American Idol Semifinal Performance Recap (Night 1): Sing Something, I'm Giving Up on You!

Let’s look on the bright side of American Idol‘s controversial and unprecedented decision not to allow viewers to have any say in the outcome of its Farewell Season semifinals:

Ummmmm…

Well…

* There’ll be none of the “What is wrong with America?”/”I’m moving to Barcelona!” outrage over the Idoloonie Nation’s dubious voting patterns that we experienced, for example, on The Season 9 Bloodbath That Claimed Lilly Scott, Katelyn Epperly and Alex Lambert.

* Reduced risk of carpal tunnel syndrome due to frenetic online and smartphone voting.

* Increased risk of decision-making stress causing the first signs of fine lines and wrinkles on the face of 46-year-old Jennifer Lopez. (Oh, come on, just one or two — so we know she’s not on a recon mission for a super-sexy alien race coming to turn us into In-N-Out burgers.)

* And most importantly, I have to admit it’d be hard mustering up a lot of enthusiasm to get my app on for more than one or two of the 12 vocalists who performed on Wednesday.

(For the uninitiated, here’s how the semifinals will work: On Feb. 10 and 17, we’ll see pre-taped performances from 12 contestants apiece, with the judges eliminating five singers on the Feb. 11 and 18 results shows that will also include contestant duets with Idol All-Stars. The resultant Top 14 will be whittled down — again, mainly by the judges — during the Feb. 24 and 25 episodes, with viewers saving some Wild Cards to complete a Top 10.)

But enough with the stall tactics… let’s get to my letter grades and reviews for the first 12 semifinal performances of Season 15:

Stephany Negrete, “Mamma Knows Best” — Grade: B- | Like the judges noted, Stephany has all the necessary ingredients — voice, looks, energy — but like a Ferrari with a Hyundai engine, this one never got out of the cul-de-sac, at least from a lyrical-interpretation standpoint.

MacKenzie Bourg, “Say Something” — Grade: A- | MacKenzie may not have the strongest set of pipes in the competition, but (like that chick with the ankle socks in the ZZ Top video) he knows how to use ’em. His crumbling upper register perfectly fit the angst and heartbreak of the lyric, and made him a mortal lock to advance to the Top 14.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell, “Angel” — Grade: B- | Harry may have been right in telling Jeneve that she shouldn’t have played the harp during her Sarah McLachlan cover, but I disagreed that the instrument messed with her emotional connection. My big gripe was Jeneve’s baffling shifts in tempo: Like Goldilocks aced with two bowls of porridge, the performance was too fast, then too slow, but never exactly in the pocket. That said, she definitely deserves to advance.

Jenna Renae, “My Church” — Grade: B- | The final chorus definitely slipped through Jenna’s fingers like a slippery trout through the hands of an arthritic angler, but she brought more gusto and fire to the stage then the four vocalists who followed her combined — and shouldn’t that be enough for a trip to the Top `14?

James VIII, “Love Lockdown” — Grade: C+ | I appreciated James’ attempt to give Kanye’s radio hit a blues-y rearrangement, but unfortunately, he reduced the track to what felt like a two-note range and delivered it with the enthusiasm of a fourth-grader giving the class a report on “What I did over my summer vacation.”

Sonika Vaid, “Safe and Sound” — Grade: B | Sonika needs to watch out for excessive breathiness at the top of her vocal range — and for allowing her nervousness to play across her face — but her T.Swift cover was heartfelt, supple and mostly in tune.

Gianna Isabella, “I Put a Spell on You” — Grade: C | To be fair, Gianna probably ranked in the top third of the night’s performances in terms of hitting her notes, but there was an offputting lack of maturity to her delivery that left me like I’d heard nothing more than a noisy collection of notes, signifying nothing.

Emily Brooke, “I Am Invincible” — Grade: D- | I think the less we say about this next-level vocal catastrophe, the better…

Avalon Young, “Love Yourself” — Grade: B+ | This wasn’t Avalon’s cleanest vocal — I detected some hinkyness at the top of her range — but she delivered her Bieber cover with such ease and specificity that I couldn’t help but fall beneath her spell. Could the bookend to Kelly Clarkson have a penchant for baggy sweatshirts and no makeup? Perhaps!

Jordan Sasser, “All By Myself” — Grade: D+ | Word of warning to all future Idol reality singing contestants: Don’t attempt to scale Mt. Celine unless you’re certain you won’t run out of air and botch half the notes when you get to the peak. Even worse for Jordan (whose new haircut was a major style upgrade), his vocal approach was absurdly overwrought.

Thomas Stringfellow, “Creep” — Grade: C- | First, I’ll say something nice: Thomas’ Radiohead cover contained 50 percent fewer squeaks and hiccups than the last time he was foisted onto our TV screens. That said, his painfully affected pronunciations — “You’re so very special” became “You’re so very spatial”!; don’t even get me started on how he delivered the word “feather” (aka “fay-thor”) — rendered his sweet tone irrelevant and sent this performance to the ninth circle of self-parody.

