American Idol Top 6 Performance Recap: They'll Keep on Fighting Till the End

Dubious claims dropped faster and more frequently during American Idol‘s Top 6 performance show than J.Lo’s legendary backside in her latest music video. Phillip Phillips kidded that the U.S. government is running tests to make Jessica Sanchez’s voice even more poweful. Skylar is a “thick-boned” girl, noted Hollie (who’s been in this country — and in front of the Idol judges — long enough that she really ought to know the term “thick-skinned.”) And Randy Jackson claimed to have invented the word “ginormous right there at the judges’ table. (I know I’ve been suggesting for years that we pitch in and buy the Dawg a thesaurus, but now it’s clear we’re going to have to go full throttle and purchase a dictionary and a subscription to Weekly Reader, too.)

American Idol: 10 Dream Theme Nights!

Still, in the midst of all the foolery and half-truths, one statement — also from Mr. Jackson — stood out for its genuine truthiness: Each and every member of the Season 11 Top 6 is “ready to jump on the charts” right this very minute. Sure, we can quibble over the commercial viability of their song choices, or whether they’re “current” enough to find a place on airwaves dominated by neon-clad cavepeople and that chick with a dollar-sign in her name who Tweets pictures of herself urinating in the street. But after a half-dozen terrific covers of Queen’s greatest hits, followed by a solid round of “Contestants’ Choices,” there’s no denying Idol‘s latest crop of contenders are a seriously stellar sextet. Let Jimmy Iovine sign ‘em all, and get the revolution underway, yes? (Ke$ha can get a job as one of their roadies!)

Still, in the words of Skylar Laine, the show must go on, so let’s get down to the business of discussing the night’s 12 solo performances. (That Queen medley featuring Brian May and Roger Taylor was a lot of fun, too, even if it revealed Elise and Skylar as the true rock royalty of Season 11, and gave me my first flash of an all-female Final 2 that I could definitely support.)

QUEEN SONGS
Jessica Sanchez: “Bohemian Rhapsody” If I had to rank every Idol finalist over 11 seasons in order from most-likely to least-likely to utter the words “Mama, I just killed a man” in real life, Jessica would undoubtedly wind up in the Bottom 3. But once she opened her mouth and began to sing Queen’s epic anthem, it didn’t matter that her pixie form and meek smile lacked the inherent danger of a Bo Bice or an Adam Lambert or a Skylar “Diamond-Studded Pistol” Laine, or that she might not have the physical strength in her thumb and forefinger to successfully pull an actual trigger. Jessica perfectly captured the mournful, haunting quality of the verses, while successfully transitioning into and out of the cacophonous fury of the uptempo bridge. “Bohemian Rhapsody” really isn’t a song that should be condensed to 90 seconds, but to me, this was a moment where Jessica stopped perfectly coloring within the lines, and gave us a glimpse of an original artist she might someday become. And unlike J.Lo, I don’t think she needed run around or whip her hair back and forth to accomplish it. (We’ve already got Willow Smith for that brand of addictive ridiculata.)

Skylar Laine: “The Show Must Go On” I’ll admit it: I’ve been completely under the spell of Skylar’s voice for several weeks now. But even so, I don’t think I could’ve predicted the awe-inspiring power and passion she brought to Queen’s most haunting composition. As J.Lo correctly noted, Skylar has a way of “really articulating every part of the song,” and indeed, as the Mississippi teenager got to the line “Inside my heart is breaking, my makeup may be flaking, but my smile still stays on,” she managed to infuse it with a world-weariness and drama that defied her tender age. And just as impressive as the emotion she brought to the song was the way Skylar’s vocal rose and rose and rose with the exceedingly difficult melody. I found myself holding my breath — fearful Skylar would lose control of the steering, veer right off the edge of the cliff, as she sped toward that treacherous final series of glory notes — but nope, she made every hairpin turn without the slightest difficulty. I’ve listened to this performance 10 or 11 times now, and I still can’t think of anything else in Season 11 that can trump it.

