American Idol Season 10 Finale Live Blog

American Idol Season 10 Top 2 performed last night in a highly charged, rapid -fire show that blasted by before I could digest what was happening.  Lauren Alaina and Scott McCreery performed three songs each and were joined by Taio Cruz and David Cook in a show that was so rushed that the judges comments were limited to the second half of the hour.  All of this made more dramatic by Lauren Alaina‘s vocal cord injury and the terrible songs handed to Scott McCreery.

On Tuesday afternoon my cell phone went into hyper-buzz with tweets about Lauren Alaina.  She injured her vocal cords, she was not going to be able to sing, the producers were prepping Haley Reinhart to step in.  I bet I had more than 50 tweets about the breaking situation in the Nokia Theater.  Ryan opened the show talking about Lauren’s injury and even brought the American Idol doctor out to explain that Lauren Alaina had sprained a vocal cord during dress rehearsals but through a battery of drugs and some treatments she would be able to sing.  Through it all, Lauren looked a little embarrassed and a lot ticked-off.

American Idol Season 10 Top Performances

It seemed that both Lauren Alaina and Scott McCreery were both visibly shaken by the medical emergency. The injury certainly impacted Lauren’s performances.  In her first two songs you could hear her reach for those big notes that everyone has been pushing her to go for all season, and the voice was just not there.  You could also see in her face and her eyes that the drugs had taken an edge off the Lauren Alaina spark we have grown to love this season.  She sang the songs well but just could not  reach the heights she had hoped for.  She did pull it all together in her third song and delivered maybe her “American Idol Season 10 moment” with “Like My Mother Does.”  Her vocals were perfect and her emotional connection was real but controlled.

On the other hand, the American Idol Season 10 handlers let Scott McCreery down.  He came out guns blazing with his encore of “Gone.”  It was a big, bold performance of a performer in command of his audience.  Scott McCreery looked like the winner after that.  Then George Strait and Jimmy Iovine handed Scott two mid-tempo country pop dirges that pandered to Scott’s teenage following but completely undermined his maturity as a performer.  Scott performed both songs well but neither song had the  emotional impact or harmonic dynamics he needed to show his talent.

With all of that I still believe Scott McCreery will win American Idol Season 10.  His popularity has been solid all season long, despite a very good night for Lauren Alaina, there is little reason for Scott’s fans to jump onto Lauren’s bandwagon.  I do think that Lauren Alaina did prove last night that she deserved to be in the top 2 just as much as Haley Reinhart or James Durbin.  Most satisfying to this website that highlights Christian musicians on American Idol is that both of these young performers are Christian musicians.

It is time to dial into the show as we live blog the American Idol Season 10 finale.  I will be posting observations about performances throughout the show as we get to re-acquaint ourselves with many of the American Idol Season 10 Top 24. And, of course we will bring you all the drama of the results.

Anyone doubting the popularity of Lauren Alaina and Scott McCreery or thinking a concentration of artists in the country genre would reduce the viewership or vote count forget about it.  More than 122 million votes were cast last night, the largest ever for American Idol.

The Top 13 starts the American Idol Season 10 finale with a big production number of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.”  Aren’t all Lady Gaga numbers big productions?

Ryan and the judges talking about voters choosing between Lauren Alaina and Scott McCreery, but really, how can you dislike one while liking the other the other?

James Durbin‘s dream comes true.  He is playing with Judas Priest.  This and meeting Hulk Hogan may have been bigger prizes for him than winning American Idol Season 10.  He is doing it right with the leather studded vest and hat.  James Durbin sings better than the Judas Priest lead singer (sorry, I don’t know his name).

Jacob Lusk jumped deep into his gospel pool with Kirk Franklin and Gladys Knight and a big gospel choir. I don’t think I have ever seen Jacob Lusk enjoy himself more.  I could have used a few more choruses of that.

Casey Abrams is singing Queen’s “Fat Bottom Girls” with Jack Black.  Sorry Casey, Jack Black sounds better than you.  What is this a skat-off between Casey and JB?

This show is fun so far.

Haley Reinhart is doing a duet with Tony Bennett.  You can never go wrong with Tony Bennett. Haley seems like she is heaven and she is slamming on “Stepping Out On My Baby.”

Scott McCreery is singing “Live Like Your Dying” with Tim McGraw. Why didn’t Jimmy Iovine give Scott that song last night? Look at this image.  You will see it again and again on every country music awards show for the decade. Scott sounds very, very good on that song.

This is as good an American Idol finale as I have seen. When you match the depth of talent this American Idol Season 10 group with wide breadth of musical styles you get a very good variety show concert.

We are even getting some hot Latin salsa from Mark Anthony and Sheila E,  and, of course J-Lo.  I have never listened to Mark Anthony but this guy is smoking good.  And who knew? Jennifer Lopez can dance.

tom-jonesThe Top 13 guys are doing a Tom Jones medley.  If Tom Jones joins them I am going to get stupid giddy.  Yes I am jumping up and down and screaming like one of Scott’s teenage girl fans. IT’S TOM JONES! THIS IS THE GREATEST AMERICAN IDOL SHOW EVER!

Ford just gave Lauren Alaina and Scott McCreery the keys to any Ford vehicle they want.  I bet Scott picks a F-350 and Lauren picks a Mustang.

Lauren Alaina is singing with her hero Carrie Underwood. Once again, get ready for a decade of Lauren and Carrie sharing duets of their big country hits.

It is about time to find out who wins American Idol Season 10, but first Spiderman, or is it Peter Parker?, sings with Bono and Edge. As big a Spiderman fan as I am (really revealing my inner geek tonight) and as much as I love U2, I think I will miss Spiderman the Musical.

The last quarter of the show slowed down when it became a parade of Billboard artists debuting new songs.  We have not seen any of the top 13 since TOM JONES. Well, we did but I just wanted to say TOM JONES one more time. Could have used some Pia more than another song by Beyonce or that Spiderman thing.

Time to find out who 122 million Americans voted for. The Season 10 American Idol is … but first Steven Tyler sings “Dream On” with the entire Nokia Theater audience.  Then another commercial.  So much for finishing on time, it is 8:57.

