American Idol Top 5 Performances

It’s still 1.5 hour long?

The theme is “Now and Then” – first contemporary songs and then old ones. Each has two songs.

When asked, Randy says that top five is so important because America needs to know who is in it to win it. Randy, if they’ve made it this far, with only three weeks to go, I think the answer is “all of them.” I think the real problem is that there are no real frontrunners right now. Maybe Scotty.

Guest mentor is Sheryl Crow. There weren’t going to be guest mentors.

James is singing “Closer to the Edge” 30 secs to Mars Apparently, James sounds better the less I know the song. Until he starts doing glory notes in places where even I can tell glory notes do not belong. The judges love him, and Ryan doesn’t know what full monty means.

Just assume the judges love everything unless told otherwise, okay? Because, honestly, they’re not worth transcribing anymore. Also, just ignoring Steven on general principles.

Jacob is singing “No Air” by Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown. Yes, he’s singing a duet as a solo. And it’s as much a disaster as you can imagine. He also does what Adam refrained from doing on Idol – a crotch grab. Which doesn’t even fit this song, so I don’t even know. And Jennifer says that she doesn’t know who Jacob is anymore and that he needs to do more to make the top 3. Randy doesn’t like it either.

Lauren is singing Carrie Underwood’s “Flat on the Floor.” Ah, good girl. Stay in that box. She sings it well, though.

Scotty is singing “Gone” by Montgomery Gentry. Even the singer’s name tells me it’s a country song. And Scotty sings it Scotty style, so it’s good if dumb.

Ah, this is interesting for real. Haley is singing an unreleased Lady Gaga song, “You and I”. This is a song she only sings in concerts. She actually spoke to Gaga herself. They just linked Haley to the reigning queen of pop. And she kills it. And the judges…hate it. And wonder why she chose a song unfamiliar to the audience. Well, because Gaga said she could, for one. And for another – I listen to rock radio, and I don’t recall ever hearing the 30 Seconds to Mars song, and I for sure never heard the two country songs. So I was only even vaguely familiar with Jacob’s offering. I like her taking that chance, and doing so well with it. It also proves she can sing a pop song, which is something UMG needs to know.

Round two – DING!

James is singing Harry Nilsson’s “Without You.” He’s missing his girlfriend and baby a lot, so the song is very emotional for him. He can’t even get through rehearsal. When he does perform it, though – it starts off fine. He shows some real tone in his voice in his lower register (something he’s had difficulty with) and it’s pretty. And then…I don’t know. He starts with the high notes and he sounds flat and pitchy and by the end he’s crying so hard he can’t sing. Which the judges treat as a GOOD thing because only true artists can feel and channel such emotions.

No. Just, no. True artists can feel emotions ad channel them and STILL keep control while singing. Does anyone doubt Adam’s anger when he sang “Black or White?” The pain he felt being different when he sang “Mad World?” Any of his feelings with “A Change is Gonna Come?” He had real tears when he sang “Tracks of My Tears” and his voice stayed clear and true. And this is not unique to Adam. The best singers connect emotionally with their songs and yet manage to sing them without losing the song.

Jacob sings “Love Hurts”,and this song hurts.

Lauren, in a pageant gown, sings “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers – yet another song that requires more maturity than she currently has. Her voice can handle it, but she can’t find the right emotions for it.

Scotty sings “You Were Always on My Mind” by Elvis Presley (and Willy Nelson.) And. It’s boring. He has a gorgeous voice and I like this song a lot, but it’s boring to me.

Finally, Haley comes on again. She’s singing “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals. This is such a hard song to sing, and it’s one Siobhan did so well last year. Sheryl Crow tells her to start off a capella, though, and she does. Because Haley is smart and listens to the lady who who knows of what she speaks.

And it’s amazing. The a capella opening is strong and chilling, and she just growls and sings her way through it, making it her own. For the first time this season, we have an actual MOMENT. It may well be the performance of the year. And the judges have to give her a standing ovation.

When the judges gave her such a bad review after the first song, you could see Haley had decided they wanted her to go home. And so she had nothing to lose when she came to this. If this was to be her last performance on Idol, she was going to make it count – she was going to just sing it as Haley. Just the way she blew us away in her results’ nights duets. Haley performing, NOT competing.

And that’s what kind of a performer she really is.

I think Jacob is going home tonight, and he should. But if Haley does go – she still won because she did it on her own terms and she showed what she could do. And UMG is paying attention.


About mamadeb

I'm a devoted fan of Adam Lambert, but also of cooking, knitting, science fiction and pretty anything pop culture. I'm @_mamadeb on Twitter.
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5 Responses to American Idol Top 5 Performances

  1. barbara kleinschmidt says:


  2. JLM says:

    What the hell is wrong with the judges?? How can they pimp James over Halley who is obviously so much more talented?? I just don’t get it.

  3. Maloy says:

    Everybody has a backstory. Each one is as important to the individual as the next.
    It is a singing competition and that is what should be judged.

    • mamadeb says:

      Back stories are important in the beginning so that the voting public can feel that they know and sympathize with the contestants. If they feel distant, they won’t vote. And you might notice that by the time the top ten happens, we don’t hear anything more about their back stories unless the contestants bring them up or it’s relevant.

      I have always respected David Cook for refusing to talk about his brother’s illness even when Ryan all but begged him to.

      That said, it is NOT a singing competition. It’s a popularity contest with singing as the hook. By this point, people are voting for who they like, not who sings best. And while no one talks about the back stories anymore, no one forgets them.

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