Thursday, March 31, 2011

Top 11 Results Again...

Welcome back to I'dol Be The Judge. Tonight 2, yes 2 contestants will be going home. There are no more Saves, no more second chances, the results are what they are. We will learn soon if Casey was able to live past the Top 11 or will the Save be used in vain. All of these questions, plus a performance by Fantasia will occur tonight. Last night we picked Thia and Naima to go home with Stefano and Paul rounding out what might a Bottom 4. So, let's get to it:

Scotty and Lauren Duet/Results:

In lieu of a full Top 11 group performance they have decided to break up the performances into groups or duets. Singing "I Told You So", Lauren and Scotty sing this very country song. They have a nice vibe together, Lauren sounds amazing and Scotty is just Scotty, the same as he always is, good, bad, or indifferent.

After the song they come to the middle of the stage for their results.

Lauren and Scotty are SAFE

Ford Music Video:

Yep, they did another video. Cool.

Contestant Chit Chat:

*Casey will keep his beard.

*James recieved a custom made WWE belt in the mail

Naima and Jacob Duet/Results:

These 2 are both in a little danger of going home tonight, but before they get to that they sing "Solid". It was a little subdued for the two of them, not sure I really enjoyed it. Actually I'm pretty sure, I didn't enjoy it.

After the song they come to the middle of the stage.

Jacob is SAFE

Naima is in BOTTOM 3

Performance #1:

Fantasia performs one of her new songs, and debuts one of the weirder hairstyles I ahve seen in awhile. She has always had a great voice, and is a very dynamic performer. It might not be my cup of tea, but she did a very nice job.

Haley, Thia and Pia Performance:

So far my favorite performance was these 3 singing "Teenage Dream". It made them all sound really fun and young. It reminds me of when we really got a great glimpe of Pia when she sang "Grenade" back in the Hollywood roudns. Seeing Pia sing something other than a ballad was pretty refreshing.

After their performance they come to center stage.

Pia is SAFE

Haley is SAFE

Thia is BOTTOM 3

Behind The Scenes Video Package:

We get to see how the contestnats lives were during last week's craziness. They recorded, they went to a charity function, they performed together, they did the music video, they moved from their beautiful mansions after it started to leak, and then they got ready for their rehearsals and finally performed. All that in a week.

Paul, Casey, Stefano and James Performance:

These 4 boys each are playing a different instrument singing "Band on The Run". Very original how they arranged this performance. Casey even has a replica Paul McCartney Beatles replica bass that he plays. Definetly a very cool performance by the 4 guys. After their performance they come to center stage.

Casey is SAFE

James is SAFE

Stefano is SAFE

Paul is BOTTOM 3

Performance #2:

Will.i.a.m and Jamie Foxx perform a crazy song that involves dancers, drums, I think I saw some cheerleaders out there as well. Like last week the performances don't match. They did Elton John week and instead of having Elton John perform or someone similar, they go the complete opposite and have these guys. Not saying the performance wasn't kind of cool or fun but it doesn't match the theme of the week.

Bottom 3/Who's Going Home?


Going Home= Naima and Thia

Final Thoughts?:

*I wish I was wrong, I really wish that I didn't predict these 2 ladies going home, but I did. The boys of this season are just killing it. I actually think that Paul was weaker than Thia last night, but she really hasn't stood out. Naima had a really rough night and deserved to go home.

* I see Lauren and Pia going a really long way, and Haley has now had a resurgence so she could stick around for awhile. Unless something crazy happens a boy will definitely be going home next week. I think that Paul, Jacob, and Stefano are in serious danger now because all of the focus will be on the boys, because there is no way that the producers or anyone involved in this show will want only 2 girls left with 6 boys.

You have to come back to I'dol Be The Judge for all of the latest recaps and reviews. Finally only 9 people will be performing so the shows will be a lot quicker and smoother. See you soon!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Top 11 Perform Again...

Welcome back to I'dol Be The Judge. Last week was all sorts of crazy on American Idol. From Hulk Hogan, to the Judges's Save being used, to Casey Abrams almost collapsing and passing out after learning his fate. That Results show was one of the crazier hours ever on this show. This week will only be crazier with 2 contestants having to go home, as a result of the Save being used. The theme this week will be Elton John so it should be a nice selection of music. As the clip package said, "NO MORE SECOND CHANCES", everyone is at risk now. Should be fun. So let's get to it:

How Were The Contestants?:

Scotty(Country Comfort): Scotty chose this song due to it being one of Elton John's only country songs. Scotty decides to play guitar during his performance. I feel we have seen this performance every single week. It's the same thing he does every week, his voice is very low, he is pretty on tune, is not pitchy, but relatively safe and boring. There is nothing really exciting about this performance at all. Grade=B Steven: He loved everything about his voice.
Jennifer: Finds that he has the right instincts, finds it a good performance.
Randy: Thinks he is a seasoned performer already. Thinks he is very comfortable and in his zone.
Do The Judges Agree With Me?:
Not really. They think that he is doing fine every week in this element, that he doesn't have to change it up. I wish he would. But given this response he probably won't.

Naima(I'm Still Standing): Easily Naima is one of the more interesting characters on this show. She has to show why she is different, and why we should enjoy all of her quirks and style. Once again Naima turns a song into reggae. I give her a lot of credit for trying and being brave by going so far away from the original. It's an interesting performance. It was pretty cool, but it wasn't completely in tune or energizing. What was interesting was that instead of just making the song reggae, she actually made her voice sound reggae. Either way I give her credit for going out there and being different. Grade=B-
Jennifer: She loves her, and loves the reggae swag. But, she thinks this song probably shouldn't have been flipped to reggae. It was a better idea than what actually occurred.
Randy: Thinks the performance came off a little corny, which doesn't really match the cool character that Naima really is.
Steven: Likes that she picked a song that fit her.
Do The Judges Agree With Me?:
Pretty much. They give her credit for trying but it didn't really pay off in the end.

Paul(Rocket Man): Playing his guitar again Paul is back in his flower jacket. I love the acoustic essence of the song, and making it very subdued and calm. If you like Paul then this was quintessential Paul, very quiet, very relaxed, nothing too exciting, but performed pretty well. At this point I don't know what the audience thinks of Paul, if they like his shtick then they might like this, if they find that Paul is a little too quiet and reserved then they won't like it. Grade=B-
Randy: Thought it was a little pitchy, but loved the softness and tenderness of his voice. Thinks he might be holding back.
Steven: Loves his voice, doesn't know if America will like it, but he liked it.
Jennifer: Feels that he needs to push himself a bit more, there's more there.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? Yep. We actually match right on the money this time.

Pia(Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me): Last week the judges criticized her for doing ballads, but Jimmy Iovine just wants her to show her passion and don't worry about doing ballads. Pia's voice is so controlled and always on pitch. With a dozen or so back-up singers, Pia definitely proved why ballads are her thing. When those big notes comes she kills it. The slower parts of the song were a little boring, but when the song picked up the performance became much more exciting. Grade=B+
Steven: Feels she done it again. Feels she nailed it and thinks it was as good as it gets.
Jennifer: Feels that she is starting to push the barrier, and is getting to a place where she will be a complete artist.
Randy: Thinks she slays the ballads every time, but still wants her to switch it up from time to time. Thought it was unbelievable, and thinks that she was great once again.
Do The Judges Agree With Me?
Kind of. I didn't think it was Pia's best but it was still top notch and better than what we have seen from all night thus far.

