American Idol Episodes

2002, TV Show

American Idol Episode: "6 Finalists Compete"

Season 10, Episode 30
Episode Synopsis: The six singers take the stage and perform Carole King songs.
Original Air Date: Apr 27, 2011

American Idol Episode Recap: The Top 6 Perform Season 10, Episode 30

What a difference a week makes on American Idol. Just seven days ago, the contestants were singing hits from the past decade, including a couple currently on the charts. Tonight, the singers gently swayed me to sleep with the delightfully dated tunes of Carole King. Don't get me wrong: She's written a number of great songs, this just seems like an odd theme week for the so-called "new and improved" Idol. (But hey, the slightly-less-dated Babyface is there! And Miley Cyrus!)

In addition to the six singers, we also got three mostly uneventful duets, though one of them was just plain disastrous. While no one's solo was terrible, it wasn't exactly the show's finest hour (and a half). Let's break it down.

Jacob Lusk, "Oh No, Not My Baby"
Sorry Randy and Jimmy, but I don't want Jacob to go back to his "I Believe I Can Fly" caterwauling. Look no further. And his failed attempts to "riff" in the studio kind of proved that point. That said, what Jacob came up with when he hit the stage was actually not so bad. He went after a few big notes in ways that worked and he did a lot of interesting riffing that wasn't necessarily at the top of his register. And though dancing isn't his strong suit (although much improved from the "Man in the Mirror" bump-and-grind), he clearly had a good time performing, which was nice after a couple weeks of super serious tunes. I'd go as far to say that this was my favorite performance from Jacob all season, and it couldn't come at a better time.
The Judges Say: Steven liked that he shook his tail feathers, and that his strut was magic. Jennifer said he killed it and Randy said Jacob, despite being sharp in spots, brought himself back.

Lauren Alaina, "Where You Lead"
Here's where I vent about the Idol judges. Last week they went on and on about Lauren going after the big notes, as if she hadn't already done them on the show. So, her intro package was all about her insecurity of singing notes she is clearly capable of singing. Babyface makes this all clear to Lauren while Miley Cyrus... well, she didn't really do much of anything during her surprise visit. Lauren did a great job with the song, and seemed more comfortable and into her performance than she has in a while. I'm not so sure about the dragging of a random dude on stage for most of the song, but she sang well. Perhaps now she'll go with her gut.
The Judges Say: Or maybe not, since all the judges can talk about is how her voice cracked a little bit. (But they liked that! Really!) Jennifer said she was proud of Lauren for pushing herself. Randy said the song choice was safe and boring, but that she sang with a vengeance. (Aka, she's in it to win it.) Steven said she manifested the light. Yeah, I've got nothing.

Haley and Casey, "I Feel the Earth Move"
Both Ryan and the interview package preceding this song highlighted/made fun of the reported behind-the-scenes romance between Haley and Casey. Overall, I liked their performance, perhaps even more than their duet a couple weeks ago. (Maybe mix it up a bit more, Nigel?) I think Haley was the star of this performance, as Casey has sort of reverted into crazy yelling guy lately. Intensity is fine, but there should be a limit.
The Judges Say: Steven said Casey's love for Haley showed. There was nothing he didn't like about the performance.

Scotty McCreery, "You've Got a Friend"
Babyface cautioned Scotty against falling into the country trick of bending notes with his twang. (Amen!) And although there was still plenty of twang to go around, this was the biggest departure from Scotty's comfort zone yet. And, surprise, surprise, it was actually pretty good. No, Scotty doesn't' have a crazy range, but he did prove that he had some range, and he tenderly sang most of this song in his upper register. I'll take this Scotty over cocky eyebrow-singing Scotty any day.
The Judges Say: Randy says Scotty turned the other cheek, but what he really meant to say is that Scotty showed a different side. Steven said he's never sang better and that the song showed off all of him. Jennifer liked seeing him reach for bigger notes.

James Durbin, "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow"
I really dug the mostly a cappella opening to the song, and while I didn't mind when the band kicked in, I knew that was going to give rocker James the notion to wail with the high notes. And he did, not as excessively as last week, but he just can't help himself. There was nothing offensive about the song, but I almost would have preferred to hear the whole thing stripped down. That would have truly been out of James's comfort zone.
The Judges Say: Steven, who made out with a girl for the first time to this song, said it was beautiful. Jennifer said it was magical and loves how consistently good James is. For the second week, she brand him the "star of the night" before everyone has sung. (OK, we get it. You want him to win.) But just in case, Randy says James might be the one to win this year.

Scotty and Lauren, "Up on the Roof"
Scotty and Lauren team up for a third (third!) time this season, because the country kids just have to sing together. The song was a little sleepy, but Lauren once again shows her chops while Scotty tries to keep up.
The Judges Say: Jennifer said Lauren "[sang] your brains off." Oh, and Scotty did a good job singing second voice. (That might be the most honest thing she's said all season.)

Casey Abrams, "Hi-De-Ho"
This is definitely more Casey than Maroon 5, but I have to admit that I'm finally tiring of Casey. Like in his duet with Haley, he was really aggressive and shouty. Even his stalking around the stage and swatting the hands of fans seems angry and on-edge. It was after a couple weeks of that earlier this year that he was voted off the show before the judges' save. I think he might be in for a similar fate this week.
The Judges Say: Randy says he always bring something different and entertaining. Steven said he's found his niche and makes his scalp itch. Jennifer wants him to loosen up his legs. (Yep, nothing about singing, folks!)

Haley Reinhart, "Beautiful"
I was slow to be won over by Haley, but I think she's just about done it. She's being more judicious with the growl and she is one of the few people left I can imagine still being an artist after the buzz of the show has died down. At this point, she remains interesting — someone I find myself looking forward to, just to see what she's going to do.
The Judges Say: Steven said she nailed it. Jennifer said it was beautiful and amazing, and that she has one of the best voices in the competition. Randy didn't like the beginning but the end was good.

James and Jacob, "I'm Into Something Good"
I wish I had turned it off after Haley, who deserved the "pimp spot." Instead, the show ended with the pairing of Jacob and James, who aside from their penchant for squealing high notes, have zero in common stylistically. But hey, they spun Jennifer around in her chair and showed viewers The Most Beautiful Woman in the World's legs.
The Judges Say: Steven said it wasn't the most award-winning performance. "Where were you going with all that?" he asks. If only we knew.

So, who did you like? Who do you think is in danger of going home? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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What a difference a week makes on American Idol. Just seven days ago, the contestants were singing hits from the past decade, including a couple currently on the charts. Tonight, the singers gently swayed me to sleep with the delightfully dated tunes of Carole King. Don't get me wrong: She's written a number of great songs, this just seems like an odd theme week for the so-called "new and improved" Idol. (But hey, the slightly-less-dated Babyface is there! And Miley Cyrus!)

In addition to the six singers, we also got three mostly uneventful duets, though one of them was just plain disastrous. While no one's solo was terrible, it wasn't exactly the show's finest hour (and a half). 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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