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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 – 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 7 Perform

Tonight’s theme, songs of the 21st century, which I’m sure will include at least one song that was remade by someone this century but originally written in another one.

An Idol first tonight, as they have the six already booted contestants (Ashton Jones, Karen Rodriguez, Naima Adedapo, Thia Megia, Paul McDonald and the lovely Pia Toscano) come out and do a version of Pink’s “So What” which was probably best suited for a local Six Flags engagement.  But anything that puts Pia on my TV for a few minutes is all right by me.  Nice quick shot of her potential boyfiend/my #1 enemy Mark Ballas in the audience.

Scotty McCreery (“Swingin’ by Leann Rimes) – I feel like this qualifies as an older song that was re-made, but that’s just a guess.  Best part of this was all the other contestants making fun of Scotty for the way he holds the mic like a flute when he sings.  Performance wasn’t too shabby, but it’s starting to feel redundant with him, he needs to step out of his comfort zone and change it up a little for one week.

GRADE:  B

James Durbin (“Uprising” by The Muse) – sweet song choice and James absolutely kills it.  Having several drummers marching behind him was a sweet touch too.  Tonight might have been the first time I actually believed James could win Idol.  Hopefully he can build on this and keep up the high quality of his performances down the stretch since he’ll be safe for a few weeks.

GRADE:  A

Haley Reinhart (“Rolling In The Deep” by Adele) – ok, great song choice since this is probably my favorite current new song and one of the coolest songs that has a strong build like Led Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” (my all-time favorite).  So I’m not sure if it’s because of the song, but as much as I’ve been Haley’s #1 anti-fan, I really enjoyed this and her performance, and this is two straight weeks (and 3 straight performances if you count her duet with Casey last week) that I’ve really dug.  Maybe I underestimated her, but I think she’s found her groove and might have some life remaining in this race.

GRADE:  A-

Jacob Lusk (“Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross) – wow, now that’s a terrible song choice.  It’s so bad, that Jacob butchers the song by forgetting the second line of it, but thankfully half of America might have been asleep already.  As much as Stefano doesn’t belong here and should have been voted off for weeks, I think it’s Jacob’s time to go.  Actually it’s similar to Paul’s elimination last week.  It’s gotten to the point where we’ve already seen the best Jacob has to offer and he’s just trending downward now and it’s probably best for his career to go home now and save face.

GRADE:  D

Casey Abrams (“Harder To Breathe” by Maroon 5) – this is like the exact opposite of Haley’s performance, here’s a terrible song that instantly sours me on the performance.  But this was at least a lot more upbeat and alive than last week’s snooze fest.  I feel like saying any more would give too much credibility to Maroon 5, so I’ll stop here.

GRADE:  B-

Stefano Langone (“Closer” by Ne-Yo) – what the hell is a ne-yo?  I’m just going to give Stefano a C for every performance he has remaining in this competition since he sings the exact same way every time and never really does anything to stand out and doesn’t really do anything to crap the bed either.

GRADE:  C

Lauren Alaina (“Born To Fly” by Sara Evans) – Maggie said it best, “that was boring for her.”  Yep, agreed.  You have the pimp spot with only 7 people left, you gotta do something that makes you stand out like James did tonight.  Very disappointed.

GRADE:  C+

BOTTOM THREE PREDICTION:  Stefano, Jacob and Casey (only because I can’t stand Maroon 5)

GOING HOME PREDICTION: Jacob

American Idol Recap – The Non-Pias Perform

Yes I’m bitter.  Yes I’m angry.  Yes I’m thoroughly annoyed with the American voting people for eliminating my Pia last week.  Yes I didn’t vote, but that’s besides the point.  With Pia no longer on the show, I reserve the right to be angry for at least one week of this blog (although I’m thinking of extending it to two weeks if the rumors are true that she’s hooking up with Mark Ballas of Dancing With The Stars now). 

So you’re psuedo-top 8 performed last night (I refuse to call them a regular Top 8, b/c this is not the eight best for this season), and the theme was songs from movies.  Any chance someone covers Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” from the movie Se7en?

Since I’m angry and bitter, I’m doing this in twenty words or less for each contestant and I will probably not say anything nice about anyone this week and hope they all get voted off.

Paul McDonald (“Old Time Rock and Roll” by Bob Seger from the movie Risky Business) – his schtick has grown tiresome, he sings every song the same way and now it’s boring me.

GRADE:  D+

Lauren Alaina (“The Climb” by Miley Montana Hannah Cyrus from some stupid Miley Cyrus movie I reckon) – this was good, so instead I’ll just be negative towards Miley Cyrus who should stop having a career since everyone acts and sings better than her.

