American Idol Episodes

2002, TV Show

American Idol Episode: "8 Finalists Compete"

Season 10, Episode 26
Episode Synopsis: The eight singers perform songs from the movies.
Original Air Date: Apr 13, 2011

American Idol Episode Recap: The Top 8 Perform Season 10, Episode 26

So, has everyone had a proper amount of time to recover from the loss of Pia? Or did that intro package to tonight's American Idol bring you to tears again? Yes, Pia is gone, but the show has to crown a new champion, for better or worse. To help America decide who's the best of the rest, the wannabes chose songs from the movies, which in many ways is an open invitation to sing whatever you like.

Many of the singers did just that — and two brave souls even did so against the strong advice of mentor Jimmy Iovine. Did those risks pay off? Let's break it down.

But first: Why, oh why, is will.i.am on the show again this week. Comic relief? Maybe, but I need some relief from the Black Eyed Peas frontman. Will.i.am showed up again, but the judges' criticism did not. But that's OK, because, you know,  in case you haven't heard, Idol really wants you to know that Jennifer Lopez was chosen as People's Most Beautiful Woman in the World. Now, can we get to the singing?

Paul McDonald, "Old Time Rock and Roll"
No matter how much fun Paul has on stage (and all of his performances do have an ease about them that other contestants can learn from) there's really no escaping that he's shown us about everything he's capable of vocally. He's been hanging out in the Bottom 3 a lot lately, and I wouldn't at all be shocked to see him there again tomorrow.
The Judges Say: Steven likes his crazy, wild abandon. Jennifer says he killed it and that he's a diamond in the rough that becomes more polished each week. Randy feels like he is at a Paul McDonald concert and salutes him as a true artist.

Lauren Alaina, "The Climb"
Jimmy tells Lauren that she's a much better singer than Miley Cyrus and that she has to just kill this performance. (He also rather cold-bloodedly tells her that she has to steal the votes Pia has been getting.) I think Lauren nailed the song choice, but she underperformed completely. She didn't attack the song, and her pauses before the big notes were jarring, especially when the backup singers got to them first. The arrangement was just kind of a mess. If that is her idea of out-singing Hannah Montana, she might need to take another listen.
The Judges Say: Jennifer says she sings with a "tear in her voice" that is beautiful and she doesn't have to steal anyone's votes. Randy says she was amazing and Steven says Lauren moves him beyond tears.

Stefano Langone, "End of the Road"
I guess there is no song out there that Stefano can't properly cheesify. The first 30 seconds of this song are maddeningly bad, but Stefano eventually settles into it and actually hits some nice big notes at the end. The problem is, I fell asleep somewhere in the middle. I honestly think Stefano is fighting to stick around more than any other contestant, and I applaud his passion. I just once want to feel him use that in a performance instead of the play-acted passion we get week-to-week when he's on stage.
The Judges Say: Randy says it was Stefano's best vocal this season and that Boyz II Men would even agree that he slayed  the song. Steven says it's definitely not the end of the road for Stefano. (Easy, boy...) Jennifer, who's apparently run out of meaningless non-critical crap to say, decides to drop some obscenity into the mix: She says Stefano's performance is "the sh--."

Scotty McCreery, "I Cross My Heart"
Guess what, everybody! Scotty says he's going back to his country roots! When did he ever leave them behind? (Was it when J. Lo asked if he watched rap?) Like the judges, I have run out of ways to say that I don't think this kid is as nearly talented as everyone else does. I appreciate country music, but even in that genre, there are people that could sing circles around Scotty's limited range. And anytime he hits a note that is slightly above his range, he makes an "I am in serious pain" face, which as you might imagine, I don't enjoy looking at.
The Judges Say: But of course, the judges loved it! Steven says it was just the right song. J. Lo admits that she knows people want her to be tough on the contestants but Scotty's so good that all she can say is, "Wow." (Yes, that's really all she can say. But, boy, she sure is pretty. Some might even say she's the most beautiful girl in the world...) Randy says if it ain't broke, don't fix it. (Somewhere, I'm betting Pia is wishing she had gotten that advice from this panel.)

