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 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?

Idology: Erika Van Pelt on Wardrobe Snafus, Charges of Oversinging, Her ‘Old Lady’ Status

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

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!

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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  1. Hollie was way underrated tonight. Not sure why, loved her performance. And anybody who can make Stevie Nicks cry by singing has got my vote :D

    • me says:

      Love Stevie Nicks. Elises talent is as addicting as Stevies.

      • Sallyinchicago says:

        Elise has won me over. I was a Jessica rooter but she’s plateaud with all the slow songs. She’s technically good, but she needs to let loose. Elise is so versatile.

        • sfbsailor says:

          Elise was almost unbelievably good tonight. She killed it. She owns the stage. 1 of the best idol performances in history. Definitely the equal of some of the best performances by Adam, Kelly, & Haley! WAY TO GO ELISE!!!!

        • HudsonRiverside says:

          Certainly agree a 100%, I am rooting for both Elise and Jessica but whomever is steering Jessica to sing ballads is really undercutting her appeal and potential to be a break out star. She needs to crank up the swagger and growl with something rebellious or fiery or she’ll find her popularity fizzle at the end. Elise on the other hand seems to have figured out what was missing in her earlier performances. The only suggestion I would give is to express with her eyes, her eyes seem to have a sleepy look even whn she s smiling. Thes two will be interesting to watch in the weeks to come.

          • Davey says:

            You want Elise to change her eye expressions?

          • iamraven07 says:

            I do believe Jessica has sung several upbeat songs on Idol. Remember “Love You I Do”, “Turn The Beat Around”, and even this week’s “Sweet Dreams” is supposedly an uptempo song, although she’s ARTISTIC enough to change the arrangements around. I guess the one who really needs that “loosen up” advice is Hollie Cavanagh. And I gotta echo what Melinda Doolittle has pointed out in the previous recaps. Hollie is so stiff whenever she performs and it’s frustrating because she’s got the pipes. Now, Elise has found her niche. And she just needs to hold on to that and never let go of the momentum that she’s having. I’m very happy that Elise finally begun showing what’s she’s really capable and I’ve loved her since I’ve heard that tone of hers.

            With that, my dream finale would be Jessica and Elise, although the growing hindrance to making that happen is that they ARE NOT GUYS. I just hoping for hopes that America has a change of heart and let a girl win this season. Not because it’s been ages since a girl won, but because, seeing as this is a singing competition, the girls deserved it more.

      • Yo' says:

        Elise let fly last night in a way women seldom do on Idol and part of the reason for it is because Idol encourages cutesy over passion and grit. That was some get-down performance, she blew it out of the water in a way I, for sure, want to see more of from women on Idol. She deserved her ovation and she deserved Stevie’s praise. But somehow, Randy diminished her (and some other performers) by insisting everyone was responding to Colton’s “gauntlet.” Well, uh, no, everyone may well have been responding to Elise’s gauntlet, Colton just went first. I don’t like being directed like that by the judges. (And how long was Colton’s song, anyway?)

        • Davey says:

          Obviously Jimmy has told the judges he wants to sign Colton to a record deal so they are being told to say the word Colton every chance they get.

    • Shana says:

      but you’ll say that no matter how she sings, being a “cavaknight”.
      Hollie has a lot of talent but the whole time she sung tonight, i couldn’t help but compare it to the original and hollie just paled. The notes weren’t all there either.

      • Hey, don’t just take my word, take Carrie Underwood’s who tweeted to Hollie”ou were amazing tonight! You meant every word…made me teary-eyed. I’m honored you picked my song to sing!” ;)

      • Templar says:

        Hollie’s fans are called Holliepops.

        • I really do not think that Michael gets that Idol is less about did you have the best vocal but rather did you allow an audience to connect with you and discover who you are.
          Some of the Idols are doing better then others at letting their future audience discover them the worst being.
          DeAndre Brackensick
          Jessica Sanchez
          Joshua Ledet
          Heejun Han
          This is not to say that these Idols can not sing but rather that it is hard to imagine many people buying their tracks or making time to listen to see them perform songs similar to what they performed on Idol. The exception being a Broadway performance.
          That leaves us with 5 singers that been consistent and relative.
          Colton Dixon: He is my Tim Tebow of the show. He may not have the most spot on vocals at times but he more then makes up with his ability to let am audience connect by being vulnerable and open.
          Hollie Cavanagh: Is cut from a cloth similar to Colton but her innocence and lack of experience are a two edge sword. Her innocence is beautiful but she is so green that she lacks some of the needed performance skills and wit.
          Philip & Skylar are both so similar and each have amazing gifts but they have also failed to dial it back so that an audience can create an emotional attachment.
          Then you have Elise who took an Adam Lambert / Led Zeppelin and really stepped it up and showed the Idols how you could be fierce without gimmicks. I have nothing against Adam but it was nice to see a similar performer that also knows how to dial back when needed.

          • BTW , in the next week or two do not expect any of the following to be saved if needed.
            Skylar Laine
            Heejun Han
            Hollie Cavanagh
            DeAndre Brackensick

          • Lee says:

            @Joseph Angelo: It’s funny how all your favorites are white and all your non-favorites are minorities. Hmmmm.

          • LOL about the race comment :)

          • maxine says:

            dream on!

          • How can you criticize Jessica and Joshua, yet not Hollie? If those are your standards and guidelines, Hollie is equally susceptible to such dissent. Joshua has not only shown that he can do the gospel/r&b thing well. He even has some funk-rock grit in his voice, which I hope he can explore soon. Jessica, it’s so easy to see that she’ll be a popstar in some way, and I can see her doing a variety of tempos. Hell, even DeAndre can do well on an indie platform with the whole reggae flavor and falsetto.

            Joshua in particular has done a great job showcasing who he is and what he intends to do.

            My point here is that while I understand how you feel Jessica has connection issues, it’s baffling that you think Hollie somehow transcends that, when she’s just as flawed at drawing us in. She and Skylar are the ones in danger because they’re talented, but not showing enough diversity.

            Heejun does need to leave, however.

            Also, don’t get how Phillip/Skylar and Colton/Hollie are cut from similar cloths. Weird comment. Phillip and Elise exhibit far more similarities vocally/artistically than Phillip/Skylar.

          • iamraven07 says:

            Uh-uh.. Totally not agreeing with Jessica there. She’s been consistently amazing — both vocally and how she works with the audience — and she definitely got some variety in what she does. One week, she sings a ballad, then a week after, sings an upbeat song. Then serve ’em up with another ballad then another uptempo. That is the kind of trajectory that makes someone interesting in these kinds of show.

            I’m quite surprised seeing Hollie in your Top 5 considering your criteria is someone who “allows an audience to connect with you and discover who you are” I loveD Hollie (with a stress on the ‘D’ since it was two weeks ago that she WAS one of my favorites). The only connection she has so far is with herself and the mic. She seriously needs to loosen up. Just sayin’.

            P.S. I gotta agree with you on Elise though, except on the ADAM LAMBERT part. If pulling back is the game, Adam wins completely.

          • Lift says:

            There’s no accounting for (your) taste.

        • takakupo says:

          Lol, forgive me but I’d rather be a Cavaknight XD

      • sfbsailor says:

        I thought she saying it fairlyy well, but I hate the song And wish she had choosen something else to sing. The girl has great pipes!

    • chistosa says:

      Hollie’s weakest performance to date. She may be in trouble. I did not care for it at all.

      • Sallyinchicago says:

        I think Hollie and Heejun are in trouble, and Deandre will survive. Hollie is the same every week, she has no versatility. The one showing versatility is Elise, who was awesome and has won me over. I don’t like the way Heejun breathes when he sings and sometimes his words get all tangled up.
        I was on board for Jessica, but she’s plateauing too. Elise is the only one coming out the box.

