seems to be planned. Maybe not planned as in what they’ll do, but planned as in they’re going to show everyone how well they get along.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            I up-vote all three of you.

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            and Keith is just all over the map with his critiques, half the time I don’t think he even knows what the hell he is trying to say. So far this season he actually makes JLo sound coherent, and that’s the second time in a row he has started off his critique of Jenna by telling her how good she looks. That seriously gives me the creeps, it’s not America’s top model Keith it’s a singing competition.

          • chris says:

            I think they had time to fill so they told the judges to fill it but it didn’t work. The time they spent fooling around would have been better spent by giving the singers extra time. Notice JLo let the guys do most of it? I do think the judges are having a hard time being likable and giving honest feedback. That’s why Keith is telling people how much he likes the tone of their voice or how cool their outfit is. He believes you have to say something good before you criticize. That’s why he tells Jessica he likes her clothes every week–it’s code for I didn’t like your performance. Harry seems especially frustrated by the box he’s in. He doesn’t want the audience to boo him but he doesn’t want to say a performance was good when he doesn’t think it was. I think he feels let down by the singers who make the same mistakes week after week. He doesn’t want to tell CJ he sings out of tune every week yet CJ keeps doing it. Similarly, how many times does Dexter need to be told to vary his act?

      • Name This Tune says:

        Nothing the judges has said has influenced my votes. I rarely watch a full episode of Idol. I live in Colorado and I can start voting on Google at 6 pm because that’s when the show starts airing on the East Coast. The show doesn’t start airing until 7 pm here.
        This week was easy to vote because the song choices were known by 5 pm. I caught most of the performances on Daily Motion, but I knew exactly who I was voting for based on song choices. I was done voting before a second had aired here.
        And this motley crew didn’t disappoint.I would not have changed a thing about my voting choices based on any thing I saw on Daily Motion.

      • Mary says:

        I like your top three, Jena, Jessica and Caleb. It might help her get folks if they are harder on her than the rest.

    • Foxfire says:

      Mike, I’m so glad you said that about Jessica as I think she could win too. Even against the new and improved, sexy Caleb. There is just something about her that is mesmerizing even when she has that deer in the headlight look when performing.

      Even though Dexter and CJ might deserve to be in the bottom 3 I predict it will be a mostly female bottom 3 with Sam the lone male. I haven’t seen much growth from Sam performance wise since the show began and I’m finding him boring.

      • Foxfire says:

        Bobsacamanna I agree with you about Keith. He is coming off as kind of smarmy as times. I think the chemistry would be better with a different country singer as a judge next year.

        Stormy, I can’t help but wonder about sabotage either with Jessica. How many times now has the band messed up her songs? I hope it’s just an accident but what if she is getting the most votes of all of them and producer manipulation is trying to change this by the harsh critiques and band mistakes?

        • Lana says:

          Leave Keith alone he is a wonderful judge and they better not replace him with anyone, country or not.

        • Mary says:

          I think Keith is better than Harry. He gives positive and negative. Maybe you don’t understand what he is trying to say. Harry is to technical sometimes. Sometimes a performance even if not perfect is good.

          • Foxfire says:

            I detect a lack of sincerity with Keith’s critiques and much prefer Harry’s blunt honesty.
            I still think an easy going Country singer would be a better match for JLo and Harry.

      • rio says:

        Caleb is about as sexy as Meatloaf.

        • Foxfire says:

          Tell that to JLo :).

          • MamaLis says:

            Ok so by the WAY…….I’m compelled to bring up this whole “Sexy Caleb” thing from JLo.

            Is it not a complete Double Standard in that:

            > JLo is 45 years old to Harry Connick Jr. and Keith’s 47.

            > Let’s say, Majesty | Jena | Emily finished a performance and Harry said (with a slap-happy grin on his face), “That was SEXY!! Wow, I didn’t know you had that IN you!! You have to be SEXY to front a band and you’re DEF sexy!”

            Ummm….. would that not border on inappropriate and creepy? I’m thinking Yes.

            First of all, Harry would never say that.

            Secondly, I get what JLo was saying and I also get that judging is very extemporaneous in nature. But couldn’t/shouldn’t she have said it a bit differently – if at all?
            Maybe,”You definitely gave it a sexy edge.” And leave it alone. Or, “You created a sexy rocker vibe that I’m sure a lot of girls out there are appreciating tonight!”

            Deflect it somewhat so it’s not JLo seemingly ogling over her 21-year old contestant, Caleb!!

            …………….

            I don’t know, I just think it’s a double standard and I think she was kind of out-of-line. I also think she got/gets away with it because she’s a very attractive woman. If it were 50-year old Harry appreciating the sexuality of a 21-year old female contestant – I think it would be kind of gross.

          • Foxfire says:

            There certainly is a double standard Mamalis. Remember when Steven Tyler was ogling all the teeny boppers during auditions and making inappropriate comments about them how creepy it was? I’m sure it made the young teens feel creepy just experiencing that.

            Now back to Caleb last night when JLo announced to him that he was now sexy, remember how Caleb started grinning from ear to ear and beamed and gushed to the cameras? He certainly didn’t feel creeped out and dirty after being called sexy by an older woman as the young teens probably felt after Tyler said as much to them.

            So there’s the difference. It bothers women but not men for some reason. Why do you think that is? Or is it just human nature?

          • LeahKittyS says:

            Casey Abrams also really liked it when J-Lo called him sexy. But I agree, there is a huge double standard when it comes to saying these things.

          • Foxfire says:

            There certainly is a double standard isn’t there? Remember when Steven Tyler was ogling all the teeny bopper girls during auditions how creepy it was? I’m sure it made the teens feel creepy too.

            Now go back to last night when JLo told Caleb he was sexy, remember how he responded? He was grinning from ear to ear, beaming and smiling at the cameras and definitely not creeped out.

            Why do you think that is? Is it human nature mainly and men are perhaps different than woman?

  5. Owen says:

    I realized tonight, Alex is basically a charisma challenged Kris Allen.

    • NikkiQM says:

      Charisma and looks … sorry keeping it real

    • NJIdoloonie says:

      …aka Lee Dewyze?

      • Marta says:

        Yeah he’s way more Lee for me….not in a bad way. But Lee never wowed me.

      • Owen says:

        Please, Lee Dewyze ONLY had charisma. He was nowhere in Kris’s (or Alex’s) league musicianship or voice-wise..

        • Alex says:

          What? Wait. What? Lee DeWyze and charisma? The dude was a solid musician but barely animate. Yikes.

          • Temperance says:

            Watch an actual DeWyze video. He emotes quite well. Cowell was just trying to make a pop singer out of someone that was never going to be one of his plastic, boring Ken dolls he loves so much.

        • Temperance says:

          Lee’s album BEFORE Idol was better than Allen has ever managed. His new material is awesome. They mucked with his head on Idol (grrr Cowell was wrong, as always), and tried to make him something that he wasn’t. DeWyze’s performance are awesome live.

        • carol says:

          IMHO The BEST contestant-MUSICIAN ever ever on Idol was Casey James (S. 9)

        • Mary says:

          I guess we have different taste because I didn’t see any charisma involved with Lee. He is like Alex in that way, like watching paint dry. Alex has the musicianship but personally I don’t care for his voice.

      • bobsaccamanna says:

        Alex can sing mostly on key though, unlike Lee.

      • Temperance says:

        Since Lee’s pretty amazing, you should choose a different example. HIs new material is just as awesome as it was before Idol screwed him up…

        • LeahKittyS says:

          Thank you, Temperance. No need to diss other Idols while we discuss our favorites.

        • bobsaccamanna says:

          I’m only using the example of Lee during his time on Idol, it’s not bashing him to say he has some rough vocal moments during that season, it’s pretty much common knowledge. I have had many people comment that his new stuff is really good and I don’t doubt that, like I said in a later post, during Lee’s good moments on the show he was really good and probably better than anyone in this years bunch.

          • Temperance says:

            He does this half-tone modulation sometimes and people were not used to hearing it. Cowell said he was ‘off-pitch’ (and sometimes he was, like everyone else), but part of that time, it was just his vocal style, which is actually much more common now. If you can catch some of his recorded work (Annabell is a good example), you can hear what I mean.

          • Ben says:

            @bob – you have to be kidding me. Lee better than anyone in this years bunch? Lee had about 80% of Alex’s artistry, which was definitely his strong suit. But he could not sing in tune. At all. He didn’t have ‘good’ moments on the show. He simply floated to the finals by default, because the only person good on the show was Crystal. And then he somehow won. If Lee had turned up to audition for Idol this year, I would have been surprised if he would have even made the top 13.

          • angelia reed says:

            has enayone heard the lee dewyze song featured on walking dead? really fantastic.

    • OhMy says:

      Chris was a 1,000,000 times better than Alex is.

      • syb says:

        I disagree. Kris had some interesting interpretations here and there, but not as consistently as Alex so far, and Alex seems to me a better singer. In addition, a lot of what Kris was credited with interpreting was borrowed from other singers’ covers. Maybe that’s also true with Alex, but I haven’t heard that yet.
        Alex is dorky and awkward. I don’t really care though. He’s good at what he does, and for me that’s what counts.

    • Timmah says:

      Not at all. There’s no way Kris Allen could have come up with as creative an arrangement as that.

      • Lo says:

        She Works Hard for the Money, Ain’t No Sunshine, What’s Going On, Heartless… I’m pretty sure Kris Allen did his fair share of creative arrangements.

        • J. May says:

          She Works Hard for the Money alone makes him a worthy winner. Not to mention everything else he did.

        • GuitarBlue says:

          Kris used crafty song choices to get to the top. He was good, not great, but played the game well.

        • Timmah says:

          I thought they were pretty vanilla, as was his guitar playing.

        • Temperance says:

          Kris didn’t do anything that didn’t bore me to Middle American vanilla tears. Worst Idol Ever.

          • Mary says:

            Different strokes for different folks. Sorry you were bored for me it was like music to my ears, loved his tone. I appreciated his arrangements, I hated the song SWHFTM but he somehow gave it new life. I also liked the fact that he did not use his guitar every week, wish Alex would do the same thing.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      I love Alex and unless he coughs up a spleen on stage I will continue to vote for him, but he does make smiling seem painful.

      • Sunny says:

        based on his profoundly distracting facial expression I’ve been assuming Alex was working with a time honored idol kidney stone issue but you make me think maybe he is about to cough up his spleen. he should get it over with – he doesn’t need the spleen but he does need more voters not frightened by his face

        • MamaLis says:

          Guys, guys! Yikes!

          I give you that it would befit Alex to smile more, but the guys cute in his own way. I think he’s just a profound introvert by nature. That and the whole brilliant thing. But w hen he does smile it’s warm and genuine and judging by the things he says, he appears to be a really nice guy!!

          Let’s remember it took Phil Phillips a LONG time to smile. People used to gripe about it all the time!!! Now granted, PP DID have a kidney stone/kidney problem so …. not a good comparison. But PP wasn’t/isn’t a “smiley” person by nature, either, and he’s as genuine as can be!

          I just hate when we start getting into contestants facial expressions when everything else is a “go.” Elise was another one……

          • LeahKittyS says:

            Up-vote!

          • Ben says:

            Completely agree. And, frankly, the idea of Kris as being the goalpost for ‘charismatic’ kinda makes me laugh. Kris was cute. That’s not the same as charismatic. His personality was not exactly the most explosive. Compared to others who went deep in his season, he was the least charismatic of the bunch. That’s not to say he lacked charisma, but neither does Alex lack it – its just that in both cases it was understated and took a back seat to he music – as it should.

