American Idol Season 10 Episodes 30 and 31 “Songs of Carole King”

“American Idol” season 10 has really been something so far, hasn’t it? With only six contestants remaining from more than 125,000 things are really getting down to the wire and although I have a pretty good feeling that hard rocking James Durbin will be the last man standing at the end, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be runner up? Country boy Scotty McCreery? Sweet as sugar Lauren Alaina? Soulful ‘diva’ Jacob Lusk? Adorable artist Casey Abrams? Sexy soul sister Haley Reinhart? After last night’s performances, it’s really anyone’s game.

Part One: Performance Show

The legend herself, Carole King.

Wednesday night’s theme was “Songs of Carole King” and I can’t help thinking this is one of the best themes we’ve seen so far. Carole is an absolute legend. Her album, “Tapestry” is one of my absolute favorites and I know I’m not alone on that one. Staying at the top of the charts for fifteen weeks and remaining on the charts for six years. Having written more than one thousand songs and releasing twenty-five solo albums, Carole King is an icon and well deserving of her own Idol tribute night.

Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds

I know a lot of people are whining about the producers, Jimmy and the ‘mentors’ “American Idol” has brought in this season, but say what you want – the talent is better than it’s been in a long time and the mentors and producers are helping these kids prepare for the road they face ahead. I’ll admit, last week was a little lackluster for me but with the Carole King theme and Babyface as a mentor, I couldn’t help feeling excited. Babyface is a legend. Check out some of his production credits for proof.

Your Top Six, America!

Aside from learning the night’s there at the top of Wednesday’s show and learning that the contestants would be receiving mentoring from Babyface, we also found out tonight’s performances would also include duets. That made me a very happy Idol fan. I love the duets. The solo performances really took center stage though. No one performed badly. It was another evening of solid duets and I must admit, it was extremely difficult to make my predictions at the end of the night. Okay, let’s get started.

Jacob gets lively!

Jacob Lusk: “Oh No Not My Baby” by Maxine Brown

I honestly didn’t like Jacob’s performance, vocally, but I love that he clearly had a lot of fun on stage. He got into it and hit some incredible notes, but I felt it was a little too… sloppy. I’d like to see the old Jacob return – the Jacob that blew us all away with “God Bless the Child”. Still a great performance, but I just wasn’t into it.

Professional Opinion: Steven said it was about time Jacob shook his tail feathers which made me smile. Jennifer loved it as well. I guess the judges saw something I didn’t really see.

Lauren gets interactive with the audience.

Lauren Alaina: “Where You Lead” by Carole King

I love that Lauren is starting to get her confidence back. Although her voice cracked a little bit, I think the praise from the judges will ensure she continues to take chances and continue to push herself. She has such a phenomenal voice and she’s such a sweet girl. Although it sort of came across like Babyface was being a bit hard on her, I think he actually really helped her. Of course the visit and pep talk from Miley Cyrus probably didn’t hurt either. I loved this exchange between Lauren and Babyface when discussing her high notes:

“Have you ever gone for it and not hit it?” – Babyface

“No.” Lauren (very sheepishly)

Silence for a moment.

“D’uh… um.” – Babyface”

Lauren picked the perfect song. She looked comfortable with the song – comfortable enough to pull a member of the audience on stage with her. It was a nice return to form for Lauren. I hope she keeps it up. She has the talent it takes to win. She just needs to believe that herself.

Professional Opinion: The judges had nothing but praise for Lauren with Jennifer saying she was proud, Randy praising her swagger and Steven saying the parts where her voice broke where the times when she shined.

Casey and Haley start the duets off right.

Casey and Haley: “I Feel the Earth Move” by Carole King

Casey and Haley. I knew this was going to be awesome and it was. As much as I like these two individually, I love their duets more. The chorus was a little off harmonies wise, but the rest sounded awesome. I loved it and I loved that Steven asked how in love Casey is with Haley before adding “it showed”. It did. Love these two.

Scotty switches gears.

Scotty McCreery: “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King

Scotty just can’t help that country twang and you definitely can’t hate on him for it. It’s what makes him unique and special – and adorable. I absolutely loved this performance. He showed that he has far more range than I imagined and he managed to avoid looking completely corny. I think this was my favorite Scotty performance; not only because it sounded great but because he took a chance, stepped outside of his comfort zone and nailed it.

Professional Opinion: The judges raved that the performance was everything they’ve been looking for out of Scotty.

James shows us what he's made of... again.

James Durbin: “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” by Carole King

Well knock me over with a feather. That was just ridiculous in the best possible way. It started off so sweet and understated but really kicked into high gear once the band stepped in. At the same time, the feeling and the vibe was never lost. It wasn’t over the top. There were parts I didn’t like but overall, this gets a glowing review from me – not a small feat as I haven’t really been a huge fan of James thus far.

