American Idol Recap: Reel Talk

The first signs of mutiny aboard the U.S.S. American Idol surfaced during Wednesday night’s Top 8 performance telecast, and not a moment too soon. As the Season 10 contestants tackled “Songs from the Movies,” James Durbin and Casey Abrams stood up and said “no” to Interscope chairman Jimmy Iovine and his wacky cartoon sidekick, choosing instead to forge their own imperfect paths in the competition. Whether or not their singular visions were successful, or whether they’ll lead to quick exits or carry them all the way to the Nokia at the end of May, is almost irrelevant at this point. Their passion — for musical self-expression; for independence from the tyranny of watered-down, test-marketed, Auto-Tuned production; for wanting to create the kind of “Idol Moment” that is always spontaneous and can never be manufactured or pre-planned — hopefully marked a turning point in a season that’s been long on talent but short on tears of joy and standing ovations from our living room couches.

Which isn’t to say that James or Casey — or any of their six competitors — produced jaw-droppingly exciting rearrangements in the vein of Blake Lewis’ “You Give Love a Bad Name” or Kris Allen’s “Heartless” or David Cook’s “Always Be My Baby.” Nor did any of them deliver the kind of gut-busting vocal interpretation of Fantasia’s “Summertime” or Adam Lambert’s “Mad World” or Brooke White’s “Let It Be.”

But after seven weeks of live performances, it’s clearly time for the Season 10 singers to break away from a team of “superstar producers” who’ve minimized the number of Sanjaya-level disasters, but who’ve also sandpapered down the rough and interesting edges that are often the hallmarks of great performers and performances.

And make no mistake: It’s not as if Team Interscope’s involvement has resulted in a massive uptick in quality among the weekly iTunes recordings. Takes Pia Toscano’s studio version “River Deep – Mountain High” from last week, where her absolutely fabulous vocal butts up against the plinkiest synthesizer and hollowest drums on record since the dawn of electronic music.

Then again, why am I surprised by this crime against Pia, when the Idol Machine seems hellbent on systematically crushing every woman in the competition — until Simon Fuller attempts to put the failure of From Justin to Kelly in the past, and forge ahead with his recently completed screenplay, Six Men and a Little Lauren. How else to explain the fact that Haley Reinhart was the lone contestant tonight to get any kind of constructive feedback from the judges’ panel? The other seven vocalists, according to Randy, J.Lo, and Steven, are apparently ready to start their sold-out arena tours. Tickets go on sale May 1! Somebody contact Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, and Daughtry and see if any of ’em might be interested in opening for Jacob Lusk this summer, okay? As for me, I’m gonna move on to discussing tonight’s very mixed bag of performances.

Paul McDonald: Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll”
“America, you just witnessed the first number at the Paul McDonald concert!” squealed Randy, and from the tone of his voice, it sounded like he meant it as a compliment. Surely the Dawg was kidding, in much the same way Will.I.Am was making a funny when he suggested Paul slide out onto the stage — Tom-Cruise-in-RiskyBusiness-style — to start his performance. Or the way Jimmy Iovine was trying to get a laugh when he suggested a beatboxing interlude (¡ai dios mio!) during an anthem that speaks directly to lovers of the classic-rock genre. Yeah, I know, Randy and the “helpful” mentors maintained straight faces when they made those remarks, but deep down, they had to be laughing, right?

Speaking of bottled-up feelings, I actually scribbled this exact note during Paul’s performance tonight: “Sickening feeling on the inside.” And I say this not as someone who wants to be overtly cruel, but as someone who has generally enjoyed Paul’s Idol oeuvre — and who has danced to “Old Time Rock and Roll” at a half-dozen Slezak Family weddings. But how else was I supposed to feel watching Paul up on the stage, dressed as “the Fourth Amigo” (to quote my Twitter follower @domlegaspi), hooting and staggering and playing his tambourine, his clipped and breathy vocal resembling something you might hear while the wedding band takes an intermission and Cousin Inebriated decides to have an unwanted turn at the mic? Idol pundits often dismiss Taylor Hicks as a joke for similar white-guy dancing and “Soul Patrol!” call-outs, but at least the Season 5 champ sang in tune.

Lauren Alaina: Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb”*
Breaking out the baseball terminology — I played one season of Little League, so I’m totes qualified — no one can say that Lauren struck out with her rendition of a Hannah Montana soundtrack ballad. But on the other hand, why did the judges stand up and cheer for what, in creative terms, was little more than a bunt? Sure, Lauren was in tune for most of the number (except for that botched glory note at the end), and yes, her song choice was age-appropriate for a change. But unlike her countrified take on “Candle in the Wind” two weeks back, Lauren brought nothing new or unexpected to “The Climb,” and even worse, didn’t imbue the track with any real sense of emotional commitment.

Instead of Jimmy and Will.I.Am spending their entire mentoring session embarrassing Lauren and turning two potential blocs of voters against her — Miley Cyrus and Pia Toscano fans, just remember it wasn’t Lauren who said she’s “a much better singer” than the multiplatinum former Disney queen or that she wanted to “steal” fans from last week’s shock evictee — I wish they’d had the wide-eyed teenager sit down and read the lyrics aloud, had her try to get in touch with the adversity and heartache central to the song. Without that, Lauren’s “uphill battle” seemed about as urgent as finishing an English essay on The Grapes of Wrath in time to watch Vampire Diaries on Thursday night. And that’s a shame. Because unlike, say, season 9 teens Katie Stevens or Aaron Kelly, I firmly believe Lauren has the pipes and the consistency to contend for the whole ball of wax. But without some carefully considered advice from Jimmy or the judges, how is she ever gonna move that proverbial mountain? (*”A great great song,” according to Randy Jackson. Ugh.)

Stefano Langone: Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road”
Poor Stefano has convinced himself that Jimmy Iovine’s steady stream of verbal abuse is a sign that the Interscope Records chairman cares about him. (Somebody needs to add J.Lo’s revenge fantasy Enough to his Netflix queue.) But everyone knows friends don’t let Idol contestant friends sing a song like “End of the Road,” which (apologies to all you Boyz II Men fans) is a giant slop bucket full of treacly sentimentality and vein-busting glory notes. Even worse, it’s got a title tailor-made for a tearful Idol exit performance.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Stefano’s inevitable ouster: The Little Wild Card Who Could got up on stage and gave his best performance since “I Need You Now.” Granted, it wasn’t perfect — Stefano essentially threw his entire bowl of vocal pasta against the wall, hoping something would stick with the voting public, and there were moments you could feel him pushing his voice to the point of being disagreeable. On the whole, however, the guy sounded pretty good, and decidedly passionate, on the kind of melisma-heavy ballad that’s not entirely my cup of vodka. I wish, though, that Randy or J.Lo had encouraged Stefano to try something upbeat next week, seeing how the dude has sung ballads for five consecutive weeks. Oh, and three other side notes: 1) Somehow, Stefano manages to look good in a white fedora; he might want to break one out on stage next week! 2) Could anyone else feel that eyeroll from Aretha Franklin when Randy name-checked “his boy” Wanya Morris of Boyz II Men as “one of the greatest singers in the known world.” 3) J.Lo’s advice to Stefano tonight (“stop singing to stay and start singing to win”) was very, very different — and not nearly as insightful — as what she said to him during Motown Week (“I don’t want [your] intensity to come from you wanting to do well. I want the intensity to come from because your heart is breaking.”) Is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World getting bad marching orders from Uncle Nigel, or is she determined to drive down her once-soaring stock as an Idol judge.

Scotty McCreery: George Strait’s ” I Cross My Heart”
Don’t get me wrong: Watching Idol wannabes decimate Jimmy Iovine’s massive ego is almost as funny as a one-two punch of Modern Family and Cougar Town. But Scotty was the one contestant this week who suffered from his decision to discard Jimmy’s advice and follow his own limited artistic path. I got more of a charge from those few seconds of Scotty practicing Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin'” than I did from his entire disconnected performance of George Strait’s “I Cross My Heart,” a mixed bag of nasal notes, overcooked twang, and trying to take the Idol cameras out behind the bleachers for a PG-13 good time. All I can say is the kid is lucky he had backup singers who didn’t mind lending a helping hand on the chorus.

This isn’t to say Scotty was terrible — not by any stretch of the imagination. And on some level, I understand Randy’s “if it ain’t broke, don’t even consider fixing it!” critique. After all, I think everybody knows Scotty is going to make a lot of money for the Team Idol before Dasher and Dancer gingerly make the rounds of our roofs in December. But isn’t it more than a little patronizing to tell the season’s sole country contender that artistic growth isn’t necessary? That country music fans don’t want anything deeper than a pleasingly deep voice and a Nice American Boy persona? That as a 17-year-old unsigned artist, he shouldn’t be pushing the outer edges of his comfort zone or attempting to surprise his fans with something new and unexpected?

Casey Abrams: Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy”
There’s no doubt in my mind that Casey’s will be the most polarizing performance of Movie Week. (My husband declared it best of the night, while my mom texted me to express her utter disdain for everything from Casey’s vocals to his facial tics.) But no matter what your stance is on the success or failure of “Nature Boy,” I think you have to give some credit to Casey for standing up to Jimmy Iovine and Will.I.Am, rejecting their strange choice of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight,” and choosing to live or die on his own creative decisions.

