Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Join the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own articles.America's decision on who to vote in as the next "American Idol" just got even tougher. With only a week remaining before the winner is announced on May 25th, the three finalists each performed a trio of songs: round one songs were chosen by the contestants; round two selections were decided by record producer and mentor, Jimmy Iovine; third-round tunes were hand-picked by the judges, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson. Beyonce was on hand to offer her gracious expertise.
Haley Reinhart won the first round, hands down. Her poise was impressive, even after she tripped on stage. Haley took on Led Zeppelin, singing "What Is and What Should Never Be." One of the coolest parts of this stellar performance was that her dad was on stage, accompanying her on guitar. Haley was able to showcase everything that is good about her voice. She interjected the bluesy tone, hit the high falsetto notes and growled some of her best growls. Her raspy tone is distinctive. As Beyonce pointed out, Haley has a presence about her even when she isn't singing.
Scotty McCreery came out on top in the second round, playing guitar and singing Thompson Square's "Are You Gonna' Kiss Me or Not?" This was a good selection by Jimmy Iovine. It gave Scotty a chance to show off a country-rock vibe. Scotty has been a fan favorite from the beginning. His low voice grabs an audience's attention, and he obviously inherited that from his dad. Scotty said his dad might be "in it to win it" too, since he belted out his own, "Baby, lock them doors and turn the lights down low" from his seat in the audience. Beyonce called Scotty a "cute pie" with a special charm. I'd say she was dead-on.
Lauren Alaina had one of her best performances to date on the show, easily winning the third round with her rendition of Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance." The judges picked the perfect song for Lauren to showcase her natural abilities. Her vocals are pure and she was strong and confident throughout the number -- she even gave J-Lo goose bumps. Her mother spoke from the audience, saying that she is a nervous wreck when Lauren sings and this experience has "aged her 20 years." Beyonce talked to Lauren about handling her insecurities. Lauren apparently took her advice; however, I think she actually dumped those insecurities a few weeks ago. If she was feeling unsure on that stage tonight, it certainly didn't show.
The results will be interesting this week. The country vote is facing a split between Scotty and Lauren, so Lauren may be leaving. Now that James Durbin is gone, his votes should end up in Haley's corner.
"American Idol" gets bumped up to Tuesday and Wednesday next week, with the confetti showering the winner on Wednesday's finale. It's been a good run.
"American Idol"; FOX Channel; May 18, 2011