Judges Patronize on "American Idol"

Tuesday is leftovers night on "American Idol." It's the final batch of 12 performing, and most of them we've already forgotten from Hollywood Week, it's been so long since we saw them last. Three from this batch will become members of the Final 12.

Von Smith, aka Hollywood Shouter Guy, wants to show us he can sing "You're All I Need to Get By" without screaming. Mission mostly accomplished, Von.

Contestant Von Smith. (Fox)

"Idol" Judge Randy Jackson asks Von if he knows what's funny about tonight -- Randy's standard opening line.

What's funny this week, Randy reveals after Von gives up, is that Von was the night's first performer, yet he did a lot better than the previous two weeks' first performers. Yup -- a regular laugh riot.

Judge Kara DioGuardi, whose head seems to be settling lower between her shoulders every time we see her, applauds Von for having paid attention when judge Simon Cowell called his Hollywood performance an indulgent mess and suggested he take things down a few hundred decibels.

Judge Paula Abdul says Von knows when to pull back and when to push forward. The American Idol Decency Police all have their vacation time cancelled.

Simon says Von reminds him of Clay Aiken, including his sense of fashion, which Simon says is "appalling."

Taylor Vaifauna, 17, takes a whack at "If I Ain't Got You" and gets lost in the lower notes. On the other hand, she is wearing a bangin' pair of boots.

Kara says Taylor has talent but she's still trying to figure out what it would be like to go shopping with her. Paula nicks Taylor for singing a song she'd already sung during Hollywood week, which viewers did not get to hear, and Simon's still trying to figure out Kara's "shopping" gag.

"Shop for what?" Simon asks. Then Randy and Simon break into a shopping cross-talk act. Simon wonders what breakfast cereal Taylor eats; Randy wonders if she puts soy milk or regular milk on the cereal.

Taylor, who has been crying, tells show host Ryan Seacrest they are tears of joy.

Alex Wagner-Trugman is never going to win "American Idol" because "American Idol" is never going to be won by someone named Wagner-Trugman. But he's been reading what people are saying about him on the Internet -- Hi, Alex Wagner-Trugman! -- and they're saying he's dorky, so he's been going to the gym to get more cut, like Simon, he says. Only all he can manage are "short reps of low weight, because I'm very weak."

Alex sings "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" because, he explains, he's been in a long-distance relationship for some time and if anybody else in America has a special someone they miss, they can think of him and he will be their boyfriend for a while. At some point in this competition Randy must have asked Alex if he knew what was funny and Alex must've said 'no,' and Randy must have told him that what was funny was that Alex reminded him of Joe Cocker -- which, actually is pretty funny. So Alex decides this week to perform an Elton John Tune as Joe Cocker, only he accidentally tips over the mic stand and growl at all the wrong places -- not that there are any right place to growl in "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues."

KarPauRan adores his dorkiness; Alex keeps insisting that knocking over the mic stand was an accident. Simon -- the only judge worth listening to -- likens Alex to a hamster trying to be a tiger. I'd buy that CD.

"American Idol's" first ever Abba tune! Cute-as-a-button Arianna Afsar does not want to be judged on the basis of her cute-as-a-button-ness so she wants to make "The Winner Takes All" her own. She does so by singing the tune while simultaneously practicing her scales. Simon can't decide whether "absolutely terrible," "huge mistake," or "dreary arrangement like being at a funeral" best describes her performance.

Randy says nothing worth repeating. Kara reminds Arianna that when she first auditioned she was "like a beam of sunshine."

"Shiny button," Simon corrects.

"Cute as a button is a compliment," Kara explains.

Paula tells Arianna that next time, she should just stick with the melody. Paula wins.

