I was a little disappointed to learn the kids would be forced to sing super old songs this week. After all, most of the well known tunes from the Carole King catalog are at least 40 years old. But King collection is varied. She wrote songs for other artists before she wrote them for herself. The songs are not only timeless but varied. There was something for everyone tonight, and in the end, there were no trainwrecks. Everyone delivered to varying degrees.
Tonight’s standouts were Scotty McCreery, who sang like he meant it. See what happens when the judges actually dole out some tough love? Last week’s critiques really got Scotty on his game. Also awesome were James Durbin and Haley Reinhart.
I would really really like Haley to be the last girl standing, but the judges are pimping the not-yet-ready-for-prime-time Lauren Alaina instead. It’s too bad, because Haley has been coming into her own, and it’s always exciting to see a singer who is growing throughout the competition get to the finals.
James delivered a jangly version of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” that was so good, Randy declared that he could take the crown. Which means he won’t. Damn you Randy! Having said that, Jennifer and Randy both tried to be constructive with the kids tonight. Steven? Is still out to lunch.
The duets weren’t as successful as some of the results night performances–which probably says something about how good the kids are when they aren’t under pressure.
Live blog and videos are after the jump!
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Tonight: Carole King songs! Duets! Miley Cyrus! Babyface! It’s time for Idol, and I will be liveblogging it right here.
Ryan introduces each of the contestants by name. THE BEST IN AMERICA PEOPLE!
Video package introduces tonight’s theme, the music of Carole King. King has been making music for 50 years. Wowzers.There’s Carole and my homeboy, James Taylor. Ryan namechecks the Partridge Family but not the Monkees? Hmmf.
Here come the contestants! Then, another video package introduces Babyface, who will be co-mentoring tonight’s tunes. Babyface says, “I don’t think America has really caught the essence of any of them.” O rly?
Jacob Lusk – “Oh No Not My Baby” – His near elimination last week shakes Jacob up. Jimmy and Babyface make Jacob sing the song “like 60 times”. They’re still not liking his oversinging! I totally forgot about this song! This is actually a good pick for Jacob. Jacob is all plaided up tonight. It’s a little distracting. He’s grooving to the music–a little pitchy here and there, but the riffing is not OT, the performance is full of energy, and the singing sweet and soulful. I think we may have Jacob for another week. Or not. Steven: It was time you shook your tailfeathers! That was beautiful, man. Jlo: That was a tricky song. There were little spaces where it wasn’t perfect. In the end, you killed it. Randy: What I loved that you did this week, you brought it back, scatting was incredible, You are a great singer. – 1-866-436-5701 – 1-866-436-5707 – VIDEO – Performance
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Lauren Alaina – “Where You Lead, I Will Follow” – Miley Cyrus drops by to help mentor Lauren. “Do it for yourself, ” Miley, no stranger to internet gossip, “people will always talk about you, that will never change.” Aw, Poor Alaina…she needs to stay off line. She says she’s going out there with confidence tonight. Oh honey? That outfit? WHO DRESSED YOU NO. She’s got some stripey thing cinched at the waist with fugly boots. This song is ai’ght. Doesn’t really show off her chops. She’s working the stage , though. Really hate the arrangement. It reminds me of something I would have heard on a 70’s variety show. She’s flirting with somebody sitting on stage. Who is that? THOSE EARRINGS MY GOD. Some shakey vocals there. She’s still so nervous. Jlo: I’m so proud of you right now. I felt you pushing. Those barriers are hard to break. Jlo congratulates her on a voice crack. You came out here with a little bit of swagger. Time to come out here and throw down the gauntlet. The song was safe and boring, but you came out with a vengence. We’re looking for someone who is ready to win this. Continue to go hard for it. I saw you shine tonight when your voice broke. Steven gives Lauren a pep talk, straight out of recovery speak. The kid she sang to was named Brett and he’s 19. Ryan thinks he’s too old for her. Well, in some states he is. 1-866-436-5702 – 1-866-436-5708 – Video – Performance – Judges
