The theme this week on “American Idol” are two-fold – the first song is the 1960s and the second one is Brit pop. It isn’t our favorite week for the Idols, though Jessica Sanchez does show once again how she’s head and shoulders above the rest of them talent-wise.
1. Hollie Cavanagh, “River Deep, Mountain High,” Tina Turner
This is a nice choice for her because it’s a big song, like she always shines on, but it’s up-tempo, so it’s not just another stand-there-and-sing ballad. Hollie also looks to be having (gasp!) fun, which is not something she always comes across as having. The sparks of personality should really help her out. The chorus is particularly good for her and then she’s kind of breaking it down like a go-go dancer, straight out of the 1960s. Fabulous. Also, we really dig the horn section.
Other than “Rolling in the Deep,” that might be Hollie’s best performance, for us.
2. Phillip Phillips, “The Letter,” The Box Tops
Interesting choice, since Lee DeWyze did this one pretty great a couple seasons ago. But Phillip is going to Phillips it, naturally, so we’ll see. Hmm. He starts singing and … it’s not that it’s bad, but we just really don’t care for this arrangement. Phillip’s thing is that he always sounds/plays the same, so what that really leaves is song itself that changes and this isn’t doing it for us. It’s mostly just irritating and since his vocals aren’t anything outstanding, that means this is a thumbs down for us.
See, it’s like – a singer like Jessica, whose voice is just out-of-this-world amazing, could sing an arrangement we don’t like but you can still appreciate her vocals. Phillip is not a vocalist. He does not really have a great voice. So when we don’t care for the song, there’s nothing else there? Does that make sense?
The judges approve of it and while we do applaud the risk, it just wasn’t our cup of tea. J.Lo reveals she doesn’t know the original song, which – huh. Really?
3. Skylar Laine, “Fortunate Son,” Creedence Clearwater Revival
Oooh, this is NOT the choice for her. This is a rather serious protest song and we are seriously doubting whether Skylar has any idea what this is about. She’s too … small for this song, there’s no gravitas here. It sounds like bubble gum pop and that’s not what it is. It’s important to connect with a song and she is bopping around like she’s singing Miranda Lambert. I mean ,she gets to the verse about “star-spangled eyes” and sending boys off to war and she’s singing it like it’s all sexy! WTF, Skylar? How did Iovine not stop this trainwreck?
The judges slobber praise on her because they’re stupid and rarely have anything good to say. Oof. Sorry. Thumbs down on this one. Are we just being cranky tonight, readers? What’s your take?
4. Joshua and Phillip, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” Righteous Brothers
Huh. This is not even close to a song we’d choose for these two, but it weirdly kind of works. Phillip keeps his vocal passing-a-stone sounds and facial expressions to a minimum and Joshua sounds gorgeous because he’s not shrieking. The harmonies aren’t even bad. The bridge gets kind of awesome because Joshua can do the high part and Phillip can let loose on the low stuff, and also because they were restrained on the beginning of the song. Well done, boys. Pleasantly surprising.
And then the judges and the boys get all weird about being gay, which is the stupidest thing ever. Is it 2012? C’mon. But we could kiss Seacrest for his “Top Gun” reference. Doesn’t get any more latent-homosexuality than that.
5. Jessica Sanchez, “Proud Mary,” Tina Turner
This is an awesome choice for her. And she’s totally channeling Tina’s sexiness, look at her! We weren’t sure Jess had it in ‘er. It’s so great to see her cut loose and dance, and get her growl on in the song! Seriously, this is just delightful. She’s having so much fun, I don’t think we’ve seen her get down like this before. And of course, she sounds amazing.
Randy didn’t love it, but we think he’s being crazy. That was awesome. Thanks to J.Lo for sticking up for Jessica.
6. Joshua Ledet, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” The Temptations
Another good song choice. Josh is perfect for Temptations-like stuff. He sounds fantastic, though we were really hoping he’d go falsetto instead of belting on “ain’t too proud to PLEAD,” that high part? That’s a minor quibble, though. His scream-y stuff is reined in, so that’s good. This doesn’t have us jumping up and down, but it was very solid. He’s in a solid third place behind Jessica and Hollie after round one.
