Eye On Idol (4/29/11)

Casey Abrams

There was no joy in Idol-ville, as mighty Casey Abrams struck out on Thursday night’s (4/28) American Idol results show. After one near elimination earlier this season, the quirky multi-instrumentalist swung and missed for good this time.

On Wednesday’s (4/27) Carole King songbook-themed show, he chose “Hi-De-Ho (That Old Sweet Roll),” a Blood, Sweat, & Tears hit which might have been a little too left field even for his fans. Still, his growly duet with Haley Reinhart on Tapestry opening track “I Feel The Earth Move” hit me in all the right spots so I’m a little bummed to see him go. Seriously, when’s the last time someone name-checked Oscar Peterson on Idol? Let me answer that: never. But as a fellow member of the “beardo” clan, I’m thrilled he took his unique sensibility this far.

Joining Abrams in the bottom three were Jacob Lusk and Scotty McCreery for his first trip. I originally figured Lusk’s number was up, after struggling so badly with “Oh No Not My Baby” AND the duet with James Durbin on “I’m Into Something Good.” I don’t really see him hanging around much longer, but I guess stranger things have happened this season (see also: Pia’s elimination).

No matter what the Bottom Three results suggested, McCreery gave a strong rendition of “You’ve Got A Friend.” He’s clearly trying to stretch himself as we approach the big finish, but in doing so he runs the risk of alienating his core voters. It’s a tightrope walk from here on out.

Reinhart and Lauren Alaina continue to give solid performances, and Reinhart seems to be gaining some ground since Stefano’s elimination. She’s had the most trips to the Bottom Three, but avoided it altogether this week after a strong take on King’s “Beautiful.” I’m still personally waiting for Alaina’s young age to cause a stumble, but she might make me eat my words if she keeps singing as well as she did on “Where You Lead (I Will Follow).”

For my money, it looks like Durbin’s game to lose. He’s consistently delivered every week, and he’s playing very smart. Clearly understanding that Carole King is the consummate songwriter, he opted to let the Shirelles hit “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” speak for itself–no pyro, no gimmicks, just the band and Durbin’s voice. And man, it was just electric.

Next week, the five remaining contestants perform a current song as well as one from the 1960s. On the results show, Jennifer Lopez will be joined by Pitbull to perform “On The Floor,” and Lady Antebellum will also perform.

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