American Idol Season 11 Top 7 Performance Live Blog

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.

 

 

American Idol Season 11 Top 7 Power Rankings

The rankings are starting to settle in on American Idol Season 11. After a season of tremendous performances, there is a clear talent leader and three others who could win.  The eliminations have been right every week and we are getting to a top 5 with all possible winners.  I think we are coming to a difficult and contentious elimination over the next two weeks as Hollie Cavanaugh, Elise Testone and Jessica Sanchez will all be in danger.

Barring a deserved standing ovation from the judges for a break through performance, I think Hollie Cavanaugh will go home this week.  The only thing that will save Hollie is another weak performance from Elise Testone. If Elise can return to her carefree rocker style of “Whole Lotta Love” I think she can make it into the top five by delivering a surprising elimination of Jessica Sanchez.  Of course, if that happened the judges will use their save at the last minute to save their favorite.

This week American Idol Season 11 will feature the performers singing “Songs of This Decade.”  That means the really creative performers will find songs that will fit on their records.  The others will pick their favorite song or something they have always wanted to sing on a big stage.

 

American Idol Season 11 Top 7 Power Rankings

1) Joshua Ledet- Every week, every performance, whether it be solo or group, Joshua Ledet has delivered a powerhouse moment. His weakest moment was Billy Joel week and that was only weak in comparison to his other performances. “When a Man Loves a Woman”, “Without You” and last week’s “If You Don’t Know Me Be Now” were all jaw-dropping, tour de force singing exhibitions that caused the judges to leap to their feet. Yes, Joshua Ledet has received three standing ovations form the judges this season.  They have used the adjectives awesome, incredible and spectacular to describe Joshua Ledet. We have been told that Joshua’s music experience is solely from singing in churches and school choirs. When you look at some of the experience of his competitors I am amazed with Joshua’s instinctive ability to deliver the subtle emotions of these secular songs.  We may have a major new talent on our hands when you consider how raw he truly is.  Joshua Ledet is the one to beat on American Idol Season 11.

2) Colton Dixon- On the other end of the spectrum is Colton Dixon who has continually created surprisingly emotional moments on the show while delivering technically superior singing demonstrations of mostly obscure songs. This week is a case in point.  I know that “Time After Time” is anything but obscure.  However, get your head around the Tim Tebow of American Idol singing a Cyndi Lauper melancholly love song, and making you fully believe it. That is what Colton Dixon does.  Anything but raw, Colton Dixon is a fully formed music professional who is ready to go into the studio. Watching this video, can’t you imagine Colton Dixon fronting his atmospheric, alternative rock band at the Grammy’s?  I believe we are headed to another male American Idol winner.

3)Skylar Laine-  She has 100% of the country vote.  She is a seasoned performer with more that a decade of musical theater experience.  She has an electric performing personality.  She has the voice of Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Nettles.  That combination could enable Skylar Laine to pull off the upset.  After she made an early statement with her frantic performance of “Stay With Me”, Skylar has drifted through a series of very good performances of country and pop songs.  She had started to fade into the background until this week when she put on her musical theater shoes and delivered big with a version of “Wind Beneath My Wings” that brought J-Lo to tears.  Amazingly, she twisted that big pop sing into a country song and still delivered.  Listen carefully, there are not many singers around who can pull off the note she did in the last seconds of that performance.  If Skylar can continue making smart song choices that feature her big voice she could sneak into the American Idol Season 11 top 3.

4)Phil Phillips- Amazingly, Phil Phillips delivered a surprisingly lackluster performance this week.  He did not seem emotionally or musically committed to the “Thats All” and seemed distracted by the presence of his brother-in-law on guitar.  We fully expect Phil to return to his highly rhythmic, tonally subtle, manic style this week. He has so much momentum I will be shocked if he does not make it into the American Idol Season 11 top five.

5) Jessica Sanchez- I know I am defying everything the judges have to say about one of the best singers to ever hit American Idol. I do like her as a singer.  However, she seems a little too focused on winning.  It seems that Jessica’s entire life has been directed toward these next few weeks.  I am a little turned off by that and I think, in the end, American Idol voters will be turned off as well.  Jessica could be a shocking elimination in the next few weeks.

6)Elise Testone-  I thought Elise Testone had found her voice and was going to seize upon her momentum. Instead she returned to the long, flowing, old lady dress and a dour performance of “I Want To Know What Love Is.” We want the strong rocker lady who owns the room and will push you out of the way to get what she wants.  Instead we got the sad person who has been knocked down too many times.  Unless rocker Elise makes a big comeback this week she might go home.

