American Idol 2011: Top 12 performance show recap – Worst song choices ever

Tonight’s “American Idol” was one weird episode. From some of the worst song choices in Idol history to all of the contestants’ parents singing during their interviews, I was ready to shut the TV off, unplug it, take it outside to burn it, and never watch TV again.

The contestants had to sing songs from the years they were born. And since contestants are getting younger and younger, this theme is no longer a  great one. Who wants to hear songs from 1989?

Oh, and did I mention that Ryan Seacrest licked Haley Reinhart’s face? Anyway, on to the recap. As always, I’ll review each performance and give them the letter grade I (me personally) believes they deserve.

In order of performance

*Naima Adedapo, “What’s Love Got To Do With It” (1984). She got off to a bad start then stayed flat during most of the song. I don’t even know what key she was trying to sing in. Tina Turner is a powerhouse singer and Naima did nothing to even come close to that greatness. She didn’t even sing the chorus. She probably put herself back in the bottom after redeeming herself last week. F-

*Paul McDonald, “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues” (1984). I think Paul could’ve chosen a better song. When I think of Paul I don’t think of Elton John. But Paul did what Paul does. He sang in his unique voice, did his wacky dance moves and smiled that crazy-perfect smile. Love him or hate him, he’s got people talking and he’s got star written all over him. I like Paul, but tonight, I thought his performance was just OK. B-

*Thia Megia, “Colors of The Wind” (1995). I was ready to hurl when I heard she chose this song. But Thia made me really listen to this song for the first time. And I liked what I heard. I’ve not been a Thia fan before tonight. But tonight, she wasn’t only an effortless singer with a super smooth voice, she actually sang to me (and by me, I mean us). I felt it for the first time. I do hope she steps it up next week. I’m tried of all the sleepy songs! A

*James Durbin, “I’ll Be There For You” (1989). I thought the arrangement was terrible. But James is such a performer, I quickly got over that. He made me want to sing along. But if you really get down to it, it’s really about the singing right now. So based on just the singing, I’d give it a B+. But James did something I haven’t seen in a long time. He’s planted himself in the finale. He even got Steven Tyler to agree to sing with him AT the finale. That was brilliant. He’ll have people voting for him for that reason alone. So I think James is a smart one. So I’m raising his grade based on an overall package. A+

*Haley Reinhart, “I’m Your Baby Tonight” (1990). This just wasn’t the right song for her voice. And I agree with Randy. Who is she? Who does she want to be? I’m so confused by her. I still like the blues vibe we hear, but song choice is her downfall right now. She had some B+ moments but moments aren’t good enough. C-

*Stefano Langone, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” (1989). Again, another not-so-great song choice. But who cares. His performance was absolutely flawless. Great vocals. Believability. He owned it. A

*Pia Toscano, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” (1988). I love Pia. I think I’ve even let it slip that she’s my current favorite, but I wasn’t into her performance tonight. I want her to take some risks. While she may have fooled the judges and some of you with that arrangement, she didn’t fool me. If you stripped away the kind-of upbeat music, she sang yet another ballad. And that’s all she seems to be able to do. Step it up! Please! But her talent is still undeniable. A-

*Scotty McCreery, “Can I Trust You With My Heart” (1993). I got physically angry when I heard Scotty was once again singing a country song. I know he sings country and shouldn’t stop, but I want him to take a rock song and put a country spin on it. I was so mad! And I wanted to hate his performance, but I couldn’t. He has this weird power over me. I can’t not like his performance or that voice. A

*Karen Rodriguez, “Love Will Lead You Back” (1989). Another snoozer. Bad song choices tonight! Didn’t I already mention that 12 times? Her vocals were decent, but I don’t think she did enough to recover from her bad performance last week. She brought nothing new or exciting to the song and she’s probably in big trouble. And it was so forgettable. I’ve almost forgotten her performance now as I write this. Oh, and did anyone else wonder what Steven wanted to say during his critique since Jennifer interrupted him? C

*Casey Abrams, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991). Monday, I made a controversial statement when I ranked Casey as my second-to-last favorite contestant. So when I heard what he was singing tonight, I expected to love it and be able to please those of you I disappointed. I was ready to join Team Casey. But then he started SCREAMING one of the most loved and ground-breaking songs of my time. Kurt Cobain super fans are probably irate right about now. I thought it was awful. I normally praise Casey’s technical skills despite not being a fan, but I can’t even do that tonight. Like Jennifer said, Cobain had this mad intensity when he sang that song, but he didn’t scream it. He still had us wanting to listen. But Casey didn’t channel that. I even think my neighbor was pounding on the wall for me to turn the TV down. I’m not kidding. I’m sorry. But you guys love him, so he’ll be safe. Maybe I’ll like him next week. D-

*Lauren Alaina, “I’m The Only One” (1994). First of all, I have to ask: can she really not say “hell”? Did she really change the lyric from “burning hell” to “burning flame”? I HATE when this show changes lyrics. That’s like touching up a Monet painting. So disrespectful. But I can’t judge her on that. Her performance was fantastic. She completely redeemed herself from last week’s not-so-good performance. And she’s sick. That’s star quality right there. A

*Jacob Lusk, “Alone” (1987). Like Casey, I really wanted to like Jacob’s performance. I hate not liking the same people week after week, but I can’t help it. First of all, I think “Alone” should be banned from Idol. And I love Heart. But it’s just been done every single season. It’s time to retire it. I thought it was kind of weird that he was singing it anyway. Not that I have a problem with a man singing a woman’s song or vice versa. I just thought it was weird for him. All that aside, I thought the performance was once again terrible. He completely blew out his pitch at one point that even made Jennifer make a funny face. Then he jumped all over the place just like last week. He needs to hold back a little bit. I respect the power in his voice but he just can’t keep in under control. D-

And now I weigh in on who I think will and will not be safe tomorrow night.

100 Percent Safe: Scotty McCreery, Pia Toscano, Casey Abrams, Lauren Alaina, James Durbin

Most Likely Safe: Thia Megia, Paul McDonald, Stefano Langone, Jacob Lusk

Probably the Bottom Three: Karen Rodriguez, Haley Reinhart, Naima Adedapo

Probably Going Home: Karen Rodriguez

I’m not as confident with those predictions as I was with last week’s. I think Haley could just as easily go home. I also think there’s a slight possibility Jacob, Paul or Stefano could fall into the Bottom 3 (hey, it was a weird night… anything can happen tomorrow).

What are your thoughts? Who was great, who wasn’t and who is going home?