American Idol: Yes, there's life after Pia Toscano
American Idol contestants were eager to prove they earned their rightful spots in the final eight. But on Wednesday's American Idol, the closest proof was Casey Abrams's cover of a Nat King Cole song.
Chris Pizzello/ AP
But not before host Ryan Seacrest pointed out that Jennifer Lopez was named â€śThe Most Beautiful Woman in the World,â€ť by People Magazine. Itâ€™s nice to know that JLo has her looks to fall back on if this whole artist, actress, judge thing doesnâ€™t pan out for her.
Paul McDonald started the show with â€śOld Time Rock and Roll,â€ť by Bob Seger. Jimmy Iovine and will.i.am joked that Paul should slide onto the stage in his underwear like Tom Cruise in the movie "Risky Business." Had they known that Paul would be donning yet another bedazzled rose suit, only this time in black, they probably would have tried to convince him that the underwear were indeed, a better choice. While the performance offered none of the soft power of Paulâ€™s voice, the judges were all pleased and Steven Tyler said he loved Paulâ€™s crazy, wild, abandon. C-
Lauren Alaina chose Miley Cyrusâ€™s, â€śThe Climb,â€ť and looked scandalized when Jimmy Iovine told her she was a much better singer than Miley. The scandal continued when Jimmy said it was time to steal Piaâ€™s fans now that she was gone. Lauren performed the song well but judge Randy Jacksonâ€™s assertion that the Lauren they saw in auditions was back, was perhaps too strong of a statement. There are glimmers of that Lauren each week but she hasnâ€™t had a defining moment yet. Guess what? The judges loved it. B
In what we can only hope was foreshadowing, Stefano Langone sang â€śEnd of the Road,â€ť by Boyz to Men. Randy said he slayed the song, giving his best vocal ever and Steven gave the most backhanded compliment all season saying that Stefano â€śknows how to milk a song.â€ť Maybe Steven is getting tired of Stefanoâ€™s overeager singing and eyebrow Olympics too? C-
Scotty McCreary was the first, but certainly not the last contestant, to dismiss Jimmy Iovineâ€™s advice this week when he switched his song to, â€śI Cross my Heart,â€ť by George Strait. Everyone knows that Scotty can sing country by now, but heâ€™s going to have to do more than hold his microphone sideways and grin if he wants to win. The judges ooh-ed and ahh-ed yet again but it seems that JLo has at least been reading the criticism of the judges when she referred to everyone wanting them to be tough. But donâ€™t get too excited; Jennifer claims she canâ€™t be tough because the contestants are just all so good. B-
Casey Abrams followed Scottyâ€™s lead and dismissed Jimmy Iovineâ€™s advice to ditch Nat King Coleâ€™s â€śNature Boy,â€ť for Phil Collins. Caseyâ€™s decision to embrace a lesser-known song paid off with the judges who gave him a standing ovation. JLo said that Casey brings that type of â€śspecial thing to Idolâ€ť and Randy struck fear into the heart of Justin Bieber fans everywhere when he applauded Casey and said that the world canâ€™t live on Pop Stars alone. A- *
Haley Reinhart, seeing how the girls are being picked off one by one, decided to get literal with her choice of Blondieâ€™s, â€śCall Me.â€ť The judges, in an shocking turn of events bigger than the Pia Toscano Affair, were critical of a performance. Randy said Haley sounded a bit karaoke in the beginning and Steven agreed. JLo reluctantly agreed, but she didnâ€™t want to see another girl get voted off and urged people to vote for the girls. Interesting, since Haleyâ€™s was the only performance Jennifer had anything negative to say about. B
Jacob Lusk found himself being chided by Jimmy Iovine for trying to preach to 25 million people last week; then Jimmy and will.i.am had a good laugh over Jacobâ€™s â€ścornyâ€ť song selections before they suggested â€śBridge over Troubled Water,â€ť by Paul Simon. Steven requested that God Bless Jacob and his voice while JLo and Randy fawned over his performance. Nevertheless, something about Jacobâ€™s performance sounded sharp and it didnâ€™t inspire the goose bumps that overcame JLo. B-
James Durbin displayed the greatest dismissal of Jimmy Iovineâ€™s opinion when he told him flat out that he was singing, â€śHeavy Metalâ€ť by Sammy Hagar. Steven applauded James for the â€ślipâ€ť he gave to Jimmy, JLo gushed about James sounding â€śreally realâ€ť and Randy felt like he was at a James Durbin concert. In reality, the performance was no better than something you would see in a thousand suburban garages across the country - except for the cameo by metal guitarist Zakk Wylde, of course. B-
This week delivered such middle-of-the-road performances, its tough to predict how the votes will go. But here are the predictions by yours truly:
- Stefano Langone
- Paul McDonald
- Haley Reinhart
Expect Paul McDonald to leave us tomorrow; no thanks to another cursed rose suit.
(*Note: After listening to NKC's version of "Nature Boy," below, Casey's grade was adjusted from a "B" to an "A-".)