AI 10: The Final Five

It’s the final five singing for their lives, and J.Lo chose to wear my grandma’s curtains and put a flower from her garden in her hair. It’s going to be a fun one, folks!

The contestants are going to sing a current song and one from the 60s.

James Durbin “Closer to the Edge”
• What’s going on with his hair? Scary.
• Beginning is not good and I think a little too low for him. He’s better when he hits the chorus and can belt it, but he’s just a little under on most of his big notes for a large portion of the song. The ending was nice, but certainly not his best performance of the season.

Jacob Lusk “No Air” (Ugh)
• Something about how he starts the song is like fingernails on a blackboard for me.
• It’s not a good sign when the notes you’re hitting are actually clashing with the background singers’ notes.
• OK performance, but nothing astounding. Kind of screamy and the singing at the back of his throat is killing me. Plus he danced. And I can’t take it when he dances.

Lauren Alaina “Flat on the Floor”
• The 1-2-3-4 was a little anti-climactic, but after Lauren gets going, it’s good. Like really good.
• She’s full of attitude, which this song demands, and while her run at the end wasn’t stellar, but it was a fun, confident performance.
• It’s not the performance we’ve been waiting for, but it’s really, really good.

Scotty McCreery “Gone”
• I have to admit, my love for Scotty has fizzled. But he sounds pretty good on this one, mostly not doing the whole scoop thing to get down into his lower register and working the crowd. He looked like he was having fun.
• He ended the song in his actual baritone voice and does some runs, and it’s good.
• The best performance of the night so far.

Haley Reinhart “You and I” by Lady Gaga
• I don’t know about the rest of the world, but singing a Gaga song doesn’t excite me. I also don’t like the starting singing on the stairs.
• She adopts a weird affectation for the first verse of the song, then launches into the chorus and the usual belting she’s capable of.
• It’s a good performance, but not the great one I think she was looking for. By the end of the song, she simply sounded like a tired Janis Joplin who’d been on the road for months subsisting on cigarettes and whiskey. It just wasn’t good.

James Durbin “Can’t Live if Living is Without You”
• I like the toned down version of James. I really want him to just sing this song and not do the screaming, even though going to the wail is obvious place to go with this song. Don’t do it, James! Do something vocally unexpected.
• His control is spot on, and he grows the song in the right places. His emotional and he doesn’t scream at all! I’m so proud of him.
• A straight-forward, beautiful, emotional performance that reminded me why James is here in the first place.

Jacob Lusk “Love Hurts”
• OOh, a harp!
• I’m just going to say it: I don’t like Jacob’s voice. I don’t like it. Everyone has a right to his/her own opinion and I’ll fight for your right to like it, but I don’t.
• He’s all over his range, dropping into some lower register and hopping into falsetto. I can’t take it. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.
• He makes this song all gospel-y, but even the run at the end annoys me. I just don’t think he’s very current. Who’s going to buy an entire album of that?

Lauren Alaina “Unchained Melody”
• I love this song and want Lauren Alaina to do it well. Come on, girl!
• I like the small changes she makes to the melodic line, adding in a flip or trill.
• The first part is restrained, then she starts to build the emotion and immediately pulls back. She seemed to be ramping up to something but never quite delivered on it. It was nice, but a tiny bit boring.
• It was beautiful and she had great control, but it just didn’t have a lot of emotion. This is a song of pent-up emotion to someone you whose love you need like water in the desert and can’t necessarily have.

Scotty McCreery “Always on my Mind”
• The beginning is restrained and he has his voice under control.
• I’m not sure about the weird run he does in his higher range toward the end and actually liked the controlled dip into his deep voice at the end—he didn’t use the scoop!
• It was subdued and pretty, kind of classic George Strait-ish.

Haley Reinhart “The House of the Rising Sun”
• She starts a cappella, and it’s pretty magical. When she sings the line “it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy” and her voice cracks on “ruin,” it’s believable.
• I think she’s trying a little too hard to be sexy in this performance and she’s back to sliding around on all the notes and growling in every phrase.
• Randy thought it was the best performance of the night, but I’d disagree. I don’t know who I’d award that honor to, but it wasn’t this performance.

Best: Scotty

Safe: Haley and James

In trouble: Jacob and maybe Lauren

(For the record, I think James should be in the bottom and Lauren should be safe, but I don’t know if the voters will agree with me.)

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