American Idol Season 11 Top 10 Performances

We are approaching the end of American Idol Season 11 and so I thought I would take a moment to share with you our favorite performances of the season.  Season 11 has been one of the best in American Idol history.  The top 12 was solid and the top 10 has no weaknesses. If you have read our coverage of American Idol Season 11 you know it will be heavy with some Joshua Ledet.  Here are the One21music top 1o performances of American Idol Season 11.

1) “Everything” by Colton Dixon

This performance started off the night when the American Idol top 9 were allowed to select their favorite song.  Christian musician Colton Dixon set the entire show on its ear that night in one of the most emotional American Idol shows I have ever seen. Here is Colton Dixon singing the definition of his Christian faith.

2)”To Love Somebody” by Joshua Ledet

Everyone already knew Christian musician Joshua Ledet was unique singer, but when he took this song he had never heard and did this with it, all of the professionals associated with American Idol knew they were in the presence of a special talent. Here is Joshua Ledet stealing the show on American Idol Season 11 top 5.

3)”Without You” by Joshua Ledet

This was when it dawned on me what kind of voice Joshua Ledet possesses. This song is virtually impossible to sing and Joshua performed it effortlessly. Every other perfromance I have ever heard of this song you got the feeling the singer was fighting to control “Without You”. Joshua Ledet just mauled this song on the American Idol Season 11 top 9.

4)”Whole Lotta Love” by Elise Testone

The highlight of Elise Testone‘s run on American Idol Season11 came when she closed the top 9 show with this Led Zeppelin classic.  This showed Elise at her most joyful, confident, rocking self.  That was something we did not see enough of from her.

5)”Still Raining” by Phil Phillips

The American Idol Season 11 top 9 show was something special. Four of my top 5 songs come from that night. With “Still Raining” we see Phil Phillips in his full glory. He growls and scats and stomps his way through this Johnny Lang song and takes us to the future with his own mini Phil Phillips concert. This is what got Phil into the top4.

6)”The Show Must Go On” by Skylar Laine

This is just a singing clinic put on by Skylar Laine.  She delivers a perfect vocal performance and a riveting visual performance of this lesser known Queen song.  This is one of the numbers that showed America that country girl Skylar Laine is also big time singer Skylar Laine.

7)”Stuttering” by Jessica Sanchez

This is Jessica Sanchez‘s most complete, mature performance of the entire season. This song is big enough for her voice and has plenty of room for all of the runs she loves to do. Rather than just sing the song she embraces and engulfs the song and delivers a stellar moment for her and for us. Watch Jessica Sanchez perform “Stuttering” on American Idol Season 11 top 7 show.

8)”River Deep Mountain High” by Hollie Cavanagh

Hollie Cavanagh had been hinting at this for several weeks. She flipped the switch a few weeks ago and finally, in the American Idol Season 11 top 5 show, she embraces her artistry and delivers a great performance of one of pop music’s best songs ever. Watch how she holds her head so defiantly. Watch how she effortlessly moves around the stage. See Hollie Cavanagh as the star in front of this big band.

9)”When A Man Loves A Woman” by Joshua Ledet

Sometimes you just gotta SING a soul song.  On the American Idol Season 11 top 11 show we did not know that Joshua Ledet would become the king of standing ovations.  But by the time he had finished wringing every ounce of soul out of this iconic soul song we knew Joshua Ledet was something special. The judges leapt to their feet halfway through the song and were jumping up and down and cheering through the entire second half of Joshua’s performance.  This was the first of many command performances on American Idol Season 11 by Joshua Ledet.

10)”September” by Colton Dixon

I know that many people did not like Colton Dixon’s interpretation of “September”. I loved it and I thought it was overlooked. Look for this on Colton Dixon’s first album.

