Tonight the American Idol women get their chance. On Tuesday night the majority of the men were just average, but there were still some good performances to get the fans talking. Those included performances by Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips, Colton Dixon and Heejun Han. Enough about the boys, tonight is all about the girls.
Remember, like last night only 5 contestants are guaranteed a spot in the “Top 13” and the girls have the additional pressure of not having won American Idol since Jordin Sparks did it in Season 6. It has been 5 long years. Based on the way the women performed last night that streak is about to end. The women absolutely kicked the guys asses last night. If it was a prize fight it would have been a 12 round knockout!!! While there were two surprisingly bad performances by favorites Baylie Brown and Hayley Johnson the rest of the girls were good and 4 or 5 of the girls’ performances were amazing.
Based on the fact that there were 13 male contestants and only 12 females I figured the guys would end up with 7 of the “Top 13” spots and the girls would get the remaining 6 spots. Based on the performances of the girls they deserve to get all 3 “Wild Card “ picks and a total of 8 of the 13 spots in the “Top 13”. However, in an ominous sign at the end of the show Ryan Seacrest asked the judges who their favorites were from both nights. In a surprise all three judges singled out Deandre Brackensack as one of the top performers. In my blog and in multiple American Idol Recaps that I read, Deandre’s performance was panned. If the judges want to waste a “Wild Card” pick on him that is their choice, even if it is a bad one. Personally, if I was Deandre I would consider contacting amusement parks and cruise lines to see if they have any summer entertainment job openings.
Listed below is a recap of the performances with the best performances listed first.
Jessica Sanchez: complaining about a sore throat in the pre performance interview, sang an absolutely flawless version of Jennifer Hudson’s, “Love You I Do”. If she can sing that way with a sore throat the rest of the competition should go home. This was clearly the best performance of both nights and Jessica has definitely established herself as the clear favorite to be “The Next American Idol”. As Randy likes to say she is the “total package”. I still can’t believe that this big voice comes out of a small, 90 pounds soaking wet, 16 year old girl. WOW!!!
Hollie Cavanagh: I want to publicly admit that I was wrong about Hollie Cavanagh. In my “Top 24” blog I kind of bashed her. While I gave her kudos for her final Las Vegas performance, I didn’t think her entire body of work warranted a spot in the “Top 24”. I thought that spot should have gone to Shelby Tweeten. While I grudgingly recognized her good voice and her improvement from last year, I felt that the competition was too strong and would be surprised if she makes it the “Top 10”. Boy was I wrong!!! Hollie sang an amazing performance of “Reflection” by Christina Aguilera. She looked beautiful and her voice was amazing. It was definitely one of the top performances of the evening. While praising her performance Steven Tyler suggested “that she let her hair down”, and during the post performance interview she did exactly that. If she continues to sing like this she can win it all.
Shannon Magrane: Shannon gave an absolutely beautiful performance of the Christian song, “Go Light Your World: by Kathy Troccoli. Her voice is absolutely amazing and you would never know that she is only 16 years old. She sings with passion and emotion way behind her years. She gave one of the best performances of the night and I would be shocked if she isn’t in the “Top13”. While Shannon looked beautiful last night they dressed her in a gown that made her look like she was 30 years old. She also picked a song that the majority of people had never heard. Most singers couldn’t pull that off, but she did. Whoever is advising her is has to remember that she is 16 years old, she needs to dress younger and pick songs that will show of her voice and at the same time get the attention of the young voters. She is a definite contender and can be a force to reckon with if any of the top performers falter.
Elise Testone: in risky move Elise sang the identical song Adele’s “One and Only” that Jen Hirsh had sung a few rounds before her. I absolutely loved Jen’s performance and almost cringed when I heard that Elise had selected the same song. As the last singer of the night, Elise was already under tremendous pressure to secure a spot in the “Top 13” but she also had the additional pressure of knowing that Jen had absolutely nailed her performance of the same song. Elise started off on the piano and quickly moved to the stage. She looked beautiful and sang equally as well. While Elise has been good throughout the show this was clearly her best performance of the season. Her timing was perfect and with that performance the East Coast girl with New Jersey roots should secure a spot in the “Top 13”.
