American Idol Top 12 Recap: Emily Gets Loud, goes home

J-Lo was the only person who looked sadder Thursday night.

J-Lo was the only person who looked sadder Thursday night.

If you want to read a recap from the show, here’s the link. I won’t delve too much more into that, because it’s just as boring to re-write as it is to watch.

Here’s what we know: the producers are terrified America is pissed, the contestants don’t really care too much about the criticism, Emily Piriz, MK Nobilette and Geena Gina Jena Irene were the bottom three, Phillip Phillips is awesome, Randy doesn’t care about being a mentor, Emily went home and next week’s theme is something about movies.

The nominees weren’t surprising, especially if you’re me – or if you read me. While my pre-live shows prediction was Dexter Roberts leaving this week (he’s gonna screw up all my predictions), my post-show prediction Wednesday night was perfect, but I mentioned America was going to screw it up and put someone like CJ Harris up. They didn’t.

So let’s figure out why things went down the way they did.


1) Jena Irene
WHAT SHE DID: Jena came out and did “Suddenly I See,” by KT Tunstall, aka the Wal-Mart theme song. Strike 1. She didn’t play her piano. Strike 2. Luckily, there wasn’t a strike three.
WHY SHE DESERVED BOTTOM 3: It wasn’t her, or at least our perception of who she is and it showed. The vocals were spottier than a Dalmatian and without an instrument to calm her, Jena looked rushed and uncomfortable. Her song selection was smart because it was a popular song; problem is the song is too commercial and is probably more annoying than it is popular. It was example A of when going safe goes wrong.
WHY SHE DIDN’T: She could have easily been replaced by someone who was equally boring. Sam Woolf wasn’t good; Ben Briley wasn’t memorable; Dexter Roberts sounded like every country artist on the radio today; Malaya was god-awful last week and usually those singers, regardless of their next performance, find their way back to the bottom before getting out of the loop.
WHY SHE SHE SURVIVED: Her performance was one of the three worst, but she was on a different level of worst than the other two. She was closer to the “meh” performers – who managed to put together the worst show in Idol history that I can remember – and was clearly better than the girls she stood next to.

2) MK Nobilette
WHAT SHE DID: MK nearly crapped her pants on stage during her performance of “Drops of Jupiter” by Train. She looked painfully scared; I don’t know if it was doing that song or what, but this MK was not the MK we saw during Hollywood.
WHY SHE DESERVED BOTTOM 3: This performance was another example of “When Going Safe Goes Wrong.” It was a popular tune – but not annoyingly popular and not the theme song of a major retailer, which is a huge plus – but it felt like MK couldn’t figure out if she wanted to cover it or try to do her own rendition and got caught in the middle. The vocals were quiet and garbled and that “swag,” which people only say she has because she looks like Bieber (who brought the phrase into popularity and will likely be the swaggiest homeless person ever in a decade), wasn’t there. After last week’s performance, Bottom 3 wasn’t a question; it was a guarantee. And she probably should have gone home.
WHY SHE DIDN’T: I really can’t think of a reason MK didn’t belong there. At some point you have to stop talking about the contestants “potential.” This isn’t an audition; this isn’t Hollywood Week; potential went out the door with a bunch of singers who had more talent (Tessa Kate anyone?). I’m a fan of MK, but she’s getting swallowed alive by the show.
WHY SHE SURVIVED: Because Emily’s performance for the night was far worse. MK has put together two bottom-three worthy performances, but both times someone else did worse. She won’t survive next week UNLESS she has a “best of the night” performance or someone literally craps their pants on stage.

3) Emily Piriz
WHAT SHE DID: Brilliant move on paper. Take a popular song by J-Lo and sing it. Emily covered J-Lo’s “Let’s Get Loud.” But here’s why it was a terrible song choice that nobody will say – J-Lo can’t sing. She’s an A-plus performer with a C-plus voice. She’s Hispanic Brittany Spears except she is classy as fuck. J-Lo wouldn’t have made it past Hollywood Week is such a thing existed when she started. Her voice was manipulated by producers and her records sound great, but her songs are not meant to be sung live. And if you’re not playing an instrument, you better be a fucking terrific singer.
WHY SHE DESERVED BOTTOM 3: Her performance was bad. Just brutal. The band was terrific, but if you’re going to sing and get noticed, you have to a) have an overpowering voice to overtake the band; or b) have an awesome producer who can make it sound like your voice is better than the band.
WHY SHE DIDN’T: She was the last textbook Idol left among the 12; she’s young, good-looking, can sing and dance just enough to become a pop superstar. She had one bad week and it’s rare that people get voted out based on one bad week.
WHY SHE WENT HOME: This is when voting philosophies clash. Do you vote based on one week or the show as a whole? Because through two weeks, Emily is still above Malaya, MK, Jena and probably a couple of others. I thought she deserved it based on the one week, but didn’t think it would actually happen. If this is how America is going to vote, that’s even more pressure on the performers because now there is no room for error.

So what will next week hold? If I had to guess, more ballads. If you want to show off your voice, you do ballads. If you fuck up a ballad, it can still sound good; as we learned this week, if you do a fast-paced song, it can go bad in a hurry and send you packing.

We’re still busy here picking out house stuff and waiting for the new baby to arrive, but hopefully I can squeeze in some time and write what I think the contestants should sing. That’s still the dream – being a consultant. Gotta see if I’m any good at it.