American Idol Recap: Some Kind of Wonder-Ful

joshua ledet idolYou can’t always get what you want, as Mick Jagger (and later, Crystal Bowersox) once sang, and that adage has certainly been applicable to most of American Idol‘s first 399 episodes.

On Wednesday, however, in celebration of the 400th installment of the reality-competition granddaddy, Uncle Nigel took a page from Burger King’s ad department and produced an episode that let the Idoloonie Nation have it their way: A Top 13 packed almost entirely with solid (and varied) vocalists. Specific, constructive critiques from the judges. A mentor with serious chops, good humor, and spot-on advice. A clear, unmuddied sound mix. Plenty of ketchup and onions. And not a single “vote for her ’cause her maw-maw got her leg caught in a combine” sob story.

Oh, sure, Randy Jackson wore a ridiculous chipmunk-fur collar and sequined Powerpuff Girls pin (an homage to Idology, perhaps?) and started nearly every critique with the word “Yo!” Jennifer Lopez kept trying to make “goosies!” happen. (It’s not gonna happen, gurrrl.) Steven Tyler trotted out the word “beautiful” 11 times over the course of 13 performances. And those blasted Sway-Bots arhythmically raised their hands in front of the cameras during each and every ballad. But let’s be honest: Getting through an Idol episode without anything to mock or rage against would be like ordering a burger without the fries.

Of course, what made Episode 400 all the more impressive is that it managed to achieve near greatness while clad in a threadbare patchwork coat of Whitney Houston/Stevie Wonder ditties. And it wasn’t just that the songbooks in question have been among the most tirelessly flogged in Idol history: Producers made things even less imaginative by requiring the guys to do Stevie, and the women to do Whitney. (How dreadfully gender-normative!)

But anyhow, let’s get to the performances, and try to sort out which guy and which gal will be the lowest vote-getters among their genders, and be forced to sing for their lives for the judges on Thursday night. Yep, J.Lo, Randy, and Steven are grabing some power from all of us (or a nation of speed-dialing moms) tonight. In the words of Colton Dixon: “Interesting.”

Joshua Ledet, “I Wish”: Joshua spent much of his pre-performance package talking about how he was totally out of his comfort zone, which is another way of saying this kid has absolutely no idea where his strengths lie. Sure, he can deliver a Gospel-inflected ballad with the best of ‘em, but he’s also got a magical way with uptempo funk. From his “I see ya, J.Lo!” shout-out to his dance interlude in front of the horns section, the dapper Joshua tore through the syncopated rhythms like a paper shredder to a piece of junk mail, riffing magnificently with his feverish rasp and sending me into “elated stank face” palpatations for a good 90 seconds. And hey, if we’re gonna spend four hours a week on the couch watching Idol from now until May, we really need at least one contestant who can get our cardiovascular systems fired up.

Elise Testone, “I’m Your Baby Tonight”: It was clear trouble was brewin’ from the moment guest mentor Mary J. Blige made her “nuh-uh” face during Elise’s cover of “The Greatest Love of All.” But if Mary and Jimmy were determined to switch up Elise’s track, why not go with latter day Whitney in the vein of “Heartbreak Hotel” or “My Love Is Your Love” or even “It’s Not Right (But It’s Okay)”? Whatever the case may be, I actually enjoyed how the gravelly throated songbird switched up the cadence of a stylized midtemo number that didn’t really fit her intrument or her vibe. The languid way Elise approached the chorus, the almost gutteral notes she struck on the opening verse, were interesting at a bare minimum, and maybe kinda lovely (if you’re already an Elise convert). Randy was right that she needn’t use every note to drive home the power of her voice, but the judges’ comments seemed harsher than necessary, almost as if knowing Elise’s potential, they were holding her to a higher standard than, say, Jermaine or Shannon. Here’s hoping the Dawg’s comment that Elise was “boxing” the song wasn’t a subliminal way of signaling she’ll be the Season 11 punching bag.

Jermaine Jones, “Knocks Me Off My Feet”: If justice and logic, those perpetual Idol underdogs, prevail this week, we’ll be looking at a Jermaine-Vs.-Shannon Bottom 2. Granted, the “Gentle Giant” (I can’t believe I just typed that again) hit more notes in the opening verse than Eben Franckewitz did during his entire Adele cover last week, but even so, Jermaine’s vocal had all the energy and spirit of a carnival goldfish in a plastic bag of water. Like J.Lo said, the guy just doesn’t seem to be connecting to his lyrics. (Pop quiz: Without looking to the top of this paragraph, name Jermaine’s song this week!) And by the time he got to the chorus, Jermaine began to lose his grip on pitch, too. “When you hit the chorus, for me, I did not enjoy,” said Randy, in a typically brilliant turn of phrase, but Jermaine did not agree. “I think I did a pretty good job,” he told Ryan. To which I say, “Dude, making me side with Randy Jackson? That is not cool.”

Erika Van Pelt, “I Believe In You And Me”: First things first: Erika has some fantastic raw material to work with. I mean, those rich, buttery notes she hit in front of MJB were sublime. But somehow her cover of “I Believe in You and Me” fell short of her rehearsal package. Was it the red gown with bedazzled straps, which immediately made me wonder how many times Erika’s been a bridesmaid, and whether or not we’ll see her in floral taffeta by Top 10 week? Was it the random guitar player placed at stage left, who should’ve brought a little more grit to cut through all the cheese? Was it that Erika colored a little too carefully inside Whitney Houston’s template? Perhaps it was all of the above. But I agree with J.Lo that there’s a real contender lurking just below the surface of Erika’s skin, and it’s high time she came out to inspire a nation of speed-dialing crazies.

Colton Dixon, “Lately”: You could accuse Colton of being Season 11’s most strategic contestant, the way he uses his skinny (to the point of shrink-wrap) jeans, his “smoldering eyes to America” (Ryan’s words, not mine), and his plaintive rocker wail to make everything seem like it should be accompanied by a moodily lit video with Colton in all-black, storm clouds rolling in on the horizon, and a CW starlet running through an eerie forest-scape. Or you could say this is a guy who knows what kind of artist he wants to be, and knows how to execute his vision while hitting 90-95% of his notes. Whichever side of the debate on which you land — I’m still undecided myself — I think there’s one cause that can unite us all: That Colton never again wear a backwards baseball cap in rehearsal.

Shannon Magrane, “I Have Nothing”: True confession: After hearing this Bodyguard soundtrack ballad covered seven times over the course of Idol‘s 11 seasons, I’d probably have a hard time getting excited by it even if it was delivered in perfect three-part harmony by Fantasia Barrino, Allison Iraheta, and Haley Reinhart. And yet the latest rendition by Shannon (or “sweet baby,” as J.Lo so menacingly called her) has inspired my inner songwriter (set to the tune of “I Have Nothing,” naturally).

