'American Idol': Scotty McCreery Gives His 'Heart,' Casey Abrams' 'Spirit' Low

'American Idol': Scotty McCreery Gives His 'Heart,' Casey Abrams' 'Spirit' Low

Oh how the mighty have fallen! On last night's (Mar. 16) "American Idol," fan favorites including Casey Abrams and Paul McDonald delivered less-than thrilling performances of, respectively, Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Elton John's "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues."

While Abrams' misstep can be attributed to a song selection, illness brought McDonald down on the live episode, which featured contestants performing songs from their birth years. However, illness provided gave Lauren Alaina boost, infusing her vocals with a sexy rasp during her take on Melisa Etheridge's "I'm the Only One."

And of course, Scotty "Nuts of Wonder" McCreery wowed again with his deep south cowboy bass, taking on Travis Tritt's "Can I Trust You With My Heart" -- and converting non-country fans to the Nashville sound yet again.

Check out what the judges, who were overly positive with the exception of Randy Jackson, had to say, as well Billboard's take. I rated the "American Idol" top 12 performances last night, from favorites to the less than stellar. Let me know who you think will be in the dreaded bottom three this week (and if you agree/disagree with my take) in the comments section.

"Idol" fans: Don't forget that downloads of all the tracks performed on last night's episode


7) Haley Reinhart
"I'm Your Baby Tonight," Whitney Houston

Steven Tyler said: "Your voice is so distinct. We want to hear more blues."

Jennifer Lopez said: "Hey baby, you look so beautiful tonight. I feel like you are tense with your body."

Randy Jackson said: "I'm a little confused here (in regards to song choices). The vocals were OK."

We say: I realize that I'm in the minority with this one, but I enjoyed Haley for the first time on "I'm Your Baby Tonight." The raw quality in her voice worked here, and the mini vocal run at the end was a highlight. However, just based on the general consensus, I'm predicting fans will put her in the bottom three.


8) James Durbin

"I'll Be There For You," Bon Jovi

Steven Tyler said: "Don't get too poppy on me."

Jennifer Lopez said: "Every time you get up there it brings me so much joy."

Randy Jackson said: "You really did it justice. Very tastefully done."

We say: James Durbin's voice is strong enough to be in a rock band, but not as on-point technically (especially in terms of tonality) as it needs to be for "Idol." That showed from this song's first line. He's got mad swagger on the stage, though, and that surely accounts for something.


9) Karen Rodriguez

"Love Will Lead You back," Taylor Dayne

Steven Tyler said: "I love when you go to your ethnic-what-it-is-ness."

Jennifer Lopez said: "Never expose your weaknesses, play to your strengths."

Randy Jackson said: "Definitely better than last week. Welcome back."

We say: Karen was trying to get her diva on, but her vocals weren't big enough for what the diva title entails. Not bad, but not memorable. I'm predicting Karen will be in the bottom three again with this kiss of death track.


10) Naima Adedapo

"What's Love Got To Do With It," Tina Turner

Steven Tyler said: "You've got a sorcerer's grasp of music."

Jennifer Lopez said: "You bring your specific flavor to your songs. You're consistently pitchy. That's hurting you."

Randy Jackson said: "You're still always under the pitch. The vocals were a mess."

We say: Naima brought the attitude and stage presence necessary to properly pull of a Tina Turner classic, but we agree with Randy, dog: The vocals were a mess. Another week, another pitch problem for Naima.


11) Paul McDonald

"I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues," Elton John

Steven Tyler said: "You define a cool dude in a loose mood."


Jennifer Lopez said: "It sounded good. You have so much soul and star quality."


Randy Jackson said: "Some of the notes were very pitchy. Get the notes right!"

We say: Paul has been a personal favorite so far this season, but tonight's performance was by far his weakest showing yet. I was expecting more just based on legendary producer Jimmy Iovine's praise of Paul's take on Elton John in his pre-performance footage, but we also learned that McDonald battled a cold this week -- and it definitely showed. His unique stage swagger and scraggly (in a good way) intonation was still there, but our main sentiments: Get well soon!

12) Casey Abrams
"Smells Like Teen Spirit," Nirvana

Steven Tyler said: "You're so crazy and talented."

Jennifer Lopez said: "There were parts where it was screamy screechy. I love you so much. I think you're sexy!"

Randy Jackson said: "What you represent: you love taking risks. Art first before commerce. You are fearless."

We say: This would not be the night for Krist Novoselic to start watching "Idol." I say this as an unabashed lover of all things Casey Abrams: In addition to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" just feeling wrong on the "Idol" stage, Casey's vocals were beyond "screamy-screechy," as J.Lo said -- they were very weak. But hey, at least his bass sounded good!