American Idol 2011: Top 13 performance show recap – Ups and (mostly) downs

The “American Idol” lucky 13 took the stage tonight (Tuesday technically) to deliver to us songs from their own personal idols. There were a lot rocky moments and poor song choices but still a couple of obvious, and not-so-obvious standouts. I just wasn’t that impressed tonight. And my reviews are going to reflect that. So be warned. My least favorite thing of the night was the behind-the-scenes footage. I don’t care. I just want to hear them sing.

As always, I’ll review each performance and give it a grade.

In order of performance

*Lauren Alaina, “Any Man of Mine.” Lauren wasn’t as good as last week. She does Reba a lot better than Shania. It was all a little karaoke and even a little flat at times. That’s surprising from her. Are people already getting cocky? And not that it matters, but if I’m judging everything, she was dressed a little frumpy. C+

*Casey Abrams, “With A Little Help From My Friends.” This has always been one of my favorite songs, as I grew up with “The Wonder Years” and this was its theme song. So I was iffy when I heard it was what Casey was singing. I actually liked it. I’m not a Casey fan, but tonight I was on board. It did seem he got lost once but covered it well. Or maybe he did that intentionally. Who knows. Side note: Did you catch his repetitive weed call out? I had a feeling he was a stoner. A-

*Ashthon Jones, “When You Tell Me That You Love Me.” Did Wildcard Ashthon do anything to reverse the fact that she didn’t make America’s cut last week? Not in my opinion. I liked her at one time, but I’m losing interest. It was all just OK. Even Steven was clearly bored with her. C+

*Paul McDonald, “Come Pick Me Up.” Paul is shaping up to be my favorite, but I wasn’t happy with his song choice. Or his d-bag Chris Martin Costume. That said, he’s definitely fun to watch and listen to. His voice is incredibly unique. And those moves. At times I’m annoyed. At times I’m freaked out. At times I’m in awe. He’s a weird one. But good weird. B+

*Pia Toscano, “All By Myself.” After last week’s performance, Pia had a  lot to live up to. And she did. Again, she brought a lot of power. Her tone and pitch were perfect. But is she only going to be a balladeer? I want to see how diverse she is. A

*James Durbin, “Maybe I’m Amazed.” I keep trying to not like James, but it’s not working. His performance tonight, I’d argue, was the best. From that soft and crystal-clear start to his powerful and James-esque range, he showed his versatility. He proved that he’s not going to scream at us every week. He went in that direction, but he held back and gave us just the right amount. Very well done. A+

*Haley Reinhart, “Blue.” I’m not sure what kind of singer she’s trying to be, but I enjoyed what I heard tonight. She pulled off some Patsy Cline business. She was twanging and yodeling. Very nice. I’m not sure why Randy Jackson was being a jerk when he judged her. I thought he was way off. A- (bordering on B+)

*Jacob Lusk, “I Believe I Can Fly.” I know you’re going to hate me for this, but I don’t like Jacob and I didn’t like his performance. I’ve never been a fan and I can confidently say I never will be. I normally say he’s not my cup of tea, but is still a perfect singer. I can’t even say that this week. He was all over the place and doing some things with his voice that don’t even classify as singing. He overdid it, which seems to be his style. And that song. It’s so cheesy. I can’t even take it seriously. C+

*Thia Megia, “Smile.” Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I could easily copy and paste my whole Jacob review into hers. Even down to the fact that you’ll hate me for not liking her. But I just don’t. She doesn’t seem to have much charisma. Maybe it’s nerves. But, hey, you’re on “American Idol.” There are no excuses now. The performance tonight wasn’t even good. The song just kind of happened then it was over. Nothing fancy. Nothing fun. Nothing that even showed what she’s capable of. The judges even clearly hated it but apparently someone told them they aren’t allowed to really say so. Weird. C-

*Stefano Langone, “Lately.” Our second Wildcard pick of the night pulled me in from the start. His energy was refreshing. His stage presence is spot on. Great tone. And he did a dance mix version of that song. Crazy good. And I don’t care how old-lady I sound, he seems ridiculously sweet. Still. I’m clearly a fan. A

*Karen Rodriguez, “I Could Fall in Love.” Oh Karen. If you’ve been singing Selena all your life, then why did it sound so bad tonight? Rocky start. Weak chorus. Weak bridge. Mediocre end. She brought nothing new to the song despite her saying she was going to. It was weird. And bad. D

*Scotty McCreery, “The River.” I was expecting more from Scotty. I like him a lot but I didn’t hear anything special tonight. I don’t even think he was really true to himself. It just felt like he was holding back too much. He still has a smooth voice though and everyone loves him. B

*Naima Adedapo, “Umbrella.” A wildcard pick in the pimp spot? Wow. That can mean one of two things: She’s the absolute best! Or she’s the only option out of 13 kind of good performances. Yeah. Well she was good. But not pimp-spot material. So you know my answer. I did like the rap and reggae The Janitor gave us, but overall, I think the production and her dance moves were better than her singing. B+

I have to say this: I miss Robbie Rosen.

And now I weigh in on who’s safe and who’s not.

100 percent safe: Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina, Jacob Lusk, Casey Abrams, Pia Toscano

Most likely safe: Thia Megia, Paul McDonald, James Durbin, Stefano Langone, Naima Adedapo

Probably the bottom three: Karen Rodriguez, Ashthon Jones, Haley Reinhart

Probably going home: Ashthon Jones

So what are your thoughts on tonight’s performances? Who were your favorites and who do you think is going home tomorrow night?





  1. James Durbin was the best, then Scotty McCreary, Pia Toscano, Haley Rinehart and AAshton Jones

    • I had James in the top spot also. Although I put Casey second and Pia third. I hate the song Pia sang but she killed it pretty good.

      I'd say Ashton should go home. She is just terrible. I could not believe the judges gave her a pass. Something wrong here even Randy did not rip here a new one like he should have. Maybe they know she is going home anyway so decided to be nice.

      I thought Haley did great too.

  2. I think your grade is off on Haley and Jacob (Haley should be lower and Jacob higher) but an excellent assessment overall. The bottom line conclusion (Ashton gone) would only be right.

    • Thanks. And yeah, I did struggle on how to grade Jacob. I think he's a great singer despite not being my kind of artist. But tonight I just didn't like his performance. Last week I gave him an A despite not liking him. I try to be objective no matter what.

      • I know exactly what you're saying. It was Jacob's weakest performance so far.. or the song just didn't really work. James Durbin truly was awesome though, which completely took me by surprise.

      • @ Branden…you definitely got it right on James…A+….he did a great rendition of Paul McCartney's song… Maybe, I'm Amazed. Loved the sweetness that came out of him…so far…he is my favorite. And, yes…time for Ashton to go home. 🙂

      • Agree on your assessment of Jacob great singer but the only one I would never buy a CD of. His performance again made me feel like if i was at church and I was high! Attempting to impress by affecting greater importance by adding a choir? Over the top pretentious! Made me dislike him even more as a singer.

        Definitely would buy James D tunes for sure, Pia's perhaps,Paul McD's yes,casey's yes.

      • I agree no doubt Jacob is a great singer but tonight was terrible. I am not a fan of his style but there is not denying his pipes. It may have been the song. He needs to change it up if he wants to go deep in the competition.

    • I'd change the order a bit for tonight: Pia, Scotty, James. Overall weeks: Scotty is my favorite – hands down.

      I thought that Jacob was better than most are saying.

      The real disappointment was Karen. Truth be told, Karen, Ashton and Thia are neck and neck for the boot.

      Finally – Rodoferax was definitely not reading Branden's traffic.

  3. hey, that was quite ridiculous. i do think that it is so unfair on the part of Jacob and Thia to be treated this way. You may post your opinions based on their performance, but not to the extent that you will mock them based on their appearance or race.. the issue of racism should be eliminated… i respect your opinion but i do think that fairness and equality should be observed… It is a singing competition and not a beauty pageant!!!

    –anyway, i still love thia and Casey!

    • Mock? Race? What? Opinion.

      Have I missed something? I see you are trying to bring a issue in this that, ummm, was not brought up. Nice try (not)

      I am not a fan of country music but young Scottie is a definite "okay!" I am leaning to Paul! Jacob has a very soothing voice! Thia is a very talented young woman. Beautiful, what was her skin pigmentation again, I forget?

      • Thank you, Tishe. NO ONE has said anything about race. And no one is mocking anyone. I have no idea what that person is talking about. But being accused of racism is not something I can just ignore.

      • I agree…this person needs to re-read the article….seems like they have some serious issues. Nothing was mentioned about race, color, ethnic background….gheesh…get a life~!!!

    • No where in this article was race and appearance even mentioned by the author. If you are going to comment try actually reading and comprehending first. Also, accusing someone of making racial comments is very serious especially unfounded ones..shame on you!!!

    • you musta read another blog post and commented on this one…cause there's nothing about race mentioned in those grades!

  4. Gosh Branden, once again, I think you pretty much nailed it. I agree with your grades. James Durbin was the best, and this comes from a man in his 50s who likes a wide range of music and performers but who gravitates more to crooners and country-folk. (I sure appreciate a good rocker, though, and I love both Chris Daughtry and David Cook from previous years.)