La’Porsha Renae, “Proud Mary” — Grade: B- | Look, unless there’s an ice pick coming out of your left ear, there’s no possible reason you could say La’Porsha doesn’t have a deliciously rumbly tone and near-perfect pitch. But watching her dress in Tina Turner fringe and replicate the famous diva’s dance moves — without any attempt to move the arrangement out of a pure karaoke space — was a depressing misstep for a woman who, as Harry noted, should make her rivals want to either improve or simply drop out of the Season 15 race. If La’Porsha’s not more careful with song selection, however, she could wind up being the one who makes a hasty exit.

Your turn. Who were your favorites from the Season 15 Semifinals — Part 1? Who’s fate makes you most anxious? (NO SPOILERS, PLEASE!) Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments!



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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226 Comments
  1. Oy says:

    Oh, I get it. La P. is going to be the contestant who always gets the pimp spot or sings late in the show, always gets a standing O, no critiques, constant adoration, and is basically just the winner, awaiting everyone else to be eliminated. So not here for that. Her performance tonight was a complete and total copycat of Tina Turner and she did about 3 things the judges scolded others for. UGH. But of course, she will never do ANY wrong.

    • Dan C says:

      Couldn’t agree more!

      • idolbethejudge says:

        Out of the mess of at least 4 or 5 tonight, and the average-ness of whole bunch of them, LaPorsha stands out. It’s not that she can’t do anything wrong, it’s that her good, is still far better than many that went tonight and are left in the competition.

        • LG says:

          That was the first performance by LaPorsha that I actually liked, maybe because it reminded me of Thursty Burlington and Liza Lotts singing in Provincetown.

          Poor Emily Brooke – what a hot mess tonight.

          • Smokey says:

            Yeah, Emily was either given or picked a bad song for her range and a bad song for her period. The only ones I moderately enjoyed tonight were Avalon and James, I don’t care about the high note screamer stuff or how much they can run around the stage – hope tomorrow night is better.

          • S. says:

            Emily wasn’t given a song in the wrong key and forced to sing that low. Others changed their arrangements (not always for the better but that was clearly how they wanted to do it). She didn’t choose to fix it. That she’s so inexperienced or whatever to not change it to suit her voice is on her. If you can’t sing that low, don’t sing that low. Rearrange it, pick something else, but for God’s sake don’t start a song in the basement because you have notes you wanna hit later. She didn’t even hit those well. It wasn’t worth it. It’s not like this song was “Halo” and even if it was, if you can’t sing that low, Change. The. Arrangement.

        • Fan says:

          Absolutely agree.

      • jr. says:

        Bourgh was really bad. Felt sorry for him. Was hoping they would stop his performance, to show compassion for his poor performance, and to quickly move on. But when they praised him, I thought, yep that;s what they say they’d do praise and pass the young bad performers over the more obvious good singers. Now I thought the singer knocked it out of the park, and deserved an A, and they only nit picked her performance. Agree, La Porsha was the best. Saying it was bad she reminded you of Tina Turners performance of the song was baffling, most young viewers don’t know Tina and she made this performance shine Laporsh/Tina style. That voice and those eyes, wiggle, hair, and dress stole the show! IMO

    • kevstar says:

      Oh, no. That would be Thomas Stringfellow. OMG! What the heck are they listening to that he got all the praise? And Jordan. Just NO. La’ Porsha, Avalon, and Sonika. The best 3 tonight. And all girls!

      • Agh says:

        He was flat for the entire verse it was so cringeworthy

      • PSCali says:

        Avalon is SO cool! Love her. Poor Stephany Negrete got the death spot. But her hair looked AMAZING, as always. Stephany is one of the few people that actually looks like she just walked out of a Pantene commercial. La’Porsha can S-I-N-G! Yes girl. So glad Sasser snipped the manbun. Hallelujah!

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          looks like she just walked out of a Pantene commercial. That gets a Made Me Laugh. :-)
          I like Stephany. I’m tired of folk/coffeehouse music. Didn’t like it the first time around.

          • Lyn says:

            Can’t believe you said that, because my take on Avalon was Coffee House lesbian with a bit of Mayim Bialek thrown in.

      • Mary says:

        I agree but not in that order. I really like Avalon, just a natural singer. Sonika has a gorgeous voice but she is like a robot – keep seeing Pia up there. If she doesn’t change it up she will be a goner. LaPorsha did a great impersonation of Tina Turner. Entertaining but nothing special. I also liked MacKensie out of all the boys. Feel sorry for Emily because unfortunately there are no second chances and I think she will be a goner.

      • Lizzie says:

        Avalon was not terrible, but it definitely was not good.

    • JayNC says:

      The same could be said about the Stringfellow guy. I thought he got much too much praise for a very affected, ungenuine, squeaky performance.
      About LaPorsha though, having heard and seen her for the first time, I was quite taken by her. Maybe some of you who have been watching up to now are a bit jaded?

      • Mary says:

        Not jaded her other performances were miles ahead of this one. She is not my top pick but while entertaining copying Tina Turner is never a plus.