And I could just keep going until this article never loads on anyone’s computer.  American Idol Season 11 has been my favorite so far.  The performers are fantastic, Jimmy Iovine has found his rhythm as a mentor and there have been so many great performances.  Here are few that fell outside my top 10:

“Bleeding Love” by Hollie Cavanagh
“Supersition” by Phil Phillips
“You Are So Beautiful” by Jessica Sanchez
“Let’s Stay Together” by Elise Testone
“Ready for Love” by Joshua Ledet
“Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Skylar Laine
“A Song For You” by Heejun Han
“All The Man I Need” by Hollie Cavanagh
“Sometimes I Cry” by DeAndre Brakensick
“A Change Is Gonna Come” by Joshua Ledet
“Son of A Preacher Man” by Hollie Cavanagh
“U Got It Bad” by Phil Phillips
“I Will Always Love You” by Jessica Sanchez
“Don’t You Know How Much I Love You” by Skylar Laine

Three more weeks to the finale.  If the final four can keep up this pace, American Idol Season 11 will go down as maybe the best ever. Join us next week for our top 4 power rankings and our live blogs of the performances and the results.

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 but luckily there they have the top microphone stands for it.  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.


American Idol Season 11 Top 12 or 13 Guys Live Blog

Welcome to American Idol Season 11 on One21music where we cover the entire extravaganza but we highlight Christian musicians.  Tonight the Top 13 guys perform.  Here are the Top 12 and we will add number 13 in a few:

Aaron Marcellus
Adam Brock
Chase Likens
Creighton Fraker
Heejun Han
DeAndre Brackensick
Eben Franckewitz
Jeremy Rasado
Joshua Ledet
Colton Dixon
Phil Phillips
Reed Grimm

I am in L.A. tonight and tomorrow so this will not be exactly live because half of the country has already seen this.  But read on to see my reactions to the performances as they happen.

New stage for American Idol Season 11 looks pretty good in gold and white.  Now the judges put forward 12 guys from Hollywood and will select a 13th from four others: Jermaine Jones, David Leathers, Richie Law and Johnny Keyser.  But we will find out about that later.

First up is crazy rocker Reed Grimm singing “Move Like Jagger”. I have never heard this song but evidently it needed censoring. I don’t know about the first part but after he hits the drum and starts scatting the performance hits a peak.  An unfortunate spot to perform but a good enough performance to move him on to next week. The judges love the jazz take on this popular tune.

Next up, Christian musician Adam Brock puts his gospel, soul, jazz twist on” Think”. I don’t know how America will react to Adam Brock but I love to listen to hear him sing.  He has that casual ability to seamlessly scale his voice up and down his range that enables him wail with control. Two great performances to start the Season 11.  Who knows if he goes on but this performance was finalist worthy.

Following Adam Brock is Hawaiian heartthrob DeAndre Brackensick.  He picked a perfect song for his voiced with Earth Wind and Fire‘s “Reasons”.  DeAndre’s nerves are getting the best of him as he keeps missing on this song’s falsetto.  I have heard him hit those notes but this is a mess.  He hit some big notes in the middle but he muddled through the beginning and the end.  Of course, the judges heard something different than me. J-Lo actually said his voice was perfect.  And DeAndre already has groupies that Ryan brings up onto the stage.

Now get to see if Colton Dixon can fulfill the promise that we all thought he had in Season 10. Colton is at his piano, where he is at his best, singing Paramore’s “Decode”. Boy, as he gets up from that piano and marches to the front of the stage, he looks like a star.  Oh wow he jumps up on the piano like he owns the stage.  Well, Colton delivered a perfect singing performance and established himself as a star. Randy calls him an alt rocker and J-Lo calls him a relevant artist. Even in his interview with Ryan he pl;ays the crowd by asking them how he they liked his performance.  I think we see Colton Dixon next week.

Now Christian teen Jeremy Rosado takes on Sara Bereilles‘ “Gravity”.  We love Jeremy’s brown-eyed soul but he seems a little lost in this song.  He is too breathy and not showing his beautiful tone.  When he tries to wield his full throated voice he loses the pitch.  I don’t know Jeremy, I am not sure that gets you past this week.  I guess the judge’s are not going to say anything critical. J-Lo is gushing over his artistry and Randy loves Jeremy.  Let’s hoping this works out for Jeremy because he is a fave of One21music.