Ju'not Joyner does nothing for "Hey There, Delilah" but the judges all love him and his "ridiculous pipes." Ju'not explains he just got a big o' cortisone shot in his heinie, which he describes as being similar to having 10 cups of coffee. We've had 10 cups of coffee before and do not remember it in any way resembling getting a shot in the heinie, but Paula appears to know what he's talking about. Simon, on the other hand, says he doesn't want to know what goes on behind the scenes on this show. The "American Idol" Decency Police send Seacrest in to clarify that the cortisone shot was administered to help with voice issues Ju'not was having, even though the shot was administered in his "tush." Ju'not begins to babble about his whole "little" asthma/smoking thing.

The good news about Kristen McNamara is she's lost the purple hair. The bad news: she's dressed as Stephanie from "Saturday Night Fever." And, she's told the "Idol" judges she's a karaoke host -- the kiss of death. Though her performance of "Give Me One Reason" is the night's best performance so far, KarPauRan wants her to be a rocker and calls the performance "karaoke" -- I rest my case. Simon calls her outfit "atrocious." Kristen says she's always been the girl wearing the stretch pants with the wrong color T-shirt and the bow in her hair.

Nathaniel Marshall believes Meatloaf's "I Would Do Anything for Love" is a disco anthem. The judges disagree, and Simon can't get the terrible image of Nathaniel's awful Olivia Newton-John headband out of his mind. Paula remembers that Nathaniel sang "Disturbia" during Hollywood Week. Simon finds that incredible -- Paula remembering stuff, that is, not Nathaniel singing "Disturbia." Seacrest, noting Nathaniel makes Simon uncomfortable, brings Nathaniel over to the judges' desk and tries to get him to sit in Simon's lap. Nathaniel wisely opts for Paula's lap instead, but generously offers his Olivia Newton-John headband to Simon.

Felicia Barton is this season's comeback kid, having been booted in Hollywood, only to be brought back when another Idolette got pulled after news reports were released about her alleged friendship with "Idol" production company staffers.

Felicia, who has grown bangs, belts out Alicia Keys' tune "No One" but badly misses a couple of the big notes. Weirdly, Paula, not Randy, begins to ponder how funny the universe is because Felicia is back. The judges are all terribly nice to her and no one mentions how Felicia actually got there.

Scott MacIntyre sings "Mandoln Rain." He's not that good. But he is that blind, so the judges fawn over him.

"I can feel the passion...props to you, job well done" (Randy). "You move mountains when you step out on stage" (Kara). "Whatever challenges you faced to get here, I'm so happy and proud you made it" (Paula). "In a sea of forgettable people you're the only one I'm really going to remember...I'd be amazed if you don't sail through to the next round, young man" (Simon).

Kendall Beard picks country tune "This One's For the Girls" and, though she's off key, she's pretty and blond and bubbly and is wearing a yellow bubble dress. Everyone approves.

Jorge Nunez picks a song that will best show how hard he's worked with his dialect coach -- "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." Paula is so proud of him for working so hard with the coach that "you can't even tell" he's from Puerto Rico.

"I think we were wrong to say to you you shouldn't sing with an accent, because why should we?" Simon interjects.

"You're from Puerto Rico, you've got a good voice...I think you should be who you are...And, believe it or not, there are Spanish artists who've actually done incredible well -- they have an accent, because they're Spanish. Who cares?

Undaunted, Paula continues:

"Will you just speak, so we can hear your accent?" she asks Jorge Oh yes. She does.

"Actually, I don't think I have an accent, but if you think I do..." Jorge begins.

'Not any more!" Paula gushes.

"That is so patronizing!" Simon snaps.

And, as usual, "Idol" saves the best for last. In this case, Lil Rounds singing "Be Without You."

"Brilliant," says Simon. KarPauRan seconds that.

Join Lisa for a live discussion every Friday at 1 p.m. ET.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  March 4, 2009; 6:00 AM ET "American Idol"
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

I must be missing something, but I don't get the adoration over Lil Rounds. I mean she sings fine, but the song she sang last night wasn't that great, she sounded lost in the low notes, and the only highlight was the big note she sang towards the end.