          • chris says:

            I think Alex comes across as a likable guy with a sweet style that I would really enjoy hearing at a free concert. That way I wouldn’t feel bad when I left before it was over because I was bored.

      • JM says:

        I don’t know. I thought Alex looked much more relaxed tonight, and he DID smile! I wrote in my comment below that I think he’s finally believing that he could actually win this.

    • JM says:

      I never thought Kris was charismatic IN THE BEGINNING. He was just generic white bread to me. He won me over much later in the competition when he relaxed and started to those musical change-ups others have mentioned. Give Alex some time.

  6. Jim says:

    Jena and Alex for the final 2! Please make this happen Idol gods!

  7. *lg* says:

    Alex’s version of Don’t Speak made me so angry. It was all style and no substance. He did not express the lyrics at all, but that might have been because he forgot them.

    Jena, Caleb and Majesty for the top 3!

    • syb says:

      It’s funny but I had that angry reaction when Tim Urban calypsoed Under My Thumb. But I liked Alex’s Don’t Speak. I know the original was very dramatic and emotional, but for whatever reason, I could relate to Alex’s breezier take and I loved the phrasing. The criticism is fair, but I just liked it.

  8. Teeny Bikini says:

    Caleb, Jena, Alex, and Majesty were my Top 4 – in that order. I guess we’re on the same page tonight, Michael. For me, Sam never connects with a song – even when it’s perfect for his voice. Weird. This was a good show.

    • Flicker says:

      totally agree on sam. a great song choice, i thought what an opportunity for him to re-establish himself. but it was so flat. i still remember jamar roger’s version of that song… it was so good

      • Marta says:

        YES to Jamar Rogers…but I’ll go one step even more obscure– anybody remember Ju’not Joyner (Season 8). His semifinal rendition was the first time I ever enjoyed Hey There Delilah.

        • osborn1116 says:

          that rendition by Ju’not was like the coolest thing I ever heard a Plain White T’s song to ever sound like and I couldn’t help but think of that tonight when Sam was singing it

        • Danny says:

          @Marta- I remember that. He didn’t get put through because he wouldn’t sign off to allow Idol to reveal things in his background. The judges all praised him quite a bit. Then after that show the contestants had to sign another waiver of some sort. He felt that waiver violated his privacy so he didn’t sign it. Therefore he didn’t get put through.

    • Danny says:

      Hey hey hey, we get to minor disagree this time eh? I’m spot on w/ your top 2. I had Alex in the bottom 3 tonight. Not overall, but for tonight. I had Jessica and Malaya in a tie for the #3 spot. Overall though, this was a really good show.

    • JM says:

      Add Jessica, and you have my top 5. Not sure of the order yet…

    • David H says:

      I agree with you on Caleb and Alex. I thought Majesty has improved, but still needs work. As for Jena, I’m clearly in the minority. That song does not mesh with her vocal style. She’s got the range, but not the depth of an Amy Lee. That said, I think either Dexter or CJ are going home. Give the third chair to Jess or Sam. Both need a wake up call.

  9. Name That Tune says:

    Anyone who pulled out a guitar got an automatic 3 point deduction
    Anyone who sang without a guitar got a 3 points added to their score
    Anyone who sang Stevie Nicks like a karoeke bar singer got a 4 point deduction
    Anyone who choose the wrong song got a 4 point deduction
    Anyone who chose a safe song, even if it was rearranged got a 3 point deduction
    And anyone who sang Stevie Nicks without looking at Haley Reinhardt got a 4 point deduction

    My rankings are:
    Caleb
    Jena
    CJ
    Malaya
    Dexter
    Sam
    Jessica
    Majesty

    • Name That Tune says:

      Caleb
      Forgot Alex
      Jena
      CJ
      Malaya
      Dexter
      Alex
      Sam
      Jessica
      Majesty

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      This is hysterical. Majesty at the bottom. Geez.

      • Ben says:

        I honestly – well I guess I just don’t get the criticism of Majesty this week at all. She has had two quite poor weeks in a row, but today was a big comeback from my perspective. And people saying she was trying to belt? Where? This was far more like the more artistic Tightrope Majesty than the Let It Go Majesty (I do agree that she can’t belt, and doesn’t need to).

        I simply think the tide has turned on Majesty, because she was an early frontrunner. Same happened to Amber last year. But honestly, I think her performance was very strong tonight.

    • bobsaccamanna says:

      so you didn’t give Caleb a 4 point deduction for singing led zeppelin like a karoeke bar singer?

      • Name That Tune says:

        There’s a difference between karaoke and singing a song like a tribute to Led Zeppelin. HIs vocals were stellar. He chose the right song. He sang with the band. He was entertaining.
        You can choose a song that is boring, even if it fits your voice. Jessica made a boring song choice.

        • bobsaccamanna says:

          We can disagree on that, and trust me I don’t think Jess was great tonight, but what you call a tribute I saw as a poor imitation without anything close to the emotion that a Robert Plant vocal requires. Nothing against Caleb, I think in this group he is probably the most consistent singer and the most comfortable on stage performer.

          • Tom22 says:

            That was more than a retred sort of tribute but the even higher form of tribute of taking something and building on it…by the band… whole sweet j.. there was a sense of a message of destiny that just had to be told there…and that did come from the band but Caleb was the faithful Troubador calling out in front as the monster made it’s way through the city gates….. Caleb’s was a very strong performance but it wasn’t the time for the robert plant desperation because it would have taken away from the overall feel the 5 musicians he was performaing with were doing .. yeah.. it is a Singing show BUT how good a singer is has to do with what they do in creating the overall performance… if they’re listening, just like the band supports the singer, the singer can with their voice, draw attention to great instrumentals.
            … how they use their voice is Singing Skill and using their voice to emphasize the ensembles strenghts shows more skill than stepping on them. Skill does not mean more.. it means choices…. discretion is a talent. I’m sure you agree in principle but that we’re just seeing it differently ….yet I did want to express that.. Singers can’t be judged in a vacum….a singer Is a musician… unless a musician/singer is going to play unnacompanied who they work or lead those around them is a front and center portion of their skill set.

          • Name That Tune says:

            @Tom22, you can tell Caleb nailed that song by the excitement from Harry. He was loving the complete connection that Caleb had with the band. Only one of the 9 who understood what the theme of the week was.

  10. Mike says:

    “But without going all One Direction on you, that’s what makes them beautiful. Or in other words, it’s the growth-under-extreme-pressure arc that’s always made The House That Kelly Clarkson Built (With a Second Wing Furnished by Carrie Underwood) a home of wide-eyed, fun-for-the-whole-family thrills.” – I WANTED TO SAY THIS ALL SEASON LONG. COME ON IDOL HATERS, IF YOU DONT LIKE OR WANT IDOL IN YOUR LIFE – STOP WATCHING. IF YOU FEEL LIKE IT’S LACKLUSTER STOP WATCHING. :) IT’S A GOOD SEASON. YES, PERFORMANCE SHOWS WERE EITHER A HIT OR A MISS, BUT I STILL FREAKING LOVE IDOL. So stop the hate.

    • Name That Tune says:

      You are free to love Idol for as long as you like. Just remember that the guy over at 21st Century Fox who pays the bills says they’re scaling Idol back and it’s suffering from viewer fatigue.
      They have lived with The Simpsons for 25 years and it’s not a ratings monster. Expect MOTS for Idol.

      • MamaLis says:

        All that is true.
        HOWEVER, thankfully for Fox, it still brings in the most viewers of ANY Fox network shows, all week.

    • analythinker says:

      I don’t think any of us here hates Idol, if so, we wouldn’t be here. It’s just that type of love-hate feeling you inevitably get after a loooong term of relationship with “someone”.

      • Mike says:

        Yes and No. I think some people go here just to say “I hate idol” “it sucks” “ill never watch this season again” things like those even if they dont watch idol! TROLLS! I think it’s unfair they just wanna troll around.

        But I do agree with the love hate relationship. Really freaking hate that Idol week that freaking sucked. But totally love this week. Get it?

    • Danny says:

      @Mike- I agree. Tonight alone had almost as many good songs as last year did all year. Each song was different. It wasn’t the same sleepy arrangement for every singer/every song. The bad this year would have been middle of the pack last year. The good this year is better than the good last year.
      I’m not saying this is an all time great year. It’s had 2 or 3 really good shows already though. A few less than great too. It’s still early though. These kids are improving. I’d say give it a chance and it might rise a few notches.
      My favorite season of them all (11) didn’t have a show I really liked until the top 9. Then I enjoyed every one of them until top 4. So yea, let this show develop and see how it ends up.

      • Karen says:

        You’re entitled to your opinion but you are so wrong about last season. Candace, Kree, Devin, Angie and Janelle sang circles around this crew of contestants. Kree is an amazing and gifted singer. There is a reason why Wynonna Judd calls her the “next generation of greatness.”

        • LeahKittyS says:

          Up-vote. I would also add Burnell to that list, but that’s just me.

          • Ben says:

            I really liked Burnell too Leah!!! He was worthy of being in the top 13 in any year (unlike the rest of the boys). But people forget when criticising this years crop for minor technical deficiencies, that singers like Burnell and Janelle had them too!

        • Alex B says:

          Candice? She is a glorifide backup singer who was pimped like know ever before on this show. Did anyone in America buy a single one of her songs? No!

          Angie Miller was the only true star last season. The idiot judges nit picked everything she did the closer we got to the final in order to help their pre ordained Candice the victory.

          • karen says:

            You are so wrong and you obviously forgot that when the three judges last year asked to predict their two three contestants, only one, Mariah Carey, included Candice. Candice had to fight and claw her way to the final. They were pimping Amber, if you recall. Candice has done quite well for herself post Idol.

      • chris says:

        Were we watching the same show? Their were two decent performances–Caleb and Jena. The rest were forgettable. This is the first time in many years that I honestly don’t understand what Michael was listening to because his grades are so inflated. Alex and Majesty both got an A-??
        It was I’m with the band night yet Alex started alone and a capella just like he would any other week. And he wasn’t the only one to duck the theme. Only Caleb and Jena took the theme to heart and acted like a singer fronting a band.

  11. Vivi says:

    Still don’t get the Jena hype.

    • NikkiQM says:

      Me either. I don’t care for her voice at all. I love the type of music she chooses though.

      • analythinker says:

        I agree with you. I give her more credit simply because of her song choices.

      • Mary says:

        She does have a distinctive voice, one that you either like or don’t. I happen to be one that loves her voice.

        • deedee says:

          I think Jena sounds like Katy Perry with shades of Cher. I like her personality, but not so much her voice. Still, she’s quite a natural talent and is current looking and sounding. I could see her doing well post-Idol.

    • kate'shomesick says:

      Thank you. I think she is charismatic and seems like a lovely, talented person but there is SO much wrong with her vocal technique. I can’t believe that no one hears how damaging it is…but then again people think Christina Aguilera is a great technical singer…

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        As far as pop goes, Christina Aguilera is a phenomenal singer. What in holy tarnation are you basing your opinions off of?! And I don’t hear anything obviously wrong with Jena’s vocal technique. She does some weird stuff with vowels, but that’s the wonder of Jena as opposed to any sort of technical deficiency. Damaging? No. Not at all.

