American Idol Top 14 Performance Recap: For Repeats' Sake!

I know American Idol is no longer Godzilla emerging from the Ratings Ocean and stomping all over every other network’s primetime competition, but last week’s 8.2 million viewers (and 2.0 demo rating) is pretty dang respectable.

So, unless some sneaky employee in the 19 Entertainment accounting department has been siphoning all that “Moment Like This” coinage into an offshore account, riddle me this: How come exec producer Trish Kinane forced the Season 15 finalists to regurgitate song choices we heard just a week or two ago tackle “favorite moments from the season so far”?

Look, I get that it’s a shortened season (with the finale slated for April 7). And I get that six of the 10 vocalists who performed tonight — along with the four who got “fast passes” from the judges — will be back again tomorrow… and that two performances in one week is a lot for an inexperienced contestant.

But we the people who have been standing before The House That Kelly Clarkson Built since it was just an abandoned lot in an about-to-be-gentrified neighborhood (and who watched all those dreadful sitcoms Fox tried to launch after half-hour results shows) deserve better, don’t we?

With only six weeks left of the best reality-competition show to never win an Emmy — Hrmmm… I sense a TVLine think piece in the making — it’s time for Ms. Kinane to spend at least as much money on clearing fresh songs as she spends on Keith Urban’s flat-ironing.

Anyhow, I’m gonna press pause on my kvetching and break down how this Wednesday’s unprecedented reverse Wild Card took place, then grade the week’s performances. (Bear in mind I’ll be back in an hour or so to explain my grades with more detailed reviews.)

Given a “Fast Pass” to the Top 10 by the Judges
Dalton Rapattoni
Olivia Rox
Trent Harmon
La’Porsha Renae

All of these picks were totally unsurprising — except maybe the Trent. But if there’s anything Idol producers are adept at, it’s telegraphing their Chosen Ones early and aggressively. And of course, having mentor Scott Borchetta interject that the judges’ fast-pass picks lacked “country” and “alternative” was as close as the guy could get to waving “Vote for MacKenzie!” and “Vote for Tristan!” placards as you can get (without launching an FCC investigation).

Performing for America’s Vote (and the Six Remaining Spots in the Top 10)
Manny Torres — Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster” — Grade: B- | As usual, Manny worked the stage with an effortless confidence and adult-level hip sway that would look horrifying on younger contestants like Lee and Thomas. Yet while there was a little bit of rock edge percolating through the arrangement, Manny’s solid-but-unspectacular vocal didn’t stand out enough to inspire legions of voters, nor was it bad enough to make his fan base double down for fear he’ll be eliminated. Which is exactly why I’m expecting the guy to get eliminated.

Gianna Isabella – Screamin Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You” — Grade: D+ | “I Put a Spell on You” is a ditty for a grown-ass adult in love with the wrong person and on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Giana, while intermittently in tune, delivered what should have been the desperate “I love you! I love you! I love you!” refrain with all the angst of a middle-schooler who’s learned that the cafeteria just ran out of curly fries, and she’ll have to go with tater tots. The slow, thoroughly rote clap-along from the audience was like a 1,000-word tone poem on the failure of Gianna’s performance.

Thomas Stringfellow – One Direction’s “Story of My Life” — Grade: C+ | I appreciated Harry pointing out that Thomas’ tendency toward a voice break or a squeak at the end of every line is nothing more than a bad habit that needs immediate breaking — but in Thomas’ defense, he took the same approach for all his prior performances and got glowing, “you’re in it to win it!” feedback. I actually found Thomas 25% less affected than in prior performances, but he also hit enough wonky notes to leave me a good 500 paces from his bandwagon.

Tristan McIntosh – Rascal Flatts’ “What Hurts the Most” — Grade: C+ | WHY MUST TRISTAN PICK GINORMOUS SONGS THAT CAUSE HER VOICE TO VEER INTO SHARP AND FROGGY PLACES? Whoops, I accidentally hit the caps lock button when I typed the prior sentence, but in this case, yelling feels right. Tristan failed to squarely hit at least a third of her notes, and yet we had Keith gushing about the 15-year-old’s newly uncovered vulnerability (as J.Lo interrupted with hoots of “beautiful!”)

Avalon Young – Chris Brown’s “Yo (Excuse Me Miss)” — Grade: A- | Not only did Avalon give one of the night’s few technically sound performances, but there was also a deep well of eyelash-batting flirtation in her delivery (and a refreshing commitment to not replacing the “she” pronoun in the lyric, either). When Avalon dipped her voice low on the final chorus, there was magic in the air. Or was it the start of a confetti shower? ‘Tis the time of year for such phenomenon, after all.

Jenn Blosil – Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” — Grade: B- | Jenn sang with as much or more earnestness than any other contestant this week — no small task considering her eyebrows were bedazzled with multi-colored sequins or gemstones or tiny pieces of shiny plastic. For the third straight performance, Jenn also struggled to maintain her pitch — a problem that roars to life when she takes liberties with a melody — but… at least the lady wasn’t boring!

Lee Jean – Ed Sheeran’s “Make It Rain” — Grade: C | In much the same way that Lee’s voice evaporates into the ether every time he reaches for a glory note or hits the end of a phrase, memories of this ho-hum performance — and Keith’s insane-person critique about shells on an Eastern beach — are almost certain to disappear from my brain by the weekend.

