'American Idol' on the scene for Top 3 performance night: Haley falls, Lauren struggles, and Scotty wants 'just to be your man'


Image Credit: Frank Micelotta/Fox/PictureGroup

If the Idoldome were a Magic 8 Ball, and you asked it whether Scotty McCreery would be this year’s winner, the Idoldome would have responded, “It is decidedly so.” Last night’s performance show felt like a coronation at times, particularly after Scotty finished crooning Kenny Rogers’ “She Believes in Me.” After that song, one guy in the audience screamed, “Welcome to the finale, Scotty!” Other folks settled on less imaginative chants, such as “We love you, Scotty” and “You’re awesome, Scotty!” I mention this because the Idoldome is my only window into what a sizable group of people thinks about these contestants. Based solely on this sample, Scotty is the most beloved of all, followed by Haley and then Lauren. But the Idoldome has been known to cheer for things like the Black Eyed Peas, so its judgment cannot always be trusted.

Behind the scenes, everyone was on their best behavior, and that made for a less satisfying show — at least from my audience seat. Nigel Lythgoe never activated the Swaybots or sent a throng of girls onstage to hug Scotty or planted a 19-year-old boy in the audience for Lauren to serenade. (Lythgoe tweeted that he was “under the weather,” so that could explain why he wasn’t up to his normal scheming.) Randy and J.Lo didn’t criticize Haley’s song choices for a change, and Ryan Seacrest didn’t show off his balloon-catching technique. But don’t fret, PopWatchers, as there are still plenty of Idoldome tidbits worth sharing, including Haley’s fall, Lauren’s gaffes, a birthday celebration, and Elijah Wood’s furry friend. Here we go:

Haley’s fall: We all know that Haley tripped on the stairs in front of the judges’ table while singing Led Zeppelin’s “What Is and What Should Never Be.” On TV, all you saw was an overhead shot of Haley getting back up without missing a beat. But before she got back up, Haley turned toward the audience and flashed a giant smile, as if to cheerfully say, “Whoops!” And I love Haley for that. There wasn’t the slightest moment of self-pity — she knew she had goofed, but what can you do but laugh at the blunder and then soldier on?

At the end of the song, Randy gave Haley a standing ovation, but J.Lo turned toward Randy and shook her head. J.Lo is clearly of the opinion that you have to be judicious with your standing ovations, just as she has been judicious with mentioning her goose bumps.

A hobbit and his dog: Elijah Wood was in the audience, joined by Australian actor Jason Gann. The two were there to plug FX’s new comedy Wilfred, in which Gann literally plays a dog (but appears as a man dressed in a dog costume). So, naturally, Gann was dressed in said dog outfit while attending the show. Midway through the program, Wood and Gann started to exit the studio but then briefly stopped to chat with Lythgoe. I’m sure that seeing a British man engage in a serious conversation with Frodo Baggins and an anthropomorphized dog will give my subconscious plenty of usable material for future dreams.

Scotty’s high (note): Before he started singing Lonestar’s “Amazed,” Scotty was onstage watching his mentoring clip with Beyoncé. Scotty visibly grimaced when his video-clip doppelganger attempted to hit a high note in the song. Maybe he didn’t like what he heard, or perhaps he was thinking about the fact that he was going to have to hit that same note again in a minute or two. Either way, the women sitting around me found his brief expression of pain adorable.

One thumb up: During her Beyoncé mentoring clip, Lauren kept her back to the audience the whole time — except for one brief moment. Right after Beyoncé identified herself as a diva, Lauren looked over her shoulder toward the judges and flashed an energetic thumbs-up. She then quickly turned her upper body back toward the video screen. What does it mean? Does Lauren approve of divas? Or did she just want to convey to the judges that she was in good spirits?

Lauren gaffe No. 1: The silver stools had been set up for Lauren and Seacrest’s pre-audition clip interview, but nobody was onstage. Soon we found out, via a backstage camera, that Lauren’s pantyhose had ripped. Shortly thereafter, Lauren emerged onstage and walked slowly to the stool as Debbie the Stage Manager held her hand. Lauren was shaking her head, and I couldn’t tell for a moment whether she was laughing or crying. It was the former.