7) Hollie Cavanaugh-  The only thing saving Elise is Hollie Cavanaugh who seems to be overwhelmed as the stage has gotten bigger.  We have seen it before on American Idol,  the tremendous singer who needs to stretch a little, gets confused by everyone’s advise and then completely loses their way.  Both Hayle Reinhart and Syesha Mercado were relentlessly flogged by the judges and still found their way into the top 3.  However, Hollie Cavanaugh does not seem to possess the same toughness as those two.  Hollie was not in the bottom two last week and, with a tremendous performance this week, she could stick around for a few more shows.  We think this will be the end for Hollie Cavanaugh.

Join us tonight for our live impressions of tonight’s American Idol Season 11 top 7 performances.

American Idol Season 11 Top 8 Results

Sorry I missed you last night. Debbie tells me that Christian musician Joshua Ledet was amazing, receiving his third standing ovation of the season.  She tells me that Christian musician Colton Dixon was great as well.

However, favorites Elise Testone  and  Phil Phillips had mediocre nights.  The biggest disappointment of the evening was Hollie Cavanaugh, who seems to be struggling to find herself American Idol Season 11 and looks to be in grave danger tonight.  But enough speculation, let’s get to the results show.

Fifteen minutes into the show and time for some results. Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet are first up and they were both amazing. J Lo called Joshua spectacular. I would be shocked if  either one these performers are in trouble. Joshua Ledet is safe and Jessica is safe as well.  Of course they are.

Half of the remaining Idols are in danger.  Let’s see who are first into the bottom three.  Skylar Laine and Colton Dixon are up next.  Which ever one of these who are in the bottom three will be a surprise. I think neither of them are in the bottom three because Ryan now summons Hollie Cavanaugh and DeBased Brackensick, both of whom are probably in the bottom three. DeAndre is in the bottom three but Colton Dixon is safe. Hollie Cavanaugh is in the bottom three and Skylar Laine is safe.

Looks like Elise Testone  is on her way back to the bottom three.

The final two, Phil Phillips and Elise Testone, are up to learn their results. Sure enough Elise has fallen back into the bottom three.

Shocker! Hollis Cavanaugh is safe! Wow.  The bottom two are Elise Testone and DeBased Brackensick.  Will the judges use their save tonight?

DeAndre Brackesick s singing for the judges’ save. Elise Testone is safe. The judges decide to let him go home.  The judges overrule J Lo and send DeAndre Brackensick home.

Check in next Monday for our American Idol Season 11 Top 7 power rankings.

American Idol Season 11 Top 8 Performances

Hello One21Music music lovers.  Chuck is traveling, so in his stead, you will be experiencing American Idol with me, Debbie.  Let’s watch as the final eight contestants prepare to impress the judges, along with you and I, the viewers at home, as they sing popular hits from the 80′s.  They have brought in guest mentors Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal.

Each of the contestants will share what they miss about home.  DeAndre Brackensick misses his car.  Just got his license.  He really is young and very cute.  (Different writing from Chuck, huh??)   The video goes right into the mentoring session as he prepares to sing I Like It by DeBarge.  Gwen tells him to be more confident.  I am enjoying this performance.  Not so much falsetto.  Oops, I spoke too soon.  Jennifer liked him a lot.  Randy liked that he used his natural voice along with the falsetto and felt it was one of his best performances.  I agree.

Elise Testone is next and will be singing a top hit song by Foreigner.  Elise misses her band.  Her band sends well wishes.  She is going to sing I Want to Know What Love Is.  Wow, I remember this song.  Is that telling my age?  ha.  I really love Elise’s voice.  I don’t know if this is as powerful as last week, but I think she performed well.  Steven is not too sure about the song selection. Jennifer starts out by complimenting her look.  That is never a good sign.  Randy thought her performance was pitchy.

Next up, our first duet.  Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine will sing Islands in the Stream by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.  Our Colton has gone blonde.  Skylar is calmly performing.  They are doing a nice job.  Very sweet.  I think the judges are a bit surprised that Colton Dixon could carry a country song.  And no, they are not dating.

Phil Phillips misses jamming with his brother-in-law Ben.  He feels there is a definite connection between them as they play.  I would love to listen to Phil and Ben play live.  That would be amazing. Can you tell,  I am a fan.  So he is going to sing That’s All by Genesis.  His practice session is not quite up to par, but hopefully once he hits the stage, all will be well.   And I kind of get my wish, here he is performing with Ben.   He seems to be struggling some.  These ’80′s songs are a bit harder to sing than we thought.  Hmmm.  Not his best in my opinion.  Steven thought he was great.  Randy thought he was great.  What do I know?

