It’s time for AI . . . and let’s just hope for the best. It’s the songs of Carole King, which means I’ll spend all night thinking I don’t know any Carole King songs, then saying, “Oh, I didn’t know that was a Carole King song!”
I’m just warning you. It will happen. (OK, so it happened for the first time in the video package about Carole King. . . )
Ready to hear my take on how it all went down? Let’s go!
Jacob Lusk “Oh, No, Not my Baby”
• If the practices are any sign of how this is going to go, Jacob is going to caterwaul a lot.
• Where did he get the jacket? And that shirt? Um, no no no! Fashion police!
• This is a more upbeat song, which is great because he’s sung so, so, so many ballads, but when Jacob finds a upbeat song, he dances around and gets all sassy and it’s really hard to take.
• The performance is pretty good overall. The last note isn’t quite on, and he still uses too much wailing and vibrato for my taste, but it was really nice to see him to do a performance and to do something upbeat.
Lauren Alaina “Where You Lead”
• Miley Cyrus gives Lauren Alaina advice, and she sounds like she’s smoked for 40 years. Miley, I mean seriously.
• I love that Lauren Alaina picked a dude out of the office to make the object of her song AND drug him up on the stage. (He seemed to enjoy every moment of it.)
• I love that Lauren tried for the notes in her upper register, not all crazy, but within reason—and it was good.
• It was a good, but not magical, performance. The song was a little bit of a safe choice, but Lauren stretched herself and faced a few of her fears. She has this break in her voice that is beautiful, and I’m glad the judges noticed that tonight.
Now it’s time for a duet: Haley and Casey “I Feel the Earth Move”
Haley’s a better singer than Casey and this duet makes it apparent.
Casey is trying too hard to sound growl-y.
Ending was very nice, if I do say so myself.
(And Steven Tyler asks Casey how in love he is with Haley and Casey looks like he might die of embarrassment.)
Scotty McCreery “You Got a Friend”
• Jimmy wants Scotty to start soft and not in that “traditional Scotty voice.” Thank you, Jimmy. The masses thank you! I prefer Scotty when he’s not relying on gimmicks.
• The song begins with Scotty and the guitar player, and while he pulls out of few of his favorite gimmicks, he doesn’t do the dip into the lower register and it’s so, so nice.
• He’s not holding the mike all weird, either! Yay!
• There are some sustained notes toward the middle/back third of the song, and Scotty simply holds the note in his real singing voice and it’s beautiful.
• At the very end, he lets his voice slide around on the word “friend” and dips every so slightly into his lower register. It’s nice. It’s perfect. It’s not overdone and doesn’t highlight very vocalization you’ve heard every country singer in the history of country music do all in the same song! I’m excited for Scotty! He stepped out of his comfort zone and just sang, and it was really, really good. (But he still looks scarily like Alfred E. Neuman.)
James Durbin “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”
• James is going to try to just be himself and says there will be no marching bands or flaming pianos. Hmm. He says he can put on just as good of a show without all that stuff. I guess we’ll see!
• Beginning seemed a little shaky, and I’ll admit: as a purist, it bothered me how he messed around with the melodic line. But I do like that he did all of it pretty much a capella.
• I seriously think James was doing a fine job on this song. . . and then he just had to scream. I was enjoying him singing at the upper portion of his range and he starts screaming. I just think it would have been better without doing that. Can he do a song without it?
• Overall, a very good performance. It’s closer to magical for me than anything else has been this season.
Duet: Lauren and Scotty “Up on the Roof”
Whoever is doing Lauren’s makeup does a good job.
Scotty’s not so good at harmony. . .
Lauren is definitely the diamond in that duo.
OK, I just have to mention this: when it comes back from commercial and Ryan is trying to (awkwardly) introduce us to Carole King’s daughter, there’s a random little blonde girl sitting on Steven Tyler’s lap. And. No. One. Mentions. It. STRANGE!
Casey Abrams “Hi-De-Ho”
• Casey all scrubbed up in a suit and wearing a fedora. And like me, the fedora isn’t the hat for him.
• Casey! Don’t do that grunty thing! It’s annoying.
• This song isn’t really a song; it’s a talk/sing. Which is fine, since that’s pretty much what Johnny Cash did, but if you’re the guy who is generally thought of as the least vocally talented, wouldn’t you want to prove people wrong with something amazing?
• It’s a fine performance, even a fun one, but still, not magical. Not even a little bit.
(Also, I didn’t know Carole King wrote this song! 🙂
Haley Reinhart “Beautiful”
• I used to not like Haley. Now she’s one of my favorites. How’s that for an about face?
• I like that she kept the growling to a minimum in this performance and just sang—it’s easy to forget that she can actually sing very well when she’s doing all that growling and vibrato stuff.
• Ending is great. She just has absolute control over her voice. Great performance.
Duet: James and Jacob “I’m in to Something Good”
I have to laugh that Jacob said “Halleluyer” like Madea.
They have on almost matching outfits. Hee. But James pants are too tight. And I think he may have tired to do a little Elvis move.
These two are better at harmonies than Scotty or Casey.
Best of the night: James and Haley
Safe: Scotty and Lauren Alaina
In the bottom: Jacob and Casey