Scott McCreery Season 10 American IdolTime to find out who 122 million Americans voted for.  Lauren Alaina looks like she is hyperventilating. The Season 10 American Idol is Scott McCreery. I don’t think I have ever seen a performer lead American Idol from Hollywood to the end. And then, as we should have expected, Scott McCreery gave all glory to God.  A fitting end to American Idol Season 10.

Scott McCreery cannot even sing his new single he is so overcome with emotion and then at the end he collapses onto the floor in tears.

Thank you for joining us for American Idol Season 10 as One21music followed the Christian musicians on American Idol.  Thank you Ashton Jones, Stefano Langone, Jacob Lusk, Lauren Alaina and the Season 10 American Idol–Scott McCreery.  It was a wonderful season.

American Idol Season10 Top 4 Performance Live Blog

Only three more weeks of American Idol Season 10.  If you read our Top 4 Power Rankings, you know we think Haley Reinhart is making a big move to the top.  Going into last week’s  Top 5 performances we thought James Durbin and Christian musician Scott McCreery were a lock for the final two.  We stated that Haley Reinhart and Christian musicians Lauren Alaina and Jacob Lusk were fighting to make the top 3.  We don’t believe that anymore.

Haley Reinhart has been so strong for the past four weeks that we believe she has a chance to overtake James Durbin for a spot in the American Idol Season 10 finale.  We will be shocked if Scott McCreery is not standing on the American Idol stage on May 25th, but the next two weeks look to be a fierce battle between James and Haley.

It will be interesting to watch how Lauren Alaina recovers from last week’s results show.  She looked completely crushed standing with Jacob Lusk, looking at what was probably the American Idol Season 10 top 3 across the stage.  Will she give in to what looks like her inevitable exit this week and stumble through these performances?  Will she resolve herself to go out with her best performances of the season?  Will she refuse to accept the picture from last week’s result show and fight for her place in the finals?  Will last week’s results finally push her to let loose with her big vocals and forget about failing?  We can forgive Lauren Alaina for crumbling under the pressure since her biggest struggles this year have been with confidence.  However, we believe we will see the drive and determination that landed this 16 year old in the American Idol Season 10 top 4.  I expect great things from Lauren Alaina tonight.

So the charge to the finale begins tonight as the Idols work with Lady Gaga to update songs from the Leiber & Stoller catalogue.  The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame composers shaped the sound of pre-Beatles rock with hits for Elvis, The Coasters, Ben E. King and many others.  These songs set-up much better for Haley Reinhart than for James Durbin.  I also expect wonderful country interpretations of these songs from Christian musicians Lauren Alaina and Scott McCreery.

But enough speculation, let’s see what happens as we live blog the performances of the American Idol Season 10 top 4.

A twist in the songs.  The first songs will be “songs that inspired them” and then the Leiber & Stroller songs.

James Durbin starts with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.”  Wow, I was looking at my screen during James’s opening and I swear it was Steve Perry up there. Well James Durbin has accepted the challenge.  Except for the silly calls to the audience at the very beginning that was a great delivery of that song.  Very few singers can pull this song off.  It is rock song in a very high range. Really Randy? Journey is one of the greatest rock bands of all time?  I scoff at you.  I do agree with Randy that the song was the highest degree of difficulty and James pulled it off.  Game on.

Haley Reinhart will be singing Michael Jackson.  That sounds like a mistake to me.  She is singing “The Earth Song.”  Game is on.  I was wrong.  Haley slayed that song. She commanded a stage filled with a choir and completely owned the entire arena.  I agree with J-Lo that Haley really felt the message of the song.  Randy hated it.  I completely disagree with Randy and J-Lo.  I agree with Steven that she nailed the song and he felt strongly enough to cut-off Randy’s critique.  The judges are trying to  pigeon hole her into too tight a style.

Scott McCreery is singing “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).”  This is an Alan Jackson song about 9/11.  For the first time this year Scott is playing his guitar.  This openly Christian country song quotes I Corithinians 13:13 and blatently states that the singer knows Jesus.  It was a great song for Scott and he sang the song beautifully.  Scott is fighting back tears because this song defines who he is.  All of the judges thought it was a perfect song choice and that it perfectly fits with who he will be as an artist.  This is just another example of Scott McCreery commanding American Idol Season 10.  He did exactly the type of song he has done all season, he did it perfectly and the judges ate it up. Good job Scott.

Lauren Alaina is singing “Anyway” by Martina McBride. Our Christian musicians are coming through tonight with strong proclamations of their faith.  Lauren just declared that God is great and that she prays through her set backs. Well, Lauren Alaina decided to fight for her place in the top 3.  She stood in the middle of the stage and belted that country ballad like it was written for her.  She went for the big notes and she just swallowed them up.  That was a great vocal performance.  Randy says that Lauren was back in it to win it.  Steven and J-Lo loved it. I did too.  My favorite part, Lauren ended the judging by calling Ryan by his nickname, “peaches.”

Round one, inspirational songs, four way tie at a very high level.  Game is on and Lauren Alaina is back in it.

Haley Reinhart is doing “I (Who Have Nothing).”  Another Haley risk because this song won season 6 for Jordin Sparks. Wow, she certainly got the drama of that song.  She sang the notes off the page!  That was a big soaring performance.  Deep, connected and dramatic and it showed-off the truely great voice Haley brings to American Idol Season 10.  The judges gave her a standing ovation. J-Lo says it was one of the best performances of the season.  Randy said it was perfect.  Steven just said Haley just “reinharted herself into next week.”  Haley continues her run of awesome performances.

Scott McCreery enters the Gaga zone. He is singing The Coasters’ “Youngblood.” Of course the mentoring was coarse and rude. Not my favorite Scott McCreery performance.  It was playful and showed Scott’s fun side. However, I did not like the frantic running around the audience and the song had virtually no singing. I don’t understand these judges.  They just love everything he does, no matter what.  I think the judges have become a little too fawning with Scott.  Not his best.

What I did like was that the queen of the world right now, Lady Gaga, went right into conservative Scott’s face with vulgarity, he politely stood his ground and she realized she had gone too far.  She apologized to Scott.

