Haley, Scotty, and Lauren sing three times each on Wednesday's penultimate season 10 performance show

By Annie Barrett
Updated May 19, 2011 at 10:58 AM EDT
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American Idol

S10 E36
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  • TV Show
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  • ABC
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Welcome back to American Idol, where the contestants trip, the pantyhose rips, and it takes four people to tell Ryan Seacrest that they love him. This week, each of the top 3 performed songs chosen by Jimmy Iovine and the judges in addition to one they chose themselves. Beyoncé, who had a video of herself clomping around in multi-faceted gem shoes to promote, wiggled up to the plate as a guest mentor. Let’s get to it!

Scotty McCreery might have hit the upper-register notes on Lonestar’s “Amazed,” but his voice becomes rather thin up there. It makes me wonder why the judges have been pushing for him to do that. Do we really want to hear higher notes from Scotty? Maybe they’ve just been asking for it because his “one trick” is getting soooooooo boring. At this point, Randy, the most established of the three Fates, is just weaving up compliments from the loom of the recent past and presenting them as if they’re lovely new garments. “You put a period on the end of that, looked into the camera again,” Randy marveled at Scotty. But wait…Scotty does that EVERY TIME. “That’s money,” Randy insisted. “It is money.” Scotty should consider using his riches to afford a new jean jacket sans deliberate paint splotches near the nipples. Just an idea.

Esteemed Colleague Email Interlude:

So that’s who it is!

NEXT: Nothing says “Wild One” like Lauren’s IKEA lamp earrings

Lauren Alaina seemed rather rushed on Faith Hill’s “Wild One” — it was almost like there was either no rhythm to the song or the band was playing it wrong. But it was probably just her. Some of her lyrics seemed cut off at the end, maybe due to breath issues. Those pesky things! Instead of being embarrassed to embody pure evil like last week, Lauren became a “wild one with an angel’s face” and one lazy leg lift. “Every time, we gotta create a moment!” cried J. Lo, which really could have applied to any contestant at any time.

Randy and Steven stuck to the same script, urging Lauren to believe that SHE WAS HAVING FUN up there. I’m not sure about that, but Lauren definitely does have fun using Ryan as a lean-to before commercial breaks. “I always put my hand on your shoulder,” Lauren announced, as if having her hand on Ryan’s shoulder and not mentioning it wouldn’t be enough to convince us that they are totes best buds. Aw, I sound mean. I like Lauren and love her vocal tone. I’m just never convinced by her performances overall.

Thanks to reader Katie for breaking this important news via Twitter: Lauren’s earrings resemble the “Knappa” lamp from IKEA.

Nice gem-hunting, Katie!

Best song choice of the night by far: Haley Reinhart, with Led Zeppelin’s “What Is and What Should Never Be.” Getting the Led out on the Idol stage, and doing it next to your dad?! Well, I never.

Esteemed Colleague Email Interlude:

NEXT: Haley’s blink-and-you-miss-it tumble Take it from wise woman Beyoncé: “Haley has conviction.” It certainly says something that many of the divas who have mentored this group have so much respect for Haley as a musician. I find these comments way more illuminating than whatever the judges are reading out loud from their NigelsNotes at any given time. Anyway, I’m burying the lead here: Haley fell up the steps on her way back to the stage after twirling around the judges table like she just didn’t give a s—. It was an amublation breakdown. Talk about a stairway to embarrassment! But she handled it like a pro, bouncing back and continuing to shake it just like her mentor Beyoncé (and just like her non-mentor J. Lo, who ended up using this opportunity to mention her Wango Tango power failure).

The judges pretended to agree that round one went to Haley, and they were right!

Esteemed Colleague Email Interlude:

I don’t get it!

In lieu of choosing a Tom Petty song for Scotty (which could have also rocked), Jimmy Iovine went with Thompson Square’s “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” for our young Body. I liked this! The chorus was especially strong, and Scotty looked like he was genuinely engaging the crowd. Hands up, America, I think we got a real good shot of getting this kid into the finals! DUH. He’s practically already won. Along with his crisp vocals, the details J. Lo mentioned (Scotty grabbing his guitar a little tighter and chuckling after a spoken lyric) helped Scotty seem more like a musician during this performance and less like an uncomfortable flirting baby holding a flute. After being reminded of his season 10 audition, J. Lo kindly requested that Scotty re-shave his head. I still can’t get behind the idea of this child as a sex symbol, but a makeover could provide for over a minute of filler-segment fare, so there you go. Scotty McCreery: soon to be hairless in a Nokia Theater near you.

