American Idol Top 8 Performance Recap: We Can Learn to Love (This Show) Again [Updated]

american-idol-top-8-performance-recap-jessica-meuseNot to go all “Amazing Grace” on this recap, but if you thought Season 13 of American Idol was lost — in terms of talent, ratings and general fizzy excitment — tonight was the night it found itself.

RELATED | American Idol‘s Majesty Rose Talks Early Front-Runner Status, Frozen Fumble, Coldplay Covers

We had not one, but two contestants delivering radio-ready, self-penned songs that I fully intend to download on iTunes. (Actually, in the interest of full disclosure, I shelled out $1.29 for Jess Meuse’s ditty a couple hours before the telecast began.) We had two other singers deliver such brazenly original arrangements of Big Diva Classics that I wondered if I’d accidentally stepped into the TARDIS and traveled back to the heady days of Season 8. (Don’t call me crazy — Allison Iraheta and her shocking pink hair did get showcased in a lovely duet this evening.) And even the wobbly legged impalas of Season 13 gained speed and steadiness and kept themselves within striking distance of the front-runners.

PHOTOS | American Idol: Advice and Dream Set Lists for the Season 13 Top 8 Contestants

In other words, if the “Judges’ Save” is going to get used this season — and Keith Urban did promise me that it would — then it’s not a bad bet that it’ll happen Thursday night.

OK, OK, a couple of the evening’s duets proved to be the cowpies in the beautifully oil-painted landscape, but it’s not like there’s a mentor on set to help these kids. (Srsly, did anyone notice an almost total absence of Randy Jackson, save for that end-of-episode shout-out?) Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Better to navigate one’s own ship through stormy seas than to have some random dude in a brightly colored blazer steering you toward an iceberg!

But before I get stuck in “cantankerous recapper” mode, let’s jump to letter grades for tonight’s performances:

Tonight’s Set List + Grades
Jessica Meuse: “Blue Eyed Lie” (Original Song) — Grade: A | I could grumble about the infuriating nature of Keith’s “you never move your legs!” complaint and Harry’s “there was a small dead space at the end of the song” critique — especially given their copious praise of lesser performances later in the episode. But I’m going to hang on to the belief that the Idoloonie Nation was too busy downloading “Blue Eyed Lie” on iTunes to pay attention to such silliness. There was so much grit and oomph in Jessica’s delivery tonight — like J.Lo noted, the vocal was “perfect” — and those qualities underscored the stinging lyrics and country-rock slap of Jess’ fantastic original track. “They say a man who’s worth your tears will never make you cry” could easily be the “No! More! Drama!” of this decade, no? Or, if not that, at least a future soundtrack cut on ABC’s Nashville.

C.J. Harris: The Allman Bros. Band’s “Soulshine” — Grade: B- | Before we get to the vocal, a quick announcement: C.J.’s girlfriend, whose palpable pride and adoration for her beau brings her to the brink of tears every week, has built an insurmountable lead as TVLine’s Favorite Season 13 Family Member. (Jena’s giddily enthusiastic brother is a distant second, for the record.) And tonight, I was stoked that, for a change, said girlfriend’s delight was warranted. C.J. ironed out some — though certainly not all — of his pitch problems and seemed really connected to the lyrics, too. He’s not the most nuanced interpreter in the bunch — there was a lack of dynamics and intimacy to the performance — but it was servicable, bordering on solid. Can we all agree that this might be the best possible note on which C.J. could end his Idol run?

Jena Irene & Alex Preston: Pink & Nate Ruess’ “Just Give Me a Reason” — Grade: B | Jena’s upper register on the verse was a fluttery revelation, and while Alex seemed a little more tenuous in his approach — averting his gaze to the floor, then back to Jena, then back to the floor again — the harmonies were pleasing enough that they shifted my focus away from Alex’s hideous pink-and-green floral shirt/blue scarf combo. (Side note: Alex, whatever blood feud you’ve got going with the wardrobe department, bring them a dozen donuts tommorow and tell them you’re sorry. It’s in your best interest, buddy.)

Sam Woolf: Ed Sheeran’s “Lego House” — Grade: B- | I wonder how much better the shy teenager’s performance would’ve been tonight it hadn’t been preceded by a lengthy grilling from the judges about his ladies’ man status? (Dial 1-800-SMDH-4-RL if you feel me!) Surrounded this week by LAMPS! instead of LIGHTBULBS!, Sam served up a slowed-down cover of “Lego House” that somehow felt less intense than his “auction-style” audition. The kid’s got a beautiful voice, but there wasn’t a single word or phrase or section of “Lego House” that he delivered with any more intensity or emphasis than any other one. The end result left me feeling like Sam had stared directly into the eyes of one too many audience SwayBots — and that they were stealing his emotions and using them to fuel their high-pitched screams. (Pro tip for next week: Never stare directly into the eyes of a SwayBot.)

Jessica Meuse & Caleb Johnson: Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty’s “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” — Grade: B+ | I’m not 100% certain Jessica and Caleb’s flirtatious/confrontational “choreography” felt entirely authentic, but who cares? The duo’s potent rock voices blended as magically as sweet potatoes and brown sugar (yes, that was tonight’s side veg at Casa Slezak), and Jessica’s soaring harmonies were especially delicious.

Malaya Watson: Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way” — Grade: B | I can’t say with 100 percent confidence that I wasn’t in any way influenced by Malaya’s pre-performance tale of how she almost skipped her Season 13 audition because she was convinced the judges would tell her she was too young, that she needed more time to grow. But as she stank-faced and pleaded her way through Aretha’s classic soul ballad, I occasionally got the sense that Malaya was “playing” the emotion rather than “feeling” it, if that makes any sense. The good news is that Malaya continued to show improvement in the restraint department — except for a few overwrought phrases on the chorus — and if she heeds Harry’s advice to better match her runs to the chords being played by the band (I love that I’m learning more about music thanks to his specificity), she could wind up with plenty more weeks to disprove my doubts.

Dexter Roberts: Brett Eldredge’s “One Mississippi” — Grade: B+ | “I guess you showed us!” giggled J.Lo, after Dexter shifted out of the bro-country lane in which he’s been driving all season and delivered a heartfelt rendition of a serious heartbreaker ballad. With a minimalist piano arrangement — and glorious harmonies from Season 8’s third-place finisher (don’t you dare try to correct me and say she finished fourth) Allison Iraheta — the Alabama native reminded voters that he’s got real vocal ability, a smart piece of strategy as the field narrows and vote-splitting could become an issue for himself and his fellow country-leaning contestant C.J. Oddly, Keith’s critique about Dexter needing to work harder to “communicate the lyric” seemed like it would’ve been more appropriate last week, or the week prior.

Malaya Watson & Sam Woolf: Colbie Caillat & Jason Mraz’s “Lucky” — Grade: D | Have you ever seen a middle-school dance where all the boys stand on one side of the room and all the girls stand on the other side of the room and it’s just really awkward for everybody? Now imagine if a reality TV producer dragged two of those kids from the room, put them on a nationally televised singing competition and made them sing a love ballad. And then the girl botched like every bit of harmony they threw at her, and the boy crawled under a guitar amp and turned to dust. Yep, that’s pretty much what happened.

Jena Irene: Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” — Grade: A- | I’m not gonna lie to you: I was more impressed/intrigued by Jena’s performance tonight than I was moved by it. But in a competitive situation, being impressive and intriguing counts for a lot, y’know. Starting nearly a cappella (with just an intermittent tinkling of a piano in the background), Jena reimagined the beginning of Adele’s global smash in sensuous, torch-y fashion. And that’s where things got interesting. As Keith sagely pointed out, most contestants would’ve decided the unique intro was enough — and retreated back to the safety of a karaoke arrangement. But not Jena, who stripped away the hand-clapping propulsion and girl-group backing vocals in favor of a slower, Tedder-y vibe. It was as though Jena completely deconstructed “Rolling in the Deep,” then rebuilt it with a new tempo, an augmented (and dare I say more challenging?) melody and a slightly more aloof mood. In a head-to-head matchup, Adele’s original is still my favorite, but if Jena had just coughed up a carbon copy, then there’d have been no use for it outside the Idoldome. Instead, this 17-year-old kid’s willingness to gamble on her own creative vision — and to risk potential elimination if voters’ ears found said vision too jarring — tabs her as a potential heir to prior Idol trailblazers like David Cook, Kris Allen, Adam Lambert and Candice Glover, not a bad quartet to follow, competitively speaking.

C.J. Harris & Dexter Roberts: Darius Rucker’s “Alright” — Grade: C- | Somebody was singing seriously out of tune here. And that somebody was C.J.

Caleb Johnson: Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” — Grade: B+ | Is it just me, or does Caleb always seems to get superior backdrops, lighting and camera angles? (That stained-glass kaleidoscope behind him tonight was especially nifty!) But while I appreciated that, like Jena, Caleb took a major diva classic and dressed it up in different clothing (pure blues-rock duds, in this case), there were portions of the performance where his vocal sounded just a wee bit ragged, just a tad less on-point than usual. Harry’s suggestion that Caleb choose something next time that “isn’t so loud” came across a little less technically astute than we’ve come to expect from the panel’s esteemed professor — oh snap, I went there! — but it nevertheless rang true. Caleb’s a hoot to watch, but a little vulnerability — a little glimpse into who he is when he’s not being the life of the party — has to be the next step on his Idol journey if he wants to stay on target for confetti-shower consideration. I mean, the way Caleb delivered “Chain of Fools,” it almost felt as though he was the one in charge, not the desperate lover trying to break free, didn’t it?

Alex Preston: “Fairy Tale” (Original Song) — Grade: A- | Remember when we got excited because Idol allowed us to hear a snippet of Crystal Bowersox’s “Holy Toledo” during her hometown visit in Season 9? We’ve come a long way, Idoloonies — and Alex will definitely enter the Idol history books (right next to Jessica) regarding contestant’s original tunes getting the green light inside the House That Kelly Clarkson Built. Better still, three listens in to Alex’s complex, self-penned gem, and I’m still finding new things to like about it: The little lilt in his voice on “damsel in distress,” the slight shift in tempo going into the chorus, even the sensation — were this performed in a concert venue — that he and the band could jam out to it for 10 minutes. My one small complaint about Alex’s performance tonight was that — especially when he’s doing original tracks the audience doesn’t know — he needs to be careful about diction, to ensure we can understand and feel every word he’s singing. The good news, though, if Per Blankens is sitting on a “No Boundaries”-style turkey for the Season 13 victory anthem, maybe Alex and Jessica (and even Jena — whose “Unbreakable Me” scored her the Wild Card) can combine forces to create something less airplay-averse.

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

OK, your turn!

What did you think of the Top 8? Who were your faves? Who’s in trouble? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments! And for all my reality TV-related news, interviews and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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

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  1. Danny says:

    Overall I thought this was another real good show. A smart move for the theme because obviously everyone’s going to be better than they were when they auditioned. If this keeps up it could be one of the better seasons. Yea it’s not as good as 11, but jeez, this one isn’t even halfway over. It’s akin to trying to compare a guys rushing stats when he’s played 5 games vs a guy who’s completed a whole season. Let it play out and see how it fares.