Professional Opinion: Naturally, the judges went wild. Jennifer makes an excellent point – James has been the most consistent contestant in the show (although I’ve always loved Casey as well). Randy makes a bold prediction, stating that James could win the whole thing. I’m inclined to agree.

Lauren and Scotty slow things down.

Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery: “Up on the Roof” by The Drifters

I thought this was a very sweet duet, but Scotty gets a little lost in Lauren’s voice sometimes when they sing together. That was the biggest problem with the performance. They are so cute together. They can deny it all they want, but I’m pretty sure there’s something going on there. It was the same as with Haley and Casey – the harmonies were just a bit off, but with Scotty and Lauren it was a more consistent problem.

I am running out of ways to say Casey's awesome.

Casey Abrams: “Hi-De-Ho” by Blood, Sweat & Tears

I believe I said last week that after Paul’s departure, Casey is the only contestant I still get excited for every time Idol airs and there’s a reason for that. I’m a music fan through and through and Casey is a musician. Every time he hits the stage, he does something amazing. I loved the piano. I loved the suit. I loved the hate. I simply loved everything about this performance and love everything about Casey.

Professional Opinion: The judges are once again full of praise. Randy says it was like the song was written for Casey. Steven said his scalp itched it was so good. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but it sounded like something good.

Haley delivers a beautiful performance.

Haley Reinhart: “Beautiful” by Carole King

Haley starts off by praising Carole King which made me happy. I love that Haley really seems to know her music. I have to admit, I was a big Haley fan from the beginning, but I sort of backed off of that a bit around the middle of the live shows. It was brief. I believe it was “Benny and the Jets” that got me back on her side and made me a fan all over again. Last week’s “Rolling in the Deep” was incredible. This week? She just about killed me. I loved it. She’s one of my favorites.

Professional Opinion: The judges were pretty positive with Haley for once, but Steven really took it over the top, stating he “heard God” in her voice.

Jennifer gets serenaded again.

Jacob Lusk and James Durbin: “I’m into Something Good” by Earl-Jean

What’s with the hate, America? I always read over comments about the performance show after it airs and I have to say, I don’t get what everyone’s problem was with this performance. It was fun, entertaining and, honestly, not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. James and Jacob didn’t sound perfect together, but it wasn’t terrible, either. I loved their reactions to hearing they’d be doing a duet together and I loved that they serenaded Jennifer – especially because she had to cross her legs in a hurry thanks to the short dress and low camera angle.

I have no sweet clue, boys and girls. No sweet clue.

Summary and Predictions

After watching Wednesday night’s performance show a second time and listening to the songs from iTunes, I had absolutely no idea who to put in my predictions collage. I figured Haley and Jacob for sure but for different reasons. As for the third? I have absolutely no clue. It could be Scotty, but with his performance last night the strongest I’ve seen from him, I really can’t see it. If I absolutely had to choose a third, I’d say him, but really, it could honestly be anyone. I can’t see James or Casey ending up in the bottom three and Lauren’s got a huge fan base so I think she’s safe as well. By process of elimination, that leaves us with Scotty rounding out the bottom three. I’m almost certain Jacob will be saying goodbye tonight.

Part Two: The Results Show

Okay folks… I don’t have the full update for you yet but I wanted to talk about this right away. I’ll do a more detailed recap tomorrow. Also, please, if you’re offended by strong language (the ‘f-word’ will likely be uttered) you may not what to read on. Okay, here goes.

My pal sent me a message on Twitter about twenty minutes ago (as I was writing my recap of last night’s show) to tell me he just watched Idol. He proceeded to completely spoil it for me (without even the kindness of a “spoiler alert”). I finished my recap from last night, even though I’d found out my predictions were completely wrong. Why?

Because Casey fucking Abrams got sent home. Seriously, America. What the fuck?

That’s all I have to say. Come back tomorrow for the complete recap with pictures (which I’ll post below this). I’ll write it up and take my screen caps once my head stops completely exploding with anger and depression over the complete lack of common sense American Idol voters seem to have. No worries though, Casey. You’ll do just fine without Idol. Jimmy Iovine is the man and he loves you. Ugh. I need to go have a drink, a cigarette and calm myself down before I hurt something.

American Idol Top Six Elimination: Full Recap

The Top Six Await Their Fate

So you know who was eliminated and you know my feelings about that elimination. This morning I’m feeling a lot less angry. Casey will be fine and has a long career ahead of him. With a bit of a cooler head and the shock of the elimination I didn’t see coming at all starting to dissipate, I can recall that last night’s elimination show – before the upset – was… okay, it really wasn’t all that good. Let’s get started.

It's Steven's turn in the spotlight.

Remember the fuss made about Jennifer’s “Most Beautiful Woman in the World” title a few weeks back? It was Steven’s turn this time with Ryan starting off the show by pointing out Steven is on the cover of “Rolling Stone” and has a spread in “People” magazine. Just as a side note, I can never think or write about People without pronouncing it pe-op-le  in my head thanks to “Family Guy”.

