American Idol Top 8 (Redux) Performance Recap: Am I Lookin' for a New Love, Baby? [Updated]

american-idol-top-8-redux-performance-recap-80s-night-jena-irene-dexter-robertsI don’t want to sound like a miserable old codger, breath reeking of Werther’s Originals and cantankerousness, shaking a freshly cut lilac branch at the neighbor kids and screaming “Get the heck off of my lawn!” But man oh man, tonight’s installment of American Idol put me in a bad mood. And this despite Season 7 champ David Cook pinch-hitting for “mentor” Randy Hackson — typo, and it stays! — and offering the kind of cogent, specific, pithy (not to be confused with pitchy) advice the Idoloonie Nation has been longing for all season.

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So, paraphrasing ’80s icon Clara Peller, what’s my beef, exactly? Well, we had the show’s MVP judge Harry Connick Jr. begging for attention all night like a toddler whose mommy is on the phone with the cable company. We had wide-eyed Sam Woolf being encouraged to look directly into the eyes of the SwayBots. (Nooooo!!!!) And worst of all, we learned that Mr. Cook — insightful and music-loving as ever — didn’t get face time with the Season 13 Top 8 until Monday, long after the song-selection and -arrangement processes had been completed. (Side note: Had I realized how many times we’d see Randy shadowing David, without uttering a single word, I’d have suggested a drinking game. Then again, I got drunk off the sheer enjoyment of seeing The Dawg get back-burnered.)

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Oh, and did I mention the judges’ panel openly disrespected ’80s icon — and enduring EDM-soul stunner/Grammy winner — Jody Watley, in the process?

What we were left with was a collection of performances that spanned the map from innnnnteresting to inept, from adequate to addled — which might’ve been fine had this been Top 13 or Top 12 week. But during Top 8 redux? The absolute predictability of song choice and the tentative approach to vocals set off every alarm bell in my Idol-obsessed skeleton. It’s as if there’s an iceberg-shaped hole in the cruiseliner, and the ship’s crew is busy polishing the shuffleboard table on the lido deck.

I know, I know, this recap sounds like a monologue from Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino — filtered through a reality TV-obsessed filter — but I mean it as a wakeup call to a group of aspiring music stars who are simply too talented to be written off as the last inhabitants of a decaying talent competition. As long as Phillip Phillips and Kelly Clarkson and Chris Daughtry are relevant to the Billboard charts, as long as Kris Allen and David Cook and Didi Benami are producing kick-awesome music to fill our iTunes, then there’s still a need for Idol. And I won’t hear any argument to the contrary!

Here’s hoping Mr. Cook — or one of his fellow Idol University grads — is already working with the future Top 7 to ensure that flame doesn’t get extinguished.

On that note, let’s jump right to letter grades for this week’s performances:

photo-2’80s Night Grades
Jena Irene: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ “I Love Rock N’ Roll” — Grade: B+ | OK, the arrangement was a little disjointed, and Jena’s sultry piano intro got cut too short. But nevertheless, the teenage belter’s interpretation made sense, considering Joan Jett’s ditty is as much a tale of seduction (of the teenage boy standing by the record machine) as it is about loving the headbangiest genre of music. Jena’s risky approach to the rhythm — a few moments were strangely reminiscent of Diana Ross’ “Upside Down,” to my ears — and her gargantuan riff on the final refrain put this one firmly in the win column. As Mr. Cook pointed out, it might have some viewers incredulously asking “What is she doing?” but at least it wasn’t dull or wrong-minded.

Dexter Roberts: Georgia Satellites’ “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” — Grade: B+ | David’s advice to Dexter — don’t mumble, and don’t get out-waked by the guitarist (because it’s just walking) — seemed simple enough, but it paid dividends for the mid-pack country crooner who seems determined to last longer than his detractors predicted. Yeah, it helped that “Keep Tour Hands to Yourself” was the night’s best song choice (both in terms of unpredictability and vocal suitability), but Dexter delivered it with energy and a heretofore unseen sense of abandon. Plus, he damn near hit every note. Now if we could just permanently retire the backwards baseball cap…

Sam & Alex: “The Girl Is Mine” — Grade: C+ | Alex declared in the guys’ post-performance interview that he felt like he and Sam were “jamming in the hotel room,” which was apt. The energy level was very “pre-room-service coffee” and the inherent sense of playfulness in the lyrics dissolved into something less engaging than corporate wall art. Just because the only place you can hear the original is in the waiting room at your dentist’s office doesn’t mean it should cause drowsiness and fatigue, fellas!

Malaya Watson: Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire” — Grade: C- D+ | Well, one way of looking at it is that Malaya put a literal spin on the song title — seeing how the bulk of the high notes sounded like they were coming from someone trapped inside a burning building, screaming wildly for the good folks from the Fire Department to come and save her. Too mean? Maybe. But someone has to speak truth to this hot buttered wreck of a vocal, since the judges’ complaints were limited mostly to Malaya focusing so far ahead on the glory notes that she forgot to infuse the verse with passion. “Not many people can hit that Chaka note,” said Harry, ignoring the fact that Malaya had botched it. But yes, Malaya’s Jody Watley-esque hoops were fly, despite not being nearly large enough to match the original’s signature look.

Jena & Caleb: “It’s Only Love” — Grade: B+ | Jena and Caleb actually sounded really good together on this Tina Turner-Bryan Adams duet — matching each other’s intensity and clearly having fun doing it. Unfortunately the song itself is kinda draggy and repetitive — not exactly “Slow Ride,” is what I’m tryin’ to say — but I’m hopeful this matchup added to the individual contestants’ vote tallies. They deserved it.

Jessica Meuse: Blondie’s “Call Me” — Grade: B- | As she does every week, Jess hit her notes like little ducks in a county-fair shooting game, but to what end? As J.Lo sagely noted, Jess needed to deliver the refrain — “CALL ME!” — with the force and ferocity of a woman demanding her lover have eyes (or a speed-dial setting, at least) for no other. But in Jess’s hands, the song might as well have been titled “Call Me?” Which is crazy. Because when Jessica talks about her music, she does it with such singular passion, a passion that  burned even brighter when she sang her own original tune (“Blue Eyed Lie,” currently at 51 playcounts on my iTunes) last week. But tonight’s cover felt like a shoulder shrug at best, a surrender to the idea that, “Well, I don’t really dig any of the songs on the list, so I’m just gonna try to get through the least of the evils involved.” This is not how you win American Idol. This is how you finish 7th on American Idol. And I really think Season 13 of American Idol needs Jessica Meuse — grown woman, skilled songwriter, broke musician — to keep things interesting. So Jess, if you’re reading this, you’ve got to dig deeper in the song selection department. Call me, call me, anytime, K?

Sam Woolf: Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” — Grade: B | This was probably Sam’s best vocal since Hollywood Week — with his clear, sweet tone floating over a sparse, acoustic rearrangement of a classic ’80s ballad.  I liked that Sam played with the tempo in spots, took little liberties with the melody, and harmonized with the electrifying Season 8 standout Allison Iraheta. (You’ve bought her band Halo Circus’ single on iTunes, yes?) My only complaint was that the staging — Sam lowered into a pit of SwayBots the better to underscore the producers’ “heartthrob” story arc — made him seem a little uncomfortable, a mood that kept him from fully nailing the emotional side of the performance. Harry, doing the worst mentoring of the season (if not his entire life), suggested Sam actually make eye contact with the grinning, mooning girls (who are paid $5.50 per shriek by producers). Dude, you might not have a problem with putting one of those short-shorts-clad tweens on your shoulders for an entire critique, but don’t drag poor Sam into it.

Malaya & C.J.: “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me” — Grade: D+ | Nope, the less I say/think/remember about this cataclysmic collision of poorly matched voices, the better. (Damn, remember when Jessica Sanchez and Josh Ledet took this one on in Season 11?)

Alex Preston: The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” — Grade: C+ | I didn’t realize it was possible to neuter a song — not until tonight, anyway, when Alex took the Police’s haunting classic about obsessive (and unreturned) love, brought it down to the vet’s office and asked for the ultimate equipment change. Yeah, I know, I’m always ranting about how contestants need to steer clear of karaoke and give us interesting arrangements, but as David Cook pointed out, Idol is like a chess match, and not every risk pays off. Like J.Lo pointed out, the way Alex stripmined the melody robbed the track of any intensity (or any discernible hook). Even worse though, Alex’s twee twist — all plinking acoustic guitar, sweeping strings and wide-eyed romantic vocals — sounded like it was tailor-made for a bride walking down the aisle at a beach wedding, a completely incongrous approach to a song about a man keeping constant and unwelcome vigil over a woman whom he’s accusing of breaking bonds and staying out all night. There wasn’t any irony or humor in Alex’s approach either, just a blasé approach in which lines like “I feel so cold and I long for your embrace” got tossed away like melon rinds.

Jessica & Dexter: “Islands in the Stream” — Grade: B- | Yeah, this sounded fine. I won’t remember it in a week, but it sounded fine. Well, maybe I’ll remember Harry disrespectfully screaming like a lunatic from the rafters instead of doing his job and critiquing the performance, but anyway…

C.J. Harris: Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'” — Grade: C- | It seems to me as though the judges have almost given up on pointing out C.J.’s consistent pitch problems — since no amount of discussion seems to be leading to improvement, anyhow. Instead, we’ve moved on to the “You Know How to Connect With People!” arc. To which I say, if you’re a singer, and you want to connect with me, you have to hit more than one-third of your notes correctly. Anything less — like C.J.’s strained, frequently sharp mangling of a Tom Petty jam — and you’re actually not connecting. Not with me, anyhow. No matter how sweet a guy you seem to be. (We’ll leave the rooting for C.J. “note by note” shenanigans to J.Lo, who I think was trying to say in the nicest way possible that she never knows when dude is going to start singing off key.)

Caleb Johnson: Journey’s “Faithfully” — Grade: B+ | Whether you find him intriguingly retro or just old-fashioned, whether or not you’re irked by his dismissive comments about wanting to “make old ladies cry,” you can’t say Caleb doesn’t normally have an excellent grasp on intonation. Tonight, though, as he attempted to show us a softer side and caress the verses a bit, I thought the resident rocker sounded strained, maybe even a tiny bit haggard, as if his voice didn’t quite know how to carry itself if it wasn’t in full-throttle mode. Sure, the sea of sparks behind Caleb and Keith’s iPhone candle app added to the carefully constructed “Performance of the Night” narrative to which the producers were committed, but when the best compliment Keith Urban can think of is comparing you to a fannypack, maybe you’re not taking enough creative risks or living up to your prior highlights, eh?

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

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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712 Comments
  1. IMHO says:

    Well, it took a while, but JLO is back to her Season 11, I hate all girls mode. Speaking of the judges, didn’t they all seem very much like they were all, “look at me, I’m on TV!” tonight?

    • 100%. The judge’s were very off tonight. I don’t think they did any good. Tonight just seemed very draggy. Maybe it’s because there is one more person than usual on the show at this point, maybe the majority of the songs were kinda sleepy (CJ, Sam, Alex), I don’t know. I thought the episode was a little boring. I am nervous that a person that’s never been in Bottom 3 is going home and there is no save to help them. That’s the risk of using the save on someone that’s perennially in the Bottom. The judges were kinda tough on Jessica, Alex and even Jena. Malaya and Dexter weren’t that great but might be able to sneak by. I really don’t know how the votes are gonna go this week.

      • Erin says:

        Slezak was right on: Harry was way off with his “did you guys see what I JUST DID. OOH MY NECK”. It reminded me of when Simon and Paula let the flirting get outta hand and it is just disrespectful! What made to show boring was the predictability of the song choices. As for the votes, I think that Malaya has no chance to stay after that performance. She has been pretty great and still been in the bottom. Unlike CJ or Dexter, she couldn’t afford an off week.

        • Lynn says:

          All I could think of when I saw that shameful display was whent Harry criticized Emily for some questionable lyrics in a song and now he has a 12-year-old girl sitting on his shoulders while he’s making off-color remarks. Pot meet kettle.

          • Terry says:

            Indeed, that was disturbing. Was HCJ drunk or something? That was just bizarre.

          • Tom says:

            The most annoying thing ever: Sam Woolf clearly faking his finger picking on the verses of his song, while someone that can actually play was mic’d in over the top of it. The worst part is that the cameras clearly hid his guitar from view during that part, and the judges (who all three knew he faked it) congratulated him on his guitar playing. Thanks again Sam for playing with just you, your guitar that had no juice, and some guitar player hidden behind Allison’s pink hair. Also, Lights>lamps>pre-teens.

          • NJIdoloonie says:

            I thought that was his daughter.

          • Mytake says:

            100% this ^

            I was thinking the EXACT same thing!

          • Mytake says:

            My comment about me thinking the exact same thing was meant as a reply to Lynn’s comment about Harry with the girl on his shoulders. For some reason my reply was placed in a completely different location than where it should have been in the hierarchy.

          • Harry was extremely annoying tonight. Shame on you, Junior!

          • Terry says:

            Oh, OK, if that was in fact his daughter then it makes it ever so slightly less disturbing.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            It was not his daughter. Remember? He didn’t know her name at first.

          • karyn says:

            Like others, I thought at first this must be his daughter b/c otherwise it was tacky as hell for a 40-something guy to pick up a 14 year old like that. I recall Harry teasing Keith last week in a way that would certainly piss off Nicole Kidman and this week I wondered if Harry were out to piss off his own spouse. I agree with Slezak that Harry seemed desperate for air time this week.

          • CaliGirl says:

            That was his daughter….he was kidding that he didn’t know her name. Calm down!

          • zaza says:

            He doesn’t have a daughter named Nicole, so that must have been some random girl.

          • MAB says:

            It was not his daughter. I don’t know why some people are saying it was. They would have said something if it was.

        • Teeny Bikini says:

          This is the first time Harry genuinely annoyed me. I’m fine when he’s making pointed comments about performance/music or esoteric-jibber jabber-that-nobody-understands about “shuffling,” but some weird bit about a girl [he doesn't even know] sitting on his neck – for what seems liked hours – Ew. That’s not cute.

          • Stormy says:

            Harry drinks.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            Ya think?! I was so annoyed with him tonight. There were several points where I was just like “Stop. No. This is not about you. Do your job.”

          • Lynn says:

            @stormy – how many of those performances could you sit through without hitting up the liquor cabinet?

          • Stormy says:

            For that kind of payday? All of them.

          • Danny says:

            @Teeny- Yea, he did everything he could to ruin the show. What a crock. It wasn’t to long ago he was asking an 18 year old girl what she meant when she sang a sexy song. Now the guy is putting a 15 year old on his shoulders. Creepy. He’s not the least bit funny.

            Then add in the times he’s kissing azz to Lopez, or just trying to attract attention to himself and the guy totally bombed. I wish he’d STFU sometimes. Lopez even caught him about how he liked Alex’s mix of melody/creepy lyrics but a few weeks ago didn’t like Jessica’s.

            Isn’t his wife real good looking? I can’t believe she’s too happy about the way he fawns over Ms Fakeness. Blowing her hair. Yeesh. I thought he was going to be a take charge judge. So much for that.

          • JM says:

            You said it. Ewwwwww!

          • deedee says:

            I adore Harry and don’t care that he was the poster child for Adult ADHD tonight.
            Harry? Call me. ;)

          • MamaLis says:

            I’m with Dee. Can’t believe how quickly people turn on Harry! Yeesh!

            Also, TOTALLY thought that was his daughter, too. Looked just like him. LoL

          • The Beach says:

            Someone needs to adjust his meds.

          • Sululu says:

            Ew… harsh Harry? How about creepy Harry? That girl look uncomfortable too. I just wanted Chris Hansen of ‘To Catch a Predator’ to come out and say to Harry…why don’t you have a seat over there. Yikes! PLus when Dexter and Jessica was singing their duet… Harry was like yelling like an a$$hat. I think he had one too many drinks today.

