It was about the right time for Paul MacDonald to leave American Idol Season 10. I enjoyed Paul more and more each week. His “Folsom Prison Blues” performance was a party, probably his best of the season. However, Paul MacDonald is quirky indie rocker not a pop star, so American Idol does not represent what we will hear from Paul MacDonald in the future. I have been very impressed by his grace and maturity upon his exit. Paul MacDonald has turned me into a fan.
If you read my American Idol Season 10 Top 8 results article, you will know that I was not thrilled with this week’s performances. Maybe the Idols have set my bar so high that I expect high flying thrills each week. Casey Abrams came the closest with his daring high wire jazz routine, but I am always distracted by Casey’s snarling and growling singing style. Everyone else was okay, but did nothing to make a strong case to win American Idol Season 10.
The Top 8 results show was another matter altogether. I think this is best results show I have seen since I started watching American Idol in Season 6. First of all, the guest performers were great. Kelly Clarkson is one of the best singers around, I wish she would find a genre and build a career. It seems she pops up every few years with something amazing and then we don’t hear from her for a while. Rhianna, I am not a big fan, was actually pretty good. I liked the song and I think this is the best I have ever heard her sing live.
However, the Idol duets were the high points for me. First, Christian musician Lauren Alaina, for the second time in a duet with Scott McCreery, showed her tremendous singing voice. I don’t know what happens on performance night, but in these duets she seems much more loose and relaxed. The results have been tremendous for Lauren Alaina. “I Told You So” from a few weeks back was her best performance of the season. See what I mean in these two videos:
Christian Musicians Lauren Alaina and Scott McCreery sing “I Told You So”
Scott McCreery and Lauren Alaina sing “American Honey” on American Idol
The highpoint of the evening was the smoking duet between Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams. They sang Charlie Mingus’ “Moanin’” and Haley Reinhart stole the night. I have even agreed with Randy Jackson when he jumped to his feet shouting “Yo, what!, Yo, what!” I was doing the same thing at home. I am so very relieved that Haley Reinhart lived to sing another week. There is hope. This girl can sing, with a capital S. Watch and see what I mean.
Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams sing “Moanin’
American Idol Season Top 7 Power Rankings
1)Jacob Lusk- Some people really dislike Christian music artist Jacob Lusk and complain about his singing. He has, on several occasions, lost control of that tremendous voice. However, when he controls himself, he delivers mind blowing, jaw dropping performances. My wife and I have said “wow” more often listening to Jacob Lusk than anyone else on American Idol Season 10. This week he delivered his most subdued, controlled performance of the season. Even with all of that control he closed “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with a succession of notes that caused me to rewind and listen three times. I thought I was hearing it wrong. It was incredible. If you didn’t catch the performance link over to our Top 8 results report, where we have the video.
2)James Durbin- I actually think James Durbin has executed a perfect season on American Idol. Early on, he clearly defined who he was, metal-rocker. Then he proceeded to deliver a range of rock songs and a ballad that showed the breadth of his talent and the depth of his personality. He did all of this with showing no evidence that he is competing. He seems to be having more fun than any one of the Top 12. And, by the way, he has delivered perfect singing performances every week.
3) Scott McCreery- Christian musician Scott McCreery disappointed me this week. With “Everybody’s Talking” he had a chance to solidify his place in the final two. Instead he decided to play it safe with a pure country song from George Strait. In doing so he fed into the doubts about how interesting he is. He will be forced to step outside his comfort zone before we get to the top 2 and that gets more dangerous every week. With all of that said, all indications are that Scott McCreery remains the most popular performer on American Idol Season 10. He needs to fight the tendency to get comfortable.
4) Lauren Alaina- Christian musician Lauren Alaina seems to be gathering steam. If I am correct, everyone else on American Idol Season 10 better beware. Each week since she did sang “I Told You So” with Scott McCreery, her competition performances have gotten better and better. This week she sang “The Climb” and it was her best competition performance of the season. All I have to say is, “Miley, who?” If she continues this trajectory we could see another Kris Allen-like ascension.
5) Stefano Langone- Despite being in the bottom two in each of the last two weeks I still put Christian musician Stefano Langone in the top 5. He has a contemporary vocal style, he is growing as a performer and he has the drive and determination to turn his American Idol experience into a thriving career. I am a little worried that though. If htis week’s performance of “End Of The Road” lands him in the bottom 2, I don’t know what he can do.
6) Haley Reinhart- This young lady is the most frustrating performer I have ever watched on American Idol. The voice is there. Just watch the video above. The voice is tremendous. I would say Haley’s voice is almost as good as Jacob’s and James’s. However, Haley Reinhart has no vision for who she wants to be as an artist. She seems to just go up on stage each week and sing with no idea what she is trying to say.
7) Casey Abrams- I know that Casey Abrams is a distinctive artist who pushes the American Idol envelope and I like that. Casey Abrams is the opposite of Haley Reinhart. He has a laser vision for his music persona and he is pursuing it with dogged determination. My problem with Casey is that he is in a rut as deep as Scotty. Yes, this week was very different for American Idol, but it wasn’t that different from other things he has done going all the way back to his audition. Plus, I don’t like his singing style as much as the six Idols above. I like Casey Abrams and I may buy one of his songs in the future. He is just at the bottom of this list.
Join us on Wednesday as we live blog the American Idol Season 10 Top 7 performances. They will be singing songs from the 21st century, lots of Beyonce and Usher with some Alicia Keys thrown in and some Lady Gaga as spice.