THE VERY GOOD
Hallie Day: she has the name the good looks and the voice. Hallie sang a terrific version of “Feelin Good”, by Michael Buble. Hallie has been a favorite of mine since the audition round. J-Lo really loved her and said “You Look Like a Star” and I agree. Based on some of his comments I am not so sure that Randy is a fan, but who cares. The crowd certainly liked her. She should be another member of the “Top 13”.
Jen Hirsh: sang a terrific version of Adele’s “One and Only”. I absolutely loved her performance and had her rated in the “The Amazing” category. Unfortunately, Elise Testone performed the identical song as the last performance of the night and absolutely nailed it. Jen has a great voice and has performed consistently throughout the season and I believe she did enough to earn a spot in the “Top 13”
Skylar Laine: sang an upbeat, enthusiastic version of “Stay With Me” by the Faces. Skylar really surprised me. I had her rated as the number three country singer in a field that included Baylie Brown and Jessica Sorrell. I thought for sure that Baylie would be the ultimate country girl winner in this sing off but Skylar had other plans. Jessica just gave an average performance and Skylar with a tough as nails country attitude went out there and won over the crowd with her country rock performance. Unfortunately for the Baylie, the pressure of American Idol and Skylar’s “rockin” performance was too much to overcome and she completely fell apart. Skylar was the clear winner of the “Country Girl Sing off” but will it be enough to capture a spot in the “Top 13”. It just might.
Erika Van Pelt: gave a good performance of Heart’s “What about Love”. Based on the difficulty of the song that she chose to sing I rated her performance slightly higher than Brielle’s (see below). Unfortunately both Erika and Brielle could both be fighting for the same last spot in the “Top 13”. There isn’t much difference between the two and it will come probably come down to personal preference. For me that preference is Erika.
Brielle Von Hugel: gave a good performance of Otis Redding’s, “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”. Unfortunately I think Brielle is going to be a victim of the numbers game. While she is talented and has a terrific stage presence there are just too many good singers in front of her. The girls definitely have to get seven spots and maybe even eight for Brielle to make it to the “Top 13”. She is a tough girl from New York so no matter what happens she won’t give up.
THE JUST OK, NOT REALLY BAD
Chelsea Sorrell: sung a decent version of “Cowboy Cassanova” by Carrie Underwood. Going into the show I had her rated as the number two country singer behind Baylie Brown and just ahead of Skylar Laine and that is just where she ended up. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t a bad performance unfortunately for her the other girls were just so much better.
Baylie Brown: I loved Baylie and had high hopes for her. She has a great voice and is absolutely beautiful. I had her rated as the number 1 country singer in the field. She sang a weak version of “Amazed” by Lone Star. Unfortunately like Eben the night before, she let her nerves stand in the way of her and stardom. In a field this strong there is no way to overcome a bad performance. I hate to see her go but it is the end of the line for Baylie.
Haley Johnson: sang a disappointing version of “Sweet Dream” by the Eurythmics. Unfortunately her “Sweet Dreams” turned into a nightmare. While she looked great her performance was uneven. In an attempt to make the song her own she made minor changes to the arrangements but those changes just didn’t work out. Randy Jackson said, “it was pitchy and a little train wrecky” and he was right. Another girl that I really liked is going home.
After I have heard both the girls and guys perform I am making a minor revision to my picks to reflect the dominate performance by the girls. Obviously, I don’t think the guys deserve more than 5 spots but I think the judges will give the guys 6 and the girls 7 of the “Top 13 Spots”. Here is my “Top 13”. Jessica Sanchez, Hollie Cavanagh, Joshua Ledet, Shannon Magrane, Phillip Phillips, Elise Testone, Hallie Day, Jen Hirsh, Colton Dixon, Heejun Han, Skylar Laine, Jeremy Rosado, Creighton Frakar, The “Top 13” will be announced tonight on Fox at 8 p.m. EST.