Joshua Ledet: “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” Joshua may have built his reputation as Idol‘s Gospel-inspired balladeer, but to me, his best performances are the ones where he sheds his choir robe and gets down with the git-down. From the old-fashioned microphone to the black jacket with leather lapels, Joshua embodied the swing and the jive of the lyrics, strutting the stage with a secular swagger, bending his knees with the rhythm, and eventually losing his damn mind (in the best possible way) over what is indeed a crazy little thing called love. The way Joshua played with the outer boundaries of his vocals — the flirty swoop on “cool cool sweat,” the gutteral growl on “take a long ride on my motorbike” — might have seemed like wretched excess if he hadn’t done it with such consummate casualness. Dude is unstudied to the point where it’s like an outside entity takes over his body and voice — and all you can do is sit back, nod your head, and let that same spirit raise your Gospel hand for you. Amen!

Elise Testone: “I Want It All” Who needed the infographics backdrop spelling out the words “I Want It All” when we had Elise’s sultry vocals delivering the message in such sublime fashion? Indeed, the rocker chick who looked like a front-runner after “Vienna” and “Whole Lotta Love” got her groove back wrapping herself around a melody that sounded like it had been written just for her. Elise is a lot like Joshua in that her voice has a multitude of settings, and when she’s got the right song, she can break ‘em all out in a 90-second performance without seeming the slightest bit strained. The way she screamed “GIMME!” and then finished the thought with a wriggling, breathy “what I know is mine,” had me hooting and hollering from my couch. Idol has taught Elise that rock anthems are her wheelhouse, she told Ryan in her post-performance interview, and I have to say, if she sticks with that gameplan, she might achieve her second “underdog rising” story arc of the season.

Phillip Phillips: “Fat Bottomed Girls” There’s not a whole lot to say about Phillip’s raucous, winking cover of this raucous, winking ditty. Dude hit his notes squarely, and infused ‘em with his trademark growl, but more importantly, he found a way to translate last week’s legendary/swoon-inducing sound bite — “Does your daddy let you date?” — into musical form. So even if he winds up in the Bottom 3 (a distinct possibility) I don’t think he’s at risk of elimination.

Hollie Cavanagh: “Save Me” “Just be up there having a good time,” yammered J.Lo, which seemed like an odd critique for a ballad with a chorus that goes “Save me, save me, save me/ I can’t face this life alone/ Save me, save me, save me/ I’m naked and I’m far from home.” Um, was Hollie supposed to slap on a pageant smile and throw some jazz hands into the mix? Phooey! From my living room couch, I felt like this was Hollie’s most powerful, emotionally connected performance of the season, and instead of hearing a talented teenage kid cover a grown person’s hit record, I heard a young woman bring a familiar melody to life in a new and different way. (Yeah, that’s another way of saying she made it her own.) If I had one suggestion for Hollie, though, it’d be this: Ditch the treacherous heels next time, and take to the stage in flats, or barefoot even. You’ll never be able to truly take ownership of the stage if you’re teetering on stilletos that would only need a couple extra inches to qualify as stilts.

Contestant’s Choice
Jessica Sanchez: Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father” Jessica brought a palpable angst (and her usual pitch perfection) to a ballad that was already covered once this season by Jermaine Jones — but it was kind of like staging an Iron Chef competition and making a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese. “Dance With My Father” is such a thuddingly mawkish slice of hokum — and the literal backdrop of a silhouetted dad raising his baby into the air was so corny — it really seemed beneath Jessica’s talents. And in a competition this tight, that song-choice misstep might be enough to put her at risk of elimination.

Skylar Laine: Jason Aldean’s “Tattoos on This Town” Skylar would’ve had to perform “Tattoos on This Town” while strapped to a flaming trapeze to match the outsized intensity of “The Show Must Go On,” but on the other hand, the sweetly sentimental Jason Aldean track is probably a good representation of who she wants to be as an artist. (Randy: “Yo. Yo. Women can’t be artists, dude!”) And while the opening verse had a slightly grating nasal quality to it, Skylar’s vocals seemed to open up as the performance chugged along, ending in a vocal run so strong and spectacular that I might go so far as to call it downright Underwood-esque.

