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American Idol Recap – Finals

Hope you like country, because that’s all you’re getting tonight. Unless you count some random performance by Taio Cruz mixed in between the finalist’s performances. That was strange.

ROUND ONE (Finalist Choice)

Scotty McCreery – (“Gone” by Montgomery Gentry) – liked it the first time he performed, liked it again tonight.  Showed a natural stage presence here, bodes well for touring.   GRADE:  A-

Lauren Alaina – (“Flat On the Floor” by Carrie Underwood) – kind of an unfair sympathy advantage that they pointed out before the show that Lauren blew out one of her vocal chords.  Even if that’s true, kudos to her for being able to get thru this tough song and showing very little side effects of it.  GRADE:  A-

ROUND TWO (Idol’s Idols Choice – George Strait picks for Scotty, Carrie Underwood picks for Lauren)

Scotty – (“Check Yes Or No” by George Strait) – kind of a wimpy song choice for a finale, didn’t really make me want to reach for the phone and vote.  Then again, I rarely vote and opt only to criticize.  GRADE:  B-

Lauren – (“Maybe It Was Memphis” by Pam Tillis) – see Scotty’s review.  This was just a little too much for Lauren and came across as very breathy.  GRADE:  C+

ROUND THREE (Original Song)

Scotty – (“I Love You This Big” by Scotty McCreery) – not too shabby especially considering how awful the original songs have been over the years (Taylor Hicks’ “Do I Make You Proud”, Kris Allen’s “No Boundaries”, Jordin Sparks’ “This Is My Now” etc).  GRADE:  B

Lauen – (“Like My Mother Does” by Lauren Alaina) – very corny lyrics, but probably a perfect fit for Lauren and her journey since her mom has been by her side the whole time.  Nice touch with her going into the crowd to hug her while singing, between that and the blown vocal chords, the deck has been stacked in her favor tonight.  GRADE:  B+

OVERALL THOUGHTS

Way too close to call, as these two have been practically neck and neck all season.  Going into tonight I would have guessed that Scotty takes the title since a male country artist has yet to win, but after seeing how much Idol producers favored Lauren tonight and that there’s been three straight male winners (David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee “who?” DeWyze), I’m making one final prediction for this season.

PREDICTED WINNER: PIA TOSCANO!!!!!   Just kidding – Lauren Alaina (but I think Scotty has the better career)


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American Idol Recap – Top 3

Quick feedback tonight….

ROUND ONE

Scotty McCreery – (“Amazed” by Lonestar) – solid opener, good to see Scotty push his vocal limits some.  GRADE:  B+

Lauren Alaina – (“Wild One” by Faith Hill) – kind of a boring choice, really wasn’t anything we haven’t already seen from her before.  GRADE:  C+

Haley Reinhart – (“What Is and What Should Never Be” by Led Zeppelin) – hands down my favorite performance of the entire season, and not just b/c she fell during it, this was perfect and even a sweet moment having with her getting to sing while her dad played guitar on-stage.  GRADE:  A+

ROUND TWO

Scotty – (“Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not ” by Thompson Square) – is Thompson Square like a modern day Thompson Twins?  What ever happened to Leah Thompson?  I miss Howard the Duck.  Anyway, this was alright, probably sounds better as a duet, good to see Scotty have fun up there.   GRADE:  B-

Lauren – (“If I Die Young” by The Band Perry) – nothing special, nothing terrible.  Forgettable is probably the best way to describe it, especially since I’ve forgotten how this went.   GRADE:  C+

Haley – (“Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac) – love classic rock, but not a Fleetwood Mac fan.  Really enjoyed the soft beginning but it turned sour once the beat picked up, and just didn’t work on an Idol stage.  Plus the wind and smoke machine was a bit distracting.   GRADE:  C

ROUND THREE

Scotty – (“She Believes In Me” by Kenny Rogers) – used to love listening to this on my The Gambler cassette tape.  One of Scotty’s best of the season, always a sucker for a song with an orchestra playing in the background.  GRADE:  A-

