Who came out on top tonight? Scotty McCreery had the most consistent performances. All 3 came off without nary a hitch. The song Jimmy picked, “Are You Going To Kiss Me Or Not” had the most personality, and revealed the type of artist Scotty could be after the show. Having said that, there were no surprises from Scotty. He just keeps plugging away within his wheelhouse. It’s probably going to win him the contest. But it’s not great TV.
The special moment of the night, however, goes to Haley Reinhart who, jamming with her father on guitar, was an absolute sexy, growly, powerful revelation covering Led Zepplin’s “What is and What Should Never Be”. Even her little trip up the stairs after dancing around the judges couldn’t diminish her impact. The performance should have had the pimp spot, but it was first instead. Bad news for Haley–she closed her set and her night with her weakest number–a mumbly, disjointed “You Oughta Know”. I hope America’s attention spans are long enough to remember all the performances tonight.
Lauren Alaina once again proved she’s way too young for this competition. I have to wonder if that missed cue in “If I Die Young” wasn’t a form of self sabotage, because she could have had a moment if she hadn’t slipped up.
Beyonce was a sweet and caring mentor. I especially liked her advice for Lauren. Admitting she’s shy offstage, Beyonce revealed that she has created a “diva character” for her stage performances. You could see the light bulb go on in Lauren’s head after Beyonce made the suggestion. As far as Beyonce’s Music Video? Eh. Pop music has become so overwrought lately, it’s beginning to bore me.
The judges continued on with their cliche-fest. Randy must have said “In it to win it” at least 3 times–once for each contestant. Steven’s stoned superlatives were as empty as ever. Only Jennifer managed to step it up a little. You could tell she did her homework tonight, even offering a little constructive criticism here and there. When it came down to rating the rounds, the judges spread the love around pretty evenly.
Overall, I would have liked a few more impressive moments from the contestants at this stage of the game. Haley seems to be the only one left who is willing to take a risk or deliver a surprise. Yeah, I know James Durbin wasn’t perfect, but y’all know he would have spiced things up tonight with some crazy-assed flaming cello–or maybe he would have flown across the stage in a harness–or some damn thing that would have kept me from falling asleep. As it was, the best performance of the night was first and everything that came after was solid at best. Bah.
Recapping tonight’s 2 HOUR American Idol! The Top 3, Haley Reinhart, Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina sing 3 songs each, Beyonce debuts her new “Run the World” music video (and helps the kids with their songs). And the rest? FILLER FILLER FILLER. Yay.
Their journey began…a recap of the Top 3’s Idol journey opens the show. We catch glimpses of their hometown visits taken over the weekend.
What’s up with the dude in a dog suit? The judges take the stage. Performance show is NEXT TUESDAY. The finale is WEDNESDAY. Ryan laments the loss of James Durbin against clips from his weekend hometown celebration (yes he got one too). Ryan introduces the Top 3.
Round 1, Contestants choice, Round 2 Jimmy’s choice, Round 3 Judges choice. Beyonce helped the contestants with their personal choice songs. Video package is next, documenting her meteoric rise to fame. It goes on forever. 2 HOURS TO KILL. FIRST BREAK NO ONE HAS PERFORMED YET.