On the plus side, “Nature Boy” brought Casey back to the jazzy roots that made him a Hollywood Week standout. His beard meticulously groomed, his hair slicked into a side part, his clothes (including a cravat!) looking like they’d been dry-cleaned and ironed, not pulled pell-mell out of the hamper, Casey took the stage with his upright bass and presented a very intimate rendition of a song that’s older than he and Haley and Scotty combined. What’s more, Casey recognized the inherent flaw in Jimmy’s “if you whisper, no one will hear” argument: The greatest power you’ll ever know as a vocalist is when to hold back, when to make the audience lean in and hang on your every word, and when to blast them back into their seats with a power note. And it can’t be the latter all the damn time. Was “Nature Boy” a flawless performance, worthy of a Standing O from the judges? Probably not with a mid-verse phlegm-clearing, and those overly mannered exhalations. (Sorry, dude, “wise” doesn’t sound better when it’s pronounced “wyyy-zuh!”) And from a visual standpoint, Casey’s shameless mugging for the camera sometimes runs afoul of the message his voice is delivering. But whether or not you think he’s on the right path, at least it’s one that Casey chose for himself, and for that reason alone, I think he’s earned himself another week on the competition, if not the right to “educate” America about music.

Haley Reinhart: Blondie’s “Call Me”
“I don’t want any of the girls to go home!” whined J.Lo, after she and Steven and Randy finished piling moderate criticism on Haley’s scattered, uninventive cover of “Call Me.” [Thank goodness also has a seven-second delay, or the space between these two brackets would be filled with an all-caps display of obscenities.] My problem, of course, wasn’t that Haley deserved heaping portions of praise — her vocal merely colored in the lines of Debbie Harry’s original (using a sad, beige crayon) — but the fact that she apparently gave the only one of the evening’s eight performances about which the judges could find anything negative to say. I mean, if Paul’s sparrow-flying-into-plexiglass debacle showed that he’s “definitely an artist” (Randy) and proved that every week he’s a little more polished (J.Lo) then honestly, Haley’s performance should have ended with a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. And, hey, at least she gave the telecast a much-needed fashion jolt with her sequined “stained glass” minidress and thigh-high purple boots, right? Um, also, how come Jimmy was so passionate about steering certain contestants away from their original song choices, but didn’t even flinch when Haley picked a highly stylized ditty that was never going to showcase her impressive chops? You know things are dire when I’m theorizing that Uncle Nigel wants Haley booted so that either the show can ride another monstrous “Idol hates women” media cycle (to higher ratings? to deafening buzz? to hell?) or that it’ll make it easier for Lauren to sail to a glorious victory and make a million-bazillion dollars for the folks at the 19 Entertainment mothership.

Jacob Lusk: Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
If Jacob ends up in the bottom three this week, it won’t be because he sang the song badly, it’ll be because America didn’t want to look into the troubled water and see their own reflections. Badum-bum! Okay, I’m maybe a little bit evil: But I was hoping that after Jimmy chastised Jacob for his obnoxious comments on Top 9 Performance Night — “you’re gonna preach to 24 million people when you haven’t put out a record yet?”  — the contestant himself might find a way to apologize for his hubris. Instead, he sulked like a kid in the naughty corner, not at all sorry for his actions, just sorry for the fact that he got caught.

Okay, maybe I’m reading too much into Jacob’s body language, but after seven weeks of live performances, I’ve simply grown tired of his overwrought vocal affectations, the way every word and every note is drawn and quartered, doused in brandy and set on fire, slathered in five lbs. of makeup and two gallons of perfume, and shot out of a cannon with three tons of fireworks. The endless vibrato, the face-pulling, the complete lack of connection to the lyrics: It’s all 1-800-TOO-MUCH. And while “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was a study in merciful restraint compared to, say, “Alone” or “Man in the Mirror,” it was more remarkable for a series of sharp, unpleasant notes and a final, vicious run that was about as musical as a seal having its face torn off by a Great White shark. Naturally, Randy praised it as “perfect, perfect, perfect harmony.” Okay, Dawg, you win: I’M THE ONE HAVING MY FACE TORN OFF — BY JACOB’S GOD-LIKE AWESOMENESS. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?

James Durbin: Sammy Hagar’s “Heavy Metal”
Forgive me for railing against Jacob’s arrogance and then praising James for exhibiting a similar brand of braggadocio this week, but there is an important distinction between the two: James wasn’t looking into the camera and telling us his rendition of “Heavy Metal” was going to be the greatest thing since the invention of the electric guitar, he was merely demanding that Jimmy give him the chance to show the Idoloonie Nation exactly the kind of artist he wants to be. “Give metal a chance,” James implored with boyish enthusiasm, before hitting the stage with guest guitarist Zakk Wylde and gleefully hitting every note of a raucous number that, in Jimmy’s defense, didn’t have much of a hook. That didn’t make James any less entertaining as he leapt up on the judges’ table and howled like a (very musical) banshee, or when he did his trademark back bend during Wylde’s extended guitar solo. I can’t say this track is going to land in my iPod’s Top 200 Most Played tracks, but I appreciate that James knows his genre and knows how to communicate that to the record-buying public, but isn’t so set in his ways that he’s not willing to take huge risks in an effort to win over new fans and challenge himself in the process. I’m not sure I needed Randy to lamely repeat “Durbin rocks!” four consecutive times as he completed his critique, but that doesn’t mean I disagreed with his core sentiment. Okay, James, I’ll give metal a chance — as long as you keep nailing the vocals, and maybe picking tracks with a wee bit more melody. Might I suggest some “Round and Round” or “Photograph” or “Youth Gone Wild” or “Paradise City.” Girl, you didn’t know your Idol recapper could get down like that, didja?

And now, onto the letter grades for Top 8 Performance Night:
James Durbin: A-
Casey Abrams: B+
Stefano Langone: B
Lauren Alaina: B-
Scotty McCreery: B-
Haley Reinhart: C+
Jacob Lusk: C-
Paul McDonald: D+

What did you think of tonight’s performances? Who was your favorite? Who’ll be in the bottom three, and who will go home? Sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol news and commentary, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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  1. Chmarin says:

    Lilly Scott’s evil twin sister performed with Paul, Jacob once again looked like he was constipated while performing, and Lauren looked like a blow-up doll version of a 4-year-old competing on Toddlers & Tiaras. That’s my recap.
    Judges? What judges?

    • Allie says:

      You are my hero.

    • Jeannie says:

      Bravo. They need to replace Slezak with YOU.

      Except – I looove Paul. His teeth are fascinating. And his voice is scritch scratchy and it makes me feel all melty inside.

      I would also say that Scotty is McCreepy with all those faces he pulls. I can’t even pay attention to his voice anymore because his eyebrows are a-wagglin’ and his mouth is a-slantin’ no matter what he sings.

      • Michael says:

        No one is replacing Slezak. He’s the highlight of my Idol experience. They can, however, replace Randy, Jenn or Steven with Chmarin.

      • Aunt Sassy says:

        Seriously Jeannie? Here’s a suggestion – put down the Ben & Jerry’s, take off your pajamas and get that damn cat off your lap and go out and get laid. Seriously. If you enjoyed even a half-second of that god-awful mess called Paul – shiney teeth or not – you are seriously lame.

        • Thinks Paul and Aunt Sassy Both Suck says:

          Almost as lame as calling someone out anonymously in a comments section for having an opinion different from yours. Bravo, Aunt Sassy, you’re quite a piece of work.

        • Getting Tired of Idol says:

          Now that was funny!

        • sara says:

          Wow. If her liking of Paul is merely a symptom of sexual frustration, as you so expertly observed, I wonder what your heroic behaviour indicates? Douche.

        • Jeannie says:

          Awww Aunt Sassy! You are just adorable to care so much about my well being and opinion! **kisses**

      • DogBoy says:

        …Don’t forget his little T-Rex arms clutching the microphone.

        • have you seen Scott perform says:

          Are you talking about how PAUL holds the mic??? Have you not seen Scotty’s creepy two-handed caress??

      • adamziggied says:

        Paul wore that white suit so many times it turned black. And that was about as rock and roll as John Mayer would have been in Tommy. He’s got to go.

      • silkrose says:

        NOBODY…can replace Slezak…he’s the best!!!

    • Dallas says:

      Toddlers and Tiaras! Perfect! Seems the idols are pulled/pushed/contorted between pleasing Jimmy and pleasing the Three. Mixed messages are confusing them.

    • Michael says:

      Speaking of ensembles, does anyone else think that J-Lo needs to trim her “muff”? What on earth was that poofy mess?

    • Mick says:

      I know, right?!?! DEAD ON! I was thinking, why didn’t Lily Scott break out that sax when she was competing? She would have sailed past the Top 24 round! If we already had a former Idol contestant backup another Idol, surely, we could have another performer do the same for a current wannabe-Idol.

      Paul or Jacob really needs to go home! And Lauren needs to stop trying so hard. Good God Nigel, she’s only 16! Even if she doesn’t win, we know she will get a 19 record deal. She will probably sell millions of downloads with mindless pop hits over-produced by Will.I.Am and Jimmy, ft. Pitbull. We get it! However, adding rhinestones and 3 layers of false eyelashes to her 16 yo face just makes her look like a cheap version of Tammy Faye Baker. Okay!

      Nuff said!

    • funkycoldmedina says:

      Season 10 has officially become as boring & ho hum as Season 9 was…with the exception of Crystal Bowersox. I don’t honestly care who wins this season which is such a shame. I WANT to celebrate the launch of a “new star” but there just aren’t any, thanks to the overproduction of TPTB of these kids. I NEVER wish to hear Jimmy Iovine’s opinions on any subject and have never disagreed with anyone as much as I do him. The judges? Ridiculata is the keyword I associate with them. They are as useless as Paul McDonald’s tamborine. Speaking of Paul…the best part of his performance was his daddy long leg, super slide dance efforts specifically for the laugh value he graced us with! His vocals have diminshed to such a point that HE should bow out gracefully and get some serious treatment or he is in jeopardy of losing his vocal instrument completely. I feel an immediate urge to cough to loosen the knot of mucus that sounds like it is lodged in his throat throughout his entire performance. I don’t hate him…he’s probably one heck of a guy. It is a waste to continue to promote him when others of immense value (I can’t say who but her name starts with a P) are booted off, completely without Idol promotion to encourage voters to consider casting her a vote, unlike the cat scratch fever of Paul’s sick voice.

