How'd we get here? Early this season, Jacob Lusk seemed like a lock for the title. Once during Hollywood Week and again during the live show, Lusk turned in performances that Randy Jackson rightly called the best in the history of the show. Then Lusk offered up a sexophobic justification for refusing to sing "Let's Get It On" during "Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame" night, and stupidly told America that if he wound up in the bottom three for his alternate choice of "Man in the Mirror," "it won't be because I didn't sing the song right. It'll be because America wasn't ready to look itself in the mirror."
America doesn't like to hear that, so he wound up in the bottom three the next night and had pretty much stayed there ever since. His confidence shattered, Lusk's throat began going haywire, and he's sucked almost every week since. Both I and Tom Jicha over at the Sentinel predicted he'd go home last night, and he did.
Man, I hope he gets his shit together. A voice like Lusk's deserves to be heard. Just to review how truly awesome he was, here are his five best performances, in order of descending greatness:
Lusk's range, talent for melodic invention, and pure honey-tonedness
were never more in evidence than here. He made Marvin Gaye's original
look lazy and unnecessary.
"God Bless the Child":
Stuttering, scatting, screaming, cooing; the voice and melody emerging
from Lusk's mouth seemed too big even for Lusk's plus-sized body. But he
got it out there, and Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson both screamed with
"A House Is Not a Home":
Tender, wounded, profoundly dramatic. Lusk's voice is both bigger and
more vulnerable than that of Luther Vandross and is arguably better-suited to the song.
"Bridge Over Troubled Water": Not quite perfect, but the ascending notes at the end are almost divinely inspired.
Before Seacrest's big reveal last night, Jennifer Lopez gave a live performance
of "On the Floor," proving that a good performance doesn't necessitate
all the high notes she keeps harping about in her critiques.
week, the remaining four -- Haley Reinhart, Lauren Alaina, Scotty
McCreery, and James Durbin -- take on the Leiber & Stoller songbook.
It'll be a tough night. Few classic songwriters have aged as poorly as
Leiber & Stoller. Here's a tentative prediction: Haley and Lauren
will fight over "Stand by Me," and whoever doesn't get it will get the
boot. Scotty will do "Hound Dog" or "Jailhouse Rock," even though he
should do "Yakkety Yak." Durbin will do whoknowswhat.