    • Wisconsin Kevin says:

      I voted for Elise and Hollie tonight. Though I am a huge Hollie fan I want to her to ASAP sing an uptempo song. I thought she sounded ( and looked ! ) AWESOME on the Madonna song ” Borderline “- I wish I could have heard Hollie sing the entire song ! Would love to hear her sing an uptempo song like that- I thing she would remind some people who aren’t fans of her how talented she is –

      • Bobbi says:

        Thought Hollie’s ‘Borderline’ was even better than her solo. She can do that kind of song very well and should!

    • buffy522 says:

      Hollie got the girs thrown under the bus, when at least two guys who were soooo much worse got standing Os….She was great.

    • John says:


    • Tarc says:

      Hollie was fine, not great. It was a lower third performance on a very, very competitive night.

    • Michael says:

      She’s one of my favorites, but I don’t think that she was “way” underrated. After hearing her sing in the uptempo Madonna trio, I realized how much I wanted her to sing something other than a drippy ballad. She has very interesting phrasing in her lower register and I think that she could rearrange any only dance ditty and make it sound modern. I really hope she gives us all a break next week from those anthems.(I don’t, however, think that she fails in comparison to the women who sang those songs. Holly has an interesting voice, so she’s more than a copycat.)

      I can’t believe it, but Skylar and Phillip have joined Elise at the top of my list of Idols. I’m not a country fan but I have always been a fan of country girls with big voices. Skylar infuses her performances with such passion and resolve that she’s finally won me over completely. And Phillip is truly an artist. Plus, he’s completely unaware of his talent. That, to me, is someone who does JUST truly care about the music.

      I love this season.

    • Justin says:

      I agree. The were some pitch problems early, but when hit the chorus the second time she was on point and singing with emotion that we hadn’t really seen from her.

    • ET says:

      No, Hollie has been way OVER-RATED all season. She just doesn’t quite have the chops… not yet, anyway.

    • Dario says:

      Hollie was great at the beginning and now she got boring. Hope she brings better performances in the future. As for Elise, I find her tone a little difficult, she reminds me to Foghorn Leghorn. She is a good performer though. Voting for Colton.

  2. Andrea says:

    Yes, J-Lo, you WERE standing up too much tonight… the standing ovations lose their meaning everytime you do it. Elise was amazing, and the girls were great tonight, I thought. Votes may not reflect that tomorrow, but whatever.

    • ejones says:

      Standing ‘O’s have almost become the norm this season, they must have been jealous of the judges on XFactor. The classic was the stand up for a guy in the top 24 who didn’t make the show, didn’t even get into the wild card sing off chosen by those same judges. My view is that its an attempt to justify their treatment of Haley last season and reduce the relative value of her ‘O’s.

    • sfbsailor says:

      Many of the standing Os this week & last did not seem genuine or spontaneous. Some definitely seemed like uncle ‘big ego’ making the puppets dance! Steven in particular seemed ‘dragged to his feet’ by the puppetmaster on occasion. Superlatives become meaningless if used to excess!

    • Faze Craze says:

      One they stood for Heejun, they couldn’t stay seated for the people who were better. And since so many people were better, they had to keep jumping up. They set the bar too low for the standing o.

      • susela says:

        And they stood for Hee Jun not so much because his performance was great, but because of his change of attitude.

  3. suze manning says:

    Elise ate her competition and promplty chewed them up to shreds and spit them out…..her rendition of Zeplin;s Whole Lotta Love is not just tops tonight but one of the top 5 performances ever on IDOL

    • Preach it!! (In other words I totally agree!!) Elise wiped them all off the stage — Note to Idol, THIS is why you should bump the bottom age limit back up. Age + Maturity = Brilliance in music. Let the pre-teens grow into their own a bit….they have time.

      • ladyhelix says:

        I don’t know – Jessica was all kinds of wonderful tonight – in interpretation, dynamics, emotion, and oh- she sang well and in tune.

      • I agree with you that many of the contestants rush it into the competition. A case in point is Shannon, who had good pipes but needed more time to hone her talent. 16 is too early for most to be ready IMO.

        • Rick says:

          It’s about ratings and that is why uncle butt wipe keeps sending these unseasoned kids out there. Michael really pisses me off when he pokes fun at a 16 year old like Katie Stevens. Most people have no idea how good that girl (or someone like Shannon) is going to be in 5 years. I have watched a couple of my own kids grow from Jr high through college as Musical Theatre majors and the difference between a 16 year old and a 22 year old is like night and day. Jordan Sparks is the one in 10 million that sounded seasoned at 16. I agree, raise the age. Love Elise, even more than my next love Haley.

      • sfbsailor says:

        AMEN & AMEN!!! But UNCLE BIG EGO will always cater to the teeny boppers.

    • Karrie says:

      Elise was the stuff tonight and THE one to beat, for me at least. But alas, she won’t win…..

    • Shana says:

      I can’t say it was better than Adam Lambert….

    • chistosa says:

      Elyse was definitely the strongest tonight. Truly awesome.

    • Tarc says:

      Elise, Phillip, and Colton (again) just left the competition behind. Elise was the clear winner tonight, but Phillip was perfect (as always) and Colton cintinued to build.

      • Lee says:

        Colton was as boring as Hollie was tonight. Also pitchy like Hollie. I think you need to clean your ears.

        • Tarc says:

          I must have been your cheap TV. He sounded terrific, and we’ve got perfect pitch. Of course, you could be confusing ‘pitch’ for ‘style’.

    • TheBeach says:

      Elise killed it last week and this week. I hope she’s peaking at the right moment. At least she’s finally getting the recognition she justly deserves.

    • Will says:

      Haha. Nah. Heck, I preferred both Jessica and Skylar to Elise tonight. She rocked it, sure, but amongst talent like this, it was just top-of-the-pack, not way-out-in-front. And as far as “top 5 performances ever” that’s just silly. It didn’t even top Adam’s version, which wasn’t even Adam’s best song, let alone in the top 5 of all time. Don’t get me wrong, Elise did great, but when the Idolatry/Idoloonie/Idology nation gets behind this one rocker chick each season, it often seems to cloud their total judgement and just makes the favorite contestant “phenomenal 24/7” when really that’s not true (For example, I have yet to hear anyone talk about how lackluster Haley’s single was last week, and how it didn’t show off her voice well at all, and most of that is just the happiness that she came back drowning out the negatives that do actually exist), nor is it fair to the contestants like Jessica who are just as good if not better week after week and deserve just as much credit or at least some real discussion, but don’t get it because of all the time spent fawning over one particular contestant just because they are both female and have a rough edge to their voice. Especially in the new 10-minute context, it has really made it so that when Jason plays favorites with Elise in the editing, it actually takes time away from all of the other contestants except for the very specific two that Michael and Melinda pick for their top 2, one of which is often Elise already. This wasn’t a problem before, when everyone could be accounted for and well discussed, but in the new format, it is hurting Idology overall.

      • As much as I love Elise, I agree. It’s annoying. Why can’t they give such editing favoritism to a MALE for a change, either? In Season 8, the primary tarding would’ve made more sense for Kris and his lack of fawning in favor of Danny than for Allison all the time. Nothing more annoying than someone having the exact same favorite type every single season :P.

    • I’m probably in the minority here, but I don’t like Elise. I don’t like the tone of her voice when she sings. She really does nothing for me. I think Jessica could win this before Elise.

      • Bobbi says:

        Jessica can win this but only if she connects by showing her energetic side again, the way she did in the Vegas trio, and ‘Love You I Do”. Remind late viewers of her versatility. Tonight she added her artistic side by going against what many of the others did, which was to take a huge risk by changing up a song she loved. It showed that she loved that song so much so; she already made it her own. Didn’t hurt that it was sung so well. However, Jessica can do so much more and that’s scary for the rest if she busts out the growl!

    • FreeHaley says:

      Yeah, she was awesome. She just totally rocked it out and pulled all sorts of interesting little things. Her best performance yet. She was good before, but not best of best few Idols ever good until tonight.