The Top Six Head to England

Clip Package One: Brit Week

I liked this clip package, but it felt a little uneventful. Basically, the top six got to travel to England and attend a wedding party for Kate and William. Sadly, Kate and William were not there. To be honest, I’m a little tired of all the Royal Wedding stuff. I liked the story and the fairytale of it all, but enough is enough. I groaned when Ryan introduced the package but it was still fun. Much preferred last week’s bowling/spa/Dodgers game packages, though.

The Group Performance

Performance One: Group Performance

The top six hit the stage to perform a medley of Carole King’s songs in honor of the theme of the week and it was… meh. I’m really not feeling the group performances. I suppose it was fun but the vocals just weren’t all that great.

The Ford Commercial

The Ford Commercial: “Our House” by Madness

I didn’t hate this one, but I didn’t really love it either. It was one of my favorite car commercials so far, but it’s far behind the superhero and zombie themes – a very distant third. It was still fun, but I guess it just wasn’t my kind of thing.

Introducing Crystal Bowersox

The above cap really has nothing to do with anything but I wanted to use it to illustrate why I love Casey so much. He looks so excited for Crystal’s performance. This is a guy that loves music and is passionate about music. That’s so important to me. Anyway, moving on.

Crystal Bowersox returns to the Idol stage.

Performance Two: Crystal Bowersox performs “Ridin’ with the Radio”

I love Crystal Bowersox. I love Crystal Bowersox a lot. Her performance last night was awesome and just served as further proof she’s amazing. I loved how the current contestants rushed over to greet her as soon as her performance was over. It kills me that this girl isn’t a superstar.

The contestants answer fan questions.

As the show starts to wind down, the filler begins. I liked the questions segment, but it was a little boring, wasn’t it? I mean, it was cool to hear Casey say his dream collaboration would be with Oscar Peterson (and fun to watch Randy’s reaction), to hear Haley praise Adam Lambert, to hear about how James always has some project on the go and to hear Jacob talk about when he would seen the soprano and alto parts of songs when he was but a child.  Lauren was sweet as always. Scotty was charming but let’s call it what it was – filler to pad the show.

Ryan screws with us all more than usual.

I really don’t know how to do the results this week. Basically, Ryan pulled Haley up to center stage first. A recap of her performance was shown along with Jimmy’s feelings about her. Jimmy feels she needs to “find herself” as an artist. She clearly wasn’t happy, letting off a string of obscenities. Ryan told her he could tell her what kind of contestant she was and sent her to safety.

Poor Scotty.

Scotty got the same treatment of Haley initially. He got the recap and he got Jimmy’s opinion. Jimmy is concerned that Scotty isn’t standing out but did say Scotty is extremely talented. He predicted Scotty would be safe, but we didn’t get to find out right away. He sent Scotty back to the couch without his result. Was he safe? Was he in jeopardy? We didn’t know and neither did he. Bullshit. That’s not cool at all.

Really? Torturing Lauren? I don't like this.

I love the critique from Jimmy. He’s honest and he’s tough. He says Lauren’s biggest problem is taking the positive comments from the judges instead of just the negative. She admits it’s a problem for her and that she’s working on it. Then Ryan gives her the Scotty treatment and sends her back to the couch without knowing her fate. This is complete bullshit. This is seriously getting old.

Ugh. Here we go again.

Jimmy doesn’t like Casey’s growl. Personally I like it. Look at all the blues greats. Many of them had that same growl. It comes from passion and it’s clear Casey has that (along with talent) in spades. Regardless, Jimmy says he predicts Casey is safe. Boy. He’s going to be upset, but he’s not going to find out right away because like Scotty and Lauren, he’s sent back to the couch without knowing his fate.

Finally - an actual result announcement.

So Randy thinks James can win. Jimmy thinks James could win. I agree with both of them, except I’d drop the ‘could’. The man in the screen cap above will be the next “American Idol”. Perhaps because that’s obvious to pretty much everyone, James was given the safe and spared the uncertain fate of Scotty, Lauren and Casey.

Jacob is made to wait... kind of.

Maybe this is my imagination, but Jimmy really doesn’t seem to like Jacob. He takes Jacob to task over his choice of attire and I have to say, he had a point. This isn’t “The Voice”. It’s “American Idol” and the ‘total package’ does matter. Jimmy says Jacob is on ‘banana peel status’. I basically think he meant Jacob’s in danger. He seemed pretty convinced Jacob was going home. To be fair, I was pretty convinced of that myself right up until I found out otherwise. I even had a link to my favorite Jacob performance ready to go for the end of this article. Regardless, Seacrest calls Scotty, Lauren and Casey center stage and then cuts to a commercial.