I just can't get over the feeling that the judges are telling me that she is better than what my ears are hearing, but maybe it's just me.

IMHO, Jorge was the best last night but all the judge chatter afterwards was confusing.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 4, 2009 8:18 AM

The judges need to stop patronizing Scott and stop treating him like Scott the Blind Wonder Boy. Treat him like anyone else. Yes, we know that he has lost (most) of his sight and has faced a lot of challenges. You don't need to bring it up in some way every time he performs. It seems like an excuse to his lack of stage presence and charisma and a way to guilt trip America into voting for him to keep him around so AI can say they even give chances to those who are disabled! He can sing okay, but he's terribly boring, and not at all "relevant" to today's music. He seems like a very nice guy, but that alone doesn't make an AI.

Posted by: danilynn17 | March 4, 2009 8:29 AM

Yes, Kristen can sing. What she didn't do was sing "Give Me One Reason". She took the special blues/soul feel of the song completely out of it for me and pulled out that show-off karaoke performance. Randy nailed it on this one.

I can't stand Meatloaf (the singer, I happen to like the dish) and Nathaniel annoys me to no end. So he wins the award for "Most Fast Forwarded Performance of the Night".

Posted by: MaltyCharacter | March 4, 2009 8:32 AM

Lisa: your column today was hysterically funny! I was watching Jorge's eyebrows. I was fascinated - in a bad way. He's cute but those need to be tamed. I agree with the other poster about Scott - nice guy and all but I am not a fan at all of his voice. Given the judges' adoration, I'd be surprised if he doesn't get through tonight.

Posted by: MILW | March 4, 2009 8:39 AM

What happened this season? Really, this is the best 36 you could find? Half of these people are a joke and aren't even taking the show seriously. Nathaniel Headband really thought disco Meat Loaf was the way to go? Seriously, they have maybe 5 serious contenders this year. Compare that to last year...where is our darkhorse David Cook? Pure talent Archuleta? Carly? Michael Johns? Jason Castro? Brooke White? Syesha? Compared to the lot this year, they would all be bright, shining stars. Instead we get Danny McDeadwife and a bunch of 17-year-olds. Adam Lambert is my only hope this year.

Posted by: jljardon2 | March 4, 2009 8:47 AM

Isn't is amazing that each week the last performer sailed thru. I'm sure Lil won't let us down tonight.

What I'm missing this year is a chance for these kids to sing to us for a few weeks so they can become more comfortable with what's going on. At least half of them we (the audience) are hearing for the first time. Just doesn't seem fair to us or them.

There will probably be 2 girls and 1 guy tonight (Lil,Kendall and Scott) That way the judges will be able to even things out tomorrow night at 6 and 6 which is AI's way!

Posted by: bosher | March 4, 2009 8:52 AM

jljardon2, you're pointing out one of the biggest problems with the new format this year. Basically, by the time we got to the final 12 last year, we had heard each idolette sing 3 times. There's no familiarity, there's no idea what the person is about, one bad night (esp. for those who got no previous TV Time) and you're done.

IMHO, It's not fair to the contestants or the audience. The only people it seems fair to are the producers and the judges as they are assured of getting their favorites into the final 12.

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 4, 2009 9:05 AM

I enjoy mashed potatoes with my meatloaf.

Posted by: mstaines | March 4, 2009 9:24 AM

Lisa -

Glad you watched so I don't have to. Maybe I'll pick it up again when they have the final 12, but the format for the final 12 has turned me off.

Love the recap.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | March 4, 2009 9:26 AM

I just want to stand behind Kara and poke her and say "Sit up straight" like a nun in grade school. Her slouching is driving me crazy.She makes my shoulders sore just looking at her. Her ears are actually at the same level as her shoulders!

