American Idol Recap: Barenaked '80s

It’s a tough week to predict who’s going home on American Idol — unless, of course, you’re Randy Jackson. Asked by Ryan Seacrest at the close of Top 8 performance night who was worthy of viewer votes, the “third judge” rattled off the names of Skylar, DeAndre, Phillip, Joshua, Jessica, and Colton — in other words, everyone except Elise and Hollie.

But I can’t be too upset with Randy. It’s not like he pulled a basket of rotting rutabagas out from under the judges’ table and began hurling them at the competition’s two remaining blonde gals. And what’s more, after 11 seasons on the Idol panel, it’s pretty clear Randy thinks about his words as much as you or I contemplate the individual flakes in a bowl of cereal. This is a man who referred to Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is” as “one of the greatest songs ever written,” who thinks “turn the other cheek” means to change up one’s performance style, whose attempts at coining catchphrases are as carefully considered (and successful) as a gasoline fondue. I mean, come on: Yelling “She’s gotta have it!” at the end of a performance by sweet-faced 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez? Forgive him, Lord, for his grasp of the English language is tenuous.

I could devote another paragraph to the parallel horrors of the Dawg’s clothing choices — this week’s red polkadot shirt and white tie represented a new touchstone in hideousness — but instead I’ll “turn the other cheek” and jump right to this week’s performances:

Deandre Brackensick: DeBarge’s “I Like It”
It’s pretty clear Jimmy Iovine isn’t eager to spend Interscope’s money on deep conditioning products for DeAndre’s mane, given how he managed to predict a Bottom 3 showing for the kid before he even took the stage. Ouchies! (That’s the opposite of “goosies,” right?) But that damning pre-performance message didn’t seem to have much effect on DeAndre this week, as he appeared more confident and relaxed than ever on a song that accentuated everything that’s good and right about his voice. Yeah, it was a little cheesy the way DeAndre kicked things off sitting in the audience amongst the lay-dees, and no, “I Like It” isn’t a particularly noteworthy composition. But I loved the grit in DeAndre’s voice on the “stylish clothes you wear” bridge — especially with the way the band cranked up the bass the second time around, and he used his falsetto. In other words, “Funky” DeAndre > “Sensitive” DeAndre, yes?

American Idol Exclusive: Kris Allen Set to Perform on April 19 Results Show

Elise Testone: Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is”
I’m not sure if it was the enormous draped sleeve on her one-shoulder pirate shirt, or the weight of her recent ascent to front-runner status, but Elise’s performance this week felt downright labored. Randy was right (my conscience: “How dare you!”) that Elise seemed to be just under the melody from start to finish, and that by trying to take little liberties with every word and phrase, she never really settled into the melody. Part of the problem might be that Elise — with her gruff, organic style — isn’t really a good match for a lighters-in-the-air, gospel-choir-assisted, bombastic ballad. (Of all the songs released in the ’80s, the best she could come up with was this or the done-to-death-on-singing-competitions “Hallelujah”?) But I fear that at the exact moment when I started thinking she was a lock for a Top 5 slot, Elise is going to have to pay another visit to the Silver Stools of Doom on Thursday night.

Skylar Laine & Colton Dixon: “Islands in the Stream”
Like a little patch of flowers you pass on a hike through the woods — ugh, that ridiculous babbling brook backdrop clearly made its way into my brain — this performance probably won’t be at the forefront of your Season 11 memories, but that doesn’t make it any less purdy, does it? Bonus points for super-sweet harmonies and extracting the “makin’ love with each other” refrain. I like these two when they just “rely on each other,” if you know what I mean.

Phillip Phillips: Genesis’ “That’s All”
Thank heavens for J.Lo (not to worry, I’ll hit myself in a minute for typing that), who at least had the cojones to note that there were pitch problems at the beginning Phillip’s second Phil Collins cover in the last few weeks. (Steven and Randy, detecting the presence of a Y chromosome, had no criticisms whatsoever.) From my living room couch, though, those pitch problems extended all the way through a performance that also lacked any sense of dynamics or nuance. Not every ditty requires the strain of carrying an anvil to a fifth-floor walkup, or the popping of one’s forehead vein, y’know? On the plus side, though, it was cute seeing Phillip break out in a wide grin when he caught the sight of his brother-in-law jamming out stage right, which will probably be enough to keep him out of the Bottom 3 this week.

Hollie Cavanagh & DeAndre Brackensick: “I’m So Excited”
Yep, this is exactly the kind of boppy uptempo fare Hollie should be covering for her solo performances, and yet, inexplicably, is not. With her muscular vocal and sparkly pants, I barely noticed this was a duet with DeAndre, to be honest.

Joshua Ledet: Simply Red’s version of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes’ “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”
Look, at some point (aka next week), Joshua is going to have to break out of the Big Soulful Ballad shackles, and remind us that he can do more than swoop and wail and hollerate as a Gospel choir lifts him higher, higer, higher, HIGH-ER! (Yes, that was my typed-out impression of Fantasia’s performance-finale “I Believe.”) But as a stand-alone performance, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” was exquisite in its emotional ferocity. Joshua might claim that at 19, he doesn’t know much about heartbreak, but somehow — through empathy, or unrequited/unacknowledged love, or possession by the spirits of soul singers past — he brings it palpably to life. And when he lifts his knee for emphasis, it’s a warning to lean back and prepare for a blast of pure, unadulterated soul. In this case, I can’t quibble too much with the Standing O from the judges.

Jessica Sanchez: Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know”
Look, at some point (aka next week), Jessica is going to not only prove she can color outside the lines, she’s going to need to throw away the entire coloring book, grab a pencil and sketchpad, and prove that she’s an artist in her own right. But as a stand-alone performance, her straightforward cover of “How Will I Know” was as clean and refreshing as a Neutrogena ad. There was such effortlessness in the way Jessica owned every note of the song, such a breeziness in her body language, that it was easy to forget about the degree of difficulty required in matching an at-her-prime Whitney. Plus, let’s give the girl some credit for frequently switching it up in terms of tempo and mood — even if I wish her mentors would steer her to more unexpected song choices. With a voice like hers, she could certainly handle it, no?

Elise Testone & Phillip Phillips: “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”
I’ve enjoyed most of Phillip’s performances this season, and maybe it was residual exhaustion from “That’s All,” but I felt like once again his vocal here was strained to the point of the unpleasant. Elise, meanwhile, got to beautifully channel her inner Stevie Nicks for the second straight week — but once again not as her primary solo performance. I guess I’m okay with the withholding, as long as all this is leading up to an Elise-Stevie collaboration at the Season 11 finale.

Hollie Cavanagh: Irene Cara’s “Flashdance…What a Feeling”
I have to admit I was pretty optimistic when Ryan announced Hollie would be covering “What a Feeling,” until I realized that feeling was one of confusion, bewilderment, disappointment, and terror. Hollie zipped around the stage as if there was a stern British GPS lady barking orders in her ear — turn left here, now go 20 paces forward, now shimmy in front of the judges table, now turn right, now jump through a flaming hoop: I SAID JUMP THROUGH A FLAMING HOOP! — and it left her vocal performance void of any real passion (which, alas, she was then unable to take, and make happen). She also ended on “take your passion” when I’m pretty sure she wanted to conclude with “what a feeling.” Yikes. J.Lo had a point that as much as Hollie needs to process the advice of her mentors, she also needs to let it all go and free-fall when she takes the stage, but Hollie’s face reacted as if Prof. Lopez was describing an inscrutable calculus problem. On a week where she needed to be stellar, Hollie was only average, and it could spell the end of her Idol journey.

Jessica Sanchez & Joshua Ledet: “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me”
The only way I could’ve loved this frenzied eruption of soul any more was if it had been a duet between Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia, or maybe Fantasia and Patti LaBelle. Also: I covet Joshua’s beige suit. That’s all.

