Thanks in large part to Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler and record producer Jimmy Iovine, Wednesday night's episode of American Idol needed to rely heavily on sensors' "bleep" button.
I don't know what the (bleep) they were saying, but it must've been more entertaining than the (bleep) performances.
The most frustrating part of this week's episode for me was that Casey Abrams had my favorite performance of the night.
Abrams had a excellent idea to cover Maroon 5's "Harder to Breathe" and pulled it off vocally, but he unfortunately resorted back to the kind of over-the-top stage presence that nearly got him sent home a few weeks ago. He also came across very creepy when he sang inches from J. Lo's face before planting a wet one on her cheek. Don't get me wrong, he's a lucky (bleep) but it was very weird.
Other than Abrams - and better-than-average performances by James Durbin ("Uprising" by Muse) and Lauren Alaina ("Born to Fly" by Sara Evans) - the rest of the performances were underwhelming.
Scotty McCreery set the stage for the rest of the show when he opened the broadcast with an uneven cover of LeAnn Rimes' "Swingin'." My wife actually liked his performance. But not only did I not like the song choice, I think his vocals were surprisingly off during the first half of the song. And his mannerisms, like the way he holds his mic like a flute, are becoming more and more distracting. His fellow Idol contestants made fun of it in his intro video, but I think that it's one of the major things he has to overcome moving forward.
Haley Reinhart and Jacob Lusk both had awkward performances riddled with pitch problems with Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Luther Vandross' "Dance with My Father," respectively.
Reinhart wasn't as bad as she was during the earlier part of this season. But compared to Adele version, she sounded more like someone shouting the song in the shower. She would mutter a line, then yell a line, mutter the next line and then hit a gutsy high note on the next line.
And even though Lusk apparently had to overcome technical issues, his performance had more trouble than just the way he messed up the intro. His vocals were shaky and the overall tone was far too sappy. I understand the song affected him emotionally, but he tried way too hard to sell it to the viewers. Music is an amazing thing in the way it enables the performer to translate emotion without having to explain where the emotion is coming from. But when the performer explains repeatedly where their emotion is coming from and then acts somberly, even if it is genuine, it tends to distract from the performance.
Last week, prior to this week's performances, I gave you my picks to be in the Bottom 3 - Haley, Jacob, and Stefano Langone - and told you that I thought that Stefano would be going home.
I am going to stick with that prediction, even though I think that Haley and Jacob had weaker performances than Stefano did this week.
Stefano is lucky to have made it this far, especially after a few weak performances in a row. But I think that his forgettable cover of Ne-Yo's "Closer" could have been his swan song. It was finally something other than a ballad, but he didn't pull it off and seemed very whiney to me.
And with an unenviable streak of Bottom 3's under his belt, I think this is the week Langone finally makes the step up from bridesmaid and joins the ranks of the eliminated.
Langone would have had more luck - and would have fit into the tone of this week's episode more - if he sang the current No. 4 song on Billboard's Hot 100 list, Cee Lo Green's "(Bleep) You."