AMERICAN IDOL “Top 7 Perform” Review

AMERICAN IDOL “Top 7 Perform” Season 10 Episode 28 – I thought the show was off to a shaky start when “the bottom six” came out to open the show singing Pink’s “So What.” The girls (Thia, Pia, Karen, Ashthon, Naima) all looked as though they were fighting one another for stage time, and Paul (oh, Paul) was so out of tune it made me choke.

Good thing everything else just blew that crap away. I’m racking my brain trying to remember an episode of American Idol that had as many great performances as this one had. Off the top of my head I can’t think of one. By my score card only one performer scored in the teens, and that was because he chose to blandly stay middle-of-the-road and safe. And amazingly the judges (was Randy Jackson wearing a bib?) called him on it.

Yes, judges, today was one of those rare days when heaps of praise were allowable. But don’t just listen to me here. Listen to me here:

Casey Abrams: 29
Song: Harder the Breathe (Maroon 5)
Performance: 5 Originality: 5 Stage Presence: 5 
Appearance: 4 Marketability: 5 Intangibles: 5
Notes: Has anyone scored higher than this, this season? No. Has anyone scored higher than this ever? Not since I’ve been keeping score. (Adam Lambert’s stunning rendition of “Ring of Fire” may tie it, as well as possibly David Cook’s “Billie Jean.”) The judges called their shot after James threw down the gauntlet, and they would have been right… until Abrams crushed the house with this way-better-than-the-original epic. The J-Lo kiss was simply the cherry on top. Win. I have no idea how he’ll ever top this.

James Durbin: 28
Song: Uprising (Muse)
Performance: 5 Originality: 5 Stage Presence: 5 
Appearance: 4 Marketability: 4 Intangibles: 5
Notes: “Mad Max meets Storm Troopers on Melrose,” was how Steven Tyler described James’ wardrobe, but I didn’t even notice. I was too bust staring slack-jawed as the ballsiest A.I. contestant ever took on a freaking Muse song. And slayed it. You do not take on Muse songs. It’s why they’re freaking Muse. But then again, what do you do when Matt Bellamy (Muse’s frontman) sends you an e-mail and dares you to? You do it, if you have the cojones. And he came in with a drum corps? What? Dayamn. Anyone calls Durbin a poseur ever again, we’re fighting.

Haley Reinhart: 26
Song: Rolling in the Deep (Adelle)
Performance: 5 Originality: 4 Stage Presence: 4 
Appearance: 5 Marketability: 4 Intangibles: 4
Notes: Judges were yet again slightly off on Reinhart this week, though not as badly as last week. At least they acknowledged that she threw her soul into it. Just like when they announced Durban doing Muse I was like “Uh oh.” Adelle is no small thing (in a few ways). But my oh my, sweet sister Haley, you took that glass of wine and crushed it in one gulp. If she goes home it’s a freaking crime. The stage setup, the backup singers, and that dress. I’m too old for this sort of thing. That was her best performance to date.

Jacob Lusk: 25
Song: Dance With My Father (Luther Vandross)
Performance: 4 Originality: 4 Stage Presence: 4 
Appearance: 4 Marketability: 4 Intangibles: 5
Notes: Yeah, four performers scoring 25’s and higher. But this was damned good. Extra points for dedicating it to his dead father; hard to say if America has forgiven him for his diva-ness, but there’s no way the “Lusky Stank” goes home after a song like that. Randy’s off; that was very well controlled. I prefer it when he doesn’t go all nutty with the faces. We’ll probably get nutty with the faces next week.

Stefano Langone: 23
Song: I Just Can’t Stop (Ne-Yo)
Performance: 4 Originality: 4 Stage Presence: 4 
Appearance: 3 Marketability: 4 Intangibles: 4
Notes: Would have had 4’s across the board had it not been for the weird floppy suspenders getup he was wearing. Still, better than most Langone performances of late, with controlled singing, excellent falsetto just at the right moments, and less. Of. The. En. Un. Ci. A. Tion. Thing. He finally looked connected to the audience. I hope they keep him around one or two more weeks to really see how he improves.

Lauren Alaina: 21
Song: Born to Fly (Sarah Evans)
Performance: 4 Originality: 3 Stage Presence: 3 
Appearance: 3 Marketability: 4 Intangibles: 4
Notes: Not a bad performance, still enough to land her in my bottom two (and scoring a 21 never has before). Stage presence, originality… and basically just a lack of confidence are all keeping her from moving forward.

Scotty McCreery: 18
Song: Swingin’ (LeAnn Rimes … sort of. But not really. That shouldn’t count as a LeAnn Rimes song.)
Performance: 2 Originality: 2 Stage Presence: 3 
Appearance: 3 Marketability: 4 Intangibles: 4
Notes: If I had my way, McCreery would get the shock of his life and get sent home tomorrow. He’s been playing so completely safe… and today it actually brought the show down. Luckily his was the first performance… though how weird is it that both “country” contestants were in my bottom two? Not that I love country; I don’t. But I respect the genre and understand the pull it can have. I think the problem is you can’t re-do a country song and make it too different. At least not without a whole lot of country fans getting mad at you. Funny that the other contestants called Scotty on his weird mic-holding habits. (Please note I did it first.) (Okay, but I said he held it like a harmonica. I was wrong. They were right. He holds it like a flute.)

Tomorrow… I have no idea who’s going home. Nobody in my top 3 I hope. But I just don’t know.

If you don’t want to go home, follow me on Twitter! That’s @Axechucker, you buncha freaky flutists!