Lauren – (“I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack) – Lauren’s best moment since her first moment when she sang with Steven Tyler during her auditions.  Watching her sing, made me root for her to be the eventual winner as she’s really what this competition is about.  GRADE:  A

Haley – (“You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette) – cool song choice, but tough for this competition, and probably need to go back and watch again to get the full feel for it.  Funny to hear her have to change the lyric from “will she go down on you in a theater” to “will she go with you to the theater.”  GRADE:  B

PREDICTION:  As much as I believe Haley had not only the best performance of the night, and the season, I think the finals are best suited for a Scotty/Lauren country showdown.  Lauren’s final song definitely put her into the finals and since there’s only been one all-girl final (Season 3’s boring Fantasia vs. Diana DiGarmo showdown), I think Scotty is in as well.

American Idol Recap – Final Four

Sorry for the disappearing act the past couple of weeks, but let’s chalk it up to me protesting writing about Idol while Jacob Lusk was still being voted for.  Seriously, I can not recall a worse contestant to have made the final five in the history of this show, unless you want to count Justin Guarini, Treynce, George Huff, Blake Lewis and Lee Dewyze.

But outside of Pia not being here (ahhh Pia), it’s safe to say that America has done a solid job of voting this year.  I even had no problem with the Casey elimination as really his act wore thin.

Tonight each contestant get two songs, the first being a “song of inspiration” which probably rules out anything by the Spice Girls or Chumbawumba.  Nice little video montage to show the importance of making the Top 3 and the chance to go home, although to be fair whoever gets eliminated this week also gets to go home, but it won’t be as warm a reception.

James Durbin – (“Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey) – no more Jacob on this show and a contestant singing a song from my all-time favorite band.  Unfortunately James is no Steve Perry, and this comes off as little bit too High School Musical for me, which I don’t really know what that means since I’ve never seen HSM, but I imagine it would sound like this.  Sadly for James, I’m not believin’ in his chances to win this competition although the judges have already determined him the winner.

GRADE:  C+

Haley Reinhart – (“Earth Song” by Michael Jackson) – am I a bad American if I don’t know this song?  I like the lyrics and the message, but unfortunately I didn’t like Haley singing it.  She’s has been more on fire than Andre Rison’ house the past month, but this was a major step backwards and brought back all her growling/screaming that I didn’t like at the beginning of this season.  Judges continue their love for James by telling Haley she wasn’t as good as him.  And Steven Tyler continues to be useless as he refuses to give anyone negative feedback.

GRADE:  C-

Scotty McCreery – (“Where Were You” by Alan Jackson) – I’m not sure how I feel about Scotty doing a song about 9/11 considering he was probably in diapers back then.  But considering the current events of a certain someone’s death, this was a very shrewd song choice.  The only thing missing was a giant flag dropping down behind him at the end of the song and a USA chant, which could have easily been fixed if Hacksaw Jim Duggan was an Idol contestant.  All in all, perfect song choice, and perfect execution for Scotty, who is easily the contestant most likely to have post-Idol career success.

GRADE:  A

Lauren Alaina – (“Anyway” by Martina McBride) – I’m still kind of annoyed at her for not going for the big note at the end of “Unchained Melody” last week.  I mean, I had the pottery wheel all set up and she ruined my “Ghost” moment.  Strong comeback this week as she showed some passion in her performance and of course as I’m typing this Maggie throws in a “I think she’s next to go home” comment.  Opposites attract, ladies and gentlemen.

GRADE:  B+

Round 2 and the contestants get to be mentored by Lady Gaga, which will come in handy if they’re required to stuff a live chicken down their pants and shaving half their head with a cheese grater.  What does that mean? I don’t know, I’m a little rusty here.

Haley Reinhart – (“I Who Have Nothing” by The Moody Blues) – Much much much better than her first song tonight and probably even deserving of the standing ovation she got from the judges.  She took all the anger she had after the judges comments from her first song and used that as motivation here to knock this one out of the park.  One thing though that I did take from this, is that Haley probably will be better suited for a more Broadway type of career.

