After we got to interview Haley Reinhart, Casey Abrams and Paul McDonald, I really wanted to watch the American Idol concert! Meeting them in person suddenly reignited the Idol fire that’s been burning since Fantasia won in the third season. And the 11 finalists didn’t disappoint.
I was surprised at who were the crowd favorites! It was mainly Haley, Casey, James, Stefano, and surprisingly, Paul had some of the loudest cheers! I was a bit shocked that Thia and Pia, who I would suspect would garner the loudest cheers, were actually tepidly received. I was surprised at how the crowd reacted to the different performers.
Possibly the weakest reaction was with Lauren Alaina, mainly because of her genre, I suppose. Country’s not really that big here in the Philippines, so it’s not so much her fault, because she really gave it her best. Also Jacob’s version of R&B was a bit too esoteric for mainstream Pinoy taste.
The big surprise though was Naima, who, coming into the concert was possibly the least popular of the 11. But when she started writhing and dancing during her rendition of JLo’s “On The Floor”, complete with jumps that ended with a split, she got the crowd screaming with delight. Perfect example of winning a crowd over. Props to her!
Of course when Stefano stripped off his shirt, the ladies in the house (and the accompanying bekis) just went WILD. Stefano looks a bit haggard though. When I saw his face close up on the big screen, he looked far from rested; he looked tired and drawn out. Maybe it’s all the touring taking it’s toll on these kids.
But as far as performing is concerned, the night belonged to Haley. The vocal maturity she’s show and the confidence she wielded just blew me away. When she sings, it doesn’t sound live – it sounds like a CD! When she did that jazz number with Casey, I had goosebumps! This girl has got IT. Even if she doesn’t become a big star (as she should!), she’d be a talent to reckon with.
The show was split into two parts, the first part more of the variety show type, with the finalists performing crowd-pleasing radio hits. You can’t really go wrong singing hits from Alicia Keys and Usher, so it was very fast-paced, and everyone was singing along to each hit. The second half was more concert-y, with more solos from the top finalists, but all very relatable, all very easy to digest.
Big winner Scotty McCreery didn’t show up until the second half, The show built sufficient tension and drama by withholding the charismatic crooner from the crowds until everyone was foaming at the mouth to finally see him, so when he finally made his big entrance, the screaming just peaked. I was so surprised at Scotty’s appeal. He was singing the same unknown country songs like Lauren did, but this time, the crowd was lapping it up. That’s how much his star wattage is, it doesn’t matter what he’s singing, the crowd just loved him to pieces. We love him THIS big.
I extra loved Scotty and Alaina’s duet of “When You Say Nothing At All”. We all forget that Alison Krauss is a bluegrass artist. All in all, I’m so glad I caught this show (thanks RX bosses!). I must say, although other seasons had bigger individual stars like Kelly, Carrie, Daughtry, etc., as a group, this is probably the best season to watch live. So many personalities and musical genres, and such big talents. I don’t know if they have the IT factor that will launch them to stardom, but these guys have huge HEARTS, all performing like they were in an AI finale, and I really appreciate that. Scotty’s the biggest star, Haley’s the best vocalist, and I can’t wait to see what season 11 will put on the table!