American Idol Season 10 Episodes 34 and 35 “One of Four Goes Home”

Wednesday night’s American Idol performance show pissed me off to no end. It wasn’t the contestants. It wasn’t the mentor (who was awesome) and it wasn’t the song choice. It was Randy effing Jackson and his complete lack of judging consistency. What do I mean? Well, let’s get started.

Part One: The Performances

Your Top Four, America

Once again,  each contestant will be performing two songs. The first song was to be a song that inspires them. I expected big things of this one and, for the most part, I wasn’t let down. The second song will was to be a song from the Lieber/Stoller songbook. For those of you out there that don’t know these names (like me), check out their Wiki page (like I did). We’re also told that the Top 3 (whomever should make it), will receive a trip home with Idol footing the bill.

James Durbin's First Top Four Performance.

James Durbin

Song One: Don’t Stop Believing by Journey

James chose Don’t Stop Believing as his inspirational song because he felt it represented his Idol journey. I really liked the reason he chose it, but seriously – terrible, terrible song choice for this stage in the game. First of all, how could he perform this song without expecting the performance to be prepared to Glee‘s mega-popular cover. He needed to nail it and he didn’t. I just, flat out, hated it. That’s the first time I’ve ever been able to say that about one of James’ performances.

Professional Opinion: What?!? The judges go wild! I have no idea what they were listening to, but definitely not the same thing I was…

James Durbin's Second Top Four Performance.

Song Two: Love Potion No. 9 by The Clovers

Now this is the James that forced me to love him. It took me along time to hop on the James Durbin bandwagon but performances like this one won me over. Because I’m an honest kind of person, I’ll admit I was hoping this performance wouldn’t be all that great because I want Haley in the top three and I think Lauren and Scotty fans are too loyal to their favorites to let them go home. James’ second performance was the last of the night and he ended the show on a high note. Great job. Bye Haley.

Professional Opinion: Naturally the judges loved it. The audience went wild. I honestly think James Durbin is going to win the whole thing.

Conclusion: Although I hated the first song, James’ second performance was a ton of fun. He took a tough song and he made it awesome. His mentoring session with Lady Gaga was amusing to say the lease. I loved the fact that she tried to loosen him up and move his hips more; even if he admitted afterwards that it made him uncomfortable.

Steven Tyler: Best Selling Author

After James’ first performance, Ryan took a moment to announce they’d just gotten word that Steven Tyler is now a best selling author. Awesome! Related: I want to read Does the Noise In My Head Bother You so bad I can’t even stand it.

Haley's First Top Four Performance

Haley Reinhart

Song One: Earth Song by Michael Jackson

I loved this performance. It was shaky at the start, but it was incredible seeing someone sing a song with so much passion and heart. Haley’s belief in the words of this song was obvious and she delivered a killer performance that had the audience on it’s feet.  Although I’ve never heard the song, I loved Haley’s performance.

Professional Opinion: If anyone had any doubt about whether or not the judges are harder on Haley than the other remaining contestants, this should’ve silenced those doubts. Jennifer criticized Haley for not choosing something more commercial (doubt she would’ve given that advice to James or even Casey). Randy went a step further saying Haley sounded like she was screaming at the end and needed to add more runs. Steven was the voice of reason (thank heavens) and told Haley that Randy and Jennifer were wrong. I don’t know what performance Randy and Jennifer were listening to, but Steven was definitely listening to the same performance as me.

Haley's Second Top Four Performance

Song Two: I (Who Have Nothing) by Ben E. King

Lady Gaga really seemed to like Haley’s performance in rehearsals; telling Jimmy it was ‘perfect’.  She had only one suggestion, asking Haley if she was okay with getting ‘psycho’. Gaga and Jimmy were both concerned that the song would come across as bland so Gaga encouraged Haley to up the drama. Haley delivered. It was a strong, dramatic and fiery performance; showing us all that this girl can sing!

Professional Opinion: Just as they did last week, the judges completely changed their opinion of Haley for her second song. I don’t think they had a choice though because that was a heck of a performance. Jennifer says “This is why we push you! Look what you’re capable of!” Randy says he’ll never go easy on Haley. Steven says Haley “Reinharted” herself into the middle of next week. I’m not sure what that meant but it sounded good.

