May 13, 2011

American Idol Recap: Going Home In Style, Or Just Going Home?

Posted: 11:20 AM ET

AJ is a floor director for HLN's "Morning Express with Robin Meade". She has been obsessed with this season of Idol, and takes notes to share with the Morning Express writers and producers. The opinions below are AJ’s alone and do not necessarily reflect those of the staff of "Morning Express with Robin Meade" or HLN. These are her impressions of last night:

American Idol Logo

What is this? There seems to be strange emotion water welling up in my eyes. It burns! Oh James Durbin, how did it get to this?

And to think the night started off on such a high note. The lads opened with "Start a Band", with Scotty playing Brad Paisley to James' Keith Urban (they both have madly coiffed hair). The Durbs was game for the country tune and their harmonies sounded competent.

The ladies retorted with Miranda Lambert's "Gunpowder and Lead". Are we pulling exclusively from country repertoire now? Not that I mind. There was a lot of blowing on imaginary smoking finger guns, and the performance is BAD. Bad as in good, you know? Like Michael Jackson or Jesse James. Finally, the opening numbers are actually fun! Maybe not the best, vocally, for me, dawg, but fun and that’s what painful results shows are about.

Then, of course, the big stars. Enrique Iglesias did a mash-up of his latest… I’m sorry, what was I saying? It suddenly got very hot in here.

Jordin "With An I" Sparks did her new single, "I am Woman." It's…intense, and not recommended for viewers prone to seizure or sudden cravings for Jiffy Pop. At the end, I honestly thought she was going to ask Steven Tyler to proclaim himself woman, but she was really just going in for the cheek kiss. Cute!

Speaking of our Idol memaw man, I have one word for his new music video: sloth. Forget the hot women, and the vast array of Kentucky Derby castoff hats. There was a short sequence of Steven cuddling a sloth, and seriously, how can you get better than that?

By now, Lauren is safe, and the next to be sent to what are now the golden stools is….Haley. The judges look slightly grim. James and Scotty are both favorites, so the choice ahead is painful.

And then Scotty is safe, but he couldn’t look less happy about it. If only they had a sloth to cuddle. The Idol hands should really look into that. James, almost always on the verge of crying, composes himself, says a few nice words, and sings himself out with "Maybe I’m Amazed". Agh! Why is everyone crying, make it stop!

Truthfully, James was never the most polished contestant, but he was at the emotional center of a lot of moments this season. Remember his sendoff to buddy Stefano? Or his near breakdown during "Without You"? I fully expected him to sail into the Top 3, but then, who else would have gone home? Does anyone have an explanation?

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Filed under: American Idol • Enrique Iglesias • Extras • Jennifer Lopez • Jordin Sparks • Lady Gaga • Randy Jackson • Ryan Seacrest • Steven Tyler

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Charlie   May 13th, 2011 11:30 am ET

James actually deserved to go home weeks ago, when he made that burn/Pepsi remark of his. Everyone knows what he was talking about and he should have gone home then. Thank god he's gone.

Patti   May 13th, 2011 11:49 am ET

Unlimited voting is the problem. I'm sure James & Pia, the 2 that should have been in the finals, have more fans than the others..but we don't sit & vote for the whole 2 hrs. American Idol will not be a fair competition until voting is limited to maybe 10 on America's Got Talent.

Debra Holland   May 13th, 2011 12:02 pm ET

America did not get it wrong! James messed up by thinking he had it in the bag! He became cockey and thought for sure he was going to win. His singing was getting worse, with high pitched off key singing, and when they told him he was voted off, he threw a "temper tamtrum"..... Wow, - he said" I've done things on stage thats never been done before"......... Well, that doesn't matter james! Its how you sing!!! They are looking for the "best singer"......... I couldn't believe he threw a fit! What a poor sport...........

Tracey   May 13th, 2011 12:14 pm ET

I just knew in my heart James would be in the top three. I thought Haley should have went home. The way she acted Wednesday night when Randy Jackson did not put her in the top three was enough to send her home. I am sure James Durbin will have a recording career and go far. I do agree on the voting. There needs to be a limit.

Jane   May 13th, 2011 12:17 pm ET

Finally! James should have been not even Top 13, his singing style is often boring. For me the saddest momements were when Pia and Jacob left the show. I think Steve, JL and Randy better going home with James!

haley marshman   May 13th, 2011 12:28 pm ET

I don't know what planet you are on but pia and james should NOT have been in the final! Haley and Lauren are more talented than her and scotty is more talented than james!

sally   May 13th, 2011 12:38 pm ET

I agree – the voting system is flawed, but I doubt they are going to change it, since they like being able to say "We got a record 72 million votes!", even if at least 1/2 those votes came from people voting hundreds of times.