GRADE:  A

Scotty McCreery – (“Young Blood” by The Coasters) –  Lady Gaga meets Scotty McCreery, how strange.  Speaking of strange, this performance was the very definition of strange.  Not sure why Scotty felt the need to bug his eyes out the whole time as if he was on crystal meth.  I mean I guess it was good he did something a little different than a straight country song, but regardless he’s a lock for the Top 3.

GRADE:  B-

Lauren Alaina – (“Trouble” by Elvis Presley) – this song says it all and maybe Maggie was foreshadowing her doom as I thought this didn’t suit Lauren whatsoever and might have her in trouble and on the verge of elimination this week.  Got nothing else to add here as this really was just bland.

GRADE:  C+

James Durbin – (“Love Potion Number Nine ” by The Clovers) – what a great bad movie Love Potion No. 9 was, back when we cared about Tate Donovan (for dating Jennifer Aniston) and Sandra Bullock’s original nose.  As for this song, now this was a James who could win Idol, as he absolutely had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand (figuratively, not literally, as that would be a lot of people to feed).

GRADE:  A

Much better show tonight than the past few weeks, but that’s probably because there was no Jacob, but it’s going to be sad to see one of these four have to go home.

PREDICTION TO GO HOME:  Lauren Alaina – I’ve learned not to go against Maggie’s instincts.

American Idol Recap – Top 11 Perform

My apologies for missing last week’s Idol recap…actually I’m not sorry, I watched it a few days ago and it was pretty atrocious.  Not sure anyone stood out (maybe Stefano), but plenty of them would have gotten a D+ or worse (I’m talking to you Haley, Naima, Jacob, Casey and the recently departed Karen Rodriguez).  Let this be a lessen to you Idol hopefuls…if you dress like Snooki, you’re going to get voted off the show.

Tonight starts off as the screen is black and white with Seacrest (aka Peaches) telling us to not adjust our TV sets, because it’s MOTOWN night on Idol (again for the 10th straight season…let’s get some original theme nights already).  So if this is true Motown night, will Jacob and Naima sing tomorrow instead of tonight in a special episode just for them?  Too soon?

Anyway, with no prejudice, here’s how I have the Top 11 ranked going into this week…

MY OVERALL TOP 13
1. Lauren Alaina (1)
2. Pia Toscano (3)
3. Casey Abrams (2)
4. Thia Megia (5)
5. Stefano Langone (6)
6. Paul McDonald (4)
7. Scott McCreery (7)
8. James Durbin (9)
9. Naima Adedapo (8)
10. Jacob Lusk (10)
11. Haley Reinhart (12)

My only prediction for tonight…Scotty, who’s completely out of his element tonight, sings “My Girl” as that’s suited for his voice.  Jennifer Lopez says there are so many great songs of Motown, that you can’t go wrong.  Too bad we can’t say the same thing about her makeup artist.  It looks like she’s got lime green jello for eyelids.  Oooh, Liv Tyler’s in the audience tonight, where’s Alicia Silverstone?

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American Idol Recap – Top 13 Perform

After a one-week voting period which resemble a popularity contest, we’ve got our Top 13, or otherwise known as 12 runner-ups and one winner.  It’s been six long days since we’ve had to say goodbye to…um, oh crap what are their names?  Let’s see there was the gay Archie (Brett Loewenstern), hot blonde (Kendra Chantelle), not-hot brunette (Lauren Harris) creepy homicidal black guy (Jordan Dorsey), really untalented black girl (Ta’Tynisa Wilson), crazy not-in-a-good-way Broadwa girl  (Rachel Zevita), token Latino guy (Jovany Barreto), big-nose (Robbie Rosen), Waldo’s twin brother (Clint Jun Gamboa), and the king and queen of plain (Julie Zorrilla and Tim Halperin).

Here’s how I have the Top 13 ranked going into this week…

MY OVERALL TOP 13
1. Lauren Alaina
2. Casey Abrams
3. Pia Toscano
4. Paul McDonald
5. Thia Megia
6. Stefano Langone
7. Scott McCreery
8. Naima Adedapo
9. James Durbin
10. Jacob Lusk
11. Karen Rodriguez
12. Ashthon Jones
13. Haley Reinhart

Tonight’s theme, sing the song’s of your own personal idol.  If I was on Idol, I’d probably be singing something by either Bobby McFerrin or Rob Zombie, tough call.