I think AI has "jumped the shark" this season. I realized this during Adam Lambert's over-the-top pretentious performance last week

Posted by: cdydo | March 4, 2009 9:29 AM

No one really stood out. I agree with many posters. 1. VTDuffman -- "L'il was good but not great." She sang a Mary J Blige song. MJB is the most overrated Grammy winner alive. She can't/doesn't sing the melody of any song, opting instead to sing "runs", trills, and disjointed phrasing because she, um, can't sing the melody of any song! The point is, the song (style) didn't suit L'il. 2. danilynn17 -- you're right about the Scott syndrome. Everyone else needs to get over that he's blind and you'll see a very pedestrian performance. 3. Nathanial -- what a joke. 4. LDeM -- good call on Kara's slumping and on the Wagner-Trugman call out. No one with that name will win anything short of a bill sponsored in Congress. 5. Ju'not wasn't half bad, but I didn't like the slow pace of his Hey Delilah. He could've shown more. 6. Upset pick might be happy, shiny Kendall. I think she picked the right song for her. Didn't nail every note but it was uptempo in a night of mostly plodding songs.

Bottom line: I really couldn't care who gets through from this group. My guess? Guys -- Von or Ju'not. Girls -- L'il, Kendall, Felicia . . . maybe Kristen. No way you are an AI -- Nathanial, Taylor, Alex, and Arianna.

Posted by: redrocket | March 4, 2009 9:44 AM

Scott MacIntyre sings "Mandoln Rain." He's not that good. But he is that blind, so the judges fawn over him.

Lisa, you're the only person in the media to speak the truth on this guy.

Posted by: k-gotham | March 4, 2009 9:49 AM

Lisa you didn't note my favorite "slipped it by the censors" moment of the night. After Headband Boy sang "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)", Simon looked at him and said, "You know, I believe you would." Headband Boy got it, from the look in his eyes, but I'm not sure the other judges did. Loved it!

L'il has a great voice and stage presence, but I agree that the song wasn't great, mostly because the original isn't great. I agree that the melody seems to be missing from that song. Von was surprisingly good and deserves to move ahead, as does Jorge. Country Girl Kendall will likely move along, though, because she's cute and blond, even though Felicia has a better voice.

Posted by: inkydog | March 4, 2009 9:54 AM

Can we please discuss the best part of last night's show: Scott asking Seacrest for a HIGH FIVE! LOL! I love that Scott called out Seacrest's previous blunder; I love that Seacrest tried to underplay it; and I LOVE LOVE LOVE that the judges cracked up and called Seacrest out on it!

I agree that Scott is not a great singer, and made it this far in the competition based solely on respect/sympathy, but he gets big points for humiliating Seacrest!

Posted by: AmuseMe | March 4, 2009 9:57 AM

"L'il has a great voice and stage presence,"

Hmmm, maybe it is just me, then. I really don't get it. I wouldn't categorize her voice as anything beyond "fine."

Posted by: VTDuffman | March 4, 2009 10:06 AM

Agree 100% with cydydo. Adam will grow increasingly irritating, and Kara will eventually end up a small puddle of incoherent goo under the table. Sack the judges and put Gordon Ramsey in there with Simon. Apparently only the Brits are willing to say what needs to be said.

Posted by: otdoc321 | March 4, 2009 10:18 AM

Sorry, I meant cdydo.

Posted by: otdoc321 | March 4, 2009 10:19 AM

I'm so bored by the singing so far, that commenting on it seems useless, though I do agree with Lisa and most of postings.

What is most noteworthy is how bad this new format is, and I think previous comments on this are accurate. From each group, there are about 2-3 contestants who could be competitive with those voted through, especially because those in the chairs are really not that great. Also, those who had a lot of screen time leading up were at an advantage. Ditto those who performed last.

In a progression of 10 to 12 items, memory research shows that people are most likely to best remember the first and last items, followed by something in the middle, usually 6 or 7 spot, and anything highly unusual. The latter means that if you are a stand-out sandwiched between 2 mediocres, your memorable quotient jumps. If I want to manipulate results, all I need to do is carefully adjust line-up.

