American Idol Episodes

2002, TV Show

American Idol Episode: "7 Finalists Compete"

Season 10, Episode 28
Episode Synopsis: The seven still-standing singers perform songs from the 21st century.
Original Air Date: Apr 20, 2011

American Idol Episode Recap: The Top 7 Perform Season 10, Episode 28

Thankfully, the judges on this season of American Idol haven't been obsessed with the buzz word "current" like our dearly departed Simon Cowell and Kara Whatsherface. That said, this week's theme, Songs of the 21st Century, was all about being current-ish, as the singers tackled songs from the last 11 years.

Overall, it was a pretty strong night, but a few singers stood out for their lack of risk-taking. Then again, one singer took a big risk and kissed The Most Beautiful Woman in the World and almost ran the show completely off the rails. The entire night had a silly vibe, as the intro packages featured the contestants poking fun at their fellow competitors. No surprises here: Scotty holds the mic funny! Stefano is a ladies man! Jacob is a diva! Casey has a beard!

Oh, and there was a pointless (and at some points terrible) group number by the eliminated singers, who sang Pink's "So What?" The image of the five eliminated women (Ashthon, Karen, Naima, Thia and Pia) was a sad reminder of the injustice of the season so far, but the empowerment anthem at least made sense with them in the driver's seat. When Paul hit the stage, the whole thing fell apart. I honestly believe the producers staged this just to get Pia back on the stage before she hits Dancing with the Stars next week. Speaking of Dancing, Mark Ballas was in the house! 

Ok, let's break down the singing that matters.

Scotty McCreery, "Swingin'"
Maybe Scotty has beaten me into submission, but I actually liked the vocal on this song better than anything he's done in weeks. Then again, I've never heard this song, and I think there has to have been something better suited to his voice in the past decade than this LeAnn Rimes cover. Scotty played it very safe, but he seemed to have fun. By the end of the show, I had completely forgotten this performance.
The Judges Say: Steven says he likes Scotty's "voices," but that he wished he had "boot-scooted" more. Jennifer appreciates his storytelling skills, but wants him to bring out the big guns. Randy says it is safe and boring.

James Durbin, "Uprising"
At the risk of sounding anything like Randy, I love the band Muse. I instantly thought James singing their song would be a good choice, but I think he went way over the top. Just because you can hit a note, doesn't mean you should, especially when it makes the viewer at  home want to plug their ears. I bet there were dogs across America losing their minds during that second chorus. (Also, although Ryan said a Muse song has never been sung on the show before, Adam Lambert borrowed heavily from Muse's cover of "Feeling Good" a few years back. Yeah, I know, enough comparing James and Glambert.) I kind of dug the marching band drummers, and I hated James' outfit.  He sang it in tune, but again... easy on those notes, fella.
The Judges Say: Jennifer says it is amazing. Randy predicts it will be the best performance of the night. Steven says James is crazy good, but warns him to stay out of his closet.

Haley Reinhart, "Rolling in the Deep"
I think this song is a perfect choice for Haley, and she sang almost all of it well. She gets kind of wonky every time she hits some the falsetto notes. It's a mix between missing the notes and trying not to sing it just the way Adele does. Haley improves when she gets off the stool and does her thing, and by the end, I really enjoy it. I think it's one of her best weeks, but I also fear that because she did hit some bum notes that she might take her token place in the Bottom Three.
The Judges Say: Randy says he likes the direction Haley is going and that the performance was great. Steven says it was beautiful (because that's his favorite word). Jennifer preferred the way Haley shined when she Haley brought Haley to the song.

Jacob Lusk, "Dance with My Father"
Jacob finally sings Luther and pays tribute to the late singer as well as his own father, who died when Jacob was young. He has trouble getting through the song in rehearsal, and the live performance gets off to a rocky start due to some issues with his in-ear monitors. Jacob powers through, and pulls off some impressive notes/runs at the end. It felt a little like all of Jacob's performances, though, which left me with nothing more than a lukewarm reaction.
The Judges Say: Steven says Jacob reminds him why he loves music. Jennifer preaches about singing with emotion without losing control of the emotion, which she says Jacob did beautifully. Randy says it is just OK, and wants "gospel boy" Jacob to blow the roof off instead of being a "race horse in restraints."

Casey Abrams, "Harder to Breathe"
Last time Casey hit the stage playing a guitar, we got a dreadful Nirvana cover. This time around, Casey wisely picks a Maroon 5 track that also plays to Casey's growl-ly, soulful voice. I dug the vocals a lot, as well as the scatting along to the guitar solo. However, Casey's jerky robotic running from one side of the stage to the other to shake the hands of the little girls in the front row seemed odd. But I forgot he did that when he sings the last few lines at the judges' table and even plants a kiss on J. Lo's cheek. She blushes. Steven gets jealous and swears. Ryan Seacrest, wearing a fake beard, makes several weird jokes about his masculinity and sexuality. (Beard! Get it?) My mind begins to wonder when NBC's The Voice starts.
The Judges Say:
Jennifer says Casey has soft lips, and the she loved it. The performance, not the kiss, silly! Randy likes how Casey takes chances. And Steven's entire critique is censored. My amateur lip reading gathered this: "You p--- people off because you're so f---ing good."

Stefano Langone, "Closer"
Stefano is urged by Jimmy to stop pleading for girls to vote for him. Instead, he needs to just be sexy and strut. Stefano definitely relaxes more and more on stage, but somehow, I just don't buy it from him. I feel like he's playacting to satisfy the challenge of the week. (Keep your eyes open! Be sexy! Dance!) He does some form of all three in this performance, and his vocal was mostly good, though I've never exactly enjoyed how he phrases and enunciates. Not a lot techinically wrong, but one of my least favorite performances of the night.
The Judges Say: Randy says he was scared it would be bad karaoke, but Stefano smoothed it out. Steven says it is really good, and Jennifer liked his movement on stage.

Lauren Alaina, "Born to Fly"
Jimmy insists that Lauren has to stop holding back. On this song, which features a few big notes, Lauren didn't really get to have a wow moment, but she sang it well. She seemed to be turning up her performance a notch, but it involved a lot of stomping and hopping, which made her seem really young to me. (And yes, I know she's really young.) I felt this was a really safe choice, but I didn't mind it as much as Scotty's. I picked Lauren as this season's winner early on, but she's going to have to break out of her shell a little if I have any hope of being proven right.
The Judges Say: Steven says she is so good. Jennifer says she is amazing, but that she needs to go after the big notes and not be afraid. Randy says she's great, but that when she believes in herself, she will grow leaps and bounds.

My favorite of the night is probably Haley and Casey. I don't have a lot of negative to say about anyone, but I really think Scotty deserves to be in the Bottom Three this week. But because I don't think that will ever happen, I predict the Bottom Three will be Haley, Jacob and Stefano. And because I don't think Haley deserves to go home, I'll predict that Jacob leaves us tomorrow.

So, who do you think is going home?  Which performances did you like the most? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

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Thankfully, the judges on this season of American Idol haven't been obsessed with the buzz word "current" like our dearly departed Simon Cowell and Kara Whatsherface. That said, this week's theme, Songs of the 21st Century, was all about being current-ish, as the singers tackled songs from the last 11 years.

Overall, it was a pretty strong night, but a few singers stood out for their lack of risk-taking. Then again, one singer took a big risk and kissed The Most Beautiful Woman in the World and almost ran the show completely off the rails... 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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