    As unpopular as it may be with many who are posting, there's something about Jacob (too much) and Thia (too young and no stage presence) that bother me. There's no doubt that both can sing, and Jacob is powerful and will almost certainly end up with a recording contract regardless of whether he wins AI or not.

    Karen has a nice, sugary voice but wasn't that good tonight and has to guard against being just plain booorrrriiinnnggg.

    As I posted on another thread, everybody seems to be on the Scotty bandwagon, and I like him and think he'll go far, BUT … I thought his Garth tonight was just average. It's not a difficult song to sing, with a tiny, tiny range of notes, and I thought he seemed stiff and, actually, well, kind of nervous. His voice was barely audible at times, it was so weak and breathy, and yet the judges loved him. I think you and I are the only ones who wouldn't give him an A.

    Paul's quirkiness is already starting to wear thin on me, although I still like him.

    And I totally agree with you about Haley, who I thought was the pleasant surprise of the night (along with Naima) with a stunning rendition of "Blue," a very difficult song to sing with all sorts of voice modulations, and I thought that she nailed it, in spite of the judges not loving it.

    The first three to go, I think, in no particular order, should be Ashthon, Thia (her day will come later) and Karen.

    I agree that Robbie Rosen would have been a good substitute for any of those three, as would have Lauren Turner.

    Overall, though, still a pretty strong group with lots of variety.

    • of course not….thia deserves to be there than robbie…did u hear robbies' voice?maybe ashton and karen but not thia….hellooooooo……

  5. I totally agree with your assessment of Jacob. He is very talented, but I'm not buying it not yet anyway, I've changed my mind before so you never know. I thought overall the show was good, and I have to say much better than last season. Really spot on assessment by you Branden. Look forward to next weeks.

  6. I miss Robbie, I think he was the best.

    I was not impressed with anyone tonight. I think James showed that he can sing…It's the first time I heard his true range without all the screaming. I still don't have a favorite yet. I know everyone raves on the show about Thia, but there is something about her that is forgetable. I hope they do better next week. I hope Jacob goes home he was so off key, and his drama is over the top.

      • We watched. We just don't all agree! Karen was clearly an under achiever tonight, certainly vs Jacob.

    • i still want this to stay! i love to listen to her voice and if she has a recording, i will de finitely buy her album! among others i'll surely buy is stefano and pia! i love their voice. but i love watching casey, james and naima performing.

      • *i still want thia to stay! i love to listen to her voice and if she has a recording, i will de finitely buy her album! among others i’ll surely buy is stefano and pia! i love their voice. but i love watching casey, james and naima performing.

  7. I thought that you are pretty much on key with the performances tonight. I still love Lauren even though she wasn't great tonight, but Scotty is awesome in my opinion. So only one person will go home tomorrow night?

    • Well, I was wondering that. Since there's a 13 instead of 12. But they normally say dramatically that two people will go home tomorrow… so hmm.

  8. I think Naima was smart. We've seen in the past that she has a beautiful voice, and deeply emotional. But instead of sticking with that angle, she's shown us tonight that she ALSO has style, flair and creativity to elevate her performances. It also showcased her musical flavor, and being an islander from Hawaii, I LOVED her rasta vibe remix. I hope to see more of her, and that she somehow manages to blend her creativity and beautiful voice a little more harmoniously…all in all I agree with your grading of her.

    • Yes, you know exactly what you are doing… "he's not my kind of singer"… Isn't it interesting that all the "minority" singers are your lowest rated singers?…Well he Jacob Lusk is my kind of singer. And I hope those who are voting will validate that.

      • Comments like this make you want to "say" things that would get you deleted from this site.

      • I'm guessing this is the same joker last week that cried "racism!" because Jacob wasn't listed as a favorite.

        You could say Ashthon was your favorite, but didn't like Jacob and he'd call you a racist. Prefer Bud Light to Miller Light? Racist! Don't like pepperoni on your pizza? Racist! Pizza?? Racist!

  9. Everyone but Casey, James and Scotty SUCKED. I dont get the facination with Paul. Robbby should have been picked over ANY of the wild cards. Pia is beautiful and can definitely sing, but she needs to step away from the ballads already….

  10. James was the best of night!

    But I have some problem. you gave Haley and Stefano an A and B for Scotty.

    It Was not his best but he is more better than haley and Stefano.But this is my opinion.(I like What he songs!). Good job Branden

    • @ Ash…I agree…James did have the best performance of the night. And…again, thank you Branden for your recap. Good job~!!! 🙂

  11. Jacob, James, Pia, and Casey were my favorites this week. All four of them did really good again tonight, in my opinion, especially James and Pia. I think right now the girls are weaker than the guys. Except for Pia. I think she could be in the finale with either Jacob or James. Jacob is my favorite right now. I enjoy his singing and I thought he did well, but that just wasn't the best choice of song for me. I've heard much better versions of I Believe I Can Fly. I think it's a song that sounds better when sung smooth and not sung with with Jacob's wavy style. I didn't catch that he was singing that song until part way through it. Last week I didn't think Stephano deserved to make the top 13. This week that is changed. I really enjoyed him and he has jumped up my board quite a bit. He might be the one wild card that changes America's mind. The rest of the performances weren't horrible, but didn't quite stand out to me.

    With that said, I think Jacob, James, Pia, and Casey are 100% safe. Paul, Thia, Lauren, Stephano, and Scotty are most likely safe. Haley, Karen, Naima, and Ashton are in danger.

    My predicted bottom 3 would be Karen, Naima, and Ashton. Karen I have liked in previous weeks, but just didn't get tonight and because of that a bottom three appearance will scare and motivate her to do better. Naima's dance moves were great and so were the background effects, but her singing was just off. Being that she was voted off by America last week and saved because the judges liked her, I don't think she has done anything this week to help her status. And Ashton I just don't get. I haven't got her all season. I didn't understand at all why she was chosen to make the top 13 instead of several others that were much better, and I just didn't get her performance tonight. Because of that, I say Ashton is the one that goes home from this top 3 and give Naima and Karen one more shot.

  12. Paul's performance was okay. In my opinion he's had stronger performances.

    I don't like to judge people based on their attire or personal choices, but this one I can't ignore. Paul was wearing a Marine Corps Dress Blues jacket. A jacket that the FEW & the PROUD wear because they EARN it. As a Marine myself, I can't overlook his poor choice in his outfit. Wearing that jacket was disrespectful and downright offending to those that have earned the right to wear it.

  13. I absolutely love Scotty. He is my American Idol. I really loved James' performance tonight. I totally agree with you about Paul. He has an amazing voice but I did not care for his selection this week. I love Lauren Alaina but this performance was not great. I totally agree with you on Jacob. I know a lot of people love him but I do not. I would send either Karen or Ashton home. I disagree with you on Haley. I thought her performance was beautiful.

  14. I thought the show was wonderful. Those youngsters are very talented. I didn't care for some of the songs. I liked Lauren, Pia, James, Haley, & Scotty the best. To each his own…

  15. James is amazing!(im not just saying that because he is a friend of my families)but he is just great, i also think haley is good she is so sensual and sexy in the way she sings.Ashton its time to pack your bags!I have not been a fan of hers since day one.

  16. I agree with your assessment of all. I think Jacob is great but song choice and performance tonight weren't his best. Thought Haley's yodeling was lovely but didn't feel Paul or Stefano. Don't get me wrong…they are all very talented but Casey, James, are definitely in the lead. It's gonna be really hard to choose one person this year.

  17. 1) Anybody looking for anything racially-biased in the original poster's synopsis had to be looking really, really hard and wanting to see things that absolutely, positively weren't there.

    2) No matter which singer anyone likes or wants to win overall, or what genres people like the most, it seems that the consensus is that James was the best or second-best performer tonight. I certainly concur with that. (

    3) It also seems that there's pretty much unanimity on which two were the weakest tonight: Ashthon and Karen. And I agree with those sentiments as well.

    So it's pretty amazing that, although people have a wide range of favorites, there's a ton of agreement on the actual strength of tonight's performances about the very top and the very bottom.

  18. my ranking!

    1.James Durbin

    2.Stefano Langone

    3.Pia Toscano

    4.Haley Reinhart

    5.Casey Abrams

    6.Naima Adedapo

    7.Lauren Alaina

    8.Thia Megia

    9.Jacob Lusk

    10.Scotty McCreery

    11.Paul McDonald

    12.Ashton Jones

    13.Karen Rodriguez

    • Three Bottom agree.

      haley and stefano dis agree.according to last night:

      1. james 2. pia 3. casey 4. Scotty

      • ok then i'll put casey in number 4 then haley in number 5.. in the case of scotty it all same performance for me he need to top his last performance with something different that will standout… but thanks for agreeing with my bottom 3..

    • Shantina NO ONE is trying to change your mind. I love that you love Thia. Different strokes, different folks. Why is that so hard for some people to get?

    • I love Thia also. Maybe some people here doesnt like her because of the type of songs and she is just a simple jane. But lets face it , I would prefer to hear and watch Thia in a cozy lounge instead of listening and watching the other girls . Thia's voice has class.And the mere fact that the judges likes Thia means she really can sing.