      James should definitely stick to Metal rock. Led Zepplin, G & R…he would do a good cover of Robert Plant…but is he or any of these contestants good enough to be a unique “artist” worthy of a competitive Itunes run? I don’t think so.

      All the kids seem like nice, and likeable people…but none of them possess and OUNCE of star quality. Not even a whisper of star shine inhabits their being. That said, Scotty has a so-so country sound that is completely underdeveloped. He is NOT the next best thing to a hot pan of cornbread. He is IMO a One-Trick-Low-Note. He should not do the “hold a note as long as he has breath” trick EVER, he should not “go high”.

      Jacob is another under developed singer. With proper coaching and training he could actually be a good back up singer…BUT would his ego allow himself to be coached??? Not with all of the plastic praise coming from the bejeweled fan group in the “judges booth”.

      Haley is an adequate singergirl. She is by no means a Carrie Underwood, K. Clarkson and can not come NEAR the greatness of Ms Allison Iraheta (who blows any teen singer away by miles and miles). But Haley has a big problem with song choice and an eager to please the big heads, I mean, big egos, I mean Jimmy Iovine…she has no idea what kind of artist she really is. And that is what is saddest of all…the lack of direction these kids are getting from the so called “experts” aka judges producers etc…

      Stefano seems to be the most likeable of all the contestants. His vocals leave me lacking any inspirition but I am starting to feel pretty sorry for him. I think he tries the hardest out of all the contestants to be the star that everyone expects to see, but it just isn’t happening.

      Casey should actually be VFTW golden child as he seems to make a mockery of everything American Idol stands for, and no matter how bad his vocals, no matter how creepy his facial expressions get, he can’t lose. There is no way I would fork over any of my hard earned money for a Casey Abrams album. But I might have paid to see him at a local comedy club. for real.

      Laura Alaina…There is ABSOLUTELY no connection between the songs she sings and her brain, her heart, her emotions or her facial expressions. NONE. And yet she slides by week after week with NO ONE pointing these things out to her. If anyone is robotic on that stage it is her. Even the spoiled little tykes on Toddlers and Tiaras have more personality and spunk in comparison. I think the producers made a big mistake opening up this competition to the young teens. They haven’t the life experience to emote the songs and reel us in. Im left empty. And never wanting more inspite of the empty feeling.

      American Idol season 10 = big FAIL

      • djm says:

        OMG!! I couldn’t agree more. If there was any justice in the world the bottom 3 tonight would be Paul, Lauren and Haley and ALL 3 of them would go home. Here’s my thoughts:

        Paul – OK, enough. Good god send that fool and his clown garb home already.

        Lauren – Is there a bigger BORE left on the show? No. Sorry, I could care less if she can sing every note – she looks like a scared kitten on that stage every week and there is ZERO passion in her voice or performance. bore Bore BORE

        Stefano – I agree – he tries harder than anyone on the show and I really want to love him, but something is stopping me. Maybe it’s the song selection?

        Scotty – I was SO THRILLED when he started “Everybody’s Talkin” and then he lost me with whatever that heinous song was. Sorry, but he is a one-trick pony and it annoys me that they called Pia out on it over and over and over again and haven’t said anything to him.

        Casey – HATED the beginning of the song and his vocal tics and facial expressions annoy me to no end, but I like that he’s at least brave and sticks to his guns.

        Haley – OK Haley, we get it – you think you look best when trying to act like a prostitute and sing. Sorry, but you just AREN’T THAT SEXY. Focus on your vocals honey and leave the sexy pouty thing to Playboy models. Thanks!

        Jacob – I honestly think he could have an amazing voice and find an audience but his EGO is just so off-putting. Well, that and he looks like a drag queen lip syncing for her life without the fabulous costume.

        James – Yeah, I guess it was ballsy and entertaining, but I think it was only because of who he’s competing against. In a previous season (say Season 8 for example) I don’t think anyone would be buying what he’s selling.

        The Judges – OMG – I can’t believe how much money these A$$HOLES are being paid to be so irrelevant. I mean seriously – they actually make more than Kim and her sisters and frankly they have more to offer than Randy, JLo and Steven. And that is scary.

        • funkycoldmedina says:

          @djm I so agree! Even the worst singers/competitors on Season 8 were better than the best of the current crop of contestants on Season 10. BUT…with all of the bad news happening in the world, I know I can tune in to Idol for a good laugh and some mindless entertainment…the kind that is in the category of laugh and point more so than for the thrill of seeing the “next great superstar”. Simon Cowell may have dished some harsh critiques, but he at least had the decency to tell someone they stink when they in fact DO. I;m personally getting tired of hearing Jimmy Iovine’s voice and seeing his squirrely face. And Nigel? How much more contriving can a producer be? Boring and boring…in that order specifically.

          • djm says:

            I guess that’s the key – adjust my expectations of what the show means to me. I used to be a HUGE Idol consumer – I’d download the songs as soon as they became available on iTunes and listen to them over and over and then buy the CD’s once they were released and now not so much. I think I downloaded like 5 songs last season and two were from Didi, so that shows you how invested I was in the season. I loved Crystal and hoped she’d win, but I still haven’t purchased her CD. So yeah, looking at it as a laugh rather than hoping to dicscover a new artist just might be the key. Oh, and I despise Nigel – he’s fine as a producers of So You Think You Can Dance but I do not like his fingers in Idol. And I don’t like Jimmy Iovine or that awful William person.

          • Brittany says:

            I really liked Didi last year, too!

      • Li-Li says:

        I love this post and the one that follows (from djm). I feel bad for these young, earnest contestants who have to go before the snarky Mr. Iovine and his “cartoon sidekick”, who seem to be mocking them, and not always so discreetly. No matter how great the careers of these two guys are, they have little to offer these eager contestants in the way of creative arrangements or interesting song choice. Phil Collins? The judges are so pathetic, I just forward through all of their comments because they are always the same. Seems apparent that J-Lo and Steven Tyler saw this judging opportunity as a big boost for their career (hello, is J-Lo EVERYwhere, or what?) and there is no way in hell they will ever say anything negative. Again, I miss Simon. Haley and Casey are the only 2 contestants that keep me watching this show. Next year I may finally give it up, unless they make some drastic changes.

      • CraigJ says:

        Well, you are really going to dislike that our savior, The X-Factor, is open to audition’s AGE 12 AND OVER!! Imagine having to watch 12 and 13 year olds night after night. Please Simon change this while you can and also America will love Cheryl Cole she MUST be on the panel. She may actually be the most beautiful girl in the world. I had no idea who she was until UK X-Factor but she could be huge star in USA. Hire Cheryl Cole America will love her men and women. As for Idol, Scotty is a lock for the finals, but he’s not my favorite…that’s Haley! They threw her under the bus this week. Slezak, you know a girl will not win so get over the idea that Lauren stands a chance. It’s not gonna happen with or without Nigel’s ploys. Hope Jacob goes and doesn’t come back. You are a gay man. Never understood “gays for Jesus”. Asking the black girl at TMZ if she is single was so contrived. I am straight, but do the gay men pick up his vibe?

      • Delirious says:

        Oh, man, finally, someone else calls out Lauren’s COMPLETELY empty deliveries. “There is ABSOLUTELY no connection between the songs she sings and her brain, her heart, her emotions or her facial expressions. NONE. And yet she slides by week after week with NO ONE pointing these things out to her” – I couldn’t agree more. Up until now, I thought it was because she was given songs she couldn’t connect to (like, coughcoughcough, You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman), but now she’s given a Hannah Montana song, and she says she relates completely to the song, and that it represents how she’s in the competition, yet she once again sings in a way that doesn’t make me feel for a nanosecond that she feels what she’s singing? Seriously, she has the pipes, but in every song you have moments where pipes aren’t enough, and you need to actually deliver with a bit of heart – which I absolutely can’t feel from lil’ miss Cowboy Barbie, y’all. Final test: give her what she sang on her first audition (maybe Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing, even, which she “sang”, too), and let’s see if she makes us think/feel what we did when we saw her back then.
        As for the rest, I don’t really feel that strongly about any one of them more than another, except for Jacob. Couldn’t agree more with Slezak in what he said in this same recap – I’ve been repeating it since day 1. And I agree with him about Scotty as well (about him not doing the right thing listening to Iovine and switching the song), although I did ntice him this week as not up to par vocally. Throughout the song, he gave me the feeling that he was on the tightrope, completely unstable with the notes, as if he was gonna “drop” (ie. break off tune) any moment.
        And was anyone else shocked when they saw Zakk Wylde there? When he came out, I was like “W-T-F!? O_O Wylde on Idol!?”, and continued like that until the end of ths show. Was absolutely not expecting that. At all.

      • Media Ho says:

        Funky, I LOVE you! And I totally agree with everything you said. Out of all of these pretenders to the throne, I think it will be James who gets the confetti shower and the Mirrorball (whoops, wrong boring season referred to on that one!). Do Jimmy and Willy have compromising pictures of Nigel? Do Nigel and Jimmy have compromising pictures of the judges? Let’s face it, the lack of actual “judging” (constructive comments, not “Beautiful, beautiful” or “DAWG, you are IN it to WIN it!”) and the horrible “guidance” of the music industry magnate are what’s killing this season.

    • Owen says:

      You know what’s exciting? The complete polarization of some (if not all) of the contestants. Opinion-wise, I mean. Melinda Doolittle on Idol Party Live just creamed all over Casey, she wants to tour with him, LOVES him and loved “Nature Boy”. Yet her buddy and host, Jim Cantiello completely disagreed (Casey is on the BEST OF THE NIGHT poll here and on Idol Party he was voted the MOST LIKELY TO GO HOME). Jacob Lusk is soooooooo “either hate him or love him”. Haley? James? I don’t remember the last time a group of Idols performances have been so widely scaled. I look at these boards and can’t believe so many people didn’t see the same amazing Stefano performance I saw. No matter what you say about the cheerleader judges, Jimmy, Pia-gate, this is the kind of stuff that makes for the most exciting over-all American Idol experience.