Lauren Alaina, Elvis and Lady Gaga.  What a trio.  Lauren is singing “Trouble” with a gold sparkly dress and lots of big jewelry.  So many songs, why this one?  Lauren struggles with singing that she is evil then sings it about 10 times.  She would have been better off if she had kept it slow and smokey.  The song picked up tempo in the middle of the song and she lost the impact of her performance.  That was a good try for Lauren, she sang it well, but this was the wrong song for Lauren.  The judges enjoyed it but were not raving. I did not like this Lauren Alaina performance, even though I look forward to the “Lauren Alaina Christmas Special” in a few years.

James Durbin is singing “Love Potion No 9.” A metal version of Love Potion No. 9 with squeals and shredding and big dramatic finishes.  A great performance from James Durbin,  It was big, loud and exciting.  And, by the way, he sang it perfectly note for note.  J-Lo says this tells us he can sing anything. Randy says he is peaking at the right time. Steven says something.  That was great.

Scott McCreery played the front runner perfectly tonight and will maintain that position.  James Durbin and Haley Reinhart delivered four killer performances.  Lauren Alaina did herself proud with “Always” then, I think she stumbled with “Trouble.”

Vote, vote, vote and then join us tomorrow night for the results as we select the American Idol Season 10 Top 3.

American Idol Season 10 Top 5 Results Live Blog

Haley Reinhart House of The Rising SunIf you read our American Idol Season 10 Top 5 perfomance live blog you will know that I believe last night was the most important night of the season.  It seems that James Durbin and Christian musician Scott McCreery are destined for the finale.  Jacob Lusk, Lauren Alaina and Haley Reinhart all had big questions to answer.  Lauren Alaina answered her questions of confidence but Jacob Lusk did not find his swagger.

However, Haley Reinhart made her biggest push of the season.  First she took the biggest, boldest risk I have ever seen when she performed an unreleased song by maybe the biggest artist on the planet right now, Lady Gaga.  And she pulled it off.  Then she sang “House of the Rising Sun”.  It was her best performance of the season, by far the best performance of the night and arguably the best performance of American Idol Season 10. On James Durbin’s worst singing night of the season, Haley Reinhart soared.  She took the last night’s performance competition by a mile. I think she is a shoe-in for the top 3 and a real contender now to win American Idol Season 10.

Overall I thought last night’s performances were surprisingly shaky.  The top 3 performances were “House of The Rising Sun” by Haley Reinhart, “Gone” by Scott McCreery and “Flat On The Floor” by Lauren AlainaJames Durbin and Jacob Lusk danced around the proper key all night and I thought Lauren and Scott faded into the background on their second songs.  I am happy to report that you should go straight to iTunes and buy the American Idol Top 5 Season 10 – Studio Performances (you can just jump there from this link).  James’s songs were incredible in the studio and everyone sounded better.

Unfortunately, I think Christian musician Jacob Lusk goes home tonight. He needed a big night and he missed on both of his performances last night.  I think Christian musician Lauren Alaina joins him in the bottom two tonight.  I cannot imagine the outrage and indignation that will erupt if Haley Reinhart is even in the bottom two.

But enough speculation.  It is time for the show so let’s see who goess home performances from J-Lo and Lady Antebellum.

Wow, 60 million votes last night. I guess American Idol is still pretty popular.

25 minutes in and nothing to write about.  I am feeling marginalized.

Now maybe some results-who is safe and who is in the bottom 2.  Ryan says we may be in for a surprise.  James Durbin is the first one in the gauntlet. Jimmy Iovine also thought this was James worst week as well.  He called it an 8 out of a string of 9′s and 10′s.  Lauren Alaina up now.  Jimmy thought she did great with “Flat On The Floor” but thought her fear kept her from delivering “Unchained Melody.”  He thinks she will be in the bottom 2.

Ryan has started two groups, one with James and one with Lauren, but it is time for a J-Lo performance and commercials.

40 minutes in and time for more commercials.

Okay, more results.  Jacob Lusk is under the microscope. Jimmy Iovine says Jacob had a rough night and thinks he has lost confidence.  Jacob is asked to join Lauren.  That looks like a bottom 2.

Now for Haley Reinhart. Jimmy Iovine thinks she showed no fear and won the night.  He thinks she is a lock for the finale.  She joins James on the far side of the stage.

At least Ryan did not call Scott McCreery “Scotty the Body.”  Jimmy thought “Gone” was stellar but came up a bit short with “Always On My Mind.” Scott has never been in the bottom 2 and he is safe tonight. Now Ryan is making Scott picking who is safe and he refuses.

Christian musicians Jacob Lusk and Lauren Alaina are in the bottom 2 and Lauren is already crying.

It is time, Lauren seems to have composed herself.  Well maybe not.  Jacob Lusk is going home.  I am sad, Jacob has been one of my favorites all season, but this is the right decision.  He was was the 5th best on American Idol Season 10.  It looks like Lauren faced her exit from the show and she looks devastated.

American Idol Season 10 Top 5 Performance Live Blog

It is time! We have a top 5 and three weeks to resolve the burning questions: “Who is the next American Idol?”

Tonight should be a barn burner as each Idol performs a modern song and a classic song.  Ten performances on the pivotal night of American Idol Season 10.  As I discussed in my Top 5 power rankings , James Durbin and Christian musician Scott McCreery are strong frontrunners to make it to the finale.  Can Haley Reinhart build enough momentum to usurp one of these guys?  Will Christian musician Lauren Alaina find that nugget of self confidence that will enable her unleash her big voice in these solo performances?  Will Christian musician Jacob Lusk find himself again after floundering for the past few weeks?  Jacob Lusk, Lauren Alaina and Haley Reinhart must deliver the performances of their lives tonight.  If not they all will go home before the American Idol Season 10 finale.

Time to find out.  Check back regularly to see what I think is happening as One21music live blogs the American Idol Season 10 Top 5 performances.

Wow, no intros or walk-outs.  American Idol is not wasting any time to night.  Well maybe they are because now we are asking Randy why tonight is so important.  As Randy says, “Now is the time to do it!” Let’s go.

First song within 5 minutes. James Durbin is singing “Closer To The Edge” by 30 Seconds To Mars. He started flat and I did not enjoy the high five parade.  He screamed a lot and I do not think he showed any connection to the song.  Not his best performance of the year.  The judges fawned all over James but I think he did not live up to his season long high standard.

