Tonight, America chose its top two Idol finalists. Unfortunately, the fantastic Haley Reinhart was not one of them, which means that Scotty “The Body” McCreery will be squaring off against Lauren “L’il Ol’ Southern Me” Alaina in next week’s finale, which has inexplicably been moving to Tuesday and Wednesday evenings instead of the usual Wednesday/Thursday lineup.
If I’m being honest, I find myself incredibly unexcited for the finale, and not just because of Haley’s departure. (I did like other contestants this season too, you know.) I feel like both Scotty and Lauren are a little too young for this competition (especially “16-year old Lauren Alaina,” as Ryan Seacrest is wont to say), and have not been given the judging and constructive criticism necessary to grow and improve in this season. Lauren still lacks the necessary amount of self-confidence for a winner of the highest-rated national singing competition ever, and Scotty still feels the need to sing into the side of his microphone and make googly eyes at the camera, neither of which are the hallmarks of a mature musician.
Basically, I just want Scotty and Lauren to bring the excitement level to the finale that Haley or Casey would have brought: interesting song choices, smart vocal switch-ups and a generally improved level of musicianship. I understand the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra, specifically when applied to a singer’s wheelhouse, but since both Scotty and Lauren will be singing very similar styles of music on Tuesday night, they need to focus on setting themselves apart from each other, a feat easily accomplished with inspired song choices. We don’t want to see the one-two punch of “Young Blood” and “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” again, nor do we want the “Anyway”/”Trouble” combo, either. Yes, you can sing both uptempo country songs and country ballads, and America is aware of that. Please, for the love of the three hours I will be devoting to you two teenyboppers next week, switch it up, for all our sakes. (And an open letter to the Idol stylists: please make Lauren Alaina look like an actual 16-year old girl next week, not a pageant queen or a 35-year old with big hair. Please.)
I’m keeping it short tonight, mainly because I’m sleepy, but below are links to all nine performances from Wednesday night. If you listen to one song, listen to Haley Reinhart slay Led Zeppelin’s “What Is And What Never Should Be.” Not only was it the best song choice of the night, it was also the best vocal and best performance. The Growler was in fine form strutting about the stage and riffing her little heart out. She even fell down mid-performance, getting up immediately and barely affecting her vocal at all. And her dad even got to perform with her! It was all very professional/impressive.
It was a good run, Ms. Reinhart. The finale will be boring without your specific brand of musical pizzazz, as well as that of your partner in crime, Mr. Casey Abrams. Now, wouldn’t that have been a spectacular finale? Ah, an Idol obsessive can only hope for next season. Or The Voice. Or The X-Factor. Or The Sing-Off. But not America’s Got Talent.
Never America’s Got Talent.