    Jessica- I thought it was great. I don’t care about body movement. In my eyes she gained a lot of ground. I don’t know if the voters will agree. I guess there’s no way the judges would give her full props. While I wouldn’t want a full show of a bunch of originals, I wish there’d be more of them throughout the season.

    CJ- A lot better this week. I still have him back in the pack though. AI seems to be promoting him.

    Jena and Alex- Oops. I didn’t care for it.

    Sam- Hmmm. Tough to say. It seems like he sang it ok, but because I’m off the Sam train, I didn’t care for it that much. I disagree with Keith saying he’s getting better every week. Actually he hasn’t. He’s getting lots of props from the AI brain trust though.

    Jessica and Caleb- That was a lot better duet than the first one. They were believable.

    Malaya- Wow! She’s improving by leaps and bounds. And from what I know of Malaya, she probably does a lot of leaping and bounding. She’s like a rabbit on 5 Hour Energy Drink.

    Dexter- He was pretty good. For those that want him gone, I think he’s going to stick around after this.

    Malaya and Sam- Decent, not great.

    Jena- I liked her a lot too. I am for Jena in this competition. My hope is her and Malaya are the final 2. So with that in mind, I didn’t see why Keith stood for Jena and got on Jessica about body movement. I really enjoyed both performances. I didn’t like it in past seasons when my favorite got bashed. Jessica isn’t getting bashed, but there’s an undercurrent that I don’t like. In a sports analogy, I don’t want to lose because of the refs but I also don’t want to win because of the refs. I don’t think the judges influence too many die hards who come to sites like this. I do think they influence the casual voter though.

    CJ and Dexter- Not bad- This was a lot better than I thought it would be.

    Caleb- This guy has been good every week except one. Even then he wasn’t bad. He just wasn’t real good. This was another rock solid real good performance.

    Alex- Another one I really liked. I’d say along with Jessica I liked this the most.

    This was another good week. The only one I didn’t care for was Sam and the duet of Jena and Alex. I at least liked all the rest and some of them I thought were awesome. I’d give the nod to the 2 who did originals, Jessica and Alex.

    The duets I’d rank 1) Caleb/Jessica 2) Dexter/CJ 3) Malaya/Sam 4) Alex/Jena

    • Max says:

      I thought Jessica was fantastic this week (I loved the grit), and Alex fell not too far behind. Jena… well, she was Jena (a.k.a. amazing). Caleb was slightly underwhelming compared to last week, but his promise that he will go for a quieter performance next week has me very excited. Even the bad ones were not that bad.
      Overall, I have one more thing to say: someone MUST do an a capella/acoustic version of Smooth Criminal (which in no ways resembles Billie Jean)!

      • Max says:

        Also: I liked Malaya more than Michael did (as always). And the fact that there is a hope called One Mississippi makes me a little less hopeful for country music (it wasn’t a bad song by any means, but the concept is kinda silly to me).

        • Danny says:

          @Max- We’ve got the same top 3 this week. I agree with ya on Malaya too. If she hadn’t started out so bad, she’d be a front runner. I’ve got her in about 5th place right now. She’s improving every week. There’s no one falling down though. My hope is a Malaya/Jena final- I’m from Michigan- but I want them to get there because they’re great, not because anyone falls. So I’m hoping Malaya improves even more.

        • Nedsdag says:

          I did too! What does Malaya have to do to get a high grade from you, Michael? She’s is improving every week. Is it the glasses or the braces that bothers you? She could be the dark horse in this competition. Jeeeeena was good, not great tonight. But I do agree that Jessica was terrific tonight. And the judges need to take a chill pill regarding her standing and singing. If this is the case, tell Alex and Sam to move around as well.

          • Mark says:

            For me, the problem with Malaya is that when she’s not shouting, she has a tough time impressing. Yes, she’s better than she was — a lot better — but my lord that duet exposed her difficulties just carrying a melody.

        • JoMarch says:

          I just don’t like Malaya… I don’t like the sound of her voice; I don’t like her look and I don’t like her demeanor. I know she has her fans, so maybe I’m missing something.

      • Jase says:

        WTF does Jessica have to do to get the frontrunner respect she deserves? If ANYONE ELSE had sung Blue Eyed Lie the way she did, the judges would’ve fallen all over themselves to praise them complete with a standing ovation and everything. Even when she knocks it out of the park and owns the episode, the girl still gets muted praise from them. Yet Malaya and Sam can do any half-ass mewling sh*t and get overpraised for it. UGH.

        • wth says:

          Really? Malaya didn’t do half-ass mewling s*it.

        • Danny says:

          @Jase- I don’t know. Even though Jessica isn’t my favorite (I like her a lot though) it bugs me when she only gets muted praise.

        • Foxfire says:

          I agree with you about Jessica – she was absolutely fantastic tonight and it was thrilling to watch her bring the house down with that performance. I don’t understand why she can’t seem to please the judges either since after tonight she should be the one to beat. She has a gorgeous voice and is able to write her own music, the sky is the limit for Jessica and I will be buying her music in the future.

          • chris says:

            I really liked Jessica tonight but this is the first time I thought she gave a great performance. Some weeks her tone is so nasal that I just can’t listen to it. She’s frustrating to me. If she can sing this good, why doesn’t she do it every week?

          • Meme says:

            Agree! I will buy her album and go to her concert. If she wins AI, there is no limit to her future career. She has paid her dues for years and now just needs an opportunity to let go and shine.

        • Honey Barlett says:

          Paleeeeese! Jessica has a great future as a football player, a modeler for horse blankets or for sure, playing Frankenstein’s monster or better yet, The bride of Frainkstein’s Monster. As a singer, YUK.

          • Matrix says:

            What an insane comment! You may not like her, but Frakenstein’s monster? PLEASE!

          • Foxfire says:

            Yes I know Honey, you said the same thing last week and the week before that.
            Do you have a memory problem? You should try Aricept, they gave it to my mother in law after her memory went and it really did help her a lot. She stopped repeating everything over and over again thank goodness. Let us know if it helps.

          • Tommyo2000 says:

            Your comment is just ugly Honey… cant imagine your any beauty …

          • karyn says:

            Based on all her comments here, Honey is a troll. Ignore her and she’ll go away.

          • marie says:

            Yes, we all know by now how unattractive you think Jessica is. Do you know just how unattractive your comments make YOU sound? Maybe you do. Maybe, like all trolls, you just want attention any way you can get it, and by commenting, I’m just adding to your pleasure. What a sad, sad creature you must be.

          • Alan says:

            Honey I saw you in Hollywood Week. Your daugther was out…

        • Ben says:

          It isn’t really a difficult equation. The judges are not a fan of her manner of delivery. It lacks connection. There are people it doesn’t bother (you clearly). For me, however, it continues to knock her performances down a peg or two. Vocally she is improving week on week, I reckon. But she simply hasn’t – and to me, can’t ever possibly – knock it out of the park until she changes her manner of delivery, no matter how great she is vocally.

          • Foxfire says:

            Ben, have you ever seen Emmylou Harris perform in her early years? She was extremely stiff and uncomfortable on stage but some voices can get away with that kind of delivery and I think Jessica happens to be one who can as well. I still can’t take my eyes off of her when she performs just waiting to see if she will finally break out.

          • MamaLis says:

            ^^^ Bam!

        • Mary says:

          I think Jessica is great in fact I would like to see a Jena, Jessica final however; I do see what Keith was saying. She needs to work on loosening up on stage. Jess has to find a way when she is up there to not look so stiff. I am not saying she needs to dance around the floor but moving to the beat even just swaying would help draw the audience in. I look at it as constructive advice not a knock toward her. The judges this season have been good at trying to give advice to help the contestants improve.

          • Stormy says:

            Jessica is not accustomed to working a stage. She performs in small bars with just a mic and her equipment. She plays violin, too and not for strolling serenade type songs. Standing in one place is her milieu.

        • karyn says:

          I agree Jessica isn’t getting the praise she deserves. I’m also worried that they are getting into her head. I could have strangled the so-called “mentor” for advising her to ‘do the shoulder thing’, which had her awkwardly twitching her shoulder for the first 30 seconds of the song. The “shoulder thing” is something that happens naturally when she’s playing and should be left alone, not turned into some gimmick.

          • Foxfire says:

            I think Sam and Jessica both have the same problem but Sam bores me to tears and I can’t take my eyes off of Jessica. Her eyes are absolutely hypnotic. They have tried to give her good advice but I think now they just need to back off and let her progress at her own speed and comfort level rather than do the constant repetition thing. Let her do the “shoulder thing” when she is feeling it and not use it as a gimmick.

          • Meme says:

            She just needs to get her confidence back, and she will if the judges just let her be herself … no gimmicks, no moving around if she doesn’t feel it. She connected to the lyrics of her original and sold it to the audience standing in the same place. I couldn’t stop watching her face. Her eyes are just gorgeous, mesmerizing, and I love her tone to pieces. She may not be the winner, but I think she will go very far in her career!

    • KidRock says:

      Oh hi Danny, thank-you for another one of your leap-out-of-the-cage-me-first expositions of an evening with American Idol.

      I really enjoy American Idol and look forward to scrolling the comment section since there are lots of fun/fascinating/succinct thoughts.

      It’s always helpful to get the humorless/predictable/boring/superficial comments out of the way.

    • Ben says:

      I really don’t see an undercurrent against Jess. In fact, I think the idea there is an undercurrent is nuts. Keith and Harry both gave predominantly compliments, and each pointed out one thing wrong. This is the same Harry who has been quite comfortable giving zero good points even in relatively good performances, but going straight on to what needs fixing. JLo called it perfect. Whats up with an undercurrent? They were far more rough on Sam – who was probably at his vocal peak, but has come far less of a distance than Jess has in learning to connect.

      In respect of Jena – I loved it. I know a couple others who really like Jena and hated it. I think Jena’s big problem this week might ultimately be that her rearrangement could be controversial, and outshine what I thought was fairly close to a perfect vocal. Haley did Rolling in the Deep pretty well, and if people don’t like what Jena did to this song, I could see some Jena fans comparing this unfavourably with Haley’s version (I see that as a potential issue in part because I think the Jena and Haley fan bases are likely to consist of many of the same people).

      Interesting that some disliked Malaya’s performance, although I guess that happens every week. I don’t think it quite hit the highs she has before, but it was pretty damn good (and continued to show growth and restraint). Dare I say it, I can now see a world in which Malaya wins, although it still doesn’t seem hugely likely.

      On first listen, I preferred Jess’s original song to Alex’s, although I liked both and my preference could well change over multiple listens. Both had a little depth and in both cases the band arrangement worked well.

