Chris Daughtry put it, "Watching Idol...Um....I thought it was Rock N Roll week".
It wasn't the most rock & roll show we've ever seen, but at least they left the rock & roll trainwrecks off the stage, making this week's show one of the strongest of the season from top-to-bottom. Everyone was pretty solid, but at the same time, no one was spectacular either, further complicating a season in which no one has truly broken free of the pack. On the surface, it still remains anyone's game (although I've been convinced for weeks that Scotty is going to win this one running away).
Jacob Lusk - "Man In The Mirror" by Michael Jackson
Jacob changed from "Let's Get It On" to "Man In The Mirror" because he couldn't get on stage and sing about "doing the nasty." Yet, he was perfectly okay with the hip thrusts he did that looked like he was doing the nasty. Uh, ok! And if he is in the bottom 3, "it won't be because I sang the song bad, it won't be because I sang the song wrong ... it'll be because everybody in America wasn't ready to look at themselves in the mirror." Oh REALLY now? It couldn't possibly be because you just made yourself really unlikeable right there? Or because they're not a fan of your hammy moves or Charlie Brown faces? Nah.
Haley Reinhart - "Piece Of My Heart" by Janis Joplin
Haley singing Janis Joplin was inevitable. She has been spending too much time with Casey and Paul, I think. Her growls are becoming more and more guttural, and her movements are becoming more and more Drunk Uncle Paul. There was one part when she started stomping around with one arm swinging back and forth like Quasimodo. And of course that was the part they showed on the playback. Oy. But there were parts of that song where she sounded awesome, like the come on, come on, come on part right before her Quasimodo moment.
Casey Abrams - "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Casey Abrams changed his song from "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" because Jimmy Iovine and will.i.am said it was too loungey. He changed it to "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" ... and it sounded loungier. But still - probably one of his best performances of the season for me (when he wasn't growling and baring his teeth). I like him better when he brings out the upright bass, but I wouldn't call it "revolutionary" like Randy did (it was also funny when Steven said "nobody" plays the upright bass when 20 minutes later someone was playing it on stage during Scotty's song).
Lauren Alaina - "Natural Woman" by Aretha Franklin
Lauren Alaina is borrowing from the Kelly Clarkson playbook, singing "Natural Woman". It's not at a Kelly Clarkson level (and thank you, Randy, for going there), but Lauren sounds really good. I do felt, though, like she was holding back a little.
James Durbin - "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" by George Harrison
I actually liked this with the strings and dramatic lighting .... until he screamed that last note. Ugh, James. It's so unnecessary. Even Jacob controlled his over-singing tonight.
Scotty McCreery - "That's Alright" by Elvis Presley
There's a natural charm to Scotty, and I enjoyed this performance; it was a nice departure from the same song he always sings week after week. He's comfortable performing, although his hip-hop arm totally make me laugh.
Pia Toscano - "River Deep Mountain High" by Ike & Tina Turner
When Melinda Doolittle does an Ike & Tina Turner song with 200x more energy and sass than you do ("Nutbush City Limits"), you're doing it wrong, Pia. She needed to go nuts on this song, and it was like watching it at half-speed. It's an improvement, though.
Stefano Langone - "When A Man Loves A Woman" by Percy Sledge
I hate this song. Sorry. And the way Stefano first started singing it made me hate it even more. It got better as the song went on, but he did absolutely nothing to make me like this performance. And he messed up the words again.
Paul McDonald - "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash
I think the key to this whole performance was Paul starting it off with "What's up, yo?" He didn't do it last week, and BOOM right to the bottom 3. He threw in a bunch of "yo"'s during the song just to make sure. I don't even know what to make of this performance. He was frenetically moving around and grinning his way through this song like he was at a hoe-down. Only thing missing was a banjo player. And every time Paul moved towards the other guitar player, it was hilarious to watch him take a step or two back in slight fear. I don't even know anymore.
Bottom 3 Prediction: Jacob, Haley, Stefano
Going home: Stefano