          • Shel says:

            The judging panel was a bit “off” tonight for me, as well. But mostly because the JCam lingered on JLo even longer than usual and all the judges seemed to have pedaled backward from truly honest critiques. Now, maybe they are tired of saying the same thing (CJ=no pitch), but I felt like they really let slide some things that wouldn’t have slid by in other weeks. Are they starting to worry that their critiques carry too much weight with the viewers/voters? Have the producers told them to chillax? I hope not.
            .
            As for Harry’s antics, I would like to offer up an alternate view of what happened tonight.
            .
            1) He only went into the crowds or asked to do it during the duets. Believe me.
            2) Last week, the judges were told they WEREN’T giving critiques to the duets.
            3) Therefore, it can be argued that Harry was not falling down on the job of judging.
            4) Harry has long advocated for letting loose, really feeling the music, to the kids.
            5) I think there is at least a small chance that he may have been trying to punch up the “fun.”
            6) Doing it during the duets could also help loosen up the contestants at a non-critical time.
            7) I think there may have also been a chance that he was trying to punch up the show itself.
            8) Girl on his shoulders: Cute idea gone wrong….very wrong.
            9) I think he kept her on his shoulders that long because he couldn’t figure out how to gracefully put her down on camera. He even asked at one point when the next commercial break was.
            10) Keith was shouting from the rafters just as much as Harry – they just showed him less.
            .
            Anyway, I’m not saying I’m right – just an alternate explanation than the ones I’ve seen here. The show definitely lacked energy, right from the beginning and I’m not really sure why. I can see Harry hoping to show the contestants about letting loose, while also hoping he might help sweep away some nerves. You never know.

          • S. says:

            I just commented on one of Shel’s other posts and it’s totally eerie how in sync we are about the episode’s intrepretation, I totally agree with this take too. Harry was trying to save the borefest of a show. I don’t think it was just his idea, and I think he wasn’t trying to be creepy. He was being a dad. Just because a lot of people have the hots for him doesn’t mean he or that girl were thinking anything weird about it. I suspect he wouldn’t have picked her up if she hadn’t volunteered. The classic was her bored teenager expression. You’d think he was her dad after giving Harry that ‘I’m already over this’ look.

          • Mary says:

            I though he forgot to take his medication, even Jlo was getting annoyed. At first I thought maybe he is trying to lively of the crowd but my God he wouldn’t stop. He needed a time out.

          • HTGR says:

            Apparently her mom had to make a statement because people were making such a big deal about it and she said that:
            When he was in the pit he noticed her there because she was much shorter than everyone else and it looked like she couldn’t see a thing. He asked her if she was seeing anything at all and she said no, so he offered to boost her up if she wanted. Her mom was right there. Her mom said she loved the whole thing and they had the time of their life. Her expressions were tentative because she is super shy and hadn’t been in the spot lights like that before. Once he was up at the table, he realized he couldn’t find and easy way to let her down while he had to address the cameras. So that was that.

          • HTGR says:

            I’m not quite sure what Keith’s “it started as just an itch on her leg” comment was about though.

        • Jacque Stapleton says:

          Harry seems to be trying to upstage everyone, he needs to be a judge and if he cant critique and all he wants to do in introduce some inside knowledge to impart to the performers as some kind of great advice, maybe he should not try so hard to be cute.
          The only one who makes an attempt to be clear and honest is Jen. The guys are so self absorbed that they cant get past their selves.

      • giselle says:

        Last year when Harry was a popular choice for judge, I questioned whether he and Keith could be serious as judges because it seemed like Keith goofed off with Harry the week Harry was on. This week really showed that happening. Harry also has a tendency to take one person and be really hard on him or her. This year it is Malaya. Last year it was the girl who finished fourth. Sorry. I don’t remember her name even though she was one of my favorites last year. She was the one Harry criticized for not understanding what the lyrics meant. He told Sam to watch Rick Nelson to see how he connected with the audience. Rick connected with everybody because they already knew him from the Ozzie and Harriet show. It was like having one of the family perform. Plus Rick could act. Sam does remind me of Rick. Do they send home two this week? I think C. J. should go home, but it will probably Malaya just as Michael already said (or maybe both).

        • LeahKittyS says:

          Only one person is going home this week. And the girl from last year whom Harry was tough on was Amber Holcomb.

          • S. says:

            I was an Amber fan but she totally deserved what she got. She was singing a song and when pressed on it had no idea what it was about. There were basic things she should’ve been thinking about and she wasn’t. He found her weakness. Judging from some of the attitude she’s showed off the show, I wonder if it wasn’t better that she didn’t win. She wasn’t ready. I hope she will be, but I’m not gonna invest time in her til she grows more.

          • ChrissieK says:

            Wait a minute…Harry Connick Jr. was not a judge last year so what are you saying? It was Randy, Mariah, Nicki and Keith…it wasn’t Harry.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            He was the mentir the week Amber went home. Remember?

        • Yo says:

          Maybe Harry is rough on Malaya because she can not actually sing, but, miraculously, is in the middle of a national singing competition mauling high notes. Good grief.

        • Sugar says:

          Sorry…. as an actor and singer, Ricky Nelson was mediocre at best. Maybe a slightly better singer than actor but the most he had going for him was his looks – something like Sam.

          • Joe Strummer says:

            Totally wrong. Ricky Nelson had many classic songs and was a great rock-a-billy performer. You have to take his weekly television series out of it.

          • Sugar says:

            Not totally wrong. I just watched some of his u-tubes and he did have a nice sounding voice, but his stage presence was very much like Sam’s. Pretty voice, blank eyes…I don’t know what Sam can learn from him? I was pretty young when Ricky Nelson was around, but I sure don’t remember anyone describing him as a *great* rock-a-billy star and I grew up in the very heart of rock-a-billy country.

          • giselle says:

            Rick performed his first song on the tv show impersonating Elvis. On the show Rick sang several times and singing became part of his character as Rickie. I meant that he did not need to make the same kind of connection as Sam, because Rick was known. His droll dead-pan sense of humor was part of his character on the show. Basically, Harry could have picked someone who connected better with an audience as an example for Sam. Which of the remaining contestants do you think connects best with the audience?

      • Tom22 says:

        Wow.. .. I can’t believe I’m in such a minority here but I thought this was one of the better nights of judging we’ve ever seen on the show.. and all of the best have been this year and they keep improving each week…
        … they judges aren’t awkward, have things to say recognizing strengths while encouraging improvement. Never something stupid like ” I loved it” but always.. “I love the way you did xyz” every opinion had a reasoning… and they tried to use an example or an analogy to paint it clearer still.
        …. and I think it is the first time in these shows where I actually heard a judge talking about how the shuffle is at the heart of any music that shares a blues root, which is all of rock and country…. … we’re hearing the term “pocket” more and more on Idol and the Voice… those are things so internal to experienced singers that they don’t even need to be mentioned.. they go without saying but some contestants have it and some don’t…and those that have it naturally have finished far far higher than those that haven’t…and seemingly had a similar quality voice. People hear it even if they don’t know they do.
        .
        But, I used up my pixels this morning so, I just say… wow.. I’m not sure what producers are supposed to do to keep the whole audience happy if nearly all the judging the last 7 years had me grabbing for my dvr fast forward button and now the feeling has switched.
        .

        • Shel says:

          Just letting you know you are not alone, Tom22. I have enjoyed the judging SO much more this year. Michael mentioned last week how he likes learning new things about music this year. So do I. Now, things were a little crazy last night with Harry, but when it was time for critiques, it seemed mostly good to me as always. Well, maybe a little more lenient than other weeks, but that is really a subjective opinion!

        • Eurydice says:

          I agree completely. Future contestants should watch this season’s judging as a lesson on what they should be doing. And I didn’t mind the judges antics – they added some unpredictability to what was essentially a bunch of kids slaughtering 80s music.

          • Mary says:

            Moderation is the key. It was okay at first but Harry was relentless and ended up being annoying.
            Maybe he was trying to spruce up the show, but it is rude to the contestants.

        • elizabeth3613431 says:

          I agree with you, Tom22. The judging has been superb this season, and I don’t think last night’s critiques were any different. I agree that Harry was over the top last night, and the whole schtik with the girl on his shoulders made me cringe, but his analyses of the contestants’ performances were spot on.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          I’m right there with you Tom22. I enjoyed the theme, I thought the pictures of the kids in the “80s garb” were incredibly cute, and I enjoyed the judging. Honestly, I think Harry was just having a good time. the girl on his shoulders was his daughter. And is there any song in the universe Keith doesn’t know the lyrics to? I’ve enjoyed all the judging this year.

      • LisaP says:

        I think the judges are getting bored…. Where are the breakout performances?? These contestants need to step it up or it really will be the last season of Idol…

    • spackminder says:

      She is sooooo transparent. The long shots of her soulfully singing CJ’s song for him, which I would have preferred (!) were painful. And HCJr was out of his brain and super annoying.

      • the real wendy says:

        JLo is weirdly into CJ. I LOVE David Cook! Randy, you’re fired.

        • Sugar says:

          I’m with JLo, CJ just touches me. I can even ignore the *off* notes, I love that sincere face of his. And who could be better than David Cook? He is the real deal.

    • Jase says:

      Watched this on DVR and SO glad I didn’t bother to watch it live. I pretty much gave up watching Idol live this season because Survivor has been KILLING IT week after week while Idol has clearly worn out its welcome with its worst group of contestants ever. A lot of you argued when some of us complained weeks ago that this was the worst group ever well…what say you now? This far into the competition and STILL most of the performances are worth FFwding through, STILL not a single big/wow moment onstage and STILL no real star power from any of them. Fortunately Survivor (in its 28th season no less) beating this show in the ratings is proof that this is — despite what recappers and sycophants on this site say — THE WORST SEASON OF AMERICAN IDOL.

      • Shel says:

        I TiVO everything – can’t remember when I last watched a show “live.” So, first off, I will agree with you that Survivor is awesome this year. (But I guess I am one of THAT show’s “sycophants” because I never DON’T like Survivor. lol)

        Everyone is entitled to their opinions, of course. But I don’t understand how anyone who admits to either FFing through performances or not watching them at all feels free to comment on those same performances. How do you see a “single big star moment” while FFing through it?

        • Jase says:

          I don’t FFwd through the performances; I said they’re WORTH FFwding through. :) I just meant that they’re bad/boring/forgettable.

      • Tom22 says:

        This is a great season for me after they cured some sound issues and approaches two weeks ago.
        .. I think all of the group is at the talent level of the majority of the 4rth and 5th place finishers and, in my opinion we’re still seeing some growth in the remaining singers where, especially with more coaching like they got from Daugherty and Cook on top of more experience stand a very good chance of having some really special performances near the end. They are not power ballad singers of much note (other than Caleb in his narrow genre).. i suppose.. and that’s important to many I guess (although I know that’s not everyone’s gripe… it is a part of the excitement for many people)

    • Danny says:

      @IMHO- exactly. There’s been some good songs this season, but never a moment. I think the reason is because the cameras always keep panning on the judges. The judges aren’t as bad as last year, but they’re getting very annoying as a group.

    • JM says:

      Yes, the judges were disrespectful and childish.

    • Colton Smith says:

      I Don’t know what people hear,honestly,jena sounded great every week and
      this week was no exception
      she is one of the few that can be relevant to today industry
      and she gives persistent performances each week
      rolling in the deep,bring me to life is just the short list
      so even if you think that it wasn’t great as before she still did a solid job

      • The Beach says:

        I thought something went wrong with the sound system. She was clear and strong at the piano but when she stood up to continue the song I could hardly hear her.

      • Mary says:

        I think she did a good job but not her best, she still got my votes. I will say there was a few wobble moments but as a whole good. I think she should of stayed at the piano or not use it at all.

    • wait says:

      And why is the camera on JLo so much while the contestants are singing? I don’t want to watch more of her lip syncing.

      • Shel says:

        I think the camera was on her for a longer amount of time during Caleb’s song than it was on him! It was ridiculous.

      • Mary says:

        Because most of the contestants are dull as dishwater. Lets face it many, not all, are so monotone up there that it is better to hear their voices than to watch them, Sam, Alex.

        • Stormy says:

          ITA. I enjoy Caleb’s voice, but he looks like the jerk who starts the bar fight in a B movie. Malaya looks like a snotty waitress. Sam looks like the first time in trouble kid on a chair outside the Principal’s office. Etc. Not the most visually appealing roster in Idol history.

    • Jon says:

      The end of a ratings era: The American Idol results show did not even place in the top 30 among 18- to 49-year-olds last week. Wow. This awful season is truly the beginning of the end for Idol.

    • Mary says:

      I thought JLo was the only judge that was on point to be honest. Her critique of Alex song was 100% on target. I loved Jessica voice on that song but she was correct and saying needed a little more intensity.

    • Chris G. says:

      For the first time, I actually stopped watching half-way through. The show was both annoying and boring at the same time. I switched over to Flipping Out.

    • vgrim says:

      Spot on Michael!!!

    • susan says:

      The cameras were really hanging on Jlo for a long time during Caleb’s performance. I was confused as to who we were judging…Jlo “heartfelt” expressions or Caleb’s singing ability. It was weird. Caleb looked tired. I hope he isn’t getting sick of the show. He’s one of my favorites.

  2. Mike says:

    A very cranky Slezak!

    • karl says:

      Thats what I was thinking!

    • Terry says:

      Who can blame him? If I had to sit through this show for my job, I’d be cranky too.

      • Jase says:

        @Terry. You ain’t tell lying honey. This was a torturous two hours to watch — and I felt that way even though I watched it on DVR and FFwd through most of the filler. The problem was, even the performances felt like filler.

        • Angela says:

          Hell, I couldn’t even finish a few of the performances. I fast-forwarded through pretty much every duet, for instance (no, not at all obvious that they’re trying to justify the two-hour runtime with those…).

          • Akash says:

            At this point, I just hear a few notes from CJ, Malaya, Sam and Dexter to determine whether it’s as terrible as always (and it always is) and then I FFwd through the performance . We’re too deep in the season to have half the contestants be this awful and the other half be merely OK. This is easily the worst season the show has ever produced.

          • JayNC says:

            Sadly, the duets were the best part. Sorry you missed them

        • Gailer says:

          Love the replies in this post! The contestants are awful at this point in the season. I seriously need Malaya off my screen STAT! If she wins, that could be my deal breaker with this show. 😄

    • Tiff says:

      Agreed – honestly, I am SHOCKED that he didn’t love Alex Preston’s performance. And Jena and Caleb were perfection – what the heck?!

      • Jase says:

        Jena and Caleb were adequate which is the problem with this season. Even the best singers (Jena, Jessica, Caleb and Alex) are merely mediocre and not one of them has given us a moment onstage all season despite being this far into the competition. Perfection is Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Melinda Dolittle, David Cook, Adam Lambert, Crystal Bowersox,Haley Reinhart, Jessica Sanchez, and Candice Glover. NO ONE this season has the talent, star-power or body-of-performances that any of those names had.

        • Danny says:

          Jase- pretty much agree w/ your list but I wanna add Bo Bice and Allison. To bad Allison can’t come out of the background singers and show em how it’s done.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            Speaking of Allison, did you hear her harmonies with Sam during “Time After Time?” Gorgeous! Remember when she sang that as a duet with Cyndi Lauper on the Season 8 finale? Man, that feels like forever ago and yesterday at the same time.

          • MamaLis says:

            She did sound amazing, Leah.
            To be fair, I actually thought Sam sounded really nice on Time After Time.

            If you didn’t have to look at the INCREDIBLY awkward set-up and what appeared to be him thinking, “Just don’t look at them. Just don’t look at them – ” he sounded pretty great.

          • S. says:

            Weird but I actually thought the backing vocals on Time After Time were a huge distraction. Maybe it was Sam’s fault and she was going with what they worked out in rehearsal that he didn’t do, I dunno, but I could’ve done without hearing her most of the time. It felt like whatever Sam was doing, she was going to sing in the same place no matter what and sometimes it felt off on tempo. If he screwed something up, change to meet him. She’s accompanying him. He doesn’t have to make the adjustment. She does.

        • Akash says:

          @S. It’s not Allison’s fault that the background vocals sound better than the charmless boring lead singer. Sam Wolf is awful every week and this week he was just slightly less awful.

