There are two certainties when the Top 3 of any season of American Idol rolls around: the contestants visit their hometowns, and the each sing three songs to earn a shot at the finals. In season 10, that trend continued as Scotty McCreery, Haley Reinhart and Lauren Alaina all got one last shot to an all-but-guaranteed recording contract and a one-in-two shot at becoming the tenth American Idol. Did they do what they had to with the songs they picked and were given, or did they fall short? Check out all the details in this recap of American Idol season 10's Top 3 week songs and performances.
Scotty McCreery swung between tender ballads and quirky upbeat tracks during American Idol season 10, but he found a middle ground by singing "Amazed" as his first song during Top 3 week. That solid but not stellar performance earned Scotty McCreery some rare criticism from judge Randy Jackson. "Amazed" set several records for Lonestar during its two runs on the Country and Pop charts. On its trip up the Country chart in 1999, Lonestar spent eight straight weeks at number one, earning the longest run at the top in the 90s. The song was re-released to Pop radio at the end of 1999 with a slightly different mix and spent two weeks at number one on the Pop chart in 2000, becoming the first number one for a Country act in almost 20 years.
Guest mentor Beyonce picked up on Lauren Alaina's insecurities immediately during their session together and encouraged her to be confident knowing she could do it. Unfortunately, Lauren's performance of "Wild One" had some wobbly moments in a song that she should have owned, lending more doubt to her ability to perform under pressure. "Wild One" was Faith Hill's debut single in 1993, and she made the most of it by spending four weeks at number one on the Country chart in January 1994.
Haley Reinhart had yet another great moment in American Idol season 10 singing Led Zeppelin as her first song of Top 3 week. Even though Haley Reinhart fell down during the performance, she got back up and had the audience under her spell. Haley Reinhart's spill led judge Steven Tyler to say "it's not about how many times you fall, it's about how many times you get up," a quote which summed up Haley's run to the Top 3. "What Is and What Should Never Be" appeared on Led Zeppelin's second album, appropriately titled II. Even though "What Is and What Should Never Be" was not released as a single at the time, it has gone on to become one of Led Zeppelin's most revered songs.
Scotty McCreery's strongest performance on Top 3 Week of American Idol season 10 was his second song where he picked up a guitar and made "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" his own in two short minutes. Jimmy Iovine's song choice could not be any more relevant than "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not," the major label debut single for married duo Thompson Square. "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" spent a week at number one on the Country chart just a month prior to Scotty McCreery performing the song on American Idol.
Nerves continued to get the best of Lauren Alaina during American Idol season 10's Top 3 week causing her to miss a key change on "If I Die Young" toward the end of her second song and marring what would have otherwise been an impressive performance. "If I Die Young" is yet another single from a Country act that became that act's first number one hit and platinum single. Family trio The Band Perry took "If I Die Young," written by lead singer Kimberly Perry, to the Country chart pinnacle in December 2010.
Jimmy Iovine went three-for-three with his song choices for the Top 3 contestants of American Idol season 10. His selection of "Rhiannon" for Haley Reinhart was inspired, and Haley came through with a subdued, refined moment. When "Rhiannon" was released by Fleetwood Mac as a single in 1976 from their self-titled album, it was a big success, reaching number 11 on the Pop chart. However, that success came with a price, as many listeners associated the song and its writer Stevie Nicks with witchcraft.
Round one of Top 3 week on American Idol season 10 was the contestants' choices, round two was Jimmy Iovine's choices, and round three was left to the judges. Sadly, they saddled Scotty McCreery with "She Believes In Me," which did neither his voice nor his performance style any favors. While Scotty McCreery sounded great on the chorus, there was no power behind the end of the song, but the judges didn't seem to care. Kenny Rogers picked up his fifth number one Country hit in 1979 with "She Believes In Me," which also became his second top five Pop hit by reaching number five that same year. "She Believes In Me" came from his now-iconic The Gambler album.
While the judges' choice for Scotty McCreery may not have been ideal, their pick for Lauren Alaina could not have been any better. Lauren Alaina took "I Hope You Dance" and made it her own, hitting the power notes and adding her own twist, leaving her first two shakier songs in the dust. "I Hope You Dance" was a number one Country song for Lee Ann Womack in 2000, as well as a number 14 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The success of "I Hope You Dance" led co-writers Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers to write a book of the same name based on the song's theme of living life to the fullest.
Wrapping up the show and the judges choice songs was Haley Reinhart, who turned in a decidedly mixed version of Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know." All three judges cited the choruses as a highlight, but Haley Reinhart's delivery on the verses was a bit flat. Surprisingly, "You Oughta Know" never reached the Billboard Hot 100 in its initial 1995 release because Maverick/Warner Brothers Records never released a single for the song, rendering the song ineligible to chart but catapulting the album Jagged Little Pill to multiplatinum status. It was not until the following year when "You Oughta Know" was included as the flip side of "You Learn" that the song finally appeared on the Hot 100, reaching number six.