Wednesday , May 22 2024
American Idol’s Top 11 sang the music of Elton John.

American Idol Top 11, Take Two

It was an important performance night on American Idol last night, because two contestants will be sent home this week. I hoped this would really light a fire under the contestants to really bring it this week. For the most part, I thought the show went well. That said, with tonight’s double elimination in mind, I’m going to start out with the four contestants that I think could be in some trouble.

If you’ve been keeping up with my two cents on Idol this season, then you know that I have been a fan of Naima Adedapo. I appreciate the energy that she has brought to the stage this season. Her performance of “I’m Still Standing” was definitely different. She put a reggae twist on the song which I am still kind of on the fence about. I think Naima is going to learn the hard way about trying to be an unique artist on the Idol stage; it doesn’t really work. You either jump into the Idol machine and make the best of it, or you take a risk and go home for it. I am hoping she goes through to next week, but I won’t be shocked if she goes home tonight.

I have the sneaking suspicion that Jacob Lusk’s time on this show is almost up. His performance of “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” was kind of a mess. I felt the lyrics in the beginning to middle part of the song sounded just slurred together. And that’s just all bad. I am at a point in the competition now where I know that I’m never going to get Jacob. On the whole, I feel like the way he chooses to utilize his voice is just absurd.

Jacob’s song choice was something I took issue with. I’m not a fan of contestants singing songs that have already been done in the same season by a different contestant. It can come off as kind of a bitch-slap. Like, “Well, so and so did this already, but I’m going to give it a go anyways, so there.” I really felt like Robbie Rosen had a made a moment for himself this season with “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” in his final audition before making the Top 24. I was really happy that Jennifer Lopez made mention of that performance, because Robbie deserved the recognition. And I think it was her way of subtly telling Jacob to not sing other contestant’s songs.

As much as I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing Jacob leave the competition tonight, I think Stefano Langone took one for the team with his rendition of “Tiny Dancer.” His performance was hard to listen to from the first note. He needed to be great this week, and give America a reason to keep him in the competition. I don’t think he did enough to be put through to next week.

Thia Megia is the fourth and final contestant that I think could be possibly eliminated this week. She picked the ballad, “Daniel” to sing last night. When I think back on this performance, it was just boring. Thia has done nothing thus far to separate herself from the rest of the contestants, and since she was in the bottom three last week, she really needed to stand out this week. All her performance did was make me want to take a nap.

Winding up in the middle of the pack for me last night were James Durbin, Pia Toscano, Lauren Alaina, and Paul McDonald.

James Durbin emerged from the crowd singing, “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.” From there he threw his mic stand, which was one of the biggest fails of the evening, and then the piano was suddenly ablaze. Really? I am not understanding the need for pyrotechnics before the finale. What’s next? A pre-finale confetti shower? I get that James’ ego is a bit larger than it needs to be, but someone needs to take him down a couple notches.

I thought Pia Toscano sounded great last night, but the reason she is not included in my top performances of the evening is because of her song choice. “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” will forever stand out to me as the song that won Clay Aiken his Top 12 spot in the Wild Card back in season two. (Blame the inner-Clay fan in me.) Since Clay, the song has been covered time and time again on the show, to the point that I never wanted to hear it on Idol again. Yet, here we are in season 10, and someone is yet again singing, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me.” Based on this song being sung way too many times, Pia didn’t really win me over last night. Plus, she once again sang a ballad. I’m hoping next week she truly changes it up, because the ballads are just incredibly dull. I want to be a fan of yours, Pia! But, I can’t root for you when you’re making me fall asleep.

Lauren Alaina put a country spin on “Candle in the Wind.” I actually really liked her performance; I thought she sounded pretty great. It was all the kissing up to the judges once her performance was over that really just put me off. She seriously needs to stop talking. It just ruins her performances every time. She needs to get her feedback, smile, let Ryan Seacrest and his weird Bieber haircut give out her voting number, and not say anything else. I know that sounds harsh, but I feel it needs to be addressed.

During Paul McDonald’s two minute concert, he performed “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be a Long Long Time).” That suit he had on just kills me every time. It was definitely appropriate for Elton John night. I liked Paul’s vocals last night, but I have to agree with the judges, I feel like he’s not using his full voice and that we haven’t seen everything he has to offer. I would really like to hear some range from Paul. Nothing too crazy, I just want to hear something more in his lower register.

My top three for the night were Haley Reinhart, Casey Abrams, and Scotty McCreery.

I thought Haley Reinhart really stepped up her game up last night with her performance of “Bennie and the Jets.” Yes, she still moves around awkwardly and growls a little too much, but her vocal performance was pretty spot on last night. You could tell she was having a lot of fun with her performance. She made a fan out of me. I hope she takes this momentum and runs with it.

Casey Abrams bounced back from being almost eliminated in a big way last night with his performance of “Your Song.” Casey really took the necessary steps that he needed to make. His haircut and trimmed beard made him look almost like a different person, but it was his vocal performance that truly won me over. Give or take a couple slight growls, I really enjoyed his performance. His proved that he doesn’t need all the antics to win the crowd over. The kid can sing, and I hope he realizes that now.

Even though he wound up going first, Scotty McCreery’s performance of “Country Comfort” was consistent as ever. I loved the shout out to his grandma mid-way through his song. I know a lot of people are complaining that all Scotty sings are country songs, but I’m not entirely sure why. Scotty is a country singer. He knows what works for him. It’s smart for him to continue to showcase himself in his genre of music. I’ve said it before, the judges have said it; Scotty knows who he is as a singer. That’s half the battle on Idol.

Speaking of the judges, is anyone else under the impression that Steven Tyler has pretty much given up on contributing actual critiques? It’s really disappointing, because he had been great during the initial auditions and Hollywood rounds. Randy Jackson seems to be going back and forth between wishy-washy comments and legitimate critiques. I wish he would see that he’s more helpful when he’s giving out critiques and not just talking to hear the sound of his own voice. I think Jennifer is trying to find a balance between nice comments and actual critiques. I think she’s being a little too nice, and I wish she would be a little more honest with the contestants. And also, I wish she had on blue eye-shadow last night, because her pink sparkly dress was reminding me of the ’80s cartoon Jem.

Overall, I thought that the contestants did fairly well last night. Double eliminations are always hard, but I hope there’s not a shock elimination. I hope America got it right and decided to clean house to get rid of the contestants that just aren’t bringing the energy or decent vocal performances every week.

What did y’all think of Top 11 this second time around, and which two singers do you think are headed home tonight?

About Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is a writer and editor from the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit her long-running music blog, Wait...WHAT, at Follow Kirsten Coachman on Twitter: @KirsCoachman

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