by Ruth Anne Boulet
It’s Top 3 night and most American Idol fans know what the deal is — three songs. One song selected by the contestant. One song selected by Jimmy Iovine and one song selected by the, ahem, judges. First round — contestant’s choice:
Scotty McCreery — Amazed by Lonestar
Scotty doesn’t want to stray too far from the country genre. In fact, he doesn’t want to stray at all from the country genre. As I listen to him sing, I’m realizing that this song is essentially I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing by Aerosmith, just with slightly different lyrics and a country twang. Scotty may be trying some strategy by doing an “oh-baby” type song that could get his female fanbase all rilled up. He sings it well. It’s safe. Snooze.
Lauren Alaina — Wild One by Faith Hill
I don’t think of Lauren being a Wild One. At all. Apparently Lauren didn’t have concerns about being considered wild, like she had concerns about being considered evil last week. Lauren also doesn’t want to stray too far out of the country womb. Please let these country kids evolve. They may not want to, but they may actually get a career if they try. It doesn’t seem like anyone is giving them that tidbit of advice. Lauren also needs the advice to breathe. She sounds ok on the song, but she still runs out of breath, especially on the faster-paced sections of the song. She needs to get some training on how to sing through those sections or just get a hold of her nerves. Whatever it is, you would think the American Idol machine would’ve provided it for her by now. Again, she sings all right, but it’s a safe, predictable choice.
Haley Reinhart — What Is And What Will Never Be by Led Zepplin
Haley opts to start this song on the top of the huge Idol stairs. It’s a bit nerve-wracking as she’s got huge skinny heels on. She makes it down, though. The song is a great choice for her voice and her dad is actually playing guitar with the band. For some reason Haley decides to make a run around the judges table. It’s totally unnecessary and she ends tripping up the smaller set of stairs. She keeps going though, and will only suffer humiliation instead of permanent damage. Bold song choice & she sounded great on it.
I should mention that round one was mentored by “Triple-Threat” Beyoncé. She did not contribute much, except maybe deplete some of the angel glow from JLo’s stash. Also, all contestants got good feedback from the judges. They declare round 1 to go to Haley. Before round 2 we get a shot of the audience and for some reason one audience member is in a dog suit. Why, I’m not quite sure.
Scotty McCreery — Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not? by Thompson Square
As a not-country fan, huh? Whatchoo talkin’ about Jimmy? Not exactly the song choice to expand Scotty’s fan base. Scotty may not need help in that department, but it’s not like I want to actively dislike him. Songs like this don’t endear him to me, however. Not just the country aspect, but the “hey, girl, aren’t we gonna hook up?” douchy-ness of it all. It’s not too adult but it won’t win him any non-country fans. Again, a good performance but nothing unexpected. Not that Haley’s Led Zepplin was that unexpected but at least it was different. Truly unexpected would’ve been Scotty doing Zep. That would’ve made me sit up. Not this, though.
Lauren Alaina — If I Die Young by The Band Perry
Lauren ripped her pantyhose just before coming on stage, so we get to see her get leg makeup put on before we get a repeat of her initial audition. Again, Jimmy, what are you doing to these kids? I have no idea who The Band Perry is, and I bet many non-country fans are in the same boat. I know neither of them have really strayed out of that zone, but how about including the larger audience? I wouldn’t mind rooting for either of them, but I can’t when I keep getting hit over the head with a style of music I don’t want to listen to. Again, nice safe performance. Nothing earthshattering. Unfortunately since we know that she doesn’t have pantyhose on, I got nervous when she sat down. Thankfully the camera angles keep things safe. The judges make their first very mild negative feedback by calling her on some pitch problems. Nothing too serious as Lauren might cry, but it’s the first time we’ve heard anything even remotely coming close to critique. Stop the presses.
Haley Reinhart — Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac
Haley is channeling Stevie Nicks with a wispy scarf-piece on her dress. Stevie would’ve had about 50 of them. For some reason Haley is worried about remembering the words. Not sure why because Stevie Nicks never enunciated so no one ever knows the words. American Idol shows its sense of humor by firing up the smoke & wind machine. Nice touch. It’s a little low for Haley, but she does an ok job. Randy claims he would grow his hair out if he got a wind machine. It reminds me of Lucy Lawless doing Stevie Nicks on SNL back in the day. Let’s watch it, shall we?
Scotty McCreery — She Believes In Me by Kenny Rogers
For some reason the pick texted to Scotty in his old grocery store is from “the judges.” Not one judge specifically, as in years past, but from an anonymous panel of “judges.” J Lo is caught singing along at one point. Scotty does seem to be trying to tone down his facial mugging this time. Granted, the songs he’s been given & selected don’t really call for much facial mugging but in the past he’s put stuff in where it wasn’t appropriate. So good on Scotty. He may finally be comprehending that he could either go forward or go home. Randy thought this song was maybe out of his comfort zone. Seriously? Seriously Randy? They give Scotty a cute parent moment by having his dad start the “Babylockthemdoors” song.
Lauren Alaina — I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack
Lauren also is not given a chance to venture outside of country. She gets to sing the song Scotty screwed up in Hollywood week. Lauren did get to pick her dress, though as I’m sure no professional stylist would’ve put her in the pale blue junior prom dress she donned. It doesn’t help that she’s singing “I hope you dance” because she looks like she’s part of the band at a Georgia prom. J Lo got goosebumps. Wow, I didn’t. Again, it’s a safe choice — there’s no real challenge to it and no attempt to draw in folks that might not be country fans. Judges note: Randy and Steven bicker over who is better besties with Lee Ann Womack.
Haley Reinhart — You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette
For some reason Haley gets her text in a limo instead of in front a crowd at a grocery store or outside of an AT&T store. It also seems a little low for her. I wish she would’ve gone with the really quiet version instead of the original. I think she would’ve had more power with that one. She also should not have sung the “scratch my nails down someone’s back” line to Randy. Ew. The judges are again really positive and don’t call her on the weaker parts of the performance. I think the judges must’ve made a pact that they weren’t going to talk mean about anyone & let the chips fall where they may. I suppose that’s only fair.
And now, once again, it’s time to shift the blame to the rest of us. Get to dialing & texting America. American Idol is depending on you.