Beyonce looked old. 15 Minutes into the programme Scotty kicks off. Safe and sound, with backing singers squawking the lines awkwardly just before he sang them rather better. Maybe that was to help in case he forgot the words. No baby lock dem doors low notes but he managed all the high notes, just. This was a pretty professional performance but could have been any reasonable country singer really.
Lauren's dress sense left a bit to be desired, or not, as the case may be. For some reason, I think the confetti comment I made last week has lodged in my mind, (déjà vu?) I can see Lauren winning so expected a lot tonight. This was a great track to start with, cheery and bright although she did miss a lot of notes. Nerves got to her too. In a way, I wonder whether singing a song that you've sung since you were 9 was wise. It meant that lots of bad old habits probably crept in and, whilst OK, it was no American Idol 2011 winner's performance.
The judges were notably underwhelmed with both of them. Randy calling Lauren's effort 'nice' and, unbelievably, he called Scotty 'pitchy in places' which Scotty appeared amazed, indeed, to hear.
Far and far and far away the best first track was Haley doing Led Zeppelin. Really difficult to do and she did it tremendously well. Great start. That must have worried the other two. Looking fantastic too. Judges stood to applaud and that made up a lot for previous weeks.
Next came Jimmy Iovine's picks.
Scotty appears in check shirt and jeans, strumming a guitar. All very competent and good but, I don't know, this is just kinda comfortable cruising. Safe and sound again. Is he taking a bit of a chance or does he just know that there are so many voters in country land that it doesn't really matter?
Lauren improved a bit, both in dress sense, well marginally there, and a great deal in performance. Nice delivery and the track worked. She was thinking a bit too much about what she was going to do next for the whole thing to be as convincing as she ought to have been. The skirt was off-putting.
I'd forgotten that Haley had been on AI last year and I guess that accounts, as well as her extra couple of years, for her maturity and confidence. Rhiannon is one difficult track and replacing Stevie Nicks was always going to be less than easy. A nice performance but not quite as gentle as I would have liked and a little desperate at the end. This is the first time she's been less than a real star for weeks for me.
Beyonce appears yet again on some weird and annoying video about girls running the world or something involving her changing her clothes every line and fiddling around with a pile of black guys for no discernible reason other than to follow some silly script the film producers has devised. Rubbish. Let's move on, please. She's yesterday and does nothing for me whatsoever. That won't make me popular but I'd have run the French Eurovision guy's video. It would have cost a fraction of hers and been far more impressive.
Scotty wearing an apron won't have got him many extra votes but the suit on stage looked better.Nice job of the Kenny Rogers' track. Well done judges for choosing something that pushed him a little and he did a great job. That may have secured his place in the final. It's almost impossible to think of him not being in it but Lauren and Haley have it within their power and appeal to do just that if they get the right tracks.
Lauren got to do the beautiful I Hope You Dance. I don't know that she was old enough to sing the lyrics and mean them although she certainly looked thirty plus with the way someone's made her up (or not). It was a nice pick and ideally in her range - I just reckon it's a song a mother sings to her daughter, not a 16 year old to an audience and certainly the harsher bits she added seemed very out of place. Jennifer dropped a bit of a bombshell by announcing that Lauren had won the round without even hearing Haley which was not on. She does seem to have something against Haley and that was a killer comment.
Haley gets an Alainis Morrisette number and performs that really tough number excellently. I wondered whether the judges had hoped she would crash with that and I'm not sure it was really her choice but, boy, she put her heart and soul into it and, to my mind, wiped the floor, future star-wise, with Lauren and left Scotty looking like a good ol' boy who can do nice country stuff for the rednecks.
Who knows what the votes will add up to? Reminds me of Adam Lambert's brilliant quality and exciting performances, so out-performing the others, and yet he didn't win. Nor did Crystal last year. It may not even matter, as we've seen from who actually has been the big stars from previous years. All three deserve success this year. I find Haley the most impressive and modern for 2011 and beyond.