AMERICAN IDOL “Top 8 Perform” Review

American Idol Top 8

AMERICAN IDOL “Top 8 Perform” Season 10 Episode 26 – Tonight’s theme was not “Movie Night” as touted; rather it was “Abuse Jimmy Iovine Night,” which, really, turned out a-ok. He may be a big-shot, big-time music producer, but he comes off as a bit of a conceited ass (the result of having people kiss one’s ass over and over, year in and year out, one supposes). I’m not crying any tears for Iovine’s bruised ego.

We had some pretty good performances tonight. Possibly the best night thus far, overall, though there were no gigantic standouts; everyone just did their thing and did it well. The insane diversity season 10 has was highlighted as best it could be, and for the most part the judges just got out of the way…

Well, except for my choice for the top performance for the night:

Haley Reinhart: 24
Song: Call Me (Blondie) from American Gigolo
Performance: 4 Originality: 4 Stage Presence: 4 
Appearance: 5 Marketability: 4 Intangibles: 3
Notes: Excellent performance, and I completely disagree with the judges; I think it was Reinhart’s best performance to date. She upped the song, in my view, and Debbie Harry is no slouch. Plus she didn’t do an overkill of the Growling Haley thing. On a night full of really good songs, this was the best song of the night. And yet is she in danger? Yes, but only because of the judges. Let’s just hope America is sick of kicking women off the show.

Jacob Lusk: 23
Song: Bridge over Troubled Water (Simon and Garfunkle) from The Pursuit of Happyness
Performance: 5 Originality: 4 Stage Presence: 3 
Appearance: 4 Marketability: 5 Intangibles: 2
Notes: Probably WOULD have gotten my Best of the Night vote if it weren’t for that one looming “If America puts me in the bottom 3” diatribe from last week. That’s why his intangibles at a “2.” I’m not sure we’re ready to forgive that diva-like behavior. But the performance itself? Masterful.

Casey Abrams: 22
Song: Nature Boy (Nat King Cole)
Performance: 4 Originality: 4 Stage Presence: 4 
Appearance: 3 Marketability: 3 Intangibles: 4
Notes: Here we come to the middle of the pack—three dudes who scored, to me, equally. With the beard trimmed, Abrams reminds me a little of a young Andy Kaufman—and there’s a possibility he may be just as crazy. But he openly defied Iovine and the judges loved it. I thought the performance, while still a little too “Casey” (wierrrrrrd-ah!), was all cool Jazz, and … hey, week after week it takes some serious stones to get up there and just do your own thing. Or, as I said, he’s crazy.

James Durbin: 22
Song: Heavy Metal (Sammy Hagar) from Heavy Metal
Performance: 4 Originality: 3 Stage Presence: 4 
Appearance: 3 Marketability: 4 Intangibles: 4
Notes: Another dude that just flew in the face of Iovine. Gotta love conviction. And I have no idea how they got Zakk Wylde to perform for them, but its a testament to A.I. that they can pull some weight even before the finale. That dude shreds. Durban did his thang again.

Paul McDonald: 22
Song: Old Time Rock ‘n Roll (Bob Seger) from Risky Business
Performance: 3 Originality: 3 Stage Presence: 
4 Appearance: 4 Marketability: 4 Intangibles: 4
Notes: What kicked off “Jimmy Iovine is Wrong” night was him suggesting to Paul to put some beat-boxing or electronica into the song. Part of me thought he had to be joking. Right? The song is so much about old time rock ‘n roll it’s called Old Time Rock ‘n Roll. So either Iovine was kidding or he’s an idiot. But hey. Song wasn’t bad, McDonald’s stage savvy is still better than most, and … does that dude collect the coolest rock jackets or what?

Scotty McCreery: 21
Song: I Cross My Heart (George Strait) from Pure Country
Performance: 4 Originality: 2 Stage Presence: 4 
Appearance: 3 Marketability: 4 Intangibles: 4
Notes: For a kid who still holds his mic as though it were a harmonica, McCreery’s stage presence is getting better and better. Sure, it’s always going to be middle-of-the-road country (from a movie called “Pure Country” no less), and you sort of always know what you’re getting … but a million grandmothers can’t be all wrong. McCreery’s not going home just yet.

Stefano Langone: 20
Song: End of the Road (Boyz 2 Men) from Boomerang
Performance: 4 Originality: 3 Stage Presence: 4
 Appearance: 3 Marketability: 3 Intangibles: 3
Notes: It’s obvious that Langone’s confidence took a massive crunch when Pia got the ouster. Not so much because his friend is gone, but more because it was obvious that everyone wanted it to be him rather than her. “It should have been you.” And I really liked his passion and his vocals for this performance; possibly the best vocal I’ve heard from him yet, one I might have awarded a 5 to if it weren’t for the overdone (and distracting) guitar. Actually the whole arrangement was off. Kind of discordant. Stefano is in real danger of landing in the bottom 3—and possibly going home. Especially if you figure both women have to be safe.

Lauren Alaina: 18
Song: The Climb (Miley Cyrus) from Hannah Montana: the Movie
Performance: 3 Originality: 3 Stage Presence:
 3 Appearance: 3 Marketability: 3 Intangibles: 3
Notes: 3’s across the board—completely average on a night when you really don’t want to be. And this may have been Iovine’s most egregious statement in a night filled with them: “You sing this better than Miley.” Way to go, Iovine. Is American Idol trying to break some sort of record and actually have the final 6 be all male? Because the voters don’t respond well at all to the show telling them that this nervous girl is better than anyone. She wasn’t better than Miley. Bottom 3. Hopefully her gender saves her.

Guess we’ll see tomorrow!

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