    • Suncatcher says:

      So, let’s get this straight, you vote on looks only for this singing competition.
      (We don’t see any mention of voices).

      (You a tweenie)?

    • AdamWasRobbed says:

      Have never agreed with Slezak this much on a couple of key points especially….

      1) If you’re going to bash Haley for her performance, there is no way in sweet Hades that you can excuse Paul for his…. Haley fell short on a song that was too big for her. Paul just sucked on a song that Bobcat Goldthwaite could have pulled off….

      2) Jacob went from an arrogant so-and-so last week to a skulking little goblin this week… Buck up and own the fact that you made a mistake last week calling out the American public (or bascially DARING them to put you in the bottom three) and come out guns a blazing….

      Oh and let me add #3 here….

      Casey was getting out of control and America beat him down. Jacob got a bit too upitty and America beat him down. While I really like James, I think he might require a bit of an ego check as he’s getting a bit too cocky… He’s great, but needs to be brought down a notch or two to reality, because he ain’t THAT great yet…

      Beyond that? Lauren and Scotty bored me to tears. Casey was really good, but really NOT AI material. Thought Stefano was excellent and I love that song, but the kid can’t seem to catch a break….. He was the most connected I’ve seen him and it was good to witness that finally….

    • yaya says:

      u definitively read my mind!

    • Jake says:

      Casey’s performance last night was so freaking GOD-AWFUL that I wanted to not only claw my eyes out but find the nearest sharp object and puncture my eardrums as quickly as humanly possible so as not to see his idiotic facial ticks and growly face and have to hear him horribly singing an equally horrible song for the Idol stage. I pray that he is the first guy gone. I wanted it to be Jacob because for a guy who shares my name I am saddened but after this week Casey has tipped over into land of the hated for me.

    • Taylor says:

      OMG dead on with the evil twin!!

    • JoMarch says:

      Wow – that was a great comment about Lauren. She does look like one of those child-dolls on T & T (and that’s not a good thing).

  2. sneakin says:

    Things I was thinking about::

    Paul: Love your suit. Love you as an artist. Don’t think you’re right for this show.
    Lauren: Right song for a 16 year old girl. Dress was a bit plungy in the neckline for a 16 year old girl.
    Stefano: Yes! You should be in a boy band! They’re making a comeback. NKOTBSB is touring right now.
    Scotty: Everybody’s Talking? I LOVE that song!! What? A George Strait song? Don’t know any besides All My Exes Live In Texas. (That is George Strait, right?) FF through the performance. I’m sure it was pure Scotty.
    Casey: Nature Boy? I LOVE that song! In the Air Tonight? Nooooooo. Back to Nature Boy? Yessssss. Not sure I loved the bossa nova interpretation, but at least it was different.
    Haley: Yes, song choice is everything, and you didn’t choose well. But, I would kill for your purple boots!
    Jacob: Eating all that humble pie made your pants VERY ill-fitting. Between those and your large bass mouth, I was too distracted to pay much attention to your (for you) restrained Bridge Over Troubled Water.
    James: I was thinking really?!? But by the end I was hanging the rock sign and sticking out my tongue. You know who you are as an artist and you rock it out. Don’t know that that’s going to get you the win, but have fun.

  3. Me says:

    Haley wasn’t good but it seemed convinient for the underperforming judges to throw her under the bus. I would be totally OK with it if their criticism wasn’t so SELECTIVE to begin with.

    Question, do you think the judges think it is ok to just give effusive praise because Jimmy is there?

    • Yo says:

      I think there are some things they can’t say because Iovine is there. I gather Haley’s song choice was actually Jimmy’s. I don’t think the judges say nothing at Uncle Nigel’s direction either, though. They don’t need the show that much; I can’t imagine them unable to rebel more than the kids did.

      • Michael says:

        I don’t think that Jimmy L. has anything to do with the lackluster and lazy critiques. If I recall, Simon had no problem whatsoever criticizing some of the guest mentors.

  4. Ablo says:

    Not a strong night. I can’t think of one performance I would want to hear again.

  5. blingedup.susan says:

    I missed Simon last night more than ever. I really think he’s at home watching and laughing with delight that these judges are not giving the Idols any criticism at all.

    I so wanted a “self-indulgent” last night for James, a “drunk Uncle” for Paul, a “boring karaoke” for Lauren. I miss him terribly.

    • RTW says:

      Let’s just replace J-Lo, Randy and Tyler with life-sized bobble-heads that keep nodding up and down, up and down, up and down…

    • Sally says:

      (Moderator, why are my comments omitted?)

      In case you didn’t know, Jimmy is the new Simon. The producers don’t want a “Simon” on the judging staff.

      • John says:

        Yeah, why should judges judge anyway?

        • Templar says:

          This is a jury trial. The judges only keep things on track. The jury decides whether or not the person “did it”.

          • djm says:

            But the judges on this show aren’t even doing that. They are being paid millions to sit there and be cheerleaders and pat themselves on the back for “discovering” the “talent”. Whatever. All I kept thinking last night was “is this season over yet?”

          • blingedup.susan says:

            I understand that the audience are the ones deciding who goes forward. But, if for no other reason, it was soooooo much more entertaining when you had Simon saying exactly what you were at home thinking!

    • Julie says:

      I too was thinking that Simon would have called James’s performance ‘self-indulgent.”

      • Tarc says:

        And then we would have gone on, making some braindead comparison to something ridicuous to push his old-fshioned, tacky agenda. Then, he’d be sure to get 30% of all the money the artist generated for the next five years. Cowell nothing but a passe talent vampire.

    • CAM says:

      I agree! These contestants need a dose of reality and the judges certainly are not going to give it to them. They should blame themselves, not America for getting it wrong. If they were really saying what they should, they might help the voting public to focus on the vocal ability and performances. Too bad we can’t have Simon come in as a guest judge! I miss him more each week as the 3 judges continue to say the same thing over and over again.

    • emacco says:

      Oh honey, I hear ya and I’m 100% in agreement with you. Simon, come back, we need you! The “judging” is so boring and irrelevant. *sob*

  6. Christina says:

    My gut is telling me that Haley, Paul, and Jacob will be the bottom three. Unfortunately the axe may come down on Haley tonight since none of the judges seem to want to point out Jacob’s and Paul’s weaknesses.

    • Sally says:

      I think Haley gave a very “different” performance, a very sexy performance. She got rid of the growl….she has a very nice voice without it.

      (Moderator: why are my comments omitted?)

    • april-ann says:

      I think Haley growls. I don’t mind if both remaining women are sent packing soon. The only female this season who should have been in the finals was Pia, and now she’s gone, but she has a record deal. Haley is a terrible “singer” and the worst performer on Idol right now. The guys, especially James Durbin, just happen to be the most talented contestants this season.

  7. Davey says:

    None of them gave performances above a C.

    Casey deserves a D-. Haley was a mess. Really one of the worst nights of the season and I suddenly missed Thia, Naima and Pia.

    Hope it’s the End of the Road for cruise ship singer Stefano.

    • Tee says:

      Were we watching the same show? Casey and James hit them out of the park – sticking to their genres. Casey’s runs were excellent, and James showed a fun metalhead performance.

    • Willo says:

      Hallelujah! Finally someone who’s objective. Well said.

    • tarc says:

      Funny, Casey gave a clear A+ performance. It’s unsurprising that some people would ay that, but then again, there are a lot of music morons out there, particularly in regards to jazz. To put this in perspective, there have been previous jazz focused contestants that got booted on their first jazz song, or even for a simple run of scatting. casey’s still there, and this week, hit a home run.

      • Suncatcher says:

        @ TARC & TEE

        FINALLY, people who have enough music knowledge to know who really did a good job last night and who GET IT – and even SAY SO!!!

        It’s a SINGING competition and Casey & James this week sang what they know they are best at – and did great. (Casey even got a standing ovation from the judges. Why? Cuz the judges have a ton of music expertise – and THEY got it).

  8. Michelle R. says:

    This was the least satisfying episode of Idol ever for me, mostly because I’ve abandoned hope of the judges being able to actually evaluate the performances in a way that meshes with, um, reality.

    • Davey says:

      Totally agree and the song choices were totally forgettable, with very few of them written specifically for the movies they were attached to.

  9. Davey says:

    And BTW, Thia sang The Climb better than Lauren when she was 9 or whatever.

  10. Kristy Lee Crook says:

    Why the hey-ell is Jacob ranked higher than Paul? Surely no one can be worse than that mic-swallowing, caterwauling maniac? Jacob should have gone before Pia, Thia and Naima.

  11. cc says:

    A “B+” for Casey?? Really Slezak? You are much too kind

  12. the real wendy says:

    Haley is in big trouble.

  13. Holly says:

    I realized last night that Idol is no longer appointment viewing for me. I’d be fine DVR’ing it and watching it the next day. I fast-forwarded through several of the performances. I’m just bored with it all. It’s too bad, too, because I love(d) this show

    • sneakin says:

      Holly- Idol was appointment viewing for years in my house. I used to force my kids to watch with me (until they got to be bigger than me).I voted for my favorite multiple times consistantly. After Season 8, I decided this show was taking up too much of my time and I said I would give it up. Well, that turned into still watching every week, but not voting. This year, I DVR and FF through all the non-essential bits. (The results show takes about 7 minutes if I’m interested in the guest singer.) The take away to this story is I’m having a blast this season! I laugh at all those who are OUTRAGED at whatever they are OUTRAGED at this week. I really don’t care who wins because I have a feeling the most successful artist (whether or not he wins) will be Scotty. And I don’t listen to country music, so I probably won’t hear ANY of them again once June rolls around. Let it go, it’s so much more fun that way.

