Is America voting based on their own preferences and opinions, or are the American Idol judges’ comments influencing the viewers’ thoughts? Think about it. I don’t always agree with the judges, and when I see them praise a contestant, I often find myself saying, “What? Were we watching the same thing?”
I’ve always wondered exactly how much the judges’ feedback sways the voting, and Thursday night’s Idol further fed my suspicions. First off, it seems (for the most part) that the judges hold back in their critiques — if you can call what they say a critique — because they don’t want to hurt the contestants’ feelings. I’m not saying they have to be rude, but they should give constructive feedback, something the contestants can learn from. On Wednesday’s performance night, Nicki Minaj was way too harsh in her comments to Paul Jolley. She was just crazy negative and had me thinking, “What exactly is Paul supposed to take from that?” The judges shouldn’t be rude, but they should speak what’s really on their minds.
American Idol‘s expert Jimmy Iovine also opened up about his feelings over the judges’ comments, and it seems he feels the same way. He was actually perplexed and said he had no idea what was going on with the feedback and that the judges aren’t consistent. It’s true; they’ll start to give a critique and then almost backtrack and give a compliment. This not only doesn’t help the contestant in question, but it can also confuse voters. If the judges say that the performance wasn’t good but the singer is great, voters will vote in the singer’s favour even if that person wasn’t the best of the night. The judges need to give praise only where praise is due in order to single out the best from the pack.
It was interesting to see Jimmy, a giant in the music business, put the judges in the spotlight. I kind of wish that, while he was talking about them and disagreeing with them, the camera would cut to the judges so we could see their reactions.
An instance in which Jimmy wasn’t on the same page as the judges was with Angie Miller. The judges — and it would seem many fans of the show — are big fans of hers. Angie is a little theatrical when she sings, and Jimmy said, “Everyone is saying how great she is, but I’m telling you, there’s something wrong.” There is something wrong. Angie is very talented; when she’s sitting at the piano and singing, it’s beautiful. However, there’s something off when she’s away from the piano or not doing her own songs. During Thursday’s female group performance, it was clear that Angie was not at the level of Kree Harrison and Candice Glover, two of the strongest contenders in the competition. Her solo was a bit over-the-top, as if she were singing in a musical. It was good, but it’s not for American Idol. As Jimmy said, she’s too dramatic.
In order to pass time and to entertain, of course, Idol had a few guest artists perform on Thursday. They included Season 10 finalists Casey Abrams (finished sixth), Jessica Sanchez (finished second) and three-time Grammy winner Ne-Yo. Keeping with The Beatles theme, Casey did an interesting rendition of “I Saw Her Standing There,” while Jessica and Ne-Yo teamed up to perform their newest single “Tonight.”
As for the results, the format changed again. Instead of revealing the Top 3 and Bottom 2, Idol revealed the Bottom 3 and finalists one through six, in no particular order. Not surprisingly, Kree, Candice, Angie, Janelle Arthur and Burnell Taylor were all safe.
Also safe was Lazaro Arbos. Wednesday wasn’t a good night for Lazaro; Randy Jackson said it was his worst performance to date. Part of me was thinking that there was a chance that he’d be in the bottom, but I figured that his huge following would pull through. He also began crying after receiving his feedback, and viewers may have felt badly for him and voted in his favour. He got upsetting feedback all across the board, not necessarily harsh, but there wasn’t really anything positive. This could’ve resulted in sympathy votes. As I’ve said in previous reviews, Lazaro has a great story and I do believe that story captured people’s hearts and made them the underdog they want to succeed. However, he has a lovely voice, and he may need a little bit of tweaking, but it’s nothing that practice won’t fix. As Nicki said, once he gets his confidence back, he’ll be great again.
In the Bottom 3 were Devin Valez, Paul Jolley and shockingly, Amber Holcomb. I couldn’t believe Amber was in the bottom because she has such a powerful voice and her performance was definitely one of the better ones on Wednesday. (Jimmy said he would’ve put Amber in his Top 3!)
In terms of the two guys, I was expecting it. Devin gave a solid performance on Wednesday, but he had to make up quite a bit of ground because last week he was in the Bottom 2. Digging yourself out of that hole isn’t an easy task.
Paul was the contestant who received the fewest votes. His performance wasn’t very strong and it was pretty clear his Idol future would be in jeopardy. For the second time this season, a contestant had to sing for the chance that the judges would use their one save. But with still quite a ways to go in the competition, the judges won’t use the save — unless somehow one of the girls is in the bottom. I think they’re saving it for when they have to use it for one of the extremely talented ladies.
As for next week, I will continue to pay close attention to the judges and what they have to say. Just as the contestants’ progress is scrutinized throughout the competition, I will keep an eye on how the judges improve. Will they take Jimmy’s criticisms into consideration? I hope so.
American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on CTV/Fox.