American Idol – Top 11 (Again)

I am so excited about tonight’s show because Elton John! Elton John! Elton John! He’s one of my all-time favorite singers, and so many of his songs are memory-specific for me. “Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road” reminds me of my childhood bedroom and one of Sister’s Elton John albums playing on the stereo. “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” reminds me of driving back to college in my Buick Regal while listening to a cassette of Elton John’s Greatest Hits. I could go on and on, but I won’t. Because the show is way more fun than taking a stroll down my musical memory lane.

Here we go.

Scotty McCreery – “Country Comfort” – After the Casey debacle last week, I’m guessing that the first spot in tonight’s line-up wasn’t exactly in big demand. Given that, Scotty’s in a tough spot right off the bat, but it probably worked in his favor that he picked a lesser-known EJ song. I’m not sure that the playing the guitar added much to his performance, but he did his usual Scotty thing. Didn’t wow me, but he hit that way-down low note at the end and probably did more than enough to keep the teenage girls voting for him.

Naima Adedapo – “I’m Still Standing” – I’ve been on the Naima train since day one, but tonight’s performance was a little affected for me. The Reggae arrangement wasn’t terrible, but the Jamaican accent? And kind of talking her way through the verses? And the slow chorus? It was hard to follow. It was different, and she definitely made it her own, but this was an instance where someone’s personal spin got in the way of the music. And if everybody else has an “on” night, I’m afraid it might be hard for Naima to recover from what some people might see as a misstep.

Paul McDonald – “Rocket Man” – Here’s what I loved about this performance: there wasn’t a single forced thing about it. It was a great arrangement, and save a couple of notes, he sounded great, too. For some reason the fact that he dialed it back a notch or five made me like him more than ever. Thumbs up.

Pia Toscano – “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” – Y’all. I can’t take a single thing away from her talent. But I am tired of the ballad, mainly because seeing her sing them week after week feels like I’m watching another preliminary at another pageant and PIA IF YOU COULD JUST PLEASE SING SOME OTHER GENRE THAT WOULD BE FANTASTIC. The ballad thing isn’t bad – Pia could sing the phone book and sound great. BUT IT’S BORING.

Stefano Langone – “Tiny Dancer” – This isn’t my favorite Elton John song, but I didn’t mind what Stefano did with it. Somehow the whole R&B vibe made it better. The chorus sounded a little off to me, but I liked the bridge a lot. I don’t think this was his best – but it was good. I’m just not sure that “good” will be enough to keep him safe this week.

Lauren Alaina – “Candle in the Wind” – I really liked seeing Lauren do something more subdued and more mature. The arrangement gave her a chance to do some neat things with her voice, and I especially loved the ending. Parts of this performance reminded me of MIranda Lambert, but more than anything it reminded me that Lauren is crazy talented and poised for a 16 year-old. Good for her.

James Durbin – “Saturday Night’s All Right” – He really was born to perform, wasn’t he? Something about seeing him onstage makes me smile, and he works the crowd without venturing into cheesyland (though he does step on the cheesyland line from time to time). You could just tell that he had a blast tonight, and his joy was contagious. I enjoyed his performance a lot.

Thia Megia – “Daniel” – At first I thought this song had some promise for Thia, but by the time she got to the chorus, she’d lost me. For whatever reason she’d lost her momentum by the end of the song, and it all just sort of faded away. That being said, I was tickled that she didn’t pick “Can You Feel The Love Tonight.” #thatisprogress

Casey Abrams – “Your Song” – Well. That was beautiful.

Jacob Lusk – “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” – This wasn’t a bad performance, but I really, really, REALLY wish he had started the song in a lower register. It was so high at the beginning that it didn’t get to build like it could have, and as a result I felt like Jacob didn’t play to his strengths as much as he did last week. It was just a’ight for me, dawg.

Haley Reinhart – “Bennie and the Jets” – I thought starting off on the piano was a bad call (YOU HAVE TO SOMEHOW FIND A WAY OFF OF THAT THING), but her voice was fab, and for the first time I felt like I understood why the judges seem to believe in her so much. So, bottom line: she sounded great, but as a performer Haley still hasn’t won me over. However, I think that tonight she bought herself a little more time.