Lauren gaffe No. 2: Lauren paused in the middle of The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young” and looked toward the ground, as if lost in thought. I initially considered this her attempt to add dramatic weight to the preceding lyric: “Funny when you’re dead, people start listening.” But the judges interpreted it as a slip-up on Lauren’s part, who then inexplicably confessed that she missed a key change. As we went to commercial, Lauren walked offstage exasperated with her hands on her head.

To be a kid again: During one commercial break, Scotty was seated on the silver stool where Seacrest would soon interview him. Rather than sit patiently on the stool, Scotty started spinning around in his seat. One woman in the audience took it upon herself to squeal every time Scotty momentarily faced her as he continued to spin and spin and spin. It was a quick reminder that despite his confident stage presence and low-register voice, he’s still a 17-year-old kid.

Turn the lights down low: Scotty watched his audition clip, where he sang Josh Turner’s “Your Man.” With Seacrest sitting just a couple of feet away, Scotty the Body mouthed the final verse, “Just to be your man.” During a later commercial break, Seacrest walked over to Scotty’s parents and started chatting. I couldn’t hear most of the conversation, but Seacrest did say the following words to Mr. and Mrs. McCreery: “…because I’m a Southern boy.” Hypothesize away.

Haley’s Johnny Depp connection: Like the actor, Haley seemingly has an issue with watching herself on-screen. During her entire audition clip, Haley stared at the floor. That’s what Seacrest was referring to when he later noted that Haley had the “eye of the tiger.”

The identity of Lauren’s onstage crush: Let me quickly talk again about that 19-year-old guy named Brett that Lauren sang to three weeks ago. We already knew that Brett wasn’t an actual audience member, as he immediately left after Lauren’s performance. But as I walked toward the Idoldome yesterday, there he was again, standing outside the studio working as some sort of production assistant or intern. So, for those of you who dream of having your mug broadcast on American Idol while a contestant sings to you, start polishing that Fox internship résumé.

Birthday cake: After the show, Haley sprinted down to the judges’ table to talk to J.Lo. They were laughing about something — it’s nice to see that there are no hard feelings between the two after J.Lo’s recent harsh critiques of Haley. And then some stagehands rolled out a birthday cake for Fox executive Mike Darnell, and the Top 11 contestants — I didn’t see Karen or Ashthon — walked onstage to sing “Happy Birthday” to him. I’m guessing they were all on hand to rehearse for the finale. Or they really like birthday cakes.

Read more:
EW’s ‘American Idol’ Central
‘Idol’ recap: Three for the Money Shot
‘Idol” Season 10 Trivia Quiz

Comments (130 total) Add your comment
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  • Squishmar

    Haley! You did Led Zep proud!

    • somet

      Haley, tell J-Lo it is harder to sing live then lipsynch.

      • jj


      • jj

        She doesn’t need to tell her that, Jlo’s weak album sales speak for itself.

      • RCB

        We love you Haley!!!

      • TJ. Church

        Not for Haley… Sucks at either.

      • Anon

        Totally wrong, TJerk.

      • cheryl

        JLO shaking her head to Randy when he was giving Haley a standing O? Are you kidding me??? It’s pretty clear she doesn’t like Haley. All the more reason I REALLY want Haley to WIN!! Can’t stand JLO!

    • Jeff

      I couldn’t stand Haley at first now I’ve grown to like her immensely. I like her spunk and confidence. Her voice is incredible. Plus I like how she gives it right back to the judges and doesn’t turn into a bawling cry baby like some of the other contestants – male contestants included. Men should not cry. When you see a chick who is stronger than the guys then I dig her. Plus she is one hawwwwt, sexy, babe.

      • Angela

        Sorry that some people don’t mind showing a bit of emotion. It’s not some kind of weakness or something. Is it okay for girls to cry?

  • Linda

    Scaley finale. Nuff said.

    • SaraS

      Did anyone notice that Lauren and Scotty got big crowds in their hometowns and revealed their song in front of them? Haley got barely any home airtime at all, and she revealed her song riding in some car. Boo.

      • Missy

        If you go to youtube you will see Haley in front of the AT&T store when she reads her selections and there is a crowd.

      • l

        And it is pathetic that the show had there worker sit on stage when Lauren sang to him that one time. Thank you for telling us that John.

      • JRockAI

        I assume that most of the “home” stuff will be shown on tonight’s episode….

        with that said, there were a ton of people at Haley’s homecoming, even though it was pouring all day.

      • Pogi

        i think that Annie Barrett said something about the weather being a problem too..but I haven’t seen the youtube vid of that yet.

