Posts tagged Jacob Lusk

American Idol: Top 5 Recap

This week we had Sheryl Crow as the Idol mentor.  Ironic because not too long ago she bashed the show in an interview with MSNBC saying, “Let’s face it, it undermines art in every way and promotes commercialism, I am sad people love it so.” I wonder what made her change her mind.  I enjoyed her nonetheless and I thought she gave some decent advice.  The contestants sang two songs each this week and overall I thought it was a good night for everyone, with the exception of Jacob.  Who ended up being the one voted off.  So now we are left with James, Scotty, Haley and Lauren.  Here’s what I thought about the performances Wednesday night:


James did, “Closer to the Edge,” a 30 Second to Mars song.  It gave him some relevancy in my mind of where he would fit in post Idol.  When he sang “Without You,” it took me right back to the first time I heard Kelly Clarkson sing it.  Her vocal performance on that song in particular has been cemented in my head since the day I heard it.  Obviously his sound is very different than Clarkson so the two didn’t compare. I sort of liked the vibe he brought to the song.  It wasn’t even close to being his best vocal performance but the crying kind of pulled me into the performance.  Even with his rocker swagger he finds ways to make himself vulnerable and relate to the audience.  Not easy to do.  Despite the fact that he sounded probably his worst the judges ate the performance up, per usual.  The audience is practically brainwashed into voting for him with the constant praise from the judges.  It would be so shocking if he went home anytime soon.


I do worry that he is going to struggle after Idol.  Whether he wins it or not, I see him going for a genre that is not the easiest to break into.  There are so many barriers and the audience is a tough crowd to please.  I think the general population is going to have a hard time accepting him because of his Idol background.  Adam Lambert was able to find his niche but James won’t be able to follow that path.  He seems to be getting a lot of support and praise from the bands he’s been covering.  That will help him.


Two weeks ago I would have said there is no way for Scotty to win the whole thing.  But man he’s had some strong performances when it has really counted.  I’m thinking Scotty might be here to stay.  His Montgomery Gentry performance was so good. Then he followed up with “Always on my Mind.”  Both performances showed how well rounded he is as a country artist.  He had a great night.  They haven’t crowned a male, country singer for the top prize.  I mean he’s going to thrive post Idol in the country scene, so then AI can take credit for launching both Carrie Underwood and Scotty McCreery.  It would give the show more credibility.  How can they not have him win?


I loved Lauren.  I think its incredible the turn around shes made in the last 3 weeks.  She has taken all the important steps to move forward in this competition.  You can absolutely tell that she’s putting in the work to try and win this thing.  I think she would be one of the most exciting people to watch win it.  You can tell that it’s her dream.  She broke down tonight when she found out she was one of the bottom two.  It will be interesting to see if she can bounce back from that or if she will play it safe next week out of fear of elimination.  I was disappointed to see her in the bottom two after she had just pushed herself with her two songs this week.

Ah, Haley… what a breath of fresh air.  I completely disagree with what Randy and JLo said about her needing to find a song that the audience already knows. It was completely risky, but it paid off.  I always refer to Idol as a glorified karaoke contest.  Here Haley comes in and just kills this unreleased Gaga song, that for the most part no one has heard.  Haley did such a phenomenal job that it could easily be her first single.  It didn’t sound like anyones song but her own, which has got to be one of the most important things to me.  All the contestants sound great and record the tracks week after week, but the ones that I choose to buy and download are ones that are unique.  I don’t want just another decent cover of a song.  I want one that makes people forget that it’s a cover, that they really have to sit for a second and think about what the original sounds like.  Season 8 contestant, Allison Iraheta did “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and whenever someone I’m with hears it play they think its killer.  Haley closed the show with “House of the Rising Sun.”  People are saying that it’s the best performance on the Idol stage of all time.  It’s right up there for me.  At the moment I can’t think of another performance in all the other seasons that I like better.  It was just beautiful.


On to the results show.  I was concerned about Jennifer performing on the show.  She’s using Idol to her personal advantage and some seem to have mixed feelings about that.  I think they chose the perfect time to let her perform.  Had she of done it too early I don’t believe the audience would be as accepting.  On the flip side you don’t want her performing too close to the finale.  So I guess if she was going to have to make her appearance they chose the best time for it.  I didn’t find it too entertaining.  It’s difficult because she needed to sing live since it is “American Idol” and she would have received an insane amount of criticism if she didn’t.  However, Jennifer is an incredible performer mostly because of her dancing.  We didn’t get to see all that.  She did what she could with it, but for me it just wasn’t enough.


