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(5/4/11) American Idol: There are five contestants left on the show this week and the competition is fierce.
Ryan Seacrest said tonight it is one of the most important nights of the season but that seems to be the case every night of the season. It only takes one bad audition for the tide to turn.
Tonight we will find out who is in it to win it; who is going to take it home. Now is the time to do it. Of course, Randy has been saying that for weeks now.
Ryan Seacrest told us that this week the contestants are doing two songs. One is current or contemporary, and the other is classic. Tonight, Cheryl Crow is the special guest to help mentor the American Idols.
Cheryl Crow has dominated the airwaves and blazed a trail in the rock and blues genre for females in the 90’s and beyond. She has nine Grammy’s and a free spirit to her credit. Crow began humbly and in fact was a back-up singer for Michael Jackson. When Jimmy asked Cheryl to come in and help mentor these idols. Cheryl said she felt honored. She was looking for the idols to step out and do something different.
James: Durbin 01 and 06
James performed ‘ËœCloser to the Edge‘ by Thirty Seconds to March. James said it was crazy singing with Cheryl Crow. She said it was crazy singing with James. They both were happy and proud to say they sang with the other. James performance was lackluster compared to his previous performances. I do not know if it was the light show or the song, but it was just about acceptable. The back-up singers were a tad off, maybe too loud, and even though James got a lot of clapping, I do not think it was his best performance.
Steven said, “I think you kicked that song’s ass.” J. Lo said, “We talked about who is going to go out and grab it, and you’ve been consistent every week.” Randy said, “Probably not everyone understood why you sang that song but I think you fit the song to you, and you are in it to win it.” To Ryan, Randy said, “He wants it.”
Jacob Lusk: 02 and 07
Jacob said he thought it was amazing that he was on Idol doing Jordan Sparks. Jimmy said, “Jacob chose a duet and he is going to sing both parts; he is going to attempt this and it is very hard to do.”
Jacob sang it well but not great. I do not know if it is my expectation or he is just not measuring up but I was not moved by his performance.
J. Lo said, “Hi Jacob. I am glad you said in the package that this is a song you would record. You are an amazing performer and your voice is one of the best that has ever been on this stage, but I have been struggling to identify who you are. If this is the direction, then let’s keep it there. So we now that know, oh that’s who Jacob is, let’s see more of it.” Randy said, “Listen, I kind of differ with that opinion. I think you are one of the greatest singers here, but I don’t think that is the direction. I do not think one person should attempt duets on this stage. We cannot tell you who you are but I do not see you as a Jordan kind of guy. I see you as a modern Luther doing R.B. be a new one of that, don’t be a Chris Brown.” Then Randy said to J.Lo, “He has to find who he is and we didn’t see that.”
Lauren Alaina: 03 or 08
Lauren sang, ‘ËœFlat on the Floor‘ by Carrie Underwood. It is a hard song to sing. Cheryl said and urged Lauren to “bring the audience to her.” “Don’t move, just sing it.” Jimmy said, “Lauren has used all that constructive criticism and taken it all in. She is growing by leaps and bounds.”
Lauren brought it and knocked it out of the park tonight. She has a great tone to her voice – a sultry ability to have fullness, and raspiness that is unlike her. I think it might have been her best performance. She was great and I would even say Carrie Underwood has some competition
Randy said, “This direction I agree with 100%. I love to see this fun side of you, energetic. Lauren is in it!” Steven said, “The way you sang that song, and you are 15 years old. The sky is the limit.” J. Lo said, “You ate that up and I saw it. You have to do that every time.”
Scotty McCreery: 04 or 09
Scotty sang a Montgomery Gentry song called ‘ËœGone’. Jimmy said this week he is going to be a more up- beat. Cheryl Crow predicted people are going to get on their feet tonight. She told Scotty, “You’ve got a great career in front of you.”
Scotty brought it too, and had a lot of energy in his performance. The song showed a wide range for Scotty and he was able to look his age and have some fun. Scotty did a great job, particularly showing his facial expressions and working the audience. He is still missing that cowboy hat, but he is all cowboy.
Steven said, “I saw you dancing with the devil and that is a good thing.” J.Lo said, “You owned that stage, and I heard some growling too. I liked it!” Randy said, “Steven Tyler, I don’t know about dancing with the devil. Here is the deal I felt like we were sitting with concert Scotty. If you can do it, this guy is in it to win it too.” Scotty said that was the most fun he had on that stage in a long time. He let it all hang out.
Haley Reinhart: 05 or 10
Haley performed a previously unreleased Lady Gaga song. Cheryl said, “It is amazing and I think you would do a good take on it.” Haley said to Jimmy,” I would love to do this and as long as I have Gaga’s blessing. She got to speak to her and once she learned Gaga was all for it she was excited about it. Jimmy said, “This is a powerful song that no one knows. She just laces it; she shows you where she could go. She has it and taking on this song is just another way of showing it.