Scotty McCreery – “Amaze” by Lonestar – Scotty boy! That’s my boy! coos Beyonce. “He’s just such a cutie pie. He’s so innocent, ” she says, “His voice is just so full and warm.” She liked hearing him go into his higher range. She thinks he saved his “tricks” to ensure his place in the finale. I dunno, the judges have been bugging him about that all season. The song gets the usual Scotty treatment–Scotty tells a story well. Gotta give him some credit for going for the big key change. He hits a few uncharacteristic high notes. Not fantastically, but at least he tried. His lower register is much richer. Steven: I think you just keep getting better and better. Did I hear you get angry during the modulation? You kicked that song int the middle of next week. Jlo: She mentions the judges’ notes he incorporated into his performance and says, “You’ve grown so much as a performer.” Randy: Great song choice for you. I produced a version for Boyx II Men. (always name dropping!) Some pitchy spots, but the end of the song…wow you put a period on the end of the song. That’s money. Scotty’s got money! Scotty says he put a little “Casey growl” into the songs’ modulation – 1-866-436-5701, 1-866-436-5704, 1-866-436-5707 – VIDEO – PERFORMANCE
Lauren Alaina – “Wild One” by Faith Hill – “I enjoy her mostly when it’s something fun because it loosens her up, ” says Beyonce. Lauren is nervous “No I’m nervous!” says Beyonce, who explains that she’s shy in real life–she creates a “Diva persona” for the stage. Lauren has been singing the song since she was a little girl. Whoa earrings! Interacting with the musicians, she’s working the stage pretty well. It still feels like she’s holding back. I’m just not feeling much charisma from Lauren. She’s gotta work on that “stage diva” Beyonce was talking about. Jlo: You come out here and you attack it like that–that’s what you gotta do. That was very good. Randy: I love the advice Beyonce give you. You’ve got to psych yourself up. Nice song choice for you. Have a good time and have fun. Very nice. Steven: You were having fun when we first met, you’re having fun now. You were singing like you were owning the song. You’re so ready for this. You’re ready for America to be all over you. – 1-866-436-5702, 1-866-436-5705, 1-866-436-5708 – VIDEO – PERFORMANCE
Haily Reinhart – “What is and What Should Never Be” by Led Zepplin – Beyonce says the song shows she shows her gut, that she’s a risk taker, and that she’s got conviction. Haley says she’s grown up around classic rock. Her dad is going to join her onstage! Beyonce loves the warmth and raspiness in her voice. She begins at the top of the stairs. There’s her dad! Guitar in hand Do you believe NOW that she’s not being bussed? This is pretty amazing. She looks HOT. Haley LAYING IT ALL OUT ON THE STAGE. Oh. She takes a fall on the steps in front of the judges, and it trips her up. But she gets right back up on the horse. She riffs fantastically with Dad. That was a big risk. Hopefully it will pay off. The audience LOVES IT. Randy: This is what it’s all about! I love the fact that this girl is slaying it. You’re fearless. Got your father on stage. One of your best performances EVER. CRAZY CRAZY. HALEY’S IN IT TO WIN IT. Steven: Did you fall for me? That was just so so good. Randy: I thought the fall was planned! Jlo commiserates (Ha ha, she fell on her ass at the AMAs a couple of years ago) You keep going. That’s a sign of a professional. It was a good good round for you. – 1-866-436-5703, 1-866-436-5706, 1-866-436-5709 – VIDEO – PERFORMANCE – JUDGES
Round 1 to HALEY FOR SURE. Randy says Round 1 HANDS DOWN HALEY. Steven likes that Haley got her freak on. Jennifer is going with Haley as well.
Scotty McCreery – “Are You Going to Kiss Me or Not” by Thompson Square – A recap of Scotty’s first audition in front of the judges. BABY LOCK THEM DOORS. Scotty says his audition feels like it happened 10 years ago. Jimmy says the song reminds him of the Tom Petty records he worked on. Scotty strums his guitar. Good song choice for Scotty, although I wish he would have added a little more of a rock feel to it, like Jimmy suggested. The tune’s got a GREAT chorus. Is this what Scotty will sound like when he records his record? If so, he’s definitely moving in the right direction. Steven: I never heard you deliver a chorus like that before. Real character shown through. Jlo: There was so many moments in there I liked so much. That’s what the zone feels like–you feel so comfortable in your skin. Will you shave your head for the finale. Randy: Jimmy picked a good song for you. It had a great chorus. I felt like Garth is such a great performer–you were approaching that garth level. I felt like I was in your concert again. Guess what I’m going to say again Ryan…SCOTTY’S IN IT TO WIN IT. Drink! Drink! Drink! – AUDITION – PERFORMANCE – JUDGES