        • Scotty says:

          I would add Kris Allen to this list as well as Bo Bice. Regarding last night’s show, am glad it was not just me that noticed that Malaya was off. She is a likeable, attractive young lady; but, who is telling her she should take on greats like Chaka Khan, Aretha, etc? She has a good voice but she is clearly not ready yet to perform these songs. CJ or Sam should go at this point but it could be her tonight.

      • Venus says:

        Loved Alex’ performance. Thought it was a unique approach to the song and he is just amazing both voice and guitar

        • Deb says:

          Yes! Alex took a creepy stalker song and turned it into a love song. I was mesmerized by it. I don’t understand why the judges are so hard on Alex’s artistry and always praise CJ’s mediocrity.

        • zaza says:

          I liked it too. I totally got where he was going with it. It was very much in line with an 80’s movie…sweet, sensitive guy in love with the popular girl who only dates jerky athletes, watching over her, wanting to protect her and keep her falling from her pedestal. This is the only the song I have bought from this season. Loved the sweet little guitar riffs he added.

      • S. says:

        I loved Alex’s take. He made a song go from creepy to romantic. Rather crazy how he pulled that off with those lyrics. Definitely felt like what Jena was trying to do and didn’t quite manage–Alex came off most like an artist. Does Slezak not mind how he’s agreeing with JLo’s take here? I get that the old version could get stuck in your head as the only way to do it, but it felt like a completely different song to me. If we heard this version as if it were an original song, would we be going ‘ugh so stalkery, terrible’? I don’t think so. Side note: Anybody remember Clay Aiken had a song on his first album that was definitely creepy–wanting to be invisible inside some girl’s room so he could watch her or something? Yeah.

        • Mary says:

          I hated his take on this song, took the intensity out of the song, and not in a good way. I think that is the point it wasn’t a romantic song. It is okay to change up a song but to take the nuance out of it is wrong IMO. Jlo was 100000@ correct on her critique. Harry was also correct Coffee house performer, which I have said all along.

        • AprilD says:

          I loved Alex’s performance. I hate the double standard that some songs are okay to re-imagine completely and others aren’t. Cook flipped “Always be my baby” and THAT was okay. Alex flips this one and it’s not? So what if it didn’t have the intensity the original did. It’s like saying “Well Cook’s version wasn’t nearly as happy & poppy as Mariah’s so it sucks.” If you don’t like it, you don’t like it. But don’t compare it to the original when the song has become a completely different animal. Isn’t that what we’re always begging of contestants? “Oh please oh please oh please make it your own!” And as far as “Every breath you take” being a creepy song and Alex making it sound lilting and romantic – does anyone remember Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash”? That song was all over radio in its time, was a sweet whisper of song and STILL had creepyish lyrics. It can be done.

      • Mark says:

        I have to disagree with everything you said. I’ll give Alex credit for re-imagining the song, but he didn’t make it better. Stripped to a guitar and some strings, he can’t hide the meaning of the lyrics behind the strength of the vocals and instrumentation the way Sting did. Today “Every Breath You Take” is known as that creepy stalker song, but in 1983 and 84 it was thought of as a beautiful ballad. It was played over and over at weddings and school proms. It took a while for the lyrics to sink in. Sting finally killed the hysteria over it when he referred to it as “that evil little song.” My point is, the Police got away with the ruse because the production and vocal were so lush. Alex’s sparse arrangement left nothing for interpretation. The words and the sounds were incompatible.
        Jena, on the other hand, picked a terrible song. There’s nowhere to go vocally. The verses are mumbled, and the chorus is nothing more than a chant. Again, I give her credit for turning it into something new, but it wasn’t anything pleasing. It was better than Alex, but not by much.
        Caleb did a nice job, and I suppose he showed us something new by going for the slowed down ballad, but what did he really bring to the song? He couldn’t match Steve Perry’s upper register (not a knock–who can match that?), so he brought it down into his range. Other than that it was what he does almost every week–a note for note replication of the original. I guess he’s in my top three for the week, but I certainly wasn’t blown away by his performance this week.

    • JM says:

      And rightfully so!!!

    • Akash says:

      Cranky? Slezak is just telling the truth about what he’s hearing, not what Idol producers and the judges tell him to hear. Caleb’s was a mediocre performance the show desperately tried to sell as great (fortunately for him though the rest of the performances were even worse). This is truly the lousiest season the show has ever produced. Props to Slezak too for not falling for the Sam Wolf hype. Sure he sounded better than he has all season but still he looked constipated onstage, and still he has ZERO connection to what he’s singing or why. It makes me so uncomfortable to watch him perform. What a joke that they used the save on this charmless dweeb. Also, someone really needed to tell Harry to sit the eff down and shut the eff up tonight. In one episode, dude squandered all the goodwill he’d earned this season by being the best judge since Simon.

    • PGV says:

      Michael Slezak was right about Caleb’s voice being a little haggard… he has bronchitis. In an interview after the show, he told reporters that he actually had to change the key he was singing in tonight because his voice was shot. Apparently, the Dr. gave him shots so he could make it through his performance. The toll of singing 7 days a week is starting to catch up to a couple of them! Apparently Dexter wasn’t feeling well either.

    • Kim R says:

      I was thinking the same thing! :) I so appreciate Alex’ take on his song and Jena’s arrangement. My only complaint with her vocal was that she obviously had to lower the key to hit her big notes at the end but in doing that sacrificed the body of the song in the process. You could hardly hear it. Sam has a great voice but so awkward performing. When he and Alex were singing their duet you could have done a split screen. Alex in the groove, Sam looking like he wanted to vomit. I hope he can shake that. I can’t help but love Malaya in all of her Sue Heckness. :D I don’t think any of them did horribly. Except maybe Harry!

      • Mary says:

        I think Alex is just as static as Sam is on stage. Harry was correct coffee house singer not stage singer, which there is nothing wrong with that.

    • beanergirl says:

      I kinda loved the attitude, Slezak. It was deserved. I also loved this: But in Jess’s hands, the song might as well have been titled “Call Me?” Which is crazy.

    • CaliGirl says:

      Yes, Michael seemed to be in a very bad mood this week.

  3. Leah says:

    yes caleb is good but is he contemporary? no. can he be contemporary? probably not. Will he succeed if he wins? Probably not. It reminds me of Phillip last year, yes he was not the best at all, but at the end of the day he was one of the only contestants from that season that would succeed greatly after idol, so he was a good winner. I don’t believe Caleb can accomplish that and while we’re at it neither can CJ.

    • Timmah says:

      I don’t see anyone who could succeed on P2’s level, or even Scotty for that matter. Looks like we’re headed for two seasons in a row of commercial-dud winners. That combined with low ratings, the clock is ticking for Idol.

      • Trip says:

        yeah but i agree other contestants have more potential for success than CJ and Caleb, they have almost zero

        • Timmah says:

          Jess and Alex might have some small indie success but I don’t see either of them becoming pop idols.

          • Mary says:

            I think Jena could have success as a pop star if given the right promotion and songs. I will say that if Interscope is involved I don’t have much hope for any of them especially the females. Jimmy track record with the females is not great.

          • Timmah says:

            I think Jena is probably the most commercially viable of the bunch. And even with her it’s a longshot, but it could happen.

      • MamaLis says:

        “A commercial dud” like Jason Mraz? Who apparently think similarly talented and newbie Alex is a “Dud” – which is why he just had coffee with him.

        Ya. Tick tock.

      • Jetting Benny says:

        P2 is successful but he’s one of the worst singers to come off Idol. I don’t how he did it, to be honest. He was always off pitch on the show. Good sound engineers and Jimmy Iovine backing you can do wonders.

    • lassirrra says:

      What do you mean by “contemporary?” If you mean being a household name at the top of all the billboard charts, then I don’t think that’s where he will land. I think he has a chance of getting himself in a good spot to make music in the blues based rock that he wants to. There is a market for it. It may not be the largest market for it and he could do well there. He sang a song from a contemporary band making the type of music he wants to make. If he makes it there I would consider it a post-Idol success.

      • Tom22 says:

        If you were a rock band than needed a front man with a super strong rock voice .. I think he’d be on a short interview list… he’s more a guy looking for a band than a record contract though… imo

    • osborn1116 says:

      I think Jess, Alex, and Jena are pretty current to today’s markets. With the right songs they could blow up.

      • LeahKittyS says:

        Up-vote! I would be happy to buy anything from them.

      • Name That Tune says:

        Jess and Alex are boring. Jena has a chance to be a star.

        • osborn1116 says:

          oh man so glad you straightened that up for me. I forgot how your opinion is god. Jess and Alex are just as current in the recording world as Jena. Not boring to me.

          • Name That Tune says:

            Let’s see. What you think is current today will be considered old, tired, boring and out of date in a year or two.

          • osborn1116 says:

            right because singer-songwriters and country music has really gone out of style in 40-50 years. If anything that would mean Jena would be the one who will go out of style quicker. Plus if you haven’t noticed its about striking when the time is right. It’s right for a singer songwriter and a female country artist also for an EDM girl

          • Name That Tune says:

            So what bug do you have up your butt tonight? Regardless of era or genre, Alex and Jessica are boring. Jena makes some missteps, but she has more potential than the other two. And a better voice, frankly, You don’t have to agree with that. If you like boring – go for it. But you don’t have to be pissy about it.

        • Akash says:

          NO ONE from this season is going to be a star. Trust. You heard it here first.

        • Jo says:

          What a pissy opinion you got there, Name. Alex for the win. Jessica 2 and Jena 3.

          • Name This Tune says:

            To each his own.

          • Lynn says:

            And you think Alex “Name Dropper” Preston is the ideal person to represent AI Season 13? Really? You think he’s gonna bring back viewers or the AI tour? That’s AI’s problem the combo of attractive, good vocalist, exciting personality is scarce this season.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Yup, I love CJ’s tone and consistency, but I am starting to see the chinks in his armor, if you know what I mean? ie, I wonder if he’s marketable, if he’s current enough, but yeah, dude can sing…

      • Joe says:

        By loving CJ’s tone & consistency you mean loving out of tune and always bad? I weep for your iPod.

        • Teeny Bikini says:

          Oh crap, I totally confused CJ with Caleb. I meant Caleb. They both start with “C” and it’s late… My bad.

        • Tom22 says:

          his studio performances I have on my phone aren’t really out of tune.. well, the one I bought tonight was more out of tune than I thought it would be given studio conditions unfortunately but..I won’t say hes better because that doesn’t mean much to me.. but I will say I like the style he’s created for himself… not folk, not country, not “hipster indie”(not like that is bad)… its cool without any allusions of being politically correct type of cool… his voice has a grit that has some interesting natural harmonic to it.. he’s got a sort of humor and empathy at the same time that I find really refreshing to hear expressed in music.

      • LB says:

        What in the what???? Could you possibly have mistaken CJ for Caleb?

      • The Beach says:

        Oh, thank Zeus, Teeny. I was thinking maybe you were on whatever Harry was on tonight. ;-)

    • The Orginal Lemon says:

      Hmm…Well, no one can ignore the fact that Adam Lambert has been made an honorary member of Queen this year as they tour. Queen’s biggest moments are from the 70’s. There’s big money with this tour…it’s selling out. So obviously there’s a hunger for older music, and that hunger comes with money. Posters make fun of “older people,” whatever that means, but one day they too, will be an “older people,” and will still feel the same way they did when they were young, and will reject the idea that they are supposed to be unimportant in the music scene. Especially when they have the bucks many of the younger people don’t. What am I saying? Well, it’s very possible that some world famous 70’s/80’s band have their eye on Caleb and touring….just like Queen with Adam. What’s going on with Adam and Queen doesn’t just make the show look good….it makes the show look iconic. And Caleb could do the same thing. Time will tell.

      • LeahKittyS says:

        You make a very good point. I am going to see Adam with Queen in Boston this summer, and I am expecting it to be a packed house. It’s nice to see that legends do not die so easily.

        • The Orginal Lemon says:

          Ok, I’m jealous. ;-) I hope you will give us a detailed report.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            I’ll try. If there’s an Idol-relevant thread sometime in July, I’ll share all. I saw them online at the IHeartRadio Music Festival, and it looks like it’s gonna be a killer show. I think the whole half-hour set is still on YouTube; you can look it up.

          • The Orginal Lemon says:

            Have a great time Leah!

        • Angela says:

          Hope you have a good time :). I can only imagine how exciting this opportunity must be for Adam, and I hope the tour goes well.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            It’ll actually be kind of a full circle moment for me. The concert is at the TD Garden, the same place I first saw Adam with the other Idols on the 2009 summer tour. You really have to jump early if you want tickets for these things; I tried to get into his Glam Nation tour at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, but they were sold out on the first day.

            It occurs to me, outside of this (and seeing Clay Aiken in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in Maine last summer”) I’ve never seen any Idols in concert outside of the summer tour. Have any of you guys? Who still puts on a good show?

          • MAB says:

            I am going to see Phillip Phillips this summer and am totally excited about it. This is my first concert by an Idol. I hear he is incredible live and gives a terrific show.

          • Angela says:

            Aw, that’s great! I don’t doubt there’s quite the draw for these people-that’s nice, though, I’m glad they’ve got that kind of a strong fanbase. Though, of course, I feel for anyone who wants tickets and has to fight the rest of the fans to get them!

            I’ve never seen any of the “Idol” contestants live-I’m lucky if I can afford any concert a lot of the time. But my sister got to see Josh Gracin, from season 2, a number of years ago on his own (I think-he wasn’t with other “Idols” for the show, if I recall rightly), and she enjoyed that show. I’d be interested to hear from others who’ve had the chance to see these guys outside of a summer tour.

          • Mary says:

            @Leah I have seen Kris Allen and Chris D. both had great shows. In fact I am hoping Kris comes my way so I can catch a show with his new music once it is out.

          • Donna says:

            I have seen both David Cook (twice) and Adam Lambert in concert with their own music, and they were amazing. They are artists with their own distinctive sounds, and I would definitely go hear them again.

        • CaliGirl says:

          I’m seeing Adam and Queen in L.A. So excited!!!! Tix sold out so fast i had to get mine from a broker…

      • spackminder says:

        As one of the old ladies Dexter was so disparaging about, I think your comment were spot on. I don’t know why Idol has a theme week of music that their voters don’t know or care for.

      • Name That Tune says:

        So I am one of those “older people”. What younger people forget is that the music you love today will be considered out of date,boring and old fashioned in about 20 years by younger people . . .

      • Glam Dixie says:

        I am praying, PRAYING, that they have Adam and Queen on this season and mention the tour and Adam’s new music. Please let this happen.

        • Stormy says:

          I’ve seen Adam in concert with Allison and Orianthi and, more recently, in concert with Queen. He was fabulous in both instances.

      • Cassie says:

        What does Michael’s recap have to do with Queen and Adam Lambert???????

        • wait says:

          Rabid glamberts just gotta pretend it works into the conversation every chance they get. Roll eyes.

        • The Orginal Lemon says:

          We were discussing Caleb’s relevancy to the music scene, and postulating that he may have a future with an iconic older band. Adam has taken this route with his career, and so could Caleb. That’s how it’s related to the current season.

      • Chugbegone says:

        What on earth, pray tell, does Michael’s recap of this week’s Idol have to do with the Queen Tour??? Nothing, that’s what. Has nothing to do with Adam Lambert either. SMH

        • Tamara says:

          Well what do Haley, Kris Allen, Carrie Underwood etc. have to do with the recap? They’re still mentioned both in Michael’s recaps AND in comments literally every time an AI article is posted. Maybe fans of Adam who think he’s one of the best things to ever come out of Idol and are incredibly proud of him becoming the lead singer of one of the greatest bands ever just want to get in on the “mention my favourite” action too?

          It still bugs me that Michael barely mentions Adam who was in a different league from anyone on his season (with Allison coming a close second) but continues to mention Kris. If you want to include a list of Idol greats, even in a passing comment, I think Adam has earned that right.

