Paul Jolley Sings Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton’s ‘Just a Fool’ on ‘American Idol’
After struggling in his last performance, aspiring country singer Paul Jolley sang the Christina Aguilera/Blake Shelton song ‘Just a Fool’ on ‘American Idol‘ on Wednesday night (March 6), earning a mixed reaction from the judges for the second time in a row.
The 22-year-old expressed surprise that he was still in the competition after his divisive performance on Feb. 21, which caused producer Jimmy Iovine to step in and break a tie between the judges. He said he was excited to get to perform for the folks back home in Tennessee.
Jolley repeated some of the mistakes from his last performance this time around. Singing ‘Just a Fool,’ he began in an understated way before climbing into his higher range for a dramatic second half that seemed to almost overpower the song. He sang more in tune this time, but still with the dramatic flair which caused Iovine to liken his previous performance to an audition for ‘Phantom of the Opera.’
Keith Urban expressed reservations about Jolley’s performance, asking him what kind of artist he sees himself as. When Jolley responded that he wants to be a pop-country performer in the vein of a male Taylor Swift, Urban reminded him that he doesn’t need to over-perform, cautioning, “You could just ease into it a little more.”
Nicki Minaj disagreed somewhat, saying, “I thought it was a solid performance.” She did tell Jolley that Urban knows more about the country genre than she does, and that he would do well to listen to his critiques.
Randy Jackson lauded Jolley’s voice, but told him that he still didn’t quite do the job, saying, “It’s in there — you just gotta get it all at the same time.”
Mariah Carey also praised Jolley for his “strong instrument,” noting how much the crowd enjoyed it. She said his theatrical flair is part of him, echoing Minaj’s thought that he should listen to Urban’s constructive criticism.
Jolley will find out his fate on Thursday night’s results show.