For example, I had assumed that James and Scotty were a lock for the finals. I have a soft-spot for Haley, so I decided to cast all my votes (50+) for her, in hopes of helping her through. It never occurred to me that James or Scotty wouldn't have the votes needed to continue. I wonder if there were a lot of others who were voting in a similar way? Conventional wisdom had either Haley or Lauren going home, so I wonder how many voters concentrated their vote-giving on one of the girls, in an attempt to help them along? And, as a result, neglected the perceived front-runners?

marc   May 13th, 2011 12:52 pm ET

Idol always sells america short, think about it this week historically has seen talent voted off, and what? go on to have careers.
They want america to have an easy choice in the final and create dramatic distractions, wait and see haley will go next week and leave the final setup with lauren /scotty duets, steven to bring his band and promote aerosmiths new album efforts( fine by me hes as good as ever)
Don't be surprised. they only promise americas' votes to be authenticated at the final, this the only time u will see an accounting firm with an envelope and card sealed with voting results. Make no mistake, I love Idol, but lets get real,our phone calls pay for that show.
They play their cards carefully. The most sales in the music world is a young singer, and right now Taylor Swift has a corner on a very expensive market and clear channel wants their share of it.
Finally and I'll shut up, The final prediction will again be a war of the tweeners and my guess to go all the way is Lauren. Because she is jumping through their hoops nicely. My gosh , she kinda had a wynonna vibe goin' on tonight. Hotter than ever! Remember this season has revealed insights with big name artist's and producers alike. With that hookup, You don't have to be the Idol to be an American Idol.

dixie   May 13th, 2011 1:02 pm ET

james deserves to be the idol no one else tops him from singing metal to rocl, everything from a-z

John   May 13th, 2011 1:09 pm ET

My guess is that it's not contest to be the most emotional. Also, James singing is inconsistent and the show over pimped him and over propped his performances. Of course, Haley nailing songs didn't help James.

sss   May 13th, 2011 1:29 pm ET

I had thought James had a good chance of winning. He really surprised me later in the show. He really does have a good voice when he sings the right songs.

Tate   May 13th, 2011 3:04 pm ET

I hope that James get a really good contract now. He is the only idol that I would have paid to see in concert. Scotty zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz BORING, Lauren is good and I really like Haley. Let's see where they are in a year from now.

Lucinda   May 13th, 2011 3:12 pm ET

James was not very talented really, but he sure could turn on the waterworks at the drop of a hat, maybe he can audition for the "Town Cryer".

Lawrance   May 13th, 2011 3:52 pm ET

We voted for Haley around 70 times this week because everybody said she was going home; normally we throw her a half dozen votes. I'm sure Lauren's fans voted for her like crazy because she was in the bottom two. Scotty and James were both seen as being safe, but throw in that everybody thinks Scotty is beloved of little old ladies and little young girls. Do the math with those 72 million votes and suddenly it does nto seem so strange that James is the one who went home. His fans were not motivated to make a special effort, especially compared to the two girls.

Katrina   May 13th, 2011 4:43 pm ET

James was the best of the remaining and this happens every year. This no longer seems to me to be a voting issue. I think American Idol producers boot off the best at this step every year and I am now convinced of that. Even Ryan said Wednesday night "remember what happened to Daughtry last year", and I thought, hum that was an odd thing to say if you don't already know the outcome. Then remembering back he has made the same comment each year about each shocking time when the contestant who has never or close to never in the bottom three and the judges love and then wow shocking they are gone again, year after year after year. This is a ratings technique and I for one and many people that I know have decided that last night was the last night for American Idol in our households. I know many people who quit watching long before now for this very reason and it just took me a little longer to give up the faith that this was actually in america's hands.

glenda maddox   May 13th, 2011 4:46 pm ET

I agree with other comments made here. American Idol needs to revamp the voting system in order to provide a more accurate account of who gets the votes. People voting hundreds of times is ridiculous. Actually, it should be changed so that you get one vote and that is it! That would tell them who is the favorite for sure.
We were not going to watch AI this year because the judging was so bad last year. We were tired of seeing the judges constant criticism & they gave the impression that they were bored & wanted to be somewhere else. Now the addition of Steven and Jennifer brought new life to the show that was desperately needed. This has been the best year for the judges and contestants & fans. What a huge difference. Hopefully they will be back next year. It is a refreshing change to see them give constructive comments and have fun and Steven is a hoot ! ! ! Love, Love, Love him!

BILL DUDLEY   May 13th, 2011 5:13 pm ET

The bad attitude you may be speaking of is with Hailey. She thinks she is above criticism. She finally got some after a free ride all season from the nice-nice judges. I have no idea how this "trout-mouth" arrogant little "no talent" ever even got on the show in the first place. Many contestants had more to offer, including James, Pia, Jacob, and Casey.
Yes, James cried when others got booted, Hailey smiled, as she knew she had outlasted far suprior talent, which was almost everyone else. Please vote for anybody BUT Hailey. Win or not, she is headed for a Karaoke Bar.

Mary Ellen Cunningham   May 13th, 2011 7:22 pm ET

James Durbin is coming home to Santa Cruz after all. American Idol agreed to let him come home to perform etc. on Sat 5/14 but they won't show it on the show. I think they should.It would be good publicity for them. They have made other exceptions on the show. He is much better than the other three and if the judges had decided, I know he would still be there!!! That won't change, but they could show at least a clip of his return home on the show. His outraged fans might calm down a little. AI would look like good guys.Go James!

Matt   May 13th, 2011 9:19 pm ET

I was disappointed that James was sent home last night. My generation supported James total talent. This year there will be two young teenagers in the final two (both country singers) Tweens stay up for two hours voting for two hours on their parents complimentary cell phone payments to vote. I give up on idol. The best talent will never make it to the top. No more votes from our house until idol changes the voting rules.
Good Luck James to you and your family

Ayra   May 14th, 2011 12:51 am ET

Pia and James were my top 2. Reading from what other people posted online, AI voting system needs overhauling. I agree with Glenda Maddox, one vote and that should be it, but then who knows, who really get how many votes. Ryan conveys the results, but was it really THE RESULT? hmmm, one wonders

Heather Goode   May 14th, 2011 8:34 am ET


You're an idiot.

evapia   May 23rd, 2011 11:20 am ET

James we love you and are waiting for your CD to come out

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