American Idol and songs of the 21st Century

by Ruth Anne Boulet

Has it been that long that we need to “explore” the songs of the 21st Century? I didn’t think so, but apparently American Idol thinks I’m wrong, wrong, wrong.

We’ve got an hour & a half for our Top 7 performances. You know what that means. Filler. Lots and lots of filler. Some of the filler is from people who’ve gotten kicked off. That means this season we get a girl-group rendition of Pink’s So What. At least it starts as a girl-group. Then Paul McDonald joins in. Oy. He sounds so uncomfortable. It’s safe to say that Paul would never select a Pink song to sing. And if he did think about singing a Pink song, I hope this experience taught him a valuable lesson. Never again, Paul. Never again.

Scotty McCreerySwinging by LeAnn Rhimes is apparently taking a break this week. Jimmy makes some blah-blah comment about Scotty breaking out this week. When Scotty does the theme from Heavy Metal, then he’s breaking out, Jimmy. Doing a LeAnn Rimes song isn’t breaking out for the country boy. Scotty does mix up when he decides to show us his crotch. This time it was towards the end of the song instead of the beginning. I think he’s trying to out-face Casey with the weird muggy faces he’s pulling this week. Steven actually tells Scotty to boot-scoot more. That’s the biggest amount of criticism he’s gotten from Steven. JLo & Randy agree that Scotty’s not pushing it enough. Wow. Are the judges going to mildly attempt to earn their paycheck this week? Be still my heart.

James DurbinUprising by Muse
Supposedly the Durbin is doing a “new” song. Ryan tells us that we’re in for quite a vision. Oh, this song isn’t a new song, Ryan. This is an Alex Jones favorite song! Whenever I need a touch of whackjob I give old Alex a listen and he plays this song quite often. Durbin sounds pretty good & has a group of marching band drummers accompanying him. I think if James had ever heard Mucca Pazza he would’ve wanted them on stage with him. (Really, if you get a chance to hear Chicago’s punk marching band, do it. You’re in for a fun time.) Jennifer gives James best theatrical performance of the night. Randy name-drops Muse. Steven tells James to stay out of his closet.

Haley Reinhart Rolling in the Deep by Adele
Jimmy actually gives Haley good advice to focus on the meaning of the lyrics. You can tell when she draws in & focuses on what she’s saying. It’s a hard song to sing and she kills it. It works with her growl & she’s got the skill to actually pull it off. The judges, however, give her a lukewarm critique at best. It’s incredible. She gets good notes, but she gets comments on not hitting notes or starting too slow. What. The. Hell.

Jacob LuskDance With My Father by Luther Vandross
Jimmy and Jacob bond over losing their fathers at a young age. Jacob apparently has a hard time getting through the song in his rehearsal with Jimmy. While it’s good to have an emotional connection to what you’re singing, Jacob may trap himself by selecting a song that he’s too emotionally connected to. He seems to have a bit of a rough start, I think because of emotions, but once he gets into the power notes it seems to calm him down. Randy makes some comment about how critique helps everyone, so he gives Jacob a horrible critique of blowing songs through the roof. By the way, Jacob was totally not caught up in the emotion, but his monitor had some wacky drums in it or something. I wonder if it was the marching band trying to sabotage him.

Casey AbramsHarder to Breathe by Maroon 5
Why are you singing Maroon 5? Why, Casey? Why? Jimmy’s certainly happy ’cause he kisses Casey on the head in rehearsal. Casey sounds pretty good but I feel like I’m chaperoning in a college town. It’s not a very hip feeling. I’d rather hear Casey sing Nat King Cole. That’s not really possible in this week’s category. Casey does show major cojones when he ends the performance by kissing Jennifer Lopez on the cheek. Who dared him to do that, I wonder? JLo says Casey’s not playing fair. She loved it. The performance! The performance! Randy goes all Jim Nabors & talks about “Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!” Steven drops some major eff bombs and then Randy has to join in. Ryan dons the Casey Abrams Amish beard to call out his voting numbers.

Stefano LangoneCloser by NeYo
The other contestants talk about how much confidence Stefano has, but Jimmy Iovine knows better. As soon as Stefano starts his usual eyes-closed singing thing he does, Jimmy tells him to knock it off. There are more swears in that, but that’s the gist of it. Kathy wonders if he’s been studying Jersey Shore to get his posing down just right. There’s a lot of Stefano doing runs & the backup singers doing a lot of the actual singing. Randy’s really proud of him. Steven thinks Stefano was all up in it. Jennifer thought it was really good, for all the girls out there.

Lauren AlainaBorn to Fly by Sara Evans
Lauren has a confidence issue too. She pulls back apparently when she gets nervous & Jimmy tries to bring that home to her by bringing a couple of people in rehearsal. It’s enough to freak her out. The judges spend a lot of time telling her to believe in herself. The song’s ok, but yes, it was a safe choice for her without a lot of challenges.

So, who will be in the bottom 3 this week? Will Scotty fans forget about him because he performed in the death slot & did a safe song? Will Jacob be in the bottom again? Stefano? A girl? We’ll all find out tomorrow on American Idol.


  1. They’ve pulled that kind of “year it was remade” crap before. Not surprised Scotty dug it up. Again, would’ve been surprised by, oh, a Lady Gaga song. LeAnn Rhimes? Not so much.

  2. “Swingin” ? I hated that song when it was released … in 1983. I really don’t get why it is considered a song of the 21st Century, even if LeAnn Rhimes sang it in 2010. It is a song sung by drunken old farts in corner dives. Thanks, Scotty, for making that song even creepier. Ugh!

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