The heat is on and none of the top 3 quite hit their marks tonight. Plus, Fox told the producers to stretch nine songs over two hours. That meant more filler than in Joan Rivers‘ cheeks!
We had to suffer through that terrible Beyonce song and her pointless “mentoring.” They aired the original auditions from the three finalists (which actually wasn’t terrible filler.) Ryan Seacrest attempted to joke with Randy like he used to with Simon. Scotty McCreery’s dad sang the opening to that Josh Turner song his son loves so much. Lauren Alaina’s mom said she felt like she aged 20 years. Lauren’s pantyhose ripped. Scotty’s eyes bugged out even more than usual. Haley Reinhart tripped up some stairs and battled a wind machine. The judges jibber jabbered even longer than normal, including five utterances of “beautiful’ from Steven Tyler, four more “beautifuls” from Jennifer Lopez and four “in it to win it” references from Randy Jackson.
Oh, there was some singing, too. I suspect the pressure of having to do three songs, plus the hometown visits and the week-in-week-out vocal wear and tear have ground down the contestants. They are all looking forward to the finale at this point, win or lose. Scotty struggled a bit hitting some high notes outside his comfort zone. Both Lauren and Haley were breathier than normal.
My favorites: Nothing tonight blew me away. I enjoyed Lauren’s “I Hope You Dance’ and “If I Die Young,” along with Haley’s “What Is and What Will Never Be.” (Nice touch to have her dad play guitar. It gave her an authenticity booster.)
My ranking: 1. Haley “What Is…” 2. Lauren “I Hope You Dance” 3. Lauren “If I Die Young” 4. Scotty’s “Amazed” 5. Lauren’ Wild One” 6. Scotty’s “Are You Gonna…” 7. Haley’s “You Oughta Know” 8. Haley’s “Rhiannon” 9. Scotty’s “She Believes In Me.”
Who will go home: I’m having a hard time with this one. I still think Scotty will make it through based on his fan base, not on his rather tepid performances tonight. I also believe in the vote splitting theory. Haley will sneak through as the only non-country pick. That means my favorite Lauren will unfortunately miss out on the finals. I hope I’m wrong!
1. Scotty McCreery (”Amazed” Lonestar) – He doesn’t quite give this the emotional edge the original had. It’s a decent facsimile and he shows some upper range but it never quite crescendos.
2. Lauren Alaina (”Wild One” Faith Hill) – It’s fun but her voice is definitely not 100%. She has some vocal control issues that wasn’t as evident in the past.
3. Haley Reinhart (”What Is and What Will Never Be ” Led Zeppelin) – She gets her dad on stage and totally engulfs herself. She trips up the stairs and keeps going. It’s undoubtedly entertaining whether you like her or not.
Next three: Jimmy Iovine’s pick
4. Scotty (”Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not” Thompson Square) – This went No. 1 last year on the country chart but the song is kind of ho hum to me. Scotty cheesed it up with his eyebrows and eyes a bit much for me but it wasn’t half bad.
5. Lauren (”If I Die Young” The Band Perry) -I love this song. She was strong for much of the song but lost herself near the end, then missed some notes near the end in an attempt to compensate.
6. Haley (”Rhiannon” Stevie Nicks) – I’ll remember the wind machine more than the actual performance, which was merely okay. She is no Stevie Nicks.
Final three: judges picks
7. Scotty (”She Believes in Me” Kenny Rogers’) – This is not one of Kenny’s better tunes. Scotty couldn’t quite reach the emotional levels that Kenny did. I’m not sure he was sold on the song. It felt sort of flat.
8. Lauren (”I Hope You Dance” LeAnn Womack) – Her vocal fatigue may have worked in her favor in this song. The wariness and weariness added some needed pathos.
9. Haley (”You Oughta Know” Alani Morrisette) – Her verses were weak, especially in the lower register. As the judges said, she made up for it a bit in the choruses. It was not quite the capper she was hoping for.
Best Judges Quotes (thin gruel here!)
“I remember I asked you in the middle of the season to use vibratto at the end of the notes. Now you do it all the time… I bet there are a million girls wishing you were singing the song to them.” J Lo to Scotty after “Amazed”
“You chose a song that’s not for the weak of heart. That was crazy vocals. That was one of your best performances EVER. Crazy, crazy!”: Randy to Haley for her Led Zeppelin cover
“There were so many moments I liked it… you came away after you said the spoken line and you basically started laughing. That’s what the zone feels like… will you shave your head for the finale like the first time we saw you?” J. Lo to Scotty after “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?”
“When you didn’t hit the modulation at the right point, you went back up. That’s what it takes to be a live performer. That was another good song choice by Jimmy Iovine. You are definitely in it to win it.” Randy to Lauren after “If I Die Young.”
“They caught you really beautiful. I thought you’d take it a little further at the end. It was a nice contrast. Very pretty ethereal moment.” J. Lo to Haley about “Rhiannon.”
“I haven’t heard you sing a chorus like that yet. You put me over the top with that.” Tyler to Scotty for “She Believes in Me”
“You gave me goosies from head to toe. That was beautiful, beautiful. (She’s hijacked that word from Tyler!)” – J. Lo for Lauren’s “I Hope You Dance”
“You came on like you owned the Grand o’ Opry. Singing is an extension of who you are. You are at such ease with it. LeAnn is a good friend of mine, too. (Randy said that moments earlier)” – Tyler to Lauren.
“Those were amazing choruses. I love seeing you rocking out. Haley is in it to win it.” – Randy to Haley about her ‘You Oughta Know.”
Cover it Live polling
Haley’s What is: 52, 30, 18
Lauren I Hope You Dance: 48, 35, 16
Haley’s You Oughta Know 41, 26, 33
Haley’s Rhiannon 41, 36, 23
Scotty’s Amazed 40, 44, 16
Scotty’s She Believes in Me 38, 31, 31
Lauren’s If I Die Young 33, 50, 17
Lauren’s Wild Child: 29, 46, 25
Scotty’s Are You Gonna Kiss Me 25, 36, 39
Round one who won: Haley 39% Scotty 32% Lauren 9%
Will Scotty have a prayer with country radio? 96% said yes
Beyonce as mentor: Helpful: 23% Not helpful: 77%
Beyonce’s video: Captivating: 0% Okay:17% Bleh: 83%
Facetious take on the video: Bad: 0% Just awful: 11% Retchingly terrible: 50% Beyond sickening: 39%
Haley’s attitude: Justified: 60% Annoying: 40%
Lauren’s attitude: Sweet: 65% Annoying: 35%
Scotty’s attitude: Likable: 75% Annoying: 25%
Round two-who won? Haley: 41% Lauren 30% Scotty 30%
Round three-who won? Haley-50% Lauren 40% Scotty 10%
Who should go home? Haley 38% Scotty 38% Lauren 25%