Colton Dixon: Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”
Let me weigh in on Colton’s performance to the tunr of “Time After Time,” if that’s all right with you…
Sitting on my couch I hear a nasal voice,
And think “Who?”
Hey there it’s Colton, confusion
Is this tone new?
Flashback. Hairdo.
Whoa he’s super blonde!
Foil or one-step?
Time after–

Sometimes I like this guy
At least he’s not boring me
Flips his arrangements, of that much
We’re guaranteed
Credits Quickdrive
Oh and that took class
The guy is no jackass

Well he’s no David Cook, but he’s fine by me
That’s Colton D.
If he’s fourth that’s okay, maybe not Top 3
Oh Colton D.

Skylar Laine: Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings”
I’m not sure I needed to know that Skylar spent her enite mentoring session believing some cruel producer who told her that the Gwen Stefani-looking chick was a member of Shalamar. (Also: Go to YouTube and get hip to Shalamar, girl!) And I’m not sure I needed the literal image of an internally lit eagle swooping across the backdrop and exploding into solid gold (probably Jimmy Iovine’s fantasy of signing Skylar to a deal and watching money rain from the heavens). But damn, this was an incredible performance, one that was worthy of a standing O, and one that proved Skylar is a vocal match for any of her seven competitors, not just a gun-slingin’ gal whose bouncy antics are merely a warmup act for the main event. I liked the growl and conviction Skylar brough to the tune, too, because honestly, if you’re not going to truly feel a lyric like “you are the wind beneath my wings,” then it’s just going to come off as comical and cheesy. And the tears that welled up in my eyes as she finished the performance (yeah, I know, I’m really too earnest to be a proper TV recapper) told the tale: Skylar was feeling it, and so was I. How about you?

Letter Grades for This Week’s Performances
Jessica & Joshua: A
Skylar: A
Joshua: A-
DeAndre: B+
Jessica: B+
Skylar & Colton: B+
Colton: B
Elise & Phillip: B
Hollie & DeAndre: B-
Elise: C+
Hollie: C
Phillip: D

Who were your favorites from Season 11 Top 8 night? Vote in the poll below, then explain your picks in the comments!

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. Reena says:

    Did anyone else notice the girl sitting next to deandre at the beginning of his performance? I swear she flashed her underwear anyways I hope Hollie stays I thought she did good last night and so did Joshua but Colton was terrible in my opinion but I sm afraid it maybe Hollie’s last night

    • Red in Denver says:

      YES — We record it so we can FF through the commercials; and my husband caught that immediately. And it wasn’t just a shadowed, brief glimpse either — a LARGE section of the crotch section of her pantie was exposed for several seconds! I guess we’re lucky — at least she was WEARING panties!

      I’ve never cared much for Colton’s voice — don’t like the whiney/crying type thing. I LOVE Elise’s voice and thought her performance last night was good; but I appear to be in the minority there.

      I think Jessica has an amazing voice; but don’t like anything else about her. she seems phony, her mannerisms contrived, and the alter ego thing makes her appear even MORE over-the-top self absorbed.

      I like Holly and Skylar also; and Joshua is amazing sometimes; although he borders on over-the-top in every performance; and I thought last night he did more than border on it, so wasn’t crazy about his performance.

      • Manola says:

        You’re reading too much into Jessica’s alter ego. She’s a teenager whose idol is Beyonce. I don’t know how emulating her idol makes her conceited and fake.

        • My Alter Ego says:

          She’s a shy teenager who, when performing, uses her alter ego to counter the shyness.

          • Jillian says:

            No, she’s ripping off Beyonce’s Sasha Fierce to come off as interesting and relevant. She doesn’t mention “Bebe Chez” or whatever random name without bringing up Beyonce.

          • Gorm says:

            Gorm. She flimed her Idol-at-home video with the flipcam in a public shopping mall, while most everyone else filmed at home with their families. The girl is NOT shy, she just thinks she is supposed to say that to justify her nonsense and you somehow bought into it. She is just another Thia Megia-alike who has been doing karaoke at home since birth as its a cultural part of her phllipino background. The girl is very good at karaoke, one of the best, but thats all she is. She is like that bowl-cut Taiwanese by that did the vacuum sealed copy of I Will Always Love You, a gifted bit of human memorex, but not an actual artist.

            Cant wait until she goes home. You know she has already rehersed her “im sad, but going to soldier on” pose and carefully counting down the lenght of each hug she’ll receive.

          • Lee says:

            Is Gorm a boy or a girl? If you’re a boy, do you dislike Jessica because a pretty girl like Jessica rejected you? Or, if you’re a girl, are you fat and ugly and resent thin, pretty and talented girls like Jessica? Either way, you’re a loser filled with sour grapes. Jessica for the win!!!!!

      • Erica says:

        Jessica is a teenager. Please people, give her a break.

        • HudsonRiverside says:

          Exactly. I think it was smart of her NOT to film her little brothers and sisters etc. at home. It’s not like they are all teenagers like the other contestants. The alter dog thing is just a kid having fun with the world. A great way to express herself. Many celebs actually use fake names anyway. With Idol, the kids have no choice but to to use their real names so I see no harm in just having fun.

    • jack norton says:

      Yes we saw it. How embarrassing for her. Hopefully not too many people saw it.

    • Emily says:

      I think Colton is one of the better ones in the show right now. he has a radio ready voice, and knows exactly what kind of an artist he wants to be. I like Hollie alot, but i’m afraid her poor song choices will do her in. Although, that duet she did with DeAndre was awesome. If she stays in, she needs to pick good up-tempo songs.

    • Faz says:

      Colton can’t sing. I can’t quite understand Michael’s love for him. I realize Michael doesn’t really know music — he’s more of a Reality TV Guy, but honestly Colton can’t sing at all. He can’t sing. At all.

  2. Andy J says:

    First of all, I’,m disappolinted that no one covered my favorite 80s song Julie Brown’s “The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun”. And how depressing that Elise is the only contestant to actually be born in the 80s. Sadly it looks like Grandma Elise is nearing her Idol expiration date. Did I hear the same Joshua Ledet performandce that the judges did? He sounded like a cat screeching in pain from being castrated. Jessica is a good singer but there is just something robotic about her; she’s got the chops but not the heart. And my theory is that Jennifer is Margo Channing and looks at all female Idol contestants as potential Eve Harringtons-she wildly overpraises mediocre performances by the guys, but from her comments you’d think Elise and Hollie were truly earsplittingly awful; last night wasn’t their best performance but they were nowhere nearly as bad as judges comments, and Philip had an off night too but still received praise. And Jennifer seems to have an unhealthy obsession with DeAndre. Unfortunately last week’s either Hollie or Jessica proposition seems to have been decided. Thought Colton, Skylar and yes Elise gave the best performances last night. Elise rocks!!

    • Snsetblaze says:

      I remember and liked that too but even if someone had suggested it to the powers that be, I’m not sure it would have been allowed considering all the Columbine-like shootings that have happened n recent years (including one this week, I believe.)

    • Joe Strummer says:

      All About Eve reference. I like it.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I’d forgotten all about “The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun”.

  3. MG says:

    Michael, I think you need to start grading Idol and the Voice on the same scale instead of only internally relative. To suggest that Jessica, for example, was worse than any of those performances on Monday night is, to put it mildly, absurd.

    • Michael Slezak says:

      MG, you made me chuckle with that comment. I’ll admit both shows kind of exist in separate universes (for me, for you).

      • MG says:

        Wow, I can’t believe I got a reply from the amazing Michael Slezak, and one with a Randy Jacksonism in it at that! At least 50% of the reason I watch these shows is so that I can enjoy your recaps. I’ve gotta have it!

