Thursday, March 31, 2011

American Idol 10: Top 11 Redux Studio Versions

.. and 11 are still standing! Ha. Shockingly, I actually think that this is the best batch of iTunes recording to date. Everyone sounds, obviously, great and this proves that they are one talented batch. Anyway, here are the recordings for this week with the music of Elton John.

RANDOM THOUGHTS: My favorites this week are Casey Abrams and Haley Reinhart. It's interesting because their live performances were also great. I find Casey Abrams' recording quite gorgeous - again without all those vocal affectations. Haley Reinhart's studio version is actually better compared to the live one. Her vocals are perfect and the everything sounds very modern. I also like Thia Megia's soothing version of Daniel and Pia Toscano's soaring vocals on Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me. Lauren Alaina and Paul McDonald have a good recordings as well. I didn't care much for Scotty McCreery, Stefano Langone and James Durbin though, for some reason.

Scotty McCreery: Country Comfort
Naima Adedapo: I'm Still Standing
Paul McDonald: Rocket Man
Pia Toscano: Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
Stefano Langone: Tiny Dancer
Lauren Alaina: Candle In The Wind
James Durbin: Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting
Thia Megia: Daniel
Casey Abrams: Your Song
Jacob Lusk: Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
Haley Reinhart: Bennie And The Jets

American Idol 10: Top 11 Redux

Wow. Another great show! This is really turning out to be a great season no? I mean, the girls owned the boys this week! How crazy is that?

But to be honest, I thought that tonight should help separate the singers from people who are best suited to sing locally and those that should be considered for a career in the music industry. But somehow, I got it wrong AGAIN. This is the first season where I genuinely don't want anybody to go - yes, even Paul McDonald or Jacob Lusk.

I strangely enjoyed everyone better than I usually do. Plus, I love the fact that they are just throwing down this season and really going for it! Things are going to be very interesting, I think. 

Anyway, let's go with the rankings, shall we?

DISCLAIMER: I am no expert, but this is my opinion - to each his own - and yours will be in the comments below! Haha. 

11. Paul McDonald
Rocket Man
On paper, this should've worked, but I somehow didn't find his voice to exactly fit the song that well. I mean, I would have preferred a more powerful voice for this.  I also thought he messed with the melody too much that I almost didn't recognize the song - or was it his enunciation? I don't know. I kind of thought Paul was better last week. No, this performance wasn't even bad - his coat was - but it was just all over the place. Oh, and his last whispery note was a little strange. 6.5/10

10. Scotty McCreery
Country Comfort
"It has the word 'country' on it". Really, Scotty? Haha. I don't doubt Scotty's talent. I think he has an interesting tone, surprisingly good stage presence, tons of charisma and he surely has a market somewhere - obviously, country. But at the same time, he's becoming too one dimensional. Yes, I'd argue before that he should stick to what he does best, but ALL his performances are now sounding the same and I couldn't really tell them apart. How about he change it up and maybe just go midtempo for once - instead of these mellow country songs he's been doing EVERY week. This performance, though vocally good, was predictable and it never really peaked my interest. Plus, his low notes are like Jacob’s high ones. They don’t need to be gratuitously inserted in every song like that. But does it really matter? No. 6.5/10

09. Stefano Langone
Tiny Dancer
Another cheesy performance from Stefano. I don't know. I really like Stefano's voice, but I just didn't get his phrasing and the funny faces he pulled during this performance. It came off way cheesier than he seemed normally. He sounded - yet again - nasal and though the arrangement worked with his voice, the back up singers screwed things up for him. I could tell he was really trying, but it seemed a bit desperate to me. I just didn't care for it so much. 6.5/10

08. Jacob Lusk
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
Hold up, didn't Robbie Rosen perform this during the Wildcard round? Haha. Ok. I can't deny Jacob's talent, but I guess he's really just not my cup of tea. His vocals were great, that last note was incredible and he kept 
things relatively simple, but everything was way too dramatic for my taste. So while I found the beginning part really good, it got messy and too stagey that I just didn't care for it. Oh, and how come nobody really called him out to sing something uptempo? Odd. 7/10