GRADE: A

Stefano Langone (“End of the Road” by Boyz II Men from the movie Boomerang) – a fitting song title for Stefanoe.  Also could have sung “Hit the Road Jack” from the movie The Dream Team

GRADE:  D

Scotty McCreery (“Everybody’s Talkin” by George Strait from Midnight Cowboy) – wow another country song, awesome, haven’t heard that before from Scotty.  I flipped over to the Rangers/Caps game during this

GRADE:  INC

Casey Abrams (“Nature Boy” by Nat King Cole from I have no clue what movie nor do I care) – judges loved it and gave a standing ovation, I thought it was incredibly boring and I hope he gets voted off.

GRADE:  F

Haley Reinhart (“Call Me” by Blondie from American Gigolo) – amazingly, in all my negativity, this might have been the first Haley performance I didn’t mind.   But she’s still not Idol material.

GRADE:  B-

Jacob Lusk (“Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel from The Pursuit of Happyness) – still can’t believe Maggie has never heard of this song before.  Jacob still sucks and I flipped back to the hockey game.

GRADE:  D

James Durbin (“Heavy Metal” by Sammy Hagar from not sure what movie) – best James performance so far, thanks to Zakk Wylde (Ozzy’s guitarist) accompanying him (who also hung around uncomfortably too long post-performance)

GRADE:  A-

BOTTOM THREE – Stefano, Paul and Haley

GOING HOME – Stefano…it’s the end of the road….

American Idol Recap – Top 9 Perform

Sure it’s been about 20 hours since Idol aired, but never too late for a quick recap.  Last night’s theme – “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” which you’ll soon learn does not require rock songs to be song.

 Here’s the 10 words or less breakdown of each performer and my pick of the week to be eliminated.

Jacob Lusk (“Man In The Mirror” by Michael Jackson – not a rock song #1) – less whiny than most weeks, didn’t mind this
GRADE:  B-

Haley Reinhart – (“Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin) – is there room next to Janis’ grave for Haley?
GRADE:  D-

Casey Abrams  – (“Have You Ever Seen The Rain” by CCR) – nice use of the stand up bass, solid performance.
GRADE:  B

Lauren Alaina – (“You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin – not a rock song #2) – good commanding performance, needs to stop giggling during singing
GRADE:  B

James Durbin – (“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by the Beatles) – odd the resident rocker didn’t choose a real rock song 
GRADE:  C+

Scotty McCreery – (“That’s All Right Mama by Elvis Presley – not a rock song #3) – girls running up on stage after equals super cheesy
GRADE:  C+

Pia Toscano – (“River Deep Mountain High” by Tina Turner) – finally not a ballad, loved this
GRADE:  A

Stefano Langone – (‘When A Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge or Michael Bolton if that’s your taste – not a rock song #4) – forgettable, boring, and forgettably boring.
GRADE:  D+

Paul McDonald – (“Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash – not a rock song #5) – in pimp spot because bottom 3 last week, fun performance
GRADE:  B

PREDICTION FOR BOTTOM 3
Haley Reinhart, Stefano Langone and Jacob Lusk

GOING HOME
Stefano Langone

American Idol Recap – Top 11 Perform…Again

I’m usually one to brush off any talk about Idol conspiracies and whatnot, but last week smelled fishier than the dumpster outside of a Long John Silver’s.  He may not have had a great performance, but I’m not believing that Casey Abrams received the least amount of votes, especially with the likes of Haley Reinhart and Naima Adedapo hanging around.  And with the judges cutting Casey off just seconds into his “save-me” performance, it just seemed all too perfectly dramatic.

With ratings the lowest they’ve been in years, and Steven Tyler all of a sudden becoming Ellen Degeneres 2.0, Idol needed to do something dramatic and drastic, and it’s worked, as the focus of all their advertising this week has been about last week’s shocker.  And now this week, all 11 will be back (and all 11 are going on tour) and I fully expect Naima or Haley to be at least one of the two, if not both, to be eliminated this week.  But there’s no way Casey is voted off two straight weeks.

Anyway,  here’s how I have the Top 11 ranked again going into this week…

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

Tonight’s theme, songs of Elton John.  Another recycled theme, but last used in season 3 if I’m not mistaken, so I’m ok with that (anyone remember John Stevens trying to do “Crocodile Rock”? – well I do, check it out here – it’s the second video on the page, it’s worth the trip down memory lane)

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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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