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American Idol recap, The Top 11 sing Elton John

After last week’s crazy results show, I have a little less love for Idol. It actually seemed like a bit of a chore to watch last night. The contestants tackled songs by Elton John, who happens to be hosting ‘Saturday Night Live‘ this weekend. With two going home tonight, some of them brought their A game, while the others just kind of fizzeled.  After a recap of Casey almost dying on stage, we got a look at the Idol’s half-assed makeovers for an Entertainment Weekly photoshoot. Did anyone else catch Heather Morris from ‘Glee’ out in the audience?

Apparently she only stayed to watch Scotty McCreery. My biggest problem with this season is that there are too many contestants who would only do well in one genre. Scotty somehow found Elton’s only country song, “Country Comfort.” During the song he gave a little shout out to his grandmother, “I love you Grandma!” It was a little corny, but now he has the Blue Hair vote. It’s hard to do a little-known song from such a big artis,t but he did a good job, and I loved the low note at the end. The judges didn’t give him any real critiques, something that would continue on for the rest of the show.

Naima Adedapo, ummm, I liked her outfit! I can give her credit for enjoying herself and trying to be versatile, I mean she’s the only one really trying at this point. She’s not a Beyonce-type dancer, but again she’s really putting forth some effort. Not that the next American Idol has to be a pop star, but they do have to appeal to the “fly-over states”.  She took a huge risk transforming “I’m Still Standing” into a slowed down reggae tune. Randy thought it came off a little corny, and he would know. Steven seemed a little more sympathetic, telling her “good for you for picking a song that fits you.” That’s like saying, good for you for picking that hair color that makes you look terrible. “That’s what you wanted, right?!

Next up was Paul McDonald who I think coordinated white outfits with Naima. His custom suit cost $4,5000, where is he getting this dough from? Paul seems to have the most experience performing, he actually covered “Rocket Man” with his old band. As Jimmy Iovine told him, if things don’t work out, there’s always toothpaste commercials. I don’t really get Paul’s appeal because we already have Chris Martin and all those other whispy white guys. The judges urge him to push more of his voice out, whatever that means, while Steven praised him for NOT hitting all the notes.

Pia Toscano did the opposite of what she was told and picked another slow one, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me“. Here is where what the judges say, and what Jimmy wants or rather demands come to a head. Randy told her to cool it on the ballads, she has done one every week, but there she is again with a shimmery dress and this time back by a choir. Randy sort of backpedaled on what he said, but he was right. During the EW shoot it was highlighted that she was a former makeup artist, and I get that they’re trying to sell her as a sexpot but I don’t see her going that route. She has the voice, but show us something else. You’re getting a little boring, doll.  [Editor’s Note:  DivaJulia wanted to see Pia sing “All the Young Girls Love Alice” — can you IMAGINE? Hot, sexy, and a little cray-cray ALWAYS works for DivaJulia. Anyway.]


Stefano Langone chose “Tiny Dancer.” (Or “Tony Danza” for the smart-asses in the peanut gallery…)  In the studio Jimmy made him sing it at least 10 times before he got it right. It paid off. The emotion he had been lacking finally came through his performance. He even opened his eyes a little!  He was a wild card pick, and has been in the Bottom 3 so I can see where he would be a little nervous, but I think he’s going to stick around for a little while longer.

Im still trying to figure out Lauren Alaina. She comes off a bit vapid, but I don’t know if that’s nerves or well. She chose “Candle In The Wind” and actually did a pretty good job with it. Randy said it was her best performance, while Steven told her that if she keeps singing that way she “would be able to buy the rest of that dress“.  Oh, Steven.

James Durbin is becoming a little less low-budget Adam Lambert and coming into his own. What other song would he have chosen but “Saturday Night’s All Right For Fighting“?  He was all over the stage, dancing with the guitarist and jumping off that red piano. I guess we can blame his Tourette’s for that odd mention of a “Pepsi moment“. Ryan reminded him that the show is sponsored by Coca Cola. The ad for Diet Coke that played during the commercial break made that moment even better.

I was hoping Thia Megia would sing “The Circle of Life” from The Lion King, just to drive the point that she’s the youngest in the competition. Instead, she chose “Daniel” and dedicated it to her brother. It was another ballad from her as well. She also got the second “pitchy” of the night, the first went to Paul. She simply “sang a great Elton John song well,” which is like making so-so Hamburger Helper. I’m not making any sense. Moving on…

His name is CASEY!

The last couple of weeks have been all about Casey Abrams but after almost going home last week, it was time for a big change for him. Not only did he cut his hair, he shaved the beard! It made him look even more like a Cabbage Patch doll, but it worked. His rendition of “Your Song” made me think of Ewan McGregor singing it in Moulin Rouge, which is why I think I liked it so much. He got a standing ovation from the audience and Steven assured him that the best decision they made was keeping him around.

We can always count on Jacob Lusk to “bring it” and he did just that with “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word“.  In the studio, Jimmy and producer Tricky Stewart warn him to tone down the dramatics. Just as he’s mentioning how much he loved Mary J. Blige’s cover of the song, guess who shows up?! Even though his facials were all over the place, you could tell he was feeling it. He even made me tear up a little with that last note.

I hate to admit it but, I think Haley Reinhart won the night. Sitting on top of that red piano, she growled her way through “Bennie and The Jets” and really seemed to be enjoying herself. I hated the way she overemphasized the sss on the end of Jets but sigh, I kind of liked it. Randy gave her the honor of having the “best performance of the night” and Steven called her sssexy.


Nice face, Jenny.

Jennifer was definitely feeling it, she had the stank face going on.  It was nice to end the show on a good note and I think Haley solidified herself as one of the contestants to beat.  [One more Editor’s Note, because DivaJulia can’t shut the eff up…but she HATED  Haley’s loungey-growly rendition of “Bennie and the Jets”.  Shrug.]

So, who’s going home? I think Naima, Thia and possibly Paul, if not Stefano again will be in the Bottom 3. We’ll have to see tonight. I’ll have my Pepsi ready. Joking, who drinks Pepsi?


Photos: FOX