Could someone have a word with the producers to quieten down the backing volume. It may just be my tv but the percussion especially seemed to drown out almost everyone - even Jacob, and that takes some doing when he's in full flow!
So this is my take on the Top 12 - late this week - and I'll watch the results show as soon as this is finished to discover how wrong my predictions have been. I may finally then be able to look at my Twitter feed again too! Like some of the contestants, I've been suffering from some really bad cold or something. Right, cough, splutter, here goes:
Naima ♪5 ☼6
She brought a lot of style again this week to the stage and she stands out - quite a unique contestant but missing notes didn't help her. She survived last week and fast numbers with plenty of life suit her. Unfortunately this number slowed and that's when she showed that she's not really all that special.
Paul ♪3 ☼7
Totally drowned by the backing. This song has bags of meaning but I didn't get anything from this performance at all. His timing was all over the place and, quite frankly, it was a mess. He's different - highly original and you could tell what he had in mind but a combination of poor health and lack of good guidance let him down. He has lots of support, though, so should survive this round.
Thia ♪8½ ☼6
She's a class act. Really good. I'm not sure how much modern appeal she's got but this was one good, if a bit inconsequential, performance that will see her safely through to next week and probably several more weeks too.
James ♪9 ☼8½
A Bon Jovi track - suited him well and he produced a marvellous performance, spot-on in all respects. His initial screech seems to have been well placed on the back burner, being produced at the end in this track. He deserves to stick around or a while and could surprise everyone if he can demonstrate that he can also deliver a gentle track with feeling.
Haley ♪6 ☼6½
This was a lively performance. Clearly, she's realised that she had to do something to stay in the competition and showed a lot of individual talent here. Unfortunately she managed to confuse us all at the same time as to exactly what kind of artist she is and I really don't know what to make of her chances. I have a feeling the voters won't either.
Stefano ♪9 ☼8½
One of the few who overcame the backing and came across brilliantly. Excellent control of a track that wasn't easy but he excelled and is someone who could do well in this competition, quietly getting through without anyone actually noticing.
Pia ♪9 ☼8
This girl's proving to be really reliable and is a first class performer. You could tell somehow she was pleased with the way things were going and she good rave reviews once more and the crowd seem to love her. There's something I can't relate to, though. and, coupled with a tinniness at the top end, I just rate her as a good stand-by for big occasions but not an 'idol'.
Scotty ♪9 ☼9
He stuck to his country guns and presented this trach really well. This guy doesn't need this show - he's already a star and should be able to sell albums no problem. He's not my idea of what AI10 should be finding in 2011 but I can't knock the guy. He's good and will be around a good time yet.
Karen ♪2 ☼5
She was really all over the place tune-wise and struggled a lot. She could well struggle to stay in and this week showed that she simply isn't a contender. She made a good effort appearance-wise but I can't see anything saving her except a Latino landslide vote this week.
Casey ♪10 ☼9
Superb performance of Nirvana's Teen Spirit. Absolutely brilliant performance of something you wouldn't have expected on AI any number and this earned him huge respect. It was still difficult hearing even Casey's searing voice above extraordinarily badly balanced broadcast track, though.
Lauren ♪7½ ☼9
Good strong performance showing why this girl is one of the favourites this year. She's going to be around for a good while yet.
Jacob ♪8 ☼8
Good choice of song from Top Gun could keep this big guy around for a bit longer. It was well-performed but I do find him a bit overpowering still on occasion.
Update, later the same evening...
Sure enough, Karen went. She made a good effort at her 'save me' song and even showed Pia what the high notes ought to sound like but it wasn't enough to persuade all the judges to give her another chance. I was disappointed to see that one of them had been prepared to do so - surely they need to retain that option for someone really talented who falls foul of the public one week.