American Idol Top 7 Performance Recap: Filler Queen [Updated]

American Idol Tonight, in perhaps the most filler-ific performance show to date, the Top 7 took on “The Many Zoomed-In Faces of Jennifer Lopez.” Whoops, no. That’s every night on American Idol!

This week’s official theme: Competitors’ Picks, aka Softballs. Zero sabotage among these super-great friends who will be sneezing onto each other inside a bus all summer. Oh well. That’s fine. If that’s how they wanna play this whole life thing, whatever.

RELATED | Idol Mentor David Cook on Judge Antics, Top 8 Performances & Whether the Show Still Matters

You may have noticed by the lack of Haley Reinhart and horse-racing mentions so far that I am not Michael Slezak — not now, not ever. I wish. You thought you and he had something special? Hello, REALITY CHECK! Look, he abandoned you. He’s just like that. You knew it would happen eventually. The man lacks character.

I’m just kidding! I love that hilarious wino — he taught me everything I know about how not to hold my liquor. Slezak is overseas stalking Jody Watley on vacation through the weekend, and he’ll be right back here next Wednesday for the Top 6.

RELATED | The Voice Playoffs Recap: The (Rise and) Fall of the House of Usher

I hate giving out grades before watching everyone three times, but here we go!

American Idol Set List: Competitors’ Pick

Caleb Johnson: Kings of Leon’s “Family Tree” — Grade: B | Alex picked this “amazing groove” for Caleb and he sang it with clarity, conviction, and a whole lotta visible saliva. I don’t think he owned it as much as he could have… though with Caleb I always worry that if someone urged him to “go for it, more!” he’d turn into a full-on caricature. Did anyone else notice how especially fluffy Caleb’s hair was tonight? He looked like a baby shampoo commercial, like maybe he’s the baby’s crazy dad who’s just really pumped about the product. Caleb’s hair rivaled Rickey Minor’s thick teal scarf and the backdrop of a wall crumbling into flames (graphically) in terms of things other than J. Lo begging for my attention during this performance. Let’s hope he doesn’t fade in viewers’ memories like he did during that duet with the all-powerful Jena.

Jessica Meuse: Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead” — Grade: B+ | A few chunks of this, like the moody opening with Jess bathed in a blue ‘X’ of spotlights, were superb — though you’d never know it from listening to the judges. Other parts, though, showed her hesitation, and I noticed a few pitch problems. That tone, though. Hers is indisputably one of the richest voices of the season.

I like Jessica so much. I just want her to rock more. Doesn’t she want to? Isn’t she able? These are my questions as a fan of hers. Perhaps the judges have similar frustrations, but damn if their comments against Jessica don’t sound like a broken record week to week. They are just blatantly not rooting for her at all. And they don’t even try to mask that, like they do for everyone else.

“When your rhythm is in your body, it’s gonna inform everything from the neck up, so you can match the pyrotechnics,” said Harry Connick Jr., a judge in a SINGING COMPETITION.

Alex Preston and Sam Woolf: Passenger’s “Let Her Go” — Grade: C | It’s cool that these two got to sing on the set of That ’70s Show — I miss it too — but man, did they miss the mark with a happy-go-lucky but ultimately personality-free cover of an emotional song. Two lumps on a silly sofa, jammin’ like they do during their down time. No thanks. And these are supposed to be our season 13 heartthrobs?!

C.J. Harris: John Mayer’s “Gravity” — Grade: B | I find it difficult to root for a guy who so consistently sings out of tune, but this week marked a firm exclamation point within his usual series of vocal question marks. He did a good job. It’s still not good enough, though, no matter how many emotionally driven stank faces he presents to the crowd (so that J. Lo can promptly mimic them, then laugh with delight once she knows the camera’s on her, at last). Jennifer gently approved of how C.J. now supposedly thinks he can really win this. Note, this is different than J. Lo saying she thinks C.J. can really win this.

You know who can really win this, though, in a surprise twist? An adorable baby with giant headphones. C.J.’s son and Dad’s lack of blatant failure may have just bought him another week. Oh, and speaking of money, it’s so cute that C.J. thinks he’s going to have enough to hire his messy roommate Dexter a maid. Lifestyles of the Top 7 and Not Famous!

Dexter Roberts: Luke Bryan’s “Muckalee Creek Water” — Grade: B | He’s getting comfier, I guess. No bungled notes. No wardrobe malfunctions, unless you count the effing baseball cap. I still suspect any crowded bar in the American South would go absolutely crazy for Dexter, and I can’t blame them. Drunk people just want to have fun, and Dex could thrive on that and deliver. But in a roomful of bright lights, sober sisters, and a few people who should know better? There’s just no way of getting around the fact that he’s so average. And it must be said: Dude consistently garbles his lyrics as badly as Michael Slezak on Des’ree’s “You Gotta Be” in a private karaoke cell after half a bottle of Sauv Blanc.

Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene: The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” — Grade: B+ | The vocal competency was on point, but was she supposed to completely drown him out like that, or were there mic issues? Perhaps I’d been brainwashed by J. Lo’s “That is a moment” propaganda when I gave them this high of a grade. I’m sorry! The back of her dress was distracting! FROM THE REST OF THE SHOW.

Alex Preston: Ed Sheeran’s “The A Team” — Grade: A- | Part of the reason I graded Alex so highly is because I appreciated last week’s complete retooling of “Every Breath You Take.” (Shoutout to everything Melinda Doolittle said about Alex on Reality Check!) Creepy kid alert: I used to sing that one to myself as a lullaby for years (of sleepless nights) before I was old enough to learn about the fine arts of stalking and evil-tinged obsession. And if you’re not brave enough to throw a classic pop song in the blender, then what the hell are you doing on American Idol?

But I digress. Anyway, I don’t have as strong a personal connection to “The A Team,” but this was a typically strong showing from Alex. Well, musically, at least. I cannot detect any activity along Alex’s emotional circuit other than a burning passion for thrifted ‘80s clothing and socklessness.

Sam Woolf: David Gray’s “Sail Away” — Grade: C+ | Zzzzzzz. Again. Sure, he always sings well. And tonight there were a few flickers of facial connection that suggested Sam might be a Real Boy after all. J. Lo noticed them in her monitor while screening for shots of herself, and she never lies. But the judges’ whole improvement arc thing with Sam? Seriously? It was difficult to listen to Harry and Keith laud Sam for being a “work in progress” when the undercurrent of their superficial praise was clearly “WE ALL KNOW THIS ISN’T WORKING.” And yet they rip apart the details of Jess’ performances even after she specifically follows their directions. I tell ya, it’s hard out there for a female who believes she was abducted by aliens these days on American Idol.

Dexter, Jess, and C.J. a.k.a. Alabama Power: Lady Antebellum’s “Compass” — Grade D+ | Maybe I should’ve gone with my gut instinct of an F-. I kept trying like mad to just listen to Jess’ voice, then okay, maybe Dexter’s, but aggggghhh definitely not C.J.’s, and within a few bars I just gave up. It shouldn’t have to be this much of an effort to enjoy something. There’s really no need to force these children to play nicely together. “You, you, and you. Congrats, you’re Harry’s bottom three. Pretend to gel.” No! Stop it!

Jena Irene: Radiohead’s “Creep” — Grade: A- | I’ll be honest: I can’t stand some of Jena’s “aoowwwww”-laden pronunciation — you’re not foreign, girl! Just accept that you don’t have a natural quirky accent! We’ve all had to do it! But on a lackluster night, this piano-driven wailer, sponsored by Screech, was the clear standout both vocally and in performance value. More than any contestant this season, Jena strikes me as a kid with potential star power right this second. You could throw her in a pop video and she’d make perfect sense. (Especially if she follows through with her terrible tattoo idea of a skull with “Don’t worry, we’re all the same” underneath. Real stars love pretending they’re commoners.) You know it’s true! For better or worse, Jena owns it. Most exciting performance of the night, by far.

Offer up your thoughts on the way J. Lo’s skin glowed tonight and other musically relevant topics — and vote for your two favorite contestants — below.

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

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  1. AI13 says:

    SHOULD be the Rankings: OVERALL

    1. Jena Irene
    2. Alex Preston

    3. Caleb Johnson


    4. Jessica Meuse


    5. Sam


    • Lisa says:

      Hmmmmm, Yeah, that’s just slightly off. I think you need to switch your large gap and your very big gap. Or just change “A Large Gap” to Enormous gap. Maybe?

    • MamaLis says:

      Completely and totally concur.

    • Winston says:

      Alex and Caleb are so overrated in my opinion. It sucks that the only male contestant is already eliminated. And he has been the only one so far it’s a insult C.J. Dexter, Sam and Caleb are still in.

  2. Kaba says:

    It’s a shame to see Jess get hounded on tonight while trying to actually make some drastic strides in becoming better.
    I’d say only 2 or 3 artists left have actually [all season] made efforts to better themselves singing-wise and performance-wise.
    and Caleb (though I’d say he’s iffy since you could argue his performances are all too similar)
    Whereas: Sam, Alex, Dexter, and __ have stayed glued to their guitars since the beginning I believe (minus sam and Dexter…once I recall).
    Seriously, if next weeks theme was “no instrument” week they’d all be absolutely abysmal.
    Meanwhile Jess and Jena particularly have made some strides, Jess hasn’t strictly been glued to her guitar all season and now she’s gone a 2nd week in a row without it. Jena has tackled many aspects of performing, etc.
    But the judges will just destroy Jess for every non-perfect decision she makes.
    I’d love to see her have a stellar moment and them try and work up ways to dis the performance.

    • Lisa says:

      Honestly, as much as Caleb rubs me the wrong way, if he would just OWN the stage, he’d run away with the competition.

