Tonight American Idol Season 11 top 7 will be performing music from this decade. This should give us a better idea about what we will hear from these performers once they start releasing their own records. Our American Idol power rankings has Christian musicians Joshua Ledet and Colton Dixon at the top. Colton should do fine this week but we wonder what modern songs can support the old school soul power of Joshua Ledet. Hang in there with us for another two hour show while we share our immediate reaction to tonight’s ten performances by the American Idol Season 11 top 7.
Akon is mentoring tonight and we are going back to the Idol’s hometowns.
Let’s start the show with some crazy country from Skylar Laine. She will be singing “Don’t You Know How Much I Loved You” and she blew Akon away. Jimmy tried to convince her to not play the guitar but she did not listen. Skylar Laine is just so comfortable on stage and she is blowing the roof off the theater with a huge voiced version of this Kellie Pickler song. If you gotta go first, that is the way to do it. Randy says it was right in her wheelhouse calling it crazy hot. J-Lo said it was pitch perfect and with feeling. Is Skylar Laine making a move on American Idol Season 11? She is as strong a singer as anyone on the show and a great performer.
Colton Dixon follows Skylar with interestingly enough, Skylar Grey’s “Love The Way You Lie”. Jimmy and Akon are pushing Colton hard to be great and Colton thinks this is his statement song. Sitting behind a huge white Steinway, Colton is accompanied by a gang of strings. Another very interesting singing performance by Colton Dixon. I am not sure I liked it but I did appreciate the complexity of what he did and the emotion of his performance. J-Lo liked the individuality of the performance more than the song. Stephen thinks it was picture perfect. Randy loved the subtly of the performance. I agree with the judges that it was a beautiful, nuanced performance.
Another duet with Elise Testone and Phil Phillips. As much as I enjoyed them last week, I would like to see American Idol shake-up these groups. They are singing “Somebody I Used To Know” by Gotye. Evidently Elise violently demanded that they sing this song this week because Phil accused Elise of hitting him and throwing things at him. Phil Phillips seems almost like a prop in this performance. I don’t think this captured the magic of last week’s performance.
Jessica Sanchez has selected Jazmine Sullivan’s “Stuttering” to sing. Akon has picked Jessica to win from the very beginning. He says Jessica Sanchez will be a legend some day. Oh wow, this is pretty great. From the pacing, the runs, the big notes, the phrasing, the scatting Jessica Sanchez is just showing off. I think this may be her best performance of the year. This is her record in a few months. Randy says she has set the bar really high because she just demonstrated her full talent. J-Lo is begging her to step up and show American Idol something they have never seen.
Soul singer Joshua Ledet takes on” Runaway Baby” from Bruno Mars. It will be interesting to hear this new soul song sung with a big old time soul voice. Joshua has such a great style sense. It is Joshua’s birthday this week and Fantasia sends “Mantasia” a taped birthday greeting. Jimmy and Akon are amazed at Joshua’s humility. This is fun. It is like LeBron James playing high school ball. He rocked the stage, he had fun and he threw down with his huge voice at the end. And another standing ovation by the judges! J-Lo says “you the umph!” Randy says you got everything going. After a great performance by Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet re-establishes his dominance on a really great season of American Idol. I want to see that again and again.
Skylar Laine and Colton Dixon are singing “Don’t You Wanna Stay” and desperately denying romance rumors. So far it seems that the girls are being a little pushy in song selection and arrangement. Come on guys, stand up for yourselves.
Hollie Cavanaugh is doing Pink’s “Perfect”. This should be interesting with Hollie doing a modern ballad. Akon is right that she needs to make the leap from amateur to professional. This simple arrangement with only a guitar allows us to hear the power and tonal beauty of Hollie’s voice. This was a great song choice, pleading and fighting to be perfect and she threw a big punch with a huge note at the end. The judges did not like it all. Their critique was very emotionally flat. The judge’s are setting her up to fail. It is very tough this season and Hollie may be in trouble, but the judges are being unfair.
Phil Phillips chooses “Give A Little More” by Maroon 5. The head strong Phil Phillips actually took Jimmy Iovine’s advice to start without the band and then build the sonic dynamics and pace throughout the song. I don’t know if I am just getting used to Phil Phillips but that was just okay for me. It was fun and interesting, but not great. J-Lo said it was just a little bit underwhelming. She is right that we have seen this performance before by Phil Phillips. Randy agrees. Phil Phillips needs to step out a little or his time on American Idol Season 11 will come to an end soon.
Now Hollie Cavanaugh joins Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez to sing Kelly Clarkson’s “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)”. Not so great. A little sloppy and uninspired.
Elise Testone closes the show with Lady GaGa’s “You and I”. The final spot for the second time in three weeks? I guess when the judges said they would only save one of the bottom two from last week, they meant they would save Elise not DeAndre. She wanted to start the song playing drums? Thank you Jimmy and Akon for talking her out of that bad idea. I was a little worried at the beginning. It was a fun little lilting song but then Elise started throwing big runs into the second half of the song. That was the performance Elise Testone needed. It was fun, dynamic, breezy and soulful. Randy declares “Elise is back!” J-Lo says she let go but maintained control. Stephen says she turned an easy song into a genius performance. That performance says Elise Testone deserves to stay on American Idol Season 11 for a few more weeks.
Well that was a really great night. I will point out that our top ranked Joshua Ledet was the only one to receive a standing ovation. I think Phil Phillips delivered the weakest performance of the night but I think Hollie Cavanaugh is a great risk. Join us tomorrow night to find out the results.