      • Amy says:

        Great points OL. Having Adam as frontman not only makes the show and band “iconic”, (which I guess, bands like Queen already are)..but also brings in more than just the baby boomers and retro-cool teens & college kids to the show. Also attracts Idoloonies and Adam fans of all ages, expanding the demo and making them relevent to today. You are right about Caleb, that would be a possibility for him.

        • Amy says:

          Also meant to say too…I agree about “everyone gets older and still loves music”, and it will happen to each generation etc. But also have always thought the popularity of bands from the 70’s who’re still touring successfully these days is also because there is a glut in the market now of “that kind” of rock, which people of all ages still love. To me that’s why Daughtry, who I love, is so popular…he has that kind of rock sound but with a totally current edge that brings it forward to today. Caleb is more throwback….but there may be something for him out there because he really can sing that style, and perform…and he looks like he’s having so much fun doing it.

          • The Orginal Lemon says:

            Thanks Amy! ;-) There are so many responses here, that the fact that I am responding to a question about Caleb’s relevancy in the current music scene got lost. I appreciate that you waded through it, and understood what I was trying to say.

      • Mark says:

        Adam Lambert is a perfect fit for Queen, but seriously, how many legacy acts are looking for a new lead singer in his early 20s? And if it were to happen that a Foreigner or REO Speedwagon or something similar were ask him to join, how is that creating a career for himself? In order to thrive–as opposed to becoming someone’s replacement singer–he needs to develop a modern style. I don’t mean doing top 40 power pop, but he has to find something more current that is actually recording and selling music today. Now is when he should be looking to do something like The Black Keys, or Gary Clark Jr., something recorded in the last ten years. He will never make a name for himself singing 70s and 80s classic rock.

        • Amy says:

          True too. :) I mean the throwback stuff would maybe bring him work and some niche. Perhaps a gig like Adam is enjoying now (though it wouldn’t be REO, one of my favorite 80’s bands…Kevin Cronin’s voice being so distinct, and not Caleb’s Robert Plant style.) But yes, to have a viable, current career, he’d have to find how to bring his particular talent and style into something current. But even the way he looks and dresses is all too retro. Again, like I said about Daughtry, who has an old school rock groove, but it’s totally something new and his own for today’s music. And he always looked the part of “new rocker” not retro.

          • Mark says:

            I just threw REO out as an example of a 70s band that is still touring, not as a particularly good match for Caleb. You are right about Caleb’s look, hair, dress, etc. I loved that period of music history. My first concerts were Kansas, Bob Seger, ELO, ELP, Yes, Alice Cooper, Rush–all the acts that Caleb emulates. But that period is over. I’m not a fan of post-Idol Daughtry, but he is the best example of an Idol rocker who has made a name and career for himself. Caleb could take some lessons from him.

  4. Liz says:

    IMO:
    Great: Caleb
    Good: Jessica, Alex, C.J.
    Meh: Dexter, Sam
    Terrible: Jena, Malaya

    Bottom 3 Worthy: Jena, Malaya and Sam or Dexter

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      I feel like either Jena or Malaya are justifiably going home. Both were awful to my ears. And Malaya literally chose the most boring – 80’s song, not mention Chaka Khan song – ever.

      • Stormy says:

        ITA 100%.

      • Colton Smith says:

        check your ears ,jena sounds great,she is not going home by a long shot
        she is the most persistent performance on the show

        • ME says:

          I could not agree more about Jena not going home. Only marketable one if you ask me. Pretty and has a great voice.

      • The Beach says:

        Yeah, Malaya was pretty rough tonight. It seems she has reverted to her old ways after improving so much lately.

      • Mary says:

        Malaya yes because she needed a great week and that was a train wreck. Jena I hope has enough fans to get her through. It was her best but it still was infinitely better than some who shall be nameless. To be honest Malaya is the only female that should be in the bottom but CJ and yes Sam should be there too. Either can go home as far as I am concern.

    • Akash says:

      MEDIOCRE: Caleb
      NOT GOOD: Jena, Jessica and Alex
      BORING: Dexter
      BAD: Malaya
      AWFUL: CJ
      AUTOMATON: Sam

    • Colton Smith says:

      Great : Jena,Caleb,Jessica,alex
      Average : malaya,cj
      Meh : dexter,sam

      bottom 3 : sam,malaya and cj
      jena defenatly wasn’t terrible ,she has an amazing voice,
      and she and caleb , from the start of the season live shows
      has the most persistent perfomances
      They should be the final 2

  5. Name That Tune says:

    Jena – I Love Rock N Roll – The first half of the song was a hot mess, but she pulled it together at the end. Grade B.
    —————
    Dexter – Keep Your Hands To Yourself. There were some imperfections here, but he made me feel like rockin’ it out. Grade A-
    ——————
    Jessica Meuse – Call Me. Two Words. Haley Reinhart. Okay, so Jessica walked around a bit. Still doesn’t know how to perform. And Haley did it better. Grade B-
    ————–
    Malaya Watson – Through The Fire – It fits what she’s been singing. She hit every land mine in the song and failed at it. D+
    ———

    Sam Woolf – Time After Time. Not a guitar heavy song. It’s a monotone type of song, which he can do. I feel boredom streaming out of my head. Is someone prompting the girls to scream like that? He slowed it down so much. Can I just take a nap? Grade D+
    ————————
    Alex – Every Breath You Take – Missed the point of the song. And sucked the life out it, too. Was hoping he would pull out the bass, like Sting, but he hung onto the guitar. I wonder what would happen if he took a song and just sang the melody instead of trying to play games with it. And there were some vocal issues. Judges talked about the coffee house thing. They are right. It gets boring. He should be in the bottom 3, but it won’t happen. Grade D+
    —————
    CJ – Free Falling – No surprise. He couldn’t sing on key again. BUt he is one of the few singers in the group who can sing with soul. Just really bad. Grade D-
    —————-
    Caleb – They asked him to sing a ballad. And that’s the way you do it. Not quite as good as Steven Perry, but easily the best of the night. Grade A
    ————–
    Gotta say, I was affected by Sissaundra on The Voice last night. Raise the bar, and the performances will get better. This was a night of too many ho-hum singers singing too many ho-hum songs.
    ————-
    I am pretty sure we won’t see anything different in terms of the bottom 3 – CJ, Malaya, Sam. Maybe Sam survives this week and CJ or Malaya goes home.

    • Liz says:

      As far as Call Me is concerned, I though Jessica sounded better but Haley performed it better.

      • Name That Tune says:

        Yup, Haley understood that how to perform.

        • thedeviledadvocate says:

          Haley is my all time favorite idol, however, up until she performed Benny and The Jets, she sounded great but her performances were a tad bit on the awkward side.

          • Name That Tune says:

            Watched Haley’s performance of Call Me before tonight’s show. I wasn’t a Haley fan at the beginning of that season, but you watch her perform Call Me and then watch Jessica. Jessica can sing, but she can’t perform. Haley can sing AND perform. We didn’t appreciate her enough.
            ——-
            Last week, people got on a high horse because Keith told Jessica to “move around, use your legs.” Watch how Haley uses her legs. And her arms. Makes the difference between a warm performance and a cold, indifferent one.

        • Tom22 says:

          Haley’s was great. What I really liked about Haley’s was that it was her’s .. she was the girl (retail clothing designer sense).. and different enough from Debra Harry so that I didn’t want to hear Debra Harry…..
          … had Haley sung the song as if she were Debra Harry .. or with the same grit as Debra Harry’s voice.. I would not have liked Haley’s performance… because doing a strong rendition that falls short of the original in connection is pretty useless… even if it took a rare skill to do… emotioni is goal number 1

        • Melanie S. says:

          I think you’re on to something here. Jessica does have the better voice but Haley performed better. Haley interpreted the song better and that’s the key here. These kids have good voices but there’s nothing special in them. I don’t feel that any of them have that X factor. No star quality. On Fox News tonight, three of them (might have been Alex, Sam and Jesse or Jena) were talking to the interviewer and one of them, or maybe two of them, said they weren’t born in the 80s which makes it hard to find a song they knew. That’s IMO a ridiculous comment. I wasn’t born in the 40s or 50s, but I know songs from those eras. During Season 8, those kids had to sing standards or Rat Pack era songs and they most of them did excellently. They certainly weren’t born in those eras. Anyone remember Matt G’s rendition of “Georgia On My Mind”? David Archuleta from Season 7’s “Imagine”. Kris Allen’s rendition of “She Works Hard For The Money”? Jason Castro’s, also S7, rendition of “Hallelujah”? All those songs were popular before those kids were born yet they all knew how to perform them with feeling and passion. These kids have nice voices, but as far as performance skill…not a whole lot.

          David Cook had some really good advice and he tried, but these kids didn’t get it.

          • Angela says:

            Yes. Thank you. I love this post. You hit on the sort of thing that bugs me to no end, too. Maybe I’m biased because I grew up in a household where I heard music from all sorts of eras and genres, and see it as a totally normal thing, but it really does amaze me how some people don’t have much understanding of music history. It’s totally fine to be partial to the stuff you grew up with, of course-these kids love their top 40 stuff they’re listening to today, great! I was like that when I was a teenager, too.
            But I think if you’re going to go on a show of this sort, having at least SOME awareness of music before your time would be great. The show has always done some sort of “old music” theme each season in the entire time it’s run-they’ve covered Motown, the ’60s in general, the ’80s, classic rock, specific classic artists, etc. Anyone who’s watched even a fraction of this show over the years would know this. And anyone who wants to be on this show, I would think they’d be aware of that fact as well, and therefore prepare themselves by exploring older music and other genres.
            And yet…no. Just a lot of confused teenagers and young 20 somethings who don’t seem all that knowledgeable about the history involved in making music the wonderful thing it is, and which they’re inspired to want to have careers in. Don’t get it.
            (And that applies to the judges, too. Thankfully, Keith and Harry in particular do have some proper music knowledge, but I was amazed, over the years, how often I’d hear the judges say, “I don’t really know that song”. Really? You’re professional musicians, or producers, and you don’t know some of these artists/songs?)

      • PGV says:

        Went back and watched Hailey’s Call Me and agree with everyone saying Jessica sang it better, but Hailey performed it better, and I’m a Hailey fan. My question is, Why does Jessica have to saunter around the stage to give a good performance?? Lots of successful artists do Not walk around the stage. Lots of those same artists would look just as uncomfortable as Jess did tonight if that was a requirement to being successful! lol Now, does Jess still need work connecting with the lyrics she’s singing? Yes. Can she give a great performance? Yes. I agree with Michael Slezak, and the judges, that Jess needs to attack Every song as she did her original last week. That was a great performance, as is that song! She could be a contender if she could learn to do that, because she undeniably has the voice!

        • PGV says:

          *Haley not Hailey. lol. my friend spells her’s with an “i”

        • Name That Tune says:

          I would have you YouTube “I Love Rock N Roll” and look for a performance featuring the coaches from The Voice. Each of them is a big gun in the music business. They sang a version of that song that was Smokin’ Hot. None of them walked around a lot, but they performed the bejeezus out of it. They used their body language (watch Adam and Blake play the guitar), their facial expressions and their voices to put a certain swagger on that song.
          ————
          David Cook tried to explain this to our young singers. You are on American Idol. You have the opportunity to reach millions of people. You have to give more. If you don’t, you go home and people won’t remember you a year from now.
          ————
          That’s why Haley is so remarkable. She finished third and we stilll talk about her performances. You never doubted her passion or commitment to being on the stage. And she was about the same age as these guys.
          ———–
          If you are going to be on American Idol, you have to embrace the moment and dig deeper. Otherwise, you can go back to singing in that bar in Alabama.

          • Tom22 says:

            Great insight abut “movemen” Name That Tune…. I’ve sort of winced when they ask the kids to move more because… so much of their movment to go touch the hands of the audience etc is worthless. But David cook nailed it and you put it into words too…. if isn’t how much they move but that they LOOK like they’re active….it isn’t jumping up and down but shifts in facial expressions and body stance that don’t flat line one emotion (even a rocking emotion) but use a sort of still motion photography flash frame posture shifts to make us feel like there is motion everywhere.
            .
            Oh…another favorite line of the night that I’m always saying and thinking…and I’ve definitely heard some rolled eyes in comments for.
            ..
            David said something like .. “for two minutes up there you the stage is yours….act like you own the stage then because it is yours and only yours in front of millions….. grab that chance”..”Own the stage doesn’t mean.. a Randy Jackson “in it to win it” enthusiasm alone… it means actually act like you’re a gazillionaire and own that building and pay the judges their millions at your whim and that the audience paid to come in to hear you. Then, you give the inspired performance of a song not like you had to impress them but give it like there is a reason you own that building and pay their salaries etc…because the song itself is yours and you have the wisdom of the song you want to share with them as that benevolent dictator……..you’re a warm and caring host who treats your guests well and has every interest that they enjoy the dinner party that you are throwing.. but you’re the one that owns the house… now…as soon as that song is over, they must step back towards being a guest, not the host as they take comments etc.
            .
            Its only for the time when they start singing till they finish singing that they own the place…and whether it is a soft sweet song or a rocking song we should never doubt that they’re hosting us in their house , on their stage and graciously pleasing us because they’re the host

          • PGV says:

            @NameThatTune lol Don’t know that I would use one of The Voice’s Coaches’ performances as an example of a great one… I’ve seen them… there are SO many Better performances out there… but Thank You for proving my point, you do Not need to walk around the stage to give a great performance. I was getting tired of people commenting that Jess will never be a great performer if she looks uncomfortable moving around the stage. As Slezak, the judges, and other music critics have said, Jess was So Good when she sang her Own song. She needs to bring that same passion and performance level when she’s singing covers on Idol… that same connection or belief in what she’s singing.

        • MamaLis says:

          Jessica DOESN’T have to saunter around the stage.
          And she shouldn’t. Ever, ever, never again.

      • HTGR says:

        I can’t find a good version on youtube anymore (regarding Haley’s). The audio is compressed to crap on all the old Idol videos on youtube it seems. Performance still comes through though. I have a pristine version on a hard disk somewhere, don’t feel like digging it up now.
        .
        Jessica did a pretty solid job on a lot of it, it actually fit her voice well, although a chunk she didn’t quite act the part.

  6. Jim says:

    Jena is in trouble this week. Please vote for Jena and save her!

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Nope. I wish I could, but what “was” that?

      • Stormy says:

        That was incomprehensible mumbling followed by overblown vocalizing. Just awful.

        • Jerry Paris says:

          And when she talks, she sounds like an idiot! She, along with Jessica, are the most irritating contestants ever!

      • Mary says:

        Wasn’t perfect but a H..ll a lot better than Malaya, CJ, Sam, and I dare say Dexter. I think she made up for the misstep in her duet – best of the night. At this stage I am voting for who I like and would by music from and to be honest that is only Jena and Jessica. Jessica needs work on the staging side but her voice if there so is Jena. None of the guys thrill me, Sam nice tone but not ready and Alex creative usually not tonight – hated what he did to that song, but I simply do not like his voice. Caleb great to front a band but as solo artist don’t see it. The rest are just there.

    • kcostell says:

      Jena was tonight. (the adjective, must like her vocals for most of the song, is inaudible).

  7. Timmah says:

    Nice Clara Peller reference!

  8. Dan says:

    Why are you saying Sam should be in the bottom three when you gave his performance i higher grade than 3 other people. seems like you just don’t like him. I thought his performance earned him a non bottom three spot this week.

    • Michael Slezak says:

      Basing it on body of work, not just tonight. I can’t justify Bottom 3 for Jessica or Alex coming off their original songs last week, though I won’t be shocked if that happens.

      • Trip says:

        shouldnt the bottom three be the 3 bottom performances not body of works than whats the point of performing something knew each week just sayin

        • Keith says:

          I think it should be based on entire body of work,not one week

          • Davey says:

            If we are voting based on body of work I think Jessica has given one decent performance–last week’s–so I see no reason why I should vote for her tonight when I thought her performance was meh.

