Last night at the close of the episode of “American Idol,” Ryan Seacrest asked the judges who they thought would be eliminated tonight. They were dumbfounded, and well they should be. This group is insanely talented, and most of them just keep delivering the goods each week. And as they move through the weeks, the best of the best even make it more difficult to vote. So here is how it went down, and I’m going to try my best to base this on my own judging and not that of the judges.
THE INSANELY AMAZING
Casey Abrams was going to do The Police’s “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” but instead went with Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” Good choice, and he accentuated it by playing stand-up bass and only a mandolin player to accompany him. And it was, and I don’t want to understate this, pure magic. Casey is an artist, more so than just about anyone left standing, and it’s mind blowing to me that the almost went home two weeks ago. Randy said Casey made CCR proud and that he made upright bass cool, Steven said Casey is a true musician and J-Lo said she would pay top dollar to be in the front row to watch Casey perform as she was last night.
Scotty McCreery is a dark horse and I think has what it takes to win it all. I would never have said that early on, but Scotty is growing as an artist every week by leaps and bounds, and last night rocked the house with a version of Elvis’ “That’s Alright, Mama,” complete with having girls mob him on stage afterward. Randy said Scotty is in it to win it, Steven loved the fact that the ladies love Scotty so much, and J-Lo said she loves how much fun Scotty is and how much personality he has.
Paul McDonald closed out the show with a rockin’ acoustic-guitar driven version of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” I wrote down in my notes, “F—ing awesome,” and that’s what it was. Randy said he loved it, Steven said it was crazy and he loved the imperfect nature of Paul’s performance, and J-Lo said it was the perfect way to end the show last night. Amen to that.
THE REALLY GOOD AND ALMOST AMAZING
Jacob Lusk kicked things off with Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” after pushing aside his initial choice, Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” Jacob is Christian through and through so I understand his apprehension, and while the song started off slow, he brought it up to Jacob levels in the second half. He also had Siedah Garrett singing backup, who co-wrote the song with Glen Ballard. Too cool, and thanks to Steven Tyler for pointing it out. Anyway, I had a small problem with Jacob and Siedah air-humping during the song, when Jacob was so adamant about his song choice. Hmmm. Anyway, the judges tripped over themselves as usual—Steven said it was beautiful, J-Lo said she loves how Jacob believes in himself and that it was perfect, and Randy said he respected the change of song and that it was “hot.” I personally think it was a cut below the three mentioned above.
Haley Reinhart finally listened to the judges comparing her to Janis Joplin, and chose “Piece of My Heart.” Not surprisingly, Haley growled her way through it and it was technically flawless. But there was something ever so slightly missing from Haley’s performance that I can’t put my finger on. Mrs. Mike thinks she is a great singer but has a lack of passion for the lyrics. That could be it. J-Lo said it was strong, Randy said that that was the Haley we all love, and Steven said there was nothing wrong with it. I’m not so sure and feel like there is a chance she winds up in the Bottom 3 tonight.
Lauren Alaina did Aretha Franklin’s “Natural Woman” and showed she is growing up and coming into her own just like Scotty is. But still, there was a little something lacking compared to those three mentioned at the top of this blog. Steven said that Lauren became a woman last night, J-Lo said it was amazing, and Randy said he wasn’t blown away but Lauren did a great job with a difficult song.
James Durbin did a scaled back, Adam Lambert-type version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and of course screamed at the end. It was really good but just like Jacob, Haley and Lauren, it was not quite as good as my Top 3. Mrs. Mike thought it was awful but I disagreed and so did the judges. J-Lo said she loved the softer side, and that that is what makes James’ rocker songs better, Randy said he loved the emotional side, and Steven said it was a proud moment. I realize this group is amazing, but Steven is ever so slowly morphing into Ellen DeGeneres here with his comments. I am having flashbacks of Ellen’s vanilla comments such as, “You’re so good.”
THE BETTER THAN AVERAGE
Pia Toscano took on Tina Turner’s “River Deep—Mountain High” and it was good but Pia is proving to be a one-trick, just-stand-there-and-belt-it type singer like Celine Dion. She doesn’t move real well, and J-Lo sort of said that last night but did it in a nice way. Steven said Pia is a “murderer” because she just “killed it”…okay, easy dude! J-Lo said it was vocally amazing but she wants more from Pia, but that yeah, it was still really special….and Randy said it was great but needs to move a little on stage. Hmmm. Me thinks Pia could be in danger.
THE GOOD BUT NOT NEARLY AS GOOD AS EVERYONE ELSE
That would be where we put Stefano Langone. He did the old Percy Sledge song, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” but Stefano sings one way no matter if it’s a rocker or ballad—solidly, with incredible vocal technique, and sometimes emotion, but with a large scoop of vanilla. I just can’t see him making it past this week, not because he sucks, but because of how colorful and awesome the others are at the same time. J-lo said she felt more of the emotion of the song from Stefano last night, but I don’t agree with her, Randy said he liked it but didn’t love it (there ya go), and Steven said he liked where Stefano took the song, that it had a lot of passion. Really?
So there you have it, America. I think your Bottom 3 will look like this—Pia, Stefano, and either Jacob, Haley or Lauren. And I think Stefano goes home tonight. What do you think? Let me know in the space below and thanks for reading!