Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

American Idol: It Was Haley Reinhart's Night

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

American Idol: It Was Haley Reinhart's Night

Article excerpt

American Idol contestants are down to the Final Five. The most impressive American Idol performances Wednesday night: Haley Reinhart, James Durbin, and Scotty McCreery.

This was bifurcation night on American Idol. It was a tale of two halves: Each of the Final Five contestants sang two songs, one contemporary and one classic.

If you tuned in late, you didn't miss much. The contemporary half was a bust for most of the singers.

The All-But-Coronated James Durbin sang "Closer to the Edge" by 30 Seconds to Mars. The result took James to the brink of disaster: It was pitchy, and screechy, and forgettable. The best one could say is that it was energetically performed. But the three American Idol judges gave no critique. Hand them some pom-poms and they'll be recognized for what they've become: James Durbin's Cheerleading Squad.

The judges busted on their usual suspects, Jacob Lusk and Haley Reinhart, while giving their Favorite Child, Lauren Alaina a pass.

No one but Scotty McCreery really stood out in the first half. Scotty nailed "Gone" by Montgomery Gentry. It was a performance that was full of energy, and confidence, with none of the unevenness that the other contestants exhibited in the first round. This week's guest vocal coach, Sheryl Crow told Scotty that "you have a big career ahead of you."

As they dove into the Classics songbook, they all emerged with familiar ballads and took it up a notch.

James Durbin left the rocker behind with a sensitive rendition of Harry Nilsson's "Without You." An emotional song for him because he's seen so little of his wife and young son in recent weeks, as he explained in the video package. He kept it together until the end of the performance, where he squeezed out a couple of tears. The judges (surprise, surprise) ate it up. "Emotionally perfect," said Randy Jackson. A

Jacob Lusk gave another over-the-top emotional performance, this time of "Love Hurts," first recorded by The Everly Brothers in 1960. …

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