I don’t even like writing “the top three”. The top performer went home last week and Grandma hasn’t forgotten. Still, the show has gone on after a short soundless clip of James at his homecoming. So let’s see what’s happening. Each contestant will sing three songs this week. One is their choice, one is picked by Jimmy Iovine and the third by the judges. Their choice is first and Beyonce will be their mentor.
Scotty starts with Lonestar’s Amazed. He did a good job and dumped a lot of the eyebrows and other theatrics that had become a bit overdone in previous weeks. Good reviews from Steven and JLo. Randy gave himself a good review and told Scotty about “pitchy” spots before giving him a thumbs up.
Up next, is more country as Lauren sings Wild One (Faith Hill). Lacking variation and connection with the audience, it became one long endless scream. The judges, who must have been watching another show, gave it great reviews and talked about how much fun she’d had with the song. Fun must have been a strong point in their notes from the producers. Fun certainly wasn’t anywhere in that performance.
Haley is next with What Is And What Ever Should Be (Led Zeppelin) and her father accompanies her. An awesome performance and the crowd acknowledges it. The judges offered their approval and when Ryan polls the judges, they declare Haley the winner of the first round. Is this a ploy to makeup for their outrageous critiques last week? Or are they trying to knock Scotty out? Perhaps both. We’ll see what happens in the next round.
Are You Going To Kiss Me Or Not (Thompson Square) is Jimmy’s pick for Scotty. He brings out his guitar and does it proud. The judges give him his due and declare him “in it to win it”.
Lauren is next with If I Die Young (Band Perry). Vocally it was better than her first and my hat’s off to Jimmy for the choice. She flubbed it near the end, but the judges generally ignored this. JLo excused it saying Lauren had been caught up in the moment.
Haley delivers a stunning Rhiannon. Randy calls it a “good” performance with about as much enthusiasm as you’d show for leftovers of your least favorite food. Steven is slightly more enthusiastic, but Jennifer takes her cue from Randy. It was not as intense as most Haley performances, but I thought it was lovely. In the second round poll, Steven votes for Lauren, while JLo and Randy pick Scotty. I’m still picking Haley, but Ryan skipped right over me.
She Believes In Me by Kenny Rogers is the judges’ choice for Scotty. He knocks this one out of the ball park and it is acknowledged by the crowd and the judges. A touching moment follows as Scotty’s father speaks of his pride. His words are so honest and real that it brings a tear to my eye and Scotty’s as well.
Lauren’s pick is I Hope You Dance (Lee Ann Womack). It had some pretty moments and was far more enjoyable if I just listened. Lauren stares into the distance and rarely seems to see her audience. It’s easier to connect if I don’t watch. More gushing by the judges follows. Randy, of course, knows Lee Ann personally and Steven jumps on that band wagon as well. JLo is declaring that it is already her favorite performance tonight. Bet that makes Haley feel good.
The judges have picked Alanis Morissette’s You Oughta Know for Haley. It’s a far more difficult choice than either Scotty or Lauren’s songs, but Haley nails it and wraps it up with a bow. Her reward is some mediocre praise topped with negatives. While Steven awards the third round to her, both Jennifer and Randy cast their votes for Lauren.
If there was ever any doubt, it seems clear now that AI wants Lauren to win. I hope America has clearer vision and that Haley and Scotty are the ones to make it to the finale. Tomorrow will tell.