Stefano(Tiny Dancer): Jimmy Iovine thinks it will be a tough night for Stefano because there are parts of this song that were designed exactly for Elton John. I want to like his performance, but I kind of agree with Jimmy on this one. I feel he missed some words and he wasn't finishing some of the notes completely. It was very stop and start, stop and start. There wasn't a great flow to the song or performance. His tone and pitch were fine but overall it wasn't that exciting. I think he could have done better, but it was a little a bit better than last week's performance. Grade= C
Jennifer: She can feel that he connected with the audience better, and thought that he was back to his old self.
Randy: Likes that he connected with the audience, and kept his eyes open and moved around the stage. Thought he hit the money notes tonight.
Steven: Thought there was a sweet thing to his voice. Thinks that he nailed it.
Do The Judges Agree With Me?:
Nope. They thought he nailed it, and that he connected. I thought it was kind of weak and even tough to watch at points.

Lauren(Candle In The Wind): Lauren puts a country kind of spin on this song. Her voice was perfectly on pitch and she had a nice flair to her voice. The performance was a little sleepy, but her voice was right on the money. I liked the country style she put to this song. Grade=A-
Randy: Thought it was one of the greatest Lauren Alaina performances ever on that stage. Thinks that was very pro and feels she can do anything if she believes in herself.
Steven: Thought it was perfect and beautiful. Feels if she keeps performing the way she just did then she'll eventually be able to pay for the rest of the dress. *One of Steven's funnier lines since Hollywood week.*
Jennifer: Thought she looked and sounded gorgeous. Thought it was just like when they first heard her.
Do The Judges Agree With Me?: They do. We both think that she sounded beautiful and is definitely finding her way now.

James(Saturday Night's Alright):
James decides to start his performance in the middle of the audience, he wants to utilize the entire arena and get everyone up on their feet. He definitely did that, he really did a nice job getting around and getting back to the middle of the stage to sing the chorus of the song. I don't always like that James panders to the audience, but this time he really made it his own and made it seem like he was already in concert. It was one of the cooler performances this season by any contestant. Nothing boring here. Grade=B+
Steven: Thought it was beautiful and loves his rock voice. Jennifer: Thinks that James really got everyone involved and had a great full performance.
Randy: Loves that James really enjoys himself and loves his performance all the way around.
Do The Judges Agree With Me?:
Yes. We all feel that the performance element of James is off the hook and he did a really nice job moving around and making the song his own.

Thia(Daniel): Jimmy Iovine wants Thia to connect to her song, and feels if she connects she'll move on, if she doesn't connect she won't. Again Thia sings the song very nicely, it's pretty, she's in tune, but the performance was pretty sleepy. There wasn't much there to get excited about. It's the complete opposite of James' performance. Grade=C+ Jennifer: Calls the performance beautiful and feels the song suited her perfectly.
Randy: Liked that it was relaxed and we were able to hear her whole voice, but thought it was a bit too safe for her this week.
Steven: Thinks she picked a perfect song and sang it really well.
Do The Judges Agree With Me?:
Pretty much. I don't think this will really do too much for her with the voting public. The voters that have kept her around will like it, but I don't know if she'll gain that many more fans off of this performance.

Casey(Your Song): Jimmy Iovine wants Casey to get humble, and do the opposite of everything he did last week. The first step was trimming the beard a bit. He looks a lot better. He also sounds so much better. The performance was very controlled and completely different than the yelling, growling performances he has done the past few weeks. We were really able to hear his voice, and he actually has a nice one. You can still hear the grit in his voice but it was a great mix of his style mixed with a new found controlled voice. It was pretty enjoyable actually. Grade=B+
Randy: Is proud that he and his fellow judges saved him last week. Loved the tenderness and thought it was just a well done performance.
Steven: Loves that he sings differently each and every time out there. Jennifer: Loves that they saved Casey, and feels he proves why they saved him tonight.
Do The Judges Agree With Me?: Yes. I never thought that Casey deserved to be in 11th place, but I also didn't agree that the Save should be used so early in the competition. Casey will have to go pretty far to make it seem that using that Save was a good idea, tonight was a good first step.

Jacob(Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word): Mary J. Blige dropped in to see Jacob rehearse, so that's pretty cool for Jacob who only learned this song from hearing her version. If I didn't have to watch Jacob's facial expressions than I'd probably think this version was pretty good. But those facial expressions were really odd this time around, and one of the more "interesting" facial expressions came when the camera was on a close up, so that's unfortunate. I think his voice was pretty controlled and his big note at the end wasn't that crazy or too much. Grade=B
Steven: Thought the first half of the song was great, and so was the second half.
Jennifer: Thinks he made the song his own, and thought the last note was unbelievable.
Randy: Loves his restraint at points, but only wants him to pick one spot to make it his own rather than multiple times during the song.
Do The Judges Agree With Me?:
We kind of do. They probably liked it more than I did, but I still thought he did a nice job.

Haley(Benny and The Jets): Haley was not in the Bottom 3 for the first time last week, and this week she needs to prove that she shouldn't go back there. I think she succeeded by having one of her best performances, by far. You can hear her growl, her grit, and all the rock and soul in her voice. She was completely on pitch and she had some really great moments. Grade=A-
Jennifer: Thought it was "IT". It all came together for her. thought it was all sorts of amazing.
Randy: Thought it was the best perfroamcnce of the night. She deserves all the credit.
Steven: Thinks that she sings "Sexy". Do The Judges Agree With Me?: Definitely. Next to Lauren's performance I feel that Haley was the best of the night.

How Were The Show/Judges?:

*I thought that this was Jimmy Iovine's best night of helping the contestants. I thought his constructive criticism's were right on the money. He was able to look back at each contestants previous weeks and pick out their weaknesses and strengths. I loved that he was no hold barred with his comments.

*Probably one of the stronger performance nights so far. Nobody was completly atrocious, the judges were for the most part pretty in sync with what really occured and not delusional like they can be from time to time. I still think they give Jacob a bit too much credit than what he really deserves, but I love that they praised Haley tonight for the first time in a long time.

Bottom 3/4 Prediticions/Who's Going Home?:
Since 2 people will be going home, I'm not sure if they will do a Bottom 3 or Bottom 4. But here are my picks anyways.
Bottom 3/4 : Thia, Naima, Stefano and Paul
Going Home: Thia and Naima. I really hope I am wrong and that at least one of the boys goes home, but I think that it will be 2 girls going home tomorrow.

Come on back here tomorrow when 2 contestants will be going home. There is no more Judge's Save so anything can happen. See you soon.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Top 11 Results

Hello and welcome back. Tonight we will learn the fate of one contestant. As we stated yesterday this week is important because whoever goes home tonight will not make the Idol tour, meaning less money, less chance of getting your name out there. So big stakes tonight.

Yesterday we picked, Haley, Thia and Stefano to be Bottom 3, with Thia going home. Over 30 million people voted last night and Ryan says the results are shocking so it's possible that the Judges Save could be in play this week. So let's see what happen, let's get to it:

Marc Anthony Tries To Help/Make Excuses Time:

The contestants get a tutorial on how to use the little ear piece that connects them to the band so they will be less pitchy, and will help them perform in front of a live audience. I'm sure the only reason why some of these contestants are consistently pitchy is because of the little ear piece and not because of their voices just not being good enough. I do wonder how they got Marc Anthony to help out? He actually had some decent advice, and said he disagreed with some of the judges comments, including his wife's.