  4. allie08 says:

    Those were the worst song choices from the 1980’s. I guess the song book they choose from is titled “Songs 50 Year Olds Liked in the 80’s. I graduated high school in 87 and I guarantee you no one was listening to Islands in The Stream and I like It. Ugh. Elise really blew it. Wrong song and wrong key. It’s a shame b/c she is super talented. I hope Hollie goes though – she has maxed out and I don’t see her improving at all. Skylar, Jessica and Joshua were excellent – the rest were mediocre. Question for Slezak – why do you compare AI to the Voice in your Voice recaps but not here? If America votes correctly (and that is a huge if), The Voice will have a much more talented top 8.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      Elise was only ok. The song is crud – no way is that one of the greatest songs ever written, like Randy insists.

      I would have liked her to sing Halleluah even though others already have. The bit we heard sounded great.

      In fact many of the songs performed that night were crappy songs outright.

      • Judy says:

        I dont understand how Elise’s song could have sounded good in the first run through or any rehearsal. I adore the song, but no way could it be good for AI. Too much is instrumental/broody/and very low. What were they thinking?

    • Deidre says:

      Actually, I graduated in ’89 and I loved “Islands in the Stream.” And Cyndi Lauper, and Whitney Houston. Foreigner has much better songs than that one, though, that thing got played to death in the 80s and I’ve hard enough of it. :P I’d have loved to hear Colton tackle Duran Duran or Nik Kershaw, though. And Elise might be able to tackle a Eurythmics song, with all the vocal acrobatics she does, though Annie Lennox is tough to beat.

  5. the real wendy says:

    I am the only one who finds Joshua’s screaming voice very grating? I fear for Elise!

  6. NedPepper says:

    Well, at least Slezak is making sense again. FInally some critique for Joshua and Jessica and pointing out their obvious flaws that could hurt them.

    But let’s not abandon Elise. That would be a shame. Haley-nation…we have a cause.

    • Terry says:

      Um, sorry, huge Haley fan here but I do not care for Elise’s voice, at all. If it is Elise or Hollie in the bottom, I don’t think the “judges” should save either one of them. Keep the save for someone who has an actual shot at winning this thang.

      • NedPepper says:

        Like…who? Eh, maybe I’m on my own here. I would never in a million years actually buy a Joshua Ledet album. Or a Colton Dixon album. And until Jessica Sanchez can show that she can do more with that great voice than immitate, I wouldn’t buy one of her albums either. Skylar,, Phillip, and Elise are the only real genuine performers with a shred of artistic integrity.

      • Judy says:

        At this point I think the save is beside the point. Once Heejun was gone (and I liked him, but…) I think the voters are capable of putting people out in the right order.

    • Eurydice says:

      I guess I don’t get how Elise is even remotely like Haley

  7. TC says:

    Loved Skylar’s cover last night, when I compare her ballad to the way Jessica and Hollie sing ballads, I liked the way she pronounced each and every word, infused them with emotion and built the song to a crescendo!

    • ejones says:

      The whole evening was underwhelming. If Skylar was the best then what does that say about the others? I would want standing ‘O’s to be given when even I feel they are worthy.

      The difference in standard between what is expected for this season’s ‘O’s compared to last season’s is immense. And, not one of the duets approached the standard set by Haley/Casey’s Moaning.

  8. Lo says:

    The judges should have called out Phillip for his solo song – it was terrible! I’ve really grown to like him over the past few weeks but this performance was unbearable. He looked extremely uncomfortable, and honestly I was wondering if something was going on with his health again because he looked sickly. The whole performance was just off. If the judges don’t start actually JUDGING P2 his fans are going to get complacent and he’s going to be the shock elimination this season.

    • LisaM says:

      I thought he looked ill, too. His eyes were kind of glassy and his breathing seemed shallow. I wonder if the judges thought so too and went easy on him.

    • Marilyn says:

      I so agree. This guy, who I really like, was out of tune from beginning to end, well, close to end. And not to be called out, but a little, was ridiculous. It was the worst performance of the night. Elise gets the whole pitchy thing and this twaddle, who I like, gets, “Great Job, as usual.”

      Really, the person who needs to go is Randy. I turn on Idol and I look at him and I just get cranky. That’s before he even opens his mouth. I mean, does he have any cred with anyone?

      • Li-Li says:

        ALL of the judges make me cranky. I usually go to the bathroom or change the channel when they come on. They had almost nothing valuable to say last year, and this year is no different. And just like last year when they gave the most inane criticism to Haley, but withheld any criticism – even if it was deserved – for the others, they seem to be doing it again with Elise. Your recap is the prize we get for watching.

        • Yo' says:

          They are annoying. This year Randy is just obnoxious, and I’m relieved to discover I’m not the only one annoyed by The KIng of Platitude. (He would find that a compliment, yes?)

        • Terry says:

          I think Hollie got it worse than Elise. But ya, I’m generally channel surfing when the “judges” start yapping.

        • millie says:

          I have to say last night I totally enjoyed Idol for the first time in a very long while. I muted the sound every single time the “judges” spoke. Didn’t listen to one word they said. Although not all the performances were great, I loved the show. When I read today’s recap and saw that they praised Phillip’s performance last night (and I usually really like him), I realized muting them is the way to go. I’d highly recommend it for all viewers.

      • justafan says:

        marilyn i have only been watching idol since the end of the year that was the debacle of taylor hicks…and i have wondered the same thing every year…why must we be subjected to hearing the most inane, idiotic nonsensical verbiage pour from the mouth of someone who has not been “relevant” for over 20 years (if i am being generous) over and over and over again…such a clown he is and every year i hope uncle nigel and the powers that be would come to their senses and boot him…with simon leaving, they should have kept kara, who has infinitely more cred than randy and paired her with the new judges

  9. Twain says:

    Can we have a week where the gospel choir doesn’t come out? I mean, what was it this week — THREE TIMES?!?

    I think you are overrating Joshua; dare I say, he’s becoming as annoying as Jacob (though admittedly can sing better). But I’m tiring of the vocal gymnastics. And Melinda Doolittle – if you say that he was your favorite again, I’m going to take back the nice things I said about your recording of My Funny Valentine….

  10. tewence says:

    elise: WAY better than she was given credit for. she actually WAS on pitch (except for maybe two places, maybe?). moreover, that performance was jam packed with heart and emotion…i would rather hear that than phillip’s botched attempt at a great song, for example.
    phillip: IF YOU CAN’T HARMONIZE THIS ISN’T THE CAREER FOR YOU. PERIOD. terrible terrible terrible in the duet…he should have been embarrassed. his solo was boring, long, and painful to listen to.
    colton: i actually thought the arrangement took the emotion right out of that song. i can’t really say anything too negative about him because he is on pitch, but he is neither here nor there for me. just because he wears skinny jeans and covers other artist’s take on songs doesn’t make him original. go to nashville and find 1,000 other guys just like him.
    skylar: she did a good job although i am not sure it was worthy of all the overpraising. the verses were actually a struggle for her because they were low…although i understand they had to be or else she would have had nowhere to go for the chorus. she couldn’t support the last note for as long as she should have and probably wanted to…it was a little disappointing.
    hollie: i had high hopes for her singing that song. sadly it fell flat. (i like her, though!)
    deandre: much better song choice, although the mid-tempo choice didn’t keep me excited. however, in a few years when this kid finds his niche, he will effing blow people away. his voice is unreal.
    jessica: flawless vocals. people who think she has “an all right voice” don’t really know what they are listening to. she sounds like a seasoned performer with a voice that is far more mature than her 16 years. the performance wasn’t super exciting, but sounds genius when compared to phillip, colton, or hollie, for example. she is dependable. i don’t grimace when i hear her sing and it is easliy enjoyed.
    joshua: whether or not you prefer his style (which, might i add, he knows this isn’t church, it is the way he sings…just like phillip growls the way he growls) he has an incredible ability to deliver a captivating performance. he really does connect to songs in a way that i haven’t seen very much on american idol.

    if hollie doesn’t get the boot, i think they will save whoever does.

