News flash: Singing well includes understanding and interpreting the lyrics correctly.
You'd think that the remaining six “Idol” finalists would know that, but, um, no. (Remember how Haley Reinhart had to be reminded that “Rolling in the Deep” was an angry song? The way Adele lamented “We could've had it all” apparently wasn't enough of a clue.) And it's not like Carole King's lyrics are really difficult.
This week, Scotty McCreery was apparently flummoxed by “You've Got a Friend,” which is about, um, being a friend. His phrasing at the end, where he attempted some ill-advised histrionics, was so bad it ruined his nice opening. He ran out of steam during the lines “They'll take your SOUL if you let 'emmmmmmm! But don't you let 'emmmmmmm!” Then he got overheated for no reason by rapidly repeating, “I'll be there.” In other words, he turned a song about being a friend into a song about him. Him! HIM! Blech.
Haley didn't seem to understand “Beautiful” either, but, to be fair, she doesn't really interpret well enough to make that clear. “I saw God,” Steven Tyler said, which may have been actual words, but was just as nonsensical as his more entertaining comments.
Haley sang the Beatlesque passage the way mentor Babyface told her to, but the power-to-the-people lyrics were still kind of lost to her. That said, she did sound better than ever and her duet with Casey Abrams on “I Feel the Earth Move” was pretty fun. She wasn't the worst of the night, but Scotty would really have to bite the head off a baby on air to be sent home at this point.
I'm actually more worried about Haley's duet partner. Casey decided to take on another difficult song, this time “Hi-De-Ho.” He pulled it off quite well, with Randy Jackson giving him props for its New Orleans jazzy vibe. Whether America gets that message remains to be seen.
Lauren Alaina was safe and sweet as usual on “Where You Lead” and her duet with Scotty, “Up 0n the Roof.” Jacob Lusk was good on “Oh No, Not My Baby,” smartly finding the R&B roots in the song and giving them a Luther Vandross flair. He was not good, however, on the freaky jumble that he and James Durbin made out of “I'm Into Something Good.”
Durbin is now swinging for the fences every time. He struck out on the duet. But his remaking of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” with its a capella opening and its rocking close, was a grand slam. It shows the kind of well-executed creativity that we haven't seen since Adam Lambert and David Cook. Randy said it was a performance that showed Durbin could win the whole thing. That's exactly right.
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James Durbin, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”
Haley Reinhart & Casey Abrams, “I Feel the Earth Move”
Casey Abrams, “Hi-De-Ho”
Jacob Lusk, “Oh No, Not My Baby”
Lauren Alaina, “Where You Lead”
Lauren Alaina & Scotty McCreery, “Up on the Roof”
Haley Reinhart, “Beautiful”
Scotty McCreery, “You've Got a Friend”
James Durbin & Jacob Lusk, “I'm Into Something Good”
BOTTOM THREE: Haley, Jacob, Casey
WILL BE ELIMINATED: Casey
SHOULD BE ELIMINATED: Scotty
ACTUALLY ELIMINATED: Casey