American Idol 2011: Top 8 performance recap – Bad songs, bad judges

OK, maybe the “American Idol” judges aren’t bad. But there’s something wrong when the only person they had an issue with tonight was Haley Reinhart. First of all, are they trying to get rid of all the girls? Really? Secondly, she had the ONLY good song choice of the night and it the performance wasn’t bad like I think they thought it was. I really don’t understand the judges at all. I like their energy and newness, but I almost always thing the opposite of what they say.

Be warned, I’m judging tonight’s show pretty harshly because I was so happy with last week’s performances that this week’s should’ve been even better and they weren’t. And also, America clearly isn’t voting correctly, so what any judge, critic or blog says doesn’t matter anyway. I’m just going to speak my mind and welcome you to do the same in our comments section.

Enough complaining and on to the recap. As always, I’ll review each performance and assign the letter grade that I think they earned tonight.

In order of performance

*Paul McDonald, “Old Time Rock and Roll.” I still love Paul’s energy and stage presence. He’s comfortable and confident and wonderfully entertaining. And I like his unique sound. But he’s not the best singer in the contest. His stage show is always an A for me but his vocals are hit and miss. Tonight was somewhere in the middle. C+

*Lauren Alaina, “The Climb.” Really? “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus? Really? Ugh. What a terrible song choice. Maybe I don’t get Lauren’s strategy on that song choice. Maybe she knows it would be impossible to sound as horrible as Miley. Or maybe she thinks the teenage girls might throw a vote her way after they’re done sending a zillion text votes to Scott’y’s number. At any rate, I hated it. I’ve grown to like Lauren but I think tonight was a mistake. It was kind of all over the place and if Simon Cowell were still around, he’d have told her that. She’s still got a powerful voice and could win this thing if all the guys were gone. But tonight was just a little meh for me. C+

*Stefano Langone, “End of The Road.” Boring song. Third bad song choice of the night. But at least he sang it beautifully. I also think he connected a little more with the audience. But is it too late? He pulled out all the stops tonight, even showing his muscle. Will the teen girls notice? B+

*Scotty McCreery, “Cross My Heart.” Scotty said he was getting back to his roots tonight. Really? I wasn’t aware he ever left them. But OK. I don’t think Scotty was very solid tonight. He got lost under the backup singers a couple times and even lost his pitch at one point. And again, boring song. B-

*Casey Abrams, “Nature Boy.” Well this was a weird one. Looks like the old Casey is back and I hated it. I didn’t miss that weirdness, that squinty stair, that senseless angry singing. He should’ve listened to Jimmy and sang “In The Air Tonight.” And I wish he’d stop pretending like he’s going to pass out when someone applauds him. C-

*Haley Reinhart, “Call Me.” As I mentioned earlier, I think this was not only the best song choice of the night, it was the only good song choice of the night. And yet the judges told her the exact opposite! I really liked her performance. Maybe someone slipped me some crack, but I like to think I trust my judgment. I respect that the song was risky and adventurous. And I loved how she handled the bridge (the ooooh ooooh ooohs). Loved it. And before you call me crazy, remember, I’ve never really been a Haley fan. I just think she’s really turned up the heat the past several weeks and I think she deserves to stay in the contest. A

*Jacob Lusk, “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” I’m tired of being nice to Jacob. He’s an ass. After what he said last week (and still never apologized) I don’t even care anymore. I’m glad Jimmy called him out on it and told him not to preach to America. Best advice Jimmy’s given all season. As for Jacob’s performance, it was the same ole same ole. Sure it might have been an A performance the first two or three times I saw it but at this point, it’s stale. And so is he. And he cracked a very important note. Oh, and if I wanted Gospel, I’d go to Church on Wednesday night instead of watching “Idol.” D+

*James Durbin, “Heavy Metal.” I don’t even know how to grade this performance. I’ve never had to rate heavy metal. Like ever. I guess it was good. Was it? Ha. I know my senses literally felt a little abused but, whatever, right? He always gives 110 percent. I can’t deny that. And for what the performance was, I’d say he nailed it. Still not a great song choice, but OK. B+? A-? Eh. B+

OK, now the fun part. It’s the part where I get to make everyone think I’m picking who should go home when I’m really just suggesting how I think the outcome might be Thursday night based on America’s votes. After last week’s surprise, I’m not sure I should even waste my time doing this, but I will anyway.

Again, this is what I think COULD happen tomorrow night based on AMERICA’S VOTES:

100 Percent Safe: Scotty McCreery

Most Likely Safe: James, Durbin, Lauren Alaina, Haley Reinhart, Casey Abrams

Possibly the Bottom 3: Jacob Lusk, Stefano Langone, Paul McDonald

Possibly going home: Paul McDonald

After last week, though, anything is possible. So I’m going to suggest a second scenerio:

100 Percent Safe: Scotty McCreery

Most Likely Safe: James Durbin, Lauren Alaina, Stefano Langone, Paul McDonald

Possibly the Bottom 3: Jacob Lusk, Haley Reinhart, Casey Abrams

Possibly going home: Jacob Lusk

Who really knows how it will play out. I think it might be Paul who leaves based solely on everyone getting scared over Pia leaving last week will vote for their favorites and blast him toward the bottom. However, I’m hoping America is tired of Jacob’s boring song choices and his overall righteousness.

Or will the all-girl elimination streak continue and Haley be sent home? At this rate, probably. Who knows.

What were your thoughts on tonight’s performances? Was I too harsh? No way, right?