AMERICAN IDOL S10: Top 11 Perform Elton John Songs

I haven’t been posting American Idol recaps this year because I haven’t been home most nights the show is on. Finally found myself with a little free time yesterday evening so I tuned in, though I wasn’t thrilled about the theme being Elton John songs. He and Bernie Taupin have written some great tunes but their catalog is ballad-heavy and I just wasn’t in the mood. I wish we could have Springsteen or U2 night. Hell, I’d take Bryan Adams, Eagles, Bob Seger. We need some rock ‘n’ roll and I don’t mean what James Durbin is doing.

This isn’t a full recap, just the highlights. Let’s jump straight to the surprising best performance of the evening: Haley covering “Bennie and the Jets.” I’ve liked her husky voice in the past but she always picks the wrong songs and tries too hard to be vampy on stage. I thought it was going to be more of the same when she started out reclining seductively on the piano but man, she burned it up. Though she still does that throat-clearing type of singing too often for my taste, the song allowed her to growl, belt, and slink through different octaves, opening up my eyes and making me say “Yowza.” Check out the clip below if you missed it.

Elsewhere, Casey did a nice job with “Your Song” but he’s had better performances. Pia was pitch-perfect as usual but still lacked a warmth of feeling. The best singers are also the best interpreters, taking lyrics beyond words and into emotional territory. For some reason, Pia hasn’t learned to do that yet. Plus, her song, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” is a drag.

Lauren had a personal best with “Candle in the Wind” though I’d be thrilled if I never hear that overexposed saccharine ballad again. The judges were too harsh on Naima because I liked her groovy reggae version of “I’m Still Standing.” Jacob was good but wasn’t in the top 3 for me. I still dig Paul‘s funkiness; Steven Tyler said it perfectly when he told Paul if he started hitting all the notes, he’d become boring. I fast-forwarded through Scotty‘s performance as I normally do because he’s just too corny for me. “I love you, Grandma!” in the middle of the song? Puh-leeze.

Who stood out and who are you rooting for?



  • Reply
    March 31, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I have been tuning in sporadically and have really been underwhelmed. Yeah, there are a few standouts, but I haven’t been agreeing with the judges feedback. I wonder if they have better acoustics where they are hearing the performances because they having been pretty generous with the praises. I did tune in last night because I DO like Elton John.

    I didn’t think any of the singers delved very deep into John’s catalog. Haley did do awesome job with Bennie and the Jets!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      March 31, 2011 at 1:06 pm

      I’ve scratched my head, too, at some of the judges’ generous comments when the perfs have been subpar. I think Jennifer Lopez is pretty transparent, though. Even if she’s polite in her critique, you can tell when she’s not really excited about that person.

  • Reply
    March 31, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I think yesterday was the best night yet, and that’s saying a lot. My 2 (or 2 hundred) cents:

    I kind’a agree with you about Scotty McCheesy. I like his vocals a lot, though I know there’s still some immaturity to them. The thing is he’s too young & needs to stop having Velveeta for dinner before his performances. Loved last week rearrangement. This week, not so much.

    Naima is just plain fun. I think the thing that didn’t work in the performance was that it was kind’a flat. I liked the arrangement at first, but then it kind’a went nowhere.

    I don’t quite like Paul‘s vocals. I do understand Steve’s point that if he’d hit all the notes he’d become irrelevant, but I find his voice like an untamed copy of Mike Posner’s (though it would be very nice to hear Paul sing “Cooler Than Me” or something). I have to agree that his song choice was spot on this week, and his delivery was very good, except for the weird ending.

    Pia Tosca-bore has an amazing voice and great control and whatever, and I have to admit that I do get goosebumps when she hits some notes, and she gives balladeering master-classes. But her song choices are neither relevant nor interesting. I saw a video of her in youtube doing Bruno Mars’s “Grenade” in Hollywood and I thought ‘that’s what I want to see live’… (that’s the reason I don’t watch the pre-taped episodes, because they don’t really show who the contestants really are musically, IMHO). Pia may have slayed “Grenade”, but she’s showing little to no interest in being contemporary.

    I officially dumped Stefano Long-gone as one of my faves. ‘Nuff said. He’s like the male Pia… only duller, and with less music knowledge.

    I would be rooting for Wauwen Alaina if she didn’t annoy me. I can’t stand her whenever she’s not singing. She comes out as a spoiled brat, but she does have a great country-pop voice and if she matured a little, she might be very successful. I can hear a little of Carrie Underwood’s kind’a growl in her voice, and I cant’ say that I love it, but it does sound good.

    I’m sorry but Thia does seem like a nice girl and has a pretty voice. She would have a very good shot at Miss Mountain House CA anytime, but that’s just it.

    I like Casey very much. I do. I just can’t forgive him for slaughtering Nirvana two weeks ago. I may take some time to forget that massacre. This time he was pleasant, not outstanding.

    I just can’t stand Jacob Skank. I recognize he’s got nice pipes. But I just can’t stand him. It’s perhaps the way the judges over-pimp him when he doesn’t know how to really control a song and his voice. But his poses and his whole shtick comes out as fake to me. Not theatrical. Fake. And he’s preachy! Ugh! I hate preaching. And I’m Catholic! And a devout one at that! I KNOW a voice like that is a Divine Blessing and whateva’… just DON’T PREACH IT! (OK, I’m going to Hell… LOL!)

    And finally, I’m officially on board of the Haley ‘Scarnatto II’ Reinhart bandwagon. I love her voice. I do think her growl is sexy, and I do think she’s hot (‘though there was nothing hot in the way she came down the piano). And “Benny and the Jets”… BENNY AND THE FRAKKING JETS!!!!! OMG!! That has to be one of the best song choices in Idol History with great delivery. Just loved her last night.

    The funny thing is these kids have so many ups & downs I might change my mind by next week.

    • Reply
      March 31, 2011 at 11:44 am

      Ohhh… forgot to write about James

      Well… in summary: it was fun, but had no sense. The burning piano was cool and everything, but the vocals were sub-par… It was “Hairography” all over the place. But I don’t mind. He’s still very consistent, though kind of unlikable. And he looks like the guy on The Goonies…

      • Reply
        Pop Culture Nerd
        March 31, 2011 at 1:14 pm

        Poncho, would you like to be my guest AI blogger? Your recaps are more detailed and entertaining than mine.

        I usually only watch the performances and snippets of the judges’ feedback so I didn’t realize Jacob was being preachy. I can’t stand that, either! And though I recognize that James has a very strong voice with amazing range, he’s trying so hard to be Adam Lambert that it just turns me off. Especially since I wasn’t a huge Lambert fan!

        Thia and her voice are lovely but her performances are too easy listening for me.

        • Reply
          March 31, 2011 at 1:45 pm

          I actually only watch the performances & snippets from the judges too. The thing about being preachy was in the semifinals or top 13 (I think), and I’ve loathed the guy ever since.

          And yes, I wouldn’t mind being your guest blogger… You would just have to wait until I find the performances online.

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