If it's true that two heads are better than one, a great example of that theory would be the writing team of Carole King and Gerry Goffin, who collaborated on some of the best pop songs of the sixties and seventies. How do those songs stand up when paired with the contemporary talents of the Top 6 on American Idol season 10? Read on for our recap of the songs and performances of Carole King week on American Idol.
When mentor Jimmy Iovine states that a contestant is the most in jeopardy, hopefully that contestant heeds his advice. Jacob Lusk, who appeared in the bottom three several times during American Idol season 10, heeded that advice and took his performance up a notch during Top 6 week. Jacob Lusk's version of "Oh No Not My Baby" showed much more energy than audiences had seen from him in several weeks. While "Oh No Not My Baby" was originally written for the Shirelles, the song ended up being recorded by Maxine Brown in 1964, who took the song to number 24. Cover versions of the song have been recorded by the likes of Manfred Mann, Cher and Rod Stewart.
During Top 8 week of American Idol season 10, Jimmy Iovine made headlines when he told Lauren Alaina that she could sing better than Miley Cyrus. Needless to say, it was a big surprise when Miley Cyrus showed up to give Lauren Alaina advice on how to stop the naysayers and the voices in her head from telling her she couldn't be successful. "Where You Lead" appeared on Carole King's landmark Tapestry album, which spent 15 straight weeks at number one in 1971, earning four Grammys and spending 305 weeks on the Billboard Top Albums chart. While Carole King never released it as a single, it did reach the US top 40 in 1971 for Barbra Streisand.
The first duet of Top 6 night on American Idol season 10 went to Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams, who selected "I Feel the Earth Move." The chemistry was so strong between Casey Abrams and Haley Reinhart that judge Steven Tyler asked Casey how long he's been in love with Haley, fueling rumors and speculation about the duo's level of friendliness. While "I Feel the Earth Move" became part of Carole King's first number one single along with "It's Too Late," the song also hit the Billboard Hot 100 a second time in 1989 for pop singer Martika, marking her third top 40 hit from her debut self-titled album.
Season 10 of American Idol had a lot of great performances, but no specific contestant had a performance that would rank with the top 10 greatest American Idol performances until Top 6 week. Scotty McCreery gave a stripped down performance of "You've Got a Friend" that showed a more tender side that may have surprised some viewers. While "You've Got a Friend" also appeared on Carole King's Tapestry, James Taylor also recorded the song and took it to number one in 1971.
The other performance that may rise above most American Idol performances when season 10's Top 6 week is remembered may be James Durbin's stadium-ready rendition of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow." The way James Durbin owned the audience with just a guitar and a spotlight was reminiscent of Bo Bice's version of "In a Dream" in season four, leading Jimmy Iovine to declare that he could win the title. "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" was recorded by the Shirelles in 1960, and they took the song all the way to number one on the pop charts. The song helped them become the first all-female group to have a pop number one in the history of Billboard magazine.
Duet number two during Top 6 week of American Idol season 10 came from Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina. While they did a decent job of singing "Up on the Roof," there was a spark missing from the song that caused it to be less than memorable. "Up on the Roof" hit the pop charts in two different forms during the sixties and the seventies. In 1962, doo-wop group The Drifters took a decidedly R&B version of "Up on the Roof" to number four on the Soul chart and number five on the Pop chart. Almost twenty years later, James Taylor covered the song in a more folk-pop arrangement and took the song to number 28.
Throughout Casey Abrams's run on season 10 of American Idol, viewers were never quite sure which version of Casey they would get. Casey Abrams kept the audience on their toes during Top 6 week with a jazzy interpretation of "Hi-De-Ho" that remained true to his growling vocal style. Blood Sweat and Tears covered Carole King's "Hi-De-Ho" on their third album entitled 3, taking the song to number 14 in 1970.
If American Idol gave extra points for most improved contestants, Haley Reinhart would never again appear in the bottom three. Haley Reinhart's Top 6 performance of Carole King's "Beautiful" showed that her sound is powerful AND commercially viable. "Beautiful" was yet another album cut from Carole King's 1971 masterpiece Tapestry, and has been covered by artists like Richard Marx and Barbra Streisand.
The final spot of the night on American Idol is normally reserved for one of the best performances of the night, but during Top 6 week that did not occur. Jacob Lusk and James Durbin paired up to sing Herman's Hermits' classic "I'm Into Something Good," and it was as close to a trainwreck as viewers had seen all season. Herman's Hermits released "I'm Into Something Good" as their debut single in 1964, and the song went to number one in their native England as well as number 13 in the United States.