So Hollie and DeAndre are going to sing The Pointer Sister’s , I  Am So Excited.  These are interesting pairings for the duets. They sound pretty good and I am so happy to see that Hollie is age appropriately dressed tonight.  She is letting go,…a little.  The judges really liked the free flowing performance.  I just noticed this but what in the world is Steven Tyler wearing?

And here we go with one of my favorite Christian performers.  Joshua Ledet is going to sing a Simply Red song.  What will it be?  Joshua is missing his family. He is the baby of the family and just wants to sing. Well okay, we want him to sing.   He is going to perform If You Don’t Know Me by Now,  originally recorded by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes with Teddy Pendergrass.  I love this song.  I can’t wait to hear him sing this.  He has a choir beginning the song for him.  Joshua Ledet makes me cry he is so good.  Standing ovation by the judges.  Randy wanted to stand up from the beginning of the song to the end.  Another amazing performance by this young Christian man.

Jessica Sanchez considers herself a normal teenager. She misses all the teenage stuff in her life.  She plans to sing a Whitney Houston song, How Will I Know.  Gwen tells her to watch her performance style,  so I guess we  will see Jessica’s “party” side tonight.  She really has a powerful voice.  Amazing that she is so young.  She did fine.  She seems to be a sweet girl.  Jennifer says Jessica is a natural singer.  She can’t believe the voice that comes out of the little girl body.  Steven really liked it.  Randy is surprised at her maturity.  She is 16.

Now a wonderful pair for a duet, Phil Phillips and Elise Testone.  Stop Dragging My Heart Around by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty.  This should be a moment.  They are both really good.  Smile, Elise, smile.  Is Phil Phillips comfortable moving around the stage?  I really don’t think so.   He is that “guy behind the guitar” kind of performer.  Randy and Jennifer want to hear more.  Steven loved it too.

Hollie Cavanaugh says this is the longest amount of time she has ever been away from her family and puppy.  She loves Gwen Stefani.  She plans to sing What a Feeling from the movie, Flashdance.  Gwen told her to sing it tough.  Jimmy wants her to bring the “feelin”. Can she loosen up and have fun?  Although a little off note in places, her tone is just beautiful.  I am not big on her moving all over, but at least she is off the center stage mark.  So the judges tell her the pitch was off.  Was this caused by her moving around too much per the mentors??  It has to be hard for these young performers as they try to apply everything they are being told.

I Knew You Were Waiting for Me will be sung by Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez.  Another good team.   They are doing Aretha proud.  This is really good and here comes our choral group again.  Yes.  Another standing ovation by our judges.  Has Randy worked on every song that is sung on this show?  Jennifer says this is a dream pairing.  Steven says “so fine”.

And yes, our other Christian performer, Colton Dixon, is up next.  I just love this guy.  I love the way he sings and I love that he shares his heart so deeply each week.  Colton Dixon works with his family’s face painting business.  He misses that.  He plans to sing a Cyndi Lauper song, Time After Time.  Gwen likes Colton and sings harmony with him.  I totally buy into this song.  I love the quality of his voice.  Great job Colton.  Steven feels he could record this right now.  Jennifer said the journey he took the audience on was great.  Randy says he is so current.  Everyone loved his drummer.

Here is Miss Skylar Laine  and we see her in action with her gun and four-wheeler.  Yikes, is she actually going to shoot something right here on tv?  The mentors first encourage her to sing Nine to Five but then they flip and vote for Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler.  I like that Skylar is singing this.  She looks very pretty and seems very at ease.  I hear a little of her country twang.  She has a bigger voice that I thought she had and she did a wonderful job on that ballad.  The judges stand again.  Randy says “wow”.  He says this is her best performance.  Jennifer is emotional.   She says America didn’t know Skylar could sing like that.  Steven loved it.

Well I have to say that this year’s group is just amazing.  The judges did such a great job in selecting the contestants this season.  That was fun.  I enjoyed being with you tonight.  Join us tomorrow evening as we blog American Idol and follow our sweet Christian artists, Joshua Ledet and Colton Dixon in their quest for the title of American Idol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Idol Season 11 Top 9 Results

After one of the best American Idol nights ever, how can the judges let anyone go home? Every performer delivered one of their best performances of the year on a night that started with an emotional whirlwind and then ended with two amazing performances.

We saw the real Elise Testone last night and she is a rock goddess.  And then there was Joshua Ledet who delivered the single most amazing interpretation of a ridiculously difficult song, as if he were singing a Lana Del Ray song.  These two took the prizes for best performances.  However, the entire evening was opened up for something special as Christian musician Colton Dixon laid his heart on the stage with his favorite worship song.  That opened a torrent of emotion into the American Idol studio that never really abated.  I suspect that everyone was drained after the show last night.

