Tonight, three judges will watch as the Top 3 Idolettes sing three songs each. And what feels like three hours is really only two.
Round 1 - Personal Song Choice (Guest mentor: Beyoncé)
Scotty McCreery amazes no one by choosing the boring Lonestar ballad, "Amazed." When Same Ol' Scotty™ tries to reach for those power notes during rehearsal, Beyoncé looks nauseated, yet she tells him that he's great. Hmm, maybe they'll make her an honorary judge? One nanosecond into his live perfomance, which begins with him leaning on the piano in an incredibly smarmy manner, I'm overwhelmed by the urge to knock his elbow out from under him so he'll land right on his oh-so-earnest face. I try to listen to the song so I can comment on something other than my ever-growing, irrational dislike for this kid but I can't. It's way too boring. Of course, the judges lap it up like they always do. And Randy gets to tell everyone that he produced the Boyz II Men cover, so he's as happy as a pig in shit.
Beyoncé's advice to Lauren Alaina was to create a stage character for herself to help get rid of her nerves. Apparently, Lauren's character is Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors because her head has been almost entirely engulfed by large flowers on either side. She sings Faith Hill's "Wild One," a song she says she's been singing since she was six years old. You'd think after that much practice, she wouldn't run out of breath at the end of every line, but you'd be wrong. J.Lo claims rather halfheartedly that Lauren "attacked" the song and Randy likes when Lauren is on stage just having fun. Forgetting that she's underage, Steven says, "You're ready for America to be all over you."
Haley Reinhart announces that she's singing Led Zeppelin's "What Is And What Should Never Be," and I immediately declare her my winner. As something of a Zeppelin freak, I'm always leery of Zep covers but I have to give this girl props for having the balls to go there and for picking a song that much of this show's biggest voting block won't know. She's got her dad on guitar, an amazing dress and she's doing a great job with the vocals and the performance until...wipeout! (Maybe Beyoncé greased the floor after Haley made that comment about growing up listening to B's music?) Totally hilarious slip and fall right in front of the judges as she's running back to the stage but she pops right back up and doesn't miss a beat to finish strong. If this girl had a you-know-what, it would be out because she's rocking this. Randy thinks it's one of Haley's best performances ever. Steven asks Haley if she fell for him (har har), while J.Lo remembers all the times that she performed and things went wrong, and all the little people who were fired as a result.
Seacrest asks who wins Round 1 and Randy and J.Lo give it to Haley. Steven probably does too, but he's not really giving a straight answer.
Round 2 - Jimmy Iovine's Song Choice
Jimmy encourages Scotty to lockthemdoors and ask all the lonely cat ladies out there Thompson Square's musical question, "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?" Dubya Magoo™ is lucky there's a TV screen in between them and him or he'd be suffocating right now. Scotty grabs his guitar for this one but, other than that, I don't hear much difference between this and everything else he sings. I'm sorry, Scotty fans, but I just don't get it. Any of it. I mean, I get that he'll have a successful country career after this, no matter what happens. But I don't get why people think this goober is sexy and/or a one-of-a-kind talent. He seems like a nice kid with a good voice but how many of those are out there?? Unsurprisingly, the judges go apeshit: Steven finally pulls out the "beautiful" card, J.Lo loves all the "moments" that were in the performance, and Randy says that Scotty is approaching Garth Brooks territory. The Dawg also finally seems to acknowledge that he's driven "IN IT TO WIN IT" right into the ground.
Seacrest turns to Scotty and says what I hear as, "Randy has Tremors backstage," and I'm like, Well, that's a pretty cool flick, but what does that have to do with anything? Then I realize that J.Lo had just suggested that Scotty go back to his old buzz cut, so Ryan was saying that Randy had trimmers. But I don't care about Scotty's hair. I care more about seeing if I can connect Scotty McCreery to Kevin Bacon in under six degrees. And of course I can. Kevin Bacon was in Mystic River with Sean Penn, who was in U Turn with Jennifer Lopez who is on American Idol with Scotty McCreery. BOOM. Three degrees.
Before hitting the stage again, Lauren gets some leg makeup because her pantyhose ripped. Doesn't anyone find it strange that a big show like Idol doesn't have enough in the wardrobe budget to have a couple of backup pairs of hose? Maybe Scotty's never-ending parade of flannel shirts broke the bank. Who knows. Jimmy's song choice for Lauren is The Band Perry's "If I Die Young," a band and song I've never heard of. And I wish I'd still never heard of them because the fact that they named their band The Band Perry makes me want to make their song title a reality. Why doesn't Lauren just call herself The Singer Lauren Alaina from now on? And maybe I should go by The Blogger BeckEye? Anyway...because this song is so awful, I YouTubed the original to see if it was really that bad. Turns out, it's not. Not that it's a great song (it's a slowed-down version of Taylor Swift's "Should've Said No" + death), but the way Lauren's version is arranged just makes it sound so plodding and dreadful. The melody seems to completely disappear somewhere in the middle. But Lauren's vocals are good...at least until the end when she A) forgets the key change, and B) tries to growl like Haley and her larynx just crumples up and cowers in the back of her throat. Steven and J.Lo throw the word "beautiful" around a lot, and all the judges point out that Lauren messed up but still think she's awesome.
