With the unexpected voting off of Casey Abrams last week and the expected and deserved saved American Idol is going through a repeat this week. The sweet songs of Elton John this week will hopefully inspire some creative performances from the contestants.
Scotty McCreery — Country Comfort
Nothing really new to say here about Scotty. It was a very composed and nice performance. It frustrates me at times that he doesn’t really seem to take any risks and skates through while Casey is pushing the envelope and gets voted off (almost). But, Scotty is good and will be able to make a few good records. At this point I see him finishing about 6th or possibly 5th depending on other song choices of the more talented artists.
Naima Adedapo — I’m Still Standing
As much as I can not stand Naima and think she is probably the least talented one left, she is a risk taker and I definitely respect her for that. This actually wasn’t a horrible performance. It was a different and a little strange, but I will never hold that against a contestant taking a risk to try and grow as an artist. What I don’t understand is why she keeps getting by and Casey gets voted off (there seems to be a theme of anger this week, sorry.)
Paul McDonald — Rocket Man
Bonus points to Paul for dressing the part and for putting the dark and brooding feel into this song. It is a nice change for him. There are some points, especially towards the end where I wish he had taken the song a little bit different, stronger direction. The first half of the song I liked a lot, and he seemed to be building to a crescendo. Either he made a conscious choice to not go that way or he can’t. I guess we don’t know, so I am guessing he can’t. I do like the originality of the song here, but he needs to push and show off some more.
Pia Tuscano — Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me
Well, after Pia’s promise last week to try something new, she came back with the same old and Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez totally back pedaled on what they said. (Well Lopez is maybe making a good clarification, but they need to be harsher.) Steven Tyler just says yeah to everybody and takes his paycheck. Now he agrees with the other two. I mean, Pia sings ballads very well, but I would argue Clay Aiken’s performance was better at this point in the show and I would bet that Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood (Possibly Katharine McPhee as well) could have sang that just as well if not better. The difference between those two champions and Pia is showmanship. She has not moved more than 40 feet collectively since the actual competition started.
This video hopefully illustrates my point, there are plenty of people that can belt that song out. Here is my favorite. And as Randy says, where is that voice coming from?
Stefano Langone — Tiny Dancer
Stefano is making my point for me. He is not as good of a singer as Pia, but his performance was better than hers. When he pulled that microphone off the stand and started walking on the stage, he made his performance. Being a start isn’t just about being able to sing, it is about connecting with the audience and telling a story. Stefano keeps growing and getting better each week and that is not something I expected.
Lauren Alaina — Candle in the Wind
Here you see what happens when you put great vocals with a little bit of showmanship. You can tell she is petrified or something on some of the close ups of her face. (Possibly she is just really thinking I’m not sure.) When you put it into perspective that she is only 17 is amazing. She has shown that she can run around the stage and that she can belt it out. I don’t mean to keep sounding like a Pia hater, but it seems like she just expects to win with her voice and looks (which are both great) but these other contestants have that something extra that should push them past her.
“You’ll be able to afford the rest of that dress” — Steven Tyler — Hilarious
James Durbin — Saturday Night’s All Right
I’m not a big fan of rock music so I feel like I should have been more impressed by this performance. But, I guess I have come to expect these performances from him. He takes over the stage and sings well and has all the showmanship I could want. I would say to him the same as I would say to the others. Let’s hear a nice ballad from James in the near future. I think he could do something like what Bo Bice did to really showcase his talent. I loved the microphone stand toss, and the piano started on fire?!?! Wow!
Thia Megia — Daniel
Thia give the same performance she has given most weeks. A nice ballad that she could sing in her sleep. She did try to pick a song that was meaningful to her, so that was nice, but in a competition with at least two other power ballad singers (Pia & Lauren) she isn’t doing enough to differentiate herself.
Casey Abrams — Your Song
My favorite contestant singing my favorite Elton John song. This should be really good. What Casey is doing is precisely what I think James should do. You have to remind to remind America how you can be commercial, without losing yourself too much. I was worried that Casey was selling out here, but he still had an angry snarl towards the end and a nice little falsetto at the end. He finished it strong, but maybe a little too much anger at the end. I’m not sure how I feel about the vocals, it seemed like it was pitchy at times, and I’m not sure if Randy is letting him off easy to justify the save or if I am wrong. Steven said that Casey is nice because he sings different every week which reminds me a lot of Crystal Bowersox who went far in the show.
Jacob Lusk — Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word
Jacob has so much emotion in his voice, bu the part of the song where he looks like he wants to cry would have been a lot better for me if he would move a little bit. He is like a statue. Great vocals on this and a nice elegant performance from him. The actual tone of his voice is not my favorite, but Jacob did a fantastic job and he is a fantastic singer. He is willing to try different things and grow and change as an artist. I like Randy’s advice that he needs to show the whole range and not just be restrained. The contestants need to show that they have control, but also need to remind us who the artists are versus the singers.
Haley Reinhart — Benny and the Jets
The producer’s comments in rehearsal that there always seems to be one part of Haley missing each week was particularly insightful. It seems like we are getting all of her this week. We have some soul and jazz at parts of the song and then we have her high pitched notes that are reminiscent of the yodeling from earlier in the season. I don’t know that I particular cared for the performance, but maybe that was more me not really liking the song as opposed to Haley’s performance. Best performance of the night might be a little over the top, Randy, but it was definitely a great performance.
This weeks Performance Ranking
- Lauren Alaina
- James Durbin
- Stefano Langone
- Jacob Lusk
- Haley Reinhart
- Casey Abrams
- Pia Tuscano
- Scott McCreery
- Paul McDonald
- Thia Megia
- Naima Adedapo