      At least they weren’t slamming her like Haley, maybe they learned their lesson. Early on when they gave her more criticism than the rest I was like here we go again, but then they did a 180 and have been solid for her ever since. Maybe they say the ratings sag after what they did last year. Who knows.

      (although why did JLo keep going on about how she just did not want to give Elise a standing O, just did not want to do it, but in the end, had too, maybe that was meant as an extra compliment but it also had a bit of a weird undercurrent to it at the same time.)

  4. Mike says:

    Sit down judges.

    • They sure no how to take the value out of something. The standing ovation should only be used in specific rare circumstances. Getting up 5 times out of 9 tonight was absurd. Heejun and Deandre did not deserve it. Phillip did not deserve it. Joshua and Elise are the only ones that can make a case. Judges sure do know how to ruin a good thing.

      • Joshua deserved it for When a Man Loves a Woman, but tonight was very screechy. There is a difference between screeching and singing.

        • zee says:

          hmmm.. I disagree…He used the top and bottom part of his register…and he’s got a lot of range. I dont think it was too schreecy ( however he has been in the past) – his runs were fantastic and well placed. I think the issue for me is that he needs more dynamic sometimes. if everything is at a full belt, there’s nothign to draw us along.. so i think sometimes that’s why it can be interpreted that way .. He needs a bit of Deandres Falsetto ( which he’s used before .. he just needs to do it more) and ironically enough Deandre needs to use more chest voice ( which he also has a lot of)

          i thought this was a standing 0 performance….

          Side note: i actually think Phillip Phillips shouts way to often… i wish they would work on his technique some more — so when he does these great renditions he can feel more comfortable playing with his voice and deliver sharper vocal performances ( they never comment on his vocal technique and he’s got lots of room for improvement)….and then the shouting will be more like singing loudly in some parts…( i dont think he needs to tk the shouting out completely .. its kinda his shtick).

          • idolmama says:

            Absolutely agree about Joshua needing to use dynamics in a better manner. “Without you” is very sad at the beginning. His girl is leaving/left him. He’s crying. Singing soft would have gotten this message across. Did he even read the lyrics and know what the song was about? Sorry to show my age but when this song came out by Harry Nilsson (?) in the 70’s all the teen girls swooned whenever it came on the radio. Joshua’s version did not make me swoon.

        • TheBeach says:

          Well, I do agree. He deserved it for WAMLAW but not tonight.

        • Erin says:

          Completely too much. I WANT to like him, but I just don’t get this over the top screaming at all. He can “feel” it till it bleeds out of his eyes, it doesn’t make it pleasant to hear. Figures, I never got Fantasia either (gasp!) for the same reason.

        • Angela says:

          YES. Joshua always sounds like he’s shrieking to me, not “taking it to church”. He’s got a good voice, but he needs to learn to control it more and quit going so far over the top. You can use your higher register without, as said, screeching.

        • Tom22 says:

          I’ve yet to feel Joshua connected to lyrics and the story of a song start to finish.

          As that’s a make or break part of entertaining to me, no matter how good your voice and runs and ptich is, if you havn’t told me a story about yourself and the world start to finish your peformance is a failure. I’d give a out of pitch sincire expression far higher marks any day.

        • Lift says:

          Elise hasn’t met a note she hasn’t screeched.

      • Jaxguy says:

        I hated Joshua’s version of this song. He’s a good singer, but I think his voice was ill suited for this song. It sounded like 2 different songs for me. One screaming gospelly, the other… I have no words. DeAndre didn’t do it for me either.

      • Tarc says:

        Phil was awesome, as usual, and deserved the standing O.

        • Eh, he was just there for me. I could even see Casey James do that performance. And something tells me, P2 = this season’s Gokey.

          • Tarc says:

            Since there is no similarity at all, I’ll just reiterate that P2 is awesome, is #2 for the night in the polling, and Stevie Nicks clear favors him (not to mention that Iovine said he’s sign him the minute he’s not under contract to 19).

          • Oh, please. If anyone is this season’s Gokey, it’s Colton and his religious pandering (part Durbin as well really for the poseur element).

            Phillip is terrific and the most consistent of the contestants thus far. He needs to try another downtempo next, imo. One of my favorite vocals this season was his all-too-brief segment in Las Vegas during “I Only Have Eyes for You”. Such an ethereally smoky vocal. I wanna hear 2 minutes of that, stat!

            I have to disagree regarding the shouting though, I don’t think it’s that extreme, especially when it sounds good like–well, like all of his performances have, imo. And it’s certainly not something Elise (very aggressive delivery), Jessica (sometimes has a raw yell here and there), or Haley Reinhart (who was prone to really powering to the max sometimes) weren’t capable of in a similar vein. And for me, all of the above and most other examples I can think of–for their best efforts, it’s all welcome. I love the raw passion behind it all.

            I think some people are so obsessed with subtlety, they mistake undersinging/mediocre singing for subtlety and are too quick to snub others. Nobody should oversing, but it should be in between.

            Joshua doesn’t oversing either, imo. He is capable of contributing the max but maintaining control to prevent it from going off the rails. Tonight wasn’t his strongest, but that’s one of his gifts.

          • Cup of Joe says:

            Maybe he means that like Gokey before him, he sounds the same week after week. And STILL gets praised for it. It’s one thing to be musically creative, it’s another to use a lawn mower to each song you encounter. And you have to actually, you know, stand out with great vocals. I could say that about Cook and Allen, but the winners after? Nope.

          • Nael says:

            I like P2’s style, but he needs to tone down the Dave Matthews impersination.
            Hell, he even sang Jonny Lang like if DM had covered it.
            I think he could be really fantastic if he focusses more on finding an own unique approach.

  5. Brigette says:

    Elise was just UNREAL. She is so far beyond many of the people here. I honestly felt like the judges did NOT praise her enough. “That’s a hard song. Good job.” How about, “that was the most electrifying thing we’ve seen all night,” mmmmkay? Jessica killed it also. I’m worried for my dear Deandre. And I’m sorry, but I’m not sure I was feelin’ it with Joshua. (Why does “I Can’t Live” always make male Idol performers cry? Re: Durbs.) Colton was the weakest tonight. I’m really upset that Stevie told him to keep that skunk on his head.

    • Ben says:

      Trying to sing as high as Harry Nilson induces tears for the same reason that being hit in the crotch does – a guy’s perspective.

      • guest says:

        Maybe singing it as high as Mariah, but Harry never sang in a high voice — in fact, Harry’s voice on ALL his recordings is Harry x100 — he laid down numerous tracks of his voice to absolute perfection. Only other artist I can compare that to is Enya.

    • Colton is overrated says:

      I agree. Colton is frequently pitchy and therefore overrated. Elise has the charm and grace of a pitbull but she sure can sing. Hollie does not seem to be improving but Jessica is consistently amazing. So glad Shannon Magrane is gone. I really like quite a few of the top nine singers.

  6. k. says:

    I thought it was a great night. Then Elise sang. And I forgot that there were 8 other people in this race.

  7. Tomorrow is a Judge’s Save. There’s no doubt in my mind. The way they stood up for Deandre and Heejun sealed it for me. They were boring and irrelevant. Were they on key and in tune? Sure. Maybe even better than last week, but it was still pretty bad. But the judge’s getting up showed that they are going to keep them around no matter what. Tonight’s episode will be for nothing. I think that save will get used.

    Jessica and Elise killed it tonight. Joshua and Skylar were also extremely solid. Should be an interesting night tomorrow.

    • Volcfom says:

      I completely agree that it’ll be a judges’ save night. And for the most part I’d support that decision, unless it’s Heejun. He gave a really strong performance, but I don’t think he’d be worth saving.