      • Kaba says:

        If he did stuff as stellar as “Dazed and Confused” [imo] all the time I’d throw panties at him and I’m a guy.

        • Stormy says:

          From your collection?

        • Lisa says:

          He’s got the vocals, he knows how to make it his, he just needs to move. Likability would be gravy.

          • Kaba says:

            Rough guess on what’s the issue. I think he needs to thoroughly distinguish himself from a rock imitator. He has the right idea, but sometimes I feel as though his abilities would best be suited to some tribute band or something, not anything big and serious…he just needs to prove he

          • Lisa says:

            Kaba…There was no option to reply to your post, so I’m using this one to respond. You hit the nail on the head. That is the problem I have with Caleb. He always comes across as an imitator and yes, it does EXACTLY feel like he is best suited for a tribute band. He hasn’t distinguished himself from being an imitator. I can’t get behind him until and unless he does. That holds me back from voting for him. He just needs to be Caleb, not Caleb the imitator. That’s why I don’t see him making it past the top 4. I’d love to see him change that, and get the glue off his shoes. I keep saying it, and I’ll say it again, OWN the stage. If he did that, he might get my votes. I just can’t do it until then.

          • Kaba says:

            @Lisa I’d like to think he’ll finally do exactly that…but he’s been pulling the same stunt since….the beginning.
            It’ll be hard I suppose, though I feel that’s the biggest issue with rock artists on this show. Hard to distinguish themselves, especially since a lot of it requires chemistry with the band and whatnot. AI isn’t the best for that.

      • Gailer says:

        Caleb certainly is the cockiest contestant ever….my issue with him is his type of music died with bell bottoms years ago. He’s just not current.

    • Name This Tune says:

      Enough with “the judges hate Jessica” nonsense. She has a great voice, and they tell her that every week. But I am looking for the top 2 and she is not in it. Neither is Alex because they share the same issue. I would love it if they ripped that freaking guitar out of his hands.
      If you love Jessica so much, think about what she needs to do to oust one of the top 3. Because right now, she is heading home in a week or 2.

  3. Lana says:

    First off, I’m missing reading DET’s comments, this season you have not commented as much and that sucks as you are fun to read. Second, I’m not into conspiracy theories, but I have to admit that what the judges are doing to Jessica has become very obvious. My favorite’s tonight were Jena and Caleb but I thought everyone did good and it was a fun show. I thought I was on the wrong site when I saw your name Annie, and I’m hoping I’ll see it more often as I love your sense of humor as much as I love Michael’s, WELCOME! Yeah I went there with the caps.

  4. GuitarBlue says:

    The voting poll on this site; rankings are::
    1. Jena
    2. Alex
    3. Jessica
    4. Caleb
    5. Sam
    6. Cj
    7. Dexter

  5. Jeff says:

    The thing with Jess is that she’s actually showing how she’s taking into consideration all the feedback she is getting. At least she is making an effort unlike Alex, Sam and CJ. They just put in the same boring thing every week. Jessica wants to be there and is making an effort to improve. Bravo girl!

    • Danny says:

      Jeff- that’s an angle I hadn’t even thought about. Good point. She’s actually taking their feedback and trying to work with it. Yet they still never give her any credit. Part of me hopes the voters keep voting for her and part of me hopes she leaves so she doesn’t have to deal with this every week.

  6. tealeaves says:

    The performances were really good tonight.
    The judging was at an all time low.
    I can try fast forwarding thru all the comments on replay. But I still have to deal with the jarring shots of JLo’s stank face or off-the-beat swaying during the performances.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      You lucky people with TiVo. I’m in my college dorm room and don’t have a DVR or anything, so I just do stuff online while the judges make their comments. I still hear what they say, and sometimes it bugs me how they treat certain people.

      • Kaba says:

        You’re in your college dorm room too?
        Same here woo!
        Oh I feel you on judges commentary

        • LeahKittyS says:

          Just curious, where do you go? I’m at the University of New Hampshire. Which is part of why I have a little Alex Preston bias. Us Wildcats, we gotta stick together!

          • Kaba says:

            Old Dominion down in VA.
            I’ve got nobody to support from AI whereas on The Voice I do lol.

  7. Sara says:

    Jena was incredible. For me, I think the final four will be Jena, Jessica, Caleb, and Alex. (Which sucks because I love Sam but I think Alex is edging him out slowly). Final three will be Jena, Caleb, and Jessica. Final two will be Jena and Caleb. And between them I can’t pick who will win. If I had to pick I’d say Jena, probably. But I think Caleb has a pretty damn good shot, honestly. For me what makes a great musician is when they sing a song you don’t know by a band you don’t like, and you listen anyway – and smile while you’re listening.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      It would make for a very satisfying season if it plays out like this. They are my Golden 4 and have been for a while now. At first it was Majesty, MK, Alex and Sam, but all of them besides Alex went into decline, with the girls going home and Sam needing the Judges’ Save. So let’s hope for the best.