Lauren Alaina – “If I Die Young” by Perry – Back from the break, Ryan is backstage with Lauren instead of center stage. She ripped her panty hose. Her audition plays, and there she is–the confident kid who had the cajones to vocally spar with Steven Tyler. Where’d that kid go? Lauren was 6 years old when first started watching Idol. She wants this more than anything. Jimmy has wanted her to sing this song since he met her. Jimmy says it’s right in her sweet spot. She begins beautifully, with a gorgeous tone, hitting the high notes with a nice rasp. But she gets distracted in the middle and misses the modulation. Another example of why Lauren should have waited a minute or two before trying out. Jlo: You have the most beautiful tone of our finalists. A magical thing. You had an honest moment, you got caught up in the middle, in the honesty. That’s ok. You’re only 16. Randy: You realized right away–that’s what it’s all about. You’ve got such a beautiful tone. A good song choice from Jimmy. You are in it to win it too. Steven: I loved it I heard that turn around. It’s a beautiful song, you’ve got a beautiful voice. You nailed it again. “I missed my key change, ” says Lauren. “It’s how you recover, ” says Ryan. Mom, from the audience says, “It’s crazy, nerve wracking, and I think I’ve aged 20 years.” – AUDITION – PERFORMANCE – JUDGES
Haley Reinhart – “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac – Haley says she’s got to remember the words to “Rhiannon”. It’s an abstract song, but she loves it. Jimmy says from the minute he met her, he thought she should sing a Stevie Nicks song. Haley loves Stevie Nicks. Her mom is a fan. Jimmy says the important thing is to grab the end so we can hear every color she has. The song begins slow with a piano. Haley’s unusual tone is perfect, haunting. The song speeds up, the band comes in, the wind machine starts blowing, and Haley seems a little preoccupied with remembering the words–keeping her from going full out at the end like Jimmy suggested. Randy: Why were you looking up like “thank God I got through that.” I think you did a good job with it. Your pitch was perfect. More of a somber mood for me. Steven, do guys have wind machines? Positively, says Steven. Steven: You sang that song so beautifully. Jlo: It was a beautiful moment. It looked beautiful on camera. I thought you were going to take it a little further at the end, but it was a nice contrast to what you did first. – AUDITION – PERFORMANCE – JUDGES
Round 2: Steven calls it for Lauren. Jlo and Randy say Scotty wins the round. Jimmy from his seat in the audience, seems to favor Scotty, calling him “Bruce Springsteen and Garth Brooks rolled into one.” But he has good things to say about everyone.
Beyonce debuts her long-form video. YAWN
Scotty McCreery – “She Believes in Me” by Kenny Rogers – We see footage of Scotty in Garner recieving his song pick. Really judges? This song is ANCIENT. Jimmy’s pick >>>> than yours. This is way too old for Scotty. He’s doing a solid job, however, telling a sweet story. He does a beautiful job hitting the big notes in the chorus. Steven: That’s the first big chorus in a big way. You put it over the top for me. Jennifer: We wanted to see if you could hit that chorus. You showed us. It’s about you stretching yourself at this point. It was a little different for you..you were so sweet and tender in the front, you hit the chorus..very nicely done. Scotty’s dad tells him, from the audience, how proud he is of him. “Very proud of you song.” Dad sings a snip..Baby Lock them doors…Scotty laughs. – PERFORMANCE – JUDGES
Lauren Alaina – “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack – Lauren has collected herself and is singing without incident or mishap! A solid job from Lauren, beautiful tone, nice phrasing. I can’t help imagining what Carrie Underwood or Jordin Sparks would have done with that song. Jlo: You cannot buy those, those are not for sale. You gave me goosies from head to toe. I’m going to dare say you won that round already. Randy: Leann would say you slayed it. I love your dress. You sang it great. Ryan this girl is also in it to win it. Steven: You walked down here like you owned the grand ole opry. You sang that song perfectly LOL at Jlo calling the round for Lauren before Haley even sings. – PERFORMANCE – JUDGES
Haley Reinhart – “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morrissette – Haley’s back on the steps. Will she sing about blow jobs? No…and the changes she needed to make to the lyrics renders them senseless. The song is out of her lower range, where she sounds mumbly and out of breath. But she lays it all out in the chorus with a blast of grasp and growl, totally nailing it. Not sure this is going to go over with America. The verses were really awkward. I wish the Zep song had been last. Randy: Those were some amazing choruses from you. HALEY IS IN IT TO WIN IT (now, I’m just drunk) Amazing you so nailed the choruses. It was a really good job. The choruses, nobody can match you there. The stronger parts were the choruses. – PERFORMANCE – JUDGES
Round 3: Steven says HALEY. Jennifer: Lauren Randy: Lauren.