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American Idol Season 10: Top 5

Season 10

It’s been a while since I posted one of Dixie’s famous American Idol recaps. BUT, we are down to the wire, and these updates are too good to miss! A lot has happened since I last posted a Dixie-recap. For example, Casey was voted off, Casey was saved, and Casey was voted off again!

Enjoy Dixie’s recap (and commentary) from last night’s show. Whether you agree with Dixie or not, take a read and talk amongst yourselves!


What a screech fest tonight!! Some truly cringe-worthy performances, and unfortunately, they were from my favorites. And what was up with the Wardrobe Department? JLo was dressed for a remake of “Somewhere in Time” audition and Lauren was resurrecting Tammy Wynette on her second number. So much for “Now and Then” night. Here are my reviews:

James Durbin

James Durbin

James “Closer to the Edge” and  “Without You”

Dang, James! What was that? I have been a solid James fan all season, and every week, he has made smart song choices which rendered great, creative performances. Tonight, however, was majorly disappointing.  His first vocal was an ear-splitting, out of tune, awful mess! How the judges found anything positive to say about it is beyond me.  He sounded so much better in rehearsal singing it with Sheryl Crow (whom I thought was an excellent mentor for everyone). And while I appreciate the emotion he put into “Without You“, I am no fan of this song.  If you’ve been reading my reviews in years’ past, you know I’ve coined it “The Co-Dependent’s Theme Song”. Regardless of my feelings for the song, it was obvious from the rehearsal footage that James wasn’t going to be able to hold it together for the performance.  I suspect he was pushed into it for the “entertainment” factor. So, we get an awful vocal, but American Idol gets the emotional story package.  I know that James is a sensitive guy, and I feel for his situation, but really… its not like he’s going off to war in Iraq where his wife and son can’t visit him.  He’s in Hollyweird! Even though neither performance was passable, I’m going to give him a pass just this one time and hopefully he will get enough sympathy votes to stay in the game.

Jacob Lusk

Jacob Lusk

Jacob “No Air” and “Love Hurts”

What JLo? What Steven Tyler? That “No Air” performance was easily one of the worst things I’ve heard all season, and of course, only faint criticism. Randy was the only judge giving Jacob good advice, but did he have to throw Jordin Sparks under the bus to do it? And as most of you know, I am no fan of Jordin Barks. Jacob sang about five out of tune words the entire song and thankfully, let the back up singers do the rest. Horrible performance and one of the worst song choices to date on this show.  “Love Hurts” was much better and I love that he took a rock song and did his Lusky, gospel thing with it.  Still, I think Jacob is in grave danger of going home tomorrow night, but I would have to agree that it might be his time.

Lauren Alaina

Lauren Alaina

Lauren “Flat On The Floor” and ”Unchained Melody”

Thank you Sheryl Crow for bringing up Lauren’s breathing issues. Note to Lauren: Not a bright idea to invite comparisons to Carrie Underwood, especially when you are not even close vocally and sound so out-of-breath.  And this particular Carrie Underwood song was especially a bad song choice because its not very well known and its too wordy and fast-paced for Lauren. She was skipping about every fourth word and swallowing great gulps of air just to get through it.  While it started out okay, she just doesn’t have the big voice or the big range to finish it off. Lauren’s second performance went horribly awry and it sounded as though she was making up the lyrics as she went along.  Besides going badly off-key, delivering a dull performance, and forgetting the lyrics, JLo and Steven Tyler took the “nothing to judge” approach. Nothing to judge? You’ve just declared yourselves officially useless.  Lauren, looking more orange than ever, is incapable of delivering a dynamic performance and/or vocal.  As usual, I put her in the middle of the pack.

Scotty McCreery

Scotty McCreery

Scotty “Gone” and “You Were Always On My Mind”

LOVED Scotty singing “Gone”! Best Performance of the Night by a million miles!! That song happens to be one of my favorite country songs of all time, and believe it or not, I even find it worthy of a Zumba routine! I’ve kicked around the idea several times, so you never know.  Okay- back to Scotty… I thought he had absolutely incredible vocals on both songs tonight. “Gone” was energetic and exciting and “You Were Always On My Mind” had all the tenderness of a typical smooth Scotty ballad.  On a night of ear bleeding performances, Scotty took over the stage and blew the first three contestants away. If he keeps this up, I just may become a fan. I always knew he would be in at the finale with James, but after tonight, he may just win this thing.