    • zee says:

      i disagree with Deandre being irrelevant .. his voice is so special ( with both range and power ) he just hasnt got a grip on how to use it perfectly yet … there is so much potential here it kills me to see him keep picking these songs that are not for him

      i think honestly he could do well in the industry especially with this new Alt/Indie R&B vain of James Blake… Drake … etc with some pop sensibilities thrown in — with the right songs i think he could be phenomenal

      • Elena says:

        I wholeheartedly agree. I’m especially frustrated by DeAndre because I see something in him that very few Idols possess this year yet he’s pretty much clueless as to what works for him. Did you hear him say tonight that he plans to whip out the falsetto every week from now on? Saints preserve us! Obviously, he doesn’t realize his chest voice is much more pleasing than an entire song sung in falsetto. I still can see him making it one day with his looks, voice and presence, however, he’ll need some mentoring. I think he’s had enough chances on Idol since he’s not picking this stuff up fast enough. Time to move on for now

        • TheBeach says:

          Here here. Singing a whole song in falsetto is the quickest way to tune me out.

        • LeeLives1 says:

          Loving You by Minnie Riperton….thats the falsetto he should be using…sweet and syrupy…..every girl up to about 16 would be switching their vote from Colton to him in a flash….

    • Ben says:

      There is doubt in my mind. But I do see where you are coming from. I think Deandre is the most likely to go home though, and I don’t think that would warrant a save.

    • John says:

      Yep, judge’s save gets used tomorrow night. They wouldn’t name anyone “in trouble” so if they don’t use it this week, they’re hypocrites.

    • Jaxguy says:

      HeeJun was actually good finally. He has a beautiful voice. I think the biggest problem he has is his accent. It’s seems sad that people find beautiful singing boring. Too bad. My favorite is still Jessica.

  8. Really, Michael? That was Hollie’s weakest? It was pretty decent for me. Though I agree she’s in real trouble at this point.
    As for P2, STILL not getting the love. That performance had a Casey James vibe to it: nothing to write home about. And something tells me, he’s gonna be the next Gokey. *cringes*
    Elise, Jessica and Skylar rocked it!

    • Sam says:

      How is p2 like gokey?? I see no comparison what so ever…

      • Overpraised and way overrated.

        • Ash Q says:

          But P2 is so grounded. I dont think he really lets anything get to his head. Gokey on the other hand……………..

        • Not comparing the attitudes. They both sound the same every week yet they get reviews that aren’t proportional to the performance quality.

          • zee says:

            ITA! .. phillip phillips needs some contstructive criticism on his vocal technique. and that should be good for him.. he’s all about the music!

            his renditions will sound even better with some training

          • Tarc says:

            P2 doesn’t sound the same every week, but he does sound like himself, just like Elise or Jessica. P2 blended perfectly doing backups in his medley tonight.

        • Tarc says:

          Underpraised and underrated, you mean.

          • What are you on? He’s getting a standing O for a performance that’s rather languid. And yes, his thing is getting stale for me. Even Scotty and Lee before him were less tiring as weeks went by.

          • Tarc says:

            That’s too bad for you. I’m already waiting for Phil’s first album – hence, the underpraised and underrated. The dude will have a record contract either way, so it’s more than a little absurd to ramble on that the guys isn’t awesome.

          • Cup of Joe says:

            @Tarc You seem to be rather obssessed about this dude. Just sayin’!

          • Nael says:

            @Tarc: just buy a Dave Matthews album and you are 7/8th there. :)

            That said, I do think Philip can be great if he finds a truly unique style.

      • Colton is overrated says:

        P2 is WAY cooler, far more authentic and decidedly less douchey than Gokey. Having said that I really hope a girl wins this year.

    • TheBeach says:

      I have to admit that when Hollie said she was singing Carrie I was afraid that it would be that “Wheel” song and I cringed a bit. If Carrie Underwood is her idol, I wish she had sung “Before He Cheats” which would have been upbeat, fun and feisty instead of dreary.

      • idolmama says:

        Ho yes, Before He Cheats would have been a better song for her. I thought she would do “I Told You So” since she likes them slow and sweet. Her upper register is perfect for this song. I think her version of “Jesus Take the Wheel” really suffered from the cut in the lyrics. Lost most of the meaning of the song.

  9. shelbybb says:

    Elise was major! And that’s a lot coming from a die hard Adam Lambert fan who killed that song a couple of seasons ago!

  10. Volcfom says:

    Man, that was a good show. It’s very rare that I can’t pick out the weakest link. I guess I’d give Heejun the boot, but that was a good performance to go out on. If I was forced to pick a bottom 3, it’d be Heejun, Hollie, and then… Skylar/Colton/Joshua? Idk it’s too hard to choose!

    My only problem: five standing ovations, none of which were for Jessica?! I thought that performance was sublime!

    • Shana says:

      Agree about Jessica deserving a standing O tonight!
      … cue the “she has no emotional connection” “she’s too young” etc comments in 3,2,

      She is amazing, wish there wasn’t such a backlash on this site for Jessica

      • Nedsdag says:

        I agree. I thought Jessica was flawless tonight. I was emotionally connected to the song, but then again I am emotionally connected to all of her songs. I never understood the criticism.

        Elise was terrific, but I wouldn’t call it a moment so to speak. She’ll be back next week, but it will be interesting to see if she turns out to be the last woman standing.

      • zee says:

        technically?? her vocals are so spot on it kills me. she has the ear and instincts of a singer twice her age for sure… and the CONTROL.. lord.. it’s sickening…

        i do notice theres a lack of personality.. i mean what do you really know about her?? and i stil dont know what kind of artist she’d be …

        but she has a hell of a voice and talent for expressing it in just the right way.

        Side note: she reminded me of beyonce from day 1 .. a beyonce with a larger range, same vibratto and a very reminiscent tone…

        • SiniGang says:

          I know Jessica is some kind of awesome outlier from all the youtube vids she used to have up before AI asked her to take them down. Add the natural talent and how everyone who mentors her likes her attitude is all I need to know. Her stage presence has all sorts of charisma because if those ballads were sung by others five years older, most would not be able to command the same presence. That swaggernaut nickname fits. Many want to see more of her and that only means she connects very well!

      • TheBeach says:

        Jessica may have deserved a standing “O” tonight but whoever dressed her sure didn’t. The hairstyle, awful gown with whatever was hanging off the back of it, and grandma’s jewelry were all just wrong, so wrong.

        • Bobbi says:

          Yes, Jessica sang so good that the harsh hairstyle and overdone costume only distracted in the beginning. I liked her natural style going in. I hope it isn’t a sign of things to come. She seems from all the mentor’s comments that she really listens, but really, Tommy H does not need to steer her fashion. Her look caters to sleek and feisty not half cut pageant gown.

    • Jaxguy says:

      The standing O’s cheapened an otherwise great episode. Maybe one of the best ever on Idol. The fact that almost everyone but Jessica got one makes it even worse. I agree she was sublime.

    • Lift says:

      She’s a complete phony with a great voice. If she wins it demonstrates how shallow this country is.

  11. Christina says:

    So everyone of the guys gets a standing ovation, but the judges have to force themselves up for Elise, who’s the only girl to get a standing ovation. No wonder a girl can;t win this show anymore.

  12. Rik says:

    Elise was the best and its not even close.

  13. ali427 says:

    Elise is amazing!!! From Vienna to Zeppelin–she not only knows music, she lives it. LOVE HER!!! Best part of the whole show was her singing Dreams with Stevie. Put that on iTunes, please!

    • TheBeach says:

      True indeed. I really hope she is safe. Maybe the parents (and/or grandparents) of all those tweens who mass vote should tell them who Led Zeppelin is and that they’re way cool.

    • elisefan44 says:

      word to your whole post, especially the itunes request for the stevie/elise duet!

  14. Annie says:

    Hollie might need the save tomorrow.

    Jessica is just miles ahead of everybody else. She is incredibly talented. I would love to see a Jessica and Joshua finale.

    I can’t support Phillip and Colton, but those two know who they are, which will appeal to a lot of voters. They know how to pick the right songs, Phillip more than Colton.

