Live at American Idol: Is Jacob in It to Win It or Lost in Translation?
Live at American Idol: Is Jacob in It to Win It or Lost in Translation? - E! OnlineAfter Wednesday night's performance show, it's easy to see who most likely saw their last day competing for Idol glory. While James Durbin, Haley Reinhart, Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery proved they are "in it to win it," Jacob Lusk floundered.
While we all saw him get a tough critique from the judges, it was nothing compared to what was going on when the cameras weren't rolling. So what exactly did we see from our seat behind the judges table? And is Lauren feeling the heat from Haley?
The best word we have to describe Idol contestant Jacob Lusk is: lost. From his cover of Jordin Sparks "No Air" to his pitchy "Love Hurts," no one in the Idol audience had any idea what kind of performer Jacob was trying to be.
Obviously, in this stage of the competition, every performance really matters. We couldn't help but feel a tiny bit bad for Jacob who never got the "in it to win it" affirmation from judge Randy Jackson.
If Randy, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler seemed a little tough on him, it was downright uncomfortable to witness in person. As the judges rattled on about what he should or shouldn't be doing, the studio audience felt very hollow. The vibe in the room went cold and it almost felt like being stuck in a room with your BFF who was having an argument with their significant other. Awkward!
Being on American Idol is no walk in the park, and it seems that the pressure is getting to Jacob. When cameras are rolling Jacob has a big smile on his face, but prior to his first performance, he sat with a glum look while wardrobe de-linted his jacket and Ryan Seacrest prepped him for the opening of his segment.
While Jacob's studio video packages played, he seemed nervous. He was pacing back and forth, not looking at anyone or anything. It was a stark contrast to the easy confidence James and Scotty display week after week as if to say, Hey, this Idol thing is no big deal! We got the impression that Jacob has pretty much given up on the competition, and tonight was his last attempt to garner votes from fans committed to more popular contestants.
Speaking of popular contestants, Haley has proven to be the dark horse coming up from behind to make it to the finals. While she was in the bottom three in the first few weeks of the competition, she has blossomed into a force to be reckoned with.
After Lauren's slightly goofed cover of "Unchained Melody," it was hard to love it. Especially with her Dynasty-esque gown that Scotty stepped on, almost causing a serious OMG moment at the end of the show when the contestants were walking offstage.
Although Lauren has been a fan favorite since day one, Haley's "House of the Rising Sun" stole the show. We noticed a look of worry flick across Lauren's face when Haley got a standing ovation from the crowd when the show was recapped with voting numbers.
We have our prediction of who will make it to the finals. Do you? Were the judges too tough on Jacob? Should Lauren feel threatened by Haley's talent? Let us know in the comments!
"Treat others the way you want to be treated."
May 04, 2011: The Top Five
1. Haley Reinhart. Little late in the game, and she’ll need a miracle to win, but finally a top billing for this enigmatic, on-again-off-again, young phenom. And boy did she ever earn it! A jaw-dropping, unexpected, and risky power play that hopefully will earn her a place in the final four. This season has brought us some wonderful performances, topped by James Durbin’s brilliant presentation of Muse’ Uprising; Scott McCreery’s elegant and emotional rendition of Carol King’s You Got A Friend; Jacob Lusk’s bone chilling, sanctified gospel interpretation of Luther Vandross’ A House Is Not A Home, top my list. But there are others, equally impressive: Robbie Rosen’s Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word was magical, Jovanny Baretto’s Angel was all heart, and Stefano Langone’s I Need You Now had me bawling like a little girl. All of these will find a home in my season ending top 10. But Haley Reinhart’s Bennie and the Jets; a spectacular and memorable performance, and more than likely, Piece of My Heart, will be there too. At first I didn’t know what to make of her (water under the bridge; don’t care any more) but she, almost overnight, blossomed into one of the season’s finest singers and arguably one of the finest singers in Idol’s illustrious history. She is a magnificent singer and her House of the Rising Sun was an absolutely sublime performance. I’ll pretend the first song didn’t happen; throw away stuff anyway; none of them offered a good first effort so I'll just pretend this one never happened. Jimmy...Jimmy…Jimmy….dude…No! An air ball. His first, but yeoman's work until this.
2. Scott McCreery. Scott is the king of the spoken country ballad, and his You Were Always on My Mind was every bit the equal of last week’s beautifully crafted You’ve Got a Friend. He was clearly out-sung here tonight, but I can’t bring myself to unseat him because I know he’s a country music superstar in waiting. In addition, his performances offer welcome relief and respite from the steady diet of ear piercing glory notes offered up in excess each week by Jacob and James. I enjoy what he brings to the stage and I especially enjoy the slow stripped down ballads. As above, I’ll just pretend the first song didn’t happen. Love Montgomery Gentry but this performance was all sound and fury.