Don’t make me hear this once more
Come on girl you’re making me snore
Please stay in tune, if you can
That last note could not have been planned
Don’t take Elise’s spot
Don’t you dare take Elise’s spot!
Idol has nothing (nothing) (NOTHING)
Pageants won’t give yooooouuu

Deandre Brackensick, “Master Blaster”: I could spend an entire paragraph describing my surprise and delight at the way Deandre brought in the noise, brought in the funk, and heeded MJB’s sage advice to ugly things up vocally, but instead, I’ll quote Deandre as he watched tearful backstage footage of himself from Wild Card night: “Oooh! Lawd have mercy!” (And I mean that in the best possible way.)

Skylar Laine, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”: Another contestant, another strong piece of mentoring from the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. Indeed, in rehearsal, it seemed as though Skylar was trying to match Hollie and Jessica glory note for glory note, but Mary J had her dial it back. Because Skylar going full-bore from the get-go would be like Superman trying to use the Bat-Mobile, or Spiderman attempting to work Wonder Woman’s golden lasso. Skylar’s real super power is in her ability to tell a story, to bring a clarity and a purpose to every word that comes out of her mouth. And that’s why, perhaps more than any contestant in the Top 13, she made her cover this week sound like an original that had been written expressly for a Skylar Laine album. (Oooh! A Skylar Laine album: I hope the good folks at 19 like the sound of that as much as I do.)

Heejun Han, “All in Love Is Fair”: Heejun’s mentoring session was the one time I vehemently disagreed with the Lady Blige, though in her defense, she was probably thrown off her game by Heejun’s hilariously autographed photo: “I love you more than Jimmy.” I thought the funny guy’s instinct to go stripped-back and subtle was absolutely correct. Aftfer all, sometimes it’s the quietest moments on Idol that resonate the loudest. And indeed, there were moments in Heejun’s performance, especially the break in his voice on the line “the writer takes the pen,” where you could hear a guy mourning the end of a relationship, and not just a reality-show personality trying to muddle his way to an Idol tour slot. No, Heejun probably won’t be able to improve enough between now and April to prove worthy of a Top 5 slot, but he shouldn’t be dismissed as Sanjaya 2.0 just because he conjures up solid zingers like that one about J.Lo hugging Jeremy, and not him, on semifinal results night.

Hollie Cavanagh, “All The Man That I Need”: There’s something jarring about the sight of waif-ish Holly — who looks like she could easily hold up an empty bowl and ask for some more porridge — belting out notes that sound like they should come from someone 10 times her size. I mean, it’d be kind of like seeing the Taco Bell chihuahua lay Godzilla-like waste to Tokyo, if you can even wrap your brain around such an image. But there’s also something thrilling about this kid. She didn’t miss a note of “All the Man That I Need,” and she certainly projected more confidence than she did on her semifinal rendition of “Reflection.” But she’s still a diamond that’s not quite ready for the jewelry case at Zales. Hollie needs ot learn to modulate her voice, to learn that a whisper can be just as powerful as a yell, to tap into that deep reseve of soul bubbling just beneath the surface. Discovering whether or not she’ll be able to accomplish that goal over the next 11 weeks may be one of the most compelling reasons to sacrifice our Wednesday and Thursday nights from now till the end of May. Or, to put it in the words of J.Lo: “We might have a sing-off between two girls in the finale. That’s what i’m hoping for!” (Side note for discussion: Was that sound bite spontaneous, or the first bit of foreshadowing leading to Uncle Nigel’s carefully scripted Hollie-Jessica Final 2?)

Jeremy Rosado, “Ribbon in the Sky”: As Jimmy Iovine pointed out, Jeremy is a great kid with a big heart and a lot of vulnerability. (He also dresses like he’s headed for a Saturday afternoon at the mall.) But at this early stage of the competition, you can sometimes court more sympathy votes with a full-fledged disaster than you can for a solid, mid-pack showing like Jeremy’s pretty, though occasionally/slightly strained, “Ribbon in the Sky.” If the kid winds up on the chopping block, will fairy godmother J.Lo have enough power in her magic Louboutins to save him again?

Jessica Sanchez, “I Will Always Love You”: Jessica certainly won the jackpot for Most Dramatic Performance Staging of the Week. The floor had so much fog, I half-wondered if the cameras had cut to a performance of The Hound of the Baskervilles, but no: Out came Jessica in an ice-blue gown, bathed in the glow of 100 gorgeous spotlights, her own visage reflected on the screens behind her, a giant fan blowing her hair back, Top Model-style. And then she opened her mouth, and with just four words — “If I. Should stay.” — everything else became superfluous. Sure, Jessica’s rendition sounded eerily like Jennnifer Hudson’s Grammys tribute to Whitney Houston. And no, 90 seconds is not enough time to properly build to the “and I-ee-I-ee-Iiiii” climax. But there’s such depth to Jessica’s voice, and such ease in how she wields it, that I understood how J.Lo was struck speechless. Sure we can ask for a song choice next time that reveals whether Jessica possesses grit and soul to match her vocal horsepower, but did anyone really want more runs, or more riffs on the melody, or some kind of accoustic rearrangement on Whitney’s most iconic ballad, just weeks after her death? Sometimes you have to let the prevailing winds lift you off your butt, and give a much-deserved standing O, y’know?

Phillip Phillips, “Superstition”: Look, I don’t care if the guy closely matches the “White Guy With Guitar” template that’s dominated Idol for several seasons running. There’s no denying he’s a talented and charismatic fella, or that he’s shown a refreshing willingness to avoid basic karaoke and try to make his arrangements a little more intriguing. That said, how come none of the judges called out Phillip for essentially SCREAMING the last two thirds of this Stevie Wonder classic? Yes, Phillip needed to make sure he could be heard over the blast of horns and guitars and whatnot, but there was such a relentless quality to his delivery that I kind of felt like I’d just endured a half-hour of X Factor by the time he’d finished. (And I don’t mean that as a compliment.) Yes, Randy, you’re not wrong that Phillip drives his own car in his own lane, but that doesn’t mean he’s Darrell Waltrip just yet. A little more constructive criticism, a little less hot air, please?

