I don't think it's a stretch to predict Scotty will make the Top 2. He's been running in the lead pack all season and for him not to make the finals would be even more surprising than James' getting the boot. The question, then, is who will join him, Haley or Lauren? I still think Lauren and Scotty will split the country votes and Haley will slip in. Haley is the spoiler here, ala Lee DeWyze and Kris Allen, who both bounced the "assumed" winner (Crystal and Adam Lambert). It could happen again, it really could.
But first, we have to get through the Top 3 performance show!
Beyonce is mentoring the kids tonight.
Round 1 - Personal Choice
Scotty McCreery - "Amaze" (Lonestar)
Beyonce calls Scotty a "cutie pie" and says he's so innocent. He hits some high notes, but his strength is in his lower register as it has been all season. He delivers it well enough - not great, but enough.
Steven says he thinks Scotty keeps getting better and better. "You kicked that song into the middle of next week." JLo says Scotty's grown so much as a performer. Randy talks about producing a version of this song for Boyz II Men. He points out a couple of pitchy notes but say he put a period on the end of the song. "That’s money. Scotty’s got money!"
Lauren Alaina - "Wild One" (Faith Hill)
Beyonce says she loves to see Lauren loosen up and have fun. She thinks Lauren's nerves are healthy, but when the camera is on, you have to deliver. Lauren says she'll think of her friend when she performs this song. Lauren's wearing a short red dress/top over black leggings and white cowboy boots. She's really channeling Carrie Underwood on this one. Lauren seems to have a great deal of composure, and her vocals are clean. A bit breathy, but overall, she delivers.
JLo says Lauren came out and attacked it. She says every time you come out, you have to create a moment. Randy says he loves seeing her having fun and remembers the fearlessness they saw in her the first time out. "When you let yourself go, you're at your best." Steven says she was having fun back then and now. He thinks she's "ready for America to be all over her!"
Haley Reinhart - "What is and What Should Never Be (Led Zeppelin)
Beyonce thinks this song shows Haley's gut and that she's a risk taker. She says Haley makes you believe in what she believes in. Haley is hoping her father can play guitar on this with her. That would be cool. The song is a strange choice, but she wrings out the beginning beautifully. And it looks like Daddy is on the stage with her. Go Daddy! This is a great choice, seriously. The song allows her to move through various tones of her voice. She slips and falls, and loses a lyric, but overall, this is super duper. Having her father up there might have been a bit of a distraction, but this was great!
Steven and Randy give Haley a standing O. Randy says, "This is what it's all about." He says she's fearless and chose a song that's not for the weak of heart. "This was one of your best performances ever." Again, "Haley's in it to win it." Steven says it's not about how many times you fall, it's how many times you get up. JLo says they've all fallen at some point. She tells us the sound went out on her over the weekend. "It was a good, good, good round for you." Ryan says this is the first time they've had a parent on stage with a contestant.
I say Haley wins round 1. Randy says, "Round 1 is hands down Haley." Steven says, "Haley got her freak on." JLo goes with Haley as well since the "moment" was created.
Round 2 - Jimmy Iovine's choice
Scotty - "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" (Thompson Square)
We see Scotty's first audition and "Baby Lock Them Doors!" Girls in the audience are screaming. Hey, we've got to fill two hours some way, right? Jimmy says this song reminds him of some old Tom Petty stuff. Scotty's playing guitar. I don't know this song, but I'd say it's a good choice. Scotty's voice is fuller on this one and the song fits him better than "Amaze." No vocal slip-ups on this one.
Steven says he's never heard Scotty deliver a chorus like that before. "Real character showing through." JLo says there were so many moments she loved. "That's what the zone feels like." She wants him to shave his head like it was in the audition. Randy says Jimmy picked a good song - "perfect, right in your range." He says Scotty's approaching the "Garth" level and thought he was at a Scotty concert. Again, "Scotty's in it to win it." Steven looks bored. Ryan says they have trimmers in the back and Scotty is game for a haircut.
Lauren - "If I Die Young" (The Band Perry)
Lauren's supposed to have a sit-down with Ryan, but she's ripped her panty hose and is getting makeup put on her legs. She was wearing panty hose? We see Lauren's initial audition, including her song with Steven. Jimmy says he's always wanted to hear her sing this. It's a good fit, actually. Nothing wrong with her performance at all. She seems totally loose and it helps so much. There are a couple of bum notes in there, but nothing really hideous.
