Casey Abrams - "I Heard It Through The Grapevine"
Other than the screechy parts at the beginning and the end where he tries to go up into his higher register, I loved everything about this performance. For me, Casey Abrams can do no wrong. Loved the BGVs, loved the strings, LOVED how he played to the audience. J-Lo said that she was trying to figure out if there was anyone out there like Casey Abrams right now and to be honest, I was thinking that too throughout this whole performance. I was trying to figure out who he sounded like and who he reminded me of, but I couldn't come up with anyone. That's fantastic. He knows who he is and he stays true to that, and everyone also knows exactly what they are getting with Casey. Casey said that this is where he was most comfortable, and it definitely showed tonight. Great way to start the show.
Thia Megia - "Heat Wave"
I enjoyed seeing this side of Thia. She looked more comfortable and I think it was a nice change for her. I still think she's got a lot of work to do when it comes to connecting with the audience right now. (And she missed a few lyrics too.) It's sad because she's got an INCREDIBLE voice. There was not one bad note in that performance, but I feel like she played it a little safe. She could've taken that song on a ride, belted a little bit and added some Diana Ross-type runs, but she didn't. And I know it's just because she's just a shy girl. I want her to do so well and I feel like AI just needs to crack that shell of hers. But she did look precious.
(Does anyone else get the feeling that Steven Tyler is just there for the front row seat and to make funny (and sometimes inappropriate) jokes? He loves every performance and never has anything bad to say. Dear Steven, judge already!)
Jacob Lusk - "You're All I Need"
Ok, y'all know that Jacob Lusk has been disappointing me lately with all the crazy runs and high notes and stuff. Well, tonight, Jacob won me over. I loved the restraint that he showed without losing himself and his style. Jacob took the critique that he has been getting and applied it this week and it paid off. This song was pitch-perfect and performance-perfect. What I love about Jacob is that he puts all of himself into every song that he sings, and I loved when he said that he doesn't just want to go out and sing a song that everyone knows but that he wants to sing something that is going to inspire someone. I wish that y'all could've seen my face during this performance because my eyes were as wide and my smile was as big as it gets. I love love loved this performance!
Lauren Alaina - "Keep Me Hanging On"
First of all, I'm not an animal print person but I LOVED her dress! Second of all, I loved this performance. She brought every single bit of confidence out there on the stage and left it out there. I think this was one of her better performances and I loved how she fused her little country twang swag into it. It was really good, and I'm glad that she did well this week. I hope this will be a confidence boost for her.
Stefano Langone - "Hello"
Y'all know I have a slight TV crush on Stefano. He is precious and his voice is like "butta" to me. I never really liked this song until they did it on Glee. Then I fell in love with it. Now, I'll probably buy it on iTunes and play it over and over again. Stefano has incredible pitch and feels his songs a lot like Jacob does. He did better with the closing of the eyes issue that everyone seems to be preoccupied with, but my stance on that is if you are feeling a song, you can't help but close your eyes. Either way, it was one of my favorites of the night.
(P.S. I don't understand what they aren't seeing emotionally. I'm feeling his passion from my living room so I don't see what they are missing.)
Haley Reinhart - "You Really Got A Hold On Me"
There's no denying that Haley can sing. We all know that and we all know that she can belt and do runs and all that. I just don't think that this was the right song for her. I think she could've KILLED some Aretha, and that's saying a lot. But then again, Aretha may have been too predictable. I'm not saying it was a bad performance by any means either, I just don't think that it did anything to indicate what kind of artist she will be. I can see her as an Adele/Alicia Keys-type artist but this wasn't it.
Scotty McCreery - "For Once In My Life"
Ok, Scotty's already got a record deal waiting for him. The kid is pure country music. I really actually liked the arrangement and it fit pretty well as a country song. My problem was that Scotty was a little awkward. I feel like maybe he tried to rock it a little to hard where the song just wasn't rockable. There was nothing else wrong with the song except for that. Scotty knows how to play to an audience, probably more than anyone else on the show. That alone will probably save him. I just didn't like the awkwardness of the non-rockable parts of the song.
Pia Toscano - "All In Love Is Fair"
I was really hoping that she would do an upbeat song but it didn't matter because she just killed that song. She had a nice little Celine Dion vibe going there. The way that she transitions from her chest voice to her head voice is fuh-law-less. She's just so good. I hope that this ballad deal doesn't get too old for people but I think that if she continues to kill songs like that, it won't even matter.
Paul McDonald - "Tracks Of My Tears"
I can't hear this song without thinking of my Dad's performance of it at my sister's rehearsal dinner. I wish I had video because it was incredible, complete with handmade props. But I digress. I loved the singer-songwriter vibe that Paul put on this song. That is totally his element and he seemed much more comfortable up there with his guitar. Also, the guitar prevent the herky-jerky moves that he's been laying out on stage lately too. This really showed what kind of artist Paul is going to be.
Naima Adedapo - "Dancing In The Street"
I thought this was one of Naima's better performances. She wasn't as pitchy as she usually is. I think she did make it a performance with the African vibe added to it but I could've done without the dancing. I think she could've done a lot more vocally with this song but maybe she played it a little safe this time so that she wouldn't be called out for being pitchy this week. I still haven't found what I'm looking for with Naima. She's just okay for me.
James Durbin - "Livin' For The City"
Ok, I've been comparing James to Adam Lambert for a while. I now think that he's nothing like Adam Lambert. Why? Because Adam Lambert was a showy fake rocker. He became what his voice sounded like. James' voice is who he is. He's a true blue rock 'n' roller. He's got the soulful sound that Steven Tyler has that makes him who he is. I'm actually starting to like James. I think this was a good performance for him.
Best of the night: Jacob and Lauren Alaina
Worst of the night: (This is a hard one because I enjoyed them all) For me, it was Hailey.
In trouble: Hailey, Naima and Paul
What do you think?