It was a very 80’s night on the American Idol stage last night, taking most of the contestants back to songs they were far too young to remember, if they were even born that is.
No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani and drummer Tony Kanal acted as mentors for the contestants this week alongside the ever opinionated, if not irritating Jimmy Lovine.
The night kicked off with DeAndre Brackensick singing “I Like It” by DeBarge. He stayed mainly up in his falsetto range throughout the entire song, earning him big props from the judges. After his performance, DeAndre confidently told Ryan Seacrest “I was comfortable and I know I brought it.” So much for the scared puppy dog persona Gwen Stefani accused him of during mentoring.
EliseTestone took the stage next with, not her first choice of song, but the choice she was persuaded to sing by her mentors, “I Want to Know What Love is” by Foreigner. Her performance, while on key, was far from inspiring or even exciting. When she was finished, however, the judges couldn’t say enough on her behalf. We get it judges; you love Elise, but please stop trying to convince me that I love her.
Also this week, the idol contestants were paired up to sing duets. First up, Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine singing “Islands in the Stream.” Colton lacked the deep masculinity that Kenny Rogers brought to the original that so nicely complimented the sweet country drawl of Dolly Parton, but he held the harmonies nicely, none the less.
Phil Phillips brought the Genesis song “That’s All” to the Idol stage next and his
brother-in-law came along for the ride, playing guitar along with Phil throughout the so
ng. Phil is one of those contestants that just seems to know who he is and it makes his music all that much better. While not my favorite Phil Phillips performance, he was, as usual, a breath of fresh air.
After a somewhat painful duet from Hollie and DeAndre singing The Pointer Sisters’ “I’m so excited,” Joshua Ledet took the stage with his version of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” by Simply Red. During mentoring, the mentors collectively agreed that Joshua was going to blow everyone away, which he did, bringing the judges to their feet. Randy, having apparently decided that his declaration of contestants being “in it to win it” was so last year, changed it up a bit telling Ryan that Joshua has “got to have it.”
Jessica Sanchez was up next, telling the audience in her opening package that she was channeling her alter ego “Bebe Chez” in order to bring it to the Idol stage. Whatever you are doing, Jessica, keep it up because her performance of “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston was spot on. Jessica’s strong vocals earned her a “got to have it” from Randy and compliments a plenty from both Steven and J.Lo.
Phillip and Elise stumble through a duet of ”Stop Dragging My Heart Around” before clearing the stage for Hollie Cavanagh, the little blonde girl who just keeps over thinking her performances. With such talent, it’s almost sad to watch her muddle her way through the Flashdance tune “What a Feeling,” with pitchy notes and robotic movements.
For our long wait, we are rewarded with a truly great duet of “I Knew You Were Waiting For Me” by Jessica and Joshua. Thank goodness for small miracles. This inspired performance
gives me the energy to make it through to the end of the show.
Colton Dixon, apparently inspired by more that his No Doubt mentors’ talent, took the stage with newly dyed blonde hair. His rendition of the Cyndi Lauper classic “Time After Time” was unique and entertaining, if not an awe inspiring performance. The judges praised Colton for making the song his own, but Colton set the record straight telling Ryan that he took the arrangement from a band called Quiet Drive and that he “completely ripped them off.” At least he’s honest.
Finishing up the night was Skylar Laine, the country singer of the competition. After singing two songs for the mentors, they overwhelmingly agreed that she should perform “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler. She definitely steps it up a notch with a bit more of a power house performance that usual, leaving her with a standing O from the judges to end the evening.
So who does that leave in the bottom three? DeAndre, with his boyish charm appeals to a certain group, however, his hair flipping antics and repeated inferior performances make him a likely candidate. Hollie, who is incredibly talented, struggled greatly tonight. With such harsh criticism from the judges, which rarely happens since Simon left, America may be less likely to pick up the phone and vote for her. Last on the chopping block is Elise. While the judges can’t get enough of her, her performances are bland and her attitude every time she is in the bottom three make her less than appealing to be the American Idol. In the end, it’s up to the Idol voters to decide the fate of the contestants, which, considering last year’s choice of American Idol might be a scary thing.After a rollercoaster of performances, it would seem clear who should be safe and who should be in the bottom three, but as Ryan reminded us, no one is safe. No brainers to be safe should be Jessica, Joshua, and Phillip. Skylar and Colton stand a pretty good shot at making it to next week since their performances received praise from the judges and were reasonably entertaining.
Find out who stays and who goes tonight at 8/7c on Fox.
Image via: USAtoday.com