Only one more week until we crown this year’s American Idol. Last night saw the top three put in their last performances for America in a bid to secure one of the top two slots. Each contestant performed three songs (making for a 2 hour show again…) – one of their choosing, one chosen from them by Jimmy Iovine, and one selected by the judges. There were some interesting selections, but nothing really blew me away.
This week’s “mentor” was Beyoncé. I say “mentor” because Hailey let slip in her time with Beyoncé that the sessions with her were actually filmed earlier that day. By that time, I’m pretty sure the performances were pretty well baked. I don’t think Beyoncé had that much to add. That being said, it was still a good excuse for her to premiere her new music video and appear on the live show. Hooray for Beyoncé.
Before we get started, a few random observations about people in the crowd and the show in general:
- Congratulations “Fuzzy Gray Dog Costume Guy” – you got yourself on camera. Unfortunately, all of your frat brothers are now going to call you Spot and ask you to lick yourself at parties.
- Was that Didi Benami standing next to “Fuzzy Gray Dog Costume Guy”? Sure looked like it. More on Didi later.
- How sad is it that one girl in the audience held up a sign that said – “Thank You Ford”?
- Looks like James had a pretty good crowd at his homecoming this weekend. I still think you screwed the pooch last week, America.
- Lots of Hailey signs in the audience. I sense a disturbance growing in the Force.
- Was that Lisa Marie Presley in the audience, or just some woman with an uncomfortable amount of plastic surgery in her past?
- Beyoncé has sold 75MM albums? Really? She premiered her new video on the show. From what I could tell during my TiVo’s fast forward, it was some sort of Mad Max affair with dancing.
- Neil Sedaka was in the audience with Jimmy Iovine. He’s still alive? Who knew?
Not that’s out of the way; let’s see how the remaining three contestants fared…
Scotty McCreery – “Amazed” by Lonestar
Scotty was first to hit the stage and chose to perform “Amazed” by Lonestar. Beyoncé didn’t have much to add in the way of coaching, so let’s just get to the performance. It started off pretty strong. Scotty chose to stand at the piano to open the song, which helped draw the audience in. As always, if I closed my eyes, I enjoyed the song far more. Once I opened them however, the magic was gone. You could tell Scotty was really feeling it by the overdramatic waving of his arms and pumping of his fists. I’ll give him credit for attacking the high notes after the modulation. All in all, not a bad performance from Scotty – but better if you were blind.
Lauren Alaina – “Wild One” by Faith Hill
Second up was Lauren with “Wild One” by Faith Hill. It was a good song choice and Beyoncé nailed when she said Lauren tends to loosen up when she has a fun, up-tempo song. She came out with a good bit a confidence and put a lot of attitude into the song. I enjoyed the performance – I could have down without the sparkly silver cowboy boots – but it was a good performance. The Zombie household will be voting for Lauren tonight.
Hailey Reinhart – “What Is And What Should Never Be” – by Led Zeppelin
Third to sing (and get the eventual pimp spot – AGAIN) was Hailey. She chose to sing “What Is And What Should Never Be” – which seemed to perplex Beyoncé. Me too. It was interesting to hear Zeppelin on Idol, but not from Hailey. Two things worked in her favor. First, when she circled the judges, she tripped and fell –but popped right back up. The producers couldn’t have scripted a better metaphor for the story line they have crafted for her – “Hailey gets criticized every week, but keeps coming back!” Second, she had her father play on stage with her. That’s sure to pull a few heartstrings. I will say this – her dad’s a pretty good guitar player. Props to Mr. Reinhardt. I’m still not a Hailey fan – but I’ll make a prediction right now – she’s going to win the show. They’ve brought her along, made America feel sorry for her with a few well-placed criticisms, and then had the judges heap praise on her at all the right moments. It hurts me to say it – but she will be the next American Idol. (By the way – was her dress made our of ripped up trash bags? I’m just asking…)
Scotty McCreery – “Are You Going To Kiss Me Or Not” by Thompson Square
They started out by reshowing Scotty’s audition. I had forgotten that Scotty was the one who inspired Steven to expound upon ducks and matches. Jimmy chose “Are You Going To Kiss Me Or Not” for Scotty to sing. He told us it reminded him of old Tom Petty records. Huh? Anyway – Scotty broke out his guitar for the song, which helped keep him a little more under control. He still managed to work his eyebrows into the song, but at least we avoided more DJ McCreery fist pumping. It was not Scotty’s best vocal performance, but it wasn’t bad. Randy compared Scotty to Garth Brooks. Hold on – let’s back that bus up a little. Garth Brooks? Let’s not get carried away. It was okay; let’s just leave it there.