Joshua Ledet: India.Arie’s “Ready for Love” To quote the great philosopher DeAndre Brackensick: “Oooh, Lawd!” Honestly, I’ve been waiting for Joshua to give a week off to the Gospel choir that’s taken up residence in his dressing room, to strip down an arrangement so we can truly hear all the colors of his voice, and with “Ready to Love,” he accomplished that and so much more. Sure, Joshua’s vocal was impressive as ever — that last run dipped so low it hit bedrock — but perhaps more importantly, I think this performance silenced doubters who’ve claimed Joshua can’t bring emotional depth to his material. Cornball as it may sound, with this India.Arie cover, Joshua was just a guy, standing in front of 20 million people, asking for someone to love him. (Bonus points for Mr. Ledet and Ms. Laine for her post-performance teasing about his “12 Standing Os!” over the course of the past nine weeks. I hope voters don’t hold that over-the-top display of judges’ pimpery against the guy, though.)

Elise Testone: Jimi Hendrix’s “Bold as Love” “You can’t pick cherries with your back to the tree,” said Steven, in a poetic critique of Elise’s somewhat obscure song choice. But actually, it is possible — if not entirely efficient — to harvest fruit with one’s hand behind one’s back. And I like to think that’s exactly what Elise accomplished. Hendrix’s original isn’t exactly a singer’s kind of song: It’s sort of a sing-speak shuffle with the guitar front and center. But Elise somehow twisted the tune to fit her sultry brand of jazz-rock improvosation. Maybe all the riffs and runs — and the manipulation of that giant orange train on her dress — was too much information for Randy to handle, but this is a dude who thinks he invented the word “ginormous.” I say we give J.Lo the last word on this performance: “You slayed the song so hard that it didn’t even matter!” Preach, Jenny, preach!

Phillip Phillips: Dave Matthews Band’s “The Stone” I’m going to admit I never before heard “The Stone,” and after Phillip’s cover, I’m not really sure if ever need to hear it again. To me, the Georgia peach played second fiddle to his saxophonist and fiddler on a song with no real hook or shape or, well, much of anything. But I also am fully aware that my lack of love for “The Stone” is entirely subjective. A whole lot of people love Dave Matthews, and I respect that — knowing that’s the type of artist he wants to be — Phillip took us on a journey to DMB-ville, whether or not that location is anywhere near a confetti shower at the Nokia theater in late May. I will say that Randy using the word “artist” 146 times during his critique of Phillip was a little galling, since his praise for this male contestant was built on the same exact foundation he used to slam Elise. But who am I kidding? Looking for consistency and fairness from Randy is like looking for a working septic tank without sewage.

Hollie Cavanagh: Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” I’m just going to revert back to what I said in my post-show wrapup on Wednesday night. Hollie’s rendition of “The Climb” was like the first dandelion peeping up in your front yard after a long, cold winter: Really, really pretty, even if I’m not sure we’ll still remember it come summertime. That said, the metallic-flower top of Hollie’s halter dress was spectacular, and she really did seem to feel the lyrics of this ballad that was perfect for her age and experience. She’s just bein’ Hollie, I suppose.

Letter Grades for the Week
QUEEN SONGS
Skylar: A
Joshua: A
Elise: A
Jessica: A-
Hollie: A-
Phillip: B+

CONTESTANT’S CHOICE
Joshua: A
Elise: A-
Skylar: B+
Hollie: B
Jessica: B
Phillip: B-

What did you think of Top 6 week? Sound off below, and for all my Idol news, interviews, and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!


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226 Comments
  1. Addie says:

    Is anyone eles worried abouthow freaky skinny Jessica is? I mean collar bones shouldn’t have that big of hollows.

  2. Name That Tune says:

    Been thinking about Skylar’s TSMGO and this is where I am with it. I recently went to see the musical “Wicked” and every song followed the same pattern including the glory note. So Skylar’s delivery reminded me of musical theatre, and that’s pretty much what she does on every song, except she believes that to be heard, she has sing LOUDER. TSMGO is a song that really doesn’t play well with the hollerin’. I’m convinced Skylar spent too much time in musical theatre in high school and she’s perfected the technique. It’s not interesting anymore.
    As far as Tattoo goes, it’s not a very good country song ( I listened to Aldean’s performance prior to last night), and she was under pitch. But we’ve got our blinders on. Xtina would call her on it. Both of these songs will land her in the B2 tonight.

