Season 10’s American Idols took on songs from now and then. “Now”, being current and “then” being the 1960s. This was the perfect night for the contestants to show America what they got with not one, but two songs, and with one of those songs, showcasing what they would sound like if they released an album today.
James Durbin started the night with his current song choice of 3o Seconds To Mars’ “Close To The Edge”. This was the perfect song for James to scream and shout to all while wearing a vest straight from the wardrobe of The Village People. James certainly didn’t have the appeal that Jared Leto exudes while he belts out this song, but James Durbin put his signature spin on it by screaming and hollering, and the crowd ate it up. If James toned down the screaming, he could sit comfortably with rock songs, but sometimes the shouting goes off the note. For his second choice, Durbin sang “Without You” by Harry Nilsson, and was a weepy mess during rehearsal. The song reminded him of his family and he couldn’t get through the song without falling apart. This showed during his live performance because he was definitely off key, especially in his lower register. James ended it nicely in tears. Tears equal votes. Well played Durbin, well played. He’ll be around next week.
Jacob Lusk tried to be all modern and contemporary by singing the Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown duet “No Air”. One person singing a duet never works out, and mentor Jimmy Iovine and Sheryl Crow never told him that. Jacob Lusk was all over the place with the song. Not only was he flapping his body all about the stage, he was screechy, and I’m pretty sure he re-wrote the melody midway through the song and just sang syllables. If this is modern Jacob, no thanks! I’ll take the “church” Jacob. And “church” Jacob was what we got for his second performance of “Love Hurts” by Nazareth. Lusk came on stage with his minister suit and all, and his emotional performance turned into him just squawking on stage. I’ve been saying this every week since the top 12, but this is Jacob’s last week. He has got to be gone… unless America is deaf.
Lauren Alaina brought her contemporary country vibe with Carrie Underwood’s “Flat On The Floor”, and though it looked like her mom did her hair as if she was on Toddlers & Tiaras, Lauren has gained some confidence and it gave her performance some oomph! The song was young, fun, sassy, and it was perfect for Lauren to portray what kind of album she would record. For her second song, Lauren took on the popular and very overdone “Unchained Melody”, and though I thought the song was going to bring her down and swallow her, she handled it pretty well. The song is very mature for Lauren and she is very young; I think that was the only problem with her singing this song. Besides that, she sang it well, and she definitely deserves to stay.
Country crooner Scotty McCreery was next and he sang a modern country song and an older country song.
First, he sang “Gone” by Montgomery Gentry and he was flirting with the camera. The song was not really the kind of vibe he usually performs, so he seemed a little off and his vocals were weak. But, that’s not going to stop Scotty, because he has undeniable swag. Next, Scotty sang Elvis’ “You Were Always On My Mind”. This kid has the magical power to make every slow country song sound like his, now infamous, rendition of “babylockdemdoors” and this is his sweet spot. Scotty knows this and continues on this plane. He gave a solid vocal on this slow jam and Scotty will sail through into next week.
Haley Reinhart closed the show, but for her first song she sang an unreleased Lady Gaga song, “You And I”, and I much prefer Lady Gaga. And I’m not even a Lady Gaga fan. While it seemed everyone enjoyed it in the audience, the judges and I just didn’t get it. She started off sprawled out on the stage steps and surprise, surprise, she growled her way through the entire song. At least Lady Gaga has the captivating performance factor down. Her phrasing was weird throughout the whole song and it just didn’t work for me. For her second number, Haley sang “House Of The Rising Sun”. She started the song acapella and the first two lines were great, and then she went and sexed it up with her growling. She has a great husky, alto voice and I don’t understand why she feels the need to ruin that with theatrics that make her look like a drunk karaoke singer. Haley will definitely land in the bottom 3 tonight after those performances.
Who do you think won’t make the cut? Tune into the American Idol results show tonight @8PM on Fox.