    • I don’t get her appeal. She may sing well but she’s not appealing, looks old, and is just not what I think of as an idol. She reminds me of the contestants on the season with Candace and Kree, talented but just not fun.

    • damroberts744 says:

      I hardly think it was as good as she can be, but it was definitely the best of the night.

    • Lizzie says:

      At least she turned in a performance, unlike some of the contestants. The hair is extremely distracting, and her outfit didn’t exactly suit her frame, but it was fun overall, and the singing was good.

  2. Becky says:

    What is the big fuss over Gianna? That song was waaaaay too mature for her and it showed. Poor Emily. I think she put too much pressure on herself to come back this year new and improved. And did Jordon think for one minute that song has any relevance to the type of entertainer he might become? I hope next week’s group steps it up.

  3. Matt says:

    C’mon Slezak, the bloodbath you’re referring to was from Season 9. :) That’s how bad the show has been since then…

  4. Tyanna says:

    A D+ for Jordan Sasser??? The best male vocalist of the bunch tonight. His tone was amazing, runs on point and overall a great vocal tribute to Celine dion. Yeah a bit show boaty, but so was everyone else. I really need you to explain this.

    • amy says:

      Like Harry, J-Lo and Keith all said — way too showoff-y, over the top and self-indulgent. He also fell off pitch several times

      Not to mention, it was an awful song choice. It is sappy and dated

    • Sid Neeto says:

      I think he would have a good career as a Celine Dion drag tribute artist called Sassy Jordan.

      • SaraPo says:

        This is amazing.

      • Larry Davis says:

        Ha, unfortunately, the name is taken by Canadian female rock singer Sass Jordan, who’s been at it since the 80s…she kicks butt and is both soulful & raw. This Jordan was just terrible, and if anything, he shoulda done the song more like the 1975 original by Eric Carmen, which is more subdued. raw, & truly emotional. Not screechy and overblown. He was unintentionally comically bad, as opposed to purposely comically bad like Babes In Toyland’s fun cover. He’s a goner, and maybe he will then come to terms and out of the closet as well.

    • Tahoe Mike says:

      He bleats like a sheep.

    • EB says:

      LOL, calm down Tyanna. He was FAR from the best male last night

    • damroberts744 says:

      Jordan and Sonika are kind of in the same ball field for me. The thing is Sonika is more likable. I don’t get Sasser.

    • Lizzie says:

      It was pretty bad, D+ seems fair for what we had to listen to, although the haircut was a huge improvement – absolutely hated the man bun. Celine songs always seem dated, and most singers don’t have the range or emotional connection to pull them off, both of which were issues for Jordan last night. It was painful. Sonika was thin-sounding, although it was pretty. Could not stand Avalon and her “I don’t have to get dressed up to sing on national television” thing, and her voice is sort of adequate at best – who does a Bieber song. Emily Brooke – should not have been in this round, and picking a song by that dreadful Cassidee Pope was a mistake. Stringfellow needs to cut the yelps and just sing, he’s cute enough to hang around a while, but not if we have to keep hearing that sound.

    • S. says:

      *That* was a vocal tribute to Celine Dion? The woman just lost 2 family members. She’s suffered enough. I’d hardly call that showboaty. That implies he was showing off, and I don’t think there was anything there to show off.

  5. Matt says:

    Emily probably shouldn’t have picked an obscure song by a former The Voice winner. She shot herself in the foot from the get go. Also, All By Myself was written and performed first by the late Eric Carmen, was it not?

    • Timmah says:

      It’s a common practice when someone does a cover version that’s more popular than the original, like referring to Without You by Mariah Carey or whatever. Besides, nobody except us over-45s know who Eric Carmen is.

      • Angela says:

        I’m under the age of 45 (31, to be exact) and I know who he is!

      • Keith says:

        Well Carmen’s version hit # 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 while Celine’s version only made it to # 4 And Nilsson’s Without You charted higher than Mariah’s version

        • Timmah says:

          It’s irrelevant who charted higher at the time. If you ask anyone today who sang All By Myself, most will say Celine Dion. Thus that version is more popular in 2016.

          • Louie says:

            How about respect for the original artist instead of who’s the last person to do it? Maybe the youngsters need to be educated that music didn’t just begin when they started listening to it.

          • Larry Davis says:

            It does matter…the original artist is more important than who charted higher later. Eric Carmen (from powerpop innovators the Raspberries), his original version of “All By Myself” is the definitive version, just like Badfinger’s 1970 original “Without You” is, over both Harry Nilsson’s #1 hit cover and Mariah’s Top 5 cover…the idea is also to educate the viewers. Just like when Gianna Isabella did “I Put A Spell On You” by Screaming Jay Hawkins, they shoulda put HIS name up there instead of Annie Lennox…anybody who’s anybody knows it’s a Screaming Jay Hawkins standard, more than Annie Lennox on a soundtrack that most will forget all about in 3 years. Just like when people do “To Make You Feel My Love”, they should ALWAYS put Bob Dylan’s name up there, not Adele, not Garth Brooks. PERIOD. The songwriter and original artist ONLY.