  3. MamaLis says:

    Watching the show back on my DVR – based on last night’s performances alone – it would seem that P2 would be packing his bags. And I enjoy P2. But I highly doubt that’s gonna happen…. his fan base was miffed that he attempted a Dave Mathews. That’s the “if,” imo. From there I’m going to have to say that Holly & Jessica are at risk.
    [It should be Holly but she seems to have that 'underdog' thing going for her.] hmm.

  4. James says:

    Performance rankings:
    Skyler
    Elise
    Joshua
    Phillip
    Hollie
    Jessica

    Studio Version Ranking:
    Phillip
    Hollie
    Jessica
    Elise
    Skyler
    Joshua

  5. Christie says:

    Do not get the love of Skyler last night, although I am a big fan – neither song really rocked me. I also disagree with Michael’s review of Jessica’s “Dance with my father” – thought it was very moving and just beautifully sung. I am a huge Luther fan but I actually thought she did it better – the words just seem to fit better being sung by a young girl. Like P2 but just don’t get that excited any more when he is up – always the same.

  6. Kim says:

    I am not really familar with DMB, but I watched a video of Dave singing The Stone with just his guitar and it was really cool. (Phillip’s performance motivated me to check out DMB because I loved the guitar work in it and the lyrics.) Phillip’s itune version is very, very good and the last note gave me a taste of how well Phillip can sing. He is not for everyone, especially people who prefer a Miley Cyrus tune over a DMB tune. Phillip introduced me to a very cool song.

    I think all the contestants are great, Joshua my first pick, and I think they all bring something different to the competition. I have an eclectic musical taste — I can love a treacly ballad song by Hollie and I can enjoy a singer like Phillip. There’s room for everyone. Stefan Lessard didn’t seem to have a problem with Phillip doing a DMB tune. I prefer to go with his opinion over those posted here.

  7. FreeHaley says:

    Damn, they didn’t say a surprise so I bet Elise is doomed despite taking the night. :(
    Travesty!

  8. FreeHaley says:

    “[on Skylar's first song] – but nope, she made every hairpin turn without the slightest difficulty. I’ve listened to this performance 10 or 11 times now, and I still can’t think of anything else in Season 11 that can trump it.”
    Most people I know can think of a few THIS NIGHT.
    Wow, that statement continues to puzzle me and blow me away in confusion.
    Her voice was very plain on it and there was just nothing special at all going on. Not bad, but nothing of remarkable note.

    “Dance With My Father” is such a thuddingly mawkish slice of hokum — and the literal backdrop of a silhouetted dad raising his baby into the air was so corny — it really seemed beneath Jessica’s talents. And in a competition this tight, that song-choice misstep might be enough to put her at risk of elimination.”

    Her dad is being sent away! It’s not mawkish, it’s life. It was her most felt performance ever! How can her most felt of season and a virtuostic vocal put her at risk of elimination??

    I really have no words for those two claims. Even Randy didn’t say anything quite like this.

  9. FreeHaley says:

    Ugh TMZ. Way to go Idol.

  10. FreeHaley says:

    Wow totally disagree with Jimmy, more than ever. Usually I agree a fair amount with him. Wow Elise is doomed. ridiculous, travesty.
    Done with the show.
    Knew I shoulda not gotten invested after last season’s debacle end.

  11. Sandi says:

    Hallelujah, Jessica is safe. I really don’t care who goes home now.

    • FreeHaley says:

      I am glad Jessica is safe. Absolutely well deserved. But it seems 100% certain Elise is gone, total travesty. And you know TPTB are not even 1% sorry about it. Only Hollie, perhaps, would they rather gone sooner at this point.

      • FreeHaley says:

        It’s a shame. As EST voting was starting to wind down Skylar was going home. Then it hit central and mountain and Elise…. doomed. Sad.

