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American Idol 10, May 11 – Lady Gaga Mentors Final 4

The final four on American Idol is always an exciting time. And now they have even more excitement this week, as Lady Gaga is mentoring them. Yet they’re not doing her songs; they’re doing Leiber and Stoller songs this week. It’s a good catalog of tunes, so this could be an interesting week. They’ll also be singing songs that inspire them.

James Durbin starts us out tonight, and he’ll be singing Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’. It means so much to him because it really fits with his American Idol journey. Since the first day until now, he hasn’t stopped believing for one moment. He encourages Randy Jackson to sing along, saying he knows he knows the words. He sounds great and looks really comfortable up there on the stage amidst the rock band.

Steven Tyler feels it’s a little indication of what’s to come. He asks Randy if he recognizes it, to which he replies he thinks he played it a couple million times, and points out James is even wearing a Journey t-shirt. Steven picks it up again and says he couldn’t have picked a more popular song right now. He gets bleeped out, then says it’s something else, and so is James. Jennifer Lopez finds it great to listen to James go into his upper register, and she and Randy always hear it, then wait for the vibrato. It’s amazing, and not everyone can pull it out.

Randy tells James he paid such homage to his friends, a great band he had the honor being in. Other than Aerosmith, it’s probaby one of the greatest rock bands ever, and Steve Perry is of the greatest singers ever in the rock world, other than Steven. He’s glad James gave him props wearing the tails that Perry made famous. Like they say in the Olympics about the highest degree of difficulty, this was the highest degree, and James did it. The judges comments last week made James refocus, as he thinks he slipped up a little last week. It was time this week to get back in the game.

As we hear that Steven’s book has made the bestseller list, up next is Haley Reinhart whose inspirational song is The Earth Song by Michael Jackson. He has a beautiful message about taking a stand from war, pollution, and destruction, and wraps it all into one beautiful melodic masterpeace. She hopes she can convey the message and make people feel inside what he’s trying to say. She tries to put in all that emotion she promised, but it’s just not her type of song until she gets the growl into it, then she gets it moving. Casey Abrams in the audience seems to approve.

What Jennifer loves about that performance is that she felt it really did inspire Haley. At this point in the competition, James came out and set the bar with everyone on their feet and going crazy. She needs to think about that when she’s choosing songs. The song has a beautiful message, but Jennifer wants her to be thinking about what everyone else is doing, as that’s part of competing.

Randy keeps it real and says they’re at the point of seeing who wants to win it. He doesn’t think the song fit her. At the end of the song, it seemed like she was screaming, and to sing the song like Michael Jackson did, she’d need to have the notes a fifth or an octave above to be able to go there with those R&B chops, but it’s just not her kind of vibe. She argues and tells him it is her range and she felt it. He points out that may be the case, but she didn’t go there. This was Michael Jackson’s pinnacle, and he felt she was just screaming the note at the end over and over.

Steven jumps in and tells Haley the other judges are both wrong. He feels this is what’s going to show him that she can. It wasn’t a hit song, but she sang it and nailed it. She nailed it with feeling. Haley doesn’t say anything, but it’s clear she’s pissed.

Scotty McCreery gets stool chat with Ryan who asks what it would mean to him to be in the top 3 and have a home visit. Scotty notes how long they’ve been gone and believes he’d kiss the grass, then eat fried chicken. A photo has been doctored up to make it look like he’s sitting at his old grocery store cashier’s job. He singing Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning). They lyrics mean so much to him as an American, and he thinks the rest of the country feels the same. He’s looking to connect while he’s onstage. Even though he was only 7 on 9/11, he gives a very tender, convincing performance.

Randy tells Scotty it’s a great amazing song with a great lyric, and he can tell the idols are all really inspired by their choIces. This was a perfect choice for where we are as a country, and he applauds him for that. He thinks those lyrics helped him set the mark on the stage this season. He’s ready for superstardom, and Randy hopes he makes it.

Steven tells Scotty it was beautiful, and agrees with Randy. He noticed he started to lose it in the middle because of his passion, and he can see it in his eyes right now. He wants him to keep it up, because it was beautiful. Jennifer is in love with Scotty, what he stands for, and what he brings to his music. She can tell how much he things about it, that he knows who he is, and that he knows what touches other people. It’s the mark of someone who was meant to do this.


Freelance entertainment and tech writer, editor