Thursday, May 5, 2011

Idol Recap :: Past and Present Tense

It's "Now & Then" Night. With a contemporary song, then a song from the 60s. And Sheryl Crow is the guest mentor, in case you cared. Meanwhile, The Voice continues to bark at Idol's aging heels.

Steven Tyler Fashion Look of the Week:
Lady In Red

James Durbin’s “Closer to the Edge”
James Durbin’s “Without You”

For his first song, "Closer to the Edge," James rocks the stage like a Billy Idol impersonator, only lacking the subtly of songs like "Rock The Cradle of Love." There's flashing lights and screeching, like we are at the James Durbin reunion tour, where gassy has-beens try to retrieve lost glory. It's uneven and off-key in spots. But if even yearned to see James' underarm hair, here it is. The judges love it anyway.

Next, James sings the Idol fav, "Without You," and breaks down thinking about his family while singing. Camera gives us the close-up of his tearing up eyes. More Show audience manipulation? Probably. The Judges praise the "emotional perfect" nature of the song. Because we don't judge the the actual singing? In a display of audacious transparency, Randy declares the competition is "his to lose." Yeah, Randy, we know.

Jacob Lusk’s “No Air”
Jacob Lusk’s “Love Hurts”

Jacob has raided the Dalton Academy closets again, no doubt searching in vain for Blaine Anderson. Jacob sings "No Air" like Kermit the Frog's sassy gay cousin. It's rather terrible and even the back-up singers look uncomfortable. The judges mildly hate on it, as Randy doesn't seem him as a Chris Brown or Jordan Sparks. But merge them both together, and Jacob falls in that genetic ballpark, yes?

Next, it's "Love Hurts." ProducerJimmy is still trying to get Jacob to turn down the Joan Collins. Sheryl Crow shows him how to sing the song gently and tenderly, which he will summarily ignore in about 45 seconds. Despite the giant harp on the stage that says "turn down the drama, bitch," Jacob is squatting, screeching and wailing. The gentle yearning of this song is completely lost, as the song ends with a wail that sounded something like "waaaaaaaah."

Lauren Alaina’s “Flat on the Floor”
Lauren Alaina’s “Unchained Melody”

Lauren can wear sassy western-inspired outfits and strut around in 3 inches like Tuesday, but she still ain't no Carrie Underwood. After singing "Flat on the Floor", according to the judges, Lauren is "in it" and "rising to the top" and…. Um, do the judges comments mean a flipping thing anymore?

Lauren later sings "Unchained Melody" with the technical proficiency of a beauty pageant contestant. It's very pretty, and very boring.

Scotty McCreery’s “Gone”
Scotty McCreery’s “Always on My Mind”

Ryan still insists on calling him "Scotty the Body." Restraining orders much? Anyhoo, Show has created a Howdy-Doody-meets-Eminem monster with this one… strutting around stage, the rap self-hug, and the eyebrows a'blazin' while singing "Gone." The Judges are all bout this, with Randy chanting his "in it to win it" mantra once again. Which, is beyond meaningless at this point, make us nostalgic for a old-fashioned "you killed it, dawg."

ProducerJimmy gives Scotty mindbending advice which translates into "stay in your box but don't be boring." Scotty sings "Always On My Mind" on the serious stool. It's slowed down and real, yo. And Scotty is much easier to take when he's stationary and not making weird faces. Scotty actually made two good song choices to show his range, and he's almost guaranteed in the finale at this point. And in case he isn't, let's give his adorable grandmother the microphone to say, "He's my Scotty."

Haley Reinhart’s “You and I”
Haley Reinhart’s “The House of the Rising Sun”

Haley wanted to get Lady Gaga's blessing to sing her song unreleased song, "You and I." It's a good thing her name isn't Weird Al, because she'd be totally denied. And then not. Haley's got long pants, supporting my theory of "the better she gets, he more clothes she wears." Haley has really become the little Kris Allen who could this season, surviving lukewarm reviews and support while improving each and every week. So it makes it all the most disappointing that the Judges kinda hate on it. And, all because they want that James-Scotty finale, so the Haley sabotage must begin this week.

For her second song, Haley sings "House of the Rising Sun" will a soulful, raspy, bluesy edge. It's something you might see at The House of Blues. Starts slow on the smoky stool, and then gets all sexy, and then we hit some power notes. Ka-blam. It's easily the most interesting and creative performance of the night. Randy declares it "the best performance of the night" and the other judges co-sign this.

So who's going home? I'm guessing Jacob is heading back to Dalton Academy.