American Idol Season 10 Top 9 Performance Live Blog

American Idol Season 10 Top 9

American Idol Season 10 turned a corner last week with the elimination of Naima Adedapo and Thia Megia.  Both Thia and Naima had talent and we look forward to seeing them on the tour, but neither one was ready for the Season 10 competition.  Now we can get on with the task of watching the remaining 9 develop as artists and fight to be named Season 10′s American Idol.  Our Top 9 Power Rankings have Jacob Lusk at the top.  We are amazed at his vocal talent but this race is really too close to call.

One21music features Christian musicians competing on American Idol and four remain in the top 9: Jacob Lusk, Scott McCreery, Lauren Alaina and Stefano Langone.  Scott and Lauren are both country singers but very different.  Scott McCreery, and his “deeper than the ocean” voice, embrace the traditional country of Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and George Jones.  Lauren Alaina, with her bubbly cheerleader personality, embodies the modern country style of Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.  Both exude confidence and maturity that far surpasses their 17 years on this planet.

Jacob Lusk and Stefano Langone are both R&B/gospel singers, but they are even more different that Scott and Lauren. Stefano Langone possesses a high thin voice that was made popular by Marvin Gaye, Prince and Michael Jackson.  His is the voice of modern R&B.  Jacob Lusk, on the other hand, possesses a voice that we have rarely seen on the American Idol stage.  He uses his incredible talent to conjure up traditional gut rocking soul and gospel in the mold of Andre Crouch, Aretha Franklin and Luther Vandross.  Both have pushed their performance to, and in some cases beyond, their limits.

The past two weeks we have watched these performers adeptly navigate the catalogues of Motown and Elton John.  The field opens up a little this week with songs from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  That could be good, but we have seen past Idols stumble with too much freedom.  I think this group will do well.  Will Haley Reinhart finally grab a Janis Joplin or Etta James song that she can throw her voice into.  How will Pia Toscano do with the upbeat song she promised last week.  Will James Durbin grab a Queen or Led Zeppelin song (we hope so)?

Share our raw reactions to the American Idol Season 10 Top 9 performances tonight as we live blog through the show.

Only 90 minutes tonight and Gwen Stefani must have something to sell because she has come to American Idol Season 10, not to mentor their performances but, to style the ladies.  Steven takes us through a nice walk through the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  I have been, it is a reason to go to Cleveland but wait until June.  Will.I.Am is helping Jimmy Iovine coach the performers.

Jacob Lusk changes his song in the middle of the week because he could not reconcile with the lyrics of  Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”.  He changes to Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror.” The beginning may be Jacob’s most controlled performance of American Idol Season 10.  Jacob is getting his gospel on, stomping and dancing around the stage.  That was a much looser, more controlled Jacob Lusk.  One of the writers of the song sang in duet with Jacob, pretty cool.  That was slamming.  I love his integrity and his performance.  The judges loved the performance and his moral conviction.  If he didn’t have it already, he had all of my votes for the rest of the season.  Jacob Lusk just answered all of the questions I had about who my favorite performer is on American Idol Season 10.

Haley Reinhart is succumbing to the judges pressure to sing Janis Joplin with “Piece of My Heart.”  Wow, this girl can sing. If she would just stand still and sing this would be perfect.  The judges were right.  That was awesome, incredible and “wow”.  This was a Haley Reinhart moment.  J-Lo says wow and “that was hot”.  Randy gushes and says”Haley, welcome back.”  Steven says there was nothing wrong with that.  I agree.  Haley follows Jacob with her best of the season and has a real chance to take the night.

Jacob Lusk and Haley Reinhart just set the bar way high for the night.

Casey Abram‘s changes his song in the middle of the week as well. Jimmy Iovine and Will.I.Am are fighting over Casey’s performance.  He changed the song to CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” with a mandolin and his stand-up bass.  This is kind of weird and jazzy and scatty with a dash of growling.  I did not like the arrangement.  Randy liked it and thought it was cool.  Randy likes that he is making stand-up bass cool.  Steven really likes his musicianship.  J-Lo says that is where he belongs.  I am growing tired of Casey’s act.