Letter Grades for the Night
Joshua Ledet, “I Wish”: A
Jessica Sanchez, “I Will Always Love You”: A-
Deandre Brackensick, “Master Blaster”: A-
Skylar Laine, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”: B+
Hollie Cavanagh, “All The Man That I Need”: B+
Elise Testone, “I’m Your Baby Tonight”: B
Colton Dixon, “Lately”: B
Heejun Han, “All in Love Is Fair”: B
Jeremy Rosado, “Ribbon in the Sky”: B-
Phillip Phillips, “Superstition”: B-
Erika Van Pelt, “I Believe In You And Me”: B-
Jermaine Jones, “Knocks Me Off My Feet”: C
Shannon Magrane, “I Have Nothing”: C-

Should Be Bottom 2
Shannon and Jermaine

Will Be Bottom 2
Shannon and Jeremy

Who did you like best? Who’s going home? Hit the comments with your thoughts!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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167 Comments
  1. Ali says:

    I wasn’t a huge fan of Colton’s “Lately”, but I think his itunes version is by far my favorite of all contestants this week.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Thanks, I’ll check that out. I enjoyed the performance (although not as much as Stephano’s) because it was creative, IMO.

      • marie says:

        (Nitpick / P.I.A. alert: Stefano’s name is spelled with an “F”, not a “PH” – whether he’s named after someone on the Italian or Spanish side of his family.)

        Sorry, D.E.T., you know how much I enjoy reading your comments; I truly AM a P.I.A. and the weirdest things bug me, I admit…don’t be mad at me, please!

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          good enough. I’ve probably spelled it both ways from time to time. Not a problem. I did LOVE Stefano’s “Lately”. His tenor voice just soared on parts of that song.

        • Gorm says:

          Stefenou
          Staphano
          Stafeno
          Steffeno
          Stefeanaux
          Sssstfeno
          Stephean-o

    • pjturner12 says:

      I agree. If there was one singer that surprised me this round, it was Colton. I lobby for a B+ upgrade at the very least.

  2. JBSFan101 says:

    Joshua over Jessica?! DeAndre over Hollie?!?! For shame, sir.

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      I agree that Jessica did a (marginally) better job than Joshua, but Deandre absolutely killed it last night. So much fun, so effortless, so in control. Hollie was very good, but Deandre was close to a revelation.

      • Joe says:

        ummmm….”revelation”? Honestly, this is the only performance I don’t get the hype over. He was fine, perfectly mediocre, and better than some, but it did nothing for me. I’ll have to watch it back, I guess.

        • ana says:

          I don’t get the Deandre love either…

        • Miscellaneopolan says:

          Well, “close” to a revelation.

          I admit that I have a weakness for funk music, so I was on board with the song choice before the show even began, but I really do think Deandre knocked it out of the park performance-wise. He was using the entirety of his vocal range rather than relying on his falsetto and his voice had an exciting grit to it we hadn’t heard before. Also, his stage presence was much improved; I loved his dance moves and the Micheal Jackson-like “Who hoo!” he threw in to the middle of the song. I could just tell that this was a song he’d known and loved for a long time. He performed it with the same sense of infectious fun that animated Skyler’s rendition of “Stay With Me” last week.

          I recognize that there were other performances that were technically “better” last night, but Deandre’s was my personal favorite. “We jammin’ and jammin’ and jammin’… JAM ON!”

        • muffy says:

          I liked his performance, it was fun to watch. However, I couldn’t understand most of the words he was singing.

        • TheBeach says:

          I think his (or someone’s) decision to tie his hair back helped immensely. All the hair-flipping was a major distraction.

      • TinCan says:

        I couldn’t make out any of the words DeAndre sang. If a song is to tell a story then I totally missed it as he mumbled something out. For that reason I’d give him a lower grade than A-.

    • Detroit says:

      Joshua = A Jessica + A- ? I hardly think so.
      And while you’re at it, give Skylar an A-.

      • Owen says:

        Its the B for Elise that makes me think Slezak is either insane or just trying to make her the next Reinhardt. And she SO isn’t…

      • ejones says:

        Slezak should have mentioned a fair sprinkling of off notes in Jessica’s performance. As for Skylar, an over enthusiastic immature performance.

  3. dbaj says:

    Whattaya know…the judges JUDGED! Hallelujah. Even Mr. “Beautiful!” (x 11) managed to add some constructive feedback for once. Hope they keep it up.

    Thought Erika’s bridesmaid dress was eons better than last week. What wonders a built-in minimizer bra can do.

    Don’t get the P2 love. All screams, contorted faces. No.

    • john says:

      “And Steven, who do you think was the best of the night?”
      “Uh, uh, let me check my notes. Uh, uh, Jessica Sanchez.”
      Steven is only technically in attendance.

  4. MK says:

    I think there is a lot of talent this year and I started to watch the show only because of all the tweets but I still can honestly and happily say…I’m over American Idol. However, I can still give my critiques.

    I still don’t know everyone’s names, but I thought that Giant guy was the worst. His voice is not bad, but he’s very “Bess is My Woman” sounding with his deep timbre and perhaps he would be better suited for the stage (this is neither a diss nor a compliment, it’s just an observation).

    I felt bad for the gal who was told by MJB and Jimmy (does he really have musical knowledge??)Iovine to sing a song she, not only did not know, but got pretty much with hardly any time to rehearse. Since when are mentors allowed to tell a contestant what to sing when it’s not Top 3. Perhaps her song choice was wrong, but it was hers and for her to possibly end up in the B3 because of MJB and Idiotvine, then I think she should be the one to stay.

    And while HeeJun cracked me up, I didn’t think he sang that well.

    I actually thought Jessica was good and I didn’t mind Shannon. My favorites were cute little Colton (looks like a mini James Durbin with a better voice, maybe) and Deandre.

    As for the guy who seems to be “everyone’s favorite”, Phillip Phillips, I just thought he was meh. The music drowned out the words to the song and I thought he was adequate, but I’ve seen better from other Idols and Idol singers.

    And while I thought Colton was cute and I liked what he sang…I couldn’t understand the words he sang either because they were muffled.

    All in all, inasmuch as I am 100% aware that live sound from the studio does not always compute well to the TV screen, I just didn’t hear what the judges heard.

    Oh well. At this point…I’m not fussy who goes or stays. And that’s the way, uh huh uh huh, I like it.

    This way I can watch it objectively.

    • Jason says:

      Jimmy Iovine produced great Stevie Nicks solo albums and is a music mogul who has signed and help discover much of the music around today! What have you done?

      Jimmy has been steadily improving on the show and is probably my favorite guy on the show now!! I think he is qualified to help Elise!! Let’s face it, she was doomed on Whitney Houston night! She would have been much more at home in a Stevie Wonder song!!

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        “I wanna Dance With Somebody” was originally written as a slower ballad. I think Elise could have taken that song, had she had more time, and sung the original version at the piano with kind of a soulful interpretation. “I’m Your Baby Tonight” needs to be added to the list of songs that should never grace the Idol stage again.

  5. RJ says:

    Hoping for a Jessica and Hollie finale

  6. Danny says:

    I agree with almost all of these, except for me, DeAndre was terrible. I couldn’t understand a word he sang, and I thought he sung way too soft.

  7. umbrella says:

    Michael,
    Jessica was not wearing an “Ice-blue” gown. It was Royal Blue.

