So last week I was travelling and missed the shows thanks to my Slingbox. This week my power decided to go out about 30 minutes into the show and I had to catch some of the show via americanidol.com – so bear with me if I missed something exciting during one of Ryan’s intros. Oh well, such is the life of an intrepid purveyor of sarcastic and insightful opinions on American Idol.
It was an important week this week – the final stop before the top 3 (and the ensuing visits home). Ryan pointed out this was the same week that Chris Daughtry went home in his season, and reminded everyone to vote. Each contestant sang two songs – one that “inspires them”, and one from the catalog of Leiber and Stoller. So who was the guest mentor? Lady GaGa, of course. I know that’s who I think of when I think of Leiber and Stoller. How did they do? Let’s go to the big board and see…
James Durbin – “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey
James got the lead off spot for the second week in a row. It’s hard to think of a more crowd-pleasing (or surprisingly resurgent) song for James to perform. Bonus points to James for calling Randy out at the start of the song. Maybe we’ll get to see more pictures of him from his Journey days tomorrow? James was absolutely at home on the stage and in full-on rock star mode. I may have finally found a song to download from iTunes this year.
Hailey Reinhardt – “The Earth Song” by Michael Jackson
I really thought Hailey couldn’t get more annoying. I was wrong. The stiff stage movement and the growling are bad enough. When you add to it a mewling song about “saving the earth” – well, it takes the annoyance all the way up to eleven. (Her defensive attitude during the judges’ comments didn’t help matters…) I was reminded of something I said a few weeks ago: I really wish I had a number to vote AGAINST someone. On the plus side, however, at least Hailey didn’t get the pimp spot again this week.
Scotty McCreery – “Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning?” by Alan Jackson
Scotty broke out the guitar this week and picked absolutely the perfect song. With the events of the last few weeks, Scotty made a brilliant choice with a song that will resonate with his fan base in a major way. I was also struck by how much more I enjoyed his performance when he could not hold the microphone like a flute and jump around the stage. Sitting with a guitar behind the mic, I was able to just listen to him sing – and I enjoyed it. Well done, Scotty.
Lauren Alaina – “Anyway” by Martina McBride
I missed this song during the power outage and had to catch it in online – so I have no idea what the judges said. I’ll say this – it was Lauren at her finest. Given the storms and destruction that have battered the Southeast over the last few weeks, it’s easy to see why Lauren connected with this song. On top of that, it was a very “American Idol Moment “type song. Lauren didn’t shy away from the power notes while still showing restraint when needed. I was a good performance from Lauren – just what she needed.
Hailey Reinhardt – “I Who Have Nothing” by Ben E. King
Interesting that they changed the order of performances for the second songs. I’m not sure they’ve ever done that before. Hailey started off the songs of Leiber and Stoller with a mentor session from Lady GaGa (who looked disturbingly like a zombie version of Shirley from “Laverne and Shirley”). She encouraged Hailey to be theatrical and dramatic. The judges loved the performance – giving her yet another standing ovation and doing everything they could to make sure she makes the top three. Please America – don’t fall for it.
Scotty McCreery – “Young Blood” by the Coasters
I’m not sure Scotty was ready for GaGa. She tried to get him to sing into the mic by telling him – “That’s your girlfriend and she’s telling you – if you don’t stick your tongue down my throat, we’re through.” He turned redder than Howdy Doody’s hair. As soon as Scotty started performing, I checked out. He hit the bottom of the stairs and his eyebrows hit the roof. To be fair, it was a less than serious song – but I still couldn’t connect with him. He did get bonus points for finding Casey in the crowd and singing to him, but that was one of the few highpoints for me (along with Steven telling him he made “GaGa’s yaya go lala.”)
Lauren Alaina – “Trouble” by Elvis Presley
Lauren was overly concerned about the word evil in her song during the mentor session with GaGa. I think it was a little much – but so was Jimmy saying that GaGa was a good role model for Lauren. Not so much. The song itself was – okay. There were moments that really shined, and then there were some awkward moments in the arrangement. Lauren sounded good, but not great. Will it be enough to get her past Hailey and in to the top three? I certainly hope so.
James Durbin – “Love Potion #9” by The Searchers
It was nice to see James both open and close the show. During his mentor session, GaGa worked with him on loosening up and “putting his body” into the performance (at one point working him like a stripper on a pole.) He didn’t quite have Elvis’ hips working during the performance, but he sang the lights out. He wanted a Bad Company/Paul Rogers feel to the song, and it worked. What I really loved was the way he stopped the band cold at the end of the song and worked the crowd through the ending. It was not only a great vocal, it was a great performance. My only question is – Hailey got a standing ovation for her performance from the judges and James didn’t? Really?
Overall it was a decent show. I enjoyed many of the performances, but I don’t know that I was completely blown away by anyone. It’s clear that all four want to make the top three, and are doing everything they can to get there. I can only hope that Hailey’s disastrous opening number and subsequent sour attitude are enough to send her packing this week.
We’ll find out tomorrow, as well as get a preview of Steven’s new music video and a performance from Lady GaGa. I can’t wait to see what THAT turns out to be. Until then – Word Zombie out.
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