Finale-Minded Haley Rocks, Scotty Croons, Lauren Soars on ‘American Idol’

It has come to that part of the season where the “American Idol” viewers are asked to vote for their favorite finalists (or against their least favorite by voting for someone else) and choose two contestants to move forward into the finale. After the Top 3 finalsts — Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina, and Haley Reinhart — offered their three renditions for the judges critique and the votes of the audience, it is difficult to say who the two might be. But if the vote was based on the performances for the night alone, the finale should come down to an all-girl sing-off.

Each finalist was given three songs to sing, and they performed them in groups of three. Round 1 was a personal song choice. Round 2 was chosen for them by show mentor Jimmy Iovine. Round 3 was also chosen for them, this time by the judges panel. Although the judges had their usual say, there was very little negativity concerning the night’s performances.

Round 1, Personal Song Choice:

17-year-old country singer Scotty led the night off with “Amazed” by Lonestar. Lauren followed up with Faith Hill’s “Wild One.” Reinhart, however, stole the round with Led Zeppelin’s “What Is And What Should Never Be,” performed with her father on guitar. Judge Randy Jackson said it was her best performance ever. The judges gave the round unanimously to Reinhart.

Round 2, Jimmy Iovine’s Choice:

The “American Idol” mentor chose Thompson Square’s “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not” for Scotty and the boy couldn’t resist mugging for the camera. Lauren’s song was The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young;” judge Jennifer Lopez thought the 16-year-old got caught up in the honesty of the song. Reinhart performed Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon,” complete with wind machine. The judges gave Round 2 to Scotty, but only by a 2-1 margin, as judge Steven Tyler noted that Lauren’s performance did it for him.

Round 3, Judges Choice:

Scotty got to go with Kenny Rogers’ “She Believes In Me,” which showcased his ability to sing a ballad, something his voice is well suited for. Lauren performed the inspirational “I Hope You Dance” (Lee Ann Womack), putting her little vocal characterizations in the song just enough to make it her own. Reinhart pulled the oddest song of the lot: Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughtta Know.” Although it seemed slow going at first, by song’s end she was belting it out like she wrote it. The judges were again mixed on the winner of the round, finally giving it to Lauren by a 2-1 edge, with Reinhart getting Tyler’s vote.

So who won? Who will get into the finale? Based on the season, it appears that the lone male will get into the final sing-off. However, based on the Top 3 performances and the judges reactions to them, it could be a surprising all-girl season finale, something that has happened only once and hasn’t occurred on “American Idol” since 2004 (Season 3, when Fantasia Barrino won). Each of the finalists took a round, but Reinhart was only contestant to take a round unanimously. Overall, she took in the most votes as well, pulling four of nine, with Lauren getting three and Scotty getting the remaining two.

Still, it will come down to the votes of the viewers, with the top two recipients going to the show’s finale. The Top 2 will be named live Thursday. The two-part finale occurs Tuesday and Wednesday, May 24 and 25.

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Sources:

“American Idol,” Fox Television

“Top 3: The Semi-Finals,” AmericanIdol.com