Haley Reinhart

Haley Reinhart

Haley “You and I” and “House Of The Rising Sun”

What is going on in the universe that I disliked James’ performances and liked Haley’s? Don’t get me wrong- she still bugs me as much as ever, but vocally, I thought she was pretty darn good.  So, Jimmy Iovine ‘offers up’ some unreleased Lady Gaga number that no one has ever heard of, Haley sings it perfectly, and then the judges rip her up and down for taking a risk? Is it just me, or was that Gaga critique infuriating? Not a single criticism for James or Jacob or Lauren, yet Haley gets an entire panel of downers? My husband, who is also not a Haley fan, thinks that the judges’ critiques on the first song was a set up so that she could have the big redemption moment at the end in the pimp spot, which she also had last week. As it would be, I also disagree with the judges on the second song.  While I think Haley sang it fairly well, it was definitely not Standing Ovation worthy.  Siobhan slayed this song last year, and Haley did not. She tried too hard to do all those vocal tricks (growling, runs, etc) and then didn’t nail the basics of singing the song.  I’m a little confused about how TPTB feel about Haley; they go from straight up bussing her out to crowing her the winner.  For the first time ever this season, I am declaring Haley as safe.

Going home: Jacob… unfortunately, our preacher man’s time has come.  Stay tuned!

Top 11 review HERE.

Top 12 review HERE.

Dixie is a contributor to Laptop TV Mom. The words and opinions are hers and are unedited by me.

Photo credits: American Idol official Web site

American Idol Season 10: Top 11

AI Season 10: Top 11

AI Season 10: Top 11

Another great show by the “kids” of American Idol, and another great recap by LTV Mom contributor Dixie. I personally think Stefano should go home, Haley needs a standing microphone, and Scotty looks young enough to be my child. I digress, Dixie’s recap is much better than mine.


Motown saves the season, once again!! Now that’s what I call a show!! Randy didn’t need to use the word ‘pitchy’ tonight because frankly, nobody was. Even though the contestants were a zillion times better than last week, my dislike of Jimmy Iovine continues to grow. He gets at least four times longer to spout off clichés than the contestants get to sing. And he completely takes out the element of surprise when he summarizes their performances BEFORE we see them; he really robbed Naima of a mini-moment with her African Dance.

On to my reviews:

Casey “Heard It through the Grapevine”

It’s official. I’m over the Werewolf in a suit. His growls just aren’t melodic enough for me, and for whatever reason, he can’t re-create the magic he possessed during Hollywood week. The song did make me want to grab a handful of raisins, but that’s about all it did for me. I was relieved that he actually knows the girl he vocally assaulted in the crowd.

Thia “Heat Wave”

Unfortunately, there’s nothing less credible than a 12 year old singing about a ‘burning flame inside’, but at least she picked up the pace and broke out of her shell a bit more. Thia’s tone is gorgeous and I truly love her voice, but why didn’t the judges call her out on the butchered lyrics? I was happy that she mentioned it in the after clip, but WOW, that was one of the worst fumbles to date on this show. Definite improvement over last week, but if she doesn’t work out her kinks, Thia will not last much longer.

Jacob “You’re All I Need”

When he said he was singing Marvin Gaye and Tammie Terrell, I was so sure he was going to add, “And I’ll be singing both parts.” Now THIS is the Jacob I fell in love with in Hollywood. Perfect pitch, pleasing tone, unbelievable control, and even his skin looked flawless tonight. Motown is definitely Jacob’s lane and this week, he gets my vote for Best of the Night. The only thing wrong with this performance was his ill-fitting jacket. Bravo Lusky Stank!!

Lauren “You Keep Me Hanging On”

Do I see shades of the great one, Kelly Clarkston? That was awesome! Lauren’s confidence is finally back and she nailed her performance tonight. The little twang in her voice sounded great, and the little sashay behind the judges wasn’t bad either. Not very smart to knock the online community; they are voters too, ya know. With her stick straight hair and flowy dress, she looked like Kristy Alley’s younger sister.

Stefano “Hello”

Note to Stefano: You seem like a nice boy, but please step away from the “Hello.” After David Cook’s rendition, it only sets you and anyone else up for failure. Never heard the song before, huh? I thought he’s been an avid watcher of the show for nine years… something isn’t quite adding up. Regardless, all of Stefano’s performances sound the same and look the same and he just cannot connect. I now realize that he is physically incapable of keeping his eyes open when he sings; so much for promises! And does this song really qualify for Motown? Maybe it follows the letter of the theme, but definitely not the spirit of it.

