‘American Idol’ on the scene for the Top 13: Jimmy Iovine cheers Stefano, sits for Scotty

“Do I need my earplugs?” This was the question a kind woman asked of me as I sat down next to her before the Top 13 performance show of American Idol. It turns out that not only was it her first trip inside the Idoldome, it was the very first time she had ever seen American Idol. Seriously, ever. I imagine this must be akin to never having seen a baseball game and then going to Yankee Stadium, or trying Mexican food for the first time by biting into a dozen jalapeño peppers at once. At one point, the kind woman turned to me, and in all earnestness asked, “So, is that all Ryan Seacrest does? Stand there and introduce people and say numbers? I thought it was somehow more involved.” I am not totally embarrassed to admit that I felt a pang of protectiveness for widdle RyRy in this moment — after observing him in action for going on five seasons, the guy really is great at his job.

EW

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‘American Idol’ Recap: Seven Things You Didn’t See on Wednesday’s Show

American Idol’s first night in which fans got a chance to vote was taped Tuesday for broadcast a day later. Here are seven things you did not see on TV:

1. Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, sensing some lethargy in the crowd, led the hand-clapping during Paul’s performance. He also got the crowd going during Scotty McCreery’s performance of Garth Brooks’ “The River.”

THR

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More Recaps after the JUMP…

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‘American Idol’ recap: Let’s Hear It for the ’90s

Last night, the Top 13 figured out who their musical heroes were and, with Jimmy Iovine’s help, proceeded to copy them. Songs from the mid-’90s — the era in which most of these kids had first begun to fully grasp the concept of a “song” — ruled the school. Seacrest kept thanking us profusely for sticking with American Idol, as if we were ever going to change the channel. At least that’s what his mouth appeared to be saying as I sped through his segments on my DVR. Naima Adedapo proved she can dance, and Jacob Lusk became the new James Durbin. These things happen. Let us proceed.

EW

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American Idol Recap: Unlucky 13

Eighty-four years from now, Thia Megia will celebrate her 99th birthday, the last “Charlie Chapman” movie in existence will crumble into dust, and the University of Reality Television at Seaside Heights, NJ, will replace Harvard as the nation’s most prestigious house of higher education. When students at said institution open their History of American Idol: Season 10 textbooks to the chapter on Top 13 Performance Night, they may be surprised to find only murky recollections of the actual musical numbers.

TV Line

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American Idol Salutes itself

Last night America got its first glimpse at the finalist pack of American Idol, and overall things were pretty OK. No singer had a perfect performance—everyone either went off-pitch or got super-boring at least once—and the pacing of the show seemed slightly off, perhaps because it was taped on Tuesday night and there were a few awkward edits.

Popdust

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‘American Idol’ Recap: The Top 13 Stun And Stumble

The theme for Wednesday night’s (March 9) Top 13 show: “Personal Idols.” They included a man who was tried (and acquitted) for peeing on a 13-year-old, a famous adulterer and a dude who once uploaded eight free albums from kooky alter egos with song titles as varied as “Get Scared, Throw Up, Die,” “Drunk as a Pile of F—” and “Passed Out In AA – F—.” Perhaps producers should have added the word “musical” in the theme’s title, because I seriously doubt Thia Megia’s manufacturers programmed her to adopt a chimp and hang out with Webster.

MTV (Jim Cantiello)

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Naima’s explosive performance wakes up ‘Idol’

Because of the way the semifinals took place this season, three singers entered Wednesday’s performance show with a lot to prove.

Wild-card entrants Naima Adedapo, Stefano Langone and Ashthon Jones are still here not because the viewers like them, but because the judges do. None were among the top five vote-getters of their gender just last week, so they all knew that to stick around, they had to make up some ground on the competition.

MSNBC

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‘American Idol’ ‘Finalists Compete’ Recap

Naima Adedapo may have been a bit misguided, going with a heavily produced, dance track for tonight’s performance but I’ll be damned if I can’t get the song or her reggae-rap/dance breakdown out of my head.

A couple things will take you all the way on ‘American Idol.’ Getting pimped by the producers is one and putting in an unforgettable performance that sticks in people’s heads like Paula Abdul telling David Archuleta she wants to squeeze his head off and dangle him from her rear-view mirror.

