I am quite excited about tonight. There are at least 10 performers who have the chance to deliver a knock-out performance tonight. As we discussed in our American Idol Top 13 Power Rankings this is probably the best group of performers, from top to bottom, we have ever seen. There is great variety from country to soul to alternative rock to heavy metal to jazz and each one is supremely talented.
I would list Christian performers Jacob Lusk, Lauren Alaina and Scott McCreery as favorites to win American Idol Season 10. I also think that Casey Abrams has a reasonable shot to win. I do not believe that Thia Megia will last very long and I would be surprised to see Naima Adedapo make the Top 10. As for the rest, several will emerge as contenders. We just don’t know if Stefano Langone or Pia Toscano can build on their momentum or one of the 5 performers will create their own moments tonight.
The strategy for the performers tonight is to continue to put their best foot forward and then, once they have made the American Idol Season 10 Top 10, start to demonstrate versatility and depth. Tonight it needs to be about selecting the best song and then just singing the dog out of it. The performers are selecting music from their music idols so there are no reasons to pick a bad song.
This should be fun so settle in as we live blog the performances of American Idol Season 10‘s Top 13.
Two hours for 13 performances, this is going to be an action packed night. So let’s get started. So Jimmy Iovine, the producer of U2, Dire Straits and Stevie Nicks as well as the founder of Interscope Records, has started mentoring the Idol’s.
Lauren Alaina‘s music idol is Shania Twain and she is singing “Any Man of Mine.” Lauren aspires to be a country diva, just like Shania. I don’t like the song, but this girl is a diva in training. That was an easy, sassy performance for Lauren Alaina. Wow, it looks like she may be too big for this stage. J-Lo is dead-on suggesting that she needs to push herself. Randy and Steven agree with judges. But, Lauren had a good a time.
Casey Abrams‘ is singing The Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends” as performed by his music idol Joe Cocker. Like his other performances Casey puts a jazz flavor in the intro but breaks into a growling screaming chorus. Casey’s improvisation and full body performance bring the audience to their feet. Casey Abrams is good, good, good. That was a great delivery of that song. J-Lo feels him and calls him somebody important. Randy calls him unbelievable and fun. Steven calls him a rainbow of talent and a plethora of passion. Say what?
Ashton Jones is singing “When You Tell Me That You Love Me” by her music idol Diana Ross. It looks like the producer, Rodney Jacobs, pushed her and Jimmy Iovine invited Barry Gordy to the show tonight. She seems a little flat. I am not sure Ashton quite has the vocal chops to compete with this group. I really like Ashton but I am not sure that performance will keep her on American Idol Season 10 for another week. Randy liked the performance and Steven agrees. J-lo calls her elegant and professional. The judges liked her performance more than I did.
I like the interviews they do with the performers as they come off the stage.
Paul MacDonald is singing Ryan Adams’ “Come Pick Me Up”. This song takes a while to develop and has some “Steven Tyler” words in the chorus. It is a pretty song but don’t download it unless you want to be offended. Dang, Paul worked with Don Was, the producer of Exile On Main Street. As I worried this is developing very slowly. Paul’s performance does not capture the emotional power of the song. That performance was a little to coy for me. Steven called him on his pitch. J-Lo did not know this song? Come-on’ Jennifer. Randy gets the performance. I agree with the judges that America may not get this performance.
Pia Toscano doJacob Luskes not shy away from big challenges. Her idol is Celine Dion so she is doing “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen. This is one of the off limit artists, so can she overcome the American Idol prohibition? Pia says Jimmy Iovine has enabled her to sing this song. Pia has added a few R&B runs to the opening stanza. Okay, Pia Toscano can sing and she is fearless. She has taken on Chrissie Hynde and Celine Dion and she has pulled them both off. She may be the true diva on American Idol Season 13. We may have another contender. J-Lo is speechless. Randy is giving her props for taking on Celine and says he is in awe. Steven says she slammed it.
James Durbin, Season 13′s resident metal screamer, is performing a subtle ballad. Who would have guessed that James Durbin‘s music idol is Paul McCartney? He is doing “Maybe I’m Amazed”. This could be a defining moment for James Durbin. The producers loved James’ rehearsals, they were grinning in the lead-in video. That was phenomenal. He sang McCartney fearlessly and perfectly. I could go on and on but I would just be blabbering. The judges were slayed. How does America pick the best one out of this group.
