After the debacle that was last week, all seven contestants are back to perform tonight. They will be singing 2 songs each. One song from “now” (2000 – 2012) and a soul standard from “then”. Appropriately, Ryan opens the show with a shout out to Dick Clark who passed away earlier today at the age of 82. Then he moves on to the performances…there will be 14 of them tonight (the most for an episode).
Hollie Cavanagh (Rolling in the Deep) Adele – it looks like Jimmy is the only mentor this week. Jimmy asks her how come she is great in rehearsals and then falls apart when she is on the stage. He told her that she has to overcome the nerves. The open with no accompaniment was great. It seems that she was on her note throughout the song and it seems like she handled her nerves fairly well. It was one of her better performances.
Colton Dixon (Bad Romance) Lady Gaga – Colton continues with the gender-bending (song wise) of the season. His sis Schyler is in the audience and she says it is surreal to see him on stage. Jimmy says he is missing the rock element from Colton. He needs to rock this song and make sure the arrangement is just so. Ugh – I am not sure I love the punk type arrangement he went with, but his voice cuts through the noise fairly well. It is an interesting performance. He is continuing to create the brand that is Colton.
Elise Testone (No One) Alicia Keys – I love this song and I realize that not a lot of people sing Alicia on this show. She has a heck of a range and she is tough to sing, but Elise has amazing and mature pipes that should be able to handle this song nicely. I love the way she opens this song. Her performance of it is spot on. I was slightly distracted by the flowing material of her dress – it caught my eye as I was typing. Too much air machine – but she sang this song wonderfully well.
Phillip Phillips (U Got it Bad) Usher – I am COMPLETELY shocked by this song choice. Jimmy asks Phillip about his strategy for tonight. Phillip says he wants to make it intimate. OK – I am actually captured by Phillip’s version of this Usher track. I am freaking out about how good it is. The guitar, the vibe and his voice make it a memorable performance. This one will be downloaded…one of the handful that I have downloaded this season. Wonderful performance.
Jessica Sanchez (Fallin’) Alicia Keys – wow, another Alicia song tonight. Jessica definitely has the chops to pull this one off. She has to be rattled from the outcome of last week, but this girl is a professional and I am sure she will work it out. Jimmy wants her to spiritually have fun with the song. I think she is suffering from what I pointed out a few weeks ago…she is so professional at 16-years-old that this competition seems like a walk in the park for her. She needs to show some vulnerability. She sounds fantastic but I didn’t feel any of the spiritual fun Jimmy spoke about.
Skylar Laine (Born This Way) Lady Gaga – hmm…I am not sure about this song choice. Jimmy was happy to see Skylar not in the bottom 3 last week. Ah – she is doing the country mix that Gaga did and she is starting with the bridge, per Jimmy’s suggestion. OK – I made a mistake – this is the perfect song for her to sing. And if you are voting Gaga to Gaga, Skylar beats Colton hands down. I love the passion this young lady brings to everything she sings. I think that is what Jessica is missing (Hollie too). This was a super hot performance.
Joshua Ledet (I Believe) Fantasia – this was Fantasia’s coronation song and it is in his wheelhouse. He has an amazing voice – but he doesn’t take to many risks as far as song choice goes. That may be why America is not responding to him…who knows? The boy can sing and it’s a singing competition and definitely brings it. The emotion he brings to a song is the thing that hooks me every time. Beautiful performance.
Hollie Cavanagh (Son of a Preacher Man) Dusty Springfield – Hollie is a big football fan (soccer) and the Liverpool Football Club send a note to wish her good luck. She went back to her pitchy ways in this performance. It is so weird…I wish she could control her nerves. Maybe she will get there with age. This performance was meh. Round 1 was better for her. The judges totally disagree with me.
Colton Dixon (September) Earth, Wind & Fire – I don’t love this arrangement, but the chorus is nice. Sometimes you can make a song too different from the original. I am afraid that is what he did to this tune and it was not better for it. Not a favorite.
Elise Testone (Let’s Get It On) Marvin Gaye – I am not sure if a woman has ever performed Marvin on Idol! Good for her. Her raspy voice is ideal for this song. She really brings the sexy and sultry to the tune when she sings and stops with the “ow baby”s. When she gets to the bridge she hits her stride. This was a great night for Elise.
Phillip Phillips (In The Midnight Hour) Wilson Pickett – this is a perfectly fine performance, but it did not move me. It felt a bit like karaoke. His round one was the better of the two for me.
Jessica Sanchez (Try A Little Tenderness) Otis Redding – this is a big song and I think it may be a little too big for even Miss Sanchez. She’s missing the restraint that she brought in the first round. It feels as if she is shouting and not singing. Meh.
Skylar Laine (Heard It Through The Grapevine) CCR or Gladys Knight or Marvin Gaye – its sounds most like Gladys’ version, which is actually my favorite of the three versions I listed. She also sounds like she is shouting her way through this song. This is a fun song – but not a great song choice for Skylar.
Joshua Ledet (A Change is Gonna Come) Sam Cooke – another ballad? I was hoping for something uptempo, like some Smokey Robinson…ah well. He is bringing the full range of emotion to this song. Interestingly – he sounds a bit like Otis Redding on this song. He brought it starting with the first note all the way to the last note.
Tonight was a long one! Who is on top? Who’s going home and will it be one singer or two?
Tomorrow night Kris Allen (Season 8 winner) and LMFAO will perform on the elimination show.