Editor's Note: Season 6 favorite Melinda Doolittle is one of the experts in HitFix's Fantasy American Idol game and throughout the competition, she'll be providing analysis on this season's contenders.

 
Iʼm going to start by saying that this weekʼs Idol theme only served to make me feel old. Seriously...hearing the year 1995 as a birth year almost made me cry.
 
However, some of these performances snapped me right out of it. So...here it is...my thoughts from top to bottom. Let me know what you think.
 
Stefano Langone: “If You Donʼt Know Me By Now”
Hands down my favorite performance of the night! His phrasing was SICK! (Thatʼs a good thing) The boy can just flat out sing! Iʼm definitely a fan. I heard the little bobble at the end of his last note and didnʼt even care! Iʼm with Jennifer...I need him to keep singing just like that every single week! Wow!
 
Casey Abrams: “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Heʼs crazy and I happen to love it! Itʼs no secret that heʼs my favorite. He did succeed in completely scaring me tonight, though. I love the fact that he doesnʼt care. He goes all the way there with every song he does and I admire that so much. Love Randyʼs assessment...fearless...putting art first and then thinking about commerce. I seriously wanted to destroy something after that performance, so he did his job well. Still a little scared...hehehe...
 
Pia Toscano: “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”
I have to admit Iʼm a little confused. She has an amazing voice. That has to be said first. My first thought was, “I hope she doesnʼt do another diva ballad.” So, when I heard her song choice, I was a little disappointed...not because she wasnʼt capable, but because I wanted to hear something different. And then, the band came in with that beat. Hmmm...not sure I liked the arrangement, but at least it wasnʼt slow. She sang the living daylights out of it just like it was still a ballad though. Can you tell Iʼm confused?
 
Scotty McCreery: “Can I Trust You With My Heart”
No doubt about it, this guy is a great country singer. He and This are in the same boat to me, though. I feel like he sings the same song every week. Donʼt get me wrong...he sings it really, really well. Itʼs just the same. I want something different.
 
Lauren Alaina: “Iʼm The Only One”
Sweet girl was so sick...it totally happens to everyone on the show and itʼs scary. I called my Mommy crying the week I was really sick. She handled it so well. I only heard it a little on the lower notes. She was so focused and great on those high notes. The only thing I was missing out on is her interpretation of the song. She was so happy during it and I wanted her to emote the feeling of the lyrics. I know sheʼs young, but I love it when people connect. Of course, she was probably concentrating really hard on making sure every note came out...so she gets a pass this week. :-)
 
James Durbin: “Iʼll Be there For You”
His tone is ridiculous! (Thatʼs a good thing) His pitch was a bit of a distraction for me tonight, but thatʼs not normally the case with him, so he gets one pass from me. Iʼm also hoping the “saving Aerosmith for the finale” comment he made endeared him to the Idol audience instead of making them think he was
over-confident.
 
Paul McDonald: “I Guess Thatʼs Why They Call It the Blues”
LOVE how comfortable he is. Steven Tyler put it best...he has swagger. However, for some reason, this song didnʼt mesh with his voice for me. Love the song and love his voice. They just didnʼt come together for me tonight. Hoping they did for others though, because I want to hear more!
 
Haley Reinhart: “Iʼm Your Baby Tonight”
Sheʼs done so many different types of songs. Iʼm not sure exactly who she wants to be, but I loved the jazz tone and style she had on the song tonight. However, it didnʼt quite match what the band was playing. I think when she figures out who she is as an artist, sheʼs gonna be a force to be reckoned with. LOVED the way she handled the lipstick mishap. Sheʼs a trooper.
 
Thia Megia: “Colors of the Wind”
So excited! I finally heard the Michael Jackson vibrato Randy has been talking about all season. She has such a beautiful voice and she should totally be on Disney movies somewhere, somehow! But...she and Scotty are in the same boat to me. It seems like they have been singing the same song each week...but nailing it!
 
Naima Adedapo: “Whatʼs Love Got to Do With It”
Kinda liked the updated version of this song. Sheʼs funky and she makes each song her own, but Iʼm not sure she could hear very well. She definitely had some pitch issues, but sheʼs so dang entertaining. Hope it comes together for her soon.
 
Jacob Lusk: “Alone”
Iʼm having the hardest time with this one. He can sing and I am a fan of all that his voice can do. I guess I feel like it shouldnʼt be in every song. I would say itʼs a control issue, but his ending showed me he has amazing control. So maybe itʼs a matter of choices. I will be the first to say that sometimes when you step on the Idol stage, a new energy comes over you and you canʼt help but give it all youʼve got. I do applaud him for stepping out of his comfort zone and tackling a song we would never expect. I like risk takers. I hope this risk
keeps him around this week.
 
Karen Rodriguez: “Love Will Lead You Back”
I think this song would have been so much stronger without the key change. I feel like if she could have belted the whole thing it would have taken it to another level, but the key change made her have to flip into her head voice and it didnʼt pack as much power. I hate it for her because her voice is really
great. I just feel like her song choices and arrangements havenʼt been the strongest.
 
 
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