Stevie Nicks was phenomenal as a mentor and really led the American Idol Season 11 performers to deliver a very special evening.

I think there is a tremendous chance that the judges will save the person who finishes last in the voting tonight.  I think there are three people left in the competition who have virtually no shot at winning, but I think the judges might even reward one of them with the judges save.  But enough speculation, let’s see what happens.

Ryan Seacrest is proud to announce the Aerosmith 2012 Tour, which was announced on Tuesday. Niki Manji and Scott McCreery are performing tonight.

Last night’s show generated a lot of twitter activity from music royalty such as Carrie Underwood and Mariah Carey, and Eric Benet showed up to congratulation DeAndre Brakensick on last night’s performance.

First up for results are Elise Testone, Phil Phillips and Hollie Cavanaugh. Could Hollie make her first trip to the bottom three? Yep, Ryan leads off by telling Hollie Cavanaugh that she is in the bottom three. Phil Phillips and Elise Testone are both safe.

Thirty minutes in and time for more results with our Christian musicians Colton Dixon, Heejun Hahn and Joshua Ledet. Who is safe? Colton Dixon and Joshua Ledet are safe and Heejun Hahn is in the bottom three.

Christian musician Scott McCreery may be on his way to becoming the most successful American Idol winner ever.  Jimmy Iovine just presented him with his platinum album for selling one million copies of his debut “Clear As Day.”  No other Idol has ever done that. Given tonight’s performance, this will probably not be Scott McCreery’s last platinum album.

Now it is time for Skylar Laine, DeAndra Brakensick and Jessica Sanchez to face America’s music. Jessica Sanchez is safe.  The final person in the bottom three is Skylar Laine and DeAndre Brakensick is safe. That is surprising and disappointing.

Five minutes to the finish.  Skylar Laine is sent to safety it is down to two and Heejun Hahn has the fewest votes this week.  The judges save is a toss up. He is singing “A Song For You”.   I think he did a better job than he did last night. But the judges do not save him.  As much as we like Heejun, this is the right decision.

Check out our American idol Season 11 Top 8 Power Rankings this weekend.

 

 

American Idol Season 11 Top 9 Performance Live Blog

So far, American Idol Season 11 has gone according to plan.  There have been no shocking eliminations and no performances that have horribly gone wrong.  That could change this week. The them is “Songs From You Idols”.  That is such a wide open field that, inevitably, a few of the performers will pick songs that have a deep personal meaning but that don’t really highlight their voices.  So, we could see some big, and maybe surprising, missteps this week.

Also, we are getting down to the point in  the season that voting demographics really matter. While our American Idol Season 11 Top 9 Power Rankings have Heejun Hahn and DeAndre Brakensick at the bottom, both of them have such distinct styles that they could survive this week through the concentration of the voting demographics.  Taking demographics into account we think Elise Testone must have a very strong night tonight.  She is fighting the same fight that Hayle Reinhart fought last year and that Syesha Mercado, Crystal Bowersox and Melinda Doolittle fought over the past few seasons.  Fully formed, mature females seem to be forced to battle for survival week after week on American Idol.

Another view of demographics would say that Skylar Laine should be in good shape as the only country singer in the group.  Even though Phil Phillips and Colton Dixon nominally share the alt rocker voting block they are so different from each other and they have been so good to this point that they should be safe for several more weeks.

Joshua Ledet needs to be careful this week, not because the show is crowded with gospel singers, but because he had his first misstep last week and in this talented field you cannot afford to slide too long.  He is one shaky performance from being a shocking early elimination.

However, the biggest possibility for a shocking elimination comes from our dueling divas, Jessica Sanchez and Hollie CavanaughJordin Sparks is really the only singer of this style who has had big success on American Idol.  Neither of these two great singers have deeply engaged the audience either.  So if they are going to share a shrinking group of voters who love the big voiced , over the top female singers, this may be the week when one of these girls shockingly goes home.  Jessica has been more consistent and dynamic so we think Hollie needs to have a big night or she will be at risk.

So enough prognostication, let’s get onto American Idol Season 11 Top 9 performances.  Stevie Nicks is mentoring tonight and the two hour format will include individual performances and three trio numbers.