      I’d prefer CJ to stay to Dexter. Dexter did better this week, and has done better overall. But listening to the duet, Dexter’s voice is (to me) incredibly generic and dull, but CJ’s voice actually does have a tone that I really love. I’m not sure its enough to cope with him singing out of tune, but I’d still see Dex go first.

      Caleb – I didn’t think he really changed this song quite as much as he could have, but ultimately I think he mostly suffered from the fact that the song he chose to show off his chops in an a capella setting simply was never going to translate – the theme wasn’t great for him.

      Really liked Jena/Alex together in the duet. I felt it really worked. Easily my favourite duet of the night. I didn’t think the Malaya/Sam one sounded that bad – but wow ‘Lucky I’m in love with my best friend” they sing, while trying not to look at each other. Sam already seems to freaked out to look at any girl around his own age. Sam actually sang it really well (not so much Malaya) but still – what were the producers thinking. The other two duets were just ok for me.

      I thought Sam sang well on both songs today, but ultimately ‘sang well’ is not what Sam needs. He needs to inject a syringe of charisma right into the vein.

      Is it a good sign that I’m writing a post this long about tonight’s show? I think it is. Nevertheless – I miss Majesty, and I realised this week that while she MK and Ben all may have deserved their eliminations and sometimes didn’t perform well, I have lost three singers that I connect to in a row, while other singers who I don’t connect to and also haven’t always performed well have remained in (Dex, CJ, Sam), and it is making me feel less good about this season than I did three weeks ago.

      • ejones says:

        Haley made the point that it would have been an insult to Adele to change the arrangement of RITD too much. I suppose that was 3 years ago and its not such an imminent song by now..

  2. Based on tonight’s performances, and lack of anyone being really brutal and getting harsh criticism by the judges, I think the Judge’s Save will be utilized tomorrow. No matter if it’s CJ, Dexter, Sam or anyone else, that save is being used tomorrow. After tonight it probably might be deserved. CJ and Dexter, both who have struggled mightily in this competition really stepped it up, and everyone else remained really good or great. Could CJ or Dexter leave and I’d be okay with it? Sure. But based solely on tonight, mixed with the fact that judges are antsy to use the save after not using it last season, I think it is getting used. Decent night tonight overall.

    • Danny says:

      I wish instead of the save they’d have let all 30 singers get a shot a few weeks back. Knowing that it’s going to be used though, I hope they wouldn’t use it on Sam, Dexter, or CJ until they have to in week 6.

      • Foxfire says:

        Looks like the save will be used on C.J. if it is used. I think it will be CJ or Sam in the bottom 2. Neither one really lived up to their potential and time just ran out for them.

        • Erin says:

          I really want to believe that CJ would be the only one they would not save in good conscience. JLO should be kicking herself in that first audition saying “we can fix that…” about his pitch without finishing her sentence “…with auto-tune.”

          • marie says:

            Sadly, I agree. CJ has not lived up to his potential, and at this point does not deserve the save. (Laughed at your comment, though.)

          • MamaLis says:

            Ya… that was too funny to see that original clip again. How totally ironic that ACTUALLY…… it’s not … quite…. fixable……

    • Mary says:

      None of these three guys deserve the save, especially C.J. Better yes but it is obvious he needs extensive help in keeping in tune and AI is not going to do that for him. I personally don’t care if they use the save if it is not warranted. I would rather have a week with no elimination of the top 5 and combine the scores the following week.

    • Lola says:

      I just cannot see them saving CJ, Dexter, or Sam. Well maybe Sam and maybe Malaya. They have Jena, Caleb, Alex, and Jessica who all belong (imo) in the top five. Malaya hit it out of the park for a few weeks (not last night though) and Dexter has fan-power, so I see one of them being the fifth. If they use their save for anyone other than Jena, Caleb, Alex or Jessica I think they are wasting the save. I love the raspy quality of his CJs voice … I like his whole vibe … but he is off pitch waaay too much. Sam is cute but puts me to sleep. Dexter is fun but again, not a stupendous singer.

  3. Kristi says:

    Does anyone know why just about every performance features a rather lengthy shot of JLo ooing and aahing over the singer? It kind of takes away from seeing the singer and being able to “connect” with them.

    At this point, Randy is nothing more than a cheerleader.

    Jena rocks.

    • Mike says:

      Cheerleaders are going nuts you called Randy a cheerleader. lol
      He should never be a “leader” for anything.
      Whenever I see him on TV, I just close my eyes and tell myself, “I LOVE MY LIFE!” hahaha

    • Tess says:

      I’ll take a wild guess and say it’s in JLo’s contract to get those long cutaway shots. That, or the producers think that people at home will watch longer and more intently if they are guaranteed frequent shots of JLo “enjoying” each performance rather than seeing the contestants actually performing their songs.

      • Erin says:

        For the life of me I don’t understand why these shows (also So You Think you can Dance) don’t use the picture in picture feature of judges that they use on the UK shows. I get wanting to see a judges reaction (not really but in theory) but at the expense of the action?

        • Aprilcot says:

          At least SYTYCD doesn’t cut away from the performances.

        • The Beach says:

          I really like this picture in a picture idea for showing judges reactions…much better than continually cutting away from the performance to show judges and family/friends.

      • Mary says:

        I actually like to see the judges faces when they are performing. I love watching Keith sing along and move to the music. Some of these contestants are quite dull to watch so personally scanning the judges or audience doesn’t bother me.

    • Name This Tune says:

      It’s called 17 million dollars.
      They’re trying to get their money’s worth.

      • tealeaves says:

        This is my thought too. Some producer has decided that as long as they are paying JLo that much money they should get her on camera as much as possible. The problem is it is always for an awkwardly long time when they pan to her during the performances.

        • ChrissieK says:

          Why can’t they just zero in on her face like when the commercial breaks come on? Ha ha! And also…what the devil was she wearing last night? She forgot to put the skirt on? Ridiculous and I swear if I were her I’d not do that any more. She’s got to realize it just isn’t workin’…come on, no one really liked her in that lace that she stole from a choirboy at the church just around the corner!

      • Timmah says:

        Ha ha, I was just going to say that. They think for some reason that she’s the big draw (who knows, maybe they’re right) and they are going to be all over her every reaction, even if she’s just smelling a bad fart.

    • Adam Fachry says:

      They’re trying to recreate Paula Abdul’s “performance-appreciating” moments when she was on the show. You know, the ones where she would get off her chair to dance while Simon and Randy sat down, being in awe of everything, etc.

    • bobsaccamanna says:

      Plus she is so blatantly phony in her interest, her eyes darting to the camera to make sure it’s on her,,,but as bad as J Lo and Randy both are, the dumbest critique I have heard all season came from Keith tonight. What the “F” was he trying to say to Jess tonight, that she’s almost there, now she just needs to get her “legs” into it. What the hell does that mean. He keeps doing that dumb ass shoulder move like somehow that makes someone a great singer if they move their shoulders a certain way. Wouldn’t it have been enough Keith, after trashing this poor girl way more than she has deserved all season, to just say, Jess that was great, and leave it at that. I would rather listen to Nicki Minaj as least say something funny every once in awhile than listen to Keith call someone “baby” and tell them they look great instead of critiquing the performance. Time for him to go back to the Wallabies.

      • Adam Fachry says:

        Maybe Keith was possessed by ghosts of JLo’s past? Lol

      • Danny says:

        @Bob- Yea, it’s like they’re smart enough to know not to bash anyone so they make it an undercurrent type thing. They’re sneakier about it this year. For what it’s worth, I like Jess a lot, but am hoping for a Jena/Malaya final. All I want out of the refs is consistency. If they’re going to get on Jess for it, please get on Jena for pretty much the same thing. I’m saying that not as I felt they should get on Jessica for it, but more like just be even across the board.

        • Mary says:

          @Danny the difference is Jessica is like that every week and Jena is not. Jena does work the stage every week but this week her song did not warrant that. Jessica however stands the same way every week. I love them both and I think Keith is trying to help Jess out to have her go further.

      • Name This Tune says:

        If you have any interest in seeing Jessica become a star, she’s got to do more than just stand there like a lump on a log. He’s not saying he hated her performance, he’s saying she could be a better performer. And she can. But she needs to step it up because she’s running out of time.

        • bobsaccamanna says:

          Artists who sing Jessica’s type of music do not” perform” they play their guitar and they sing, she is not going to be Beyoncé or Rhianna. I don’t really care if Jessica becomes a star or not , but she needs to be treated fairly , and if you’re someone who supposedly knows music, like Keith, and you have seen Jessica perform now for 5 or 6 weeks, then you should know what kind of artist she is trying to be, Harry recognized in right away and called Keith out on it. Joni Mitchell doesn’t perform, Emmy Lou Harris doesn’t perform, they play their guitars and the use their voices.

          • Name That Tune says:

            Not so much in today’s music world. You have to perform. Did you watch Pink during the Grammy’s? Not saying that Jessica has to reach that level of performer, but if you are watching The Voice, you will notice there’s a lot of artists like Jessica in the music world – especially Nashville. She’s done nothing to distinguish herself from the rest of the pack and her time is running out. Her Idol Journey will be over and her engagements will turn into tours of the Philippines.

          • Name This Tune says:

            The point?
            The show calls itself American Idol:The Search For The Next Superstar
            You can be a middling performer in the business doing what Jessica does. But you aren’t going to be a Superstar. If Keith Urban says work on your performance skills, he’s not just blowing smoke.
            It’s also a competition. We’re getting closer to determining the top 5. What’s your standard for judging who should win? Another pretty face that’s learned to flirt with the males in the audience. Who do not vote.

        • Liz says:

          Jessica “performs” as much as Alex, Sam, CJ AND Dexter do, so if you’re going to come down on her you need to also come down on them for the exact same reason. All have pretty much just played guitar and stood in place in nearly all of their performances. The reason people are singling out Jessica is because she’s female and there’s this huge double standard that female artists just HAVE to flail around the stage.

          • Name That Tune says:

            If you notice, I have a grading system. I knock off points for standing like a lump on a log and playing a guitar. Everybody you mentioned has been docked for doing that. Malaya, who everyone criticizes, is actually working on improving her performance skills and makes a solid effort every week to convey the meaning of the lyrics that she is singing. She’s doing it because she’s not dependent on the guitar and she’s stretching herself. Alex, Jessica, Sam, CJ, Dexter and Majesty would use the guitar to hide from performing.

          • Honey Barlett says:

            They all stink on ice! They are all terrible, moving or not.

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            who gives a crap about your grading system, LOL, like that means something. For some contestants, and I assume Jessica is one of them, Idol is just a vehicle to allow them to be a working musician once the show is over, much Like Crystal Bowersox is doing right now. Touring the country with her band, selling out small theatres, and making a living doing something they love. Not every artist is in this so they can end up swinging on a trapeze over a Grammy crowd. Serena Ryder, Beth Orton, The Cowboy Junkies, Gillian Welch. Pay attention Name That Tune, it’s not all about the big time commercial music industry.

          • Mary says:

            I think they have said the same thing to all of these guys as well, maybe not this week. In fact they have said the same thing to Sam just about every week.