  11. Christie says:

    Thank you Michael for commenting on Joshua’s suit – loved it and love the way he is dressing! Really, really liked Joshua, Skyler and Jessica’s performances – like Elise but did not like her solo this week. Hollie was tough to watch – she is so talented but the dress, movement and singing was tough to watch – she was so much better in her duet with Deandre and I actually hate that “So Excited” song. Also, agree with you on Skyler – again not a song I at all like, but did like what Skyler did with it. Thanks for all your great recapping & Idology shows – very smart and entertaining!

    • nodak says:

      At least his suit fit this time.

    • Jenay says:

      My daughter was home from college for Easter break and watched the show for the first time this season. She was really surprised by Joshua’s voice because she thought he sounded (and dressed) like a grampa. But, at the end of the night she said he was one of her favorites (she does love her grampa). She can’t understand why I like P2 so much, but he really did have an off week.

  12. nodak says:

    Oh, Michael Slezak, your wit has caused me to smile again.. “Barenaked 80’s” as a title to this weeks update was very clever! I appreciate the way you turn a word.

  13. Sandi says:

    Emotional ferocity? Joshua? I couldn’t disagree more. If he had sang that song the way it should have been sang – stripped down and raw – I would feel emotion. All I feel watching that is him planning out when he’s going to show off his range. I honestly am unsure he understood one word of that song. It was just his platform for showing his vocal gymnastics (as Gwen Stefani intelligently alluded to). Being an artist is about more than just range. It’s conveying emotion and depth – two things I never seem to feel from Joshua.

    Let’s give Colton a little credit. Objectively speaking, which of those performances could you imagine being a hit on the radio today. I can only think of one. Is he the best technical singer in the competition? Probably not. But he has a solid voice and (whether we like it or not) the (loopy) judges are right that it’s about the full package. Colton has the full package. He’s believable and current. He has stage presence and can sell a song. I thought he was far and away the best performance of the night.

    Bottom 3 prediction – Elise, Hollie, and Deandre

    Going home – Hollie

    Judge’s save probably won’t be used on a guy this season. They must fight the appearance of bias. I doubt they’ll waste it on Hollie or Elise either since there’s no way either of them will win.

    • Jenay says:

      Don’t they have to use the save by a certain week? I fell like they will use it for anyone but Hollie. They need that extra week in the competition or Nigel will lose lots of $, especially since they already lost a week with Jermaine.

      • macy says:

        The save doesn’t add an extra week, since the next week two contestants go home.

        • Sandi says:

          I don’t think they’ll end a week early because of the Jermaine thing. I’m sure they’ll extend it somehow to stick to a predetermined schedule. I was thinking that they might change the rule to “After the judge’s save, only one contestant goes home the following week” to keep to the full amount of episodes.

  14. J. May says:

    Wait a darn minute, Mike! You said parenthetically that “(Of all the songs released in the ’80s, the best she could come up with was this or the done-to-death-on-singing-competitions “Hallelujah”?)”. You’ve been watching and critiquing this show for as long as it has been on. You know that last night was the fault of the producers and their inability or unwillingness to clear more songs for 80’s night. Maybe a couple of the yung ‘uns were clueless about the 80’s, but I’m willing to bet all the cash I have on me right now that Elise (and everybody else, for that matter) was pigeonholed and unable to choose anything of consequence. There was no MJ at all. There was no U2 at all. There was no Springsteen. No Janet Jackson. No Madonna. Nothing. End of rant.

    • EW says:

      The little snippet of “Hallelujah” Elise managed to squeeze out sounded like she had planned to put her own spin on it, make it rawer and maybe closer to Cohen’s intent than the often bland treatments we’ve heard of it on Idol over the years. It’s a gritty song with some depth, and I think she would have been more likely to tap into those depths than a teenager backed by a choir. I think Iovine may have been thinking he didn’t want to hear that song again, and steered her wrong; he and other mentors have done this before.

      But I really think they threw Elise under the bus with the arrangement. One of her grace techniques is to sing a bluesy undertone, and then to bring it up to pitch. Backing her with singers who mostly drowned her out covered the on-pitch parts. I don’t know if the mix was different in the venue, but her voice was way too far down in the mix for broadcast; at times, she sounded more like a part ot the chorus than the lead singer. This was made worse by the voicing of the chorus, which tended to cover the notes she was singing instead of enhancing them. She would have done better to disband with the chorus, and let her own vocals take chage of the tune.

  15. Sue says:

    Thank you for not fangirling over Phillip like it seems everyone else does. I don’t get the appeal. I have never really liked his growl-y, yelp-y, howl thing people call singing. Is it cuz he’s cute? I agree with the “D” and I kinda think he’s just coasting on his looks. Too bad Elise didn’t do well with her solo, but she’s still my favorite.

    • Carolyn says:

      I agree about the singing, but I don’t get the looks part either. I wouldn’t even notice him if I passed him on the street.

  16. em says:

    There are actually a lot of decent 80s songs, and to choose the same, uninspired song choices always boggles my mind (This is really directed to Elise, but half the songs were just blah). I don’t usually like Jessica, but I did enjoy her solo last night, especially when I started comparing her to Hollie. I really like “That’s All” and I thought that Phillip’s voice didn’t quite work with it, but I definitely wouldn’t consider it an entire grade below Elise and Hollie and the worst performance of the night. I like Deandre well enough and I think Elise has more to offer, so I hope Hollie gets the boot. Her voice is technically great, but I can’t seem to connect with her and Jessica is basically running circles around her in uptempo numbers.

  17. Realist says:

    Joshua took a sledgehammer to “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” and beat it senseless. Enough grandstanding, already!

    Jessica is a gifted mimic. Whether she’ll ever be an authentic artist is unclear, but Gwen Stefani was right about her lounge act moves.

    I thought Hollie was great in her duet with DeAndre, but decidedly off with “What a Feeling.”

    Sadly, Elise was a disappointment this week.

    As for Skylar, no thanks.

    • Sandi says:

      Jessica is 16 years old. She probably believed in Santa Claus up until about 3 or 4 years ago. I think that, given some time, her stage presence will develop. Her voice, however, is already there.

      • NedPepper says:

        It means she’s got some growing to do in the next few weeks. She’s talented. But she’s a mimic. She needs to own a song on her own merit. She’s talented, but she’s got a lot of growing to do.

  18. Lana says:

    He only put Skylar ahead of Jessica and he was right. If anyone thought Joshua sounded like a cat being casterated then (1) you don’t know soul at all and (2) you have never heard a cat being casterated. Joshua was great and I know I should want him to change it up but he is soo good with those songs that require feeling. I wasn’t happy with the way Elisie was judged, may not have been as good as last week or other times but I still enjoyed her but not crazy about the hair to the side. Also I loved Colton this week and like the blonde more than the skunk stripe. In fact I enjoyed last night’s show and I imagine I will continue doing so as I love all who are left. I do believe Hollie should go this time as she is not growing, I’m sorry but she has failed to impress for several weeks now. I like Phillip even if it wasn’t his best. I do question what the judges are hearing but I do feel the standing O’s this time were well deserved. Oh and I love DeAndre’s voice, all of it, so I thought he sang fine!! I’m in my fifties but I love the hair, of course that could be because I am in my fifties!! By the way Michael, I have been trying to defend Randy by continuely saying “He’s not so bad” but you have finally won me over and last night there was no redeeming qualities that I can defend. You are hilarious when describing him and the judges. I cracked up when Stephen said the 80’s had nothing but bad music and then admitted that he really didn’t remember it that well. I have his book and I really need to read it

  19. Alleyflowers says:

    How was the Penn Badgley look-a-like guitarist not mentioned in this recap?