Group Performance/Performance #1:

The Top 11 perform "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". They are all dressed up very nicely. You can really tell they are singing live, this is the first time you can hear their pure voices in a group performance. They might have some backing track, but their voices are actually coming out of their mouths live. The performance was fine, I think they looked better than they sounded, but these group performances shouldn't be counted as anything important.

Then Stevie Wonder came out singing "Signed, Sealed, Delievered I'm Yours". After hearing at least 3 Stevie Wonder songs last night I'm not surprised they brought him out as a special performance tonight. He is always good, he really is. It is Steven Tyler's birthday so Stevie Wonder sang "Happy Birthday" to him. Very cool. Plus they had a birthday cake and a portrait made especially for and of Steven Tyler. Nice.

Ford Music Video:

Like last week, like last year, like the past number of years, these music videos are really a waste of time. But the contestants like them, and Ford likes them, so these will continue forever. Awesome.

Results #1:

Lauren, Pia and Scotty are the first called to center stage.

Lauren, Pia and Scotty are SAFE

Performance #2:

The band Sugarland performs a song. I don't understand having this country group come on during Motown Week. It would be like if they were doing Country week and having Jay-Z rap, it just doesn't match. Plus this performance was taped, so it lacks some of the dynamic of a live performance.

Things We Learned About The Contestants:

*James is a wrestling fan

*All the contestants except Paul dislike James' like of wrestling

*Pia, Paul, James and Stefano get into a fake Wrestling Match

Results #2:

James and Paul come to center stage.

Hulk Hogan then comes out. Yes, I really just said that. He announces that both contestants are safe and then pretends to knock out Ryan Seacrest. This was crazy weird. What happened to this show? I'd get it if Hulk Hogan went to their house and hung out, but during results show when one person will be leaving the competition within a matter of minutes, I don't know if that's really right.

*James is SAFE

*Paul is SAFE

Results # 3:

Jacob, Thia and Stefano come to center stage next.

*Jacob is SAFE

*Thia is Bottom 3

*Stefano is Bottom 3

Results # 4:

Haley, Casey and Naima come to center stage next.

*Naima is SAFE

*Haley is SAFE

*Casey is BOTTOM 3

Performance # 3

Jennifer Hudson performs live tonight. She sings a song called "Where You At". She looks unbelievable, she looks like a totally different person than when she was on the show a few years back. Her voice is still as strong and powerful. George Huff, who was also a past contestant is one of Jennifer's back-up singers. Just a note, no comment. Either way that was a really nice job by Jennifer Hudson tonight.

Bottom 3/Who's Going Home?

First Safe: Thia. Pretty Shocking. I am glad a guy is going home tonight, 2 weeks in a row was enough, it was time.

Second Safe: Stefano. One of my picks to be in Bottom 3, he better step it up next week.

In Danger of Going Home: Casey. I didn't expect that one at all. That judges save could be used tonight. Using it this early would be crazy, because this is only the 11th place finalist.

Saved By The Judges? Yes. Wow! The judges don't even let Casey finish his song. They stop him right in the beginning. Honestly, to use the judges save so early on is so crazy. After learning his fate Casey almost faints and starts shaking. Jennifer gives Casey advice to just sing pure and simple, no more antics, just be the singer he proved he can be. Crazy stuff, it really is.

Final Thoughts?:

*I'm not saying that Casey isn't good, nor am I saying that the public wasn't wrong, but to use that Judges Save tonight was not the right move. There are so many more talented people in this competition and to not have the ability to save them later on down the line, when the competition becomes even more intense and critical is wrong. This was way too early. I know the judges love him, but if at this point the public doesn't, doesn't that count for something? I thought it did.

*Having the tour include an 11th member is the only fair thing about this. It would have been wrong to not allow the 10 people that legitimately got picked by the audience, not to go on tour.

*But that's still not going to make me feel that the Judges Save was used properly. There's no way that Casey is going to win this competition. The Save should only be used for people that have a really great shot, being the 11th place finisher is not a good sign that you will make it very far.

Please come back next week to I'dol Be The Judge to see 2 people eliminated. No more judges save for the rest of the season. We will learn which contestant will fall short of the tour again. Should be interesting. See you then.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Top 11 Perform

Welcome Back! It's that time again, performance night. 11 Contestants are left, and only 10 go on tour, so this is a very important week for each performer. Karen Rodriguez went home last week and every contestant hopes that they will not follow in her footsteps.They will be singing to the theme of Motown.

If everyone remembers last year(and I know some of you don't), this was the week when Didi Benami went home. You might wonder why I am thinking about Didi now? Well, it was during Motown week last year when one of the most awkward American Idol moments ever happened. The story goes that Didi was dedicating the Motown song to a friend of hers that passed away, so she was already emotional. Then after she sang(kind of poorly), Didi didn't want to say why she sang the song, and Ryan pushed her to say the reasoning behind the song, and when she again refused, he ended up telling everyone, and it made her even more emotional and created (in my opinion) one of, if not the most awkward after-performance interview between Ryan and a contestant. Plus, as a bonus, Didi went home the following day. So...after all that, we can only hope that no contestant experiences anything like that during this year's Motown Week.

As a side note. We have added a new section of I'dol Be The Judge. As always we post our recap of each performance right before the judges speak so as not to be swayed by their opinion. Many times the judges and I differ. A new section following the judges critiques will be added to see if the judges and I agree with how the contestant performed. Very exciting right?

Alright so now that all of that is clear, and as we do each and ever week...Let's Get To It:

How Were The Contestants?:

Casey (I Heard It Through The Grapevine): Zach Galifianakis, -----er, I mean Casey, tries a little bit of a different hairstyle, I kind of like it this way. He puts his Casey spin on the song, but nothing really special or spectacular with it. It's the same kind of shtick he's been doing the past number of weeks. Very safe. Grade=B
Steven: Thinks he is the perfect entertainer, crazy, and finds it beautiful and loves it.
Jennifer: Feels that there's no one like him. Calls him unique and can only be himself.
Randy: Calls him a true original and takes chances. Feels that he can only "do you, can't help but be you and nothing but you". I think that means he thinks he's only himself no matter what song he chooses.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? The judges and I disagree in that I feel we have seen someone like Casey before, unfortunately his name is Taylor Hicks. Casey better start doing something different, and soon.

Thia (Heatwave): After getting some heat last week(no pun intended) for only doing ballads, Thia decides to change it up. Although I think that this was an upgrade from last week, I feel she wasn't finishing her notes, or she was pulling the mic away from her face before she finished the note, either way not so great. Also, she started to tail off a bit at the end, and the band started to dominate a bit more because her energy became a bit depleted. Again, better than last week but still not Top 5 quality, but a good chance she'll be in the Top 10. She reminds me of Katie Stevens from last year, a very mid range singer, non-threatening, but nothing to write home about. Grade=C+
Jennifer: Feels she is finally scratching the surface and letting loose. Feels she needs to bring something more and connect to the song now that she's doing these types of songs.
Randy: Gives her credit for taking a chance and is happy that she moved up a notch doing something different.
Steven: Loves that she took a step out with the song and followed up with "I'm good with it". (Honest, that's all he said).
Do The Judges Agree With Me? I'm not as good with it as Steven was. Sure she changed it up, but she didn't do herself any favors with her vocals tonight.