        • Ben says:

          @Angie – thank you (nice to see another person who knows what they are talking about challenging Kate on this one). Completely agree. Yeah, you need to get rid of technical deficiencies which could damage your instrument. For instance, when I was a pianist and percussionist, the critical ‘technical deficiencies’ were ones which could give me RSI, or damage my wrist. Otherwise, they fall into two categories 1) They make things sound bad or 2) They don’t. If they don’t, they don’t require fixing, because usually they are part of what makes your sound identifiable. I would definitely put Jena in this category.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Ah, you’re a pianist? When I was at my conservatory and had to take my two years of piano, I had this HORRIBLE teacher who pedantically insisted I had a rounded hand position, and it drove me nuts because I couldn’t play like that given the shape of my hands. After petitioning the school and fighting for weeks, I got rid of her and got someone who knew what he was doing to teach me. I get exactly what you’re talking about. I haven’t closely analyzed Jena’s tone, but I don’t personally hear anything glaringly wrong. She has some weird idiosyncratic things she does with diction, but that’s not technique so much as it is style.

          • Ben says:

            @Angie – nothing worse that that. I remember the first time I had a Timpani tutor and he watched me play. He said ‘you have an amazing sound, clearly a very good ear. Thats a very strange technique (I had self taught myself to audition) but we will work with it’. And we did, because it didn’t compromise the health of my arms or wrists. It was a valuable lesson – and it definitely applies across all instruments, including voice.

        • kate'shomesick says:

          What am I basing my opinions on? Every vocal teacher that I know thinks Aguilera is nuts…it’s not that she’s NOT a good singer…what she does is damaging her voice- her belt is pretty much just screaming because she pulls her larynx up and uses her vestibular folds (which is never a good idea except MAYBE if your singing metal stuff…)…it’s basically the worst you can do..you can hear it too…the vibrato is more of a tremolo now and she doesn’t have a lot of control over it anymore (also the intonation is getting worse)….someone who also does that is Alicia Keys. With her you can clearly hear the toll it’s been taking on her vocal chords…or Adele who also involves throat muscles that shouldn’t be used (she’s already had major problems and surgery). With all of them there is also an imbalance between the air-intake and the breath support aand diaphragm support. Wich is why sometimes the vocals sound pushed. Why shouldn’t you do that? To keep your voice healthy….so you can have a long career. Aguilera seems to have vocal chord made out of steel- every singer I know with risque technique like that has had problems with vocal nodes (so many examples…). Mariah Carey has those as well by the way. Compare videos of old and new performances- you can clearly hear the deterioration…

          It’s not valid to compare those singers and Jena to someone like …Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan pretty much only sings with speech-level quality….his music is completely about songwriting….there is no vocal acrobatics involved…so he is actually not able to do too much damage to his voice…

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            If you don’t think Bob Dylan doesn’t use vocal acrobatics then you are not paying attention, or are not familar enough with his music to be making that assessment. Bob Dylan uses his voice like another instrument to convey the emotion of what he is trying to say in his lyrics. Now you may not like his voice , and that’s valid, but go listen to some of the songs on Blood on the Tracks, or Infidels, those are not songs sung with speech level quality. It’s an acquired taste, much like Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, or Springsteen. I have to say with all due respect, you really are a pompous ass on the subject of singing, “vestibular folds” seriously?? Bruce Springsteen has been ravaging his vocal cords in concerts since 1973, and it could be argued that he is actually a better singer now, with more range and more control than he had when he started out 40 years ago.

          • kate'shomesick says:

            You misunderstood me. I LOVE Bob Dylan but his singing clearly isn’t the focal point of his music (how much do you listen to lyrics when …say Beyonce sings them- granted most of them she didn’t write). He actually is a pretty decent “speech level” singer…he doesn’t belt….he doesn’t mix too much he doesn’t sing with classical technique…”Speech level singing” is a term for a singing technique…it’s not an insult. Springsteen is on a technical level actually pretty solid…he doesn’t push too much…he always had that raspy tone to his voice…so here it might just be genetics and a little experimentation. Thanks for calling me a pompous jerk for knowing my stuff….I’m going to tell all my fellow music students and professors and teachers that they are all pompous jerks for liking good, healthy singing technique and being able to name problems some singers (and actually we ourselves all have and had)…

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            it wa spompous ass and ok I apologize, but, how much do you think the majority of the concert going, record buying public cares about the kind of technical stuff you are talking about here, I guess that’s my point. And actually I always listen to the lyrics first, I am attracted to singer/songwriters first and foremost. Even Beyonce, on some of her songs. But again, apologies for the pompous ass remark, sometimes these blogs make me a litle crazy, if you love Dylan you can’t be all bad:).

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Ah, ok. I see what you’re getting at now, Kate. And I actually agree with you to a certain extent. You’re referring to the belt, and yes, belting is horrendous for your voice. I myself am a voice teacher, and I had a female student who asked me to help her learn to belt, and I told her I can’t in good conscience allow that technique in my studio. I run into that problem with all the Idol hopefuls and Broadway folks. But all that being said, they’re necessary evils of those music forms. It doesn’t mean I have to like it, but I just accept it for what it is and move on. Jena’s vibrato has the right speed and pitch variation, so i don’t hear any obvious problems as of yet.

    • marie says:

      I acknowledge she has talent. But I just can’t warm up to her – she does nothing for me. And there’s something about her pronunciation that simply grates on my ears. Can’t help it; that’s just how I react to her.

    • Christine says:

      Me neither. Her vocals have been awful the past two weeks, she frequently runs out of breath, often sounds flat and has a really annoying fake/affected quality like she’s trying to sing with some kind of foreign accent. Ugh.

    • Ash says:

      Thank you! I like her she is a cool girl and I love her song choices but for me it always sounds like she is pushing everyone is calling majesty on her breathing but not a damn soul has said that jena is forcing it I’ll taking breathing over forcing any day of the week

    • Nedsdag says:

      ITA! She rubbed me the wrong way as soon as she dropped her last name. To me, she’s just a talented version of Mikayla Gordon.

      • rio says:

        She rubbed me wrong when she expected people to pronounce Jena “Gina.”

        • Ben says:

          Yeah, of course. Jena shouldn’t be treated like a person because her parents spelled her name differently. And it’s completely her own fault… what should she expect? She should just put up with it and take it! (If people can’t get over Jena’s name, it says a whole lot more about how shallow and intolerant they are than it says about Jena).

          • rio says:

            If she can drop her last name, she can change the spelling of her first name so that she doesn’t have to spend a lifetime correcting everybody who says it. Just one letter would do: Jina. (I’m not blaming her, BTW, but what were her parents thinking? )

          • Mary says:

            @Rio, spelling it like you suggest would actually be pronounced totally different. I have to agree with Ben, how many times does a girl have to say her correct name. I don’t care how it is spelled she repeatedly told everyone how to say it. Actually I think it shows stupidity on the person who keeps screwing it up. Would you change your name because someone couldn’t pronounce it. I might be wrong but I think she dropped her last name for the show only.

    • Blinged Up says:

      Me either! Thought I was the only one.

    • Artybarty says:

      Same, same. I am not a fan. Jessica has a far more unique voice and presence. Of all the females, Jessica seems to me to be the only one who has the entire package. Jena — teenie bopper or such. Bla. Favs — Alex, Caleb, Jessica and C.J. for what he could be.

      • Mary says:

        Sorry how can you say CJ for what could be. He has had several weeks now to correct his problem and every week Harry says the same thing. You have to sing in TUNE. It is obvious he doesn’t understand or cannot correct it. It is a pet peeve of mind when people keep voting him through thinking it is going to change. AI is too fast paste to be able to help him. He need leave and get some professional one on one training if he is serious about a career.

      • Foxfire says:

        Agree about Jessica and CJ. I keep hoping everything will come together with CJ and he will sing some great country songs with his R&B inflections. If he could just straighten out his problems I think he could have a nice little career but maybe it’s going to take longer than his short time on Idol to do this. But he is persistent in trying to improve his performances and I do want to see more of him so I’m hoping he doesn’t go home tonight. I think another girl will probably leave tonight.

        • Name That Tune says:

          Sometimes the technical musicians in the crowd forget artists like Bob Dylan, who has never had a great voice or great technical skills. But does anyone doubt that people like his music and his sound? Not saying that CJ is Bob Dylan, but he has a certain presence that could be successful if he taps into that soulful side just a little bit more. Which is what Keith is pushing for. It’s Harry who’s fussing about the technique

          • Foxfire says:

            I hear you Name That Tune and agree! CJ has always touched my heart on quite a few of his better performances because of his soulful rendering of country songs. Sometimes he makes me cringe though. But yes, I’m glad you made that comparison to Dylan because that is very appropriate to the type of performer CJ is and I can see him having some type of career in music even if it’s gospel music. He has the ability to touch hearts and that is a great gift.

        • MamaLis says:

          I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that CJ is in fact, not leaving tonight.

          Contrary to the ever-wise Mr. Slezak, I predict in fact, that it is DEXTER who will be leaving us tonight.

          • Foxfire says:

            You could be right Mamalis about Dexter going home. But there’s something else to consider with CJ and Dexter leaving. Since Ben left all of the people who voted for Ben are now probably supporting and voting for Dexter, CJ and Jessica. They might be the reason the inferior performing Dex and CJ are still around. For that reason I think there is a chance that Sam will be leaving. or one of the females.

  12. analythinker says:

    Haven’t read any spoilers or tweets during the show, but when I saw Michael’s hashtag #wakemeupinside, I KNEW Jena was the one singing that song.

    I have tried to like Jena (I still call her Jen-na), but I just can’t force myself to.

  13. Wesley says:

    A lot of great stuff happening tonight! Caleb and Jena are just killing the competition, how they don’t end up AT THE LEAST top 5 seems absurd. Alex also, totally digging that reggae/jazzed up version of Don’t Speak! While I know everyone wants an edge, and it’d be nice, I’m kinda fine with Alex just being Alex at this point. He’s super consistent, he delivers great performances, he changes things up that you wouldn’t think of and makes the competition INTERESTING. If that’s all I get, then fine. I am an avid supported of creativity, carbon copies are no fun after awhile. While the people I was watching with said Majesty was all over the place, I watched it back and found really not much pitch wise too wrong with the song! I know there were a few notes that were a bit flat, but what people need to realize is that it’s a Florence and the Machine song! She tends to sing sharp or flat on certain notes to not just add a dissonance to the song but to make it original to her own style, and Majesty did a fantastic version of that song I believe. Malaya’s tone might not be ready to dive into the music industry, but she pretty much is doing a great job with song choice and finding songs that fit her. If she is the dark horse than so be it, I haven’t gotten any Runaway Baby flashbacks as of yet. Sam I’m super disappointed in. He chose the wrong song AGAIN. I rewatched his audition and his hollywood performaces recently and he sounded so great on those tunes, and he’s pretty much just coasting at this point. Hey There Delilah, really? That’s the song that you want to do for band week? I just don’t get it and Im unfortunately off the bandwagon now. Just because you’re cute and can sing on pitch and play a guitar doesn’t mean you can just give whatever performances every week. Even with past WGWG winners, they had DEFINING moments that showed why they deserved to win (or maybe not win, in the cases of Haley and Crystal,the title but is well deserving) and Sam has not brought an ounce of that to the live shows.

  14. Adam Reinaldy says:

    Jessica’s performance was at least an A imo. The crown should’ve been handed to her already. I was pessimistic with Jena’s because I hate Evanescence and that song + the pimp spot she received brought me back to the nightmare that was Angie Miller, but she did a good job, still didn’t convert me into being a fan of the song, though.

    Favorites in particular order:
    1. Jess
    2. Caleb
    3. Malaya
    4. Jena (could be number three but the song brought her down a spot)
    5. Majesty

    Alex did well, but that Jack Johnson-esque arrangement was sort of cringe-worthy. Bottom three: Sam, CJ, Dexter.

    • Foxfire says:

      YAY! Another Jessica fan! There has to be a lot more of us out there since she’s never been in the bottom 3 too. I hope she sings more Stevie Nicks songs, love her voice.

