Or “The One Where I Have No One to Pick On Because Naima is Gone”. The theme was “Famous Rock and Roll Songs” or “Famous Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll” or something to do with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I was never really clear to be quite honest. But, whatever it was, it seemed like a wide open category, and I like those. Will. I. Am was the guest mentor, and surprisingly, dude is pretty funny. As opposed to Jimmy Iovine, who is not funny at all. It was an interesting juxtaposition, those two.
Jacob Lusk - “Man in the Mirror” – I know I’m in the minority here, but I like Jacob more and more every week. He seems to have better control every time he performs. I thought this was an awesome song choice, and I loved the way he didn’t over-sing it. I didn’t really care for his “dancing” though, and I use that term very loosely. About as loose as Jacob’s hips. Oh my.
Hailey Reinhart - “Little Piece of My Heart” – Of all the Janis Joplin songs out there, she had to pick the one that has been remade the most. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was actually pretty good. But I have to say it, the growling! It is getting to me. The difference between Hailey and Janis, other than a lot of years, a lot of drugs and a grave, is that Janis Joplin’s voice just sounded like that, while Hailey has to force it. It can get annoying when it’s natural, but it’s really annoying when it’s forced. She did manage to keep her red lipstick on her lips this time, so yay for her.
Casey Abrams - “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” – I love CCR. I love Casey on the upright bass. I loved this performance. It might have been my favorite song of his. There’s just never much I can say about him because really, how do you expound upon awesome? ‘Cause that’s what he is… AWESOME.
Lauren Alaina – “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman” – Incidentally, a song from The Big Chill. I didn’t care for her Gwen Stefani make-over. Those of us with larger derrieres should not wear bubble shorts. For an Aretha Franklin song that she could have really blown out of the water, she didn’t take it where it could have gone, and that left me a little disappointed.
Sidenote: What was up with Randy’s pleather jacket? Could that even be classified as pleather or was it just straight-up plastic?
James Durbin - “While My Guitar Weeps” – I think I liked this, but to be quite honest, I was so distracted by the light shining through his big ol’ ears that I can’t be sure. Burge said they looked like big red demon eyes on either side of his head. I don't think that was the look he was going for. It was a nice touch that he wore his tail as a scarf and used it to wipe away his tears at the end. In all seriousness, he did a good job, and I think it was a wise move to show a different side where he’s not setting red pianos on fire.
Scott McCreery – “That’s All Right, Mama “ – How much did they pay those girls to swarm him at the end? If only he had had James’s scarf to flick out into the crowd… They really are trying to sell us hard on Scotty. I’m still not buying. He seems to be getting a little cocky, which is never an attractive trait, but then that could’ve just been him channeling Elvis. And please tell me Gwen Stefani did not endorse the denim-on-denim outfit he was sporting.
Pia Toscano - “River Deep, Mountain High” – Not the most flattering outfit. What else can I say about Pia? She sings great, and she finally did a song that wasn’t a ballad. But, there still seems to be something missing with her. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it might have something to do with her totally rehearsed, pageantry performance style.
Stefano Lagone - “When a Man Loves a Woman” – Another Big Chill song… Again, there is something that is not clicking with me and Stefano. I think part of it is the way he speeds up some lyrics and drags out others. That seems to be the way he “makes a song his own”. That is not so creative, just annoying.
Paul McDonald - “Folsom Prison Blues” – Yay! Paul had a great performance AND he got to close out the show. Where Paul has a leg up on the rest of the competition is that he knows how to work a crowd. It’s obvious that he’s been in a band that has had some stage experience before. This was an excellent song choice, and he rocked it. Big surprise here, but he and Casey tied for my favorite performance of the night.
So, my bottom three would be Hailey (I gave her a week off last week), Stefano and Jacob (only because he opened the show and that appears to be the kiss of death). I really thought they were all on a level playing field this week, so it could really be anyone going. But my pick to leave this week would be Stefano.