American Idol: Top 12 Finalists Compete

This week’s theme on Idol is songs from the year the contestants were born.

Naima Adedapo is singing a song from 1984, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” from Tina Turner. She’s giving it a bit of a drums and bass feel for her arrangement that showcases her vocals alright but it’s just a bit weird sounding to me until the end when she kinda belts it out over the background singers. Steven Tyler says she has a sorcerers gasp for melody and she stole his shirt. Jennifer Lopez (with massive hair this week, nice!) says she’s consistently pitchy. Randy Jackson agrees, saying the vocals were a mess.

Paul McDonald is also taking us back to 1984 with Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues”. Paul’s a bit hoarse but still turns out a uniquely Paul McDonald performance all over the stage, all over his range. This guy is, if anything, entertaining. Gotta keep him in a wide shot he moves around so much, a cameraman’s worst nightmare. JLo is singing along! Fun song, but everything this guy does is fun. JLo says his soul and star quality overcame his sinus difficulties. Randy calls him pitchy but likes that no matter what he sings it’s his own. Gypsy Tyler calls him a cool dude in a loose mood.

OMG 1995 Thia Megia. 1995. Wow. Youngster. She’s doing Vanessa William’s “Colors of the Wind.” Another lesser known song chosen by a younger contestant- this could be an issue. Stripped down performance surrounded by stringed instruments onstage, Thia’s thing is the long soaring vocals and this song suited her. Kinda boring for me but her voice was showcased. RJ was bored too and wants her to do something different.

James Durbin is going now and he was born way back in 1989 and he’s gonna be rocking “I’ll Be There For You” by Bon Jovi. The arrangement oddly starts right in the middle, a bit jarring but he’s bringing some good energy (and a cloth tail) to the stage. He’s all over the stage high fiving audience, hitting some big notes basically owning the stage. Niiiiiiiiice. Rock star. ST says he has leftover sandwiches under his bed older than 1989 and then drops the S bomb that the censors catch. RJ says a little pitchy but he made it his own, tastefully done on the high note. Gypsy says he has a rich vein of inner crazy.

Haley Reinhart, born 09/09/90 will be doing “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston. Bold move to do Whitney. She’s putting a kind of bluesy take on it. She’s completely Jessica Rabbiting this one too. Yeah I’m Your Baby, you really are baby voicing it in the beginning. The end is better but not enough to make up for the beginning in my opinion. JLo compliments her look, apparently not noticing the lipstick all over her chin (there we go, Seacrest fixes it). Randy says she isn’t sure who she is.

Stefano Langone is doing Simply Red’s “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” (great freaking’ song) from his birth year of 1989. Good song choice, really spotlights his vocals nicely and he’s going to get all the girls in America voting for him (maybe even a few dudes too). JLo is a sing-a-longer, who knew? Big note at the end, solid performance, big well-deserved applause from the audience. RJ calls it the best of the night so far! Hot vocals. ST says it was over the top, JLo says it was the perfect song and he could take this whole thing.

Pia Toscano was born in 1988 and is doing Whitney’s “Where do Broken Hearts Go?” Pia’s giving it a bit of a disco arrangement and wearing a disco jumpsuit. She hits some of those big big big notes, the judges are all head bopping along. She’s kinda got a Donna Summers thing going on. Steven says she took it over the top. JLo happy to hear something uptempo and said it was perfect. Randy says she’s in it to win it.

Scotty McCreery was born in 1993 and is doing Travis Tritt’s “Can I Trust You with my Heart”. Scotty seems better when he raises his voice up a bit and isn’t doing all those deep notes. Energetic performance. Jennifer liked it especially the note he held at the end. Randy says he did Travis proud.

Now up is Karen Rodriguez, rocking the giant poof and big hoop earrings. Born in 1989, she’ll be singing Taylor Dayne’s “Love Will Lead You Back”. Good powerful singing from Karen, switching it over to the Spanish in the middle which seems to be her trademark (after saying in the video package that she didn’t want to be known as the Spanish singer). Overall pretty decent. Randy said it was ok, welcome back. Steven liked the Spanish. JLo says perform from your heart.

Casey Abrams, born in 1991, will be rocking Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, the first Nirvana song on American Idol. This is a big risk for him. Casey’s out playing his bass onstage, doing a sort of weird chorus vocal, really weird and the background lighting isn’t helping. I’m not sure if this is working at all. He sounds sort of angry but not in a good way. Crowd loved it though. ST says he’s crazy and talented. JLo said he screamed a bit too much. RJ likes that he took a risk and that he’s fearless.

Lauren Alaina is sick with the flu. Born in 1994, she’ll be doing Melissa Etheridge’s “I’m the Only One”. This might be a really good artist for her to cover, right up her alley. The flu doesn’t seem to be affecting her at all and she belts it out in a bit of a country rock style (more so than the original) and even gets the crowd going in the middle. Well done. RJ says very nice, have a cold every week. ST says she’s a shining star.

Jacob Lusk is closing out the night with 1987’s “Alone” by Heart. Usually when a man does a woman’s vocal song and vice versa it turns out pretty good on Idol. Jacob really goes big with it, very animated and just showing off the gospel style power in his voice with every line, it’s almost out of control. Randy says he lost himself a bit but he found himself and he got nice and tender at the end. JLo says he gives himself completely to the performance. He really put the “Lusky stank” on that one.

Tough call this week. Last week we were spot on with our bottom 3 prediction. This week I’m going to have to say Thia Megia, Haley Reinhart and Naima in the bottom 3 (yep 3 ladies again). There’s an outside chance that Casey Abrams might be there, but I think voters will base some votes on his past performances and keep him around.

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