      • LeahKittyS says:

        I vote for Jess every single week. Apparently it’s working. My boyfriend hates reality TV and has never watched Idol, but I showed him the video of her singing “The Crow and the Butterfly,” and he was really impressed.

        • Foxfire says:

          Jessica is the only one so far that I would actually spend money on to buy her music. I wish I had a copy of that CD she was selling out of the trunk of her car.

          • Filiboy says:

            Ditto. I’m raping the repeat button on her performance video on Youtube. I’ve never been so invested to a contestant since Haley. I would kill for studio recordings of her originals right now.

        • Ben says:

          @Leah – you deserve a guy who will watch idol for you.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            Nah, it’s not a big deal. We have other shows in common. And he watches vicariously through my musical fan fictions. I’ve shared them all with him and he loves them.

          • Adam Reinaldy says:

            Are you hitting on her? Lol

            I never get why people deem Jessica boring. I personally see what many find “meh” as pensive, which is a great trait for a singer-songwriter. It feels vulnerable without being showy, and demonstrates a restraint that makes her even more intriguing. While people like Caleb are an open book, Jessica is one of those who effortlessly evokes mystery (not that I have anything against the former. Just trying to come up with a comparison, here). Yes, she does come off as complacent with her song choices, but as far as delivery goes, I found her the most captivating out of all contestants this season.

          • Foxfire says:

            Adam, I suspect that a lot of the male viewers find her sexy and alluring. She makes people watch her every move just waiting to see if she will open herself up to the audience. I love Jessica because there is no artifice to her or fakeness. She’s the real deal and doesn’t pretend to be something she’s not. She can even get away with singing Rhiannon while not looking bad for her efforts.

          • Ben says:

            Lol I wasn’t hitting on Leah or knocking her boyfriend – just saying (and I think this is the way Leah took it); “Leah, get him to sit his butt down and watch idol with you” ;)

      • Jaszy says:

        Yes! Jessica is where it’s at! I LUV her! Yep, she’s joined the ranks of contestants I’m obsessed with (Haley Reinhart, Elise Testone, Angela Miller)….I love her personality as well. I do feel, however, that she needs to give us more and push harder on the vocals. I love her too much to have to see her go home over playing it safe. She’s better than some of the performances she’s given so far. I really believe that she can win this competition. I peg her and Jena as the last two girls remaining. I want Jessica to win, with Jena coming in second place. Caleb, third. Alex, fourth. Malaya, fifth. I don’t even really care about the other three boys to place them. They should’ve never made it to the top 13. Sam is awful; I think the only reason he’s still in the competition is because of teeny bopper girls. C.J. is always singing too sharp. His song last night was sharp from beginning till the end. and Dexter is just a generic, boring country dude. Blah!
        JESSICA MEUSE FOR THE WIN!!!!!!!!!!!.
        I really don’t see her being “a broke-ass musician” anymore.

        • Foxfire says:

          Great comments Jaszy! I have high hopes for Jessica too and I have confidence in her being able to improve. Did you notice last night on the results show she was smiling and connecting more with the camera? I like her new outfits and look as well. She even started carrying herself with a little more confidence. If she continues to grow and improve I can see her winning it all because I do love her voice and with the right material she could be a country music star and maybe a crossover success as well.

  15. Owen says:

    I have a very sad, scary feeling Majesty is going to be in the Bottom and might possibly go home. She performed second, is now thought of as one of “worst” (two successive trips to the Bottom 3 will do that) and though she was way better tonight, I don’t think it was the A grade performance Slezak gave it. Dexter will be there as well. Malaya? She was better than Slezak graded her and has become a fan favorite not just from two weeks of great showings but by virtue of her darling personality (she’s 16, every single actor/singer/dancer wanted to be a STAR at 16–including Harry Connick Jr!) Who will get that third stool? CJ? Maybe…but this might be the first time we see the talented Alex, due mostly to his number one slotting, but somewhat do to his pinched faced lack of song connection, in the Bottom Three.

    • gracelessk says:

      I thought Majesty was much better, but vocally she was all over the place. Some of those notes were just.. oof… But it was so good to see her confident. Definitely mid B territory, however.

    • Mary says:

      Majesty did do better this week, but I don’t think she did enough to stay out of the bottom three.
      If she is voted off I do not want the judges to save her. Being in the bottom for two or three weeks means America doesn’t want her. I would pick CJ to go but him not in the bottom last week makes me believe he has peeps.

  16. Wesley says:

    Ranking wise this week: Caleb, Jena, Alex, Majesty, Malaya, Jessica, Dexter, CJ, Sam
    Overall rankings: Jena, Alex, Caleb, Malaya, Majesty, Jessica, CJ, Sam, Dexter

  17. Jo Ann says:

    Majesty was a mess tonight. She cant belt. Someone make her stop. Best was Jess and Caleb. Worst was Dexter.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      I keep hoping the “old” Majesty will come back. I know I’ve heard her hit high notes – where did that person go? She doesn’t “have to” be a belter, if one she had a mentor to tell her [Randy?!!!!]

    • osborn1116 says:

      I actually rewatched a few of performances and she really can not belt. Even her audition, she couldn’t really get those high notes clear and I still can’t get Fix You out of my head which makes me have nightmares at time.

  18. Khs says:

    Very entertaining show tonight! Loved Jena and Caleb. I just don’t get Majesty; I have not enjoyed her performances in weeks. The bottom 3 has to include CJ and Dexter. Keith’s dig at Harry regarding the smattering of claps was hilarious!! Go Keith! And I agree with you, Slezak. Is this the most talented group of conteastants? No. But is this one of the more entertaining seasons? I’d say so.

  19. Z says:

    Caleb, Jena, Malaya – good
    Jessica, Alex, Majesty – fair
    Sam, Dexter, CJ – poor

    Not really sure who among these 9 is ready for a career…maybe Caleb but that’s a big if. Overall the level of talent this year is below average as many have pointed out previously and that’s particularly unfortunate given the ongoing collapse in the ratings. Michael’s comments aside, we really needed an above average group to try and arrest the negative momentum but instead we got the opposite IMO and it makes me feel like the show is fading away. I appreciate the efforts to make improvements like the new judging panel, improved banter and kidding around, new stage and band, trying things like the live voting results (which was quietly pulled a few weeks back), etc., but it doesn’t seem like enough. The show really needs a strong finish to the season.

    • Elizabeth says:

      I think it’s entertaining because there’s no clear front runner. Heck, there’s not even a clear top 3! Almost any of these contestants could win and it wouldn’t shock me.

      • Lynn says:

        I think there is a clear top 3: Caleb, Alex and Jena. I would be in complete shock if that is not our top 3. What will happen with Jessica is anybody’s guess. You really wouldn’t be shocked to see Dexter, CJ, Sam, Majesty or Malaya crowned the next American Idol?

  20. RTW says:

    Did someone slip these kids some Red Bull? Because I think they finally woke up and realized they were on American Idol! I thought it was the best show yet. It looked like everyone attempted to up their game for the most part. But I really got to hand it to Keith and especially Harry…no matter how well someone did, NOBODY got a free pass. It’s like anti-Season 10. Best critiques I heard on this show in a long time!

    • Laura Mipsome says:

      AB-SO-LUTELY on the judges. I was positively floored tonight by how insightful and honest they all were (“all” being the operative word there).

    • C says:

      I can’t believe how much better the judges are this year. It’s worth watching the show just to watch them. They genuinely seem to like each other and enjoy each other’s company. Even JLo is making more sense then she ever has before. It’s like night and day between last season and this year. Now, if we just had Adam Lambert on there…….

  21. Stormy says:

    Zircons in a compost heap. That’s my assessment of tonight’s show. No precious gems, just a few low wattage sparkles. Caleb, Jessica and Jena were good [not great]. The rest was a series of mediocre performances for varying reasons. Malaya started out sensationally until she couldn’t resist her signature screeching towards the end. Dexter may as well just sing the same song from now on until he goes home. Who would know the difference? CJ can’t carry a tune to save his life. Majesty is still gasping her way through a field of butterflies. And Alex and Sam are beige and ecru. Two shades of the same boring color.

    • bobsaccamanna says:

      think you pretty much got all that right Stormy, I can go to bed, Zircons in a compost heap pretty much says it all, especially insightful on Dexter, when he is up there singing the only thing going through my mind is “9 hundred million auditions and he is the top 15″? WTF

    • Foxfire says:

      I’m afraid I have to mute all of Malaya’s performances because I know there will be a whole lotta shrieking going on and I’ve had enough of it. It’s getting to the point of being painful. Hope she will be leaving us tomorrow.

  22. Sarah says:

    I always expect you to grade Jena a few points higher than I would, but ranking her so high this week I just don’t get. She was so wobbly whenever she wasn’t just yell-singing.

    My grades:
    Alex A- Really dug the arrangement but his phrasing was a tad odd at times
    Majesty B.. for Big improvement but too shaky to justify an A
    Dexter B- OK
    Malaya A- Most of it was great but she sounds like she has a cold some times
    Jessica B+ Pretty straight forward cover, wanted more
    Sam B.. He sounds great, just don’t look at his awkwardness
    CJ C- Awe, poor CJ, lacks control
    Caleb A+.. I’m not usually a fan of his but that was pretty great.
    Jena B… would be lower but it ended pretty great

  23. Akash says:

    “can we stop pretending it’s the worst?”

    I’d like to know then Slezak, which season is the worst? Cuz one of them has to be right? I’m not saying all these kids are terrible, but yeah collectively, this is the worst group. If you disagree, fine. But tell us which group from which season you think WAS the worst.

    • Alex says:

      i agree and I found that comment unusually condescending by Michael. I think this is up there with Season 9 as competitors for worst ever in terms of overall mediocrity. I think AI9 was worse because aside from Crystal there was no talent in the rest of the pack that could match Jena/Majesty/Whomever you like. Why snort and b.s. – as you point out one of them has to be the worst. I know Michael’s adoration of Candace and Kree made last season glorious for him but I was bored, very bored – as were many others.

      • Bonnie says:

        Even though Candice can sing better than anybody from this season, this season is still miles better than last year. Maybe you forgot how bad the boys were or how many ballads were sung or how toxic the judges table was. You also can’t forget how stale the themes were last year. This season is definitely NOT the worst. I would rank it around the middle.

        • MC says:

          My problem is that I love ballads when they are performed with confidence and panache. Candice did a great job of that and Angie imo was actually underrated. She was too easily dismissed as “pageanty,” but she rarely delivered a bad or emotionally indifferent performance. Janelle also had some good moments. Devon among the boys was actually better technically than any of the boys from this season. He did have some problems connecting to a lyric, though. There was plenty of mediocrity last season, but I never hesitated to watch every show because Candice was consistently brilliant imo and Angie was an exciting, dynamic performer.

          • Foxfire says:

            I agree with you about Angie being underrated and felt she should have won. Beautiful voice.
            Wonder what she’s up to now?

          • DonB says:

            Foxfire,

            Angie is living in LA and commuting to Nashville from time to time. She just co-wrote a song with Lee DeWyze if I am not mistaken and it sounds like she is about to go overseas for some type of performance(s). Maybe taking Jesse J up on her offer. She also has a lot of Phillipine love and is close to Jessica Sanchez, I think.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            Really? I had not heard that. Awesome!

          • Foxfire says:

            Thanks DonB, Angie’s just a beautiful person inside and out. Best of luck to her. I hope she gets a recording contract someday because I would buy her music as well.

