“American Idol” Top 11 Rock Elton John Night

March 30, 2011 8:55 pm

Theme nights in general on “American Idol” always seem to pose certain difficulties for the contestants. When narrowing down the theme to only Elton John tracks is when the boundaries, artistic integrity, and comfort zones are put to the test.

Some stepped up to the plate and hit it out of the park, while others struck out, hoping to return to the mound next week.

Here is a short recap of Wednesday nights episode of “American Idol” and the *grades felt deserved.


Scotty McCreery, ‘Country Comfort': Scotty always has a few doubters out there who wonder what he will bring to the table when his song choices are not country rooted. Yet he always seems to silence critics by throwing his heart and soul into whatever song he’s given, and the judges praise him every time for it.
Grade A

Naima Adedapo, ‘I’m Still Standing': Much like the way Scotty adds his country feel to every song, Naima does the same with her reggae flavor. From her Rasta jumpsuit, to her Bob Marley-esque technique, Naima shows her uniqueness and passion, however it seems to keep falling short. Both Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson said it was a better idea than payoff.
Grade C-

Paul McDonald, ‘Rocket Man': Paul, sported a flower embroidered country suit that he loves so much (having worn several times now) to give his rendition of ‘Rocket Man.’ It didn’t knock the judges off their feet, but rather gave them a soft nudge. Although being pitchy at times Randy admitted that when Paul reaches that point in the song where he uses his soft tone it “becomes so infectious.”
Grade B-

Pia Toscano, ‘Don’t let the Sun Go Down on Me': Last week Pia was told to get out of the ballads and go for something up-tempo. Apparently she didn’t listen and went with her gut feeling to perform this “Idol” favorite. Her gut was right on point as she nailed the song and now should be known as the ballad slayer. Pia had a subtle arrangement showing the power of her voice, backed by a gospel choir, hitting all the right spots.
Grade B+

Stefano Langone, ‘Tiny Dancer': With the bottom three still being apparent in his thoughts, Stefano went with an epic song like ‘Tiny Dancer’ in hopes to rise back to the top. Although definitely putting the judges advice from last week to use in his performance (keeping eye contact and connecting with the fans), it still came off cheesy and poorly arranged.
Grade: C+

Lauren Alaina, ‘Candle in the Wind': Lauren was given high regards by all the judges, especially Randy who said it “was one of the best Lauren Alaina performances on this stage.” Her confidence radiated, with crisp vocals and poise. Does anyone dare compare that performance to a Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood mashed into one?
Grade: A-

James Durbin, ‘Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)': James rocked the house, putting on a show, giving the audiences their money’s worth. Throwing the mic, summoning flames, and jumping on the piano, James looked like a seasoned vet with the stage his home. Steven Tyler said he “has a really good rock voice” but to not overstay his welcome. Not too sure what he meant by that, but still good compliments all around.
Grade: B+

Thia Megia, ‘Daniel': Thia did a very good job at connecting with the song this time. Particularly at the last verse when she let it all out. The judges all seemed to like it, and Jennifer said it “was beautiful,” while Steven felt she found the perfect song to suit her voice.
Grade: B

Casey Abrams, ‘Your Song': Although still rockin’ the beard Casey went for a more clean cut look to help his chances on proving to America that last weeks performance was a fluke. From beginning to end the song was well performed. Randy reiterated that saving Casey was the best decision he and the judges have ever made on the show. With that being said it was close (with Scotty and Haley) but he get’s performer of the night.
Grade A

Jacod Lusk, ‘Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word': Jacob threw it all on the line with his performance this week. Ignoring Lovine’s advice to not be overly theatrical, instead a nearly ready to burst into tears Jacob gave a performance that would hopefully make Ms. Mary J. Blige (whom he met when rehearsing this song, and also covered the track herself) proud. Well it sure caught the attention of Steven who loved everything about it.
Grade: A-

Haley Reinhart, ‘Bennie and the Jets': Haley had an interesting interpretation of this rocker joint. She started off on the piano giving a slow introduction, leading into a bluesy rock vibe,  ending with her stomping the stage and nodding her head. She had found what her strong point was that night and seemed to accept who she was as an artist. The judges all loved how she owned the stage with Randy dubbing it the performance of the night.
Grade: A

*The opinions in this blog do not express the opinions of Ryan Seacrest, American Idol, Fox Television, or 19 Entertainment.