Haley Reinhart, Lauren Alaina
The two remaining American Idol girls need to step up their game if they want to end the guys' winning streak. The last time a female won, fans were still waiting for the final Harry Potter book to hit shelves and Bob Barker was still hosting The Price Is Right.
But after only four female wins in the show's past nine seasons (including hugely successful alums Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood), the men have dominated the last four seasons, including the current one. With only two women left and seven weeks to go, it seems a long shot that this will be the year for girl power to return. After back-to-back eliminations of Ashthon Jones, Karen Rodriguez, Naima Adedapo, Thia Megia, and — the most shocking of all — Pia Toscano, what do the remaining women need to do to stay in the competition? We have some suggestions:
VIDEO: Idol's Pia says she had a "gut feeling" she was going home
Although Haley Reinhart seems to have found her stride with older tunes such as "Benny and the Jets" and "Piece of My Heart," she had a bumpy first few weeks. In the Top 24 round, she drew criticism from the judges for her take on Alicia Keys' "Fallin.'" The next two weeks, she found herself in the Bottom 3 for Whitney Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight" and LeAnn Rimes' "Blue." While her voice immediately sets her apart from the pack, it's also hurt Haley on these more contemporary choices and it's critical that she work on smarter song selections in the weeks to come.
Beyond that, all signs point to Haley sticking with slightly more upbeat songs, where it's easier for her to inject her energy than in heavy ballads. Energy has been a big issue for the ladies on both sides of the scale (looking at you, comatose Thia and all-over-the-place Naima) so Haley needs to watch herself and not fall victim to fatigue or inconsistency.
Kelly Clarkson to return to American Idol stage on Thursday
Conjuring up dos and don'ts for Lauren Alaina is a lot tougher since she has yet to hit the Bottom 3. Although Lauren won her way into the Top 13 with her rendition of Reba McEntire's "Turn on the Radio," her Shania Twain-inspired performance the following week was much less impressive. Plus, with Scotty McCreey calling shotgun on the country genre from the get-go, she's been smart to diversify.
But while Lauren is a strong performer, her voice is less unique than Haley's so she needs to decide how to distinguish herself, pick a style to call her own and then stick with it. Pia was big with voters because of her moving ballads, until she was sent home the one week she strayed with "River Deep, Mountain High."
Also, it wouldn't hurt if the Idol stylists tried to stop hiding Lauren's age and let her embrace it a little more, a la Jordin Sparks. (Come on, is this really flattering on anyone?)
It won't be an easy fight, but the girls still could have a shot this season.
What do you think?