American Idol embraced singers from The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame this week, but if you were looking forward to some loud, energetic, and rockin’ tunes, don’t get too excited. These kids managed to squirm their way around the challenge by choosing Michael Jackson ballads (Jacob Lusk), Aretha Franklin ballads (Lauren Alaina), and Percy Sledge ballads (Stefano Langone). There were plenty of uptempo entries also (surprisingly by Pia), but very few of them actually came close to balls-to-the wall rock — the kind we’d seen James Durbin flaunt around with. Sure, there were some classic rock songs on display, but I wouldn’t say the roof was blown off the theater.
Nevertheless, check out a quick rundown of the performances after the jump…
Jacob Lusk: Maybe it’s me, but I thought Jacob’s take on “Man in the Mirror” was pitchy and cocky. And I definitely did not appreciate him telling us that if he lands in the bottom three, it’s because not enough of us have looked at ourselves in the mirror. How about you listen to yourself on TV first? Then we can talk. Put him in the bottom as punishment — both for the attitude and for the butchering.
Haley Reinhart: I really can’t stand Haley’s affected growl, but even though it was more present than ever before, I did enjoy her energetic performance of “Piece of My Heart,” one of the few rock moments of the night. Bonus points: no lipstick on the face!
Casey Abrams: Casey’s tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival was visually noteworthy — what with the upright bass and all — but the performance felt more or less like it belonged on one of those generic Starbucks CDs. Pleasant but boring. The judges saved THIS?
Lauren Alaina: This crazy girl took on Aretha’s “Natural Woman” and sounded aiiight. I thought it was nothing special and surely would incur the wrath of the judges, but Lauren received no penalties for attempting to fill the mighty shoes of Ms. Franklin. Sounded nice, but again, not memorable. Nice makeover though.
James Durbin: So here we are on rock night, and what does James Durbin do? A ballad. Harumph. It was a smart move for him as it was time for him to change it up, but man, why this night of all nights? I thought James’s take of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was pitchy and uneven, but the judges loved him anyway. Then again, the judges love everyone; so what else is new?
Scotty McCreery: I liked Scotty in the beginning, but I’m getting sick of his shtick. I also really don’t like the way he holds his microphone like a flute, but that’s neither here nor there. It was nice to hear him sounds a smidgen less country, but his rousing Elvis tribute was nothing particularly interesting to me.
Pia Toscano: The only singer in this competition who manages to impress me every week is Pia Toscano. Sure, her tastes veer towards middle-age soccer mom, but she really has an amazing voice. Her take on “River Deep, Mountain High” was great, even if she was a bit stiff on stage in her not-very-flattering outfit. Once she loosens up and has more fun up there, Pia will be unstoppable.
Stefano Langone: Every song Stefano sings sounds the same, even though they are all completely different. It’s the Bruno Mars effect, which may be why so many people are comparing the two. Stefano just does nothing for me, and quite frankly, I find him to be a bit cocky. We can do without him.
Paul McDonald: I don’t love Paul, but he was fun and engaging as he closed out the show with Johnny Cash. He seemed to be one of the few people who wanted to actually rock the house tonight; although, quite frankly, he was more hoedown than thrashing. Nevertheless, this was one of Paul’s better outings.
Who should go home? Hard to say. There weren’t any out and out failures, but based on being boring, I’d send Casey out the door. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wound up in the bottom three with Haley and Lauren.
What do you think?