American Idol: going home but not wanting to go home

Last night’s “American Idol” finalists performed three songs each, and suffice to say that the judges tried to be careful with their critiques–especially after Randy and J-Lo almost sent Haley home last week with some blistering comments after her first song. But then again, there were no dud performances last night, and only two that I saw that were a cut above. Here is how it went down….

First of all, Ryan Seacrest announced that next week the show will move to Tuesday and Wednesday. That’s the absolute dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, what with next week being the final week of the season. Seriously. And now they are going up against the finale of “The Biggest Loser.” Damn you, FOX. Anyway, last night they sang three songs–one of their own choice, one chosen by Jimmy Iovine, and a third by the judges. So here we go…..

SCOTTY McCREERY
Song 1: “Amazed” by Lonestar.
I made note that Scotty has such great, natural tone, and he surely has been the most consistent performer in this thing. But does he have enough to win it all? I’m not sure, but I can’t rule out any of these three. Steven said Scotty keeps getting better, J-Lo said she likes the progression of Scotty’s performances over the season, and Randy said it was a great song choice–smart, and with couple of pitch issues–but still a great choice.

Song 2: “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?” by Thompson Square. Have any of you heard this song? Jimmy, what are you doing? But Scotty kicked it into high gear for this one and it was really pretty good. Steve said he liked how Scotty delivered the choruses, J-Lo said it was awesome and that Scotty was in the zone, and Randy said Scotty reminded him of his idol, Garth Brooks, and that Scotty is “in it to win it!”

Song 3: “She Believes in Me” by Kenny Rogers.A nice song with a nice sentiment and probably chosen for Scotty because of the way Mr. Rogers drops his voice down in the verses. Steven said it was another instance of Scotty hitting with a big chorus, J-Lo said that Scotty showed them what he’s capable of and that she is so proud, and Randy said he likes the way Scotty stretched himself on this song.

OVERALL GRADE: B+

LAUREN ALAINA
Song 1: “Wild One” by Faith Hill.This was very good but I can’t say it was Lauren’s best shot. J-Lo said she liked the way Lauren attacked the song, Randy said he appreciated Beyonce’s mentoring (oh yeah, forgot to mention this!), and Steven said Lauren looked like she was having so much fun and that she just owned the song.

Song 2: “If I Die Young” by Perry.
I guess this one is on the charts now, which is good for Lauren, but not good for anyone voting who may not follow these charts, like say, everyone. But hey, it was a good performance. J-Lo said she loves Lauren’s tone, and that she has the most beautiful tone out of this season’s finalists (I disagree, that distinction should go to Scotty), Randy said there were a couple of stumbles but he loved the song choice, and Steven said Lauren nailed it.

Song 3: “I Hope You Dance” by LeAnn Womack. This was a home run of a song choice, and a grand slam of a performance. J-Lo said goosebumps don’t lie, and she is right, Randy said Lauren slayed it, and Steven said it was like Lauren owned the Grand Ole Opry. Um, okay.

OVERALL GRADE: A-

HALEY REINHART
Song 1: “What Is and What Should Never Be” by Led Zeppelin. Well, no one can accuse Haley of not going for it. This was, in my humble opinion, one of the best performances by anyone this season, and even better that her dad performed on guitar with the band. Randy said “this is what it’s all about” and that Haley just “slayed it,” Steven made light of the fact that Haley fell down and kept on going, saying “it’s not how many times you fall but how many times you get back up,” and J-Lo said it was a difficult song choice but that Haley nailed it and finished a strong first round. Randy then gave her the win for the round and I bet no one would argue that.

Song 2: “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac.Sometimes Jimmy just shows why he is where he is, and he picked the perfect song for Haley. Not because Haley sounds like Stevie Nicks and was dressed to look like her, but because this song made Haley sing and not scream, and it was a cool moment. Randy said it was a good job and that Haley is in a zone, Steven said it was just like Stevie, and J-Lo said it was a beautiful moment and not too much of a vocal acrobatic song choice. Exactly.

Song 3: “You Oughtta Know” by Alanis Morissette.If “Rhiannon” was understated, this one was way overstated, but in a good way. This was the shouty song Haley needed to make a statement to end the night, but I think some of the lustre was taken off the song when the lyric “will she go down on you in the theater” was replaced with “will she go out with you to the theater.” Blah! So stupid. Randy said Haley is, wait for it, “in it to win it!” Steven said it was amazing, and J-Lo said she did a good job on the choruses.

OVERALL GRADE: A-

Okay, so to recap, Scotty gets a B-plus, while Haley and Lauren each get an A-minus. By my scorecard, Scotty should be going home, but he probably won’t because he’s hung on this long. But seriously, any one of them could be sent home and it wouldn’t be their fault. It was just a hard week to pick a winner. So what do you think? See you tomorrow with the results!

  

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