Haley Reinhart American Idol 10 (2011) Top 4

Haley Reinhart is a singer from the Chicago area who has made it to the Top 4 on the 10th season of American Idol. She is widely considered the most improved contestant.

Despite said improvement, which is mainly due to her scaling back the gimmicks and using them in a more artistic way, Reinhart could be in trouble this week. She is coming off of a good week due to her unique (although it was kind of a copy of Siobhan Magnus) performance of “House of the Rising Sun.” On the other hand, Lauren, who was perceived as having a bad week and hitting the bottom 2, will likely have a bounce from fans that are in it to save her after her first bottom 2 showing.

This makes Reinhart the odds-on pick to be eliminated this week because James Durbin and Scotty McCreery have always been safe up to this point. Haley’s frequent visits to the bottom early in the competition suggest a less-than-solidified fan base. While she has outlasted contestants like Casey Abrams and Jacob Lusk, that is not such a big surprise, as it seems their fan bases were not particularly committed to power voting.

How can Haley overcome this status? Well, there’s really nothing that can be done at this point to steal votes away from Lauren, James or Scotty. The most Haley can hope for is to give two great performances this week and win in the casual vote.

In the past, contestants like Reinhart have generally only finished 3rd or 4th when making it far after initial visits to the bottom 3. Her situation seems similar to Syesha Mercado’s or Vonzel Solomon’s run to 3rd place – contestants who never seemed to be all that popular but also managed to survive by the skin of their teeth a few times. While anything is possible, look for Haley to finish in 3rd or 4th place even if she performs well from here on out.

Haley chooses Michael Jackson’s “The Earth Song” as her inspirational song. This is ad odd pick because one thing she has not actually done is a straight-up sappy ballad. This song showed her weakness as I expected it would as soon as it started. She just went back to excessive grunting for effect because she doesn’t have the vocal tone to pull off an understated song.

Reinhart then picked “I Who Have Nothing.” This is another bad pick. Haley doesn’t even have the voice to do a sappy ballad. Lady Ga Ga’s advice was silly and will just make Haley look disingenuous. She should ignore Ga Ga. The violin playing is much better than her singing. She holds out some of the notes pretty well, but they lack the power of a Jordin Sparks, who nailed this song. I know this will be overpraised to even out the criticism of her first song. And of course, it was overpraised as if it was amazing. She only held out some of the notes, but the vocal tone, as usual, was nothing special.