It's too bad, but the good news is, all of the top 13 will be on the "Idol" stage for the finale next Wednesday, and hopefully they'll give performances as good as these:
10) Casey Abrams - "I Put A Spell On You" (Elimination Night Version)
Casey was hospitalized with stomach pains only two days before the top 12 boys' show taping, and was released only a couple hours before he performed--but you would've NEVER guessed he was ill judging from his totally energetic, no-holds-barred performance of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' voodoo classic. Later, when he sadly got voted off in sixth place, Casey reprised Hawkins' song for his exit performance, and it was THE. BEST. EXIT. SONG. EVER. This was the way to go out, people. Casey has been missed ever since.
9) Casey Abrams & Haley Reinhart - "Moanin'"
On the top 8 results show, ultimate underdog Haley once again landed in the bottom three, but she redeemed herself and proved she definitely didn't deserve to be there when she sang this pleasingly chemistry-filled jazz duet with her fellow jazzbo and rumored sweetheart. Next to Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta's "Slow Ride," this stands as one of the best duets in "Idol" history.
8) Naima Adedapo - "Umbrella"
Before this performance, Naima seemed like an old soul, a throwback chanteuse in the Ella Fitzgerald mold. So when she rocked this fiery reggae cover, everyone was thrown for a double-loop. She danced like one of J.Lo's back-in-tha-day fellow Fly Girls! She rapped! Go Naima! It was awesome to see this whole new side of her. And while she got a little winded (it's hard to dance and sing at the same time, which is why pop stars like J.Lo usually lip-synch), overall, this was a spunky and funky performance. And most importantly, it was one of the few risk-taking Season 10 performances that actually seemed relevant to today's pop scene.
7) Paul McDonald - "Folsom Prison Blues"
This Nashville rocker was admittedly inconsistent, but when he was good, he was very, very good. And after his first time in the bottom three, he could not have picked a better comeback song than this. By the end of his ramshackle, rabblerousing performance, the entire "Idol" stage had transformed into a hoedown, with Steven Tyler even joining in with a spoon-banging solo. Yee haw!
6) Haley Reinhart - "I (Who Have Nothing)"
Haley really bonded with mentor Lady Gaga this fateful week, and Gaga seemed excited to have a subject so willing to go gaga onstage. "How do you feel about getting a little psycho, giving them a little Edith Piaf?" asked Gaga of her new little monster. Haley then channeled all of her fury over her multiple negative critiques and delivered her performance of the season. A standing ovation ensued, and soon Randy Jackson was eating his words.
5) James Durbin - "You've Got Another Thing Comin'"
I was hard on this guy at first, but clearly I had another thing coming. Covering a Judas Priest song was an "Idol" first, and though his flailing cover came across like a Rock Of Ages performance, or like an overgrown teenager playing a tennis racket in front of his bedroom mirror, it totally had its charms. James looked like he was having tons o' fun, and besides, he nailed the Rob Halford screech at the end. Ex-Priest Ripper Owens himself would've been envious.
4) Paul McDonald - "Maggie May"
Reprising his Nashville audition song (the ultimate classic rock cougar anthem), Paul worked the stage here like a true raspy rock star who could appeal to all demographics. Stumbling lackadaisically around the stage like Coldplay's affable Chris Martin (doing what Steven called the "McDonald two-step"), he came across as the real deal, a dyed-in-the-denim roots rocker through and through. It's too bad he was never quite this good again, but I look forward to seeing Paul two-step to this song every night on the Idols Live Tour.
3) Naima Adedapo - "Dancing In The Street"
This spitfire took Martha & The Vandellas' classic to a whole new level of awesomeness here, not only giving the show the uptempo edge it sorely needed, and but adding AFRICAN DANCE to her performance. On "Idol," any kind of legitimate dancing had been really unheard of (no, Paul's two-step, and the hokey group numbers, do not count)--until this evening, that is. Naima's performance was so exciting, so fresh...the type of performance that becomes an "Idol" legend most. Too bad she went home just a week later.
2) Haley Reinhart - "House Of The Rising Sun"
Once again the judges unfairly blasted Haley on her first song this night, but luckily they were more on board with her show-closing, show-stopping performance of the Animals' classic. Mentor Sheryl Crow earned her entire week's Fox paycheck by wisely advising Haley to start the song off a cappella, which made it the ideal showcase for Miss Reinhart's sultry, sex-kittenish voice. Haley's performance was in fact so stunning, pundits started to predict she might win the whole competition. Oh well.
1) James Durbin - "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow"
James was always full of surprises. One week he was hyper-macho, brandishing a riding crop or rocking out with Ozzy's axeman or literally playing with fire; the next, he was offering an interesting gender-reversal take on a Carole King ballad. (How very David Cook of him!) James remade this song so that it sounded like an outtake from Guns N' Roses' GNR Lies acoustic EP, and it was just very COOL. After this, Randy hopped onstage, hugged him, and predicted that James "just might win the whole thing!" Unfortunately James started coasting after this, probably becoming complacent after so much excessive, head-swelling praise. But this was one night when he definitely deserved such raves.
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