'American Idol' Top 6: Scotty McCreery, Casey Abrams, Haley Reinhart kill it on Carole King night

idol-top-6-recap.jpgCarole King is the call for the "American Idol" Top 6 theme night. We are trepidatious -  not because we don't love Carole King. We do, quite a bit. "Tapestry" is an incredible album. But a night of Carole King with this bunch of Idols? Hmm. Where's Brooke White when we need her?

Um, why does Randy look like Eugene from "Grease"? Babyface is here as the mentor. Wow, that's a big name, very cool.

UPDATE: After watching the night, I take back my trepidations. This was actually a great "Idol" night, overall. Here are our rankings from best to worst:

1. Scotty McCreery, "You've Got a Friend"

Jimmy Iovine and Babyface are trying to work on Scotty being smoother and a little more interesting and subtle with his vocals. Yes, definitely something for him to work on. He starts singing and ... this is gorgeous. Perfect choice. He is having some absolutely beautiful tiny little runs in his lower register that make it distinctly Scotty. The only thing I wish he was doing was sustaining the high notes a little more. He does it on one, so we know he has it in him, I think. I was getting a little bored with Scotty up to now, to be honest, but this is wonderful. His votes will be through the roof.

Eerily, Randy says the exact same thing - wonderful performance, but hold the high notes. He is in my head. I love how when Randy says he's going to give one criticism, Scotty goes, "Please." He's so polite! Tyler says never sang better, J.Lo pointedly says when we hear you do a song like that, that's why we couldn't let you get away with last week's performance. Nice one, J.Lo. Very good critique and with a little snark.  

2. Casey Abrams, Haley Reinhart, "I Feel the Earth Move"

This is a great song for these two. Haley looks the bombshell and they start off so sweet together, then they blow it up on the choruses. Wonderful. These two can actually also handle harmonies better than Idols usually can. There is some cute play around the judges table and the ending is fantastic, it just goes bonkers, then they bring it home. The last note takes a minute to find its groove, but overall, great. Apparently the judges are each taking a duet, so Tyler says of this one "nothing but good." He also outs Casey as being totally in love with Haley. *snicker*

2. (tie) Casey Abrams, "Hi-De-Ho"

Fun choice for Casey.  He looks super-suave and keeps it reined in nicely at the start as he interacts with the various musicians on stage. The second verse builds a little more and the growls come out, then he just really lets it rip. And he doesn't go overboard with the tricks, there are still some lovely vocal moments in the piece. Very cool, cat. The judges love it and Tyler says he made his scalp itch. Oh, Steven. That's just nits. J.Lo wants to see him loosen up more physically.

Songs like that always make me think of, "Nobody leaves this place without singin' the blues," "I got a call from Brenda, I went to pick her up [dun dun nuh nuh DUN] Our tire had a blowout and my mom's car got ... shot up. [dun dun nuh nuh DUN].

2. (tie) Haley Reinhart, "Beautiful"

Ohhhh, lovely choice. Just wonderful. It starts off fast and that's fun, but when the slow part kicks in, she quiets down nicely and then kicks it back up. The second slow part is even better. And then she has her big glory notes at the end, well done, Haley. J.Lo and Tyler are effusive in their praise, while Randy says he didn't love the beginning but he loved the end. THe build was nice, but I'm not quite as down on the beginning as Randy.

How has Haley gone from perpetual Bottom 3 member to a favorite? But she has. She's great.

3. James Durbin, "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"

He starts off a capella and ... wow. Gorgeous tone. When the faster part kicks up, it loses me just a teensy bit because this song really has that 1950s prom rhythm to it, but Durbin puts his Durbin rocker spin on it and that helps save it. It's still good, very good, but it's not my favorite Durbin. Tyler is in my head now when he says the beginning was amazing, while the faster part lost him a bit. J.Lo calls it "magical" and "star of the night," which ... hmm. No. Is James J.Lo's new hyperbole boy, now that Stefano is gone? Randy says one of the performances of the last couple of months and James might win the whole thing. Hmmm. Yes, James might win. But - guess that's why music is subjective. I liked it, don't get me wrong, but I'm with Steven. It lost its magic after the opening and settled back in "good" territory, as opposed to "great," where it started. If I was only judging the opening, this would be top of the list tonight.   

4. Jacob Lusk, "Oh No, Not My Baby"

Dressed in his Carlton Banks best, Jacob starts off riffing by a big white piano and playing it low key and nice. Then the horns kick in and he starts grooving, this is fun. There are some lovely low notes, I wish he would use his lower register more. He obviously has a good one. Whoo!, he throws in. Then he starts blowing it up, kinda scatting, this is great! What a performance. The original by King stays pretty slow, which suits Carole King, but this is a great arrangement for Jacob's voice and personality. It wasn't perfect, but it was good. The judges like it, Tyler likes that he finally shook his tail feather. Seacrest says the fun was infectious and I agree. Not the best Jacob so far, but maybe my favorite so far.

5. Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery, "Up on the Roof"

With the Aurora Borealis shining in the background, Lauren and Scotty take on a classic. The verse is very pretty, it really suits their country stylings. The harmonies are OK - they get better after a shaky start. The ending, when they echo each other, is really pretty too. Not as good as Haley/Casey, but not bad at all. Lauren was much stronger on this than Scotty was, I'm glad she got this to redeem herself after her solo song. J.Lo says Lauren sang her butt off and compliments Scotty on taking second voice to Lauren.

6. Lauren Alaina, "Where You Lead"

I was hoping Lauren would do the "Gilmore Girls" theme song! Woo hoo! Miley Cyrus drops by Lauren's rehearsal to boost her confidence and they bond over being silly, adorable and Southern. Heh. Lauren looks fabulous (except for the boots) and this song is perfect for her voice, though she's getting quite the boost from her backup singers. She then weirdly brings a boy up on stage to sing to. And the song gets a little repetitive at the end and kinda cheesy. Hmmm. Ya know, that didn't really grab me. I was hoping for more. Kinda boring. J.Lo says some nice blah, Steven tylers some blah blah crazy, Randy is the only one who admits the song was boring and safe. Yep.

Seacrest brings the guy on stage. His name is Brett, he's 19 and Seacrest admonishes him that Lauren is 16 and "we have rules." Heh. Oh, Peaches.

7. James Durbin, Jacob Lusk, "Something Tells Me I'm into Something Good"

Oof. This is ... terrifying. A complete trainwreck. It's really not their fault. Their voices are SO different and they don't blend or even complement each other at all, plus this is a totally cheesy "Herman's Hermits" song. I am stunned this is the closer of the night when there have been such amazing performances. Haley and Casey should've ended the show. Tyler doesn't really know what to say. And seriously, did they throw that together 10 minutes before the show? They should've just skipped a duet for these two, honestly.

Who's going home? Jacob. Easily. His solo was really fun, but Casey/James/Lauren/Scotty are too popular and Haley killed it this week.
Photo/Video credit: FOX