    Ice blue is a very very pale shade.

  8. blingedup.susan says:

    “Vote for her because her maw-maw got her leg caught…” might be the biggest LOL I’ve had while reading something in a long time.

    I agree with your assessments and your grading.

    I’ll be disappointed if anyone besides Shannon goes home tonight, although she seems like a very sweet girl.

    I’ll say it again — what a terrific group this year!

    • blingedup.susan says:

      Have to reply to my own comment here…. I meant to say I MOSTLY agree with your assessments. Jessica would not be as high up on my list. I’ll leave it at that for now. :)

  9. Cacity87 says:

    Finally!! Someone giving Deandre proper credit for that Jammin’ (pun intended) performance last night! And I agree with Jessica and Joshua’s ranking of 1 and 2 as well. I would put Hollie 4th. Great recap!

  10. ktbanks says:

    If Jessica, Skylar, or Hollie do not win Idol this year…I will be so upset. Not upset enough to stop watching, (cuz let’s face it…Idol is an addiction at this point). But I think a girl winning is LONG overdue, and these three are the best chance we’ve had in awhile. Down with the WGWG’s! :P

    • muffy says:

      I am not a country music fan and I hated that Scotty and Lauren got pushed through simply because they were country. Despite that, I love Skylar. She is fun and confident without being cocky. I loved her song last night, she and P2 were the only ones that added some originality to the songs.

      • pjturner12 says:

        How come nobody got the irony that there was a country song that wasn’t sung by the country girl. Dolly Parton wrote and sang “I will always love you” as a country song before Whitney turned it into an R&B hit.

  11. darclyte says:

    I haven’t watched all season, but I decided to watch the Top 13 to see who the challengers are this season. This also will be the last episode I watch, although I will probably record the finale and watch it if anyone interesting performs.

    I like the new look of the stage, and some of the other visual changes. I thought that Mary, Jimmy, and J-Lo al had good critiques. Randy was ok, but he mostly mimics things others say or things he’s said in past seasons. I was SHOCKED that Steven had any negative things to say, but the 2 gals who crashed and burned crashed hard enough that he couldn’t ignore it. He still tried to wring out some positivity.

    Joshua reminded me of Jackie Wilson. Nice job!

    Elise – I like her voice, totally wrong song. I don’t know what Whitney song would’ve worked for her. Jesus Loves Me, perhaps? No way would she be in the bottom had she performed that song, hehe.

    Big Jermaine – I like him and his voice, but no chance to win. Should make it as a singer somewhere.

    EVP – She is the “Adele” contestant. She kinda looks like her (although nowhere near as good a singer.) I liked her, but it was just ok.

    Colton – I liked him last year but he didn’t make the Top 24. I thought he was kinda boring last night.

    Shannon – She sang it well in front of Jimmy and Mary, but crashed and burned on stage. It was ugly.

    Deandre – More show than song. He should be safe, but he won’t last too long.

    Skylar – Country gal who I thought would’ve been a natural to sing I Will Always Love You in a Dolly Parton or Linda Ronstadt way. She was ok, but is she really 18? She looks 50.

    Heejun – If Skylar has a “Country Twang,” then Heejun has an “Asian Twang” at times, but once he got going he sounded well. He could have a career in Asia singing in English. They love his kind of singing over there.

    Hollie – She is the poster child of why it’s not a bad thing to be told no and to come back next year. She is WAAAAY better than she was last year when she didn’t make the Top 24. Probably the best original vocal of the night (to be explained later.)

    Jeremy – The judges put him through as a Wild Card? Their Wild Card choices did not impress me.

    Jessica – Ok, so she sang Whitney Houston nearly note for note. Big deal. I would have liked some originality to it. At least Hollie sang the song her way. This was like a season 3 performance, not a season 11 when they want the singers to be themselves and not just karaoke. Sure, it was really good karaoke, but I prefer the singers to give it their own take.

    Phillip – Dave Matthews should sue this guy for copyright infringement. That said, his was more performance than singing. It was all amped up and rocking and stuff, but he barely seemed to sing and was a bot off when he did. I can see the appeal, but keep it more stripped down.

    Bottom gal: Shannon (maybe Elise since she went so early.)
    Bottom guy: Jeremy (probably the worst guy of the night.)
    Should go home: Shannon.
    Will go home: Jeremy. He was a Wild Card pick. It’ll even the guys and gals. It’ll be the first time a guy went home first in YEARS. All signs point to a guy going, and Jeremy was probably the worst guy.

    • pjturner12 says:

      I think you’re confusing Jeremy Rosado with Jermaine Jones. Jermaine was the wild card survivor. Jeremy was last week’s singoff survivor.

      Also, was it just me or did no one remember that Phil Phillips auditioned with the same song. i.e. Stevie Wonder’s Superstition. Which is why I was kinda disappointed he did not hit this out of the park seeing that he’d have that leg up compared with the rest.

  12. MamaLis says:

    I thought Colton was great, too. He’s do damn cute with that scrunched up nose. But I’m not getting the Hollie thing. Besides the fact that she appears to have a mild speech impediment (??), she’s very vanilla-cake-cone. As I said earlier, there are plenty of music teachers throughout the US with fine voices that shouldn’t be ‘stars.’ She reminds me of one of them. sorry.

    • Brigette says:

      I would have to agree with your Hollie sentiments. Seems like a sweet girl, has a strong voice, but she doesn’t grab me. I feel like there’s not enough personality in her voice or something.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I love the tone in Hollie’s voice. It’s lovely.

    • justfyi says:

      hollie doesn’t have a speech impediment. she’s not originally from the states, so you’re hearing the remainder of her accent (she was born in england then moved to texas). and i agree with slezak – seeing how she develops over the weeks will be one of the most fun things about this season of AI.

  13. TV Fan says:

    I feel like next tv season we will hear a Colton Dixon song being played on a CW show, like the Vampire Diaries. He is one of the contestants you either like or your don’t like and I like him. The night really belonged to Jessica with Hollie coming in second. We may have a Hollie/Jessica final this year.

  14. Marko says:

    Mr Slezak, you are wrong about Erika’s performance. She deserves A-.

    • susela says:

      I agree! She has a stunning voice, and uses it well.

      • Joe Strummer says:

        I agree too. At the very least, she deserves a B+. I think she could be a contestant that evolves as the show goes on, sort of like Haley Reinhart.

        • seattlejohn449 says:

          HALEY REINHART ALERT: I just read a current interview with Haley Reinhart talking about her new album at hollywoodreporter.com…pretty exciting and due soon

      • TheBeach says:

        Agreed. I love her voice. I wish the stylists would give her an edgier look (she is a DJ, after all). That would help with the younger voters which she needs.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        I love her voice as well! And yes, get her out of those awful dresses.