3. James Durbin. Let’s focus on the second performance here as well but a quick word about the first. I misheard the intro; thought he was singing One Step Closer to The Edge (Linkin Park), I love that song, but he did a good job with 30 Seconds to Mars’ Closer to the Edge, but it’s not a competition song and won’t earn him any new fans. The second offering just might. He sang his heart out tonight but honestly, I thought for the first time this season, his upper register let him down. However, whatever problems that created were more than compensated for an effusive outpouring of heart felt emotion. I never question tears; they exist, so unless I have reason to suspect otherwise, I believe them, just as I believe James was truly hurting inside. I disagree with the judges, James' coronation is far from certain. There are five of them left but no matter who leaves over the next few weeks, it won’t grow his fan base or vote total any. Those votes will simply get redirected to a surviving teen contender, repeatedly, until all that remains is one very well-supported teen contender. James certainly can win; e.g., the fourth quarter just began; there are unexpected show stoppers and season ending mistakes we’ve yet to see, so it’s way too early to predict a winner.
4. Lauren Alaina. I didn’t like either of these performances. The first was okay; nothing wrong with it; just pales in comparison to the other three. I will say this; the makeup and wardrobe geeks deserve a lot of love for what happened tonight. Lauren was absolutely breath-taking. I didn’t like these performances much but she’s a wonderful singer, blessed with beautiful soul; an absolute joy to watch. One of the most lovable contestants since Kellie Pickler and Reuben Studdard..
5. Jacob Lusk. Didn’t get much from the first and was interested only in the first half of the second. Unfortunately, as is his wont, he lost control of his emotions; then lost the melody and tried to make up for it by over-singing, muscling notes, and belting soul screams; all of which only added to the chaos. I love Jacob; I don’t enjoy what he’s been doing lately. Randy was right all along; Jacob should never stray from the confines of gospel and/or traditional R&B. Jimmy seems to be trying to interest him in pop R&B, as he should, but I’m just not seeing it. Jacob is raw and undisciplined gospel R&B, and he can’t be tamed, so it’s either that or nothing. He does have negatives but nothing music hasn’t seen before or can’t market, so long as Jacob understands the rules of the game.
I’m still working on my smart choices but I am getting tired…too much work. I did pick a few though for Lauren and Haley but final exams prevented me from added in comments.
Smart Choices for Haley Reinhart:
1. Nobody Knows (Pink). I dare anybody to find a better match for Haley and what she does.
2. Someone Like You (Adele). Also a perfect fit.
3. I Want to Know What Love Is (Mariah Carey). Another absolutely perfect match.
4. I Look To You (Kim Burrell and Whitney Houston). R&B soul at its very, very best; guaranteed to bring down the house.
5. Sober (Pink). Up-tempo, fun song.
6. Little Girl Blue (Janis Joplin). Can’t wait to see what Haley does with this gut-wrenching ballad.
7. Tell Me Bout It (Joss Stone). Odd that one who looks and sounds so much like Joss Stone hasn’t picked one of her songs. She is very much a Joss Stone clone, as Randy said
8. Dr. Feelgood (Aretha Franklin). Don’t think she can pull it off but would assume instant superstar status if she did.
9. Stone Cold Sober (Paloma Faith). A fine up-tempo, sassy rock composition.
10. When You’e Gone (Avril Lavigne). There’s just one thing wrong with this beautiful ballad; it needs more muscle and Haley’s just the person to do it.
11. Whenever You Call (Mariah Carey). Second half is tailor made for the Idol stage.
12. Son of a Preacher Man (Joss Stone). Should bring down the house.
Smart Choices for Lauren (no comments):
2. You-----Bonnie Raitt
3. When You Say Nothing At All-----Alison Krauss
4. Temporary Home-----Carrie Underwood; Some of the best lyrics and storytelling in all of country music. A perfect composition.
5. Anyway-----Martina Mcbride
6. Cry------Faith Hill
I honestly have no idea what to do with Jacob so didn't try to match him.
Last edited by liedenfrost; 05-05-2011 at 05:53 AM.
Snarking on a message board board is fun, and it is hilarious to read some of it. Sometimes, I just read instead of bothering to comment; it is that enjoyable. However, reasonably, we do have to keep in mind that snarking is by nature over-the-top, hyberbole, full of exaggeration.