  19. I really hope Haley isn't in the bottom 3……I thought she was really good though I agree with Ashton and Karen being at the bottom……..thought Jacob was more of a D, had to actually turn the volume down it was so harsh in spots….he has had some great performances but this was his worst for me….I wonder what the Judges were hearing. I can tell he and the 'judgments' are going to get on my nerves real fast….right behind Ashton and Karen. (at least they told Karen the truth, which I didn't expect)

    Lauren Alaina could have picked a better song but at least she was able to sing it pretty effortlessly…….Ashton murdered that song so I would not equate the two of them as far as grading.

    I really like Thia's voice but she's not a performer – yet, anyway.

    There are so many talented people that I can't pick a fave yet….just the ones that need to go.

  20. There were a couple of very good performances and I do enjoy a good performance. Pia and Stefano did stand out for me. If there is such a thing as "the voice" though it is Thia. I am hooked on the goosebumps and chills when I hear her sing. Thankfully, I am not the only one upon which she has that effect. Everything else will improve with experience.

      • I totally agree with you ,even Randy Jackson noticed that . Its only the choice of song . Thia has a great voice.

      • Yup, you're right is the song of choice, but to be frank though she really either needs to step it up, or try getting out of her comfort zone. Common, she's only 15 and will still improve on the way.

  21. James Durbin, Casey Abrams and Pia Toscano are my Top 3 performances for tonight. James and Pia are competing for the top spot.

  22. I pretty much agree with all you said and the grades you gave them. I personally like James and Pia the best. I think Scotty is likeable, but I just wonder how he's going to fair with something beyond country.

    Can't wait to see Adam tomorrow night!<3

    BTW…I miss robbie as well 🙁

  23. This is a really good season. I usually only watch the first weeks of see all the bad singers for a good laugh…but this season I can't stop watching..there are so many talented people. James is amazing…I also like Scotty, Paul, Casey, Jacob and Naima….just such a great variety. But I have to admit I am pulling for James 🙂

  24. Well, I'm one of those people who find Paul weird. I don't think he is a very good singer either, which is what it's all about. What in the world are the cheerleaders–I mean the judges, thinking? They told Lauren to kick up her voice or something like that, then Paul comes out and almost whispers–and they love it!? James, Lauren, Casey and Pia blew the doors off the place tonight. But I am beginning to wonder about Pia. Can she sing anything else? In my opinion the Idol winner should be able to sing some variety of songs. I guess we will see. Thanks for the forum.

      • It would be really nice if a singer can do all genres and styles but i would rather they stick to something they are good at than blow my eardrums with a bad rendition.

    • I like Pia, however, she sang about 10 different words and the remainder was sung over and over. I thought she had a couple rough places, too. Karen had a rough time, as did Ashton, and Thia. I like Jacob, and he has great ability but I didn't like his singing tonight, and he was off some. I am tired of looking at his tongue, too. I thought Namima was better than what the judges said she was. My 1-13 picks are James,

      Scotty, Casey, Stefano, Paul, Lauren, Haley, Jacob, Pia, Namima, Thia, Karen, Ashton. I think Scotty should try singing some Kris Kristoffson songs like "Sunday Morning Coming Down." Jacob better get back to Luther songs, and Lauren doesn't have to sing country music, she sings pop really good. Pia needs to change it up and sing more lyrics. I wonder if Jacob could sing Josh Grobin (sp) songs. I think Thia will survive but she needs to get better songs. Karen is ready to go, as is Ashton. I was disappointed tonight. Maybe the mentors aren't a good idea, according to them everyone was fantastic. That was awful with Barry Gordy there and the Diana Ross song was a mess. Also,no one can sing Celine except Celine. Her songs are beyond difficult. Maybe next week will be better.

      • I like Pia but there is something lacking the way she sang "All by myself". I heard Charice sang that song and she nailed it. It's hard to top Celine but i think Charice did an equally amazing job.

      • I know someone who can sing like Celine. Search for Sarah Geronimo in youtube. Charice Pempengco can do too I believe.

      • Sara, I agree with you for the most part. I absolutely agree that no one can sing Celine but Celine. In the country music world, no one can sing Shania Twain but Shania Twain. I was disappointed when I heard Lauran Alaina would be singing Shania Twain because of this. However, if she wants to be a country music diva, then she must chose country music songs and there are many she could blow out of the park. I hope this round does not dampen her spirit as she has a powerful voice and presence.

    • Paul is what I like to call eccentric. Okay, yeah, he's weird but for me it's a cool weird. And more importantly I do think he can sing. I think his voice is refreshingly different. I don't think the judges were telling Lauren to sing louder, what they meant was for her to take it to the next level b/c they all agree she has natural talent but most everyone seemed to agree that tonight wasn't great for her. Bad song choice, it just really did nothing to showcase her talent. I really like her, love her voice and her personality and she's really natural on stage.

      No doubt, Pia can sing but I also wonder if she can do anything else, and frankly I started getting bored with her before tonight even.

    • Completely disagree… It is nice to see someone with a very unique voice, a true artist make it on Idol. It is about time that someone that isn't a cookie cutter pop star gets some recognition. Paul MacDonald is way more marketable that a Lee Dewyze.

    • Thats how how I feel about Scotty Doug, is he going to be able to sing something besides country?

  25. I concur in most of the reviews about the performance of the contestant this week, yet I still reserve my dissent to other things:

    Great performance(s):

    There are only three (3) standout for tonight's performances, and it all came from the boys.

    1) James Durbin – He rock the stage with his high vocal power. Almost all his high notes do not have flat one. Stage presence is well defined.

    2) Casey Abrams – Entertaining yet the quality of his voice is never diminished. He knows how to play the notes that will suit his performance.

    3)Stefano Langone – a redemption day for him. Tonight he showed how great an artist he could be, and showcased the quality of his voice.

    OKAY Performaces:

    1)Pia Toscano – definitely she did not surpassed the standard she set for herself last week when she sang "I'll Stand by you". Last week, she has an almost perfect pitch and tone when she showed how powerful her voice can be. But tonight, the expectation was not met. Though she showed her vocal powers again yet she had more flats than last week. But overall, she was good at the start of the song.

    2)Scotty McCreery – I like his voice and let people to enjoy the world of country music. He never failed to show the quality of his voice yet he was holding back on more things that he could show. His performance last week was better than tonight.

    3) Paul McDonald – Although I am not yet ready to see how good he is but he really is an artist in his own. He has a good voice quality yet not I am not sure if he can adopt to other types of genre.

    4) Naima Adedapo – Her rendition of Umbrella was safe to keep her safe from being sent home. She still showcased her voice yet it did not bring out the artist on her. When listening to her performance without watching can mistakenly think that it was still Rhiana. But overall she gave justice to the song.

    5)Jacob Lusk – He overdid the song. I like the start of his performance but when he came to the high notes, I think his vocal power is best suited in other songs, not this one. I have heard many artists who sang this song yet they are still better than Jacob for this performance.

    6)Lauren Alaina – A lot of flats during her performance but she managed to entertain everyone. She's good in country music but she needs to be aware if she's in the right tone or not. Overall, she is still good.

    7) Thia Megia – I agree with the judges that the start of her performance was sweet and really showed her perfect pitch and tone but came the accompaniment it was like she was carried with the flow. She did some pitchy parts in the song. Her performance last week was simple yet outstanding. I could still hear in my mind singing that song. But tonight, it was an average performance. She has still good quality of voice that will surprise everyone. One thing I can't understand about her is that sometimes she has a blank reaction.










    • i want to shake thia, more energy! i like her to stay, i love to listen to her!

      i don't like ashton's version of the song. maybe she should have chosen an RnB.

      in fairness to naima, she did good and surprised me but not at her best voice.

  26. Joshua Mask was my favorite performance for tonight. Excellent job and an inspirational song.

    • Hmmmmm ….. Joshua Mask …. Maybe he's going to be on Season 11?

      I'm just kidding. I assume you mean Jacob Lusk. But now we don't know if you were posting sarcastically, meaning that you really don't like JL and were poking fun, or if you do like him and simply got the name wrong.

  27. They are all amazing singers in their own special way.James, Pia, and Naimi were great tonight. Folks you must understand Jacob is a gospel soul singer, very loud and powerful and a lot of people dont appreciate that, but he is definitely talented.Just wish them all luck for the future and stop ripping them apart, they have feelings also.

  28. I know it's a 1/13 prediction, but it is clear, who is original and a true performer.

    Casey will absolutely win this year.

    This year we will have a genuine male American Idol.

    Not since Chris Daughtry has the true male talent risen so early.

    • Don't forget David Cook! I am not really a fan but it is undeniable that he has the x factor. He can rock it and very distinct voice.

    • I disagree with you there Brian, I think Casey is good but not a definitely shoo in to win it! I Also agree that Chris Daughtry got robbed, but he's got a tremendous career. And David Cook 100% deserved to win season 7. If you listen to his CD's today or watch some youtube videos of him, you will see America DID NOT screw up there!

      But still for me to this day of watching every single season, Adam Lambert should have won and I think for more than 1/2 the American Idol population, they feel the same. he can sing anything almost flawlessly! 🙂

  29. Pia is the singer with better quality. Nobody in this competition can sing this kind the song that she choices because they are no so good as her, she sing ladies songs. This girl has a great talent. The others singers are ordinary, no bad singers but nothing extraordinary. Pia is the best!!!!!

