OFFSTAGE: Ouch! Two Hours of American Idol Criticism

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Don’t oversing. Don’t be retro. Don’t get stuck in a genre. Don’t make it a beauty pageant. Don’t pick songs you don’t know. Don’t get locked into an adult thing. Don’t this, don’t that. I guess Wednesday’s (March 13) American Idol was one of those “be careful what you wish for” situations. So far, the experts on Idol have been full of positive things to say. But this episode brought out all kinds of criticisms, especially from mentor Jimmy Iovine. It was his job to advise the Top 10 singers on how to sing, but he mostly told them how not to sing. Even Keith Urban , who has been Mr. Nice Guy all along, finally brought out some harsh appraisals of the contestants. He told Lazaro Arbos, “I don’t feel like that one ended up being in your wheelhouse, as it were.” And to Devin Velez, who did Carrie Underwood ‘s “Temporary Home,” Urban said, “I didn’t feel like you had confidence with the song at all.” Then again, he only had good things to say about some of my favorites: Janelle Arthur (“You were burning it up, up there”), Kree Harrison (“You could sing the phonebook, baby”), Angie Miller (“As do I surrender”) and Paul Jolley, who did an amazing job on Lonestar ‘s “Amazed.” Urban told Jolley it was one of his better performances “as far as feeling you.” We will see who was right on Thursday night’s show when the votes are counted.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.