          • Timmah says:

            It’s an entertainment show, not an educational show. They’re trying to relate to the largest number of viewers possible (particularly younger ones) to get as high ratings as possible.

          • syb says:

            Speak for yourself.

          • HTGR says:

            Yeah calling IPASOY an Annie Lenox song was also weird.

      • Matt says:

        Oh I hear you. I just don’t see the harm in crediting the original artist if you’re telling us what a contestant is singing with a subtitle. There are things far worse though, like most of tonight’s performances!

      • Mary says:

        Maybe if he did it like Eric it would of been better, doubt it, but maybe. If he has watched this show nobody should do Celine.

      • HTGR says:

        I was stunned when they called it a Celine song. That song was way more popular back in its original form.

    • Larc says:

      I don’t think it was the song as much as Emily’s performance of it. She was off pitch from start to finish.

      • Just Sayin' says:

        I don’t remember Emily from last season. However, didn’t the judges say just last week that she was the most improved and showed the most growth over any multi-year contestant they’d seen? Either Emily was sick this week or she was truly horrible last year. Poor thing.

    • schmed says:

      I don’t think Eric Carmen is dead.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Eric Carmen was probably glad Jordan credited Celine Dion after that performance.

  6. Owen says:

    Avalon. Avalon.

    • Dawson says:

      RIGHT?!?

    • shannon says:

      Avalon was just terrible

      • Timmah says:

        I’m kind of mystified too why everyone likes her. Her voice sounds nasally and unpleasant to me.

      • Mary says:

        Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I think she is just a natural singer and she did work the stage. Everyone has different taste but she was one of the best one tonight for me.

        • Lizzie says:

          To me she was one of the worst, but better than Emily Brooke, Jordan Sasser, and maybe a couple more. Avalon is extremely off-putting to me, and she seems like one that is there to fill a type, but not for her talent. Showing up in sweats and a ski-cap without any makeup, is a way to go, but with J-Lo sitting in front of you, knowing what she puts into an appearance and performance, she might have thought twice about how she looked. I didn’t enjoy her singing voice, and her performance was boring. Zero stage presence.

          • Ben says:

            +1. Zero stage presence, that was the main issue for me… you can’t do the “i’m a regular girl and just don’t care about my look” act if you’re are not ridiculously talented in a way that allow you to own the stage only with your presence.

      • Karin says:

        She was OK; poor song choice.

  7. JD says:

    Just an FYI, the whole top 24 disaster (Lily Scott, Katelyn Epperly, Todrick Hall, and Alex Lambert) happened in Season 9.

    As for tonight, my 7 to advance would be Mackenzie, Sonika, Avalon, Emily (hoping she gets another chance, she’s better than tonight’s performance), La’Porsha, Jenna, and Thomas. It’s obvious the girls outperformed the guys.

  8. amy says:

    Avalon, Mackenzie & LaPorsha were the best of the night. Jeneve was a pleasant surprise. Emily unfortunately imploded — she had no idea what key she was supposed to be singing that song in.

  9. Scout says:

    Avalon. That is all.

  10. DarkDefender says:

    La.Freaking.Porsha. #SingHeffa
    .
    That is all.

  11. SaraPo says:

    Mackenzie and Avalon were my favorites of the night. The minute Jordan began singing all i could think about was how someone like John Wayne Schultz was sent home so America could hear Jordan Sasser sing ANOTHER Celine song…NOPE. Poor Emily, that was not the right song choice for her, but i like her…Jenna Renae i like her and her song choice more than i think i like her actual voice. She has great energy and i think she would be great for live shows, but i dont know if her voice is unique enough. I hope i’m wrong about that. I also liked LaPorsha up until tonight, TOTALLY agree with you, Michael, was not feeling the Tina Turner wannabe, there was nothing different about it. Gianna was waayyyyyyyyy too ambitious with her song choice, if you choose to cover Annie Lennox, you better know what you’re doing, and she did not. Meanwhile, Thomas Stringfellow continues to annoy me.

    • danin says:

      A lot of people covered I Put A Spell On You including Annie Lennox.. Nina Simone knocked it out of the park w/her own cover in 1965. Screamin’Jay Hawkins wrote it in 1956 or thereabouts. AI should give actual credit where it is due and give musical history some respect. I thought Gianna did good job and for the first time I sat up and realized what a strong voice she has.

      • Tahoe Mike says:

        Absolutely agree about giving credit. That song has way too much sexuality for that little girl, and it ate her alive. She sounded ridiculous. Her time has come.

      • Var says:

        How about John Fogerty’s (CCR) version?

      • SaraPo says:

        Exactly, you said it, A LOT of people, i’m sorry i offended you by not listing every human being to sing that song. My bad. I was comparing it to the Annie Lennox version which i adore and am most familiar with. This is american idol chatter, it’s not that serious lol

      • Brenda says:

        Don’t forget what a great job Quentin Alexander did with that song last year. For me, nothing would top that performance!

      • HTGR says:

        Yeah that was weird. I could them calling it a Simone or Hawkins song as those were the truly famous definitive versions.
        I love Annie Lennox but her version was far from the definitive, classic version.

    • Preach! Oh how I miss John Wayne Shulz.