Best of the night: Paul, Casey
May have cause for concern: Scotty (sang first), Naima, Stefano, Thia
Just so you know: I totally enjoy Jimmy Iovine’s pre-performance comments. He is dead-on.

So. What did y’all think?

And by the way, I’ve been trying to vote for the last forty minutes – and haven’t gotten through yet. Anybody else having any luck?

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  1. OK. You have convinced me to watch next season.

    It is lonely here out of the AI Loop…

  2. My husband is a huge Casey and Haley fan. He is stuck on the idea that they should do an album together because their voices would be great. He is starting to remind me of one of those people who get so into the Bachelor that they are on a first name basis with everyone.
    I like so many of them that I hate to see anyone leave. Most talented group I have ever seen on AI. Each week is a huge treat.
    I agree with your best/most cause for concern analysis. Looking forward to tomorrow night.

  3. I LOVE your comments. You are so smack-dab spanking-clean good in your analysis. Wow. I just voted for the very first time in ten seasons or however many. Will say last who I voted for. I loved watching James and when he set the piano on fire, I jumped a little too high on the treadmill. Jacob actually made me cry with that unknown-to-me song about “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word.” I was alone in the trendy high school workout room weeping on the treadmill cause it hit so close to home and that’s what music is all about—capturing your heart with a missive. All the people that I know who are professional musicians seem to favor Casey…and I thought Casey saved himself for another week. Haley too! She’s safe. But not Thia and Stefano. My first-vote ever went to: Paul, my favorite. Loved your post! You’re that good!

  4. Cheryl L. says:

    You absolutely hit the nail on the head about Pia…..she is beautiful, check, she has a wonderous voice, check, she is boring as all get out, check…………..I just WANT her to do something else so badly…….when it was Motown week and she picked a ballad, I was confused…perfect opportunity to sing something else. Then the judges comments last week…..and she came back with another ballad???…I was a little shocked. Even singing ballads, why doesn’t she move on the stage?…and walking to the front of the stage from the back, is not moving. Her voice is big….I want her to be big on stage….fill it up……..I can’t for the life of me get past that I think, she thinks, I’m beautiful and sound great….that’s all I have to do…..??????…….love all your opinions, Boo Mama!!!

  5. Enjoyed this week a lot. I think Naima and Thia might go, or at least I’m crossing my fingers for such. Are you thinking of putting up an AI linky? I enjoyed reading all the different opinions last season. =)

  6. My bottom 3 are Stefano, Jacob & Naima. Jacob is just a little too much for me. Stefano doesn’t do anything for me, and I just haven’t really liked Naima’s performances even though I really want to LOVE them. I do love her sense of style, though.

  7. Tonight was my first time voting, and I was able to get through 3 out of 4 tries! I voted for Paul for all of my votes, because I have a thing for flared nostrils.
    I told my husband, before they sang, that whoever sang “Your Song” would be my love. Casey was so gentle and sweet tonight with that song. Anything by Elton is written from his heart. Alas, while I love Casey, I voted for Paul. It’s the nostrils.


  9. Voting through the facebook was really really easy. Well, except for those pesky capcha words.

    Anyhoo, seems that we don’t agree on much this year. My bottom 3 this week are Stefano, Thia, and Paul. Don’t worry, though, I still read because your commentary makes me laugh every.single.time.

  10. Really, Paul? I KNOW the words to that song, and I couldn’t understand half of what he sang. His Bob Dylanesqueness is highly bothersome to me.

  11. You’re right again in my book. Except I’ve never liked Naima. I believe she and Thia are in trouble. I didn’t love Scotty again – since I can’t stand to watch him it’s hard to like him. I love to pull for Paul, but he scared me with that performance last night. I hope he’s safe. And Casey? Redemption.

    What’s the theme next week? Didn’t I hear Pia say she was singing “River Deep, Mountain High” next week in the after the performance spot? Did I dream it? If it’s so I can’t wait.