Steven Tyler says he’s one of the top two Idols of all time, but we aren’t sure we’d go that far.
7. Hollie Cavanagh, “Bleeding Love,” Leona Lewis
Hmm. As this is not a soaring ballad, Hollie really needs to connect on this one and find the emotion or she’s done. It’ll come across as singing robot again. It starts off beautifully, but it doesn’t go anywhere quickly enough. It’s very boring. Pretty, but boring. Leona Lewis sings this as more of an R&B ballad than just a piano ballad and Hollie’s version is just too blah. Vocally, it’s nice and she doesn’t deserve to go home, but this was a little bit of a let down after her first powerhouse song.
Steven Tyler reveals he doesn’t know this song. *sigh*
8. Phillip Phillips, “Time of the Season,” The Zombies
This is a great song, but in rehearsal, Phillip can’t find the melody. Is that why he does weird arrangements? Because he’s actually kind of tone deaf? Haha. Anyway. He starts singing and it’s not a question of a weird arrangement – he’s off pitch all over the place and since he’s singing it the way it originally went, it can’t be on purpose. He can’t blame this on changing it up. This is kind of awful. On the chorus, when he goes into the higher stuff on “time of the season for loving”? Yikes. He is all over the place.
You know, Phillip has never been our favorite because he’s honestly not much of a singer, but on some songs he does his thing and it works. This week it did not work. This week was kind of terrible for him.
Randy goes, “Yo! He really can sing the melody.” Um, what were you listening to? He was trying to sing the melody and was totally exposed as not a good singer – he was off pitch all over.
Of course, he’ll be safe because he’s cute and that’s how this show goes now.
9. Jessica, Skylar and Hollie, “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher”
This is a lot of fun. Skylar’s twang really sticks out, but they all do a nice job on their solo stuff. Hollie can’t quite do the high stuff as well as Jessica does, heh. But points for trying. It was no “Ghostbusters II,” but that’ll do, girls.
10. Skylar Laine, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” Dusty Springfield
This is a great choice for her, 1000x better than CCR. Vocally, it’s pretty. It has a very Patsy Cline song feel to it, very throwback (not that we are comparing Skylar’s voice to Patsy, but you know what we mean). The bridge into the final chorus is a little weird – that was a strange arrangement and we also aren’t in love with the note at the end going high. That should’ve stayed on the same pitch, it was too scream-y and out of place in the song.
But she came back from a terrible first performance and did alright with this. So good for her. It was not, however, “flawless and amazing,” Randy. Seriously, these judges are so free-wheeling with their compliments that they mean NOTHING.
Though we do agree about the weird people on the bench. That was weird.
11. Jessica Sanchez, “You Are So Beautiful,” Joe Cocker
She’s sitting down, surrounded by candles, so perhaps this is her “Over the Rainbow” moment. And then it is. We’re totally captivated the entire time. She is an amazing singer and if anyone wins this competition other than her, something is wrong. Nobody on this show is even in the same league. Not even close. It’s like amateur hour against a Whitney voice.
J.Lo even uses the word “captivated” and compares her to Whitney. Totally.
12. Joshua Ledet, “To Love Somebody,” Bee Gees
We kind of wish the show had ended on Jessica, but this is very good as well. Again, we say this every week – but Joshua is so good when he’s not just shrieking his head off. And when he starts shrieking on this one, he kind of loses us. It’s just not very pleasing to the ears. He had us in the beginning, but the ending is too much. It’s just too much screaming, not enough vocals.
The judges jump out of their chairs and heap on the effusive praise. We are so over these judges, y’all.
So, who’s going home? Honestly, this week, Phillip was far and away the weakest. But we seriously doubt he’ll be in danger, so it’s a toss up between Hollie and Skylar. We’d send Skylar home, but knowing the voters, we think Hollie’s in trouble.