Writer vs Musician: A.I. Performance (5/4/11)
Advisory: Only the performances are recapped/reviewed here because we feel the need to form our own opinion on the show. The Writer, or Average Joe, is Jeff Siler and the Musician is Topher Schaller, of St Louis Local band The Phranklyn Project, and we come at this show from both an “Average Joe” and a Musician’s perspective.
This week the remaining contestants performed two songs, the first being a recent song and the second being a classic song. They had Sheryl Crow there to help them with their songs.
James Durbin- “Closer to the Edge” 30 Seconds To Mars and “Without You” Harry Nillson
Topher: Song 1 – The mighty has fallen. His rendition of this song was easily the worst I’ve ever heard him sing. He was pitchy and all over the place with a performance that lacked the guster we have come to expect with him.
Song 2 – I was not impressed with James on this song either. His emotions got the best of him and his performance suffered because of it. Maybe live I would have felt his energy a bit more, but through the television it just felt like a ploy for the sympathy vote.
Jeff: Didn’t care for his first performance but thought his second was much much better and that should keep him going strong
Jacob Lusk- “No Air” Jordan Sparks and “Love Hurts” Nazareth
Topher: Song 1 – Jacob really tried to come out and “wow” the audience with this song, he didn’t. He stomped around the stage and put as much emotion in it as he could, but all it really did was throw his pitch all over the place and make him look a bit goofy. The song choice did little to help him show off his impressive range although he tried unsuccessfully to do so.
Song 2 – Just when I want to count Jacob out his does a song like this, and totally slays it. His vocal range was put into full effect on one of his best song choices since Hollywood week.
Jeff: I did not like either one of these performances, as usual
Lauren Alaina- “Flat On The Floor” Carrie Underwood and “Unchained Melody” The Righteous Brothers
Topher: Song 1 – After Scotty’s killer song it was going to be hard to top that. Lauren didn’t but she held her own. This song is exactly the type of song I could hear Lauren singing on an album, and I might buy the album because of this song. Her vocals were the strongest I have ever heard from her.
Song 2 – Three words, “Lauren can sing.” Not the best song choice for her, but she nailed it anyways.
Jeff: I actually liked both of these performances (f.y.i. Lauren went before Scotty!!!)
Scotty McCreery– “Gone” Montgomery Gentry and “Always On My Mind” Willie Nelson
Topher: Song 1 – Scotty to me was becoming a bit of a one trick pony, week after week we watched as he did well on slow country songs, but it had become a bit boring. So I was blown away with this song. Scotty seemed less like an Idol and more like a true country star. If Scotty could do more songs like this I might become a fan.
Song 2 – After his impressive first song, I was ready for more of the new Scotty. But it was the old Scotty that showed up for this song. It was okay, solid, but a bit karaoke-ish.
Jeff: His first one was really good and strong, but I really didn’t like his second performance
Haley Reinhart- “You and I” Lady Gaga and “House of the Rising Sun” The Animals
Topher: Song 1- It was a gamble doing an unreleased Lady Gaga song on American Idol. A gamble I don’t think will pay off for her in the long run, but a gamble I’m glad she took. The performance was a bit lackluster, but the vocals were the best I’ve heard from her.
Song 2 – The judges gave her the standing ovation at the end of the song, but from were I was the song wasn’t all that. She performed it beautifully, but it really seemed to be a bit safe for her.
Jeff: I liked her first performances and loved her second performance
Topher: Bottom 3
With Jacob going home.
To me Lauren was the star this week. Other performers had better performances, Scotty took best performance in my book, but she was the most consistent. Jacob was fair, but I don’t think he can hold a torch next to the other contestants. Hailey keeps getting better, but I fear she will not be good enough soon enough. And James really disappointed me this week. He is usually the one to beat, but this week he was all over the place and going for the cheap votes.
Jeff: My two favorites from the night were both of the girls Lauren Alaina and Haley Reinhart. Lauren had a very upbeat song that I absolutely loved and then changed it up by doing a much slower that I felt was still very solid. Haley started off with an relatively unknown song by Lady Gaga but I felt the performance was still very good and then she blew me away with her second song when she did a rendition on “House of the Rising Sun”…which I liked more than the original.
If I had to put the performances in any certain order then I would put it like this: 1. Haley “House of the Rising Sun” 2. Lauren “Flat on the Floor” 3. James “Without You” 4. Scotty “Gone” 5. Lauren “Unchained Melody 6. Haley “You and I” 7. James “Closer to the Edge” 8. Scotty “Always on MY Mind” 9. Jacob “No Air” 10. Jacob “Love Hurts”
At this point it’s really difficult to determine my Bottom Three, but if I had to put three people down there then I would put the three boys( Jacob Lusk, Scotty McCreery, and James Durbin) in the Bottom three. I have been wrong for a while but I truthfully hope America is smart this week and finally comes to their senses and votes Jacob off. Everywhere I look this guy is getting ripped for being completely wrong for this show but America hasn’t gotten rid of him, I guess it’s because of his “personality”.
© 2011 Jeff Siler www.trainwreckstl.com and Topher Schaller