Sonika Vaid – Celine Dion’s “I Surrender” — Grade: B | Sonika is occupying the old-school pop-diva belter lane in a way we haven’t seen since Pia Toscano (or maybe Amber Holcomb). But mellifluous as her tone might be, Sonika needs to iron out her occasional wobbly notes and find a way to get even more invested in the emotional intent of the lyrics if she wants to overcome the muted edit she’s been getting from producers. If I was mentoring Sonika, I’d look for a lesser-known ballad (maybe Lisa Fischer’s “How Can I Ease the Pain”) that would give her a chance to show off her horsepower — without drawing emotionally disappointing comparisons to a widely known smash.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell – Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” — Grade: C | Will you allow me a moment of dead honesty? Given all the power in the Idolverse (without the ability to time-travel back and save Jessica Cabral or Shelbie Z), I’d advance MacKenzie, Avalon, Sonika, Manny and Jenn — along with (ugh) Jeneve — to fill out the Top 10. Because while I didn’t really enjoy her downward shifts in Johnny Cash’s melody or the quirky tempo she adopted, I at least have to credit Jeneve with attempting to create something that was all her own. And on a night where too many pure vocalists botched their pitch, I’ll reward youthful hubris over carbon copies of performances from prior seasons.

MacKenzie Bourg – “Roses” (original track) — Grade: A | Not only does the former Voice contestant have a way wirh a lyric — “reach out and grab it while supplies last” made me grin — but his voice is as sweet and crumbly as a Nature’s Valley granola bar. How he’ll fare on an outside-his-box theme night with a limited song list remains a concern, but for tonight, MacKenzie need not worry: With “Roses,” he stood on top of the box, and absolutely crushed it.

OK, your turn. Vote for your fave performances in our poll below, then hit the comments and explain your decisions!

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. SaraPo says:

    Soooooooo annoyed that we didn’t get to hear anything *new* from the ones who sang tonight. That was a huge disappointment…HOWEVER, best part of the night was Harry calling out Thomas Stringfellow on that annoying BAD HABIT of his (while also making an amazing Cranberries reference). Felt like tonights episode was completely pointless.

    • kcostell says:

      And Harry immediately got bunches of people on Twitter calling him a “Hater” for daring to judge.

      • SaraPo says:

        well i’m glad i’m not on twitter then lol god forbid the judges actually give them HONEST feedback, who in the hell could listed to an entire album of that hiccuping, PASS. i have a feeling all the “haters” are kids who don’t even know who the cranberries are and why that comment was relevant. Sigh…i miss the 90’s.

        • Holly says:

          Me too! The 90s might be the most underrated musical decade.

        • nhf7170 says:

          If he makes it to a judge’s choice week, would it be too much to ask for him to have to perform “Zombie?”

        • Ben says:

          I don’t have a problem about judging… but i do have a problem with them reinforcing that annoying habit in previous episodes, even allow him pass the cut doing exactly the same… and now in the top 14 complain about asking for changes?. Seriously… WHY they accept the producers cut to complain later? (specially Harry).

          • Toba7 says:

            Exactly! Producers on their reality TV show vs. singing talent! I’ve lost respect for the judges. They, especially Harry know better.

          • Tyler says:

            Well, now that the judges lost almost all of their control on who will get eliminated–this is their way of exerting their control: Harry saying Thomas has a bad habit, JLo saying Gianna was her #5 pick, etc. It’s no wonder they didn’t say any of these things before–because they HAD control! This show is so predictable.

        • Lyn says:

          Picture Meg Ryan walking through NYC with a song called Dreams playing in You’ve Got Mail. That song is The Cranberries.

    • Guy says:

      Yes! I was so happy he made that critique, someone needed to say it. I couldn’t handle listening to his singing tonight.

      • Idolbethejudge says:

        The three that should go on no doubt is Sonika, Avalon, MacKenzie. The next three are tough. I know the judges love Lee and looove Gianna, but I didn’t think either were that great for many weeks. Tristan made a good showing tonight. I really didn’t get the hype about Jenn tonight. It’s a tough call.

        • Kayk says:

          I agree with every single one of your takes here on each contestant, idolbethejudge! Hopefully there’s plenty of us voting accordingly!

        • Smokey says:

          I liked Jenn early-on, but not sure where she’s going with her style. We also have to remember that girls are at a disadvantage in the voting – as in some years, 4 or 5 girls in a row were eliminated before a guy got dropped from top 12……………. Only thing I see is that Manny and Jeneve are not likely to make top 10, otherwise, hard to guess. .

          • Lyn says:

            The thing I can’t get past with Jenn is that she’s so young, but seems so matronly despite the glitter eyebrows and quirkiness. Her costume last night reminded me of a 1940s movie.

        • Toba7 says:

          Jenn gives me the heebie jeebies! Why, how can anyone enjoy listening to her? Off key and fake.

      • HeartMN says:


    • Maggie says:

      Question – Can you explain to me why Harry would call Thomas out on his yipping, but praise Jenn on her vocals. My ears hear yipping from Jenn too, but on the front end of the lyric. Personally, I don’t care for either style. I just want to understand what makes one great and the other disgusting to Harry. I know you can’t read his mind, but your perspective would be helpful. Thanks!

      • Terry says:

        Ya, I don’t get it either. Jenn’s squeaky voice is just as annoying to me as Thomas’ yipping. The both need to go home. I don’t want to hear them sing ever again.

      • Miscellaneopolan says:

        Speaking as someone who enjoyed Jenn and hated Thomas tonight, I’ll give it a go. Yes, they both definitely have vocal tics. I think the difference, at least tonight, was that Jenn honestly seemed like she was trying to sing those lyrics, and Thomas was singing a boy band anthem because he thought it would give him an edge with young girl voters. He was being calculating and was obvious about it. Jenn was invested and believed what she was singing.
        At the least, I thought Jenn won the quirk-off with Jevene Rose Mitchell. And I liked her jeweled eyebrows. What? Shiny things are fun.

