The Top 3 Are Not Particularly Whelming

I didn’t watch the Idol telecast this week. I was busy being delayed two hours on a two hour flight because the original pilot called in sick and the replacement pilot was stuck watching a man die in Reno. (Okay, maybe all I know is that the pilot was in Reno, but who’s to say he wasn’t watching a man die?) I did catch the first few performances on the actual show and then watched the last five on Youtube. I didn’t bother with any awful filler packages; seeing Scotty’s audition in full for a second time was quite enough for me. Seriously, editors, did you show Scotty and Lauren so much during the first two months of the show that you have no new footage left for us? I mean, we didn’t even see Kris Allen’s or Kelly Clarkson’s initial audition till well after the fact. A little mystery goes a long way, I say.

I also didn’t watch the judging. Why? Because the judging has been entirely inane for the last ten weeks. Without watching, I know Randy said someone was in it to win it, dawg! And Steven Tyler made entirely disinterested, incoherent statements. And J. Lo called someone amazing and wonderful and perfect just the way they were. (Sorry, J. Lo, that song was already written by Bruno Mars.) You’d think not watching the judges would make the experience more enjoyable. To an extent it did, but just knowing they were there and were not Adam Levine was pretty irksome in its own right. It’s like goddamnit Randy Jackson, why do you have to be you and not Cee-Lo or Blake Shelton? Truly a shame.

In a slightly different and much more abbreviated format than usual, I’m going to briefly go over each performance from worst to best. ‘ere goes:

Scotty McCreery – “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not” (Thompson Square): Probably the best song of Scotty’s three, but the crooked horse riding stance just pushed his eyebrows’ already high levels of absurdity to infinity and beyond.

Scotty McCreery – “She Believes In Me” (Kenny Rogers): The most interesting moment was watching J. Lo sing along to the song and actually get the lyrics right for once!

Haley Reinhart – “What Is And What Should Never Be” (Led Zeppelin): Without the tumble, it was a poor arrangement of a song ill-fitting for the Idol stage performed awkwardly and amateurishly by a gimmick family band. With the tumble, it was at least entertaining.

Scotty McCreery – “Amazed” (Lonestar): Beyonce really likes Lonestar. (Hah, no, stop lying girl. Beyonce doesn’t give two shits about Lonestar.)

Lauren Alaina – “Wild One” (Faith Hill): Encapsulated everything that was disappointing about Lauren this season: tentative performing, tentative singing and bland uptempos. At least there were gigantic flowers growing out of her head.

Haley Reinhart – “You Oughta Know” (Alanis Morissette): Singing “would she go out with you to the theater” should have been an automatic A+. Unfortunately, changing those lyrics was just about the only thing Haley changed from the original, down to the affected pronunciation.

Haley Reinhart – “Rhiannon” (Fleetwood Mac): The first forty seconds? One of the best, most gorgeous openings to a performance this season. The last minute and a half? One of the best, most glorious parodies of a low production 80s music video, complete with wind machine, billowing smoke and faux-sexy arm gestures. Trolled by Queen Haley.

Lauren Alaina: “I Hope You Dance” (Lee Ann Womack): Points for nuts of wonder. Minus points for whatever she was wearing. Boring ballad sung well, which makes it the second least horrifying and/or puzzlingly self-destructive performance of the night.

Lauren Alaina: “If I Die Young” (The Band Perry): The only performance of the night worth rewatching for the sake of this blog. An arrangement that was dynamic enough to stay interesting and big enough to be appropriately Idol-approved, vocals that were fully committed even when dialed down, and wardrobe choices that didn’t distract too much from the first two items on this list made it a wholly compelling case for Lauren to advance. Certainly no “Heartless” or even a McPhee “Over The Rainbow”, but enough to easily win the night.

I feel like Scotty has nothing left to offer me in his performances. At this point, I can’t differentiate anything he’s done in the last four or five weeks and I don’t care about it at all. A Haley/Lauren finale would be the most interesting and entertaining and I think the two ladies have done more this season to prove themselves as Idol contestants (if not as recording artists or music stars) than Scotty. Lauren has been consistently good, if rarely great. Haley has easily had the highest highs. That said, I don’t imagine Scotty is going anywhere and as such, we’re going to be saying goodbye to a woman. With Haley’s momentum and the fact that we’ve never seen a same-genre top 2, Lauren is probably the conventional pick to go home. I’ve never been very conventional, though.

Going home: Haley Reinhart

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