07. Naima Adedapo
I'm Still Standing
It had all the makings of a great trainwreck performance, but I actually thought that parts of this reggae arrangement somehow worked. Seriously. This was all kinds of cool. It was interesting, fun and I liked how she changed it up to suit her vocals. Now, if only Naima nailed her vocals a bit better this week - that first chorus was rough - this would've been fantastic. I could do without Naima's affected accent as well. 7.5/10

06. James Durbin
Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting
Did he do a split jump? Haha. James was like a breath of fresh air in a sea of ballads. Seriously. He definitely knows how to work the crowd and he seems to be a seasoned performer. I'd say vocally it was one of his weaker performances and I didn’t think he showed that much here, but if you’re looking for performance he definitely had it. To be honest, I'm beginning to think that James is a very dangerous contestant - more than Adam Lambert. I mean, Adam we expected to be awesome every week; there was no growth. James, on the other hand, doesn’t have that issue and he's slowly making sure that the viewers at home are watching him grow in this competition. That's deadly. 8/10

05. Pia Toscano
Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me
Ok. I'll give Pia a pass for another ballad this week just because I don't think she could have done a good job on any upbeat Elton John song. I mean, Elton doesn't have a good uptempo songs for girls to cover. What do you want her to do, sing Crocodile Rock? It's not like Paul, Scotty, Thia or even Naima went out of their comfort zones. Plus, her technical proficiency on this song was just outstanding. She hit all the right notes and I felt more emotion from her than ever. But one thing I hated about the performance though was the freakin' song choice!! Seriously Pia? This is one of the cursed songs on American Idol! Not unless if you're Jorge Nunez or Jasmine Trias, everyone who performed this went on to become JUST a runner-up: Justin Guarini, Clay Aiken, Bo Bice, and David Archuleta. Let's see if the curse will continue this season. 8/10

04. Thia Megia
Gorgeous. I admit, I thought it was just another boring performance from her, but it got progressively better until the end. It was pure, natural and the tone to her voice was lovely. She started and ended great and if she had supported the verses and chorus just the same, this would've been pretty amazing. But that's just me nitpicking, I really felt her and I had shivers listening to this. 8.5/10

03. Lauren Alaina
Candle In The Wind
Sure, the vocals weren't flawless as I thought she went sharp on some parts, but I seriously enjoyed this performance. I love that she added some texture to her voice and her tone was just beautiful. The arrangement was also gorgeous. To me, this was one of Lauren's best, but I admit that it could've been A LOT better if she belted it out a bit more. I mean, the performance just never really peaked. I thought it was going to build into something incredible, but it never quite got there. Oh, and it's a sad song, yet she was smiling through it. I found no emotional connection whatsoever. If she did something about it, I would've ranked her first. Just saying. 9/10

02. Haley Reinhart
Bennie and the Jets
If you had told me a few weeks ago that Haley would be one of the most underrated contestants this season, I would've slapped you and called you a liar! Haha. Seriously. Somewhere in America, Syesha Mercado called to silently pass her throne to Haley. I guess, she justified her presence with this rousing performance. Everything really did come together for her. It was fun, she delivered some impressive vocals, her voice had more character and her stage presence - though still awkward - worked. 9/10

01. Casey Abrams
Your Song
Welcome back!!  Haha. Casey proved tonight that he's not the best singer in the bunch - and without his growling, he just exposed his weakness vocally. But you know what.. I was still pretty impressed with Casey this week. I thought his performance was beautiful and heartfelt. There was a serious emotional connection there that was missing from most of the contestants - no matter how trained their voices might be. It was also refreshing to just hear him sing without all the vocal affectations he usually put on. No doubt, he did justice to my favorite Elton John song. Good job! 9/10

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Glee Music 2: Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?

Glee’s Dalton Warblers will release an entire CD of songs and will be available for purchase on April 19. For now, they made one song available for download on iTunes and I hope you like it - even if you're tired of the Warblers. Haha.

Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?
Not a fan of the Warblers, but this is really nice. It's very reminiscent of their other cover, When I Get You Alone. It's fun and the vocals are awesome. I am a sucker for an interesting a capella harmonies anyway. 7/10

Soundtrack: Sucker Punch

It's interesting that this is just the second movie soundtrack for download here in this site. I should do this more often no? Anyway, I actually find this soundtrack pretty awesome, so enjoy! 

1. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) Emily Browning
2. Army Of Me Bjork
3. White Rabbit Emiliana Torrini
4. I Want It All/We Will Rock You Mash-Up Queen
5. Search And Destroy Skunk Anansie
6. Tomorrow Never Knows Carla Azar
7. Where Is My Mind? Yoav
8. Asleep Emily Browning
9. Love Is The Drug Carla Gugino


Monday, March 28, 2011

Album: Without Regret - Kimberly Caldwell

Just in case some of you are interested, here is Kimberly Caldwell's debut album, Without Regret. Kimberly placed 7th during the second season of American Idol. Oh, and she dated David Cook for quite some time. Haha.

Now, this album was set to be released sometime April of 2010, but for some odd reason, things just didn't happen. I personally like the lead off track, Desperate Girls & Stupid Boys, as her original single, Mess Of You, didn't do much conceptually. Got to say, even if she was never a favorite - she's not even part of my IDOL 100 - it makes me all kinds of nostalgic to see someone who has been on American Idol so long ago get another chance. Hope she does well with this album!


1. Desperate Girls & Stupid Boys
2. Heart Like Mine
3. Naked
4. Hotter Without You
5. Say Love
6. Mess of You
7. If You’re Gonna Fall
8. Taking Back My Life
9. Going Going Gone
10. Frozen
11. Human After All

Bonus Tracks:
12. Cost of Love
13. When I’m Not Around
14. Sleep While I Drive


American Idol Faceoff: Who Sang It Better? (Top 11 Edition)

We're now on our third week of Who Sang It Better? They performed the tired theme of Motown, so it isn't surprising that 10 of the 11 songs were already covered on the show.

Again, this is just for fun, that's why I'm making things here interactive!

American Idol Faceoff - Top 11 Edition after the jump!

click on the names to watch their performances

Kimberley Locke (Season 2)
Fantasia Barrino (Season 3)
Kevin Covais (Season 5)
Andrew Garcia (Season 9)
Casey Abrams (Season 10)

Kimberley Locke (Season 2)
Jennifer Hudson (Season 3)
Vonzell Solomon (Season 4)
Lil Rounds (Season 8)
Thia Megia (Season 10)

Kelly Clarkson (Season 1)
Jasmine Trias (Season 3)
Von Smith (Season 9)
Jacob Lusk (Season 10)

Vanessa Olivarez (Season 2)
Leah LaBelle (Season 3)
Blake Lewis (Season 6)
Lauren Alaina (Season 10)

David Cook (Season 7)
Stefano Langone (Season 10)

Justin Guarini (Season 1)
Camile Velasco (Season 3)
Megan Joy (Season 8)
Scotty McCreery (Season 10)

J.D. Adams (Season 1)
David Brown (Season 4)
Katharine McPhee (Season 5)
Pia Toscano (Season 10)

Adam Lambert (Season 8)
Paul McDonald (Season 10)

Amy Adams (Season 3)
Naima Adedapo (Season 10)

Taylor Hicks (Season 5)
James Durbin (Season 10)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Movie Review: Sucker Punch

Somehow, there's this indelible sense of global coolness to this film! Seriously. 

It's a no-brainer - on a technical standpoint, Sucker Punch was outstanding. Unbelievable visual style. Grand action sequences. Beautiful set designs. Awesome special effects. Brilliant sound mixing. Fantastic cinematography. Epic soundtrack. Yes, I sometimes tend to lapse into hyperbole and those crazy superlatives, but I'm not kidding here. I really wanted to shed a tear just from the quality of it's production alone. It's nothing groundbreaking, but - wait for another one! - it rocked my brain out of my skull. Haha. It was too much to handle.

But while everything looked and sounded ridiculously amazing, the story, I thought, seemed a bit thin at times. Don't get me wrong, I found the whole concept to be great and the way Zack Synder attacked it was actually good, but with everything running in full throttle, I somehow wanted the story to be right there with it. I mean, it was almost as if they knew they had a great premise, but decided to focus on the action sequences with more precision.