      • SaraPo says:

        John Wayne Schultz lives in my area, so luckily we get to hear him play around town plenty to fill the void! Probably for the best, at least now he gets to do what he wants to do. Just a shame his talent wasn’t appreciated….

  12. CK says:

    I’d take Avalon, La’Porsha, Mackenzie, Sonika and (based off her performance tonight) Jeneve. They can send everyone else home. They let Thomas hiccup his way through an affected version of Creep and no one told him to stop that. Someone needs to tell him that. It’s going to start to wear on people soon if it already hasn’t.

  13. Omarr says:

    Stephany was a mess tonight. News Flash: YOU CAN’T MESS UP MAMMA KNOWS BEST, ESPECIALLY NOT AFTER SARINA JOI CROWE MURDERED IT LAST SEASON. I think James and Stephany are definitely going home tomorrow. Jeneve surprised the hell out of me tonight! Her performance tonight was among the best. Jenna could’ve done better. Gianna didn’t capture any of the essence of “I Put A Spell On You” but her voice was pretty good I must say. Emily disappointed me tonight. Her voice is remarkable but her pitch was all over the place. Clearly not the song for her. Jordan had no connection at all. To be honest, I’m tired of seeing him and his passive-aggressive wife on my TV screen. Thomas was ok. Mackenzie was really good. Last but not least, AVALON, LA’PORSHA and SONIKA were amazing tonight. If the producers permit and the Idoloonies’ vote right, we’ll have a female winner.

  14. danin says:

    You know it’s funny..tonight is the first night I really liked La’Porsha..I thought she was the best..also a first for me to really like her tonight was Gianna. Avalon was one of my faces steadily, tonight she was a little too odd voiced for me and I didn’t like her song.Jordan who I have liked was in and out of voice. I did not like Thomas tonight and have not been so hard on him nor noticed his “hiccup” prior to being informed of it.And really noticed it tonight. Steffani was another fsve tonight though before she wasn’t on my radar. And Emily should have chosen the beautiful song,INCONSOLABLE by Jonatha Brooke,her voice has the same quality, Too bad she chose the one she did cause she was awful.

    • danin says:

      Oh.And Mackenzie, who I have liked prior to tonight was a bordering on a flat performance tonight.

      • Timmah says:

        I did not like Mackenzie at all either. That interpretation put me to sleep.

        • danin says:

          Timmah,like I said above..I did like Avalon prior to tonight and the word nasally did come to mind,but it didn’t seem completely accurate. Was the song in too high a pitch?Throwing it into her nose..it was weird.I’d have to rewatch&listen to be able to put my finger on it.I just didn’t hear her sounding like that before.

          • Timmah says:

            Nasally might not be exactly the right word, but there was something about Avalon’s tone that I found unpleasant. I haven’t paid that much attention to her before, so maybe she was sick or just had an off night.

  15. Dylan Amick says:

    B+ for Avalon? She’s one of my faves and this was mediocre at best from her. Would’ve given her a C+.

  16. JoeJoenas says:

    why do you hate Sasser? i think his performance all throughout his journey ranges from decent to stellar. i don’t get it?

  17. Andres says:

    From season 3 of the voice, Mackenzie has shown a mass improvment. He is easily the best of the night. The rest were me or blah.

  18. MyFavoriteSong says:

    SImon Cowell would have had a fine time ripping many of these performances apart. La’portia has a nice voice but talk about theatrical and karaoke? It was ridiculous. I feel for these kids being on the last season since it like the Cliff Notes version, but know this has been a great experience for them. The viewers, not so much. The FINAL (hopefully) season is a mere shell of the old AI. Very sad indeed.

    • Puchinsmom says:

      That’s so funny that you called this season “the Cliff Notes ” version. I was thinking the exact same thought during the whole show.
      Also I cannot remember the contestant’s name, but the young man who sang I put a spell on you last season was so amazing. Gianna shouldn’t have picked that song after it was sung so brilliantly just last year. That said, I actually think she sounded pretty good tonight. And Jeneve is a pleasant surprise as well.

    • Timmah says:

      Simon would have had one word for LaPorsha’s performance: indulgent. And he would have been right.

    • Somebody says:

      I wish so much they could have gotten Simon Cowell back for the last season. He was the guy who kept me sane in the early seasons of the show. I like Harry, actually–think he’s a charming guy who often has interesting critiques, but let’s be honest–just like the other two, he lets these contestants get away with way too much.

    • Gailer says:

      Yes, it’s so sad. Why didn’t they get the real judges back? I guess because they don’t care

      • Timmah says:

        They think that by paying JLo a boatload of cash that they’ll bring in viewers. Meanwhile viewership has dropped every year she’s been on.

      • Lizzie says:

        Several are very busy. Simon Cowell is involved with Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor, he’s a producer, and Idol is in his rear view mirror.