  14. Jen says:

    Michael, as usual your observations are hilarious and spot-on. The judges this season are absolutely useless. None of the performances were all “that”. I really miss Pia.

  15. Holly says:

    Thanks so much, Michael! I realized while watching Idol last night that I don’t really care who wins – this is such a boring season. And you crystallized the reason why perfectly – the producers are trying so hard to package and water down every contestant, but in the process they are destroying the drama and interest. Then, as I read your recap, I realized that the only real “judging” we’re going to get this season is coming from your recap. You are the only reason I continue to watch Idol!

    • gregk says:

      Don’t care much either who wins now that Pia is gone. Recaps may indeed be the most interesting thing to look forward to. Would be nice to have both a good show and a good recap, as in “Lost” with recaps by Jeff Jensen (OK, so he went overboard and got too wordy with them in the last season).

  16. GSOgymrat says:

    Paul- Big ‘ol mess. It was like watching your drunk uncle, who smokes 2 packs a day, get up and sing karaoke at a wedding reception.

    Lauren- Good song selection and I thought she sang it well, not perfect but very nice. Unfortunately while it showed she has a nicer voice than Miley it also showed why Miley is a star- her ability to command the stage.

    Stephano- Probably my favorite performance by him. He really seemed to be giving 100% and I appreciate that. He is not my favorite but I think he did well tonight.

    Scotty- Another solid performance. I would have rather heard him sing “Windmills of My Mind” and think “I Cross My Heart” is a snooze of a song. Good if rather forgettable.

    Casey- When he said he was going to sing “Nature Boy” I was psyched: love the song, he is going to do jazz, play the bass, yeah! The performance was terrible, I mean REALLY bad. It was high school level talent show. I knew what he was trying to do but he couldn’t handle it vocally. I was flabbergasted when the judges praised him! Then I realized Casey could have vomited on stage and Stephen would have called it “beautiful” and Jennifer would have said he really expressed himself.

    Haley- Somehow the judges were released from their glamour spell to criticize Haley. No, it was not a great performance and it was a step back from last week. She wasn’t terrible but she wasn’t able to sell the song. It just didn’t gel. Why the judges didn’t give other contestant the same critique is a mystery. Jennifer’s sentiment of “Haley sucked, BUT VOTE FOR HER BECAUSE SHE IS A GIRL” was ridiculous.

    Jacob- Good performance, some bad notes, but nicely done. Personally I am tired of the song and think it needs to be retired from the show. He appeared contrite in the interviews but I am still not a fan.

    James- Like Casey he took a chance but, unlike Casey, James pulled it off. He turned it up to 11 and was totally committed. I loved it and thought it was his best performance and the best of the night. The guitarist was awesome.

    The judges are beyond useless, they are insulting the intelligence of the viewers. Jennifer’s dress was tragic.

    • Brazen says:

      Nice Spinal Tap reference!

    • Media Ho says:

      GSO, you rock! I need to clean my monitor after your so-perfect comment that “I realized Casey could have vomited on stage and Stephen would have called it “beautiful” and Jennifer would have said he really expressed himself.” GENIUS!

  17. Vivi says:

    Everybody, all of a sudden, are on the Hayley train just because there are only 2 girls left in the competition? BS. Hayley was the worst of the night. That song did nothing for her voice and once again she kept using the “growl card” like that will make her performance better. It didn’t. Now, will it be unfair that yet another girl gets voted off tomorrow? Sure. But this time, America will be right. It is what it is. All I am saying is look beyond the situation and actually critique the performances from better to worse. Was Hayley really better than most of the guys?

    • B.Rich says:

      Stefano, Jacob, and Paul are still here, so yes, America would be wrong to vote off another girl.

    • jealousmuch? says:

      Yes, she was.

    • Aaron says:

      I think Haley collectively has been much MUCH stronger than many of the guys left…particularly Stefano, Paul, Jacob, and maybe even Casey. I don’t see all the love for Stefano last night. Has he ever given us anything above a mediocre cruise-lounge singer? And does he EVER pick a song that isn’t in the R&B ballad ghetto repertoire? He is beyond boring for me.

      I agree with Slezak, I don’t know how much longer I can take Jacob and his incessant warbling, facial expressions, and condescending attitude.

      And Paul…Paul is simply embarrassing to watch…I just cower in my seat and cringe.

      Was Haley the best last night? NO. Does she deserve to stay? ABSOLUTELY. “Bennie and the Jets” and “Piece of My Heart” were two of the best performances of the season…the girl is capable of greatness and she deserves to stay and prove that once again.

  18. Sophie K says:

    You’re totally right that Haley wasn’t particularly awesome tonight, but somehow over the last few weeks, she has become my favorite. Sign me up for speed dial!

    I was so torn my Casey’s performance. The song choice was A+, the arrangement was awesome, but his whole demeanor was so smirking and ungenuine I just couldn’t enjoy it. Plus there was a dangerous tendency back towards the growling and face pulling. Rein it in, Casey!

    I really enjoyed Paul last night. I felt like he made the crazy dancing work for him this time around by bringing the audience into it instead of flapping around all by himself.

    James, as a friend of mine said, comes off a bit like a kid playing metal dress up, but I can’t help but like it! He’s polished up his early vocal problems, and at least when he’s on stage, I’m never bored!

  19. Ward says:

    It’s another shocker tonight: bottom three: Paul, Lauren and Haley. Going home Lauren. Why? She was second and she was forgettable. (and Scotty is locking up the country voters)

    • Didn't watch Don't Care says:

      Agree with you. Did my part by voting for all the guys. Hoping Haley leaves this week, Lauren next.

    • Sally says:

      I love your use of the word “forgettable” because that was Lauren and Casey for me….actually most of them were forgettable…only Haley and Stef stuck.

  20. SteveZ says:

    Lauren just didn’t go anywhere with the song… there was no climb, she just looked at the mountain and went “umphh… that’s a big mountain… maybe tomorrow after a nap.”
    Was I the only person that thought Scotty was off on his glory note? Even my partner came out of the bedroom and thought something had happened to one of the dogs.
    Jacob seemed defeated in his interview segment (moreso than Stephano. I think that attitude helped him control his songchoice which just paled to Clay’s version (maybe that is because Jacob broke out the gospel choir trump card too early in the season and didn’t have it for this song).
    It kind of made me think that the producers give all the kids a “welcome bag” with 1 use of live fire, 1 gospel choir background vocal, 1 use of the slideout stairs.
    All in all, I’m over the lovefest and over the show. Its turning in to StarSearch.

    • Lin says:

      Hysterical Scotty comment. I noted the same thing – Scotty was “pitchy”! – LOL. And I don’t care how many records the original song sold – it was bor-ing and awful sung by Country Wonder Boy Scotty.
      Meanwhile, so glad I watched Modern Family and The Middle and just went to Idol during the commercials and the new show that was debuting on ABC. Easy enough to then go back and watch what I missed on tivo and vote accordingly.

      Quite frankly, the only ones worth a rave last night were Stefano, Jacob, James and a half-hearted compliment to Casey. Paul had no need to slide into his performance, he’s been doing that all season. Lauren did one-up Miley Cyrus, but that’s not saying much. Haley was just on the wrong stage with the wrong song last night, she should have been singing at some frat party.

  21. DN says:

    Paul gave a Vegas performance (all I could think of was Wayne Newton during his performance). Jacob Lusk over sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Just listen to Art Garfunkel to understand the intended tone of the song. Yes, it is a signature song of the Rock Hall of Famer. James Durbin rocked.

    I don’t vote and don’t really care who wins this silly competition, but I tune in every week, changing channels over the show’s duration, just to see Durbin sing. I enjoy his performances and am very interested to see what he does when the season ends.

    Aside from McCreery, who’ll benefit from a very welcoming country music audience, Durbin has the best chance to actually make the record company associated with the show money.

    • jb says:

      Wayne Newton has a way better voice than Paul will ever have.

    • gregk says:

      Bridge Over Troubled Water by Art Garfunkel is one of my all-time favorite recordings and Jacob indeed butchered it. Should never be oversung like that and the ending was horrible.

  22. Susan says:

    Seriously, am I the only person in America that thought Lauren was horribly, horribly out of tune? That is tough song to sing, and there were butchered notes all over the place. It was awful to hear. But I seem to be the only person who thinks so. She righted it by the end, I felt, but the entire climb portion made me recoil from the TV.

    I thought that would be the real test for the judges – an out of tune, PITCHY performance by one of the two women left – would they critique? But of course they didn’t, and now it seems no one else had a problem with her pitch. Am I the crazy one?

    • hooch says:

      I didn’t think it was out of tune… but there was something going on there. The whole time I kept saying “what’s going on with her? What’s wrong with her voice?” It’s like her breath was all messed up and she couldn’t get it together. I honestly though when it was over she was going to reveal she had lost her voice due to some illness that week. It reminded me of when Kelly Clarkson’s voice went out the week she sang Celine’s Surrender. It was still good, but should have been better, given her talent and previous performances. Also, if Miley can sing the song well, it can’t be that hard of a song to sing. I thought it was a PERFECT song choice for Lauren and it should have been much, much better.

      • Crystal Fan says:

        So right about Lauren. I kept waiting for a build, for an oomph, for a glory moment…..but I found myself hoping they had an oxygen tank for Lauren stage left. She didn’t have the H2O to fill that song. Nor the emotion.

        • djm says:

          But on EW’s website they have an interview with the musical director (Michael Orland) who says that Lauren “nailed it”. He said she had confidence issues but that she worked them out. I don’t agree with him at all – I thought she was a big ole mess.