Hayley Reinhart is singing “Blue” as interpreted by LeeAnn Rhimes. The nice thing about this song is that it gives us a chance to really hear Hayley’s voice. That was really beautiful. She showed great tone, flexibility and exciting vocal dynamics. J-Lo compliments Hayley on her uniqueness. Randy thought it was a little boring. I can see what Randy is saying but I liked the space the song gave her voice.
Jacob Lusk takes on “I Believe I Can Fly” by R.Kelly. This song has been performed by Yolanda Adams, Gerald Levert and many other singers. I wish Jacob had performed someone else’s song, but let’s see what he does with it. This is not a hold back song, Jacob needs to let it fly. I think Jacob is over singing a little, but what was that run in the middle? What a jaw dropping singer. Not Jacob’s best performance but a clear demonstration of his skill. The judges are overwhelmed. Randy talked about what a distinctive sound he has. Am I judging Jacob Lusk against Jacob Lusk? He did a run in the middle of this song that I have never heard before.
Thia Megia is representing Michael Jackson by doing Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile”. I seem to remember several Idols singing this as their farewell song. I love the tone of Thia’s voice. After a quiet opening the song breaks into electro-island beat that modernizes the song, but in the end there is not much personality in the performance. Randy and Steven both thought the middle was a little pitchy. J-Lo is right that the slow quiet sections are her strong suit. Problem is that part was pretty but a little boring. I think Thia is in trouble tonight. I feel bad for Thia. Her interview after her performance is the second time I have seen her cry in two weeks.
Stefano Langone continues the trend of performing obscure songs by famous singers as he presents Stevie Wonder’s “Lately”. This may not be a well known Stevie Wonder song but this is dead in the middle of Stefano’s wheel house. I like the new mentor set-up in Season 13. These producers are really connecting with these Idols. This is a significant improvement in Idol this year. The start was a little flat and after the pace picks up Stefano seems to get a little lost. I did not dig that too much. He was all over the place. Steven says he pulled it off. Of course, J-Lo loved it. Randy gives his Stevie lecture but loved his arrangement. The judges liked Stefano much more than I did tonight.
Selena is Karen Rodriguez‘s music idol. Surprise! She is singing “I Could Fall In Love.” I don’t like this song very much, the soft parts are a little rough and the performance is a little boring. J-Lo points out that she struggled at both the low-end and the high-end. Randy says she was fighting the song. Steven feels like her performance was lacking a little energy.
Scott fever is in the house. Scott McCreery‘s music idol is Garth Brooks and he is singing “The River.” Don Was,h who as worked with Garth Brooks, is mentoring Scott. Scott, too much twang in your country. Scott is so comfortable on stage that he just captivates the audience, he just owns them. The song was not good and Scott’s singing was just all right, but he does have some fans. It was a little sleepy for me. I want to see more from Scott McCreery. Randy and Steven loved the performance. J-Lo is right that Scott embraced the audience and the audience embraced him back.
We end the night with Naima Adedapo singing Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” Lo and behold her mentor is Tricky who produced the original record. Okay, she throws some crazy reggae rap into the middle of the performance, with sound and light effects and some slamming dance moves. Maybe I am tired or maybe I don’t get Naima, but that did not do anything for me. Steven talk about her pitch problems, but J-Lo loves her fire. Randy got technical in his singing critique but he loved the arrangement. That may be a little too much for America.
Tonight was not as stellar as I had hoped. The Top 13 generated some momentum early on with Casey Abrams but I think the performances fell off after James Durbin.
Casey, Pia Toscano and James Durbin took the night. James Durbin demonstrated a singing ability that has been hidden under his rock screams and Pia showed that last week may not have been a fluke.
My top 3, Jacob Lusk, Scott McCreery and Lauren Alaina delivered their worst performances of the season. Scott and Lauren performances seemed safe, maybe even a little lazy. They need to push themselves in the next few weeks. Jacob just oversang “I Believe I Can Fly.” I would still rate it as the 4th best performance of the night. If you recorded Jacob tonight, go back and listen to the run he did in the middle of the song. I did and I am waiting for the goose bumps to subside.
Ashton Jones, Thia Megia, Karen Rodriguez and Naima Adedapo are all in danger of going home tomorrow night. Ashton, Thia and Karen just did not measure up to the competition tonight and Naima got a little carried away to close the show. Tune in tomorrow night as American Idol Season 13 eliminates one or two performers. We will give you the results just as the show is closing.