Conclusion: I loved both of Haley’s performances but by talking back to Randy, I think she’ll lose some votes. I think that’s total bull. She had every right to speak her mind because the harsh criticisms were completely unfair. I was proud of her for having the guts to speak up. I hope America was too.

Scotty's First Top Four Performance

Scotty McCreery

Song One: Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning by Alan Jackson

I don’t want to write about this one, but I suppose I have to. Honestly, I didn’t love this performance. I felt his emotions got the best of him (I know, I know) and other contestants would’ve been raked over the coals for that. I also think, by performing this song, Scotty has won the competition; whether it was his best performance or not.

Professional Opinion: Last week when James’ emotions got the best of him, the judges praised him for his emotional performance. The same was said for Scotty this week. I’ll mention only one reason I disagree with this – Jacob Lusk was taken to task for being too emotional during Dance With My Father only a few episodes back. This lack of consistency hurts the credibility of the judges and the advice they’re giving.

Scotty's Second Top Four Performance

Song Two: Young Blood by The Coasters

Watching Lady Gaga and Scotty McCreery was one of the most entertaining parts of Wednesday night’s performance show. Sure most of the performances were great, and I loved Scotty’s second performance, but Gaga and Scotty? Simply adorable. Again, I wasn’t really sure Scotty’s performance was the best he’s done, but it was tons of fun and he sounded great.

Professional Opinion: All praise – praise with included Jennifer telling Scotty she’s in love with him.

Conclusion: By the time the performances were finished for the evening, I felt Scotty was the weakest out of all four performers. He is incredibly talented and he’s a lot of fun to watch, but stacked against Lauren, Haley and James… he just wasn’t the best. Liked his second performance a lot more than his first though.

Ryan, Casey and Paul

Hey look! Casey and Paul. I have to admit, I’m still really missing both of these boys in the competition; particularly Casey. They pimped out tickets to this summer’s American Idol tour which I really wish I was going to get to see. Someone want to send me to Toronto?

Lauren's First Top Four Performance

Lauren Alaina

Song One: Anyway by Martina McBride

Now this was the Lauren Alaina I remembered from her audition. She was strong, confident and hit some amazing notes. It was a heartfelt performance with tons of passion. She also looked gorgeous. This was a great performance all around.

Professional Opinion: The judges loved it. Steven talked about the… well, the buckles on her shoes for some reason. It was just so nice to see Lauren having fun and joking around again.

Lauren's Second Top Four Performance

Song Two: Trouble by Elvis Presley

I’m honestly not sure what Lauren’s problem was with the word evil, but I know it was adorable to watch. I’m glad Gaga was able to help Lauren get over her lyrical hangup because this was one heck of a performance. We saw a more mature, more confident Lauren who looked like she was having a blast. I loved it.

Professional Opinion: The judges absolutely loved it, with Jennifer and Randy both praising her more mature performance.

Conclusion: Lauren was in the bottom three last week. I don’t think that’s something she has to worry about again this week. Way back in the beginning of the season, I predicted Lauren would win the whole thing. I had my doubts as the show wore on and she had a misstep or two, but I honestly think she has a real chance.


Lady Gaga and Jimmy

Lady Gaga: The Mentor

While the performances Wednesday were a little hit or miss for me, I loved the idea of Lady Gaga coming in as a mentor to help the artists connect with what’s special about them. Yes she made James uncomfortable and made Scotty feel the need to kiss his cross, but she really seemed to help. I love this wonderful and weird woman. She did a great job.

Haley takes more abuse.

Randy the Dick

Wednesday night’s American Idol performance show will go down in history as the night I realized that Randy Jackson is a jerk. Not kidding at all here. When Seacrest brought the top four to the stage at the conclusion of the first round of performances, he asked Jennifer who won the first round. She tactfully avoided answering the question by letting the audience answer for her. When Seacrest asked Randy who needed to ‘step up their game’ for the second round, there was nothing tactful about Randy’s answer. He stated that Scotty, Lauren and James were tied after the first round. What a slap in the face for Haley! Why not just say Haley needs to step up her game? Thus, Randy is no longer ‘The Dawg’ in my eyes but ‘The Dick’.