Wednesday, Jacob finally received the criticism that he needed to hear.  He says that he can relate to all kinds of music.  I disagree.  He oversold himself.  One minute he’s telling us he can’t sing a Marvin Gaye song… the next he’s trying to tell us his direction is Jordin Sparks/Chris Brown.  The kid belongs on Broadway, in Gospel music, that’s his niche and because he didn’t tap in to that completely thats why he went home.  I’m very surprised he made it as far as he did.  So yeah, goodbye Jacob.  I’m sorry to say that I have been awaiting your departure for some time now.  Not sad at all to see you go.




American Idol: Top 6 Recap

I strongly dislike theme weeks.  I understand the purpose, challenging the contestants, providing some sort of organization so you don’t feel like your sitting at a karaoke bar where they can get up and sing just anything.  But oh Carole King… this week concerned me.  My expectations were extremely low so naturally last night turned out to be better than I thought it was going to be.  Thats always a good thing.


Alright so let’s get at it.  Last night I loved Scotty, James, and of course Haley.  I almost feel bad for getting it in on Scotty last week about him not being versatile.  He killed his performance last night singing, “You’ve Got a Friend.” So last week, I was wrong.  I mean the reality is he’s going to be singing country music after Idol, so does it really matter if he’s extremely versatile?  Overally versatility doesn’t concern me, which is why I find theme weeks to not have such a great purpose.  Because everyone ultimately has their niche and if your good at it your going to sell records.  Your not going to sell an album because you can cover Elton John, Carole King and a little Mo-town.  Ah, I digress. Something about last nights performance just moved me.  I’m very happy we got to see that side of Scotty.


James, surprisingly, I liked last night.  Probably the first time and quite possibly the last you will hear those words from me.  He sang “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.”  It was pretty much the performance I’ve been waiting for from him the entire season.  I get really overwhelmed with the constant over the top screaming and big productions week after week with him.  Last night he was more on my level.  However the judges praise really irritated me.  Thank you Randy for continually steering the viewers to vote for him.  I would be surprised if James doesn’t make it to the finale.  Didn’t Steven Tyler mention performing with him if he won?  I think people want to see that.


Haley’s duet with Casey didn’t really compare to their last performance of “Moanin.”  But their style and voices complement each other really well so I thought it was enjoyable.  By far the best duet.  Last night Haley sang “Beautiful” for her solo. By now everyone knows that I’m wanting her to go all the way.  I’m so surprised by all the bloggers that dislike her.  Her range and control of her voice is just phenomenal.  I need her to stick around, otherwise I will have no desire to watch Idol anymore.


Ah, Lauren.  It’s not that I wasn’t impressed with her vocal performance.  I thought she sounded great.  I think it was the random boy on the stage that really bothered me.  It made the performance corny.  With that being said, last week I wrote about her needing to get confidence on stage otherwise she is going to be let go.  She was like a different girl on stage last night.  I thought she did great in that department.


So that leaves us with Jacob and Casey.  I’m so ready for Jacob to go home.  I’m sorry but he irritates me.  I will not even be close to being upset if he goes home.  And I have replayed Casey’s performance of “Hi De Ho” so many times today.  I don’t know why I just feel indifferent towards his performance.  It just didn’t excite me in the least.  But then again I also didn’t hate it.  I haven’t read many other reviews from last night so I’m curious to what all of you are thinking.


So there you have it, Top 6 recap.  I have to miss the results show tonight because I have a concert and broadway show tonight.  Hopefully I will have some reviews up of those by this weekend.  On a completely other note… did anyone catch Hanson on Dancing With The Stars this week?  Great exposure for them!  Of course I really enjoyed it but I’m definitely curious to know how the general public is responding to their music… let me know if you seen it.


American Idol: Top 7

The night started out with the eliminated contestants singing Pink’s “So What.”  Which at first I thought was a pathetic song choice.  I mean I understood that they were trying to convey the message of not caring about elimination but most of them can’t honestly be saying ‘so what’ to their departure.  At times I find myself to be some what of a harsh critic so I watched it back this morning and I ended up actually finding it to be sort of cute and charming.  The girls kicked butt on the song but Paul just seemed awkward on the stage singing that song with a group of girls.  Anyway back to whats important… the performances.