    Am I crazy or did anyone else notice this? Even my husband thought so and then was immediately ashamed that I’ve forced him to know who Penn Badgley/Humphrey is!

  20. William says:

    I’m bored of Colton and Elise – they’re both good singers, I just never enjoy their performances for some reason (except Elise’s Zeppelin song, which was stellar). Jessica and Skylar are my faves every week though I wish Jimmy hadn’t talked Skylar out of singing 9 to 5 in favour of what is probably my least favourite song of all time.

    Also, anyone else notice the unfortunate upskirt camera shot of the girl sitting next to Deandre during the opening of his performance? This is supposed to be a family show!

  21. Leigha says:

    Phillip was not the worst. Holly or Elise took that spot even though I am a fan of Elise’s. Not a fan of over the top singing like Joshua. They stood up for that? Simply Red’s cover sound’s nothing like that screeching that came out of Joshua’s mouth. Yikes.

    • TopCat says:

      Who said Joshua’s rendtion of Simply Red’s “If you don’t know me by now” was suppose to sound like theirs?? It’s called making a song “your own”, and he certainly did that. He was, by far, the best last night-with both his solo and duet performances.

  22. Ben says:

    What bothers me is that I feel like every contestant, regardless of their primary genre, is forced to sing country at some point, but the country artists are more catered to. Although it wasn’t terrible, why did Colton have to sing in a country duet with a country artist, when he’s not a country artist himself? The same thing happened last season with Haley and Lauren dueting on “Gunpowder and Lead”.

  23. Lois Benton says:

    This show needs to change its rules. NOONE should be on this show before 18 years old. SIngers need time to mature. Jessica is great, but imitates other artists and it’s going to cost her. Deandre is fabulous, but needs a little more time to ripen. Because, face it, even with a great and mature singer like Elise, the “mentoring”, narrow song selection and her lack of control over the band hurts her performances at least some of the time. Jessica and Deandre need real, non-biased guidance and time to grow. And the cut-off age should be 25, because noone older than that has much of a shot with the voters, so for a proper “competition” let the contestants have a little more of an equal standing with the voters. As for last night, Phillip was far and away the worst of the night, terrible and off-key from beginning to end, as you say (thank you!). I like Phillip’s voice; I think he’s better musically than David Cook, Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze (never mind Scotty MCreery), but I’m sick of the not-the-best-in-the-competition-by-a-longshot white guy winning the last several years (ever since I started watching; maybe I should stop). Anyway, Phillip was bad last night, even if his performance wasn’t as bad as the worst AI performance given by the aforementioned white guy trio. And I say this liking Phillip personally, from what I’ve seen on the show, and thinking I might buy his records. Holly and Elise weren’t great, but I like them both a lot. And Michael, Michael. What’s up with the Bambi-killer love? She was okay. That’s all. Okay. A little screechy in the top notes. My bottom three ain’t gonna happen; the producers, for reasons unknown to any reasonable person, have made sure of it: Phillip, Colton and Skylar, with Phillip going home.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      While I agree with your comment about raising the minimum age, I disagree with lowering the maximim age. As an older voter, I want the minimum to go back up to 30, like it did in the fifth season. If it were lowered to 25, I’d stop watching entirely and I purposely would not buy any music from Idol contestants from those years and I’d probably stop buying from those contestants that are already releasing things. That’s one thing that I admire about the Voice – and to an extent America’s Got Talent. They audition and have contestants that are above the 30.

      • macy says:

        I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure the maximum age was never 30. I know the first few seasons it was 25 and then went up to 28 and has stayed there, but I don’t believe it ever was 30.

        • Snsetblaze says:

          I believe it went up to 30 or 29 for Taylor Hick’s year. I vaguely remember reading that. They were experimenting. I think Taylor was 29 at the time and turned 30 during the show.

      • Lois Benton says:

        Well, I agree that 30 is theoretically a good age limit, but on American Idol anyone over 25 is the first to go, so they become “cannon fodder.” And there is The Voice and America’s Got Talent for older contestants.

    • tewence says:

      my bottom three as well!! bye phillip! over it.

  24. Michael C. says:

    Well, I hope we can all agree that if Hollie or Elise goes, it was because they gave weak performances, not because they were female. (Slezak, get off the “Y chromosone” jokes. Please.) I also don’t understand this brickbats at Colton–I happen to think he’s an amazing singer. (If one who desperately needs to eat a sandwich.) Agree that Joshua’s screeching isn’t art, and I don’t get the constant hype about it… I’d turn my radio dial if that wailing came on. And yes yes yes–let’s retire the gospel choirs, please! Chees-a-rama!

    • Julie Taylor says:

      while I agree they both gave weak performances, I do think if Elise went home , it’d be solely because she’s female. She’s built up a solid resume on the show so far, especially the last 3 weeks, and had this one misstep. Someone like Phillip, who was horrible last night, is probably in no way shape or form in danger of even being in the bottom 3 (let alone leaving) because he’s a guy. Guys are allowed missteps on American Idol. Girls are not. Elise has been in the bottom 3 twice, DeAndre only once…. I mean, come on.

      (But I do think this argument pertains to Hollie. She’s been slipping fast and it’s not because of her gender)

    • Faz says:

      Seriously — how is Colton an amazing singer? By what standard? He doesn’t sound good, he misses many notes, and he has awful stage presence.

  25. brent hand says:

    Was it just me or did anyone else notice that Phillip (especially in his duet performace) appeared to be doing a bad Bill Cosby impersonation throughout the evening?

  26. buffy522 says:

    I so want to like Joshua. Love his singing. And his looks and clothes are fine. But when you do go for the AI “package” he is showing zero personality. Age 19 and no love experience? He’s gonna have to make a big decision very soon about what he will share with the public.

    I love Elise, but the judges threw her under the bus without a second thought. I think Skylar (although I will not be listening to country) and Jessica have the best shot at a current and successful music career. DeAndre is cute and has potential, but sounds terrible to me during at least half of every song.

    • Gorm says:

      Good call. That love experience line was so inauthentic. I imagine the life of a gospel singer that has a walk in closet full of sized-down clothing must constantly be up against their own cognitive dissonance, so I can forgive the white lies.

    • MellyMel says:

      Judgmental much? I didn’t have my first love experience until I was almost 20, and completely pales in comparison to the one I am having now. 19 is damn young.

  27. Forwarddad says:

    I am so over Elise and her stank attitude. She sings the same way every week and she only is in a good mood when she gets good critiques. Grow up girl! I really think P2 is not well. He looked really drawn and big black circles under his eyes. Look I know he likes to be a dedicated musician but dude take some of Tommy H advice and dress just a Little better. He looked like an unmade bed. I absolutely hate the way Colton makes eye contact with the camera. It is so disturbing I can’t focus on his singing. I thought he was just ok. I thought the on purpose nasal inflection in his tone was another ripoff to Green Day? Skylar good – not SO good though IMHO. Loved Joshua but agree he needs to shake up song choice. Can’t wait for next weeks theme -.-

    • MamaLis says:

      So somebody else saw the bad attitude! I totally agree with you. And I actually like Elise as a singer. A lot. But she had a major ‘pout’ going the rest of the night. Really bad. I also was wondering if anyone else heard that weird nasal thing with Colton. What is that??? ALSO agree with you on P2. I thought it was funny on his song… when he had to do the tender bridge he was totally disconnected. As soon as it was time to beat the song up again – bam! That’s like all he knows how to do.

