Cast: Ryan Seacrest, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson
Network: Fox, Airs Wednesdays and Thursdays
Original Telecast: May 4, 2011

Who is in it to win on the world’s greatest karaoke competition, AMERICAN IDOL?

So Randy Jackson just loves to repeat the same crap over and over again. I know, you’re shocked. You’ve never heard that before, I’m sure. The first couple of seasons it was all about “pitchy.” Later, it was “dawg” and “keeping it real” and “yo yo yo.” This season it is “Who is in it to win it!?” My God, if I hear him say it one more time I’m gonna put my size 13 through my TV and I really don’t want to do that cause I love my flat screen.

Look, I get it that they needed to keep a “legacy” judge from the previous seasons, but can’t someone, anyone, whisper in his ear not to say the same damn thing over and over again. Everyone else gets an earpiece on the show, why can’t Randy? Seriously, have some producer’s assistant whisper into his earpiece before his commentary “Don’t say ‘in it to win it.’ Don’t say it.”

Sigh, but that would have happened by now. And given this whole episode focused on that very annoying phrase I guess I will just put my foot through my TV right now and save myself some nerd rage.

This week, Sheryl Crow got to be the mentor and she actually did something this week unlike Babyface from last week that stunk up the place with just sitting there looking stupid. Sheryl was great and it was good they pulled someone in that isn’t a hardcore pop diva, but a rocker.

The final five are singing two songs this week, the first will be a modern upbeat song, the second a classic song that is slower. So, like a stripper with a quota, let’s get to it.

James Durbin – Part of the reason that James has been rocking this season is that he’s taken every opportunity given him to do something that’s modern. Obviously, with the theme nights he can’t do that every time, but when he has the chance, he picks something that has either never been heard on the show or something from the last few years. This week, he picked “Closer to the Edge” by 30 Seconds to Mars. A really good choice cause it got the show off to a rocking start, he worked the audience well and it showed off his tremendous voice that has wowed people over and over this season. Randy Jackson update: James is in it to win it. Grade: B+

Jacob Lusk – Can anything save Jacob from elimination this week? Maybe, if someone crashes and burns and you gotta say that the elimination of Casey Abrams last week was a shock given everyone thought it would be Jacob. My money is on him going no matter what happens this week, but stranger things have happened like last week. His first song was “No Air” by Jordan Sparks and Chris Brown where he sang both parts to the song. It’s an odd choice since  duets usually work because of the fact there are two people and not one. And why he sings it just fine, again, as I have said in the last three weeks, Jacob is boring. He’s stale. He’s moldy toast. He’s bad cheese. He’s freezer burn. There’s nothing left for him to do or show us. I think that’s why he’s gonna be in the bottom again. Randy Jackson updated: Jacob is not in it to win it this time. Grade: C

Lauren Alaina – Someone in America (or a whole lot of someones) love Lauren. She has yet to be in the bottom this season – the only other person is James. But for me, Lauren confuses me like a Thailand woman, I’m not sure who I am gonna get when she presents herself on stage. Is she gonna be country Lauren? Is she gonna be pop Lauren? This week, it was country Lauren with “Flat on the Floor” by Carrie Underwood. A good choice indeed because it rocked the stage even if it didn’t show off her voice to the best of its abilities, but when it boils down to it she’s probably the weakest singer of the final five. So she needs to put in the performance aspect and stage presence. She did that and she’ll definitely have those voting for her already wanting to continue to throw votes her way. Randy Jackson update: Lauren is in it to win it. Grade: B

Scotty McCreery – You think Scotty got the fear of God in him last week when he was in the bottom three for the first time? Oh hell yeah. And it is back to hardcore country for the live-action Alfred E. Newman. That’s not saying he has been swaying from his country singing but he’s toned it down a bit over the past few weeks. That all changed with Montgomery Gentry’s “Gone” where he showed he definitely has the ability to be a decent performer. However, dude you gotta stop with the stupid facial looks and the weird holding of the microphone, it screams stupid. This was probably his best performance in a long while and definitely earned him another spot in the competition next week. Randy Jackson update: Scotty is in it to win it. Grade: B