I had high hopes for the addition of Kara as a judge. At first she was fresh, occasionally insightful and articulate, and funny. Now she is the most annoying. And her posture is killing me and her message. Slumping is a weak non-verbal behavior. I am a Simon devotee (the primary reason I watch the show) who has groaned over Randula from the beginning. I am shocked, SHOCKED, that Kara's presence seems to have improved Randy, and especially Paula. Not because she is elevating the level of critique, but because she is outblubbering Paula and become even more predictable and bland than Randy. I think Simon now gets along better with Paula because she is less annoying than Kara. The whole four judge panel is definitely dragging the show, and the producer/directors need to train Kara in the art of sound bite. She also needs a"Get Over Yourself Award." Her logorrhea (pathologically excessive and often incoherent talking)is taking away from Simon's time (the only judge worth listening to).

Back to format. Perhaps the best would be a return to 24, 12 each of men women. But give each group 2 weeks to perform, and have their scores for two weeks totaled. Something similar has been done occasionally on Dancing With the Stars, and I think it improves the results. Of the 36 selected, easily 12 or more were so forgettable and predictable that they didn't justify air time. Thank God for my DVR!

Posted by: MarriedMom | March 4, 2009 11:29 AM

To those of you who don't get the Lil love, I think it is the genre of music you don't get. The judges were right. Lil was by miles the best singer. She had control, range and style. I hope she goes through and sings a more mainstream song next time and you will see, er..I mean hear.

Headband boy is sooo annoying. How did he get this far, I don't know. Probably Paula and Kara taking pity on him and his kicked puppy/drama queen persona. No way he goes further unless he has the Sanjaya effect.

Agree with most poster that yeah Scott, nice guy, great story, personality, yada yada, but I'm not impressed with his singing. BORING.

Didn't like Kristin's Gimme One Reason at first but eventually got into it. I actually liked her but agreed the dress was a mess. Very incongruent with the song.

Didn't think Von was too bad but he reminds me too much of High School Musical.

Everyone else was pretty forgettable, think goodness. The last two groups were better (exception for Lil, she was great).

Posted by: hodie | March 4, 2009 11:43 AM

Ok, I usually agree completely with everything you guys say (and laugh hysterically in the process).

However, I need to speak up about Danny and his wife. Have those of you who have called him "Danny McDeadwife" or "Danny MyWifeJustDied," etc. ever lost someone? Have any of your spouses DIED suddenly and unexpectedly?

He is NOT playing the "Dead Spouse" card at all. You can't expect him to not mention losing the love of his life. It's the media that is planting the whole "dead spouse card" idea in everybody's head. Give him a break.

As a breast cancer survivor, I would at least hope that if I were to die, my husband would at least honor my memory by mentioning my name and shedding a tear or two.

Give him a break, and judge his singing, not his grief.

Posted by: Iteachmusic | March 4, 2009 12:03 PM

It's tragic and horrible that Danny lost his wife. All of us here understand that. But to say he's not playing the "Dead Spouse" card...I completely disagree. He didn't need to bring it up at all, let alone provide the producers with footage of their engagement or have his friends hold up her picture and point to heaven while he was singing.

For a tasteful way this type of situation can be handled, you don't need to look any further than David Cook last year. Even after media outlets reported that he was going through a family tragedy, he NEVER brought it up once, and I'm sure the "Idol" producers tried to goad him into it. He had enough respect for his family and the viewers to keep his private life...well, private.

Posted by: tvfan88 | March 4, 2009 12:16 PM

I forgot all about Von Smith being the supposed youtube sensation who Rosie O'Donnell would trot out on talk shows. Somehow since then he has morphed into Rick Astley.

I was afraid they would call average-singer Scott an American hero or something and they did, but at least last night wasn't as cringe-worthy as the week before.