          • Jaszy says:

            To Foxfire
            YES! Finally someone, other than me, who thinks Angie should’ve won last season!
            She hands down should’ve won that season. Ughh, it still upsets me that she went home RIGHT before the finale. One more stage left, and she got CUT! My stomach dropped when she was eliminated. I couldn’t think about anything else for weeks, I was so upset. You’d think I lost a pet or something. I lived for Angela Miller every single week and then she was taken just like that, another victim sabotaged by Kree’s sob story. Angie was…….truly an angel. To me, she had it all: she was GORGEOUS, had a wonderful personality, could kill it vocally, etc.
            Okay am I obsessed or what? I need to get a life. LOL…
            but, SERIOUSLY
            What happened to all the love that she was getting after her amazing performance of her original song? Do people really not remember how good Angie was on the show?
            I mean, Keith called her an angel. Nikki said that “trumpets should sound when you (Angie) walk in to a room, lil girl.”
            I mean now, when commenters mention Season 12 contestants, they focus on Candice and Kree, I hardly ever hear Angie, unless it’s to say how awful she was, when in all seriousness, she should’ve been handed the crown when she sang You Set Me Free. How is that “awful?” Angie had one of the best voices ever last season!
            Oooh, you done got me started Foxfire (I keep wanting to type Firefox)…
            I could go on and on about Angela Miller. She was fantastic.

          • Foxfire says:

            Jaszy, I’m just as puzzled as you are as to what happened to Angie last year. She did sound like an angel to me as well. I’m hoping that all the abuse and vitriol she had to endure last year has not shaken her confidence and that she will continue to seek a career in music. Just a lovely girl and I really hated the way she was treated. Still hoping she gets a record contract because that is one CD I would definitely purchase.

      • bobsaccamanna says:

        but this season is probably the worse because it’s season 9 except there isn’t anyone even close to Crystal, and as much as I thought Lee often was off key or as randy would say “pitchy” when Lee was good, he was much better than anyone so far this season.

    • MC says:

      Exactly. Comments about Simon (once upon a time e1 loved him btw), Kara and Ellen are not on point. The issue is with this batch of contestants. Any worthwhile refutation must single out another batch of contestants from another season.

    • Michael Slezak says:

      Point well taken. Now you’ve got me wondering if it’s time for a gallery ranking all 13 season in terms of overall talent. I think it’s still too early to determine where the Season 13 kids rank vs. the other completed seasons — maybe 3-4 weeks from now will offer a clearer picture — but I suppose I should have made that clearer in my intro. (In fact, perhaps I’ll do that as I update the recap.) Appreciate your POV in any event.

      • Akash says:

        Thanks for your reply Michael. You’re right that it’s probably unfair to compare this group to completed seasons. My overall point though is that just as every season Randy says it’s the best group ever — or how J-Lo tells every singer she likes, “You’re the bet voice here” — terms like “best” and “worst” are relative. For example, this could be a talented group and still be the worst group if all the other groups were simply more talented.

      • Blinged Up says:

        I don’t think it’s even close to the worst season.
        You know what I think is wrong? I think lack of those goofy, much-maligned themes are keeping us from getting the “moments” of seasons past. The contestants aren’t forced to step out of their box this year.
        Additionally, they are getting real criticism this year, and it’s making viewers feel the contestants aren’t doing as well as in previous seasons. No one is telling them they’re beautiful each time they sing.

        • MC says:

          Look back at season nine. Didi Benami and Siobhan received plenty of criticism (probably too much), but anyone who really paid attention to that season remembers those two as extremely talented singers/performers. Siobhan was going to deliver epic performances with or without themes. It just so happens that Siobhan had one of Idol’s best moments with “Paint It Black.” Search YouTube for Didi’s “Terrified” duet with Jason Reeves and it’s one of the best things any Idol contestant has ever done imo. Katie Stevens was very raw that season, but now knows how to control her powerful voice and she is really good these days. Season nine, in retrospect, was one of my favorite seasons and I’m not a huge fan of Lee DeWyze. In fact, I didn’t vote for him once. It’s not always about the winners.

          • Ben says:

            I have to admit I forgot Siobhan was on season 9 in my other comment. She is the one who should have made the finals instead of Lee.

          • Mary says:

            It is easy to voice an opinion of talent against previous years because they have already been through it. Every season has had talented and lets say less talented contestants in them. At the time of each season we all complain about certain contestants. Many of the ones shocked us on the tour or even after the season if they produce music. For me season 9 was dull due to the lack of diversity in the contestants. Plus coming off a stellar season 8 and the producers picked to many low key singers with guitars. Don’t get me wrong I love me wgwg that applies to guys and girls, but they all blended together. This season is leaning toward the same as 9 but we have Caleb and Jena to offset it. Sam is like a singing statue along with Alex. Both have talent but for me not very interesting. NO instruments should of been allowed last night. Fronting a band means just that. Alex and Sam sound the same every week. I think Harry has been reading the blogs because he told Alex what I and many others have been saying, Move da..it.
            I guess we are never happy, we want it all, green inexperience singers showing growth but professional enough to entertain us.

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            Exactly right MC..

          • MC says:

            Oops. I forgot to mention Casey James from season nine. He almost always gave a good performance and he had a couple of “wow” moments. Crystal was usually solid and Lee had some good weeks. It was the singers who finished 3rd- 9th (in season nine), however, who really grabbed my attention.

      • Tom22 says:

        I’m not big into ranking personally – I don’t mind calling out some of my favorites (even if I miss a couple) .. but, putting them in order is like ranking my favorite kid…. judging the order of what I think is average or poor is even worse because, for me, the whole point is that I didn’t connect with them. If I didn’t connect, how could I really even know how bad they were because I didn’t hear what other people liked about some of them.
        .
        As for ranking the seasons.. even if you wanted to take a stab at it, you’d need to define the question before you answered it.
        .
        Different questions would give me different answers.
        .
        Which seasons had the strongest final 4 singers?
        .
        Which seasons produced the most memorable performances over the life of the season?
        .
        Which season had the strongest contestants in the top 7,
        .
        which had the most weak contestants that had no place on live TV in the top 12?
        .
        Which season had judges you couldn’t bear to watch? or
        .
        which season had the best/worst songs that contestants got stuck with week after week?
        .
        Maybe other questions you could come up with were more important to you .
        .
        I get that people would try to combine those things but what weight ?

        .
        Choose a list of 5 criteria then go through the 13 seasons and assign them to a Top, Middle, and Bottom in each criteria.

        Show your work in each category and, then you can show more of your reasoning and the discussion doesn’t turn into a debate about what to value as much as specific assesments in a category.
        .
        Then, if you want you could go Seaon C was in my Top in 7 our of 7 categories.. season D and season F were in my top group for 6 out of 7 categories …seasons e g and k had 5 of 7, j 3 of 7 and lowly seasons L an M didn’t make my top group in any of the categories..
        .
        Somthing like that would be subjective but not an open ended shot in the dark.
        .
        It would be fun to see and.. it would probably even help you balance things yourself It would give the bottom answer by default – the losers would have just not had anything for you to give them credit for, rather than deciding on which ones deserved attack (which could be kind of cruel to hit someone when they were down … “hey , they were better , I get it, can I get back to my day job now”? ).

    • Bonnie says:

      It’s nowhere near the worst. Season 2 was pretty bad. Last year? Thank God for Candice. At least this year the boys are decent. Did you forget how bad the boys were last year? Everybody this year can blow Lazaro away. Season 9? Thank God for Crystal. This season isn’t that bad and I don’t get the hate. It’s like each of them have to deliver a moment every week and can be no less than perfect, or fans will crucify them.

      • Mary says:

        Plus the fact what I think is a moment someone else will say no way. I don’t know if last night was consider a moment but darn I really enjoyed Jena and Caleb. Jessica entertained me as well.

        • Mark says:

          I enjoyed the hell out of Caleb and Jena also. Probably the two best performances of the season so far. But I couldn’t call either of those a “moment”, since neither one brought anything new to the song. They were both straight up imitations of the originals. I need more before I can convey “moment” status.

    • Danny says:

      @Akash- Last year. I’ve been watching since Season 4. I’d rank them 11 and 8 as my top 2. In the middle I’d have 10, 7, 4. I’d have 5 and 6 a notch below that. Until last year I had 9 bringing up the rear. Even then though I liked Season 9. It had Siobhan (top 2 or 3 all time fav), Crystal (top 10 or 12 all time fav) and Didi my favorite voice ever, even if she wasn’t a great singer. So while Season 9 was my worst year until last, I still enjoyed it.
      ..
      Last year my favorite was Janelle. Janelle would be maybe top 40 or 50 all time. There wasn’t one song all year during the live shows that I would have given a standing ovation to. There were only 2 good weeks the whole year. The week Orianthi was on and if I remember it right, top 5 week.

      Candice was obviously the winner. I feel it’s like she won by default. The only song I remembered her singing off the top of my head was “I who have nothing” which was done better by Jordan and Haley. Then when Sam did Come Together last week I was reminded that Candice did that one too. I’ll freely concede Candice sang it better than Sam. Sam’s not one of the better singers this year though. Candice didn’t sing it as well as Kris, Crystal, or Carly. So when your best singer is always getting beat by singers from other seasons on comparable songs, it’s not a good sign.

      Candice, Janelle, and Amber all tried out in Season 11 but got cut. I feel those cuts were correct because if any of those 3 had made it to the live shows in Season 11 they would have been in about 8th place.

      This year isn’t great. I’m not saying it is. It’s still early though. At the moment I’d have it at about Season 9 level. There’s no one near as good as Siobhan or Crystal, but the bottom of this year is ahead of the bottom of Season 9 by quite a bit. It beats last year though. Tonight alone there were almost as many good songs as the whole season last year. There’s been 2-3 good shows and we’re only 5 weeks into it. Last year had 2 good shows the whole season.

    • Lynn says:

      It is the worst season according to the numbers, the Nielsens, that is, the only ones that really matter in the business. Will it be formally “the worst season” when it drops AI out of the top 20, as it most likely will next week?

      • Bonnie says:

        Lower ratings does not mean the season is the worst. Season 11 had lower ratings than 9, but that doesn’t make it worse.

        • Danny says:

          @Bonnie- Exactly. Season 11 had the end of Season 10 getting it off to a less than great start. Say what ya will about Haley, 3 million less people watched the Final 2 than the Final 3. People were peeved at Randy + Lopez and stopped watching the show. Season 11 had to deal with that backlash. IMO Season 11 was the best year. 7 quality contestants who would all have been worthy winners. That’s hard to top.

          • Filiboy says:

            Can you back that up with a credible statistical record? I would jump over the moon if that’s true.

          • Lynn says:

            Well, hopefully Fox will be able to sell that to advertisers after May sweeps, otherwise the show is toast. Maybe try: Hey, listen guys, just because we lost 10 million viewers from last year doesn’t mean we had a bad season, doesn’t mean it’s the worst season ever.” Besides, we’re not talking about “lower ratings”; we’re talking about ratings in the basement. Idol will drop out of the top 20 in the Nielsens in the next few weeks, the Thursday show for sure, and if that isn’t related to contestants, how else would you explain it? Here’s the sad facts: Thursday, 3/20 8.4 million viewers; Wednesday, 3/19 9.8 million viewers. Only one Idol show with a smaller audience (according to The Associated Press) and that was during the summer of 2002, season 1. The previous week, 3/12 wednesday, 10.3 million viewers.

          • Name That Tune says:

            @Lynn
            It’s worse this week. Show lost 500,000 viewers from last week’s performance show and 6 million viewers from January premiere. It’s had a 40% loss in total viewers since January, and is down 5 million viewers since last year, which everyone says was so bad.
            It’s very likely by the first week of April we will see the results show drop to less than 7.5 million viewers. And that will officially make it the least watched show in Idol history.
            The big question is: Will Coke and Ford still provide sponsorship for the show next year? Because that is what killed The X Factor.