    • Ben says:

      He’s not wrong. Erika is getting lost in the crowd.

  15. fullyCOOKed says:

    For me, it all comes down to who am I gonna get in my car for and drive to BestBuy to buy thier cd the morning it comes out. It’s going to be a musician. Not just a singer but a person who can write, play an instrument and not just sing. And if that person doesnt win and I have to wait 2 years for thier cd, I’ll do that too. I’ve spent a lot of time researching some of these contestants on youtube and I love finding the ones with original material performing it in bars, churches, community picnics or whatever. If that means another white guy or girl with a guitar or piano for that matter, then that’s who’s getting my votes and my music buying dollars.

  16. Isabelle says:

    My top 3 picks are Colton, Phil and Hollie, i would love them in the finally. Jessica is a true talent and would make my 4th pick but there’s something about her that while she’s great isn’t gelling with me. This is the first time in a long time I’m rooting for more then two people, its a solid season. Erika, Josh, Elise, are great too.

    • Lee says:

      Could it be because Jessica is non-white compared to the wonder bread group of Colton, Phil and Hollie? Can you be any more obvious why you don’t like Jessica?

      • Gary says:

        Wow, that’s totally uncalled for. You just called someone racist because of the singers she likes. Did you miss that she called Joshua great, too? I guess you were in too much of a hurry to throw racist charges around. You should be looking in a mirror when you do that. And FWIW, I think Jessica did the best, and Colton was second best, but I wouldn’t call Isabelle racist because she disagrees with me about Jessica.

        • chervern says:

          AGREE TOTALLY…..there is just way too much of this personal abuse going on around here…lets just everybody on their talents alone…I’ve read really personal bad things about just about every contestant, none more so than Shannon and Jermaine…if every person that writes into these forums stopped for five minutes and just thought about how they would react and what nasty unlikebale parts of their own personalities might come to the fore after recieving some heavy critiscism when all they are trying to do is to hang onto their dream the best way they know how…everyone seems to be canning Jermaine for appearing un-feeling towads his other fellow contestants and for being dis-respectful to the judges…there seems to be a fair amount of conjecture on his educational or life skills, no one here has even mentioned that he did hesitated a while before he answered Ryan’s question as regards did he agree with the judges..you could visibly see him struggling to find the right words to say…so he just says that he thinks he did ok…also Randy was playing up to him a bit as well, maybe he just thought that was how he was supposed to respond…who knows…..and all this talk about Shannon and Jessica being spoilt rich kids…that needs to stop also….are they not allowed to pursue their dreams as well just because they might be better off than some…all these contentastants I am sure have faults, as we all do, the faults I am interested in is the ones that sneak out in their voices…sometimes I am so glad I’m not an American and can’t vote…

      • kobe martin says:

        ur ryt ..they hate jessica because of her race…lets face the reality, shes the best among the rest…other idols, lol have sinusitis lol..,,American Idol is for real talent thats it…GO TEAM JESSICA!!!HUgs and Kisses from LAS VEGAS!!!

  17. Lucas says:

    I thought Deandre was absolutely terrible, and, sadly, Elise was pretty disappointing. And Colton completely surprised me, his performance was sublime.

    • MamaLis says:

      I agree x4. Heck, I just re-watched on my DVR and I give it an A-! I love those subtle, sultry nuances she throws in there between phrases and notes. She went by me in the beginning but I’m hooked now!

  18. Lucy says:

    OMG — B – for Erika. Holy Smokes — You gotta be kidding me!!! The same grade you grade you gave Jeremy. Clean out your ears!

  19. Winnie says:

    I can’t give Jessica Sanchez’ performance last night an A- while Ledet got an A. Jessica made me run to the teli while my back was turned and then rewind the performance 3 times to rewatch it over and over. I can’t even remember what Ledet did anymore…Sorry I just can’t agree with you.

  20. susela says:

    I’m a big fan of Hollie’s, but she needs to watch the nasal tone. And speaking of tone, Erika is amazing. I’m not sure that Idol has ever had a voice quite like hers.

  21. PHDGuy says:

    Agreed with most of the grades, except:
    Jessica: A
    Hollie: A-
    DeAndre: B+

  22. April says:

    So, if Ryan ever leaves AmIdol, how about a campaign to have Heejun take his place?

    • TheBeach says:

      He cracked me up last night when he said every time he saw Deandre’s hair he thought of noodles and got hungry.

    • pjturner12 says:

      Did anyone else notice the autographed photo for Jimmy had his sad face and Mary J’s had the happy face? This guy is a comedic genius and should have a sitcom of his own. Perhaps a rehash of “Perfect Strangers” from the 80’s and set in Queens instead of Chicago.

  23. Gata says:

    I am going to have to re-watch this episode, but from last night the best performance for me was EVP. If only they would tell her to stop wearing such ugly clothes, I get that her body is not that cute, but she looked far better in rehearsals than she did on TV, but her song was spot on for me.

    I wasn’t sure what to make of the others, at various times I liked and didn’t like some things about the performances.

    I am trying real hard not to have the stereotypical “gaydar” going because Joshua sings in church, but boy oh boy was he putting on the stereotypical gay affectations with his wrist/hands last night, his sexual orientation doesn’t matter as much as his voice which is what I base my like or dislike on, and he was okay, but as I said, I need to re-watch.

    On Jessica – everybody’s favorite, I thought she had some good moments, but I didn’t think it was the begin all and end all of people covering IWALY. I agree we need a little gritty emotional attachment to her vocals (maybe not this time, but soon).

    Deandre – I like him just because, but again, his performance I need to re-watch because I wasn’t feeling it as I watched it lying across my bed last night.

    P-squared is not my idea of what is needed on AI, but that’s what JI thinks, I am not so much into him or Colton, but then I hate it when people think Rock singers are the best thing since sliced bread.

    Jermaine and Jeremy – they could both go and I wouldn’t miss them.

    I haven’t figured out the love for Hollie just yet, and Shannon was so bad last night I felt bad for her. I also felt bad for Elise, because she just didn’t connect with that song, but she gave a valiant effort, and it was good in some spots.

    Heejun – I think he needs to show more confidence in his singing, he was singing kinda behind the band, I wanted him to “sing up” but his voice is really nice.

    That’s all I can remember right now, but again – this deserves a re-watch – thank God for DVRs.

    • Gary says:

      On Joshua – if his sexual orientation doesn’t matter, why did you bring it up?
      On Jessica – I have no idea what IWALY is, but I think Jessica was the best last night. Sometimes a song doesn’t need to be changed up.
      On Phillip and Colton – some of us grew up in the 1970’s and like Rock singers :) That said, I think Colton is much better than Phillip.
      On Hollie and Shannon – I agree.
      On Heejun – he really does have a very good voice. I was glad to see he wasn’t in the bottom three.

