American Idol Top 9 Cover Songs By Their Own Idols: Who Were Your Favorites?

skylar laineIt was a “night of redemption” on American Idol, said Ryan Seacrest. Or, as Steven Tyler put it, “a magical mystery tour of over-the-top talent and emotion.” Then again, from my living-room couch, it was more like “a night when even middling guys got standing ovations from the judges, while the best ladies received ‘praise’ with a side of vague ennui, until it came down to, ‘Oh, okay, I guess we’ll get off our lazy butts for Elise.'”

To be fair, Season 11’s Top 9 telecast was pretty damn stellar, one of the best Idol performance nights in recent memory. But if DeAndre Brackensick and Heejun Han were worthy of the highest form of praise from the judges, then how come Skylar Laine and Jessica Sanchez didn’t merit the same response? (Oh, Uncle Nigel, and you wonder why a woman hasn’t won Idol since Season 6!)

American Idol: Advice (and Fantasy Set Lists!) for the Season 11 Top 9

Anyhow, I’ve got to get crackin’ on a full episode recap, which will post on Thursday morning right here at TVLine.com. But before I do, let me offer my pithy, pithy thoughts on the evening’s solo performances, as follows:

Colton Dixon: Lifehouse’s “Everything”
Heartfelt rendition of a song I’d be okay if I never heard again. But did I detect a couple of pitch problems in the verse?

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Skylar Laine: Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead”
Dang, I thought she was gonna break out an actual shotgun at the end, there! There might’ve been a few problems with breath support, but there’s no denyung she painted a vivid/furious picture of a woman done wrong.

Colton, Elise, and Phillip: Fleetwood Mac medley
EEEEEELIIIIIIIISSSSSEEEEEE!

Heejun Han: Donnie Hathaway’s “A Song for You”
If this is what warrants a standing O, then I expect my hubby to rise to his feet the next time I fetch him a bowl of cereal. Did Heejun improve? Sure. But he’s vocally outclassed at this point in the competition, and the judges’ fawning means someone else (female) will pay the price when he survives another week.

Hollie Cavanagh: Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel”
Not a good week for her weakest performance to date. Methinks she’ll need a higher power to steer her into the Top 8.

DeAndre Brackensick: Eric Benet’s “Sometimes I Cry”
I kept praying for Jesus to take the remote and switch it over to reruns of ABC’s comedy lineup, but nope, I had to endure the whole hot, buttered falsetto mess.

Jessica Sanchez: Beyoncé’s “Sweet Dreams”
How come when guys rearrange a song, the judges talk about “artistry,” but when a teenage girl does it, there’s no mention of the ‘A’ word? This was absolutely stellar — both in terms of vocals and in terms of recycling the red doors from the guys’ group performance on So You Think You Can Dance last season.

Presented Without Comment
DeAndre, Joshua, and Heejun: Michael Jackson medley

Phillip Phillips: Jonny Lang’s “Still Rainin'”
Heck, even the vein in Phillip’s forhead got up on its feet! That was pretty hot, and so was the velvet jacket.

Joshua Ledet: Harry Nilsson/Mariah Carey’s “Without You”
[I’m not using any words, just makin’ my stank face and throwing a Gospel hand.]

Skylar, Jessica, and Hollie: Madonna medley
Did somebody shut off Skylar’s mic for a minute?

Elise Testone: Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”
Can a grown woman actually win Idol? Or, rather, can a contestant who’s firing this solidly every week actually lose Idol?

What did you think of this week’s show? Who was your favorite? Who’s in trouble? Sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol news, interviews, and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!