American Idol Recap: The Top 7 Finally Get To Sing Songs From NOW!

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Thank God we get to hear new-fangled music, am I right?

Last night's American Idol finally emerged from the 70s, and we not only survived, we thrived. I, for one, have been waiting to see these contestants as current pop stars over cover band karaoke singers for weeks now.

Now, the evening started, somewhat mysteriously, with a performance by all the rejects to date, singing Pink's "So What." Five women and one very off-key (if you can even call that singing) guy sang it with gusto, if not tunefulness.

I have only one question: So what? No, actually my one question was "Why?" Why did they do that? They don't usually do that. Were they just hoping having Pia back on stage would make us forget the uproar over her elimination?

American Idol rejects
Image courtesy FOX

Actually, I have another question: Is Mark Ballas from Dancing With the Stars dating Pia? I'm guessing yes, but I really don't want to visit People.com or the like to find out. I know my bloggy readers will know.

Another extraneous comment. Randy's shirt/sweater combination had some weird pattern that made it look like it was black with white lace. He was totally dressed like Church Lady. It was weird. That is all.

Finally: Last night was Jimmy Iovine's night. He gave the singers concise and spot-on feedback. And those who heeded it did very well. JLo was his companion on the other end, giving tougher love than she has the last few weeks.

On to the singing. With each singer accompanied by a "package" that made fun of their foibles. I, personally, don't think they should make fun of the foibles. I think they should HELP THEM FIX THEM!!!!!! Clearly, that's just me. Let's dig in, shall we?

1. Scotty sang "Swingin'" by LeeAnn Rimes

Seriously, don't make fun of the way he holds his mic. Make him stop. Anyway, this performance was a bit sleepy for zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Huh? What? Yeah, it was pretty boring, and JLo nailed it. What did he show us that was new, exciting, surprising? As she said: "With so many songs to choose from..." Which RJAck then just repeated almost word for word. Thanks Randy.

Bottom line: Scotty seems to have a huge fan base, and I feel like he's going to stick around a while. But I would really, really like him to show some growth or progress. I think he's safe.

2. James sang "Uprising" by Muse

OK, I'm probably going to inspire conflict here (I know at least one of BlogHer's Facebook friends will violently disagree), but I thought this was HORRIBLE. He was off-key 60% of the time, and the high screaming parts were painful. It was a cool arrangement, a cool visual presentation and a totally cool song choice. He should have nailed it; it should have been right up his alley, and I thought it was atrocious.

Bottom line: Like I said: I seem to be alone in my assessment of it. Even my S.O. really liked it, and he loves that song like I do. I would put him at risk, but I'm probably alone on that.

3. Haley sang "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele

This was a great song choice for her, but a risky one, given it's still a big hot hit. From a performance perspective, I felt I could see some nerves in her performance. She never seemed entirely comfortable or committed. But I thought she sounded amazing, and she did manage to add flourishes that made this song her own, even as I've heard Adele on the radio four times in the last day.

Bottom line: Haley's physicality, or lack thereof, is her big challenge, and I don't see it getting a ton better. But vocally she's very good, and way more interesting than some of the others. If she makes people uncomfortable for her, though, they won't vote, so I'm guessing she's at risk again.

4. Jacob sang "Dance with my Father" by Luther Vandross

Jacob once again showed more restraint, which is when I like him best. He also showed real emotion, not drama. For the record: I totally and completely disagree with RJack. Jacob does not need to go over the top; he needs to bring the authenticity. He does not need to wail up high; he needs to sing all smooth and velvety. I hope he listens to me, not RJack.

Bottom line: Meh. I don't think this will drive voting.

5. Casey sang "Harder to Breathe" by Maroon 5

This was good, but not great. And if history repeats, it is not his crazy, angry-looking performances that have been the most successful for him in past weeks. I liked his little George Benson-like vocal guitar riffing, though.

Bottom line: I think Casey might have wild-eyed himself into a risky position.

6. Stefano sang "Closer" by Ne-Yo

I love this song; it's very sexy. And Iovine gave his best advice of the night by telling Stefano to own his sex appeal and to stop whining and pleading...and instead to just demand our attention. The result was Stefano's best performance. He owned it. He strutted. He stood up straight, for God's sake. And I just want to add that the ability to throw in falsetto at will is pretty rare. He really nails it when he does.

Bottom line: My little pocket singer is still more adorable than anyone else. I really want him to be in a new sitcom with Matt LeBlanc. How YOU doin'? I don't think he should be at risk, but I think America will disagree.

7. Lauren sang "Born to Fly" by Sara Evans

Iovine was also spot-on with his advice to Lauren: Open up and step up. But she didn't do it. She didn't open up and finally live up to her potential. We got a taste of it towards the end when she sang an ascending line of notes and really let 'em loose. But she still held back, even at that moment. I have no idea what happened to the somewhat wild child we saw in auditions, but she is long gone. And she took all of my interest in her with her.

Bottom line: I'd like to be put out of my misery with this one. Who's with me?

Bottom line for the bottom three:

Should be: James, Lauren and Scotty, with Lauren going home. (And BTW: I'd send STy home too. He's useless as a judge, although he does come up with the occasional amusing antic...like last night's fun-with-a-picture-of Ryan moment.)

Will be: Casey, Jacob, Haley, with Haley going home.

What do you all think?

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