NEXT: Jimmy Iovine is picking it to win it! The hooded sweatshirt enthusiast thought the Band Perry’s “If I Die Young” fit Lauren‘s voice exactly, as long as she sang it with a “light, optimistic tone.” Lauren could easily nail this instruction. What’s that about tone? “You have the most beautiful tone of our finalists,” raved J. Lo in what my cynical bastard brain first interpreted as “pretty intense compliment” but quickly spun around to “consolation prize speech.” Lauren missed the key change during the song, but J. Lo just chalked it up to “the honesty of what you were creating in that moment.” I thought this was Lauren’s strongest performance, with a variety of light and shade throughout (even including the modulation mishap). It’s recovery that matters, the judges urged her to believe.

After the judging, Ryan did an “impromptu” interview with Lauren’s teen mom. “We have a lot of families that watch this show, which we’re proud of,” said Ryan out of nowhere. “Parents and kids,” he continued, just to clarify this difficult concept. Sorry, millions of viewers who don’t fall into one of those two categories. American Idol is not proud of you.

Jimmy’s choice for Haley to sing “Rhiannon” was, for me (for you?) on a similar level to her own choice to cover Adele. In each case, it seemed like a really risky move. But instead of thinking “She sounds almost as good as Adele” or “Should she really be attempting Stevie Nicks?” my reaction was more along the lines of “Haley herself has a strong vocal here.” Not many Idol contestants can pull that off with iconic singers. When Randy called the performance “a little somber” and anticlimactic, I could see his point. He wanted her to go for a stronger, “more Haley” finish.

I didn’t mind that she changed it up, but I was probably just mesmerized by the wind machine. I do think Stevie’s own “Edge of Seventeen” could have been a much bigger moment for Haley, and maybe some teens would have voted for her too, having identified with the age theme. (Who knows where teen votes come from? They just appear!) Side note: Of course Haley had to wear a questionably necessary scarf — a Stevie Nicks trademark — during her sit-down with Jimmy. Love it. Fellow scarf-lover Steven Tyler told Haley after her performance, “You reminded me why I fell in love with Stevie Nicks to begin with.”

Whoa, just realized that “Rhiannon” is probably to blame for why I always want to spell “Rihanna” with an Rh instead. I’m having an Idol moment!

NEXT: The judges pick a round 2 winner, bask in the glory of their own song selectionsSteven said Lauren won round two, while J. Lo and Randy’s shared robot brain bleated out “SCOTTY SCOTTY SCOTTY.” I guess he rocked their boots.

The policemen in Scotty’s hometown didn’t look too jazzed about his Kenny Rogers song selection from the judges, but “She Believes in Me” was an apt choice for the teen heartthrob whom all females relentlessly admire. From the way J. Lo was dreamily mouthing all of the words along with Scotty’s eyebrows, I’m guessing she was responsible for this one. “We all wanted to see if you could hit that big chorus. I guess you showed us,” Jennifer said afterwards, throwing him a lingering side-glance. Wait a minute. Yo. Yo. I’m pretty sure none of the judges were “wondering” if vocally consistent croonbot Scotty McCreery could “hit a chorus.” Give me a break.

I’m surprised none of the judges named Scotty’s dad, Fr. Lockthemdoors, as the winner of the third round. Major upset.

J. Lo called round three for Lauren before her “fallen” competitor Haley had even sung. That was fair. The judges’ choice: Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” a.k.a. the “Nuts of Wonder” song from Hollywood Week. It didn’t seem like Lauren connected much to these emotional lyrics at all; nevertheless, J. Lo was overcome with “goosies,” which is a medical term for pimples that erupt along the epidermis of the most beautiful woman in the world whenever the NigelsNotes beg them to. Randy said Lauren “slayed it,” but then went on a mysteriously long digression about the color of her hideous Disney gown.

Esteemed Colleague Email Interlude

While we devotin’ full time to floatin’ in dee ’80s…

Lauren’s top 3 performance night might have been better fleshed out if we had heard from her dad. The others got a turn. No fair!

Haley had to get her judges’ choice song all alone in the backseat of a streetcar named bad weather. Congratulations, missy, you’ll be singing the same thing every single woman belted out at karaoke after her last breakup! In response, Haley did her best Miley Cyrus impersonation: “I think it’s pretty cool.” But would she go down on this song in the theater? Hell to the no. This is family programming. Parents. Kids. Parents. Kids.

Jessica Shaw, everyone. A parent with kids.

As all three judges rushed to point out, Haley “slayed it” on the choruses of Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know.” Her voice could not handle the lower register of the verses — “oughtn’t” the judges…know that? Even Haley had to laugh it off as she bungled a few notes at the beginning, as if to say “Who cares, we all know the whole point of this angry anthem is the part where I get to yell.”

True. But I was very comfortable with Haley blatantly ignoring J. Lo during her angry sex rub against the judges’ table during that last number.

Esteemed iPhone Pic of My TV Screen:

Steven Tyler’s I’VE HAD IT WITH THIS look after Randy’s 100 bazillionth ‘in it to win it’ (aimed at Lauren)

Who goes home tonight, friends — the lion, the cowboy, or the wardrobe?

Read more: ‘American Idol’

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American Idol

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.
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