We're down to the top six. All of the people left can sing. I at least like five of them. I am a fan of three of them. I have two favorites. There's only one I think really deserves to win. I have my doubts that any of them will amount to much in the real world. I haven't downloaded a single song from this year. That's a first for this late in the season. I usually have been moved to add at least one song to my iPod by now. Maybe tonight will be the night. Let's see.
Jacob Lusk (Oh No That's My Baby) – If the judges haven't soured on Jacob, it seems the producers certainly have. He went third last week and ended up in the bottom three (quite possibly the bottom two, although they never say who had the second and third least votes). So this week he has to go first. And I knew as soon as Ryan said they were doing duets tonight as well that he'd be paired with James. We'll get to that disaster later. This started really rough for me. I know I can be hard on him because he's that sixth person left (the one I don't like), but it seemed like he was only hitting three out of four notes for the first third of the song. He definitely pulled it together and ended strong, but there's no one on shakier ground than him. 78
Lauren Alaina (Where You Lead) – I love this song, but the arrangement they gave Lauren to work with was just this side of awful. Plus, I kept waiting for that note she was supposed to really go after, but I couldn't even figure out where it would have been. The degree of difficulty didn't seem that high on any of it. In spite of that, I think this was one of her strongest performances. It's the most comfortable by far that she's looked on stage. I posted a clip of Vonzell Solomon singing Let's Hear It For the Boy from season four on Facebook this week and this performance reminded me of that one. Not the best thing she's done vocally so far, but she probably won more new fans tonight than she has in weeks. 80
The judges really fixated on that one note she missed. I guess Nigel instructed them to start finding fault. It might be my imagination, but it really seems like they are preparing to toss her under the bus that's scheduled right after the one that runs Jacob down.
Casey / Haley (I Feel the Earth Move) – I don't have a whole lot to say about the duets. I feel like Casey was missing as many notes as he was hitting here. And Haley wasn't anything to write home about either. 75 / 78
Scotty McCreery (You've Got a Friend) – I'm quite sure I'll not be buying (or even bit torrenting) any music he ever records, but I have to say that I think if they are giving out a most improved since Hollywood week, this guy wins it hands down. He reminds me a little bit of Clay Aiken in that he listens to the advice (such that it is this season) and tries to incorporate it without straying from who he is. This was another strong performance, which is no small feat considering how iconic this song is. 88
James Durbin (Will You Love Me Tomorrow) – I think it will be a crime if he doesn't win (when I said something similar about Pia she went home that week). The only unfortunate thing is that I don't think I'll end up liking anything he does after Idol. He's super talented and I love his voice, but I have a feeling he's going to be veering toward a genre I'm not really a big fan of. Of course, if he wins there will be at least one album that is poppy. I thought this was brilliant. I got an “ARE YOU CRAZY” look from my friend when I said this, but I'll say it here anyway. I got a David Cook vibe from this performance and I loved it. I don't know if it was the guitar or the arrangement or what, but I could see David doing that (just as well too). 93
Lauren / Scotty (Up on the Roof) – The fact that these two look so cute together when they perform will probably help Lauren this week. Sort of like when Allison and Adam did their duet and Danny Gokey went home the next night instead of Allison. 85 / 85
Casey Abrams (Hi Dee Ho) – I loved the beginning of this performance. And the end. I wasn't a big fan of the almost talking through the middle of it. I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority on that though. I love how whenever he does well, they all say he's been great all along, forgetting the weeks that he's kind of gone awry. For me, this week was somewhere in between. 82
Haley Reinhart (Beautiful) – Love this song. Hated the arrangement. She'll be helped by going last (in the solos). And she did a good enough job with it. I still want her in the finale with James. I feel like she's the most interesting one left after him (sorry Casey). 83
Jacob / James (I'm into Something Good) – Did Simon once use a “chocolate and sardines” metaphor – or something like that? That's what this was, from beginning to end. Even Steven Tyler couldn't think of anything good to say about it. Usually being on the stage last is a good thing, but Jacob already was in the hole because he went first and wasn't great. The only thing memorable about this was how dreadful it was. 70 / 70
At this point in the competition, the third person in the bottom three could be any of the top four I think. I have to assume that Scotty and James have been getting the most votes all along. If Scotty's performance last week didn't land him in the bottom three, I think he's going to sail to the top four. But even so, if he and James (and they said Lauren also but I didn't think that was right) have never been in the bottom three they are probably all pretty close in votes. That means that if Haley or Casey get a boost (unlikely but possible) anything can happen. What should happen is that Jacob, Casey and Lauren should be in the bottom three. What will probably happen is that Jacob, Casey and Haley will end up there. It's almost definitely Jacob's time.