        • Sandi says:

          Sorry, I know you’re a big Elise fan but, as has been said, they’re all excellent at this point and it’s sad to lose any of them. There’s no one person that I’m hoping gets the boot. I was only hoping that Jessica sticks around.

          Sorry if your favorite gets voted off tonight. Even though it’s just a TV show, it can be really disappointing. I should know; it happened to me last week.

        • MamaLis says:

          Why are you saying that???? What happened? I live in Arizona.

          • FreeHaley says:

            @MamLis – maybe not since dial idol seems to be somewhat off this week, but it had been showing Sklyar going home after EST voting and then Elise going home after the other time zones chipped in. But dial idol got quite a lot wrong this week so it may be meaningless. That said, sadly, Elise does look to be in real trouble though.

          • Kate says:

            I was so frickin happy when Ryan said Jessica was safe. I absolutely adore her.

  12. FreeHaley says:

    OK well dial idol is definitely wrong this week no matter which criteria you pick. It might, sadly, get who goes home right, but it is way off for the most part this week.

    • justafan says:

      no not at all… dial idol said hollie was definitely safe… and she was…remember, #5 is safe in the top 6… only #6 goes home… they had her ranked from 1-5…so they were right…she came in 5th

  13. Marsaili says:

    OMG, I am going to cry—I hope it’s not Elise, but I don’t want Hollie to go either—-Phillip should have been in the bottom 3 tonight, not Elise.

  14. FreeHaley says:

    What a joke. Knew I shoulda never gotten into idol again after last season, I skipped the first half as it was. Between who is left watching and voting and TPTB nobody like this will ever get close. Bye bye Idol.

  15. FreeHaley says:

    OH man such a powerful exit song! Just painful though! Pathetic she can’t even make top 5. No point ever getting into it again. Nobody like that will ever get close.

    Wow, what an exit song. Ridiculous to be exiting now. Just ridiculous.

  16. Marsaili says:

    I have never felt this bad about someone being eliminated. Wow—this sucks.

    • noa says:

      yup. i might cry. can’t believe she’s gone after the amazing night she had yesterday.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      yes indeed it sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Crap.

    • FreeHaley says:

      And of all the weeks too. Ridiculous. I really thought after last night she might actually have pulled off the top five and maybe sneak top four or three if she got some cast off votes. But I could see Hollie picked up too many votes after her slam down and then they gave her final spot and ovation and the math just looked really bad for Elise.
      Anyway I had my 10.5 seasons with Idol. Time to spend my time on more productive things at this point. Early seasons a Haley or Elise maybe make it farther, but you can see it’s hopeless now days. And too much of the show is just so annoying that if you can’t at least get a fav to make it to top five or two it;s jus tnot worth it.

  17. FreeHaley says:

    With weird judging and Nigel puppet mastering it was hard to take as it was and now that you can’t even make top 5 with that, it’s pointless. Best to Jessica but I can’t watch anymore.

  18. FreeHaley says:

    I am so curious how results would be if it were one person, one vote. They say middle america block tends to vote like mad. Would results change or since they are mostly who watches these days anyway, maybe not? It does seem the audience has changed, they’ve driven off too many folks the last few seasons and I don’t think my type will ever come close to a shot again. If Jessica keeps growing and takes the win I guess all won’t be lost but.

    • FreeHaley says:

      (And seriously I’m from Elise’s area and people up here have just kinda tuned out it seems, especially after the last season. It’s hard to find anyone much who watches it. I mean maybe if I looked at the real ratings that would not be the case but it seems to be. And it can’t help any contestants born in the North if their home town base doesn’t vote like made or even watch anymore much.)

  19. MA says:

    Way to go out, Elise! Kill it!!!
    You guys, I love Elise as much as the next person, but this was a perfect week for her to go out. Talk about leaving on a high note! And I’m sure she’s going to be just fine.

    • Marsaili says:

      Oh, I think she’ll be just fine—I just look forward to seeing what she’s going to do every week—she’s exciting and her vocals give ME goosies, LOL!