In seasons past American Idol judges have demanded a high level song interpretation and an expression of the song’s meaning.  At this point in the season I expect the top 5 to deliver the emotion of the song.  These judges don’t seem to care about that.

Jacob Lusk is up next singing “No Air” by Jordan Sparks and Chris Brown.  Jacob is singing both parts. That was not really great.  A little screechy and he fell off key several times.  I agree that this is the type of songs he will do as a performer, but he did deliver on this performance.  J-Lo said nothing about his performance.  Randy does not think this should the be direction he should go. This is not the performance that will keep Jacob in American Idol Season 10.  Randy did just say that Jacob’s is much bigger than Jordan Sparks.

Lauren Alaina is doing Carri Underwood’s “Flat On The Floor.”  Sheryl Crow is advising Lauren to just stand still and bring the audience to her. I think we just saw the full flowering of Lauren Alaina.  She stood in the middle of the stage and just belted this country rocker.  Lauren found some confidence.  J-Lo says she ate that up.  I agree.  The best performance of the night so far.

Scott McCreery is singing “Gone” by Montgomery Gentry.  This a big country blues song.  Let’s see what Scotty’s got. Wow.  That was the most playful Scott McCreery we have seen so far.  He danced, he mugged, he growled and he wailed.  That was not an Idol competing to win.  That was a country performer guesting on American Idol.  Perfectly sung and big, big stage presence.  That may have just won American Idol Season 10 for Scott.  Judges loved it big time and so did I.

Haley Reinhart is performing an unreleased Lady GaGa song?  Wow, that is pretty cool.  The song is called “You And I.”  That was strange. I got really excited, then kind of bored then really excited again.  She belted the song and it showed her voice off but she did not wow me.  She seemed to get a little lost in the song.  J-Lo did not like the song selection.  Randy did not like the song. Randy thinks it was a risky choice but she kicked it. I didn’t mind the song choice I just don’t think she did much with it.

Round one goes to Scott McCreery by a long shot.

Back to James Durbin.  He is doing “Without You” by Nillson.  This could be a big moment. James broke down during rehearsals. He misses his family.  I really, really wanted this to be great.  He just really struggled with the low end.  This young man is struggling to hold his emotions together.  It was emotional and it was very good, but it was not great.  Randy says Season 10 is his to lose.  I disagree.  It was cool to see James stand in front of a string section and sing an emotional ballad.  It was really good but not as good as I had hoped.  I will say that in the past few minutes we experienced the emotional toll this competition takes on the young people.  That was one of the most poignant moments I have ever experienced on American Idol.

After that Jacob Lusk must take back the audience with Nazareth’s “Love Hurts.”  I didn’t know that was a gospel song.  Jacob Lusk is back!  He just wrenched all the emotion out of that song.  That was a spectacular vocal performance.  Evidently he screwed something up in the middle.  I didn’t hear it and I loved the gut wrenching performance.  Randy said Jacob may have hit the highest note he has ever heard on American Idol.  The judges were blown away.  So was I.

Lauren Alaina sings “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers.  That is a big risk by a confident performer.  That was not as good as I had hoped.  She seemed a little overwhelmed by that classic.  She sang it beautifully but she did not bring anything special to the song.  The judges tried to like it.  J-Lo says nothing to judge and Steven agrees.  It was just okay for me.

Scott McCreery is doing Elvis’s “Always On My Mind.”  This is a perfect song for him to finish the night with.  It is interesting that everyone has decided to go quiet with their second songs.  I wish he would have been a little bigger.  It was a little quiet and breathy.  I thought he was a little flat in places.  J-Lo says that there is nothing uncomfortable about him.  I agree.  Randy is happy he did a tender song.  Steven says it was beautiful rendition of the song.   The audience may have heard the song differently in the studio but I thought it was a tad too quiet.

Haley Reinhart finishes the Animals’ “House of The Rising Sun.” Okay, so I am speechless.  Haley’s momentum is skyrocketing.  That was a tremendous, tour de force performance of that bluesy rock number.  Growls, wails and very big notes.  I don’t think I have ever seem Haley interpret a song with as much emotion as she did with this song.  J-Lo says no one has ever sung that song that way.  I agree.  Randy says it was the best performance of the night.  I agree.  Haley Reinhart just had her American Idol Season 10 moment at the right time.

Vote, vote, vote and then join us tomorrow night as we live blog the American Idol Season 10 top 5 results.

American Idol Season 10 Top 5 Power Rankings

American Idol Season 10 Top 5American Idol Season 10 Top 13 featured five Christian musicians (Ashton Jones, Stefano Langone, Jacob Lusk, Lauren Alaina and Scott McCreery). Now that we are down to the Top 5, three Christian musicians remain and Scott McCreery looks like a shoo-in to make it to the finale.

The theme for this week is “Songs From Then and Now” featuring a modern song and a song from the 60′s.  That means the Idols should have no problem selecting songs that suit them well and they get two chances to show their best.  This is a strong Top 5, anyone could win but some need to turn up the heat to make it to the finals.

American Idol Season 10 Top 5 Power Rankings

Three big questions coming in American Idol Season 10‘s Top 5 performances. Can Haley Reinhart ride her momentum into the finale or did she begin to find herself too late? Can Jacob Lusk regain his swagger after several weeks of tentative performances? Can Lauren Alaina let loose with her talent or has American Idol grown too big for her tender age of 16? If these three cannot answer these questions it looks like James Durbin and Christian musician Scott McCreery are destined for the finals.

1) James Durbin- Jennifer Lopez said on Wednesday night that James Durbin has been good every week and has had no stumbles in American Idol Season 10. I agree. He loves hard rock music and it undermines his vocal talent.  That is why we all were amazed a few weeks ago when he sang “When My Guitar Gently Weeps.”  This week was another of those moments when you stop and marvel at James Durbin‘s vocal talent and arranging skills.  He is starting to feel like a combination of Adam Lambert and Kris Allen. His performance of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” has moved James to the top of our American Idol Season 10 Top 5 power rankings.