    • Delon says:

      Susan, you might be the only person in America, but definitely not the only one in the world who thinks that Lauren’s performance was sub par. 2009 The X Factor winner Joe McElderry sang this song on the finale. Watch how it’s done here:

      • betty says:

        wow, thank you for that. i love this song, and he killed it! and surprise, surprise…they let contestants sing the whole song????

        i think this is what i’ll be watching next season. hope you cover it slezak

        • Lisa Mortini says:

          I forgot about cute little Joe McE. Great voice but I don’t think he’s done much since he won. I’ve not heard about him for about a year now… Interestingly, the biggest X-Factor acts to really make it are Leona Lewis and JLS (who came second I think), a woman and a band.

  23. sarah says:

    oh slezak, I do love you, but giving James the top score for such a ridiculous performance? How was this in any shape or form relevant or current? Isn’t that what we’re hoping for with American Idol? To try and find someone who can break through the karaoke and give a fresh, original take? Durbin’s was FUN yes but good-highly questionable, IMO!

    • hooch says:

      I agree. When he stood to the side for a good 20 seconds so Wylde could do a guitar solo? What?? He sang like 10 lines through the whole performance. Then he (Wylde) just stood there afterwards like we were voting for them together. Maybe next week Miley can come on and Lauren and her can duet and then they can stand there and have America vote on that. Cause that would be fair.

      • Sarah says:

        Absolutely! Wylde should get the A, not James!

        Last week proved to me that James is nothing without pyro or some gimmick. He’s not versatile AT ALL. After Idol, he’ll go on to be the frontman in a metal cover band. Hey, nothing wrong with that and good luck to him. But after the judges hyperbole about finding the next great superstar, it just seems ridiculous that they don’t offer any criticism. Please tell JLO, Stephen or Randy just how is James relevant in today’s music scene?

        Saying all that, I do think he has a good shot at winning. Many AI viewers will vote for the fun performance (see Taylor Hicks) and don’t really care or think about what will happen after the show. I just thought Slezak was more realistic. (still love you though, Michael!)

      • chistosa says:

        I understand your point but James’s performance was 2:43 and the others were at 2:00 to 2:14. Apparently time was built in for the guitarrist solo.

        • Sarah says:

          Well, that’s even more ridiculous to have more time built into his performance to let a rock legend shine. Sorry, this is the kind of contestant pimping that drives me crazy about Idol. Where is the even playing field? I just hope other contestants get the same advantage in the coming weeks.

          • hooch says:

            Totally with you. I didn’t know his performance was longer but that is even worse then! No one else has ever been allowed to perform alongside someone famous. Of course that’s going to sway people who are already fans of the celebrity. Even not-easily-swayed people are going to think “well if this guy who I respect as a legend thinks he’s good enough to perform with, clearly he sees something I don’t! Maybe I’ll vote afterall”.
            (To be honest I had never heard of him before, so maybe we’re giving him more credit than he deserves but I am just assuming metal fans would all know him?)

          • Tarc says:

            Nonsense. If this was “Pop Idol’ then you might have a point, but there has to be room to accompodate the conceits of the various styles people choose. Metal isn’t metal without a killer guitar solo – period. If you hate the vocal, fine, but don’t knock the contestants for doing their jobs. Idol has really been great this year at spending some extra $$$ for backup singers, soloists, string sections, etc (finally!).

          • janie says:

            a lot of people have performed with someone famous.. there was an old guitar guy who was a motown legend who performed on several of the motown songs.. then there was teh female singer with the dreads who perfomed with i think it was jacob on the michael jackson song i believe.. she was a famous older person.. AND jacob got help backstage from mary j blige and no one else did..

            now I love metal..that is my kind of music.. and I cant help but say that maybe the reason are saying it wasnt fair that James got to perform with a famous person is because Zakk Wylde was very front and center in this performance.. I mean he is a guitar virtuoso and it showed.. he was amazing!

            For those of you who don’t know who Zakk is, he played with Ozzy Osbourne’s band. He is currently in the band Black Label Societyhe national anthem on guitar at many baseball and hockey event… in 2010 he played lead guitar on My darkest days song Porn Star dancing.. oh yeah and he was in the movie Rock star as one of the members of the band Steel Dragon in the movie so he has done a lot of stuff.

        • Sarah says:

          Sorry tarc, when the guest guitarist solo is the best part of the performance and completely dominates, then yeah, I think it’s a problem. And I don’t hate rock vocals but Durbin is nowhere near as good as he and the producers think he is.

      • mrclean says:

        ..and I always thought Zakk Wydle was the kind of guy who hated and derided shows like this. Sellout!!!

    • allie says:

      agreed. James was a B- at best.

    • tuckywoman says:

      Agree! James is 100% poser and 75% singer. He is like a kid playing his favorite game and because I have a son with autism, I dread what will happen when someone finally calls him out or criticizes him. I’m looking for a big tantrum. AI seems to be pimping him to the max with all the extra gimmicks. Maybe they’re afraid to say no??

  24. miss kitty says:

    It’s just a shame that the singers on this season 10 are all capable, but the judges barely offer a single word of constructive criticism. I’m gonna have to see what The X Factor offers; I do miss Simon… I am tired of all Jacob’s vocal and facial histrionics and think Ru Paul Drag Race might be a good next stop for him. Jeeze, Paul… get rid of him. Just not right for this show at all. Go back to being a wedding singer who does Friday nights at your local coffee bar. Really hope Paul or Jacob goes home before Haley. LOVED the dress!

    • helloseany says:

      “I am tired of all Jacob’s vocal and facial histrionics and think Ru Paul Drag Race might be a good next stop for him”

      SO RIGHT ON. Love it.

      • Lisa Mortini says:

        Watching it just now – oh God, it’s painful. How is he still in the running? He’s the worst “over-singer” ever.

  25. Victoria E says:

    All I could think as Jacob was performing was “my ears! God help me, I think my ears are bleeding!” It was simply painful to listen to. (I flashed back to Clay Aiken’s much more superior version in the season 2 finals — oh the the good old days) And James, honey, we have nothing against heavy metal, but as Slezak has pointed out, we would like a bit of MELODY. My choice for him to sing this week was LIVE & LET DIE — he so could have killed that.

  26. Helloseany says:

    I love you, Michael Slezak…I agree with all of your critiques…except for Haley. Was it one of her all-time best? No. But, I will take her energy and love for singing over the blase Jacob, Paul, Scotty, Stefano, and Lauren this week. I hope people get behind her and save her this week.

    Also, I love how the judges seemed to have blatantly disregarded all of the media’s criticism of their unconstructive criticism. It continued to be more of the same: “I am at a [insert contestant] concert” “You can’t be judged.” “That was beautiful”…I mean, seriously?! Have they learned NOTHING from losing Pia? DO YOUR DANG JOB, “JUDGES.”

    People are going to see “X-Factor” this fall and realize what they were missing in terms of critiques. Randy Jackson should be fired and excommunicated.

  27. Bee says:

    SO glad I did not watch the show last night. I knew the judges would continue their inane praise of mediocre performances. Pia’s elimination did nothing to change the judge’s style or the contestant’s minsets. Thanks for the recap, Sleazak. For the rest of this season, I will only read your recaps and watch Idoloonies.

  28. NolaRox says:

    I just listened again without watching

    The only one who sounded good was Lauren, go figure

    Sounded Hideous: Paul and Jacob

    Sounded Horribly Boring: Stefano and Scotty Doody (love it)

    Screamy: Haley and James

    Pained: Casey

    Decent: Lauren

  29. Sandi B says:

    My thoughts as I DVR’d through the show…

    Paul -I like his unusual and unique voice with shades of Rod Stewart, but he dances like a chicken with it’s head cut off. Make Paul STOP dancing – it just distracts from any good his singing is doing.

    Lauren – listened to a bit – but she bores me

    Stefano – pretty to look at…not impressed with the voice. His voice can be found on thousands of people across the country. Nothing exciting about it and little emotion attached to any song he sings.

    Scotty – I did FF after listening to about 20 seconds of his song. Wasn’t familiar with the song, but he did at least appear to be singing in tune.

    Casey – at first listen, I wasn’t too crazy about it (and I always JUMP when that growl comes out of nowhere…for no reason whatsoever!) I listened a second time and liked it better. I thought James was the contestant with Tourette’s…but it appears Casey may need some medication for the same syndrome.

    Haley – middle of the road…she also needs some dancing/move lessons. She just marches around the stage and bops her head up and down. But she shouldn’t get the lessons from Paul.

    Jacob – the way he sings is way too affected for my taste. No denying that he has great pipes – but he SO overdoes it all the time. Would people REALLY buy his music? Doubtful.

    James – I was pleasantly surprised – although his facial expressions and that squinting with one eyebrow raised is quite distracting.

    Judges – waste of time and money. Aren’t they getting paid hundreds of thousands or millions of $$ ? What do they do for that pay? Nothing as far as I can tell. If they are paid to annoy me, then they are quite successful.

    • NolaRox says:

      At least Rod Stewart knew melody. Paul is 100% averse to melody

    • jazzy says:

      Dude, James has tourettes! Hence the facial ticks.

      Lauren has a richness in her voice and I thought she sang beautifully and is growing in the competition.

      • hooch says:

        James has tourettes? Is that way Sandi B said “I thought James was the contestant with Tourette’s” ? Weird ! It’s like she already knew that !

      • Sandi B says:

        Sorry I was under the impression that Tourette’s was speaking aloud with no control…didn’t realize thAt it also included facial tics. I stand corrected. it does however, still distract me from the singing and I find myself focusing on the weird tics and the raised eyebrow/squinting and then not listening to the song itself.