    • FreeHaley says:

      OTOH it ridiculous to get dumped on such a high note and makes the whole thing just look bad but OTOH in some ways I guess it does make her look better and it’s gotta be more pleasant to leave on high note knowing you rocked it out and than to slink off and a weak disaster of a week. And damn if that was not a sing out. One of the greatest sing outs along with Haley last season. Only maybe one other singout ever close to the class of their singouts.

      • MA says:

        It’s always better to go out on top. If she were still here next week and got crappy feedback and then went, it would have been worse for her emotionally (I bet) and professionally. In this scenario, she comes out looking like a badass rock star, and the show looks lame. That’s what we want for her! She’ll make some money, get some clout, and then she can go home and make a fantastic album of her own stuff, put together festivals, or whatever else she wants to do.

        • FreeHaley says:

          Yeah true true.

          And honestly the show is looking kind of lame, it used to be cool(ish) to watch it and now it’s almost treated like an embarrassment to watch it in many circles. The season before last, quite a few had already said they had had enough, but then got sucked into it with Haley and one or two others depending who it was, but then after how last season went down and the things they did, every single person I know gave up on it.

          I had myself. But I tuned in Hollywood week just to see and then ended up slowly getting drawn in a bit and then more and more and went back to full time viewing. But nobody else I know joined in, not even after I mentioned Elise. They just said it’s a joke and it doesn’t matter, if she’s good she’ll be gone sooner anyway, don’t wanna waste time on it. So this season I don’t even personally know a single other person who watched it at all.

          My sense was that the serious music people initially took it all as a joke but then most, if not all, fairly quickly changed their minds after how well Clarkson caught on and seeing a few other interesting people go far but by the end of last season it seems like many (and virtually all I know) have gone back to thinking it’s a joke (the show itself, not necessarily all of the contestants).

          I think the remaining demo for the show now will just make impossible for an Elise to go far and with who is left watching this year, if Haley got the Haley treatment this year, she probably wouldn’t have made it to top 3, but fallen out one of those early bottom three visits.

          And just the producers and much of the judging is so annoying too often, they didn’t quite pull anything quite Haley-level this year but there was some odd stuff anyway and I don’t like all the nonsense that has turned it into so much of a miss congeniality contestant, mostly over slanted or bogus made up or misinterpreted stuff, and even when not, who cares. Everyone from Haley’s home town said fantastic things about her and yet to this day she is still dogged by plenty of people trashing her as a person. Sad.

  20. C says:

    I think we can safely assume who the Top 3 will be, and it’s really a shame. Skylar and Hollie have been having their best performances while Phillip has been going down and Joshua has been same old, same old, but Skylar and Hollie are going to be the next two to go. What the heck does Hollie have to do? Her voice has a depth and fullness that outshines even Jessica. Her song last night was the best of the evening. Yet she was in the bottom beneath the screamer and the moaner (both males, of course). Yuck!

  21. DG says:

    There is definitely such a thing as being “too mature” for Idol, which is totally what sank Elise. It’s unfortunate–while some of her performances were off the mark (80s Week, “Let’s Get it On”), she is a true artist. Even though some people like Jessica have outperformed her, I would buy Elise’s CD over Jessica’s in a HEARTBEAT. 6th place is not too shabby, and hopefully Elise can do something with it.

    Other thoughts

    -Skylar’s second performance is what got her in trouble, I think. Now that she’s top 5, obscure country songs might not be the best idea, only because it’s not going to help win her new fans. I’m a huge Skylar fan, and I want her to go all the way, but we’ll see. I go back and forth on her chances.

    -Can ANYONE beat Phillip? He performed like that last night and wasn’t in the Bottom 3?! Ridiculous. I’m having trouble getting behind the idea of him winning.

    -If you had told me after “Flashdance” that Hollie would be in the Top 5, I would have laughed at you. But I’m not that upset about it–despite some serious missteps in the song choice department, her vocals have been pretty strong. She’s not gonna crack top 3, though.

    -Now that my dream of a Elise/Skylar finale is done, I’m hoping for a Joshua/Skylar.

