Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The prophetic powers of Steven Tyler...

OH. MY. GOD. HOW GREAT WAS THAT FINALE???!!! JAMES VS. HALEY - the ultimate American Idol battle! I was on the edge of my seat the entire show! My fingers could NOT stop dialing afterwards!....

oh shit...wait...that was the finale I've been dreaming about all season...damn!!!

Scotty vs. Lauren. 17-year old country boy with the old soul vs. 16-year old pageant queen. Wake me up when it's over...ok, it wasn't that bad,  but this has to go down as one of the least-exciting finales in history. Am I right?

So now, I am going to try to keep this short and sweet. Or short and bitter.

Last night, we saw the producers of American Idol (shame on you, Nigel Lythgoe) try to turn American Idol into a scripted reality show.

All season, we've watched Lauren battle her nerves, search for confidence, cry for her mommy, and wear a series of 1980's pagent outfits that only a thrift shop could love. But last night: parading a doctor in scrubs onto the stage, telling us Lauren would STILL be able to sing, even with the threat of shots to save her strained vocal was the last straw. Was this a desperate attempt by the producers to drum up sympathy for Lauren? YES. Are the producers dying for a girl to win this year? YES. Did we all watch this show and think, good god, this is so one-sided, I could make myself vomit? YES.

Steven Tyler prophesied during audition rounds that they had found the winner in Lauren Alaina. Against my own wishes, better judgment, and multiple phone calls from both land and cell phone lines for Scotty, I think Lauren will wear the crown tonight.

How did this happen?

Check Yes or No?
SCOTTY - opening with "Gone" - I can understand your choice, you wanted to be upbeat, you wanted to kick some country ass. The problem is, George Strait picked a complete dud for you in "Check Yes or No" immediately after this performance. So any momentum you wiped out by this melody-less, boring song.  How about "Cross My Heart" - something sweet, with a memorable melody? And to top it off, the producers (and Jimmy) stuck you with "I Love You This Big" - which would probably be a hit on Sesame Street, with ELMO on lead vocals. To your credit, Scotty, you made the most of a lame song. But you weren't given a fair shot tonight.

The Chosen One?
LAUREN - sigh. I don't even feel like writing this. I loved you at the beginning of the season because you were sassy and confident during auditions. And we never saw that girl again! Every week, I rooted for you...until I stopped rooting for you. And here we are, you are about to win American Idol. Your performance of "Flat on the Floor" left me lifeless and bored on the floor...very similar to the first time you sang this song. "Maybe it was Memphis" is a great song - if you can belt it like Carrie Underwood (who chose the song for you). But again, you held back (maybe those strained vocal cords? Puh-leese). But I'll admit, your last song had me thinking that if my Mom wasn't so blinded by love for Scotty, she probably would have LOVED that performance. "Like My Mother Does"...? Are we a nation of suckers? YES. It was a star-making performance for a young girl with lots of potential. The producers did you right by choosing it for you. Although singing to your mama in the audience was a bit much for me. Either way, I give you credit, that last song was made for you.

I think Lauren will win. I'm really hoping a miracle will happen and Scotty will still come out on top, but I'm not betting on it. Overall, this was a somewhat deflated end to the season. I think Scotty is a country superstar already. I know the entire state of North Carolina is holding its breath for the results tonight. But the victory will likely go to Lauren. Our sweet Georgia Peach who has lots of growing to do.

What did YOU hear last night?!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

If you like it then you should have put a ring (tone) on it.

It's the final 3!

I learned a lot from watching tonight's episode of American Idol:

1) Jimmy Iovine is the smartest man in the room.
2) Priscilla Presley has had ONE too many facelifts - good god, did you see her in the audience?!
3) Beyonce is clearly going through a 'Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome' phase...what was up with that video?!
4) My mom's going to be disappointed, but I didn't pick up on any 'the-judges-are-out-to-get-Haley' conspiracies here.  As usual, the judges split all three rounds evenly, so if we didn't call for our favorite, we can't bitch about it. According to our "esteemed panel", Round 1 went to Haley, 2 went to Scotty, and 3 went to Lauren. I'm sure that was intentional.