    • Lisa says:

      I agree with your top 4. I think the remaining cuts will come down to who owns the stage. There’s too much room for any of them to swing into a different position from there. But that is who the top 4 should be. Jena and Alex have interesting voices, on the rarer side. A lot will depend on what they do with their gifts and the stage presence.

    • Mark says:

      You people are making a mistake sleeping on Dexter. Dude is playing a smart game, staying in his lane and giving his fans exactly what they want every week. Country votes big for country. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the final.

      • MamaLis says:

        I want to say you’re not right but dang, I don’t know!

      • Sara says:

        I can’t say that you’re wrong because as an avid watcher of most singing competitions… country votes are a huge piece of the puzzle. The way I see it, however, is that Dexter just doesn’t have the whole package (please forgive me for actually saying that). He isn’t a Carrie Underwood, he’s not a Scotty McCreery. He’s lacking a little bit in every department, I find. However, I should point out that I’m not American so being that I can’t even vote, my opinion does not matter all that much :)

        • Mark says:

          I don’t think any of them has the complete package. If so, we’d have a clear front runner by now. All of them are lacking something–some of them more than one thing. Personally, I don’t care for country at all. It’s just white noise to me. But I’ve watched enough of these singing competitions over the years to realize that the country voters are a strong presence, and when they get behind someone, that person usually wins. If CJ goes home and Jessica slips just a little, Dexter could have a clear shot to the finals.

  8. MA says:

    Caleb and Jena should be the last two standing for sure, and I think Jena should win. But in other news, Annie Barrett! I’ve been missing the loose, gorgeous Connie Britton wave of the week. Nice to see you here!

  9. skipper2425 says:

    Annie!! Hope this is your new home!

  10. Diz says:

    This show just dragged. It was just awful. I don’t like Alex at all and am surprised so many do on here.

  11. AlyB says:

    I’m so over the judges harsh critiques of Jessica. Does she have room for improvement in her stage movement? Sure but at least she’s trying. When has Alex gotten out from behind his guitar? They offer no encouragement or positivity. They just rag on her and it’s getting so old. I love her voice and hope the judges overkill on the criticism backfires on them. I love Jena. She’s definitely a force to be reckoned with this season. Caleb delivered as usual & I really liked his song but for all his talent, he’s beginning to feel really one dimensional. I know people think Alex is the be all end all but while I think he has mad musical skills, everything he touches ends up sounding saccharine sweet and light. Even things that really shouldn’t. I’m not on the bandwagon. Still, there’s not much more to draw from this season. Bottom 3 should be Dexter, Sam & CJ. I don’t really care which of them would go. I am worried about Jess though. They positively hate her to a degree that seems completely unjustified.

    • Adam Fachry says:

      At this point, Jess could end up like either Haley or Elise. If it’s the former, then, good. But if she pulls a latter, in that, she can’t reach the top 5, then we have a problem. Especially if people like CJ, Dexter, and Sam outlast her.

    • GuitarBlue says:

      I agree that it seems HC Jr. and J. Lo especially, have made a pact to gang-up on Jessica for whatever little things they can find to attack or discredit her performance.

      ….It is supposed to be disguised in “constructive critique”, but thinly veiled. J. Lo has never liked other women getting attention, unless they are one of her special “choices” that she has mentored along with her most attractive and astute Celebrity advice.

  12. Owen says:

    At least they cleared up the reasons for last week’s shenanigans. Though Harry trying to “act the fool” in an attempt to loosen the contestants up may have worked in theory, I think the kids, like the rest of us, missed the point. Which we probably shouldn’t have. Why would Harry, all of a sudden, start acting like that? Why would we just assume he’d become an attention-seeking ass to that extreme overnight? (well, because this board tends to always drift toward the negative) It’s another case of him probably caring just a bit too much about these contestants. And shame on everyone who thought otherwise.

    • MC says:

      A lone voice of wisdom on this subject. AI has always been a strange show to me because the contestants are almost always perceived as saintly figures (and always with adorable personalities), but the judges are easily demonized and ridiculed.

      • Name This Tune says:

        It’s a simple defense mechanism against doing something distasteful to the viewer. Which is send some nice kid home and make them cry.
        But the judges don’t vote. We have 6 seats left on the American Idol bus. Who’s gonna lose their seat?
        And who’s gonna lose their seat next week?
        There’s a reason they classify this as a game show.

  13. danin says:

    Ok. How does CJ rate the same grade as Caleb?? Wayyyy back in the beginning I was hopeful for CJ,loved the songs he was picking, the WGWG songs which made him different but he could not sing or stay in tune!! What a shame because wether he planned this singer songwriter WGWG route as a way to win or not it was a good idea. Great song choices, winning stage presence, but even though his voice was potentially attractive it’s been a bomb. He needs lessons. And though I have not been a Jesse fan, I thought she sounded good tonight. Threw her some votes. And I will always throw Caleb the full 50 because he can sing! Jena did ok w/Creep threw her some votes too. How in the world does Alex get away w/being on guitar every week? Do they know he would absolutely crumble without it?? It’s not fair to csll others on hiding behind guitars & not him.