          • Name This Tune says:

            So let’s be real here. You have a soft spot for Jessica because she’s the hottest girl this season. But there’s a lot of Jessica’s in the music business. She’ll be touring the Philippines next year.

          • bobsaccamanna says:

            @ Name That Tune, actually dimwit I don’t think that Jessica is all that hot and I’m not all that crazy about her music, I think she is just ok, I want her to be competing on a level field with the rest of the moderately talented group this year. What I don’t like is someone who has a limited knowledge of music, coming to this site, making one dumbass comment after another. What you need to do is go out and expand your musical knowledge beyond your commercial top 40 box, and find out that there are lots of very talented and contented artists out there, making a very comfortable living doing what they love.And you’re right . there are a lot of Jessica’s in the world, there are also a lot of Caleb’s, a million Malaya’s, ton’s of Alex’s and Jena’s, and too many Dexter’s and CJ’s to even count. So what’s your point.

        • Gale says:

          I agree – Keith was exactly right. Her still legs were the first thing I noticed about the performance. She doesn’t have to jump around the stage, but I want to see the musicality.

      • MariMari says:

        First let me say that I really like Jessica. That being said, I have to say that I was distracted by those shoes ….. on those perfectly still legs. I kept wondering what the shoes actually looked like, since they looked shadowed instead of focusing on her singing.

        • Stormy says:

          Jessica is my favorite, but I agree about the boots. Who dressed her? it’s as though the wardrobe people just threw crap at her until something stuck. Didn’t matter though. That song has Top 40 written all over it.

          • Danny says:

            It’s always something with Jessica. If it’s not the muted praise it’s the sound guy slips up on her. If it’s not the sound guy slipping up it’s the wardrobe people. Next week it’ll be something else that isn’t quite perfect. I’m not even rooting for her to win (though if she did I’d be totally fine with it). I’d just like to see her have a week where she gets treated like everyone else.

          • Tess says:

            I’ve got to agree with Danny – it does seem like every week there’s something going on with Jess and those things always are what gets talked about more than her actual singing – the band issues, her wardrobe, whether or not she moves her feet (really as if this particular song was the one anyone should be thinking about her moving to it, the only reason it was even remotely noticeable tonight was because they put her on that stupid platform – and just how much movement did Keith want from her up there anyway?). It seems like every week something is done to distract from her performance and the judges almost always focus on that stuff too. Why she’s the one they nitpick, I don’t get.

          • The Beach says:

            Wow, I was thinking the same thing. That dress was so unflattering and with those boots(?) it looked really unhip and made an attractive girl appear just the opposite.

          • marie says:

            WHO GIVES A GOOD DAMN ABOUT HER BOOTS?!?!?!?!!!! I didn’t particularly like them either; I wouldn’t wear them. But I DON’T care about the doggone boots, LOL!

      • Mary says:

        I don’t see it as Keith was bashing her. I love Jess want her in the top two but moving a little bit would have help audience get more into the performance. Her legs were frozen in one spot and to be honest I was saying the same thing move them. I think she can work on that and honestly I think Keith was trying to be insightful. I know nobody likes their favorite to be judged but it was a honest critique.

        • Stormy says:

          Fair enough, but if I were atop a platform at center stage, I’d be hesitant to move. And that song is a set down to a cad, hardly something to dance about.

  4. Kaba says:

    Caleb and Dexter being rated evenly makes me cringe.
    I say CJ’s rated too high.
    I liked Malaya, Alex, and Jess the most.
    Liked Jena’s arrangement, but it just didn’t reach me the way I felt it could have.
    Caleb was good as usual, but I wasn’t feeling the soul of that song tbh.
    I refuse to like Dexter nor admit that he did well. I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care. -_-

    • The Orginal Lemon says:

      I wonder if Caleb wasn’t able to get the rights to his original song fast enough for the show’s schedule? That would explain picking a song we’ve all heard a million times, when his top competition was singing originals. That said–There’s no way he’s in the bottom tomorrow. He was still good. Alex–Amazing. Jena–great. Jess, very good, but just not my thing. C.J.–probably in the bottom, but not going home–he did pretty well.

      If it were up to me Sam or Malaya would go home–both so overrated.

      • Stormy says:

        Until your post I’d forgotten that Caleb sang “Into The Void” for his audition. Wonder what happened.

      • LB says:

        Don’t understand what you mean about Caleb. He didn’t have a choice about what to sing. He had to sing his audition song, as did the other contestants. That was the theme of this week.

        • LB says:

          Oops. Sorry. I thought he sang Chain of Fools in his audition.

        • Tess says:

          Contestants are usually told to prepare two songs for auditioning but when they edit those episodes we tend to only see one song of the two (rare occasions we get to see the second song if they need to hear another tune to decide). Dexter also did a different song than what we saw in his audition clip – so they probably just decided to go with the second song they did at the audition than the one that was shown. Possible that Caleb thought Chain of Fools would show a different side of him but his original would’ve been branded as more of the same from him so he went with the tried and true (or maybe he felt like his original wasn’t a strong enough song or a fleshed out enough song to do with the band or maybe it didn’t go over as well as the edited clip would have us believe… who knows). I’m sure they both had their reasons for their choices and I’d imagine all the contestants were given the option between their two audition songs and the rest just went with the one that aired.

      • wth says:

        I do not get some of the comments here. I’m perfectly fine with sh*t comments about CJ, Sam, or Dexter, but not with the other five.

    • MamaLis says:

      Kaba, so were you FLOORED at the end of the evening when you saw the Idol Facebook “Voting Tabulations” and Dexter was pulling 1st freaking place? I always wonder how he manages to stay around at all, but seeing the “21 and over” FIRST PLACE and then even the younger voters rating him so high, I was absolutely flummoxed.

      Seriously people, you have have absolutely got to be kidding me.

  5. Jim says:

    I know Jena’s arraignment was different, but I loved it!

    • bobsaccamanna says:

      just my opinion, but I thought Jena’s performance was the best of the season so far, and the first one I will go to youtube and watch again.

  6. wth says:

    Should be Bottom 3: Malaya? Seriously? *coughdextercough*

  7. Lo says:

    This was definitely one of the best episodes of the season. Loved Jena & Alex and Jess & Caleb’s duets. Hoping they are the final 4!

    • Danny says:

      @Lo- There’s been a few good shows this year. There was only 1 brutal one. That was the week so many said Idol had bottomed out. So far the live shows have been really good I think. Time will tell, but this could end up being one of the better seasons.

  8. kelly says:

    Jena was fantastic, my favorite from the night. I hope Sam goes home, he just does not seem comfortable, and by now he should be. It’s so painful watching his live interviews.

    Thought it was messed up for the duet that Malaya was forced to do a song that was only Sam’s type of song, it was like she didn’t matter. It would be nice if they found a song that worked for both of them.

    Definitely an improved group, and hopefully shows will only get better.

  9. webly3 says:

    Jena & Jessica ftw.

    Hopefully CJ or Dexter is eliminated.

    • Jase says:

      YES. Going strictly on performances and raw talent, Jena and Jessica SHOULD be the F2, but the way the judges rag on Jess every week (even muted praise when she knocks it out of the park like she did tonight), it’s obvious she won’t make it to the finale. At the very least, I hope she makes F3 with Jena and Caleb.

      • tealeaves says:

        I worry about Jessica’s chances for the same reason. The judges always drag out their critiques for her and find at least one or two things to tell her she needs to work on. If they gave similar feedback to everyone it would not matter. But the feedback is inconsistent and they will even tell others they are front runners. She has not been in the bottom 3 yet, so she started with fan support. But that will not be enough to sustain her if everyone feels they are being told every week that she is not at the front of the pack.
        She should have sung toward the end of the show this week with that song. Instead they had her go first. Her’s was also the best duet, but it was put in the first hour of the show. Then they had her sing on a raised platform and Keith complained that she did not move around!

        • Mary says:

          She doesn’t have to dance around but she needs to work on getting her feet moving. I loved her song and it actually had a beat to it, but she stood there like a statue. How can you not move to the beat of a song, but she did. Even if she had tapped her foot to show that she was into the music would of help. Keith is trying to help her out, and honestly I think Jessica appreciates it. She wants to move past the one woman show but she won’t if she keeps performing like that.

        • chris says:

          I think Jessica was treated unfairly this week. Her performance deserved to be just praised this week. We didn’t need to hear the same complaint about moving around.. This was the most comfortable we’ve seen Jessica and it was a very enjoyable performance. I think Keith may be a bit frustrated that Jessica doesn’t seem to take his advice. She’s said that her music career to date has included a lot of singing to empty rooms but she doesn’t seem to realize that means she needs to change her style to be more dynamic. Keith genuinely wants to help her do that but she isn’t listening.

      • Lola says:

        Final 2 will be Jena and Caleb.

  10. Kaba says:

    Why is Malaya in your bottom 3?
    I’ve concluded you just dislike the girl. She most certainly out did Dexter tonight.

    • wth says:

      Slezak, I don’t think one OK performance from Dexter is enough for him to be out of the “Should be Bottom 3 list”. Have you examined is overall body of work?!

      • Horn says:

        If there’s somebody we should measure his overall body……….of work.. It should be Sam! :p

        • Ben says:

          Sam/Dexter/CJ should really be the bottom three every week till one of them goes home. Which hopefully will be this week.

      • wth says:

        Jess-Alex-Jena-Caleb-Malaya = Top 5. The rest can just go home. :P

      • karyn says:

        the overall body of work isn’t supposed to be the criteria for judging the show and I don’t think it is Slezak’s measure of who should be B3. All season the voters (for once) have voted based on actual performance rather than who the show is telling us should be the frontrunner. The right people have been at the bottom pretty consistently based on their latest performance, not their body of work. And let’s face it, that’s how the music industry works as well. So yes, one good performance should keep him out of the bottom 3 if there were 3 who were worse.

        • wth says:

          I still disagree. Sorry.

          Then Malaya should be in the “Will Bottom 3” list. And if the right people have been at the bottom pretty consistently then I would have seen CJ-Sam-Dexter in the bottom for the past weeks.

    • wth says:

      *his overall body of work

    • deedee says:

      Right?? Malaya is so lovely! It’s so much fun to watch her grow, and give it her all, and work so hard, and bring so much joy! She’s the only one who touches me this season, even though I know there are bigger “talents” on the show.

      And may I add – Jessica really doesn’t deserve tonight’s highest marks. She’s a cold performer. Man, this is the first season I think – ever – that Michael Slezak and I not only don’t share the same favourite, but also don’t agree on most contestants.

      • Adam Fachry says:

        to each their own. To you, she came off as cold. To me, however, she looked pensive and vulnerable in her own way.

      • Name This Tune says:

        Deedee it’s all about her hotness. The guys here are making excuses for her, even though 90% of the time, she does the same thing that other hot girls in Nashville do.
        You are actually judging her performance.