    • Absolutely agree. Pia is the first competitor in quite awhile that is not only an amazing singer, but has star quality. Somebody please tell me what any of the winners have done since Carrie U.

      • I guess it depends what you mean Kyle… you mean are they winning awards? If thats not what you mean, David Cook's self-titled album,was released on November 18, 2008 and has since been certified Platinum by the RIAA (which means it has sold more than 1,000,000 copies)

  30. Don't judge yourself by your friends. Judge yourself by your best friend. O.K Ashton….don't worry

  31. Wow…the race comments were just odd. At no point did Branden reference race. Whatever, dude.

    As for the show itself, I mostly agree with the grades that Branden gave, but I have a few minor disagreements:

    -Casey is in serious danger of becoming Taylor Hicks. Which would be a shame, because I think he has more talent. The last performance of his that I adored was "Why Don't You Do Right?," because it showed so much artistry and depth. Last week and this week, though, I felt like he was too shouty. He is in grave danger, I fear, of gaining an overrated tag. I still dig him, though. I just would have given him a B tonight.

    -Paul is one of those folks who I am never going to get. His rendition of "Blackbird" was stunning, but as a general proposition, he's just not my cup of tea. I'm black, so maybe that makes me a racist.

    -I thought Stefano was a disaster tonight. I'm sorry, but why did he do the Donna Summer version of "Lately"? Disco-fying that song did not work for me in the slightest.

    -Naima actually made the night for me. I definitely heard the missed/clipped notes, but I also thought she did a very nice job for most of the song. Plus, the reggae breakdown was HOT. In fact, if you go to iTunes and listen to the studio version of the song, it sounds amazing and totally radio ready. I hope she's safe tomorrow night!

    Good recap!

    • BN123…Agree with you re. Naima…was not originally a fan but she is definitely clawing her way back and with coaching is a talent waiting to happen…would love to see more of the reggae influence come out…very HOT…hopefully others agree and keep her on (also agree with your synopsis of Stefano… although I like the kid …hated the rendition…I'm not a Casey fan however…much better talent than him has already departed…I don't get why AI is so high on him)

  32. My recommendations are golden. Here is a few:

    Scotty…Faron young's, Hello Walls

    Casey…Frank Sinatra's Just the Way You are

    Pia…Dionne Warwick's Alfie

  33. I agree Ashthon is probably going home. I certainly hope Haley is not in the bottom with she & Karen, I think it could be Thia or Naima.

    Haley, James & Lauren are my three faves. I loved Haley tonight. Lauren is awesome: natural talent, natural performer. I agree tonight wasn't great. Totally don't get the Pickler comparison other than the accent and I sure hope she doesn't play that comparison up b/c she is far more talented. Hope she wows us next week.

    I just love James. Some of the screaming stuff is a bit much for me so I esp loved tonight and I just love his story. Let's remember that he has some challenges that for many people cause difficulties in day to day life, yet he has found ways to cope and just seems like a really cool guy. Don't see how one couldn't like him. I predict he will be among the last few standing.

    I like all the rest about equally. Thia has one of the best voices but yeah she's not ready. I enjoyed Naima tonight I think it was a good move. I like her. Pia can sing but I'm getting bored. Jacob's style isn't my thing but no doubt he's great and he's just so darn likeable.

  34. Branden, love reading your updates. Thanks. I've always hated the attitude of people who say "he is terrible" (or worse) when what they mean is "I don't care for his style", so it's great to find someone who can recognise talent and praise it even when it's not to your personal taste. And where some people get the racism idea from is beyond me. James to win!!

    • Thank you Janet! I'm glad you get my style. Some people are not. LOL. I constantly praise some for their technical qualities even if I don't like them. But some people think that's not good enough. Thanks for commenting!

  35. Well i haven't even watch (I'm indonesian, it is broadcasted one day late in Indonesia) but i really hope Karen will not go home tonight. She has a better voice from several girl contestants, she has a remarkable personality, and i think she's one of the-most-ready radio voice. I really think she could do more, and THIS major down in performance hopefully could be some ass-whippin' so that she could really shows what she really capable of next time. It's just my opinion, as an american idol fan and karen's fan.

  36. I agree with most on the bottom 3 and feel Ashton or Karen should go home. Can someone PLEASE explain to me what they see in Casey, he isn't sexy and he can't sing!!

    The top 3 standouts tonight were definitely James, Scotty and Pia.

    • Fully agree! I don’t get the hype around Casey…last night he chose an easy song and had a smoke screen of background/chorus singers and more band behind him than anyone else….granted he’s different but this is purportedly a singing competition and he can’t hold a candle to most of the others talent-wise (and unless yellow teeth come back in style can’t see him being a poster boy for American Idol)

  37. Hi, can anyone go back for the last 10 seasons?, i know everyone has their picks, but based on logic and reasoning, only three were stand out winners. and they were kelly, carrie and adam.

    and who won against adam? just remember that some will crank it up when needed to do so!

    scotty and lauren for me. but thats just my thoughts.


  38. Steven sucked tonight as a judge but i am still a fan.

    Jennifer plays the nice judge as well but she offers constructive criticism.

    Randy was cool

    Nigel needs to give Steven some sort of script because he is not the guy we seen judging during the auditions.

  39. i think bottom 3 will be ashton, karen and possibly haley.

    i feel karen may be safe becuz of her latino fan base this time but not sure she could last many more weeks. ashton possibly to go home this week.

    thia got short end of the stick with that arrangement. person responsible for that should be fired! hopefully she chooses a better song next week and shows a bit more sass and personality…otherwise she is in trouble 2.

    i like casey, james, paul they are fun and interesting to watch. I never know what to expect from their performances.

    i think scotty has a really good voice but i'm just not into country music in the slightest, just not my thing at all. each to their own….everyone's going to have differing opinions/favs and if we all had the same it would be a very boring competition. there is a bit of something for everyone this year. i haven't watched american idol since season 2 (im on australia) and have to say surprisingly enjoying this season….

  40. I don't get the hype around Casey…last night he chose an easy song and had a smoke screen of background/chorus singers and more band behind him than anyone else….granted he's different but this is purportedly a singing competition and he can't hold a candle to most of the others talent-wise (and unless yellow teeth come back in style can't see him being a poster boy for American Idol)

  41. i have watched it my gosh…..the show was not that good ….i was a little bit disappointed with the song choices….and becuse of that i dont think some of them deserved to be there at all…..Karen is not good at all…Naima although we saw a little dances moves and raggae vibes but the voice was just pitchy….disappointing….Jacob and Scotty almost gospel sounding songs….Jacob man drop the act dude…..deep sigh…..Exceptional performances was only of james,pia and casey….thats all….thia moved a little but forgettable oh no but safe….stefano i dont know its more of difficult looking song while all in all its just a simple song…..what the….its tiring to watch the show oh man….haley as usual she is like a sexy goddess but she is just not as will as ashton…..whats the matter with u guys?????had high hopes for this season but……my…my….paul good voive but too lax for american idol….and i cant even understand the song man…..uhhhhhggggg……shoulder shrugs…..

    • I think you almost forget that all of the contestant are only human, they can easily do wrong, not always perfect like an angel… please Zephyr78, could you see the little good side if you didn't find any in yours, at least?… peace…

      • Humans I understand that who even said about that?no question about that…what I was pointing out in this comment is that they say this season is great but the reality there are some who don't even deserved to be there they booted colton,tim and lauren turner…example of great talents..we as followers of the show expected that they will give us exemptional performances one that is worth watching for that's y they were there in the first place and with the addition of producers in the show we were also expecting greater show than what was given to us…that was just it…there is nothing in my comment being human or not…gosh…American Idol is actually equals to perfection in my opinion…if its not then its not American Idol….

  42. Brandan, I enjoy your reviews, but a lot of times I'm wondering what your criteria are. Pitch and the actual ability to sing do not seem to be included in your assessment based on some you rate highly. There are a number of contestants that you seem to like who really have trouble carrying a tune.

    Paul McDonald is not only quirky (he moves like he is having a spastic seizure; Ryan was right to mock him), but the dude flat out can't sing. He has an appealing tonal quailty, but everything that comes out of his mouth sounds like mangled karaoke. Similarly with Naima (minus McDonald the moves. She really can dance and commands the stage well). I'm not sure how they picked her over Robby or Kendra last week. I think she was Steven's favorite.

    So far for me this competition is shaping up to be Pia, Scotty and everyone else. I think Haley, Lauren and James will round out your top 5 (maybe not in that order). Thia has beautiful tonal quality but no stage presence and Casey will continue to overachieve because he is edgy, takes risks and leaves it all out there on the stage. However, both will ultimately fall to the better singers in all likelihood.

    I think Paul and/or Naima bid us adieu tonight with Ashton not far behind.


        The guy has amazing talent and an extremely unique voice. The guy is very marketable… and it is nice to see someone that doesn’t sound like a cookie cutter pop star.

      • Paul's a good singer, he's just not an American Idol singer. I'm sure he sounds great in a studio, but you can't hear him on that stage with the sound being soaked up by 1000s of people. AI has always been better for people with bigger or louder voices. Paul's good, but I don't know that he's gonna last too long (and really he does't even need to). Naima can sing, but I wasn't into her performance. It was different, but I thought it was nuts. And honestly, Rihanna is an artist she "truly respects?" I hated her for that.

