“Idol” went to the wayback machine, plucking Carole King songs for our pleasure. And since the show had only six songs left and 90 minutes to kill, producers added duets.
At this stage, the final six singers all have something good to offer and it’s becoming a real battlefield. As Randy constantly stays, who really wants to win this?
[NOTE FOR ATLANTA VIEWERS: We missed a lot of the commentary and an entire song due to tornado warnings from meteorologist Ken Cook. Please see below for James' performance.]
Among the solos, nobody had a truly bad night. But none of the duets really sparkled either.
My top three of the solos: The trio I think will be in the last three surviving by May 12, Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery and James Durbin, all excelled tonight. Lauren felt natural. Scotty warmed the crowd. And James brought a smidge of tenderness to his gruff style.
My bottom three of the solos: Obviously, with only six left, it’s the other three who I expect to be at the bottom. There’s no hiding now! It will be scattered Casey Abrams, melismic Jacob Lusk and sweet enough Haley Reinhart.
My ranking: 1. Lauren 2. Scotty 3. James 4. Haley 5. Jacob 6. Casey
My favorite duet: Jacob and James were all over the place but it was all in goofy fun.
My least favorite duet: Casey and Haley were a bit of a mess, too, but not quite as fun. (Scotty and Lauren were earnest but only adequate.)
Who will go home: I think Jacob might be out of luck this week.
The nine performances in order of appearance (not preference)
1. Jacob Lusk (”Oh No Not My Baby”) - He apparently stole his suit from Pee Wee Herman’s Playhouse closet. But otherwise, he brought his all. If you like his vocal style, you’ll like this one. He has dialed back the hit the heavens notes but still brings plenty of soul.
2. Lauren Alaina (”Where You Lead’) – Occasionally, she has sung tentatively and cautiously. This time, she let it all hang out with what I always knew to be the theme song to “Gilmore Girls.” She was pitch perfect and performed with bursts of confidence. Her stage presence, hair and makeup were the best I’ve seen to date. Even the touch of bringing random dude from the front row worked.
3. Casey Abrams/Haley Reinhart (”I Feel the Earth Move”) – Great song and the pair showed good chemistry, but the harmonies were not good at all.
4. Scotty McCreery (”You’ve Got a Friend”) – He slowed it up and gave us an emotional, heartfelt performance that was recently. He obviously took the criticism last week to heart. His higher register isn’t great but it’s not awful either.
5. James Durbin (”Will You Still Love Me?”) – Nobody in metro Atlanta watching WAGA-TV (Fox 5) could hear James Durbin. Instead, we were getting tornado warnings from Ken Cook. Fortunately, rickey.org posted this quickly afterwards and you can watch below. He shows off his vocal range, if not his control. (He isn’t great at holding a note). But I still enjoyed this thoroughly.
6. Scotty/Lauren (”Up on the Roof”) – This was just ho hum. Lauren had the dominant melodies and worked it better than Scotty.
7. Casey Abrams (”Hi-De-Ho”) – Simon might have called this self indulgent. He brought out his jazzy side with a vengeance. He hepped up the growling, which isn’t my favorite. It was very intense but not very warm.
8. Haley Reinhart (”Beautiful”) – This song works well with her, providing an idyllic outlet for her shallow, pleasant peppiness.
9. James/Jacob (”I’m Into Something Good”) – Pairing these two is odd though both have a tendency to over-sing. And they didn’t disappoint pulling out the stops on what was a relatively low-key Herman’s Hermits song. Heck, they even teased Jennifer Lopez. This was more cheese than Zev and Justin consumed on “Amazing Race” Sunday. But far tastier!
Notable comments from judges
Randy: “A couple of spots were a little sharp. You really brought yourself back. You had an energetic performance. The scatting was incredible.” Steve Tyler to Jacob
“I felt you pushing. You have insecurities… even though it’s encouragement, you only take the negative in sometimes. You pushed. I heard your voice crack a little bit. You’re pushing!” – Jennifer Lopez to Lauren.
“When those people with talent manifest their light, they sometimes can become a dartboard for other people’s fears, doubts and insecurities. Don’ t let it in there!” Tyler to Lauren
“I will give you criticism. When you hit the high notes, don’t fall off.” – Randy to Scotty.
“That’s the first song I ever made out with. It was in a bowling alley. And no, Randy, I did not strike out!” – Tyler about “Will You Still Love Me” sung by James.
“You made my scalp itch it was so good.” – Tyler about Casey
contestant, % yes, voting %okay, not voting % dislike
1. Luren 60, 28, 12
2. Scotty 57, 17, 26
3. Casey 41, 32, 27
4. Jacob/James 38, 19, 43
5. auren/Scotty 33, 42, 25
6. Haley 28, 28, 44
7. James 22, 22, 22 (33% couldn’t hear it because of tornado warnings)0
8. Jacob 20, 30, 50
9. Haley/Casey 15, 30, 56
“The Voice” last night
Really liked it: 38%
It was okay but not sure if I’d watch agai: 27%
Not my cup of tea; 12%
Didn’t bother but might check it out later: 19%
Won’t even give it a chance: 4%