          • Tom22 says:

            I base my votes based on the near term potential to give me performances I really want to hear in the limited weeks ahead. I base that upon both the body of work and how they seem to be taking to coaching and whether the environment of the show has them thriving or if they look tired and unlikely to give a good performance in the future.
            .
            You hire the person who you think will do great after you hire them…their past experience is vital, as is how they fit with what you have in mind and whether they’ll do the job the way you want them to.
            .
            each voter hires the contestant they want to work for them(perform for them) another week…..voting isn’t pay owed but pay in advance for the week ahead in my book. I think it does the most good going forward.. the key is to have the most entertainment possible week after week…and those that entertain will keep getting to be on TV.

        • tealeaves says:

          I can think of 3 contestants who should be in the bottom 3 before Sam based on tonight’s performances. They have all been in the bottom 3 before.
          I liked Sam’s performance. I appreciate he stopped looking down or looking all over the room, and instead looked into the camera! I wish he had picked a more original song but at least che changed up the phrasing quite a bit.

          • Mary says:

            He looked like he was terrified, I guess that is an emotion but not a pleasant one. Should not have been saved last week not ready for this pure and simple. I base my votes on performances past and present and potential after the show. Who would I buy music from. Artist are allowed an off week and shouldn’t be kicked to the curb for it – in fact isn’t that why the save was put there and yet the judges blew it last week using it on someone who is not capable at this stage to go the distant.

          • Tom22 says:

            I liked tonights performance of Sam’s too …only the last third of it maybe…but suddenly he began to come alive that last part and his great voice suddenly had a real human emotion.
            .
            I think he might have getting internally mad at something…..mad enough to start opening up…not with anger itself, but using the energy of the anger to vent all sorts of other emotions without restraint…..pushed him just far enough so the shell broke and we saw the unreserved side of him.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      There were definitely people who performed worse this week. I feel like this week he has earned his spot, even though I wish he would stop picking songs he clearly does not understand.

  9. osborn1116 says:

    a very cranky yet very forgiving grading system on his favorites….hmm

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      I agree, half of the grades were too high. For me, they were all in the C+/B- area. I also feel like they should be farther along in the performance/”connecting” area. When we get good mentors like David Cook – I wonder if they (maybe not Caleb, but certainly the rest) would be farther along – if a “real mentor” were there all along? Randy is useless.

      • osborn1116 says:

        Fire Randy, just say he is working in the studio and let David Cook work Friday through Monday with them on song choice and staging. If he only worked with them for 1 day, and was dropping that much knowledge, imagine if he had 3-4 days a week

        • Tiff says:

          Upvote. The entire show, Randy was like, “Oh, geez, that’s what I’m supposed to do? Thanks, David Cook!”

          • LeahKittyS says:

            LOL Yes! The only reason I wouldn’t want David Cook to be a full-time mentor is that it might make him too busy to write and record new music.

          • analythinker says:

            Lol, watching him in the back… I feel bad, but oh I’d take David Cook any day!

        • The Orginal Lemon says:

          Randy is the vestigial tail of the shows history. That’s what the 10 mill represents. It’s not about what he does now. It’s about what he did then.

          • Name That Tune says:

            We really don’t know where he stands with his contract right now. Could be he is in the last year of his deal and then they can cut the cord. Much like Ryan, who is in the last year of a 3 year deal.

        • JM says:

          Amen to that!!!

        • Mary says:

          And yet most of the contestants didn’t adhere to his suggestions or should I say couldn’t. I will give Randy the benefit of the doubt here, I think it might be these contestants are just not capable to improve enough for what we, the public, are looking for and maybe Randy has been trying but not getting through.

        • Tom22 says:

          I wasn’t sure if they showed him following around using him as a comic flourish for us to laugh at, or if he really was just so baffled by the idea that someone could have so much to say that he actually had the humilty to keep his moth closed. I’m really seriously at a loss with Randy… somehow.. I just wanted to give him some credit for having a lot more to him than he was able to bring out in the live commentary…. I felt like even in interviews he was loyal to the producers and careful not to say anything that could change the spin….but I did hope he had at least some musical insight that would come out in a more quiet setting…. I didn’t have high hopes and thought he would be the wrong guy for the job…but I thought there would be some insightful things they could show regularly in edits…really astounding given what be hours of footage that there weren’t at least a few dozen cogent remarks a week that he at least made by accident? Seriously.. I still can’t believe it… it defies reason that someone with that much experience didn’t have some useful things to say on the prior shows…at least this week when David had too many things to use to fit in (we know there were hundreds of other comments DV made that couldnt’ fit) having nothing from Randy had some plausiblity.

      • Danny says:

        @Teeny- Cook would seem to be a better mentor, but then why were all the singers in the C+/B- range? I def. agree w/ your grades, but my thinking is despite Cook being a past winner, maybe his mentoring wasn’t that great. I like the guy, don’t get me wrong. This was the 2nd worst week of the season though.
        ..
        That said, the sky isn’t falling because of 1 meh week. A few weeks ago the show was brutal and everyone panned it. The very next week they came back and it was a great show.

  10. SD says:

    I actually kind of liked Malaya…..

  11. Matt says:

    Can’t agree with the grade for Alex. Practically everyone else sang (bad) karaoke versions of their songs whilst he transformed an already wonderful song into something fresh and exciting.

    • Tracey says:

      No, what he did was totally ignore the meaning of the song. Every Breath You Take is a song about stalking someone. It is not a song about how sweet love is.

      • Angela says:

        My thoughts exactly. I will say he was the best of the guys tonight (Caleb was all right, too) in terms of being in tune and all that, but even then, yeah, that kind of an intense song is not meant to be sung like that. Jena was the best out of everybody tonight, honestly…and considering she was the first performer, that says something.
        Also, “Free Fallin'”. Oof. It’s always rough to hear someone do a bad take on a song by one of my favorite artists… This group of contestants still clearly needs work. Lots and LOTS of work.

      • Adam Fachry says:

        Yes, Alex didn’t understand what the song is about. Turns out, he’s not as bright as people made him out to be. People criticizing Jena last week for taking the angst and anger out of Rolling in the Deep, but hey, she at least understood the essence of the song as a painful breakup.

        Alex didn’t have a clue how sinister Every Breath You Take Is in the first place. Sting delivered the song with longing, but it’s a bitter kind of longing, not a sweet one. There’s a desperation to the lyrics that needs to be accentuated, and Alex failed to do so.

        • osborn1116 says:

          So dude literally is asked what the song is about and says its about a stalker but he’s not bright? Dude said what it was about right after he sung the song. Its fine if you didn’t like his changes or his idea of making it more into a love song but dude understood it. Thats like sayin Jess didn’t know about Pumped Up Kicks

        • Matt says:

          He clearly did understand because he stated the Police version is sinister and he wanted to flip it around. The lyrics are ambiguous and it is the delivery which provides the meaning, I thought it was beautiful and different whereas a rote performance of the original would have been dull. I just can’t see that performance only meriting a C+ when Dexter gets a B+ for a note for note cover of a song in which he again failed to actually pronounce half of the lyrics in an intelligible manner.

          • spackminder says:

            Amen to that Matt! Trying to outdo Sting on that song would be certain death. This was risky, original and musical. None of which Dexter or CJ were.

          • AlyB says:

            There is nothing ambiguous about the lyrics. It’s a creepy stalker I love you/hate you song.
            Every move you make
            Every vow you break
            Every smile you fake
            Every claim you stake
            I’ll be watching you.
            …..
            Trying to claim you wanted to make it a love song is as creepy as the original song.

          • JM says:

            Matt, I agree. He most certainly knew what it meant and wanted to take a risk and change it up. I really enjoyed it.

          • Faye says:

            Exactly. Thank you, Matt. I love the way he reworked it and thought he sounded great. What he does with phrasing, his voice and guitar are always so interesting to me.
            I like the fact that people are discussing it. Whether they liked it or not, at least it’s memorable to them.

          • Tom22 says:

            Its funny.. .. I’ve never heard the song as a stalker song but a song by a guy who’s facinated with a girlfriend (not a would be girlfriend but a girlfriend he’s already intimate with) who is a kook and an oddball and a free spirit.
            … she’s great..

            A mover who’ll always keep you fascinated with what they do next
            A rule breaking iconoclast
            A bit conniving mischief maker willing to charm her way with a small into getting her goal
            A person who stakes a claim and gets what they aim for..

            Seems like a cool aloof sort of self assured girl.. who’s charmed you… but is inherently going to move on from you one day…

            … not likely marrying material… she’s very likely to spin out of control and crash and burn and not age gracefully…..but one you’d like to keep around in your young twenties, enjoying that heady period who’s cake with green icing will eventually get left out in the rain and you’ll never get that recipe for again ….. great times … but elusive and emphemeral
            … which is sort of dark in a different way.. but I never heard the stalker context and no matter how much I read the lyrics I’ll never hear the melody supporting the stalker context.. the words are just metaphorical….
            .. .. more about chasing what you know will eventually slip away, something so fascinating today yet danerous intoxicating and untenable… .. cool stuff.. cool song.

          • Zoo says:

            Wow, Tom, you get it. me, too. Thank you.

          • Mary says:

            Alex knew what it meant but failed in his delivery of it. The song is not a romantic song it is a creepy stalking song. Just because you can change it up doesn’t mean you should. Michael was generous in his grade because I gave it a F for failure to deliver.

          • Just My Opinion says:

            Wow Tom, you really analyzed the crap outta that, but all a person needs to do is watch the original video on vevo to understand the message that Sting intended for this song. It’s an angry desperate threat. There is nothing wistful about it.

            I actually enjoyed the sound of Alex’s arrangement, it just didn’t match the feeling of the song, and isn’t that 50% of what a song interpreter is supposed to do? He could have changed it up, made it softer and acoustic while still keeping the seething quality of impending doom.

            I think David Cook was spot on–this was really more of a mistake than a “risk”. A sign that Alex is not fully mature as an artist. But he will get there, He’s young.

          • Tom22 says:

            @just my opinion > all fair… and I don’t disagree entirely with you if I watch sting’s video… but I’m just letting you know the way I hear it (and have heard it for decades) when he sings it..
            … its just my opinion too (of course ; ) )
            Now.. I don’t “analyze the heck out the heck ” out of these things while I’m listening.. I’m just taking it all in… and, I don’t particularly hear the words in the way a lot of people might. … I mean, hear words but I think of them a lot more as indivual prhases.. but really “take them in” is more what I do than “think” .
            .
            Its sort of a polar opposite .. on both sides for me.. if you make me analyze them, I’ll think far harder than most, but if I’m just enjoying it, I’m probably thinking less about the lyrics consciously that most……. I don’t even hear the lyrics in some ways.. i can’t sing along with songs I’ve heard a thousand times and might even call one of my favorite songs…. but I do hear them and let them form images, quickly.. flashes of emotions ..often contrasting emotions… so quickly they’re like a collage of colors with emotions rather than colors.
            .
            I just don’t hear the creepy malice in Stings voice… I hear wonder and commitment that isn’t being returned fully … That isn’t that different from a stalker… an un-returned obsession and captivation…but I don’t hear the predatory aspect of the stalker, and the openness… it feels like he’s telling the “victim” what he’s doing and telling her its not about harm but a good willed fascinations.
            ..
            ok .. I guess I over analyzed it again.. my ear just hears good will even if he’s following someone that doesn’t return his emotions.

          • Tom22 says:

            oh.. one more thing.. as much as I support his intent.. : ) I’m not really saying I liked Alex’s interpretation .. I felt he missed the mark of his ____goal____ a little bit and/or I just don’t feel a personal affinity to his twist on the world. Its like, Taking the “twist on the world” thing another step. its not about politics or sexual preference for me. I love Anthony Williams viewpoint on the world in project runway.. but I wouldn’t want to hear Christopher Palus expression in a song if he could sing. I’d like to hear Eli Manning put his thoughts to song but be less interested in his brother Peyton’s. Quality of executuion needs to be at a high level but its a lot easier for me to overlook mistakes if I feel a bond. I do always give credit on a respect level for people who follow their own course, and I don’t think the song was so locked i couldn’t go there.
            .
            But I have my own peeves with certain songs that mean a lot to me. Haley R is very high on my list of favorite idols ever, and she had more performances on the show I really still like to listen to than any other contestant Still, i was sort of like you with one song… I didn’t like her performance that most consider one of her best.. I can’t listen to her idol “house of the rising sun”.. maybe for a connection to those lyrics I have that’s just too powerful to overcome hear heard in a less slightly occult way I see them. We all have certain songs like that I imagine.

        • Teeny Bikini says:

          @Adam. He said the meaning and clearly stated that he decided to reinterpret it [before Harry interrupted him]. This seems in bounds to me for an artist. Re-interpreting songs, thereby creating new meaning, is done all the time. See youtube, see anywhere. I get that you didn’t like his interpretation, that’s something else entirely.

          • Adam Fachry says:

            Applogies as I only watched the performances. I lived in another country so I had to look for live blogs on the internet to watch it in quasi-real time and rarely have those live blogs included the full videos in which judges’ commentary and Ryan’s pep talk appear.

            More power to Alex to understabd the song then. But Tewny my dear, I already knew that such thing as reinterpretation exists. However, it can still be done without diminishing the song’s Essence. Tom Waits did a cover of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ Heigh Ho. In spirit, the song is still about the dwarfs’ working anthem, but there’s a morbid tone to it that implies how dangerous they are, far from the whinsical personas disney displayed.

            Alex’s rendition loses the essence of the song. I would’ve appreciated if he layered the sweetness with some creepy subtext, i.e., the character is so delusional to think that what his done to his ex is sweet, ge doesn’t understand that what he did could lead to a restraining order. There’s no wink or a sense of sardonic irony beyond the pleasant-sounding arrangenent of his. He can smile all he wants while reminiscing about how sweet the love used to be, but he should’ve held a knife behind his arms while doing so.

          • Teeny Bikini says:

            @Adam. Ohhhh, I see. The comments about Alex’s performance have probably been the most interesting part of the show tonight… This has definitely been his most polarizing performance.

          • MamaLis says:

            I Liked Alex’s performance!

            And by the way – ALEX did not say the word “romantic.” People are putting words in his mouth!!

            How does anyone know it’s not interpreted as a SAD dude that can’t get over this chick rather than an alpha STRONG dude that’s similarly obsessed?

          • The Beach says:

            Words I never in a million years expected to ever come out of my mouth: “I agreed completely with Jennifer Lopez”…wow, I said it. I thought exactly the same thing about Alex totally giving the song a new melody. There are many ways to reinterpret a song while keeping a very recognizable melody recognizable. Were it not for the lyrics I would have had no idea what song Alex was singing.

      • Erin says:

        I have to disagree because he really read the lyrics and interpreted them in a different way. The song doesn’t say,”If I can’t have you no one can” or anything that is so definite. He interpreted it as in how love can be overwhelming and all encompassing and not meant in a harmful way. That’s why The Police version is hauntingly sweet, even in the more ominous meaning.

        • Angela says:

          If some guy I wasn’t interested in told me he’d be watching me because he’s still in love with me and I belong to him, as that song does, I wouldn’t find that hauntingly sweet. I’d be looking for a restraining order. That’s creepy. Not really room for any romantic interpretation there.

          • Erin says:

            I wouldn’t and didn’t say it was romantic. And the lyrics aren’t hauntingly sweet, but the music and the way it is sung is, at least to me and many others who were not looking for restraining orders for the song, but kept it at #1 for 8 weeks. No one was afraid, because the song is clever. Just another way to look at it is all. Obviously not for everyone.

          • Erin says:

            And personally I prefer the more obsessive tormented take of the original, but I like that Alex is looking at things with fresh perspective, trying new things and even having us have this conversation on interpretation of music.

          • Angela says:

            I’m not saying the original song is bad-I like it, too. I’m just saying, it’s clearly meant to be an unsettling stalker song, and guys (or girls, for that matter) shouldn’t be trying to turn it into something romantic to sing to someone they love. Doing that would make me want to stay as far away from the person performing it in that context as humanly possible.