Of course these kids are gifted and talented, or they would never have made it this far on this show. Ostensibly, people on here are not bored out of their gourds, or they would not be watching this show and listening to this group of kids "who can't sing" - they would be doing something else.
That said, they have mediocre, average moments, and they have moments when they downright screw-up a song. However, they also have moments when they kick butt with a song.
When a performer moves a listener to get up off his chair, or the song brings tears to the listener's eyes, or causes some kind of visceral or emotional feeling in the listener's body, then that singer has accomplished something great.
To each one of us depending on our own experiences in life and our own unique personalities, that may differ with different singers and different songs, but I can name a few right now that I thought were simply incredible performances:
Jacob's ( A House Is Not a Home ) There is emotionally no reason for me to overly relate to this song; therefore, for this song to affect me the way it did meant that he was able to connect to the words and convey their meaning to me, the listener. I felt like this was "my house and my home" in this song when he sang it!
Casey's ( God Bless the Child) The original song was sung by a fabulous group called Blood, Sweat, and Tears. They were probably my favorite group back in those impressionable very young years.
Casey did a jam -up great job on that song. If he had not, I would not have been as impressed. You can count on that one because I have not been particularly impressed by other performers and groups over the years who have covered Blood, Sweat, and Tears.
Haley's (House of the Rising Sun) Haley earned that standing ovation from the judges last night. She absoluted kicked butt on that song which was an original monster hit from one of the British invasion groups of the 60s. I had an Animals album in my collection.
She did a fabulous job with that blusy rendition.
Take my advice. I am not using it.
After watching the show last night, hearing the judges comments and reading posts on this board, I think I must have been in another universe last night. I came away with almost a completely different take on the performances.
I adore Scotty. I loved the first song, but thought Always On My Mind was way off key for the most part. Was he even trying to sing that song?
I love Lauren and her first song, but Unchained Melody, which was perfect for her, was arranged horribly. Why did they butcher that song? She wasted a great opportunity to had showcased a powerhouse voice with that song. Very disappointing.
I adore James and loved both songs, though they weren't his best. I think the guy may have a future in acting. I hope Anthony Hopkins saw the potential and spoke with him about it. (I'm not kidding. I think he has the ability to pull on resources deep within himself.)
I liked Haley's first song okay, but the House of the Rising Sun, was a turnoff to me. I don't get why everyone thought it was so great. Not as good as her most recent performances IMO.
Jacob, who I did enjoy doing Dance With My Father Again, was very disappointing to the point of being painful.
Jacob: Flamed out vocally, probably from the stress of having the judges and Jimmy telling him different strategies each week. Randy: Go loud with traditional R&B! Jimmy: Do softer, contemporary, non R&B songs!
Lauren: What an insulting rendition of Unchained Melody. She was so obsessed with inserting country riffs, looking cute and moving her arms in a certain way that she overlooked the immense sentiment of the song. She sang that heart-filled song with as much emotional power as if she were loudly ordering a cheeseburger at a restaurant.
Haley: Loud, cabaret, faux soul rendition of the classic House of the Rising Sun.
James: So bored I couldn't finish listening to either song. He has a beautiful voice and range, but I just don't care about the songs when he sings them.
Scotty: The best performer last night, but he's not a very exiting singer.
"Tons of surprises, but it wouldn't be 'American Idol' without it, would it?" Cowell told MTV News. "At the end of the day, I could go out and find 12 great singers, but that's kind of boring. The fact that there's people there who shouldn't be there makes it 'American Idol.' "
Totally agree. It is painfully obvious that Jacob needs to do. He'll probably be happier, too, if that article is anything to go by.
Regarding the Haley vs. Lauren thing, I remember way back when people were saying that TPTB were grooming Lauren to be the next Carrie. If that's true, then that would explain the way the judges are treating her. I think it sounds plausible, because Haley has been so hard to pigeonhole in terms of genre, so I can see the producers banking on Lauren. It's a shame, though, because I like Haley better. I wasn't a fan of hers at first, but she's really grown on me the past 2 or 3 weeks.
And yes, I'm guessing that it was Siobahn who sang HOTRS in her season. She would have loved
screamingsinging those high notes, and the dark nature of the song would have fit her gothic look.
Maggie: "While she takes care of the men with the guns, why don't you sit down and I'll make you a nice, hot cup of tea?"
Pan Am stewardesses: prepared for anything!
Siobhan sang Paint It Black. Don't remember HOTRS.