Which, ironically, became a setback for the film. Sure, the stunts and action scenes looked wonderful, but everything became heavy handed half way through that - at one point - it all seemed quite repetitive and began to appear rather generic. The "missions" though pretty clever wasn't very thematic as far as I could tell. I was actually hoping that they would become progressively more challenging and difficult to complete, but they didn't even go there.

Dialogues were also almost non-existent in the first 30 minutes of the movie, solely relying on the gorgeous visuals and incredible soundtrack to provide a means of understanding things. Yes, it somehow worked, but it definitely ruined the potential the movie could have. I mean, it wasn't until the latter parts of the film where I felt any sort of emotion towards the characters and even then it seemed somewhat lacking. There wasn't much depth to any of them, which was a bit unfortunate.

For what it's worth though - and in a film under this genre where acting is of second priority - I thought the cast did a fine job with what they were given. Some characters felt a bit flat, but I saw good moments here and there.

Ultimately, Sucker Punch was something to marvel at visually with several shortcomings. Sure, the relatively thin plot kept it from achieving greatness, but I stubbornly overlooked that fact due to the abundance of it's unique stylistic flair and, as I've said, it's sense of global coolness. Haha. Of course, if you require a strong narrative on a film, I'm pretty sure that you may not care for it so much. But if you just want to take a little escape from reality, I guess this is the movie to enjoy.

RATING: 7/10

Saturday, March 26, 2011


It’s that time of the year again! Just like last year, this blog supports Earth Hour!!

This global campaign has garnered support all over the world since 2007. The message? Help save the Earth by turning off your lights for at least an hour. Some may think that saving an hour of electricity may not be as helpful - especially, if you leave the lights on for the next 365 days -  but I guess we have to start somewhere right? It sure doesn't hurt to, at the very least, support this message. 

American Idol: Who's Your Favorite 11th Placer?

This week, no one got eliminated - thanks for the judges save! I mean, if Casey Abrams got the boot, he'll definitely win this one. Haha.

Now, I just want to clarify something. Since Season 8, double elimination has always been part of the show. So, how do I know who placed where? American Idol Summer Tour! The contestants perform in order of their elimination so that means: Anoop Desai ranked higher than Lil Rounds and Katie Stevens ranked higher than Andrew Garcia. Interestingly, that's also how Ryan announced their elimination on their respective episodes: Lil got cut before Anoop and Andrew got cut before Katie.

Season 10 will be different though just because Top 11 Redux will air next week and it'll take a couple months to verify the legit rankings via the summer tour! So, whoever gets eliminated next week will both be part of the 10th Placer poll. Alrighty?

Let's get on with it..

Poll after the jump!!

None *
Season 1

Charles Grigsby
Season 2

Matt Rogers
Season 3

Mikalah Gordon
Season 4

Kevin Covais
Season 5

Stephanie Edwards
Season 6

Amanda Overmyer
Season 7

Alexis Grace
Season 8

Paige Miles
Season 9

None **
Season 10

* Season 1 only have Top 10
**The judges saved Casey Abrams from elimination.

American Idol 10: Top 11 Redux Theme

.. and they're still 11. Ha! Ok. So for next week's theme, it's the very specific, Elton John! I guess, Nigel Lythgoe is officially abandoning his past statement that the themes will be decade specific and not genre. You're so fickle Nigel!

Anyway, I love Elton John and I think he has an extensive catalogue, but a theme that limits the contestants to a (subset of) one artist is too rigid, I think. And too likely to favor certain contestants more than others. Poor Pia Toscano, there is not one decent uptempo Elton John song that suits her. Ugh.

That said, it's good that they're using a theme that's been used once (Season 3) so it's not as tired as Motown no? But please, I NEVER want to hear Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me again!!That is all.

Performers on results show: Will.I.Am, Jamie Foxx and Fantasia.

Friday, March 25, 2011

American Idol 10: Top 11 Results Show

Casey Abrams. Who knew I'll be writing something about you this early? Sure, Casey needed a wake up call as he had been slightly disappointing the past few weeks, but don't you think this was a bit harsh, America? Haha. I guess, Casey got too caught up in it all and wasn’t focusing as much on having good vocal performances that's why America sent him a message - a harsh message! Unfortunately, at this point, I would think that Casey is pretty much out of the running to win this thing. I just can’t remember when a favorite faltered so early in the competition - maybe Andrew Garcia? I always thought that Casey has one of the strongest fan bases this season - regardless of his performance - but he almost got sent home for being, arguably, forgettable. Sigh. I must say though, this will make the rest of the season more interesting as there's no more SAVE for anyone. Yay!