Will this be American Idol's Top 3?


Well, I don’t know if I’d call these predictions. I’m positive Haley is going home – and not in the good way Lauren, Scotty and James will be and that makes me so terribly sad. Haley has made such an incredible turn around in this competition and I’d love to see her win the whole thing. Here is how I would rate Wednesday’s performances (in the order in which they aired):

  • James Durbin (Don’t Stop Believing) – 7/10
  • Haley Reinhart (Earth Song) – 9/10
  • Scotty McCreery (Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning) – 8/10
  • Lauren Alaina (Anyway) – 10/10
  • Haley Reinhart (I Who Have Nothing) – 11/10 (cheating, I know, but it was just that good)
  • Scotty McCreery (Young Blood) – 8/10
  • Lauren Alaina (Trouble) – 10/10
  • James Durbin (Love Potion No. 9) – 10/10

Yeah, I have Haley an eleven because that performance was, without a doubt in my mind, the night’s best performance. I also found myself, rather begrudgingly, admitting James’ second performance was pretty awesome. Who will be in the bottom two with Haley before she gets the boot? No clue. I’m going to say Scotty. Who should go home, in my humble opinion? Either James or Scotty. Neither really brought their A game last night and at this point, that makes all the difference – for me anyway. There is no way we’ll see Scotty, James or Lauren will go home, leaving us with Haley, very unfairly, getting the boot.

Part Two: The Results

Wow - did I ever get this one wrong.

Ya know, sometimes it’s really hard on the ego to be wrong all the freaking time. After last night’s results were read, I was in complete shock. Once the shock wore off, I thought to myself… wow. I’m never right about this show. Sometimes I’m okay with that. Last night… well, we’ll get to that. Let’s get started.

Ryan sets up the evening.

A record 72 million votes were cast following Wednesday night’s performance show – the most votes in American Idol history for a top 4 show. I think that speaks volumes about the talent this year. After a quick recap of the night before and a discussion about the night’s performances, the show gets started.

An unexpectedly good combination.

Performance One: Scotty and James perform Start a Band by Brad Paisley

In earlier recaps I’ve mentioned I’m not a huge country music fan, but this song is an exception. I was a little surprised, though, by how well these two did. Scotty and James seemed like an odd combination, but it worked really well. I was incredibly impressed by how well James handled a country song. Jennifer was right on Wednesday night. He really can sing anything.

Every bit as good as I imagined.

Performance Two: Haley and Lauren perform Gunpowder and Lead by Miranda Lambert

These two need to sing together all the time. Again, not a huge country fan, but I love this song, love Miranda Lambert and love this duet. It’s a shame you can’t buy the performance night duets on iTunes. They had plenty of sass and they sounded great together. Brilliant.

The contestants video chat with their families.

Clip Package: Contestants Call Home

I honestly loved this package. It was so nice to see all of the contestants get to talk to their families. It’s easy to forget these guys have been away from their homes for almost four months. There were a lot of sweet moments in this clip package – especially James with his wife, Heidi, and their son, Hunter. Of course, for me, the highlight was when Lauren noticed her dogs had been groomed. I love that girl.

Lauren's safe!

Results: Round One

This one wasn’t much of a shock to me. After Ryan explained there were three gold stools on the side of the stage – one for each member of season 10’s top three, Lauren became the first contestant to fill one of those seats. I had no doubt at all that Lauren would be  safe. The shock came later in the show.

Lady Gaga sure knows how to put on a show.

Performance Three: Lady Gaga performs You and I

No, Gaga didn’t perform this live before the Idol audience and no, this isn’t the live Gaga performance that has been buzzed about for the last few weeks. Lady Gaga will be taking the stage to perform on the show’s finale. This performance was from Gaga’s HBO special and was really used here for filler and as a tie in to the night before. The contestants watched the video and then shared their thoughts. I liked the performance, but it seemed a little out of place to me.

Enrique Iglesias performs.

Performance Four (!): Enrique Iglesias performs Dirty Dancer/I Like It

I will admit I’m not a huge Enrique fan, but the performance was alright. The balloons were cool. At this point though, all of the special musical guests started seeming a little… slow. I understand with only four contestants remaining there is a need to fill out the show, but how about filling it out with more clip packages or something that, you know, has anything to do with the contestants.

