Final 6 perform

There were three moments tonight, so I embedded a couple of extra videos down below. What a terrific night of performances!

The theme tonight is “Songs from Carole King”. I figure they’ll tend to pick her bigger hits, so for fun these are my picks for each contestant to sing:

Casey- “Smackwater Jack”

Lauren- “Will you Love me Tomorrow?”

Scotty- “Locomotion”

Haley- “I Feel the Earth Move”

Jacob- “Jazzman”

James- “I’m into something good”

Other possibilities: One Fine Day, It’s Too Late Baby, You got a Friend (gonna be someone’s duet right?).

They are splitting into three duets as well, so there will be nine performances. Babyface is on board to help mentor the contestants.

The singers, the songs-

Jacob, “Oh No, Not my Baby”

Man, if he could just stop sliding out of tune he could be a monster. To go Simon on him, “parts of the song were brilliant; but parts of the song were terrrrrrible”. Jacob could have been perfect and he’d be in the bottom three anyway, and he wasn’t perfect. With the help of studio tricks, his I-tunes version will probably be really good. With the “help” of horrible mixing, his I-tunes version will probably be hard to listen to. Overall I think that this was his best performance sinceHollywood, but he hit too many wonky notes to ignore.

Judges: Not much; Jen talked about bad notes a little, and they liked his stage presence. I don’t care what they wear most of the time, but if you didn’t see it Jacob was wearing a purple plaid jacket and a bow tie. I would have thought that it was strange, but that’s how some NBA players dress now (including Lebron), so I guess it’s a hip look.

Lauren, “Where you lead”

The “bring the guy up on stage and sing to him” thing….. It seemed like she knew him, but I don’t know. She brought him up, sat him down (SIT!!!!) and then she walked away and left him sitting there. She did come back, but it was all really weird. She hit most of her notes, but everything seemed stilted and a little awkward; like it was a run-through before the performance, not the actual performance. I think that she tried to do too much, and that the constant mentor pressure to get her to do something new got to her. She overdid it, and she was way out of her comfort zone.

Judges: Jen was encouraging, but she pointed out that Lauren was trying to do new things, things that weren’t in her repertoire. Randy called the song safe and boring, but he liked how she came to the table with some new stuff. All of the judges mentioned that she squeaked, but I wouldn’t take much away from her for that. Her intonation was good. Rhythm? Well, it was really herky jerky. I never got the sense that she was fully committed to the arrangement, ever comfortable with the song.

Haley and Casey, “I Feel the Earth Move”

Bummer about that last note, but it wasn’t all that bad and the rest of the song was terrific. Casey laid down a sweet harmony to Haley’s lead, then they reversed roles and Haley laid down the sweet harmony. To me this was a minor moment; similar to Adam and Allie’s “Slow Ride” in season 8 but with better harmonies. The vocals were strong, the blends were brilliant, and they both rocked the stage while showing terrific chemistry. Well done, and thanks for a performance that I’ll listen to over and over.

Judges: Only Steven talked, and he said what he always says while putting Casey on the spot by asking if he’s in love with Haley. Is he? Hell, who knows? Haley might have an opinion too.

Scotty, “You got a Friend”

That wet, splattering noise you just heard was the sound of 12 million teenaged female hearts hitting the floor. Scotty got his moment tonight. He left his usual tricks out, and simply sang from his heart and whispered a small, sincere thought……. That reverberated throughout the country and will have the internet buzzing for days. Was he perfect? No, not quite. He doesn’t have a vibrato, so his long held high notes get really nasal. Sue him. He was amazing tonight; absolutely an A performance. Not only is the kid going to win, he’s going to deserve it.

Judges: Randy noticed the high note thing but dealt with it differently. Jen nailed him again about last week, and they all talked about his high range. Good constructive criticism and they still got to gush. Well done, judges.

James: “Will you Love me Tomorrow”

Yaknow, there were a couple of places where he went high that I didn’t like, and a couple of places where he went back down low that I didn’t like, but that only means that it was a terrific performance instead of a moment. JD has never sounded better. His voice soared, and it rode the melody like a weightless jockey riding Seattle Slew. He was almost perfectly in tune, and his main melody voice got me thinking about Jon Bon Jovi. JD ain’t JBJ, but he has the skill set to be something very special. I rewound this one and listened again, purely for my own enjoyment.

Oh, and lots of Idol singers have done the accapella thing, but none of them ever pulled out the inflections that he did, and he kept it all in tune. Very impressive.

Judges: Jen was all over it, reminding everyone that JD hasn’t had a single bad week. I don’t totally agree, but his voice is so amazing that it’s hard to have a bad week as long as he doesn’t sing all out of tune. Steven talked about “Love in a Bowling Alley”. Did he change it to “elevator” later?

