Tuesday, April 26, 2011

American Idol Report Card: Haley Reinhart Rules The 21st Century!

Who was the best performer on American Idol Season 10's Top 7 Show? According to MTV, it was Haley Reinhart!

By Eric Ditzian, MTV

What a bizarre American Idol evening it was! Kisses were bestowed, curses were hurled, tongues were wagged, and — wait, what? — the singers actually took on contemporary tunes rather than ones penned decades before they were born.

It's nice to know that, 10 seasons in, the show can still surprise us. And the contestants too! Haley Reinhart bounced back. James Durbin didn't make us want to flip over to another channel and endure the comparatively less-grating stylings of Guy Fieri on "Minute to Win It." And suddenly the Scotty McCreery love fest came to a close for reasons we still can't comprehend.

Yes, it was a new dawn and a new day during 21st-century night on Idol. Who will be granted new life? Who won't be feeling very good on Thursday's elimination show? Our "Idol" report card knows all.


Haley Reinhart: The season's resident growler was back in fine form on Wednesday, following a clunker of a performance last week that we hope didn't permanently dent crooner-on-the-rise Haley's fanbase. She landed in the bottom three last week. If that happens again on Thursday, we'll be mega-pissed. Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" was simply a perfect fit for Haley, which really is saying something, considering song choice has been an ongoing problem for the contestant. The tune had a finger-snapping pulse to it, yet also left Haley room to explore. And explore she did (though she didn't hit every note along the way), seeking out every emotional corner of the tune, mixing that growly power with angelic vocal flights.


Scotty McCreery: Scotty deserves an apology from the judges. Old Faithful stepped up and belted out essentially the same competent country ditty he's been doing for months, and suddenly Randy and Co. have a problem with it? The decision to critique him now, after a no-better-and-no-worse-than-before take on LeAnn Rimes' "Swingin'," seemed utterly arbitrary. The judges suddenly want Scotty to grow after telling him for so long he has no need to? Strange. (And conspiracy theorists might spot an attempt to construct an artificial reality-show narrative with a payoff next week: Scotty's back, y'all!) In any case, the truth is that his artistry has never been about growth. He's a fully-formed country singer. You either accept him for that, or you become bored to tears of the kid. You can't have it both ways.

James Durbin: Our colleague Jim Cantiello compared Durbin's take on Muse to a violation of fundamental human rights, but here's why we're giving it a thumbs-up. We loathe James' contrived heavy metal impulses: The least rock-and-rock thing a singer can ever do is point out how damn rock-and-roll he is; his performance alongside Zakk Wylde last week served only to highlight James' schoolboy metalhead persona. This time around, the singer toned down the clamor and left his vocals with room to breathe. Were those vocals always on point? Did that squeal of his work out very well? No and no. Yet credit is due: James is learning what works on stage and, potentially, in a recording studio.

The remaining Idols received either 'Satisfactory' or 'Unsatisfactory' ratings. To read those reviews, click HERE.

Watch Haley's performance of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" right here in the American Idol Season 10 Blog!

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