American Idol Season 11 Top 13 Performances

Now that we have cleared out the crowd it is time to get down to serious business on American Idol Season 11.  The Top 13 Idols will cover the songs of Whitney Houston (the girls) and the guys will cover Stevie Wonder.  So tonight will be a tightrope for the contestants to  try to bring something new, as well as perfection, to great songs that have been already been performed perfectly.

Check out our American Idol Season 11 Top 13 Power Rankings that is topped by Jessica Sanchez and Christian musician Joshua Ledet. Let’s see how Joshua and fellow Christian musicians Colton Dixon, Jeremy Rosado and Jermaine Jones do with Stevie Wonder tonight.

What do you guys think of the new set.  I like the gold and orange and the flashy cubes. Tonight is American Idol‘s 400th episode. A little twist this week. Tomorrow night Idol will reveal the bottom guy and the bottom girl and the judges will decide who will go home.

Joshua Ledet is first up doing “I Wish”.  Mary J Blige thinks he has a shot to make a big impact.  Oh my gosh who is this kid with no professional experience?  He is singing perfectly, amazingly even, and he is moving arounf the stage with the ease of Marvin Gaye.  In his first test of the season Joshua Ledet just blew it our of the box.  Crazy good! That’s right Randy he blew it out!  I felt it too J-Lo.  Ladies and gentlemen of America Joshua Ledet is here to stay!

Elise Testone is performing “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” after Jimmy Iovine and Mary J Blige change her song selection.  She seemed to struggle mightily during the rehearsals.  Good advice Jimmy! This song is perfect for Elise and she is delivering the second terrific performance of the night.  This song allows Elise to unleash her big growl and really stretch her expressive voice.  J-lo comes out of the box with a lukewarm critique which I don’t see. Randy felt like she was boxing with the song rather than settling into it.  I liked her performance much more than the judges. I am afraid the combination of placement and judges comments may put her in trouble.

Jermaine Jones presents “Knocks Me Off My Feet.”  I am not sure another ballad will serve Jermaine well.  Jimmy and Mary J love him.  Jermaine Jones has another worldly voice but I am not sure this obscure ballad will really connect with America.  The singing was great but the song and the performance was a little bland for me.  Stephen thought the song fit him perfectly.  J-Lo needs him to connect more deeply with the song. Randy did not like the arrangement.

We are back with judges pick Erika Van Pelt who is singing “I Believe In You and Me”.  Jimmy and Mary J worked on her vocal interpretation.  She starts very low.  That is a lower register than any other girl in American Idol Season 11 can reach. This will be all about if the judges like the interpretation. I certainly think Erika made me believe this was her song.  That was a mature, confident performance.  It is hard to make us forget Whitney.  Randy loved it, calling it amazing.  J-Lo gushes over her voice and Stephen has nothing but accolades.

Back to Stevie’s world with Christian musician Colton Dixon. He will sing “Lately”. That started very slowly for me but, wow, did he kick it into gear at the end.  Wow, what a note at the end.  Stephen says outstanding. J-lo calls it great because he showed his vulnerability.  Randy is right that when Colton hits his power notes it was amazing.  I agree with everything the judges said.

Shannon Magrane is singing “I Have Nothing”. That was really pretty good until she hit the big chorus and lost her pitch and never really recovered.  Overall, it seems like this song was just a little too big for Shannon.  She threw her heart and soul into it but she didn’t get it done.  J-Lo tells her to relax and tell the story. I think Shannon may be in trouble this week.  She should feel fortunate that only one person will go home this week.

Deandre Brakensick is singing “Master Blaster”, which should be perfect for him. Okay, so I was wrong.  I think his voice is too soft for this song.  The whole thing is muddled for me.  It was something different for DeAndre but I did not like it at all. Stephen does not comment, he just complemented.  J-Lo loved it as did Randy.  I did not feel it.

One of my favorites, Skylar Laine must come in from the country to take on Whitney.  This should be interesting. She is singing “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”. If Whitney can make a country song pop, can’t Skylar make a pop song country. Well Skylar has one gear, big and fast.  She did a credible job  of turning this into a country ballad.  Skylar blew the end of that song out of the park.  J-Lo and Stephen loved it.  Randy loved that she proved she can sing any song.

So Heejun Hahn comes face to face with his big critic, Jimmy Iovine. I really need to see something special from his performance of “All In Love Is Fair”. This is very pretty, if a little bland.  He has a fine voice but I get lost in his pronunciation. The judges just loved it.  I do not see what they see in Heejun.

Time for Hollie Cavanaugh to sing “All The Man I Need”. May J is predicting that Hollie will steal the show tonight.  The microphone looks huge in her hand.  The first part is terrific and then she stumbles in the middle.  Now, at the end, she just shows off with a big, pure, long note. Randy says she nailed Whitney’s big song.  J-Lo and Stephen both gushed.  That was impressive.

Everyone’s favorite, Jeremy Rosado, decides to sing “Ribbons In The Sky”. The first part is a little shakey.  He seemed to struggle to keep his pace.  He hit some nice big notes in the middle and finished big. Stephen loved it.  J-Lo loved his interpretation.  Randy did not feel it.  I agree with Randy.  Jeremy may be in trouble.

Okay, so Jessica Sanchez has no fear.  As the clear front runner she is going to try to prove a point with “I Will Always Love You”.  How can Jessica Sanchez be 16?  What a huge, controlled, fluid voice.  She brings the judges leaping to their feet.  That was sick.  Randy, J-Lo and Stephen are going nuts.  J-Lo is crying and gushing.  Stephen says she just made 40 million cry.

We are ending this very good marathon with something good.  Phil Phillips performing “Superstition”.  Well of course he is.  Did you think Phil would do “Isn’t She Lovely” or “For Once In My Life”? Okay so rock arrives on American Idol Season 11. There is a rock star in the house! Talk about owning the stage. Phil seems to be the only one tonight not competing but staging his own show.  I could listen to a few more songs from Phil tonight.  Judges love it.  I loved it as well.

So there we have it America, time to vote.  Th best performances came from Joshua Ledet, Erika Van Pelt, Colton Dixon, Hollie Cavanaugh, Jessica Sanchez and Phil Phillips. It looks to me that Jermaine Jones, Jeremy Rosado, Shannon Magrane and Elise Testone may be in trouble.

Check back in tomorrow night as we review the results and preview for next week.