In Season 7 is when “American Idol” first had the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Theme Week. On Wednesday night (April 6) it was revisited with an introduction by Steven Tyler in front of the Hall of Fame Museum. He was showing off costumes from many of the classic rockers such as Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix and a waxed liking of the Idol judge himself. A number of celebrities were in the audience including Todd Rundgren. Once again all of the finalists put on another excellent show with many of my favorite song choices.
The Best of the Bunch
Casey Abrams – Creedence Clearwater Revival is rarely done on Idol, so I was thrilled Casey decided to sing “Have You Ever Seen the Rain.” It was great seeing him playing the upright bass once again. Casey has the same vocal style as John Fogerty, so this was an excellent song choice. I agree with Randy when he said Casey is making the upright bass cool.
James Durbin – He picked my favorite Beatle’s composition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” I’m glad he did not listen to Jimmy Iovine and will.i.am on their suggestion this song would be too sleepy. This was certainly a risk Durbin needed to finally take and it paid off. It was an excellent performance while showing us his vulnerable side.
Pia Toscano – At least she picked a great song to go all out on. Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High” was a big hit in the UK, but not so much in the U.S. It is one of my favorite songs by Tina Turner. Pia did a great job vocally as always. I was glad she finally moved around, though I agree with Jennifer she needs to study stage performances of the other great entertainers, that’s all. Now Pia has done songs by the great divas: Mariah, Celine, Whitney and Tina.
Paul McDonald – What a perfect song to end the show with. Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” literally gets the crowd going. I liked when Ryan asked the band to continue playing it while he announced Paul’s phone/text numbers, then showed the recap of everyone’s performances with their phone and text numbers. It was still playing during the closing credits and the finalists dancing.
Other Good Performances
Jacob Lusk – “Man in the Mirror”is a great Michael Jackson song Jacob chose to perform. I too am glad he did not sing Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” It was nice to see and hear Siedah Garrett on back-up vocals, who co-wrote the MJ song. At least Jacob restrained himself and did the song justice. This was one of Jacob’s better performances.
Haley Reinhart – Here is an iconic song by a true legendary artist. However, I wasn’t too impressed with Haley’s version of “Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin. Though she did a good job, it was certainly not great. I know the judges have wanted her to do something by Janis Joplin. This wasn’t the right song choice. Haley’s rendition was too cheery at times, even flirtatious. Janis Joplin literally sang the blues.
Lauren Alaina – I’m not sure this was the wisest song choice for a 16-year old. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Women” by Aretha Franklin has been done by Kelly Clarkson where she literally knocked it out of the park. Lauren did a decent job on vocals I thought.
Scotty McCreery – Finally we got to see Scotty sing a song by his idol, Elvis Presley. His rendition of “That’s Alright Mama” was truly excellent where it incorporated the early rock sound mixed in with country and rockabilly. This was certainly a brilliant song choice. Vocally he is at the top of his game it’s his stage presence that is a bit annoying at times for me. The way he holds the microphone is strange to watch, like he’s ready to eat a sandwich. Why does he shake his hand like he’s a rap singer?
Who Will Be Going Home?
Stefano Langone – If there was one finalist who I thought would struggle during this theme it was Stefano. Don’t get me wrong he did a good job it simply wasn’t good enough at this point in the competition. He took on one of the most epic and emotional ballads ever, “When a Man Loves a Woman” By Percy Sledge. Stefano needs to control a lot of his vocal style, because it comes across as trying way too hard.
Unfortunately I think it may be Stefano who goes home during the results show. There is a lot of secrecy on who is performing Thursday night (April 7). No doubt there will be some rockers in the house, like Steven Tyler’s band perhaps?
American Idol – Official Site for Videos, Photos and Community, American Idol.com
Gil Kaufman, “‘American Idol’ Recap: Paul McDonald, Pia Toscano Rock Out”, MTV.com