The first three stops on the "American Idols Live Tour" have been completed, and we're seeing the initial reviews of how homeboy Scotty McCreery and the other finalists are doing.
"[James] Durbin got them worked up, and winner Scotty McCreery got them out of their seats," wrote Ryan White in The Oregonian, Portland's newspaper. "The 17-year-old has big presence, a classic country voice and a single called 'I Love You This Big.' "
White said the song's title sounds like "a board book for toddlers." His review, which focused a lot on the commercialism and marketing power of the "Idol" machine, said the females generally do a better job than the men.
"It was easier to pick good songs for them, and they knew how to sing them," White said.
The 11 finalists played Portland on Saturday, after earlier stops near Salt Lake City and Everett, Wash.
Writing in The Salt Lake Tribune, David Burger said Stefano Langone, Casey Abrams, Haley Reinhart and Pia Toscano "showed the most star power, stage presence and vocal chops."
Burger noted that, unlike previous "Idol" tours, this one doesn't count down from lowest finalist to the ultimate winner. There are more medleys and group performances, Burger said. "The only contestant not seen until the end was winner Scotty McCreery."
Brian Mansfield, the "Idol" blogger for USA Today, also wrote about the Utah show. He said Scotty opens with Josh Turner's "Your Man," which became Scotty's unofficial theme thanks to its "Baby, lock them doors ..." opening.
"He puts a little extra effort into 'I can't believe how much it turns me on' and gets the same response as sparks raining from the ceiling would have," Mansfield wrote. "He wrecks the house with 'Gone' and looks as if he's hardly trying."
Other parts of the show, according to the reviewers:
--Pia and Stefano's take on Rihanna's "California King Bed."
--Casey's version of Santana's "Smooth," while playing stand-up bass.
--An all-cast finale that includes songs by Whitesnake, Journey and Aerosmith, the band of "Idol" judge Steven Tyler.
The tour stops in Sacramento tonight, followed by California stops later this week in Oakland, San Jose and Los Angeles.
The tour will be at Raleigh's RBC Center on July 27 and Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Arena on July 28.