With the elimination of Elise Testone last week, we are now down to five contestants. Joining Jimmy Iovine as a guest mentor tonight will be Stevie Van Zandt, long time member of the Bruce Springsteen band and one of the stars of the HBO hit series The Soprano’s. There will be two themes for tonight’s show. The first theme will be “Celebrating Songs of the 60’s”, followed by “All Things British.”
Here’s a recap of the Top 5’s performances.
Hollie Cavanagh: Kicked off round 1 with an upbeat version of Ike and Tina Turner’s, “River Deep Mountain High.” Looking absolutely beautiful Hollie gave one of her best performances of the contest. We always knew she could sing, tonight she was also a great entertainer. This was a great way to start the show. For her second song, Hollie sings “Bleeding Love”, by X-Factor’s Leona Lewis. I thought it was another strong performance by Hollie and the judges all agreed. Randy said, “This girl is a fighter, your are two for two tonight and for the record you are peaking at the right time.” In another unbelievable comment by Steven Tyler he said, “He had never heard of the song.” It makes me wonder how you can be a judge on American Idol and not stay on top of current music. I thought that Hollie had one of her best nights of the season. I don’t know if the fans will reward her for her efforts but in my mind, she was one of the top performers of the evening and deserves to stay in the contest for at least another week.
Phillip Phillips: sang a completely reworked version of the Box Tops, “The Letter.” Growing up, this was one of my favorite songs. In fact, I have both the Box Tops and Joe Cockers version of this song on my IPOD. While I thought Phil’s performance was interesting, this version will never make it to my IPOD. Randy really loved the performance and in another unbelievable comment Jennifer Lopez said she was unfamiliar with the song. You have got to be kidding me!!! For his second song, Phil sings a mellow (some might say boring) version of the Zombies hit, “Time of the Season.” It was a relaxed and subdued performance, but Phil definitely struggled with the high notes in the melody. Overall this wasn’t the strongest night of the season for Phil Phillips. While I don’t think he is in danger of going home, I do expect him to be in the “Bottom 3”, for the first time this season.
Skylar Laine: in the perfect song choice, Skylar sang a spirited version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s, “Fortunate Son.” I have criticized Skylar lately because all of her songs seem to blend together. Not this one. She immediately engaged the audience and maintained her energy and focus throughout the song. The three judges all loved her performance and Randy said “She was born to be on the stage.” For her second song, Skylar sang “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”, by Dusty Springfield. Looking and singing older then her years, Skylar gave a powerful performance of the pop hit. The judges loved her performance and Jennifer Lopez said “You are winning over the hearts of America and you might just win this whole thing.” This song choice really showed Skylar’s versatility as a performer. Like Hollie, this was a very good night for Skylar.
Jessica Sanchez: sings Tina Turner’s, “Proud Mary.” Little Steven isn’t a fan of this song because he’s heard it so many damn times. While it isn’t her best performance of the contest, she does a good job on the song but receives mixed reviews from the judges. Jennifer and Steven really liked her performance but Randy didn’t feel the same way. I was somewhere in the middle, but closer to Randy’s assessment of the song. For her second song, Jessica sang the Joe Cocker version of “You Are So Beautiful.” This was an interesting choice for her, and Jimmy is worried that it might sound like Muzak and for me it did. While the judges all loved it, I thought it was boring and unemotional. If I heard this song on the radio, I would definitely change the channel. This wasn’t a good night for Jessica and I expect her to be in the “Bottom 3”, for the second time this season. While I don’t expect her to be sent home, if she was, I wouldn’t be surprised. Either way, she has lost her top spot in my American Idol rankings.
Joshua Ledet: sings the “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”, by the Temptations. This song highlights the strength in his voice and is the perfect song choice for him. The judges really enjoyed his performance and Steven Tyler calls him one of the two best “Idol” singers of all time. While that might be a stretch, he is definitely a strong contender to win this year’s Idol crown. Joshua is peaking at the right time, and if he gives another strong performance on his second song, he could easily move up to the top spot in my American Idol rankings. For his second song, Joshua sings “To Love Somebody”, by the Bee Gees. While he starts of slow, in the second half of the song he picks up the pace and turns it into a bluesy, gospel version of the song. It’s a great way to end the show and for his efforts both the audience and the American Idol judges give him a standing ovation. Joshua is definitely on a roll and based on two strong performances has replaced Jessica Sanchez as the favorite in my American Idol rankings. Based on last night performances, I thought that Hollie, Skylar, and Joshua were the “Top 3”, performers of the night. Both Phillip and Jessica really struggled. I could easily make a case why all 5 contestants deserve to stay in the show, but I am going with a “Bottom 3” of Hollie, Jessica and Phil.
I can’t wait for tomorrow’s results show and featured performances by both Carrie Underwood and Coldplay. It should be a great show!