Casey Abrams, "Nature Boy"
Casey says he's yet to sing a song that defines him as an artist, but he thinks this is the one. Too bad Jimmy wants Casey to sing a Phil Collins song instead. Casey says he doesn't want to lose himself in the competition, and Jimmy whines about how Casey needs to accept his help. While I agree that Casey's song probably went over the heads of at least 80 percent of the viewership, I applaud him for doing what he wanted. That said, I wasn't wild about many of his vocals. If you're going to fly in the face of your mentor, you should at least sing well, and this was an uneven performance at best. Still, kudos for sticking to his guns.
The Judges Say: The judges give him a standing ovation, which is a bit of a surprise to me. Jennifer says he could be like a Norah Jones who sings non-pop music and still sell millions of records. Randy says the world cannot live by pop stars alone and that Casey is a true artist. (I imagine the producers' heads exploding right at this moment.) Steven says Casey is an artist in the truest sense of the word, because he does what's in his heart.

Haley Reinhart,"Call Me"
While I don't love Haley's version of the song, I find it much more appealing than most of the other performances of the night. I still think she has some serious enunciation problems, most of which is related to her overuse of the growl. It is a safe choice, but it feels in step with what Haley has been doing the past couple weeks, which has been working.
The Judges Say: And of course the judges trash it. Randy says it is karaoke and isn't a singer's song. Steven says the "song is a chorus." I honestly think he made more sense when he was reciting Nat King Cole gibberish during Casey's critique. Jennifer doesn't want to be mean because she wants the girls to stay, but she says the performance wasn't the best.  Ugh.

Jacob Lusk, "Bridge Over Troubled Waters"
Jimmy virtually slapped Jacob across the face for telling America they were afraid to look in the mirror. ("You don't preach to 24 million people when you haven't made a record yet," he says. Yeah, leave that to Bono!) Then, Jimmy tells him singing "Impossible Dream" is corny. So Jacob looks super defeated as he prepares to sing that old Idol classic, "Bridge Over Troubled Waters." I like how Jacob controls the pace of the song, and even when he goes after the crazy high notes, they don't offend my ears the way they have in weeks past. There are a few bum notes in the earlier part of the song, but Jacob mostly brings it home.
The Judges Say: Steven says Jacob is angelic and incredible. Jennifer says he pulled the chills out of her, even though she didn't want him to. Randy says it is perfect.

James Durbin, "Heavy Metal"
Like Casey, James gives Jimmy a piece of his mind. After Jimmy trashes the song choice after the first piano run-through, James says you can't tell a song is a hit just by hearing in on the piano. Jimmy and his ginormous ego beg to differ. I think if Simon were still around, he would say the performance is indulgent, and I would agree. But James is clearly singing in his sweet spot, and I think he is clearly safe for another couple weeks. Plus, he's proven he can sing other things, so I'm OK with him going back to his home base now and again. But do I think the producers want a heavy metal Idol? No.
The Judges Say: Jennifer says James is "really, really real." I wish I was kidding. Randy says he is at a James Durbin concert.  (Two free concerts in one night! You go, Dawg!). Steven says it is outstanding, and gives him props for giving Jimmy some lip. Somewhere, Jimmy and his ego are crying.

So, who do you like? Were you surprised at the singers pushing back at Jimmy? Who do you think is in danger of going home? Share your thoughts below!

 

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So, has everyone had a proper amount of time to recover from the loss of Pia? Or did that intro package to tonight's American Idol bring you to tears again? Yes, Pia is gone, but the show has to crown a new champion, for better or worse. To help America decide who's the best of the rest, the wannabes chose songs from the movies, which in many ways is an open invitation to sing whatever you like.

Many of the singers did just that — and two brave souls even did so against the strong advice of mentor Jimmy Iovine. Did those risks pay off? Let's break it down.... read more

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Premiered: June 11, 2002, on FOX
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Premise: The smash reality series showcases wannabe pop stars competing for a record deal by crooning for a panel of judges, including, most entertainingly, the acid-tongued Simon Cowell, who departed the show in 2010 after serving for nine seasons. The judges review a performer's talent (or lack thereof), and at-home viewers then vote for their favorite potential star. The show helped launch the careers of such artists as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert.

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