2) Scott McCreery- On all of measures of fandom I can find, Scott McCreery is far ahead of the other Top 5.   He is a nice looking young man who exhibits humility and a sense of humor.  Scott has a unique voice, a deeply expressive interpretive style and is very clear as to the type of performer he will be.  Get ready Grand Ole’ Opry because a new Randy Travis is on the way.  This week he changed pace and showed a different flavor to his voice with his country flavored version of “You’ve Got A Friend.”  I will be shocked if he does not make it to the finale.

3) Jacob Lusk- He is a magical performers with an other worldly voice, but I think American Idol Season 10 is starting to get the best of Jacob Lusk.  The voice is still there.  This week’s “On No Not My Baby” was strong, with a cool skat run in the middle, but there does not appear to be much joy or confidence in Jacob’s performances over the past few weeks.  It seems if he is performing to not be eliminated.  This week’s theme is perfect for him.  Andre Crouch wrote some iconic gospel songs in the 60′s and I would like to see him perform “Believe” from Jennifer Hudson’s new cd.  Jacob Lusk may go this week, so I hope to see some full gusto performances from him this week.

4) Haley Reinhart- This was an odd week for Haley. She has been the coolest cat on American Idol Season 10.  None of the criticism form the judges or the mentors has seemed to bother her all season.  She took a few trips to the bottom 2 with big smiles.  She seems to be the one person who is just happy to be on American Idol.  Over the past few weeks she seems to have flipped a switch and is delivering consistently strong vocals and heartfelt performances.  She has momentum.  Then, when Jimmy Iovine said she must find herself as a performer she drops a bleeped profanity on live television that even upset the unflappable Ryan Seacrest.  The thing is Jimmy is right and Haley confirmed his opinion when she tried to rebut him by saying her style was soulrockbluescountryjazz.  Haley, all styles are no styles.  I don’t know if that out of character display will hurt her with the voters, but she does not have much margin for error.

5)Lauren Alaina- I think Lauren Alaina will have the biggest career of all the remaining Idols.  She is attractive with a great sense of humor and stage presence. We have seen her wow us with her singing, mostly in duets with Scott McCreery.  It is beginning to feel like she has not developed the confidence, at the age of 16, allow her talent to shine each week on American Idol Season 10.  Each week the judges, the mentors, the vocal coaches push her to let her voice fly and each week she is afraid.  Lauren Alaina may have a television special before she is old enough to drink but I think she has reached the limit of her maturity on American Idol Season 10.

Join us on Wednesday night as we live blog the American Idol Season 10 top 5 performances.  Each Idol will be performing two songs so it should be a fun filled evening.

American Idol Season 10 Top 6 Results Live Blog

Look out,  Haley Reinhart is making a move.  Last night she overcame technical problems and a horrendous arrangement to deliver another killer vocal and her most nuanced stage performance yet.  Haley’s “Beautiful” was fast and slow and fast and slow but it did not matter.  Haley Reinhart’s voice and spirit overcame all that mess.  On top of that, she just completely overwhelmed Casey Abrams in their duet of “I Feel The Earth Move.”

James Durbin and Christian musician Scott McCreery deftly changed pace from the rest of their seasons and probably solidified their places in the American Idol Season 10 finale. Scott eschewed his country stylings and changed his tone for a beautiful moment with “You’ve Got A Friend.” James Durbin mesmerized America with a soft acapella opening to “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” He couldn’t hold the quiet and reverted to rock for the closing but America was hooked.

Casey Abrams and Christian musician Lauren Alaina did what they do.  Casey played the crazy man, again, with “Hi De Ho” and Lauren charmed with “Where You Lead” but her vocals were too tentative to live up to this stage of the competition.

Are the producers trying to end Jacob Lusk‘s run on American Idol Season 10? On this critical night for Jacob he was forced to deal with the Carol King songbook and, for the second time in three weeks, he was stuck into the lead spot on the show.  On top of all that, the judges made their positive critique sound negative.

Can Christian musician Jacob Lusk overcome all of the factors working against him this week?  Has Haley Reinhart waited too late assert her talent?  Has American Idol Season 10 outstripped Lauren Alaina‘s maturity as a performer?  Is America finally ready to end the “Casey Abrams Monster Mash” tour?

It is time to find out as we live blog the American Idol Season 10 top 6 results and watch Bruno Mars and Crystal Bowersox perform.

Ryan is predicting that fans are going to be disappointed with tonight’s result.  What does that mean?  Don’t all of the Idols have fans? Aren’t some people always disappointed with the results?

Time for phase one of the results.

They are going through the Idols one at a time and Jimmy Iovine is summarizing his overall thoughts about each Idol.

They start with Haley Reinhart. I agree with Jimmy Iovine that Haley’s flaw is that she doesn’t know who she is an artist.  Haley takes great offense at Jimmy’s comment then proceeds to prove him right by saying, “well, I wish someone would terll me.  I hear the soul in me….and the blues…and some rock….and some country.” Listen to yourself , Haley.  With all of that, Haley Reinhart is safe.

Next up is Scott McCreery.  Jimmy thinks Scott has a subtlety that will serve him well as an artist but could hurt him on Idol.  Ryan did not give Scott’s status?

Then Ryan brings Lauren Alaina up to be reviewed. Jimmy thinks that Lauren only hears the negative feedback but that Lauren is in Idol for the long run. Ryan did not give Lauren’s status either?

Then Ryan brings Casey Abrams up for a review.  Jimmy thinks Casey is a great musician but that he growls too much.  Ryan frustrates us all again and keeps Casey’s fate secret.

Forty minutes in and no closer to a result.

James Durbin is under review now.  Jimmy thinks that James is much more believable when he sings a melody.  When he sings hard rock, not so much.  James Durbin is safe.

Jimmy Iovine did not like Jacob Lusk‘s performance and thinks Jacob is on banana peels this week.

Lauren Alaina is safe. Casey, Jacob and Scott are left waiting the results.  We don’t know if these are the bottom 3 because Ryan has said the results are revealed in no particular order.

Finally, time for the results.  Jacob Lusk is safe, hallelujah!

Casey Abrams is going home. He has had a good run but this is the right time for Casey to depart.

Join us this weekend when we post our American Idol Season 10 Top 5 power rankings.

