American Idol 2011: Top 13 performance show recap – Ups and (mostly) downs

The “American Idol” lucky 13 took the stage tonight (Tuesday technically) to deliver to us songs from their own personal idols. There were a lot rocky moments and poor song choices but still a couple of obvious, and not-so-obvious standouts. I just wasn’t that impressed tonight. And my reviews are going to reflect that. So be warned. My least favorite thing of the night was the behind-the-scenes footage. I don’t care. I just want to hear them sing.

As always, I’ll review each performance and give it a grade.

In order of performance

*Lauren Alaina, “Any Man of Mine.” Lauren wasn’t as good as last week. She does Reba a lot better than Shania. It was all a little karaoke and even a little flat at times. That’s surprising from her. Are people already getting cocky? And not that it matters, but if I’m judging everything, she was dressed a little frumpy. C+

*Casey Abrams, “With A Little Help From My Friends.” This has always been one of my favorite songs, as I grew up with “The Wonder Years” and this was its theme song. So I was iffy when I heard it was what Casey was singing. I actually liked it. I’m not a Casey fan, but tonight I was on board. It did seem he got lost once but covered it well. Or maybe he did that intentionally. Who knows. Side note: Did you catch his repetitive weed call out? I had a feeling he was a stoner. A-

*Ashthon Jones, “When You Tell Me That You Love Me.” Did Wildcard Ashthon do anything to reverse the fact that she didn’t make America’s cut last week? Not in my opinion. I liked her at one time, but I’m losing interest. It was all just OK. Even Steven was clearly bored with her. C+

*Paul McDonald, “Come Pick Me Up.” Paul is shaping up to be my favorite, but I wasn’t happy with his song choice. Or his d-bag Chris Martin Costume. That said, he’s definitely fun to watch and listen to. His voice is incredibly unique. And those moves. At times I’m annoyed. At times I’m freaked out. At times I’m in awe. He’s a weird one. But good weird. B+

*Pia Toscano, “All By Myself.” After last week’s performance, Pia had a  lot to live up to. And she did. Again, she brought a lot of power. Her tone and pitch were perfect. But is she only going to be a balladeer? I want to see how diverse she is. A

*James Durbin, “Maybe I’m Amazed.” I keep trying to not like James, but it’s not working. His performance tonight, I’d argue, was the best. From that soft and crystal-clear start to his powerful and James-esque range, he showed his versatility. He proved that he’s not going to scream at us every week. He went in that direction, but he held back and gave us just the right amount. Very well done. A+

*Haley Reinhart, “Blue.” I’m not sure what kind of singer she’s trying to be, but I enjoyed what I heard tonight. She pulled off some Patsy Cline business. She was twanging and yodeling. Very nice. I’m not sure why Randy Jackson was being a jerk when he judged her. I thought he was way off. A- (bordering on B+)

*Jacob Lusk, “I Believe I Can Fly.” I know you’re going to hate me for this, but I don’t like Jacob and I didn’t like his performance. I’ve never been a fan and I can confidently say I never will be. I normally say he’s not my cup of tea, but is still a perfect singer. I can’t even say that this week. He was all over the place and doing some things with his voice that don’t even classify as singing. He overdid it, which seems to be his style. And that song. It’s so cheesy. I can’t even take it seriously. C+

*Thia Megia, “Smile.” Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. I could easily copy and paste my whole Jacob review into hers. Even down to the fact that you’ll hate me for not liking her. But I just don’t. She doesn’t seem to have much charisma. Maybe it’s nerves. But, hey, you’re on “American Idol.” There are no excuses now. The performance tonight wasn’t even good. The song just kind of happened then it was over. Nothing fancy. Nothing fun. Nothing that even showed what she’s capable of. The judges even clearly hated it but apparently someone told them they aren’t allowed to really say so. Weird. C-

*Stefano Langone, “Lately.” Our second Wildcard pick of the night pulled me in from the start. His energy was refreshing. His stage presence is spot on. Great tone. And he did a dance mix version of that song. Crazy good. And I don’t care how old-lady I sound, he seems ridiculously sweet. Still. I’m clearly a fan. A

*Karen Rodriguez, “I Could Fall in Love.” Oh Karen. If you’ve been singing Selena all your life, then why did it sound so bad tonight? Rocky start. Weak chorus. Weak bridge. Mediocre end. She brought nothing new to the song despite her saying she was going to. It was weird. And bad. D

*Scotty McCreery, “The River.” I was expecting more from Scotty. I like him a lot but I didn’t hear anything special tonight. I don’t even think he was really true to himself. It just felt like he was holding back too much. He still has a smooth voice though and everyone loves him. B

*Naima Adedapo, “Umbrella.” A wildcard pick in the pimp spot? Wow. That can mean one of two things: She’s the absolute best! Or she’s the only option out of 13 kind of good performances. Yeah. Well she was good. But not pimp-spot material. So you know my answer. I did like the rap and reggae The Janitor gave us, but overall, I think the production and her dance moves were better than her singing. B+

I have to say this: I miss Robbie Rosen.

And now I weigh in on who’s safe and who’s not.

100 percent safe: Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina, Jacob Lusk, Casey Abrams, Pia Toscano

Most likely safe: Thia Megia, Paul McDonald, James Durbin, Stefano Langone, Naima Adedapo

Probably the bottom three: Karen Rodriguez, Ashthon Jones, Haley Reinhart

Probably going home: Ashthon Jones

So what are your thoughts on tonight’s performances? Who were your favorites and who do you think is going home tomorrow night?