'American Idol': Jacob Lusk Stays Out of Trouble, Lauren Alaina Keeps Climbing
Still mourning Pia Toscano's untimely exit from "American Idol"? Well, I'm sorry to say that tonight's show won't help you get over the Celine Dion-esque singer from Queens. The top 8 tackled songs from the movies on Tuesday's performance episode, and let's just say that if the majority of them were ever hired to make a soundtrack, they'd flunk with flying colors.
5) Stefano Langone
Song: Boyz II Men, "End of the Road"
Steven said: "You know how to milk a song, man. This is so not the end of the road for you, it's just the beginning."
Jennifer said: "When you say, 'You know what, it's about being a great performer,' you are absolutely right. You now know the key."
Randy said: "I'm sure my boy Wanya is gonna text me in a minute. And he's gonna say, 'Yo, your man Stefano just slayed the song!'"
We say: Stefano came into tonight with the desire to totally commit to his performance, and as Jennifer said, it seems like he's discovered the right way to lose himself onstage. Even if Stefano fudged a few of the words, his uber-committed take on "End of the Road" demonstrated the kind of singer he can be when firing on all of his cylinders. Jimmy said that he's got the chops to win, and although I would have disagreed coming into tonight, I'd say he has a fighter's chance in this competition.
6) Paul McDonald
Song: Bob Seger, "Old Time Rock 'N' Roll"
Steven said: "I love your crazy, wild abandon and how that transcends to an audience. That's the secret right there."
Jennifer said: "Every time you come out here, it's almost like you're going a little bit further and a little bit further in your performance, in your abandon and just letting go. It's just so great to watch."
Randy said: "I love that you are just not a typical singer, you're definitely an artist."
We say: Ok, now Jimmy and will.i.am are just messing with Paul McDonald. Asking him to beatbox? That's tantamount to sabotage. But to play devil's advocate, they're probably on to something: the more Paul loosens up and freaks people out, the better he seems to do on "Idol," in a Vote for the Worst-kind of way. Hence, the tambourine-shaking, the '70s-tastic and totally uncalled for sax solo by a Lilly Scott lookalike (never forget!), and the bedazzling upgrade to his now-signature rose suit. Really, what's not to love? Or hate? And that's kind of the point.
7) Haley Reinhart
Song: Blondie, "Call Me"
Steven said: "It was beautiful. You sang it heavy, you sang it great. I love that. That thing you've on is gorgeous too."
Jennifer said: "After two killer performances like you just gave. baby, you just gotta keep taking it higher and higher and higher. let's keep it at that level."
Randy said: "It started out very kind of karaoke for me. It just wasn't a showcase for your voice, I think."
We say: Ladies and gentlemen, the only negative judge feedback of the night. Not for Casey Abrams, Paul McDonald or Stefano Langone - heaven forbid! - but for one of the only two women left standing. Now, I'm not going to deny that Haley Reinhart's performance was problematic -- she didn't channel Debbie Harry so much as Fergie on this number, and I mean that in the not-nicest way. Her fans love the sex-kitten act, and I'm not buying it. But there's a lot of things I'm not buying on season 10, and that's not just the judges straight-up worship of Casey Abrams (keep reading), but the idea that the women are all weaker performers than the men, none of whom need to be critized. They all do. Even Scotty. So there! I feel better now.
8) Casey Abrams
Song: Nat King Cole, "Nature Boy"
Steven said: "You do what's in your heart. That's the truest sense of artist."
Jennifer said: "I hope America got that because that's what you do, you bring that special thing to music."
Randy said: "I don't think we've ever had anybody exactly like you, ever. The fact that you gave a Grammy kind of performance that you could've been performing with -- I know Ray was playing -- but whoever, like Herbie Hancock, and you're like Charles Mingus."
We say: No. Just no. Casey Abrams is not the Charles Mingus to Randy's Herbie Hancock. The fact that I even have to say that is just wrong. I said it on Twitter and I'll say it again -- I hope the standing ovation was worth it, judges, because Casey Abrams will be in the bottom 3 tomorrow, and you're going to look WAY off-base for the second week in a row. How, after Casey was already all-but-eliminated once, and after the debacle that was last week's elimination (disclaimer: I am not a Pia fan, but I believe other contestants should have gone home first), would they put all their money on this performance? It was at best, serviceable lite-jazz and at worse, completely forgettable. I have a hunch that Jimmy Iovine is not swooning over Casey the way Jennifer, Steven and Randy are. And I have an even bigger hunch that every time Casey sings and the judges weep, Simon Cowell is sitting at home and laughing his face off. And I am laughing with him. But mostly, crying.
Final prediction: I want to believe that a guy is homing home this week -- it's the only thing keeping me going this season -- and so I'm predicting that Casey will be eliminated. If I'm wrong, I won't be surprised, because I could swear Fox blurred out Haley's phone number on my TV. It's a conspiracy!
What do you think? Will a guy finally be sent packing this week? Who's in your bottom 3? Were you as over the moon for Casey's performance as the judges? Comment away.
(Check back with Billboard after every "American Idol" performance night for our recap and predictions, and follow us on Twitter @billboarddotcom for our live blow-by-blow of each episode.)