  14. osborn1116 says:

    They don’t tell Alex to leave his guitar because unlike most guitar players on Idol, he isn’t just playing the guitar chords, he’s playing drums on it, playing the harmony. He actually uses it. I would love for him to play the stand up bass though. I think if he did that and actually rocked out, that would get a lot of the criticism out of the way.

    I think Alex had a good solid night. I think it’s probably a lot harder for him to make the A Team his own because it is the sort of style he wants to make. I thought it was a solid B+/A- performance though

    Best part of his segment was Harry Connick JR saying he thought Alex’s conviction is so strong in his style that he thinks he could win with this style. (He got cut off by JLo but thats where it was headed)

    Jena gets a solid B+/A- from me. I just am disappointed in this one in the same sense as when she did The Scientist. I wish she would have kept the band out of the song. Just her and the piano doing a haunting rendition. I think she did great but there are little changes that I wish she would have done and I would have been drooling over that performance.

    • danin says:

      Osborn, thanks for educating me on Alex’s skill level..really. Still it seems unfair because we all know if they made him come away from that guitar he would get crushed by performance critiques. He may be a highly skilled musician but his voice to me while pleasing is not all that unique.

      • osborn1116 says:

        Oh and I know it’s a total double standard between when a guy does it and when a girl does it.

        I go back to Season 9 when Casey James was on the show. They said they wanted to see him ditch the guitar then they forced him to leave it when they did big band and complained about it. I remember him saying “then don’t take the guitar away from me”.

        I wonder if they do a big band week,if he’ll slide to the Bass.

      • MAB says:

        Why should he move from his guitar when this is what he will do after a Idol? I think he is really good and love his music. I have Fairytales on my favorites playlist and when it comes on it always makes me stop and listen.

        • Mark says:

          Agreed. If the guitar isn’t interfering with his performances, then why would he ever put it down? If it is making him better, then of course he should keep on playing it.

  15. Laura Mipsome says:

    I like Jessica, I really do (and I voted for her). But when I think of her dancing in her room later all I can picture is Elaine from Seinfeld.

  16. Jill Moya says:

    Jena was ok. The rest, pitiful. Jessica is just not very good in my opinion. She was terrible in groups week and should have been eliminated then. She talks and sings with a nasel tone, not good to me. Jena and Caleb have been the most consistant as of late. Cj finally sounded ok. I really believe Jessica shiuld go home but the public likes her. Back to Cj,: he’s easy to like but has only had 2 good performances to date.

  17. Timmah says:

    Who else thinks Jessica is this close to giving it back to the judges a la Haley Reinhart? I just hope she’s around next week to do so.

  18. Jill Moya says:

    Why is Jessica a B+ this week? Why doesn’t Cassandra Mae Jopp enter this competition? She’s won the 2 biggest KARAOKE contests in history and World championships in Ireland. She has great stage showmanship and what a voice. Check her out. None of these singers have the full package to be a success after Idol. I think the shows should be 1 hr. and results show the 30 min. that it is. Who cares about their comments; Let’s hear singing even though it’s less than good.

  19. amesk says:

    Jena saved the evening – otherwise everything else was predictable and save = boring. Judges keep missing to stress for every contestant one big point (especially important for un-experienced artists) – if singer does well known song and does not want to sound like karaoke he/she must be bold and take RISKS (vocal, artistic, arrangements, emotional,…) – it is like a journey where he/she is not afraid to show vulnerability and if he/she is talented we will take this journey with him/her and pull for him/her. Do you remember Adam, Jordin, Cook, ….and others? They knew how to take us to this journey.
    PS Why they brought in Demi Lovato is beyond my understanding – this girl can’t sing, can’t judge – so somebody tell me why?

  20. I will Fix Idol says:

    ANNIE – so great to see you on here. I wish AI would cut with all the meaningless filler and give the contestants more time to sing… geez!! That being said – Jena worked it out tonight and was really good, Alex is still the best musician of the bunch and I thought he was wonderful – while I agree that Caleb has a great voice and great entertainment I never get the feeling he’s connected to what he’s singing about – and I wish the judges would call him out more on that (they only did when he sang the Gaga song), it was CJ’s best performance to date and it might save him but I doubt it – Jessica — oh my sweet Jessica I want her to loosen up so much I feel like Randy and co just aren’t helping her AT ALL, Sam is finally kinda coming through but what he and Alex did to “let her go” just proved that these kids rarely are listening to the words they are singing – ugh – -Dexter is made for radio – but man if he’s going to just sing karaoke versions then he should at least pick a non country song to show us something different – who goes home? I think CJ but wouldn’t be surprised if it’s Jessica

  21. Timmymommy says:

    Annie- When I heard about what happened, this was the first place I was hoping you would land. Fingers crossed that you’ll become more of a permanent fixture on this site. As for Idol, it’s the Jena and Alex show. Worst overall season I have ever seen. Not even Keith and Harry applaud politely after each performance.

