The Top 5 were tasked with singing something old and something new on American Idol last night. And with the Season 10 finale just three weeks away, judge Randy Jackson reminded the contestants that it’s time to start bringing their A game if they want to survive. But speaking of A game, Sir Anthony Hopkins was in the house! We can’t even cite this as being random, since it’s the third time in the show’s history the Oscar-winning Idol fan has made a cameo. Weird. Anyway, on with the show!
Jimmy Iovine wrangles 100 Miles To Memphis rock diva Sheryl Crow in for mentoring duty this week, and the two of them guide the five remaining contestants through both their contemporary and “back in the day” (as Ryan Seacrest calls it) song choices.
Here’s how it went:
Rock/metal enthusiast James has had better nights, and we swear he choked while performing 30 Seconds To Mars’ “Closer To The Edge.” But Randy, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler are 100% smitten with this guy, and even a bad performance is spun into a positive attribute for the 22-year-old Californian. When he returns later with the weeper “Without You” as his old song, he’s all over the place with the notes. Tyler tells him his performance was “strange in a James Durbin kind of way,” while J.Lo and Randy rave about the emotion of the singer being more important than a pitchy performance. We remain unconvinced.
We really loved Jacob early on, but his performances have increasingly become more forgettable. The judges note that choosing Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks’ duet with Chris Brown, “No Air” — and taking on both of the original vocalists’ parts — is just odd and out of character for who he is as a performer. He redeems himself a bit with the Everly Brothers’ “Love Hurts” (the more popular version being, of course, the lighters-in-the-air one by Nazareth), but again, it doesn’t really stick out the way, say, Lusk’s amazing “You’re All I Need To Get By” did back in March.
Lauren, you’re a cutie with personality for days. And you totally rocked Carrie Underwood’s “Flat On The Floor” (thanks to Sheryl Crow’s wise advice to stay put in one place on the stage in a bid to draw the audience in). But will someone please retire “Unchained Melody” from American Idol existence already? We never really need to hear a cover of it again. Ever.
This is the week where Scotty proves he’s in it to win it — or to at least land a spot in the finale. For a 17-year-old, this season’s country boy sure brings a truckload of confident swagger along while he struts around singing Montgomery Gentry’s “Gone.” Steven Tyler tells him, “Up to now you’ve been a puritan. But I saw you dance with the devil tonight.” That’s a classy and totally accurate way to put it. McCreery goes for the heart and seals the deal by doing Elvis Presley’s version of “Always On My Mind” as his old song.
A big deal is made over Haley being given the chance to sing Lady Gaga’s yet-to-be-released Born This Way track “You And I.” Of course, Little Monsters will know that Gaga’s been performing this rock ballad live since last year at her Monster Ball gigs. Anyway, Haley rocks it, but the judges are not impressed. It’s frustrating, especially when you consider her performance was nearly flawless, and yet J.Lo & Co. fawned over James’ out-of-key warbling. Anyway, Reinhart totally gets her due when she nails the Animals’ “The House Of The Rising Sun” and prompts a standing ovation from all three judges. Randy announces,”Award for best performance of the night goes to Haley.” Finally, something we can agree on.