  12. I shouldn’t have started that comment with “You’re right again” since I didn’t seem to agree with you! For the most part I did. I just pointed out the ones that…
    Oh, never mind.

  13. I had a Buick Regal in college! Best car ever.

  14. The whole group is quickly dividing for me.

    The BOTTOM is Naima, Thia, Jacob, and Stefano. Naima & Jacob are too contrived for me. Thia has a great voice, but too wimpy. Stefano is a doll, but can’t hold up to the really talented.

    The MAYBE group is Paul and Pia. I can’t imagine listening to a whole CD of Paul. I keep wanting him to clear his throat and get some volume. Pia is beautiful and her voice is amazing, but the ballads are wearing me down.

    The TOP group is Casey, Haley, Lauren, James and Scotty. I can see this whole group taking their talent and becoming true performers. I think the whole competition will come down to Casey and James.

  15. Unlike you and several others, I’ve never been on the Naima team. I just don’t think she can sing, strangely enough. I found Paul endearing but he has GOT to turn down those teeth! It’s just unnatural for a bluesy, gravel-voiced singer to have perfect white teeth. Haley also rubs me the wrong way. Her voice is Janice Joplin but her face and dress and little pettitteness is Britney. If I close my eyes, I like her. Weird.

    I think it’s time for Thia to go. She’s just dull. More pageant-like than Pia. At least Pia has a range and isn’t afraid to use it. I think Pia is afraid to dance. Watch her during the group numbers on Go Home Night. She doesn’t move like the other kids.

    My guess for Going Home: Thia and Naima.

    Loving this season!

  16. I love reading your recap of the show even if I don’t agree :) Paul on top?! My husband and I both thought it was a bad performance and I agree with Chelsea above who couldn’t understand half the song. Definitely agree with Casey on top and I thought Lauren was great too.

  17. Love reading your AI commentaries, BooMama!

    sue.g, I agree with all your assessments with one exception: I am hoping the whole competition will come down to Casey and Haley. Sometimes I get confused as to whether the AI team is promoting the best singer, or the best singer/performer. James is a great performer and his joy makes me smile, but Haley and Casey are by far the most amazing, versatile vocalists.

    And to think I almost didn’t watch this year. In my opinion, this is one of the best — if not THE best — Idol seasons ever!

  18. This was the first week I can honestly say I enjoyed the show. Love me some Elton John and nobody did anything to make me wish they hadn’t picked Elton as a theme.

    My favorites tonite-Paul, Casey, Lauren

    Scotty isn’t my favorite but I liked the shoutout to Grandma-that was super sweet and seemed sincere.

    Did not like Tiny Dancer at all…I love that song but no, not tonite. Plus Stefano always sounds the same, no matter what he’s singing.

    I too hope Pia sings something besides a ballad next week. She is absoutely beautiful though and I liked her take on the song tonite.

    I am not a Jacob Lusk fan but I think he’s probably safe.
    I haven’t gotten Haley til tonite and I actually liked her performance. That being said, I don’t see her as the next AI-she has a niche but I don’t see how she can win the whole thing.

    I thought James performed well but you couldn’t really hear him singing…that isn’t my favorite Elton song to begin with. He has talent though…I’d like to see him take it down a notch one night , just to change it up. I like the tone and quality of his voice.

    My pick to go home-Naima-Thia-Stefano…any/all would be fine with me.

  19. oops-sorry I wrote a post as a comment…I didn’t realize I had so many opinions : )

  20. If you love Elton then I hope you’ve seen Gnomeo and Juliet! I had no idea that he had produced it and that his music was running throughout the story.

    Just an FYI!

  21. I just can’t make myself love Jacob. He is way way way too much drama for me.

    When he sings, I want to curl up into the fetal position and take an antidepressant. He is just too over the top.

    I loved Casey!

  22. Dear Pia,
    You are beautiful, and you sing good. No more Ballads. The End.

  23. Keri Always says:

    Scotty is awesome, but I’m not a big fan of country music. So, for a kid his age to try to croon to me – it’s just creepy.

    Thia and Lauren made me cry – and I don’t even like those songs.