        • Name That Tune says:

          @Bonnie
          It’s obvious that there is a core group of viewers for Idol that will remain as passionate about the show as they were in Season 1. You can tell that from the number of responses that have been posted here to the last night’s recap.
          But a 40% drop in viewers indicates that a large portion of the audience (15 million in January, soon to be less than 9 million) are not enjoying this season’s version of the show. The show is losing 500,000 viewers per week – 1.6 million since the end of February. The finale is in the third week of May. If the hemorrhaging doesn’t stop, the show could easily be down to less than 7 million viewers for the performance night by the time we reach the finale.
          If you put out a product that people don’t like, something is wrong. If it’s not the judges, it’s the talent.

      • Tom22 says:

        I too need to look at the ratings to decide if I like what I’m watching.. how long do i need to wait to see if I enjoyed it? when do they release them?

        • Name That Tune says:

          Usually posted here or on TV By The Numbers by 11:30 am Eastern Time the morning after the show. Updated within 24 hours with corrected numbers.

      • Mary says:

        You can’t judge by the Nielsen ratings. All TV shows are declining, not just AI. People have changed the way they watch TV , plus not everyone is a Nielsen rating. It really is subjective on what season everyone thinks is the best. AI is old naturally is will decline. Unfortunately the producers didn’t try to keep it current because there was no competition. Now that there is they cannot undo it.

        • Name That Tune says:

          You can if you compare what a #1 show looks like in today’s numbers. The #1 show is The Big Bang Theory. It never comes in at less than 15 million viewers. And 15 million viewers is where Idol started at in January.
          If it had sustained its numbers, we wouldn’t be hearing a cautionary CEO at Fox preparing the shareholders for a decline in profits.

    • Ben says:

      I know there are some who disagree, but Michael (like I think the vast majority of people) all agree that season 9 was the worst. But lets not forget Carmen Rasmussen came 6th in season 2, and there wasn’t much below her… and Jasmine Trias came 3rd in season 3. In season 1, Justin Guarini came 2nd. In season 4, we had Anthony Fedorov 4th and Scott Savol 5th. Need I really say more? Since perhaps season 5, some might say later, American Idol has consistently been huge strides ahead of its early seasons. Season 13 is no different – collectively, I continue to feel this group is very far from being the worst. Its neatly mid-pack.

      • DS says:

        on the other hand Ben, in season 5 we saw Elliott, Katherine, Taylor and Chris in the top 4, and that seems to be about as strong a top 4 as almost any season…

        • Ben says:

          Indeed, season 5 is ahead of this season for sure. But all I’m saying is I would have seasons 9, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 12 behind this one – so I guess I have it exactly in the middle.

        • Mary says:

          I am one of the few that didn’t enjoy season five that much. I actually stopped watching, I knew Taylor was going to win and although I enjoyed Chris and Elliott, not enough to get me to watch.

      • Akash says:

        And when Sam Woolf makes Top 4 or Top 5 this season, he will officially be as bad or worse than ALL the names you mentioned so…yeah, still the worst season ever.

        • Ben says:

          Sam isn’t worse than any of the names I mentioned, and I’m pretty sure isn’t going to make the top 4 or 5 this season. He may not even make it to next week. I’m much more concerned about whether or not Dexter or CJ make it that far.

      • Mark says:

        You make a compelling case that the heyday of AI was seasons 5-8, and it’s been all down hill ever since. I’m not sure I would disagree with that assessment.

      • bobsaccamanna says:

        There is not one conetstant on this years show better than Crystal, Lee, Casey James, or Siobhan Magnus, so there is no way in hell that season 9 was worse than this mess. All 4 of those singers had something that none of the current Idols, except for maybe Alex have, they were genuine, they wanted to be musicians, not necessarily stars. Harry was so spot on with his comments to Malaya last night, but Malaya just said what I’m sure most of these Idols are thinking. “This is my path to stardom” and not my path to getting good at my craft.
        And that’s why none of the perfromances resonate, no one is snging from somewhere deep inside them.

    • Mark says:

      Season 12 hands down worst season ever.

    • Name That Tune says:

      Maybe we can couch “worst” in the way the audience has responded to the show this year. A 40% drop in viewers is people voting with their feet (or remote control). They had a chance back in January and February to be one the highest rated shows this season, but the audience is running away from the show in droves.

      • Mark says:

        If you go strictly by drop-off figures, then season 12 is probably the worst. Viewers fell off faster than the price of wrapping paper on the day after Christmas.

        • Name That Tune says:

          The curious person in me has looked at the data for the past 12 seasons of Idol. Everyone wants to blame Season 12 for the problems the show is having. Las season started with pretty similiar numbers to this season – 17.9 million viewers. There are valleys in every season of Idol, but last season, the show never dipped below 11 million viewers and Season 12 rebounded nicely with 14 million viewers for the finale.
          Season 9 never reached anything close to these numbers.
          This is the first time that Idol started at 15 million and has dropped to less than 9 million. And we still don’t know how low that number is going to get.
          When TPTB at Fox say the show has been declining since 2006, they are not lying. But we are looking at Season 1 numbers right now.

  24. Marta says:

    Jena look and sounded professional tonight. Simply put. She is marketable and talented. I’m really rooting for her.

  25. Lynn says:

    I think you can kinda see the favorites getting their star treatment. I guessed the reason behind this theme was to prop Caleb up, give Alex some much needed competition, and I think it served him well. Alex was completely forgettable tonight, but it sure won’t land him in the bottom 3. Poor CJ and Dexter, and to an extent Majesty, they are completely out of their league. Those are my predictions for bottom 3, maybe with Sam sneaking in for the upset. Am I wrong for finding more entertainment value in watching CJ screwing up with passion than watching Sam hit every note perfectly without any emotion? And why in heaven’s name of all the amazing Fleetwood Mac songs do you pick the dull monotonous Rhiannon? Dexter deserves to go home, really, because the others at least seem to try to incorporate judge’s advice in future performances; he does the same thing week after week. At least they fixed the baggy britches, thank God!

    • Davey says:

      As Keith pointed out to C.J., if you sing with passion and there’s nothing genuine behind it, what’s the point. And he sings off key. Not buying it.

  26. danin says:

    Alex- lackluster- C, Maj- an improvement though why they or she keeps taking on songs by Diva’s that are too big for her I’ll never know- but I’ll give her a B, Dex- he added nothing to nor embraced that song, but he’s skating cause he knows he’s got the southern vote locked up.for shame, C-, Mal- ok.love the song too and she has had less shakiness in the past 3 wks but her star quote was inane and glad she got caught on it-B-, Sam-C+, Jesse- she doesn’t float my boat so much personality wise,and liked the song choice,but gee it se sawed a little too much for me-C, CJ-likeable, love almost all his song choices,but is he Dylan and I love me some Bob Dylan- C-, Caleb- go for it bro.How do he and Bo Bice compare?- A-, Jena- not as strong as Carly Smithson and why does her voice have that in and out of power quality? Would rather hear her sing WinehouseB+

    • marie says:

      I rarely mute Idol (except for some of the more egregious musical guests on results nights). OMG, if Jena attempted an Amy Winehouse song, I’d be pressing that Mute button before taking my next breath…! Just no. Haley Rinehart, now… THAT’S something I’d pay good money to hear.

      • danin says:

        If she can handle Adele,I think she can handle Amy. Plus her original song way back when was really pretty good.That’s how I remember it, Marie.

        • marie says:

          I personally think that aside from some vocal similarities in Adele’s earlier recordings, she and Amy Winehouse are not really at all alike. (Boy do I miss Ms Winehouse.)
          Jena simply doesn’t impress me. That’s the long and the short of it.

  27. Kaba says:

    Rankings for the night:
    Caleb
    Jena (even though I didn’t care for it.. I’ll give credit when it’s due)

    Malaya

    Jess

    Majesty

    Sam
    Dexter

    CJ

    Caleb and Jena being great. Malaya coming in at a distant 3rd, Jess doing… Nothing new but still decent. Majesty Sam Dexter and CJ… Nah please.
    CJ was horrible and I don’t get the Malaya hate. Complete dark horse.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      So I should listen to Caleb and Jena for entertainment and Dexter and CJ for schadenfreude? I’ll get right on that. I think our tastes are mostly aligned.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Wow, Led Zeppelin? AWESOME! Caleb rocks. Jena’s voice strikes me as too big for this genre of music. But she sounds great nonetheless. Strange tone but I love it anyways.
        Couldn’t finish the Dexter one. I was diagnosed with terminal ennui 18 seconds into the video. I may perish any second now. CJ… oh CJ… where’s that guy who was saying last week that you can fix pitch in a week? Guess he or she was terribly wrong, like I pointed out to him or her last week!

        • Kaba says:

          Caleb was just, everything I needed him to be and more tonight. Jena…idk I have moments when I like her and moments when I do not care for her at all. This was one of those weeks where I get that it was a great song for her…but she just doesn’t bring the edge to the song that I need her to…and I just don’t really like watching people cover evanescense really.
          Dexter was every bit as bad as usual. He’s keen for picking out anthemic country ditties though.
          CJ…the first time I’ve ever felt someone was just…noisy. And I can sit through reruns of Jacquie Lee’s “I Put a Spell On You” like it’s nothing. I just felt like he was making grossly out of tune noise the entire time.

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            I’m with you. Jena and Caleb are the real deal. If the all sounded like this, Idol would still be preempting Survivor and The Americans on my Wednesday night dvr. But yet here we are. I’d be very pleased with these two as finalists, and I’d probably even watch that episode. I’d say both of them are up there with the best we’ve seen in any of the recent seasons. Happy to see Malaya still hanging in there.

            And now back to The Americans. Best show currently on tv.

          • Kaba says:

            It appears like rather than a frontrunner there’s just a clear divide between them now.
            Caleb and Jena generally at the top of the pack with what appears to be Malaya trying her best.. Majesty dashing to the bottom as she struggles to grab her crown before it hits the pavement. Jess and Alex just being acceptable (with shades of greatness in both at times)…
            Then the irrelevants, serfs, etc.

          • MamaLis says:

            Noo no no.
            “Jess and Alex?” How can you even possibly compare “Jess and Alex?”

            Jess is great but I’m sorry, I believe this is the first week she learned a new song. For real. And was it really that different from the original other than being much shorter?

            Alex on the other hand, came up with the metaphor of Idol being like a concert: plan your “play list” accordingly. Each WEEK he goes back to the drawing board and generates a new arrangement and a new way to deliver an old song. Some have been great, others have been good. But he still delivers and he still gets an “A” for effort, each time.

            I see very little comparison between the two.

        • bobsaccamanna says:

          so Angie, as a trained singer, how off base was JLo tonight by telling Malaya her performance of Long and Winding Road was beautiful. I’m no trained singer but man, I heard notes in there that were cringe worthy. Am I wrong?

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            Ya know, I like her! She’s REALLY REALLY good. She’s young and still needs some technical work, but the raw materials are all there for something quite special. I was playing her song on youtube just now and my husband was reading in the other room. He walked in and said that whatever I was just playing was really pretty. She NAILED that high note. I had a big smile on my face just now listening to that.
            I don’t know what the judges are saying, but I greatly approve. If J-Lo approves as well, then we’re in agreement.