Lauren Alaina jumps into deep water with Aretha Franklin’s “You Make Me Feel (Like A Natural Woman).”  Jimmy and Will.I.Am  are getting very pumped about her combining soul with country.  I can see why Jimmy was excited.  Lauren has done something I did not think possible.  She has created her own version of an Aretha song.  The pace of the song gave her a chance to show off her strong voice.  This is her most confident performance of the season.  Lauren the contender is back.  Steven loves her voice. J-Lo says Lauren is amazing. Randy says this was one of the most difficult songs and says she did a good job.  I will buy that on iTunes tomorrow.

James Durbin, in a shocker, slows down this week with George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”  Will.I.Am worries about the lack of energy he can generate with this song.  Boy, this young man can really sing.  He amazes me every week.  This is a tender, heartfelt cover of this song.  I could see him performing this in a club in the middle of a show.  That was a nice interlude.  J-Lo loved it and loved the choice.  Randy loved seeing his real emotional connection with the song and the audience. Steven appreciates how James released his emotion.  James starts crying during and after the performance while thinking of his family.  That was a meaningful change of pace in James Durbin‘s quest.  I think it makes him more accessible to American Idol viewers.

Scott McCreery, in no surprise, is singing “That’s Alright Mama” by Elvis.  I am surprised that he  is going full rockabilly. I would have preferred seeing him with his guitar on this song.  Little Scotty unleashes the animal in his personality.  This was a strutting, growling performance that make us laugh and cheer and caused teenage girls to swoon.  That was awesome.  The judges are loving it.  Randy is amazed by the new Scotty. Steven says he heard girls screaming in the audience.  J-Lo felt a bit of flava in his performance.  That performance was way out of Scott’s comfort zone but he went for it, was not tentative and delivered the goods.  That will do nothing to hurt Scott McCreery’s front runner status.

Pia Toscano steps out with Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High.” Will.I.Am is right that this song will require a much bigger personality than we have seen from Pia so far. Okay she can sing anything and she is fearless.  That is one incredible voice, but the performance does lack a little personality.  J-Lo is right that Pia proved she can sing uptempo but she needs to study the great performers to learn how to really perform.  Randy says she showed that she delivered on the challenge to sing an uptempo song.  I agree completely with the judges that she is an amazing singer but needs to work on her performing skills.  She can overwhelm the audience with that voice but she needs more to reach her potential.

Stefano Langone is going to try “When A Man Loves A Woman” by Percy Sledge.  This is a big risk for Stefano. I think he pulled it off.  Stefano continues his trend of one weak and one strong performance.  This was a strong one.  That was a beautiful arrangement and a heartfelt performance.  J-Lo called it magic and argues with Randy’s critique.  Randy thinks he jumped into the R&B runs at the beginning.  Steven says he nailed it with a lot of passion.   That will keep Stefano Langone back for another week.

Paul MacDonald finishes the night with Johnny Cash’s “Folsum Prison Blues.”  Jimmy is challenging  him to push the performance over the top. Paul is going to try to get crazy. We are seeing some of his band performance skills with his guitar and a trio. Paul is the opposite of Pia.  His voice is okay, but he performs with full personality.  That was a good way to end a really great show.  Randy says “I loved it!”.  Steven says he rocked the house and J-lo calls it a perfect way to end the show.  That was a high energy finale to the show.

This is a difficult show to assess.  Haley, Scott and James took the night and that is a high compliment.  The only one I don’t think lived up to the standard of the night was Casey and he may be in trouble. I need to go back and watch the show again to try to find a bottom 3.

Comments

  1. Jim Richardson says:

    Great Elvis choice..I was afraid Elvis would be corny but he pulled it off. I agree Jacob was amazing and props to him for his convictions

  2. Jim Richardson says:

    Carrie Underwood was a bit stiff like Pia when she was on the show, it took a while for her to be a performer but you can’t teach those pipes.I can’t believe Paul is in the pimp slot..what can he have up his sleeve?

  3. Jim Richardson says:

    Johnny Cash was quite a trick uo his sleeve..first time I really dug Paul all year. From now on whoever gets voted off will be a “Shocker”..I’d still like to see Paul go next, but not based on this show alone.

  4. dnz says:

    good for the judges to have used the “SAVE” power on the screaming Casey. now what u regret using it early on. bwahahaha pia could have won the plum

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