American Idol: James Durbin follows his MUSE, Haley Reinhart tackles Adele

American Idol's final seven contestants sang for the nation's votes, but it was James Durbin who claimed the night with Muse's, "Uprising."

Chris Pizzello/AP Photo
American Idol finalist James Durbin poses at the American Idol Finalists Party in Los Angeles, March 3, 2011. James topped the night with another rock performance.

The night started out with a glimmer of promise; American Idol was thirteen strong again when the first six contestants to be voted off returned for an encore performance. Naima Adedapo, Pia Toscano, Karen Rodriguez, Ashthon Jones and Thia Megia took the stage with a cover of Pink’s, “So What.” There was some serious girl-power going on and Naima’s over-the-top dance moves compensated for Pia and Thia’s stiffness.

But then, it all went wrong . . .

Paul McDonald, wearing that ridiculous rose suit again, joined the quintet and completely killed the vibe. Now, it’s hard to blame Paul for this failure (well, except the fashion one, that’s all on him) since Paul would have never attempted to sing a Pink song on stage. Why? Because Paul knows what kind of an artist he is and suffice it to say, he is not Pink. It was sad really, it would have been so much more poignant to remember him bidding adieu with “Maggie Mae.”

Scotty McCreery attempted to bring entertainment back with “Swingin,” by John Anderson. The judges, perhaps sensing the true disaster of the Paul debacle, decided to throw the audience a bone and give real judging a shot Wednesday night. Though Steven Tyler loved it, he would have liked more boot scooting. Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson both struggled to make sense of Scotty’s song choice. With a decade of music to choose from, it certainly seemed a safe and rather dull choice. C

Thankfully, James Durbin was next with the Muse song, “Uprising,” which was exactly what the show needed on the heels of Paul and Scotty’s performances. JLo and Randy didn’t go too far out on a limb predicting James would be the best of the night. Sometimes James seems to lack the maturity needed to really shine but every once in a while, he forgoes the self-indulgence and reminds everyone that he could very well go all the way. The marching drummers didn’t hurt, either. A-

Haley Reinhart took on Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” Randy thought she chose a perfect song and Steven said that despite it starting slow, it was a great performance. Haley sounded wonderful and seemed more at ease on stage than she’s been in the past. B+

Jacob Lusk, or “Luther Lusk” as Steven dubbed him, chose a song that was, wait for it . . .meaningful to him this week. How’s that for a plot twist? Seriously, Jacob’s eternal suffering is getting old, fast. “Dance with my Father,” was so meaningful for Jacob he blew past barely suppressed suffering to full-on agony. The judges weren’t impressed with Jacob’s vocals but since they are ever ready with their spoonful of sugar, said it was a great performance, "emotionally." B-

Casey Abrams selected Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe,” and reminded everyone why he was once a frontrunner. The vocals were great and chock full of his unique personality. That personality also strode right up to the "most beautiful woman in the world" and planted a kiss on her cheek at the end of the performance. JLo was good-natured, exclaiming, “Casey’s got soft lips!” Steven, desperate to upstage Casey’s bold move, decided to remind the network why they have a five-second delay and broke out a string of obscenities. Apparently he, like us, was tired of his standard “beautiful.” A-

Stefano Langone sang Neo’s, "Closer," earnestly singing the repetitious chorus, “I just can’t stop, I just can't stop.”

Please try, Stefano. Try to stop.

After watching him prance around the stage wearing his silly suspenders and even sillier expressions, the judges gave up on the judging. They told Stefano he did a good job and JLo halfheartedly continued the “Stefano is a lady’s man” charade. Maybe teenage girls are susceptible to the power of suggestion, but adult women know that talent upstages doe-eyes and dimples any day, which is precisely why JLo was blushing and giggling after Casey’s performance and not after Stefano’s. C-

Lauren Alaina and Scotty must have had a bet to see who could pick a more inane song. Lauren chose, “Born to Fly,” by Sara Evans. Steven said it was beautiful while JLo and Randy spent a good deal of time beating around the bush when essentially what they wanted to say is what Lauren needs to hear: “Pull it together, and sing like we know you can or you’re going home.” Lauren’s had chance after chance to rekindle the magic of auditions; it’s only a matter of time before the audience starts to wonder if it was a fluke. C-

This week’s predictions:

  1. Stefano Langone
  2. Jacob Lusk
  3. Haley Reinhart

With Jacob leaving us.

Enjoy the Official Muse video of "Uprising" below.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.