Love in a bowling alley, oohh…..

Living it up as the pins go down, woah…

Maybe? Huh? HUH? Ah, never mind….

Scotty and Lauren, “Up on the Roof”

Beautifully done. Everyone is really bringing it tonight, aren’t they? I honestly didn’t expect this from the King songbook, but again I don’t know her songs well. Scotty brought back his signature style, and Lauren reverted to her pleasing, country radio friendly vocal style, and the entire performance was very pleasing. I could see them recording together once they smooth out some of their youthful rough edges. They won’t have to travel far, since both of them are going to be living inNashvillefor the next 50 years. Also, kudos to whoever blocked out this arrangement. Fantastic re-arrangement.

Casey, “Hi de Ho”

Umm…. Casey left the melody right about the time that he left the piano, never to return. I can really get into this kind of a performance, but Casey doesn’t have the voice to pull it off. This was signature Casey, but not the good Casey. This was the Casey from the period when he went from the front-runner to being voted off. He went off the track, and never got back to anything. Casey trying to pull off a huge arrangement like this is like a poodle trying to drag a Saint Bernard to its knees. It wasn’t uncomfortable so much as it was late night at the karaoke bar, everyone ignoring the drunk guy who thinks he’s Minnie the Moocher.

Judges: Cool guy treatment? Nobody mentioned that Casey hit his last melodic note about fifteen seconds into the song, and pretty much screamed and growled at us the rest of the way.

Haley, “Beautiful”

Something went wrong with Haley’s monitor, which was cut from the show. This happened last week with Jacob, when a track from another song was in his monitor. Jacob kept going, and that was what we all noticed when he stopped singing and tore out his in-ear. Haley stopped, apparently; so they just cut it from the live feed.

I really liked the low parts, and she blew out the big notes. The middle melodies weren’t all that great, but that could be partly because she was uncomfortable with her monitor. Haley is getting to be a terrific singer, and finding all the nooks and crannies in her voice. Every week she finds something new. A couple of months ago I wouldn’t have given her a shot in hell of ever being anything but an interesting Idol contestant, but she has improved to the point that I can see her having a career somewhere. Her voice isn’t huge, but she is developing some uniqueness by finding a signature style. This performance wasn’t up to the level of the best of the night, but it was better than Jacob, Lauren and Casey’s solo turns.

Judges: Nigel is in the judges’ heads. There must have been a memo to the judges to pimp Haley tonight, which got in the way because she really didn’t need the pimping. Instead of being genuinely enthusiastic, they sounded forced.

James and Jacob, “I’m into something good”

That was fun (good song arrangement and they sang it well), and a little uncomfortable. Do these guys hate each other? Naw, probably not, but I kind of got the vibe that they both wanted to sing with someone else. The performance was good because they both sang really well individually, but it wasn’t organic like the first two duets. Still, it was a nice high energy way to end a good night of Idol performances.

Judges: Steven got in a good shot, the old Simon saw: “What the hell was that?”, and everyone just laughed and it was fine.

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Grades:

Jacob: B-

Lauren: C+

Scotty: A

James: A-

Casey: D+

Haley: B+

Duets:

Haley/Casey: A-

Scotty/Lauren: B+

James/Jacob: B-

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Safe to in Danger-

Locks:

Scotty

James

Too late in the season to feel safe:

Lauren

Haley

Casey

Grave Danger:

Jacob

Scotty and James are very safe, but with only three contestants avoiding the bottom three one of them might land there. I don’t expect it. This is going to probably be the first week in awhile that Lauren and/or Casey gets a scare, and I won’t automatically assume that they won’t get the boot. Jacob is the obvious one on the chopping block, and Haley has been in the hard chairs so many times that she might prefer to just start the Thursday shows there to avoid the uncomfortable walk. Another list, but from bottom to top:

Most likely to get booted:

Jacob (45%)

Casey (25%)

Haley (20%)

Lauren (10%)

James (-1%)

Scotty (-1%)

According to DialIdol, it’s very close between James (second) and Casey (sixth). They are all in the range that puts them in danger of getting the boot. Only Scotty is safe.

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It was a good night, wasn’t it? I really enjoyed it. By my reasoning we had one moment (Scotty’s “You Got a Friend”) and a couple of near moments (Casey/Haley’s “I Feel the Earth Move”) and JD’s “Will you still love me tomorrow”). Haley was terrific. Jacob was all over the place but some of those places were incredible. Casey and Lauren weren’t all that great solo, but they were both terrific in their duets. I’d call that a good use of an hour and a half. I’ll listen to at least four of the nine performances again, purely for my own enjoyment. That’s a good ratio.