    This group is so talented. The producers messed up during the audition rounds by not letting us get to know all of them.

    Elise was amazing, but I’m still not crazy enough about her to cast a lot of votes her way. I gave her a few tonight just because I don’t want her to leave tomorrow, after having two good performances in a row.

    • chistosa says:

      I like Jessica less and less each performance. She has an amazing voice but there is something about her that spoils it for me. I can’t define what bothers me but I wouldn’t vote for her. Elise was amazing tonight. Hollie has not had a really good performance in a couple of weeks. She could be in trouble.

      • zee says:

        its the personality .. or lack thereof.. it could be that she’s shy.. but she’s just not personable

        • She’s so FAR from cold and snobby, mind you. Spoiled, maybe. But not personable? NOPE!

          • zee says:

            Jessica ??? i dont think she’s cold or snobby… who wrote that? .. i like her. i just dont think audience knows much about her.. maybe reserved is the right word? – i dont think she seems spoiled either.. those words are all too emotive for what i see as more of a blank slate when she’s not singing.

            however when she sings. she’s got some sass . so that’s whats gettin her by for me.. besides the ridiculously awesome chops

        • idolmama says:

          Jessica and Hollie remind me of last year’s Thia M. Too stiff and robotic. Admit that Jessica has tried moving around the stage but she seems uncomfortable doing it. Problably thinking about it too much. Needs to make it appear more natural

          • SiniGang says:

            I think both Hollie and Jessica are incredible young talents and for once I’m very happy they are reserved off stage and still somewhat normal teens. I mean, what else do people want them to do? They have school work, do shoots and they rehearse a ton so for them that’s quite a lot. Imagine what fury people would write if they both came off like precocious, loud or trying too hard to be noticed off stage brats? It’s so refreshing that they come off so nice!

      • Lift says:

        She’s a spoiled, self-centered egomaniac, with no emotional depth. That’s all that spoils it for me.

    • Tarc says:

      Jessica just doesn’t do it for me at all. She’s decent, but, to use tonight’s song, she was a little aloof, you couldn’t make out the words, and she loses control of her vibratto sometimes (or deliberatley chooses to use it oddly, like on the chorus tonight). I really don’t know what kind of album she’d make, and if I’d want to buy an album of old-fashioned power ballads (if what she’s doing on Idol is her thing). I’d guess not – that’s very out of style.

  15. I had correctly guessed that Hollie would do Jesus Take the Wheel and it was actually one of the better song choices. Too bad she didn’t nail it. Very disappointed Jessica did a sixth single that peaked on the charts at #10 when she could have done Halo or something very popular. She did a great job but the best advice of the night was from Randy Jackson: When you have the big voice, you need to sing the big songs!!! That applies to you too Jay!

    • TheBeach says:

      I’ll bet if Melanie Amaro hadn’t won X-Factor singing “Listen” that Jessica would have sung that as her Beyonce song.

      • SiniGang says:

        Was thinking the same too. My second choice would’ve been to hear her Etta James cover which is incredible!

  16. Tim says:

    The standing o’s seem more scripted than spontaneous to me. I mean, why do they all have to do it or none of them? Don’t they have individual opinions? I miss Simon.

  17. IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

    AAAHHH! Why do they all have to be so awesome and amazing?! Seriously, only Deandre and Heejun stood out as weak links. Jessica’s rearrangement was gorgeous, Skylar was a little spitfire, Hollie’s just so pretty, Phillip was all kinds of hot, Colton and Joshua were moving, and Elise kicked some serious rock butt! If all goes according to plan, THIS WILL BE THE BEST TOP 7 EVER! YEAH!!!

    • IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

      I have a Whole Lotta Love for these contestants, and I can’t live Without Them! They can sing Everything, and Sometimes I Cry when I listen to them. They give me such Sweet Dreams, and the notes are Still Raining in my head! I can only hope Jesus will Take the Wheel and let the right ones stay! If one of my favorite 7 goes home tomorrow I will fill those judges with Gunpowder and Lead! When they come to Manchester this year, I hope they will sing A Song for Me!

  18. Chris says:

    I thought that the girls – every single one of them – outclassed the guys tonight. Phillip was the best of the guys but that still puts him behind Jessica in my book. Best – Elise and Hollie. I hope they get the votes they deserve, although you never know how America will vote. Nice comeback for Hollie after a sub-par performance last week.

  19. stacy says:

    I voted for hollie about ten times just cause I think she’s in danger. I really liked her performance… Not the best song choice, but I heard something different and compelling in her voice when she wasn’t just singing big huge notes.

      • zee says:

        i agree she acutally sounds better on the softer notes and you can hear the intricacies of her voice. problem is she’s always racing for the bridge…

        i would love if she started playing iwth the voices more and stopped singing the songs so straight… its the small moments that define great singers .. she just needs to develop her own style and she’s definitely got it in there

      • Tarc says:

        Hollie finally showed up, but she’ll still be bottom three.

    • gregk says:

      I voted for Hollie around a hundred times, but probably not enough to save her from bottom three. Hopefully a guy will get voted off, maybe they will start splitting the vote.

    • Barney says:

      10 times????? Yikes! That’s almost once for each finger. Wow!

  20. *lg* says:

    Right now Colton, Elise, Phillip, Jessica, Joshua (and to an extent Skylar) are the people in this competition who just have IT. They are believable when they sing and they perform with every ounce of themselves. The rest I feel have great voices but I don’t believe a word they sing and I think that just comes with time and confidence. Really looking forward to see how the next few weeks play out and if Colton, Jessica, Phillip, Elise and Joshua aren’t in the top 5 it will be a real tragedy.

    • ladyhelix says:

      I love Colton – but on my stereo system he sounds SO out of tune. He has almost every week and is just sucks the air out of me. Maybe with the live music being so loud it sounds different in the room? Am I all alone here?

      • Tarc says:

        He sounds perfect on my HQ band speakers.

        • FreeHaley says:

          I could swear he was way out of tune every time he hit one of the long loud notes. Not that equipment matters, since making things out of tune is not the difference between things but Benchmark DAC1 PRE with Sennheiser HD600. Maybe something his tone somehow tricked me and it wasn’t out of tune, but I don’t know, something sure sounded wayyy off on those notes. He sounded great in the rehearsal bit and fine on the group medley but he seemed merely ok for a lot of his main performance, a few touches a brilliance, but also, I really thought, although maybe I somehow got tricked, painfully out of tune on some of the long, loud notes.

      • MusicFan says:

        When Footing got to the louder, higher parts, he sounded skreechy and out of tune. He definitely sings with feeling, but still…

  21. Pammy says:

    ELISE FREAKING TESTONE people. If this girl can’t win Idol than there is something seriously, seriously wrong with this show. That was hands down one of the best performances I’ve EVER seen on Idol. I was just in awe. She demolished her performance from last week and I didn’t think that was possible. Good lord. She owned that stage. Holy crap. Wow. Elise.

  22. marie says:

    A truly entertaining night on Idol – what a refreshing change of pace! Even the performances I didn’t enjoy as much were for the most part entertaining. I think it really is anyone’s race, at least up to this point.
    Elise SLAYED it. I was totally amazed – and this for something that is really not a “singer’s song,” as I tend to harp on (perhaps too much). Didn’t care – that performance was electrifying AND, yes, well sung – even her scream was very controlled and exactly where she wanted it. In a very strong field, Elise is pretty much definitely my favorite. Fantastic artist – and what a compliment from Ms. Nicks, that she’d hire Elise as a backup singer right now. Whoa. And sang sang “Landslide” with her – you could see how thrilled Elise was.
    Speaking of Stevie Nicks, was she not the best mentor EVER? Superb ear, put her finger right on just what each contestant needed to hear. Fantastic.
    Great show tonight!