      • Steve

        Yeah it might’ve helped all those crying diva nonsense to have shown the actual time she received when she was all down to earth and humble before her fans and all cute getting the message and her true, live reaction. The limo scene was maybe elegant but it didn’t have the charm and it could easily play into those thinking she’s all by herself the diva with no fans when the real story was soooo different there.
        It does make you wonder a bit.

      • Steve

        @Pogi – yeah but there was no rain then at the time and she looked great so it was odd they re-filmed it in her limo

        she wasn’t quite as crazy glamorous as in the limo btu she looked great at the AT&T store too and it was perhaps more humanizing.

      • Steve

        Although they did let her dad take the stage.

  • Arthur Tweedle

    America Idol is a running sore, running from itself and society. Its scab will never heal us all.

  • joe


    • diane glionna

      Haley is gutsy with her song choices has poise and a clear winner Idol fans vote right this time!!!

    • themusicaddictblogspot.com

      Fortunately whether you win or not is irrelevant. Just ask Daughtry or Jennifer Hudson or pretty soon Pia Toscano.

      • REX

        Don’t forget James Durbin – he was the best out of all of them!!!!!!!

      • Jeff

        Durbin was a whiney cry-baby. He was the worst of them all.

      • polly

        James is a great performer and has a wonderful voice even though I am not a metal fan. He absolutely got robbed and was appropriately and honestly upset about it.

      • Angela

        James was awesome! I’ve missed him so much this past week and can’t wait to see him again at the finale.

  • Nancy

    Since this year’s AMERICAN IDOL was voted OFFFF by FOX
    i am rooting for Haley now

    • REX

      I totally agree!!!!

  • Peggy Sue

    I tried to watch the show last night, but it was not that interesting . . .and I went to bed instead!

    • Diane


  • David

    Scotty has already got this thing locked up but I think Lauren is going to make the finale to finish 2nd, because of that whole likability factor, the reason why haley has been in the bottom quite often this year. I would prefer a Haley-Lauren finale because Scotty bores me.

    • Ava

      Agree! Even with Lauren’s missing a key change, she’s more exciting and beter than Scotty last night. Haley for the win!!!

      • Harry

        I agree, Haley is a winner

  • luckyB25

    Haley Haley Haley by a long shot!

  • Juliet

    Scotty and Haley finale:-)
    I am rooting for Scotty!

  • Lilly

    Lauren and Scotty final for sure!

  • Haley to win

    Haley is going to make it to the finals I know it. She gets alot of voters. SHE will get sympathy votes also for falling too.

  • Donna Hanson

    At this point, Haley should win it all!!!! However, Casey and James didn’t make it this far and they were the best.

    • Squishmar

      I’ve made up a little rhyme about that…
      Ahh, my Dream Top Three:
      ‘Twas not meant to be…
      Should I watch the finale?
      We will see, we will see.

    • Hope

      Pia was the best.

      • erick

        Haley IS the best!!! And will sell more records than anyone this season!

  • darclyte

    I had it this way…
    Round 1: Haley, Scotty, Lauren
    Round 2: Scotty, Haley, Lauren
    Round 3: Lauren, Scotty, Haley
    So, hopefully the voters saw it that way as well and Haley spoils Nigel’s season long plan to have an all “country teen” finale. I’d watch Tuesday if Haley is involved. I won’t watch until Wednesday if she’s not. I’m not a huge Haley fan, but I just have no interest in watching Scotty vs Lauren.

    • Squishmar

      So, if you assign a 1-3 point system–with 3 being the best– You have:
      Scotty: 7/9
      Haley: 6/9
      Lauren: 5/9

  • KathyAx

    Since American Idol started 10 years ago, has there been a contestant who has worked so hard, singing songs that only the orginal singer can sing, and yet she comes through with flying colors…simply amazing!!!I think Haley’s performances are record breaking..Scotty is very good at country, Lauren, is and will be a great female country artist…but Haley can and will be singing and breaking records with every genre of music, hopefully classic rock!!!

    • Sandy

      Actually, there have been several … Adam Lambert, David Cook and Kris Allen come to mind. But Haley is great too.

      • nunnya

        I love love love David Cook, but he is an artist and a musician. Haley can just flat our sing her a** off.

  • Youmewho

    HALEYYYYYYYY will win this thing , everyone els BORing !!!!

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