  24. karenb says:

    Absolutely foreshadowing!! I foreshadowed it to my daughter about 10 minutes before JLo opened her trap.

  25. ladyhelix says:

    They all sang pretty much in tune – I’m beyond thrilled/relieved.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      LOL. The last two seasons sometimes “he/she sang in tune” was the best we could do. This year we have 13 contestants that can mostly hit all the notes, and some of them quite well!

  26. Miscellaneopolan says:

    Huh. I have a notoriously awful gaydar (I completely missed hints about cast-off Creighton until people on this board enlightened me), but I wasn’t getting anything like that from Joshua. As someone influenced by Gospel, I think he’s just the type of singer who really gets into his music and lets his voice and body do what they may.

    On a related note, I once heard that there’s a policy on American Idol which forbids contestants from talking about their sexual orientations. I know that there have been a least a few contestants, like Adam Lambert, who kept themselves in the closet until after the show was over. Does that policy exist, and if so what do we think about it? Was there ever an openly gay idol contestant?

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      Um, this comment was supposed to be in response to Gata’s comment three comments up, by the way. Don’t know how that happened.

      • AJ says:

        He sang well, but you didn’t notice his gay mannerisms? Really?
        Your gaydar is non-existent.
        And his coat was too small, which was a weird look. Good voice though.

    • Kiwi says:

      I’ve always assumed gay contestants have kept themselves ‘in the closet’ on the show to not alienate the all-important young girl vote, rather than being instructed to do so…?

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        If young girls shooting guns, hunting, and collecting knives doesn’t scare off the voters in today’s PC society why would anyone being gay scare them off?

        • because says:

          Because that sort of thing is right up the ally for the remaining Idol fanbase, especially the part of it that votes like crazy. That’s catnip to the country crowd.

        • Miscellaneopolan says:

          I think homosexuality is exactly the kind of thing that would scare knife-collecting hunter-types.

          But I think it’s about time to break the taboo anyway. With gay marriage gaining traction around the country, it’d be interesting to see whether Idol voters really cared about an openly gay contestant. It’s possible they might surprise us.

    • Gary says:

      While it seemed obvious (to me, anyway) that Creighton Fraker is gay, I don’t see anything in Joshua’s mannerisms to indicate that he is gay. It doesn’t matter in any event, as all that matters, for American Idol anyway, is how well a person can sing :)

  27. TB says:

    I think I might be alone in this, but I was not in love with Jessica Sanchez this week. I loved her in Hollywood, but I find more and more that she’s offering up canned performances, and I just have no interest in watching her mimic other performers for an entire season. She’s a great singer, but is she really showing any artistry? Plus, I have to disagree with you on your feeling that changing the melody would be exploitative. I feel like having Jessica Sanchez come out at the end of the show to belt out Whitney’s signature song with EXACTLY the same interpretation of it was infinitely more exploitative than it would have been if someone had changed it up. As it was, it felt like the producers picked that song for her knowing that it had the biggest connection to the audience and would therefore give her the biggest “moment”, guaranteeing her place in the competition. It felt kind of like the Lee DeWyze “Hallelujah” moment to me.

    • Templar says:

      Thank you. I’ve been spewing all over the blogosphere that Jessica is like an automaton that hits every note, without any emotional investment. Thia Meghia part 2.

      • Ben says:

        I know. Pretty much every single comment I’ve seen saying Jessica is an automaton all over the blogosphere is BY you. The only comparison between Thia and Jessica in any way shape or form is their ethnicity and age, there is no other similarity at all.

    • Mary says:

      It is tough to change up a Whitney Houston song. This was idol’s way of paying tribute to her. I’m just happy that no one really demolished the songs. I don’t get why everyone is saying she is robotic. What did you want her to do, put the song to dance music and dance around the floor. This is only the second week in, if she continues to sing ballads and does not attempt to change it up then maybe you have grip. I remember Carrie Underwood looked more robotic then Jessica, actually I still think she does, but she is doing okay. Give a girl a break she is 16 years old, I for one think she is fantastic.

      • jj says:

        Watch her face when she sings. The mechanical calculations are all apparent. If you’ve ever toured a manufacturing plant, you’ve seen the robot swing into place waiting to perform it’s function. No emotion, no feeling, just technical accuracy. She doesn’t feel the song.

      • Margeaux says:

        She’s like a trained pet. She isn’t singing because she loves music, she’s singing to receive praise [or treats]. She’s programmed.

      • TB says:

        I definitely agree with you that yes, she is technically fantastic, and yes, she is at a completely different level of vocal control than the other contestants, and if that were the only consideration for idol, then yes, she absolutely deserves to stay in this competition til the bitter end, maybe even win it. But vocal ability is not, and despite how upsetting it sometimes is, it probably should not be the only requirement for the competition. Can she connect emotionally? I personally haven’t felt it since that group performance Hollywood week, but some people do, so I won’t judge based on my own opinion on that matter. But when you consider that after the show she has to put out an album…things don’t look so good for her. Can you see her producing something with originality and flavor? After listening to that note for note copy of Whitney Houston? I can’t. I wish I could, but I can’t. She hasn’t lived enough to be able to write or sing convincingly about the kinds of topics that could sell records, namely love and heartbreak and sex and pain and even joy…she still only has a child’s understanding of life. She’s still in high school, she’s still a kid. And honestly, if you heard her voice on the radio, could you identify her? Because as great as her technical skills are, she sounds like a million and one technically proficient pop hopefuls that have come before her.

        • Mary says:

          I am not sure what point you are making. Many singers don’t write their own music.
          I am not comparing Jessica to Whitney, but she didn’t write her own music but she
          Became an iconic star. You recognize her voice because she had hits. Jessica could have the same luck and be a star without writing her music. I feel at 16 she has a great gift and the rest will fall into place.

          • TB says:

            It’s not really about writing the music, it’s about being able to record a song and sound like unique. Whitney may not have written her own songs, but she sure as hell didn’t sound like anyone else on the radio. Plus it’s not 1990 anymore. Most of the major players in the music industry right now do write their own music or at least have their hands in the creative process, especially the women. Beyonce, Gaga, Adele, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, hell even Kesha…all of them have credit for at least co-writing their songs. The only major female artist on the radio that I can think of who doesn’t claim to write any material is Rihanna. But her voice sounds like no one else on the radio right now, and she has the most respected producers in the business at her beck and call. Jessica is a great singer, I will never argue that. I’m just unsure that she will make for a great artist, and I think other contestants might actually have a shot at that.

          • kobe martin says:

            yeah..whatver JESSICA is the best..magnificient..BRAVO!!

    • skyfiremage says:

      I agree with you on Jessica’s canned performances but please don’t drag Lee into this.