  30. AprilD says:

    If it wasn’t for my love of all things critique and recapping I’d have washed my hands of this season. There’s not one of these kids I could see ending up on my iTunes. Even if they do exude a bit of personality on the show it’s clear that interscope is determined to make these kids the next Ke$ha.

  31. Jazzy says:

    Paul was a disaster and I’m a fan.

    I guess we weren’t listening to the same Lauren, I thought she was fantastic and I’m usually not a fan.

    Agree, agree, agree, about the WHITE FEDORA, he should wear that a lot, ala Jason Mraz, it totally ups his cool factor and he sang great.

    Loved Jimmy Iovine giving Jacob a rap on the nose in front of 24 million! However I cannot deny his ability as a vocalist. Why is he so polarizing?

    Haley, meh. Casey interesting, Scotty, BORING. James, sorry Slezak, was trying to hard ala Taylor Hicks.

    Based on performance I would send Haley or Paul home. Bottom 3 Paul, Haley, Jacob.

    • Brittany says:

      I felt the same way about Paul… about 20 seconds into it I got a really bad feeling in my gut. It was so corny, especially with the tambourine. He will be bottom 3 for sure and may be the one to go home. I didn’t vote for him as much as I normally do last night because as much as I love him, he wasn’t great and probably deserves to go home based on LAST NIGHT’S performances. I voted more for two other people that I also like. I wish people would do that more, see beyond whoever is their favorite and actually listen to performances and be honest with yourself about who should stay. In general, however, I would prefer to see Jacob and Stefano go before Paul.

  32. Scott says:

    I loved Hayley’s purple boots and dress. It’s so nice to see COLOR on the stage. Paul’s suit was great too. Odd that the best clothes went with the worst performances.

  33. G. says:

    I so wish the producers had as much interest in Haley as they do for the other contestants…

    Jimmy could have suggested a better song. Could you imagine what Haley would have done with something like Purple Rain? She has the singing chops, people just need to help her with executing a slam performance…

    This is starting to feel like Season 9 all over again. Do we see more than 1-2 people actually on mainstream radio today? I need some inspiration because I am not in it to win it right now…

    • Sally says:

      Yes, I see some of them on mainstream radio. I see Stefano (who I think Jimmy likes) but he could head up a boy-band. I see Haley being the next Ke$ha, who can sing. Those two had the most energy the whole night. And put their personalities in the songs. And had FUN!

      • hooch says:

        I actually said to my husband last night that Haley reminds me of a prettier and less ridiculous Ke$ha. She’s got that kookiness going on, I really think she could make it. (I actually can’t stand Ke$ha, but Haley I can’t help but like.)

        • Sally says:

          I’m with you. Haley has creeped up on me. She’s dressing better, and she’s a little flirtatious. She’s getting somewhat of a stage presence, moving around the stage and looking like she’s having FUN. As long as she’s not growling (who taught her that) she’s doing fine.

    • Tarc says:

      I realize that 19 Entertainment might want someone ‘mainstream’ (for purely financial reasons) but most people don’t care – they just want someone GOOD to win. I certainly would take Casey or Haley a hundred times in a hundred over Pia or (shudders) Stefano.

  34. Delon says:

    PAUL: 23 years old. Looks 33. Sounds like a breathless 43. Gotta go.

    LAUREN: Better than Miley, but still a B effort. The X Factor 2009
    winner Joe McElderry slayed this on the finale and released it as a single. He was dreamy.

    STEFANO: His best performance in weeks.

    SCOTTY: This was so boring. I wish he sang Everybody’s Talkin’ instead.

    CASEY: Icky!

    HAYLEY: Good job. Bad song selection though.

    JACOB: Super sleepy. He ain’t no Aiken.

    JAMES: Musical moment of the season: Zakk Wylde’s guitar solo.

    • MaidCarolyn says:

      Here’s the thing about Stefano – what was great about “I Need You Now” was that he pulled up his entire soul and left it out there on the stage during the performance. Sure, vocals were great, but it was the soul.

      That’s what I’ve missed. It’s what made me pay attention to him. I’m not hugely fond of his style – but his soul is unignorable. And I think he pulled it out again last night – not quite so perfectly, but pretty darn well.

  35. Gata says:

    I want to go on record as saying “I am sick of James Durbing emulating Adam Lambert’s performance SCHEDULE,” but then again, I can appreciate the fact that he has studied Idol and knows what it takes to keep people talking. His performances irk me more because I think he is trying to use the pattern that Adam used when he had his Idol run, so I have a hard time getting into him.

    Last nights performances for me – for you – for me dawg goes like this.

    8 – Paul
    7 – Casey
    6 – Scotty
    5 – Jacob
    4 – Lauren
    3 – James
    2 – Haley
    1 – Stefano

    My favorite is Haley, I thought she did okay on her Blondie song, but I really wish the “mentor help” would back off and let these people be like they were back 3 years ago when we didn’t know how they did in rehersal, but loved or hated what we heard on performance night.

    • Karrie says:

      I don’t get all the hate from Adam’s fans for James Durbin; they are both talented although completely different artists! James is more of a rocker and Adam is more Glam Pop. I would’ve loved to hear James do ‘Paradise City’. Great recap Michael!

      • Gata says:

        I don’t hate James – I just think he is copying Adams whole S8 run. When Adam slowed it down, he slowed it down, when Adam was wild, he was wild, and it irks me for him to be copying Adam. (I know he is playing the AI game, but it irks me because in the beginning he was compared to Adam, and he is NOT Adam…) Adam is the total package.

        Adam is by far the better vocalist, James can’t hold a mic to Adam’s vocal abilities – the end of my observations.

        LOL – have a grand day.

  36. Emma says:

    James should do “c’m feel the noise”

  37. Georgia says:

    I’m afraid that nothing has happened yet to start a fire in my soul. I voted for Casey again last night. I thought his version of “Nature Boy” was a little creepy compared to the original Nat King Cole original, but kudos for his musicianship. In the back of my mind, I still wonder if Casey believes he can win, and if he really wants to win. Haley’s live performances are her best friends (she’s very cute and funny) and worst enemies (she’s off key a lot while careening around the stage). I still like her, but didn’t like last night’s performance or studio recording….and I’m a fan of the original. I never comment on the others because I’m indifferent.

  38. CMJ says:

    SO. VERY. MUCH. hoping that when I land in Honolulu tonight, check into the hotel, and fire up my laptop, that Slezak will be reporting that America THREW Jacob OFF the Bridge and INTO the troubled waters, hopefully with concrete blocks tied to his feet. Let him sing with the fishes!

    Casey really did a love/hate performance and I have to say I fell into the latter group with that performance.

    I’m not sure who else will join those two in the bottom 3, but if I were betting, I’d put a quarter on Paul.

  39. Yo says:

    I completely agree with you re: Casey, but I think you graded him too high. I liked what he did with the song, but the voice is iffy and the added syllables annoying. When he said he wanted to educate, I thought he meant he wanted to be a music teacher, which is, in fact, a good idea. What happened with Haley was a travesty and Old Rocker needs to cool the disturbing sexual remarks – so bad with Haley we all pretended we didn’t hear them.
    The show was worth watching just to see Iovine’s cheek muscles twitch when the last young’un blew him off. So much for MR. Dude.

  40. John says:

    …as usual Michael….right on the money with your recap. It was a lackluster evening of singing…and judging????…I’m to the point of FF through any and all comments by the three overpaid stooges! It’s sad when a heavy metal’er’ comes out on top…a supposed (and out of tune) jazz singer comes in second. Scotty had better ‘watch his behind’ with that less then stunning countryfest…..and the rest of them…..UGH! One side comment…I can’t wait to see viewership numbers…with all the controversy and coverage, I suspect that the ‘powers that be’ will be beside themselves with Glee…pun intended……big numbers mean big BUCKS. Let me know if you disagree!!!!

  41. Denise says:

    My teenage son was walking through the room when James was on. Not only did he sit down to watch, he also voted for him.

    • @galaga6846 says:

      THIS is what I love to read. I think James rocked the night, and when an American Idol contestant can get the attention of a teenage guy, you know he’s special. I totally agreed with every word of Slezak’s review this morning. I voted for James (1st choice) and Casey (2nd choice). I also threw in a few pity votes for Haley, because even though she’s not my favorite, she deserves to stay in the midst of the judges only critiques of the night. Paul has GOT TO GO!

    • paisley says:

      Ditto for me except I wound up doing the voting. (Of course, I had no idea who was performing with James but my teen sons knew instantly).

  42. Tina S says:

    Kudos to the contestants who told Jimmy Iovine to stick it! (wouldn’t it be great if the whole gang would band together for a mass “Stick It!” rebellion ala the movie). And while Casey’s and James’s vocal performances were off slightly, I give them super high marks for creativity, exuberance, and following their own paths. I marvel that Paul is still hanging on despite the worst singing voice I’ve ever heard on that stage – we have one aging Rod Stewart already, don’t need another one. SO over Jacob! That warbly voice and fake emotion just makes me cringe. I thought Stefano and Lauren were both reasonably good and I enjoyed their performances, despite not really being much of a fan of either in previous weeks. Surprised that Scotty’s choice wound up being a fail for him – he was off-key in a number of places during the song. I fear for Haley, though – I think the judges probably torpedoed her with the only negative-sounding comments of the night. Granted, her performance wasn’t her greatest, but certainly no worse than Paul’s or a couple others. Apparently the judges don’t watch your Idoloonies! And I’m just so sick of watching Jimmy Iovine and – what happened to the guest mentors? Their advice couldn’t result in anything worse than what we’re seeing and they were massively more entertaining!

  43. The Wheeze says:

    Last night was just so-so for me. The judges are useless at this point, though I do have to give a little slack to J-Lo for not trying to be overly constuctive. She had to be giddy after being picked “Most Beautiful” by PEOPLE.(I mean really how can you have that brought up every other minute and give a negative remark?)