  22. GuitarBlue says:

    Either CJ or Dexter are most likely sent home next, I see Sam “sailing away” with an invitation to stay another week, and- Jessica having just enough “gunpowder and lead” to fight back the attack by the Judges.

  23. danin says:

    Demi Lovato has an awful speaking voice!

  24. jenna says:

    is this the most boring season ever in the history of the show? no one real good, no one a total train wreck, everyone immensely foregettable with zero chances of every having a more than playing in a bar career? i can’t even watch the show or even the recaps on mj.

  25. Name This Tune says:

    So does this mean that Annie will be joining Reality Check? Like in the old days of Idoloonies?

  26. clare says:

    I didn’t read any of the comments because of time but lets face it. Dexter is gonna win cause that’s what America likes. I even like him and i’m not even a country music fan. I like Alex because I think he’s good. He’s unique. The two girls are boring.

  27. Fancy says:

    So beyond freaking thrilled to see Annie Barrett here on Tvline!! I was so sad when she left EW, but THIS is where she belongs! Welcome home Annie!

  28. Tahoe Mike says:

    Annie Barrett’s in the house! Glad you came to hang out with the cool kids again.
    Tonight’s show was pretty weak sauce all around.
    I am as sick of watching Jessica get the Haley treatment as everyone else. I love me some Jessica, I just don’t like that song. Gunpowder and Lead gets done over and over on these singing shows, but has anyone ever really scored with it?
    I don’t understand why they insist on cramming in so much filler, rather than let/make them sing full length songs. I hate the ninety second hatchet jobs.

    • Mark says:

      Yes, Gunpowder and Lead killed when Skylar Laine did it in Season 11. And that young lady had more performance ability than everyone in this season >combined< with the possible exceptions of Caleb and Jena.

      • tvlover44 says:

        agreed! i was thinking of skylar’s performance the whole time (and i like jess’s voice). what ever happened to skylar laine? she was fantastic and got eliminated too early, in my opinion. (no other version of ‘stay with me’ on these shows ever compares to hers, either!)

  29. Steve F. says:

    ANNIE BARRETT IS ON TV LINE!!! Sorry, but I really loved her recaps on EW, and that site is so much the worse now that she, Owen, and a couple of other senior writers were placed on the chopping block. But their loss is TV Line’s gain (hopefully permanently, starting with recapping DWTS)!

    Otherwise, two great performances from Jena and Alex.

  30. 2cents says:

    I think the production of the show has run off the rails, to the point where I’m almost totally distracted during a performance. Every performance seems the same and I can’t focus. The crazy camera angles, looping shots, too-quick shots, too-far shots. The backlighting, and too-bright lights. The J.Cam is ridiculous. Also too many crowd shots. The band is too loud. The crazy distracting backgrounds. The proliferation of props. The use of pyrotechnics seems desperate. I miss the simpler, relatively quieter production of years past. It was a better match for most of the contestants anyway. I think that’s what it is this year.

    • GuitarBlue says:

      yes, the spinning, moving backgrounds behind the performers are often distracting and detract from the show a great deal. Your comments are right-on.

  31. GuitarBlue says:

    After-show Itunes charts – only those in top 400 shown =
    Jena Irene – “Creep” #101 on chart……………………………………………….
    Alex Preston – “A-Team” # 187…………………………………………
    Sam Woolf – “Sail Away” # 229……………………………………….

    None of the others had charted at last check, but could change later..

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  33. Eric S says:

    I will keep my comments brief. Enjoyed Caleb again this week. The judges truly are ganging up on Jessica. It’s getting blatant. I don’t get it. Calling Alex a heartthrob cracked me up beyond belief. That was funny.

    • Stormy says:

      ITA about Alex. He couldn’t make out in prison with a handful of pardons. Not even in a men’s prison let alone a women’s.

      • LeahKittyS says:

        Ouch! That’s a little harsh, don’t you think? Jillian Jensen apparently finds him very attractive. And so do I.

      • MamaLis says:

        You tell ’em, Leah!
        I told you, Stormy, women LIKE quirky. Dudes hate it, though inside it just makes them uncomfortable. Though I’m sure Alex has LOTS of dude friends as he seems like a cool guy.

  34. Shawny says:

    Can Annie please please PLEASE be in Reality Check this week?!

  35. Angie_Overrated says:

    Is there a fan request week? If so, I demand that CJ sing the Streisand song Amber did last season, What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life. I am very literally giggling uncontrollably typing this. Please make it happen. That would make my life more complete. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a bad contestant more than him. Sanjaya and Lazaro grated on me, but CJ brings me so much joy.

    • Stormy says:

      I’ve been posting for CJ to sing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Music Of The Night”. David Cook did it so beautifully in season 7. I’m sure I’d be ROFL in the most unkind way if CJ tried that.