Aw, poor Peaches.

So Ryan decided to have a little fun with the balloons floating around the stage but I think he underestimated how much of a jump it would be off the edge of the stage. He hit with a pretty big “oof” and sort of stumbled into the audience. Still, it gave me a chuckle. I don’t really find Ryan sexy, but he sure is adorable.

Haley in the Ford commercial.

The Ford Commercial: The American Idols – Fireflies

It always excites me to hear one of my favorite songs on Idol and lately, that seems to be happening a lot in the Ford commercials they do. Fireflies by Owl City is a great song. If you haven’t heard the original, I would recommend checking it out. as for the commercial, well, I actually kind of liked this one. It was no ‘superhero’ or ‘zombie’ theme, but it was fun.

Jordin Sparks brings the sexy.

Performance Five: Jordin Sparks performs I Am Woman

Holy wow – Jordin Sparks is looking good these days. With that said, I’m honestly not a big fan of this song, but I liked her and I liked the performance. Unlike Enrique before her (and Jennifer Lopez, Bruno Mars and Katy Perry before him) Jordin performed her song live. I like that. Enough of the pre-recorded stuff, Idol.

Steven Tyler rocks it solo style.

Video Premiere: Steven Tyler – (It) Feels So Good

I liked the song. I liked the video. Way to go, Steven! I still miss Aerosmith and hope we’ll get new music soon, but I’ll take a little solo Steven action in the meantime. Again though, this episode feels like an awful lot of filler. Is that my imagination? I would’ve traded Enrique’s performance for Steven’s video. The video was much more entertaining. Weird and a little random – just like Steven.

I was pretty confident I had this one.

Results: Round Two

After what feels like an impossible amount of filler, it’s time for more results. We know two of the people pictures above was going to be heading to those gold stools while one would be headed home. Since I was positive Haley would be headed home, my only real question was who was going to be in the bottom two with her. Imagine my surprise when Haley was sent to join Lauren on the stools and Scotty and James were left waiting to see who was going home.

James and Scotty? Really?

Results: Round Three

After Wednesday night’s show, I said either James or Scotty should be heading home based on their performances from that night. Never for a moment did I imagine America would agree. At this point in the competition, it’s hard to say goodbye to someone – regardless of who that someone was. I like James and I like Scotty. Seeing either of them go home was going to be hard. All the same, looking at Scotty and James next to each other, it seemed Scotty was thinking the same thing I was – no way Durbin’s going home.

I give up on predicting things.

Results: Round Four

Wow. I clearly didn’t expect this. Nope. When Seacrest announced Scotty was going to fill out the top three and James was going home, my jaw hit the floor. I haven’t always been James’ biggest fan, but the top three is wrong. It should’ve been Scotty, not James; especially considering James’ second performance last night. America… I just don’t know. I’m glad Haley is still in the game, but damn it’s hard to say goodbye to James.

Ugh - this one was hard.

As James performed his final song – a reprise of Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney, I began trying to pick my favorite James Durbin performance. I couldn’t choose one, so I decided to pick three. They are as follows:

James Durbin Performs Uprising by Muse

James Durbin Performs Love Potion No. 9 by The Clovers

James Durbin Performs Maybe I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney

Conclusion and Predictions

Jennifer cries as James says goodbye.

To be honest, I have no idea how I feel about the results tonight. I’m thrilled Haley stayed but I’m not so thrilled that James left. I’m not worried about it a whole lot, though. This guy is going to be huge. While I’ve never really been his biggest fan, I can definitely recognize his talent as a performer. I’m not big on the screaming, but he pulled it off. As Jennifer sobbed, it occurred to me – those tears are only the beginning. Next week is going to be heartbreaking, no matter how it goes. What are my predictions? I have none. Everything depends on next week’s performances.

Next week, each contestant will be asked to perform three songs – one they chose themselves, one Jimmy Iovine chooses for them and one the judges choose for them. I’m really interested to see where this goes – especially for Haley. Will Randy finally back off or will he get tougher? Will Jennifer be able to hold it together? What interesting Tylerisms will we hear? Come back next week for my complete recap of American Idol.