This week will be a quick post. My "day job" requires a lot of time in the week preceding Easter, so I'll be cutting to the chase. As much as I'd love to skewer AI and it's foolishness (such as the horrific pre-show reunion of the six eliminated Idols and the in-vain search of Paul McDonald for something known as pitch), I simply don't have the time. So we'll be cutting to the chase with a brief review of each performance followed by our updated odds to win and to leave the Idol stage.
This week's theme was "Songs From the 21st Century." That's only broad enough to launch the next space shuttle through, so each Idol had the opportunity to choose songs that were pretty much from their cognitive lifetime. For the most party, that worked the Idols' advantage, with one notable exception.
Here is this week's show recap, followed by updated odds for winning and elimination:
Scotty McCreery, LeAnn Rimes' "Swingin'." OK, so we'll credit Miss Rimes with the song since it was from the 21st century, but it's really a John Anderson song from 1983. So Scotty gets no credit for singing something original or for adapting a female version to his range, since this YouTube version of Mr. Anderson's version was a clear roadmap for Idol's resident country favorite. Scotty could have burped the first half and farted the second half and his fans would still call it musical genius and vote him into the Top 6. It was average, and in what has become Scotty's standard, cheesy. It wasn't up to the par of the rest of the evening, but it will definitely be enough to ensure he'll stay around, in spite of bombing in the opening slot. (6.5/10)
James Durbin, Muse's "Uprising." As completely unoriginal as Scotty's performance was, James' number was an attempt at something truly unique. He started offstage at the rear of the theater and entered with a marching drum corps in tow. Throughout the number, James pushed his vocals to the limit and, unfortunately, did so with some mixed results. Still, James was a complete rock star on the stage and he owned it from the first note to the last. This performance will undoubtedly be polarizing to fans and non-fans, but it's a fair bet that James had everyone's full attention last night. For his adventurous attempt alone, he deserves a huge amount of credit. (8.5/10)
Haley Reinhart, Adele's "Rolling in the Deep." Haley's song choice was as aggressive as James', largely because her chosen artist has the current number one album on the Billboard charts. For yet another week, Haley chose a song that absolutely compliments her vocal range, and she did it (for the most part) on-pitch and with a fair amount of artistry. Amazingly, Haley has survived frequent flirts with elimination and has benefitted the most from Pia Toscano's exit. She may end up in the Bottom Three again, but it's unlikely that she's leaving quite yet. (8/10)
Jacob Lusk, Luther Vandross' "Dance With My Father." This is exactly the song that I would have chosen for Jacob, but I didn't know that Jacob's own father died when he was 12. Jacob had a bit of a hiccup at the start (that he later attributed to drums being in his ears), but he began to soar with his warm, tender tones. As the song neared its climax, however, Jacob began to attack with the top end of his range, and things got a bit dicey. It was a decent performance, but it might not be one that will help Jacob stay around another week. (7.5/10)
Casey Abrams, Maroon 5's "Harder to Breathe." Casey flirted with a return of the Angry Idol last night by bringing out his latent rocker tendencies. It's a little unfortunate because seeing his tender side had been nice in recent weeks. But his performance of "Harder to Breath" was mostly solid (except for his overplaying to the crowd at the edge of the stage, which looked forced and awkward). Casey's most memorable moment was at the end of the number when he approached the judges' table (again, a little awkwardly) and kissed J-Lo on the cheek. It was at once a gusty and foolish move, because it was bound to be so ultimately polarizing. Still, his performance was one of the night's best. (8/10)
Stefano Langone, Ne-Yo's "Closer." Once again, one of the Top 7 chose a solid song in their range and genre. By doing "Closer," Stefano completely played to his base and worked the crowd with his look and voice. Like Casey, he made too much of his time near the mosh pit, but he worked the vocals with his patented runs and more or less "owned" the song. It's hard to fault the kid too much because he is so good. On the other hand, he appears to be getting a bit too impressed with himself, so that makes it hard to give him complete credit. Even with a solid night, it's likely that he'll be tempting the fates of the Bottom Three. (8/10)
Lauren Alaina, Sara Evans' "Born to Fly." Who ever would have figured that Lauren was so intimidated, especially after her initial audition when she did an impromptu duet with Steven Tyler. Fortunately, last night she seemed to come out of her shell a bit and cast off some of her nervousness. For once, she really did seem to be having fun, complete with some good ol' fashioned country stomping near the end. At her best, Lauren's a breath of fresh air, and her version of "Born to Fly" could serve as a launching pad to move her as a gate crasher of the presumed Scotty-James finale. (8/10)
1) James Durbin (8.5)
2) Haley Reinhart (8)
3) Casey Abrams (8)
4) Lauren Alaina (8)
5) Stefano Langone (8)
6) Jacob Lusk (7.5)
7) Scotty McCreery (6.5)
Top 7 (Odds to Win)
1. Scotty McCreery (11/4)
2. James Durbin (3/1)
3. Lauren Alaina (5/1)
4. Casey Abrams (8/1)
5. Haley Reinhart (21/2)
5. Jacob Lusk (13/1)
7. Stefano Langone (19/1)
Top 7 (Odds to Go)
1. Stefano Langone (3/1)
2. Jacob Lusk (17/4)
3. Haley Reinhart (21/4)
4. Casey Abrams (11/2)
5. Scotty McCreery (19/2)
6. Lauren Alaina (21/2)
7. James Durbin (12/1)
Jacob Lusk's limited fan base won't be enough to keep him out of harm's way, and Stefano Langone has simply tempted fate too often to avoid the Bottom Three. Rounding out the ill-fated group will likely be Haley Reinhart, though Casey Abrams is also showing signs of being vulnerable again.
Though Stefano and Haley have both looked elimination in the eye more often, we are predicting that tonight will be Jacob Lusk's final night on the Idol stage.
Let me know what you think about last night's performances? Do you agree? Who was the best? Who was the worst? And who should hit the bricks in tonight's elimination show? Remember to follow this blog on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/capnpen. Also be sure to follow our Facebook group, American Idol Update.