      • Angie_Overrated says:

        Oh man. That would be amazing too. I think we really need jazz chords though. Hearing what he would do with those would be my everything.

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  37. Eurydice says:

    Hi Annie, so glad to see you again, but so sad to have to disagree with you. Jess is so frustrating that I want to reach inside the tv and slap her upside the head. Such a great voice and tone, but so uncomfortable on stage and uncomfortable to watch. This isn’t a SINGING COMPETITION, it’s a PERFORMING COMPETITION, and being able to convey passion, rhythm, energy, love for the audience, enjoyment of the moment – those are what make a performer attractive. But with Jess there’s this disconnect, her voice is singing, but her eyes are dead and her body language says “eek, get me out of here.” And her response to criticism is a passive-aggressive shrug. Maybe the judges are piling on too much, but I think they’re feeling frustrated that she’s just not getting it.

  38. AI13 says:


    7. **
    6. Dexter
    5. Sam

    4-1 = I am so happy with this season because in Ranks 1-4 the contestants can change there places anywhere. The voters this season is very fickle. In my own opinion this would be the rankings

    4. Jena – JENA IS MY FAVORITE, but I need to put her in 4th place because compared to the other 3 she lacks a lot of fans. She has a low fan base (remember in top 12 she’s been in the bottom 3) If i will base on just voice, i will put her in 2nd place or maybe 1st..

    3. Caleb – I really want to put Jessica in the 4th place and in 3rd place. We have 7 weeks in live shows so far. There is only 2 or 3 maybe good performances of Jessica and the others are not good (for the judges) .. and She’s never been in the bottom 3. CALEB is very good too.

    2. Jessica

    1. Alex Preston


    1109820931890 . CJ
    6 . Dexter
    5. Sam
    4. Jessica
    3. Alex?? Caleb?? Jena??
    2. Alex?? Caleb?? Jena??
    1.Alex?? Caleb?? Jena??


  39. AI13 says:

    I am very addicted to AMerican Idol. Because every week i list down the vote percentages in the poll of TvLine… And Overall , these are the Rankings.. i just add them each week starting from the top 13

    1. Jena
    3. Jessica
    4. Caleb
    5. Sam
    7. Dexter

    Jena and Alex are close with a 4points gap maybe
    Alex and Jessica are far away
    Jessica and Caleb are seperated by 2pts something gap
    Caleb and Sam has a 20+ gap
    Sam and Cj has a 40+ Gap

    Cj And Dexter has only 3 points to 5 points

    • AI13 says:

      1. Jena Irene – 189.92
      2. Alex Preston – 168.16
      3. Jessica Meuse – 135.55
      4. Caleb Johnson – 132.34

      5. Sam Woolf – 9640

      6. CJ – 42.70
      7. Dexter – 36.70

  40. Shel says:

    Annie, wowzer – great to see you!!! I don’t have time to post tonight, but just wanted to say that I love seeing you here and loved the Idol recap! Great work!
    BTW, every time I saw Tinker Bell flitting across the DWTS screen this week, I thought of our own Fringe Fairy. ;>

  41. Sorry, Annie, but hurry back Michael. I’m sure he wouldn’t have agreed with your review of Jessica who was horrible tonight. She has a much better voice than what she showed us.

  42. Jill Moya says:

    I have to laugh that people think the judges are hard on poor Jess. I would be worse. She shouldn’t even be here. She forgot lyrics on group week and she was supposed to be cut. As for Harry, I’m beginning to think he has mental problems. He is plain WEIRD! As far as Haley is concerned, she still got more standing ovations from the judges that year than any other singer, perhaps more than any contestant EVER. I never felt she was blasted as much as people thought. Jess deserves all she gets which isn’t a big deal. She has made the top 7 hasn’t she? This batch of singers shouldn’t be here, nine of them. What a year,, and now Harry adds to the festivities.

  43. van says:

    I think they just completely sabotaged jessica

  44. Jill Moya says:

    None of the singers should be here, I typed in nine instead of none in my last comment. Also, as boring and talentless this season is, I hope AI returns next year. But Harry, who was the person that would imorove the show is now the person who is ruining it.

    • Stormy says:

      Ditto. Harry has turned into the worst kind of pontificating camera hog. I just mute his BS now. You’d think he was debating world peace initiatives, and my how he loves the sound of his own voice.

      • davey says:

        You can hate Harry all you want, he at least speaks in sentences. Would you prefer Randy Jackson back?

        • Stormy says:

          I don’t hate him. I just find him obstreperous. Randy [while I don’t necessarily want him back] is like a friendly not too bright pet, who makes up for his limitations with enthusiasm. Harry is overtly obnoxious.

  45. Yo says:

    Welcome, Annie. I was sorry to hear you lost your job at EW, particularly since your recaps were the only reason I ever showed up there. That rag will have to do without both of us: you are an excellent and entertaining writer. Keep on keeping on.