          • Ben says:

            I guess it depends if you don’t like her tone. I mean, I hear that some notes she gets that really gratey tone, and if that is what you are talking about, then – well, yeah, you are probably not gonna ever feel differently about Malaya. But none of her notes were cringe-worthy from a pure pitch perspective. I agree with Angie that she really was good tonight – and agree with Harry that she has been improving every week.

            Oh, and Angie – you liked Caleb, Jena AND Malaya tonight… and I think you would appreciate how well Alex performed even though it ain’t your thing. Finally, this season is beginning to sound like how I felt it could sound (we just need to say sayonara to CJ and Dex in the next two, and I feel as though this is actually one of the stronger top 7s – a very clear split for me between the top 7 and the bottom 6 this year).

          • Angie_Overrated says:

            I hear ya, Ben. Alex is very very talented. He’s not the type of singer whose music I would ever buy, but I greatly appreciate that he’s A) very talented and B) has a signature “thing” that works for him. I have nothing but respect for talented folks, even when their music is not anything that even remotely interests me (i.e., Shakira).

  28. MAB says:

    I really believe the contestants are really beginning to bring it. I said from the beginning they just needed some time and that has been proven to be true. I thought the show was terrific tonight. Everyone did well and a couple were downright amazing. Yay, Idol!

    • Danny says:

      @MAB- you just stated very succinctly what it took me a page and a half to write. Props. I’m guessing the 2 you thought were downright amazing were Caleb and Jena? Or was it someone else?

  29. Atlgal2013 says:

    Sorry Slezak, as someone who has watched every single season, in my opinion it is the worst season ever. I’m not even watching anymore, I just read your recaps and watch your Monday videos with Melinda. It had a great run but its way past its prime, and this season I just can’t care about any of the contests as they all have their flaws. Going to watch Candice’s Lovesong and Joshua Ledet’s Mans World ( just to name a couple of recent standouts) to remember the good ol days.

    • Timmah says:

      I don’t think it’s the worst, but it’s definitely in the bottom quartile.

    • Bonnie says:

      Oh please, if you aren’t watching, then how do you know if it’s the worst? If you didn’t watch tonight then how do you know it’s the worst? THey all stepped it up. You have to have PATIENCE and if you were patient, you would have seen how much they are improving. Sheesh.

      • Ben says:

        Completely agree. No-one can say they aren’t watching after this short number of weeks and say its the worst. Most of the better seasons only really heat up around the top 7/8 anyway.

    • Angie_Overrated says:

      As someone who agrees with you that this is in fact the worst season ever — sorry Monsieur Slezak– here’s what I’ve been doing the past few weeks and it’s really therapeutic. Scan this article and the comments to get a sense of who’s worth listening to. Then listen to those 1 or 2 performances. The 1 or 2 performances are pretty good. Jena and Caleb tonight were awesome. Malaya last week was also awesome. I’m still out for now, but maybe if those three I just named are the final 3, I’ll jump back in. Doesn’t change the fact that this season is poop, but there are a few diamonds in the rough. Rough being the operative word here.

      • Justin says:

        Well you thought Season 12 was great and that Angie was overrated, so your opinion doesn’t matter. You must like belters.

        • M says:

          Angie was overrated.
          Candice and Kree were the only things sufficient last season.
          You must like when people agree with you, funny considering you had 0 relevance to the convo in the first place.

        • Ben says:

          Angie was definitely overrated. Janelle and Amber should have beaten her.

          • Jaszy says:

            Did you seriously just say that? Janelle had absolutely NO range. Amber always attempted big ballads but she always seemed to falter and her voice was always shaky, her runs were not smooth, ugh.
            Really? Angie should have been eliminated before those two?! I don’t think so.
            Like I already said, she should’ve won when she sang You Set Me Free.
            Okay, I’ll admit that she did peak then, but to say that Janelle and Amber should’ve advanced further over Angie, I seriously think you have a hearing problem.
            Angie, for a person who’s experiencing hearing loss, had some of the most pitch perfect performances ever ( you couldn’t even tell she was slick deaf) barring the Motown week ( I don’t know what the heck that was. Angie was not in the building that night. That song choice was an awful song choice for her.) But still….Angie Miller = underrated, not OVERrated,

        • Angie_Overrated says:

          How is my opinion any less valid than your (belligerent and child-like) opinion? That’s like saying I don’t know what I’m talking about with food because I prefer pork to chicken. I think people who prefer chicken to pork are A-OK in my book, and to argue otherwise is moronic.

  30. Helena says:

    Sorry, but Jena AND Majesty’s vocals were all over the place tonight and in no way do either of them deserve an A! And Jennifer was right on about Alex’s cover of Don’t Speak. He stripped every bit of passion and urgency out of that song. It was a poor artistic choice that simply did not work. REALLY bad night tonight. Caleb was probably the best of the bunch. I also did not hate C.J.’s performance though there were clear issues with it. The bottom 3 IMO should be Dexter, Majesty and Sam.

  31. Hayes says:

    That’s a generous grade for Majesty. That was B, B+ tops.

    • Timmah says:

      I thought it was just ok. I think she could be going home given the death spot.

    • tanny says:

      Yeah! Majesty will be on the bottom group again. So sad that she already got in the bottom 3 for 2 times in a row. maybe another one this week,.

  32. J. May says:

    As far as seasons go, I put this somewhere in the middle. Not the worst (which was last season, Candice Glover notwithstanding) and definitely not the best (which was Season 11, 8 and Crystal–all IMHO, of course). I can see Jena going all the way and becoming a pop superstar. The rest are fine but kind of meh, for me.

  33. JM says:

    Michael, I agree with your grades – I think that’s a first, no?
    Just a few comments:
    – Wish the singers had left their instruments behind.
    – Malaya is getting too comfortable. She does not have the fitness or breath control to pull off head banging AND singing. Also, terrible rendition of Long and… just too slow, and painful. She needs to be in the bottom 3 again to wake her up.
    – I see a new confidence in Alex that I like. I think he’s starting to believe that he could actually win.
    – Caleb has always thought that he could win and creeps into overconfident sometimes. He needs to watch it.
    – It was nice to see Majesty bounce back and just enjoy herself and sing.
    – Jena started strong, then ran out of breath in the middle (anybody notice that?) then ended strong.
    – CJ is nice but is in way over his head and needs to go home.
    – I liked having the band on stage. Why not keep it that way?

    • JM says:

      Forgot to mention that I think Jessica should have sung ‘Edge of Seventeen’. I think it would’ve gone over better for her.

    • Mary says:

      You didn’t think Alex song was slow and painful? I know he is no Gwen, but he stripped the life out of that song. I think this is one case when the arrangement didn’t work.

  34. lla says:

    First of all. I think show was so much better with the band on stage instead of on the side. Mix was better and the show seems more professional and richer. I think it really helps the contestants too.

    Alex (B) not my fave outing from him. He’s very interesting performer. I love his recorded voice. I hope he does a song I actually like soon because I would buy it.

    Majesty (B-) She did well–but she’s had better performances. Not sure that was the best song for her.

    Dexter (C) Same type of thing every week. But, he does a decent job. There is nothing distinctive about him.

    Malaya (C) I don’t know. I must of not heard same thing the judges did. I didn’t like it. She gets point from me because she so young and adorable. Plus, she has a great personality.

    Sam (B) He has a nice voice. He just needs some time to grow into his talent and connect with the lyrics. I like the critique Keith gave him.

    Jessica (B) I really, really like Jessica. She does sound like country Stevie Nicks. I think the tempo on the song was a bit too slow. Jessica always sings well. She does need to work the stage more,. I think she’s used to playing guitar and basically standing on a small stage without room to move around. So, that’s something she needs to work out.

    CJ (C-) If he is still having all these pitch problems–not good. He’s very likeable –but he’s just not cutting it

    Caleb (A) He’s very consistent. He can sing the big songs. Great job

    Jena (A) She did not let Caleb over shadow her. She just came out and did her thing. That’s great considering her young age. Works the stage –sells the song–good performance.

    • JM says:

      Agree with your comment on the band. Also on Jessica. On my comment above, I said she should have sung ‘Edge of Seventeen’.

  35. Thatsmeinthecorner says:

    I kinda got the Jennifer-Haley vibe the minute Jess stepped up to the judging platform. Did you see the expression on JLo’s face change? Not trying to start anything, but the it gave me déjà vu.

    • Sarah says:

      ‘hey sweetie..” lol I agree

    • Danny says:

      @That- You’re not starting anything. You’re noticing what others are noticing. I don’t think Lopez will take it to Haley levels this time around. I’m thinking of Jessica as Haley Lite. Her song choice today only added to that feeling.

    • Mary says:

      PEOPLE please get over it, why does Haley have to come into every discussion. I love Jessica and the way she sang the song, but the truth be told she didn’t make it her own and it is hard not to compare it with the original, although nobody can be Stevie. I wished Jessica had moved around the stage a little. I think JLo and all the other judges were just trying to tell her she needs to change it up so there won’t be a comparison. I think Jessica takes there advice and tries improve, like she said I appreciate being here.

  36. marie says:

    BIG shout-out to Harry for the Jake Holmes mention! It’s been bugging me since 1969 how Led Zeppelin out-and-out plagiarized that song from him; it’s nice to hear that acknowledged once in a while.
    Otherwise, a LEETLE too much judges’ shtick tonight; it was getting on my nerves a bit. If I wanted to watch The Voice, I’d go watch The Voice.
    Considerably better show tonight. For me, best of the night: Caleb and Alex: I really appreciate their musicianship. After them, Malaya – she’s only 16, seems to be working hard to improve, and I think in a few years she could be really good.
    I didn’t think they were world-class performances by any means, but I enjoyed Jessica and Dexter.
    I wish CJ could overcome his pitch problems but I’m beginning to think he can’t.

  37. Phan says:

    Michael Slezak, go borrow a q-tip from one Nicki Minaj and clean your ears out. Majesty and Malaya’s grades should be swapped. You’ve had a massive bias against Malaya since day one.

  38. Nedsdag says:

    Michael, Michael, Michael, Malaya gets a B- & Caleb an A-? I know you have a love jones for Alex and Jina/Geena/Gyna/Gina, but come on! Malaya is improving weekly and it’s still isn’t good enough for you. And trust me, Alex, as skillfully musical as he is, WILL NOT WIN AMERICAN IDOL!

  39. LeahKittyS says:

    Well, call me impressed. A couple of lacking performances, but no real clunkers. Malaya was never my favorite but she was bearable tonight, Majesty is coming back, Jessica is consistent, Alex did his cool thing again, Caleb continues to be a rock star, and Jena. Jena wins everything. She’s gorgeous,got a killer voice, and I love that song. Agreed that CJ should be And I actually liked Sam’s shirt! It matched his easygoing arrangement for the song (which I also enjoyed). This gives me hope for the tour.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Oops, I forgot to finish a sentence in the middle! Agreed that CJ should be the one to go, and I still don’t care for Dexter even though I’m a really big country music fan. Some male country artists stand out to me, but I have a feeling Dexter would get lost in my mix.

    • GuitarBlue says:

      I thought Malaya was very good tonight as well. .

    • Ben says:

      Completely agree Leah. One simple comment sums up how I felt about tonight show. There were six performances that I would have had in my top 3 on any other night of the season (in performance order; Alex, Majesty, Malaya, Jess, Caleb, Jena). I had difficulty voting in the poll. This is the kind of night I was expecting when I saw this top 13 get picked, and hopefully it continues.

      I think the band being centre stage really helped, funnily enough I actually think the new stage design has been working against the contestants because it feels so disconnected to everything else, I feel it is actually contributing to the fact many contestants are struggling to connect.

