American Idol Top 9 Perform Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Songs — and Nail Them

If people are just now tuning into the No. 1 show in America, or just for the last three weeks, they may become a bit disappointed that they haven’t been watching “American Idol” since it premiered in 2002. Although that feeling could soon be allayed with a quick move to YouTube and a couple flashback videos of performances by Sanjaya Malakar or Megan Joy Corkrey, it goes a long way to saying that the Season 10 finalists just might be the best group of performers to ever appear on the “American Idol” stage. For the third consecutive week, the group as a collective rendered some very good performances.

The theme for the Top 9 contestants was “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.” To mentor the finalists, Black Eyed Peas frontman (not a member of the Hall of Fame) was brought in (because all the hundreds of other living members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were booked up?). Judge Steven Tyler, himself a member of the Hall of Fame (Class of 2001 with Boston rockers Aerosmith), presented a mini-history of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio before the contestants got started.

There were the great renditions, like Pia Toscano’s cover of Tina Turner’s “Mountain High — Valley Low,” Casey Abrams rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?,” Lauren Alaina’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” Stefano Langone’s piercing performance of Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman,” and Haley Rinehart’s bow to the judges, Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.”

There were the good ones: Jacob Lusk did Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror,” James Durbin gave an emotional version of the Beatles “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and Scotty McCreery and Paul McDonald gave enthusiastic versions of Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right” and Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” respectively.

There truly were no bad performances…

However, that will not save one of the finalists from going home on the results show.

Paul McDonald was in the Bottom 3 after last week’s round of songs in tribute to Sir Elton John. The other two in that trio, Naima Adedapo and Thia Megia, were sent home. As enthusiastic as his performance of the classic Johnny Cash tune may have been Wednesday evening, it may not have been enough to the raspy, quirky-dancing singer from at least another appearance in the Bottom 3., the oddsmaker website, places Paul in the second-to-last spot as least likely to win this season’s “American Idol,” placing him at 25/1 odds. Only Stefano Langone had worse odds among the Top 9 (28/1). The most likely to win? Pia Toscano, at 2/1 odds.

The critics at TV Guide place Stefano and Paul in a tie for last as well (with Pia as the No. 1 favorite), which doesn’t look favorable for Stefano. However, his powerful performance Wednesday evening just might keep him out of the Bottom 3. Or at least it might just keep him from going home. Then again…

So who should also place in the Bottom 3? Scotty McCreery’s howdy-doody mannerisms are beginning to wear a bit thin. He has a great voice and he will undoubtedly become a superstar in country music, but unless the teen and tween girl demographic can keep him out of the Bottom 3, he should be there.

Another potential candidate for the Bottom 3 is Jacob Lusk. Jacob is a powerful singer with tremendous talent, but he also seems to be on a mission to change the world and at times gives a preachy vibe (maybe it is over-dependence on a gospel quality to his music). In the rehearsal video clip before he performed “Man In The Mirror,” he talked about changing songs. He said, “… with ‘Man in the mirror,’ I was able to do that and say, ‘I want to make this change, and hopefully you’ll look at yourself and want to make a change too…’.”

Of course, anyone is a potential candidate for elimination. Casey Abrams, one of the show’s frontrunners from the beginning, was nearly cut after “Motown” Week. He received the least amount of votes and was set to go home, but the judges used their one and only seasonal “Save” to keep him in the competition. Last week, Ryan Seacrest told him he would have been surprised to know how many votes he actually received (there were 55 million cast, a record for this point in the competition).

The results show airs at 8:00 p.m. EST on Fox Television.



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