    • bobsaccamanna says:

      I don’t like Dexter at all but he was good tonight and Malaya was just ok. It was Dexter’s only good week and by right he should already be gone, but on that song tonight, he was very good.

      • Foxfire says:

        Dexter has a nice voice for country music and at least he did something different tonight by ditching the guitar during his performance.

        • The Beach says:

          I think there should be a mandatory “guitar-free” night where no one is allowed to play one. Kick some of these contestants out of their comfort zones.

          • Mark says:

            What’s your problem with guitars? There are performers in nearly every genre who always play guitar while singing. Some of them strut around the stage and others remain firmly planted in one place, but the guitar is always there–especially in rock, folk and country.

          • Foxfire says:

            Mark, I think Dexter performs well with or without the guitar but it was nice to see him without it and relate to the words of the songs as he did last night.

  11. Samantha says:

    idk i still like sam his voice is my favorite but i get the connection thing. I think it has to do with how uncomfortable and overwhelmed he is on the stage a.k.a not quite ready for prime time just yet

    • Danny says:

      @Samantha- Someone with the name of Samantha would be expected to like Sam. I had to like Danny Gokey no matter how bad he sang Dream On.

    • Gailer says:

      He’s green.

    • MamaLis says:

      I’m always late to the party here cuz I don’t see Idol right away… but I watched Sam closely this morning. I’m sorry, but during and especially after his performance, he looked so STUNNED and so dumbfounded and so uncomfortable, I half expected him to start DROOLING or something – that’s how stupid a look he had on his face!!!

      And you know what, that’s not okay anymore at this point in the competition. He’s got a great voice, for sure. But there’s a lot of people with great voices and most of them don’t have record deals.

  12. OhMy says:

    Better than it has been. Some issues with some of the contestants, but it did inch up.

  13. Colin says:

    Jennifer must have a clause in her contract that requires the camera to give her coverage _ minutes per episode. During almost every performance in every episode the past few weeks, the camera will eventually find her *feelin it* and linger on her face WAY past the point of being comfortable.

    • IMHO says:

      Yes, every since the live shows. I assume they only show her because Harry just does his blue steel stare, and Keith is looking at the monitor the whole time.

    • Tamera says:

      I LOVED Jena and Caleb tonight, Alex was great too. Jessica is overrated but I hope she makes top 4.

      Also… does anyone else notice how often the camera stays on J. Lo?? I think she gets more screentime than anyone else.

    • deedee says:

      Yeah, Colin, it’s so obvious! Plus, someone on the show has to mention JLo’s beauty, or popularity, or hotness, or something. Not an episode goes by without someone complimenting her in some way.

      • MamaLis says:

        Also, I swear she forgot her pants when she came out. Isn’t that little lace number supposed to be worn with leggings?

    • AB says:

      This! It’s very strange. I feel like we’ve missed chunks of each performance because the camera is too busy showing J.Lo. Perhaps one of the cameramen has a crush on her.

  14. IMHO says:

    Jena= First Idol Moment (TM) of the season.

    • Lynn says:

      100 percent agree. Easily the best of the night and the season so far. Watched the video about 20 times so far.

    • Kyle Bianchini says:

      If I am being honest I thought Jessica’s Crow and the Butterfly was the first moment but Jena has been racking up the moments this season. Decode, Clarity, Bring Me To Life, and this week were all stellar. She’s leading the pack. Caleb, Jess, Alex, and Jena for the top 4!

      • Chantal says:

        I actually liked Crow better than anything Jena has done this season. Jena’s arrangement of Rolling in the Deep kind of demolished the anguish in that song. I liked how it started but then it was just… meh… afterward.

        • Mary says:

          I thought it was perfect, nobody can say she copied Adele. I think it is a performance that you either liked or not. I agree that it didn’t have the anguish like Adele’s but that is what made it special for me.

          • Heather says:

            I agree. It is a love it or hate it performance. I loved it. If she had sang it like Adele people would complain she didn’t make it her own. Vice versa.

    • bobsaccamanna says:

      @IMHO Totally agree, that was my first thought when her performance ended. You can’t manufacture those moments, they just have to happen, and that was it

    • Susan says:

      Jena was absolutely brilliant tonight.

    • Timmah says:

      I liked the idea a lot better than the execution.

  15. deedee says:

    I haven’t read the recap yet, but stopped in to say: finally a proper Idol performance night! I’m in love with Malaya! And I even borderline-enjoyed Dexter! OMG!! :-O
    OK, off to read Michael’s comments…

  16. Mike says:

    Alex & Jessica.. Fantastic original songs! *will download it now*

  17. GuitarBlue says:

    If they use the save, will 2 go home the following week, or is it “scheduled-in” to use the save and still elim just 1 the following week??

    • Danny says:

      @Guitar- From my understanding it’s built in. Only 1 goes home next week. I wish they’d have used that built in week to let the top 30 all sing. Then send 2 home after the save was used.

  18. kate'shomesick says:

    Jess B okay, so Jess has technique-issues, the song is too good to ignore it though and it felt like her, she suddenly had stage presence and seemed to double her charism
    CJ D it was almost as bad as his audition (which showcased the nervous vibrato, the intonation problems, the lack of guitar skills, dynamics and so on) he was slightly less off key for the second half of the song but there was still just one dynamic.
    Alex&Jena song clearly suited Jena better, Alex did what he could…Jena did sing it as if it was a solo, both could have spend more time focusing a little on the lyric^^
    Sam B(-) so much better. Good vocal, very nice interpretation, when he closed his eyes it flowed nicely…I don’t want him voted off. I’d love to see him again and for him to have more opportunities to choose different songs. I just love a good, clean vocal- that’s all I’m gonna say.
    Caleb&Jess Jess looked SO uncomfortable…the handshake- WHAT was that?Musically it was nice, vocally it exposed a lot of Jess’ struggles with technique, Caleb very solid as usual
    Malaya C + THIS IS NOT BELTING- her voice cracked a couple of times- in the „this is damaging your chords“-kind of way. It’s nothing a good vocal teacher couldn’t fix in maybe a years time. She is a very musical kid though. I still wanted to fast forward.
    Dexter A- I honestly forgot that he was still on the show. Smart kid, knows his voting audience and completely caters to them. It was definitely his best performance. Very good vocal, polished and uhm very good vocal. Wanted him gone last week-he deserves to stay for that.
    Sam&Malaya Cuteness overload. Ugh the staging-ugh the songchoice…shudder…funny enough it made Sam losen up. Malaya was horribly off key during the harmonies. Sam did fine.
    Jena B clever arrangement, liked the phrasing, lower register clear technical problems (she needs to learn to sing proper legato and not drop notes) I was about to really dig it and then: again with the screaming…?-.-unnecessary!
    Dexter&CJ so painful. Full stop.
    Caleb B „acappella style“haha, I didn’t feel the tempo or the arrangement, it was still so good and solid, he really needs to have a quite moment next week- but he knows and he will
    Alex A+ I LOVE that song. He is a great musician.

    will be bottom 3: CJ, Malaya, Sam (going home…probably Sam- though I do NOT like that)
    should be bottom 3: CJ, Malaya, Sam (going home CJ)

    • The Beach says:

      Yep, as cutesy and underwhelming as Sam and Malaya’s duet was how Slezak could score it lower than that horrendous mess of a duet that CJ and Dexter subjected us to is beyond me.

    • Alan Dvorkis says:

      Finally someone who did not rag on Sam. Agree, there is something to be said for someone who sings in key, something Malaya, who is getting all the praise, has not done yet. He also has this beautiful tone that is unmatched. Yes he can be a bit boring, but I know that one day, he is going to come out of his shell (He is 17.Showing emotion can be tricky then) and knock every song out of the park. He is one of only a few that are capable.

      • Dot says:

        At times, Sam reminds me of a young Ricky Nelson. For all you youngsters out there – Google Ricky Nelson and see if you agree,

        • MAB says:

          Spot on. My husband who does not watch the show and has never seen Sam before walked into the room as I was watching and Sam was singing. the first words out of his mouth was he reminds me of Ricky Nelson. After he said that I googled Ricky Nelson and the resemblance is amazing.

          • Alan Dvorkis says:

            I get that, but to me Sam’s voice is even better. If you just close your eyes and listen, Sam is amazing. I would buy his album right now. Yes he often lacks emotion, but Lego House was not the one note snoozer, that people complained about. I can only imagine when he finally does open up, to allow his emotions to flow, that this kid will be a superstar.
            Compare his voice to Malaya, the overrated darling of this group. Yes she seems to be someone you would want to party with, she seems like a great kid, but when you close your eyes and listen to her, you will find she is not in tune from 75% of the time at her worst to about 25% at her best. No doubt she will iron that out too, but I would rather listen to beauty in tune, than average plus, out of. Go Same.

  19. I actually agree with every single grade tonight. But I’d bump Jessica and Alex up a little bit. Such a good night!

  20. PS: Anyone else get the feeling Alex and Jena don’t like each other?

    • Danny says:

      @Matthew- Not at all. Alex just comes off as shy. I don’t think there’s any dislike between them though.

    • Kes says:

      I was feeling that way about Jess and Caleb. They had the best duet VOCAL wise, but their chemistry….yikes! Actually, we should do a vote, who was more awkward: Caleb/Jess or Alex/Jena? At least Sam & Malaya, as well as Dexter & CJ looked like they enjoyed each other’s company. Geez….

      • Lynn says:

        Nothing could be more awkward than poor Malaya trying to interact with Sam while he kept running away from her, lol. I didn’t get any chemistry on any either of the other two duets.

      • Danny says:

        On Caleb and Jessica, the song was Stop Dragging My Heart Around. On a song like that it wouldn’t look right if they were gazing into each others eyes. It has some animosity built in. They had positive vibes when it was over.

    • MamaLis says:

      Absolutely, positively not at all I do not get that feeling. I’m 100% certain they DO like each other.

  21. MAB says:

    Jessica and Alex were my favorites tonight. Loved their original songs and downloaded both of them. They are radio ready and as good as most top 40 songs out there. This is the first time I really, really liked Jessica. She shines with her own music much better than with her covers. The show was great tonight. No one was really awful. These kids just needed some time.

    • Mike says:

      YUP! Both original songs were amazing. Was hoping that Jena can sing her original song too this round just because….. (Unbreakable Me – is this it? from the wildcard). Guys, Alex, Jessica, Jena —> these 3 have serious talent.

    • Danny says:

      @MAB- Same two favorites tonight, thought I’ve liked Jessica quite a bit in past weeks. I also think the show was great. People who were talking about how terrible this season was were jumping the gun. This season has only had 1 bad week. They were comparing the 1 bad week to a full season of other years. This season has had 3 real strong weeks so far. Give it some time and it might end up among the best ever.

    • Timmah says:

      ITA! Jess and Alex stole the show but there was not a bad performance to be seen (not counting the duets of course).