      • Night Owl says:

        For me, it’s the whines. Jenn always seems like she’s whining. I get that there are times that a whine in your voice can add flavor, but it just seems overdone to me.

        • Tom22 says:

          I think her whines might be sincere but I don’t like whines. Too much victim-hood around these days. I like the sassy, “f you” I’ll do things my way and enjoy it” approach to life from artists (ala “what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” , “shake it off – haters gonna hate” , “all about that bass” etc).

          • Night Owl says:

            Agreed. That’s really what I meant by that. Not that she is overdoing it on purpose and thus insincere, but that it’s just too much. A little whine at an appropriate time, can enhance. For me, she basically has a lot of whine in her voice, and I just don’t enjoy it, even if it is sincere.

      • Somebody says:

        Okay–I actually like Jenn, but there’s a definite “sneakers squeaking on the gym floor” thing that happens at the front of most of her phrasings. Even I was getting a bit annoyed about it last night.

    • Eric S says:

      I loved the Cranberries reference. I chuckled for a minute after that because younger people probably didn’t have any clue who he was referring to. That tic is annoying and hopefully that is his downfall.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      The Cranberries reference was one of the highlights of the evening. for me personally the 90s were the worst music of all time. Rap, hip-hop, grunge, a whole bunch of songs with no melody, “complaint rock”, with all of it culminating in the horribleness that was The Boy Bands. No thanks. I actually listened to a lot of country that decade.

      • Maria says:

        Yes to every single word of your post.
        I was lucky enough to grow up in the 70’s and 80’s. I went to high school from 83-87. So fortunate to live through 2 decades of some of the BEST music ever.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Me as well, although I was about ten years behind you. In my opinion music improved drastically in the 2000s and isn’t too bad now, although I sure miss electric guitars!

          • Var says:

            The best ever period in American music was the mid-50s when rock and roll hit and jazz, blues, and rockabilly were all flying high. After that the late 60s into the early 70s was the next best era. In recent years I like the bands who try to capture those root sounds from yesteryear..

          • Tyler says:

            My favorite decade were the 80s. I just liked the whole New Wave thing. 1983 really stands out to me: The Police (Synchronicity), David Bowie (Let’s Dance), Eurythmics (Sweet Dreams), Michael Jackson (Thriller), Men Without Hats (Safety Dance), Talking Heads (Speaking In Tongue), B-52s (Rock Lobster), etc.

        • Night Owl says:

          I graduated high school in 82.

      • Night Owl says:

        lol OMG, I’m not the only one that went country in the 90s and for much of the same reasons? Seriously, I completely empathize.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Apparently not, but my husband has us beat by a mile. He went country when disco got popular and Lynyrd Skynyrd went down in the plane crash.

          • Night Owl says:

            I had always listened to some country, but the 90s pushed me over the country edge.

          • Night Owl says:

            I can understand that. There was a similar drastic change at that time as well.

          • Graduated high school in 86. The music of the 80’s was great! Gotta love all those one hit wonders during that time. But when the music went bad, I turned to the grunge and alternative music! We sure are showing our age lol!

          • Night Owl says:

            Agreed Fan. I’m just glad to know that other music lovers noticed that mainstream music took a pretty bad turn in the 90’s. I have to agree with Darcy’s comment that it seemed to recover in the 2000’s, but The 90’s will always be known as my country conversion years, lol.

      • LizzyB says:

        I don’t know. There were some good bands out of the UK I liked back then: the Verve, Oasis, Blur, Stone Roses, Garbage, etc. I also liked White Zombie, Nirvana (they really came out in the ’80s), Alice in Chains and some other US bands. There was good old-school rap back then too.

    • Allie says:

      YES!!!! Loved the Cranberry comment. That kid drives me nuts.

  2. Kaba says:

    Your ratings are about the same as mine only I’d bop Sonika up to an A and Mackenzie and A+

    Sonika, Mackenzie, Jenn, Avalon, Manny are the only 5 I’m willing to be okay with advancing to the top 10.
    Absolutely not’s? Gianna, Jeneve and the Yipper
    Idgaf’s? Tristan and Lee

    • JM says:

      An A+ for Mackenzie? I don’t know. He seemed to mumble the words way more this time than the first time he performed this song. Love the song though.

    • Night Owl says:

      For me, it’s Mackenzie, Avalon, Sonika and Manny. For the other 2, it’s like ok who will be the cannon fodder? They should have kept Shelbie and Stephany IMO. At least I’d be able to pick 6.

  3. Florence+TheMachineRulez!!! #TeamMariah says:

    Sonika, Mackenzie, Avalon, and Jenn won the night for me!!! I voted multiple times for each one!!! They really separated themselves from the pack

  4. Christian says:

    Tbh, seeing all of the contestants that performed today made me really miss La’Porsha, Olivia, Trent, and Dalton

  5. Andres says:

    My top six for the night are makenzie Manny avalon Sonika Jen and jenive. Hopefully the make it through. And I’m happy Harry made the comment about the squeaking but that could have been used previously. Here is to hoping America chooses right.

    Also I am still missing shelbe z

  6. Eurydice says:

    I don’t care – it was worth everything just to hear HCJ finally say something about Stringfellow’s squeaking.

    • Gailer says:

      A little too late IMHO . He’s the one who put these singers through in the first place

      • HeartMN says:

        I agree, it was a disservice to Stringfellow to not say something sooner.

      • Eurydice says:

        I can’t imagine that something wasn’t said to him sooner, either by the vocal coaches or Scott, who has no problem with hurting people’s feelings. And with all the heavy editing and obvious pimping, I’ve never believed that the judges have all that much say over which contestant gets put through. I think Stringfellow was a producer favorite until they decided he wasn’t a favorite any more, and then it became OK to criticize him.