Recap after the jump!

Now, as for some observations and comments on the results show..
  • So I heard.. There's a looming shocker of some sort tonight? Hmm.
  • The editing at the start of the show was actually kind of cool. Very interesting.
  • Hold up, why are they all dressed up? The girls look gorgeous and the guys - with the exception of James Durbin's weird coat - look dapper.
  • If Marc Anthony is the one respnsible for fixing the mess with this group the last couple of weeks then, Thank you!
  • I'm loving the group numbers more and more. Cheese-fest at its finest!
  • Yay! Stevie Wonder!! Wait, is this the "shocker" Nigel Lythgoe was talking about? It's sweet, but there's nothing surprising about it. Unless, of course, if I'm Steven Tyler. Haha.
  • Ford music video this week: lame.
  • Green tights notwithstanding, I actually like Sugarland's song. 
  • Ok. So, this wrestling bit is so random but pretty funny. I like seeing them with their personalities. Poor Haley got no screentime at all.
  • OMG! Hulk Hogan!! HAHA. 
  • This episode is all over the place and I love it.
  • Is this the best elimination show ever? I am SO entertained!
  • While fake, there was something so satisfying in seeing Ryan getting punched in the face.
  • Stupid but awesome! HAHA
  • The "shocker": Stevie Wonder? NOT. Hulk Hogen? NOT. Casey Abrams part of the Bottom 3? I think this is it. 
  • Jennifer Hudson, you're amazing. That's all.
  • What? Thia is safe? Ok. Maybe Casey Abrams part of the Bottom 3 isn't exactly the "shocker".
  • OMG!!! THIS IS CRAZY!!!!
  • Too many things going on!!!!! I don't know what to do first. Watch it? Blog about it?
  • I'm an emotional wreck right now. Casey getting the lowest votes. Then, he's about to sing but Randy stopped him. Then, they saved him. Then, he hugged his mom. Why are you doing this to me American Idol? I'm pathetic.
  • I thought Casey was going to black out. Seriously.
  • Yay! Double elimination next week! Let the carnage begin!

Thia Megia safe
Stefano Langone safe
Casey Abrams SAVED!

Lauren Alaina
Pia Toscano
Scotty McCreery
Paul McDonald
James Durbin
Jacob Lusk
Naima Adedapo
Haley Reinhart



Thursday, March 24, 2011

American Idol 10: Top 11 - Who's Going Home?

Oh no! How am I supposed to predict this if everyone performed almost at the same level last night? I know. I know. There a couple of people who stood out, but no one was embarrassingly terrible that the best people actually got a substantial home run.

That said, I'm pretty sure two of the Bottom 3 will be composed of Haley Reinhart  - though she doesn't deserve it - and Thia Megia; the other one is harder to predict, but I'll get into that later. Let me focus first with the ladies. To be honest, Haley Reinhart's chances isn't looking really good right now. Personally, I think that she did enough to stay in the competition, but her performances were hardly memorable and her two consecutive trips at the Bottom 2 are good enough reasons to have her as the credible eliminated contestant this week. She seems to be falling through the cracks in most people’s support so another Bottom 3 appearance is highly probable - or even an elimination.

However, Thia Megia's tentative performances for the past couple of weeks might get her in trouble. I appreciate that she tried to mix it up this week, but performing second and having a relatively lukewarm reviews from the judges didn't do her any favors.

As for the other one, it has be between Stefano Langone or Naima Adedapo. I think Stefano Langone, at some extent, regressed last night even if his performance wasn't that bad. But, he went from having the best performance last week to the worst this week. Really. Where was my darkhorse? Haha. Naima Adedapo, on the other hand, just because her performance was polarizing and based on popularity she's clearly trailing behind the other competitors - but I doubt this.

