Last night the American Idol contestants sang songs from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For some reason this translated to many people, including myself that we were going to hear the contestants singing rock music. This would prove to not be the case at all. If anything, it was soft rock night, due to five out of the nine contestants singing mid-tempo songs to down right ballads. For the word, “rock” being involved in this week’s theme, I was surprised at the lack of risk-taking and not performing an actual rock number that’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Going in performance order, let’s start with Jacob Lusk, who sang Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” I wasn’t loving his performance. He’s dialed the vocals back some, but he was still having a lot of pitch issues. And his outfit last night was distractingly awful. They really need to get him in better fitted clothes. What I really didn’t appreciate were his comments during his pre-performance package.
“If I end up in the bottom three, it won’t be because I sang the song bad, it won’t be because I sang the song wrong, it will be because everybody in America wasn’t ready to look at themselves in the mirror.”
Um Jacob, how should I put this? If you’re in the bottom three tonight, it’s going to be because you made a really unneccessary comment in your pre-performance video, AND because you didn’t have a great vocal performance. Sorry, bro.
Following Jacob up was everyone’s Idol sweetheart, Haley Reinhart, who performed Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.” If anyone fulfilled this week’s theme week’s requirements, it was Haley. She sang a rock song on rock night.
Performance-wise, I thought Haley brought a lot of energy to the stage, although I don’t feel like she really connected with the words in the song. I feel like the only reason she chose to sing a Janis Joplin song is because of all the vocal comparisons. I think if Haley can restrain all the unnecessary growling and just let her voice shine, then she could be a contender. That said, she also needs to watch her vocals, because when she wasn’t growling, she was kind of yelling the lyrics. I don’t like being yelled at through my TV. I think it’s possible that Haley could make a return trip to the bottom three.
A quick sidenote: No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani styled all the girls last night, and Haley seemed to be the lone survivor of that endeavor. She looked good.
Casey Abrams sang “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. With his upright bass in tow, Casey had a pretty nice vocal. I like that he’s been showcasing his vocals for the last couple weeks, I just wonder how long it’s going to last. We’re not seeing as much personality from Casey, and I think it could be because he’s afraid that if he does too much, he’ll be eliminated. That is definitely a possibility, but it’s the same risk for each of the singers. I wish Casey could figure out a way to have a nice vocal and show his personality. He needs to find that balance, because I’d really like to hear him do something a little more upbeat if he makes it through to next week.
Lauren Alaina flipped through Kelly Clarkson’s Idol performance songbook, and sang Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” Lauren actually had a very nice vocal. If she could have held onto the larger notes a bit longer, it would have made the performance standout a little more. To me, it was just kind of an average performance from Lauren. She sounded great, but nothing about it really wowed me. Well, her outfit wowed me, but not in a good way.