We saw each contestant sing a song of their choice, a Jimmy Iovine choice, and a pick from the judges. Every year, the judges let us down with their picks (Kenny Rogers? Seriously?). Jimmy proved to know more about our contestants than those three glittery knuckleheads put together, so thank goodness for him. And above all else, Haley proved she is one. smart. chick.

Here we go!

We're proud of you, son
SCOTTY - Scotty, you're so money, you don't even know how money you are. You chose "Amazed" by Lonestar for your song, and I've got to give props to our sweet, innocent, baseball-playing, grocery-checking Southern boy.  You seem to inhabit every song you sing. Jimmy's pick, "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" was perfection for you - youthful, soulful, relevant, relatable. One of my favorite performances of the night. And lastly, "She Believes in Me" by Kenny Rogers. Come ON, judges. Even though Kenny Rogers was my first childhood crush, this song came across as completely irrelevant, dated, and frankly, not the best range for our boy, Scotty. But you know what? I think you're going to cruise to the Final.  You've been sweet, charming, and talented through this entire competition. You'll be rewarded for that.

Barbie goes to the Prom. And it's 1983.

LAUREN - I can see why you chose Faith Hill's "Wild One" for your first song, since you are the "woman-child in a state of grace" of this competition. As usual, you clipped the big notes right off and lacked the emotional depth we get from Scotty and Haley, but you were adorable, right down to the big daisies hanging off your ears. Jimmy's choice of "If I Die Young" was, once again, a genius choice. The Band Perry is riding high on this song right now, and you capitalized on its popularity. This song was so perfectly suited to your voice, and Jimmy is no dummy. And the judges clearly wanted you to have your big moment with "I Hope You Dance" - and if you had a moment this season, I guess I'll have to give it to you with this one. Even if you looked Miss Tennessee competing in the Miss American pageant circa 1983. I fear I'm going to lose my girl Haley to you in the Finals, because those teenage girls out there love your insecurity and non-threatening nature.

Haley gets the Led out.
HALEY - Led Zeppelin's "What Is and What Should Never Be" was one of my favorite moments of the season. Girl, this was a smart choice and I give you full credit for this one. You had Daddy rockin' on the guitar, you belted out one of the most bad-ass songs ever by THE most bad-ass rock band ever. AND you landed on your ass. But it's all good. You are the complete package - hot vocals, charisma, pure talent. (Can I gush any more?!). I thought Jimmy's pick of "Rhiannon" for you was subdued, ethereal, and beautiful. I'm not sure if you needed the wind machine, but I'm sure Stevie Nicks thought that was pretty cool. Like Stevie says, you 'take to the sky like a bird in flight.' That's you, Haley, and I love it. The verses of the judges' pick, "You Oughta Know" were so fast, so silly, so beneath you...(I wish we could just ban all of Alanis Morrisette's songs from this show forever because they SUCK...but I digress). There was no way anyone was going to KILL this song, but you did crush the chorus, and that's all we can ask. I understand - the judges chose this song for you because of the choruses, they wanted to hear your angry, raspy growl at full throttle, but can't we find a better song to showcase that? Either way, you won Rounds 1 and 2 for me. And if you don't make it to the Final, I'm not sure I'll be all that interested to watch.

Who's going home: LAUREN (pleeeeeeeeease!!!!)
Who's in the Finals: Scotty and Haley (pleeeeeeeeease!!!!)

What did YOU hear last night?!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Gaga brings the Drama...

What a night on American Idol! (So much to say, so little time. And I'm way late on posting this, too).

I happened to love last night's show - our Top 4 sang a heartfelt song of their choosing, as well as a song from the Leiber and Stoller Songbook. (Who?!) The result: highs, lows, cranky judges and rally cries for our favorites. And we also got GAGA. I wanted more GAGA. You can never have enough GAGA.

So here we go!