American Idol Season 10 Top 6 Performance Live Blog

And what an exciting night it will be.  We will have 9 performances, both solo and duets, of Carol King songs in 90 minutes. Miley Cyrus and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds are rumored to join Jimmy Iovine as mentors.  Does that mean we have seen the last of Will.I.Am or do we need more furniture in the recording studio?

As I discussed in my American Idol Season 10 Top 6 Power Rankings, every one of the six remaining Idols needs to step up their game this week.  With a bad performance, any of them could end up in the bottom 3.  However, Jacob Lusk, Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams must stand out to stay in the competition.  It looks like James Durbin and Christian musicians Lauren Alaina and Scott McCreey are positioning for the finals at this point.

But enough speculation, it is time to for the show so join us as we live blog the American Idol Season 10 Top 6 perform songs of Carol King.

Jacob Lusk launches the show with “Oh, No Not My Baby.” Jacob Lusk just delivered a lesson in singing that no one else will be able to follow.  This early 60′s soul tune allowed enough room for Jacob to riff and skat and really sing.  The judges were luke warm but I loved it.  If Jacob leaves tonight it will be on a number that shows his promise as a recording artist and a performer.

Lauren Alaina meets Miley Cyrus and she geeks out. I did not really like the pace of the song or her stage performance.  It was a little rambling and unfocused.  The singing was really good.  The judges are trying to find things to compliment about the performance.  They are saying just about the same thing they said to Jacob but the tone and structure of the feedback makes it sound very positive.  This was one of Lauren Alaina’s best vocals but I would have liked to seen a better stage performance.

Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams are our first duet.  They will sing  “I Feel The Earth Move.”  Haley Reinhart should have sung this song as her solo performance.  She was pretty terrific.  Casey Abrams was good as well.  These two are good together.

Time for Scott McCreery to step out of his comfort zone with “You’ve Got A Friend.” The judges criticized Scott for the first time last week and it may have ignited Scott’s competitiveness.  Let’s see.  Yep, Scotty the competitor showed up.  I think that was his most tender, expressive and romantic performance of the season.  It showed maturity and depth.  he stretched his vocals in a way I have not seen this season.  Randy was right that we heard a tone from Scott we have not heard in Season 10. Steven is right in that he found just the right song that showed off all he can do. That may have just ended the competition for the American Idol Season 10 title.  Scott McCreery just created a country song that millions of females will buy this week.  “You’ve Got A Friend” may be Scott’s best performance of the season.

James Durbin is now singing a love song, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” Jimmy Iovine was stoced about the rehearsal. I can see why. That was beyond perfect. James Durbin has a tremendous voice and he just stripped away all of the over staging of the last three weeks to show us he is as good a singer as we have ever seen on American Idol.  The beginning, as a beautiful ballad, was mesmerizing.  Then he broke into a soaring rock arrangement that really worked.  J-Lo said it was magical and Randy said it was incredible. I must agree with the judges for the first time in several weeks. That was one of the best performances of the season.

Another duet.  Christian musicians Scott McCreery and Lauren Alaina sing their third duet of the season.  They are singing “Up On The Roof.” Lauren really over powers Scott in the choruses. That was probably the worst duet of the three. J-lo thought Lauren sang some body part off, but she refused to say it.

Casey Abrams is up next with “Hi De Ho.” That was a perfect song for Casey.  Jazzy, bluesy with plenty of room for his playfullness.  Well done, Casey.  Randy and Steven loved it.  J-Lo is right that he was in his element but wants to see him his loosen up his body a little.  That was one of Casey’s best performances in the past several weeks.

Haley Reinhart closes the solo performance with “Beautiful”, an less known song from Tapestry.  The dark horse is bolting down the stretch.  That was incredible.  When Haley connects with the song it becomes special and this was special.  Steven said he heard the voice of God.  With performances like that, Haley Reinhart could make it to the finals two.

James Durbin and Jacob Lusk are lumped together into a duet of “I’m Into Something Good.”   The two big voices throw down and it is a fun way to end the show.

Haley Reinhart, Scott McCreery and James Durbin made statements tonight.  Lauren Alaina‘s was the weakest of this night’s really good performances.  I am afraid Jacob Lusk is in trouble tomorrow night.

Join us tomorrow night to find out who goes home when we live blog the American Idol Season 10 Top 6 results.

American Idol Season 10 Top 6 Power Rankings

Reflecting on the American Idol Season 10 Top 7 performances and the results show…we didn’t learn anything this week, did we? Yes, saw Haley Reinhart confirm our suspicions that she is a really terrific singer.  But that was about it.  Everyone else showed us nothing new.  As good as last week’s Top 8 results show was, see our American Idol Season 10 Top 7 Power Rankings, this week’s results show was bad.  The two small group numbers were clumsy and poorly arranged.  David Cook was good but Katy Perry was horrific.  This week was the worst of Season 10.

We are down to six on American Idol Season 10.  I am not a huge Casey Abrams fan but everyone else has a real, legitimate chance to win  American Idol.  As good as the guys have been all season, the winner will be the performer who steps it up from here.  Over the next five weeks the Idols will need to deliver more exilerating visual performances and create emotional bonds to the songs that pull us deeply into the joy, despair or rage of the songs.  They need to do this while singing perfectly and appearing confident.

We start that quest with the songs of Carol King and that is going to be a challenge.  She is a terrific songwriter and her catalogue of troubadour songs are an integral part of our musical lexicon.  Tapestry remains one of the great albums of the 70′s.  “Natural Woman”, “You’ve Got A Friend”, So Far Away” and the rest of the songs from Carol King’s catalogue are intimate and emotionally complex.  But these are not big songs and these performers need big songs.  If the Idols can extract the firewaorks and impact necessary to get America’s attention this week, I will be awestruck.  I think Jacob Lusk and James Durbin have their work cut out for them this week.

American Idol Season 10 Top 6 Power Rankings

This is the first year since I have watched that I cannot predict a winner this late in the season. All six of the remaining performers can win American Idol Season 10. The competition is close enough that it will be decided in the next  five weeks. Our power rankings are not a prediction about who will win. The rankings are a combination of who I think will win, who I think is the best singer/performer and my personal preference.  The Top 5 are almost interchangeble for me.