Haley “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me”

It’s the American Idol stylists who’ve really got a hold on Haley: perfectly straight hair, 8 inch heels, exposed belly, and Haley Svarnato’s old short-shorts. Someone needs to tell her that the AI audience doesn’t go for sexy; it’s a waste of energy. Haley’s vocals were an improvement from last week, but that isn’t saying much. Stomping about the stage while singing seems so unnatural and lame, but she earns points for not breaking an ankle. Bye-Bye Haley…

Scotty “For Once In My Life”

Tough card to be dealt for Mr. Country, you’d think… but naaaawww… Scotty countrified Motown and did it like a true professional. It’s strange, but I really enjoy the physicality of his performances- the way he moves and throws himself into each song. It’s almost like a cartoon, but highly entertaining. Scotty is in this competition for the long haul.

Pia “All In Love Is Fair”

And she power ballads Motown. Pia has an incredible voice and she looks amazing, but YAWN CITY… her performances are musical Ambien. I also feel she’s edging closer and closer to McPhee Territory. Hopefully next week she will stop being passive aggressive with the ballads and go up-tempo, maybe break free from the robot she has become.

Paul “Tracks of My Tears”

Mad props to Paul’s guitar for keeping him in one spot. The flailing around the stage was cute at first, but I’m so happy I didn’t have to watch it again. Loved the song choice, the arrangement, and the performance. But to be perfectly honest, Paul doesn’t actually sing, so it’s hard to judge what he does. To paraphrase Woody from Toy Story, “He’s not singing. He’s whispering in style.” That would be Paul.

Naima “Dancing In the Streets”

Let’s face it; Naima is in some alternate universe competition and it really has nothing to do with this competition. She just gets up there and does whatever the heck she wants to do, and I love that about her. Pia could take a few lessons from her. Naima’s vocals were SO much better tonight; she really did work on the pitchiness! She really wants to bring that African vibe to the stage and in my opinion, she is successful at it. Once again, Naima may be in danger of going, but hopefully, she gets to stick around to surprise us for one more week.

James “Living For The City”

Finally in the coveted Spot de Pimpage, and he was all kinds of awesome!! Loved the prolonged acknowledgement/encouragement from the crowd. James has incredible stage presence, terrific vocals, and the boy can dance! I do that little ‘rear step ball change’ move in my class, so I appreciate the choreography. When I decided that he was my favorite, I didn’t realize he had such a cute personality, but now he’s bordering on over the top/showoff, which I do not dig. Tone it down, James. Regardless, he is a star and I believe this competition is his to lose. Who would have thought??

Overall, no obvious clunkers tonight, except Haley in those heels. Bottom 3? I’m thinking Stefano, Haley, Naima… with Haley going home. Stay tuned.

Top 12 recap can be found HERE.

Dixie is a contributor to Laptop TV Mom. The words and opinions are hers and are unedited by me.

Photo Credit: American Idol Homepage

American Idol Season 10: Top 12

Season Ten

Season Ten

I am excited to welcome another “roving reporter” to the LTV Mom family. Everyone, meet Dixie who will be providing weekly American Idol recaps from her living room in Florida. This TV-watching mama loves American Idol, but Dixie is way funnier (and much more clever) than I. You might not always agree with Dixie’s take on the American Idol performances, but I promise you will laugh each and every week!


Tonight, the role of JLo’s hair will be played by Cousin It from The Addams Family. Maybe I am just tired and grumpy, but not one performance wowed me tonight. Just about everyone sounded either off key, screamy, or both. James’ “Another Thing Coming” and Stefano’s Sing for Your Life Wildcard performance are the only performances so far this season that made the hair stand up on my arms.

Also, I’m already so sick of this Iovine guy… and by the way, was he on Seinfield or another sit com? He rubs me the wrong way- he’s weirdly oily, slightly predatory, and he’s certainly giving off the impression that he’s a world class jackel. Anyone? The way he shrinks down into his seat with the baseball hat and glasses makes me think he is hiding something. Besides, he’s not adding anything to the show; in fact, I think he may be making the contestents worse.

On to my reviews:

Naima “What’s Love Got To Do With It” (The Staccato Stomp Remix)

Even though she has more stage presence than the other girls, Naima’s vocals are shakey at best. And I’m glad they finally addressed her pitch problems. If only her voice was as strong as her charisma. I think she could be in danger of going home, but personally, I hope she gets to stay a little longer.

Paul “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”

Tonight Paul looked like a cleaned up homeless man, aimlessly wondering about the stage. He improved from last week and hit most of the notes, but he has a tendency to fall off a bit at the end of each phrase. Perhaps he is out of breath, or maybe he just needs more training. He’s unique if nothing else.