Colton Dixon leads off the show and Stevie Nicks. He is doing Lifehouse‘s “Everything” and our Christian musician takes a shot to share his faith.  Amazingly Jimmy Iovine and Stevie Nicks both loved this worship song.  Many people will not get this song but I have chills down into my soul and can you can tell that Colton is more connected to this song than any he has sung this year.  Another perfect singing demonstration.  Colton Dixon is owning American Idol Season 11Stephen Tyler raves and says he has star quality. J-Lo loved his performance and Randy says wow. Randy seemed genuinely moved by the performance.  Randy predicts that Colton has emerged as a real contender for the title.  This was a heartfelt performance that brought the house to tears.  A Christian musician exalting his God is a very powerful thing and American Idol just experienced that in a way I have not seen on this show, ever.  That was a very special moment.

Skylar Laine has to follow that and she is, surprisingly, performing Miranda Lambert‘s  ” Gunpowder and Lead” and Stevie Nicks asks, “does this song have harmony?” Skylar Laine is showing off her sassy self with another manic performance about shooting her man.  Skylar Laine just seems like she is already a star.  She has no fear when she is performing.  That was pretty fantastic.  That girl has star power.  The Top 9 are 2 for 2 now. J-Lo said it was perfect for her.  Stephen says it was over the top, in a good way. Randy loved it and pointed out her big range and what a powerhouse singer she is.

Now we pause with Colton Dixon, Elise Testone and Phil Phillips performing some Fleetwood Max songs. Boy, they sound really great together.  That was really fun.

Now it is time for Christian musician Heejun Hahn.  Can he recover from last week’s misstep. He is singing Donny Hatahway‘s “A Song For You”.  This is one of my five favorite songs of all time.  Jimmy and Stevie loved him in rehearsals. Gut wrenching tone in the first two lines. We are seeing a raw, honest Heejun Hahn. This is almost painful to watch.  This was not a competitor trying to win a competition.  This was a young artist laying his heart on the stage.  And at the end he gives glory to God. The judges leapt to their feet crying.  Stephen raved more I have ever heard.  J-Lo was gushing and she was moved. Randy loved his buttery tone and welcomed him back.  That is what you call a comeback, amazing. How can America vote Heejun Hahn off American Idol this week?

Hollie Cavanaugh is doing the Carrie Underwood song “Jesus Take The Wheel”. I am really surprised that Carrie Underwood is Hollie’s idol.  I would have thought she would have more of a pop and R&B fan. What is happening on this show tonight?  Hollie brought Stevie Nicks to tears in a really deep emotional connection during her rehearsal.  Wow, this is almost like we are watching Hollie Cavanaugh surrender herself on a snowy road.  These guys are laying their hearts on the stage.  Randy leads with the”its always dangerous” and gave a lukewarm review. Tonight had turned J-Lo into an emotional mess and she says this was one of Hollie’s best. Stephen didn’t like the song choice.  I disagree with judges.  I thought that was great. It was the first honest performance I have seen from Hollie Cavanaugh on American Idol Season 9.

Wow, there is a lot of Jesus on American Idol tonight.  It is almost like “Chuuch”. Glory, glory!

Carrie Underwood just tweeted her adulation of Hollie Cavanaugh and her cover of “Jesus Take The Wheel.”

Now DeAndre Brakensick is singing “Sometimes I Cry” by Eric Benet. Stevie has DeAndre slow the song down.  What a night tonight!  This is DeAndre’s best performance, by miles.  How can this guy sing an entire song in falsetto and still have power to hit big notes?  Once again that judges jumped to a standing ovation.  Stephen says he gave Prince a run for his money. J-Lo begs America to vote for DeAndre.  Randy says it was beautiful.  That was the first time I “got” DeAndre Brakensick.

Now Jessica Sanchez takes on her idol, Beyonce.  Not sure the rhythmic nature of Beyonce‘s songs are the best showcase for Jessica’s voice. She is turning “Sweet Dreams” into a big ballad. The opening verse is a little tough for me.  I am have difficulty hearing her.  But then she kicks in with her big voice and some nice tempo changes.  This was okay, maybe a little over performed.  I think this was the first performance tonight that was not a “big moment”.  J-Lo loved her arrangement and her performance choices.  Stephen likes that she held back at the right times in the performance.  Randy is amazed at her maturity as a singer and calls her one of the best singers he has heard in years.

Heejun Hahn, Joshua Ledet and DeAndre Brakensick are the next trio doing Michael Jackson.