1) Jacob Lusk- I know, he was in the bottom 2 this week. I know he is an acquired taste for many. Christian musician Jacob Lusk is my favorite. I doubt he will win but he has the most unique talent on American Idol Season 10. I have been listening to Jacob in a mix with Jennifer Hudson, Melinda Doolittle, Lakisha Jones and Rueben Studdard. His singing still needs a little training but he has superior talent to all of them and I do not say that lightly.  Jacob Lusk needs to now take all of the advice he has received lately about emotional control as a launching pad for the full on Jacob Lusk gospel throw downs for as long as he remains.

2) James Durbin- This past week’s performance of “Uprising” was his first misstep of the season.  The judges loved James’s staging of this Muse favorite.  I found it shrill and indulgent.  It is beginning to feel like James Durbin is treating American Idol Season 10 as his personal playground more than laboratory to develop himself as a future superstar. While appreciate his youthful exuberance, he does need to work on his craft.

3) Scott McCreery-I think Christian musician Scott McCreey is the frontrunner to win American Idol Season 10. However, Scott really needs to show some variety in his song selection. I understand he is a seventeen year-old high school student.  I also understand that, after he wins American Idol, we will probably never hear him sing anything but country music.  However, if Scott McCreery walks through Season 10 doing nothing but country music, his victory will be as shallow as some of the worst results we have seen on American Idol.  This show should just demand more of the winner. Let’s be clear though, I am a fan of Scott McCreery.

4) Haley Reinhart- She may have waited too long to find herself and I wait to see it she can emotionally connect to her songs each week, but she ranks with Jacob and James as a singer.  Here voice is strong, pure with range and flexibility.  She loves the growl, she overuses it but she does not need it.  Haley Reinhart could be the Idol who wandered through the competition the first six weeks, connected with herself as an artist and blows us away over the back-end of the season to win.  She can do that if she continues to perform as she did last week with Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep.”

5) Lauren Alaina- Christian musician Lauren Alaina, with her talent, personality, humor and charisma, has the best chance to be a star.   She reminds me of Reba or Dolly or maybe even a country Cher. She will be the first to host her own Christmas special and she will be a hit in Vegas. To win American Idol Season 10 she needs to let go and allow her talent to shine.  This stage seems to intimidate her a bit and it should not.  If she continues to hold back as she has all season, she will fall short of the top 3.

6) Casey Abrams- I think I am just over Casey Abrams. I enjoyed him through Hollywood week, but watching him week in and week out his act has grown tiring.  His performance this week was out of control, unfocused and almost manic.  I think Casey has an interesting musical vision, he just needs to refine his craft to realize that vision.

I hope you are enjoying American Idol Season 10 as much as we are.  Join us on Wednesday to continue the journey as we live blog the Top 6 performances.

American Idol Season 10 Top 7 Results Live Blog

So finally, American Idol Season 10 had a “girls night.”  All the girls who have been sent packing on American Idol Season 10 were there as a premonition of what was to come. Yeah, Paul MacDonald was there but he had no voice and he was still wearing his suit from last week, yuk!

American Idol Season 10 Top 7 Performances

Haley Reinhart took the night with her daring song choice and cool, bluesy performance.  Haley’s interpretation of Adele’s “Rolling in The Deep” was nuanced and deeply felt.  That was easily Haley Reinhart‘s best performance of American Idol Season 10 and easily the best of the night.  Christian musician Lauren Alaina‘s comic performances in the pre-song snippets were as impactful as her performance.  Lauren soared through Sara Evan’s “Born To Fly” with ease and even added some of her own flava to the chorus.  To be honest though, “Born To Fly” should not be a challenge for Lauren Alaina so we did not learn anything new about her singing talent.  However, as each of the Idols were roasted in their pre-performance videos, Lauren Alaina was consistently funny, with the right tone and good timing.  Can we say future star?

For the boys, the night was not so good.  James Durbin, in his worst performance of the season, and Casey Abrams overreached in trying to push popular songs by Muse and Maroon 5.  James lost control of his vocals and ended his season of perfect singing.  Casey Abrams‘ performance was manic and disjointed.  However, I think they will both be safe because Christian musician Stefano Langone stumbled through Ne Yo’s “Closer” on a night he needed to be perfect.  If we had some honest judges this season, he would have been skewered.  He struggled at the bottom of the range, struggled to maintain tempo and struggled with his breathing in the up tempo song.  Scott McCreery strolled through another country song and showed us nothing new.  Jacob Lusk was the best guy this night with a very professional recovery from a production mishap to deliver his most controlled performance of the season.  I do agree with Randy Jackson that we have seen enough of the controlled Jacob so we need a little sprinkle of his gospel seasoning.

Stefano Langone needed to be outstanding last night and he wasn’t even very good. I think he goes home tonight, which is really a shame.  I like Stefano Langone a lot.  Casey Abrams should join Stefano in the bottom 2.  If they do a bottom 3 I am not sure.  Despite her great performance, Haley Reinhart may have waited too late to build a loyal fandom.  Jacob Lusk is a polarizing performer who did not polarize last night.  I do think there is a remote chance the Scott McCreery lands in the bottom 3.  He delivered a forgettable performance of a forgettable song to start the night.  The lead spot has consistently led to the bottom 3 in American Idol Season 10.

But enough speculation.  Time to start the show.  Stay with us as we live blog the American Idol Season 10 Top 7 results.

Wow, America cast over 52 million votes last night.

I am so glad they started breaking the Idols into small groups for results night performances.  The quartet of Lauren Alaina, Jacob Lusk, Stefano Langone and Haley Reinhart did a nice job on “Hey Soul Sister.” These results night performances seem looser and more fun for the Idols.  You know they have not spent much rehearsal time on these songs but they have generally been good.

The couches are starting to look a little barren.  Maybe they should remove some of the seats from home base.

Scott McCreery, James Durbin and Casey Abrams just did Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”.  The performance wasn’t great.  But, Scott McCreery sounds surprisingly exceptional with this progressive rock song.  He needs to try something like this in the competition.

Casey Abrams and Jacob Lusk are on the hot seat. Casey Abrams is safe, aargh. Jacob Lusk is in the bottom 3 again. Wow, even though I thought it could happened, I am so very disappointed about Jacob.