    I WANT Paul to do well (the whole Hunstville, AL/Auburn alum thing), and I ADMIRE his talent. Alas, I don’t think I’d buy his songs, unless he sang something very emotionally moving.

    As good as James is, he annoys me. Same thing goes for Naima – I think she is working the “I’m different! Different is good! Ignore my limited vocal range and watch me do this irreverant, innovative, wacky twist on a song that you love, thus ruining it for you forever!” slant. And while, that will work for a while, and she may have a great future as a producer with that ability, I will turn the dial when I hear her on the radio. And Jacob’s voice hurts my ears… too nasal.

    I LOVE Stefano’s and Pia’s voices. I could listen to ballads all day. Look at the moolah Celine rakes in for BALLADS. Yes, I want to see her show some flexibility in her talent and style, but still – I could listen to her belt it out like that for hours. Stefano won me over when he sang for the wild card spot with “I Need You Now”.

    I don’t know yet who I want to win, but it’s not Naima, James or Jacob.

  24. Kimberly says:

    Loved Casey…always! Agree with Brenda (above) about Haley. You hit the nail on the head! Her voice doesn’t go with her looks…easy to fix…hope she does. U out there, Haley??? Naima, gotta go…she’s all over the place. I LOVE Thia but she is always disconnected with the song. She’s just singing the words and that doesn’t work.
    Love James, but he needs to do a rock ballad. Love your blog!

  25. Amy in TN says:

    It is so easy to vote online at You can vote up to 50 times I think and you always get through! I’m a Lauren fan. Hope she continues to do well.

  26. Really glad that I’m not the only Paul fan. I really love his voice and think that he is super talented. It makes me a little sad when people don’t recognize how great he is, but then again, to each their own. But everyone should know that he actually has a node on his left vocal cord. He discovered it before the show started and it’s the main reason why he sounds raspy or like he needs to clear his throat. The only cure is to stop talking (and singing) for months, or to have surgery to remove it. But in the meantime all of the singing that he does is probably just making it worse. :(

  27. After last weeks lengthy comment, I’ll keep it much shorter this week. Time is of the essence, you know?

    Pia – Like your feedback, Boomama, Pia needs to QUIT THE BALLADS.

    Scotty – I’ve never heard that E.J. song, but I still love me some Scott-sung country music.


    Naema – Don’t know if that is spelled correctly or not. Don’t care because I still haven’t cared enough about her to learn. And did I miss where her new-found Jamaican accent came from? Was there a recent AI field trip to the islands, man?

    Stefano – He’s out. I couldn’t even listen to the whole thing. (Love me a mute button, I do.)

    Paul – If Rod Stewart needs a sub, he’s in. But, I think he’s in trouble staying on past this week – unless of course we have a Rod Stewart theme week approaching.

    Lauren – She’ll do, but doesn’t bowl me over.

    James – What a performance! Don’t know about the vocals because I was too busy watching the stage show. He’s quite the entertainer.

    Casey – Glad he got the save and the shave. MUCH BETTER.

    Jacob – Again, good but not great, but he should make it another couple of weeks.

    Haley – I have no idea what the beginning of the song sounded like because I was too concerned with her impending piano dismount. But, once she finally did manage to stick the landing, I finally heard why the judges have been so high on her this whole time. She’s my new favorite girl, but still a distant third from James and Scotty.

  28. Pia is like a robot – no emotion in her eyes ever whether she’s singing or talking. And she does that weird half nod/half shake thing when judges/producers are talking to her that bugs me. However I do feel bad for her that no nod seems to remember that she did an uptempo song a couple weeks ago. She can definitely sing, but I don’t think she can emote and that’s a big minus for me.
    Stefano, I love. Voted for him 80 times the other night which in the midst of 55 million votes made the difference for him I’m sure.
    But I was thinking today “Who can actually make it outside if this competition?” and I think the answer is Scotty and Paul. I’m not sure the others would stand out outside of Idol. Scotty would make it big as a country singer no matter what and Paul has that singer/songwriter thing going on that’s so popular…and he has a good look…and quirky dance moves:)