  19. Holly says:

    Proof that the producers are telling the judges who to pick: the over-the-top adulation of the gawd-awful Thomas Stringfellow. Egads, that was the most affected performance I have ever seen on Idol (or anywhere else.) Not only does he squeak and hiccup, he mis-pronounces words to an extremely annoying degree. Scott Borchetta must believe this is what 10 year old girls want (unfortunately he is probably right.) And I don’t care if LaPorsha was 100% karaoke, it was the best damn karaoke I have ever seen. She is worlds more charismatic than anyone else who took the stage tonight, so she can stay. The only other performer who interested me in the slightest was Geneve. She is very genuine.

    • JM says:

      I actually don’t hate Thomas like some of you, but he is definitely not ready for this. Give him a few years so his voice can settle, and I think he could be quite good.

  20. Imagecrafters says:

    Not a strong night overall. I really just liked Mackenzie and Jeneve. I just can’t get into LaP. Maybe tomorrow night will be better.

  21. Jonathon says:

    I thought James did the Kanye song great in that style. I was saying he’s definitely safe and then the judges tore his performance up. Shocked!

    • JM says:

      I agree. I actually liked him more tonight than I have in the past. But it looks like he’s a goner.

    • safado says:

      He’s clearly doomed, and I thought he was original and compelling. Sad to know the judges are determined to eliminate him. Producers clearly want a female winner this year, but the standout so far is clearly McKenzie.

    • Kbella says:

      I really liked James’ performance too! He’s been one of my favorite male singers since the beginning. I hope he sticks with it because he’s good.

    • Somebody says:

      I think J-Lo was annoyed that he changed Kanye’s song so much, and then the other two judges just went along. That, or the show just wants him off for some reason. I think his vocals were actually damn good, and I enjoyed his performance. Maybe it was too easy for him to sing–fair enough critique, I guess. But his voice was on point.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      It was very creative. The problem with what he did is rap has no melody so it ended up as a song with no range, no degree of difficulty, etc. But give him a A for creativity.

  22. canadiangiveaways says:

    What exactly are the producers trying to manipulate by not having 6 boys and 6 girls perform each week?? So they can justify a top 14 with 7 boys when everyone knows there should be more girls getting through?

    • Stacie says:

      There are only 11 guys altogether. There is actually 13 girls. I still don’t get how they didn’t do at least 5 guys night and 6 next week. How did they determine who went tonight and who goes next time. It’s possible that the 12 you go with may or may not be strong, so being in one group or another is very important. This whole semifinals process is a mess, with the choppy editing, the rushed feel to the show, no live vote. Just silly.

    • canadiangiveaways says:

      Wait I’m so confused…. I thought the top 24 was 12 and 12….but I guess not ;)
      Still… 8 girls one week and 5 the next week seems lopsided

  23. Mollytanner says:

    La’Porsha is by far obviously the most polished and professional of the bunch. Her range is ridiculous and she uses it wisely. She has tremendous stage presence. The intensity in her eyes reels you in. That said, my favorites are Sonika and Avalon.

  24. Sonika’s voice is heaven. LOVE her. I really, really hope she makes top 10.

  25. JM says:

    Based on tonight’s performances, the five I would eliminate are:

    Jordan
    Stephanie
    Thomas
    Gianna
    Emily

    • Wanted Jessica says:

      That’s 80% correct, actually.

      • Orangeyouglad says:

        Eliminated:
        1. Emily Brooke
        2. James Dawson VIII
        3. Jenna Renae
        4. Jordan Sasser
        5. Stephany Negrete

        Advanced:
        1. Avalon young
        2. Gianna Isabella
        3. Jeneve Mitchell
        4. La’Porsha Renae
        5. MacKenzie Bourg
        6. Sonika Vaid
        7. Thomas Stringfellow

    • Lizzie says:

      That’s easier than trying to figure out who did well enough to stay. Not that this will happen, but I would eliminate:

      Geneve
      Jordan
      Emily
      Avalon
      Gianna

      If Sonika doesn’t want the Pia Toscano shocking elimination the first night people get to vote, she is going to have to sing with some originality and substance, not just do a weak imitation of Taylor Swift’s singing style. The quality has potential, but so far it has seemed very high school talent show.

  26. Becky says:

    Actually it will be a shorter list of who I didn’t like tonight: Stefanie, Thomas, Jordan, Emily. I just don’t want to see the same thing every week. Jordan made the wrong choice: Celine is out dated jus like the Osmonds…the sound is get for Ls Veg but are you going to buy their songs. I want them to surprise me like Adam and Kris did.

  27. shannon says:

    Gianna was not very good and how the heck did Jen even make it to top 24

  28. kevstar says:

    I’m watching in real time and Sonika was the first one I liked so far.

  29. william says:

    Im woried my fav was the comeback girl emily and she sounded bad tonihgt,afraid she will be gone.was hoping maybe the new carrie underwood

  30. Elissa says:

    Tonight had a lot of ups and downs, but that’s what we expect at this point in the competition, I mean really. I think Avalon has some real potential … she picks current songs, gives them a little twist with her sweet tone and I think provides a nice message to girls that you don’t aspire to be that “girl next door, pageant girl.”