This week's exit will be determined by the strength of each contestant’s fan base and nothing else. Unfortunately, I think it's Haley Reinhart. I mean, according to my post American Idol 10: Ranking the Top 13, she's the next one to go, but I'd rather see Thia Megia go as that would actually make a really good, diverse Top 10 line-up. Oh well.

Top 11 Performances Review, HERE.
Top 11 Studio Versions, HERE.

American Idol 10: Top 11 Studio Versions

.. and they are down to 11. Wow. This season is flying by so fast. We're almost at the Top 10. I actually enjoyed almost everyone's performances, but of course the studio versions are a totally different story. Here are their recordings with the theme, Motown!

RANDOM THOUGHTS: This week, Pia Toscano delivers a stellar vocal performance with this recording. I'm not surprised, but let's just say I'm happy to state that. Haha. Lauren Alaina sounds good sans the country vibe that she had during her live performance. Jacob Lusk's vocals are solid but there's something about his voice that bothers me. I also like Casey Abrams and James Durbin's studio recordings. I didn't care much for Thia Megia's recording and Stefano Langone sounds odd in his version of Hello with all the weird phrasing and whatnot. Oh, and I didn't recognize Scotty McCreery's voice at first. Weird. I thought he sounds more identified and in control than any of the other contestants.

Casey Abrams: I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Thia Megia: Heatwave
Jacob Lusk: You're All I Need To Get By
Lauren Alaina: You Keep Me Hanging On
Stefano Langone: Hello
Haley Reinhart: You Really Got A Hold On Me
Scotty McCreery: For Once In My Life
Pia Toscano: All In Love Is Fair
Paul McDonald: Tracks Of My Tears
Naima Adedapo: Dancing In The Streets
James Durbin: Living For The City

American Idol 10: Top 11

Yay! This was actually a pretty solid night. I don't think anyone was terrible, and there were surprisingly a lot of good performances. Yes, this week was so much better than the crapfest that was last week.

I also thought that after tonight, I would be able to narrow in on the potential winners. Fortunately - or unfortunately - I really have no clue who’s going to take this! It's insane. I honestly think that this will be the fiercest season ever and I love it! I guess, tomorrow will be more unpredictable than I thought.

Oh, and I loved the constructive Jennifer Lopez. She's by far my favorite judge EVER!

Anyway, let's go with the rankings, shall we?

DISCLAIMER: I am no expert, but this is my opinion - to each his own - and yours will be in the comments below! Haha. 

11. Stefano Langone
Stefano! You just killed yourself and you don’t even know it. Sigh. Obviously, David Cook made this song untouchable on American Idol and anyone who even dares to cover this will pale in comparison. No, it wasn't hardly terrible, but it was bland and ridiculously cheesy. He sounded nasally, his phrasing was shockingly weird, he almost had zero connection with the song and he just warbled his way throughout his performance. He did try to redeem himself with a big power note at the end, but I guess it was too late. And I thought this theme was tailor made for him. I guess, I was wrong. 6.5/10

10. Scotty McCreery
For Once In My Life
Wow. A country version of this song? It looked like Scotty had no problem with making Motown his own. Haha. For the record, I like Scotty, but this arrangement seriously gave me some unwanted flashbacks of Kristy Lee Cook's Eight Days A Week. I thought the country ornaments slightly worked well, but the band arrangement was working against him. His vocals were pretty uneven too. I don't know. I guess, Scotty can't cut outside his genre. I'm not complaining though - even if he's been doing the same thing every week. At the end of the day, he's going to release a country album and Motown will never be part of it. Just saying. 6.5/10

09. Thia Megia
She seemed quite.. or did she mess up with the words? Well, I was pretty sure there were a couple of forgotten lyrics in there. Technically, she was good if a bit generic and karaoke sounding. Thia needed more oomph with that song. Yes, she was less than boring than usual - I'll give her that - but again, it was still too timid for my taste. Another great vocal performance but lackluster stage performance. I don't know. Oh, and Randy, she's not giving birth. Calm down. Stop saying PUSH! Haha. 7/10

