By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes
American Idol songs from the 21st century started off oddly enough: with the fallen contestants coming out to sing a pretty terrible rendition of Pink’s “So What.” I thought the filler performances were reserved for Thursday night to waste space… not prime competition Wednesday night.
Scotty McCreery kicked off the actual for-vote performances, with an insanely cheesy version of LeAnn Rimes’ “Swingin.’” In the video intro before his performance, the rest of the cast made fun of the way Scotty holds his microphone like a flute and winked a lot, and he came out doing that even more than usual. Was he being self-aware and poking fun at those poking fun of him? It doesn’t really matter. His performance was cheesy, it was tired, and there had to have been a much better song for him to choose. I’m tired of Scotty, and I feel that this may be his last week.
In the night’s performance that Simon Cowell would’ve hated, James Durbin performed Muse’s hit “Uprising” in some post-apocalyptic looking costume as he entered from the rear of the Idol-dome with a marching band. I get that Muse is all about the theatrics in their live show, but this seemed to be a bit over-the-top for an Idol performance. I liked what he did, and what he tried to do. I think Muse is a great band, and James has been a consistently good performer, but something didn’t quite click with me tonight. It should’ve been better than it was.
Haley Reinhart made a gutsy move when electing to sing the veritable song of the moment, Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” Not only is the Adele song (and album!) so amazing as an original (and is everywhere!), everyone seems to be making covers of this song. Jennifer Lopez was right, Haley took a huge risk with this song, but personally, I think it paid off. There were moments where it wasn’t great, but there were moments where I felt that Haley found the perfect type of artist to strive to be after Idol ends.
In the most emotional performance of the night, Jacob Lusk sang Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father,” dedicated to his father who passed when Jacob was only twelve. All season, Jacob has been compared to Luther, so it was interesting to see him tackle a Luther song already. When Jacob faltered in the beginning, I thought it was because the emotions were getting to him, but apparently, the track in his in-ear device wasn’t working properly. Vocally it was simultaneously great, and not his best, which seems weird to say, but really is a testament to how talented Jacob is. I would’ve liked him to do more with the song, and be less restrained, because that’s when his voice is at its best.
Casey Abrams wore a new performer hat with his rock-fueled performance of Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe.” It was good, but again, not my favorite of his. It seemed a little forced and weird, to be perfectly honest. I like Casey, I’ll always root for Casey, but I’m not sure if this was the right direction for him. I like seeing him try new things, since he’s so unbelievably talented, but the angry rocker is not the best look for him.
Lauren Alaina closed out the show with a cute performance of Sara Evans’ “Born to Fly.” It worked for her. She had a lot of energy, she sang it really well, and it was just very uncomplicated. It was another good, but not great, performance in a night that seemed to be entirely riddled with them. I really like Lauren, and like the judges, I think she’s capable of doing incredible things vocally (I honestly believe she has the best raw voice in the competition), but she seems to doubt herself and get nervous a bit too much, and hold back as a result. Maybe her show-ending heart to heart with the judges will be the affirming nudge she needs to really start tearing it out of the park. I’d like to see Lauren win the whole season, but she needs to start getting bigger and bolder if she wants that to happen.
My predictions for bottom three: Scotty, Stefano, Jacob.