TV Sqaud

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‘American Idol’ Top 13 Perform Spirited Tributes To Personal Idols

It may not have been live, but Wednesday night’s (March 9) pre-taped “American Idol” top-13 performance show was lively, with plenty of surprises as this year’s baker’s dozen sought to solidify their onstage personalities off the bat.

That meant that bearded lady-killer Casey Abrams served up some more gritty soul, Naima Adedapo showed off her reggae flair and Scott McCreery, well, let’s just say he stuck with the “good ol’ boy” songbook.

MTV

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‘American Idol’: The Idols Perform Their Idols

For favorites like Jacob Lusk, Casey Abrams, Pia Toscano, and James Durbin, Wednesday night’s “American Idol” was time to solidify their holds on the verge of Thursday’s live elimination show, though fellow front-runner Lauren Alaina seemed to lose some ground this week.

For underdogs like Ashthon Jones, Haley Reinhart, Karen Rodriguez and Thia Megia, it wasn’t quite so successful, as they dropped a little further from the race.

Fancast

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‘American Idol’ 2011: Top 13 perform

The 13 Idolettes sing tunes by their personal idols Wednesday night. Or, tunes by people the judges told them they were just like, during previous weeks of American Idol” 2011.

In honor of the first actual night of finalists competition, “American Idol” in-house mentor Jimmy Iovine is unveiled. Iovine, CEO of Interscope record label, has brought with him his merry posse of celebrity producers, who plan to foist their various visions on the Idolettes.

Washington Post

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‘American Idol’: Finalists Take on Shania Twain, Rihanna

Tonight on “American Idol” the freshly-named “final 13? started the real competition and they did it by performing a song of their own personal idols. Singing for votes, they got some performance help from some of the biggest names in music – Jimmy Iovine, Ron Fair, Jim Jonsin and Rodney Jerkins to name a few.

Wall Street Journal

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“American Idol” embarrasses the greats

All performers are shaped by their idols — the greats who struck a chord in them and helped shape their sound and style. But performers only become true artists when they absorb and transform those influences into something new and personal. When a listener says, “She sings like Diana Ross,” they’re complimenting mimicry. But when they say, “She reminds me of Diana Ross,” they’re complimenting artistry. They’re saying a performer has the potential to be as good as Diana Ross, but in her own way.

Salon

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American Idol, Season 10, “Idols” Week: Ryan Adams Shout-Outs And Soaring Volcanoes

This was the first week we really got to see a lot of Interscope honcho Jimmy Iovine, whose role on American Idol is supposedly to mentor all the kids, but it’s already clear he’s only going to show up for five-minute weekly sit-downs with them and unconvincingly say nice things while sitting at an angle that lets the camera catch his Beats By Dr. Dre headphones. But Iovine’s involvement also gives the contestants opportunities to work with actual big-name producers like Jim Jonsin and Polow da Don. Those guys rarely seem to have much impact on the actual performances, but it’s fun to see them get camera time, just like it’s fun to see the show acknowledge that music has been made since 1995 or so. This week’s concept: Everyone singing songs from their idols. Get it? It was a smart enough way to plan out the show, though, since it actually us gave some idea who these people are. And this was, overall, a very strong episode of American Idol, since any episode with at least three good performances is a very strong episode.

Village Voice

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Top 13 Recap: Ooh, Fire! This Night Was a Total Vote for the Worst Victory

OK, I’m going to say it. For just one night, American Idol was a good fucking show. I know, right? The top 13 this year is so VFTW worthy, I think I peed my pants about 10 times watching this thing. I couldn’t take how entertainingly awful it was. I mean, I knew there would be a lot of possible picks this season, but they tore the roof off tonight. In the end, the pick came down to Naima and Paul. So as I giggled like a schoolgirl and couldn’t actually make a pick, Deb called me and told me to flip a coin. So I did, and Paul came out the winner. Honestly though, I could go for about half of these people on a weekly basis, so let’s hope they stick around. If the show can stay this terrible, I will kiss Nigel Lythgoe’s deformed British face and be a loyal viewer.

