American Idol 10 Finals: Round of 7

Once again through the miracle of DVR playback, we head into the breach… as Pia Toscano continues to take over the world (singing on Dancing With The Stars?  Dating a DTWS dancer?  Signed to a label before her Idol contract runs out?  Anyone else smell a bit of overhype here?)… the remaining Idols continue to compete for a chance to have their debut album squashed by Pia’s Jimmy Iovine production… because (limping along until X Factor is ready) THIS… is American Idol!

Oh, look… it’s an audition footage montage.  Wow.   “Now they are stars in the making.”  While one of the losers eliminated finalists is becoming a star right now.  Yeah.  Cue the credits… it’s showtime… 90 minutes for 7 singers… let’s see how much padding we get tonight… Smile

The theme tonight is guaranteed failure “Music of the 21st Century”… and we start with Pink’s “So What” by the Departed Idol Chorus (Ashthon, Karen, Naima, Pia, Thia, and Paul).  And man, Paul sounds awful on this one… but if you think about it, if any of the girls had done “So What” (or something like it), and done it well, they’d probably still be on the show.   Instead, they’re filler material so that FOX doesn’t have to produce another failed sitcom.  Back to Seacrest at the judges’ panel… and then…

Gee, judges, do you miss the Departed Idol Chorus?  Maybe if you’d done your damn jobs for the last 6 weeks, some of them would still be here.  But no… who wants to get booed for telling a singer they did a bad job, right?

Each singer will be brought on tonight by a montage of cheap shots from their Idol cohorts…

Scotty McCreery – “Swingin’” (LeAnn Rimes)
The montage made fun of Scotty’s odd handling of a microphone.  So, of course, he starts handing the microphone really oddly at the start of the song… a song which, of course, was Scotty being Scotty.  OK, he did go a bit uptempo and didn’t just croon away, but it’s a country hit from Idol’s official Country Guy.  Good start.  He’s probably safe.  NOW, the judges pound him for safe choices?  NOW?  Guess it’s time for Scotty to go home, eh? Smile


We come back to a not at all contrived segment where the Idols congratulate Scotty post-performance… and James in the Brand-Name Cola Product Placement Zone.

James Durbin – “Uprising” (Muse)
The montage focuses on James’ rocker affectations and the Scarf Tail…  it’s the first time Muse has been performed here.  Of course, it’s James doing the song.  Thing is, it’s a good choice.  He let the song showcase his voice… he did screech a bit, but for the most part, he sang.  This one will be remembered.  Might be his best singing of the competition, even if he took the edge of the performance aspect a bit (the drum corps was a nice touch).  (“He slayed it” count = 1) (Thanks JLH for what I’m thinking now.) Smile (Facebook joke – if you’re not there, never mind)


Seacrest uses the drum corps to play him back on-stage…

Haley Reinhart – “Rolling In The Deep” (Adele)
It seems Haley growls a bit onstage… among other quirks… according to the montage… She’s doing the song from a stool behind the judges’ podium… and once again, the song choice works out well… yeah, she growled a little, but it was generally a more restrained performance… and it definitely showed off Haley’s blues-rock leanings well.  Who knows, she might just survive another week… we’ll see…


Back with Seacrest and Jacob in the Brand-Name Cola Product Placement Zone.

Jacob Lusk – “Dance With My Father” (Luther Vandross)
The montage confirmed what we suspected – Jacob’s the team diva… Uh oh… that abrupt stop at the start of the song might be enough to hurt him… I’m not sure taking on the Luther comparison was a good idea… it was a good performance, a little less melodramatic than he has been, but he set a target he had no hope of reaching… will that hurt him with Idol voters?  Possibly.

Halftime: Nobody did a bad job.  I think it’s coming down to fanbases… Scotty and James have them.  Haley and Jacob… not so much.  They’re at risk of visiting the Bottom Three again.

What a big surprise… Mark Ballas is in the audience… and Pia sang tonight.  That’s incredible.  I mean, who’da thunk it?

Casey Abrams – “Harder to Breathe” (Maroon 5)
Of course, the montage was about Casey’s erratic facial hair and vocal stylings.  Casey’s on guitar tonight.  Another good song choice… Maroon 5 does just the kind of music Casey would be doing post-Idol.  Unfortunately, I’m not as enthused with the actual performance… a bit too rough and raspy for the song, I think.  I definitely understand why VFTW has anointed Casey as their poster boy this week.  And, of course, the bit with J-Lo at the end was totally spontaneous.  Not at all planned or rehearsed.  This could be… problematic.   I wish I was a lip reader… whose idea was it to let Steven Tyler have a live mic… or Seacrest have a beard (that isn’t named Julianne)?


We come back to Steven Tyler’s mouth taped to keep him quiet… which, of course, failed…

Stefano Langone – “Closer” (Ne-Yo)
Stefano is the ladies’ man in the house (gee, that’s a surprise)… and that’s exactly the vibe Stefano brought to the song… now this is where I miss Cowell, this is exactly the performance he’d have called “karaoke” or “self-indulgent”… and he’d have been right.  Not to mention letting the backup singers carry far too much of the song.  We’ve seen better.


Lauren Alaina – “Born To Fly” (Sara Evans)
The montage starts with her falling down the stairs at the Cursed Mansion… and moves on to her very Southern accent… and we end where we started, with a country singer doing a country hit.  Thing is… she’s good at it.  She’s definitely got the pop-country sound down, and she did seem to come out of the shell a wee bit tonight (as Jimmy Iovine harped on in the studio piece)… not that she had anything to worry about, but it’s a good way to close the night.

And it’s time for the montage…
Three For The Road: Nobody really hurt themselves… but none of the trailing performers did much to help themselves, either.  I think Stefano, Casey, and Haley will be in the Bottom Three, but I won’t be surprised if Jacob ends up there.  Scotty, Lauren, and James are safe for another week (barring another voting fiasco, which is always possible).  I can understand Lauren’s attitude – she knows she can coast to the final three if she doesn’t screw up… so why take a risk?  I don’t expect it, but the producers might drop her into the Bottom Three tomorrow to shake her up and motivate her fanbase… they’ve done it before.

I should have the results blog up just after the live show wraps tomorrow.  Will it be another “shocking” week, or will form hold?  Let’s get together tomorrow night and find out.  See you then, with performances from David Cook and Katy Perry.


Author: Rob Hoffmann

Occasional blogger, slightly less occasional improv player/ref/tech, full-time computer techie, radio producer (basketball, mostly), generally nice person (if you ask me).

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