Who else will join Jacob Lusk in the bottom 3. Lauren Alaina, James Durbin and Stefano Langone are in the circle of stress. Of this group, Stefano has to the be the one in the bottom3 and he is.  We jump right to Haley Reinhart and Scott McCreeryHaley Rienhart is in the bottom 3 despite her great performance last night, but Ryan immediately lets her know she is safe.

So we have two Christian musicians, Jacob Lusk and Stefano Langone, in the bottom 2. But before we can find out who goes home we must endure Katy Perry, so I will be quiet for a while.

Okay let’s find out who goes home.  It is time.  Stefano Langone is going home. As much as I like Stefano and as much respect I have for him, this was the right decision.  Boy, James Durbin is breaking down.  As the show closed he has walked to the back of the stage in tears. James Durbin has lost his best buddy.

Well, we are down to six and they will be singing Carol King next week.

We will be shutting down for Easter week-end but check the site tomorrow for our Easter message.  My American Idol Season 10 Top 6 Power Rankings will be up on Monday.

American Idol Season 10 Top 7 Live Performances

Looking back on American Idol Season 10, it has been a really fun season.  Starting with the drama of Hollywood week through today, there have been consistently good performances punctuated with some truly remarkable moments.  The highlights for me so far have been Christian musician Stefano Langone singing “I Need You Now ” while on the brink of elimination, the Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams duet during the top 8 results show and two from Christian musician Jacob Lusk. First, during Hollywood week we saw a snippet of his “God Bless The Child” and it was remarkable.  I normally do not like for Idols to repeat performances, but I will take another helping of that please.  Secondly, I smile every time I listen to Jacob’s recording of “Your All I Need to Get By.”

Only six episodes left and Christian musicians hold four of the top 5 spots in One21′s American Idol Season 10 Top 7 power rankings. Christian musicians Jacob Lusk, Scott McCreery, Lauren Alaina and Stefano Langone join James Durbin in the top 5.  We believe Scott McCreery is destined to win American Idol Season 10, Jacob Lusk is our favorite and James Durbin has had the best season of all the Idols.  We have loved watching Lauren Alaina regain her confidence and blossom as a performer over the past few weeks.  Finally, we admire Stefano Langone’s grit and determination as he has fought elimination all season.

Join us now as we live blog the American Idol Season 10 Top 7 performances of “songs from the 21st century.”

Scott McCreery starts the evening off with Lee Ann Rhimes “Swingin’.” Each of the last three weeks the lead performer has landed in the bottom 3.  I guess we test the strength of Scott’s popularity tonight. Another relaxed, confident down home performance from Scott.  The song is not that great and it was a little bit of a let down.  I agree with J-Lo that we needed more from Scott. Randy is right it was a little safe.  Scott has a great chance to win this but he needs to pick up his game.  It feels like he is cruising.

Lauren Alaina just told Scott McCreery that there are 15 million girls pointinga  finger at Randy Jackson right now.  She is probably right.

Muse comes to American Idol Season 10 courtesy of James Durbin. He is singing “Uprising”, very cool. Time to fasten our seat belts for James’ self proclaimed “post apocalyptic    protest.”  He had a drum corp and he was holding a riding crop? It was his worst performance of the season.  His lows were rough and he went way too high on the chorus. Everyone was excited about the performance but I thought it was clumsy.  The judges loved it, calling it the best of the night? It was only the second of the night. Steven said he was channeling a T. Rex vibe.  Is there another T. Rex that I don’t know about?  There is nothing about that even remotely resembles Marc Bolan.

I am excited that Haley Reinhart is singing Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep.”  Jimmy is right on when he challenges Haley on the meaning of the song.  That is her weak point. Yes, yes, yes, yes Haley!  You got it girl.  That was awesome.  Haley just took a very modern song by a highly respected singer and she slayed that song.  She could release this as a single now.  She brought a rough blues tinge to the song.  Randy and J-Lo was not as exuberant as me.  No matter, we love us some Haley Reinhart tonight.  This was the first time Haley put it all together in an American Idol Season 10 competition performance.

Jacob Lusk in a shiny suit singing Luther Vandross’s “Dance With My Father.” Can Jacob perform this song?  He broke down in the rehearsal because he lost his father at the age of 12. Jacob Lusk is a charasmatic singer.  He lost the track at the beginning but recovered like a pro.  I was worried that he would lose it on this very dramatic song, but he was very controlled and allowed the emotion of the song to carry his performance.  Randy complained that we have lost the old Jacob.  So he has listened to and responded to the critiques? I am very much out of sync with the judges tonight.  They seem to be lauding bombast over controlled singing.  I thought this was another very special Jacob Lusk performance.

Casey Abrams is singing “Hard to Breath” by Maroon 5.  I am not sure what to say about that.  The rock n’ roll parts I loved.  However, he interspersed some robotic stage stomping that I did not like.  I loved the skatting but I hated the silly ending when he kissed J-Lo.  Randy liked that he took chances.  J-Lo had nothing to say.  Steven had a lot to say but we could not hear it on broadcast television.  That was a good, interesting Casey Abrams vocal. However, a big part of Casey’s mystique is that he is beatnik cool.  That performance was awkward and manic.

Stefano Langone is performing Ne Yo’s “Closer.”  I don’t know this song so let’s see what happens, it is good he is doing something up tempo. That may have been the end of Stefano Langone’s run on American Idol Season 10. His vocal was all over the place.  He rushed with the tempo.  He seemed to struggle with his breathing.  Tonight Stefano seemed like an amatuer competing on a singing competition. Randy and J-Lo liked that?  Am I watching the same show as the judges?  They are cool on the performances I like and they fawn all over performances I don’t.  The dancing and the tight t shirt may get him some votes but for me that was bad Stefano Langone.

Lauren Alaina, who I am coming to believe is the funniest of the remaining Idols, closes the show with “Born To Fly” by Christian musician Sara Evans. Oops, Scott McCreery may have some competition.  That was a great vocal on a light song.  She had some great runs in the chorus. Steven loved it, of course. J-Lo encourages Lauren to stretch and go for some big notes.  Lauren Alaina is gaining momentum every week and this performance just adds velocity to her ascent on American Idol Season 10.

Thank you for joining us tonight.  Now go vote and come back tomorrow night as we live blog the American Idol Season 10 Top 7 results.