VFTW

 
  • windmills

    Jim Cantiello’s joke about Any Man Of Mine having previously been performed by a “900 lb diva” is rubbing me the wrong way. I’m all for snark but that just crosses the line.

    Interesting that Iovine didn’t seem enthusiastic about Scotty’s performance. I thought Scotty was better last week. I’m kind of blown away by how popular Scotty seems to be at the live shows. I do think he’s got a career ahead of him outside the bubble but at the same time, there’s this tension where he’s going to have to show a force and uniqueness that carries outside the Idol world into the country world. I LOVE the way he’s making some Idol fans who don’t normally like country music appreciate him. Scotty’s also got a good ear for good song choices which is important.

    But go into the country world which already has Josh Turner (who’s on a Universal label) and a surging Chris Young and I’m not sure what Scotty’ll have to set him apart other than a good size Idol fanbase. Maybe that’ll be enough but I think Scotty’s going to need to not get comfortable just standing out in the Idol context. He needs to grow and I hope the producers/Iovine/vocal coaches can help him to do that.

  • Miss Blue

    windmills – ITA with you about JC’s comment. Cruel, the smell of racism, and totally unnecessary.

    And I loathe Scott.

  • tawny

    Thinking back to the clip with Iovine asking about Scotty changing it up – he probably wanted him to and Scotty wanted to sing it more as a straight cover.

  • gangreen29

    Jim Cantiello’s joke about Any Man Of Mine having previously been performed by a “900 lb diva” is rubbing me the wrong way. I’m all for snark but that just crosses the line.

    Well, he already changed it to diva, but I am not pleased at all. I may write MTV. People have lost their jobs over less offensive things. I can’t say it completely surprises me to see such a vial thing coming from him.

  • windmills

    gangreen29: So I didn’t misread it the 1st time when I saw “900 pound gorilla”? If so then I will be joining you in writing a letter to MTV.

  • Studio57

    Thank you Jim C for THIS:

    On a separate (and admittedly catty) note, if Jimmy Iovine “didn’t know kids out there were even singin’ like that,” he’s in for a real treat Thursday night when Adam Lambert performs his latest single on the results show. Ahem.

  • gangreen29

    gangreen29: So I didn’t misread it the 1st time when I saw “900 pound gorilla”? If so then I will be joining you in writing a letter to MTV.

    I don’t know actually windmills, I was just going by what you wrote, I didn’t read it until after you did and the word was already diva. I trust you read it right though, they probably had an oh shit moment and changed it.

  • windmills

    gangreen29: I trust you read it right though, they probably had an oh shit moment and changed it.

    I wouldn’t go by me. I could’ve been thinking “800 lb gorilla” (from the common phrase) and I was already so pissed off by his weight crack at Mandisa that I wasn’t thinking straight. If nobody else saw it then it didn’t happen. I haven’t seen anybody say anything to him on Twitter about it so I lean to thinking I didn’t read right.Jim Cantiello deserves to be called out for being an a** but it should be for the right thing.

  • gangreen29

    I wouldn’t go by me. I could’ve been thinking “800 lb gorilla” and I was already so pissed off by his weight crack at Mandisa that I was seeing red. If nobody else saw it then it didn’t happen. Jim Cantiello deserves to be called out for being an a** but it should be for the right thing.

    Okay yeah, if it was just the weight thing he is still an asshole but it isn’t AS bad.

  • milwlovesadam

    Hey, I still love Cantiello. And, he has many insult-type barbs throughout his piece. Not just the one you guys are talking about. I also happen to agree with his critiques, not his insults. To me, he’s just stirring things up to prompt reactions, and, clearly, he’s getting reactions!

    I also agree with his prediction for winner: Scotty. I am not a country fan at all. But, he seems to have what it takes. Voice, cuteness, youth and room to grow, and enough confidence to be true to himself.

    I predict the final 2 to be James vs Scotty.

  • Chicagolaw

    Last night was pretty entertaining, but it is going to get boring fast if these contestants are never pushed out of their comfort zones. I liked when they did themes—it lead to some really great moments. I just hope at some point they get challenged. People like Pia (and, probably, James) must have a whole list of easy, comfortable songs they have been doing for years.