Posted by: sarahabc | March 4, 2009 12:21 PM

tvfan88, you hit it on the nose. If you go back and watch last season (and let's face it, watching a full repeat of AI7 would be a hundred times more entertaining than this mess) David Cook never mentioned his brother on the show. Not once. Not even when he was flown to the show on a medical plane and Ryan was pushing and pushing during his critique. Never said it. It can be controlled.

Perhaps Danny should not have chosen to audition for the most public invasion of privacy out there, just a month after she passed away. However, he may have felt this was the best way for him to grieve. To each, his own. Fact remains, he has brought it up himself, more than once (in fact, at every opportunity, IIRC). The producers and his family (the guy with the photo was the wife's sister's husband) have just kept it going.

Posted by: jljardon2 | March 4, 2009 12:24 PM

I cannot agree on the Kristen-love over "Gimme One Reason." As maltycharacter noted, she took ALL the soul and blues out of it, and the winking, pointing, etc. was distracting at best. One of the worst of the night in my book.

Posted by: otdoc321 | March 4, 2009 12:34 PM

How can we say that Danny had anything to do with his wife's sister's husband holding up the picture?!?!?!?

No, the amazing David Cook didn't say anything about his brother. Agreed. However, he didn't put a stop to all the media coverage, did he? That just kept going.

I know we all won't agree on whether or not he is handling it well. Just as said, "To each his own."

I just ask that he isn't referred to as Danny McDeadWife. Yuck. I could have been McDeadWife, and I am sure there are plenty of other people who find that unsettling and upsetting for a variety of reasons.

Posted by: Iteachmusic | March 4, 2009 12:38 PM

Nice to be back in Snarkland for first time this year (formerly Christin). AI format this year has dropped any pretense of neutrality or hiding the manipulation. Couldn't they at least have put Lil 2nd to last to somewhat pretend they weren't doing the last-place 'pimp spot' for a 3rd week in a row. I like Lil and she would have made it to Final 12 anyway. Think AI producers are just rubbing the audience faces in their manipulation for fun: look what we're doing and you better accept it and pretend it's not happening. Oh well.

I only like Alexis of the 6 stool-seated so far. Deadwife user Hokey-Dokey-Goakey I'm rooting against. Don't care much about the others one way or the other.

Best moment Season 8 so far without a doubt: lovely Brooke's song at the piano last week. That was her best performance yet. If she'd sung like that last year Brooke would have made the Final 3 for sure (and might well have won if she'd been on Season 6). Can't wait to get her new CD, and put it between Carly Simon and Carol King on my shelf.

Posted by: Brookelover | March 4, 2009 12:43 PM

Bro - you crack me up. I can just hear you giggle as you type the words, "I enjoy mashed potatoes with my meatloaf."

Loved this week's recap! One of the best so far. What has happened to the talent pool in America?? God help us. And then the singers -- goodness gracious. (I was referring to the judges in my first comment!) Seriously, did anyone else pick up on this week's judges theme "We just don't know who you are..." That must have been said at least a dozen times by every one of the judges -- even Simon.

Loved the comment about giving the boot to the three nutcases and adding the Hell's Kitchen guy.

And way to shout out my boy, Jason!! I am hoping he's on tonight's recap show. That would make my day! Have a good one everyone! See you tomorrow.

Hey Sis & Stace, where are you?? We need your two cents? And bro, is that all you got? Mashed potatoes???

Posted by: majorjasoncastrofan | March 4, 2009 12:53 PM

Lisa, why isn't your 'WE WATCH SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO' column in the print edition of the Post anymore? Are they CRAZY? It used to be my favorite part of the paper! Are they TRYING to kill the print edition? You are the most talented writer on that rag, jeez. (No we are not related)

Anyway, having got THAT out of my system thank god I found you here on the web edition, which I rarely visit but do now.

Agree with other posters that this season's format SUCKS. It just feels manipulated by the producers... only 3 move forward? It's not fair, since some great singers are put in one group and then all the bad singers get put in another. I thought this last group had some really great singers in it, much more than 3. Von, Jorge, Felicia, Lil Rounds, Scott, Arianna, Ju'not. They would all make great contestants, it's sad most of them will be gone and we'll be left with... Adam.