  22. Stormy says:

    2 cents worth:
    Jessica was superb [knew she would be], and her duet with Caleb was outstanding.
    Alex was great and I’m no fan of his. Malaya was terrific and I’m not in her camp either. Caleb was just Ok for me. Sam and Jena were adequate. CJ and Dex bottom 2 with Dex going home. JMO

    • Foxfire says:

      Stormy, I can’t believe how much Jessica improved this week. Maybe because she has performed that song many times before and felt more comfortable. I missed CJ’s performance and can’t find it on youtube, was it very bad?

      • Stormy says:

        It was better than he has been doing, but he just isn’t cut out for the big time. He’s sweet, but IMO not a headliner by any stretch.

      • The Beach says:

        Let’s just say you needn’t waste a lot of valuable time searching for it.

        • Foxfire says:

          Wow, it must have been pretty bad if they won’t even release it on Youtube. Poor CJ. The whole state of Alabama voting for him probably can’t save him.

  23. :( says:

    I like Jena, but I thought she sucked the life out of rolling in the deep. Would not be surprised if there’s a shocker tomorrow, and she gets the save. Good vocals, but a boring night.

    • Gailer says:

      That was the James Bond version. Lol I picture her as Shirley Bassey, but at least she isn’t as bad as Malaya who belongs on Glee.

    • Chantal says:

      I definitely agree about the “sucking the life” part. Didn’t care for the arrangement though the beginning sounded lovely.

    • Mary says:

      I hope not, I hope America has taste and see what was so unique about that arrangement. Definitely wasn’t a carbon copy of the original.

      • :( says:

        I agree that she sounded good, but I can just see another Jessica Sanchez moment, where the judges come on the stage and tell her she’s not going anywhere hahaha

  24. Name This Tune says:

    The automatic 4 point deduction for standing there strumming a guitar is still in effect. The rankings are:
    1 – Caleb
    2 – Alex
    3 – Jean
    4 – Jessica
    5 – Dexter
    6 – Malaga
    7 – Sam
    8 – CJ

    Sam going home.

    • Danny says:

      @ Name- It’s “Jena” (had to get that one in there, even if it was a bit lame)

      • Name This Tune says:

        It’s my cell phone. It doesn’t believe that Jena’s name is not Jean, and it always auto-corrects Malaya to Malaga, or even worse, Malaysia.

    • qazwsx says:

      Malaga was funny

    • Baby Muffin says:

      It’s Jena as in Gina :)

    • GuitarBlue says:

      The audience will be screaming for the save tomorrow night. But would CJ, Sam or Dexter be saved if one of them hits the bottom?? What if another surprise happens in the top 7, where suddenly one of the fave’s gets nicked?…………………

      They dropped jaws back when Pia Toscano got blown-away early, when they had already burned the save in a giddy lark. …….

      Jessica Sanchez would have never come close to the finale if they didn’t have the save in place at (top 7?)……………………………………Right now there are 5 guys and 3 girls.. a couple of the guys are just not that good; we have guys as good or better in our local list of bands we book for events around here. …………….

      For “entertainment value” I enjoyed Malaya and Caleb, some others did ok.

      • Name That Tune says:

        No, they won’t use the save on Sam, CJ, or Dexter. But they have to use it before top 5. If that’s your bottom 3, they don’t use it tomorrow. The next 2 weeks is when it gets interesting, because we have a chance to see one of the top 4 skirt the bottom 3.
        Who will it be?

    • Lola says:

      Agree ! Only I think CJ and Sam are on equal ground to go home tonight. But your ranking IMO are right on.

  25. Gailer says:

    Being a Cubs fan, all I can say is wait until next year.

  26. IMHO says:

    When Alex and Jena did their duet, did anybody else get a Finn and Rachel vibe? (This is coming from someone who has seen a total of less than 5 Glee episodes in his life)

  27. tealeaves says:

    This was a great show tonight. Jessica, Alex, and Jena were fantastic. CJ, Malaya, and Dexter each gave their best performances since the voting started. I really enjoyed the duet with Jessica and Caleb. It was a good song choice for both of them and their voices worked well together.
    This was a smart theme.

  28. CallumL says:

    All I could think about during Stop dragging my heart around is when elise and phillip did it.

  29. Preston says:

    I thought Malaya was very nearly incredible tonight.

    Jena too.

    Alex and Jess right behind.

    Caleb is starting to bore me. A rearrangement is only surprising if it’s any different from everything else you’ve done so far.

    Dexter was at his best. I actually enjoyed him much more than Caleb this week.

    I’d rank Sam near Dexter too. He seemed so much more engaged!

    And then there’s CJ, bless his heart.

  30. Lynn says:

    Surely no one thinks the saved will be used for CJ …. I fully expect him to depart tomorrow. If they don’t use it tomorrow, they’ve still got two weeks to use the save. The only way they will use the save tomorrow is if Jessica ends up lowest vote getter. I think we may see a bottom 3 of CJ, Sam and Jessica, though. She did a great job, best so far for her, but no way was her performance in the same league as Jena, Alex and Caleb..

    • Chantal says:

      Jessica was just as good as Alex and Caleb and all three were leagues better than Jena. If Jess is in the Bottom 3 it’s because she was the only person stuck singing both of her song in the FIRST HOUR. Idol picks up a million viewers in its second hour, so that is a huge (and unfair) hurdle for Jessica to have to overcome.

      • Lynn says:

        I completely agree that she got the shaft singing first and got nowhere near the production that was (and has been consistently) afforded to Caleb, Alex and Gena. Her song needed the same production level (or perhaps a different arrangement) that those three got for her to be competitive with them. At least she didn’t get stuck singing with a bunch of clap-on lamps.

        • Stormy says:

          Since you can vote throughout the course of the show, i don’t think going first is the drawback it once was.

          • tealeaves says:

            My guess is most votes are still placed after the entire show is over. Now they don’t even show a montage at the end of the show to remind you of all the performances.

        • karyn says:

          Completely agree about the stage production but I think it is incompetence rather than sabotage. Whoever is in charge of set design hasn’t an original thought in his/her head. You sing about birds and birds fly on a screen behind your head. Caleb’s and Jena’s sets are better because bright lights, shots of fire and smoke are cliché set design for a rock song. Don’t get me started on the lamps! I’m not Sam’s fan, but I felt bad for him last night. CJ is the only one who benefitted from the unoriginal staging b/c he sang Soulshine and got a halo/aura/soulshine around him – which will only reinforce what a great guy he is and keep him alive in this thing when his singing should have sent him home a few weeks ago.

      • Timmah says:

        IIRC Jess has only gotten to sing in the back half of the show once. I’m getting the feeling they really don’t want her to win.

        • chris says:

          You’re wrong about when Jessica has sung. She’s sung 10th, third, second, eighth, and sixth before tonight. Her placement doesn’t seem to indicate anything about the producers’ intentions.

  31. Tess says:

    I thought it was hysterical that Jessica was yet again being told to move around more – as if someone who plays a guitar and sings should be doing a jig while they’re at it or something – when they went and put her up on a raised platform, just how is she supposed to move around more when up on that thing? The songs she’s singing don’t require so much movement. Her performance tonight was fantastic (wish they didn’t dress her the way they did or put her on that stupid platform, but neither takes away from her overall performance or her awesome song); it didn’t require more movement. Jess and Alex both were the best of the night with their originals – made me wish they actually did “originals” as a theme at some point. I thought the Jess/Caleb and Jena/Alex duets were pretty great too considering how duets on this show tend to be less hit than miss.
    I hope CJ or Sam goes tomorrow (CJ for the never ending pitch issues, Sam for being just so boring and bland) but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone else goes instead. I have a feeling Dexter will be safe because he does better with ballads; Alex went last and was great; Jena ,Caleb, and Malaya seem to have the momentum and have the PTB backing them it seems); I thought Malaya and Caleb took a step back this week but both seem to have fans; I loved Jess’ original but I do worry that going first with an original and also having her duet so early in the show could set her up for trouble. Like I said, I hope the person going home is CJ or Sam and the bottom 3 is rounded out by Dexter – but I think it’s just as likely that we get a shocking result. If it’s Jena, Caleb, Alex, Malaya, or maybe Jess (I’m still not sure how they feel about her) then the save will likely get used. I don’t see them saving CJ, Dexter, or Sam at this point at all. I’m hoping it’s not a save needing night tomorrow.

    • GuitarBlue says:

      I agree that the rather useless critique by the Judges for Jessica to move around, is unwarranted. Sometimes I think the Judges just pick-out something to banter about— so people might think they are real Judges, rather than celebrities with a soap box.

      • MAB says:

        Both Harry and JLo both told Jessica she was terrific. It was only Keith that said something about her moving around more. Harry actually said she did not have to. Don’t lump all the judges together. She got a lot of positive feedback tonight which was well deserved.

      • MamaLis says:

        Ya… but I get it. No, they don’t want her to “do a jig.” But there’s substance to the feedback that her lifeless body is distracting. At least it is for me!!

        CJ and Alex stand-still and play guitar – but neither one of them look like they’re in a full-blown BODY CAST from the waist down when they perform!!!

        In fact, you know when you buy a little girl an “Action Barbie” and it’s in the package, attached to one of those stands with the stick up its butt? Ya.. Jess could almost be an Action Barbie attached to a stand with a stick up her……….

        But I LIKE her a lot and I LOVE her voice!!!!!! =)

  32. LeahKittyS says:

    Best night of the live shows by far! Thank you Alex and Jessica (and Caleb and Jena) for restoring my faith in the season! Sam and Malaya were also very good. Definitely agree CJ should be the one to go. Love, love, love Blue Eyed Lie and Fairy Tales! I will happily add those to my iTunes library. And I actually liked all the duets (CJ and Dexter were by far the weakest, but even they weren’t the bad). This could be a tricky one!

  33. Publius says:

    Time for Malaya, CJ, and Sam to hit the road. They are not in the league of the others.

    Caleb is the clear ready performer. I get why many tout jessica or Jena, but they are not ready for the bright lights. Alex will never achieve stage comfort, but has major talent. Unfortunately for him, the money is in performance.

    Slezak is dead-on about using the save this week, but it is a mistake unless a real-deal talent lost the vote.

    Did any of y’all miss CJ’s performance because Fox cut-in with a stupid report on the shooting? If he gets voted off, I can see 19E giving him a pass since all of Ameriker did not get the chance to see him.

    • wth says:

      Replace Dexter with Malaya.

    • Chablis says:

      Well how inconvenient for you that Fox would break in and interrupt a reality show with a shooting update. A frigging shooting that left 4 dead 16 wounded some critically. Yeah what an inconvenience for you sitting safe on your couch . Give me a break,

      • Name This Tune says:

        You’re talking to the same crowd that didn’t understand the in appropriateness of Pump Assembly Kicks.

      • Stormy says:

        Oh please. They could have run a crawl at the bottom of the screen instead of a bulletin. The details would not change by waiting when Fox airs news directly after Idol.

    • Mary says:

      I guess it only in certain area because it never interrupted here. If CJ is voted off I hope to God they do not use the save. This week was a tad better but he still cannot sign in tune. If all of America didn’t see it they should thank there lucky stars.