  • MayMirabella

    Jim Cantiello’s joke about Any Man Of Mine having previously been performed by a “900 lb diva” is rubbing me the wrong way. I’m all for snark but that just crosses the line.

    That is offensive. I have been upset for some time that insulting and poking fun at overweight people is still considered fine and often encouraged in our society. And that bothers me a great deal.
    I think it shows a lack of class and I find it highly offensive.

  • MayMirabella

    I have a feeling that Scotty will be in the Finale and probably win. If this buzz around him continues, absolutely.

    I just hope the finale is not both Lauren and Scotty ( 2 teen country singers) or there will not be enough alcohol for me to drown the pain and I may be switching to arsenic and hemlock. LOL>

    I can handle Scotty being in the Finale if someone with an entirely different style is in the Finale with him such as Naima or Casey or James.

  • MayMirabella

    Of course, one never knows, at this point in Season 8, predictions were Danny Gokey would win and it would be an Adam/Danny finale. Plus there was a lot of buzz about Alexis and Lil as being the top 2 girls and likely to vie for the title as well.

  • girlygirl

    That’s interesting about Iovine’s reactions. Either he was upset that Scotty ignored his advice about changing things up, or he doesn’t want a country male to win. I think Iovine is mainly involved with the Interscope label at UMG, and Interscope is definitely not a label for country artists — someone like Stefano would be a much better fit on that roster.

    Nigel really has to stop with trying to force the audience to clap along or cheer or whatever. It’s almost as bad as those swaybots that tortured us for years. Let the audience react how they would naturally, ok?

  • milwlovesadam

    May: ITA. A total country finale will cause me to not watch the finale for the second year in a row. Last year’s season and finale were just crapola. I didn’t care about Idol at all.

    This year feels completely different. However, I do predict Scotty to win.

  • glamertitis

    Michael Slezak has the best recap this morning! Hilarious and 99% accurate.
    I don’t get the hate about the 900lb gorilla or diva – is he implying that Lauren is fat?
    - I’ll have to go read the his re cap…

  • girlygirl

    I thought last night’s show was weak. The only person I felt had both strong vocals and strong performing style was James. Naima had a great performance but problems with her vocal. Scotty and Pia had strong vocals but amazingly sleep-inducing performances. Could Pia have stood any more still? The rest of them had problems both vocally and performance-wise. In my opinion, of course…

    Oh, and Lauren? Lose the entitled bitch attitude. You aren’t all that, little girl…

  • gangreen29

    I’m predicting a Scott-Pia finale. I think Naima and James could round out the top 4, with Jacob, Lauren, and Casey having a chance to make it as well. I think Stefano/Ashthon/Haley/Karen/Thia/Paul have a hard road to get that far but one of them could surprise us.

  • gangreen29

    Oh, and Lauren? Lose the entitled bitch attitude. You aren’t all that, little girl…

    That seems a bit…harsh lol.

  • suenigma

    gangreen29:
    03/10/2011 at 11:52 am
    I’m predicting a Scott-Pia finale. I think Naima and James could round out the top 4, with Jacob, Lauren, and Casey having a chance to make it as well. I think Stefano/Ashthon/Haley/Karen/Thia/Paul have a hard road to get that far but one of them could surprise us.

    That is EXACTLY the way I see it playing out too. Given what we have seen so far, and barring any trainwrecks or game-changing performances, of course. Stefano could be a dark horse, but not top two, IMO.

  • suenigma

    I have to keep reminding myself that Thia, Scotty and Lauren are really still just children – Thia and Scotty in particular seem mature beyond their years. Lauren certainly grates on the nerves, but I can’t hate her because I was a pretty obnoxious 16 year old too. lol.

  • tinawina

    I’m predicting a Scott-Pia finale. I think Naima and James could round out the top 4, with Jacob, Lauren, and Casey having a chance to make it as well. I think Stefano/Ashthon/Haley/Karen/Thia/Paul have a hard road to get that far but one of them could surprise us.

    You may be on to something. If vote splitting is any indication, we’ll have a Pagenty girl singer, a country person, a “quirky” person and a screamy guy in our top 4… My guess is Pia, Scotty, Casey and James will win those battles. I could see Stefano, Lauren or Naima rounding out that 5th spot.

