American Idol, Season 10 Episode 36: The Top Three Are In It To Win It

5/18/2011 Posted by Admin

American Idol, Season 10 Episode 36: The Top Three Are In It To Win It

Television Review

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

Tonight the American Idol Top Three each sang three songs a piece – the first of their choosing and was coached by Beyonce, the second of Jimmy Iovine’s choosing, and the final song was of the judges’ choosing. After each “round,” the judges were asked to declare a winner, which I will be doing as well, although spoiler: I feel Haley won the whole night.

First up, Scotty chose to sing Lonestar’s “Amazed,” which reminded me of middle school dances and made me wonder if Scotty was even alive when this song became entirely played out (he was). While his performance was filled with his normal phony and creepy eye glances, it was a great song for him. I’ve come to terms with the fact that Scotty will always look creepy and disingenuous when he sings.

Next, Lauren Alaina sang “Wild One,” by Faith Hill, which was an upbeat and fun song. I agree with Beyonce in that I am happiest with Lauren when she’s doing something fun and energetic, but this wasn’t her best. It was really good, but wound up being her weakest of the night.

Finally, Haley Reinhart came out, tripped a little, but absolutely tore up the stage and rocked out to Led Zeppelin’s “What Is and What Should Never Be,” with the help of her dad shredding on the guitar. It was a beautiful family moment that was only enhanced by Haley dancing and giving the performance of her life. This was the night’s best performance, and why the judges unanimously crowned Haley the winner of Round 1.

I felt that Jimmy Iovine gave the contestants some incredible song choices, which is I guess why he’s paid the big bucks to be chairman of Interscope: the man knows what he’s doing when it comes to producing a hit record.

First, he gave Scotty “Are You Going to Kiss Me Or Not” by Thompson Square, which was my favorite Scotty McCreery song of the season thus far. It was the only song of the night that I was unfamiliar with, but I thought it was Scotty at his best: he played the guitar, he was charismatic, and he was very radio friendly. This was also pop idol Scotty, and I think it will be a big hit with the tweens who adore him.

Next, Lauren sang “If I Die Young” by the Band Perry, a big hit from the only country band I am remotely interested in. I felt that this was a perfect song for Lauren: it was emotional, it was mature, and it would push her limits, and it was successful in all of that. Her voice is better than the original because as Jennifer mentioned, the tone in Lauren’s voice is absolutely incredible.

Haley closed out the round with one of my favorite songs, Fleetwood Mac’s “Rihannon,” another song that I felt was perfectly chosen for Haley. It was interesting seeing videos of their audition before this song, because Haley seemed like a young, simple girl, and in this performance she seemed like a powerful woman diva. Her dress was perfect, her makeup was flawless, the wind machine blowing her hair back was great television production. I truly felt that Haley Reinhart was an Idol superstar at this moment – it didn’t hurt that she sang a great song really well.
While I feel this round was a lot closer than round one, again I have to go with Haley on this one. She was the only contestant to seem like a true superstar and veteran musician, and to me that made all the difference. Her maturity – and the other contestants’ young age – really came across in this round. That said, this was one of my favorite Scotty and Lauren performances today, but Haley still takes it.

Finally, they showed glimpses of the Top Three’s hometown visits, which will be shown in greater detail during the results show. As per usual, each contestant received a text message from the judges on their AT&T phone, informing him or her of their song selection.

First, the judges selected “She Believes In Me” by Kenny Rogers, which was really good for him, but my least favorite performance of the night. To me, it was so hard to follow up his round two song, and this just didn’t do it for me.

Next, Lauren sang “I Hope You Dance” by LeAnn Womack in a perfectly sparkly princess prom dress. To borrow a term from Randy, this was Lauren’s “moment.” This was the moment where she took all the judges’ constructive criticism to heart, and went for the big notes and the big, memorable runs, and just gave her best performance to date. She developed and grew exactly the way they’ve wanted her to, and this was perfect.

Finally, Haley sang Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know,” which I feel may have been a bit of a sabotage moment for Haley. (Yes, last year’s terrible John Mayer selection which threw Casey James under the bus is still a hard moment for me to grasp, so I am very cautious with the judges during this all-important selection.) Sure, she absolutely killed it on the choruses, and I like seeing angry, amped-up Haley tear into a song, but she sounded a bit off in the fast-paced verses.

Winner of round three was without a doubt, Lauren Alaina.

I think it’s really possible for any permutation of singers to appear in next week’s final, and there may not be any logic to the selection. Based on tonight’s performances (and my personal preferences), I think that Haley and Lauren are the two that most deserve to be there, but it’s hard for me to imagine Scotty not in the Top Two (or even winning it). Come to think of it, it’s hard for me to imagine any of them not there next week, even though I cast my votes for Haley and Lauren. It’s a huge contrast to last season, where after the Top Three night, we knew who wouldn’t make it and who would win the whole season without any doubt, and I was a totally biased Casey James fan. This year the closeness of the competition is actually making it incredibly exciting to watch.

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