    Despite La’Porsha’s performance tonight, the girl needs to be in the finals — she can flat out sing. Sonika gave a very pleasing vocal, but her performance of ballads will get boring quick. Stringfellow is an interesting tribute, I just wish the judges would tell him to just sing one verse in a single, unaffected tone. I think he equates uniqueness with that weird hiccup, someone stop him.

    Am I in the minority when I actually liked James VIII? His voice is pretty nice, bad song selections, but I dig him.

    Jordan Sasser need to get the “Old Yeller” treatment. That was just pure vomit.

  31. Cat says:

    Forgive me what happened to mono boy? I thought he made it thru?

  32. Ronnie says:

    Mackenzie and Avalon were very good. And LaP has more stage presence than any contestant this season. And I found nothing karaoke about that performance. These 3 are bound for the finals from this batch. The rest can go! Looking forward to seeing what the next dozen bring next week.

  33. Timmah says:

    Sonika sounded a bit off, but she was still easily the best of the night and the only one I can see with any star potential.

    • PSCali says:

      Sonika has come a long way since getting a zero chair turn on The Voice. I hope she can overcome her nerves because her voice is so pretty.

      • Larry Davis says:

        Sonika was on the Voice?? What season?? As for standing on stage just moving her arms, um with a voice like THAT (and pretty eyes too), it shouldn’t matter…look at Stevie Nicks and Sarah McLachlan…I like energy too, but Sonika will be able to get away with it, like Liz Frazer from the Cocteau Twins or Kate Bush…she can be an eclectic pop artist with taste.

    • Mary says:

      Sonika has a great voice, but she need to move. She won’t last long just standing there singing pretty songs. I am not seeing star potential just yet, she needs to mix it up. She doesn’t have to dance around the floor but standing there moving only her arms isn’t doing her any favors.

      • Timmah says:

        For this show and garnering votes, you may be right about the moving around part. For being a successful recording artist after the show, it matters not.

  34. Atat says:

    Is it me or does mckenzie remind u of kris allen (with a better edit). Also not a fan of this no vote thing. Yes america caused the s9 bloodbath. But also without the votes people like kris allen who im sure the judges wouldnt have put through if they chose the top36 instead of america.

  35. Jordan Sasser is the most annoying contestant since Danny Gokey.

  36. Word Money G says:

    I’m thinking that Janeve is the contestant that Michael just woke up on the wrong side of. That was awesome, and she’s just a kid. Please, Mike, take her off your crap list.

    Easy cuts tonight: Emily, Jordan, James 8, Jenna

    The fifth one is hard.

  37. Andy says:

    Loved Avalon, Jeneve, Sonika, and MacKenzie, in that order. Avalon’s sound, comfort on stage, and general performing ability would make for an incredibly strong winner.

  38. Bruce Wayne says:

    Oh great, finish up with another White Guy and his guitar. Sonika is the closest the show has ever had to another Kelly Clarkson.

    • Mary says:

      Voice yes, but Kelly had personality and sorry Sonika doesn’t or hasn’t shown it yet. She is given off Pia vibes right know and we all know how that story ended.

      • Timmah says:

        I seem to recall that Kelly was pretty stiff at first and only loosened up towards the end of the season. Carrie too. We shall see though.

        • Mary says:

          I agree with Carrie but Kelly was a spit fire right from the start if I am remembering correctly. Plus unfortunately that was a different era. I hope she can step it up because she has a gorgeous voice.

          • Timmah says:

            You’re right, and I’m going to correct myself. It was Carrie that got a lot of criticism about being too stiff, but not Kelly. I hope too that Sonika’s not being as outgoing as some of the other contestants doesn’t hurt her chances, because I agree she has a lovely voice.

      • kcostell says:

        I’m getting more of a Sam Woolf vibe from her…gorgeous tone, but still trying to figure out how to connect and turn that tone into a performance.

    • Gailer says:

      I agree, I’m not into women singers per se but in this mess of singers, I have to think she is the winner

  39. La’Porsha is the only one I am enthusiastic about tonight. Like you, I was appalled at the dress and the moves imitating Tina Turner (Why do all reality competitions DO this?) But she pulled it off. She was exciting. She made it her own. I still don’t know how. Husband said “She’s just like Candice Glover!” To which I had to point out: “Heck, no, Candice would have made it her own! Candice is an artist!” Still: La’Porsha for the win! I completely resent Giana Isabella because I believe she’s the reason that Jessica Cabral isn’t in the Top 24. They look alike. But Jessica is so good she’s almost a pro. Gianna is half-baked, but she knows people on Idol and has an inside track. Go right ahead, Idol, and put her through to the Top 14. She’s the first one going home, Dumbheads. Negrete and Young were pretty good and should go through. Vaid and Bourg weren’t bad. Everybody else: Just give it up. I don’t care.

  40. Ryan says:

    Based on the judges feedback, I think these 5 will be eliminated Thursday Night…Tbh none of them had outstanding performances
    Stephany Negrete
    James Dawson VIII
    Jenna Renae
    Jordan Sasser
    Emily Brooke

    • Cat2 says:

      I’d really be bummed if Stephany goes home so early. I like her voice better than any of the other ladies — except for LaPorsha. THAT was terrific!

