Thursday, May 5, 2011

American Idol: Now and Then

Seems like only yesterday we had 13. Now it's down
to five, soon to be four!
It seems like this season has flown by. Five contestants remain and each sang two songs for Now & Then week. They had to pick a current song and another from the 60s or 70s. For me, Scotty and Lauren pulled out front with James in the middle and Haley and Jacob definitely in the bottom (and one of them probably going home).

So here’s how everything shook out.

James kicked off the night with 30 Seconds To Mars’s, Closer to the Edge. Once again, James was big on showmanship; but sometimes I think I’d like him to focus more on the vocals. Randy and company were psyched, with Randy telling him that the competition was his to lose. For his second song he chose Harry Nilsson’s Without You. He teared up during rehearsal and almost during his performance because the song reminds him of his wife and son. His version was good but I’m not too crazy about the song. Speaking of not too crazy…

Jacob was up next and tackled the duet No Air by Idol winner Jordin Sparks and anger management poster child Chris Brown. I didn’t like the song when those two did it and I didn’t like Jacob’s screechy version of it either. The judges agreed with me. They said they’d hoped his second song would be better. For his back-in-the-day song he went with Nazareth’s Loves Hurts. Vocally he was all over the place but he did manage to make an emotional connection to the song which should count for something (take note Stefano Langone).

Lauren Alaina channeled her inner Carrie Underwood for Flat on the Floor. She did a great job with the Idol winner’s song and it was easy to see that this kind of song is exactly the kind of song she’d sing if she won Idol. She came out with a song her parents love for her old school classic, The Righteous Brothers Unchained Melody (also known as the ceramics song from the movie Ghost). She looked gorgeous in her flowing white dress. I would be surprised if she was sent home. I could see this kid in the top two.

Scotty kept it country (again) for both songs but he did manage to step up his performance game. He delivered an energetic, crowd-pleasing rendition of Gone by Montgomery Gentry. He worked the audience, jumped around the stage and even tried to get the judges involved. For his second number, he chose Elvis’s (and Willie Nelson’s) Always on My Mind. I’ll be honest, I don’t even remember much about this performance and that should tell you something.

Rounding out the top five was Haley Reinhart. For her first song, she took a big chance on an unreleased Lady Gaga song You and I. I guess she did it well, having never heard the song, I have nothing to compare it to. The judges, especially J. Lo, weren’t sure it was a good idea to go with an unknown song at this point. For her second number, she picked a very well known song, House of the Rising Sun by The Animals. I couldn’t help but compare her, not to The Animals but to Siobhan Magnus, who killed this song last year. Haley didn’t slay it.

Bottom Three? How about which two will be safe. For me that’s our country duo: Scotty and Lauren. Jacob, James and Haley, have a seat on one of those uncomfortable-looking stools because one of you will be going home … probably Jacob. Then again what do I know, I've been predicting that Jacob's going home for week's now. The kid has more lives than a new-born kitten!

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