Uh oh... don't look now, but there is a competition a brewin'.
After flying steadily in the middle of the pack all season, two Idol contestants took giant steps forward during "Carole King Week" to make an argument why they could challenge Scotty McCreery for the Idol crown.
Lauren Alaina has battled self-confidence issues all season by demonstrating timid stage presence and reserved vocals. She broke out of that a little last week with her cover of "Born to Fly" by Sara Evans. But on Wednesday night, Alaina pulled off her best overall performance of the season with a very mature and country-fried version of King's "Where You Lead." Even though her voice cracked on a couple notes, it was nice to see what she could do when she pushed herself and what we got was a very pretty vocal performance.
And is James Durbin something else or what?
Durbin has done nothing but put a heavy metal twist on all of his performances to date. And even though he has yet to have a bad performance, the heavy metal-style screaming and look can be off putting to many voters.
But on Wednesday night - a week after he performed with a flaming piano on stage - Durbin stripped down King's "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" just enough to show that the kid can really sing. I wish he would've at least stroked the guitar a little during the intro rather than go a cappella like he did, but overall it was my favorite performance of the night and crossed over the genre lines just enough to put him in contention to win.
And a second-straight bland performance by McCreery also put the Idol crown in Alaina's reach as well.
McCreery's performance wasn't bad. Actually it was pretty good vocally. But it was uneven - he went from singing soft and tender one minute to shouting to reach his upper register the next - and I think he could've done much better on the song if he just sang in his normal voice instead of taking the mentors' advice to stay away from it. Because when he sang in his regular tone during his duet with Alaina on "Up on the Roof," it reminded me why he's still the one to beat, at least for now.
The remaining performers - Casey Abrams, Jacob Lusk, and Haley Reinhart -
"should" be in the Bottom 3 this week.
Lusk opened the show with a horrendous cover of "Oh No Not My Baby." I don't know what his performance offended more, my eyes or my ears. He looked like a tacky Easter egg and his voice was so sharp at times that he sounded like an overwrought mouse caught in a trap.
Abrams showcased his bluesy side with his cover of King's "Hi-de-ho (That Old Sweet Roll). But his performance was still way too over the top and his incessant growling is becoming obnoxious.
Reinhart had one of her best performances of the season with "Beautiful," which showcased her killer vocal range and command. But I think that her roller coaster history of performances will have voters skeptical of her and she will be back in the Bottom 3 because of it.
Have no fear though, I think it's safe to say that Lusk will be going home and it is honestly about time.
His duet with Durbin on "I'm Into Something Good" to end the show was one of the most painful moments on the show to date and it was mostly because of his ear-piercing shrieks.
The only enjoyable thing Lusk did Wednesday night was help Dubin spin around J.Lo's chair for what nearly turned into an "Basic Instinct" moment. The leggy diva, realizing that her dress was lacking in length and that the camera hides nothing, quickly crossed her legs to keep the broadcast PG.
But boy was that close!