Cold opening - "Remember when they were just a face?" We see some quick clips of the auditions and Jacob leaping about. "Now they are stars in the making!" Really? Well some of them are, I suppose.
Voiceover man welcomes the judges. JLo is wearing some kind of shiny short shorts. Ryan comes out and people are screaming in the audience. He tells us the Top 7 will "pour their hearts out" for our votes. The Top 7 come out. Lots of signs for James. Haley is wearing polka dots. Ryan tells us the theme, but first, something special?
All the eliminated contestants - Ashthon, Karen, Naima, Thia, Pia, and Paul - are performing Pink's "So What." This is a first. The girls kick it off and are joined by Paul, who's wearing his black and red flowered suit again. Karen's hair is shorter and curlier. This is just plain weird. Mark Ballas, Pia's alleged boyfriend is in the house.
Scotty McCreery - "Swingin'" (LeAnn Rimes)
Jimmy warns Scotty not to be complacent. Scotty makes some pretty odd faces and manhandles the microphone. I've pretty much decided Scotty's going to the top and it really doesn't matter what he does. I do think this was a pretty safe choice, and actually, rather boring.
Steven says he loves Scotty and LeAnn. He wants Scotty to boot-scoot a little more. JLo says she loves Scotty's story-telling. She wants him to push past his comfort zone a bit and was expecting more. The audience boos. Randy says JLo is correct. He thinks they have to bring it really hard every week. Hmmm. Well, we don't have to worry about him, now, do we?
James Durbin - "Uprising" (Muse)
James gets some couch time with Ryan. James says he gets an amazing vision for each of the songs he sings. In his pre-performance clip, the other contestants make fun of James' scarves and how he bends backwards when he hits the high notes.
James chose this song to prove that he can be contemporary. He comes out of a side entrance with a drumline of sorts. Seriously, it's so reminiscent of Lambert I feel like I'm having flashbacks. But the vocals aren't there. He's off-key for most of the song and seems off the melody, whatever the melody was supposed to be. The drummers play out as they leave the stage.
JLo says that this will be theatrically the best performance of the night. "Wow... that was the highest we've ever heard you sing." Randy hopes James will follow this pattern. He agrees with Jennifer that this might be the best of the night. Steven warns James to stay out of his closet. "That was crazy good, you took it up again." He loves that James is "out of his mind, beautifully so."
Haley Reinhart - "Rolling in the Deep" (Adele)
This song really is right in her comfort zone. She seems to be rushing it a bit and she's pitchy here and there, but I rather like this. Might just be her best to date, for me at least.
Randy says he is looking for the direction people will be taking once they leave the show. He says he thinks Haley chose a perfect direction for her and is happy she picked that song. Steven agrees with Randy. JLo says it takes a lot of guts to take on a record that everyone knows right now. She thinks there were moments when Haley forgot about Adele and that's where she shined.
Jacob Lusk - "Dance With my Father" (Luther Vandross)
Jacob gets a little stool time with Ryan. He says singing Luther is scary. He wishes Luther a happy birthday. The other contestants say Jacob is a diva and does a lot of "yaggedy yags!"
I love this song and love Luther. Jacob is crying during the rehearsal. Jacob gets the string section. He messes up in the beginning and does a lot of eye-rolling. I think his ear piece is malfunctioning. His voice sounds mushy or something. The vocals aren't really quite there tonight. He seems disappointed as well.
Steven calls him "Luther Lusk" and notes Jacob's stumble. JLo says it's hard when a song means that much to you. "Emotionally, it was a beautiful performance." Randy says vocally it was good, but it didn't make him jump up and down. He wants Jacob to go off the top. He says it's like Jacob is a race horse with restraints.
Before Casey performs, Ryan has few chuckles with Mark Ballas.
Casey Abrams - "Harder to Breathe" (Maroon 5)
Casey's playing guitar. Mad Casey is back, sort of. He's got the lyrics down and really works the stage. His vocals are great, all over the place. This is good. He takes it right up to JLo at the end and kisses her. Great performance.
JLo says Casey's not playing fair and loved it. She says he brought all his "Caseyisms" to it and brought it all the way rock. Randy says he loves that it's all about surprise, surprise, surprise. Steven says Casey's already a cult hero and there's a string of expletives that I am unable to interpret.
When we come back from the break, Steven has duct tape over his mouth.
Stefano Langone - "Closer" (Ne-Yo)
Jacob says Stefano will flirt with a piece of paper if he has the chance. Boy bander is back. He tries to gyrate a bit and grind. It's awful. He's off too. When he hits the bridge, it looks like the veins are going to pop out of his head. It's awful. Beyond awful.
Randy doesn't know what to say. He says he thought it would be jerky and bad karaoke, but Stefano turned it around. He likes that Stefano took the time singing the verses. Randy, dude? Steven isn't very enthusiastic but says "Good job." JLo says Stefano had his swag on and felt like it was a "real" performance.
Steven's daughter Mia is in the house.
Lauren Alaina - "Born to Fly" (Sara Evans)
They all make fun of the way Lauren talks and how much she talks. Jimmy wants Lauren to stop holding back. Lauren looks about 30! There's absolutely nothing wrong with this performance. The vocals are on point and she works the stage. But I'm not jumping up and down as Randy would say. It was just airight for me.
Steven is vague. JLo says Lauren has a lot of color in her voice. She wonders why Lauren doesn't sing the "big notes." Randy says Lauren can sing anything. He urges her to believe in herself. JLo interrupts. Randy wants Lauren to challenge herself.
After the recap, the judges fall over themselves to praise this group. Randy urges them to "bring it." David Cook and Katy Perry on Thursday as another Idol goes home. Or maybe not home, but to that group number hell we witnessed at the start of the show tonight!!!
- Scotty - B-
- James - B
- Haley - B-
- Jacob - C+
- Casey - A
- Stefano - D
- Lauren - B