    • Gotta agree. Normally I like Paul, but last night his pitch was all over the place. He was the worst last night. He might get lucky and get a chance to come back and redeem himself. But don't kid yourself. Last night was bad.

      • I love watching Paul because he is so quirky and Ryan made me laugh so hard with his impression of Paul's dance moves. I didn't like the song choice though until I went on the internet and listened to the original. That helped.. I am a Paul fan.. I like his uniqueness (sp?)

  43. I'm with dvh when it comes to Casey, give him a decent song to sing and he will fall big time! Can't see him lasting too long, he is just hiding in the shadows in my opinion.

    Rock on James!!

    • You are so misguided. Maybe it is because there are so many tweeners that watch and only like cookie-cutter pop that you cannot understand the great diversity of Casey and the amazing talent he is. The guy can play any instrument, has rocked every song he has sung from the beginning, has the charisma and the singing chops, but I guess not everyone can be Britney or Madonna, or Gaga or, gag, the Black Eyed Peas.

  44. Casey isn't there to win. Casey is there to showcase his over all talent. Regardless of when he leaves idol, he'll have plenty of work, and that seems to be what he's after. Over all, I'd say you guys are a little harsh. We've seen some fairly aweful top 12's over the years. This one isn't that bad. Weed it down to the top 5 and then see.

  45. ashthon and karen definitely are in danger…

    thia, well, she may be safe for this week,she has to have a better producer coz the arrangement of "smile" was dreadful.

    re pia,i just dont get the hype.c'mon,she cant sustain the high notes.

    naima's umbrella was good,but something's missing…she seem so conscious moving on stage.

    jacob, well, nothing really new to offer

  46. i think sure casey may not be everyone's cup of tea, and that's totally fair …but to say he is musically inferior is ridiculous. so he isn't a poster boy…who cares… do we really need to be so superficial…

    hoping next week is more exciting in song choices. bit drab tonite….some really old songs, boring ballads, cheesy songs. ought to b more current. do something exciting, edgy and UNIQUE to showcase them. rather than rehashing some song we have heard a million times on radio…mix it up bit…give us something exciting. show us you have fire in your belly, make us jump out of our seats…

    a few stabndouts on the right track

    • Casey,

      If if you read this, sing this song.

      "Try a Little Tenderness" -Otis Redding

      you will kill it

      • Oh, that is an Awesome suggestion! I would absolutely love him to do some Otis. Casey is an amazing talent, I am quite excited to someone so multi-talented rock the Idol stage and kill it every time. Have not been this excited about Idol since Adam Lambert sang Whole Lotta Love — never thought I would hear Led Zep on Idol ever. Then hear comes James singing Judas Preist and Casey nails every performance…and quirky Paul McDonald. It's going to be a tight competition this season. Great, since last year totally sucked.

      • amen on that!… i really dont know why some people here doesn't have a clue on what raw talent is… as randy said, "this is a singing competition"…!

  47. never liked karen. i don't know why she got picked in the first place. i have a strong feeling that she's going home tomorrow.

    i like haley. her voice is like the female version of paul and i completely disagree with randy, saying her performance was boring.

    thia – i think she's mostly timid so you can't really see her personality. she needs to let loose and stand out, otherwise she's not gonna last long.

  48. The crime is that Kendra,Lauren Turner, Robbie Rosen and Clint Jun Gamboa should be there instead of Paul, Karen, and Ashton. (they were also better singers than Naima, Scotty, Thia and Jacob). That said,this season has the best overall group talent ever. So good. I have a little something in my heart for that little Stephano. He has magic brewing. I hope they can develop him into a big something. Jacob can't get out of his own way. He believes the hype people have been giving him all these years. He is SO pitchy. All over the place. If he could harness a good ear, and control himself, stop being flat and sharp, then maybe he could live up to the hype…but for now, he is all noise, and no true quality.ugh. Casey Abrams, Pia Toscano,James Durbin, Stefano Langone,Haley Reinhart are musically the best. But, you gotta love The Janitor. She has a soul that shines.

    • Yes i do love the Janitor.There's something really truthful and genuine about her and i agree 100%..She has a soul that shines!!I hope America sees that just as how i from Malaysia sees her…Hope she stays!

  49. Wow, I totally agree with your assesment and grade on the performers last night.

    As it's been told this season the talent is INSANE, even the ones I don't like are remarkable.

    I think it boils down to song choice and arrangement.

    My faves last night were James, Casey and Pia.

    I sure hope James doesn't win the competition, I'd rather see him fronting a band, but I'd love to keep him til the end of the competition.

    Casey it's in a league of his own and Pia CAN sing and perform, but I need to see her in something more current, balladists are too 80's-90's.

    Karen and/or Ashton have to go.

    Naima surprised me a lot.

  50. ASHTON JONES should go….pitches problem everywhere thro’ out the song! No one should touch Diana Ross’ song except herself!

    Winning or not…Pia Toscano would have a great career in the future…..just like Adam Lambert!

  51. Some good performances last night and some not so great. I agree with you on Jacob. The Judges loved him but I thought he was the worst of the night.

    I give some extra credit to Paul for picking someone not so obvious. Ryan Adams gets played alot on non-commercial stations, public and college radio, which is about the only places on the dial where you can hear real radio creativity. Kudos to Paul for doing a Ryan Adams song. Paul might be this year's Crystal Bowersox with that rebel streak

  52. I do not think Lauren is getting cocky, I think she is completely the opposite, I do not think she thinks she can win. I feel like she gave up. I am disappointed that no one is helping her pick songs. It seemed as if so much work went into all the other contestants and almost none went into working with this child! She is just a kid. With her voice, someone should encourage her to pick something that can demonstrate what she can do. She is a kid, just picking songs she likes! She could use some guidance. At her age I might have done the same thing. Like I said, disappointed in the lack of help given to her. She truly was given the least.

    • I agree. This child is too valuable to lose. We that love her must vote to keep her in the running until she can showcase what she has to offer.

    • Everyone else picked a song they liked, too. Especially Scotty (who's only 2 years older), even when Jimmy Iovine suggested he do something other than country. She was given the least? Are you related to her?

  53. I think Karen was singing to J Lo, with that Selena song last night. It didnt help her. She should be the one leaving tonight. That said, there is so much talent this year, they will all be fine, winning AI or not.

    • Thumbs up to you Dana for the Adam comment! I saw him 3 times in concert on his tour and every time he blew me away! Looking forward to seeing him tonight on there!

      • Love Adam. The only Idol Top Ten concert I have gone to is from his season. He is an amazing talent. Needs to hurry up and get another disc out though.

  54. Gosh I thought all the contestants were great-I like the fact that they got to choose their idols and the producers gave them guidance. My favorites-James, Casey, Thia. Would love to keep them all!! Song choice is important. I think that hurt Karen and Thia last nite. Not sure who will go tonite but will be tuned in.

  55. As far as your over-all assessment, it's fair.

    I was looking for the weakest links and imo I'd change Ashton to Thia for the bottom 3. If 2 will go home, I'd say Haley will be safe among the 3.

    Thia is a pity among the 3 because she's the most technically sound but as young as she is, her personality is drab. She needs a whole lot more confidence and charisma.

    • Could not agree with you more. She just bores me, which is sad because she has a great voice, but her lack of personality makes me fast forward the DVR. She is just blah.

  56. Excuse me,

    other INDONESIANS, WON'T choose Ashton as the best….

    we choose James, Pia, Lauren, Scotty, Thia and even Haley or any other contestants BUT ASHTON…. geez

    I'm just hoping that everyone in here speaks for themselves and not saying as if the whole country chooses someone *rolls eyes*

    Please do not comment as if you are the representative of a country…..

    Please represent yourself… ONLY

    We Indonesians are not deaf…

    Ashton? PUH-LE-ASEEEEE *rolls eyes again*

    • setuju… gua gak bakal pilih ashton ..

      paporit gua scotty (gua demen musik country), kalo unutk performance hari ini, pia, james, casey masuk 5 teratas

      in english:

      agreed with you, i as indonesian will not choose ashley, my favorite alwasys scotty coz i love country music, but tonight, pia , james and casey deserve in the top 5 spot

      • at last!!!

        someone with a decent hearing!!!

        I don't want anyone here to think that Indonesians are tone-deaf! XD

        THANK YOU!

    • me too

      I'm Indonesian and I definitely WILL NOT pick Ashton as my favourite. She's pitchy and cocky. I don't like her squeaky voice. I think others are better than her.

      I love rock so I'm gonna go with James

      HE ROCKS

      salam kenal semua

      pada nonton American Idol juga toh haha

    • wahhh

      byk org Indonesia di sini yaa?

      sama dung! gw ga bakalan milih Ashton!

      suaranya kemana2 gitu busettt

      klo gw sih suka country kya Rocky tapi milih Lauren n Haley (kmaren yg Blue bagus bgt). Scotty juga oke sih ^^b

      translation ngasal :

      wow, a lot Indonesian! me too Indonesia!