        • AlyB says:

          They gushed over pretty much everyone except him. That yipping is super annoying and I agree they must’ve had the vocal coaches working with him on it. He did seem to manage to control it a lot better than before. My hubby thinks the reason he got critiqued while the others got a pass is that he was warned about it and ended up doing it anyway. Since they hadn’t made an issue of it publicly before, they gave him a chance to correct it privately but when he yipped his way through the end they had to say something publicly. I think they took a lot of heat from viewers for not bringing it up on the show before.

  7. Trent says:

    The only things I loved from tonight were: the judges mostly making the right choices (would’ve swapped Mackenzie with Dalton though); Harry FINALLY acknowledging Thomas’ habit; and Mackenzie

  8. KArt says:

    Yet they keep Gianna and Thomas who can’t really sing and send home
    Jessica Cabral who could’ve won this easily. Afterall This is idols last season. Overall I say a MacKenzie and Olivia final 2.

    • The Beach says:

      Man, JLo really is pushing that Gianna girl for no apparent reason. Her mama must have some juicy dirt on the Jersey Girl because she definitely shouldn’t be there.

      • Mary says:

        Well hopefully the voters took care of it and she will be gone. As long as Avalon makes it I really don’t care who else gets through to the top ten. Olivia and Avalon are my top two the rest do nothing for me. Sonika has a beautiful voice but she is another Pia for me and I don’t see her lasting too long. I do like the fact that this is not gender bias because I do believe we will have more females than males in the top ten. The only Male from last night who warrants a spot is MacKenzie.

    • Joe R says:

      I will never get over the Jessica Cabral dismissal. Never. Biggest blunder in Idol history.

    • das.bananas says:

      She’s still gone. Turn off the tv and imagine her.

  9. CK says:

    I want to see Sonika, Mackenzie, and Avalon go through. There rest could go either way. I wanted to add Jenn Blosil to that list, but she’s hasn’t impressed me vocally since Hollywood week. Gianna and Tristan gave passable performances, nothing to match the praise and hype that they’ve gotten over the past weeks and the fact that they’ve constantly been given passes for lesser work. I’m never going to get Jeneve. Thomas and Lee Jean need to take some time off and maybe try out for the voice in 2 years.

  10. Denise says:

    What?! Jenn irritated the tar out of me, horrible.

    • JayNC says:

      Me too – a poor imitation of Joey Cook, who I didn’t like that much either.

      • das.bananas says:

        No, jenn is nothing like joey cook, other than that they are both petite white girls that make unconventional creative choices. To say jenn is immating is a terrible assessment. both are really great (or terrible, depending on your perspective) for different reasons.

    • BobL says:

      Agree; Jenn is so affected and all over the place vocally. How could Harry say that it was a flawless vocal?! Jenn and Jeneve both need to go. Avalon, Sonika and Lee Jean for me. Lee is unlike any contestant they’ve had. I think he is very musical and has a very pleasing and authentic quality to his singing.

    • Night Owl says:

      Sorry, but I have to agree. She did nothing for me.

  11. Becky says:

    I have been looking for Reality Check this week, did I miss it somehow?

    • SaraPo says:

      i asked the same thing on monday and someone told me Michael tweeted that he was sick this week, so they didn’t film one :(

      • Kayk says:

        Thanks for the info. I have been looking for it several times a day for the last few days. I miss Slezak and Melinda this week! Get well soon!

  12. Mak says:

    Boy what nasty pills have you been taking? I thought that overall the quality of the singing was pretty good tonight compared to the last weeks. You might be getting a bit jaded. I saw a star in Tristan’s performance (remember Carrie the wooden idol?). Same goes for Sonika. Both have such stunning voices. And this is coming from one whose favorite idol of all is Mindy Do!

  13. Logan says:

    Anyone else really not like MacKenzie Bourg? I loved Avalon and Sonika. The rest I could take or leave..

    Jeneve, Gianna, and Manny need to go. As for the 4th? Lee or Thomas.

    • Timmah says:

      Not a fan of Bourg or his song. All I heard was “mumble mumble mumble mumble ROSES ARE RED mumble mumble mumble”.

      • Miscellaneopolan says:

        He had stage presence and it was interesting to watch, but yeah, I couldn’t understand half the words. That HAS to matter. I’m pretty sure he was trying to get a girl out of a dress, but I was very fuzzy on the particulars.

        • Timmah says:

          Oh yeah, there was something about taking off a girl’s dress at the end, at least as far as I could tell through the mumbling. Imagine the fit that Harry would have thrown if it was a young girl singing those lyrics.

      • Jaszy says:

        The song is just okay. I’ve heard numerous songs like that before and the lyric “roses are red” is not that original. I think MacKenzie’s overrated. I’m glad he was sent home on the Voice. I just don’t think these teeny-bopper girls will let him go though. Olivia Rox MUST win!

      • Susan says:

        Have to say …. not a fan of Bourg, songwriter yes/entertainer NO

    • jr. says:

      I really don’t like MacKenzie’s singing at all! Really the judges had correctly chose the best four contestants in the begining. They should just eliminate the rest right off of the a bat, and just let those four compete in an even much shorter season of American Idol.

      • MamaLis says:

        I don’t know if I’m with you on the much shorter season, but you have a great point on just getting to the final four. To be fair, I’m not sure who that 4th slot will be. I was a bit surprised it was even Trent. But barring a MAJOR screw-up, you can bet it’s gonna be the other three at the end.

      • LH says:

        All I can think of when MacKenzie Bourg takes the stage is the also ran from the Voice that was a cross between Justin Beiber and Harry Potter.