      Hallelujah was chosen for Lee by Simon not the producers.

      And Lee sang his own version of it unlike Jessica.

  28. Cat says:

    Totally agree with your “will be” and “should be”, Slezak.
    Joshua – Has a terrific voice and performance style, but I think he’s got a limited range. Calling him “Mantasia” is definitely NOT a compliment. Once he gets out of his strong voice, he just screams.
    Elise – Not really impressed either way. Has a little bit of a harsh tone to her voice.
    Jermaine – LOVE his bass voice! That low end note knocked me off MY feet. Nice to have a contestant that sounds like a mature man.
    Erika – Also love her deep voice. That last soft high note was wonderful. Only if you sing can you know how really hard that is to pull off.
    Colton – HORRIBLE mumbling early on. I couldn’t even tell if he was singing in English. Vocal quality okay, though.
    Shannon – Showed more power, but notes all over the place were wonky.
    HeeJun – Continually cuts some of his notes too short and a couple were flat. But he won me over with the ending bars.
    Skylar – Once I got over the disconnect between hearing a Whitney song done in a country accent, I was able to appreciate her tremendous vocals.
    DeAndre – Liked better than any performance from him so far.
    Hollie – AMAZING!
    Jeremy – Falsetto attempt really didn’t work, but okay otherwise.
    Jessica – What’s with the shaking fingers? They distracted me. She’s a little TOO perfect – almost sort of robotic and disconnected from her song.
    Phillip – I HATE his voice; it’s just ugly to listen to. This whole performance degenerated into nothing but noise. How did he EVER get this far?

  29. Jan says:

    I thought Erika was better than you did … otherwise, I pretty much agree with your assessment. And, as always, I LOVED your summary! I think Shannon should go, but it will probably be Jeremy.

  30. Jason says:

    Shannon deserves to go home and I hope she does. Give the coveted tour spot to someone who needs it that does not come from a millionaire family. She’s probably a nice girl but she can go back to her mansion now and stop boring me or hurting my ears. Haley or Bailey should have gotten her spot. At least we can lust after them when they sing completely offkey.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I don’t think it’s fair to send anyone packing because they come from a “millionaire family”. Everyone should be judged equally. And, HELLO! It’s her parents’ mansion, not Shannon’s. Sending someone home because their parents are wealthy is just as egregious and offensive as voting to keep someone there because of their sob story. This is “American Idol”, not “American Handout”.
      I do agree Hallie should have had that spot. Bailey, not so much.

      • Jason says:

        Haley not Hallie! I also stated she bored me and hurt my ears. I meant she doesn’t deserve a place on the tour so if they have to give it to someone who doesn’t deserve it it would be better to give it to someone who needs it more like Jermaine (he’s boring and has no chance at a music career either) but he could use the money. It’s like giving the spot to Jim Carrey’s daughter. She doesn’t need it. if she has any real talent Jim Carrey could get her an agent with his connections!!

        • Jason S says:

          Oh and Shannon’s song was nearly as bad as Bailey’s last week and much worse then that this week, She just got overpaised and sang about Jesus. Still think tonight’s singoff will be the battle of the Giants!! SHannon should concentrate on a professional Volleyball career!!

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            I don’t know that Shannon’s performance was as bad as Baylie’s last week but trust me, I’m not a big Shannon fan. And while I’m a Christian my personal preference is religious songs should be reserved for “Inspirational Song Night”. Just my opinion.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          I apologize, I assumed you meant Hallie Day because I really liked Hallie Day. I forgot about Haley Johnson. Wow, Haley/Hallie/Hollie. Confusing.
          I think the spots on the tour should be determined by the voters and judges based on performance. Not that that’s necessarily been the determining factor in prior years, but that’s how it should be determined. If the judges decide Shannon doesn’t need the money and Jermaine does (for example), well, so be it. That’s their decision.
          I just don’t want to see Erika VanPelt become the Alexis Grace of this season.

    • Lm says:

      Whether or not Shannon’s family is wealthy is completely irrelevant to the competition. She should go home because she was the weakest of the night, not because she lives in a mansion or has millions in the bank.

  31. Margo says:

    I am still trying to figure out the hype over Elise….half the time she sounds off pitch to me. But anyways…peeps who shouldn’t be in the bottom are Jessica, Joshua, DeAndre, and Hollie…they are the only performances I actually remember. Oh and Skylar was decent.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      That’s okay, Margo. A lot of people didn’t get Janis Joplin, either.

      • Billy says:

        I’m one of them. From that era: Grace Slick, Patsy Cline, Spanky McFarland, Dolly Parton, Petula Clark, and Mama Cass, sure, but Janis Joplin? One the worst singers I have ever heard. Of ANY era.

    • cj says:

      There is no hype over Elise. She’s way outclassed by at least 4 of the other women, and won’t be around that long.

      • because says:

        Anything at all unique to anyone’s voice, other than a nasal country twang, it’s no good right? Not on AI of these days. Too bad.

  32. Cricket says:

    Shannon MIGRAINE – think we can make that happen, Slezak?

    I thought this was one of the BEST Idol episodes EVER! So many good performances! Convo between me and my boyfriend at the end of the show:

    Me: “WHAT on earth did they put in the water at the Idol mansion this week??”
    BF: “They spiked it with some Mary J.!”
    Me: “AMEN, BRUTHA!”

    SO. GOOD.

    PS I too had elated stank face palpitations during both Joshua and Deandre’s performances.

  33. jennings says:

    I would have liked to hear more of Colton’s original song that was shown during rehearsals. While I liked his SW cover, the snippet of his original song sounded really good….

  34. ngh18 says:

    I feel I have lost you this week, Slezak. No love for the judges critiques!

  35. C says:

    Just one little question–For years, the judges have always advised females to steer clear of doing Whitney songs because no one can do them justice. This week they MADE them do Whitney songs???!!!

  36. Theresa says:

    I thought it was such a boring episode. Watched it from the DVR and wound up fast forwarding through most of them. I hope next week is better.

  37. darcy's evil twin says:

    First, I thought Mary J. Blige gave some solid advice to the contestants. (I’ll never forget her reaction to the “Pants on the Ground” guy when she was a guest judge. That was priceless).
    .
    I also believe the judges did a better job last night, even though they were tougher than they should have been on Elise and not tough enough on Jermaine. I actually heard some solid criticism from time to time.
    .
    I agree with most of your critiques here, Mr. Slezak, but like some of the other readers I would have given Erika a higher grade. her vocals were absolutely solid and I love the maturity of her voice but yea, someone needs to tell her how to dress. I liked the black outfit she wore last week better than these dresses that do look suspiciously like bridesmaid dresses.
    .
    Who should go home? I would say Jeremy or Jermaine.

