Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Final Three Bring It Home...

Article first published as American Idol: Top 3 Perform on Technorati.

So, we’re down to the final three on American Idol Season 10.  This week, Lauren, Scotty and Haley got to take road trips and we were treated to some highlights of their visits with hometown fans…plus, a few songs. Actually, did anyone else notice that the shots of the Idols’ hometown fans were sparse at best this year?  What gives?  Where were the thrilling stadium shots filled with legions of loyal fans?  Maybe I’m just getting cynical in my old age.

On Wednesday night’s 90-minute show, it all went down. We saw the homey highlights and three songs from each Idol.  Each contestant chose a song for themselves, with a little help from Beyonce, followed by a song choice from the ubiquitous Jimmy Iovine, and then finally, a song chosen by the judges.  The night kicked off with Scotty singing, wait for it, a country song (“specifically, Amazed”).  Beyonce seemed worried that he wasn’t comfortable in the higher end of his range, but Scotty said, “no Ma’am.”  He wanted to shake it up a bit.  It wasn’t bad, but he definitely shines in the songs featuring his signature baritone and should stay there now that we’re so close to the finals.  Nevertheless, Tyler and RanLo showed him nothing but mad love….shocker!

Next up was Lauren, who performed Faith Hill’s song, “Wild One,” with such poor phrasing that she couldn’t really finish some of the lyrics.  Too bad – country should have really been her genre.  The judges must have been listening to something else, because they still managed to give her praise.  Where is Simon when you need him?

Haley wrapped up Round 1 with Led Zeppelin’s “What Is and What Should Never Be.”
That’s right – go big or go home sister! So, this week, Haley’s a rocker. OK – I’ll go with it.  Now, purists like my brother were probably ticked off that she had the nerve to desecrate and “pop up” that which is most sacred, but I give her props for showing some nerve and doing something different.  Also, she managed to contain her growling reasonably well and (naturally), received big love from the judging panel.   I may catch some flack for this, but I’m giving Round 1 to Haley, as did the judges.

The next circuit of song choices was courtesy of Jimmy I.o.vine.  Scotty was given “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not” and seemed really happy with the gift Sir Jimmy had bestowed upon him.  It was vintage Scotty all around, weird faces and all, but he sounded great, and the song perfectly showed off his range.  Everyone agreed; zero controversy.  Scotty is apparently also “In It To Win It.”

Jimmy’s choice for Lauren was “If I Die Young,” which again showed her voice to its best advantage, proving that Jimmy is truly the best Idol Mentor ever.  I hope he comes back next year.  I personally thought her performance was a bit boring and flat, but the vocal was good.  Again, the judges seemed unwilling to be anything but cheerleaders for the young singer.  Lauren actually had a little mid-song stumble that Simon NEVER would have let slip.  The judges all mentioned it, but seemed to give her a pass, and in fact, gave her props for such a quick recovery.  Those guys are so nice!  Really.

Jimmy’s final song pick of the night was “Rhiannon” for Haley.  Wow – hard to be objective now because that is by far, the best Fleetwood Mac song ever.  She did the opening verse beautifully, but then the producers put a giant fan on her, which clearly distracted her as she sped up into the body of the song.  The whole windy thing was VERY Stevie Nicks (gauzy, flowey, witch-like dress and all), but I ended up not loving the performance overall.   The judges all totally ate it up though.

The judges had a split decision on who took Round 2 with Tyler giving it to Lauren, and RanLo giving it to Scotty.  Sorry Haley.  I say it went to Scotty.

Before we got to hear Round 3, the Judges’ Pick, we were treated (subjected?) to the debut of Beyonce’s new Video.  It seemed to be some sort of post-apocolyptic feminist anthem about girl power, albeit one that was shot in the style of a Playboy photo shoot.  Okay Sascha Fierce.  If you say so.  I did not like it one bit, but I’m sure it will be a number one hit.

Then it was back to the singing competition, with Scotty kicking it off with “She Believes In Me.”  I thought that was an L-A-M-E song choice, but the judges all patted themselves on the backs for choosing it for him and for his delivery of it.  

They chose “I Hope You Dance” for Lauren, which seemed pretty safe to me.  She sounded fine, but it was a totally pageant-worthy performance, complete with a typical Miss America gown.  JLo loved it though and said it gave her “goosies”, while Randy just had to tell us what great friends he and LeAnn Womack were before telling us how good she was.  Tyler aptly rounded out the praises.

Wednesday’s last performance was from Haley, doing Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know.”  That seems a little unreasonable.  They chose total softballs for Scotty and Lauren and then socked Haley with a really hard song to sing, replete with raunchy lyrics and all.   I thought she struggled a bit but again, the judges called it amazing and gave her props, focusing their praise mainly on the chorus, since she flubbed the verses a bit.

Tyler gave Round 3 to Haley, while Lauren got the applause from Randy and JLo.

For me, I’d say that overall, the night went to Scotty, with Haley and Lauren both potentially in some trouble.  Given that scenario, I’d prefer to see Lauren go home, so we don’t have a totally country finale.  Also, Haley has grown on me a bit.  It will be an interesting night on Thursday for sure: don’t miss it: (!

Photo: Fox 

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