Are we being set up by American Idol?
JAMES - has anyone else noticed, you get the pyrotechnics to back up your songs, you get gigantic podiums onstage so you can tower over the audience...while the other contestants get the occasional back-up Gospel choir. The AI Producer Love seems to be directed 100% at you these days. With "Don't Stop Believin'", you didn't re-invent the wheel, but it was a solid, entertaining performance that we've come to expect from our Resident Rocker. At least with "Love Potion No.", we got to see Gaga do a little groping, in attempts to loosen you up a little in the middle. To paraphrase you, "Gaga wanted it, so I gave it to her." You sure did, Dog.

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Randy Jackson
HALEY - you've come so far from the Hot Mess with Lipstick on Her Teeth. Remember those days? True, your choice of "Earth Song", even if you love it, was probably ill-advised. I'm not really into those preachy, pleading save-the-world songs (that's more Jacob's territory), so this one fell flat for me. But still, Randy was a bit harsh. (Does anyone remember when Michael Jackson featured this song during his "This Is It" movie? It showed a beautiful child running through fields of flowers that slowly disintegrated around her, as she was chased by CYBORGS FROM HELL, as a metaphor for the imminent destruction of the planet? Not a good vibe. But I digress.) The good thing for you, Haley, is when you're attacked by the judges, I do think America will rally for you. We've grown to love our quirky, peace-signing Haley Reinhart. Plus, your performance of "I (Who Have Nothing)" was straight-up THE REAL DEAL. Loved it. You threw down the gauntlet with that last performance, stared down the camera, pissed off. Get angry, girl. And proceed directly to The Top Three.

I'm just a singer of simple a Howdy Doody outfit
SCOTTY - you are simply Un-American if you don't appreciate "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)". If something good and beautiful came out of the aftermath of 9/11, it is this Alan Jackson song, (plus Bruce Springsteen's entire "The Rising" album). You sang this song as if you'd written it. We all love a good story, and you are the grocery-store-clerk-done-good. With that said, "Young Blood" was frivolous, and more of a throwaway performance. Since we are doing the Leiber and Stoller songbook, I'm going to use a 60s term - you were a total SQUARE. And you dressed like Howdy Doody, to top it off. But you know what? It was worth it to see you interact with Gaga. To see Gaga in her black leather catsuit with her butt cheeks hanging out, bantering back and forth with our god-fearing, cross-wearing boy from the South...PRICELESS. Selfishly, I want you in the Top Three. Because that means American Idol will come to Garner, NC. Which happens to be next-door to Raleigh. So that means that next week - I can post REAL pictures of you on my blog! Because you KNOW I'm showing up to see you!

Fashion Suicide
LAUREN - at least you got off the launch pad this week. You didn't exactly reach the stars with Martina McBride's "Anyway", but at least you got into orbit this time. But enough with the space metaphors. Can we talk about your DRESS? Short in the front, long in the back. For the second time this season. You were wearing a FASHION MULLET!!! NO!!!!! Your second performance of "Trouble" by Elvis was full of trouble for me. With Gaga's help, your ability to embrace your inner Bad Girl at least allowed you to swallow your fear and belt out the song. But all I kept thinking was...someone like Haley would have CRUSHED this song. And again, your fashion choices were so distracting for me. This time you looked like a glittery "Real Housewife from Smyrna, Georgia". I hate to say it, but I think your run is over on this show, IF there is any justice in the world. The problem is, I'm pretty sure there's a massive teenage-girl voting bloc that ADORES you. So we'll see what happens tonight.


What did YOU hear last night?!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Best performance of the season? YES!

Last night, our Top 5 sang a throwback song, as well as one of their current favorites.  Oh, the drama - to watch some of our Idols flounder on the first song, only to come roaring back with the second! Randy could barely sit still, with all this excitement!

Here's my rundown, from Worst to First!