      I don't like Ashton too

      I like country like rocky so i choose Lauren and Haley (yesterday Blue is very good)

      Scotty is OK also

      sorry bad English

  57. I officially hate J Lo- I can't believe she never heard of Ryan Adams- he only has come out with 12 albums the last 10 years and has written incredible songs- everyone thats anyone in the business- including Elton John, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw etc…. cites Ryan Adams as a genius singer/songwriter. Paul just picked the wrong song- should have picked light Goodnight Rose, Two, or especially Sylvia Plath- he could be brilliant with that one.

    • J Lo doesn't know who Ryan Adams is, but they embarrass a 16 year old for not knowing who Charlie Chaplin is.

    • we went online because we didn't know who Ryan Adams was either, but we aren't in the business like J-Lo… she sounded so stupid when she said that!! BTW… Ryan Adams Rocks!! Paul didn't do the song justice, but I like Paul.. think he's great!

    • I dont hate J-Lo but I am a fan of Ryan Adams and agree with you k-he has written some incedible songs!


    The guy has amazing talent and an extremely unique voice. The guy is very marketable… and it is nice to see someone that doesn't sound like a cookie cutter pop star.

    • I had not listened to Ryan Adams before, but know of him, and listened to a preview of the song Paul covered last night. Now, I may be wrong, because I only listened to a preview, but I liked Paul's version of the song better, it was more upbeat. The Ryan Adams version — again, just a clip — sounded very slow and melancholy. I am definitely a Paul fan.

  59. The best field yet! Improved format does not drag out mediochre talent as in past. The judges are telling them the good points–LISTEN to what they are NOT saying to the contestants. The whole thing is refreshing unless you want the drama of public humiliation. You don't need rude comments to vote for whom you enjoy. Axe Ashton & Karen and Paul next

  60. This is my first year watching Idol, and I will be done when Thia is done. After seeing Thia once, I immediately became a huge fan (she has an awesome song that she sings well and wrote when she was only 12), so I know this post is biased. But I don't get this show…it doesn't really seem like a fair competition. I read that, while the song choices were the contestants', the guest producers managed how they were presented…likely so because they made studio versions that they are now selling on iTunes. HUGE conflict of interest here (you know the contestants are not making money off of this). I think if Thia could have sang her song the way she wanted, it would have been much better, like the beginning of it (granted, it would have been in the same style of everything we have seen from her so far). Also, in a competition where viewers are judging, why do they give unfair advantages to some contestants? They bring some contestants but not others out on stage to talk before the performance, which allows them to warm the audience up and to warm themselves up. Then, poor Thia…she is only 16…who cares if she doesn't know who Charlie Chaplin is. I'm 45, and I could care less about him. But they have to embarrass her by showing the clip where she calls him Chapman. Why? Why not take the better clips from her interview? I understand they are trying to make good TV for ratings, but it's a competition…be fair. Also, the judges are very predictable. I can't believe how many awful performances they gave praises too. For a judge (J-Lo) to blatantly admit that she didn't care about bad pitch in one singer? I'm glad Randy "differed" with her.

    • Ashton, Karen and Jacob should be in the bottom three with Ashton going home. You only get one second chance to hit the ball over the center field fence.

  61. My top three right now are Pia, James, and Thia. I know Thia needs some work, but she's young and she will blossom. Her voice has got such a beautiful tone. I could listen to her sing the ABC's and be entertained. I am completely over Jacob. He'd be great heading a Gospel choir, but not for AI. He goes over the top way too much.

  62. This year is so boring. The talent is very very good at this stage compared to previous years but it the judges are so sicky sweet and do not give any help good or bad. I am sick of how flat they are already! Only Randy points out their weaknesses and helps them. How come some of them come out with a full blown cast of back up singers and others just stand there pitifully?! Does not seem like they are getting an even playing field. Ryan seems flat the whole show feels very long. Cant wait for them to get weeded out and down to 6 I wish 4 had to go home tonight. Lets get this over with. It feels so sicky sweet this year, like a big candy bubble is is encasing the show!

  63. James, Casey, Stefano, Jacob, and Pia (although I want to hear her do something else besides a ballad) were amazing! I think the weakest ones were Thia and Karen.

    I missed alot of the tryout episodes and I guess I am missing what all the fuss is about Thia. From the last two episodes, I would judge that she's lacking a little confidence and charisma, but that is probably related to her song choice and the fact that she got ran over by a really bad arrangement this week.

    I still really like Haley. Her voice is so versatile. Paul was awesome, too. Love him.

    • The fuss about Thia is that she's a young phenom, even going back a couple years to when she was on America's Got Talent. If you close your eyes (remove the visual aspect) and listen to just the voices, she has one of the best, if not THE best, singing voice. If you listen to the iTunes release from last night's studio versions, hers is probably the best. The problem is that she is young and doesn't seem to have the maturity yet that's needed to really create a stage presence and to handle the pressure of what she is doing. So, someone like Paul (who by the way sounded awful last night) is able to draw on something else inside to captivate the audience, which makes them like him despite a not-so-good singing voice (this is what helped Bono on his early years…he had an awful singing voice when he was new, but his stage presence helped make him and U2 phenomenal). But, let's be fair about this, it's not a smiling competition…it's a singing competition.

  64. last night on idol there wasa alot of good performances, bt seriously come on they could have all stepped up there game. lauren wus the first 2 sing n i have on admit she didnt do as well as last week.during her audition the judges said she could b the one, n i believe itz true, she is very talented n has a beautiful favoritez so far in the competition r scotty,lauren,pia,n karen. so good luck 2 all contestants. go lauren win it 4 all of us, u deserve it.

  65. JAMES, JAMES, JAMES ALL THE WAY!! He by far is the BEST Entertainer of them all! Its time for a real Rocker to win. Pia is good but so boring, great voice but no spark.

    Paul, Karen, and Ashton, Naima,and Jacob are ALL a waste of time. They should honestly get rid of 2 a night.. because its torture watching these wanna be singers.

    Wish the Judgest could be brutally honest. Maybe they need some hearing aides. Be REAL!!! Lying is a SIN!.. Ba-Bye Ashton tonight! – she and the crying card should have never been picked anyway.

  66. I am sooo surprised at some of these comments. Jacob has the best talent–let's be real here. You don't have to actually like him-even though I do. Second best is Casey–third best is James–fourth is McDonald & then Stefano. Now Scotty – lovely deep voice but please wear something that shows that you realize that you are on t.v. and that weird crooked grin — nope – can't stand it but, he seems like a very nice down home kinda guy but I would never vote for him. The girls are not that good and please put Thia out of her misery-poor thing is young and sooo boring – she needs a chance to develop–my eyes glaze over big time when she comes on. Ashthon should stay & Naima & Pia – the other girls honestly are boring & just not that good.

    • I do not agree, Jacob doesn't have the best talent. He can't just sing a song, he is all over the place. He is way over the top. the ability to sing 30 different notes in a single word of a song does not equal the ability to sing a song. I think his songs sound terrible, I would never, ever listen to a song by him outside the confines of AI. The sooner he is off the show the better. He wasn't the worst last night, but he was in my bottom 3 along with Karen and Paul, which makes me sad, because I have liked both of them to this point, but last night they both blew it.

      • Jacob tried way too hard last night. He needs to relax and just sing. I think he is talented, but not the best on the show.

  67. thia may not yet be the best right now,but i believe she can learn what the audience wants to hear from hear, just like what randy said, its all about the tone of the voice and the presentation, the song choice probably,

    thia already has the edge on her voice, i believe she can work it out, though i admit i'm kinda disappointed when she sang smile, more better song for her perfect voice

    • Well said. From what I understand, the guest producers shaped the way the songs were performed. I think if Thia did it on her own, she would have kept it more of a ballad, and it would have sounded great (Randy hinted at this). But then everyone would have said she is a one-trick pony. When reality, a lot of the top favorites are one-trick ponies (Pia, Scotty…James is the only one showing versatility).

      • it's the arrangement actually of the song itself that killed thia's was so dreadful!same way as stefano's version of lately was done…it's like a remix!

      • What's wrong with a one-trick pony? Folks keep commenting on versatility. We've enjoyed one trickers for years. Ever heard of James Brown, Johnny Cash or Al Green, Notorious BIG? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I think the contestants should give us the styles they know, of songs we've heard of, unless their real talent is music they've written.

      • I agree with having no issues with one trick ponies. That's why I became a Thia fan, because I like the way she performs the songs that are in her range (plus she's been incredible from such a young age, based on YouTube videos I have seen). I don't think I would like her if she were getting into everyone's faces and doing hip-hop moves. Her skill is her voice and how she uses it. And if that's mostly ballads, so be it.

      • what !!! Scotty doesnt show any versatility, he can only sings country ! He even forget the lyrics during the prelimanary round.

    • Yeh, that's what I was saying. Scotty is a one-trick pony. Country only. Which is fine…he's going to have a great country career ahead of him. But I can't see country winning this type of competition.

      • Ever hear of Carrie Underwood? She is a HUGE country singer who won Season 5 or 6 (can't remember which as it was also before I started watching again) — I am just saying because I saw that this is your first season watching and you said you don't see country winning this. It has in the past.

