The Body, The Princess, and The Cool Cat

On the one hand, I kind of can’t believe that we’re one week away from the end of this whole shebang. (Oh, boy. I just had a mental image of William Hung. Sorry ’bout that!) On the other hand, I feel ready. For me, it’s a bit like college coming to an end. The beginning of the year starts with new school supplies, a new roommate, an exciting schedule. By the semester break, I started to get misty-eyed about leaving the safety of the college “bubble”. But by the end of the year, Mountain Dew was no longer sustaining my late-night sessions where I tried to frantically catch up on my dusty and neglected directed study class. All I wanted to do was sleep. Pop-tarts were beginning to lose their early morning appeal. I was ready to not live on a semester schedule. I was excited to have time to read books I actually wanted to again. (Although it did take me a while to drop the “skimming” habit).

So that’s where I’m at. Would I feel differently if another leprechanic constant was battling for a slot in the final two? Probably. But I guess we’ll never know, will we?

I’m assuming that the hometown visits will be covered in their entirety tonight on the results show. How else will they fill the time since we seem to be exhausting the music video route? I’m voting for NOT a longer Ford commercial. But they were kind enough to give us a sneak peek in which we saw:

1. Scotty make good on his promise to kiss the ground as soon as he arrived home.

2. Haley look remarkably at home with the rock star treatment.

3. Lauren channel her inner princess.

And Ryan urged us to not feel sorry for poor James. After all, he got a hometown reception, too. Thanks, Ry-Ry. That really softens the blow. NOT!

But here’s the question I pose to you: Is there any more noble calling than becoming a superstar?

Thank goodness Ryan was on deck to navigate us through the veritable labyrinth of the show last night. Here’s the breaky-break down.

Round 1 – Contestants choose their own songs.

Round 2 – Jimmy Iovine chooses the contestant’s songs. That’s right, Mr. Baseball Cap himself.

Round 3 – The judges choose the contestant’s songs. But no longer will one judge be able to “take the credit” if the song goes over well…J.Lo, SteTy, and RaJax put their heads together and came up with a song for each contestant. I can only imagine how that conversation went.

J.Lo: “I think Scotty should sing a Kenny Rogers song.”

SteTy: “Man, that’d be beautiful. Just beautiful.”

RaJax: “If he can pull that out, I think for me for him for you for me that’d work really nicely. Yo. Check it out. If he really puts his effort behind it, I can pull out my favorite phrase ever and yell it over and over. Okay. Let’s have him do a Kenny Rogers song.”

J.Lo: “Great. Glad we got that settled. Lauren should definitely sing “I Hope You Dance” since she looks like she’s going to a school dance ever week.”

SteTy: “She always looks beautiful. She sounds beautiful. Let’s give her a beautiful song.”

RaJax: “From day one we knew Lauren was going to be on this stage and I think she’ll blow this song out the box. This is her lane. And we know she’s got the wardrobe. I know! Let’s have her sing “I Hope You Dance”.

J.Lo (irritated): “Randy, I already said that. Moving on.”

RaJax: “Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Back on up, J. Lo. Who died and made you queen? Let’s let Steven pick the song for Haley. Whatcho think, Steven?”

SteTy: “Since Haley is ticked off at you (under his breath) and for good reason, let’s give her an angry song. Something with profanity, I’m thinking…I know! Alanis Morissette!”

J. Lo (waves a hand dismissively): “Fine. It should be “You Oughta Know”, then. We done here?”

Let me just say for the record that Beyonce is probably the only person in the world that can be taken seriously while wearing a romper. It actually looked good on this musical maven.

ROUND 1

Scotty McCreery

“Amazed” by Lonestar

Scotty charmed Beyonce before he even walked into the room. As is Scotty’s way. What wasn’t cool is pretending that he’s never tried to sing in the upper register of his voice ever before. Dude. He’s done it multiple times. Why are we pretending like this is a new and sly trick he has up his sleeve?

I found it appropriate that Scotty (having been admonished to hold his microphone up and down so as to allow people to actually hear him) was leaning on the piano. Always gotta give something a slant, eh Scotty? I think the key change didn’t have as much power as he wished it had. He really tried to make it powerful, but the higher range didn’t have the depth to sustain it. He came back with a strong ending letting that note on Amaaaaaazed hang out there. I think it was a solid Scotty performance. And I’m impressed with his range, same as Beyonce.

It’s just unfortunate that Scotty’s fans can’t spell. I spotted individual members holding up letters that spelled “Scotyt”. Good try, guys. Good try.

Lauren Alaina

“Wild One” by Faith Hill

After her pep talk from Beyonce, Lauren took the stage with her signature “I’m having fun” shimmy. The song had a weak start but got stronger as she went and I think she pulled it out. What I’m confused about is not Lauren’s performance: she’s been pretty much the same throughout the entire competition. I’m just confused about her wardrobe choice…if I had to describe it, I’d say:

Gogo dancer meets flower child meets cow girl.

Haley Reinhart

“What Is and What Should Never Be” by Led Zeppelin

Leave it to Haley to pull out a Led Zeppelin song and give her dad some major television time by working it out so he could play on stage with her. Now, that’s using your noggin, Hay Hay! Her walk down the Staircase of Stardom was  a non-event but her turn around the judges table apparently made her dizzy because she took a little spill up the stairs. Her performance paused for maybe half a second and she recovered beautifully (as SteTy would say).

Now, that’s embarrassing. Of course, you want to show that you have a sense of humor about that kind of thing, but have to stay in character with the song, etc. Haley seems to have these situations more often than others. Anyone remember the lipstick teeth debacle of early 2011? In any case, though, I’m glad they didn’t dwell on it.

Still not buying Randy and J.Lo’s wholehearted embracing of Haley and trying to make up for their harsh criticism of her last week. It’s this little game we play. I hope “America” saw through it.

