American Idol 2011: Top 3 performance show recap – Who will it be?

I’m not sure what I enjoyed most about tonight’s “American Idol” Top 3 performance show, Randy Jackson’s 100 name drops or Lauren Alaina’s quest to prove she’s really a seven-year-old girl. Oh how I miss the days when 25 and 28-year-olds ruled the show.

Wait, or maybe my favorite part was the fact that Jimmy Iovine and the judges were trying to sabotage Haley Reinhart with two incredibly difficult song choices.

Now that I’ve gotten those annoyances off my chest, I need to get into the reviews. There’s a lot to cover tonight. As always, I’ll review each performance and assign them the letter grades I think they deserve.

In order of performance

ROUND ONE: Contestant’s choice

*Scotty McCreery, “Amazed” by Lonestar. I had a feeling Scotty would sing this at some point during the season. It was actually a very smart song choice. Scotty hasn’t thought about catering to the non-country fans much this season and he finally did tonight. I think it’s safe to say most people know that song, whether you’re a country fan or not. Especially since, as Randy so modestly pointed out, he produced a version of the song for Boyz II Men. I thought the performance was probably one of Scotty’s best of the entire season. Oh and did anyone notice for the first time this season Randy picks on Scotty’s pitch? His performance was the best its ever been. Seriously, what’s wrong with Randy? He was really on my nerves tonight. A+

*Lauren Alaina, “Wild One” by Faith Hill. I didn’t like it. It made me feel like I couldn’t breathe. Lauren barely kept control of the song and it honestly left me gasping for air. I don’t know if she needed to slow it down or what. I’m supposed to enjoy a performance and this just didn’t do it.  She still sounded as good as always, but this is the final 3, I have to judge all sides of the performance. B-

*Haley Reinhart, “What is And What Should Never Be” by Led Zeppelin. WHAT? Zeppelin? On American Idol? At this stage of the game? I thought Haley bought her ticket home right then and there. But then she pulled out an amazing performance and the fact that most people under 30 have never heard of that song didn’t matter. She owned it. It was HER song. And she killed it. And it’s not an issue that she fell, so I’m not even going to go there. People fall! Bottom line. A+

Winner of Round One: Haley. The judges unanimously agree with me.

ROUND TWO: Jimmy Iovine’s choice

*Scotty McCreery, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?” by Thompson Square. I have no idea what this song is. I don’t think Jimmy’s pick was very well thought out. Scotty handled the song well and seemed to have a lot of fun with it. It was good to see him with the guitar again. We’ve seen very few musical instruments this season. I miss that. B+

*Lauren Alaina, “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry. So far Jimmy’s song choices are very meh. Again, I didn’t like the song. And again, Lauren couldn’t keep up with the song. This time I’m not sure why though because it’s not a fast song. She just really stumbled. I even thought she forgot some lyrics. I thought it was horrible, but Jennifer Lopez thought her flubs were beautiful! Really? What’s wrong with these people!? C-

*Haley Reinhart, “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac. Oh, how I love Stevie Nicks! I was very happy when I heard this was Jimmy’s pick for Haley. So he did at least pick one good song tonight. But then I realized how hard the song is and I’ve only ever heard Stevie do it. So when Haley had a couple rough spots it was understandable. And by the time she got to the middle and the end I couldn’t even remember the rough spots. Haley’s confidence is really showing and it’s a good thing to see. A

Winner of Round Two: Haley (With a very close Scotty behind her).  The judges, however, didn’t agree and were split. Steven went with Lauren and Jennifer and Randy went with Scotty.

ROUND THREE: Judges’ Choice

*Scotty McCreery, “She Belives in Me” by Kenny Rogers. Another blah song choice. Sorry, people, but it’s Top 3 and I want excitement! The song just sounded so old-fashioned and, well, old. Scotty is a teenager so it was just a bit awkward for me. He did his best thought and luckily, his best is always pretty good. A

*Lauren Alaina, “I Hope You Dance,” by LeAnn Womack. Zzzzzzzz. I’m falling asleep. Kidding! It wasn’t that bad. It was slow, yeah, but Lauren was mostly fine. She just didn’t add anything new or exciting to a very over-played song. I just wasn’t feeling her tonight. I normally enjoy her singing, but tonight she rubbed me the wrong way.  A-

*Haley Reinhart, “You Oughta Know,” by Alanis Morrisette. Haley truly rocked the chorus in this one but a lot of the other parts were hit and miss. It’s just a fast song and who really has ever known those lyrics? It’s pretty obvious the judges picked that song so she would mess it up. Well, she did way better than they probably thought. B+

Winner of Round Three: Scotty. Steven went with Haley while Randy and Jennifer picked Lauren.

The averages

Scotty: A+ | B+ | A | A
Lauren: B- | C- | A- | B-
Haley: A+ | A | B+ | A

Scotty and Haley tied the night as far as grades go, but as far as overall performances go, I’m going to say Haley won the night. Scotty was superb, but Haley put on a show. And that’s what matters now. We know they can all sing, but who can put on a show? Haley can.

For the first time this season, I’m actually going to say who I think should stay and who should go. A lot of people have mistaken my predictions as a personal preference most of the season anyway, so why not?

Your Final 2: Scotty McCreery and Haley Reinhart

My thinking: Lauren Alaina is too immature. Sure her voice is where it needs to be. But I see her with her pigeon toes and her fake bunny smile and her prom dresses and I see a little girl.  She’s amazingly talented and beautiful but I think a stronger Top 2 would be Scotty and Haley.

That’s just my opinion but what will really happen? I do think it’s possible to see a Scotty and Haley Top 2. As I mentioned last week, it’s possible the country kids will split the country vote and everyone else who hates country will vote for Haley by default. Those votes added to all the fans Haley’s picked up in the past several weeks could land her right there on the finale stage.

It still could be Lauren and Scotty (but boy I hope not). Who knows how big the country vote really is. More unlikely would be a Haley and Lauren finale. Too many teen girl voters will see that Scotty is there at the finale

What’s yours thoughts on tonight’s show and how the results could and should play out tomorrow night?