American Idol: Top 8 Perform

After last week’s shocking vote-off of Pia, this week is going to be music from the movies.

Paul McDonald is starting off the night with Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock n’ Roll”. Will.I.Am says just don’t slide in underwear style like Tom Cruise in Risky Business. Paul’s wearing yet another ridiculous embroidered sparkly suit. This is a great song for him- he’s a party kind of guy and this is a party song, everyone up dancing and it suits his voice nicely. Stephen Tyler loves his crazy wild abandon. JLo says he’s more polished every week and he killed it. Randy Jackson loved it.

Lauren Alaina is doing a Miley Cyrus song next. Jimmy Iovine says she has to sing it better than Miley. Well that won’t be too hard (zing!) She’s doing a pretty stripped down version, minimal accompaniment, sounds ok with a weird off sounding big note in the middle. A bit of a country twinge to it but she’s really working it out here in the end. JLo says she sang it beautifully. RJ says she roared back and it sounded like it was written for her- amazing job. ST says he was moved beyond tears.

Stefano Langone finished in the bottom two last week. This week he needs to come back and he’s trying to come back with “End of the Road” by Boys II Men. He kinda looks like he’s in pain singing it. He’s working well with the prominent background singers. He’s keeping his eyes open mostly and hitting a huuuuuge note towards the end here. We’ve not been huge Stefano fans in past weeks but this was actually pretty good. RJ says he slayed the song and he believes in himself. ST says it’s not the end of the road for him tonight. JLo says he “got it” and drops the S bomb which as someone voted the world’s most beautiful woman, she can totally get away with.

Mad Magazine guy Scotty McCreery is bringing his crooked neck and weird fingertip microphone holding singing to “Across My Heart” by George Strait. This is a song I’m unfamiliar with and it (surprise!) sounds just like all his other songs. Generic country voice guy. I guess if you like country, he’s your dude. Stephen says he loves his voice. Jennifer said it was really good. Randy says stay with your roots. The judges basically have nothing to say because what can you say- it’s so generic- good but generic.

Casey Abrams of gnocchi alfredo fame is singing a Nat King Cole song “Nature Boy” before switching it to Phil Collin’s “In the Air Tonight” and then switching back to Nature Boy over Jimmy Iovine’s recommendation. It’s a risk- lesser known song. He’s out with his bass, not sure about this one- again with the growls. He’s skatting mid-song- that’s nice, now a falsetto to finish. Crowd seems to love it but I think it might be a bit too weird for America. JLo says he crossed boundaries with the jazz song. RJ hopes America gets his jazz which was brilliant and genius. ST says he’s an artist in the truest sense in the word and he did what was in his heart.

Haley Reinhart who came on strong the last few weeks is now up singing “Call Me” by Blondie. SHe’s wearing a VERY short dress that looks like a stained glass window- that’ll get her some votes. She’s kinda growling it, high energy performance but it didn’t really hit for me (except for the dress of course). RJ said it felt karaoke and didn’t really show her voice. Cryptkeeper Tyler agrees and he really likes her outfit. JLo doesn’t want to criticize because there’s only 2 girls left but it was just ok.

Pan over to Elvira and Rob Reiner in the crowd (random pairing of people or what?) before Jacob Lusk comes up singing “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”- this could be huge. This suits his voice pretty well. Forget Garfunkel, how about Simon and Lusk? It could happen. He’s doing the big soaring vocals this song calls for. With perhaps his biggest note of the season at the end. Nice job. Stephen says he really puts himself into the songs. JLo says he’s a gifted vocalist and she got the chills at the end. Randy says he took his time and blew it up at the end, perfect harmony.

James Durbin is closing out the night. Over Jimmy’s objections, he’s doing “Heavy Metal” by Sammy Hagar. He’s out there with Zakk Wyld on guitar belting it out, in an uhhm heavy metal style. This might just be too much for America to handle, long guitar solo in the middle. Everyone is going nuts, maybe people will get it. JLo says it felt really real. Randy says it was unbelievable and he can see him at the next Ozzfest. Stephen says it was outstanding. For some strange reason Zakk gets to stand with James and Seacrest while they announce the numbers as if you were also voting for Zakk (I guess technically you sort of are).

Tough week to call…mostly good performances and a very varied group of songs from jazz to pop to metal to disco to country to classic rock. For sure Haley Reinhart is in the bottom three. Maybe it’s time for Scotty McCreery to be down there too? Or maybe Casey Abrams weirded everyone out? Stefano did well but will America support him- he was bottom 2 last week. I’d say pretty much the only one more or less guaranteed safety is James Durbin. We’ll see.

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