American Idol: Top 9 Perform

Tonight’s theme is rock n’ roll baby! Steven Tyler gives us a video walkthrough of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and brief history of rock. Will anyone dare do an Aerosmith song tonight? Will.I.Am is helping out this week.

Jacob Lusk was going to do Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” but he switched it to Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”. He’s having trouble with the in-ear monitor at the start and he’s got an odd looking white suit on. He’s doing a duet with a female singer (who wrote the song, btw)- pretty strong vocals- MJ’s range is good for him.. he’s keeping it totally in control and not added unnecessary flair like he’s done in previous weeks. For me, it’s his best performance so far because I have not been much of a fan of Jacob’s until now. Steven Tyler says it was beautiful. Jennifer Lopez called it perfect in every way on every emotional level. Randy Jackson said there were moments all over it and it was hot.

Haley Reinhart will be doing Janis Joplin’s “Piece of my Heart”. The judges have been comparing her to Janis for weeks, so we’ll see how this goes. She’s putting a bit of a growl into it, kind of a good song for her. No Jessica Rabbit moments this week! She’s kinda dancing a bit wild, but this is another good performance from someone we’ve been dogging since the start. I’m not fully convinced she’s Idol material but this was good. JLo says it was strong. RJ says she brought the bluesy soul that they loved, welcome back. ST says he couldn’t find nothing wrong with that.

Casey Abrams is doing “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Great song for him with those husky vocals. He’s playing a standup bass onstage with a mandolin accompanying him. He’s really enjoying himself up there, sort of gritting his teeth and hitting a nice falsetto towards the end there and holding the end note nicely. RJ says he made CCR proud and he’s making the upright bass cool. Cryptkeeper Tyler calls him a true musician. JLo says she’ll pay top dollar to see him play his teeth.

Lauren Alaina is doing “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin. That’s a BIG song, let’s see if she can handle it. The song does have a bit of a country edge to it. She’s rocking a punk look, hair in a faux-hawk and bracelets. Very in control at the beginning, adding a bit of flair to the chorus before hitting some big notes for the second chorus. Pretty good but I think she could have put more power behind it. STyler loved her voice. JLo says she’s amazing. RJ says it’s a difficult song and she did a good job.

Now we’ve got James Durbin doing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by The Beatles (George Harrison). It’s a more restrained song than he’s done in past weeks, a ballad type song could be a risk. James too is rocking a punk spiked look. He has a nice high register for this song. He’s extending out the notes at the end of each measure a bit but keeping it slow until the very end when he lets out a huuuuge Adam Lambert-style high note to finish. JLo says it’s nice to see that side of him. RJ liked the emotional side of him and sensitivity and connection to the lyric. ST says it’s a proud moment for him.

Scotty McCreery is bringing his Alfred E. Newman mug to the stage to do “That’s Alright Mama” by Elvis Presley. He’s bringing a Johnny Cash style feel to this one and moving around the stage quite a bit. He holds the microphone (and his head) a bit off, it’s very distracting. He’s definitely having a good time with this one as a gaggle of teen girls rush the stage after to give him a hug. Randy says he’s in it to win it and he’s not just a one trick pony, a new Scotty. Steven says he’s not just all hat no cattle. Jennifer loved it.

Pia Toscano is making good on her promise from last week to do Tina Turner’s “River Deep Mountain High”. She’s done ballad after ballad let’s see how she does uptempo. I’m not sure how good of a song choice this is; it’s not as popular as the other songs, she is sort of working it out a bit here towards the end. It was good but just sort of generic for me. ST says she killed it. JLo says she proved she can sing uptempo. RJ says she can deliver uptempo.

Stefano Langane is going to be doing Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman”. He’s starting it out in a falsetto, seems a bit off to me. He’s putting out some big notes in the middle here, really working the camera, maybe overextending himself a bit but a very restrained ending. JLo says she knew he had it in him. RJ agrees with me saying the beginning felt a little jerky but he liked it. ST liked where he took it, nice range, lot of passion.

The always interesting Paul McDonald is finishing up the night with “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash. Should be interesting because Cash has such a deep voice and Paul is kinda up there. He’s doing it with a trio of guitars bringing his typical high energy to the stage. He is totally in his element here, working the crowd with clapping breakdowns and his unique vocals to the song. Lot of fun. Randy says he loved it. Steven says he rocked the house. JLo says he’s amazing.

Tough week- lots of good performances. I’m thinking Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery and Pia Toscano in the bottom three. Maybe Stefano too with an outside chance of Casey Abrams. Yeah I’m sort of hedging my bets there.

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