  68. Randy I don't get it – why do you say that you are Indonesian – what does that have to do with picking Ashthon?

  69. I wasn't impressed with Ashton,Karen,Thia,Jacob and Lauren's performances. The standout ones were Casey,Pia and James. Not that bad performances were Paul,Scotty,Haley and Stefano.Though Naima's voice did not sound that great but i like her performance , her unique dress sense and quirky stage presence she brings along makes me want to see her some more and not to be eliminated tonight. I think Ashton is the one who might go home tonight as she certainly did not sound great!!

    As for the judges like Jennifer and Steven, hope they can start to be more honest and open with their opinions!

  70. I agree with the grades you are assigning this week. Lauren could have sung way better. Besides this, who dressed her? Jacob needs to sing something different so he can demonstrate that he can sing something else than R&B. Thia has a beautiful voice but should be coached with regard to stage presence. Karen was bad, period. Haley improved since last week. She stopped growling so much. Ashthon's singing and performance were weak. Diana Ross? Nope. Paul should stop with the bizarre dancing. He looked as if he was being manipulated by a novice puppateer. He has a unique and interesting voice. James was amazing. Thanks to the person who answered my prayers and had him lose the tail. Naima was okay. She had some awkward moments, but they were rectified when she danced and sang the rap/reggae sections of "Umbrella."

    Stefano proved he is a very strong contender. Pia has an incredible voice, but it would be great to see her take a risk and sing another genre other than ballads.

    • Alicia, I agree with your remark concerning Jacob – that he needs to sing another genre of music – however, this would also be regarding Scotty – can he sing anything aother than country music or Pia or Thia – can they sing anything other than mainstream ballads? But, you are correct-they all have to leave their safety zones. I think that James is doing a bit of that and he is really good.

      • Tracy,

        You are right. The competition would be even more interesting and complicated, if Pia, Scotty, and Thia would follow James' lead. They should surprise the audience.

  71. Agree with Branden about 95%. My big gripe is these

    kids have almost no knowledge of the history of music. They should bring in a music professor to introduce them to Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Joan Baez, old English ballads, Tom Waits, and a hundred more….no it's just Beyonce and Michael Jackson, pop crap and crap. One of the highlights of Idol was when the producer Nigel Lythgoe (I think) picked that old soul song for Adam Lambert – Change is Gonna Come. They make questionable song choices because they aren't familiar with many songs. And I miss Robbie Rosen too. Alot.

  72. Am I the only one who sees Pia as merely mediocre and dare I say it incredibly boring?!

    She has very little natural raw talent and reminds me of a rich spoiled princess who is used to buying her way into things.

    People need to close there eyes and really listen to her, she tortured Celines song last night and it is abundantly clear that Paul, James and Casey, even Lauren, Thia and Namia have more raw talent in their little fingers than she ever will.

    Cant stand her, want the spoiled, rich brat gone!

    Im not trying to be mean she is pretty, just dont see what all the fuss is about, the girl cant sing.

    • I totally agree with you Jane.. She is great but I am not really drawn into her singing. I don't normally watch American Idol, but I should say I like James and Casey, and have the ability to make the songs like their own.

    • pia has a strong voice, she sings well. but she's just not my cup of tea. for me personally it's like she is a lil bit running for miss universe, give her a sash (more so with karen)…she has good voice but there is just something missing for me with her. hopefully she will stand still on stage& sing 90s ballads week in week out. it's not exciting.

  73. brandon, thought your reviews were pretty much spot on. i want the judges to get real too, whatsup with them saying everyone was wonderful when it is clear from anyone else's comments they weren't? don't have to be a record producer to know that ashton ain't no diana ross ( poor barry gordy) and that jacob didn't hit one note. i know paul was really off last night too but i still love him, love stefano, love casey , love lauren. i miss robby too. they missed the boat on putting ashton in over him fer shur. i think ashton goes tonite, hope my paul gets another shot. also agree with (almost) everyone else here about thia, beautiful tone but no personality. also, scottie is a nice guy but country already has josh turner ( who is the guy scottie emulates every single time he sings). did'nt like james at first but he won lots of points from me last night. long story short(too late) ashton and jacob have to go.

  74. I don't get the Naima thing. She acts so ghetto and she butchered Rihanna's song. I hope they cut her tonight. Maybe Thia is a little young and not ready for Idol. I don't think she will be on long either. Loved Lauren, Pia, James, Stephano, and Casey. Tonight should be interesting and I can't wait!

  75. My Bottom Three are Naima, Thia, and Jacob. I don't really think Jacob belongs on American Idol. Maybe broadway or something.

    • I totally do not get Lauren Alaina. I thought Kendra was a better singer and certainly better looking for the "total package" of AmIdol. I love Casey james. He reminds me of my all time fave, Glambert. Glad they had him tone down his screaming. It's like habenero peppers – a little goes a long way. I also don't get Thia Megia. Pretty voice but bland as heck. Jacob Lusk – I've enjoyed every performance but perhaps he is Broadway bound. So dramatic.

  76. Last night was a good night for some like James, Casey, Scotty, Pia and Naima, and for others it was a bit shaky. Thia was a bit disappointing she was very nervous. Overall I believe everyone was not at their very best, it's the 1st elimination show and they were all a bit challenged. I expect to see more fire, desire and less nerves as we move forward because there is a lot of talent this season. I cannot wait to see the ones who will fight off the nerves, choose the right songs and bring it.

  77. Jacob and Thia need to go.

    Jacob for being an over emotional drama queen (literally and figuratively). I grow so tiresome of these people who can accept a comment without this pathetic "who, me???" disbelief. He knows he's good enough, so just listen and be done with it. He has promise, lots of promise, but he is predictable and runs a serious risk of overblowing every performance. He has a long way to go becasue there are lots of people that can IMITATE Luther Vandross.

    Thia is a flash in the pan. Hopefully she won't become this seasons Jasmine Trias. The look on her face during the judges comments hints that the honeymoon is over, and she won't keep slipping by just because she's "only fifteen"

    • Wow, tough crowd. I'm glad I'm new to this board. lol. Of course Thia had that face. She knew it wasn't going well and was sad about it. She has a very expressive face, which you can see when she sings. I've seen some performances she has done where you could swear she was looking into your soul. At least she acknowledged the judges' critiques and didn't argue about it the way others did…which was very mature for a 16-year-old. And how could she be considered a "flash in the pan" when she has already been out there with high reviews for several years now (she went pretty far in AGT)? She has a great future ahead of her (of course, all that she sees right now is Idol). I would be shocked (and disappointed) if she is gone tonight, and then the story remains to be told with how she rebounds from a tough night. I still think she has the best voice in the competition. But we all have our differences in how different voices resonate with us. To be honest, I really don't understand why people were so down on her performance. It really wasn't that bad.

  78. please please please can we have some judges. it is great to give a positive note to everyone up on that stage but it is the judges JOB to judge not be there friend. WHERE -O- WHERE is simon

  79. This year we have popular performers as judges and Randy is odd man out. Aston will go home this evening

  80. Ashton is ok but in the top 13 contest,it was really bad.My favorites were always Lauren,Haley,James,Pia,Naima and a little of Thia,Paul Scotty,Casey,and Jacob. Ashton and Karen Im sorry but GO HOME!!!!!!Plus I think Stephano is SO CUTE!!!!!Ilove American Idol is a whole lot better without that mean Simon right.

  81. I can think why Randy the clown of idol doesn't like Haley ? she has more than him any day, hell he has a bad time playing the radio, let anything else. What make's him so great bring back Ronald the clown

    • Well, she got my vote quite a few times last night. She sung that song the way LeAnne Rimes wishes she could. I don't know what Randy's problem is either with her. I think she is just a doll. If Thia had an ounce of Hayley's personality…

      • yes yes first they tell her don't move around so much get out of your head, then the next time you could of move a little more than you did, what's up dont move ? then move? what the he!!, steve like her anyway, she is great

  82. I think the song choice that they did last night is not Good! Jacob for me is not Good he always scream, but judges love him i don't know why! Ashton give another chance but she never did it again! For me the best performance is James Derbin!

  83. On a whole different topic that Brandon did mention I beleive…is why do we have 13 and not 12 contestents? Remember the last 2 seasons they have had a "save" on somebody…..and then the following week they let the botton 2 go…maybe that is what they will do again this year. I am sure we will know if this is the case tonight.

  84. As I read these comments you can almost tell a persons age by what they say. I am older but I think Casey is great. Jacob is a topnotch talent. James did a great job and I know he appeals to the rocker audience. The best however was Pia. Anyone who thinks she isn't super talented is either jealous or tone deaf. She may not be your favorite but she is abundantly talented.

  85. I really wish the format was more geared to who we thought had the poorest performance… at this point it's easier to eliminate than to choose a favorite. I would like to add that whenever someone sings in a language I don't understand, no matter how good their voice sounds, I'm lost and just can't get into it. There is a latin idol isn't there?

  86. We still hoping that Thia make it! We, in the Philippines love and voted for her in American Idol………… YOU CAN MAKE IT THIA!


  87. Thia was unfairly criticized…pitchy?I don't think so.Love her tone,dreamy performance.Could improve alot if she gets the chance.

    Casey,animal from the muppets.Love that cheeky grin, a great performer, but he was out of tune a bit and got away with it.

    Pia….wow,what a voice.Had goosebumps half the time.