    • tewence says:

      i actually think she is more misunderstood than bad attitude. also, when somebody puts as much heart into a performance as she did last night, it hurts a little to hear bad critique. she is human. and i can’t help but noticed that her eyes are down-turned naturally, which can sometimes make somebody seem like they have a constant attitude.

    • Erica says:

      She does not have an attitude in my opinion. Her face is just like that. Just like Jessica’s voice is like Beyonce’s. Do not get why people have problems with the “natural qualities” of the finalists.

      • MamaLis says:

        I don’t have a problem with natural qualities. I get that. But I’m also very perspicacious. You can’t tell me there’s not a difference between ‘upbeat’ Elise and ‘mopey’ Elise. There is. Many of the contestants have received harsh reviews but I don’t recall any of them displaying the gut-punched, I’m-gonna-be-sad-all-night face of Elise. Again, I am saying that as a FAN of hers. Just hope she didn’t blow it.

  28. nodekirk says:

    I know I’m beating a dead horse but, every week I imagine Joshua in a Dreamgirls revival as Jimmy Early. I don’t know where he got the depth, but I ain’t gonna argue with that soul. Now however, I am going to turn the other cheek and watch Idology.

  29. Justin says:

    An A for Skylar for a flat, monotone and nasal first half and a screeching second half?? Stop drinking the producers kool aid.

    • Lois Benton says:

      Here, here.

    • FreeHaley says:


      Has she cast some diabolical spell on Mr. Slezak? I don’t get it. I don’t get it at all. OK he can love her last 15 seconds perhaps but the first 2 minutes????????

    • RandomBlahBlah says:

      Skylar like everyone else in the competition can sing. She’s got an axe to grind with herself and no one else by declaring herself a full blown country gal. She can’t pull a Carrie cause that girls a legend, can’t pull a Scotty cause she lacks the suave and the cheekiness to wow the crowd.

      Basking in the limelight with a Bette Middler classic was painstakingly risky because she lost weeks to Jessica and let me include Hollie who have been praised to have phenomenal vocal range weeks ago. She could’ve pulled that earlier to gain extra fan base but what’s done is done.

      My take on her performance is simple. It wasn’t great. I listened to it over and over again but in terms of pitch, tone and overall delivery it couldn’t justify all the praise and hype it received. This is just how I would gauge her performance: Screechy and borderline karaoke. Far from Bette Middler’s interpretation which was undeniably classy and genuinely hers. You take on a song that has made a niche in music history, you gotta bring something more palatable, more flavorful and the most important, memorable. Had she performed 3rd or 4th that night, America would have forgotten it long before Ryan Seacrest declares the lines open.

      As per her wardrobe, let’s just say Tommy Hilfiger needs more time with the AI Stylist to pour gasoline and zippo down the entire green room with a more up to date and figure-age complimenting wardrobe. And you may want to throw in a vocal coach that can encourage Skylar’s facial expression to look more becoming and not plop worthy.

      She’ll still be great way after AI and after a nose tuck, jaw trimming, lighter hair color and simpler accessories. My pet parrot would be delighted to have all the loop earrings.

  30. Razz says:

    It’s scary how much I’m agreeing with Randy this season.

    Hangs head in shame…..

  31. TC says:

    Not sure what Slaezak was listening to by giving Skylar an “A” last night. She was off pitch for most of the song and only killed it in the last 10 seconds. I was shocked she got the “pimp” spot and more shocked the judges gave her a standing ovation. I was starting to think something was wrong with my TV’s sound system.

    • MamaLis says:

      I think maybe something was wrong with your tv sound system. Just sayin’…….

    • Lois Benton says:

      She went off-key a bit in the runs. It wasn’t your TV.

    • Yo' says:

      That song starts very slow, even for Bette MIdler – and I know, because I listened to it a few days ago. The weak beginning is more the song’s than Skylar’s. I liked her duet from the get-go and her performance was gravy – she takes those notes reeal easy. She has quite a voice, which always surprises me.

    • My Alter Ego says:

      This is not complicated. She got the pimp spot this week because she was one of the bottom 3 last week, and it scared TPTB who want her around longer.

    • chamber says:

      It was decent but not standng-o worthy

  32. MamaLis says:

    I agree with the recap. I find Joshua very moving & exciting to listen to. Also a fan Elise; I actually get on my computer and vote to keep her in. Which is why last night I was VERY disappointed at the major she did the entire rest of the night after her song. Did anyone else notice that? She couldn’t even hold her head straight. Carried the attitude through even when they were giving her kudos on the duet. She was like sad-face “oh, okay.. thaaanks.” Not cool! If she makes it through – and I surely hope she does – she’s GOT to loose the sad-me attitude.

  33. RD says:

    Once again,for me,Joshua knocked it out of the park.And the duet with Jessica was pure class-not bad for a 16 and a 19 year-old. Elise’s song was horrible and she was obviously uncomfortable with it. Deandre was ok, but hardly relevant for today,and that’s the problem-he makes everything sound dated.Phillip chose an awful song and sang it badly.I’m beginning to wonder if he can do soft and tender at all,because he hasn’t tried it once yet,and the strained growl is getting very old,(particularly when it’s not even an in-tune growl). Jessica oozed confidence-okay,she doesn’t really take risks yet,but she’s only 16 -imagine what she could be capable of in a few years,(and this show is supposed to be based on potential and longevity,isn’t it?).Colton took a wonderful song and bland-popped it out.If he’d done it solo with the piano he would have probably got a standing O.Skylar showed a more sensitive side and some control,which she hasn’t really tried before,and it really paid off. Hollie took an up-tempo song and still managed to put the dreary ballad in it at the beginning.She’s stiff as a board and doesn’t really seem to have learnt anything,which is sad.I imagine she’ll be going home,although I wouldn’t be surprised if it would be Elise,either.
    I generally loved the duets,though.

  34. Laura says:

    IMHO, the only reason DeAndre hasn’t been sent home weeks ago is because his curly locks appeal to the young teenaged girls who vote with a speed dial button. Every week he remains is a puzzle to me…

    That being said, I don’t know, in the past two or three seasons (since Kris Allen’s time), when I’ve heard a song I really wanted to download, and that’s such a shame. I still enjoy watching, but no one is a real stand out. I definitely think it would help if the producers got a new song list!!

    • Lois Benton says:

      Young girls are voting for Colton and Phillip. DeAndre is around because his lower register is amazing and his falsetto is excellent–and he has charisma (the “X-Factor”, if you will). The “whole package” the producers and mentors obnoxiously refer too is his voice and his charisma and personality which does comes out when he’s singing. But American Idol voters in general (and me, in particular, only want to hear falsetto as a spice, not the main course. The overuse of falsetto in his 1.5 minutes to compete and the young girls voting for Colton and Phillip, rather than DeAndre, is why he’s at risk. I think DeAndre will get a good shot in the music business even if he leaves tonight.

    • MusicFan says:

      I disagree that the only reason DeAndre hasn’t been sent home is due to the hair appealing to teenaged girls power voting. If you don’t like his voice that is fine, but to narrow it down to his hair? He has shown improvement and adaption to advice. Also DeAndre has a very large fan base of non-teens who ‘power’ vote. Besides don’t you think all the contestants have teens who power vote? At the end of the day if you want them to win, you’re in their camp, you want to help that person realize their dream, you will do whatever you can. He has folks lobbying for him outside of twitter and facebook all over the US everyday he’s in this rush to the finale (as I’m sure other AI contestants do). They believe in his gift and that gasp, he’s a good kid (kind of works well with American Idol).

      If you want your Idol to win, then step it up and lobby them to the public. Have fun with this contest! You never know when YOU will make a difference. Go to work for your favorite Idol.