Jacob (You're All I Need To Get By): Jimmy Iovine thinks that this is Jacob's week, that it's a perfect theme for him. Jacob wants to restrain his wailing a bit more this week. It's odd to say, but Jacob actually got out-sung by the back-up singers at points during the song. On his own, he sounded much more controlled, but when the band picked up and the back-up singers got involved it drowned him out a bit. After the song finished up Steven Tyler gives Jacob a hug, and the 3 judges give him a standing ovation and then Ryan had the front row give Jacob a hug. I thought he was good, but not sure it was standing ovation worthy nor multiple hug worthy. Grade=B+
Randy: He feels that there was absolutely nothing wrong, thought it was perfect.
Steven: He thought he milked it perfectly and made it all good.
Jennifer: He moved her. Feels that Jacob made the judges beg for the big moments of the song.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? Definitely not. I must have missed something. I thought he was good but to say that he was perfect is not right. He isn't an established artist with years of training. He might have been good, but there are still things to work on. They gave him way too much credit.

Lauren (You Keep Me Hanging On): Beautiful opening to the song, very quiet and subdued, and we were able to focus on her voice. When the band started I got nervous it wouldn't be as good as the beginning, but her voice was pretty solid all the way through. Probably one of my favorite performances by Lauren thus far. Grade=A-
Steven: Thought it was beautiful and she rocked it.
Jennifer: Thought she looked and sounded amazing and thought she brought some sass and attitude which the song needed.
Randy: Feels Lauren is ready to win it and carries some major swagger(in a good way).
Do The Judges Agree With Me? Yep. The judges and I agree on this one.

Stefano (Hello): Singing "Hello" which was famously done by Lionel Richie and then incredibly re-done by David Cook a few years ago is quite a task. This song was David Cook's signature song during his run, which helped lead him to his eventual win. Stefano has to sing it a different way, and he does. He stays a lot closer to the original than David did. He tries to put a different spin on the song and I didn't think it was that great. His vocals were also a little all over the place and he just sang it to sing it, there wasn't anything there. He took a major step forward last week as a front runner, but this week was a definite step back. Grade=C
Jennifer: Feels that he can sing, but didn't feel he connected enough.
Randy: He didn't connect to the song even though he can really sing. Felt there was no real emotion tonight.
Steven: Feels his voice is beautiful but he needs to pull back a little.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? Almost. I thought his vocals weren't as strong as they thought. But we do agree that this wasn't his strongest outing.

Haley (You Really Got A Hold On Me): Haley has nothing to lose, she's been in the Bottom 3, two weeks in a row, she's got to put it all out there. Without the backup singers, Haley sounded really nice. Unfortunately, the backup singers were really loud, even when Haley's voice was powerful. Easily one of Haley's better performances, you could really hear the grit in her voice again. I don't know if she did enough to not be in the Bottom 3 again, but she has a good shot of not going home. Grade=B+
Randy: Didn't like the start, but loved that the Haley of old is back. Feels her growl and presence is back.
Steven: Thought that it was beautiful, and "doesn't look a day over fabulous".
Jennifer: Loves the effortless control of her voice. Feels that she has the most soulful voice of all the women.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? Yes. Haley definitely has some grit and soul in her voice tonight.

Scotty (For Once In My Life): Making Motown into Country is a tough move, but if Scotty wants to be true to himself he has to make it sound like it came from him. Unfortunately, it comes out very karaoke and is incredibly boring. If you want to do Motown in your type of style then you have to make it outstanding and Scotty was pretty far from that. His facial gestures were also a bit out of control tonight, and made the performance real awkward. A nice try but not up to par with some of his other performances. Grade=B-
Steven: Thought it was beautiful, and likes that he took a shot.
Jennifer: Feels it was a great version of the song, but didn't think it was his strongest vocal performance.
Randy: Loved that he took chances but wanted the song to peak a bit more then when it did.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? Not even close. His performance was very boring and sounded like something you'd hear him sing in a karaoke bar. Despite that they praised him for taking a chance and staying true to himself. I thought it was a poor version of the song and was probably a wrong song choice altogether.

Pia (All In Love Is Fair): This isn't one of the more popular or well known songs by Stevie Wonder, so that plays in Pia's favorite because you can't compare it to the original. Her vocals were just as strong as they ever were, but the performance (other than the last note) was pretty boring. Solid, but nothing exciting. Grade=B+
Jennifer: Killed the judges with her ballad again. Loved her vocals and image, but needs to own her performance and add another dynamic.
Randy: Feels she is a phenomenal talent, but feels she needs to get out away from the ballad next time.
Steven: Thinks that she is the closest star in the competition. Adding another dynamic will push her further.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? Yep. We all feel she is a front runner in this competition but lacked that dynamic star quality tonight.

Paul (Tracks of My Tears): For the first time in a long time Paul is going to use his guitar during his performance. I liked that he made the song his own, it doesn't sound like the original at all, but it still kept some of quality of Smokey Robinson's version. Paul not dancing is an added bonus for all the viewers. He was definitely better than he has been the past couple weeks, but still nothing terribly exciting. Grade=B
Randy: Liked he didn't dance around, thinks he has distinctive voice and loves the tenderness of his voice.
Steven: Love the guitar and thinks he was great.
Jennifer: Finds him the most comfortable and calls him the complete package.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? Pretty Much. Although he did a nice job I wouldn't call him the complete package. It was decent. That's about it.

Naima (Dancing The Streets): After being in the Bottom 3 last week, and being declared by the judges as "pitchy" time and time again Naima needs to figure it out, or she'll be in danger of going home. Although she stated she was going to add an African spin to the song, it really sounded like the original for 90% of the song. Right at the end they had an African drum, Naima did an African dance and that's about it. I thought this was a singing competition. I would get it if the whole song had an African feel to it, but it was the original song, and then just the last few seconds they threw this aspect in. It was very odd placement. I don't know what the viewing audience will think of that. Grade=C+
Steven: Thinks that Naima is the total package tonight.
Jennifer: Finds her an exciting performer, and felt goosebumps for the first time for her.
Randy: Feels that all of Naima showed up tonight. She sang the song really well, and felt the whole performance was smartly done with the African dancing and drum.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? Not even close. They had goosebumps and I didn't even get a slight chill. Adding the dance to that song was one of the weirder moments of the show this year and they didn't even mention how out of place it was.

James (Living For The City): I give James a lot of credit for his stage presence. Pia, and Stefano got panned by Jennifer Lopez tonight for not owning the stage and connecting to the song, James has all of that. The performance was really well done. One of James' better performance. Grade=A-
Jennifer: Calls him "serious business". Finds it an incredible thing to watch and finds herself speechless.
Randy: Didn't like the beginning and found it a bit rough, but thought once he hit his stride he really liked it and thought the rest was unbelievable.
Steven: Finds him great and thought the song was perfect for his voice and he nailed it.
Do The Judges Agree With Me? Pretty Much. I'm not speechless but I thought it was pretty good.

How Was The Show/Judges?:
*Too Much Filler. From Motown pre-tapes to judge chit chat the beginning of the show had tons of filler. Ryan asking Randy about Motown, asking Jennifer on what the contestants should do with the theme, and asking Steven Tyler on Motown Music is just a waste of time. Then the idols get re-introduced again. Only after all of that did the first contestant sing. I know that these are 2 hour shows but 10 minutes of nothing is ridiculous. There are a lot of complaints that the contestants have to condense longer songs into a very short amount of time, how about instead of 10 minutes of filler in the beginning, the contestants just sing an extra 10-15 seconds? What would be wrong with that?

*Steven Tyler tonight actually said as a constructive criticism/critique "I'm good with it". He actually said that. He is a non entity at this point on the show. I think he is very sweet and I'm sure he is a great guy, but he is not helping these contestants get better. These are (mostly) young performers that have a lot to learn, he is supposed to help or at least tell them what they are doing wrong, and he is doing neither.