Gospel singer Aaron Marcellus calls himself a regular dude who has a big dream.  Aaron sings “Never Can Say Goodbye”.  I would have preferred him do something with a little more impact.  He looks great in his silver and black and he sings the song perfectly, but I don’t know.  I am not sure this propels him into the top 5 guys. However, the entire audience and the judges leap to their feet at the end of the song. Randy calls the run at the end of the song “crazy”. Stephen says he is the total package.

Country crooner Chase Likens confesses that he is a whistler.  This Christian musician is singing “Storm Warning”, a country rock tune.  The music is drowning him out and the song does not really give him anything to work with. With all of the great performances this may not get Chase into the top 5 guys.  Stephen and J-Lo both talked about how good he looks, uh oh.

We are half way through the performances and it is obvious that we are going to be upset.  There are only spots that will be voted on to next week and I have already seen five I would like to send.  Problem is that I don’t think all next 7 performances will suck.  So get ready to be say goodbye to some performers who deserve to stay.

New Yorker Creighton Fraker now takes his first shot with America. Is he really singing a Cyndi Lauper song? Yep, that is “True Colors”.  This is a pretty terrific vocal performance with great dynamics and tremendous range. J-Lo gushed and Stephen says that Cyndi Lauper is home crying. Randy makes the veiled observation that Creighton can sing but that America will probably not vote for a 28 year-old New York street performer.

Phil Phillips, he of the unfortunate name, is up next.  He is bringing his Dave Matthews vibe to “In The Air Tonight”.  I love this arrangement.  This may be the first time I have ever enjoyed this song.  Finally, one of these guys takes their time and dominates a song.  That was awesome.  Phillip Phillips has delivered the best performance of the night. The judges must be tired but Randy does deliver an actual criticism of his arrangement.  Of course I strongly disagree.  That was awesome.

Now Eben “Beiber” Frankewitz has left school to follow his dream. He is making the mistake of singing Adele‘s “Fire To The Rain” and it is not working out very well.  He seems overwhelmed by the sing and I am not sure he has hit many of the notes and ever found the melody.  Sorry, Eben that was the worst performance of the night.  Randy noticed but he couldn’t help compliment Eben on the performance.  if Eben goes through it will be because America’s teenage girls show up for him in the voting.

Now we roll on with Heejun Han and he continues to bring the humor.  He is singing “Angels”.  A very, very good singing performance but he did not bring much personality to the stage.  In a cut night like this he may not have brought enough pizzaz to the television.  The judges all agree that it was not the best song selection to show off his voice.

Another of our favorites now takes the stage.  Gospel blower Joshua Ledet is singing “You Pulled Me Through” and he starts with a gospel run.  You go brother! The first singer to stand in the middle of the stage and just dominate the room with his voice.  Incredible. Josh Ledet is a crazy good singer yall! That’s right everybody on your feet.  This kid, with no performing experience, just walked in and dominated this show tonight.  That was a LeBron James dunk.  J-Lo is right that Joshua can be a gospel singer, an R&B star, Joshua can be anything he wants to be.  Incredible.

Finally, we learn that Jeremiah Jones gets a second chance. Can his crushingly deep voice carry this Gospel crooner to the Top 12? Singing “My Father” which I am not sure was the best choice for his vocie.  However, the song does show his range and he sings it beautifully.  Jeremiah is thrilled to be back and is enjoying every moment of this opportunity.

Well that was a great start to American Idol Season 11.  There were 9 or 10 performances that deserved to be rewarded with a place in the Top 12 but some really good people will go home on Thursday night.  Based on these performances I think Joshua Ledet, Phil Phillips, Colton Dixon, Aaron Marcellus and Adam Brock deserve to be in the Top 5 and, if that happens, look for the judges to add Creighton Fraker back into the mix.  However, do not dismiss teen friendly singers DeAndre Brakensick, Eben Franewitz and Jeremy Rosado.