    I agree with of your critique: Jessica got bussed and Jena was a little over the top on the fake accent. The judges seem to give the immobilized males a pass on moving all over the stage, as they lambast Jess for it. She does need to work on connecting to the lyric, but the abuse was too much, especially in the face of her stellar vocals. The girl is good..

    • McFudge says:

      Abuse of Jessica was definitely too much. She’s still somewhat awkward moving around, but better than she used to be. And at least she DOES try to move around sometimes. Has anyone EVER seen Alex, Sam or CJ try to work the stage? I hear crickets. I guess you can’t criticize how people are moving if they never try to move. and am I imagining things, or do Alex and Sam get fewer wide shots than the others? If you’re in constant close-up, how you move is a whole lot less relevant to the viewing public. Alex’s walking in place and Sam’s constant bouncing drive me nuts when the camera pulls back long enough for me to see it.

      • Yo says:

        Yes. The camera clings to their faces. I noticed last night. In a just world it would not happen. I hope Jessica checks boards, because she is getting a lot of support.

      • MamaLis says:

        I like Alex’s little quirks. They fit him.
        And yes, the close-up camera work was AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL.
        Can you imagine the extent of the flashlight booger-check before they go on?

  46. Anita Sinclair says:

    I miss Joshua Ledet and Candice Glover, they of glorious voice and maximum charismatic entertainment ability. Although I am a big fat fan of Jena and Alex and Caleb (to a degree) it feels like the judges selected contestants based on vocal ability (not a bad idea in a singing contest) without a ton of thought on performance chops. At the start of the season I had really high hopes. The initial, what, 25?, held a ton of promise and I was pretty okay with the top 13 (except for picking that skinny chick who we knew was gonna be first out the door – what?) but there were some guys and gals left twiddling their thumbs that coulda, shoulda, woulda delivered far more chills than, oh, say, Emily, MJ, Malaya, Whatshisbucket the sing-Johnny-Cash a mile-a-minute bad hair guy, Sam the Undead (He strikes me as a singing zombie except a zombie has more personality) and CJ, the master soul stirring dude that ain’t got any pitch in his fork.

    Lastly, it’s a crime that there was no mentor around to help Majesty deal with her Bottom Three Crash and Burn. Randy is more useless than dust, bring back Adam, Stevie Nicks, Kelly Clarkson and David Cook on rotating weeks to give the kids a leg up for Pete’s Sake, I’m just sayin…

  47. Clara Turner says:

    I don’t understand why you keep bussing Sam. He gave an excellent performance. He sang and looked emotional and connected to the song. This was one of his best. You’ve all just made up your mind he’s boring.

  48. Winston says:

    I only care for Jena and Jessica at this moment, all the guys can be voted out one by one like last year except this year it more looked like season 10. the guy who deserves to stand last, I don’t care actually as long it’s not C.J. Alex is this years WGWG in my opinion. Dexter is approving but I still can’t stand him. Caleb I just stand that guy. C.J. I honestly don’t care how adorable he is, he sucks I mean Kanye West isn’t necessary a “nice guy” but still sells really good, why, because he is actually good at what he does (and he’s a part of illuminati #conspiricytheories). So yeah that wraps it up… I feel like I’m forgetting someone… ohwell that person is probably so boring that he’s not worth remembering. So go the Jena and Jessica kick those guys in the place it hurts!!!

  49. Karen says:

    I enjoy Alex to a point, but his feet movements are so strange and distracting. Does he do that with every performance? I don’t think I could stomach an entire concert if his if he’s going to do that strange tipple-toe walk the entire time he’s singing, not to mention the rolled-up pants and no socks look. Sam’ voice is golden. He gets bashed on this site, but I think he’s got the best voice in the competition. Jessica did well last night, but the judges are correct in pointing out the stiff disconnect in her body language. It must be more apparent in person, because they keep mentioning it, although they were way too harsh with her last night. Caleb is confident and entertaining. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take the whole thing, although he is so derivative of the ’70s classic rocker, like Foreigner. Jena had an official moment last night and I think she is definitely the most current of all the contestants, but I’m still skeptical of her based on last week’s dismal performance. Dexter. Does country music really need another bro-country artist on the charts? The answer is no. He sings cover versions of songs. i don’t like that he uses his guitar as a prop and stops playing it mid strum throughout the course of his performance. CJ …. It’s time to go … and get some singing lessons.

  50. Kevin says:

    Well I don’t think it was as bad as last week but darn a couple of these guys can put you to sleep. Love Jessica, voted for her, but I understood what the judges were trying to say. I appreciate her trying but darn she is stiff. I still think that can be worked on. It did irk me that at least she tries, maybe not successful, and yet the judges say nothing about Stand still Sam and pee pee dance Alex in one spot. My top three Jena, Caleb, Jessica. Bottom three Sam, CJ, Dexter. Alex is in the middle. Any one of these bottom four can go home as far as I am concern but I think it might be Sam. CJ should base on body of work this season but lets see if the kid card pays off, it just might.