*The backup singers and band sounded a little too loud tonight at points. When the contestants are getting out sung by the people supposedly behind you then that's not a good thing.

*There are a lot of middle of the pack singers. I think James, Lauren and Pia have been the most consistently good contestants, the rest have been good or bad. With the judges not giving the best constructive criticism to help these contestants get better, this show can get a bit boring. After tomorrow's elimination we will be in the Top 10, it's time now to break out and prove why you are here.

Bottom 3 Predictions/Who's Going Home:

Bottom 3: Thia, Haley and Stefano
Going Home?: Thia. I think Haley will escape elimination this week, based on a better performance, and also because I think that Thia was worse than her this time around. Thia has been pretty middle of the line, and last week when she called herself an "artist" it kind of threw me off given she's only been doing this for like 3 weeks. She's a performer, but in the weeks I have seen her she hasn't really created enough to be considered an artist. Seriously though, I just don't think she did enough to stay in this competition tonight. She was one of the weak links this week, and only got saved last week because the other 3 ladies were worse. She can't hide this time.

We will see you right back here after tomorrow night's results show where one person will fall just short of making the American Idol tour. See you then.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top 12 Results

Hello, hope everyone had a fun St. Patricks Day. Tonight is the results from the Top 12. The performances last night were pretty middle of the line again, for the second week in a row. There were a couple decent performances, Pia, Stefano and Lauren, but the rest were a bit forgettable. Speaking of forgettable, Lee DeWyze will be singing tonight. Was that too mean? No, good. Also performing tonight will be The Black Eyed Peas

Yesterday we picked Haley, Naima and Karen as the bottom 3, with Haley going home, we will find out if I was right or way off very shortly. So let's get to it:

Group Performance:

The contestants singing "live" to their back-up tracks is always awkward. They sing a medley of "Born To Be Wild" and "Born This Way", if you didn't know, this week's theme was "Year You Were Born", if you didn't know that this was the theme for the week you probably could have guessed based on the song selection.

Ford Music Video:

I want to know what person has purchased a Ford car because of these ridiculous videos. They are a waste of time and are not fun to watch at all. They might be fun to make, but seeing them is tough.

Things We Learned About The Contestants Video:

*Karen can make funny noises with her throat, is fluent in Spanish and English *shocker*

*Thia collects quarters

*Scotty can wiggle his ears

*Jacob is a square

*Casey is an avid moon walker

*James wants to learn how to speak Swedish

*Lauren knows how to speak one language...Spanish. Yikes. I guess she doesn't consider English a language.

*Pia is fluent in English

*Paul has a weiner-dog

Results #1 & 2:

Jacob, Lauren & Casey join Ryan at center stage.

*Jacob is Safe

*Lauren is Safe

*Casey is Safe

Haley and Paul join Ryan center stage.

*Paul is Safe

*Haley is Bottom 3

Performance #1:

Lee DeWyze won last year, and will always be a part of American Idol so I'll give him that, but honestly he is easily in the Taylor Hicks category. His song "Beautiful Like You" was pretty boring, and I think Simon wouldn't have even liked it last year. But he won the show so that about sums it up regarding last season.

Results # 3, 4 & 5:

Scotty, Pia and James each go to center stage.

*Scotty is Safe

*Pia is Safe (On a side note I think Pia is the favorite right now, and deservedly so)

*James is Safe

Naima and Stefano are next up to center stage.

*Stefano is Safe

*Naima is Bottom 3

Karen and Thia are last remaining contestants to come to center stage.

*Thia is Safe

*Karen is Bottom 3

Not tooting my own horn, but I predicted the Bottom 3 correctly. We'll see if my prediction of Haley going home is also correct.

Performance #2:

*"Just Can't Get Enough" is the new song by The Black Eyed Peas. Weren't there 4 members of the Black Eyed Peas? For more than half of the song Fergie and were the only 2 on stage. There was a Saturday Night Live skit a few weeks ago that spoke about the "other 2" members of the group, and honestly tonight perfectly represented that skit.

* It was a pretty cool performance, very high energy like they always are and mostly entertaining.

*This performance was obviously taped yesterday or last week, you can always tell because the judges aren't there. When the performance is live they show the judges sitting in their chairs. Doesn't really matter, just another way that American Idol tries to pull one over on us all the time.

Bottom 3/Who's Going Home?:

First Safe: Naima

Second Safe: Haley. 2nd week in a row that Haley went home. She is one lucky girl, she better rock it next week.

Going Home Unless Saved By Judges: Karen. A little surprising it's not Haley but Karen didn't do much better than she did last week when she was pretty terrible. During her chance to save herself the judges discuss their options, all the while Karen ends up hitting a very sharp note and is pretty pitchy.

Saved By The Judges?: Nope. The judges do not use the save. Karen is going home. Randy explains that it wasn't unanimous. I can't imagine one of these judges actually willing to use this save so early in the competition. I'm not gonna say directly which judge I think wanted to bring back Karen but their name rhymes with Lennifer Jopez. This save is not designed to be used for the 12th place finisher. You have to think the remaining contestants are pretty pleased it wasn't given to Karen. If Karen had recieved it then that means if the other contestants were ever in danger they wouldn't get a chance to be saved.

Final Thoughts:

Well that ends another fun filled week of American Idol. Next week the contestants are trying to stave off elimination at least one more week so they can land on the American Idol tour. There's not a big difference between the 10th out or the 9th, but there's a huge difference between being the 11th person out and the 10th. Money, some notoriety, and the chance to tour. Big stakes next week.

Come on back to I'dol Be The Judge next week and during the week, on your phone, on your computer, anywhere. We'll be back with more recaps and Idol news. See you soon.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Top 12 Perform

Welcome back. Tonight is the Top 12 performances. These weeks are flying by, it's already been a week since Ashthon Jones was sent packing. To avoid joining her the contestants will have to step up their game. The Theme this week is "Year You Were Born". There are a lot of younger contestants this year so it should be interesting to see what "classic" songs the contestants will be singing. The contestants will meet with Jimmy Iovine and other notable music producers again this week. They are mentoring as well as helping them select their songs. So as we always do, let's get to it:

How Were The Contestants?:

Naima-Born 1984(What's Love Got To Do With It): Naima is singing one of Tina Turner's most famous songs. She adds a very current vibe to the song and makes it more R&B and club like. Her voice itself isn't extremely on point, but it's definitely a cool version of this song and she makes it her own. She has a lot going on, maybe a bit too much at times. Grade=B
Steven: He loved it and thought it was beautiful. (These are his signature comments)
Jennifer: Loved that she brought her flavor, but finds her consistently pitchy and worries for her in this competition.
Randy: Thought the vocals were all over the place and that she is just under where she should be.

Paul-Born 1984(I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues): Paul's mannerisms on stage are just crazy and are sometimes distracting from his vocals. I give him credit for trying to own that low key, mellow voice, but the band overpowers him at many points. I'm glad that he picked a more notable song than last week. But this really wasn't a super strong performance. Grade=B
Jennifer: Thought he sounded good and his star quality overcame his cold and sinus problems.
Randy: Thought he was pitchy but still likes that he makes every song his own.
Steven: Feels he has cool swagger and finds Paul very distinctive despite some pitchyness.

