Ah, AI, I need you today. It’s been a long week already. . .
Questions of the night: Did Steven Tyler steal his outfit from J.Lo’s closet? And why does J.Lo have a loofah stuck on the front of her dress?
Oh, well. Let’s get on with the show! Here’s how it went down when the top 8 took on the songs from the movies.
Paul McDonald “Old Time Rock and Roll” by Bob Seeger
• What are people wearing tonight? Is he wearing a cravat?
• He seems to be holding his Captain Jack Sparrow dance moves to a minimum tonight.
• It’s a fine rendition, but honestly, I implored Paul to “do something” during this performance. It was nice, but it didn’t really go anywhere. I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t totally in awe of it.
• But I loved Paul and I love it when he ends his songs with that happy little laugh of his. Watch it here:
Lauren Alaina “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus
• Oh, crap! Why did she pick this song?
• OK, I relent. It is an age-appropriate song.
• She is a much better singer than Miley Cyrus, but this performance wasn’t perfect. The beginning was beautiful and fragile, the middle was a little rough and had some pitch problems, the ending was nice and showed off her voice a little, but not enough, in my opinion. She didn’t pick a song that really show off her voice very much. She has such a nice range and this song really didn’t utilize that.
• Beautiful girl with a beautiful voice who picked a song that did nothing for her.
Stefano Langone “End of the Road” by BoysIIMen
• Wow. I think I just went back to 8th grade.
• OK, Stefano, I used to like you. But I think we just broke up.
• Stefano can sing. HE can do all kinds of crazy things with his voice. And he had a beautiful modulation in this performance. I’m just not sure about this song choice. Plus, it felt like he was a little shouty.
• The judges loved it, but it was just OK for me. Maybe I’m just over Stefano.
Scotty McCreery “I Cross My Heart” by George Strait
• Scotty says he grew up with this song. Hmm. It’s 8th grade again for me.
• While Lauren Alaina’s voice naturally sounds like it has a tear in it, Scotty tries to put the cry into his voice. And it just doesn’t work.
• When Scotty just sings, he’s great. Which is what he does toward the middle/last third of the song. And I’m SO glad that he made the big moment of the song a note when he was not digging into his lower register.
• It was nice; it wasn’t perfect; and it still wasn’t a show-stopper. Plus, he’ll be safe. Teen girls heart Scotty!
Casey Abrams “Nature Boy” by Nat King Cole
• What in the world? I’m all for eclectic, but I’m not sure I get this song choice. Except that somehow this seems like the perfect Casey Abrams’ kind of song.
• It’s time for me to say this: I wish Casey would stop growling out some of his words. And that “Mmm” thing he does All. The. Time.
• Ok, I just figured out that this is where that “just to love and be loved in return” refrain from Moulin Rouge comes from.
• It’s weird, but somehow works. Casey’s performance isn’t perfect and neither are his vocals and it’s honestly not my favorite and I don’t think I get it, but I do like that he’s different and stays true to who he is. But Casey made it his own. And I have to give him props for that, even if I don’t exactly get it or love it.
Haley Reinhart “Call Me” by Blondie
• I sometimes feel like Haley hides not being quite on the notes (like the first one of this performance) by sliding around on the notes and adding in the growls.
• I love her dress.
• I’m not sure she’s hitting the “Call me” note, but I can’t really tell because she’s basically just shouting it every time.
• It’s an energetic performance, but the beginning wasn’t great for me. I agree with Randy; it didn’t showcase her voice (it just let her shout and growl a lot). It was a good performance and entertaining, but it just wasn’t her best. Or the best tonight. Just watch it:
Jacob Lusk “Bridge over Troubled Water”
• OK, I heart this song. Don’t mess it up, Jacob. (In case you’re wondering, my mom loved Simon and Garfunkel. And my dad likes Crosby, Stills, Nash, and (sometimes) Young. I love me some folky music.)
• Until Jacob goes into the second verse and somehow rediscovers his vibrato and starts singing like he has phlegm at the back of his throat, I loved this song. And there are moments in the chorus when he’s just singing it like a gospel song that I love it still.
• The progression of long, high, extended notes at the very end is beautiful and astounding. And I can’t believe I just said that about Jacob!
• I truly can’t believe this, but that was one of the best (maybe the best) performances of the night. Watch it:
James Durbin “Heavy Metal” by Sammy Hagar
• As Simon would have said, self-indulgent. That’s what comes to mind during the video package when James discusses the song he’s chosen and Jimmy tries to talk him out of it.
• Do they teach that weird, squatty stance in heavy metal/hard rock school?
• I also wish James would stop doing those backbends on stage. We know you’re very bendy, James. We get it. Maybe we’re jealous, but seriously, stop it.
• It’s a fine metal performance, with several of the patented James Durbin screams thrown in for good measure. I think it was a good metal performance, but it’s just not my favorite style of music. I can appreciate that James does what he does well, but I personally wouldn’t vote for him tonight.
Best of the night: Jacob Lusk (and I sort of hate myself for saying that)
Safe: Paul (I hope), Scotty, Casey (though I’d probably put him in the bottom 3 if I were judging), James, Lauren Alaina (though it wasn’t her strongest performance and I wouldn’t be surprised if she was in the bottom 3)
In trouble: Stefano (even if the judges loved it), Haley