American Idol Season 11 Top 10 Performances-Live Blog

I am back from the West Coast and I am back from vacation so One21music will actually be live blogging the live feed of American Idol Season 11.  What an interesting show it was last week.  Front runner Jessica Sanchez stumbled a bit when she did not shine with her disco song.  Christian musician Joshua Ledet just burned the house down with his rousing version of “When A Man Loves A Women”.  Joshua Ledet has now proven he can do uptempo, see his performance of “I Wish”, as well as the torchy ballad.  Jessica Sanchez still has some things to prove.

Christian musician Colton Dixon is slowing his momentum on American Idol Season 11 by delivering amazing performances of obscure songs.  Phil Phillips has been spectacular every week.  Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanaugh have proven to be consistently good.

Now that we have our American Idol Season 11 touring group it is time to see if Heejun Hhan, DeAndre Brackensick, Erika Van Pelt or Elise Testone can break through and make it into the Top 5.  Nothing we have seen so far would suggest that they will be able to crack the Top 5 but America is a fickle beast (ask Pia Toscano).

Tonight, American Idol Season 11 will feature the songs of Billy Joel.  This is a collection of well crafted, middle of the road, pop and rock songs.  It will be difficult for the big voiced singers to do much with this music but I expect Colton Dixon, Phil Phillips and Elise Testone to shine tonight.

PDiddy will join Jimmy Iovine to mentor the performers tonight.  I wonder how that will rock out?  Tommy Hilfiger is going to dress the Idols tonight.  That did not work out so great last year.

DeAndre Brakensick will be singing “Only The Good Die Young”. DeAndre bops around the stage.  The first verse swallows him up as he clips his words trying to keep pace with the music.  He has a few growling moments in the chorus but overall he seems a little overwhelmed by this song. The crowd loves it. Jennifer liked the laid-back vibe which makes me think he should have taken a reggae twist.  Randy says it didn’t show him anything special.  I agree and I bet DeAndre is in the bottom three tomorrow night.

Erika Van Pelt will be singing second this week. This will not help her escape what is beginning to look like permanent residence in the bottom three. She needs a really big moment tonight. She will be singing “New York State of Mind” which is very dangerous for her because she could really push the song and overstep her performance or hold back and be boring. Erika has gotten a major make-over and is now sporting short, jet black hair. Her bluesy twist spin on this song is a welcome interpretation and she sings every note perfectly. That was a fine performance, I just wonder if it was enough.  Randy, Stephen and J-Lo loved but thought she could have pushed it further.

Will Joshua Ledet continue his string of mind blowing performances? Billy Joel is probably not the best set of songs for him but let’s see what he does with “She’s Got A Way”?  That is a very good choice for him. In all black, he begins the song sitting on chair in the middle of the stage. Unfortunately, he tries to do too much with the beginning of the song and loses the melody. This one is over performed.  This song is not that big and didn’t need all of the dynamics he added to the song.  He certainly did not need the gospel choir.  J-Lo reluctantly agrees with me.  She does not feel he was connected to the lyrics. Stephen thinks he brought the song to life.  I don’t understand what Randy is saying.  I think this is Joshua Ledet‘s first slight stumble.

Skylar Laine is a unique performer on American Idol.  She has developed a very strong persona that actually distracts from her talent.  With all of the talk of her as the country girl, Skylar has delivered three perfect vocal performances. She is singing “Shameless”, which I do not know. With the steel guitar, she is definitely putting a country twist on her performance. Skylar is really winning me over.  What a heartfelt delivery of this song.  Talk about owning a song and making it your own.  Randy felt the front was a little pitchy and only calls it “pretty good”.  J-Lo and Stephen says she just ate the song up. I liked her performance better than than did the judges.

Elise Testone is doing “Vienna” this week and Jimmy Iovine is not happy with the selection.  Elise needs another special performance this week.  Elise was right to pick this song.  Her hard articulation of every word in the first verse is very jazzy, then she kicks it up with the strong, raspy blues runs that only Elise can do.  She slays this song.  That was an amazing performance.  Beautiful.  The judges agree with a standing ovation. Stephen uses the words beautiful and fantastic.  J-Lo is right that her performance confidence really shined through.  Randy says that she is the only singer that could have delivered that run at the closing of the song.  If Elise is in the bottom 3 this week, it will be a crime.

A healthier Phil Phillips will be singing “Moving Out”. I agree with Diddy that I would prefer to see Phil without his guitar. I say it every week.  This guy is a natural.  His pacing and arrangement build tension for a big, big finish.  In Phil’s hands this song sounds dangerous. J-Lo calls it awesome and said it was a perfect rendition. Randy says it was one of the best versions of that song ever.  I agree.

What will Hollie Cavanaugh do with “Honesty”? Did Hollie find the song she can arrange to show off her huge voice? She performs in a disco outfit on a platform in the middle of a string section.  She struggles with pitch at the beginning.  This girl just has a huge voice, but this performance is not her best.  There is just not much to grasp onto here.  It was okay, not great. Stephen felt she was pitchy. None of the judges felt like she really knew the song.

Heejun Hahn will be singing “My Life”.  Heejun lets loose with some shenanigans and delivers a wonderful performance of “My Life”.  It is playful and upbeat.  For the first time this season we see Heejun’s personality. Despite some vocal missteps I think America will respond positively to Heejun this week.  J-Lo really appreciates the fun he brought to the show. Stephen calls him out that he needs to take the business more seriously.

Can Jessica Sanchez regain her footing this week? She will sing “Everybody Has A Dream”. Diddy tells her to pull back on the tricks. She throws out a huge vocal performance that brings the judges to their feet.  There were too many runs in the verses for me.  J-Lo says this was Jessica’s defining moment.  Randy says she just delivered another moment and it was perfection.  I think it was good, just not as special as the judges thought it was.

Christian musician Colton Dixon will add his piano playing to this week’s performance of “Piano Man”. Imagine that. The mentors had nothing to add.  Pretty dramatic lighting for Colton this week.  It feels like we are in the presence of a professional.  I think he over sang the first verse a little but that was a masters course in singing and performance.  Stephen calls his choice of chords stunning.  Randy calls it a touching, moving performance.

And fantastically, Colton takes the moment to talk about his prayer and his desire for Christ to shine through his talent.

Well, it is in your hands now America.  I thought Elise Testone and Colton Dixon took the night, with Skylar Laine and Phil Phillips representing themselves well.  DeAndre Brackensick, Erika Van Pelt and Heejun Hahn may be our bottom three this week.




  1. Jim Richardson says:

    I don’t get DeAndre at that’s my least favorite Billy Joel song.

  2. Jim Richardson says:

    Elise is my favorite so far, she has got soul.

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