      • Alan Dvorkis says:

        Agree. Dont know how he made it this far. The judges like him, so perhaps there is a likability that gets him votes, but your audition song is one that you practiced forever, the one that you know you will nail and he was only marginally more in tune, when it should be 100%. Mediocrity must leave. I hope.

  34. Chantal says:

    Caleb and Jessica won the night for me, both on their solos and their duets. I absolutely loved Alex’s original so he’s #3 for me, but his duet with Jena was really awkward. I think it is time for Sam to go home. If not him then Dexter.

  35. AlyB says:

    Great night on Idol except for the duets. Jess & Caleb did ok but the rest of them just didn’t work out too well. On the other hand, the solos were terrific from just about everyone.

    Jessica sounded fabulous and I loved her original song. CJ nailed it but I think he’s been so inconsistent that it may be too late to recover if he’s even capable. Sam has a beautiful tone but it’s just the same all the way through everything he sings. There’s just no nuance or feeling to his vocal delivery so he ends up with an indifferent shoulder shrug from me. Malaya delivered a really impressive performance. I don’t know if she is winner level in my eyes but I’d certainly like to keep her around for several more weeks. Dexter was wonderful tonight. He did exactly what he needed to do and while he’s not my cup of tea musically, I wouldn’t mind the save being used on him if he’s at the bottom of the pack this week. Jena sang the crap out of that song. I’m not sure I liked her arrangement but she killed it vocally. Wow. Just wow. Caleb was Caleb. Another solid rockin performance for him. I don’t see him going anywhere but I do want to see him change things up next week. Alex is a great musician and a good singer. I’d like to see him get a shot in the industry mostly because he is musically interesting, intruiging even. I’m not sure I want to see him win Idol though.

    Overall great night though. I think CJ & Sam will be in the bottom 3. Not sure who the third would be. If CJ is at the bottom, I don’t think they’ll use the save but they will for anyone else.

  36. osborn1116 says:

    What does Alex have to do to get an A? Seriously now Slezak. You’re telling me that wasn’t as good as Jessica’s? It was just as good as Jena’s rendition of Rolling in the Deep? Dude let loose and gave them “edge” in the vocals, created an accompaniment to go behind the song, and performed a song that leaves him more vulnerable then everyone else (besides Jessica). Give the dude some props and give him his deserved A for that song which is probably going to land the highest on iTunes of anyone’s performances all year.

    Also do we think Crystal Bowersox is happy they got to perform originals or do we think she’s pissed because she didn’t get to?

    • Chantal says:

      I agree Alex should be boosted up to an “A.” He did really great, though I actually liked the stripped down version of the song better than the background vocals / band accompaniment. I’d rate his and Jessica’s solos the highest, with Caleb right below.

    • Lynn says:

      I agree. No way was Jessica better than Alex. I have not been a great fan of Alex, but he really brought it tonight. Arrangement and vocals were stellar. perfect close for the show. I just think people take up for Jessica because she’s not getting the love she deserves from either the judges or the producers.

      • osborn1116 says:

        I understand Jessica is Slezak’s Skylar this year and he’s going to grade her on higher curve but if he doesn’t think that Alex deserved an A then I have to wonder if there is any pleasing him lol

      • Stormy says:

        It might also be due to potential radio play. I think Jessica’s song would get air play on country and pop stations.

        • Honey Barlett says:

          Is there a Zombie Network? They may play her awful sounding music. Or, the Farm Animal Network, nobody else.

    • Name This Tune says:

      What does Alex have to do?
      Something really bold, like put down the guitar.
      He does exactly the same thing every week.
      Can’t imagine what an Alex concert would feel like, but I think it would be pretty dull.

      • osborn1116 says:

        Then don’t go to a Damien Rice, Jason Mraz, Ray LaMontagne, Ed Sheeran, or countless other top charting artists who do just that man. His style and music are main stream to what is selling and charting today. If I’m at a concert do I really care if he puts down the guitar? If he’s sounding damn good and interacting with people who cares. You act like going to a concert performers don’t fill up the dead time in between songs, Idol doesn’t have artists do that, they pay Ryan enough to fill the space.

        If you think his concert would be dull I can only imagine who, this season, you think wouldn’t be.

        • Name That Tune says:

          You asked what does he have to do to get an A. The answer is something we wouldn’t expect. We expect him to pick up a guitar, take some standard out there and rearrange it so he can scat. That’s okay for a song or two, but 90 minutes of it?
          No thanks.

        • MamaLis says:

          ^^^ PREACH!!

      • kate'shomesick says:

        How? There are tons of musicians that always perform with an instrument (often the same)…that fact alone doesn’t make them boring. Alex has been so good…the guitar doesn’t bother me at all…

      • MAB says:

        That’s exactly what was said about Phillip Phillips and he kills at his concerts and selling our arenas.

      • Kaba says:

        If you can’t imagine what a concert full of acoustic driven songs and maybe even more since he has a large repertoire of instruments…wow.
        Sounds like a Jason Mraz kind of guy.

        • Name That Tune says:

          Okay, so let’s see him play one of those instruments. Because all we’ve seen is the guitar. Which Dexter, CJ, Jessica and Sam all know how to play.
          And a full concert of acoustic driven songs can be pretty dull if you don’t change it up. Pretty much like watching 2 hours of Idol with all the guitar players.

          • osborn1116 says:

            Dude MTV and VH1 each had a whole show based on an acoustc set up. Acoustic sells and is enjoyable. Just don’t go to the concerts man.

      • Honey Barlett says:

        But that face will attract the ZOMBI crowd!

      • Julie Anderson says:

        One of the best concerts I’ve seen was Jason Mraz sitting in a lawn chair playing his guitar for over two hours. Amazing! I totally agree with Osborne below. And yes, they are hugely successful.

    • MamaLis says:

      I TOTALLY agree. It’s interesting Slezak was commenting on the nuances of Alex’s song because I literally posted Week #1 that song was smokin’ great based on the full youtube version. I was singing it for 2 weeks and I kept thinking it was from the radio.

      But ya… Alex is probably a bit too introverted and I would like to see him open up more. But I still really dig him and I love his music. It’s cool that in spite of the fact that he’s not the usual Idol “big” – people are still responding really well to him.

      • MAB says:

        His song “the Light Was Already Here” is really good. I really think he has a career. He is very current and radio friendly. He is now my favorite.

  37. If I had to guess the top 4 I’d say its Jess, Jena, Caleb, and Alex.

  38. tesh says:

    y’all, i went to my FIRST EVAH American idol live taping tonight!. Been an idol fan since season 5. Seen 90% of shows. Thoughts in random order.

    -Process prior to getting in: I got tickets by signing up via Online Camera Audiences. They said to show up no later 3pm, and I was #199 when I arrived at 3.15pm. 4 women came after me, and we were the last to get in the studio, 1 minute before live! They began taking people in from the street (Genessee Av at Beverly) across the studio lot to the holding room at 4pm (well, the second 100 anyway). 200 of us were in the semi-outdoor holding area after security check (cell phones really aren’t allowed). Some people had signs. There were lot of PAs on walkies — reality TV labor that’s underpaid, but they didn’t look unhappy or frustrated to me. No evidence of “precarious” “emotional labor” (sorry, I am an academic; this is a reference to Hesmondhalgh & Baker, 2008). Of course I saw very little and even if they didn’t appear precarious, doesn’t mean they weren’t. Peeps in the holding area were excited. So many young folk, and already busloads of high schoolers (largely white female, the SwayBots) had already gotten in prior to any of hte 200. They began taking people in at 4.35pm. There was water and port-a-potties.

    -Inside: The stage and the entire studio is much smaller you guys. I was on the 2nd level. Standing throughout. Decent view. It’s kind of mechanical, the whole feel. TV DOES make everything look telegenic. But the audience wasn’t ’em real beloved bleeding heart fans. A new kind of zombie. Well-dressed, even older. I mean, I have nothing to compare against, but just sayin’. Cory the Standup guy was doing his thing. Ryan looked regal. JLo really is very beautiful. In breaks, JLo kept taking selfies on others’ phones. Randy talked to Harry after the 2nd performance. He really looks like he has nothing to do. A lot of people just went up to the judges area. It got really hectic around them. Just a mixture of what seemed like security, Per Blankens, makeup, technical folk, etc., PAs gave people signs to hold. I could peer down into the contestants’ couch, and had a decent view facing the judges. It is still a lovely studio, albeit small.

    -Fans: No one around me was discussing the performances! Or excited about specifics. NO ONE cared abt the judges commentary after the break. I FELT LIKE SUCH A FAN ! I KNEW IT AS A DEVIATION. I CARED. I PEERED. I VEERED. I moved around. Others weren’t into it. I was better than others! And I was the last one in, to think of it!

    -Songs and perfs are different on TV vs studio. Fer sure. I really dug *dexter* and Jena. Caleb really really interacts. I smiled and waved to CJ, and he waved back. I think our final three are: Jena (who is spelt as ‘Gina’ in Ryan’s monitor), Alex, and Caleb, rounded off by Jess and Malaya or Dexter. Sam and CJ will go soon. Today everybody sounded decent (ok maybe not the latter two duets), but thing is, it felt like being in a bigger, fancier bar. Either Idol isn’t big now or was never big. Those juggernaut numbers is MEDIA INDUSTRIES. Since I do research on media industries, from this one experience, I am neither terrified of them (and for their labor) nor enamored by them. I am just a bit blah,. TV is a medium. This is a TV show. I’ll take the illusion and enjoy it. Let industries deliver the illusion to me. Some slave without much money, but at least they didn’t seem to be zombies. All the PAs were courteous, didn’t appear exhausted. The show felt like a worn fomula, not worn out but like a slightly boring pair of jeans shining in tinsel. There were good moments. Jena slayed. Ryan makes his job look easy, but you guys, it didn’t look THAT hard. Harry felt really genuine. He did. It was sad to see Alison iraheta as (very good) backup singer. I mean, is this what the media industries do. Those who can’t star don’t fade away but are stars stuck in the background sky. They’re good, but they’re in a mechanical cage that becomes our screen from which we tweet. It’s all so, just so. It’s a good pet robot experience. It does not thump. Maybe Jena, Alex, and Caleb did.; Sam looked caught in headlights. Dexter looked bored but today he connected to me in the studio. Malaya has become better internally, but she feels en route to a product. I dunno. Maybe media industries are bad. But I still consume them, no? TV is storified and cameraified, and all them lights and wires do their job. Being a professional never felt more like being a silver tube. Silver, because there is commitment and craft. Tube, because, you know, not just TV, but also, yeah, TV. Invert it, it’s not vita. It’s a bit like a simulacrum. It’s hyberbole, but it also helps us honey our morning coffee, the music. Today I saw the machinations. They were not evil, but they were not private sex either. A little girl called Malaya was told to behave better, to work harder, to not runaway baby. In the process, the bathwater is fuzzy and is good for our backs. But the baby is in the mirror reflections near the stage. There are fingerprints on them. But those stories, those finger prints, that lack of mediation and surveillance, that unprofitability, is not the story of reality.

