Trainwreck Idol: Top 4

by Chris McGinty (According To Whim .com)

It was Top 4 on American Idol, and they had a show, and it had four contestants, and they sang songs. Go figure. They each did two songs. The first was a song that inspired them. They all took that to mean: Do an inspirational song. But that’s ok. It’s a valid interpretation. I think that if I was picking a song under the topic of a song that inspired me, I would pick “Election Day” by Arcadia, because while it didn’t inspire me to start writing music, it inspired me to look for a unique direction in the music I wrote. And that’s ok. It’s a valid interpretation. But enough about me; let’s talk about what I thought of the performances.

James started the show with “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. I want everybody to go back and listen to how Randy pronounces “homage,” because he has it right. Now that’s some true performance. Oh, I’m supposed to be judging James, not Randy. James did very well with this track. I’m not sure he did anything that wowed me, aside from taking on a song that the average mortal human being can’t do well, and doing it well.

Haley did “The Earth Song” and Jennifer and Randy trashed her. I didn’t think Haley was fantastic or anything, but she was good. I don’t understand how they loved “Bennie and the Jets” a few weeks ago, but hated that.

Scotty did some Alan Jackson song. He’s got a good country voice.

Lauren did a Martina McBride song. She did a very, very good job. So good, in fact, that while I’ve always thought she should still be here this far along, I’ve doubted her ability to win. This performance proved that she would deserve it if she managed to pull some underdog action.

The second part of the show was dedicated to a songwriting duo who I don’t know. They wrote the four songs that were performed though, so that’ll give you some indication. Lady Gaga was brought in to mentor the contestants, which was a mixed bag.

Haley came back and did the song that probably put Jordin Sparks on her way to winning, “I Who Have Nothing.” She did very good with it. (Jordin did better.) I think Lady Gaga’s mentoring really helped her to find an emotional center for the song.

Scotty did “Young Blood.” There are a lot of songs that I just don’t really know that well. He did pretty good. It was a “let go and have fun” performance, but not of his best.

Lauren did Elvis’s “Trouble.” I think it was a weaker performance than the first, but it was good.

James closed it with “Love Potion Number 9.” I love that song. He did a very interesting arrangement that shouldn’t have worked, but somehow worked very well. He pulled this thing that the end where he actually did a lengthy pause before bringing the song home, and it was brilliant.

So what do I think this week? James was the most consistent with two great performances. Lauren and Haley were probably tied for second just because if I arranged their performances from best to weakest it would be Lauren first performance, Haley second performance, Haley first performance, Lauren second performance. Scotty was boring this week. I’m afraid for Lauren still, because she’s had a tough time getting votes, and it makes no sense why. I think either Scotty or Haley should go. I don’t even care which. I think the finals should be between James and Lauren, and I’d be fine with either winning.

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