Thia “Colors of the Wind” (Watching the Paint Dry Remix)

Thia was, like, born yesterday. One of my cats is three years older than her. Her parents remark, “We’ve rarely see her cry.” Really? Because we see her cry all the time! This young girl has very impressive pipes and a beautiful tone, but she really, REALLY needs to pick it up. Her performances are too calm and Zen-like… read boring.

James “I’ll Be There For You” (Rock Out with My Tail Remix)

The Tail Returneth!!! A rich inner vein of crazy? Yeah, it’s called Tourettes, and James didn’t chose it… it kind of chose him. What a cute video of his childhood ABC’s- and he did have perfect pitch! James’ vocals were reminiscent of Jon Bon Jovi himself, but even my favorite sounded wobbly tonight. I wasn’t nearly as impressed with James as I normally am. And Steven Tyler was correct: don’t go too poppy! His backstage scream was the most entertaining thing of the entire show for me this week. Sooo Jacob is not in the band, huh? Wonder what that’s all about.

Haley “I’m Your Baby Tonight” (The Baby Voice Edit)

Very jazzy which I like, but very mush mouth which I dislike. Seriously, I couldn’t understand a single word she sang! All I can say is that she got through it and I wouldn’t doubt it if she is hitting the seal. Very cute how Peaches helped her out with the red lipstick on her chin.

Stefano “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” (Forehead Vein Popping Remix)

Best performance of the night? What? If anything, Stefano makes me miss Elliott Yamin! He did a decent job, but his voice isn’t nearly as limber as he thinks it is. Plus, his performances, minus his Wildcard Performance, always remind me of a high school musical where the soloist is trying way too hard.

Pia “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” (Trying to Win This Thang Version)

The only way to calm her down as a child was to video tape her singing? Dad should have dipped her pacifier in NyQuil and called it a night. The grandfather moment was very touching. Pia has a strong voice, but her performances do not have one single ounce of surprise. She seems like a very nice person, but she has zero personality, zero originality. Also, the arrangement kind of stunk; this is supposed to be a sad song, not a dance number. Despite the yawn factor and the lame arrangement, Pia did have the best vocals of the evening.

Scotty “Can I Trust You With My Heart” (Leanin’ Side ta Side Remix)

Daddy and Mommy can sing pruty well, thankyewverramuch. Very good performance and the ending was an awesome surprise! Now even the country kid is glory-noting the ending! Maybe the one trick Pony is learning a few more tricks. Not that he needs to; Scotty is safe for at least 11 more weeks.

Karen “Love Will Lead You Back” (The Bilingual Remix)

Subtitles por Madre? ‘This is the Oscar in my life.’ Sniff, sniff. Te amo too, Madre!! Despite the follicular disaster and looking like an extra in an Austin Powers movie, Karen was WAY better than last week. She hit all the notes, but without a great deal of power. I think she sings too timidly. She says she doesn’t want to be known as the contestant who always sings in Spanish… and then she seques into Spanish. This song sent Mikalah packing in Season 4,and I have a strong feeling that it may do the same for Karen in Season 10.

Casey “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

LOVE his parents; perhaps the reason he is such an old soul is because of his older parents. “I like to take risks,” Casey says. This was the musical version of cutting yourself. Besides the fact that he got many of the lyrics wrong, he just didn’t pull this off. Wish James would have sang this song. Disappointed to say the least.

Lauren “I’m The Only One”

Lauren’s parents look younger than she does! Pretty good performance considering she is sick; maybe the codine is loosening her up a bit. Definitely better than last week’s forgetful number. This song still reminds me of Pickler.

Jacob “Alone” (The Idol Magic Maker Remix)

Although it was better than last week’s pitchy performance, Jacob is yet another one who is disappointing me. Where is the guy who sang “God Bless the Child” during Hollywood Week? I think he started out too high and once again encountered pitch problems, just not as severe as last week. I will give him points for being original while singing one of the go-to songs for AI- it was half gospel, half diva, and he certainly knew how to gay it up with the Lusky Stank. I’m not saying he’s gay- I don’t know- I’m just saying that he gayed up the song.

Overall, not a very good night for the contestants. I say get rid of the Iovine guy. Bottom 3? I predict Karen, Haley, and Naima… with Karen going home. Stay tuned!

Dixie is a contributor to Laptop TV Mom. The words and opinions are hers and are unedited by me.

Photo Credit: American Idol