Phil Phillips has a tall order to maintain tonight’s standard.  He has chosen to sing “Still Raining” by Johnny LangStevie Nicks says Phil Phillips has an undeniable magic and says he would have been asked to join Fleetwood Mac if he had been around in the 70′s. Is this guy guesting on the American Idol results show? No he is a competitor, but he is too polished, too comfortable, too unique to be competing. Every week Phil Phillips amazes us and we get another standing ovation from the judges. J-Lo just hit it. She said that every time he sings he is just present in the moment like a great artist.  This may be the best episode of American Idol I have ever seen and Phil Phillips lived up to the challenge.

Joshua Ledet is performing Mariah Carey? Disappointed.  I was hoping for Al Green or Bill Withers. He is singing “Without You”, which is really a Harry Nilson song.  Jimmy Iovine says it is one of the five most difficult pop songs to sing. Wow, Joshua is just powering through this song.  He has turned “Without You” into a soul stomp and once again the judges leap to their feet.  They are just amazed.  Randy loves him and says his performance was flawless.  Randy saw real emotion in the performance.  Randy calls it brilliant.  Stephen says the emotion was amazing.  J-Lo calls him a phenom and says his voice is God sent. Randy and Ryan are now trying to remember an American Idol show as emotional as this.  I love this song and I have heard dozens of singers perform it.  In every performance, until tonight, it felt that the singers were climbing the mountain of this big, difficult song.  Tonight, Joshua Ledet just cut a tunnel through that song and turned “Without You” into his soul song.

I am grateful for these trios so I can balance myself.  Now Jessica Sanchez, Hollie Cavanaugh and Skylar Laine do a Madonna medley.

Now, Elise Testone must close this amazing show and as we had all hoped she is singing Led Zeppelin.  She is doing the big one, “Whole Lotta Love”  Jimmiy Iovone says she murdered it in rehearsals. Let’s see how does it live. My jaw is hanging open. She is slaying this song.  I have never seen her have this much fun.  Tonight, Elise Testone became a rock star.  It is like she is a different person.  Oh my gosh!!  Another standing ovation by the judges.Stephen says nobody can pull that song off but she made Robert Plant proud.  The other judges just babbled adulations.

That is now officially the greatest American Idol show I have ever seen. Every single person was amazing.  We had five standing ovations from the judges. I am exhausted.  My prediction is that the judges will use their save tomorrow night, no matter who is voted off, and I think they should.

Check back in tomorrow night when we blog the results show.  I am going to go watch this show again. Goodnight.

 

 

 

 

American Idol Season 11 Top 9 Power Rankings

Well, that was an interesting week of shows on American Idol Season 11. The race tightened up, another girls leaves the competition, Stephen Tyler was cranky on his birthday week and another Christian musician outed himself.

Heejun Hahn became a controversial figure on American Idol Season 11 this week when he spent his mentoring sessions using his dry sarcasm as a defense mechanism with Diddy, Jimmy Iovine and Tommy Hilfiger. He finished the week with an over the top performance that was big and humorous but not very polished. After frustrated criticisms from Stephen Tyler, Jimmy Iovine and Diddy, Heejun said the he was just trying to be himself, “a man after God’s own heart.”  Couple that with his facebook tag “all for God, all by God” and it looks like we can add Heejun Hahn to the long list of Christian musicians who have competed on American Idol Season 11.

American Idol Season 11 Top 9 Power Rankings

1) Phil Phillips
Phil Phillips did not deliver the best performance of the week but he has consistently finished in my top 3. He has a clear vision of who he is as a performer and he consistently delivers interesting twists on familiar songs. That was formula that won American Idol for David Cook and Kris Allen. Add to all of that, he is comfortably nice looking, he displays a strong but kind persona and he has suffered some physical set backs that make him seem vulnerable and the American Idol public could embrace him all of the way to the final.

2) Colton Dixon
Christian musician Colton Dixon delivered a master class in singing this week. His meticulous re-construction of the chord structure and tempo framework of “Piano Man” was brilliant. Colton Dixon is a real contender on American Idol Season 11. He will continue to deliver great performances. I think he needs to connect at a personal level more deeply. He still seems like an oddity to me and as this season winds down that could hurt him.

3) Elise Testone
In the great tradition of dark horses, think Kris Allen and Syesha Mercado, Elise Testone continues to blow our mind every week with fabulous performances. This week was the pinnacle of her journey so far. The jazz phrasing at the beginning, the gutsy blues in the middle and that mind blowing run at the end turned made this one of the top 3 performances of the season. Elise will struggle all season with the demographics of the American Idol audience but I am anxious to buy her first album.

4) Joshua Ledet
Yep, this field is that good. Joshua Ledet delivered a very, very good performance of “She’s Got A Way”, one that I will buy. However, Billy Joel exposed a weakness that Joshua needs to overcome. Every song is not a gospel song and not matter how good Joshua Ledet is at singing in the gospel/souls style he will need to demonstrate that he step out just a little bit. Joshua, go talk to Skylar about how to stretch boundaries without losing yourself.