      • Jillian says:

        Go to work for your favorite Idol? Really? Maybe vote a few times, but otherwise, remember that this is a manipulated TV show, do better things with your time, and support the people after the show.

    • Sookie says:

      His little looks to the camera are what bugs me. He reminds me of an annoying child who constantly mugs for the camera. “hey mom and dad, do you think this is cute? huh huh huh”

  35. Tom says:

    Im sorry but Joshua and Phillip are like voice boxes… plug any song in and it comes out the same way … Joshua needs to have a sublte performance both vocally and with the tortured facial expressions… then I could like him …

    Jesscia is my fav, but she may be a little to young for this competition in terms of having her own personality in the music … With that being said she has a gift that is rare and can be a monster performer someday … and dont think that Jimmy I doesnt see this …no matter what happens in this compitition she is a lock for a contract. Hopefully it is a developing artist contract where they dont give her warmed over crap to sing, which she will sing fantastically anyway … she also has tremendous confidence and a great sense of style …

  36. erinkmuller says:

    Psst….Michael, you’re missing an “of” in the first sentence of your Phillip paragraph.

  37. Nate says:

    Personally, I thought it was a pretty flat week for all of the contestants (this is the kind of week that really makes me miss Simon!) and here are my brief comments on each:

    Deandre–standard (he’ll do anything with a falsetto)
    Elise–underrated (I thought that she did just fine and hope that she survives another week)
    Phillip–strained (he sounded out of his comfort zone the whole time and I also didn’t understand a word his brother said)
    Joshua–expected (one of these weeks, I’d like to see him do more than shriek out a song, but he probably won’t without any criticism)
    Jessica–painful (I had to go back and listen to the Houston original just to hear what it should sound like in key)
    Hollie–immature (every week she seems not to get that she cannot handle these big songs and I really hope she goes home tonight)
    Colton–welcome (finally somebody doing an 80s song down tempo, which makes him stand out in a very good way)
    Skylar–comfortable (she’s country and she knows it, which always helps such contestants coast further than they should, so singing the Bob Montgomery/Roger Whittaker/Gary Morris countrified version of the son later made famous by Bette Midler was a shrewd move).

    Bottom three will probably be Hollie, Elise, and Jessica/Joshua (I’m guessing Jessica), with Hollie and Elise on stage before Hollie is sent packing with no save.

  38. Matt says:

    Hes not my favorite but I fear Colton might be this years Idol cuz the girls like him so much….Lets hope the judges don’t waste their save tonight but they might

    • Erica says:

      And he has the Bible belt vote. My Twitter radar noticed a lot of Colton voters saying they voted for the guy.

  39. Ravendeb says:

    Does anyone else notice the pimping by the judges of Joshua and Jessica? I am already getting the feeling that they are doing the same thing as last year with Scotty & Lauren. This show continues to be all about the judges instead of the contestants. I think that all the contestants are really good this year, so I want good truthful critiques. Simon is really missed on this show. At least he would judge each performance honestly. I don’t really have a clear favorite as in seasons past, but I find myself voting for Elise because she seems to get the shaft by the judges every week. The other thing that is annoying is that Jessica acts like she has already won this contest.

    • Erica says:

      How does she act that way? Just because she is comfortable on stage?

      And yes I do notice the pimping because probably it won’t happen. This is American Idol after all. Colton and Philip will be the top 2. Alternate would be Colton and Skylar.

    • Leila says:

      Both of them have deserved praise every week, unlike Scotty and Lauren.

  40. Leila says:

    Joshua was my favorite from the moment he sang Jar of Hearts on Hollywood Week. He hasn’t disappointed. I hope he has a stellar career regardless of what happens on Idol.

    • HudsonRiverside says:

      Joshua’s ‘Jar of Hearts’ cover is my favorite out of all the songs he’s sung. I hope they let him record that.

  41. karenb says:

    Slezak, most of the time we agree so much that I am led to believe that we were separated at birth. But not this time! Seriously-Phillip was a D? No way! And below Hollie? Well, that’s just “blasphemy” as you would say! I would have given him a solid B.

  42. NedPepper says:

    Okay, Colton fans. What makes him great? I just don’t see it. (For people dissing the Voice….they wouldn’t have even turned around for his weak, affected voice.) Educate me.

  43. blingedup says:

    I do not enjoy ballads. I have never picked a ballad performance as a favorite performance of the night. I always prefer uptempo, soulful, rock — anything other than ballads.

    But, OH MY LORD, Skylar brought tears to my eyes. When I heard she was doing Wind Beneath My Wings, I was really disappointed. I was barely paying attention when she started and then OMG — she captured my attention wholehearedly. I have never enjoyed a ballad as much. She made me believe that she felt every word of what she was singing.

    Am I actually rooting for two women this season? Yep, Elise and Skylar.

    I’m rooting for two women and I got teary at a ballad performance. What’s happening????!

  44. Tim says:

    I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that a mediocre Phillip or Colton is going to win, given the history of this show. Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy Jessica, Elise, Hollie, and DeAndre while they last. Skylar’s and Joshua’s styles just don’t appeal to me, so I don’t care one way or the other about them.

  45. MK says:

    First of all Michael, you cracked me up with your analysis of Randy Jackson. My how you have him pegged. I’m also glad someone else saw what I saw…or rather heard, regarding Phil Phillips. Last night he was terrible. It’s not enough that I can’t stand that song, but he was flat the entire song. I’m also tired of the vein popping interpretations. I’m thinking Phil is a one trick pony and doesn’t have a clue how to be creative in his singing or his arrangements. I’m not sure why they pimp him so much.

    Elise…poor Elise. Why would anyone in their right mind listen to Jimmy Iovine? The guy hasn’t been correct or even astute the whole season so far. While I don’t think anyone on Idol other than Jason Castro has every owned “Hallelujah”, that might have been a better choice. As far as the “best song ever written”…um…I’d make a list but there’s not enough time, but it’s not this song.

    I’m glad DeAndre does not listen to Jimmy. TBH, I think that when Jimmy doesn’t want to sign someone, he makes sure to make them look bad. He’s Simon Cowell, the Sequel. A Horror Story. Anyway you slice it. At 17, DeAndre has a better sense of music than Jimmy.

    I thought the beginning of Skyler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” was beautiful. I myself was prepared to give her a standing O. BUT..why was it necessary to go so big at the end? The song is a tender love song to a dying best friend…I think she would have been better off to keep it soft at the end. She’s one of the ones…and I’ll get to the other…who always feels the need to end big. I get bored with singers who always feel the end needs a loud big voice or a scream at the end.

    Which leads me to Joshua. Talented yes. Gospel great, yes. However…it seems that unless he goes into his gospel routine he flounders. So that concerns me. After a while we need to see something else. I don’t need to throw up my hands and say “hallelujah” every time he performs.

    Colton: I think Colton is one of the few who always comes out with a different arrangement and I admire him for fessing up that the arrangement wasn’t his. In my book, Colton is a “mensch”. I like him.

    Holly just doesn’t get what she needs to do. Great voice. Maybe she should talk to Kristen Chenowith. They’re one and the same. Too much. Maybe it’s because they’re both petite. Nothing wrong with that as I am very small myself. But…both over compensate with their singing. I guess the tiny ones need to be heard. I don’t really know as I’m not Dr. Phil.

    Jessica…great voice but I’m bored already with her. She’s another one trick pony in my book.

    Bottom 3 should be: Elise, Phillip and Holly with Holly leaving.
    Bottom 3 may be: Elise, Holly and Jessica with Holly leaving. OR Elise, Holly and DeAndre (although I rather it be Phillip or Jessica) again with Holly leaving.