Casey Abrams and Haley Reinhart – “I Feel the Earth Move” – Whoa Casey! Dial back the growly stuff. Not as impressive as their jazz scat from a couple of weeks ago. They’ve got some chemistry together, and it picks up at the end when they let loose a little. Steven: Hey weird beard? How much in love with Haley are you. That was really good. It’s really gotta matter what you guys do. Nothing but good. (guess each judge will critique one duet) – VIDEO – Performance
Scotty McCreery – “You’ve Got a Friend” – The team suggests he begin the song really soft, so that it eventually has impact. Good suggestions. This is like a whole new Scotty tonight. He’s finally stretching his vocals in ways he hasn’t before, and it works. Very heartfelt, emotional–wonder what he’s using as a frame of reference? He’s believable. The is arrangement is understated–with soft strings and guitar. Very very very nice. This might be my favorite Scotty performance so far. Scotty is in it to win it! Randy: You turned the other cheek from last week. The beginning of that was flawless. Excellent job. When you hit those high notes, don’t fall off them. Steven: I don’t think you’ve ever sang better. You took us somewhere else. Jlo: You’re getting much better at reaching in the higher register. You told that story beautifully. Scotty gives us “the look” as Ryan rattles off his numbers. 1-866-436-5703 – 1-866-436-5709 – VIDEO – PERFORMANCE – JUDGES
James Durbin – “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” – This was a request from the boards! – James sings a sweet, Beatlesque version of this tune, accompanying himself on guitar. LOVED the arrangement. The slowed up beginning shows off his big range, before he kicks into a rock riff. Steven: I really liked the beginning of that. It was so beautiful. The rock part grew on me (that was my favorite part!) Jlo: I thought it was magical. You are going to be the star of the night. Amazing. James has had a strong week every single week. Consistency is going to win it. Randy: Who is in this to win it? Tonight, you weren’t just a great rock singer, you were a great singer. THIS GUY MIGHT JUST WIN THE WHOLE THING. (Ruh rho.) Randy hugs James. 1-866-436-5704 – 1-866-436-5710 – VIDEO – PERFORMANCE – JUDGES
Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina – “Up on the Roof” – Ryan thinks it would fun to embarrass the two teens by insuinuating romance. “We’re like brother and sister, ” says Scotty. Lauren sounds really pretty on the verses. Actually they both sound solid on the verses. Scotty is singing his harmony part flat, which kinda ruins it. Jennifer: Lauren you sing your…brains off. It’s a real talent to sing second voice behind somebody. You did a real good job Scotty (well…he didn’t really, but whatevs) – VIDEO – PERFORMANCE
Casey Abrams – “Heidi Ho” – Casey…jamming with Babyface. Jimmy tells him that every note counts. Jimmy notes that Casey likes to push his artistic boundaries. Well hooray. Casey is back to jazz/blues, as a result, this performance is pretty f*cking fantastic. This is your deal dude! Casey’s got a fedora, which he tosses off, he’s interacting with the jazz band playing on stage. He’s got to be careful not to lose the vocal quality when he pushes it. But this performance has a lot of…swagger. Good stuff. Randy: It’s like the song was written for you. It took me back to New Orleans dude. I’m excited every time you’re up there. You definitely found your niche. It’s the best mother…loving show I’ve seen. You made my scalp itch, it’s so good. You were definitely in your element up there. I’d like to see you loosen up a little bit in your body. “Less growl” says Randy. 1-866-436-5705 – 1-866-436-5711 – VIDEO – PERFORMANCE
Haley Reinhart – “Beautiful” – Babyface says “she caught on really quickly. That’s the sign of an artist.” SNAFU! Haley was late getting her earpieces working, but she’s ok now. She’s got the horn players on stage with her. I never thought about how Revolverish this song is., especially the bridge. Great phrasing Haley. I wish she enunciated her words a little better, but that’s a quibble. It’s amazing how she’s coming into her own at this stage of the competition. Steven: I just saw God. You just nailed it now. Jlo: Beautiful. You have one of the best voices in this competition. Randy: I didn’t love the beginning, but the end was great. 1-866-436-5706 – 1-866-436-5712 – VIDEO – PERFORMANCE
Jacob and James – “I’m into Something Good” – This is unexpectedly fun. James and Jacob have some chemistry going–I would not have expected that. They head over to Jennifer to serenade her. Big crazy notes at the end are funny, but in a good way. Steven: You guys were having fun…man where were you going with all that. – VIDEO – PERFORMANCE