Thia-Born 1995(Colors of The Wind): The youngest contestant in the competition this year. Jimmy feels that Thia could be a dark horse in this competition. Thia singing a song from "Pochontas" makes me feel very old, I remember seeing that movie when it came out. Wow. Her performance tonight was very tepid in the beginning of the song, but her vocals were controlled throughout. She might have had a pitchy moment here and there but it was a pretty solid vocal. The performance itself was a bit boring and she needs to do something different one of these weeks. Grade=B
Randy: Thought the vocals were ok, but found it boring and felt nothing special came from it.
Steven: Thought she had a beautiful voice, but doesn't think that the song is her.
Jennifer: Didn't feel anything special and finds that she is picking safe songs and needs to step outside the box.

James-Born 1989(I'll Be There): James singing Bon Jovi makes perfect sense, but I don't think his vocal was as strong as it has been the past couple week. I thought the song dominated him a bit too much. But his high scream was pretty controlled. A mixed bag this time, for sure. Grade=B
Steven: Doesn't want James to get too pop-py. Then he accidentally cursed, which is always fun.
Jennifer: Loved it, thought it was amazing, and makes her want to sing along. (Which she did)
Randy: Thought there were some pitch problems, but thought it was tastefully done.

Haley-Born 1990(I'm Your Baby Tonight): Singing Whitney Houston is always dangerous in this competition, because it's a lot to be compared to. It has worked for some but has been disastorous for others. I can see how and why Haley wanted to change her whole style from last week, given she was "this close" to going home last week. I definitely liked this week more than last, but I still think she has more in her. Don't know if she did enough to get away from the Bottom 3. Grade=C+
Jennifer: Thought she looked beautiful, but could sense she is still tense and needs to act more naturally.
Before Randy speaks, Ryan fixes Haley's makeup. Yes, I just said that.
Randy: Doesn't feel that Haley is sure of who she is. Doesn't think it was great performance and is still confused by her.
Steven: Thought it was sweet and tough, but feels she needs to give more blues, like she used to.

Stefano-Born 1989(If You Don't Know Me By Now): Not the most well known or popular song choice, but I don't really know what was that popular in 1989, nor do I know what songs are cleared for the contestants to sing. He does a lot with the song, he has a lot of stage presence and his voice is very controlled. He hit a very high note at the end and nailed it. Grade=B+
Randy: Calls it the best performance of the night (Given the quality of performances thus far that's not extremly hard to say).
Steven: Thought it was over the top beautiful.
Jennifer: Thought it was a perfect song choice, and could be a contender if he stays this consistent.

Pia-Born 1988(Where Do Broken Hearts Go): Another Whitney Houston, another time for everyone to compare the contestant to Whitney. This song seems more appropriate for Pia than the other Whitney Houston song did for Haley. I'm glad she didn't just sing another ballad and took on a more peppy song. She did a great vocal and has been incredibly consistent. Pia couldn't do better in this competition if she wrote the script herself. Grade=A
Steven: Thought Pia nailed it.
Jennifer: Was pleased that she sang a more high tempo song and thought it was perfect for her.
Randy: Feels Pia is in the competition to win it and warns all other contestants that they better step it up.

Scotty-Born 1993:(Can I Trust You With My Heart): If you like a good ole country boy with a cute smile then you love Scotty. If country isn't your thing then Scotty isn't the one for you. For what it was, Scotty did a nice job. I feel all his performances are relatively the same. He's very consistent, his voice is controlled, but it's a bit boring, when it's the same thing week in week out. Grade=B
Jennifer: Feels that he pushed it out there in the end and likes seeing him grow as a performer.
Randy: Feels he can sing anything and is best when he steps out of his comfort zone.
Steven: Finds Scotty really good and that he just needs to continue being himself.

Karen-Born 1989:(Love Will Lead You Back): The most predictable contestant outside of Scotty and his country songs is Karen. You know she will pick either a ballad or a chessy-ish song with a big moment or 2 and she'll try to add some Spanish in the song. She did all of that tonight. It was better than last week but still very boring and not that impressive. Grade=B-
Randy: Thought it was better than last week, but welcomes her back.
Steven: Loves when she adds her ethnic-ness to the song.
Jennifer: Thought she attacked the song and needs to play to her strengths.

Casey-Born 1991(Smells Like Teen Spirit): Casey looks like he is about 28, but he really is only 19. He has had some health problems the past couple weeks but has powered through them to perform Nirvana's most classic song. Casey also got to play an electric guitar. This is the first time that a contestant has utilized an instrument in these live performances. This performance was pretty cool, and was very different from anything I have seen this year and in years past. Don't think the guitar did much for him, but the performance was definitely different and unique. Grade=B+
Steven: Thinks he is crazy and talented and is a great combination.
Jennifer: Thought some parts of the song were screamy screechy and some of it wasn't pleasant but still loves him.
Randy: Loves that he takes risks, and is fearless despite this not being his best performance.

Lauren-Born 1994(I'm The Only One): Battling the flu, Lauren tries to overpower the sickness with a great performance. Given all of that, I thought Lauren did a really nice job. I think she actually sounded and seemed more confident on the stage. I thought it was one of the stronger performances she has had in several weeks. Grade=A-
Jennifer: Made it her own and thought it was a very very good job.
Randy: Thought it was very nice and thinks she should have a cold every week.
Steven: Feels she overpowered her sickness and is a shining start.

Jacob-1987(Alone): I'll say it this year like I said it last year, and the year before, Carrie Underwood owns this song on this show. Nobody sings this Heart song better than Carrie. Jacob definitely went out of his comfort zone, but it didn't really reach unbelievable status like I'm sure he wished it did. He had some pitchy moments, and maybe did too much with it. Grade=B
Randy: Thought it was a very nice even though he got sharp at moments. Thought the tenderness was genius.
Steven: Feels that gospel had a baby and named it Jacob Lusk.
Jennifer: Loved that he gives himself completely and thought it was so good.

How Was The Show/Judges?:

A little better than last week. I thought the bad contestants weren't as bad, and there was even a few more good performances this time around.

Jennifer is impressing me more and more each week, while at the same time Steven is making me regret calling him my favorite judge only a few short weeks ago. He really isn't doing anything that notable or memorable. He doesn't help the contestants with his feedback, and isn't extremely entertaining.

It's obvious now, if it wasn't obvious before, that the guys are much stronger than the women. Although I think that Pia is the leader right now, overall I believe there is more talent with the guys over the girls.

Bottom 3 Prediction/Who's Going Home?:
Bottom 3= Haley, Naima and Karen
Going Home=Haley. She just didn't do enough to overcome being in the Bottom 3 last week. Nobody was terrible tonight, but Haley just wasn't that good either.

Tomorrow will be interesting to see who goes. Come back here to I'dol Be The Judge to find out if we were right in our predictions and see if there are any surprises. We'll see you then.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Top 13 Results

Hello and welcome back. Tonight is the first live results night. There were a lot of mediocre performances and only a couple really standout performances so almost anyone can go home. We will get performances from Diddy Dirty Money and Adam Lambert tonight. What's a results show without tons and tons of filler? Yesterday I picked, Karen, Ashthon and Thia to be part of the Bottom 3 with Karen going home, we will learn if I was right or wrong really soon. So let's get right to it:

Ryan's Announcements:

*We learn that only one contestant goes home this week. Due to cutting the Top 24 from 3 weeks into 1 week they have a couple weeks to play with, meaning no double elimination. Ryan also tells us that the "Judge's Save" will return this year.

