Saturday, June 04, 2011

Top 10 American Idol Season 10 Performances

Now that American Idol Season 10 is in the books, it's time for the annual Top 10 Best Performances list (although I guess I should say semi-annual because I either didn't care enough to do one last year or I didn't think there were 10 performances that I could consider to be good last year). Haley Reinhart tops the list with four entries in the Top 10, while the Top 2 - Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina - each have two (one is a duet they did together).

1. Haley Reinhart/Casey Abrams - Moanin'
Prior to this performance on the Top 8 results show, I was about ready for both of them to go home at any point. Haley was coming off a really unimpressive "Call Me" that week, and Quasimodo'd her way through "Piece of My Heart" the week before. Casey was busy scaring America and being saved from elimination a few weeks earlier by the judges. And then this happened. This was them in their element, and they sounded amazing together. Let's be clear, though, the No. 1 placement is mostly because of Haley. She absolutely KILLED it on this song. I was mostly just glad Casey didn't look like he wanted to kill me.

2. Lauren Alaina/Scotty McCreery - I Told You So
Coming in a close second is this Top 11 result show performance from our country kids. Listening to their such different voices blend together so well makes me want them to form a duo and sing together forever. Seriously, they both sound amazing on this song.

3. Haley Reinhart - House Of The Rising Sun
Sultry, sexy, dramatic and daring, this was the solo performance of the season. Haley started out a cappella and continued to do cool things with the song after the band kicked in. Her vocals were outstanding and pitch-perfect with and without instrumental backing.

4. Pia Toscano - I'll Stand By You
Speaking of pitch-perfect .... Pia completely dazzled with this song, coming out of nowhere, really, to bowl everyone over with her command, vocal power and tone. Say what you will about her performance skills, but the girl can deliver a ballad with the best of them.

5. Haley Reinhart - I Who Have Nothing
Needing to blow it out the box after getting slaughtered by the judges in her first performance of the night, Haley came fighting back with a superb rendition of this song. The dramatic angry desperation that came out in her performance allowed her to separate herself from Jordin Sparks' previous standout performance in Season 6. I think my friend @j_tak said it best: "Haley Reinhart, stealing moments from previous Idol contestants since '11."

6. Scotty McCreery - You've Got A Friend
This was Scotty's moment on the show (aside from winning, of course). I was in the audience for this performance, and I got goosebumps. It was a great arrangement (strings!) and a strong vocal by Scotty.

7. James Durbin - Maybe I'm Amazed
Apparently, James was very sick this week, which prevented him from doing his usual high note screeching that he tended to do just because he could. I wish he had been sick every week because I like him best when he's not screeching. Those high notes don't show that he can sing. Singing melodically like he did on this song showed that he could really sing.

8. Haley Reinhart - Bennie & the Jets
At the time of the performance, I was a bit distracted by Haley's flaily arms that threatened to move it into dive bar territory, but this song is just really fun and it stood up after repeated viewings.

9. Lauren Alaina - Anyway
This is where I thought Lauren really broke through and not only delivered vocally in a big way but also connected with the song in a way she hadn't really been able to do in past performances. After weeks of holding back, her voice just soared on this. And the tender moments were gorgeous as well.

10. Naima Adedapo - Dancing In The Street
If not for the off-key singing, Naima's Umbrella would have occupied this slot. But this performance made up for what was lacking in the first. Dancing! In-tune singing! Fun! No verbal "Boom-Fiyah!", but Naima definitely brought the Boom-Fiyah to the stage with this one.

Honorable mention: James Durbin - Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting, Scotty McCreery - Gone, Lauren Alaina - The Climb, Jacob Lusk - You're All I Need To Get By

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