With it being the final three on “American Idol,” this is the point that you want to hope that the contestants will really bring it and show off something we haven’t seen yet on the show. You know … and “Idol” moment or two! Is that too much to ask? Beyonce was there to mentor / promote her own music video, but she did not pack the punch of Lady Gaga.
By and large, though, this was a mixed bag. Vocally, Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery, and Haley Reinhart were all solid — but there was really only one contestant here (Haley) that actually tried to push the envelope. Will this be enough? We will just have to see what the voters manage to come up with.
Round One – personal picks
Lauren Alaina: Let’s start with blaming the producers and the judges — if someone gave Lauren a note about her phrasing and breathing techniques a few weeks ago, the problems with this Faith Hill performance could have been better. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen and she dropped note after note in this song. This was probably her weakest performance in a few weeks because of it, but for some reason the judges refused to acknowledge any of this at all.
Scotty McCreery: As someone who has heard Lonestar’s “Amazed” at least two hundred times at school dances over the years, this was no a performance that led to much excitement from the get-go. Yet you have to give Scotty some credit here — he actually sang the song well, missed very few notes, and even seemed to be in touch with the lyrics. This is not the easiest song in the world to perform, so have to give credit here where it is in fact due.
Haley Reinhart: Just how good has Haley become at this point in the competition? Not only is she killing the performances, she is doing so even while falling down at the same time. The biggest difference between her and the other two contestants is that they are playing it safe, and she is actually trying to stretch out and show that she can do all sorts of music (including Led Zeppelin).
Round Two – Jimmy Iovine
Lauren Alaina: Emotionally, this may have been Lauren’s strongest performance of the season. You could really see her actually getting to the lyrics of the song — but unfortunately she also stumbled midway through, go distracted, and then missed her key change. Lauren also seems to have a few problems taking criticism, which is going to put her in a difficult position once she exits this show.
Haley Reinhart: Personally, the biggest problem here with Haley’s Fleetwood Mac performance was simply the arrangement. After a brilliant introduction, the backing band seemed to come on a bit too heavily — and a wind machine turned on and served really as more of a distraction than anything actually conducive to the performance.
Scotty McCreery: This performance was in many ways similar to the first one — it was solid, fun, and brought on some good emotion. What did make this performance a little bit better was that it felt more like Scotty making a song his own rather than just singing a cover.
Round Three – the judges
Scotty McCreery: After delivering his best performance of the night, Scotty then settled back into what we have seen so many times it’s almost like hypnosis at this point — a slow country song with a big chorus. Where’s the variety? Some of the better performances for Scotty have been the ones that show him moving around and showing some energy (think “Gone”). He’s done so many similar performances that they become boring, and that poses a problem for his voting block.
Haley Reinhart: The final round was a bit weaker than the other two, but Haley did end up having the strongest performance of the three thanks largely to a killer chorus to “You Oughta Know.” As for why the judges decided to pick a song with such bizarre (and also explicit) versus, your guess is as good as mine. Haley’s variety could get her into the finale, but it’s definitely going to be an interesting vote.
Lauren Alaina: “I Hope You Dance” is one of the toughest country songs out there, so you do have to give credit to a song that Scotty messed up during Hollywood Week (and literally sang “nuts of wonder” while in front of the judges). Did she do anything remotely new to the song? No — but there is something to be said for someone just trying to be a good singer, and that’s what happened here.
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