    • deedee says:

      Gotta say … I really have no idea what you’ve said in the second half of your post, but thanks for sharing your Idol experience. Studios always look much, much smaller live than they do on TV. And thanks for confirming 2 suspicions I’ve had: 1) that the PAs hand out signs to the audience [“Marry Me Harry!!”], and 2) that Jena is spelled “Gina” on the teleprompters. I *knew* it!

      • Adam Fachry says:

        It almost seems like he’s drunk more cocktails than he should have after the live show, because I didn’t understand the second half of the comment, either. But, what an interesting experience you had there, tesh!

    • Danny says:

      @Tesh- That’s really neat that ya went and saw it live. I found your observations interesting. I have to fess up I didn’t quite get what ya meant in the bottom part of the post. The rest of it though was extremely interesting.

  39. Che says:

    If sam be going home. Save will be used. He has the potential only his problem is to connect but pitch wise, he is better than the rest. Randy Kackson….omg, he doesnt deserve to be a mentor. Do not want to see him on AI. Sam has the talent, but as a mentor what did he do? Randy just get out from AI ! Sam just connect and Harry is right, your world will gonna change. You dont need to be loud to win AI…

  40. Honey Barlett says:

    Pay for that Horrible Jessica song? Oh boy! She still stinks and she should play for the LA Rams with those big ugly arms. Get a look at her GHOULISH looking parents? Now I know where her pig face looks come from! POOR THING. How. Much makeup do the guys need? Especially Sam, his is caked on so much he looks female! YUK. IMPROVEMENT! This show did not get any better! Had to hear Jessica 2 times. Terrible thing. And Cj was singing out of tune at age 6. You think he’d learn in 17 years; SAME RESULTS! Does ugliest contestant Alex think that hat looks cute? He thinks he’s cool but it makes him look like an idiot.Jena and Caleb best again this week.

    • Kaba says:

      You sound like a pitiful human being based on all the crap you just said about Jess…
      I’m not talking about your remarks toward her performance and song btdubs.

      • Honey Barlett says:

        Look, Jessica should appear as Frankenstein’s Monster with that ugly face. What are you all hearing? Commenter Jim Welker described her voice best; A CAT BEING TORTURED AND CASTRATED! I agree. I am entitled to my opinion. She has a terrible personality and God I pray she leaves soon so she can model horse blankets. Sorry you feel like I do but she is terrible and that is the truth.

      • Stormy says:

        @Kaba Don’t feed the hideous troll calling itself Honey Barlett. That is one sick, miserable creature. The jury is still out on whether it is human or not.

        • Honey Barlett says:

          Shame on you! Believe me, when it comes to music, I know it. Don’t need to explain to the likes of you. I am entitled to my opinions so stop your whining about me! You all can’t face the truth about this years singers. Sorry if I offend anyone. Don’t be so serious folks; It is only a TV show for God’s Sake!

          • MAB says:

            It may just be a TV show but these kids are real people and your remarks insulting their looks is just disgusting. Fine if you don’t like their singing, it is your opinion but you are just a mean, nasty person who just gets a kick out of shocking people at the expense of a bunch of innocent kids. Shame on you!

        • Honey Barlett says:

          Shame on you! Believe me, when it comes to music, I know it. Don’t need to explain to the likes of you. I am entitled to my opinions so stop your whining about me! You all can’t face the truth about this years singers. Sorry if I offend anyone. Don’t be so serious folks.

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      Jessica has been rocking the studio recordings since they began, but the latest one is definitely her best. I’ve always like her, but in some ways she only seems to come to life when performing her own material. I wonder if the producers are inching toward an All Original Song night.

    • Lola says:

      Honey. Check your meds.

  41. toadily says:

    Michael, you are a joy, and your knowledge, wit and wisdom bring me back year after year, as do some if you regular Idoloonies. But, now don’t throw stuff at me people, I just can’t enjoy the over processed belting of every single note of every single song by Jena. I love the tones of Caleb’s, Jessica’s, Alex’s, and Sam’s voices; CJ had one glorious night that most of us loved, Malaya’s a blossoming child not ready for prime time, Dexter is one note although a note that seemingly a buncha folks like, but Jena makes me want to take Xanax. And yeah, less camera time on JLo puhleeez, as well as the audience and everything that isn’t the singer in his/her 90 second spot. Please give em more time to sing.

    • Nedsdag says:

      I don’t the Jena love either. So, she rearranged the song, but so did Caleb, yet he got a lower grade? To me, Jena is a better sounding Mikayla Gordon if you ask me. Yes, I went there!

      • Liz says:

        I agree with you. Not the least bit impressed with Jena. She is essentially getting in-house auto-tuning throughout her performances each week via excessive sound delay applied to her vocals. There’s always a hollow / echo sound present because of that that’s grating on my last nerve by this point. At least most of the others are sinking or swimming via their natural voices minus all the manufactured sound help.

  42. Davey says:

    I thought Jena’s version of Rolling in the Deep was awful. I had to walk out of the room. These judges are reading some kind of script written by the producers. Even Harry Connick is being forced to lie. I thought Caleb’s song would never end. There was nothing different from anything else he’s done before. Malaya was equally snooze worthy. Caleb and Alex remain the bright lights of the show and they will probably be the final two.

    CJ should go home. Sam is getting better but he’s simply too young.

    • Honey Barlett says:

      You have many great points! I am much harsher than you. Great comments.

    • Davey says:

      I meant to say “Dexter’s song would never end” above. That’s how detached I am from this program. I liked Caleb but not a lot tonight.

    • wth says:

      Poor, music-deaf tastes.

    • Mary says:

      To each their own. I love Jena version. I personally don’t like Alex voice and Caleb is good but sounding repetitive each week. Because the judges think differently than you does not make them lying. Maybe they can spot talent.

  43. NedPepper says:

    At this point, I’m only going to vote for people who deserve to win. Dexter cannot win this show. Nothing personal against him, but it will be the death knell of American Idol. And yet I have a bad feeling. Jessica, Jena, Alex need to be the final three. They are studio ready and have unique voices. Also, Allison Iraheta! She’s become a lovely young woman.

  44. Honey Barlett says:

    Oh, forgot, Dexter a B+? Top 8? How does a goof ball like Dexter (Also too much makeup) go this far? He may perform along with Jessica and Alex on a TV commercial modeling horse blankets. At least Dexter sang words we could understand. Usually he babbles! Oh well, dream on if any of these singers will even make a small dent in the music industry. Possibly Caleb. Jessica and Alex will be comedians at best and Dexter will appear in monster pictures as the FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER. Jessica and Alex will later join him in later Zombie pictures! And, when will Sam sing a high note or can he? As for the freakish 3, Frankenstein is wating!

  45. Davey says:

    Michael’s favorites are Jena and Jessica and he continues to grade Dexter higher than he deserves.

    Poor Sam. I’ll keep defending him. When I think of all the singers on this show that sing off key over the years, at least he does know how to sing. At the beginning of Lucky he sounded like a jazz crooner but the duet with Malaya was doomed.

    • karen says:

      I AGREE! For a second there, I thought Sam sounded just like Harry Connick Jr.!

      • Laura Mipsome says:

        Ditto. I wasn’t watching the screen, and totally thought it was Harry. Until it went off the rails.

        I liked Sam a lot better this week, he seemed far more engaged. Maybe all those light bulbs they keep staging him with are causing the lights in his head to go on.

        And while I like Sam, I loooooove his grandpa! How can I vote him onto the show?!?

  46. Grandma Jane says:

    Best night so far. Everyone at their best. I could live without CJ and Dexter. Sam’s ok. Èveryone else was super, and Jessica’s never been a favorite of mine. Tonight was good though. Great song. I totally agree that her voice is “cold” sounding. I always felt that. But I also get that she’s talented.
    I think Malaya has an absolutely incredible voice. Needs a little marinating time, and mentoring, but she’s only 16, and she’s improving rapidly. She will blow people away as she grows.
    Alex, Jena and Caleb were awesome.

  47. Baby Muffin says:

    Love Jess… She has the vibe going. Awesome duet with Caleb. Even Malaya is growing on me…. she has that Urkel like vibe :)

  48. Brandy says:

    Jena. Freaking. Irene. Thatsallbye

  49. tealeaves says:

    Here’s some of the judges’ comments that made no sense tonight:
    – Keith told Jessica her legs were planted in one spot for the whole song, and she needed to move around more on stage. But she was singing on a raised platform that was less than 5 feet in diameter.
    – JLo praised Dexter for having listened to everything they have been telling him, and for singing a song that was perfect for him. But, like everyone else, he was singing his audition song. It had nothing to do with him listening to the judges’ suggestions.
    – Harry told Caleb we have heard him belt out songs and we need to hear him sing something softer. But, like everyone else, he was singing his audition song.

    • GuitarBlue says:

      This is the sham of the Idol format. It’s a reality show that gets 8 -10 million views, but these Judges could be replaced by a few music studio managers easily,— as far as giving good advise. But the “Celebrity” factor is the norm for these shows and maybe it does help hold ratings. …………………But then, having Randy, Nikki and Mariah last year, almost sunk the show altogether..

      • JASon says:

        Celebrity means nothing. It’s compelling commentary. Simon Cowell was not a celebrity until he came on the show! HArry Connick is barely a celebrity but he is stealing most episodes.

    • kcostell says:

      Dexter (and several of the others) had two audition songs to choose from. The other one he could have picked (Casey James’ “Drive”) was much more in the vein of what he’d been doing previously.

  50. The Beach says:

    How is everyone voting these days. I have only been using Google because they have made it so simple and easy to use. Well done! Are lots of folks still calling in votes or are they mostly voting online now?

    • LeahKittyS says:

      I always use all four methods (Google, app, texting and calling) to make sure the ones I really like are safe.

    • GuitarBlue says:

      I have a group of people over, that watch the show together. Those who really get into it are voting on computer and phone both. Interesting though, is that the husbands/boyfriends usually don’t vote. They will argue or playfully voice their opinions, but if they do vote, it’s not often.The girls do most of the voting.

    • Laura Mipsome says:

      Love the google vote! I live on the east coast, but I have a west coast cell number and I had a hard time voting at all last year (it would only work if i called during the west coast window).
      Not only is the google vote simple and readily available, it allows me to arrange my thoughts about everyone, and rank them as the night progresses. I like having that overall view of what I thought of everyone laid out before me, and then tweaking a bit to account for other factors – like tossing some bonus points in for someone i really want to stay. Google vote has definitely increased my involvement in the show, and also my enjoyment.

      Only one problem… I can’t figure out how to cast my vote for Sam’s Grandpa! He wins Family Idol in my book. There was really only one family I’d like to see voted off. Not naming names, but the family clip gave me some pretty clear insight into the contestant’s personality.