Wednesday, May 18, 2011

American Idol's Haley Reinhart Sings Michael Jackson's “Earth Song” on the Top 4 Show

American Idol Season 10's feisty Haley Reinhart performs “Earth Song” by Michael Jackson on the Top 4 Show. Tonight's celebrity guest-mentor is Lady Gaga, and the first theme is "Songs That Inspire". Haley picked an amazingly inspiring song! "Earth Song" is the third single from Michael Jackson's album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. It is a ballad that incorporates elements of blues, gospel and opera. Jackson had a long-standing history of releasing socially conscious material such as "We Are the World", "Man in the Mirror" and "Heal the World". However, "Earth Song" was the first that overtly dealt with the environment and animal welfare. The video centered around the destruction and rebirth of Earth and went on to receive a Grammy nomination in 1997. In the United Kingdom, it remains Jackson's best-selling single. Jackson went on to receive recognition from various animal and environmental organizations.

Haley looks gorgeous sitting on the stage. You can feel the emotions emanating from her! Haley puts her all into the song, though I'm not sure if it was the best choice to showcase her huge vocals. Also, at this stage of the competition, it is better to choose a song everyone knows, and since "Earth Song" was never released as a single in the United States, not many people are going to be aware of it. It seems to me that Haley received a longer and louder ovation than James Durbin did, though all three judges looked pissed. Jennifer Lopez said, "Here's what I loved about that...You were supposed to pick a song that inspired you, and I really felt that it did inspire you. I could feel your feeling in the song. Here's the thing with where we're at in the competition now. James comes out and he sets the bar. You’ve got to choose the hit records, that everyone's going to respond to. That song has a beautiful message, no doubt, but I want you to be thinking about what everybody else is doing. That's part of competing." Randy Jackson goes straight for the jugular, no soft-coating at the beginning of his critique like JLo, "Where we are in the competition is...Who wants to win this? Who's going to take it home? These are the things I didn't like about what you did: It confused me with who you are as an artist, because the song doesn't really suit you or fit you. To sing that song at the end, it felt to me like you were screaming, you were at the top of your range. To sing that song at the end, like the great Michael Jackson did, you'd have to have notes at least a fifth of an octave above that to really go there, with those R&B chops. It's just not your vibe." "That's not the top of my range," Haley argued. "But, you didn't go there. The song needed you to deliver it. This was Michael Jackson's pinnacle. You needed to be singing runs at the end. I felt like you were just screaming at the end, the same note over and over." Haley begins arguing with Randy, "Oh, I didn't even know I shoulda changed that. I thought it was beautiful the way it was." Steven Tyler breaks in, trying to defend Haley, "Don't listen to them." But Randy has a hard-on to smash Haley into the dust, adding, "My opinion is, I didn't like it. I thought you were screaming. I thought it was a bad song choice." A clearly hurt and pissed off Haley loses her cool and shows her young age, saying, "I heard it. I know what you have to say." Steven Tyler, who's loved Haley since day one tries to shut her up before she offends the audience by being too snotty, says, "What do you get from that? They’re both wrong. That song showed me that you can. It wasn't a hit song, but you sang it. You nailed it. The upper register, you nailed it. You nailed it with feeling. You pushed it over the top. The audience heard it and America heard it. Don't believe them."

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