Finally, we’re on to the part of American Idol that I still somewhat enjoy. My interest in this show has been slipping for a few seasons now – even when Cowell was still around, there was a while there where he seemed totally disinterested in what was going on. So it’s rare that I watch Idol live nowadays, as I’d much rather be watching Survivor or – gasp! – going out with friends. Who woulda thought, right?
This week the guys were singing Stevie Wonder and the gals were singing Whitney Houston – tall orders, especially for the ladies. Whitney? I mean, few can do her justice. And frankly, the fact that she recently died adds some pressure there.
Also adding to the pressure? Seacrest announced that the judges would get to decide the next night if the guy or girl with the lowest votes should be sent home.
Joshua Ledet – “I Wish”
I won’t hide it – I often love the “church singers” on this show. Last season, I rooted for Jacob Lusk much longer than I should have. And I really liked Joshua’s performance! It was fun and had energy and he sang well. There’s just a quality about Joshua that I really like.
Elise Testone – “I’m Your Baby Tonight”
So, I think the only thing harder than having to sing Whitney is having Mary J. Blige tell you how to do it. Like, of course YOU can sing it, Mary J! You’re amazing! But what is a mediocre performer like Elise supposed to do. Jimmy convinced Elise to change her tune from “Greatest Love of All” to this, which I think was a wise decision. But the performance still stunk. I mean, it would be a super fun karaoke performance! But this isn’t karaoke. Even the judges thought it was bad. It’s too bad, since I liked Elise’s version of an Adele song last week and hoped she’d do better.
Jermaine Jones – “Knocks Me Off My Feet”
Zzzzzzzz. Oh sorry – I fell asleep during this performance. I’m sure it wasn’t terrible, but I found it SO dull. I’m not sure even serenading J-Lo could have relaxed him.
Erika Van Pelt – “I Believe In You And Me”
Jimmy and Mary J thought that if Erika put her own twist on this song, rather than trying to copycat Whitney, then she’d be OK. That was not the case. This was like one of those awful singing performances you see in the Miss America pageants, by a girl who wishes she were the white Whitney and just is not.
Colton Dixon – “Lately”
Well, there’s no way Colton Dixon could be any worse than the other Colton on reality TV right now. In fact, I really freakin’ liked this. Stevie Wonder is not Colton’s wheelhouse, but he completely turned the song around. Some of my favorite Idol contestants have been people who change songs up, like David Cook or Kris Allen. It was just a fantastic performance.
Shannon Magrane – “I Have Nothing”
This is one of my favorite Whitney songs, and I hate seeing it slaughtered. It’s a very challenging song, and Shannon shouldn’t have chosen it. It was just too hard for her! There’s no shame in singing “Why Does It Hurt So Bad” instead. The judges tried to say Shannon can sing the song when she’s not nervous, which I disagree with. Also, Seacrest asking if the piano was off? Cheap move. Don’t blame the pianist, it was just a hot mess.
DeAndre Brackensick – “Master Blaster (Jammin’)”
I’m still not sure that DeAndre is the greatest singer around, but his performance was fun – and considering so many of the gals were doing ballads, fun was very much appreciated in this episode. I don’t know, there’s just something about this kid and his performance that you had to love.
Skylar Laine – “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”
I really like Skylar because she’s adorable and country, but I knew Whitney might be hard for her – in fact, I thought she might try to do Dolly Parton’s original version of “I Will Always Love You”. But what happened was really nice – I love this song, and a toned down countrified version was quite lovely. And then at the end! She really belted it! I thought it was great. Skylar took advice well, and added just the right amount of country and personal flare to the song.
Heejun Han – “All In Love Is Fair”
Zzzzzzzz – oh man, twice in one episode? The beginning of Heejun’s performance was incredibly dull. It got a little better near the end, but it really never grabbed my attention.
Hollie Cavanagh – “All The Man That I Need”
You’ve got to love a tiny human with a giant voice, right? Hollie is petite and seems very warm and sweet. But she brought a lot of power to her performance, and a lot of emotion. That last HUGE note followed by her soft ending? Killer.
Jeremy Rosado – “Ribbon In The Sky”
I really didn’t enjoy Jeremy Rosado last week, so I was interested to see what would happen this week. Turns out he did not grow on me – I really, truly disliked this performance. Unfortunately Jeremy is a combination of not a great singer, and the kind of singer I personally don’t like.
Jessica Sanchez – “I Will Always Love You”
Singing Whitney’s version of this song basically note-for-note would be a risk for most. For Jessica, it was an obvious choice – there was no better way to show just how damn good a singer she is. I can’t express enough how great I thought this was, and I think anyone who says otherwise is just being contrary. This. Girl. Can. SING. And she’s 16!?!
Phillip Phillips – “Superstition”
I did not envy anyone who had to follow Jessica, but Phillip definitely handled it. His performance had a great live band quality that doesn’t happen on Idol very often, and he sounded great. My one complaint was that his vocals were a bit hard to hear under all the music. I like Phillip, and I can see him going far in this competition – but I’m not sure he’s all the judges say he’s cracked up to be. (Also, the fact that he looks a bit like Ryan Phillipe doesn’t hurt – Phillipe Phillips!)
Rankings time! It’s a little hard to do this with thirteen, but let’s try.
1. Jessica Sanchez
2. Colton Dixon
3. Phillip Phillips
4. Skylar Laine
5. Hollie Cavanagh
6. Joshua Ledet
7. DeAndre Brackensick
8. Jermaine Jones
9. Heejun Han
10. Elise Testone
11. Erika Van Pelt
12. Shannon Magrane
13. Jeremy Rosado
Honestly, after the top seven they’re pretty interchangeable – fat waiting to be trimmed, competition-wise.
OK, so, I’ll admit it – my DVR didn’t record the American Idol results show and I’m not going to bother watching it. Should I? Should I bother finding a group performance on YouTube?
Elise and Jeremy were the girl and guy with the least amount of votes, so the judges had to choose which would go home. I agreed with their choice to eliminated Jeremy – I see more potential in Elise, and now there’s an even number of guys and girls. Plus, can we talk about the fact that Elise was not the worst girl of the night? Shannon definitely was worse – is the Christian vote carrying her through? Or her looks?
So, what do you think? Who impressed you? Did the right person go home?