    • marie says:

      Dumb me, of course Elise and Stevie dueted on “Dreams” – we heard “Landslide” as a clip earlier in the show. Duh! I think Elise’s “Whole Lotta Love” might have fried up my brain!

    • Shana says:

      Can Stevie Nicks be the mentor every week?

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I agree, the show was good and Elise was out-of-this-world good! I completely forgot about Adam Lambert’s performance of “Whole Lotta Love” until I read about it here (which was also fantastic – I wouldn’t say one was better than the other. They were both great!)
      the only disappointment – Skylar should have dedicated “Gunpowder and Lead” to Chris Brown.

  23. Whole Lotta Love belongs to Adam Lambert! He killed with it during the Season 8 tour.

    • IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

      Yes! I saw him at the TD Garden in Boston that year. He had his hair slicked back and he was all decked out in makeup and black leather and shaking his hips like nobody’s business…and then during “Slow Ride” with Allison, someone threw a bra, a pair of underwear, and a black feather boa at him! That was one of the best shows I’d ever been to!

    • Pammy says:

      Nope… pretty sure that song belongs to Led Zeppelin. And Elise killed it tonight.

    • Shana says:

      The season 8 tour was incredible, owing in large part to Adam’s performances!

    • Justin says:

      Actually, no. Whole Lotta Love doesn’t belong to Adam. It belongs to Zeppelin. I actually thought Elise’s version was just as good – if not better – than Lambert’s.

    • John says:

      Lambert sucks! Get over it and him.

      • Jaxguy says:

        that was a pretty stupid thing to say John. Fine if you don’t like him, but I would much rather get over you, but than I realized I never liked you…

    • DG says:

      After watching Adam perform WLOL that year, I remember finding a Led Zep performance of it on YouTube and realizing that Adam was just a good broadway actor playing a rock star on stage. The raw passion and vulnerability just didn’t compare. I feel the same way about Elise’s version, it pains me to say…..but I really did enjoy the “dreams” duet and think she is believable as a Stevie Nicks type of artist. Joshua may be suffering from the same problem that I had with Adam. Technically his voice is amazing, but I feel his vulnerability is not authentic and I’m just not connecting emotionally. James Durbin’s version of without you last year was wraught with pitch problems, but yet at the end of his performance I had a tear in my eye. Oh also, one final request, can we retire A Song For You from the idol stage….All I could think about while Heejun performed it was how magical of a moment Elliott Yamin had with that song.

      • idolmama says:

        Yes I kept thinking about Elliot Yamin during Heejun’s performance. It was such a great moment for Elliot. Didn’t Simon say something about it being a master class performance. Heejun while greatly improved just didn’t compare to Elliot or anyone else singing last night.

        • Davey says:

          Totally agree. Elliott owns A Song for You. How quickly the producers forget but then Nigel was in love with Katherine McPhee that year.

      • Lift says:

        Wow, it’s amazing how differently people can view the same person/performance. I agree with everything you said, except for Joshua’s vulnerability, which seems not only real, but so intense it is almost hard to watch sometimes. To me he is (like) Adam without the glitz and cynicism.

        • DG says:

          Don’t get me wrong? I am pulling for Joshua, but something about last week and this week’s performance created a question mark for me. Maybe it is song choice. He was totally amazing singing Percy Sledge…..and I know he didnt have a choice with Billy Joel, but why on earth would he select Mariahs version of “without you”. I guess I don’t know what type of artist he is going to be.

  24. Emily says:

    where’s jessica in the poll?

  25. Volcfom says:

    P.S. Slezak – Jessica is missing from your poll.

  26. brandon says:

    ELISE. Flawless.

    So over Deandre at this point, and Phillip and Hollie and their inability to show any variation from week to week are starting to get to me. But still, this group as a whole is pretty awesome.

  27. Matt says:

    I’m touched by heejun singing.I thought it is 100% worth of standing O! I can’t finish listen jessica and the guy sing “without u”,amazed by the girl sing “whole lot love”,she is very cool,even I feel very weird when she sang “give u every inch of my love”.but her voice are rock.

    • Sallyinchicago says:

      The problem with Heejun is he sings the same every week. He’s got to change it up….but I don’t think he’ll last the week.

  28. Ali says:


    Perhaps Jessica didn’t get credit because she was responsible for the rearrange. Having said that, she was amazing.

  29. Tom says:

    Two words, my friends, two words: ELISE. TESTONE. Honestly, I was literally flailing at this performance. She’s taking the Haley Reinhart express to the top. I just hope this performance has helped her win over a huge number of fans.

    I loved Jessica, as well. I would’ve liked to see another uptempo from her, but I cannot deny that she killed “Sweet Dreams” in the best way possible.

    Skylar is one spunky gal, and I LOVE it. If she fires on all pistons every week, she’ll have no trouble going far.

    Phillip was the best of the guys. Heejun was quite good this week. His tone is like buttah. If only his diction were as smooth. I liked parts of DeAndre’s performance, but it did get a little rough at the end. I think he needs a little more time to hone his skills.

    I’m a huge Joshua supporter, but I was left a bit cold with his performance. I was touched by his emotional connection, but it needed a little extra something. Colton was okay, but the song was just eh. He’s a good singer, but I’m not warming to him.

    I agree with you Michael about Hollie. She’s floundering. She sounded really good during the Madonna medley, but her solo was weak. She has fans, but how many more weeks can she stay in her ballad box? She needs an uptempo number, and fast.

    As for the medleys: the Colton/Elise/Phillip one was the best (totally biased because I flove Fleetwood Mac); Skylar/Hollie/Jessica were great with Madonna. On the other hand, Joshua/DeAndre/Heejun fell flat with M.J. (okay, maybe not Joshua). I like these extra performances. Far more effective than listening to Tommy Hilfiger prattle on about clothes, yes?

    So, I think the bottom will consist of Heejun, DeAndre and Hollie. I think it’ll be either Heejun or Hollie leaving. Hollie *may* be saved, but that’s a big *may*.

  30. ali427 says:

    Most refreshing moment: Hollie singing some upbeat Madonna! She looked happy and sounded confident–wish she’d stop with the big, diva ballads already and have some fun!

  31. Merrilyn says:

    While I was watching the first trio, I couldn’t help but think that I would be very happy if Colton, Phillip, and Elise were the top 3. They were by far the best tonight, especially Elise. She just slayed it. Awesome.

  32. Ryan says:

    I thought Skylar was going to knock it of the park… but for some reason I just couldn’t get into it. Definitely her worse performance of the season (for me), and I think she may actually be in trouble. She started off so strong but I think she’s hit a little bit of a rut…much like Hollie (although I think Hollie was much better tonight then people are giving her credit for). She also did not do well in the trio where both Jessica and Hollie really managed to shine (hey…looks like Hollie can actually do uptempo).

    With that being said it was obviously it was Elise’s night. She completely slayed.

    • Shana says:

      I agree that Skylar wasn’t her best tonight. Not nearly as good as Miranda Lambert and I have to admit, Lauren Alaina and Haley knocked this one out of the park last year in their duet, Lauren especially (and that was rare).

      • chistosa says:

        Skylar was not that good tonight. Actually I am tiring of her.

        • zee says:

          she needs some work.. her breath control is horrible .. it’s why she cuts her notes short and cant sing any low notes ( making her sound like she’s talking — u need more air for lower notes) — and she needs to ennunciate better cause i didnt understand a word of those verses ( singers will know the exercise “lips teeth tip of the tongue” ;-) ) ….. but she’s got a big voice and a lot of sass… and she’s fun to watch and one of the only girls with a personality on this show.. so she cant leave !

          • TheBeach says:

            Maybe part of Skylar’s breath issues are because she moving like Tina Turner out there.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            I agree about Skylar, Beach. She needs to stand still. That was a lot of Heejun’s problem last week.

          • marie says:

            I really like Skylar – and this from a non-country fan. There’s something that’s just so genuine and irrepressible about her, even though yes, she could probably benefit from some good vocal training. And yes, maybe she’d be better able to control her breathing if she just stood still and sang – but I get the impression she would not be comfortable doing that.