5)Jessica Sanchez
Everyone loved Jessica’s version of “Everyone Has A Dream”. I did not. I think everyone recognizes Jessica as potentially the next big diva and they want to love everything she does. I thought she over sang the song and she lost me with the runs she seem to take in every line. A great, great singer, I need Jessica Sanchez to demonstrate some subtly and vulnerability.

6) Skylar Laine
“Shameless” was easily Skylar’s worst performance of the the season. She struggled with pitch early on and she was not perfect throughout the song. Yet, like a seasoned professional she powered through with her personality and strong stage presence to make me enjoy the ride. I think Skylar Laine  has a real chance to win American Idol Season 11. If she can make it to the top 3, the other performers better watch out.

7) Hollie Cavanaugh
We saw the perfect singer break a little this week. Hollie Cavanaugh has been the fearless singer who took on the Mount Rushmore of divas and delivered perfect performances each time. This week, not so much. She struggled with pitch and pacing throughout her performance of “Honesty”. I think she is on a path to split the diva vote with Jessica Sanchez and, right now, she seems to be diva 1a.

8) Heejun Hahn
We talked about Heejun’s week above. As much as we have enjoyed his personality all season we have never connected with his singing. I think this week hurt Heejun more than it helped him. However, finishing 8th or 9th on American Idol Season 11 is a tremendous accomplishment and could be the spring board to his variety show career. We hope he will surprise us this week with a dead serious performance of a really good R&B song. If he does, he could make it for several more weeks.

9) DeAndre Brakensick
Deandre started the show with overly happy delivery of “Only The Good Die Young”. It seems the DeAndre is more interested in competing on American Idol than he is in delivering strong singing performances. That will lead to his ouster in the next few weeks.

So, there you have it. American Idol Season 11 has one of the strongest group of musicians I have ever seen and I am enjoying each week’s performance shows. I think any of the top 6 could win American Idol Season 11.  Join us on Wednesday night when the musicians will sing “songs of their Idols”. I think that means this will be a wide open show and could reveal a lot about who each of these musicians are.

American Idol Season 11 Top 10 Results

The American Idol Season 11 dip into the Billy Joel songbook went about as I expected for the Top 10. Billy Joel writes wonderful pop songs but his songs just do not have the dynamics to create those American Idol moments.  Elise Testone and Christian musician Colton Dixon were the only ones who really turned their Billy Joel covers into something special.  The judges gushed over Jessica Sanchez but I thought she was way too busy with runs and vocal histrionics for me to connect with her version of “Everybody Has A Dream.”  As I predicted, the big singers, Hollie Cavanaugh and Joshua Ledet, struggled with these songs, but I think they will live to make their marks for a few more weeks.

Tonight, it looks like DeAndre Brakensick and Erika Van Pelt will be in the bottom three and I think they will joined by Heejun Hahn.  I don’t think Heejun’s sarcastic romp through the preparation week served him well.

So join me for the next hour as we watch Ryan Seacrest reveal America’s reaction to the American Idol Season 11 Top 10 performances.  I am looking forward to hearing what Hayle Reinhart is up to.

After the big group number and the Ford music video we finally start the results. The first three on the hot seat are Hollie Cavanaugh, Skylar Laine and Elise Testone? Given their performances over the entire season, none of these girls deserve to go home tonight.  Hollie Cavanaugh is safe, as is Skylar Laine.  Wow, Elise Testone is safe also.  There is justice on American Idol Season 11!

Two more commercial breaks, a birthday celebration for Stephen Tyler (with Joe Perry as his present) and a Lana Del Rey performance before we get to building the bottom three. The next round of candidates includes DeAndre Brakensick, Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez.  Looks like DeAndre is in trouble tonight. Jessica Sanchez is safe with an endorsement from Billy Joel himself.  Despite a rough night Joshua Ledet is safe as well.  DeAndre Brakensick is in the bottom three.

Time to fill out the bottom three.  The last four, Colton Dixon, Erika Van Pelt, Heejun Hahn and Phil Phillips.  Is there any doubt? Sorry, Erika and Heejun. Boy, Jimmy Iovine really ripped Heejun Hahn.  Did Heejun really say that he was man after God’s own heart?  Colton Dixon is safe but Erika Van Pelt is in the bottom three. Phil Phillips is safe and Heejun Hahn is in the bottom three.

It  looks like Heejun Hahn is another Christian musician on American Idol Season 11.