Jimmy assigns Haley "Rhiannon," which could be a disaster. So many people who try to cover Stevie Nicks songs fail because they try to replicate her unique voice and end up sounding ridiculous. Haley doesn't sound like she's trying to imitate Stevie, which is good, but I'm a little annoyed that they have her wearing a gauzy, flowing dress and are blasting her with a wind machine. I mean, come on. I'm surprised that Jimmy didn't force Haley to wear a top hat and instruct her to twirl through half of the song. Although she seems a little unsure of the words during the verses, Haley's vocals are pretty solid throughout. It's not my favorite performance of hers, and I certainly wouldn't have picked this song for her. I love it, but it's not really a vocal showcase. If Jimmy wanted to give his ex a shout-out, he could have picked a song more suited to Haley's strengths, like "Gold Dust Woman," "Gypsy" or "Edge of Seventeen." But the judges all say nice things, and Randy comes away from this performance wanting his own wind machine.
Steven awards Round 2 to Lauren, while Jennifer and Randy give it to Scotty. Seacrest also asks Jimmy, who doesn't give a real answer. However, he reveals that he must be doing as much coke as Stevie used to back in the day when he describes Scotty as if "Bruce Springsteen and Garth Brooks had a baby." Yeah. More like Ed Bruce and Garth Algar.
Before the next round, we're "treated" to Beyoncé's new video for "Run the World (Girls)." I like a lot of Beyoncé's and Destiny's Child songs but this is a giant, steaming plate of terrible.
Round 3 - The Judges' Chance to Prove How on the Cutting Edge They're Not
I have not heard "She Believes in Me" in AGES, but here it is coming out of Scotty's mouth. Like tree sap. Kenny Rogers' old face is turning over in its grave during this performance. Now, Scotty's cover isn't as bad as this hilarious version (you will immediately understand why the "singer" disabled comments) and I guess it's not really bad at all, but he just doesn't have the charisma to sell this. He's squinting, pretending that he's on the verge of tears, holding his mic like it's a burrito, trying to hit glory notes and failing...you know the drill. Same Ol' Scotty! The judges were apparently listening to something else because they all think Magoo nailed those big choruses. I'd rather hear his dad sing a song. I enjoyed Pop McCreery's little snippet of babylockthemdoors much more than anything Scotty's done in several weeks.
The other country singer gets saddled with another country ballad; this time it's Lauren with Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance." I am beyond sick of this boring song, but Lauren is actually doing a good job with it. Then again, there really isn't much to it. Still, the judges love Lauren to pieces and the performance gives J.Lo the "goosies." Randy and Steven stop short of arguing over which of them is better friends with Lee Ann Womack.
Haley closes things out with Alanis Morissette's angry girl classic, "You Oughta Know." I remember rolling my eyes when Crystal Bowersox sang this with Alanis last year and she had to change the BJ line to "Will she go down with you to the theater?" Well, I guess the censors didn't want to take any chances of Haley slipping up so they changed it to the even less offensive, "Will she go out with you to the theater?" (Coming after the line, "Is she perverted like me," I guess we have to assume Haley's talking about one of those theaters with the DNA-laced floors.) But the censors don't seem to think that the whole image of her scratching her nails down some random's dude back is too dirty for 9:55 pm. Go figure. She stumbles over some of the words in the verses (like every drunk college chick including myself did) but she really rocks out the choruses. I kind of wish she'd gotten to sing the Zeppelin song last but hopefully people will remember it and vote! She is IN IT TO WIN IT, after all.
Round 1 went to Haley, Round 2 to Scotty...so, guess who wins Round 3? Yep, two out of three judges preferred Lauren in that round. Aww, isn't that nice? Everyone gets a trophy!
But everyone can't get a trophy. Someone has to go home. I just hope that it isn't Haley. It shouldn't be. I haven't voted since that one time in Season 7 but I actually voted several times for her tonight. Honestly, I really can't see having two country singers in the finals. I think they're going to split votes. And as much as I've been convinced that Lauren is destined to win this thing, I don't think there's any way that Scotty will be eliminated. I guess that leaves me with Lauren as my prediction to get the boot.
Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.