American Idol Season 10 - Top 3: May 18, 2011

Top 3 - May 18, 2011

1. Scotty McCreery - "Amazed" B

Scotty's version of one of my favorite country songs was good to be sure, but nothing amazing or spectacular. I was happy to see he dialed it back on the cheesy faces and eyebrow lifting; he actually looked very sincere and it was a lot easier to watch. I have a feeling if Simon was still here, he would have many critiques for Scotty that would involve the words "karaoke", "lounge singer", "cruise ship performer", "theme park singer", the list goes on. This did come off a bit karaoke to me, but the kind of karaoke you would be happy to hear after a night of people assaulting your ear drums with off-key versions of "Like A Virgin".

2. Lauren Alaina - "Wild One" B

Lauren struggled with breath issues and didn't complete a lot of her phrases, letting them sort of dissolve abruptly into nothingness. It was a cute and appropriate song choice that seemed to fit with the kind of songs Lauren will likely go on to record for 19 Entertainment and Simon Fuller. I am interested to hear the Studio version of this song which I have a feeling will be far superior to the live version.

3. Haley Reinhart - "What Is And What Should Never Be" A+
This was nothing short of astounding. I loved her interactions with her father who played lead guitar on the performance - he was awesome too! Clearly where the girl gets her talent and love for music from. I loved the melodic choices she made with the song. This song was absolutely electrifying. She recovered quickly and professionally from her fall which would likely startle many less intense performers into messing up the rest of the song. I did not like Haley early on in the season - her performances of "Blue" and "I'm Your Baby Tonight" were messy. However, since then I have consistently liked her more and more as she is the only contestant (with the obvious exception of James) who really is unpredictable. I am excited to watch Haley each time she sings because she brings something new and different.

4. Scotty McCreery - "Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not" A-

Scotty's best performance of the night -and in a long time. A perfect song choice for him by Jimmy Iovine. His voice sounded like this song was written for him. I liked that he played his guitar, although he seemed to be holding it a bit awkwardly. The kind of performance I could listen to over and over again. He did get a bit cheesy with the eyebrows at the end - I could tell he had been holding it into for too long and those eyebrows just needed to escape. Or something.

5. Lauren Alaina - "If I Die Young" A-

Another good song choice by Jimmy Iovine. Jimmy has been hot and cold all season - giving amazingly perfect advice to giving the worst advice I've ever heard in life. Lauren's best performance of the night. I liked that it was more of an understated performance and she wasn't drowned out by the backup singers until the end of the song - where she missed a line or two. A great performance by Lauren but not the Idol Moment I think the producers were dreaming of.

6. Haley Reinhart - "Rhiannon" A

A gorgeously heartbreaking performance. I liked the beginning of the song the best, when the focus was just on Haley's voice and the piano. She got drowned out a bit by the insistent drum beat in the background as the second verse started. The wind machine and fog drifting across the stage added to the ethereal quality of Haley's performance. I was more than impressed. She seemed natural and beautiful, flawless and even Randy couldn't critique this one.

7. Scotty McCreery - "She Believes In Me" B+

The judges were right when they said this was the first song Scotty had tackled on the Idol Stage that really had a big, soaring chorus in the tradition of Lite FM. I liked the string section behind Scotty - for some reason, for one of the first times this season, it felt like the CLASSIC American Idol of maybe circa Season 4? Call me a nostalgic sap, but I love anything that feels like a throwback.

8. Lauren Alaina - "I Hope You Dance" B-

Anyone that knows me halfway decently knows I absolutely HATE this song. While I suppose Lauren's rendition was competent, I could not get over my disdain (to put it mildly) of this song for the entirety of her performance. I also realized how difficult of a song this song is to sing from listening to her, when compared to the original. Then again, I turn off this song as soon as it comes on the radio most times, so what do I know? I did like the part when she sang "one door closes" and pushed her voice a bit farther than we've seen.

9. Haley Reinhart - "You Oughta Know" B+

Very interesting, and odd song choice from the judges. The beginning of the music sounded exactly like "Gives You Hell" by All American Rejects....just a thought. Haley messed up the words a little bit going into the first chorus. Haley really owned the stage in a way not many contestants have this season (again, besides James. Can you tell that I miss James?). I LOVED LOVED LOVED when she got in the judges' faces during the "scratch my nails down someone else's back" part. You go girl.

I'm going to forgo the best and worst of the night this time since we're down to only 3 contestants. But clearly, in my opinion, the best of the night was HALEY.