  38. gregk says:

    I would like to see less Stevie Wonder songs and more variety on this show. I hope it gets permission to do other artists, there are SO many that could be covered, both male and female. Now that Adele is so popular with her throwback style, why not go all the way back to the great female pop singers of the 60’s like Petula Clark, the original British stylist? Every rocker does Janis Joplin but what about Grace Slick?

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      It would be cool to hear a Grace Slick song. Has anyone ever done White Rabbit on this show? Haley Reinhart would have slain it last year. This year, Erica might be able to handle it.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Have they ever had Bob Seger night? I think that would be great. How about Bruce Springsteen? The Mamas and the Papas? Three Dog Night? Even Beach Boys night would require some contestants to really put their own interpretation on a song.
      Yea, I know, I’m old but there’s plenty of great music out there.
      I DO like “Big Band Night” and hope they bring that one back. The intricate melodies of the 40s really separate the men from the boys (and the women from the girls).

      • Templar says:

        New songbooks would be great. But, not the Beach Boys or Mamas & Papas because their music is based on group harmonies and don’t showcase soloists. Bon Jovi would be great. Queen, Mellencamp, Kris Kristofferson, Elton John, Cher, or George Strait would be good, too.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Good point on the group harmonies. Thanks!
          We can’t do George Strait because Scotty is gone, LOL. Sorry, Scotty reminded me so much of George.

    • Mary says:

      I think they should sing what they want, current would be nice.

      • N says:

        Current songs aren’t as good as the older ones.

        • Jason says:

          I would like to see someone rearrange a current song ala Joe Cocker’s “A Little Help from My friend’s” which came out a year after the Beatles version. Maybe have Phil Philips do “Rolling In The Deep” in his haunting gritty way would work. But mostly there hasn’t been enough time for the audience to except a new version. I think Haley’s ROlling In The Deep was pretty good though. But mostly work going to get Dreck like Reed’s “Moves Like JAgger

        • marie says:

          I’d tend to disagree; there’s so much current music out there, and some of it is very good. I wish these kids had the freedom on this show to sing q greater range of current music that they could really connect with.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            I like some of the current music as well, Marie, but so much of it is overprocessed, over electronified (is that a word?), and doesn’t have much of a melody. but some of it IS good.

  39. Laurie says:

    Best episode ever!

  40. Leila says:

    Joshua and DeAndre were the only ones who did justice to Steve Wonder. All the other guys were out of their element.

    Whitney Houston is one of the best singers ever, but her songs were corny and cheesy. I think all the girls did a good job and even Shannon Magrane wasn’t as bad as they said. Hollie and Erika were the best for me.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Yep, million dollar corn and cheese, LOL.
      I didn’t care for the movie “The Bodyguard” but my husband LOVED it. Go figure.

  41. Volcfom says:

    I though everyone before Skylar was boring/overrated (Elise was underrated, but still not great). Skylar’s performance was the real start of the show for me.

  42. TB says:

    I think I want to like Elise a lot more than I ever end up actually liking her performances. I get a major piano bar vibe from her, and the farther she goes, the more average she feels. Which is a shame because I really really really want to root for her, but I feel like she doesn’t have the kind of vocal control needed for this competition. And I think she makes the piano bar mistake of interpreting every song like it is “Serious” with a capital S. I’m Your Baby Tonight is a trifle, and I feel like she tanked not because of her vocal, but because she was overworking those flimsy lyrics. She makes singing look like work, which might be why this performance didn’t top last year’s relatively weak effort by The Anointed One. At least Haley looked like she was having fun.

  43. Marianne says:

    “Oooh! Lawd have mercy!” (And I mean that in the best possible way.)” Mmmm-hmmm! More Deandre, please! I wish I was young enough to say I have contracted “Brackensick-ness”. I wonder if he’ll get a chance to sing an authentic Hawaiian song, or, better yet, perform a hula dance? (he does these, by the way). This 17-year-old kid is flat-out talented.

  44. MacJagger says:

    Sorry, I’m already tired of PP. Right before his package started my wife screwed up her face, clenched her fists, waved her arms and then grimaced “very superstitious…” LOL she nailed it!! I don’t need to see 5+ weeks of Idol standards getting busker guitar treatment

    • Billy says:

      Sigh…maybe we should all be thankful the the Idol Gods have smiled down on us mere mortals and spared us from having to endure 5+ weeks of Reed Grimm. I’m no fan of PP’s performances, but still, things could have turned out much worse, LOL.

  45. Davey says:

    Two things. The beginning of Erika’s song sounded like a dirge and I’m sorry Heejun, though not a Sanjaya, sounded awful last night.

    I just hope Elise doesn’t get voted off tonight. Being in the number two spot was bad.

  46. Silly Vanilli says:

    Ok, I’m willing to consider the Skylar train a bit more now. But I prefer Hollie.

    Deandre and the rest of the guys should not be in the top 3. But I’m sure 1 or 2 of them will be. We’ll see if the judges do the right thing and send a girl home tonight.

  47. Madeline says:

    I have to say that I really felt for all of the contestants because Stevie & Whitney songs are probably the most difficult, and it was especially tough for the girls since Whitney music has been everyplace the past several weeks!

    Standouts for me were Jessica and Joshua. I usually like Colton but I couldn’t understand him, Phil was overpowered a bit by the band and was just OK, and I usually like him. I thought Deandre was very good and loved his energy! Not a fan of Heejun or Jeremy and that didn’t change. I love Jermaine’s voice but I just don’t think he’s “pop” enough for this.

    Poor Shannon….enough said. Erica has a killer voice and needs to let go and get a stylist. Holly is also great but needs some polish and perhaps to just lighten up. Not a country fan and Skyler hasn’t changed my mind on that. Elise is just OK to me…don’t love her but she doesn’t hurt my ears either.

    I thought Mary J was a fabulous coach though!

  48. Scarlett says:

    I disagree that they’ve worked out the sound mix. The band is still overpowering the vocals, and unbelievably so.

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      Especially on Phillips. I could barely hear his constipated moans over the blasting of the band.

      I kid. But it was loud.

  49. Erin says:

    Deandre ruined my favorite part of the Idol drinking game: drink at every hair flip. Luckily Steven’s “beautifuls” kept me numb throughout.

  50. Elisabeth says:

    Really Slezak, you gave Hollie a B+ for that performance. Come on, her vocals were spot on and she had gorgeous phrasing! She might need to work on her nerves a bit, and become a bit more confident, but vocally, she is solid. Amazing job last night! she deserves an A- at least for that.
    And side note, i would’ve given Jessica an A for her performance, and Joshua a A-. Jessica did have the best performance last night.

    • pjturner12 says:

      Hollie’s amazing but there were pitch issues and her modulation was very tentative when it needed to be strong. B+ it is.

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