Haley had a weak start but ended on a stronger note. It is hard to launch a brand new song without audience recognition and I do not think this was the best move for her. It was not memorable enough to be an overnight hit unfortunately but she did it well.
J. Lo said, “Haley, baby, um, I loved the way you sounded especially at the end. It was I’m not sure if that was the best idea. You have to do it with songs that people are going to connect with. You have given us that before, for me it would have been better if you did something that everyone knew that showcased you in a better way.” Randy said, “I’m not sure it is that great of a song. I think of you like a Joss Stone. It is so risky that no one is familiar with. You are a great singer and you proved it at the end. I’m not sure about that song but you have a second song.” Steven said, “I think you put all of your range in it, when someone can take a song and make it work, you did it.” Steven said the audience is judging, “Who kicked the last one off the stage. I think you are one perfect song from being the next American Idol.”
James Durbin (2nd song) 01 or 06
For his second song, James performed Harry Nielsen’s ‘ËœI can’t live if living is without you.’ Something in the lyrics moved him. James said, “I am here to make a different life for my family. Every time my family comes and then leaves, I have to let it go.’ Cheryl said, “We are just going to go along on the ride with him.”
He went a little sharp during his screech and he pulled a few tears and gave an emotional performance. J. Lo nodded at him. The girls were crying and he was crying. Randy said, “It was an emotionally perfect performance.” Steven said, “When you are emotional like that, it was pitchy in a way but it was beautiful. That is the thing with you everybody knows you can sing. You are not just a rocker that sings high notes. You are an artist. You are serious about winning this thing. It takes a lot to control your emotions and deliver what you just delivered. To the crowd she remarked, “He is amazing.”
Afterwards James said I am hanging in there. I delivered and kept it together and then I let it all out. Every single week I give it everything.
Jacob Lusk (2nd song) 02 or 07
Jacob’s second performance was “Love Hurts.” a Nazareth song. Cheryl said, “He is singing a song that is not in his genre and I think you are going to love it.” Jacob ended up screaming, off key in the middle and I think he over sang it.
J. Lo said, “Ok you pulled it out at the end. You redeemed yourself on that stage.” Randy said, “It might have been the highest note ever on this state – kind of like Mariah Carey. Dude, that was crazy.”
Lauren Alaina (2nd song) 03 or 08
Lauren sang “Unchained melody,” by the Righteous brothers. She said, “It is my mom and dad’s song, and when I sing it, it is for them.” Cheryl said,” It is a big song that everyone knows. It takes a lot of maturity to sing this song. She shows a lot of vulnerability.”
She sang the song beautifully. J. Lo said, “There was nothing to judge.” Randy said, “Your voice is so right and so there.” Tyler said, “I loved that song. I could listen to you all night. You are just beautiful.”
Scotty McCreery (2nd song) 04 or 09
Cheryl said she loves Scotty and wants to hone in on his music career when he gets to Nashville. He did, “You were Always on My Mind.” He sat as he began, and had a harpsichord on the stage with a band and some back-up singers. He rolled it out slow and subtle. The crowd stood and cheered for Scotty.
J.Lo said, “Between that last song and this song, you showed us what an artist you are. You can captivate the audience with your sweet voice. There is nothing awkward about your performances.” Randy said, “We call you our youngest veteran. If it ain’t broke, you don’t fix it. When you speak quiet and say the simplest things, sometimes they come off as the loudest. Now America is seeing what kind of artist Scotty is going to be and I love it.” Steven said, “America loves your voice. Everybody has been great. I can’t pick on anything in that song.” When asked, Scotty said yes, “I’m a quarter Puerto Rican and the camera crew introduced the audience to his grandmother who is 100% Puerto Rican and was sitting in the audience. When asked what she thought of Scotty singing, she simply replied, “He is my Scotty.”
Haley did a capella beginning to The House of the Rising Sun‘ and she sang her heart out. That song was made for her and she banged it up. Her dynamics were perfect, and her growl was on par with some of the greats. She took the song and made it her own like no other singer has before.
Randy said, “Dude, What I love about this show is where we are right now. Somebody every week has to come out slaying it as if they really want to win this. You have grown by leaps and bounds. You blossomed. You are so good now. That was amazing.
Steven told her, “Sweet, and sour, raspy. That really sells a song. Oh yeah.” J. Lo said, “That song has never been sung like that before. Great job.”
Tonight Alaina, Scotty, and Haley were the winners in my eyes. Jacob was kind of off, and even James who has been one of my favorites was lacking a bit. Only America is going to pick it but if you have a favorite, you had better vote.
Tomorrow night, J. Lo is performing as will Lady Antebellum.
Fox Television, 5/4/11, American Idol