Another week, another round of performances! This week, we actually got a theme that is not only awesome, but will be absolutely critical in finding out which of the contestants can really win this thing. This week, the kids performed songs from the 21st century. Essentially, they should call this week “The type of album I’ll be selling to you” week. We really got to see who they are as artists, the type of album they’d want to make, and weather or not they’ll be able to actually move the charts.
As a result, we got the opportunity to see which contestants are ready to push their first album, and which ones need some work. We got some fantastic performances, some weaker ones, and some contestants even had some glaring weaknesses called out for the first time…no thanks to the cheerleading squad.
Speaking of the judges, can I say something before I rank the contestants? They seem to getting their act together…slowly. This is by far the most interesting group of judges the show has had, and tonight, they were especially entertaining.
We started with a surprise performance from the bottom 6 contestants; Karen, Paul, Naima, Pia, Thia, and Ashthon. They sang Pink’s “So What,” which was an awful choice for them, but you know…whatever. At least they got to sing. The ladies sauntered out, and looked like a cohesive girl group. They could have easily been the next big thing; Pia as the diva voice, Ashthon as the smooth rnb voice, Karen as the cute Latina, Thia as the adorable maknae, and Naima as the charismatic rapper. How is that not gold? It was actually a pretty decent performance, and then Paul came out. His voice is really just not conducive to group performances.
On to the rankings!
7. Jacob Lusk – Dance With My Father
Jacob confirmed my one concern with him. He will never have a hit album. This was the week to pick something contemporary, modern, and marketable. Instead, he chooses a song that sounds like it was recorded in 1986. What the heck, Jacob? That wouldn’t have been a problem if he had…you know, sang it well. Now, I did notice that he had problems with his ear piece. I gave him some leeway for that, but he oversang the parts of the song that should have been sang intimately and softly. Plus, his tone was just off. Overall, it was a valiant effort that just fell flat in every way. After this performance, I’m done with Jacob. He can’t win it, he can’t sell albums, and his performances have become increasingly lackluster.
6. Scotty McCreery – Swingin’
I liked that he picked an uptempo, sontemporary song, and sang it with some energy. I think I finally saw the type of song that Scotty should be singing. If that was a Scotty McCreery single…I would’ve bought it. I just wish that he had given something, anything extra. It was soooo safe! We’ve seen this same performance like a thousand times before, and I was really happy that the judges called him out on it. It’s time to step out of the box Scotty!
5. James Durbin – Uprising
This is going to be a very unpopular opinion, and I may very well be alone on this one. Oh well, it’s my blog, right? I did not like James’s take on this song. I thought he oversang it into hell, and it just didn’t sound right. He could have done it well. He should have done it well. However, he sang it a bajillion octaves too high, and I didn’t like what it did to the song. Now don’t get me wrong, the drummers were a nice touch, and as far as the actual performance aspect of it goes, James was top notch. But being a fan of the original, I didn’t like the liberties he took on the vocal, and I was mildly surprised when the judges gave him a tongue bath rather than calling him out on it. Oh well, my opinion. I’m still a huge fan of James, but I didn’t get this performance.
4. Stefano Langone – Closer
This was a good performance, but not the greatest. You know when there’s a really popular boyband, and one of them leaves to go solo? That’s kind of what this was like. It was just a tepid pop performance. The vocals were pretty good, and Stefano showed lots of swag and confidence. However, he lacked something. Maybe it was the poise and grace that comes with experience on stage, maybe it’s that “x-factor,” but it came off as a bit amateur. What it did show, however, was potential. Stefano has the potential to become a top selling artist on today’s charts. I always did think that was his biggest asset. However, this performance showed that he still needs some time to get there. He can do it, and I feel like after the tour he will have become the artist he can be. However, I don’t think he has what it takes to win against the others.
3. Lauren Alaina – Born to Fly
What I saw tonight was a Lauren that now realizes the severity of the situation in front of her. She has a shot of winning American Idol, and she needs to get ready for that possible reality. After the judges comments, and her session with Iovine, she knows what I’ve been saying for awhile; she’s holding back. That step one in becoming a legitimate artist. Tonight, I saw a return to the Lauren that I fell in love with. She sang a contemporary Country song, and just let loose on stage. Now, if she could just let loose on the vocals, she would be 100% there. She has a small hill to overcome, but she can do it.
2. Casey Abrams – Harder to Breathe
Casey attempted to do what he did with the Nirvana song, but this time he got it 100% right. It was a gritty, indie rock performance that was quite simply, fantastic. The vocals weren’t perfect, but they didn’t need to be. He sold the song with the arrangement, and his solid conviction. When he got right in the judges face, I was really impressed by his fearlessness, and when he kissed Jennifer, I was sold. This kid is ready to make an album right now. Weather it’s Jazz, indie rock, or whatever, Casey is born to do music.
1. Haley Reinhart – Rolling in the Deep
As soon as they said she was doing this song, I thought to myself “nailed it.” I’ve been saying for awhile that this is her pocket; Adele, Duffy, Amy Winehouse, Susan Thedischi…that’s what Haley should be doing. It fit her like a glove. The vocal was just awesome, and she put all the angst that the song needed into the performance. When Casey and James pull out the stage antics, it’s fantastic, but what really impresses me is when someone can stand in one place and captivate the room. That is exactly what Haley did. I was actually a little bit surprised when the judges didn’t fawn over Haley. After this daring take on a difficult song, and hitting the bulls-eye, Haley has officially become my new favorite.
And with that, I believe the bottom 3 to be;
Jacob, Stefano, and a surprise guest. Probably Lauren or Haley…you know, cause it won’t ever be Scotty.
However, Stefano is toast, which sucks, because I’m done with Jacob.
Whatever, until tomorrow night!