We love the dramatic “American Idol” beginning – “how do you carry on when your friends leave one by one?” Like they are taken out back and shot. Though these contestants are probably so Stockholm Syndrome’d from the entire experience that it does feel as though the eliminated contestants are dead or something.
The theme tonight is this decade, which means music from 2010, 2011 and 2012. Hmm. Theoretically this should go better than Billy Joel week, since these kids are all 12 years old and will actually know these songs, but we’re skeptical. Though Elise might feel a little weird since she’s like 42 or something.
1. Skylar Laine, “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You,” Kellie Pickler
This is a stellar choice for her. She’s playing the guitar, which is cool, but more importantly, it’s keeping her stationary. She’s not running around like a lunatic and instead we just get to enjoy her voice. Oooh, the big notes are excellent. Goosebumps. Skylar definitely knows who she wants to be as an artist and considering how successful Idols can go on to be in country music, she may have a career ahead of her regardless of how she finishes on the show.
Randy agrees – this song was right in her wheelhouse. For sure. Exactly the type of song she would release. Steven tylers about her songs being a complete sentence, whatever that means.
2. Colton Dixon, “Love the Way You Lie,” Skylar Grey
Does Colton get a little snippy in his video package? “I hate being compared to anybody in the competition, especially Phillip Phillips.” MEOW.
The piano is lovely and this is a great song choice for him. He handles the jumps up into his falsetto pretty well, and this suits the tone of his voice very well. The bridge is a bit surprising – he really goes for the big notes and he nails ’em, then comes down really nicely. This isn’t a jump-out-the-chair song, but it’s very, very pretty. Nicely done.
3. Elise and Phillip, “Somebody That I Used to Know,” Gotye
Another Elise and Phillip duet! So we can keep pretending they’re dating behind the scenes. We’ll confess to not actually being that familiar with this song, but it’s awesome for their voices. It’s nice to hear Phillip just sing without screaming, or pulling those faces like he’s passing a stone. This one isn’t as hot as last week, but it’s still nice. Actually, once they come together center stage, it gets a lot more exciting.
4. Jessica Sanchez, “Stuttering,” Jasmine Sullivan
We don’t know this song, but does it even matter? Jessica sounds awesome. It’s nice to hear her sound current, that’s a good reassurance that she can release something in today’s music scene. The vibe of the whole performance is also great, with the piano and the low lights and minimal backing music. The ending is gorgeous. My god, how is this girl only 16 years old?
It’s interesting that J.Lo tells Jessica to be more “impactful” like Joshua. Hmm. We aren’t sure we’d say Joshua is more impactful than Jessica, but OK.
5. Joshua Ledet, “Runaway Baby,” Bruno Mars
Huh. We would not have called Bruno Mars for Joshua, but now that he sings it, it’s pretty darn good. He doesn’t quite have the throwback tone that Bruno Mars has, but he’s doing his best. Josh is also handling the tempo off the song with aplomb and seems to be having a great time, which is huge. He could easily have been swallowed up by the lights, horns and fast lyrics, but he’s not getting overshadowed. Plus, there is no screaming! Even his one big note isn’t shrieky. This actually turned into one of our favorite Joshua performances.
Steven compliments him on selling it, which is a very astute comment, actually. And of course, J.Lo’s comment about Joshua being more impactful now makes more sense, though it’s not like he’s been this good every week.
6. Skylar and Colton, “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” Jason Aldean, Kelly Clarkson
From the opening strains, we are very excited because we love this song. We aren’t sure Colton can pull off Aldean’s part, though. It definitely is more in Skylar’s wheelhouse. However, Skylar gets to the big notes on “it’s a sad goodbye” on her verse and it’s not quiiiiiite there. Ooooh, so close. Their harmonies are OK – the break right before the last chorus was really nice. That was OK, but not as good as the previous duet.
Steven tylers that they just made love singing to each other. Oh, Steven. Don’t be gross. And we’re with Randy – that was just OK.
7. Hollie Cavanagh, “Perfect,” Pink
This is a surprising choice, but when she sings it, we totally get it. It fits her voice really well, it almost sounds like a country hit for her. Hollie has such beautiful, clear tone when she sings and this week she’s on pitch. We hate her swan skirt, but the performance is nice. She also gets a big boost by the ending, the audience and voters love that.
J.Lo makes it sound like she’s going home already – saying she’s rooting for her and she’s beautiful, but we’ll see what happens. And Steven Tyler says it wasn’t perfect for him. Randy says it was a lot better than last week, which is very true. Hmm. Lot of backhanded compliments this week for Hollie.
8. Phillip Phillips, “Give a Little More,” Maroon 5
It’s funny how Phil is like, “Colton’s an awesome guy” and Colton was like, “Don’t compare me to Phillip!” We guess Colton was being sarcastic? But it didn’t come across that way.
The change of just having Phillip and the guitar is a nice fix and the saxophone is awesome. This is a very sexy performance from Phil, which is interesting to see. We don’t think we’ve seen him get so sultry before. Vocally, it’s very Phillip – it’s not the talent of Jessica, but he does his own thing. He uses his charisma to gloss over the parts he can’t quite nail.
It’s interesting J.Lo says we’ve seen this before – that’s totally true, Phillip does the same thing every week. But that’s the kind of artist he is. We thought she’d be down with how sexy it was.
9. Joshua, Jessica, Hollie, “Stronger,” Kelly Clarkson
We thought this would be really good for them, but it’s kind of a hot mess. The verses are too low for the girls and then the chorus is … well, in unison it’s good. The harmonies not all there. Hmph. It’s hard to pick a song for a trio, to be sure, but this isn’t really working. And Joshua has his shriek factor turned up to 11, like he’s trying to make up for not doing it on his solo earlier. Not our favorite.
10. Elise Testone, “You and I,” Lady Gaga
Jason Segel loves Elise Testone! Oh my god, that’s the cutest thing. And he’s not on a FOX show, so we know it’s genuine.
This is a great song for Elise. The only thing we jotted down all performance was that we love the small changes she’s made to the melody line, making it her own. But we were pretty captivated. The only complaint is we wish she had stayed at the piano the whole time. But we loved how much Elise was enjoying herself during the performance. Really nice.
So, who’s going home? Honestly, top to bottom, we thought this was a very good week. But Hollie’s tepid comments from the judges and everybody else having such strong performances means Hollie is probably heading home.
What do you think, “Idol” fans?