With just five left in the competition, I thought it might be interesting to see how I evaluated each during their first Top 24 performance. So here's the review of what I had to say about them, with my review of Casey Abrams thrown in for good measure.
Now, one of the two moments we've all been waiting for. The Adam Lambert wannabe with an unending supply of bandanas is up. James Durbin is rocking out to "You Got Another Thing Coming' by Judas Priest. But, wait, this doesn't blow. Maybe because I knew the high notes were coming, but I liked his voice in the rest of the song and the rock star vocal posturing actually didn't bother me. Two thumbs up! He's a natural rocker -- just stay away from the show tunes, dude, and you may go very far!
Haley Reinhart sings "Fallin” by Alicia Keys. Hasn't this song suffered enough? Who doesn't think they can sing it better than the original, only to find out that they end up...wait for it -- fallin'--short? Well, to be fair, Haley doesn't fall, but neither does she soar. It's okay, it would be a nice, safe performance were it not for the fact that only five girls will go through. She apparently studied under the Scotty McCreery School of facial expressions and she mugs a bit too much to the camera. Her voice is almost there, but just...doesn't make it all the way.
I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I don't like country music. But I love me some Scotty McCreery. And so do apparently the screaming teens in the audience who have been relatively quiet until now. I think it's called “Letters from Home” and Randy says it's by John Michael Montgomery, but this is all a foreign area to me. But whatever it is and wherever it comes from, it's good and so is Scotty. He's cute; he sings well, even the high notes. He's ready to record, right now.
I did not see this one coming. I've been a fan of Lauren Alania from day one, but never would have put her name in the same sentence as one of the queens of country, Reba McIntyre. And yet there they are together as Lauren chose “Turn on the Radio ” as her Top 24 song. Lauren can sing anything. She sounded great -- like an old pro and now someone who should be getting fitted for a retainer. She looks like the missing third Judd sister and sounds just as good (as Wynonna, not Ashley -- who knows her country singers).
Jacob Lusk is the judges' favorite. They make sure to remind us of this before he sings. He has sung better than anyone ever had ever in the history of singing and the rest of us are not even worthy of hearing his dulcet tones. He has been bombastic and over-the-top, pushing his voice louder, higher, farther each time he takes the stage? So what will he do for a change? He takes on another overwrought singer's song, "A House is Not a Home." A song that cries out for delicacy and restraint. Well, keep crying, because you're going to get none of that. Just more GLEE-rific how many runs can I do? He has compulsion to do more than is necessary to sing a song. And with the judges telling him they want more and more, that's what we're going to get. This is not current, this is not anything that you will hear on the radio, and this is not the future of music. It's campy and dramatic, but it's not going to bring the music business back from the brink.
Now it is the guy who will cure cancer with just his voice...at least according to the judges. Casey Abrams is only slightly more in love with himself than the judges are. I will run out of ways to say smug before this competition is over. He's 99% attitude, 1% singing. I don't know what show he thinks he's trying out for, but if their goal down the line is to find a current recording artist, this ain't the guy. It would be a standout performance at your local High School talent show, even if it's mostly smoke and mirrors. He looks like what he's doing should be amazing, and somehow he makes you believe it. But not me, I'm impervious to his voodoo powers! The growling, the talking, it's unique and interesting -- but not the sound of a future recording star. And it's way too calculated and cute for me to buy it.
Well, except for being shocked that Lauren was singing country, I'd say that I was pretty accurate and consistent. I have grown to like Haley more, James too, but I didn't really pan either of their Top 24 performances. If anything, I'd say early frontrunners Scotty and Lauren have receded ever so slightly. But why, how Jacob is still around is a mystery to me.