This week is Motown week, so get ready for some soul crushing of a different variety.
Steven Tyler Fashion Look of the Week:
Casey Abrams, "I Heard It Through The Grapevine"
After Casey's CharlesManson-y Nirvana performance, the ProducersCabal hide the sharp objects and tell him to reign it in a bit. Casey wafts through the crowd like a hispter Tom Jones, and manages to give the song a cool, gruff spin. The Judges find him a "true original" and they like it muchly.
Quick shout out to the Aeromosith guitarist, who looks like a hyper-aged Willy Wonka. Kids: Don't do drugs.
Thia Megia, "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave"
Continuing Thia's trend of boppy-teen fluffitude, she picks the up-tempo "Heat Wave." It's a limp performance, lacking the passion and urgency of Martha and the Vandellas' original. Less heat wave, more like a hot flash. The Judges are soft on Thia and feel that she "took a chance."
Jacob Lusk, "You're All I Need to Get By"
Motown week is right up Jacob's alley, so he should do well. ProducerJimmy wants to see "more restraint." Let me put that through my Idolese translator[TM]: "Dial back the runs, bitch." Jacob's performance is entirely "Dreamgirls", with sassy arm waves and dramatic hand flourishes. Bitch is like a refugee from the Island Of Misfit Pips. But honestly, it's his best performance to date, as he totally keeps his theatrical side mostly in check. Steven calls him "baby Luthor" as the Judges give him the coveted standing O.
Lauren Alaina, "You Keep Me Hanging On"
The strangely zebra-pelted Lauren vamps around the stage like a white girl doing her best sassy-black-neighbor impression. There's more neck weaving in this song than the five season run of "227." Sandra would be moved to say, "Oh, Mawy." Vocally, it's pretty good, and the Judges like it fine.
Stefano Langone, "Hello"
Remember when music teech Lionel Ritchie inappropriately stalked his poor blind student, but it was OK because she made an monstrous sculpture of him? I guess it was a fine practice to creep on the handicapped during the Reagan Era. Also, the difficulty factor in stalking the blind in pleasingly low. Oh, 80s!
David Cook kicked out a great version of this song in season six, but Stefano's version is rather lame. Imagine the cruise ship reunion tour of Menudo, and you begin to get the idea. Jlo wants more of a connection and more intensity from Stefano. Then she critiqued his music, too.
Haley Reinhart, "You Really Got a Hold on Me"
Haley Reinhart is taking wardrobe tips from previous perennial season six bottom-three-er Haley Scarnato, who wore hot pants and a washcloth on stage. Skin wins votes, peeps. For a while anyway. The Judges liked the bluesy-edge, so maybe Haley can save her g-string for another week or so.
Scotty McCreery, "For Once In My Life"
This week, Scotty is smirk-singing his way through "For Once In My Life" by way of Merle Haggard. Dipped in Red State ooey-gooey-ness, Scotty is sure to be safe this week.
Pia Toscano, "All In Love Is Fair"
Beautiful pitch-perfect performance, if a little sleepy. The Judges love it, but want more star power and less ballads. I co-sign that. Ryan then proceeds to model Pia's dress because he wants us to "see the couture." Seacrest, it's not even "subtext" at this point, it's just "text."
Paul McDonald, "Tracks of My Tears"
Paul provides a mellow-pop version of the famous song, giving his restless leg syndrome a rest behind his guitar. Everyone characterizes Paul's voice as "distinct" and "unique" and "different." You know, kinda like the description of every nightmare blind date you've ever had. Show will awkwardly break up with him mid-season.
Naima Adedapo, "Dancing in the Street"
Naima threatens to dance again, causing small terrified children to cower in fear. Naima rocks the stage wearing grandma's drapes as bellbottoms and every friendship bracelet in the Western Hemisphere. She gives a solid performanace, and even injects some rasta-beatdown in it, while having a grand mal seizure on stage. Jlo got goosebumps while Steven feels she's the "full package."
James Durbin, "Living for the City"
Once again, James is wearing his rocker costume and telling us to "Come on!" James, I am not going anywhere with you in that get-up. Visually, it's indulgently showboaty... But vocally, it's solid stuff. Thankfully, James doesn't overdo the screechy power-notes this week. Randy found the beginning a little rough, but the rest is all love.
So who's going home tonight? I think Haley will be making tracks... followed by tears.