      • AlyB says:

        Thank you. He took a song that was dark, about a desperate obsession and tried to make it into a boppy little pop love song. I hated it. He does that a lot and it’s wearing so thin all the musical tricks in the world can’t cover the fact that he’s turning things with a little edge into vanilla pudding. He should teach music theory because he knows a lot about composition and construction. I just think his creative choices are dull. Instead of adding spice he adds some flourishes then arranges things in a way that sucks the soul right out of songs.

        • The Orginal Lemon says:

          He did the same thing with Don’t Speak. It’s a song about getting dumped by someone you are planning future with, and he turned it into this blithe ditty.

          • AlyB says:

            Indeed he did. I think I commented at the time that he turned it into the elevator Muzak version of that song. I think Alex is a gifted musician and a decent singer but his tastes lean towards pablum.

      • Lana says:

        I never knew this song was about stalking, I liked the romantic take on this song and think Alex was great. I don’t understand all this hassle about lyrics and going a different way with the song. To some the song is about stalking but to others it could mean how much I love you. I just don’t remember when it came out that everyone was going on about the stalking song, in fact I thought at the time (in the 80″s) it was a romantic song, now 30 years later I find out it was a sinister song. Obviously I was naïve in my late 20’s. I don’t get all this the lyrics aren’t right for this person or that to sing, I thought if you sing the song well it doesn’t matter that you are too young for so called lyrics or it is interpreted in a different way, I think there is such a thing about being too picky

        • JM says:

          Lana, you’re absolutely right. Many people sang that song and thought it was romantic. I think Alex realized this and decided to play with that double meaning.

      • Mark says:

        We know that song today as “the stalker song,” but it wasn’t always that way. In 1983, when it sat at the top of the charts for week after week, it was considered a sweet song by a devoted lover. It was played at weddings and proms and in the background of marriage proposals all over the world. That was the genius of Sting, who was at the height of his powers at that time. The dark meaning was hidden under the lush arrangement and earnest vocals. It was a mesmerizing exercise in slipping a hidden message to the masses. It wasn’t until many months later that people started to really pay attention to the lyrics and realize there was something wrong with that dude. It was a few years later when Sting finally quelled the hysteria by denouncing “that evil little song.” So I can see where Alex wanted to go with it. I give him credit for trying, but this one just didn’t work. The bare bones arrangement exposed the lyrics, leaving the message nowhere to hide. It was a fail, for me.

        • MamaLis says:

          I disagree with you Mark, in that I enjoyed the flip probably because I just really like Alex.

          But you are SO SO correct in stating the 80’s history of that song and how it really went down when it came out. Thank you for that!!!!! :-)

          • Mark says:

            I also like Alex, but I didn’t enjoy that performance. Nonetheless, based on the responses here it’s clear that many people did. At the very least, it was polarizing. That’s usually good enough to get through to the next round.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      I am always happy to hear Alex b/c a least he’s interesting. I love how he deconstructs a song. I almost feel like he should be grade on two scales: 1) singing/musicianship [I know, not a word]… and I thought today that was a definitely in the B+/A- area. 2) Stage presence/performance. This grade always lags behind… maybe B/B-

    • ThatBob says:

      I found his slow, happy take to add an extra layer of creepy to an already creepy song. Shudder.

  12. Stormy says:

    Were we watching the same show? This, for me, was the best this season in spite of the [getting very old real fast] shenanigans of Needy Harry. Setting aside the weirdness of Alex, I enjoyed all both CJ and Malaya whom I muted. And Jena was awful. She mumbled for the first half and screaned through the rest. Bah!

    • Stormy says:

      Sorry, meant screamed.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      LOL at “muted.” That’s funny. You didn’t miss anything ;)

    • Danny says:

      @ Stormy- I thought it was a meh show. Dexter was pretty good (meaning like a B)- Jessica maybe a B-, the rest in the C range except for Sam, who I felt was terrible. None of the duets were good. Jessica/Dexter was ok I guess.

      Where I (in Randy Jackson voice) 1000%-THAT’S ONE!!! THOUSAND!!! PERCENT!!! YOU’RE IN IT TO WIN IT!!!!!!- agree with you is about Harry. Good god, what’s he drinking? He was a disgrace tonight. I think him more than anything ruined tonight’s show. That and the cameras always panning on the judges. No matter how well they sing- I get that tonight no one sang well- but no matter how well they sing, when the cameras are on the judges for half the time, it takes away from the enjoyment of the song.

      • The Beach says:

        Danny, you thought Sam was worse than CJ? Seriously? Sam may put me to sleep when he sings but at least I don’t wince and cringe like I do when CJ is singing.

  13. Tracey says:

    Alex has been one of my favorites, but he gets negative points for trying to turn a song about staking into a sweet love ballad. You can change the arrangement all you want, but do not try and change the actual meaning of the original song that drastically.

    • Julie Anderson says:

      I disagree. I expected to not like it and loved it. I do appreciate what Harry and David Cooke are helping him with, but unfortunately they record on Sundays, so how much can they expect a mentor can do on Mon.?

  14. kate'shomesick says:

    Gonna keep it short today….it’s 4:00 over here ^^…
    Jena C+ I think the arrangement is to blame…too much going on with such a simple song and it did kind of force Jena to „belt“(repeatrepeat: THIS-IS_NOT-A-BELT) everything -again
    Dexter C yeah, it was alright
    Alex&Sam Musicians.interesting. I see a future collaboration.
    Malaya D+ horrible styling this week, horrible songchoice, horrible screeching….so forced…
    Jena&Caleb can I have Jena’s dress? Nice but Jena really does shout a little like all the time…
    Jess C+ vocally it was (almost- the scream….-.-)what it should have been but she looked so stiff- even the walking in the beginning. A good stage-walk is hard to come by….
    Sam B+ harassed by the producer-send chicks…. he did great and I love that it was acoustic
    Malaya&CJ aiaiaiaiaiai and not in a good way…could have been worse though
    Alex A- so the producers want Alex out now? Interesting. So he didn’t interpret the song as a stalky-tale (original version)- he thought it was a lovesong. Can you re-interpret so radically? „Two souls, alas, are dwelling in my breast…“. I’ll take the shot and say: Since it sounded like a completely different song: Hell yeah.
    Dexter&Jess so uncomfortable to watch- showcased Jess’ vocal problems and Dexters lack of showmanship- the „harmonies“seriously…
    CJ F that is one of my favourite songs. Even CJ couldn’t make me hate it.*evil grin* No, seriously- that was one of the worst vocals ever on a liveshow of AI
    Caleb A- „baby face“ killed it

    • kate'shomesick says:

      should be bottom 3: CJ, Malaya, Dexter (CJ going home)
      will be bottom 3: CJ, Malaya, Jena (CJ going home)

      • The Beach says:

        And yet instead of CJ going home each week (as he should have) he just keeps hangin’ around. How he even got past the first audition round is a mystery for the ages.

        • Adam Fachry says:

          I hope that I’ll jink it but CJ seems destined for a sixth place. It looks like Lazaro, Carmen Rasmusen, and John Stevens are ready to welcome him to their “Undeserved Contestants Who Managed to Last Until Top 6″ group.

          • kate'shomesick says:

            Come on now….Neither Carmen nor John deserve to be likened to Lazaro. Carmen wasn’t a very good singer while John was VERY good in his style which wasn’t suited AT ALL for a competition like idol….

          • Adam Fachry says:

            I likened them to Lazaro because they outlasted more deserved contestants.

        • Adam Fachry says:

          *jinx

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Oh, you are definitely being generous to Jena ;)

    • JM says:

      I enjoyed Dexter and Jessica more than you, but you are right on about Alex!

  15. Laura says:

    I’m confused how you have Sam in your bottom 3 when (even averaging with duet grades), you rated Alex lower. Are you basing this week-to-week or overall?

    • Laura says:

      And I just saw your reply to someone else about this, but I still feel like voters tend to vote week to week, so I would have put Alex or Jessica as a should-be bottom 3.

      • Mary says:

        At this stage I think a lot of voters are voting for their favorites and body of work. I personally cannot justify sending someone home that has been consistently good because they had an off night. In reality Sam, CJ and Malaya should be gone before the others.

  16. Blinged Up says:

    Almost always agree with you, Michael, but I would give Alex Preston’s performance a much higher grade.

  17. Daniel says:

    Jena was beyond awful tonight with a horrid arrangement and lousy vocals that destroyed the song. Malaya was a shrieky, shrill mess on both the solo and duet. Sam was still boring as watching paint dry with zero connection. Karaoke Dexter is back. Will C.J. ever sing in tune? The Top 3 are Caleb (deservedly) and then Jessica and Alex.

    • Stormy says:

      I agree with everything you said except about Alex. To me he’s not just a one off, he’s way too out there for me. He took a psycho in love with you song and tried to make it a devotional one. I can get past the fact that he makes Elvis Costello seem attractive, but IMO he’s just weird.

      • Angela says:

        I don’t know why, but the Elvis Costello line amuses me greatly :D.

      • Adam Fachry says:

        Elvis Costello was very attractive in the 70s-early 80s. Him in both This Year’s Model and Trust covers >>>>> all Idol’s WGWGs except for P2 and Paul McDonald.

        • Stormy says:

          Attractive???? EC always looked like Buddy Holly’s homely brother. To say nothing about his picket fence smile. Yikes.

    • Colton Smith says:

      couldn’t disagree more about jena ,she wasn’t awful , her vocals was great
      so screw all the haters

    • Mary says:

      I agree with you except for Jena was awful. Was not her best but awful is pushing it. Caleb I thought was off tonight – shouldn’t go home but I thought his voiced cracked on a few notes and nobody should try to sing Perry song. What was awful is what Alex did to that song, Now that was awful.

  18. Danny says:

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Dexter won the night. He was the best solo and part of the only duet that didn’t blow chunks.

    • Name That Tune says:

      Yeah, it was very close for me between Dexter and Caleb. Just a few issues with is diction, otherwise, he nailed it.

      • Mary says:

        Seriously, Dexter sang well but was upstage by the guitar player. This is the first night I thought Caleb voice was off. The best solo performance as far as voice was Jessica. Staging was not there but her voice was. BEST performance tonight was Jena and Caleb duet until Harry try to upstage them with his shenanigans. If only we could have a do over for this week.

    • LibbyxD says:

      But Danny-anyone can sing Keep your hands to yourself. I mean anyone.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      I enjoyed Dexter tonight. At least, he’s learning how to exhibit some charisma onstage – that’s more than I can say for some. Pretty easy song though…

    • Mark says:

      It comes down to song choice. Dexter picked the perfect song for his voice, and didn’t get in the way of it. I keep warning all the Dexter haters, but he is playing a smart game staying in his lane week after week.

  19. Tracey says:

    David Cook did a great job as the mentor. Idol should either bring him back or bring other ex-Idols in every week as mentors.

    • JJ says:

      I thought David C was a great mentor but also kept thinking he is too handsome too look that bad. If any good is to come from this season maybe someone could stage a style intervention stat!

    • Danny says:

      @Tracey- I’m not so sure about that. I like the guy, but this was the 2nd worst show of the year. I’m not saying I want Randy, but whatever David told those people didn’t get through. In sports the best players rarely make the best managers. It’s usually the middle of the road guys.

      • Mary says:

        I don’t think it is fair to blame him for the contestants mishaps. Personally it might have been worst without his guidance. One person can only do so much and that is why I am less harsh on Randy than most on this post. It is possible that the contestants just simply don’t get it or they are incapable of incorporating it. I also think that sometimes the contestants try to do what is suggested but it is out of their wheelhouse that it throws them off.

      • Name This Tune says:

        I think David only had one day to impart his words of wisdom. He might have steered them in a different direction with more time. Every thing he said to them was spot on.

  20. Brad says:

    Yup tonight really showing your bias Michael. Jena was inaudible throughout half of her song and you give her the highest grade. I’m a big Jena fan and tonight I can see her in the bottom three and maybe a shock exit unfortunately. You beg for people to change it up and Alex turned that song into something new and refreshing and you give it a C+? Dexter does another karaoke version of a sing a long and he gets a B + ? Who are you and what have you done with Slezak?

  21. Renee says:

    Oh no, I think we broke Michael. I think the judges’ crossed the line disrespecting Jodi Watley – Slezak is Back And This Time It’s Personal! (Btw did I really hear Caleb say his goal was to make ~old ladies cry with a Journey song?? *sputter* )

  22. Zoo says:

    I loved Jessica! The best of the night. Why the judges through Jess under the bus I do not know. I’ll vote for Jess tonight!

      • Terry says:

        She looked so awkward trying to work the stage that it made me very uncomfortable and therefore I wasn’t able to enjoy the performance at all.

        • LeahKittyS says:

          Hopefully that will encourage the judges never to tell her to move around again. It’s clearly not for her.

          • Teeny Bikini says:

            LOL. Moving is so not for her. She likes to plant those legs in one spot, like she’s stuck in quicksand. I do love her voice though….

          • Name That Tune says:

            LOL, let’s hope she never ever performs live again – just stays in the recording studio pumping out hits and never going on the road.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            Wow, not what meant at all. I would still pay to see her live and probably will if the tour is still on this summer. I’m just saying they’ve been asking her to do something she doesn’t feel comfortable doing, and now that she’s done it, and done it poorly, hopefully they will get off her case. On his summer tour, Kris Allen stood in one place the whole time, but it didn’t feel stiff or boring at all. It’s my kind of music.

          • Mary says:

            Leah did we go to the same Idol tour. Kris didn’t just stand in one spot at least not on the show I went to. In fact I was afraid he was going to fall into the hole on the floor. One thing with Kris even if he is not dancing around the stage he never stands still his feet or hips are always moving or he is jumping around. I give Jessica credit for trying the judges suggestions but that was a 180 compare to what she usually is.

          • LeahKittyS says:

            I went to the American Idols Live! show in Boston that year. Kris played his guitar and mostly stood in one place when he did “Heartless,” “All These Things I Have Done,” and “Bright Lights,” sat at the piano for “Ain’t No Sunshine” and stood still for “Hey Jude.” Maybe he moves around more now, but I haven’t been to any of his other shows.

        • pmet says:

          In Jessica’s defense, I remember Carrie Underwood having some difficulty moving around the stage and being dressed in some awful outfits with bad hair during the year of her win. Still, her voice was undeniable. Today, she is an unbelievable performer on the stage. I don’t know if she was just able to come out of her shell, or if someone worked with her over time, but the difference is dramatic. I wouldn’t count Jess out or not vote for her based on her awkwardness moving around the stage. It is a singing competition so I place her voice above her ability to move around. If you don’t like her voice, well, that’s a different thing entirely :)

          • Name This Tune says:

            It’s like any thing you do. How badly do you want it? Do you want to be a star or not? Because if that’s what you want, then you have to commit to improving your performance skills. You already can sing. So spend 75% of your time learning to perform and 25% of it on singing. You are selling the only thing you have – yourself.
            It’s what we expect from high achieving athletes. It’s why they practice so much. If you want to play in the NFL ,you have to commit to certain things. Same thing with music.

          • Name This Tune says:

            As far as the singing competition aspect, part of singing is performing. You can’t be great at it unless you pay as much attention to this as hitting the notes.
            People don’t like to talk about The Voice, but there’s a talent over there who can sing the bejeezus out of a song. But she never forgets the other piece – performing. You should check out Sissaundra. It is what makes watching this show so frustrating. These guys are only doing half the job.

        • Mark says:

          I wouldn’t call that stroll around the perimeter “working the stage.” She sounded good, to me, but that leisurely walkabout was disturbing. She reminded me of Data playing violin. She hit all the notes, but in an inhuman kind of way. Still, she was probably my second or third favorite of the night, which just says how mediocre this show turned out to be.

    • MamaLis says:

      Are you serious? I thought she was heinous! I like Jessica but OMG. I saw JLO scribble something and I swear it was “Creepy!”

      I appreciate she took the chance to walk the stage and get courageous. Truly I do. But apparently she needed to do it like….. 100 more times before it became natural and comfortable and something that didn’t resemble and AWFUL warm-up act for a freaking Drag Show!!!

      Sorry man.

      • Diana says:

        I thought Jessica’s vocals were pretty spot on on a difficult song, but the walking around was… awkward. Oh well, at least the voice is there and she’s trying. Vocally, I thought she was second best underneath only Caleb.