    -Honestly: This might be my favorite season. Out of the Top 13, I would say there were maybe three singers I definitively did not like, and a whole bunch I genuinely really enjoyed. This Top 6 was the best ever, and maybe the same with this top 5. Every other season recently has had a dud in the top 5 (S10: Jacob, S9: Aaron, S8: Danny, S7: Syesha, S6: Chris)

    • Marsaili says:

      Just a note, Tattoos on this Town is not an obscure country song—it’s a HUGE hit for Jason Aldean and I’ve been hearing it on TV, all over the place!

      • Shel says:

        Perhaps it just feels like an obscure country song to people who don’t listen to alot of country. I like Skylar, both as a singer and her personality. But that song did nothing for me and, nope, I hadn’t heard it before either….or if I did, it made no impression on me then either.

  22. AJ says:

    I’ve yet to love a single Hollie performance this season (some of her early ones were OK and I liked Rolling in the Deep) but The Climb was definitely my favorite performance of the night, Don’t care if the song is corny, she did to it what Skylar did to Wind Beneath My Wings. Sang it so big and perfectly, and with such conviction the cliched lyrics actually found meaning. Who knew!

    The same could somewhat be said for Jess and Dance With My Father. My other favs were Josh’s Ready for Love which I thought was only the second performance this season he actually deserved the standing O for (following When a Man Loves a Woman), and Elise’s I Want It All.

    I did like Skylar’s Show Must Go On but I wasn’t nearly as enamored with it as Slezak and it’s nowhere even close to my performance of the season.

  23. Shel says:

    Great recap, Michael, as always.
    .
    First thought while watching the show was: I miss Jimmy Iovine. There, I said it. I like having him as part of the show, along with whoever is a mentor that week. Does this mean the contestants were completely on their own this week? Or that the show just chose not to show the interactions? I was dying to see his interaction with Elise after last week’s complaining.
    .
    I agree that I really liked all the Queen songs, including the medley. How great to be able to say you performed with Queen! I felt torn about Hollie – OOH, I felt she really did bring emotion to the song and it sounded very good. It bothered me to hear JLo nitpick her: Oh Hollie, we’ve been waiting for some real emotion from you, but then you went pitchy. OTOH, I wanted Hollie to be the next one gone and if they just praise her the same as everyone else, then people will actually believe it is the case, which it is not.
    .
    I wasn’t familiar with the Queen song Elise sang, but I didn’t care – I loved it and her performance. I also thought Skyler was amazing – those notes at the end! But, unlike you, Michael, when I watched it back, the whole performance seemed to dim, except for those last notes. Perhaps it is better on i-tunes? Is that the version you have listened to 10-11 times?
    .
    You know whose song still was completely amazing the 2nd time through? Joshua’s. While I was tired of the choir around all the time too, in the last few weeks, he really has done no wrong for me. I could watch his Queen performance over & over & over.
    .
    I really loved Jessica’s Bohemian Rhapsody too and wanted to slap JLo for wanting her to be whipping her hair around the stage. The fact is, as Randy (!!!) pointed out, Jessica did change up her vocals on that song. Plus, she DID move around the stage a bit more, for her. How about a little PRAISE and encouragement rather than disappointment JLo? If not, stop being surprised that you are nitpicking that poor genius of a vocalist out of this competition.
    .
    Phillip was okay, nothing bad, nothing great…couldn’t believe the over-praise for him again, though – again I think it was Randy (!!!!) who pointed out that the Queen round wasn’t his best. *faint*
    .
    Second round – again, all did well. I didn’t agree with the judges or you on everything – I thought Skyler’s song was pretty boring if well-sung. (I really worry that she is just not that spectacular when she is singing in her wheelhouse – weird). Totally loved and felt Jessica’s second song and believe JLo might be right about it being the best ever of the Luther song. Hadn’t ever heard the Dave Matthews’ song before – it was an interesting arrangement but “artistic” – I felt it was a much more dangerous “unknown song” than Elise’s because he didn’t do anything spectacular with it. Of course, like you, I was furious about Randy’s double standard towards Phillip. Phillips is allowed and congratulated on always being Phillip and Elise is knocked down. I appreciated JLo disagreeing with Randy all thru his ridiculous critique of Elise’s song, but wish she had called Randy out when he flip-flopped all over Phillip.
    .
    Best songs of the second round, for me: Joshua’s & Elise’s. I absolutely LOVED both. And unlike Phillip’s Dave Matthews song, I loved Elise’s song even without hearing it before.
    .
    Hollie – sweet girl, beautiful vocal of “The Climb,” long past her time in this competition though. My thought about her performance was that perhaps she can only sing a song that well if she has been singing it for 2+ years. To use it to get her golden ticket this year, and I believe she told Ryan she sang it during the top 40 round the year before? C’mon.
    .
    Overall thoughts: (1) Why do the judges seem to still believe Phillip belongs in the finals after all the amazing performances of the last few weeks? It is like they believe it is his to lose, while everyone else is fighting to get in. (2) Hollie has officially stayed around long enough for me to start worrying that America will vote thru a little southern girl into the finals again and I will be heartbroken if that happens.
    .
    Heartbroken over the results this week, but that’s for another post, another time.