The judges were in the mood to critique last night.  They started off being a little harsh on Scotty.  Just a couple weeks ago Randy proclaimed that he “wasn’t just a one trick pony.”  Clearly country is his lane and to think that he is capable of succeeding in any other genre is just stupid.  I don’t always understand the judges comments when it comes to him, they are always all about him.  I was really surprised to see their response to him last night because I kind of liked it.  Either way Scotty is going to just fine when he gets eliminated.  His voice is so smooth and perfect for country.  While the performance last night of Leann Rimes, “Swingin” could have been slightly corny, I thought it was cute.  I was smiling and I ultimately decided that I probably would go see a Scotty McCreery concert.

Gosh, and James.  Sometimes I just don’t know what to say about him because I just don’t get it.  And if someone wants to enlighten me on the attraction to him I’m truly interested.  Usually I blame my problem with him on my general taste of music.  But I love Muse & I love that song… but coming from James, I just wasn’t buying it.  He has talent, I’m not denying that whatsoever.  Maybe his run on American Idol is too soon following Adam Lambert.   I’m waiting for him to grow on me, but time is running out.


Casey received another standing ovation, another thing I don’t understand.  It’s not that I thought his performance was bad, but I have to wonder what’s happening in the studio audience because I am always finding their reaction to be slightly excessive.  I’m not sure that I loved him turning that pop/rock song all the way over to rock.  It’s good in the sense that he made it his own.  He seems to always show a little aggression while on stage.  Personally I would like to see him loosen up and show his goofy side a little more.

Let’s switch gears over to what I really enjoyed.  Haley’s performance may have been lacking in stage presence quality.  Visually I didn’t find it appealing with her mark on the stage behind the judges table.  However vocally by far the best of the night.  She picked a really tough Adele song but did a great job.  I’m really pulling for her to make it through to at least top 3.  Personally I want her to win it.

I want to see Lauren get a little more confidence.  It’s getting down to the tough part of the competition and I think her lack of confidence has played in her favor for awhile.  But people aren’t going to sympathize with her much longer.  She’s great and she needs to believe it.  The audience doesn’t want to always feel like they are reassuring someone.  We need someone that knows they can be a star and be great.  I think if Lauren won she would probably be the most excited and appreciative.  So I’m pulling for the ladies.


So who is going home?

Stefano showed a different side last night but I think it might finally be the end of the road for him (no pun intended, really!).  Or Jacob, he may get some sympathy votes but I’m guessing not enough.  I do feel a little cold hearted to say that I wasn’t feeling his performance last night.  A huge part of me does not want to down play his emotions but I feel like the past couple weeks he’s been making excuses for his subpar performances.  I also really am not a fan of divas.  It’s hard to tell if his emotion is sincere or for the sympathy votes.  So maybe I’m being crude, but I think I have a pretty honest reaction.  It’s time for him to go.  If I had to guess a bottom three I would say Stefano, Jacob, and Scotty.



Paul McDonald Brings Real Music To American Idol

To be completely honest I’m getting a little tired of writing recaps on Idol.  But I’m committed to bringing Style Bust readers a weekly update so I can keep you in the loop with pop culture (this is perfect water cooler talk, right?)  It was rock and roll week on Idol and the contestants chose from a massive catalog consisting of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame inductees.  So let’s start with what I liked tonight…


I’m sure Casey pleased his fans with Creedence Clearwater Revival.  It was definitely cool to hear a song of theirs on the Idol stage.  And with him playing the upright bass, you just don’t see that everyday.  I loved it.  Amazing performance.


Pia chose an uptempo song, finally.  I just don’t know how someone can have an incredible voice like she does and then I just sit at home feeling indifferent about her.  And I think I finally put some pieces together as to why.  The judges keep pushing Pia to develop stage presence, and no doubt about it she’s doing her best to gain control of the stage.  But she has no rhythm, it’s not her fault.  But because she can’t move, I think it’s hard to see her feel the music.  She relies so heavily on her voice just as it is, but she doesn’t make me believe in anything.


Now Haley made me believe in something.  I think she’s the dark horse this season.  She’s really improving each week and I hope she gets to stick around longer.  She sings with conviction, its a truly beautiful thing.  I think the past two or three weeks she’s found her niche and she just needs to hang in the competition.  Her voice can carry itself but when she is actually feeling the song, her performances are just so impressive.