      • MamaLis says:

        Now I feel bad. I’m publicly walking back from the word heinous and saying “quite disappointing.”

        Apparently I need SnapChat for Opinion Forums. :-(

      • Danny says:

        @Mama Lis- “Creepy” seems to be the word of the day. Harry, Jlo, Alex’s song.

  23. Khs says:

    Cranky cranky tonight, Slezak! How awesome was David Cook? It seemed as though he really cared about the contestants, much more than can be said for the Dawg. I love Jena and Alex but did not really enjoy their performances tonight–Jena was definitely too “low” in the middle. Actually really loved Caleb and Sam (!!!! What did I just type that). Bottom three has to be Dexter, Mayala, and CJ. Who honestly is voting for CJ I don’t understand…!

  24. gracelessk says:

    Alex destroyed that song. Did he sound? Absolutely not. He sounded wonderful. But for all intents and purposes, the true meaning of that song was completely lost. There were so many actual 80s love songs he could’ve reworked that would’ve been more effective.

    Jena was just too much. She either needed to stick with Part 1 of her performance or Part 2.

    Jessica sounded great, but she can be hard to watch. Fortunately, I listen to music and don’t watch it. She sung this better than Reinhart, but she can’t perform.

    If you thought Dexter did a good job with that song, you need to visit a decent bar in the south with live music. You’ll hear it sung better with more range. I promise.

    Malaya. No.

    Sam and CJ were… Better?

    Caleb did a decent job with Faithfully, but my husband called him “Old Faithful.” He needs to rearrange some songs. Give us a modern rock edge.

    I just caaaan’t with this night of AI, so much wasted potential.

    • AlyB says:

      I think you just saved me from having to write up a long comment because I pretty much agree with everything you wrote. Jessica did sound terrific tonight. She seems to be a lot looser on stage in the duets when she has someone to play off of. Still not great stage movement but definitely less wooden. If she could use the audience/cameras like a duet partner she might finally break through that wall. I really do love her voice so I hope she can pull this off before it’s too late.

      • Teeny Bikini says:

        Yes, I love Jess’s voice. If she could just pull the whole stage presence/movement + singing off, we’d have something even better. And wardrobe did her wrong tonight. Way wrong.

    • tealeaves says:

      Jessica did sound great. I listen to the show more than I watch it. Every time I looked at Jessica’s performance it seemed off. But just listening to it, her voice was fantastic. I think it was a wrong song choice for her though at least it gave her the opportunity for some strong vocals.
      I was disappointed the judges did not give her more credit for moving around the stage like they have been telling her to do. It was still awkward but she was improving on the number one thing they have been harping on, and they should have acknowledged that she just needs to keep working on that.

  25. Kaba says:

    I thought everyone was shy of lame tonight.
    Like…really lame.
    ———————
    Jena’s arrangement was crap imo
    ———————
    Dexter was…Dexter..which is the problem
    ———————
    Malaya was oh goodness not on her A game
    ———————
    Sam okay…I’ll admit that I enjoyed this vocally because it wasn’t another overly plain vocal with no real stretch to it, he actually did something with his voice for once. Just needs to get his performance skills together now.
    ———————
    Jess was vocally good but watching her boringly walk around the stage ruined it for me
    ———————
    Alex…I just hated the changes he made for once because I just don’t think that song should be sang that way
    ———————
    CJ I could have stabbed myself in the ears and I still wouldn’t have been okay
    ———————
    Caleb…whatever. Seriously, big bowl of whatever. Good, but whatever.

    • MamaLis says:

      I usually agree with you Kab. But Jess “boringly walked the stage?”

      If by that you mean, “Walked the stage in a manner that caused the Viewer to watch, transfixed, with conflicting thoughts of, ‘Who put her up to this? / Someone tell her to stop!’

      Then ok. Maybe I still agree with you.

      • Kaba says:

        I loved Jess’s vocals I just couldn’t find myself satisfied with the movement she did around the stage. Which isn’t to say I’m not happy she’s moving around the stage trying to get used to it.. I just wasn’t feeling it if that makes any sense whatsoever. I agreed with Harry about grooving while she was moving around stage. I’m sure she’ll get better I just can’t bring myself to really enjoy the performance side of what she did.
        I’m certain she’s through to next week though and can’t wait to see her growth.

        • MamaLis says:

          Of course, it makes complete sense. I was being a bit sardonic anyway.

          I watched that performance again this morning and it was just so all-kinds-of-wrong. I, too, am happy she took some chances. But Mother Mary, with the walk-walk-walk then (on “3”) turn for the camera and then (for me this was the worst part) the awkward “hip dance” she did?

          Little girls do that at their talent recitals who don’t know how to move!! You can’t be a grown-ass woman doing that on national tv!

          Jessica has to find a MIDDLE GROUND. She should perhaps study some country singers who typically don’t move around a lot when they sing – but do a comfortable little sashay / leg movement kinda-thing! Even an Annie Lennox!!! That’s the ground she needs to land in!!!!

          • Mark says:

            Great post. She’s never going to be a Janet Jackson or Brittany Spears, but if she could just elevate her stage presence to June Carter level, it would be a major improvement. Possibly enough to get her into the finals.

    • spackminder says:

      HAHAHAHA Kaba “stabbed myself in the ears”. I should have tried that, it would have been better than listening to CJ. He needs to go home.

  26. Lynn says:

    That cameraman ought to be shot (or made to listen to CJ’s live performance over and over) for the filming of Caleb’s song. How on earth do you make a young cute kid look like a washed-up, drugged-out, has-been? And half of the time they were on J-Lo!

    • osborn1116 says:

      They are always on J-Lo. They need to just do a dual screen with the judges and the performer. At least then we’d see the performers

      • Terry says:

        Or how about just keep the camera on the contestants when they’re singing. The “judges” get enough face time when they are giving their “critiques”, they don’t need to be cutting to them during the performances. So annoying!

        • osborn1116 says:

          oh i agree. Unfortunetly I think the J-Lo pandering isn’t going to stop so I have to think of a compromise

        • Mary says:

          I like them showing the judges because you can usually tell by their facial expression if they are really enjoying it. For example when Malaya was singing all of them looked like WTF yet their critiques did not mirror their facial expressions. It is easy to stretch the truth when talking but a picture it worth a thousand words.

      • Mark says:

        Or they could just stop pretending. Have the camera follow JLO from the dressing room to the stage, and never take it off her. Put the performers in little boxes at the bottom, and run a live crawl with every word JLO writes on her notebook.

    • pmet says:

      It must be part of J-Lo’s contract that she gets 20 seconds of close-up screen time during each performance so that you can look at her luscious lips or watch her concentrate or, worse, mouth the words to the song. I cannot watch when they turn the camera to her, especially during key elements of a performance. It’s wrong, just wrong.

  27. osborn1116 says:

    I think Alex’s performance was great but what is even better is that people are talking about him and that performance wether it was good or bad. I mean he isn’t sitting in the middle. It is better to be talked about then to not be talked about.

  28. karenb says:

    Loved Alex’s arrangement. Can’t believe how bad the judges hacked on him. He looked very disappointed with their critique. On the other hand-Sam’s arrangement was horrific. He sounded like he had a bad case of the nerves too. Maybe it was that camera so far up in his grill?

    Side note-Slezak-you will forever be on my Christmas card list for your continued references to Kris Allen over the years. His stuff of late is nothing short of awesome.

    • cschermerhorn says:

      You’re so right. I loved what Alex did with that song, it was clever and creative. Pure instinct and good judgment, and they didn’t reward him for either really.

    • Nedsdag says:

      Alex sounded more like a caring babysitter than a stalker ex. He made the song toothless and lacking of grit.

    • MamaLis says:

      Agreed. Really liked Alex.

      But I just watched Sam again and I actually think this was one of his best performances. Of course we’re grading on a curve….. but really. He had some really nice inflection, I swear the kid didn’t miss a NOTE, I think he put a little heart into it. It was quite lovely.

  29. Patrick says:

    Who do you think is going home?
    I’m going with Malaya or Sam, but am hoping for C.J.

  30. Colin says:

    I’m starting to be annoyed with all the judges’ (Harry) antics, it’s like the show is desperately shouting “come back America, we’re fun and spontaneous again!”

    The J.Cam was in even rarer form this week; the best part was when Harry and Keith vacated their seats to mingle with the crowd during Islands, leaving Jennifer alone at the judges’ table so the camera would have nothing to focus on… and close in on… but her.

    • 2cents says:

      The J.Cam was especially annoying this week. It takes you out of the performance on the stage. Unfair to the performers. There has gotta be something written into her contract. Yuck.

      • Shel says:

        I agree, and the absolute worse use of the J.Cam was during Caleb’s song. I literally was just about to SCREAM at the TV during one particular point – they kept it on her for so long, I thought – are we supposed to be watching Caleb sing?

        I get it – she is beautiful. But, seriously, enough already. And the one time they really didn’t focus on her alot was when Keith and Harry took off for the rafters. Not that fond of the amount of antics tonight, but that time it was worth it not to have to watch JLo sing the whole song too.

  31. Christine says:

    Harry’s blatant hypocrisy was center stage tonight. According to him it’s not OK for Jessica to perform “Pumped Up Kicks” and contrast the dark lyrics with an upbeat tone (although that is how the song is intended), but it is brilliant when Alex takes a song with dark lyrics about obsessively unhealthy stalker-lover and then changes it into some lil coffee house love ditty?

    • osborn1116 says:

      I think he liked that he purposely went to change that feel where as Jesse just kept it the same. Its a bigger thing to try and make the change itself then it is to just sing the song how it is. I think he was giving him props on his artistry, not for actually making it a love song.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      And Jennifer actually called Harry out on that. She remembered. Good for her.

      • Danny says:

        @Leah- Yea, that was the one time when she contributed something. That was a good catch on her part. I’ll give her credit for that. It sure beat all the times the camera panned on her while the singers were singing.

    • Jake says:

      Harry really only wants to lecture girls on ‘propriety’ – not an issue for the menfolk lol

      • Mary says:

        Maybe he should of thought of propriety when he grabbed a audience member he didn’t know and put her on his shoulders. The poor thing looked so uncomfortable.

  32. Merrilyn says:

    I have to disagree with your grading of Alex, Michael. I absolutely loved Alex’s performance, and the explanation of his interpretation was salient to me. My husband, who is a very accomplished and classically trained musician, thought Alex was his favorite tonight. And don’t get me started on how much I loved seeing David Cook back on Idol! He is still my all-time favorite!

    • MamaLis says:

      I agree. I liked it too.

    • JM says:

      Tell your husband he’s very intelligent.

    • Shel says:

      Add me to the “Loved Alex’s Rendition” club. I understand – a very little bit – what JLo was trying to spit out. “Every breath you take” is one of my all-time favorite songs and I love the melody. But, I don’t know why, Alex’s version just spoke to me….I thought it was gorgeous.

      I wish — really wish — the judges would recognize how socially uncomfortable Alex is, and either give him more advice or cut him some slack. Poor Sam gets all the sympathy for being shy, but I will scream if they miss out on saving Alex this week or next because they saved Sam last week.

  33. Tommyo2000 says:

    How does Jena get a B+?? C+ at best …

    • osborn1116 says:

      Michael’s favorites bump up

      • Timmah says:

        I actually liked what Jena did. Plus I think she has the most interesting tonal quality of all the contestants.

        • osborn1116 says:

          She can sing anything with her tone no doubt, but when a huge portion of your song is pretty much inaudible because it’s placed in to low of a key it shouldn’t be pretty much the highest grade of the night.

        • Christopher says:

          Oh you like when a rock anthem is turned in 1/3rd piano ballad with affected copycat vocals and phony accented words, 1/3 walking around the stage alternately winded and taking deep breaths directly into the microphone and being barely audible over the music and 1/3 wobbly belting like she’s in the middle of a level 7 earthquake? You have strange tastes.

  34. Michael C. says:

    I am a little worried that someone cut off Michael’s wine supply before tonight show. That would be a legit reason for the crankiness. All kidding aside, I was with him on expecting more from nearly every contestant, but I thought Caleb killed it. He delivered what the judges had asked for and finally made me a believer.

  35. Wesley says:

    Jena- B-
    Dexter- C
    Malaya- C
    Jessica- B-
    Sam- B+
    Alex- B-
    CJ- B+
    Caleb- A-

    Maybe I heard it differently but I personally thought CJ sounded great, and if Caleb hadn’t performed up to par he would’ve been my favorite to be honest.

    Should be B3: Dexter, Malaya, Jessica
    Will be B3: Malaya, CJ, Jessica

  36. Tommyo2000 says:

    Caleb can sing! but nothing surprising in that performance. Very predictable and dated…

    • LibbyxD says:

      I totally agree with you.

    • SarahNotSara says:

      And smug, incredibly smug. I’ve realized that’s why I truly dislike Caleb – he seems to just see his strong voice as a tool to get a platform as an actor/comedian. I don’t see any real love or respect for music – his contempt seems to grow each week. And he only stands out as a strong singer because the group is so weak but there’s no nuance or interpretation – he’s just a fantastic karaoke singer. I’d rather support someone less consistent but with potential for actual growth.

      • bobsaccamanna says:

        I have been trying to come up with the word since week one to describe why Caleb, to me, is just an ordinary singer, nothing special about him at all. You nailed it Sarah “nuance” that’s it..there is nothing at all nuanced or original about any of his performances. No matter what the style of song he is singing, it’s belted out in the same on key, but flat tone with no variation. He’s young so maybe there is a potential for growth, but, I also think he is burdened with an ego that is telling him he is already there, he’s already a star, and the judges over praising him week after week isn’t helping with that.

  37. J says:

    Alex and Caleb were on a whole different level than the rest of the contestants. No one came close.

    I went on iTunes and purchased both of their songs.

    Alex’s performance of the song was gorgeous. He totally made it into a different song. It might not be the purists cup of tea, but I loved it.

    Caleb did justice to one of the all-time greatest singers in rock, Steve Perry. He performed and sang the heck out of that song.

    A note about Sam: I thought he was much better this week. I actually quite liked what he did with “Time After Time.”

    • The Original Lamen says:

      You should hear Caleb’s studio version. It starts out simply, but builds into something incredible. I hate that they only give them 90 seconds. I don’t get it. Why can’t they give them an extra 60 seconds? So that we can waste camera time on Harry trying to show that he’s some kind of Libertine, and not the uptight professor?

  38. LeahKittyS says:

    Maybe it’s because I’m preoccupied preparing for my Biostatistics exam tomorrow, but I was just not plugged in tonight. The judges were acting like nuts. I didn’t think the contestants were as bad as Mike implies here, but maybe that’s just because I love 80s music. My Top 4 is still my Top 4 (Alex, Caleb, Jena and Jessica) and I still voted for them until I hit the limit. I was happy to see David Cook back in action, and he did have a lot of good things to say. No idea whatsoever who is going home; it’s all up in the air. I just want to get this exam out of the way and then come back here for the results thread so the Idols can rescue Sam from the evil pirates.

  39. Src85 says:

    Sam frustrates me,there is so much potential, beautfiul kid beautiful voice, just isnt ready yet/is way to uncomfortable

    • Jake says:

      You know I have been of this opinion and agree about Sam being/sounding beautiful but I realized I don’t think I’ve EVER felt like he wanted to be performing. Maybe he does enjoy small crowds or would be a great session singer but I can’t keep voting for someone who looks so miserable or blank on stage.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      His voice is beautiful and he’s adorable. I thought he was leader of the pack when the show started, but there is something missing. And perhaps, that something can only be learned over time, a few heartbreaks, a divorce, something. ;) There is a substantial amount of pain and longing in the song he sang tonight – and I just don’t think he sees it b/c he is not able to yet…. It’s not really something you can fake. I know he’s trying, but it just “looks like” he’s trying.

      • S7 Fan says:

        I agree. Sam is adorable and his voice is like buttah. I see him as a kid who has suffered so MUCH personal pain (his mom leaving him, etc) that he struggles to connect with that pain. Perhaps he has been stuffing the pain for years, and continues to try to stuff it when he sings.

