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 prize...you 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?!