American Idol: hail to the (Carole) king

Last night’s episode of “American Idol” was a special one, because they were celebrating the songs of the great Carole King, one of the greatest American songwriters of all-time, and easily among the top five living songwriters. Couple that with the fact that Jimmy Iovine brought in Kenneth Babyface Edmunds to mentor the contestants this week, and you have the recipe for some amazing performances.

But then, the awesome has become the status quo this season and anything south of awesome is fodder for elimination. And last night most of the performances were really good, including the duets the remaining six did. Let’s recap, shall we?

Jacob Lusk kicked things off with a newer King song, “Oh No Not My Baby” and for me it was good but not awesome (uh-oh, read what I said above). Steven said it “shook his tail feathers” and Jacob has so much character, J-Lo said it was a tricky song but that Jacob turned in a good performance, and Randy said there were a few rough spots but overall he loved that Jacob just sang rather than emoted. Jacob is surely in danger again this week, especially since he went first.

Lauren Alaina was next and did “Where You Lead” but not before having a surprise visit from Miley Cyrus during rehearsal. Yikes. And it begs the question, if you closed your eyes, would you think Miley was Jimmy and Jimmy was Miley? Anyway, Lauren was good but she didn’t wow me (uh-oh). J-Lo said she was proud that Lauren pushed harder this week, Randy said Lauren had some extra swagger but that the song choice was a bit safe, and Steven told Lauren to keep going for it. Wow, Steven has become Ellen DeGeneres at times.

Then came the first duet, Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams doing “I Feel the Earth Move,” and it was really good. Steven flat out asked, “Hey weird beard, are you in love with Haley?” Yikes.

Next was Scotty McCreery who did a super cool version of “You’ve Got a Friend.” Babyface asked Scotty to sing rather than drop his voice into that deep baritone, and Scotty did just that and slayed it. It was subtle but I think one of his best yet. Randy said Scotty is in it to win it, Steven said Scotty has never sang better, and J-Lo said Scotty keeps getting better and she loves his storytelling aspect.

James Durbin did “Will You Still Love Me?” and I he said there would be no theatrics, and I thought this would be him and the guitar and it would be so cool. Well, it started that way but then the band kicked in after about 20 seconds. Still, this was a great performance and James is proving he could win it all. Steven said James did it again, J-Lo said it was magical and that James is strong and consistent, and Randy said James might win it all.

Then came the obvious duet between Lauren and Scotty of “Up on the Roof” and that was really great too. J-Lo said it was beautiful and that Lauren sang her ass off. I think J-Lo is still really pulling for the ladies to hang on.

Casey then did an interesting song–Blood, Sweat and Tears’ version of Carole’s “Hi-De-Ho” and it was different and awesome at the same time, in true Casey form. Randy said it was very entertaining, Steven said Casey had found his niche, and J-Lo said Casey was in his element.

Haley then closed out the solo performances with “Beautiful” and she did a great job, but once again Haley sang great but lacked just a bit of emotion. Steven said he just saw God and that Haley nailed it (say what???), J-Lo said Haley has one of the best voices in the competition (more lobbying for ladies), and Randy said the beginning was boring but that it got better, after which J-Lo gave him a bunch of crap.

Finally, Jacob and James closed out the night with a duet of “I’m Into Something Good,” complete with turning J-Lo around in her office chair and having her have to cross her legs quickly due to a very short dress she was wearing. D’oh! But the guys did a great job with the song and it was definitely entertaining. Enough to keep Jacob safe? Probably not. And Steven didn’t get it, saying “What the hell was that?” Ha!

Anyway, I think your Bottom 3 will be Jacob, Haley and either Lauren or Casey. Scotty and James are going to be safe for sure. What do you think, America?

  

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