LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The “American Idol” final four came face to face with Lady Gaga this week on the reality television competition and she certainly helped shake things up.
The pop superstar coached just one of the two competition rounds on this week’s show, but she helped turn around the favor of one contestant at perhaps just the right time – Haley Reinhart.
Like she did last week, Haley split the judges with her first performance. Her rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song,” was a number judge Jennifer Lopez suggested wasn’t strong enough to follow James Durbin’s high-flying “Idol” opener of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
Luckily for Haley, she had Gaga’s advice for Round 2.
Gaga, who had a mime-inspired look during her pre-taped coaching sessions, alongside resident “Idol” mentor Jimmy Iovine, watched Haley rehearse her second song, “I Who Have Nothing,” a standard from the Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller bag, and she noticed something lacking – drama.
“How do you feel about getting a little psycho?” Gaga asked the young singer, whose command of the stage has been her sore spot so far in the competition.
Taking the advice to heart, Haley add a bigger performance flavor to her number and finally won over Jennifer who said, “I Who Have Nothing,” was “one of the best performances of the year.”
“We were hard on you before,” Randy Jackson chimed in. “Baby, you just had a moment right there, which put you in it, to win it!”
But while Haley proved she wanted to compete, the bar was set high and early by James, who wowed the crowd and the judges with his Journey cover, before following it up with a heavy metal rendition of “Love Potion No. 9.”
James didn’t appear to take Gaga’s advice on the song – she wanted some sexy, Elvis-style hips – but he brought his own flavor, taking things up octave-wise, and bringing in some heavy metal guitar solos from his accompanists.
“You’re having a moment every single week and I love it!” Randy said. “That was hot too.”
Country crooner Scotty McCreery was also on form, first with Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning,” and later with “Young Blood,” a favorite from The Coasters.
Gaga helped guide Scotty’s performance, telling him to do less of the side microphone slant he’s often taken on stage, and instead, to sing straight into the device.
“You gotta make love to your microphone,” Gaga told the country teen.
“I just felt like I needed to kiss my cross [and say], ‘Lord, this is not my doing,’” Scotty said in a clip after spending time with Gaga.
His performance of the song did heed some of the superstar’s advice, but Scotty too left his mark on the singer.
“You made Gaga’s yaya go la-la,” Steven Tyler commented.
Lauren Alaina also felt the impact of Gaga. Her first song, “Anyway,” by Martina McBride was highly praised, but she approached her second number – the one under Gaga’s mentorship — with trepidation.
The song – “Trouble” by Elvis Presley – had a lyric where the singer says they are “evil,” and Lauren protested vocalizing the line, something Gaga talked her into – and it worked.
“It was like total attack,” Jennifer said of Lauren’s performance post-Gaga advice. “It was really, really good.”
“American Idol” returns to FOX on Thursday at 8 PM when the numbers will be reduced to just three contestants.
Copyright 2011 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.