|Lauren Alaina is singing Carrie Underwood’s Flat on the Floor, and she admits it’s a hard song. Sheryl thinks she should stay put when she’s singing to bring the audience to her, but Lauren thinks that will seem odd. Jimmy notes with the power in the song, she just needs to sing it. Sheryl wants Lauren to forget the fears and just take in where she is, while Jimmy’s proud of her using her constructive criticism as fuel to come out fighting. She sings it a little more powerful than Carrie, and this is definitely the most confidence she’s ever had on the stage.
Randy tells Lauren it’s the direction for her. The great Carrie Underwood has Lauren showing her fun, energetic side and connecting with the audience. Yep. Lauren is in it. Steven tells her the way she found her niche is as good as it gets. For a 15-year-old girl (she’s 16 now), to sing like that, and to know where she’s going, the sky’s the limit. He thinks she’s it. That’s what Jennifer likes to see. She ate it up, and she saw her, she wanted it. Randy gave the talk, and they want to see who’s going to rise to the top. This is what she needs to do.
Scotty McCreery is singing Gone by Montgomery Gentry, and even gets Sheryl to sing a little with him. Jimmy thinks it’s the right song for him as it has a lot of grit to it and a real rock feel. Sheryl doesn’t thinks people have seen Scotty do that big of a range yet and thinks it will have people on their feet. She thinks he sounds great and has a big career ahead of him. She’s right. This is a side we haven’t seen in him yet, yet it’s still country. He’s challenging James, I think. Both of them are the bigger entertainers here. Perhaps it worried him to be in the bottom two last week. He owned that.
Steven tells Scottoy up until now he’s been like a puritan, but “I swear to God I saw you dancing with the Devil tonight.” That’s a good thing for him. It was beautiful and showed a whole new side of him. Jennifer admits she lost it for a second as she was so excited. He just owned the stage and she heard growling too. That is some American Idol stuff right there. Randy doesn’t want to see him dancing with the Devil, but notes it felt like they were sitting at Concert Scotty. Who knew he could rock the stage like that? If you can do it, it doesn’t matter what age you are. This guy is in it to win it too. Scotty says it’s the most fun he had on that stage in a long time. He just let it all hang out, and it showed.
Haley Reinhart gets stool chat with Ryan, and he asks her how she got her hands on an unreleased Lady Gaga song for tonight. She explains that Jimmy came to her and told her while it hasn’t been released yet, Gaga does it in her concerts, and he thought Haley would do a good take on it. She wasn’t sure about it, then wanted Gaga’s blessing on it. When Gaga was excited about it too, she decided to go for it.
The song is called You and I, and Haley thinks Gaga has a really unique voice going for her. Sheryl thinks this is a super bold choice, while Jimmy adds it’s a powerful song not everyone will be powerful with, yet Haley just laces it to show you where she could go. Sheryl predicts she’ll have a moment with it, and Jimmy feels this is just another way for Haley to show she’s got it. It’s definitely the type of thing Haley should be singing, and was a good call on Jimmy’s part. However, she’s a little pitchy here and there with it, as it doesn’t come off a total success.
Jennifer tells Haley she loves the way she sounded, especially at the end, and she had some good moments with it. It was a cool idea to sing an unreleased Lady Gaga song, but she’s just not sure that was good advice. At this point with Scotty and James coming out doing what they’re doing, Haley needs to sing a song people are really going to connect to. She has such a great voice, Jennifer wants her to come out and have that big moment every time.
Randy isn’t sure it’s that great of a song, and he’s sure she could have thought of better songs. He thinks of her going the Joss Stone way, and he feels Jennifer was right that it was risky. She’s a great singer and proved it at the end. Steven thinks Haley put all of her range in it, but thinks it’s a beautiful thing for someone to take a song people don’t know and make it work. He thinks she’s one perfect song away from being the American Idol.
James is back with his oldie but goodie and is choosing Without You by Harry Nillson. Wow, with his voice, that could be HUGE! Listening to the words, he breaks down in front of Sheryl and Jimmy. Jimmy talks about it moving him and says he’s out here to make a better life for his family. Every time they come out here to visit, he has to let them go again. Sheryl thinks there’s something really honest in that and figures we’ll just go right there with him. That he can pull off emotions like this tonight and rock it out less than an hour earlier is amazing. He still has a hard time pulling it together tonight. It is just flat out amazing, and he finishes with tears running down his face.
Randy believes this is the mark of a truly great perfromer. He could feel James’ emotion even as they were watching the package, and him thinking about his family and his journey here. To give a vocal like he did, it wasn’t perfect and was a little flat, but it was emotionally perfect. And that’s what the audience really feels. Now, this competition is his to lose. Steven tells James when he sings as good as he does, but can let a song get the best of him, that’s a crazy time and a beautiful thing. It’s as beatiful as it gets. It was pitchy at times in a strange James Durbin kind of way, but it was beautiful. His emotions were incredible.
Jennifer says everyone knows he can sing, but he’s not just the guy who can wail into the stratosphere. He has the heart and soul to back it up. He is a true, true artist and serious about winning this thing. It takes a lot to control your emotions and deliver what he just did. She lets us know, “He’s amazing, guys.” James tells Ryan he delivered and kept it together to the point he needed to. Every single week he leaves it all on the stage.