      • Mary says:

        That is debatable. I would have picked Avalon over all of them except Olivia. LaPorsha great voice not marketable and shows no originality. Trent facial expression are to annoying for my taste but does have a nice voice. I do not see what people find entertaining about Dalton. Weak singer and jumping around on stage doesn’t make him good. But I guess I am not the demographic for him.

        • Lyn says:

          For the most part, I agree with you. The exception is Avalon. To me she’s a mall rat with a weak voice. As for Dalton, his voice isn’t anything sensational, but he has a natural charisma that sparkles even in a crowd. He’s not a spectacular singer, but he does have star power.

    • Scout says:

      Mackenzie is just so ordinary to me. I’d like his song better if Ed Sheeran were singing it, I think. I agree with Avalon and Sonika – proving they deserve be there. I wish everyone else who sang tonight would go.

    • 1 of 14 says:

      You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

  14. Antonio says:

    What was the name of the song that “Avalon sang tonight & who was the artist?

  15. Holly says:

    It looks like the stylists have finally gained access to the contestants, and you can tell who really listened! Kudos to Avalon for wearing a little makeup. Obviously, she really wants this and at age 21 she is mature enough to listen to good advice. She still looked very natural and true to herself, but also much more appealing and pretty. Apparently Jeneve did NOT listen, but I still like her. She is so unusual, has a really good voice, and IMO has the most growth potential of all. She is going to have to take some guidance from the stylists though. I have no more patience for the “Toy Story” look – LOL! All in all, the two who stood out as very relevant artists with a definite future were Avalon and Mackenzie, so I hope to see them in the top 10.

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      I actually thought Gianna benefited the most from the stylists. Her hair looked a lot better, for instance, although her vocal was lame as ever.

    • marie says:

      Oh, really, who cares what they look like? Can they SING, THAT’S the only important thing! (And I guess it is ONLY the young ladies who should be critiqued for their appearance, then?) Sorry, but your comment really hit a nerve.
      SO glad Harry called out Thomas for his squeaking. One of the most honest moments I’ve witnessed on Idol in years.
      I’d have substituted Avalon or Mackenzie for Dalton; otherwise, good call on the automatic advances.

      • Red says:

        I disagree. The whole package is what’s required these days. Looks matter because concert tix don’t sell if there’s no visual appeal.

  16. JayNC says:

    As long as Avalon and Sonika get through I will be happy. Mackenzie, Lee, Thomas are ok. Manny I usually like but not tonight, no. If Jeneve, Jenn, Gianna, and Tristan get voted off I will be thrilled. Not sure how they got this far anyway.

  17. PaoloAKhan says:

    Honestly, i only want to see Avalon and Sonika advance, i guess mackenzie and jenn will also advance although i really don’t get mackenzie (we don’t need another kris allen/lee dewyze/nick fradiani)
    The other two spots would be a toss up for me, i personally would love to see Manny in the top 10. Apparently straight girls just dont get Manny but i can bet you that hundreds of gays out there found him to be really hot (including me! lol!)
    I really don’t care about the 10th as long as it’s not Thomas and Jeneve !

  18. JM says:

    I agree with the judges top 4. Mackenzie, Sonika and Avalon were the standouts to me. But I also threw a few votes Jenn and Tristan’s way, because I do not want to see Gianna, Geneve or Thomas make it. It’s a toss up between Manny and Lee–don’t really care either way.

  19. MamaLis says:

    I’m starting to lose the enchantment with Avalon. What kind of CD can she do? Yes she hits most of the notes, but the tone…… I was listening tonight and it’s just not.. rich or beautiful. In fact it seems rather nasaly.

  20. Puchinsmom says:

    Manny is just nothing to me. I don’t get it. He’s cute, his voice is decent, but he’s not special at all. I like Avalon a lot, although I’m not always lovin’ her favored type of music. But I can see her being popular. She did look great tonight.
    Ok, don’t anyone throw things at me, but I really liked Gianna tonight. She has a great voice, and seemed to connect with the lyrics better tonight. And they seem to have succeeded in keeping a lid on mom.
    I also missed hearing the fast pass four. But I thought most of the contestants did pretty well. That wasn’t live, was it?

    • BobL says:

      I have to grudgingly admit that Gianna sounded a lot better tonight than the first time she sang that song. I still don’t think she should advance, but, yes, she was a lot better.

    • Smokey says:

      No it wasn’t live, it was filmed yesterday but the voting only opened after the show tonight. Spoilers were out of who the 4 were that got the “pass”, late last night. But I don’t think anyone posted them, so that is good, better to just watch the show.

    • danin says:

      Yes, I think Gianna has a strong voice.
      .a good spite of my feelings about her mom/Jen favoritism connection.

    • Ben says:

      Seriously… Gianna a D+ and Avalon (Avril lavigne meet Juno) an A- based in those performances?… NO. I don’t like Gianna… but she was at least as good as Avalon (both were flat and boring for me).

  21. Jack says:

    Ummm scam. Anyone else notice that Manny appeared to react to being called first to sing BEFORE Ryan called his name?

  22. shannon says:

    Avalon? A-. That was the worse solo of the night. Talk about bias. What are you listening to that you can give her an A-. At least you got the gianna part right. Gianna, avalon, jeneve and that blows I’ll girl shouldn’t even be in the top 24 much less the top 10

    • Mary says:

      Isn’t it amazing how music is so subjective because I gave her a A+. Top one for me and I don’t really care for that song. For me none of the guys should advance tonight except maybe MacKenzie. Not my top pick but I did like his original song.