Lauren Alaina – “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry
After the commercial break, Lauren’s pantyhose had ripped so they decided to show the make-up woman putting shimmer on her legs. My wife turned to me and said – “Really, they have to show that?” I felt bad for Lauren. They showed her audition again and we all got relive her duet with Steven. Jimmy chose “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry for her to sing. Yet another song that I wasn’t familiar with, but one I’m going to have to go download. I have to hand it to Jimmy – I really liked Lauren and that song together. It was not a happy song, but it was hauntingly beautiful, especially the lyric – “the sharp knife of a short life, I’ve had just enough time”. I got caught up in the song, just like Lauren did, so much so she missed her key change. Regardless, it was another great performance from her.
Hailey Reinhart – “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac
When they showed Hailey’s audition I realized something – she and her growling were annoying from the very beginning. Jimmy chose “Rhiannon” for Hailey to sing. She told Ryan she was trying hard to remember the words because it was such an abstract song. Abstract? Huh? The entire performance was, again, perplexing. The camera looked like the lens had been smeared with Vaseline at the beginning of the song. Then came the wind machine. Seriously? I felt like I was watching a bad Clairol commercial. If you want to hear a good version of the song (if there is such a thing – I can’t say I’ve ever cared much for Stevie Nicks), look no further than Didi Benami from last year – conveniently posted below.
Scotty McCreery – “She Believes In Me” by Kenny Rogers
The third and final song of the night for Scotty was the judges’ pick – “She Believes In Me” by Kenny Rogers. When Scotty got the text from the judges with the song, he didn’t look happy. I’m not sure the judges did him any favors in picking that song. It’s a good song, but it didn’t really allow Scotty to have a “moment”. He started out at the piano again and had on his best “serious face”. The first half of the song was good – but in the second half, he went up into his higher register and almost sounded like he was bleating at times. It just didn’t work for me and was not the best way for Scotty to end his night. On the plus side, his Dad got to tell everyone how proud his entire family was of Scotty. That should help garner a few votes.
Lauren Alaina – “I Hope You Dance” by Leanne Womack
Of the three judges’ picks, this one was the best of the night. Lauren singing “I Hope You Dance” felt natural. (Surprisingly, Lauren chose not to go with the Scotty McCreery version of “I Hope You Dance”, featuring the line – “I said this zone zoo talk and nuts of wonder.” Good choice Lauren.) Lauren looked like she was dressed for either the Grand Ole Opry, or maybe prom, in her floor length dress. She took the stage and delivered a great performance. I still don’t know that she had a “moment”, but it was a solid end to the evening for her. (By the way – apparently Randy knows Leanne Womack. What are the odds he would know a famous recording artist?)
Hailey Reinhart – “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morrisette
If Lauren looked ready to head out to the Prom, Hailey looked and acted like she was ready to head out to dance on a pole somewhere. Even with the family friendly – “would she go out with you to the theater” edit to the lyrics, it was still a bit much. Clearly the judges picked the song to allow Hailey to scream at the top of her lungs during the chorus (all the time STILL waving her left arm around uncontrollably). Was anyone else reminded of her screeching Michael Jackson number from a few weeks ago? Not that it matters – she had the pimp spot this week and she’s heading to the finals.
That was the show. I said last week I wasn’t looking forward to this week’s show after James’ elimination. I was right. There were some good performances, but as I said earlier, nothing that really blew me away. Lauren came close with “If I Die Young”, but it was more about the song itself, not her performance. I looked back at my recaps from last year and I commented that Idol was “stumbling towards the finale”. I think that holds true again this year.
I’m very interested in the results show next week, but I can’t muster up a lot of excitement for any of the potential combinations for next week’s top two. No matter – we will eliminate someone tonight and the showdown next week will be set. Will it be Hailey? Will it be Scotty? Will it be Lauren? Tune in tonight to find out, and tomorrow to read my thoughts on it. Until then – Word Zombie out.
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