JLo says Lauren has the most beautiful tone of all the finalists. She says Lauren had a very honest moment that Lauren got caught up in. Randy says it was great when Lauren realized she didn't hit the modulation and got back up. He also loves her tone and says this was another great choice by Jimmy Iovine. Lauren gets a little less enthusiastic "she's in it to win it." Steven says she has a beautiful voice and nailed it again. Lauren's pageant Mom says it's been crazy watching her daughter and she's aged twenty years.
Haley - "Rhiannon" (Fleetwood Mac)
We see Haley's audition - her second shot as it were. Great pick, Jimmy. If she does this right, it could win it for her. She opens strong, but loses something when the song kicks in. The background singers are totally off her key and distract from her vocals. She gets a fan to blow her hair around. When she's by herself, it's outstanding. Maybe she's a tad over-confident here. I don't think she did it.
Randy says Haley cracks him up. He says he thinks she did a good job, but it was a somber moment. Steven says she sang the song so well it reminds him why he fell in love with Stevie Nicks. JLo says it was a beautiful moment. She thought Haley was going to take it a little further at the end. "Beautiful, ethereal moment."
I'll give this round to Scotty. Steven thinks Lauren, JLo says Scotty, and Randy picks Scotty. Jimmy says we saw Scotty transform to a rock star. Lauren showed incredible poise, and what Haley did was not easy. So, he doesn't pick. Neil Sedaka is in the house next to Jimmy and gets a round of applause.
World premiere of Beyonce's video "Run the World." the song is auto-tuned to death. Awful. Hello mute button.
We have 28 minutes left in the show and three more performances to go.
Round 3 - Judges' Choice
Scotty - "She Believes in Me" (Kenny Rogers)
Why? Scotty gets the whole string section, but that doesn't really help him all that much. JLo sings along. Scotty blows some notes and doesn't really relax into the song until halfway through. It's not a good fit and he doesn't really catch the melody all that well. He booms out the chorus, though, saving himself in the end. Not a bad performance, just a lame choice.
Steven says this is the first big chorus he's heard Scotty sing. Someone in the audience shouts out "You're going to the finale, Scotty." JLo says they picked the song to see if he could hit the chorus. Randy says it's about stretching himself. He knows Scotty was probably not comfortable with it, but thinks he did a good job. Ryan asks Scotty's father what he'd like to say to him. "Words can't describe how proud we are of him," he says. "We're just humbled by the support he's getting... we're so proud of you." Dad sings "Baby Lock Them Doors." Scotty needs to sing this for the finale.
Lauren - "I Hope You Dance" (Lee Ann Womack)
They keep the strings out for Lauren. She's wearing what looks like a bad bridesmaids dress. This is actually a good pick for Lauren in that it gives her a chance to power out some notes, while at the same time staying in her comfort zone. Nice job, actually.
JLo has goosebumps and says you can't buy those. She says Lauren won the round for her already. Randy says Lee Ann is his friend and Lauren slayed it. He loves the dress. "Ryan, this girls also in it to win it." Steven says Lauren walked out like she owned the Grand Ole Opry. Lee Ann is also his friend too. Lee Ann has a lot of friends.
Haley - "You Oughta Know" (Alainis Morrisette)
Haley gets off to a rather shaky start, but man, once she gets into the meat of it, she takes complete control. She totally gets into the zone and owns it. The chorus is crazy good. Whoa. The good outweighed the bad.
Randy says "America's got their work cut out for them." He loves seeing her rock out in a soulful way. "Haley is in it to win it." Steven says she nailed the choruses perfectly. JLo says there's no one who can match her in the chorus. The middle, not so good. Some moron shouts out, "You're the winner, Haley."
Lauren wins this round for me. Steven agrees. JLO sticks with Lauren. Randy also picks Lauren.
- Scotty - B-/A/B-
- Lauren - B/B+/A-
- Haley - A/C/B+
I missed James tonight. I wasn't his biggest fan, but his presence added something distinctive to the performance shows and without him, it was rather dull. He should have been there.