  • MayMirabella

    I have to keep reminding myself that Thia, Scotty and Lauren are really still just children – Thia and Scotty in particular seem mature beyond their years. Lauren certainly grates on the nerves, but I can’t hate her because I was a pretty obnoxious 16 year old too. lol.

    Good point, those 3 are high school kids, none of them are even seniors are they ?
    I could not be an obnoxious 16 year old although I wanted to be, LOL..as my parents would let me know that did not fly and would not permit it. My parents did not abide any arrogance, talking back, or bad attitude, they would nip it in the bud. And I am glad they did but at the time, I was not..for sure. LOL!

  • MayMirabella

    You may be on to something. If vote splitting is any indication, we’ll have a Pagenty girl singer, a country person, a “quirky” person and a screamy guy in our top 4… My guess is Pia, Scotty, Casey and James will win those battles.

    I could see that. As I see a lot of vote splitting happening this year. I think Scotty is more popular than Lauren as far as country goes. And I think Karen and Thia will split votes as I see similar styles and voices. Paul may do better than expected as I see less voting splitting unless he splits votes with Naima as they do have some similiarities although I personally find Naima more entertaining.

    Yes I can see where some vote splitting based on audience likes could enter this and leave Scotty and Pia at the end or Scotty and Casey or James and Scotty..or even James and Casey should people grow tired of Scotty which I doubt, but could happen if he falters later on.

  • koshka

    suenigma:
    03/10/2011 at 11:56 am
    gangreen29:
    03/10/2011 at 11:52 am
    I’m predicting a Scott-Pia finale. I think Naima and James could round out the top 4, with Jacob, Lauren, and Casey having a chance to make it as well. I think Stefano/Ashthon/Haley/Karen/Thia/Paul have a hard road to get that far but one of them could surprise us.

    That is EXACTLY the way I see it playing out too. Given what we have seen so far, and barring any trainwrecks or game-changing performances, of course. Stefano could be a dark horse, but not top two, IMO.

    Yep I think you are both right. Naima is getting called out for her performance (in a good way) – as we know, not because of he vocals, but because of her song choice. All any of the better singers need to do is go contemporary if they think they can pull it off. I think Stefano could do this & Pia can take the whole thing if she reins in the power ballads & shows a little fire.

    Its so early in the season really anything can happen.

  • Elliegrll

    Michael Slezak has the best recap this morning! Hilarious and 99% accurate.

    I’m glad he called Paul out. Paul does have a definite sense of who he is, and what type of music he wants to make, and that will score him a lot of points among idol viewers, and has already labeled him as a real artist, but that doesn’t mean he should get a pass when he delivers a poor performance. I hate his tweets that make it sound like he’s so different from previous contestants, and that he’s too hip for the show. We’ve always had the too hip contestants, who think that AI isn’t for them, but they still decided to tryout. And when they get critiqued, or voted out, it’s always because people just don’t get them, and not because they stumbled around the stage like they were drunk, and didn’t hit their notes.

  • loosegoose

    tawny:

    Thinking back to the clip with Iovine asking about Scotty changing it up – he probably wanted him to and Scotty wanted to sing it more as a straight cover.

    Iovine wanted Scotty to do the dance re-mix.

  • MaryS-NJ

    It’s interesting all this talk about Scotty’s future success among the Idol fans. I was surprised that EW’s the on-site report indicated Jimmy Iovine’s body language wasn’t favorable towards Scotty’s performance despite the audience reaction. I’d think he would be happy if this kid is such a potential goldmine for a label.

  • Marie Ruffin

    I’m predicting the 15-16 yo’s won’t hold up. Lauren and Thia are out of their element, esp. Thia who, because she’s been on stage with David Foster, comes across as vapid. I wonder if they’ve been in this type of competition before; esp. Lauren?

  • Marie Ruffin

    MaryS-NJ:
    03/10/2011 at 1:02 pm
    It’s interesting all this talk about Scotty’s future success among the Idol fans. I was surprised that EW’s the on-site report indicated Jimmy Iovine’s body language wasn’t favorable towards Scotty’s performance despite the audience reaction. I’d think he would be happy if this kid is such a potential goldmine for a label.

