After saying a bittersweet goodbye to Heejun Han, American Idol kicks off with one of my personal favorite theme weeks- ‘80s music! I know I’m a ‘90s child, but I’ve always felt like I was born in the wrong decade. My true heart and soul belongs to the hair metal and freelance pop of the 1980s. So I had long been anticipating this theme for a while now. And even better, No Doubt was on hand to lend a bit of helpful mentoring to the contestants.
Deandre Brackensick- sang “I Like It” by Debarge. Is it me of does Deandre seem to perform early on this show a lot? But it doesn’t really matter because, once again, Deandre delivered. His stage presence is undeniable. The way Deandre is able to alternate between his falsetto and chest voice with such ease sends shivers down my spine every time. I can not gush over him enough. It’s come to the point where it actually annoys me that Deandre gets more credit for his good looks than his voice. People need to close their eyes and listen to him and they’ll find that his voice is just as captivating as his face and hair are. I agreed with the advice that Randy gave Deandre, telling him to choose songs like this one where he can show off all the dynamics of his voice. The judges loved it, and hopefully, so did the rest of America.
Elise Testone- chose to sing “I Wanna Know What Love Is” by Foreigner. YES! This is one of my favorite songs of all time. And if there is anyone on the show who I trust enough to rock it out, it’s Elise (watch Elise’s performance of “Whole Lotta Love” last week to find out why). Unfortunately, this performance didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Something about the melody was off and the verses were shaky, which was surprising because this song seemed right in her comfort zone. I also wasn’t fond of the arrangement. The build up to the choir coming out should have been more profound. Still, it wasn’t terrible.
Next up is a duet of Colton and Skylar. Colton’s sporting a new blond color to his hair. I can’t say I approve of the decision. The pair sang “Islands In The Stream” by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. They sounded phenomenal together. I’m convinced Colton can sing anything at this point. Skylar, on the other hand, still has yet to break out of her country shell. But before they leave the stage, Ryan Seacrest inappropriately insinuates that Colton and Skylar are dating. Really, Ryan? Are you going to say that for every boy/girl duet?
Phillip Phillips- Phillip sang “That’s All” by Genesis. This wasn’t one of Phillip’s best performances. I was a bit underwhelmed. Of course, he could never truly have a bad performance. It just wasn’t up to his usual standards. I enjoyed the breakdown of the bridge and I thought it was really sweet that the Idol producers allowed Phillip’s brother-in-law to play on stage with him. I also have to say it, not as a jab against Phillip, but because I’m truly concerned- Phillip has been looking sickly or under the weather for a few weeks now on the show and sometimes, it seems like he is struggling on stage to move or sing in his usual way. I know he had a surgical operation a few weeks ago. I truly hope everything went okay and that he’s not still in pain.
Next, there was a duet between Hollie and Deandre singing “I’m So Excited” by the Pointer Sisters. I thought it was a weird song choice, but Hollie and Deandre both brought their A game. It was fun and, like I said last week, Hollie desperately needed to let loose. I’m glad she showed some personality.
Joshua Ledet- sang “If You Don’t Me By Now” by Simply Red. Another one of my favorite songs. I was hoping that Joshua wouldn’t overdo it and become too “churchy” on stage. The song started out simple enough. Then Joshua let out a high pitched scream and started with the runs. And I was immediately turned off. The judges were on their feet and I was rolling my eyes. But, it’s fine. Because standing ovations by the judges lost all credibility ever since they handed out five of them after mediocre performances last week. Steven told Joshua that he wasn’t over the top, but that he was over the top. Um, okay. Forget about voting off a contestant. Can we vote off a judge instead?
Jessica Sanchez- Jessica sang “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston. Okay, who was shocked by this song choice? No one? Didn’t think so. There are only ever two words that come to mind when Jessica chooses a song every week. Typical and predictable. That being said, I think Jessica sang it great and showed off some spunk and personality on stage. I also enjoyed the fact that Jessica said she had two identities, similarly to Beyonce. Because from the moment that Jessica sang during Hollywood week, I always felt that way. She transforms into someone unrecognizable when she’s onstage. However, the enjoyment I got from her performance was immediately washed away as soon as Ryan opened his mouth to ask Jessica how old she was again. Yet another reminder that Jessica is only 16 years old. Could they be pimping her for the crown any more than they already are? Her age is not a free pass. It doesn’t matter how old you are. If you can SING, you can sing. End of story. Thirteen year old, Rachel Crow, proved this on X-Factor last season. And Charice Pempengco has been proving it from eleven years old.
After this, we have a duet of Elise and Phillip singing “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” by Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks. Oh shucks! I was kind of hoping for a Phillip and Jessica duet for some reason. Probably because they are clearly the producers’ favorites and it would have been interesting to see how they worked together. Even still, Elise and Phillip sounded great together and interacted well as a pairing.
Hollie Cavanagh- Hollie sang “What A Feeling” from the Flashdance soundtrack. I thought Hollie did great. Her voice was sure and steady. She was dancing around on stage a lot, which is exactly what I wanted her to do. Unfortunately, the judges disagreed with me. I’m not quite sure what the judges expected from her, but Hollie does seem to be their go-to person when they need someone to give a bad critique to. My guess is, they want her out of the competition tomorrow night.
Our last duet of the night was shared by Jessica and Joshua. The two powerhouse vocals singing together. In the words of Deandre himself, “Lawd have mercy.” I was not looking forward to this. They sang “I Knew You Were Waiting For Me” by Aretha Franklin and George Michael. I thought Jessica sounded truly brilliant when she opened the song, as did Joshua. Then the choir came out. *sigh* Why do Joshua and Jessica get the choir? I thought this was supposed to be a DUET. Every other pairing was a DUET. No other pairing got that kind of favoritism. Again, it’s just such a turn off that I have a hard time rooting for these contestants. I know it’s not their fault that the producers want them to make it far in the competition, but I dislike the unfair advantage they receive.
Colton Dixon- Colton sang “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper. I absolutely adore this song and was thrilled when I heard Colton was going to sing it, because it’s not fitted for his gender. He had the opportunity to do something original with it. And it sounded utterly magnificent. So much so that I’m going to buy the iTunes studio version of the song. Colton reminded me of David Cook with the arrangement and creativity. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t his version of the song. All that matters is that he chose a version that was catered to him as an artist. And I couldn’t help but compare the self-awareness that contestants like Colton and Phillip seem to have to the straight singing talent of Jessica, Hollie, etc. Gone were the days when being a good singer was all it took to win American Idol. David Cook made sure of that when he won nearly four years ago.
Skylar Laine- Skylar chose to sing “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler. The judges gave another standing ovation. I thought Skylar did a good job. Not good enough for a standing ovation. But good. Skylar doesn’t have a strong enough voice to pull off the high notes quite like how they’re supposed to be pulled off. But I give her credit for trying something different and showing diversity with song choice.
Who is in danger of being in the Bottom Three? Hollie, Skylar, Elise and Deandre (because he went first). Not that I believe any of them deserve to be in the Bottom Three, but the other contestants have way too much support behind them at this point. Ultimately, I believe Hollie will go home. And I will be sad to see her go, knowing that the judges never gave her a fair chance to begin with.Tags: American Idol | Categories: Recaps