Tonight the American Idol “Top 9” performed songs of their idols when they were growing up. Along with Jimmy Iovine, Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac fame was the celebrity guest mentor. Check out my recap of the contestants performances, in order of their appearance.
Colton Dixon: who has quickly become one of my favorites kicked off tonight show with a great performance of “Everything”, by Lighthouse. You could tell he had an emotional attachment to the song and he actually cried during his performance. I thought this might have been his best performance of the contest and the judges agreed. The judges loved his performance and Steven Tyler said, “You are a dream come true for a judge on American Idol.” Randy Jackson liked his performance so much I thought he was going to utter his famous “Your in it to win it”, proclamation. Instead Randy said, “That performance was unbelievable. I think I could be looking at a contender for the title.”
Skylar Laine: sang a high energy, rocking country version of Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead”. It was the perfect song choice for her and she sung the hell out of it. Skylar has been consistently good every week and is definitely a fan favorite of the country crowd.
Heejun Han: Singing for his American Idol life Heejun sang an absolutely beautiful version of Donnie Hathaway’s “A Song For You”. It was clearly his best performance in more than a month. At the end of the song, both the crowd and the American Idol judges gave him a standing ovation. In last week’s blog, I predicted that Heejun would be in the “Bottom 3” tonight. Based on his performance, he might have bought himself another week.
Hollie Cavanagh: Looking absolutely gorgeous in a white dress, Hollie rebounded from last week’s average performance with a strong version of Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Takes the Wheel”. While she got mixed reviews from the judges I thought it was a strong performance and it should definitely keep her out of the “Bottom 3”. Unfortunately for Hollie, treading water isn’t going to win this race. She needs a “Wow”, performance next week if she wants to keep pace with the top contenders like Jesscia Sanchez, Colton Dixon and Phil Phillips.
Deandre Brackensick: I am having a hard time understanding why Deandre is still on the show. He is this years’ Sanjaya Malakar (American Idol 2006), a good looking kid with great hair and a bad voice. Deandre sang an absolutely pathetic version of Eric Benet’s, “Sometimes I Cry” and while I was listening to it, I felt like crying. Unfortunately it was for all of the wrong reasons. Describing his performance as pitchy would be a compliment. To my shock and amazement, the American Idol judges gave Deandre a standing ovation for his performance. They have to be kidding me!!! The only thing that I can think of is that Deandre must have embarrassing pictures of the American Idol judges. This was clearly the worst performance of the evening.
Jessica Sanchez: in a brilliant move Jessica turned Beyonce’s, “Sweet Dreams” into a ballad. Her version of this song was so good I would buy it. She is clearly one of the best singers in the competition and unless she gets hit by a bus, will be one of the last two contestants standing. After giving Deandre a standing ovation for a mediocre performance, the judges remained seated at the end of Jessica’s performance which was surely one of the top performances of the evening. Go figure!!!
Phil Phillips: I love Phil Phillips. I can’t wait to hear what he is going to sing each week and he didn’t disappoint me last night. He sang an absolutely terrific version of Jonny Lang’s, “Still Raining”. The crowd and the judges absolutely loved his performance and guess what, another standing ovation. Phil clearly knows who he is as a singer and his stock continues to rise. Like I said last week, I don’t know if he can win this thing, but he is certainly giving it his best shot. Phil could end up as another Daughtry, a terrific performer who didn’t win American Idol but went on to have a successful career and a string of #1 hits.
Joshua Ledet: sang an uninspiring version of the Mariah Carey version of the Harry Nilsson song, “Without You”. While Mariah Carey did a good job on the song, the original Harry Nilsson version was one of my favorite songs when I was growing up. I didn’t like the slight arrangement changes and while he cried at the end of his performance, there was no emotional connection for me in his performance. Maybe it was just me, because all of the the judges really liked his performance. J-Lo said, “You are a phenom”, and Randy said, “When you have a voice this big, you need to sing big songs. I think that was flawless.” Guess what… the judges gave Joshua a standing ovation as well!!! Now I am really confused.
Elise Testone: ending the show on a high note with one of the best performances of the evening, Elise sang an amazing version of Led Zeppelin’s, “Whole Lotta Love”. For the second week in a row, Elise really brought her “A” game. This was definitely one of the “Top 3”, performances of the evening. Elise looked and sang like a rock star, and based on the last two weeks performances is definitely moving up in the rankings. The judges gushed at her performance. Steven Tyler said, “You made Robert Plant proud tonight.” And J-Lo said, “That was some real rock star stuff.” If Elise ends up in the “Bottom 3”, there needs to be an investigation. Without a doubt this was clearly the best night of American Idol performances to date.
Colton, Jessica, Phil and Elise’s performances were outstanding and they should all be getting ready for next week. I think Skylar and Hollie did a good job and have a strong enough fan base to stay out of the “Bottom 3”. However, if I had to pick one of the two to end up in the “Bottom3”, I would reluctantly pick Hollie. Deandre, Joshua and Heejun (despite a good performance) could find themselves in the “Bottom 3”. Based on weeks of bad performances, I am hoping the American public finally sends Deandre home.