Join us tomorrow night as we do our in the moment reactions to the Top 12 girls performances on American Idol Season 11.






American Idol Season 11 Top 24

Well, American Idol Season 11 is in our hands now.   After an agonizing two nights of acceptance and rejection, the American Idol judges revealed their Top 24.  Now Randy, J-Lo and Stephen can sit back for the next two months and encourage, make meaningless comments and provide star power.  I pretty much agree with all of the decisions, except for the decision to eliminate Christian musician Jermaine Jones.  Not only was his rejection agonizing to experience, this hulking bass gospel boomer was one of the most unique voices I have ever heard on American Idol. Jermaine’s falsetto is deeper than the bottom of Scott McCreery‘s bass.

But in a shocking turn of Miami music events American Idol announced that Jermaine Jones, David Leathers, Richie Law and Johnny Keyser   have a chance to become the 13th guy in the American Idol Season 11 Top 12.  Yeah, I am confused as well.  I don’t know how the 13th Idol will be selected.  I do know that I hope, beyond hope, that Jermaine Jones makes that 13th spot.

Oh well, next week We get the vote.  The American Idol Season 11 Top 12 13 guys will perform for our votes and then, on Wednesday night, the Top 12 girls will perform.  Thursday night our votes will take us to a Top 10 and then the judges will select the final 2 that will make up or Top 12.  However, given the history of these American Idol judges, I bet we wind up with a Top 13.

American Idol Season 11 Top 12 Girls

Baylie Brown
Brielle Von Hugel
Chelsea Sorrell
Elise Testone
Erika Van Pelt
Hallie Day
Haley Johnson
Hollie Cavanaugh
Jen Hirsh
Jessica Sanchez
Shannon Magrane
Skylar Laine

American Idol Season 11 Top 12 Guys

Aaron Marcellus
Adam Brock
Chase Likens
Creighton Fraker
Heejun Han
DeAndre Brackensick
Eben Franckewitz
Jeremy Rasado
Joshua Ledet
Colton Dixon
Phil Phillips
Reed Grimm

We have, so far, identified 10 Christian musicians in the American Idol Season 11 Top 24. We believe several more of the Top 24 are believers but we cannot find any evidence to verify our instinct. Here are your Christian musicians going to the live shows:

Christian Musicians in American Idol’s Top 24

Baylie Brown
Chelsea Sorrell
Hallie Day
Aaron Marcellus
Adam Brock
Chase Likens
Eben Frankewitz
Jeremy Rasado
Joshua Ledet
Colton Dixon

Last year, at this time, I pegged Christian musicians Scott McCreery and Lauren Alaina as the ones to beat for American Idol Season 10.  This year is not so clear.

From what I have seen, there are two stand out singers among the girls: Jessica Sanchez and Jen Hirsh. They will surely make it into the American Idol Season 11 Top 12.  I think we will see only one of the three country singing girls (Baylie Brown, Chelsea Sorrel and Skylar Laine) emerge from next week’s vote. That leaves three spots for the girls and I think it will all depend on which ones deliver show stopping performances.

For the guys, Christian musicians Joshua Ledet and Colton Dixon are contenders to win it all.  I think Jeremy Rasado‘s personality and soulful voice will carry him into the American Idol Season 11 Top 12.  The big question is whether Eben Frankewtiz‘s Justin Beiber looks will compel the teenage vote to drive him into the Top 12.  And where does that leave Adam Brock, Creighton Fraker, Aaron Marcellus, Reed Grimm and Phil Phillips.  I don’t know the answer to that question but it does look like we have another American Idol season with a stronger group of guys than girls.

I will live blog next weeks performances from Los Angeles so we will be running a couple of hours later than usual but be sure to check-in on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for my reactions in the moment.  And don’t forget to vote.