  46. C says:

    Deandre – J. Lo’s reactions to this guy are getting downright creepy. I didn’t think the song itself was anything to get excited about, but at least he stayed on pitch and didn’t overuse the falsetto till near the end.
    Elise – I really don’t like her voice. It was perfect for a rock-out like last week, but it’s not good for much else. I’m REALLY glad she didn’t rasp out “Hallelujah”.
    Phillip – Pitch problems and a totally constipated sound. It’s time for this guy to go, but I know he won’t.
    Joshua – Another who has stayed too long. The beginning was okay; but, as usual, the ending was a hysterical, over the top, non-musical mess that Simon would call “self-indulgent”. Loud with a lot of silly vocal tricks does NOT equal good.
    Jessica – This was the first time I felt like she connected at all with her lyrics because it was a perky bubble-gum song suited to a 16 year old girl, but she still leaves me cold, personally.
    Hollie – At first I thought this was a perfect song choice, but she still seemed stiff and wooden. I didn’t detect all the pitch problems that everyone else talked about, but I do think she will go home tonight. The judges have done her NO favors; they seem to tear her apart every week while giving others a pass.
    Colton – He has the most pleasant, normal marketable tone of all the guys that are left. Ht doesn’t depend on screaming or vocal acrobatic tricks. I hope he goes far because the other guys totally leave me cold.
    Skylar – I know I’m in a huge minority here, but this girl’s tinny twang didn’t fit this song. She is definitely not in the same class as Jessica OR Hollie.

    In general, while I think this year’s contestants are the best vocally pure for several years, none of them seem to have much versatility. They have to be in their particular niches to do well. There’s no one here like an Adam, who could do “Whole Lotta Love” and “Mad World” equally well. Phillip and Elise have to rock; Jessica and Hollie have to do ballads; Skylar has to do country. Joshua follows the same pattern in every song he sings. Colton and (God help me!) Deandre are the only ones I can imagine performing equally well in different genres.

    I enjoyed all the duets. I think the voices were paired perfectly. I had a little problem with two 17 year olds (Deandre and Hollie) singing about “wrap myself around you”, but that’s show biz! :-)

    • Sookie says:

      Self Indulgent! Yes! I have been saying this for weeks (to my dog mostly because no one else in my family watches with me or listens to me as politely either). Anyway, Simon would have definitley not let Joshua get away with singing the same song every week with the same gospel choir and the same facial expressions.

  47. Elaine says:

    Elise – When that woman is on, she is pure joy to my ears. Like she was singing in the duet, unfortunately, definitely not “on” for the solo song.

    Phillip – I liked him initially, but the last couple of weeks he’s becoming harder to listen to …. all the songs are just blending together for me …… I also want to hear him sing a song where he’s not straining so much. He was very pitchy this week. And in the duet, the part Randy praised so much was the distracting part for me. It was out in left field and didn’t feel at all like it belonged in a duet. And I kept waiting for his head to explode. (NOTE to Phillip:
    being an “artist” and making a song your own is a beautiful thing……….but a true artist knows when to maintain enough of the melody so it’s at least recognizable.) He is the opposite of Jessica.

    Jessica – Her voice is the best musical instrument on AI this season. For me, she doesn’t connect with the songs. With Phillip some songs are almost unrecognizable, but with Jessica, I find them karaoke. No noticeable deviation from the original and that is disappointing. This is also something that life experience will help her with down the road.

    Joshua – There is no one who does what he does as good as what he does. Mindblowing.
    But………… I’ve pretty much had enough of these songs. I want to hear him sing uptempo. I want to hear a song where he doesn’t scream (yes… shades of Jacob…. now that’s bad when a singer calls up the ghost of Jacob in my mind). I need variety Jacob and you should be able to deliver!

    Deandre – Falsetto: a wonderful thing when done in moderation. An absolutely angelic thing when done in moderation. D is also someone who isn’t connecting emotionally with the lyrics (is there a pattern here……. young = not connecting with the lyrics? hmmmmmm)
    Think he has one more week in him.

    Hollie – Great voice but *See Deandre comments [without the falsetto]*

    Skylar – Fun to watch perform that country rock singing she does. Love her enthusiasm. Last night…………. man, did she show a different side to her (you paying attention Joshua, Phillip?) Had no idea she was capable of that… and in spite of Joshua’s performance being so fantastic… well, I’ve seen it week after week in the same old way……… but Skylar…… this was a whole new side of her and it was A-mazing. Performance of the night for me.

    Colton – Small song choice. Did it fantastically. He never blows my mind performance wise, but he’s always easy on the ears. I think his CD’s would do well.

    Bottom 3 should be: Phillip, Hollie, Elise
    Bottom 3 will be: Hollie, Elise and Deandre (just because I can’t imagine for one minute that
    Phillip’s fans would stop voting for him no matter what he does)
    Going home: Hollie

  48. Laura says:

    I know the 80s wasn’t the best time for pop music–but last night TPTB managed to have the contestants sing some of the worst songs of the decade. It was a total crap fest except for the Tom Petty and Cyndi L song. I would rather have a root canal than ever hear Islands in the Stream,Wind Beneath my Wings or I don’t Want to Know What Love Is -etc (every other song last night) again. Damn–that is some horrible music.

    I had to FF thru some of the songs because I hate them so much. I think Phillip kind of deserves to go after last night. That was really bad. I don’t think he ever found the key he was supposed to be singing in throughout the song. (Michael–you used to be all over Casey Abrams for growling a little in a song. At least Casey sang different styles of music and didn’t do the same freakin performance every week)

    Hollie had some issues too. Wrong song and she needs to be doing Disney Princess type stuff at this point. She has no flavor to her singing or stage presence.

    I don’t think Elise was as bad as they said. Hell, she was brilliant next to Phillip solo. The guys slide by. Did like their Petty duet though.

    I thought every one else was only fair–except for Jessica. She sang well. I guess she was my fave solo of the night. Even tho I never want to hear that song again either

  49. WhoSaidThat says:

    I applaud each of them for pursuing their dream and listening to all the criticism and love. It takes a tremendous person to put themselves out there on TV and not be traumatized, no matter the age (but kudo’s to those youngin’s). Fine individuals they are for even being able to sift through it all, improve, and grow. We’ve all been challenged at some point in our life by criticism and I am thankful there is such color in the music world otherwise it’d be a dull and cold place. You may not like every flavor in the shop but does that make them bad, inexcusable? Really? Notably there are bad performances but there is always room to grow. Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you miss the boat – tis life.

    I don’t always think the judges are always right but does that make them less creditable? I think not. Can they be annoying? Yes. Did they follow their dream? Yes. Were they successful? Yes. Are they still? Yes.

    If the show were as rigged by bias and power voting or by any of the other proclamations I read through every week, don’t you think after 11 seasons it would be exposed by now? All this evil?

    Short of having darts thrown at the computer screen I’d like to mention that The Voice gives you 12 hours to vote as much as you want with so many avenues its kind of exhausting. So what … do all the teenage girls stay up all night power voting? Come on…. I think folks of all ages will do it, if they want their favorite to win.

    I thought DeAndre, Skylar and Joshua were the best performances of the night. Jessica, Colton, and Elise second to that and Hollie and Phillip coming in behind them all. Does that make them bad singers? No. Does that mean they aren’t extremely talented? No.

    I think the judges will use their save when they get good and ready (or maybe they won’t use it at all). Whoever that person might be is very lucky and deserves applause because they have someone helping put a spot light on their gift. I think regardless of who goes home tonight, these 8 contestants have a future in music whether or not Jimmy is footing the bill. I saw quite a few music executives in the audience last night.

  50. Yo' says:

    Joshua is easily the best singer in this contest. I don’t know if he will win, but he is simply amazing. Get that man a contract! STAT!