*We learn that Casey was sick and had to go to the hospital. I know that he had some medical issues a week or so ago, so I hope this isn't anything too serious.

Contestant's Mansion:

We see the huge, gigantic Beverly Hills mansion that the contestants will live in this year. It's crazy big. Pool, large kitchen, large rooms, almost anything you could ask for. Past American Idol contestants are probably throwing things at their TV screens when they see the living conditions that these contestants get to endure.

Top 13 Perform:

For the past number of years the contestants at this point in the competition lip sync the song due to the largeness of the group. It seems that they are singing but are singing along with their pre-taped voices. They sing a medley of Michael Jackson songs. Decent, nothing overly outstanding.

Ford Music Video & Movie Premiere:

*Where there is American Idol there are these lame Ford Music Videos. They remain just as silly as always. Casey was not in the video so it seems that Casey has been in the hospital since performance night or shortly thereafter.

*We also see a glimpse of the Top 13 going to the "Red Riding Hood" premiere. The movie stars Amanda Seyfried, who just happens to be in the audience. I'm going to take a big guess that this movie is Fox distributed.

Results Part 1:

Jacob, Karen and Stefano go to the center of the stage. Ryan asks each contestant about their performance and their thoughts overall.

*Jacob felt that although he messed up, he found himself.

*Karen says she loved the song but there were some technical difficulties that messed her up.

*Stefano says he just feels blessed to be part of the Top 13 even though he didn't get picked initially by the audience.

*Ryan tells all 3 standing there that they are safe except one.

Stefano and Jacob are SAFE
Karen is part of the BOTTOM 3

Performance #1:

Adam Lambert is actually looking pretty good these days. He sings a very mellow, controlled song, but with his signature high pitched flair as well. Pretty catchy song and performance. I prefer when these results shows feature past American Idol contestants rather than random artists that have nothing to do with the show.

Results Part 2:

*Ryan asks Lauren, Ashthon and Haley up to the stage. Lauren felt that the judges were right about their critiques and apologizes for her performance (very cute). Ryan sees that Lauren is getting emotional and tells her what her fate is. Lauren is SAFE

*Ashthon says that she should have chosen a better, more well known song.

*Ryan asks Randy what Haley should be singing, since she has sung many different genres at this point. He feels that she could sing almost anything and just needs to find her place. J.Lo interjects that Haley should go the Rock/Pop genre. (I don't think we have heard Steven Tyler say anything at this point, so good J.Lo for getting a word in tonight)

Ashthon is in the Bottom 3
Haley is in the Bottom 3

This means that everyone else is SAFE. The way in which a lot of time was taken with these girls as well as the first group of contestants early on it seemed that it was getting late and they needed to put these girls in the Bottom 3 right away. No more playing around.

Performance #2:

Dirty Diddy Money is next up to perform. They sing "Coming Home". Diddy always puts on a pretty decent performance and the song has been around for awhile and is catchy, so if you have to have these performances then that's the way you do it. On a side note didn't Diddy and J.Lo go out for a couple years? Awkward much? How awesome would it have been for Ryan to say something like "Diddy you know J.Lo" or something to that extent, that would have been a fun little moment.

Bottom 3 Results/Who's Going Home?:

My predictions yesterday put Ashthon and Karen in the Bottom 3. Haley had a relatively boring performance last night, so it's not a big shock that she is there.

First SAFE: Karen. My prediction was off by 2. I hope to get better in picking the one out in the following weeks. Don't you fret. :)

Second SAFE: Haley. She needs to pick it up next week. She has a voice but needs to do more.

Going Home Unless Saved By Judges: Ashthon. Not a shock in the least bit. She

Judge's Save?: Nope. Ashthon sings the same song she did last night and sounds just as bad. It's too early to waste a Judge's Save. These are best used in the middle rounds, not right off the bat. Ashthon didn't get picked by the American audience last week, and didn't get picked again. That has got to hurt. She had a couple decent moments during the earlier rounds and ends up being one of the better first eliminated contestants. So she's got that going.

Stay tuned next week when we will be adding another aspect to the blog as well as continuing all the latest news, scoop and recaps. Come on back next Wednesday after the show. See you then.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Top 13 Perform

Welcome back to I'dol Be The Judge. Last week was crazy, the numbers dropped from 24 to 10 back to 13 with the addition of the 3 wildcards. We can still debate a few of the contestants that made it versus the ones sitting home tonight but at this point it doesn't really matter.

Tonight is the first night of performances for the Top 13. We are still unsure at this point if there will be a double elimination tomorrow but I am sure we will learn this along the way. Tonight is the first night the contestants will work one on one with producer Jimmy Iovine and many other talented music producers. Despite these performances being taped earlier due to time constraints, it is still new to us, so let's see how they did and get right to it:

How Were The Contestants?:

Lauren (Any Man Of Mine): Starting things off in the leadoff spot is Lauren. The leadoff spot is a tough one to be in, there's a lot of show, so you have to make a dent right off the bat. Lauren goes the country root with this Shania Twain song. She definitely is comfortable on stage. But I was a little bored by the performance. Her vocals were strong but the whole thing didn't do a lot for me. Steven loved the song but wishes it were a bit more kickass. Jennifer thought Lauren needs to kick it into high gear. Randy also felt that Lauren needs to shine beyond belief. You can tell the judges didn't want to give her bad news. Again being in the leadoff spot and not doing so great isn't the best thing, but due to her popularity she should be able to stave off elimination this week. Grade=C+

Casey (With A Little Help From My Friends): This is the Joe Cocker version of the song. For a first night of performances Casey gets the full treatment, he gets 8 backup singers with him. Fancy. I felt his performance was better than last weeks, but it was also very reminiscent of last week. He sang a good portion, he shouted some, then he did some spoken word, and yelling. Not sure if it was pure singing that way but alright. This could get old in the next few weeks. Jennifer thought Casey was all sorts of wow and blew her away. Randy thought Casey was unbelievable and exciting. Steven calls Casey a "rainbow of talent" and has a "plethora of passion". Those are words that usually don't go together, at least on this show. Grade=B+

Ashthon (When You Tell Me You Love Me): Narrowly escaping getting cut last week, Ashthon has to prove that she deserves to be in the Top 13. Unfortunately right out the gate Ashthon does not sound good. Her voice sounds out of breath, she sounds completely out of key, it feels like the music is playing a different song. She can hit the big note but it's not enough, at least for me. Randy thought it was safe but thought she did some good with the song. Steven agrees with Randy and has confidence in Ashthon. Jennifer thought it was getting away from her but she was able to bring it back. The judges again seemed like they didn't want to give bad news and tried everything not to tell her she didn't sound good. Grade=C

Paul (Come Pick Me Up): Paul is an interesting character. He has a very distinct and unique voice and has some quirky stage movements, to put it mildly. His voice is so quiet and doesn't have a lot of powerful punch in it. Steven loved the rasp in Paul's voice but thought it was a bit pitchy. Jennifer thought Paul was unique but she doesn't know if the audience will get the performance due to the artist and song choice. Randy didn't think it was exciting but loves Paul's character. Randy pretty much says the same thing Jennifer did. I don't know how much America loves Paul's quirks so he could be in a little danger. Grade=B-

Pia (All By Myself): Pia's idol is Celine Dion. From last week's performance you can definitely see a little Celine Dion in her. Tonight, the first part of the song was a little rough but when the higher more powerful notes kicked in Pia started to hit her stride. The big note was hit beautifully. Definitely not a standing ovation type of performance this week but very strong again. Jennifer gets emotional when she starts to give her critiques. Randy started to compare Pia to the "Big 3", Whitney, Celine and Mariah. I don't know if Pia is there yet, but she's on her way. Steven thought she slammed it, and thought it was beautiful. Grade=A-