JACOB - is it possible for you to sound awful? Yes. "No Air" was pitchy, strained, and pathetic. Who knew you were capable of such...mediocrity? Seriously...HATED IT. As for your performance of "Love Hurts", I'm pretty sure your body was overtaken by aliens as you screamed and whinced in pure, unadulterated, it's-me-against-the-world AGONY. I'm sorry, but I just can't take it anymore. In fact, it occurs to me that we've figured out your genre: it's not gospel, R&B, soul, whatever J Lo is trying to sell you on...your genre is Pain and Anguish. ENOUGH!!!!

LAUREN - I know at least one follower of this blog who will be relieved to hear me say: Lauren, I'm sorry, but I'm breaking up with you.  Your version of Carrie Underwood's "Flat on the Floor" left me flat and bored. Your idea of projecting power and confidence was to scream to a song that just...isn't very good. The violin player next to you was more entertaining to watch. As for "Unchained Melody", I was so disappointed, I was almost angry at you. You backed off the big notes, when you should have crushed this song with your vocal prowess. Your fear was showing again. At this point, the fact that you are STILL holding back means that you just don't get it. You are sweet and looked so much like Malibu Barbie during your second performance, it kinda freaked me out. But I'm just disappointed. People love "Unchained Melody", and yours was just...bound and gagged.

JAMES - you were a study in Extremes tonight. Your performance of "Closer to the Edge" was probably my least-favorite of yours this season. Screamy, pyrotechnic-ridden antics onstage, I just wasn't feelin' it, dog. (What's with all the screaming tonight from all our contestants, anyway?). You then gave us "Without You" by Harry Nilsson and while it was very disarming and vulnerable, complete with an honest tear squeezed out at the very end, it doesn't excuse or hide the fact that it was just often out. of. tune. As the camera scanned the audience after this performance, and showed all those young girls with tears in their eyes and empathy on their faces, we know you're safe. But this was just not my favorite night for you.

SCOTTY -  to quote from your Montgomery Gentry song, "Gone", you are gone like a freight train...straight to the Top 3. Gone like a soldier in the civil war. Bang Bang. (Sorry, I can't help myself. Some of these country music lyrics are priceless). You moved all around the stage and owned it on this one, so much that you were out of breath at the end. As Michael said, "I'm calling for his ass tonight!". You then gave us "Always on My Mind" and again, your ability to connect, tell a story, come across as earnest, sweet, all works. Nashville is waiting for you with open arms.

HALEY - you got a big of a raw deal on your first song, "You and I" by The Gaga. I understand what Jimmy was doing when he directed you to choose this song - he wants to showcase the artist you'll be after this show, show what you are capable of doing. If the judges had bothered to listen, rather than just criticize you for choosing an unknown melody, they would have heard that you sang the ass of this song. It was great for you. It showed off your pipes. I thought you were great. But "House of the Rising Sun" was the highlight OF THE SEASON for me. You are like a budding, female Jim Morrison, all sexiness and hot vocals. When you were finished, I promptly picked up the phone for the first time this season, dialed your number, and hit redial 20 more times. It's official: I love you. And I'd love it if you could steal this competition away from the boys.

My top three: HALEY, SCOTTY, JAMES
Who needs to go: JACOB or LAUREN, at this point, doesn't matter what order they go in, as long as they go!

What did YOU hear last night?!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

Carole King, we thought we knew you. Apparently not. I only recognized three of the six songs performed by our Idols on Carole King Night. CK has achieved far greater success as a songwriter than as a performer. (Did you know she wrote "Natural Woman", made famous by Aretha?)

Now that we've established that Carole King is a songwriting bad-ass, let's review:

Stella Gets Her Groove Back

JACOB - you went back to your roots last night and put your Lusky-Stank on "Oh No Not My Baby" - a song I personally had never heard in my life. Although your bright outfit reminded me of a cross between Carlton Banks from "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and Boyz II Men, I thought this performance was Vintage Jacob. Swinging, confident, vocal runs all over the place. I appreciated this performance vs. the past few weeks, when you seemed downright depressed over Life in the Bottom Three. Keep your head up, Jacob, even though I think yours is the next on the chopping block.

