After the shocking exit of Pia Toscano last week, we are now down to eight Idol contestants.  That’s right, the ocho.  While I was upset to see Pia leave, I was mainly disturbed at how off my prophetic sense was.  I could have sworn she would be in at least the top 4.  My faith is shaken, but I am not deterred.

Bring it on America.

Before the show started, they felt it necessary to broadcast how Jennifer Lopez won People magazines “most beautiful woman in the world” award.  What is this, 1998?  Anyway, the theme for tonight was soundtrack songs.  I couldn’t wait to hear “Danger Zone,” was I disappointed?

Paul McDonald – Paul chose the Bob Seger song “Old Time Rock n’ Roll.”  Fortunately for us he did not perform it in his underwear.  The performance was as energetic as Paul always is, but missing a vital component – good singing.  Not that singing matters in the voting anymore, but Paul’s unique-to-Idol voice is only going to take him so far after the show ends.  I am glad that he actually performs though, if Pia had done that she might still be around.

Lauren Alaina – Lauren knows who the voters are and sang a Miley Cyrus song.  Teen vote secured.  I shirked my blog duties and changed the channel.

Stefano Langone – Fresh off his most recent appearance in the bottom three, Stefano sang the Boyz II Men classic “End of the Road.”  Since Stefano wasn’t even born when this song was recorded, I have to give him extra special props for choosing it.  On top of that, he really rocked the song.  Seriously, kid can sing and tonight, for the first time, I felt like he was really capturing the audience through the feeling in his performance.  He was the first one that I liked tonight.

Scotty Mcreery – Scotty shocked the world by performing “D### It Feels Good to be a Gangsta” from the Office Space soundtrack.  Just kidding, he sang a country song.  It was solid yet uninspiring like always.  Kid is going to have a long career in country music.  Yes, I reposted that from an older Idol entry, it is just hard to find something new to say about him each week because it is always the same.

Casey Abrams – It is rare to hear Nat King Cole on American Idol, and Casey sang “Nature Boy.”  He actually had a hard time picking the song, and after flirting with a Phil Collins song he decided to be true to himself as an artist.  Record exec Jimmy Iovine was not a fan of the his song choice and made that known.  All I can say is that Jimmy Iovine represents everything that is wrong with the record industry right now.  I don’t know if Casey will survive this week, but who cares.  He showed off his vocal chops, his skill on the upright bass, and got a standing ovation at the end of it.  He sounded great, he was classy, and he was everything that American Idol normally isn’t.  Great job Casey.

Haley Reinhardt – Haley decided to sing yet another rocker, I think she’s finally figured out where she needs to be – rocking out.  “Call Me” is one of Blondie’s best, and Haley did it very well after some early pitch problems.  Her voice is built for that brand of rock, and it doesn’t surprise me one bit that her best performances have come with rock songs.  The judges brought out their first criticism of the night for her.  Really, judges, really?  She had pitch problems and Paul didn’t?  This was a karaoke performance and Scotty’s wasn’t?  Let’s face it – the producers were in the judges’ ears to actually offer some criticism, and Haley was unfortunately the one on stage at the time.  Too bad, I say.

Jacob Lusk – Jacob got scolded for preaching to America last week, and truth be told he deserved it.  This week he let his voice do the talking with “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”  Jacob won’t win this competition and he may go home this week, but from the most objective and technical standpoint he now has the best voice in this competition.  Amazing range, fantastic tone, and the ability to put all of his emotion in the right place.  His vocal talent is bigger than what American Idol is now.  People who have legit vocal ability like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood don’t win this competition anymore and neither will Jacob.

James Durbin – Yet another Idol contestant shirked the advice of the judges, and James did it by doing “Heavy Metal” by Sammy Hagar.  I love it when James brings out the heavy metal, absolutely love it.  I also love it when these kids go out there and do what they want to do for the sake of art by being who they want to be.  Music is bigger than having a catchy chorus.  Music is about passion, and that is what James Durbin does best.  He even had Zakk Wylde on stage performing with him.  If you had told me I would ever see that man on American Idol I would have told you that you were crazy.  See?  My prophetic sense, it’s totally broken.

Well, this was a very interesting week on Idol.  There were a lot of risky song choices, and I hope that those who took the biggest risks get the biggest reward.  After last week I barely want to guess who will head home, but I think Haley, Stefano, or Jacob could be in trouble.  Since this season is all about surprises, they might just bring Naima back so that they can kick her off again.  Wouldn’t shock me a bit!

See you tomorrow night!

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