  40. GuitarBlue says:

    The sound mix for Jessica’s song was poor tonight. Also the “Beauty Makeovers” are not serving her well IMO, presenting a different looks. If she didn’t lose ground against the competition tonight, I doubt that she gained much……………………………..

    Majesty, Dexter, Malaya,Sam and C.J. are all at risk for bottom 3. Alex,Caleb and Jena should easily be safe this week..

  41. Davey says:

    Not sure why everyone hates Sam so much. He’s just young. I do like his tone and he sings on key, unlike American Idol winner Lee DeWyse.

    I wish I liked Jena more. The judges love her, they picked her as a wild card but I haven’t voted for her once.

    Please send C.J. home. He shouldn’t have even made the top 13.

    • GuitarBlue says:

      Sam just needs to find the right song choices, he’s got a great voice and impressed us with the smooth delivery of “Babylon”. …………………………….

      Some of the others are becoming more demonstrative and Sam is more about a good, current type of vibe and voice. He may have a lot of opportunities in the future, regardless of where he finishes on Idol. I think he just turns 18 in April, so a lot of wide-open future after the tour.

    • Temperance says:

      DeWyze nearly always sang on key. You just weren’t used to his slide. These days, many of the acts out there mimic it.

    • Mary says:

      I don’t think people hate Sam they are just bored watching him sounds the same every week no matter what he sings. Talk about green, he needs to go to Berkley and work on his craft. I love Jena and I agree with you on C.J. needs to go home now, unfortunately I think he has peeps and we haven’t seen the last of him.

  42. lla says:

    Michael –I hope you & Melinda address the band placement in the next video. The contestants do better because they have a band to play off of during the song. Perhaps that screw up with Jessica’s performance a few wks ago wouldn’t have happened if they could have been allowed to interact together on stage.. Why pay Rickey and the band if the contestants don’t benefit as much as they should from them during their performances and the audience never sees them at all. Viewers want to enjoy the musicians. They want to see a mini concert with each performance. Makes the whole show seem fuller and less cheap. It’s much more entertaining. I’ve been thinking this all season

  43. Lynn says:

    I predict by the Idol rule that tis better to damage the eardrums than to bore or receive high praise for a lukewarm performance that the bottom 3 will be Dexter, Sam and Majesty. I would like to see either Dexter or Sam go home because I just don’t want to hear either one sing again, but I don’t think Majesty did well enough to avoid the send-off.

    • Timmah says:

      I too think Majesty will be going home. A combination of singing in the #2 slot, picking an obscure song, and failing to deliver a memorable performance.

      • LeahKittyS says:

        It’s a shame you have to call that an obscure song. Florence + the Machine is awesome.

        • Timmah says:

          It’s easily one of the two or three most obscure songs tonight, given the average age of the Idol viewer.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            That makes more sense. But Florence + the Machine is still underrated.

          • Temperance says:

            It was far more known that most of the songs picked. Some forgettable country song? And off Zepplin song (people have heard of them, but few could name a song), etc? And which is it, the 13 year olds run the show are they suddenly 50 now?

          • marie says:

            Funny, I’d had no idea whose song that was; I knew only that I’d heard it once before, as a totally amazing, jaw-dropping group number on The Sing Off. So yeah, fairly obscure for this superannuated viewer.

      • NedPepper says:

        Obscure? Florence + the Machine? And I thought I was old and out of touch with new music… ; )

        • Timmah says:

          The average Idol viewer is 50. They may have heard The Dog Days Are Over and that’s probably about it.

          • Temperance says:

            You know, they do these pesy things call ratings, where they monitor things like the age of who is watching, and if ‘the demo’ was as you say, Idol would have been yanked long ago…

          • Timmah says:

            Look it up if you don’t believe me. It may not be exactly 50, but it’s somewhere in the late 40’s. And it’s not doing well at all in the 18-49 demo. It won’t be yanked just yet, but it will be scaled down next season.

          • Ben says:

            @Timmah – its great that you know what they will do next season (as people have known for about the last 6 years, every season). But lets not forget this show, with its ratings as they are, is still one of Fox’s biggest money earners. It looks like its earning them $400 million this year. Why scale that back?

          • C says:

            I’m 58 and have been watching Idol since Season 4. I loved the old themes like Michael Jackson night and Queen night and Lennon/McCartney Songbook and British Invasion because I knew those songs. This season I am experiencing the discomfort of trying to decide whether or not someone is doing a good job on a song when I have no idea what the tune is supposed to be; and, most of the time, I can’t understand the words, either, so I get no emotional vibe from it. I know a lot of people hated the theme nights, but I LOVED them. They were one of the reasons I watched Idol–to hear new takes on old favorites. (Plus, the songs themselves were better musically.) Let’s go back to those old theme nights.

          • Mary says:

            Believe it or not a lot of old folks knows current music, some even enjoy it. Most of them have children that helps keep them up to date.

  44. Bonnie says:

    I think Jena can officially join the “club” of the best high school/teenager contestants ever with Paris, Jordin, David, Scotty, Allison, and Jessica. It’s an exclusive club! Lol

  45. AlyB says:

    I liked Caleb, Jena and Jess best tonight. Jess really does have a Stevie Nicks quality to her voice and her vocal was spot on though she has to keep progressing on the performance front. Caleb was flawless. I do want to see some more creativity from him but this song was not the song for changing things up. I’m sure he’ll be around to show us more. Jena had a great song and a tremendous vocal. She had a couple shaky notes right before the end but overall a solid rendition. Jennifer was right about her letting loose a little more. Playing with her hair was distracting and it made her moves leaning back against the guitarist look too contrived and uncomfortable. Alex had a great vocal and I liked the creative flourishes he added but I didn’t like the overall dulling down of the song making it sound like the Muzak elevator version. Keith was right, he needs at least a teeny bit of edge or angst or something. Sam has a beautiful tone but it’s exactly the same all the way through and in every song. That plus slowing Hey There Delilah down made it feel a little country which was just wrong and the whole thing was about as exciting as a glass of warm milk. I thought Malaya sounded just fine tonight. I really just wish she had waited a few years to do this. Majesty started out fine but was hit or miss powering through on what is a powerful vocal all the way through. I think she’s still picking the wrong songs for her voice. She has great promise but sometimes it seems she doesn’t really know how to tap into it by picking songs that show off the unique facets of her voice instead of songs that scream look I can sing powerfully. Dexter sounded fine but it’s past time for him to try to stretch himself a little. I’m not sure why CJ is still there. I think this may finally be the end of the road for him.

  46. osborn1116 says:

    Alex’s studio version is great. Has a Santana guitar feel in places. Thought his performance sounded more Maroon 5ish. But this kid can record man. Better than his Story of My Life recording.

  47. Ann says:

    Pretty dull season IMHO. No one — or multiples — that I always want to rewind to hear / see a performance over (and over).
    This is a first in all my seasons of Idol-watching.
    Initially had high hopes for Majesty but they are fading.
    Alex is quality … but unlikely to win.
    As a whole, show feels ‘tight,’ (desperate) and contestants are 2nd tier.
    I love Idol, so hope for improvement!

    • Bonnie says:

      Idol fatigue maybe? I think that is the problem with a lot of idol fans this year. I guess they are just worn out and spoiled from all those performances over the years, that it’s nearly impossible to measure up to their favorite moments, thus finding the season dull or bad.

  48. Kaba says:

    Just noticed Jena is ranked higher than Caleb in your grades…
    I can only conclude that you are insane.
    Caleb wiped the floor with Jena even though she held her own.

    • osborn1116 says:

      Jena gets an automatic half grade improvement based on being his favorite is what I’ve concluded. Also his Majesty grade to me is laughable.

    • Temperance says:

      Caleb’s song choice bored me to death, and although I can recognize that he did a great job, the song and that type of music… well, I started websurfing during his performance. It was good, but so what? Like R&B music, that type of rock is very, very, very out of style.

      • S, says:

        No dear, disco is out of style. Rock is forever.

        • Mark says:

          I wish it were so, but Rawk–if not dead–is clinging to life in hospice. I live in the #16 media market in the US, and we don’t even have a rock station. We have a classic rock station that does talk radio during the morning drive, but if we want current contemporary rock we have to have satellite radio.

          • Alex B says:

            Woopdie damn doo! #16 ? Wow! Rock is still by far more popular than R&B or pop. I live in the # 1 mkt in the country and we have several rock stations. Most Pop singers are one trick pony no talent scrubs. R&B is almost as bad. The next time any performers other than one or two sell more than 500-1000 tickets to a show, let me know.

  49. LeahKittyS says:

    Something else I noticed tonight: what is about young people and “The Long and Winding Road?” Before Malaya sang it tonight, t’s been done three other times in the past by David Archuleta (Season 7), Aaron Kelly (Season 9), and Devin Velez (Season 12). And all four of them are the youngest of their respective seasons’ finalists. Why that one of all Beatles songs? It’s a lovely song, just an odd choice, I think.

    • Kaba says:

      Archuleta can sing whatever he wants as far as I’m concerned.
      Kid was as close to teenaged contestant perfection as it gets.
      His voice just does something to you.

      • LeahKittyS says:

        Agreed. And now that he’s back from his Mormon mission, there may be more music to come. But that doesn’t answer my question LOL.

        • Kaba says:

          I honestly dunno why the younger ones pick that song… I wish I could make sense of it.
          I can’t. LOL

        • osborn1116 says:

          I like to think that they just saw the title and thought it related to their idol experience.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            Maybe. I just think it happens too often for it to just be a coincidence. :)

          • osborn1116 says:

            yea I think its go a few things goin for it: Popular song, safe choice, sounds like it’s about your journey…etc etc.

            I personally find it to be a boring song choice on a show like Idol. Love to listen to Sir Paul do it but you can’t wow people with that song.

      • Temperance says:

        Yes, it makes me run from the empty-eyed zombie routine. *shudders* Thank goodness I’ve never had to hear him since his Idol days were over.

        • MC says:

          I have to agree with you. I couldn’t enjoy that season. I know that makes me a bad person, but I skipped that whole season after I saw where it was headed.

  50. NedPepper says:

    Caleb has such natural talent. He sounds like Chris Cornell and that’s a huge compliment. Is Caleb’s sound relevant today? I don’t know. But he can wail. Sadly, his personality is extremely annoying.
    -I love Majesty’s spirit.
    -Jessica has all the raw talent. She just needs that one BIG performance.
    -Malaya can sing. No doubt. But is it anything we haven’t seen? Not really.
    -Jena sounds unique. She sounds like Jena. And I’m not sure any other contestant stands out as dynamically as she does. It’s not just karaoke.
    -Alex is always interesting. But he also needs a big moment. It can’t be understated every week.

    The rest are pretty awful.

    • Stormy says:

      Next week they all will be singing their audition songs but with the band. Since Caleb, Jessica and Alex all sang originals at their auditions, this will be a chance to evaluate what they have to contribute to music beyond a voice.

      • Mary says:

        Caleb sang an original? I though Jena sang original also, could be wrong might have been Hollywood week.

        • Stormy says:

          I’m pretty sure Jena sang Adele’s Rolling In the Deep. My memory isn’t perfect. I do know Jess sang her own Blue-eyed Liar. and Caleb sang his Into The Void. i can’t remember what the name of Alex’s song was.

          • Leticia Prado says:

            Sam – Lego House (Ed Sheeran)
            Malaya – Ain’t no Way (Aretha Franklyn)
            Jena – Rolling in the Deep (Adele)
            Jessica – Blue Eyed Lie (original)
            Caleb – Into the Void (original)
            Alex – Fairy Tales (original)
            Dexter – Drive (Casey James)
            CJ – Soulshine (Allman Brothers Band)

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