James (Maybe I'm Amazed): You almost can't go wrong when you sing a Beatles song or Paul McCartney song, so James picking this song is a smart move. This song was sung by Crystal Bowersox last year and was done in such a different way than what James did tonight. He added his high pitch flair, and added some more rock elements to it. I'll give James credit, he has a lot more control in his voice than what he did in the earlier rounds. He is definitely growing in this competition. Randy thought James slayed it and proved why he could really sing anything. Steven thought James did a real good job. Jennifer thought that James can really sing and he has and is everything. James is a contender right now, that's for sure. Grade=B+

Haley (Blue): Over the past week a lot of people have felt that Kendra should have been in the Top 13 over Haley, but Haley is here and she sings this LeAnn Rimes song. Although the performance was slowed down, her vocals were strong. She has that really raspy thing in her voice which is very unique. I can see the audience being a little bored by the performance but it really wasn't bad at all. Steven thought it was beautiful and thought she did a good job. Jennifer feels that Haley does special things with her voice and is very unique. Randy liked that she could do anything but thought it was boring and was sleepy. He feels that she is young and needs to do more. This was the first real straight out negative comment of the night and Ryan and Jennifer get on Randy for this. Everyone can't be great, otherwise what kind of show do you have ? Grade=B

Jacob (I Believe I Can Fly): I don't know if the first thing you want to tell America is that R. Kelly is your idol like Jacob did. There are a lot of people to be idolized, not sure if R. Kelly and his criminal past is the best choice you can make. But, this song can't be denied as powerful and great. The song on paper was a great choice by Jacob, and in real life it was a pretty strong choice. It fell a bit below the expectations of putting Jacob with this kind of song. Jacob had a choir come out with him but it didn't hide the fact that his voice fell flat in some areas. It was a decent job but nothing outstanding. Steven thought that Jacob was so good and is all that. Jennifer feels that Jacob is at the top of the list of contestants left in the competition. (Not sure she actually critiqued his performance tonight). Randy thought he had some sharp moments but was able to end really powerful. Like Lauren earlier, Jacob's past performances and popularity should carry him, despite a lesser performance tonight. Grade=B-

Thia (Smile): Last week Randy compared Thia's voice to Michael Jackson, so Thia obviously chose this Michael Jackson song, which also happens to be originally done by Charlie Chaplin, whom 15 year old Thia knows none of. Thia's performance tonight was very subdued in the beginning and then it went into a 90s jazz mix of the song. Not sure if I like the change of style to the song. Her voice was pretty strong but the performance as a whole was pretty boring as a whole, it didn't really go anywhere. Randy loved the intro but then thought she got pitchy and didn't love the jazzy bit in the middle and end. Steven thought that Thia was pitchy but liked it overall. Jennifer also loved the beginning and thought the arrangement was "interesting", meaning not so great. Grade=C+

Stefano (Lately): Also a wildcard pick, Stefano has to prove why he deserves another shot by the audience. This Stevie Wonder song has been done many times on the show before but tonight it has a different kick to it. It has the classic parts to it, but they also added a little club sound to the song. I thought he sounded pitchy in some spots, but given the way the song went from slow to faster to slow and back and forth throughout, Stefano did a decent job. Steven thought Stefano pulled it off and thought the arrangement was crazy good. Jennifer thought the dance remix of the song made Stefano sound really great. Randy thought Stefano started a little rough but thought that by the middle of the song he was soaring. It was a middle of the road type of performance and given that he wasn't originally picked by America it will be interesting to see if this performance gained Stefano some more fans. Grade=B

Karen (I Could Fall In Love): Given that the judges have no more direct say in these performances I don't think that Karen went for the emotional punch on Jennifer Lopez by picking this Selena song. Karen actually just loves Selena. Her performance tonight had some good moments and then some really bad ones. The song actually didn't do much for her voice. The arrangement was very karaoke, nothing really exciting. Jennifer said that Karen seemed uncomfortable and hopes that the audience looks past this performance. Randy felt that Karen was fighting this song and wasn't excited by the song and performance. Steven felt that the her energy was lacking but hopes she makes it. Karen could be in some trouble, this was the first contestant that got panned by all 3 judges. Grade=C-

Scotty (The River):
For a country singer, singing a Garth Brooks song is a big deal. Scotty's voice tonight was just as strong as it has been. It was a little karaoke, in that he didn't do much with the song other than sound pretty good. Randy loved that Scotty didn't change the song up at all. Steven feels that Scott did Garth justice tonight. Jennifer felt that Scotty opened up as a performer and added a different dimension to his performance. Grade=B+

Naima (Umbrella): Before singing this Rihanna song, Naima said she wanted to make the song sound different and add her own flair. She added some crazy reggae verse to the song. It was a good idea to change it up that way, because otherwise it would have sounded entirely like the original. Naima also danced and moved on stage, which added a whole different dynamic. Steven thought Naima was a little pitchy but thought she added flavor that no one else did. Jennifer didn't care about the pitchiness because she added her flair and thought she was great, but she does feel that she needs to work on her control. Randy does care about the pitchiness but thought that Naima's reggae section of the song was crazy good. Mixed reaction by the judges. Grade=B

How Were The Judges:

Steven: I think Steven helped create a lot of the buzz that this new season has had up til now, but since we entered these "live" performances he hasn't really provided anything buzz worthy. He says that almost every performance is beautiful, even the ones that aren't so great. Any criticism he does have is very generic. Don't want to say it, but this is what happened to Ellen Degeneres last year. She did great during Hollywood week but when she started these live performances she had a difficult time creating good criticisms, she became plain and this unfortunately is happening with Steven right now.

Jennifer: I'm somewhat impressed with Jennifer. Her critiques are pretty spot on. When she feels that a performance is great she'll let us know, but if she feels something is off she'll let us know that too. I think she is getting better every week in her reviews of the constestants.

Randy: He added some straight, blunt honesty tonight. It's definitely not as cutting or critical like Simon Cowell used to bring, but given Steven's generic comments, and Jennifer still learning, Randy did a decent job giving some good points. But on the other hand, Randy is a little conflicting sometimes. Sometimes he wants singers to do something different with songs, yet sometimes, like tonight with his critiques to Scotty he applauded him for letting the song be like the original. A little confusing, but that's Randy for ya I guess.

How Was The Show:

I feel with the the behind the scenes videos of the contestants picking their songs, and working with the producers, it gave a good feel to who these contestants are. Last year we didn't really know a lot about the group, I feel that this year already we are getting to learn their personalities a bit more.

I liked that the show had each contestant work with an acclaimed or notable music producer but also get the final say so by the main guy Jimmy Iovine. Working with him and the other producers should help a lot of these contestants grow week to week.

Bottom 3 Prediction/Who's Going Home:

Bottom 3=Karen, Ashthon and Thia.
Going Home= Karen. Only based on all 3 judges panning her performance. Her performance last week might help keep her around, but it might be tough. No one was crazy awful like this time last year, but Karen's performance overall really wasn't strong at all.

Come on Back here tomorrow at I'dol Be The Judge. Diddy Dirty Money and Adam Lambert will perform during the results show. We don't know if there will be one cut or two cuts tomorrow, it was never mentioned. So come on back here right after the show to learn the fate of either one or two of these contestants. See you then.