Clearly, Randy and Jacob take wardrobe cues from Boyz II Men

Fear of Flying

LAUREN - you got to meet Miley Cyrus this week. You got to wear some GIGANTIC earrings. And you got to sing "Where You Lead", another Carole King song that is completely unfamiliar to me. As Randy would say, "it was just ok for me, dog." Aside from the usual therapy session from the judges and more of your tears, the performance was forgettable and kinda boring. If it makes you feel better, my private focus group (comprised of two girls aged 4 and 6) love you and gave you two thumbs up. But someone has to be on the bottom, and your fear of the big notes is going to put you there. Which is sad, considering you can hit bigger notes than Scotty and Casey combined.

Stretch Armstrong reaches for the country stars

SCOTTY - yes, I have the Garth Brooks live album in my iTunes library. And your performance reminded me of Garth so much, proving once again that you are a force in this competition. Your "You've Got a Friend" was commanding, sweet, expertly sung, and the arrangement behind you was KILLER. J Lo praised your storytelling abilities, which is what country music is all about, and she is absolutely right. And as Randy said, " you did your tender moment thing" and I loved it. For me, an oustanding performance. And none of that sideways-mic-hold to distract us. Loved it, Scotty, and loved your WOLFPACK FOOTBALL t-shirt during the intro. A nice shout-out to your Raleigh friends.

James + Jimmy = BFFs 

JAMES - let's recap this season for you: a great performance every week (usually the best of the night); you've had Steven promise to perform with you at the finale, you've had Jimmy Iovine profess his eternal love for you and declare your talent "the reason he entered the music business in the first place;" Randy got out of his seat last night to give you a man-hug; what else can you achieve on this show? "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" Yes, please.

One Big Jam Session

CASEY - you said yourself, singing is great, but there's nothing better than jamming. Your strength definitely lies in your musicality, your depth of music knowledge, you are a musician's kind of singer. But you are not an American Idol-winning singer. At least not for me. Your performance of "Hi-De-Ho" was Hi-De-Hokey. Hi-De-Taylor-Hicks. I appreciate what you bring to the show, but I just can't favor you over someone like James. So while I hope you stay and continue to entertain us, surprise us with your choices, I'm pretty sure you're not here to win. But if Haley ends up as your consolation are doing pretty well for yourself, dog.

Get it while the Gettin's Good

HALEY - even with King James (not you, Lebron) still in the competition, THIS was my favorite performance of the night. Haley, you've made me giggle, applaud, and root for you this entire season. I love your personality as much as your look and singing ability. And last night, you KILLED it for me. You took an unrecognizable song, "Beautiful", and showed it who's boss - you took those tempo changes and smacked them around. You owned it. Your voice sounded so strong, so confident, and your girl-growling fit in so perfectly, I was watching a seasoned professional just crush it onstage. More of this, please!

A note on the duets of the evening:

Lauren & Scotty - "Up on the Roof" was your third duet together this season. Lauren, you sound much more confident with Scotty by your side, I wish you could channel that energy into your solo performances. And Scotty, your low voice was almost impossible to hear underneath Lauren's sweet country tone, but I still enjoyed it.

Casey & Haley - "I Feel the Earth Move" was fun, watching two soulful artists complement and battle each other at the same time. Ah, young love. Casey, Haley can crush you with the strength of her voice, but you kinda like that, don't you? A hot chick to boss you around?!

James & Jacob - "I'm Into Something Good"...or not. When this was over, I said WTF?! I felt like I was watching a really bad performance on the Good Ship Lollipop. I appreciated your sense of humor about the whole thing, and overall, this performance isn't going to hurt you, James. And Jacob, we got to see you lighten up a little. But overall...a train wreck. Or a ship wreck.

My clear top three: Haley, James, and Scotty
Who's left: Casey, Jacob, and Lauren
Who's going home: JACOB

What did YOU hear last night?!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's a 21st Century Meltdown...

Pick a song, any song from the "21st Century". Doesn't sound too hard. But clearly, this was a tough challenge for our remaining 7 Idol wanna-be's.

For the first time this season, I was UNDERWHELMED.