        • FreeHaley says:

          The little I heard sounded merely just whatever even pretending for a minute that I like her style, but honestly she is so country beyond country, so twangy it just drives me nuts and I had to change channels for 10 minutes and didn’t hear most of her song, so I couldn’t really judge it well. At least Lauren Alaina wasn’t so horribly, annoyingly twangy and had a nicer tone.

          Skylar is basically the epitome of everything I don’t like about real country country music.

        • Tom22 says:

          I’m just not feeling the grit I expected.

          All I get is ditz. I’m not really very connected to more modern country music though so I’m not sure its fair for me to criticize the genre other than just not voting for her.

          Grit isn’t yelling and stomping, its blues and needs something slower without a fast 4-4 beat.

  33. Elise killed in on Zeppelin tonight, just spectacular. Thanks to Jimmy for pointing out that “Without You” is a Harry Nilsson song, NOT a Mariah Carey song. Seriously, people. Loved Phillip — but I always love Phillip. I fear a little for Hollie on a week that was NOT her weakest (sorry, Michael) but where a lot of others got way overpraised. And I still, STILL don’t have a clue what people see in Jessica. I don’t find her appealing at all.

  34. SteveZ says:

    Heejun needs to go… right now he is doing abou as well as a drunk Japanesse business man at karaokee after bad sushi.

  35. Ana Muti says:

    I’m glad HJ didn’t follow through on his threat that he was going to be even more silly this week. I think he has a great voice, and has proved it this week. But I don’t think he’s in the same class as Elise and Philx2. I think he’s in line for going home soon, but not before Deandre.
    I honestly, truly and for real cannot deal with that falsetto one more week. I think DeAndre probably has a very nice regular voice, but I so rarely hear it I couldn’t say for sure.
    Elise has redeemed AI for me. Season 11 was about to go the way of season 10 for me (finding something else to watch and reading Michael’s recaps) but then she went and sang one of my fav rock songs, and that woman nailed it and hung it on the wall. Loved her, loved her take on the song, loved her stage presence, loved the way she looked–the whole package. AND she was having a good time!
    Elise is already the winner as far as I’m concerned.

    • steve says:

      I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago and I’ll say it again. Elise Testone has unbelievable talent.
      She is showing more and more versattility each week and the longer she stays around the more shes going to show that she is way better than anyone in this competition.
      Shes the only performer that comes up with something different each week and every week its great. The others have the same presentation with there voices but just change the song titles BORING!!!!!

  36. Emily says:

    Though I do prefer Adam Lambert’s cover of Whole Lotta Love from Season 8, I still think Elise did a PHENOMENAL job! The comparison, however, shouldn’t detract whatsoever from her natural talent and ease on stage, and just overall badassery. She definitely lived up to the hype of going last in the pimp spot. I have a feeling she’s following the same path as Haley Reinart did last year by gaining the slow but steady momentum. Go Elise!

  37. JimmyJ says:

    I was afraid Slezak had a heart attack after seeing Randy do the air quotes and utter “sang the I don’t know outta what” within a 10 seconds span.

    • FreeHaley says:

      I thought it was hysterical when Randy used the air quotes around the word “constructive” when he was “I was just trying to give some ‘constructive’ criticism”.

  38. minikittykitty says:

    Elise finally found her niche and appeared believable but was it enough and is it too late to create enough fan base? And who will buy her album????? Sanchez has all the chops but still have a hard time connecting, don’t know why. Even her corrections seem “studied”, and she pulls it off “perfect”, I’m just not feelin’ it.

  39. Amanda says:

    Heejun needs to go!

    • susela says:

      Please, please, let DeAndre go first. I don’t think I can sit through another ear-piercing performance. Falsetto should be used strategically for vocal effect, not for an entire song. It’s just too much.

  40. Amy says:

    Just posted on your last thread, didn’t see one up yet for tonight…so I’ll just repeat:

    O M G Loving Idol this year. You may disagree…but this year has such real competition with no 1 or 2 clear front runners, that I feel even the Idol machine isn’t as manipulative (though I won’t let my guard down)…and judges are giving real feedback. I’m loving that too.

    Best Idol (since Season 7, still my all time favorite, but that’s besides the point right now!)…I can’t even say who’ll go home this week? Everyone was good (yes, even Heejun surprised me tonight , and may stay due to popular “following” votes.)

    My personal, shoutin’ from my couch favorites tonight by 10 miles…Phil Phillips & E-freakin’-lise Plant!
    Phil….I have been loving him, (and I’m with Stevie he is aDorable)… I love the way he inhabits the music and tonight he was infectious and I just LOVED the song and his performance! And….loved the look and (non-gray) jacket. He’s unique too. Elise…WHAT?!…I knew she’d probably be a good fit when I heard Zep choice…but she was over the top great…the way her voice sounded like it kind of “slid off the note” on (whole lotta) “lo-ove.” And all the rest! And…she also had a great outfit and looked great!

    But Skylar, Jessica both flawless. Hollie..still a great voice even if not perfection, at least “crossed the bridge” to connection and emotion tonight. Colton, I didn’t know the song, but he was good. Joshua, I didn’t want him to “take it to church” again, and he did…and I liked it. Deandre, in his element…I don’t personally love songs sang in all high register, but he does it sooo well. Finally.. Heejun…first time I heard some surprising vocal qualities, and he really sang…and I enjoyed it and his “unique” sound. And he does have some charisma, like it or not. Not sure it will go much farther than Idol Season 11, but who’s to say…not that I think he should go much farther, given all the really great singer/performers this year.

    May be the first Idol tour I go to since Season 7…we’ll see. Honestly…I’m with Jennifer, for the most part, from here, with a couple exceptions…hard to see anyone go.

    Phil and Elise win the night for me tonight! First downloads I’ll be getting from Idol Itunes for me since Season 8!

  41. Melissa says:

    Adam Lambert > Elise Testone.

    • FreeHaley says:

      Nah, something about his seemed too broadway almost, he does the high wails and high wails and high wails. It was a good performance but he didn’t do as many cool little subtle things as Elise did (or as the original did), not at all.

  42. Aldrin says:

    Jessica’s name doesn’t appear on your poll.

  43. Nancy says:

    It’s no surprise to me that tonight’s show featured a consistently high performance level as it was the most open and versatile theme the contestants will probably be given all season. If the producers want the contestants to continually show viewers their absolute best, thus painting Idol as the singing competition with the highest standards, they need to abolish these limiting and outdated theme weeks! Or change the title to “americas most adaptable singer”…their choice.

    • teatime says:

      I agree! Given the theme, the producers could not give them a list of 10-20 songs to pick from, most of which have already been done on the show.

  44. Grace says:

    I LOVE STEVIE NICKS!! She needs to mentor every week.

    • Lizabeth says:

      Oh, I agree! She was fantastic.

      • Amy says:

        Totally agree.

        Love what she told Hollie and how she told her. And she was 100% right, and not a moment too soon to tell her…it was time for her to hear that message.
        Loved when she gave advice to Jessica, and then humbly said…”If you don’t feel it or agree…don’t do it!!”
        Loved how she loved Phillip and said he’d have been invited to be in Fleetwood Mac.
        and on and on…she WAS great.

  45. Lizabeth says:

    I actually thought Jessica sounded like Beyonce a little, which I loved. Elise was my favorite because it was just amazing. Phillip’s performance was my favorite of his, so far. I do agree with the other comments about the judge’s standing up too often. It was only totally annoying, but had they stayed seated for Elise it would have been completely ridiculous.

    I thought it sounded like they turned Skylar’s mic off, too. Weird.

    • Shana says:

      It’s interesting… Jessica sings Whitney, she sounds like Whitney. Jessica sings JHud, she sounds like JHud. Jessica sings Beyonce, she sounds like Beyonce.
      But she also has her own (incredible) voice which can be heard along with that.

