American Idol Journal – Week 5 (Top 9)

“In it to win it! BABY!” We heard that a lot this evening and for good reason, tonight was the best all round show of the season.  Kudos for the effort of all the contestants.

James Durbin sings George Harrison

I just said “kudos for the effort” but not all the performances were completely stellar, more on that in a bit.  First, Jacob Lusk gets high marks from me for changing his song for personal reasons, he’s not an ‘in your face’ kind of believer but is certainly living by his convictions. I thought he sang well, kept on pitch and sold the song.  Haley Reinhart has been told she has a Janis Joplin vibe to her voice and she finally gave in to those suggestions by singing one of Joplin’s more emotional songs, Piece of My Heart. Normally I’d say it was the kiss of death to have Joplin hung around your neck (witness Crystal Bowersox, she never got past that label), but Haley worn it just enough to feel the vibe but not so much to be truly typecast.  My only bad comment comes from all the smiling while singing a song meant to be angry.

Casey Abrams seems to have found his place in the world again.  I enjoyed his CCR moment, I’d be surprise for him to return to the bottom three.  Lauren Alaina was good… but I don’t recall what she sang nor do I feel compelled to look it up. Scotty McCreery was amazing again, he’s having lots of fun on the Idol Ride and bringing me with him.  Elvis would be proud.

I think James Durbin is the one to beat this season, tonight showed a kinder, gentler singer.  I think the other contestants must be considering how they could out perform HIM in the finals at this point.

Pia Toscano… what on earth was she thinking when she put on her clothes tonight?  Isn’t anyone around to tell her when the look just isn’t EVER going to work?  Her’s was the only disappointing showing tonight and the judges just couldn’t bring themselves to tell her. First, her outfit more memorable than the singing because of how bad it was, next, she WAS pitchie in the beginning and no one called her on it.  I didn’t think her stage movements were bad, so why did the judges use that as the only thing to pick on?  Because they wouldn’t pan her performance, they want a female to win this year.

Scotty McCreery doing Elvis proud


Stefano Langone sang well enough, he just didn’t sell the performance in my view.  Finally Paul McDonald, what can I say, he was pretty good tonight but who really smiles when they sing Folsom Prison Blues? Maybe he was watching Haley and thought the happy face during a bummer song would work.  On the bright side, I see that McDonald can sing up tempo songs well and without sounding totally hollow.

Standouts for this evening were James Durbin and Scotty McCreery.  I think you will see them in the finals, certainly the top three. I thought Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams were nearly as good tonight.

Average performances were brought by Jacob Lusk, Lauren Alaina, Stefano Langone and Paul McDonald.

Under achievers this evening, just one, Pia Toscano.

I think Paul McDonald will be leaving tomorrow, evening in the shadow of a pretty good performance.  Joining him on the other two bottom seats will be Stefano Langone and Jacob Lusk.  I think the girls are going to have a night to breath easy.  Why no girls tonight… the votes that went to the other girls will be split, most going to Haley, then Pia, and perhaps a few to Lauren.

Thanks for reading this far.