Ugh, this is painful.

There was a lot of concern for Lauren going into last night’s result show. Her core fan base is in the South which was, of course, ravaged by a horrific tornado. It’s such a tragedy with almost three hundred lives lost and thousands left without power and, yes, phone service. The concern was that would put Lauren in jeopardy. Not the case. She’s ushered to safety. Let’s take a moment to consider this turn of events.

  • Three contestants are safe: Haley, James and Lauren
  • Three contestants are in jeopardy: Jacob, Casey and Scotty

 

At this point in the results, I was already shouting “Are you f-ing kidding me???” at the screen. Here’s the problem with these results and the way they were handled. Jacob, Scotty and Casey were not the bottom 3. Throughout the show, members of the audience report seeing Nigel Lythgow (producer) pulling Seacrest backstage and shouting at him. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time the bottom 3 has not actually been the bottom 3 as far as votes are concerned. This isn’t something I made up. Check out the Wiki page and this article on E! Online. The article from E! Online was written by Aimee Curran who sits behind the judges table for every episode. She say it all go down. Something about this feels shady to me – and not just because my favorite went home.

Another pre-recorded performance.

Performance Three: Bruno Mars performs “The Lazy Song”

Last week Katy Perry’s performance was pre-taped because of the time it would’ve taken to set up the stage for her performance. This week was the same story with Bruno Mars. I liked the performance and I like the song, but it was recorded a month ago. How is that fair to the studio audience. I appreciate the need for scheduling and time to set up, but it would be much better to me if Seacrest would at least acknowledge that the performance is not live. All the same, it wasn’t a bad performance. I enjoyed it.

America... what are you thinking??

So here we are. Jacob, Casey and Scotty. Had the show not been ruined for me before I even watched, I would’ve been absolutely stunned when Jacob was sent to safety. The judges sure seemed to be. While Jacob is just ridiculously talented and he has nearly moved me to tears at least twice, last night’s performance just wasn’t all that good and at this stage in the game you have to bring it every single time. He didn’t – not even close. Casey and Scotty both out-performed him last night.

Casey goes home.

I never expected Casey to win, but I always expected him to be in the top five. He did not deserve to go home last night. I also have to wonder how Haley is going to take his departure. Before we get into my final thoughts and my favorite performance by Casey, let’s rewind just a moment to the judges just after Jacob was told he was safe.

Just look at Randy.

As Casey and Scotty are left standing on the stage, Randy actually looks scared. Casey was one of their favorites and I know they have to hate seeing him leave. They used their save on him and I fully believe if they had another one, they would’ve used it on him again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeENNZ_oMSQ

Casey has no worries though. He will have a career in music and not winning Idol will allow him to have far more creative control over his music. I think losing might’ve been the best thing for him. With Ryan’s proclamation “this is what talent looks like” to Casey and kisses blown from Randy, Casey showed America what a mistake they made with his final performance. My favorite thing about Casey? He went out with a bang – giving the best exit performance I’ve ever seen.  Running through the crowd, kissing fans, hugging the other contestants’ families, rolling back onto the stage and the finish? Good Lord. Casey is a fucking rock star all the way and he has absolutely nothing to worry about. This is only the beginning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6Zgd9vL4hA

As for my favorite Casey Abrams performance? Well, that’s a tough one. It seems each and every time he hit the stage, he blew me away and left me saying whatever he performed was my favorite song he’d performed up until that point. When I stopped to really think about it though, his performance of Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy” was his moment for me. He showed what a brave, fearless and talented artist he really is, so that’s what I chose.

Conclusions

Well guys, I don’t know what to say here. I don’t know how I feel about the direction Idol is taking. Naima, Paul and Casey were genuinely entertaining. They were real artists and while there is no doubt that the top five contestants are talented, there isn’t really anyone left that I get excited to see perform the way I got excited over Casey. I’m going to keep watching and recapping, of course, because I think it’s ridiculous to stop just because the person you liked is gone. I’m rooting for Haley now even though I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before she follows in Casey’s footsteps.

Your Top 5

I won’t deny that I’m a little surprised at who ended up in the top 5. I never expected Haley to make it this far, but I’m glad she did. She’s a talented girl and she earned her spot. If she continues to choose good songs, she might be able to take the whole thing. Honestly, though – I doubt it. My prediction? Jacob goes next followed by Holly. Then it’ll be Lauren leaving Scotty and James for the top two with James coming out on top. Will I be wrong? More than likely. If I learned anything from last night, it’s that I suck really hard at making predictions.

What do you guys think? Did Casey deserve the boot? Did you predict the top five right? Who goes home next and who wins the whole thing? Let me know what you think in the comments section below. Next week the contestants perform two songs for the “Now and Then” theme – one current song and one from the 60s. Should be an interesting one. Come back next week for your full recap and to find out who goes home!

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