I was over Adam before he finished his audition. I mean,really, who is he channeling, Adam Ant? Does he think he's a sanitized-for-tweens version of Robert Smith of the Cure? It's all so very high school cool. Honestly. He'll do great in musical theater, yes I get it he can hit the high notes. Next!

And I'm WAY over Kara. Besides the distracting slouching, why does she TALK that way -- like she's trying to be a professor pursing her lips? She's taking this whole thing WAY too seriously, and besides, with her yaking there's not enough of Paula crazy time! I miss my Paula crazy time!

Loved that Paula's memory has returned with a vengeance, and that the judges were gobsmacked. Now come on everyone, we know that one of Paula's assistants has drawn up a cheat sheet for her on this -- way to go Paula! Love you girl.

And when will Jason be on? He was my very favorite Idol of all time. I just loved his voice. I mean it. I saw him doing his soon to be out song on Idol Wrap and it's LOVELY. (And yes, I'm old enough to be his mother, so it's not the hormones talking...or maybe it IS)

okay, thanks for having a venue so I can get all this out of my system. Don't ever leave Lisa!

Posted by: tmeintermedia | March 4, 2009 1:15 PM

jljardon2, I totally agree with you. The talent pool this year seems particularly shallow. But I have to admit that I am not watching as closely as I have in past seasons. I don't like the way the producers have retooled the process to get down to the final 12. I think they did it to try and invigorate the format of the show, but to me it's just been a disjointed mess. Last night, while I was watching I was thinking to myself that Fox should just cancel this show and put it out of its misery. This year is like watching a xerox of a xerox of a xerox of the original copy. The format is tired, the judges trot out the same old lines, and this year's final 36 seem particularly weak under the spotlights. Maybe when they get down to the real final 12 it will perk up a bit.

Also, note to AI producers, please stop acting like your show is cannonizing these kids to the uppermost levels of American achievement. The show is basically an updated version of Star Search; you're not picking the next Pope.

My last gripe: Having to sit through 4 judges reviews. It's waaay waaay too much. I get that Kara is there to be little sister and chaperone for Paula in case she's having a particularly incoherent day. But sitting through 4 takes on the performance only accentuates the fact that AI is the worse offender on TV for blatant padding of the show.

Posted by: NW_Washington | March 4, 2009 1:17 PM

Agree with y'all. Kara is not at all what was promised ( a normal judge who will give real advice). Instead we get "I want to know what it will be like to go shopping with you". WTF! Who cares!? Nothing wrong with versatility in a singer, why pidgeon-hole them into a category?

Please, judges. Give real criticism like "you go sharp the higher and louder you get, or watch your timing, or avoid a certain type of song because it really isn't working for you, etc" Not this gobbly-gook nonsense we usually hear. If they're good, tell them why. Don't give them "you are the person you are" crap. Give them something they can build onto.

On a different subject, I think the last several seasons of AI, at this point in the show, there are always complaints of where is all the talent??? This season sucks, blah, blah, blah. But I'll bet that next season we'll say the same thing like "they have no Lil, or Gokie, or Adam" or whoever this season's talent turns out to be. Don't know yet. I'm ever optimistic....

Posted by: hodie | March 4, 2009 2:19 PM

Round 3 has come and gone, and it was no better than the previous 2 weeks. The singers, for the most part, are very ho-hum and bland.

One of my problems with AI this season so far has been the overall young age of a lot of the contestants. They don't know any songs, for one thing. And then I just pity them when Simon opens a big can of Reality Check.

Oh well. I'm sure 19 and Fox looked at their audience (for tv and eventual record sales) and determined younger is better. I suppose their conclusions would be re-enforced by the successes Jonas Bros, Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift.

Looking forward to tomorrow recap from LdM.