Haley Reinhart – Have I said lately just how hot as balls, Haley is? Well there I said it. The producers somehow got their hands on an unreleased song from Lady Gaga entitled “You and I.” It is a dangerous, but interesting tact. It could go either way. People may like it because it is a song from an artist they like but never heard and will look forward to hearing it later from Lady Gaga. Or as J.Lo said, they may not identify with the song and have trouble connecting with it. I am of the same mind and it is a big risk, but I loved her reaction to the judges’ commentary and it is hard to knock her for how it was sung. Hopefully it won’t backfire as I think Haley deserves at least the final three. Randy Jackson update: What? No mention of in it or win it at all? The horror! Grade: B

James Durbin – After blowing the lid off the place with his first song, James went the opposite with “Without You” by Harry Nilsson and probably won more people over with this song than he did rocking it out in the first one. A touching song that showed his whole range of vocals and something that we probably didn’t even know that he had in him. James is definitely cementing himself as one of the clear Top-3 performers. Randy Jackson update: James is in it lose it? Uh, what? Grade: A-

Jacob Lusk – Again, I open up Jacob’s performance with … will anything save Jacob from going home this week? I’m not sure. While the judges didn’t like Haley’s performance, it could go either way. Taking Nazareth’s “Love Hurts” and toning it down then ramping it up yet again was definitely something from Jacob we haven’t seen. Those stale comments I made from his previous song I stand by but this was much better and showed why he has made it this far to begin with. Randy Jackson update: Jacob is still not in it to win it but at least he can hit a high note. Grade: B

Lauren Alaina – I’m still as confused as looking at a Thailand woman when I see Lauren as this was neither country nor pop but more of a traditional version of “Unchained Melody” by Righteous Brothers. While yes it is a difficult song to sing. It seems like an easy choice for her. It plays into her above-average karaoke talents and gives those who know the song something to think about. But in terms of challenging herself, not sure if she did it with this song. Still, she sang it well. J.Lo and Steven Tyler update: Nothing to judge. Then why are you here? Seriously, nothing to judge? Grade: B

Scotty McCreery – Yeah, Scotty definitely got a bit of the fear of the public thrown into him from last week being in the bottom three. As he came back this week with two songs right in his wheelhouse. His second song, “Always on My Mind” by Elvis Presley, wasn’t flashy, wasn’t jumping from the stage impressive. It was solid and delivered to those already voting for him more reason to call two or three times. But again, those stupid faces he makes while he sings makes me want to punch a baby. Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler update: They love it. Grade: B

Haley Reinhart – If the unreleased Lady Gaga song didn’t get people motivated to vote for Haley, her second song “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals definitely did the trick. At least it should. It was a version I have never heard before (much like Sheryl Crow said) and it really showed off what she can do on stage with her trademark growls and powerful voice. Haley may have cemented herself in the final four with this song for sure. The best song of the night. Randy Jackson update: Haley is now in it to win it. Grade: A

So who is in it to lose it? I think it will be Jacob Lusk, Scotty McCreery and Haley Reinhart will be in the bottom three with Jacob going home.

Check out photos of the performances below.

UPDATE: Find out who was the latest AMERICAN IDOL elimination

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CLICK HERE for a rundown and review of AMERICAN IDOL – Season 10 – THE TOP 6 PERFORM

CLICK HERE to read the 10 FIXES we think can save AMERICAN IDOL

CLICK HERE for a rundown and review of AMERICAN IDOL – Season 10 – THE TOP 7 PERFORM

CLICK HERE for a rundown and review of AMERICAN IDOL – Season 10 – THE TOP 8 PERFORM

CLICK HERE for a rundown and review of AMERICAN IDOL – Season 10 – THE TOP 9 PERFORM

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