      • Ben says:

        Well.. the thing is that some people are a waaaay too subjective when they like the person. IMO Avalon was completely flat and high school-ish in her performance.

        In the average show that we saw, even with the low bar that give a deserved A to MacKenzie, Avalon was max a B-. Perfection is equal to an A… anybody saw perfection in Avalon’s performance? (or any other performance?)… I don’t.

  23. LINDA GATTE says:

    This Louisiana man wrote his own song and didn”t copy someone material. He sang it with his soul and heart. He has his own style and very talented.

  24. Tyanna says:

    Michael… I know you have a issue with the 15 year olds and how some may be less talented than the older contestants but COME ON!! Tristan’s voice was great on What hurts the most. SHe was rarely off pitch and was in tune the entire time; plus her runs were well executed. At least a B-

  25. Tim says:

    While I love Avalon’s personality and think she does a nice job of staying in tune most of the time, I really, really don’t care for her voice. The tone is much too nasal. There’s no way I’d give tonight’s performance an A-. Song choice alone would knock that down a letter grade.

  26. JB says:

    My rankings from tonight:

    ~ the great
    1. Sonika
    2. Mackenzie
    ~ the good
    3. Avalon
    ~ the pretty good
    4. Tristan
    ~ the ok
    5. Lee
    6. Gianna
    ~ the boring
    7. Manny
    ~ the annoying
    8. Thomas (omg, so affected and annoying. I don’t care how cute he is)
    ~ the awful
    9. Jeneve (awful, but better than I thought it was gonna be)
    10. Jenn (what is wrong with everyone, she’s atrocious!!!)


    Making it thru for sure: Mackenzie, Avalon, Sonika
    Definitely No: Manny
    Maybe: Lee, Tristan, Jenn, Jeneve (the latter two because America is the land of morons who vote for people like Trump)
    Slight Chance: Gianna, Thomas

    • Tyanna says:

      I agree with this entire list

    • Puchinsmom says:

      JB, I got a lol out of your morons who vote for Trump remark! Thanks. ( plus my initials are JB).

    • das.bananas says:

      Morons vote for jen and jeneve? Funny joke, you think you’re the enlightened one. funny that you think making anything meaningful in music that is appealing for longer than five seconds is about how good someone sounds. A moron is someone with shallow taste and a short attention span. Sonika is a robot and most others in this competition can only try to do what occurs to jenn naturally. Sure jenn’s vocal acoustics are imperfect (which is why her voice is so great), but where she is unmatched in this competition is her ability to actually express a lyric in her own voice and presence without relying on rehashed theatrics and shallow crowd pleasing gestures. Also she can write music extraordinarily well too. there are no artists in pop music and american idol needs to be buried deep in the ground and never spoken of ever again. Respectfully, your list is crap.

      • Kayk says:

        I felt that the 2 huge glopped-on distracting stripes of glitter (or whatever that craziness was!) where her eyebrows used to be was the ultimate example of relying on theatrics, gone terribly wrong.

    • Don says:

      I mostly agree with this list, except that I didn’t think Jenn was that bad. I would have ranked her 7th, just above Manny. I would also reverse Gianna and Lee. I thought she gave what was easily her best performance of the season, while he sucked most of the emotional impact out of Let it Rain. But overall, I would be happy with your top 6 going through.

    • Toba7 says:

      Agree totally.

    • JB Hahahaha Morons who vote for trump. LOL Love it. Feel the Bern!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Eleanor says:

      Or the morons who vote for Hillary Clinton. To me the best ones tonight were Avalon, Sonika and Mackenzie.

  27. Tyanna says:

    Avalon has great vibe to her demeanor. However, he voice was really flat throughout, you could tell she was straining her voice

    Gianna-” I put a Spell on you” is a crazy person song (said Melinda Doolitle). You can’t sing it pretty. YOu have to commit to the theatrics of the song for the performance as a whole to work. Pick lighter songs tht fit you voice and most importantly, personality.

    Lee Jean-His voice has gotten better, but still needs work. He needs to work on expanding his vocal range and working around cracks of weak voice (he is 16- so his voice is changing). He also needs to work on perfecting his runs, because they fall flat and force him to go off pitch. Potential

    Mackenzie has a Great song! His voice is really suited for acoustic pop/rock genre

    Sonika-Her voice is gorgeous and sang this song really well, an Celine Dion is not an easy to sing. She connected with the lyrics and had more movement on the stage. Good job

    Jeneve-Emotionally sound. Vocally, she was very pitchy and her voice sounded strained. Maybe the key was too low.

    I love the tone of her vice and her upper range. However, she needs to work to stay in tune, especially in low notes. It was pitchy throughout. Consistency is key Jenn

    • Somebody says:

      Wait–so you said that Avalon was flat and Tristan wasn’t? I’m not sure you know what flat means.

    • Erica says:

      I can’t believe Slezak didn’t mention Quentin! Just the juxtaposition between Gianna singing “I Put a Spell on You” and Quentin from last season singing the same song is just…. I mean, Gianna tried to be angry and sassy but that’s not what the song is.

      Quentin’s performance was dramatic and haunting and sad and full of longing, and had me clutching my heart the moment he opened his beautiful eyes. Quentin put a lot more theatrics and creepiness into that performance and like you said that’s what the song needs. (Can you tell I was on board with Quentin Slezak-steered crazy train?)

  28. joy says:

    I’ll be patiently waiting for Jenn to get cut. I know it won’t be this week but it will happen! It felt like fingernails going across a chalk board to me. Before it only sounded like she was standing on a cat’s tail but this week she upped the screeching to me.