    The best for me for you: James (My husband who is a total metal head and does not watch AI normally, picked up the phone and voted for him, That is epic!)

    The worst you are to music as music is to you: Paul/Stefano (Paul made me laugh out loud and not in a good way! Stefano was so horrible my husband called out to me to turn that $h-t down.)

    Lastly, I really L-O-V-E-D! Haley’s purple people eater boot boots!

    • Sally says:

      once again, I believe the producers want the judges to be “soft” “Nice” or as you put it “useless”….if you go back a few years, Randy was much more critical of contestants. But IMO they felt they did all the criticizing in the audition rounds and chose their faves along with the voting public. Remember — it was the voting public that chose the top 14, not the judges!

      And so they are there to encourage and motivate….Jimmy is there to beat them over the head into reality. LOL

  44. Anne TM says:

    As the judges continue to shower praise on these not so solid performances they should ask the questions that my family and I were asking throughout the night – what radio station would play that song? Who would buy that record? In most cases the answers were no one.

    I too did not like Casey’s song choice. He should have gone with another song from “Pure Country” the song is “Heartland”. It is up beat and definitely would portray the message I am a country singer and I love being that. He might not win idol but he has a big big career ahead of him.

    I hope that Jacob goes home tonight. If Simon was still on the panel he would have labeled him self indulgent long ago.

    Every year I think about whether I would go see the Idols concert, coming soon to a town near you! Last year I thought about buying a ticket just to see Crystal – who by the way has an awesome video playing on CMT. The year before that I was dying to go to see first and foremost Adam Lambert, and slightly second not far behind Allison our beloved rocker chick and thirdly the different version of songs Kris Allen would sing. This year I absolutely no desire to see anyone. The judges keep talking about the greatest group of talent ever but they are not entertaining. For the last couple of years I was anticiapting what would Adam do, what would Chris do, what would Crystal do and before them what would David Cooke do – now I am watching out of habit or obligation. It’s kind of liking reading a book when you know you are not going to enjoy the ending but you still need to continue so you can see how it ends.

    • Sally says:

      @Anne — did you know that last week’s compilation hit the top 10 on Itunes? That means the voting public is buying the Idols Itunes records.

      • Anne TM says:

        I would like to see the figures for this week because I don’t think any of them were worth buying this week.

    • agrimesy says:

      I just had an idea about vote off qualifications! Contestants voted off should be determined by three factors: voter numbers, the judges’ score, AND total iTunes sales of their studio performance! Way to put the voters’ money where their mouths are! I like this idea a lot!

    • jb says:

      I think you’re confusing Casey with Scotty. Casey doesn’t sing country so doing a song from Pure Country would have been oh so wrong.

  45. Debbie M says:

    Wow, I’m glad it wasn’t just me. I broke out laughing during Jacob’s performance because I had a sudden disturbing image of him in a huge wig, big boobs (he’s already got the padded butt), tight sequined dress, arms raised, caterwauling on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 4! Seriously, the guy is a huge diva and has got to go. If he was in tune all the time, then I’d forgive the attitude, but I still have nightmares over the “I Believe I Can Fly” assault on my ears!

    • Laurel says:

      LMFAO Debbie, I do believe you have found a place for stanky.

    • SharonM says:

      hahaha!! while I was watching Jacob, I said to my kids that he should be wearing a ball gown, a crown and holding a torch like the Statue of Liberty. The suit doesn’t cut it for him.

  46. Allie says:

    Paul – I think I’m in the minority here, but I actually enjoyed his performance. I think it was one of his strongest vocals to date, and at least he’s entertaining.
    Lauren – Was it just me, or did she sound really out of breath the entire song? It felt like her proverbial “climb” was up the mountain of breath control.
    Stefano – I was so bored through this whole song. Sure, dude is cute and all, but I thought this song was over-dramatic in the 90’s and my opinion hasn’t changed one bit since then. And OMG, Randy, Boys II Men dude is one of the best singers of all time? For me, for you, you need to get your hearing checked!
    Scotty – I am so over him. Next!
    Casey – Bravo for taking a risk and shunning the advise of that ego-maniac “mentor.” Though it wasn’t technically perfect, this was my favorite performance of the night because it was actually different and artistic.
    Haley – Sure, this song choice sucked and the whole performance felt very Idol 101, but she didn’t deserve the brunt of all of the “judges” criticism. I hope she makes it until next week because she is actually interesting.
    Jacob – Again, I’m in the minority, but I kinda dug his song. Great song choice for him.
    James – Entertaining and while he should totally stick to his genre, this guy can sing pretty much any type of song. Definitely the front runner in the competition for me.
    Does anyone else miss the guest mentors from seasons old? I know I do. They seemed to bring a much-needed dose of excitement and fresh ideas.

    • anon says:

      You are in the minority. Paul can’t sing a lick. He’s absolutely the worst singer next to William Hung they’ve ever had on AI.

    • Charlotte says:

      Agree about the guest mentors. Miss them. I don,t like watching the current mentors. Seems to me they make fun of the contestants and boost their own egos instead of helping them.

  47. Laurel says:

    James was great.
    Jacob slaughtered BOTW , he needs to go !
    And I’m not voting for Haley JUST because she’s a girl.
    She’s gonna have to earn it.
    And she didn’t last night.

  48. ps says:

    I can’t believe you didn’t mention that poor STILL can’t find his way out of the studio. Or is he a prisoner? Should we be feeling sorry for him and start sending in money for his release? Save so he can have capital letters in his name!

    • John says:

      William (I refuse to type his teen-girly spelling) is still there because Uncle Nigel was quoted as saying that that the dude is FANTASTIC….and that he (Nigel) wants to develop a tv show for him…..can you believe that???

  49. Lizbeth says:

    IA with about everything you wrote this week. I really dislike Jimmy I and his BFF Will.etc more every week. They seem so smug talking to those kids. I haven’t really heard much great advice either.

    Paul–I have never been on the Paul train. I don’t care for his voice at all–and last night was no exception. I thought he was pretty bad. I hate that song too. OTOH, he is never boring. It did remind me of Taylor Hicks in a way–much more than anything Casey ever did. But, you are right–Hicks was a better singer.

    Lauren–Just OK. I didn’t feel much emotion from her-I think I stopped paying attention about half way through

    Stefano–I don’t like the song. I think he did it OK–but it was cheezy again. He seems like a nice kid tho and I felt bad for him last week.

    Scotty–My husband told me the first time he saw Scotty that he should do that song. I even put it here as my suggestion song the other day. But, that was for my hubby–I don’t really care for the song–LOL IA wish he would have done the Everybody’s Talkin–love that song. I was bored and he missed some notes.

    Casey–He had some b-lls doing Nature Boy. OMG-what a great song. The degree of difficulty was so much higher than anyone else’s performance– like the difference between a basic dive and a triple backwards somersault. It wasn’t a perfect performance vocally–but it was pretty good. He seemed very nervous to me–or maybe not feeling well again. He was sweating and he did that when he was sick. I love that he stuck to his guns and did it instead of the mediocre Phil Collins number. However–will the voters like it–I don’t know about that. Advice to my fave contestant if he gets to stick around–you can do a jazzy song, but pick more of a crowd pleasing type number. Stop grunting between verses in every song. If TPTB tell you to turn and look at the camera at weird moments during the song–don’t do it. It breaks the continuity of the music and takes the viewer out of the song. If Randy says you are educating the public–DONT REPEAT IT. Much of the public does not want to be educated about music. They think the stuff on pop radio is good.

    Haley–not her best. Why was she the only one given criticism–I have no clue. She was a lot better than Paul.

    Jacob–I have an aversion to that song–even tho I know it is great. My 7th grade teacher made us listen to it every day for a year. And she was a real b-tch too–LOL I did not care for his performance and kind of tuned him out.

    James–I am not a metal fan–but I thought he did pretty well.

    I like your grade list–probably would switch Casey with James due to difficulty level.

  50. CAT says:

    Paul – He still can’t sing. And when he grabbed that tambourine…all I could think of was the phrase “drunken uncle at a wedding reception”. PLEASE END THIS TORTURE. HE MUST GO!!!!!
    Lauren – Lose the boots and the makeup applied with a shovel. You look like a hooker. But, she sounded quite nice last night, even with an inexplicable breath in the middle of her last note.
    Stefano – Best vocal so far. Really seemed to be trying to win, at last.
    Scotty – Would have preferred Nilson. But he’s the best voice left in the competition, even though this was NOT his best vocal. By the way, if, according to Randy, he’s supposed to stick with what he does best, why wasn’t Pia allowed to do that without criticism?
    Casey – STOP LOOKING LIKE A HOMOCIDAL MANIAC WHEN YOU SING!!! I thought it was a cook arrangement, but his vocals just aren’t all that great.
    Haley – When she doesn’t growl, she doesn’t really have much depth or power to her voice, and the growl has now gotten old, so she has nothing left. By the way, why are the girls the only ones getting criticized? If they want an all-guys competition, set it up that way to start with.
    Jacob – Sick to death of this song and wish he’d sing one number without all sorts of runs and melody changes. A few REALLY wonky notes.
    James – Amazing. He’s becoming my new favorite. Considering my favorite used to be Pia, I guess I have a wide range of musical tastes! Being 55, I can’t watch anyone being able to bend over backwards like that without feeling pain in my OWN back!

    Bottom 3: Paul, Haley and Jacob. Please send Paul home!

    • Yo says:

      Try standing on your head; sets a bad back right up.:-)

    • Donna G says:

      You’re not the only one! Pia and James were/are my favorites as well. Not a ballad loving Celine fan, but Pia’s voice was just so flawless and powerful. If she could have stayed in the competition, I think we would have seen a different side to her. Love James because I’m a rocker at heart and he’s got a great rock voice and so much enthusiasm!!