American Idol Recap 4/6/11~ The Idols Rock?

Ok, something shocking happened on last night’s American IdolHaley was actually pretty good. I know I have to eat some crow and pick my jaw up off the floor because I was not nauseous at all during her performance and dare I say, I actually liked it. Color me shocked!… I guess I can just chalk it up to the fact that she finally picked a song that worked for her and she wasn’t trying to be sexy. It also helped that it was a night with strong performances overall, so maybe I was just in a good mood… Seriously, there were no bad performances (not even from South Park’s Cartman, er um, Paul). It’s certainly going to be difficult to figure out who gets the boot after everyone stepped up their game on “Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame” night. However, I’m here to help. So, check out my Idol rankings and predictions for last night’s performances below.

American Idol Performance Rankings 4/6/11
1. Pia: tackling an uptempo for the first time in ages, Pia absolutely slayed Tina Turner’s “River Deep Mountain High”. Her vocals were perfection as always and she really dug deep into the emotion of the song. I just can’t get enough of her. She even walked around on the stage!! Now, you people who are annoyed by her lack of movement need to give her a break. Think back to season 4 when Carrie Underwood didn’t do much besides look gorgeous and sing perfectly either. And look at her now (ahem 5 Grammy Awards later…).
2. Lauren: with her gorgeous tone and sumptuous vocals, the teen wonder gave another strong performance on Aretha Franklin’s # 8 classic from 1967 “(You Make Me Feel like a ) Natural Woman”. While she killed it at the end and continues to grow in confidence and performance skill, she still has a way to go to reach the heights of Kelly Clarkson who utterly destroyed this song in an incredible performance back in season 1.
3. Jacob: now, I know a lot of people aren’t a fan of Jacob’s shenanigans, diva performances and facial affectations, but I love them. More than that, I love his voice which was simply wonderful on Michael Jackson’s #1 from 1988 “Man in the Mirror”. And give for Jacob for picking this song instead of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” because he was much more connected to the MJ song. And let’s be honest, love Jacob, but please don’t try to get sexy on us….
4. Stefano: improving on his audience connection and taping into the emotional resonance of the song, Stefano tore up Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman” which was a # 1 hit in 1966. He made it his own with his unique phrasing and contemporary vocal stylings and should be able to stay in the game yet again.
5. Haley: holy crap, she was actually good last night. In fact, she almost landed in my # 3 spot as she, Jacob and Stefano were all that close with their strong performances. Haley dropped all her annoying preening and pouting, and instead gave an authentic bluesy rock vocal on Janis Joplin’s iconic “Piece of My Heart”. For the first time, almost everything worked for Haley… and I’m still shocked. Now, if she would just give back Mariah Carey her hair from the 1999 VH1 Divas Live special, she’d be on her way up the list…
6. James: serving up the softer side of James, our rocker showed a lovely vulnerable style on The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. It was simple (until the end glory note) and a nice change of pace. However, it did feel a bit calculated, as if he was studying the Adam Lambert Idol playbook on how to change things up week to week in order to win the big game. I appreciated it, but James, you’re no Lambert. You’re more Axl Rose or Sebastian Bach!
7. Scotty: the country stud did his thang on Elvis Presley’s “That’s Alright Mama” inciting the tween girls to mania levels again. However, it felt a little indulgent and Scotty is certainly drinking his own “I’m fantastic” juice. That said, it was another good vocal and he’s still a lock for the top 5.
8. Paul: holy crap, Paul wasn’t the worst tonight either. In fact, Paul gave his best performance to date on Johnny Cash’s top 40 hit from 1968 “Folsom Prison Blues”. His voice fit the song much better than his previous choices and he felt much more at home on the stage with his guitar and the other musicians…. However, it also proved that he belongs in a band, not on the American Idol stage.
9. Casey: well, apparently, the judges may have wasted their “save” as Casey is certainly in danger tonight. While his performance was pretty good and it was great to see him on the upright bass as he took on Credence Clearwater Revival’s # 8 hit from 1971 “Have You Ever Seen the Rain”, it was ultimately a bit forgettable. And the second half got a bit corny with his weird facial contortions and unwarranted vocal growls. It was a decent interpretation, but it may not have been enough to keep in the running to be our next Idol.

Predictions~
Bottom 3: Casey, Paul, Jacob (Both he and Stefano seem to have wavering fan bases that could put them in danger here. And Jacob went first which never helps)
Bottom 2: Casey, Paul
Going Home: Casey

Is it finally time for a guy to go home? I think so and I say it’s the end of the road for Fozzy Bear. But it could be a “shocker” boot for Bradley Cooper 2.0. Or maybe it will be a total surprise like James. Who knows? I guess we’ll find out on Thursday’s results show which will also feature the return of Tony Award nominated season 4 contestant Constantine Maroulis (Rock of Ages)… So, tune in and see who gets the boot. But first let me know who was your fave last night in the comments below.

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