  29. E Rodgers says:

    Who got my votes:
    10 each (they gave the best performances & I really want them to remain in the competition): MacKenzie Bourg, Avalon Young
    5 each (they gave decent performances tonight & deserve to make the top 10): Gianna Isabella, Tristan McIntosh, Lee Jean, Sonika Vaid
    0 each (I’m ready for them to go home): Jeneve Rose Mitchell, Thomas Stringfellow, Manny Torres, Jen Blosil
    I would have given negative points to Thomas Stringfellow if it were possible. Thank you, HKJ, for informing Mr. Stringfellow about his habit.

  30. Smokey says:

    This show is not totally about singing skills, voice range, sailing through a song on-pitch, etc. If it were, Elise Testone, for instance, would have easily won her season rather than PP Jr. But PP was more “popular” among the voters overall. — and has done well in the music business since ………..And some very good singers will get sent home soon, especially on the girls side, unfortunately…… Even doing a great job on a good song in a pretty dress with proper make-up, won’t always save them over a fun-loving mediocre singer, in tattered jeans, singing moderated rap, that doesn’t worry too much about whether they win or not.

    • Jaszy says:

      I’m glad you brought up Elise Testone. I LOVED her! She definitely deserved to win that season! 6TH place! Are you kidding me! She was amazing! Everything about her was amazing. I’m still irked at that decision.

  31. Joe R says:

    For our first chance at finally voting, we get regurgitated songs? What has happened to Idol? I am not inspired by any of these 14 contestants. I reach the poll at the end of these articles and I’m like, “Ummmmm…no one?” This just may be the worst season of Idol ever.

    • Guy says:

      Seriously. Idol should’ve gone out with a bang, instead it’s just lurching towards its death. This season is pathetic.

      • analythinker says:

        I have some sort of attachment with Idol because David Cook is my favorite musician ever, so it pains me to say this, but I agree with you. The whole thing feels like a joke and it’s bordering insulting to the contestants and they used to be the center of attention.

        • Guy says:

          Agreed. To be honest, I haven’t watched as much in the last few years, ever since the the judges and producers tried to destroy Haley Reinhart. But I wanted to be more invested this year because I used to be such a huge fan and I thought it would be a great final season. Not only has it been insulting to the contestants (who I have to sadly admit are an overall mediocre bunch), it’s insulting to all the fans. I can’t believe this is how Idol is going out.

  32. I’d eliminate Manny, Giana and Jeneve. I really don’t get Jeneve. She’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. The other nine were solid, including Thomas Stringfellow, who was the best I’ve seen him. Maybe I’m getting used to the squeak. Or maybe I just realized how much he looks like Eddie Redmayne and I like that. I hardly know who else I’d eliminate. I’m a big Lee fan, even though he wasn’t his best tonight. Sonia might not go through just because she’s so old fashioned in her song choice and not creative enough in her delivery. But I”ll be sorry to see any of the nine I like go home, and miffed if more than one do.

  33. AlyB says:

    The only good thing about the retreads was getting to hear MacKenzie’s song again. I really like it! Maybe it was 1st night up for votes jitters but no one really blew me away tonight. I’m happy with the 4 that got the fast passes. My picks (and votes) to move forward went to 1)MacKenzie 2) Avalon 3) Sonika 4) Lee Jean 5) Jenn 6) Tristan Can’t wait to hear what they have in store for us next.

  34. analythinker says:

    Well, at least there’s still so many Ed Sheeran songs Lee could sing in the upcoming weeks…

  35. Dawson says:

    I honestly don’t understand everyone’s infatuation with Dalton. He’s a watered-down Brendon Urie with a bratty attitude, and people only vote for him because of his blue eyes. If Idol really wanted to produce a successful bookend to Kelly Clarkson, they’d look at the winners that have done the best and see what they had in common. Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks. All women with beautiful voices. The white guys with guitars NEVER do well (with the exception of Philip Philips), yet America is willing to eat them up for weeks on end and then just drop any interest with them once the show wraps. It’s idiotic.

    • Jaszy says:

      I don’t get the hype either. His voice is average at best. Take away the music, and just let him sing acapella, it doesn’t sound too good. How they gushed over him last week was mind-boggling,
      Olivia Rox FTW!

    • Somebody says:

      Yeah, nowhere /near/ as good as Brendon Urie. I think his attitude is fine, though. I think he’s likable. He certainly has a marketable look and good stage presence. Vocals have never been his strong suit, however. He’s totally unremarkable in that area–not a particularly strong or engaging voice and rarely does anything too interesting with his delivery or arrangement.

    • Yeah, Dalton’s voice isn’t the best, but so far his delivery is. He’s made interesting choices, which isn’t all that impressive in Idol 15, but he really gets with it and interprets the song in unusual ways. He commits and has a real joy in singing that makes his performance fresh, and ,considering all the recycling that goes on with Idol and other shows, that’s appreciated. Yes, his eyes are stunning, but he puts the song over, and that’s really the thing. Beauty, even in men on Idol, is not going to carry the day. I doubt if he’ll win, though.

    • The Superficial Man says:

      I am with you on not getting the Dalton love. Kelly and Carrie are by far the most successful of the 14 people who have won Idol yet they are the ONLY two white females who gave won. Any theories why white females never win anymore ? ( you could say the same about black males on the show )

  36. Jaszy says:

    Get rid of those teenybopper boys Lee and Thomas! Their voices are awful. Lee was OBVIOUSLY struggling on all of his high notes. He could barely hit them! Vote him off, people! He’s not a bookend to the magnificent Kelly Clarkson.
    Also, get rid of Stringfellow. He is DEFINITELY not a bookend to Kelly Clarkson.
    Come on people, we’re talking about voices that can match if not surpass the greatest winners to come from this show: Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia Barrino.
    OLIVIA ROX must win! Her voice is STUNNING!

