American Idol: Top Five Perform

We’re getting down there and the group is getting smaller and smaller. Who is in it to win it? The theme is “now and then” and each contestant gets two songs. Sheryl Crow is the mentor this week.

James Durbin is leading off doing “Closer to the Edge” by 30 Seconds to Mars. James is rocking a sleeveless studded leather jacket and some seriously tight pants. Pyrotechnics onstage as he slams some big notes; this song is good for his voice- right in the range. Good stuff. Stephen Tyler says he kicked that song’s ass. Randy Jackson says he showed America what type of album he would make.

Jacob Lusk, somehow still in this competition, is following up with Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown’s “No Air”. He’s doing both parts of this duet, interestingly. They’ve got him on a smoke filled stage with a starry background as he angrily points around. He’s not really singing just kinda grunting and yelling for the most part. Something was off on this one for me. JLo likes his direction. Randy says he was sharp and nobody on stage should be doing both parts of a duet and pop/R&B isn’t his thing.

Lauren Alaina is singing “Flat on the Floor” by Carrie Underwood. Sheryl Crow recommends not moving around so much and just powering through it. She’s got a shirt thing on with dangling strands that kinda looks one of Cher’s weird wigs. She takes the advice and just belts it out in place. The song really showcases the power in her voice. Very good. Randy likes her direction, fun and energetic.

Scotty McCreery is next doing “Gone” by “Montgomery Gentry”. He’s walking around and surprise! it sounds like all his other songs in the beginning. It builds into a dance pop country kinda thing that I hate to say cause I don’t like this crooked neck kid but it was pretty good. Really got the crowd into it. Good stuff. Stephen says he danced with the devil. JLo says he owned the stage. Randy felt like he was at a Scotty concert.

Haley Reinhart is doing an unreleased song “You and I” by Lady Gaga. Bold move. Haley is sitting like Jessica Rabbit on the stairs in sparkly pants but singing like Melissa Etheridge. I don’t know the song but she’s bringing a likability to it. Still the best part of this performance was her tight pants and that’s not saying much. JLo questions the song choice of an unknown song. Randy basically says the same thing. ST says it’s great she took a song he didn’t know and made it work.

Now they’re doing the second song. James is doing Harry Nilson’s “Without You”. He breaks down singing it in rehearsal. This is a very stripped down song for him, just standing at the microphone with minimal accompaniment. It’s raw, emotional and showcases why he’s going to win this whole freaking’ thing as he wells up with tears. Randy says it’s the mark of a great singer and the competition is his to lose. ST says it was pitchy but just beautiful. JLo says he’s a true true artist.

Jacob Lusk’s second song is “Love Hurts”. This is out of his genre. His voice is all over the place, high and low, left and right. He’s just putting too much into this for me, it’s unrestrained. Stephen felt the passion despite him getting lost in the song. JLo says he brought it at the end. Randy says he redeemed himself. I say eeeeeeeh.

Lauren’s second song is going to be Unchained Melody. Big big big song. She’s out in a flowing light dress, a bit ethereal. She hits the big notes in a medium big way kinda turning it a bit country instead of just soaring vocals. Overall pretty good though, unique take on the classic. JLo says it was just beautiful. Randy says she can sing like a bird, very tender.

Scotty is doing “Always on my Mind” by Elvis Presley next. Willie Nelson so owned this song I had no idea it was an Elvis song. Anyway, he’s starting it slow and tender, showing off the softer side of Scotty. Again pretty nice. JLo says he showed what a well rounded artist he is. Randy says if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Haley is closing out the night with The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun”. This is a good song for her because she can do whatever to it. She’s starting out acapella before bringing the growls back. She’s kinda giving it a sultry twist like a Nina Simone or something. Randy says she slayed it like she wants to win it- best of the night. ST says it was sweet and sour and raspy and she sold it.

Pretty solid performances tonight. Jacob Lusk is the clear loser although Haley might have an outside shot at going on the basis of her weak first number. James Durbin is 100% safe, if he goes people are just going to turn off their sets. Scotty is 95% safe. Lauren is fairly safe. I think it’s time for Lusk to go.

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