And Paul was back in action this tonight after being in the bottom three last week.  He sang “Folsom Prison Blues,” by Johnny Cash and killed it.  He had the last slot of the night and it felt like an encore.  It’s still so strange for me to see an artist like him on the American Idol stage.  He’s playing to a tough crowd that is familiar with and responds well to the Pia Toscano’s of the competition.  But tonights performance is what Paul is about, it felt sooo good!  He is no doubt the kind of artist I want to see in concert.  He clearly knows how to rock out.  Its incredible to see some real musicians on stage this season.  Idol has come a long way over the past couple years.

James slowed it down with, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.  However I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.  Lauren performed a mediocre version of Natural Woman.  The song is overdone, it gets performed just about every season and honestly I don’t think anyone has performed it better than Kelly Clarkson, since she slayed it in season 1.  It’s a tough song to sing and while I liked seeing Lauren more relaxed, overall it didn’t blow me away.  Jacob did “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson.  It’s rare when I’m impressed by a MJ cover and his rendition was no different.  I liked that he brought his own “Jacob” flavor, but at the same time the original is just too good to touch.  He got a positive response, (but at this point who doesn’t on this show).  It’s a big love fest with the judges, for no apparent reason.  The contestants are good but not as amazing as the judges seem to think.

Lusk Steals The Show

Mo-town week on Idol is always enjoyable for me and this year it wasn’t any different.  In fact everyone performed so well that it could have been one of the most entertaining shows in Idol history.  It was the exact kind of revival I needed to get back into the show. (editors note: as requested each week I will start linking the performances to the article, all you need to do is click on the contestants name when listed in the post – but I don’t always talk about all the performances so you can always catch them on the American Idol website).


Outside of the changing of judges this year on Idol they have added so much to the show by giving the viewers an inside look into the performers studio time.  I think this adds more credibility to the show. It makes it less karaoke every week and more music business centered. I love that they show this side of the artistry.  Last night there was a feature on Mo-town that really moved me.  It was a short feature but fairly in depth when it came to capturing the vision of Mo-town and the entire movement.

So where to begin… Jacob Lusk.  I was ready for him to go home last week, he’s not one of my favorites by a long shot.  But OMG his performance last night, brilliant.  So captivating and perfect.  He was coached well, thank God this year for Jimmy Iovine.  This is a performance that you need to watch here on YouTube or on the American Idol website.  It was truly a magical moment.


Haley’s voice suits Mo-town music well, so I was looking forward to her performance this week.  I thought the chances of her choosing a bad song were pretty low.  I think she delivered, however, I don’t feel like she is choosing songs that showcase her unique voice.  I love her sound and I can see the potential in her, I just wish someone would push her to make better song choices.


Paul brought out his guitar this week, something I have been really looking forward to.  I’m biased so I enjoyed it.  I just feel like Paul is representing everything I love about the music industry, like I finally have someone on my team on the show.  But as I try to watch the show and get in the mindset of the average viewer it worries me.  Like Jimmy said prior to Paul’s performance he thought he could have a moment, I’m not so sure he had that “moment.”  But he will, I have confidence that he will have a really special performance, sitting with his guitar and playing a quiet, acoustic song.  The judges are asking him to give them more of his tender voice.  I can envision a special Paul performance acoustically.  So we shall see.


I wasn’t disappointed this week by any of the performers.  I thought Pia and Stefano were kind of boring but they sang their butts off.   Scotty did a phenomenal job keeping his classic sound during Mo-town week, proving that he is a true artist.  It was nice to see Thia change it up, it was like I was watching a completely different girl.  She’s just so young.  It’s great that Idol has opened up the competition to 15 year olds but they just look out of place when they are competing against the more seasoned artists.  I wish someone would coach her for what to say in front of the judges.  I feel bad that she’s constantly slipping up and talking herself in circles.


I don’t know who is going home tonight.  It’s a tough call.  I will be surprised however if they use the wild card and what happens when they do.  Typically the week after the wild card they send two people home the following week.  In this case there are 11 contestants left so if they use the wild card it will drop to 9 contestants next week.  They take the top 10 on tour, so I don’t know how they would figure that out if they use the wild card this week.  Overall I thought last night was fabulous but it seems every week there’s such an array of differing opinions.  I like to hear your thoughts, join Style Bust on facebook to join in on the discussion!

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