A swing...and a miss!!!
SCOTTY - since you chose to sing "Swingin'", let's use a baseball analogy here. You know your friend and fellow contestant, James Durbin? Heard of him? Well, he swings for the fences every week. He knocks it out of the park every week. You are happy just to get on base. This performance was so lightweight and silly, I felt like you were phoning it in. A trip to the Bottom Three might solve THAT. But your raised eyebrows, sideways-microphone, and camera-flirtation came across as you...taking this whole thing for granted this week. Worst performance of the season so far for you. Don't take our love for granted, Scotty. Even YOU have to earn it. I'm not going to vote for you JUST because I live in North Carolina. Dude.

The lunatic escapes the asylum
JAMES - I love it that you go all out, every week. If you go down, you'll go down in flames. Or at least your piano will go down in flames. But not this week. You were like an insane circus conductor, waving your poker stick in the air and taking your falsetto to decibel levels we've never heard on this show before. Hey, if Matt Bellamy asks you to perform HIS song on American Idol, what are you going to do? Crush it. And you did. This is one "Uprising" that I'm ready to join.

Our pin-up girl
HALEY - there are some of us out there in the viewing audience who have been waiting for you to sing Adele all. season. long. And now that you've done it...I wish it had been better. It pains me to say that. Adele's original of "Rolling in the Deep" just kicks so much ass, you had to come out there and KILL IT to do it justice. Instead, you looked a little intimidated. This song is about a woman done wrong and she's PISSED about it. You just weren't angry enough. This performance wasn't terrible, but you could have taken it so much further, and I'm disappointed. You looked like a beautiful, bodacious, curvy pin-up girl in the polka-dots and wavy hair. Michael thinks you are totally hot. And you are. I just wish this performance had been, too.

The Diva Dances with his Father
JACOB - I feel for you this week. This performance was restrained. Who would ever think the judges would need to ask YOU for more?! But it was clear, you were very moved by this song and what it means to you. I'm cool with that. But I was worried the entire performance that you were going to break down in tears, so I couldn't concentrate on how great you can sing. I have a feeling you'll bust it out next week. But you can spare us the shiny suit next time.

I'm back at Rick's Bar in Ann Arbor
CASEY - I felt like I was back in college for Monday $1 Beer Night - everyone is wasted, talking too loud, and the band is just sawing away onstage and no one is listening. There is something very loose and unrehearsed about you that I like, but like Scotty, this just felt lightweight to me.

Ne-Yo's not worried
STEFANO - you flirted with the camera for this entire performance, begging us to come "Closer." No, thanks. We got Stefano Gone Sexy this week. Although you kept those pleading-looks to a minimum (for you), you tried to convince us that you are tortured by your sexiness, crushed under the weight of how damned good-looking you are. PUH-LEASE. This was a timid dance performance, not a strong vocal performance. Unless people are voting for style over substance, you should be in the bottom.

Jennifer Lopez, licensed therapist?
LAUREN - girl, if you don't get some confidence fast, you are going home. You know it's not a great performance when the judges spend all their time telling you what they WISH you had sung, instead of what you DID sing. Idol is not a therapy session. Yes, you are only 16. But you better start acting like you belong on that stage, or America will very willingly throw you off of it. I love you, but this Sara Evans song came across as another featherweight performance (I'll throw you in there with Scotty and Casey). Come ON. If you were "Born To Fly", then you need to prove it. This was kinda weak, kinda safe, and it kinda sucked.

My Bottom Three: Scotty (for lack of effort), Lauren, and Stefano
Who will go home: Stefano (if there's any justice in the world)

What did YOU hear last night?!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Top 8...tell Jimmy Iovine where to stick it!

"Songs from the Movies"...hmm...we got songs from those timeless classics like Risky Business...Hannah Montana: The Movie...Boomerang...(although I have to admit, I liked Boomerang quite a bit!)