      • Lizabeth says:

        That was exactly what I thought when I was watching her tonight. It’s crazy. I can’t wait to hear how she sounds as she matures and, as if it is necessary!, gets better. =)

        • Shana says:

          However, when she sung The Prayer.. she definitely did not sound like Celine, it was all her own voice.

          • zee says:

            hmmm i think it’s the R&B staccato style she fits so comfortably in and a mark of a great singer is their ability to mimic other singers — it’s that great ear ….. but definitely i think she’s a Beyonce clone at times .. if i heard them sing together i dunno if i’d be able to tell them apart — the vibrattio alone and the runs .. just wow — i caught that sound from day 1 —

            she sounds like a pro .. already!

        • Jaxguy says:

          She’s a truly WONDERFUL singer. LOVE her.

      • Holly says:

        Jessica is a very talented mimic. Not very interesting. She needs to grow up and live life a little before she can bring her own feeling and sound to the music.

        Elise – Unbelievable!

        • SiniGang says:

          Disagree on Jessica being a mimic, I think she respects the original artist but you can definitely hear her punctuations and delivery in spots that allow for it. When the singer is very close to her style she stays in that range because that’s her natural sound. She certainly did not sound like Buddy Holly, Billy Joel nor Celine all of whch are different from her tone.

  46. Karen says:

    Elise was the best of the night by far! Her harmonizing with Stevie Nicks was such a cool bonus tonight.
    Deandre and his falsetto need to go… I just can’t put up with it any more; do not even remotely understand the standing O for that tonight.
    Joshua… it started out good and then just went way over the top…just too much. Jessica was also stellar tonight… I so think a girl should win this year… but the judges will assure that doesn’t happen.. such a shame. Oh and Hollie was not perfect.. but I so hope she isn’t the one that goes

  47. Ashly says:

    Wow! This was a great night of performances. I love Elise, but I was totally on the bluesy bandwagon Phillip was driving tonight. Phillip is such an enthusiastic performer it is hard not to be joyful when he is on stage. Favorite performance of the night!

    Jessica hasn’t been my favorite (too much vibrato), but tonight I loved her performance. Elise and Jessica were neck and neck for me. I chose Elise as my second favorite performance only because of my appreciation of her previous body of work.

    Skylar was my fourth favorite. Her energy and presence is fascinating to watch. However, I breathiness made it hard to understand the lyrics (which I’m not all too familiar with). Her performance on the Madonna medley was pretty awesome.

    I don’t dislike anyone on the show, but I hope Heejun goes home. It’s weird how his personality is amusing, but his performances, not counting last week’s, are a bit tame and boring.

  48. darcy's evil twin says:

    “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”.

    Mr. Slezak, I couldn’t have written anything better about Heejun’s performance if I stayed awake all night and tried to come up with something clever. What WERE the judges hearing? That was positively dreadful.
    I enjoyed Phillip tonight – I love Jonny Lang and I thought P2 gave a very good performance.
    Jessica was quite good. Still not crazy about her, but she’s got talent.
    But oh …freakin’….my. Elise! That was amazing. I hope everyone realizes we’re going to have to work twice as hard to keep her on this show as we had to work to keep Haley around!

    • Lisander says:

      Michael Slezak did not say Heejun’s performance was dreadful. You haven’t even watched the show yet. Go watch your DVR first before commenting.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        I never wrote Mr. Slezak said Heejun’s performance was dreadful. I wrote that Heejun was dreadful and I’m certain plenty of people agree. I watched the program live, by the way. Take your snotty comments elsewhere.

        • Jaxguy says:

          His vocal tonight was gorgeous. I thought he deserved the standing O and of course Elise too. The main problem for HeeJun to me is his accent. It robs his otherwise beautiful tone, when he’s not goofing around. When he tries he does have a stunning voice. I really disliked Joshua’s performance tonight and was not a fan of DeAndre either.

        • Lisander says:

          Oh and you’re the admin of this site now? Trolling these comment boards and posting 1 million times on an episode you haven’t watched yet does NOT give you any power. And yeah I’m going there: your hatred for the Asian guy is making me uncomfortable. Like I said, watch your DVR first.

          You get a “made me barf.”

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            People that make everything about race make me uncomfortable. It usually means they have some sort of racial issues themselves. Sorry to disappoint you, but I watched the program live. Now I know what happened to those kids I went to school with that failed reading comprehension.

          • marie says:

            “Hatred”? Isn’t that a little extreme? One can really, really not enjoy anything at all about any given performer, not find anything at all entertaining or worthwhile about them, without “hating” them. “Dislike” does NOT equal “hate.”
            Have we become SO “PC” that we can’t express displeasure without being accused of “hating”? But while we’re at it: your comment itself is pretty UN-PC: who’s the one really expressing “hate” here?

    • macy says:

      “Positively dreadful”? Exaggerate much? Look, I know that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and everyone is entitled to have their favorites, but there is no way an honest, unbiased person could call any of the singers dreadful this week. You don’t have to like him but “dreadful” is a bit ridiculous.

  49. Kathryn says:

    I completely agree with the commentators above – no wonder a girl hasn’t won when the judges are so clearly biased. Hee Jun was mediocre at best and I thought DeAndre’s song was awful… Michael, you have my sincere sympathy for having to listen to the whole performance before writing your review/recap – I was fortunate enough to be able to mute it halfway through. Certainly, neither of them deserved Standing Ovations… that’s just ridiculous! I didn’t think Joshua’s performance was that great either… I seem to be in the minority but I find his high notes screechy and not pleasant at all.

    At least the judges are consistent…. if you’re a male you get a lot of praise and a standing ovation. If you’re a female you are usually criticized… and on the rare occasion that the judges think you do a great job, they certainly aren’t going to stand up for you. The fact that the judges hesitated for so long to stand up for Elise (and didn’t want to at all, per JLo) is a perfect example.

    Standing ovations for 5 out of 9 performances? Unbelievable. These judges are useless. I miss Simon.

    • SteveZ says:

      Kathryn… I agree about Joshua somewhat. I think he had a few wonky notes in the beginning of the song and then when he “went to church” I found myself stepping out of the moment to consider “did he mean to do that?” Of course… he is only 19. I wish Hollie, Deandre, Jessica and Joshua had all been made to wait another 2-3 years for them to mature.

      Hollie bothered me also last night. She has this tendency to miss the note a little (flat) but without the pluck or grit of Kelly Clarkson (hey… she was by no means perfect on every song) but her personality sold the song. Hollie is lacking in displaying her personality. Her best song so far IMO has been that snippet we saw of Change during the top 42 of Hollywood week this season.

  50. Dan Kempner says:

    “Or, rather, can a contestant who’s firing this solidly every week actually lose Idol?”

    Adam Lambert.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      And Crystal Bowersox.

      • Tom22 says:

        Coming in the top 4 is winning idol in my opinion.

        Coming in first isn’t any better than 2nd for sure unless you want to appear on more cereal boxes.

        It’s not a knock to agjainst the show to say that the most mainstream is going to win .

        Mainstream doesn’t = best peformer.

        Since Mainstream will get first place

        First place doesnt’ mean “win” .. in only means most mainstream of the best performers.

        We know that goign in so should give no special mental recognition between first and 4rth place.

        As far as I was concerned, Haley sung her victory song hapily after she was eliminated and the seaons was over and It was a great season. The “title” isn’t like a gold medal based on merit.

    • Marsaili says:

      Haley Reinhardt??? Hello?

    • Jaxguy says:

      Love him or hate him, Adam NEVER had a bad performance and in my opinion he had the most consistent performances, week in and week out in the entire 11 years of Idol. It was his loss that has made me skeptical of Idol viewers ever since. Unfortunately my skepticism has proven correct. Just look at the winners since that ill fated finale. Bad picks since. I just hope this season can redeem the show for me.