Posted by: molsonmich | March 4, 2009 3:37 PM

Well, now I know what this season's "twist" is on AI. The game has changed. Biggest sob story wins - or American Idol: My Holocaust is Worse than Your Holocaust. Or American Idol: We are Just Copying "Dancing With the Stars'" "special needs" category.

It's "Queen for a Day" meets "American Idol" - but instead of an entire kitchen of appliances, you get a record contract.

At least the blind young man is actually blind. The guy with the dead wife isn't even dead - so I say NO CONTEST.

Honestly, folks, don't you think these soap suds are about a mile wide and an inch thick?

Posted by: jqw3827 | March 4, 2009 3:39 PM

Hodie - glad to see the glass is half full! I agree. We nit pick too much but things have a way of working out / contestants grow as the weeks go on.

On the whole, AI is about 50/50 for me in its mission to find untapped talent. I've always said the best thing that ever happened to AI was the excitement generated by year-1, and the fact that Kelly Clarkson validated the show. On the plus side, Kelly, Carrie, Clay, Jennifer, Kelli(maybe?),D. Cook., Daughtry. On the minus side, Reuben, Bo, Taylor, Fantasia, Jordin, and Katherine. So it's still unwritten if L'il, Adam, Danny, or some dark horse can step up. But what is a given year after year is SOMEBODY has to win, so let's keep our eyes on the prize and promote he/she who can carry the torch.

Posted by: redrocket | March 4, 2009 3:49 PM

"iteachmusic" is right. I also understand that the producers told Danny's friends to show his late wife's picture while he was singing. Bad taste, yes. Castigate Danny, no, that's not fair.

Posted by: MILW | March 4, 2009 4:37 PM

Posted by: MarriedMom | March 4, 2009 11:29 AM

Amen to everything you wrote.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | March 4, 2009 4:41 PM

A wishy-washy night on "Idol"... There were some decent performances (Felicia Barton, Ju'not and Saturday Night Kristen come to mind) and Lil Rounds was pretty good (though she had nothing on the 3 Divas of Season 6), but nobody stood out enough for me to bother picking up the phone.

I definitely agree with jljardon2 about how everyone in the Top 10 or so of Season 7 was so much more dynamic, iconic and, well, *talented* than anyone in this group. What a waste to have had all those goodies last year in one season, huh? Or maybe that's how every season of AI should be? Wonder what happened this year...

As for Kara's posture, I don't care how far she slumps--she can become the hunchback of Notre Dame for all I care if she'll just stop being such a condescending twit. She adds absolutely nothing to the show and eats up so much air time (precious little that there is already after the excessive commercial breaks) on her self-important critiques that I almost dread the end of an Idolette's performance--and the judges' critique used to be something I looked forward to! :(

Posted by: Kureno | March 4, 2009 7:39 PM

I have another thought...how tacky is it to put the Judges (and Idolettes) on the spot and have the Judges say out loud who they speculate is going to make it, or whether or not an Idolette is going to make it. I can't remember which contestant it was, but Kara spat out her venom just as the camera caught the Idolette's grin of excitement turn to shock (and Seacrest's face become stunned).

Posted by: Iteachmusic | March 5, 2009 1:38 AM

this is the worst season by far. the new format is atrocious, the new judge although knowlegeable is an obstacle, and simon looks constanly annoyed. he actually called seacrest a smart ass last night. the talent is horrific. their backstories are non existent. the blind guy can't sing. the widower is unlikable as all get out. this show has so jumped the shark this year. last season was good tv and we looked forward to every show. this year it is just very hard to watch...

Posted by: rainman10 | March 5, 2009 10:50 AM

If I died, I sincerely hope my husband wouldn't exploit my death the way Danny has exploited his wife's. And if he DID act like Danny, I sincerely hope wise people like Lisa would call him on it and call him things like Travis McDeadwife. And moreover, if there is a heaven, I'd be calling him that myself from my little cloud sofa.

Posted by: pinkstate | March 6, 2009 1:45 PM

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