And although I wasn't blown away by the song choices, I was blown away by the sense of self our young Idols possess at this early stage of their careers. At least 3 of our contestants told Jimmy Iovine and his 20+ years of experience, his gazillion hit records with multiple Grammy-winning SHOVE IT. That takes some serious...cahones. (And there were 1 or 2 who did change their songs, per Jimmy's advice). Jimmy and Will.i.Am seem to be having one helluva time with these kids, don't they? But on to the reviews...

Viva Las Vegas
PAUL -  if you had taken Will.i.Am's advice and charged onto the stage in your underwear, it couldn't have made the performance any worse. At least we could have had a laugh. This performance was pure the worst way possible. Cheesy outfit? CHECK. Frantic, mediocre vocals? CHECK. Terrible dance moves? CHECK. I'm always afraid you're just going to topple over at some point. Sorry, Paul. I can't be on your side anymore. There are too many left who are better than you. You have got to go.

Better than Miley, and without the bong water
LAUREN - I'm not going to hate on you for singing a Miley Cyrus song. As Jimmy said, you sing it better than she does. You looked beautiful, sounded great. But I think you better kick it up next week, or you run the risk of fading into the background. But I loved you and your performance of "The Climb."

Corn meal...corn syrup...corn flakes...
JACOB - hands down, my favorite moment of the season so far was when Jimmy gave you THE SMACKDOWN: "Don't preach to 24 million people when you haven't sold a record yet. Just sing." Thank you, Jimmy! Praise the Lord! Get some humility into this boy! So welcome to the newly humbled, borderline-depressed Jacob. I thought your performance of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was  great - how do you hit those notes, girlfriend? But I said a few weeks ago, you just aren't for me. So while I remain impressed and awed by your talent, I'm thinking you are not going to win. Sorry.

Backstreet's back, alright!
STEFANO - if it were 1992 and boy bands were still the rage, you'd be GOLDEN. But alas, those days have passed, and your performances every week don't make us yearn for the old days. "End of the Road" from Boyz II Men was so you, I almost liked it. And though I'm wishing this were the End of the Road for you, I fear we'll be seeing you for at least another week or two. You weren't terrible this week, you did your thing, dog, but it just isn't for me. And hasn't been for awhile.

Julia Roberts wants her boots back
HAILEY - let's start with the good news: I LOVED your dress. But I'm pretty sure Julia Roberts circa Pretty Woman wants her purple thigh-high boots back. Either way, this performance of "Call Me" was just...silly. If you had changed it up a little bit, slowed it down, done anything except executed a featherweight version of Debbie Harry, maybe it would have worked. But no. I'm afraid you and your thigh-highs are in terrible danger tonight!


SCOTTY - are you trying to tell me that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you? You're perfect, ready to go, ready to sell millions of records? The judges can't find a single. thing. to. criticize. Hmm. I don't mind that you stood up to Jimmy and chose "Cross My Heart" - we could see that you really felt that song, it means a whole lot to your sweet country heart. And damn it...I can't find anything wrong with you, either. You're going to breeze through this week again.

CASEY - if Simon were still around, he would have called your performance of "Nature Boy" the dreaded I-word...INDULGENT. Sorry, Casey, but of all the songs, this is the one you thought would win the night for you? Please remember that it's teenage, hormone-fueled girls who are out there voting, and I'm pretty sure that voting bloc isn't into obscure songs like this. Does anyone remember when John Leguizamo sang this song so eerily and beautifully in Baz Luhrmann's MOULIN ROUGE with Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman? That time, I liked it. This time, not so much. Casey, you were just trying too hard. And it may send you home.

Ok, ok, we'll give Metal a chance!
JAMES - it's your world, and we're just living in it. I felt like I was at your own rock show, complete with long-haired, shaggy, kick-ass guitarist at your side....which gives you quite a bit of credibility, by the way. This wasn't my favorite song, but you owned it, as usual. I've compared you to Adam Lambert a few times in the past, but you really stepped out of anyone else's shadow last night and became a full-fledged Idol original. Can anyone stop you from taking this whole thing? I'm not so sure!

Again, a great show!

My BOTTOM THREE: Hailey, Paul, and Casey
Who's going home: Casey

What did YOU hear last night?!