    She might be middle of the road but celine dion is a worldwide star with this style of music,she could do well if she finds some personality.

    Stefono was awesome,went into overdrive in the middle of his number,great voice,nice surprise.

    James was pretty good,showed some more layers,didn't twitch it up too bad,but is still a poor man's Adam was that bad.You can put a ribbon around a turd and polish it,but it's still a turd!!

    Haley i liked,Randy a bit off there.

    I'd say Karen and Ashton will be in trouble tonite.Wish Steven would wake up abit,we need a nasty judge,or at least an honest one,they can't all be nice.Al least j-lo has something relevant to say,she's doing well.

    Rod from Oz

  88. Sorry to say this but some of the comments were that good especially to Thia Megia's performance. The judges can say what they want to say. Whether it's pitchy and didn't like it at all. On the part of Stefano, it's too forcefully sang. If Simon Cowell was there, I can hear some good and accurate judging. Sorry dude but the reviews you had was all crap.

  89. I miss Simon , we need to hear the truth comments not compliments on every performance . It's getting boring with all the judges.

  90. I agree completely with the author.

    I agree with others that Simon is needed to bring truth to the show. The new judges are too soft and are afraid of hurting feelings.

    I think it's wrong to veto America's choice by using the wildcard. The judges had their chance to choose the top ten and should not have added anyone else after they made their final selections.

  91. Cheryl – you are absolutely right about the people that you have mentioned with talent. It does bother me though that Jacob doesn't get his due credit from other people – people put him down so much. He is deifferent but, at least he has some personality – how can anyone say that he cannot sing-he sings loudly but hullo James screams a lot too and he is good. You don't have to like their personality but for goodness sakes at least give people credit. He may not win but, he will go on and become something great. I don't understand why everyone is so down on Jacob–it's kind of sad actually. I do not like Thia's performances at all–she is like a singing statue however, she has a beautiful voice and I don't think that she will win but she will do very well–I still give her credit.

  92. Seems like just a few people mention Stefano, whom I think has the best voice this season. The only problem with him is maybe he can do great with singer's songs, but can be a disaster when he sings Bruno Mars' or other pop/band songs.

    Here's my favorite contestants so far:

    1. Stefano Langone

    2. Haley Reinhart

    3. Jacob Lusk

    4. Pia Toscano

    Here are the contestants that I don't like:

    1. Ashton Jones (trying to be a diva, but she doesn't have the voice of one)

    2. Karen Rodriguez

    3. Paul McDonald (weird movement and weird sound also)

    Here's the contestant that I hate (no offense):

    The one and only James Durbin (he screams all the time, that annoys me, it's a singing competition, for God's sake). I still don't get why people love him.

    • I respectfully disagree….did u even listen to James sing…Maybe I'm Amazed~???? It was awesome…So far…he is my favorite. 🙂

      • Yes, I heard him, nothing personal, but maybe the way he sings isn't a pleasant sound to my ears. I just don't get it. I love Chris Daughtry, he sings rock song without screaming (only screams when he need to). It just a matter of personal taste. I appreciate your opinion by the way.

    • If you like Paul Mccartney's songs, you'll know how well James Durbin is. He'll get through to the finals.

      • I didn't say James Durbin's a bad singer. To be honest, he's the most consistent singer in the competition. For me he's good in a freaking way and I don't like it. I just don't like the sound of his voice. I couldn't enjoy all of his performances, it's just not my taste. I tend to like type of singer like Stefano, Jacob, Pia, Haley, Lauren, and Kendra Chantelle. I think that's what you called singing, not screaming or shouting. Thank you.

    • I agree! i hate to say this though, i'm a Filipino but Thia just did not bring much in teh table. She could have done something more with her beautiful voice. Her performance was boring and very predictable. Well, james did well in his first performance,I must say, but most of the time especially if he screams, i sooo dont like him!

      • I agree with this person, good choices

        but you left off Lauren, I like her if she is given a chance she will get better. love Stefano and Haley, Paul looked rediculous moving up there on stage and then smiling with it. Yuk to Casey, and Namia shocked me. I was set to not like her at all we shall see what happens

      • I know..her wild card performance was in fact so bad. And Karen, gosh! very karaoke performance..To much vibrato, she almost sound like my grandma

  93. finally someone agrees with me about Jacob Lusk, it is like nails on a chalk borad when he sings and it is always the same yelling in every song. As for Lauren, yes I feel she is very cocky, very immature and not as talented as people are saying. She does not have a unique sound. alot of the contestants sound very generic, they need to have a distinct sound. One of my favorites is Scotty VERY disticnt sound and a beautiful voice, it is effortless for him to sing, he was just born with it and will go far. I feel he has more talent than most of the contestants. Casey is talented but again does the same style of yelling and up and down with the voice that I find very annoying. James Durban surprised me and I did not care for him before again more yelling but this last performance was very good, he needs to stick with this style. Pia great voice but there is something about her I don't care for, a bit full of herself.

    • Janet Taylor, thanks goodness everyone does not think like you. Pia and Jacob are in my opinion the best two singers. Scotty is ok, but do you actually think he has the vocal talent of either of the two I listed above? Not even close.

      • I agree totally with Janet. I love Scotty to be so young his voice is so rich. Jacob, I almost could not recognize the song. I don't think R. Kelly would like what he did with it. I think he will tackle every song in the same manner. He will do well with Gospel, not pop (mainstream). Pia sings the same way to me. Both songs were alike. Even thought the other girl messed up this week, her versatility is better. And Lauren is cocky. All that singing to Stephen early on turned me off.

  94. I think Casey nailed it and stole the show. I do believe that the judges were extremely unfair to the younger girls who I thought did excellent.

    I thought Paul was absolutely terrible. Awful. I honestly don't see how anyone enjoyed that song or thought there was anything redeeming about it. His voice was off and the performance cheesy.

    So Pia has a great voice. I'll give her that. She's a looker too. But for some reason, I'm not a fan. Maybe it's the 'I was born with a silver spoon AND won the gene lottery' thing she's got going, but I just don't care for her. She also reminds more of someone competing for Ms. America, not American Idol.

    One thing about the contestants this season, is most of them are GREAT performers.. which makes up for some of the not-so-great voices.. (Paul, Jacob, Stefano & Karen)

    • No way!!! How can people not like Jacob Lusk. He can dance on most of the other contestants. I agree that Paul is quite bad. I like Casey a lot, and Pia kills it pretty much everytime. Thank goodness Ashton is gone, I don't really like Scotty or James. And Lauren is soo talented I just wish she would stop singing country music.

  95. I agree with mjmoon about Paul and Pia. I just don't like Paul at all, he's weird in a bad way. I can't understand why the judges love Pia, to me her voice sounds slightly off key at times and as if she's yelling not singing. Maybe she sounds better live?

    I love Jacob, James and Naima, all slightly weird in a good way. Naima doesn't have the best voice but she's my favourite at this stage, she's a great performer! I also like Karen a lot although she wasn't at her best on this show. Oh and Stefano, I like him too. Still a long way to go for standouts though.

  96. I really love Haley! I also like Ashthon but she went home already… Anyways, Haley's voice is so versatile and flexible. She can go from sexy growls to easy switches to her falsetto, even some country twang in it. But I just wish she doesn't try to be all things at the same time, like the judges said, she should find one lane she's great at.

  97. i just so love that rockin' james durbin..! his performance this week proved us that he's not just the typical rocker that likes to scream,,,,he showed us his versatile voice! he can be everything!

  98. Thia should be gone…Durbin wins Idol hands down as rock is back…see list for AI guests…too many pop artists coming out of AI…rock is back…mark my words durbin all the way

  99. lauren's a little goody two shoes suck who is hoping sappy americans will vote for her because "ahhh…poor luaren…"…enough of you out there, so go lauren

  100. Yah ryt,i want to hear the true comments not compliments!i like thia,but she wont make it if she wont change her style on singing!

  101. True talent is not just about singing well, but knowing who you are as a artist. It is not enough to sing very well. There should be a passion there and a sense of ones self as a artist. Some of the singers are pretty young and yet they are singing songs that feel way too old for their age or that are just so dated.

    I would love to see the younger artists sing more cool and relevant songs.

  102. At first I was impressed by the sheer vocal skill that Jacob displayed. I've long tired of the overworked screeching and wailing (all we need is gnashing of teeth and we'd be truly in hell). He belongs in a gospel choir. I'm about convinced that he can't do anything else.

    James and Casey can flat rock and I'm hoping to see them kick up some mad power performances as the heat in the competition begins to rise.

    Pia has a beautiful set of pipes, but I'm not totally blown away yet. Would like to be. An awesome female power singer is missing this year. Someone like Crystal Bowersox. That girl was awesome.

    Everybody else was just okay in my book. I found myself saying, "That was nice" or "Meh", over and over.

    About the only thing a really can't agree with the author on is missing Robbie. He bored me so bad, I didn't wake up until two days later (okay, so not that bad). I'll give you this though: I'd rather listen to Robbie than most of the guest performers they bring on the show.

  103. you guys are crazy i think haley and pia are the two best,and jacob has an awesome voice and james is a rocker hes suppost to scream like that

  104. hi thia we are proud you make it to top 13,you are a simple @ shy girl…go thia make the filipino people proud of you…GOD BLESS….

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