We got saddled with "I Believe I Can Fly", "All By Myself", "Smile", "I Could Fall In Love" and "When You Tell Me That You Love Me". REALLY, contestants?! You've got the ability to work with some top-notch current producers and you decide to sing songs like those? Sigh. But then again, these producers were injecting some crazy things to these songs, most ridiculously a dance beat to "Lately". Oh lawd.
Lauren Alaina - "Any Man Of Mine" by Shania Twain
+1 for not picking a boring ballad. But -1 for picking a cheesy out-with-the-girls-at-a-karaoke-bar song. This is not a song that makes people pick up the phone and vote for you. Also contributing to the not wanting to pick up the phone and vote for you mentality? Her attitude. Wow. That was one hell of a bitch face she gave to STEVEN TYLER of all people. He's been putting the hard sell on her all season and barely said anything bad about her tonight. He just didn't fawn all over her like he normally does. It was so not worthy of the death stares and the pouty lip. What a brat! Oh, and the "I just didn't want to do a ballad 'cause that's what everyone does" comment? ISWYDT, Lauren. Tsk.
Casey Abrams - "With A Little Help From My Friends" by The Beatles (covered by Joe Cocker)
Casey's secret serial killer image didn't improve with the last half of this performance. The first half was fine, but then he started getting angry at his friends and lost me. Yes, he's doing it Cocker style, but why is it so angry and guttural?
Ashthon Jones - "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" by Diana Ross
The Season 4 cast recorded this song as a charity single, and then Vonzell Solomon (the inventor of the Key of V) sang it a few weeks later on Billboard night. Ashthon inexplicably resurrected this song and sang it in the key of V, X, Y AND Z. Woof. She was all over the place on this!
Paul McDonald - "Come Pick Me Up" by Ryan Adams
Jennifer Lopez has no idea who Ryan Adams is, and sadly, she probably stands in the same company as more than half of America. Which makes this song selection potentially deadly for Paul. Not only because it's unfamiliar but also because it's a bit understated. Paul tried to liven it up with his, uh, dancing, but his dancing is so peculiar that I'm not certain it helped his cause. He looked like he was doing the Russian Trepak at one point. It's becoming a caricature. And I haven't even delved into the voice. The wispy rasp is unique, certainly, but I don't think I could handle hearing more than 1 minute of that in a song, let alone 4. I listened to Ryan Adams' version to hear what the original sounds like - wow. So much more pleasant to listen to.
Pia Toscano - "All By Myself" by Eric Carmen (covered by Celine Dion)
Yes, she picked a Celine song. Yes, she picked another ballad. Yes, she just stood there and sang and gestured. And if she doesn't branch out soon, I may have to pick a new horse. But I can't deny that she didn't sing this song very well. She has a great voice. She just needs to show a little bit more personality and liveliness.
James Durbin - "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney
It says something about his performance skills when this guy, who I have gotten my hate on for throughout the season, manages to worm his way into my favorites on show night. James has been delivering like whoah, and he toned down the screaming tonight. J.Lo hit the nail on the head with him - he's very melodic. This was really good.
Haley Reinhart - "Blue" by LeAnn Rimes
The yodeling surprisingly didn't bother me as much. I think I was too distracted by her hula dancing. What in the world?! Also, Randy Jackson touched on this briefly - she went from singing Alicia Keys to singing this. I have no idea what kind of music she wants to sing. Is she a country singer? Is she an R&B singer? No clue!
Jacob Lusk - "I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly
Jacob's Idol is a pedophile! Really crappy and trite song choice here, but Jacob was helped out by a choir (so was Casey), which almost always makes everything sound better than it really is. Only thing missing was Blake Griffin dunking over a Ford Focus. It's week one! Pace yourself, Idol, or you're going to end up having to have the Idols sing with dead people by finale night. Not that Jacob is going to get to the finale after an out of tune performance like that. Then again, if the judges keep ignoring his shortcomings like that, he could still get a spot in the finale.
Thia Megia - "Smile" by Charlie
I'm going to try to believe that Thia's favorite artist really is Michael Jackson (who had maybe one hit during Thia's lifespan) and that she didn't pick Michael Jackson because Randy said she reminded him of MJ. Ahem. Anyway, Thia-bot picked another old, super-slow song. Yawn. Then she (or these crazy producers) decided to add a little jazzy beat in the middle that made zero sense and made me long for the boring slow stuff again. Oh dear.
Stefano Langone - "Lately" by Stevie Wonder
Stef. A. No. Sings. Like. This. Ver. Y. Sta. Cca. To. And. Short. And putting that stupid dance beat into it made the staccato that much more pronounced. UGH. Do. Not. Want. That song doesn't need a dance beat to modernize it. Just ask Jodeci. And that was almost 20 years ago.
Karen Rodriguez - "I Could Fall In Love" by Selena
Oh, Karen. Could you be any more predictable? Or boring? The Selena-inspired pantsuit was the moldy icing on the cake. She has a pleasant voice, but that's just it - it's just pleasant. There's no spark.
Scotty McCreery - "The River" by Garth Brooks
All you had to do was survey the crowd during his performance to know that this kid is going far in this competition. The noise level from the audience hooting and hollering started gradually creeping up as he sang, and then you could see people start to really get into the performance, standing up in the back third of the song. I'm not a fan of Scotty's type of country music, but he's clearly really good at what he does.
Naima Adedapo - "Umbrella"
Well she's got the Rihanna pop star thing down pat with the inability to sing live while dancing. Maybe after this experience she will "overstand" that (snort) and put in more instrumental breaks or something if she wants to dance. From a vocal standpoint, it was rough. From a performance standpoint, she was one of the few on the night who actually put on a show, so major props to her for that. Also? BOOM! FIYAH! Heh.
Bottom 3: Ashthon, Karen and Paul
Going home: Ashthon