08. Paul McDonald
Track Of My Tears
“Take a good look at my face. You’ll see my smile looks out of my place” Isn't this the perfect song for someone who grins no matter what the lyrics or how depressing the stuff he sings about? Haha. It's Track of My Tears, Paul!! Wistful smiling? Really? Irony is cool, but the goofy grin in your face was so disconnected. Good thing, I liked the entirety of his performance sans the smile. Imagine that! A guitar was all he needed to stop dancing silly! Give him a guitar and he looks so much more comfortable on stage. Possibly my favorite from Paul so far. It sounded contemporary and his vocals weren't as annoying as before. I guess, the non-offensive strumming is the best alternative for the spastic dancing. I'll take that. 7.5/10

07. Casey Abrams
I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Was it just me or did Casey look like a lion? I think it was the gel on his hair. Haha. Enough with this non-sense. Overall, I thought Casey was decent. True, he started off a bit rough around the edges, but he delivered a passable version of this overdone song. The problem I have now with Casey is the fact that he's trying to growl the whole song to mask his off key singing. It's a smart move, but he needs to do something about it. Melodic growling. Rhythmic screeching. Playful grunting. Whatever you want to call it, it’s not singing. I hope and pray he does a ballad next week because I love myself some mellow, smoother-than-butter Casey. He hasn’t been nearly as good or interesting in the voting rounds as he was in Hollywood. 7.5/10

06. Jacob Lusk
You're All I Need To Get By
Of course, Jacob sang a song Von Smith chose two seasons ago. Haha. Well, Jacob is officially the most overrated contestant this season. I mean, no matter what he does, he gets praised even when it was terrible. Now, the judges were literally creaming over this performance? It was good, but not as great as the judges made it sound. Good start. Decent arrangement. Lovely bridge. Nice control. I could have done without his last note, but whatever. Drowned out by the backgrounds singers on the chorus. All in all, possibly one of Jacob's strongest performances to date. But Motown really should be in his wheelhouse, so I expected nothing but great and he was good. 8/10

05. Haley Reinhart
You Really Got A Hold Of Me
Surprise! Surprise! Haley has learned from Haley Scranato that, when in doubt, wear the shortest shorts possible. Haha. She busted out with those legs. Smart girl! Well, she didn't need any of that because I thought she sounded great. She got spunk, tons of personality, and the liberties with the melody and those runs at end were amazing! She CANNOT miss the tour, she doesn't deserve it. I know. I know. I didn't give her much credit the past few weeks, but I get her now. I really do. 8/10

04. Lauren Alaina
You Keep Me Hanging On
It pains me to say this, but Lauren sounded fantastic! She started off really strong and although she got a bit tentative after that, I actually liked her performance. Effortless vocals and her phrasing didn't bother me one bit. The arrangement could've been faster but it was still good. Plus, I did see her growth and maturity this week. I mean, she kept her mouth shut after singing. Thankfully, someone told her NOT to act 12. Yay! 8/10

03. Pia Toscano
All In Love Is Fair
Oh, Pia. Really? I haven't heard you do any of those yet! Haha. It's silly, I know. It's common knowledge that Pia is technically the best singer this season. She has an amazing range and great control. Now, I admit that this performance was vocally outstanding. Flawless pitch, lovely tone and interesting build up, but I have to agree with the judges about her and those sleepy ballads. With a voice as good as hers, it would be really nice not to constantly hear such dreary non-current songs. She needs to spice it up a little. Stop trying to be perfect, Pia! It bores the crap out of me. 8.5/10

02. James Durbin
Livin' For The City
He freakin' owned the stage! Yes, I like James more and more every week. Who knew? Aside from the abrupt ending, I thought his performance was amazing. His vocals were better compared to last week, and although he sounded a bit screechy in some parts, I shockingly didn't mind. Great tone. Good vibrato. Nice range. Interesting vibe. Amazing stage presence. Outstanding performance, overall. 8.5/10

01. Naima Adedapo
Dancing In The Streets
CRAZY!! One thing about Naima - you'll never know what you're going to get! Seriously. Is she the best singer? Hardly. Is she the strongest singer? Not really. Does she have the whole package? Doubtful. But goddammit! She is the most entertaining and she knows how to use them to the hilt. She brought the stage presence other contestants were lacking and just made the other favorites look duller than usual. Plus, her vocals were shockingly on pitch. Pia and Thia should take a page from Naima's book, I believe. 8.5/10
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