      • Orangeyouglad says:

        Eliminated:
        1. Emily Brooke
        2. James Dawson VIII
        3. Jenna Renae
        4. Jordan Sasser
        5. Stephany Negrete

        Advanced:
        1. Avalon young
        2. Gianna Isabella
        3. Jeneve Mitchell
        4. La’Porsha Renae
        5. MacKenzie Bourg
        6. Sonika Vaid
        7. Thomas Stringfellow

        • Lizzie says:

          I hope that’s just your vote, because Slezak has asked for no one to post spoilers in the comments. I hope Avalon goes home, and that James VIII stays.

  41. bemyfriend says:

    You’re giving too much credit on MacKenzie’s performance of Say Something but really he sounded like he was singing the harmony instead of the melody. He reminds me of Trevor last season, nerdy but cool at the same time. His appearance on The Voice may have helped him in one way or another.

  42. Sally McLinn says:

    I just saw the clips of the performances and La Porsha aint all that. The hair had to go, and Michael is right, Proud Mary wasn’t anything special.

    • Terry says:

      I can’t decide if I like her or not. When she first started singing I thought everything about this is so comical. But by the end of the song I have to say she definitely gives her all when she performs so I have to give her props for that. Also there were no cringe-worthy sounding notes which is more than I can say about some of the others (ahem Jordan and Emily)

  43. Toba7 says:

    When Gianna and Thomas stayed and Jessica left it was confirmation that the producers and/or creepy Scott must give the judges a list of a few people to keep on the show. Had that feeling in past seasons when cute but boring Caleb and Nick won! Still a fan of Alex Preston from season 13.

  44. Suesox says:

    Mackenzie’s deliveries are sincere, his voice is easy on the ears, and his arrangements are masterful. I’d pay to see his solo show.

    Sonika has the voice of an angel. If she can rein in her breathiness and nervousness she should make it to the finale. I want to hear her voice when I’m transcending from this life to the next.

    La’Porsha’s dang good, but she needs to be really careful not to get carried away with putting on a show, especially one that’s not an original (#TinaTurner).

    Avalon has my vote for most pleasant and talented “I don’t give a crap what you think about how I look” contestant.

  45. Reda says:

    I did not vote for anyone on the list. No one person stood out. Hope the next group is better.

  46. Eric Carmen people. “All By Myself” belongs to ERIC CARMEN. Yeah Celine’s cover was lovely – but still….lets go ahead and recognize the actual artist shall we? Ugh I hate when they do that.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Thank you, I was going to make the same comment and Carmen’s original version is far less overwrought. For a moment I thought I was watching “American 1980s Idol”.
      .
      A better choice for Jordan Sasser would have been Eric Carmen’s “Make Me Lose Control” for a lot of reasons – no comparison to Celine Dion, it’s more upbeat, less overwrought, and it’s just a fun song.

  47. Nevermore says:

    Great. I can skip it then. No reason to be invested.

  48. darcy's evil twin says:

    I may repeat some comments here as I am late to this party, so I apologize. There are some excellent vocalists that did so-so in my opinion. I will start with the some of the ladies.
    *
    While LaPorsha was a cabon copy of Tina Turner I give the girl props for owning it! She owns her size and give her credit for being able to move around that stage in those shoes and sing! It may have been predictable but it was a performance.
    *
    Personally, I love Stephany Negrete. yes, there was a little bit of disconnect last night but the girl is beautiful, can sing, and like LaPorsha – she performs. She is Pia with pizzaz.
    *
    Sonica has a BEAUTIFUL voice and tone, and THAT DRESS! Wow, did I love the dress but she needs to be careful not to end up like Thia Meghia.
    *
    I am surprised I enjoyed Avalon so much. My goodness she is so natural in her delivery and she truly knows herself for her age. She reminds me of my youngest niece, who loves to sing and perform.
    *
    the girl that is Brenda K Starr’s daughter – I’m just not sure she’d even be there were she not Brenda K Starr’s daughter. she’s talented but her voice has a grating quality that bothers me.
    *
    Off the grid chick with the harp is super talented but she’s just not my favorite. And as for Emily Brooke, I loved her outfit and her hair.

  49. Tahoe Mike says:

    Just watched it again. Ryan had a serious Hasselhoff thing going on tonight.
    ~
    Based on tonight, I’d cut Jordan, Emily, Thomas, Sonika, and Gianna. They better do something amazing tomorrow.
    ~
    Here is the thing Jeneve, I know you don’t have a TV but I do, To me, that song you sang is known as the dead puppy song; and I reach for the clicker whenever it comes on. Nothing bad to say about her performance, I liked it, but ugh THAT song!
    ~
    I liked Avalon tonight, If you can make me not hate something that is in any way associated with He Who Must Not Be Named, well done.
    ~
    Jenna Renae got herself on my radar tonight
    ~
    La’Porsha won the night. That was a great song choice, and way to own it.

  50. gerritverstoep says:

    We’ve already got one Ed Sheeran and don’t need another. MacKenzie Bourg is just a Dollar Store imitative poseur.