    All I can think of is Clive Davis right now. Clive was straight on. I think Clive would love Naima.
    Jimmy Iovine is the head UMG guy, and if he sees potential or his producers see potential, he’s going to sign you out the gate. UMG is bigger than Sony in recordings.
    If Scotty doesn’t find a home at UMG, there’s some little Nashville label that will pick him up; I swear he looks like Jimmy Dean.

  • aa618892

    Almost caught up with performances and my initial impression is that this season feels a little fake and manipulated. The over involvement of Iovine and Lithgoe, while probably necessary to revive Idol, just is not sitting right with me. Add the judges seeming lack of actual critiques to me is interfering with the contestants pushing themselves to really bring it authentically on their own. Right now I am liking Pia and James the best but James cleaned up look and and very much more toned down(but very good) performance makes me wonder how much was on his own initiative. I don’t like the thought of the puppeting going on. It may make for better television but I like the thought of the contestants working it out themselves because it showed more of their character and savvy and really pushed them to use what they had to truly compete each week. IDK, just my gut feeling.

  • Nina1

    I’m predicting the 15-16 yo’s won’t hold up.

    I totally agree, but I don’t know that I would have before the last two weeks. There is going to be trauma when they go – 15 year olds were a rotten idea, not the least because it is mean to subject them to criticism.

  • http://emuisemo.pbworks.com eilonwy

    I’m glad he called Paul out. Paul does have a definite sense of who he is, and what type of music he wants to make, and that will score him a lot of points among idol viewers, and has already labeled him as a real artist, but that doesn’t mean he should get a pass when he delivers a poor performance.

    But… but… without McDonald’s performance last night, the world would never have known how it would look and sound if Blake Lewis was to be possessed by the vengeful spirit of Taylor Hicks.

  • Marie Ruffin

    http://newsroom.mtv.com/2011/03/10/american-idol-recap-top-13/
    OMG the MTV wrapup is hilarious, as well as Slezak. You know these writers LOVE AI. They can’t wait for it come on, so they can use their creative licenses.And I totally agree with the cheap prom dresses. The girls looked atrocious last night — exc. Naima, who at least has some style and pizzazz.

    Question: Are the singers stuck with the same producers throughout? Because some of those producers are giving them bad advice!

  • claudette

    Jimmy Lovine’s reaction to Scotty is really odd. Maybe more was read into it LOL. Perhaps he, knowing Scotty is at the top and even the mention of his name getting huge cheers, was simply observing the crowd’s reaction. Maybe he worked with Scotty on performance/facial expression stuff and Scotty didn’t do it and he was disappointed.

    I doubt he was purposely being disrespectful to a 17 yr old (even if he hated it). If anything it could be high expectations not met or something. I would think he’d want all of them to do well.

  • girlygirl

    Iovine is head of Interscope/A&M/Geffen, right? — how many country artists are on any of those labels? Without looking it up, I would guess very few.

    There are other labels under the UMG banner that are geared toward country artists, of course, but Iovine might have little to do with those. So I wouldn’t be surprised if his personal preference would be towards the contestants with more pop potential.

    http://www.universalmusic.com/labels

  • gangreen29

    Question: Are the singers stuck with the same producers throughout? Because some of those producers are giving them bad advice!

    I think they will be switching around producers.

  • sf3456

    I predict the final 2 to be James vs Scotty.

    Ugh. Well, I’ll just watch the big finale when everybody comes back and sing. I most definitely wouldn’t care about a winner between those two.

  • sf3456

    It might not be gorilla, but “900 lb diva” is still wrong. That’s not funny and his entire recap wasn’t funny at all.

  • ilovenpt123

    It seems to be that Scotty will have the edge with that good ole boy voice, the baseball and religious references – and religious jewelry around his neck. America loves that stuff. He’s got talent – no doubt about it but I think he is using all American baseball and apple pie to sell himself. Very shrewd!!!

    I hope Casey can sell himself to the viewers. Poor Jacob just blew it but maybe he can redeem himself next week.