  24. Richard says:

    Jessica sang the hardest song of all of Queen- Freddie Mercury songs and to condense a long song to 90 seconds, the impact and interpretation of the song would not be the same as the original. Having said all that, Jessica really went out of her box to show her talents. Was she Freddie Mercury? Of course not. Was she believable and made it her own? Yes, indeed! I give Jessica a lot of credit to have the courage and the nerve to even sing rock music but to sing the iconic song of Queen? Wow, now that is what you call an ARTIST. Nothing boring at all about her. I believed her emotion in singing that song. She picked the right notes and if you check the original song in youtube, there was no super high note that Freddie used. I think Jessica matched the notes. Also, I don’t think she should have jumped up and down like Skylar does. To me that is not stage presence at all. Maybe she should have a little Tina Turner moves like Randy says but she did fine in movements. Also, why are they asking her to be Tina when the other girls performed, they didn’t ask them about their movements? Hello? Are we rating her differently because she is so good already we are looking for just something to say negative? She has shown time and time again that she is the most consistent with all her performances and at the same time she is also the most versatile. She is an ARTIST and hope she wins this.

    • Gale says:

      Agree! She and Joshua are in a different league from the rest.

      • FreeHaley says:

        I’d say Elise, Jessica, Joshua are/were a cut above the rest, pretty sad one is already gone by top five. Philip initially intrigued me but I don’t think I’d put him up with those three at all anymore.

  25. James says:

    You gave Jessica and Hollie the same grades? WTF are you kidding me Michael? Dance with my father was a thousand times better than the climb!

  26. Gale says:

    “Looking for consistency and fairness from Randy is like looking for a working septic tank without sewage.” You slay me!

  27. EBS_83 says:

    I really enjoyed Skylar’s performance – the country twang added something different to one of my favourite Queen songs. But listening to it next to AMELIA LILY’S performance on X Factor UK confirms that it isn’t the best version of this song to be sung on a reality show in the last 12 months. But I definitely want her in the final!

  28. Kristen says:

    While Skylar’s “The Show Must Go On” was indeed A-MAH-ZING, Joshua’s “When A Man Loves a Woman” will go down as this season’s Ultimate Moment Performance. There is NOTHING that can top that.

  29. sandi says:

    I love Joshua and vote for him every week. I think he is the best singer, however, his personality (or lack thereof) will keep him out of the finale. How he ended up in the bottom 3 a couple a weeks ago, is unbelievable. And it’s not his first time.
    Somehow he is connecting. He is young, cute but the judges don’t talk about him getting the girls to vote. Phillip annoys as each week passes. The girls were spot on about the faces he makes, they are certainly unattractive.

    • FreeHaley says:

      I think Joshua’s problem is his style, the very heavily gospel-tinted style he has has only so large a fan-base and no matter how good he is that hurts him some. Whitney Houston came from the same place but she could cross way more fully into a pop sound than I think he has shown (plus as good as he is, he is not at that level by any means). I don’t think think I see him getting higher than third place. If Elise has squeaked by this week I think she may have even then squeaked to third above him (not that I’d have had a problem with her squeaking ahead of him).

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