Did you notice? This week, Ryan was careful to shuttle the last contestant off the stage before turning it over to the judges to find out who “won the round”.

Haley’s behind the scene video taught us an unfortunate phrase. She told us that she and her father “…got the Led out.” Ew. I probably would have dwelt on this more, but I spotted some audience member wearing a dog costume. Now, that’ll throw anyone off course.

ROUND 2

Scotty McCreery

“Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” by Thompson Squared

Scotty, really? Jean on jean? Sigh.

Our resident country crooner struck a kind of awkward pose at the guitar. Maybe his mic was too low? All I know is the slight crouching stance is probably not ideal for singing.

Ooo! A dulcimer! Cool!

At one point, the camera shot to Jimmy in his darkened glasses taking in Scotty’s performance of the song Jimmy lovingly bestowed on him. He looked so weird and uncomfortable, like he wanted to be anywhere but there. I’ll say this, he looked MORE comfortable seated next to Lady Gaga. And if that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is.

Say what you want about Scotty, but he totally connects to that camera! I thought the performance was good, but the ending was kind of abrupt, in my opinion.

I would like to commend J. Lo on her personal growth (no, I’m not talking about a mole) this season. Sure, she still interrupted SteTy. But she APOLOGIZED! They say the first step is admitting you have a problem…

I would also like to take this moment to shout at our dear Jennifer. YES, J.LO! You are the only one that likes his shorter hair!! (Keep it longer, Scotty. I implore you.)

As Scotty and Randy bonded over their hairstyles, Ryan took us to break having yet to utter the phrase “Scotty the Body”. And just when I was starting to get used to it.

Lauren Alaina

“If I Die Young” by Perry

One thing was abundantly clear while re-watching Lauren Alaina’s audition: her American Idol makeover has done a lot for her. The hair, the make up, the wardrobe…much more cohesive. Even if it does make me itch to see a corsage on her arm.

Jimmy really knocked it out of the park (am I allowed to use a baseball phrase if I hate the sport?) with this song choice. I really love this song (yes, I know it’s country). And with Lauren sporting her cutest outfit and least confusing outfit of the night, I was good to go. I think the performance was good, but it was missing a little something for me. It might have been a lack of depth or color to her voice. Or maybe it was a shortage of power. In any case, that was all forgotten when she missed her key change. I have no idea what actually happened…did she lose focus acknowledging her fan? Was she choked up with emotion? Did she just completely not hear it? Did her in-ear monitor go dead? Did she have an out of body experience? Was she dreaming of Scotty asking her to the prom? The truth remains to be told. But it took her a lot longer to lock back in than it did Haley with her little kerfuffle.

Haley Reinhart

“Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac

The take away from Haley’s audition video redux has to be the following:

1. Boy, has she gotten better through time! She showed some raw talent, but she’s really matured vocally through this whole experience.

2. This Haley/Randy rivalry started early! We should have seen the signs.

And then Haley stepped on stage, which was transformed into a…80’s music video? Seriously. The fog on stage. Haley’s gray and flow-y dress. It all looked very three decades ago. What cracked me up more than anything, though was that lady in the front row waving the mist away as if she was irritated at it for invading her space.  

I really liked this performance. Parts of it were a little low and hard to make out. And I’m sure the wind machine didn’t really help.  But, I was super on board with the way she layered the song.

Randy, of course, took this time to say that he would grow his hair out if he could have a wind machine. Oh, Randy. Pipe down.

[Side note:] Is anyone else getting the impression that Idol is trying to singlehandedly bring back music videos? Sheesh.

I sat, mostly dumbfounded, during this ridiculous video in which Beyonce flitted in and out of shots like a demented bird. I’ll say this, I would have rather watched all the Ford commercials from the entire season end to end TWICE. ‘Nough said?

Scotty McCreery

“She Believes In Me” by Kenny Rogers

I’ve come to depend on my friend Johanna’s knowledge of country songs, since it is a well-documented fact that this type of music is not my favorite. So, when Scotty started with his opening notes and Johanna gasped loudly…well, I’ll just let you experience it for yourself.

Johanna: “OH!”

Me (whispering): “What’s wrong?”

Johanna (whispering back): “He’s never worn a blazer before.”

Scotty has got the smolder plus the low note going for him. Those two things alone should hopefully land him in the finals. Someone clue me in: there was a big chorus? I didn’t notice a big chorus. Maybe I’m just on so much country overload from this episode that my ears closed out of self-defense.

Lauren Alaina

“I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack

This song brought back lovely and hilarious memories from the Hollywood round. Remember this?

If this whole singing thing ever gets old, I think Scotty could really market a new snack: Nuts of Wonder. HA!

The song had a few minor pitch wavers but all in all, this was right up Lauren’s alley. She didn’t have to strive very hard to fit this song into her repertoire.

Haley Reinhart

“You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morsiette

I thought Haley made lemonade out of lemons with this pick from the judges. She really rocked it out and made it comfortable for her, but the verses were super low. I just wish she would have changed it a little bit more.

Still, the judges clearly wanted to paint her in an angry light to end the night. And no, I didn’t mean to rhyme. 🙂

My Takes:

1. Scotty played it smart by singing songs that put words like “kissing” and “love” in his fan’s heads. Methinks that translates to some serious voting power.

2. Lauren stayed status quo…about the same as she’s been for the last 10 weeks. She hasn’t shown the growth that the other two have.

3. Haley was like a breath of fresh music in the midst of the mire of country. Ahem. Did I say that out loud?

In a few short hours, we’ll know the results. I’m sure Ryan will try to have some fun with us. And we’ll have to solider through a 50 Cent performance. But, hey. All for the love of the finale, eh?

Haddock out!

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