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American Idol Recap – Who’s Going Through?

I don’t normally write about the recap shows, so I’ll make this a quick one.  Kudos to the American voters for doing an admirable job of voting in a solid group of 5 guys and 5 girls.

TOP 5 GUYS VOTED IN (in no particular order, except alphabetical)
Casey Abrams
James Durbin
Jacob Lusk
Scotty McCreery
Paul McDonald

TOP 5 GIRLS VOTED IN
Lauren Alaina
Thia Megia
Haley Reinhart
Karen Rodriguez
Pia Toscano

After the judges, gave 3 more guys (Stefano Langone, Jovany Barreto and Robbie Rosen) and 3 more girls (Ashthon Jones, Kendra Chantelle and Naima Adedapo) one more chances to sing for a 3 wild card spots.  Which means it’s the end of the road for Jordan Dorsey (no Artest meltdown), Clint Jun Gamboa (shouldn’t have been mean to Jacee Badeaux), Tim Halperin (who?) and Brett Loewenstern (who might have gotten zero votes).  Also leaving for good is Lauren Harris (not made for TV), Ta-Tynisa Wilson (ta-ta), Julie Zorrilla (not gorilla) and Rachel Zevita (woooooo, victory!)

Ashthon Jones – terrible performance when singing for one’s career, but I have a feeling the judges love her too much to not let her thru.

GRADE:  C-

Stefano Langone – awesome, he resurrected my faith in him, should be a lock for the Top 13.

GRADE:  A-

Kendra Chantelle – Maggie loves her voice (more than Pia), and this was good, but it’s hard to mess up “Georgia On My Mind”

GRADE:  B

Jovany Barreto – we have some lovely parting gifts for you, thanks for boring us again.

GRADE:  C-

Naima Adedapo – shaky beginning, but picked it up towards the end.  Steven Tyler loves her no matter what, so she could have sang just about anything here.

Robbie Rosen – ok, but man I’m gonna miss that gigantic honker of his.

GRADE:  C+

Not surprisingly, Ashthon, Stefano and Naima are thru, so here are your Top 13 in order of how I rank them….

MY OVERALL TOP 13
1. Lauren Alaina
2. Casey Abrams
3. Pia Toscano
4. Paul McDonald
5. Stefano Langone
6. Scott McCreery
7. Naima Adedapo
8. James Durbin
9. Jacob Lusk
10. Karen Rodriguez
11. Ashthon Jones
12. Haley Reinhart

American Idol Recap – Top 12 Girls

For a recap of last night’s Top 12 guys performing (most rather admirably), check it out here.

It’s the ladies turn to take the stage tonight, as all the guys (and Brett Loewenstern) get the night off before finding out their fate tomorrow.

Tatynisa Wilson – (“Only Girl In The World” by Rhianna) – uh, apparently she’s now known as Ta-Tynisa Wilson.  What a coincidence, I’m now going by Jar-Rett Fischer.  The opening chorus was decent, but from there it was a downhill train wreck, kind of similar to Jordan Dorsey trying to do Usher last night.  Also, what’s up with her hair?  Did she just wake up from a six-day nap?  Between her and Lauren Turner later, it’s apparently bed-head theme night.   Oooh, Seacrest made a fat joke at Randy Jackson, I guess no more gay banter now that Simon Cowell’s not here anymore.

GRADE:  C-

Naima Adedapo – (“Summertime” by Ella Fitzgerald) – you have to have balls, or whatever girls have, to take on arguably the greatest performance in the history of this show (Fantasia – Season 3), and impressively she made it her own version, completely different from Fantasia.  It was a little too much like a lounge act, like Randy said, but I’ll give her credit for holding her own, a solid start.  I’m still trying to figure out what Naima Adedapo spells when you un-jumble the letters.

GRADE:  B

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