The Verdict on Idol: Top 3 performances

I feel a little bad posting mere hours before the results show, but eh…life happens, yeah?

Last night the top three each took on three songs each. Now that we’re fighting for a spot in the top 2, the steaks are the highest that they’ve ever been, and Haley, Scotty, and Lauren each came out swinging. It was a round of solid performances overall. Although some had weaknesses exposed, and some nuances have yet to really be taken care of, it was a good night over all. In fact, I’m having a hard time ranking them, so this week, I’ll be ranking each round of performances. Shall we then?

Round One; Contestants Choice

3. Lauren Alaina – Wild One
After they reshowed Lauren’s audition, I was reminded that I really do like her. I just wish she performed with that same charisma and spark that she did when she lit up the audition room. This performance was almost a return to that. Her bubbly charm came through, and she actually seemed like she was supposed to be on the stage for one. However, this performance had the same glaring issue that she’s had all season; song choice. No matter how well she sings this song, it will never produce an Idol “moment.” Even Faith doesn’t turn heads when she performs this song. For what it was, it was good, but with another song it could have been so so so much better.

2. Scotty McCreery – Amazed
For his personal pick, Scotty decided to do an incredibly overdone country ballad. In theory, it was a great song choice, and for the first few seconds, it was just as good as it should have been. Then the chorus hit, and I realized something…it was just…good. Scotty really wasn’t bringing anything special to it, and I felt like he was just coasting through the song. Maybe its just because we’ve seen this routine a few times before, and each of them were better, but I felt something lacking from this performance. Still, other than lack kaputzah, it was a decent performance.

1. Haley Reinhart – What Is and What Never Should Be

The undisputed winner of round one was Haley. She jumped onto this LED track and simply tore it up to shreds. Her vocals were on point, and her tone shone through magically. Her stage presence came out full force, and it became clear that she feels amazingly comfortable on stage. Even when she took a slight spill, she got right back up, unfazed, and jumped right back into the song. Plus, with her father on stage, we finally got to learn a little bit more about her. It was another fantastic, rocking performance from our dark horse.

Round Two; Jimmy Iovine’s Choice

3. Scotty – Are You Going to Kiss Me Or Not
Scotty strapped on his gee-tar and sang us a cute little country diddy. “Are You Going to Kiss Me or Not?” was a song that finally fit him, and he gets points for that. I can’t really take Scotty seriously when he sings “Letters From Home” when he’s not even old enough to enlist, but a teenager singing a silly song about kissing? That I’ll buy. The only problem is that it was really forgettable. Right after the next performance, I couldn’t remember anything about this performance. After reminding myself, I remembered that Scotty tried way too hard to put some growl into the song, and as a result, the ends of his phrases sounded pretty off. Plus, I really think that the guitar limited his ability to connect with the audience, because I didn’t quite get this song like I have in the past.

2. Haley – Rhiannaon
Haley took on Stevie Nicks with gusto. This was a haunting and mesmerizing performance. Haley looked simply stunning, and the wind blowing on her gave her the appearance of a siren. The song didn’t really allow her to put her grit and soul into it, though the tone suited her voice like a glove. This song really requires a strong emotional connection to convey, and I thought that Haley did marvelously with that.

1. Lauren – If I Die You
I had never heard this song before, but it was one of my favorite performances from Lauren. I think that the song suited her voice incredibly well, and the lyrics are something special for a 16 year old girl. For the first time all season, I really felt that Lauren was making a connection with the song that she was singing, and I was really happy that she went for the bigger notes at the end, and hit them to boot. By far this was my favorite Lauren performance, and it happened right when she needed to pull out something incredible. Sure, she missed the key change, but I honestly couldn’t tell until she spelled it out for me.
Round Three; Judges Choice

3. Haley – You Outta Know
Haley had a full plate with this song, and she handled it well enough. She was great on the choruses, and she even had that weird little Alains hiccup-growl thing down pat. She made a very convincing rocker chick, but she kind of fell over herself during the bridge. Unfortunately, that’s the best and most memorable part of the song. I give her points for tackling a tough song and coming out with only a minor wound, but that wound cost her a few points on an otherwise perfect score.

2. Lauren – I Hope You Dance
Vocally, Lauren was on point. There’s no doubt about that. It was an effortless vocal, and I think it was a great song choice for her. My only problem with it was the same thing thats been bugging me all season. It was performed like it was the talent portion of the Miss Teen Georgia pageant. It was a pretty girl singing a pretty song without any connection or conviction what so ever, and that stupid little “thank you” right after the last note just throws me out of the song completely. Still, despite these nuances, I must admit to sharing Jennifer’s goosebumps. Lauren had a great night, and this was a great way to go out.

1. Scotty – She Believes In Me

This was by far Scotty’s best vocal in the competition. I feel like we had to slowly drag the song out of him, but once it finally came out, it was much better than I expected it to me. He went for the big notes, and although he had to strain to get there, he finally got there. He had a tender moment with the audience, which is kind of his specialty, and it was great to see.

So…what do you get from that? Haley takes round one by a landslide, Lauren takes round two for being the most improved, and Scotty takes round three pretty much by default. If I had to ran the individual performances, I’d say

9. Lauren – Wild One
8. Scotty – Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?

7. Haley – You Outta Know

6. Scotty – Amazed
5. Lauren – I Hope You Dance
4. Lauren – If I Die Young
3. Haley – Rhiannon
2. Scotty – She Believes in Me
1. Haley – What Is and What Never Should Be

Therefore…

3. Scotty
2. Lauren
1. Haley

Thus, Scotty should be the one to miss out on the final two.

Unfortunately, that probably won’t happen. His fanbase is just too strong to let him tap out now, and I predict that one of the girls will be unjustly taken out. Which one? That is a question that is too close to call. Lauren has been the golden girl since day one, while Haley was a darkhorse who went from the back of the pack to frontrunner. In my opinion, Haley is the only one who earned a place in the finale, but going into tonight’s result show…anything can and will happen.

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