  37. SoozinCA says:

    They talk about the break or squeak in Thomas’ voice which isn’t unexpected in a guy his age, but nobody mentions that even more pronounced effect in Jenn’s voice that to my ears is like fingernails on a chalkboard. I can’t listen to her more than 30 seconds. As long as she is in I will have to record and watch afterwards so I can fast forward her performances. I was happy with 3 of the 4 judges picks, but would have put MacKenzie in rather than Trent.

  38. Don says:

    I thought Avalon, Mackenzie and Sonika were the best of the night. Gianna showed the most improvement and Tristan had a bit of a comeback after being fairly bad last week, so I’d like to see them get another chance. I don’t really care which of Jenn, Lee or Manny takes the sixth spot, as long as Thomas and Jeneve go home. Those two were actually painful to listen to.

  39. Brandon says:

    I would send Lee Gianna Thomas and jeneve home because they are the weakest or I would still be good if they send manny Lee jeneve Gianna and I think sonika definitely gave the best performance of the night

  40. Kayk says:

    OK, Michael Slezak, the curly fries/tater tots thing in your Gianna comment was unbelievably hilarious! What a great analogy! :)

  41. James says:

    Manny, Thomas and Lee all have underwhelming performances, especially Lee.

  42. David says:

    Mackenzie, Avalon, Sonika and Jenn are the only ones I’ll put through. I’ll be happy for the show to go straight to top 8 and just eliminate the rest…. I still haven’t seen Tristan give one decent performance; the whole thing was off key from the start, and what’s the deal with her suddenly wanting to be a country artist?

  43. I’m not sure what to think anymore. Enjoyed Avalon and Mackenzie. I wish Sonika sang something different. Don’t get Jen at all and you would of thought they would have worked with Thomas. Not sure what to make of Jeneve, but she is interesting. I believe Gianna is there because her mom is an old friend of JLo’s. yada yada yada….

  44. dsrbroadway says:

    Sonika has a pretty voice, but I feel like she’s always like a deer in headlights performance-wise, so I never feel invested in her delivery. Plus, I’m still not over her dismissal of that girl in Hollywood Week.

    Not sure I get Jenn. Feel like they’re hoping to get that “quirky voice” slot filled that whatserface was so rightfully popular last year.

  45. Toba7 says:

    Doesn’t anyine remember Alex Preston singing Story of My Life? Impeccable! Great voice, great musician and it seems that the judges were told to keep him from winning… gave “lack of enthusiasm ” the way they did to Clark Beckham so that sleazy Scott could sign cute, boring Nick.

  46. darcy's evil twin says:

    Well, that was … interesting. I’m not sure add anything to what Mr. Slezak wrote. His critique was pretty much spot on. Why didn’t we get new songs? Good grief.
    I detest this format. The four “fast passes” were no surprise, although I wondered for a moment if they would choose Avalon or LaPorsha.
    Manny’s performance was really good but for some reason he seems so cheesy to me. I just can’t quite put my finger on it.
    I thought Avalon looked cute – her hair was pretty, she wasn’t overly made-up, and she seems so relaxed on stage.
    Sonika needs to sing something a bit more uptempo. I loved her dress.
    Tristan, Tristan, Tristan – honey, you are writing checks your voice can’t cash.
    And NOW they decide to say something to Thomas Stringfellow about his weird pronunciations and snap, crackle and pop voice.
    As much as I hate to say it, I agree with Mr. Slezak about Jeneve, although I did not enjoy her change to the melody of “Ring of Fire”.
    And as much as I hate to admit it, Mackenzie Bourg, whom I am not wild about, was one of the best of the night.

  47. Nigel says:

    Hmm, I thought Avalon did better than Mackenzie really, even Mackenzie is an easy second. And Sonika’s pitch was spot on perfect actually, even though i still agree with the letter grade. I found jeneve’s performance to be much better than the previous time she did ring of fire, and i thought the performance was quite stellar. Her tone has really improved

  48. Woodmeister says:

    Two things annoyed me more than the singing, although some of that was very annoying indeed. One thing was that many of the contestants sang a song that they did only a week or so ago. How do you judge “growth” or “potential” if the person is singing the same bloody song every second week. In the case of Gianna it was a huge step backward imo. Same for Janeve Rose although I like her tone more than Gianna’s.

    The other thing is JLo’s pronouncement that Gianna was her #5. I don’t think that was fair to either Gianna or the other singers, especially those who sang right after her. Just a blatant biased manipulation of voters.

  49. Mark says:

    If this was an normal year for Idol we could take the lackluster performances and “finding your way” in stride. Same for the repeat performances.

    As it is, why would anyone want to watch Manny’s Master Blaster twice when you can replay Quentin’s much better version from last year on Youtube? Once is enough, thank you.

    This year just looks overblown and kind of boring. Perhaps next week one of the contestants will break out and give us a reason to vote. Michael, pls. wake me if that should happen.

    Meanwhile hope your voice is back to normal for next week’s video with Melinda whose Idol stock keeps going up the closer we get to seeing the full span of performances over these many years.

  50. jenni lennox says:

    I’m so impressed by Mackenzie. His original song sounded better than everyone else’s covers of existing songs. I think he should have been in the four the judges put through instead of Olivia. She’s good but not as good as him. I find her voice a bit shouty but I’m willing to give her more chances to see if she gets better as the show goes along.

    • Jaszy says:

      You’re crazy. Mackenzie’s generic. He’s nothing special. Olivia should have been the FIRST name that they called to get the Fast Pass. That girl’s going places!
      Olivia Rox FTW!