Now down to the final decision for the American Idol Season 11 Top 10.  DeAndre Brakensick is sent to safety.  Erika Van Pelt is voted off.  Will the judges save her?  They have already overridden the American Idol voters once. But they won’t save her again.  Erika Van Pelt was a really good singer who never seemed to connect with the American Idol public.

Join us this weekend as we reveal our American Idol Season 11 Top 9 power rankings.

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.

 

 

American Idol Season 11 top 12 Power Rankings

American Idol Season 11 Top 13 Power Rankings

Our American Idol Season 11 did not change  much after the perofrmers made the American Idol equivalent of fire walking by performing  the song books of Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder. The top of our  rankings slayed these big songs and several  of the Season 11 performers were undone.  Ultimately, Christian musician  Jeremy Rosado went home this week.

One21music features Christian musicians performing on American  Idol Season 11.  After Jeremy Rosado‘s departure we are down to three Christian musician.   Joshu Ledet, the Lousiana gospel singer comes in at number two in our rankings.  We place alternative rocker Colton Dixon at number four. Six foot eight gospel singer Jermaine Jones ranks number  10.

American Idol Season 11 Top 12 Power Rankings

1) Jessica Sanchez
Oh my gosh! This girl cannot be 16.  on Tuesday night she strolled up to the monster “I’ll Always Love You” made some slight modfications and sang it perfectly.  So perfectly in fact that the judges lept to their feet jumping and cheering.  They had to wait to give her feedback because the crowd would no quiet down.  And,in  case you  missed  it, crumedgeonly  Jimmy Iovine said that Jessica’s performance is the best he has ever heard on American Idol,  ever. I think this girl is number one until she is voted off the show.

2) Joshua Ledet
This week Chrsitian musician answered another question and showed that this young church singer can rock. His version of “I Wish” started the show with a bang. In doing so he proved he rock a crowd with upbeat dance music as well as bring a crowd to its knees with crushing ballads.

3) Phil Phillips

We are now officially Phil Phillips fans.  “Superstition” was edgy and thrilling.  Phil Phillips is one of the only American Idol contestants, throughout all of the seasons who have ever felt legitimately dangerous.  He takes chances, he performs with artistry and he is consistently exciting.  He has some really tough competition but this guy has already done enough on American Idol Season 11 to start his career. I am buying his records.

 

4) Colton Dixon

Colton Dixon did something unusual. He took a Stevie Wonder song, turned it inside out, and made it seem legitmitely new and fresh. Colton and Phil  are probably the two  best musicians on American Idol Season 11. I think Colton’s cereberal and complex approach may be too much for the American Idol vibe.

5) Hollie Cavanaugh

For the second straight week this diminutive Texan stood in the middle the stage and belted out a huge ballad.  This week it was “All The Man I Need”. Where does all of that power come from? Hollis is at risk of falling into a Pia Toscano rut of big ballads. Does Hollie have the personality to sell uptempo songs? Until she proves that she will remain in th middle of the pack.

6) Skylar Laine

In a week that could have been a minefield for her, Skylar Laine proved she has taker beyond her country girl persona. Yes, she turned “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” into a country pop song, but she did it with power and artistry. Do not underestimate Skylar Laine

7) Erika Van Pelt

Erika made a big comeback this week by by twisting “I Believe In You and Me”into a her version of a rock power ballad.  In doing so, she showed the depth and power of her voice. I think this performance will propel Erika Van Pelt into the American Idol Season 11 top 10.

8) Elise Testone

After a great first week, Elise Testone struggled with a song she did not really know.  During the mentoring session, Jimmy Iovine changed her  song to “I’ll Be You Baby Tonight”. It was probably a good change, if she had any feel for the song.  Her performance and her placement early in the show landed her in the bottom two.

10) Jermaine Jones

Jermaine Jones “Knock Me Off My Feet” was a little boring for me. His voice is gorgeous but  it limits his song selections. I need to see Jermaine bring some excitement to his performance next week or I think he may be in trouble.

11) DeAndre Brackensick

I am sorry, I just don’t get DeBased.  I thought his “Master Blaster” was muddled and frantic. He will continue to be more popular than I think his talent warrants until he is voted off American Idol /season 11.

12) Shannon Magrane

Shannon delivered the worst performance of the week. She may be have reached the maturity of her talent.  I believe that she has two more weeks to find her footing.

13) Heejun Han

I love Heejon humor and his personality but I just don’t get his voice.  He will probably make it into the Top 10 over some people I like better than him.

Please join us on Wednesday night as we live blog the American Idol Season 11 Top 12 performances.