The end is near. The last 3 contestants on “American Idol” competed last night (May 18) for their final chance at victory. The hopefuls – Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina, and Haley Reinhart – each sang 3 songs with the judges picking a winner after each round.
Beyonce was the mentor for the week and also premiered her new music video for single “Run The World (Girls)”.
Scotty was the first to perform with Lonestar’s “Amazed,” a rumbling ballad that showed off Scotty’s higher range at the end.
Next was teen Lauren Alaina. She was rather starstruck by the diva mentor but Beyonce made her feel right at home as they worked on Alaina’s stage presence. She seemed to take Beyonce’s notes to heart because she came out with attitude and shined. She sang “Wild One” Faith Hill and even dressed the part with a flowy top, huge flower petal earrings, and white cowboy boots.
Then there was the always interesting Haley Reinhart. The judges actually picked Reinhart to be the winner of this round but I felt they only did so because she fell on the steps. She kept going which showed professionalism and her ability to not “freak out” but I don’t think that proves very much. I thought the beginning was really good with her bluesy seduction but I think she let it get away from her in the end.
On to the second round:
Scotty McCreery’s back to sing new Country band, Thompson Square’s “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not,” a tune he said reminded him of some of the classic Tom Petty songs he worked on back in the day. Playfully strumming a guitar, Scotty killed it. Tyler loved how it showed off his character, and Lopez said the performance was full of little moments that showed the audience the singer’s personality. “It was really perfect, right in your range,” said Jackson, comparing Scotty to low-key country legend Garth Brooks.
Producer Jimmy Iovine picked “If I Die Young” by the Band Perry for Alaina’s next song. He told her to make the song uplifting because the lyrics are sad and she did just that! “You have the most beautiful tone of our finalists,” said Lopez, calling Lauren’s voice a “magical thing” and pointing out the honest moment the teen had mid-song and noting that she got caught up in it. Lopez predicted Lauren would learn to push through as she matured. The judges agreed that it was a great song choice and that Alaina recovered like a champ from missing a key change.
Haley Reinhart performed the second time with Iovine’s choice of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon.” He reminded Haley to build up to a big finish but she didn’t quite take his advice. She did push for her upper range but there wasn’t a long “Haley howl” like J.Lo (and I) wanted to see. Jackson said he thought it was a bit somber, while Tyler appreciated the contrast with the other song.
Tyler called this round for Alaina, while Jackson, Iovine and Lopez called it for McCreery.
The judges picked another Country classic as they chose “She Believes in Me” by Kenny Rogers for McCreery to sing. Scotty played it serious, sitting on a stool, by a grand piano, in a dark sport coat and t-shirt. Scotty did really well with the feathery ballad. Tyler called it his biggest chorus of the competition, and Lopez revealed that that is exactly why the judges chose the tune.
“I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack was the judges choice for Lauren Alaina and what a good choice it was. I wasn’t too sure of Alaina’s pick for an outfit but hey, this is a singing competition right? It was definitely the right song for Alaina and suited her range very well. Lopez said she had goose bumps and she called the round early saying that Lauren was the winner. Jackson agreed that it was the right song, the right look and a great performance.
Last but not least, Haley sang “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morisette. Once the arrangement cracked up Haley was solid and was able to do her signature growl. It was uneven overall though, as Haley didn’t hit some the notes. She tempted fate as she tried the stairs to the judges table once more, flirting with Steven Tyler.
All the judges loved the strong choruses and the rock and soul vibe, even with the rough parts, and Tyler called it simply amazing and beautiful.
Jackson and Lopez went with Alaina for the winner of round 3 with Tyler, predictably, going with Reinhart.
Who do you think won each round? Who will WIN American Idol?