This week, the top twelve contestants on American Idol sang songs from the year they were born. This means that the songs ranged from 1984 to 1995, which brought together some nice music. The song choices were a bit mixed, some of which were bold and new (like Casey Abrams picking Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and James Durbin singing Bon Jovi's "I'll Be There For You," and no, this isn't the "Friends" theme song we're talking about by The Rembrandts) and some of which were basically the same old thing (like Karen Rodriguez's "Love Will Lead You Back," Naima Adedapo's "What's Love Got To Do With It," and Jacob Lusk's "Alone"). Sometimes I don't necessarily put this on the contestants, but on the song selection, as it seems that the list is more limited than we believe. However, there were some deliveries that were made.
James Durbin, Pia Toscano, Scotty McCreery, and Jacob Lusk had the strongest performances of the week. I give Casey Abrams a ton of credit for being bold with his song selection. He didn't hit the bullseye, but he did give an interesting performance. Kurt Cobain is one of those singers that generally sings so jumbled that it's extremely difficult to duplicate. For instance, in "Breed," he makes "she said" sound like "cheese head."
James found the right time and place to add his high note to his song, and on top of it, made a bold statement about singing with Steven Tyler at the finale. Pia has been given a lot of beef about not singing upbeat, but was able to do it this week. Now it's Thia Megia, who had a good performance this week, but sings in a similar tone, that should do something upbeat next week. Scotty did Travis Tritt this week and hit some pretty high notes and hit them well. While Jacob's performance wasn't as strong as the other defining performances of "Alone," like Carrie Underwood and Allison Iraheta, it was still a really good performance coming out of a male performer. "Alone," being sung by Heart, one of the strongest female groups of all time, was a really bold choice for Jacob. Remember, it was after Carrie sang "Alone" that Simon Cowell predicted that she was not only going to win, but also sell more records than any other Idol in history.
The ones that fell to the bottom in my mind were Naima Adedapo and Haley Reinhart. Naima's performance of Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It" fell completely flat, and didn't have the power or direction. This was Tina Turner's comeback song, probably her most well known with the exception of "Proud Mary." While Naima attempted to make it her own, it didn't deliver. Haley sang Whitney Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight," and it seemed as if there was more about her lipstick episode than there was about her performance.
It was nice to see Lee DeWyze back, and the Black Eyed Peas did somewhat better than at the Super Bowl halftime show, but to me, the results show is about results. Karen Rodriguez was the one with the lowest number of votes, and was not saved by the judges. I do agree with the decision of not saving her. While she performed "Hero" well, it wasn't worth saving her. The decision was not unanimous, and I'm putting a strong wager that it was Jennifer Lopez that wanted to save her. It's good that the decision to use to save is being saved for a dramatic upset that may occur sometimes later in the season. I do feel that Naima and Haley deserved to be shown the door before Karen, but I knew that Karen's time would be coming soon. I feel that Naima and Haley will be and should be the next two to go.
Next week, whomever survives goes on tour, so that should be a good thing. I'm looking to see what kind of performances the Idols will be performing, and I think most everyone else will too. However, finding out the top ten is going to be what's on most viewers minds.