by Lee Stabert
Even though America apparently hates women, Idol extended an olive branch to the fairer sex this week with Carol King Night. In an intro package, Ryan calls her, "One of the most revered female songwriters in history." It's just like when he dubbed The Beatles "some of the most revered dude songwriters in history," or Elton John "one of the most revered gay songwriters in history." Right? We also got to learn some truly impressive statistics: She had 25 solo records, and Tapestry remained on the charts for six years. We also hear that Babyface is going to be helping Jimmy snuff the contestants' creative energy. He's important — there's even a picture of him with Bill Clinton!
Jacob is up first, and he's dressed like Fonzworth Bentley. He's singing, "Oh No, Not My Baby." Babyface offers up some actual advice. Meanwhile, Jimmy says, "He's an incredible singer, but I think he's in the most jeopardy." Man, Jacob is fucking nacho cheese. (I did like that big note on the bridge.) He always looks so pained. Steven Tyler: "It's just about time you shook your tail feathers." God, he is so useless. JLo seems more moderate in her praise. She's saying her usual platitudes, but from her tone it's clear she wasn't crazy about it. Overall the judges seem a little less in love with Mr. Lusk — sowing seeds of doubt in America's hearts.
Lauren is singing "Where You Lead." The producers are still pushing the "shy little girl" narrative — Babyface is trying to encourage her. There is also this weird moment where Jimmy brings out Miley Cyrus, who apparently has nothing better to do. She talks like a frog. Lauren assures us, "She was so nice." This song is another mid-tempo jam — all Lauren does these days. It's fine, but doesn't offer a chance for a real "Idol moment." Then she pulls some dude up on the stage and sings to him. It was confusing. And really distracting. Man, everything she does is so silly and young. JLo is proud of her, because she pushed. Lauren looks a little misty. At this moment, I first notice Randy's insane sweater.
Tonight, the contestants are also doing duets. Haley and Casey sing, "I Hear the Earth Move." Are these two in love? Casey says, "I like growling with her. Onstage. ONSTAGE." Casey continues to sing everything the same way, and Haley is blowing him out of the water. Steven says what I'm thinking, but in his weird man-cougar way: "Hey weird beard, how much in love with Haley are you? Come on, it showed, man."
In his pre-performance package, Scotty says, "The judges had some comments for me." Um, that's what they're supposed to do. Have comments. He's doing "You've Got a Friend." There's a full orchestra, and it sounds great. Babyface encouraged him to start soft and high, and it totally works. The tweens are going to eat this up.
James has some serious highlights ... in his hair. He's singing, "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow." He says, "No marching band, no flaming piano — I believe I can put on just as big a show just being myself." Jimmy assures us, "Carol King and James Durbin were made to come together." Heh. He starts a cappella, and, I'll admit, it's kinda awesome. JLo is geeking out. The rest is not quite as special — the band starts to swallow him and it's pretty pedestrian. I wish he would have stuck with the stripped-down thing. Steven agrees. He loved the beginning: "Then you broke into the rock part and I didn't like it at first, and it grew on me." Apparently this is the first song Steven ever made out to. In a bowling alley. JLo thought it was "magical." Randy says, "This guy just might win the whole thing." Hey, if Adam Lambert couldn't?! And would Idol really want that? Who would buy this kid's record? End of rant.
Next up are Scotty and Lauren. We've already heard these two duet a bunch of times on results nights. Ryan asks, "What's going on between you two guys? Is there more than a musical connection?" Scotty replies, "We're like brothers and sisters." Yeah, on Game of Thrones maybe. Zing! Incest! They sing "Up on the Roof" and it's pretty good. Nothing to write home about.
Carol King's daughter is in the audience. Apparently the grande dame couldn't be bothered. Casey chooses "Hi-De-Ho." Jimmy says they had a lot of "fun" rehearsing. He lurves to jam. Casey is doing this as some kinda jazz number — and he's wearing a fedora. So much growling. Is he actually singing? Back to his old tricks: stalking the stage, making a stank face. Randy says, "This is like the Casey show and revue." Why is this the compliment du jour for the season? Steven says, "You've found your niche." You're right, man, let's just forget the Maroon 5 stuff from last week. It does feel like the judges are trying to be slightly less useless this week.
Haley is wearing an insane headband during her rehearsals. She chose "Beautiful." Babyface really gets in there to help her. Go Haley!! There's a technical difficulty at the start, but she pulls it together. I wish she would have stripped it all the way down. She's doing her hilarious extended arm thing. This performance was the first of the night that made me smile. Her voice is really special. Don't you agree, Steven Tyler? "I just saw God. I saw God in your voice." Apparently that's what happens when you do mushrooms before the show.
James and Jacob have been smushed together for a duet on "I'm Into Something Good." It's like they're the leftovers. They're both wearing white pants. This is not good. James looks fat. Who knew he was so fat?! This is such an awkward way to close the evening. It does not work. This is like a fat-camp talent show. (Where's Diane?!) Steven asks, "Where were you going with all that?" My question exactly.
Casey gets sent home. It was his time I guess. Haley looked heartsick.