    • Shel says:

      I have said it before, but I will again. As good as Sam and Malaya’s voices may be, I think they both would have benefited by waiting at least another year. (I think this was also true for a few others already gone). Malaya is better than Sam at working at learning what she needs to know – she is just sooo excited about it all. But, each time I see them, or hear any of the judges talk about their amazing voices, I’m sad that this was their year rather than letting them grow into themselves a bit more.

      Sam is so clearly uncomfortable and unready for this…..it makes me sad for him. Tonight, his interview package really made it seem like he wanted to do the work needed, etc. But, unfortunately, it is almost like he just can’t do it.

  40. MAB says:

    What the heck was wrong with Harry tonight. He was acting like a jerk and he was so annoying. I thought him putting that kid on his shoulders was just creepy. I really like Harry but another couple of nights like this and my opinion will be greatly altered.
    No one impressed me tonight. I was really disappointed in the performances.

  41. Can we just talk about how awesome David Cook is as a mentor? I’m so over Randy! I really hope Jena isn’t in the bottom especially since they used the save last week.

  42. Jobless says:

    All I took away from tonight is that David Cook needs to be installed as the permanent mentor ASAP and the judges, especially Harry, need to dial it back like 30%. Nobody needed to see Harry have some poor girl sitting on his shoulders for an uncomfortably long time.

  43. :( says:

    Harry ruined the night for me. His job is to judge, not to run around the studio and try to be funny. I thought Jessica, Caleb, and Alex were the top 3, with Dexter at a close fourth. I honestly thought Jena’s performance was a mess, I could barely hear her at times. CJ was off tune, Malaya bombed. One of the worst nights so far.

  44. danin says:

    Jena- no B+- first half of song a fail where is her invisible lower register?? B- at best cause I expect more from her-like she did w/Clarity.Afterall, you say Slezak this is not Top 13. Dexter did nothing with that song-C+. Malaya- fail. Jesse B- for good vocal D- for stage walk. Sam, B- for vocal fail for dead eyes. Alex A for reimagining the song, fail for stage presence. CJ- A for I like every song he chooses,.D- for vocal. Caleb A for always saving the show which is why they allow Harry his ridiculous antics and the unfortunate long focus on JLo’s face…because this has been almost a sinking Lee Dewyze ship for one too many weeks.

  45. Eurydice says:

    You know, if I cast my mind back through the mist, my little friends and I all thought “Every Breath You Take” was a love song, too. And now, I think Alex’s heartfelt, sweet version is actually creepier than Sting’s – because stalkers really believe they’re in love and that they’re doing their victim a great big favor.

  46. Gina says:

    I actually didn’t have as much of a beef with the contestants as with the judges. Harry, who I normally love, was nothing short of an annoying pain in the ass (as opposed to just a normal PitA). Keith joining in later…again…annoying. And, enough, enough, enough of the long, limpid close-ups of Jennifer reacting to the singers (although, it is interesting to see her turn into Cruella while Jessica is singing). The show is supposed to be about the contestants. Not a “look at me!” for the judges.
    Jessica is my favorite so…it doesn’t go unnoticed that they will praise CJ for his “heart” (in spite of his being out of tune, nearly every single time) while nitpicking/throwing conflicting advice to her each week. Move, they said. She moved. Oops–uh, you moved but didn’t emote enough. You weren’t sexy enough. You weren’t connected enough. You weren’t Blondie enough. Geez, people. We get it. You want her out.
    The others, I enjoyed a few of the performances. Actually hate Every Breath You Take and always have…but, I kind of liked Alex’s version. Liked Sam and thought he did his best in spite of being in such a claustraphobic envirornment with probably what scares him the most at this tender young age. I don’t know. I would get rid of the judges for a week and let the kids come out and let the chips fall where they may. I know that would never happen but, it might be interesting to see if America can vote without three people telling them how to. Oh…and I have to say, Caleb is a good singer but…I can’t quite see beyond the douchiness. He’s not endearing to me. Just a cocky guy. Plus, Glee did Faithfully better;-)
    Oh, and have they finally retired the instant leaderboard or were they just not happy with who was in first place? Food for thought.

    • ksrenb says:

      Yes! Glee did Faithfully better! I was thinking the same exact thing

    • Deb says:

      Gina, I agree with your whole post. Jessica is my favorite out of what seems like a very confused and “off” AI year. I will happily buy Jessica’s music and listen to her sing. Phillip Phillips didn’t dance all over the stage and nobody cared or criticized him for it, as I recall. It was much better for the contestants when Jimmy was the mentor. What is happening behind the scenes this year? What is NOT happening? Like you, I’d be happy to watch the show without the judges for a week. I do like these judges (much better than last year), but something is just “off,” and Harry was so inappropriate tonight as to be creepy.

      • JM says:

        I loved Jimmy Iovine! Even when I occasionally disagreed with him, I loved him. He was honest without being cruel.. And I hated how the judges kept disagreeing with him and saying how he was too harsh, etc. at the time.

        • Stormy says:

          I’d like them to fire the moron who thought it was a good idea to surround Sam with girls. The last thing he needed was a situation to increase his anxiety.

          • MamaLis says:

            Seriously. Here was the conversation:

            “What’s the worst possible scenario we could put Sam in?”
            “In what way?”
            “You know, what would increase his anxiety level through the roof and make him the MOST uncomfortable he could possibly be?”
            “Definitely surrounded by girls. Closely. Like ants on chocolate.”
            “GREAT IDEA. Let’s do it!”

            Idiots.

          • Tom22 says:

            in the end, though.. the tortune of it finally made him mad I think, and by the end of the song I felt like he was finally really really singing about things he wanted .. change in emotion he was trying to evoke etc… someone needst to get him angry more often and we’d see that steel in his soul that helped him express desire for something..even if it wasn’t desire for a swaybot ; ) .. bring on don rickles in the green room or something !

          • Stormy says:

            Or show him a documentary on elder abuse. That’ll do it.

          • MamaLis says:

            Funny.

            Hell, he could be a late-blooming gay for all we know. THEN imagine the discomfort!!! They should just quit jamming the girl thing down his throat.

    • JM says:

      Agree about Jessica. Give her a break!

  47. Rex Master says:

    Anyone hate the commercials between the performance and the judge’s comments? And please stop showing the judges faces during the performances for too long. I want to watch the singers.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Infinite up-votes for you.

    • spackminder says:

      Up vote!

    • GuitarBlue says:

      A number of the people that were here watching Idol tonight were not happy with the Judges or all the antics and small talk that was meaningless. Connick Jr. lost a couple of previous lady admirers in the group tonight, by having a young girl spread around his neck/shoulders………………………………………….
      80’s night has a way of dimming the appeal of the show, because if they differ from the original, some hate it, if they don’t, they fall short of “originality” on these dated songs.

      .

    • susan says:

      I agree. They had the camera on Jlo so long while Caleb was performing, I was wondering if she was in the competition.

  48. chris says:

    Harry is really getting on my nerves. His antics are disrespectful to the performers. Idol is about the singers, not the judges. Most of the judges’ comments were about performance and very little about the vocals–almost like they don’t want to call attention the fact that they picked a bunch of meh singers. I didn’t understand most of what Jena was singing. She sounded like she was singing with a mouth full of food. I usually like her but not tonight. Dexter went right back to his lazy performance style. He was good last week and I’d hoped he give us more of that. This week there was no question that Jessica was picked on unfairly. She was the best of the night. CJ was awful again. Caleb was good but left me wanting to hear Steve Perry. Poor Sam was once again made to sing surrounded by girls even though he clearly hates it and then has to listen to the judges tell him he doesn’t seem comfortable. Well, no duh! Loved, loved, loved David Cook. More, please.

  49. Brittney says:

    I’m worried about Alex. I loved his performance. But others seemed to not like it. I expected Michael to see the goodness in it but even he hasn’t. I really hope he doesn’t land in the bottom, especially now that there is no save. Him and Caleb are the only ones this season holding my attention and I can’t wait to see what they do next. Alex is my favorite. He’s at P2 or Cook level with me. I just love his artistry and ability to change up a song.
    It seems like J-Lo has it out for him. She always harping on him for changing up a song. (she did on the No Doubt song also). Isn’t somewhat a point on idol is to try and make a song your own? That’s what Alex is doing. But J-lo seems to have no respect for that.
    Also the judges were overly harsh on Alex tonight. Did the producers suddenly change who they are putting their support behind? Alex I think is the most marketable of any left.

    • Name That Tune says:

      This was Alex worst night of the season. He made several wrong choices. There is nothing wrong with taking a song and just sing it the way it was written.

      • LeahKittyS says:

        There is if it’s not you. It’d be like Dexter trying to sing show tunes. If you’re too far out of your element, it shows, and it usually results in elimination.

        • Name That Tune says:

          Then choose a different song. He wasn’t forced to sing that song, he chose it.
          And there’s the issue of: Are you a professional or an amateur? The professional would make the adjustment. The amateur doesn’t.

        • Stormy says:

          Dex could do show tunes from Annie Get Your Gun. LOL

      • osborn1116 says:

        if you are going to sing it like it is then why don’t we just get rid of the band and play the karaoke track? I mean honestly if I want to hear it done like it is I’ll listen to the original.

        • LeahKittyS says:

          Thank you, Osborn! This is what I say whenever someone changes up an arrangement. If we want the original arrangement, we can listen to the original version. I praise all risk taking, even if it ends in disaster. Which Alex certainly did not.

        • Mary says:

          I have no problem changing a song but you shouldn’t make it unrecognizable that is what Alex did. I guess it is a matter of taste but I hated it and agreed with JLo on this one. Some risk pays off and some don’t.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      I voted for him. I think Jena is in bigger trouble.

    • GuitarBlue says:

      Alex will not be in danger of elimination. There were too many so-so to bland performances/song choices tonight, for Alex to be in danger, even though some did not like his arrangement………. His fan base could care less about what the original sounded like. His version is now what they will listen to and relate to.

    • JM says:

      Worry not! He got the max votes from me!

  50. Joe says:

    Might have been the worst show of the season and it’s been a season with some bad shows. Everyone clamoring for “themes” to return to right the ship got a nice dose of “meh”. It’s not the format. It’s not the lack of themes. It’s the snooze worthy contestants who I can’t even feign excitement over. Please let a leopard clad Sisaundra Lewis loose on this pack of lambs waiting for the slaughter. I’d rather hear her sing 8 songs in 2 hours. The only 2 really trying to win it are Jena and Caleb. And on most prior seasons they’d finish 3rd-6th. And CJ is going to beat them all for being the little engine that could. We’re back to awarding Miss Congeniality the crown. Cancel this mess.

    • Angela says:

      The only 2 really trying to win it are Jena and Caleb. And on most prior seasons they’d finish 3rd-6th.
      Wow, did you ever hit the nail on the head with this one. I might-MIGHT-add Jessica to the list, because I could see her getting a following if she’d been on in previous seasons, and if she actually found the right genre for her, she could, perhaps, have a chance.
      But even then, she would not have won if she’d been on in any of the previous seasons, either.

      • Joe says:

        Angels – Jessica is part of the issue with the season. She sings very well. But she’s boring. The pink in the hair ain’t enough. She walked in a complete circle like she was a character on a Sorkin drama. J. Lo was actually astute with her; if you’re gonna sing Call Me, sex it up. She’s a very attractive woman. Her styling and her performance were so off tonight. She didn’t sell the song. She merely put it out there. There’s a difference. And yeah, in previous seasons she’s Amanda Overmeyer or Gina Glocksen who don’t advance this far.

        • Angela says:

          Oh, yeah, no argument there. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done with her. I was just mainly thinking of her singing-she’s had some nights that were very off, but she’s also had a few that weren’t too bad vocally, which is why I’m willing to consider her on the list.
          But yes, even then, you’re still absolutely right that she needs to learn to command a stage, and get into the attitude and sass and emotion that whatever song she’s singing needs. And indeed, that can be said of almost everybody this season.

        • MamaLis says:

          When I was snarkily commenting about Jess earlier, I hadn’t heard JLo’s comments yet. Now that I have, I, too, actually agree with them! Especially the bottom line of: If you can’t sex-it-up, DON’T do the SONG!!!!
          Bingo / Slot Machine’s Going Off!!!
          I’m starting to think she might lack a little self-awareness.

        • S. says:

          I love that out of nowhere Sorkin reference. Nice. :) I definitely found Jess more boring, and I’m a fan. She’s shy and that wall needs to come down or she’ll miss out. We could be looking at the person who’ll finish in 4th if she doesn’t watch it.

        • Just My Opinion says:

          “And yeah, in previous seasons she’s Amanda Overmeyer or Gina Glocksen who don’t advance this far.”

          Or Pia Toscano. Remember her? Or maybe you don’t because she was a dull as a doorknob and just as inanimate. Yet….a great vocalist.

      • Davey says:

        Jessica is totally charmless. I have no idea why she hasn’t been in the bottom 3 yet.

        • Joe says:

          Davey – She’ll be there tomorrow night. You can bank on it. She made Call Me seem like a lullaby.

        • Lynn says:

          Because she is an attractive, extremely capable vocalist, but most important, because she is viewed as being unfairly picked on and critiqued by the judges. Had they over-praised her the way they did Majesty, she would have been in the bottom. All three seem to have a negative attitude toward her.

          • GuitarBlue says:

            interesting point.

          • Mary says:

            I don’t know if that is true, Jessica voice is there but stage presence is not. I judge on the voice and think staging comes in time. I have no problem with the judges given her advice, unlike other people, and in all fairness she does try maybe not pulling it off. What I have a problem with is the judges get on her but not until this week have they said anything to Alex about his stage presentation. His performance are not pleasant to watch at all and he stands there more than her. Why haven’t they said to him, move a little look like you are having fun.

        • Emma says:

          I don’t get it either. She hasn’t shown a shred of personality whatsoever. Plus I can’t stand her voice, it grates on my last nerve.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Yes, most of them are missing charisma, stage presence, the ability to show there passion for music – onscreen. Jess’s voice is amazing, but she exhibits about as much passion as I do when I’m vacuuming.

      • Joe says:

        Teeny – You clearly need a new vacuum.

      • Mike C. says:

        I think you’ve hit it. Many of them have good voices, but they all, front to back, seem like the Stepford Kids. Jessica sometimes looks completely blank. For me Sam was the best of the lot tonight–I thought his tone was amazing, and he at least tried to not look frozen for once–but I honestly cannot see any of these eight selling records or tickets to concerts. They’re all amazingly dull.

      • MariMari says:

        I’ll compare one Jess to another – Jessica Sanchez AI11 – – there was one “Jess” who NEVER cared if she didn’t look pretty (even though she is exotically stunning). She had and showed more honest grit, grimace and emotion than, really, any of the contestants this season combined. Recall her (post “save” – which I thought was staged) “And I am Telling You..” – she stood in one spot and basically brought herself to tears. It seems to me Jess M. has been told too many times how beautiful she is that she is fearful of not looking pretty while she sings. I did see her purposefully smiling at the camera/fans a few times during “Call Me”, but it didn’t feel sincere – it felt like she “placed” the smiles here and there because David C. told her to.

        • Aubry says:

          I so agree. Sam has been slammed for not connecting but Jessica has not. For me she is smug and fake. Pretty yes but she doesn’t emote. Good voice but no feeling in her face or voice.

          Sam does put feeling in his voice. He made better eye contact last night. The darting eyes was hurting him IMO vote wise.

          • Joe says:

            I had said this in an earlier post when they had “I’m with the band” week. Sam needs to sing Creep and go nutso to the point of tears at the end when he sing “RUN!”. That’s the perfect song for someone who is bottled up inside to let go on. Caleb doing it would be expected and nice, but Sam doing it could be his “moment” if he can just lose it. Plus it’s a not a song he would need to sing looking at a tween girl. It’s more inside his head. I doubt it’ll happen and if it did, he’d probably not stick the landing, but to me that’s his way out of this shell he’s in.

    • Mark says:

      Nail, meet hammer.