American Idol Review: Who Did Elton John Justice?

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American Idol paid tribute to Elton John last night, and may have found a couple new contenders in the process.

First, Haley Reinhart surprised us by closing the show, an honor typically given to a contestant that has generated more buzz than the young woman many believed would be eliminated last week.

But Haley proved worthy of the concluding spot, bringing the sexy with a cover of "Bennie and the Jets" that started with her lounging on a piano. Randy called it the best of the night.

Lauren Alaina, meanwhile, was up to the challenge of John's classic Lady Diana ballad, "Candle in the Wind." She made the single her own by infusing it with some country twang.

Who else stood out? Which two contestants are in danger of elimination tonight?

James Durbin brought the heat to his cover of "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting." Literally! He jumped off the piano and rocked out on stage just as the instrument caught fire.

Pia Toscano didn't leave her comfort zone with "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," but would you if you could belt out a ballad in such an impressive manner?

Casey Abrams justified his save last night with a toned down, tender version of "Your Song."

So, who might be on the Idol chopping block? Two finalists will be sent home this evening. It says here that Naima Adedapo's reggae version of "I'm Still Standing" will be her downfall, and Paul McDonald's "Rocket Man" might have been too quiet/nuanced for viewers.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


Haley sounds terrible to me-I can't believe the judges called it "best performance of the night"-her growling is so fake, and forced, she does not have true soul at all.very karaoke-like performance.
I enjoyed Lauren Alaina, but the first part of her performance was very pitchy, and no one made mention of it.Randy has a habit of saying people are pitchy when the aren't, and then totally missing it when people are.
Naima was creative- I thought doing a reggae version of the song "I'm still standing" was genius, and contrary to what the judges thought, I thought it REALLY worked!
Pia is always amazing, I find her a bit boring and predictable, but you can't deny she has a terrific voice.
I think Haley, Stefano and Thia should be the next 2 voted off.
Stefano bores the hell out of me-


Naima's performance was gutsy, original, and oh wow...a real performance. The judges are so full of crap. They want risk taking, they want an "own the stage" performance, they want fun, they want connection to the audience, they want the singer to make the song their own, they want terrific vocals and vulnerability exuded. In other words the exact performance Naima gave. And they attacked her. Then they gave passes to boring marginal performances by Thia, Scotty and Lauren, terrible creepy creaking singing by Paul, sappy drama by Jacob. The only one they got right was Haley. They personally destroyed Naima's chances this week in favor of boring, lackluster sappy performances. I'm a decade long watcher of this show but last night's critique of Naima was the most misplaced I've seen in all that time. Thank goodness it doesn't matter what they say about Pia, she's the class of the entire show and win or lose will be a major star in her own right. She will prove that fantastic talent wins out even when AI doesn't give it its due. I hope Naima can prove the same.


Also, hailey did better last night, but to me, she still sounds like a karaoke singer. Something just sounds off with her voice when she tried to hit the low notes.


Paul Mcdonald is the best idol this year. Last night wasn't his best performance, but he has the best voice. The rest just sound the same to me.

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