American Idol Season 11 Top 6 Performance Live Blog

Rock invades American Idol Season 11 as the performers sing Queen tonight.  I am not so sure about this. I count about 10 great Queen songs and a lot of highly stylized fluff.  Luckily, the performers also get a “free choice” of any song they want.  This night looks like a minefield.  With the high quality this season, one bad week can send you home.  Join us for what could be a crazy ride tonight as we live blog the American Idol Season 11 top 6 performing Queen tonight.

Yes we are all still in shock about the elimination of Christian musician Colton Dixon.  Let’s not let that happen again, vote.

This session with the Idols and Queen is very good.  Nice insight from Bryan May.  He is a groundbreaking guitarist.  And now we get to hear him play in a medley of Queen songs performed by the Idol gang of six. Very interesting watching these guys singing with each on the same songs. Skylar Laine seems to eat up the role of Queen frontman (girl).

Now time to start the competition with Jessica Sanchez. She will be singing the Queen anthem “Bohemian Rhapsody”. We should have suspected that she would be ambitious enough to take on this giant song in rock history.  This is one of the 10 great ones from Queen.  Jessica’s voice is a little light for this song.  I think she did the best she could with the song but it was not really very good.  The judges love the vocal but not the performance, except Randy who loved it all. I disagree.  I was underwhelmed.

Skylair Laine will now sing “The Show Must Go On”.  I am surprised.  I thought she would select more of a rock song like “Tie Your Mother Down”, “Liar” or “Keep Yourself Alive”.  No country instrumentation on this one, Skylar Laine is going full rock orchestra on this one.  She seems to be consumed by the band and orchestra, until she hits the end and unleashes her huge voice and just muscles the song. Wow! Not her prettiest performance, but certainly a demonstration of vocal and performance power.  Steven and J-Lo love it, describing her performance as powerful.  Randy says it was incredible and believable and effortless and phenomenal.  Is Skylar Laine taking control of American Idol?  Maybe. I just love the gravitas of her stage presence.  I am quickly becoming a big Skylar Laine fan.

Now Joshua Ledet is doing “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”  Joshua rocks out!  That was fun and allowed Joshua to show a lighter side of himself.  What a crazy power run at the end of that song!  The judges give him a standing ovation again! Randy says it was perfect.  He loved it.  He said everything was great. J-Lo says the Joshua part of the show is always her favorite part of the show.  Stephen says it was lovely.  What a surprise that he could rock that song the way he did.  He made me like it.  Joshua Ledet deserves to be in the finale.

The beginning of Elise Testone’s “I Want It All” was a little clumsy.  She is being overwhelmed by the band and the back-up singers. Elise seems to be enjoying the performance but there was not much for me there.  She needed to do more with this.  Stephen loved it “over the top”.  J-Lo said it felt natural, sexy, relaxed.  Randy loved it as well.Randy says it was one of her best performances.  I thought it was okay.

Now it time for Phil Phillips’ interpretation of “Fat Bottom Girls”.  It is really nice to hear Phil Phillips sing out in full voice.  This is fun, soulful and just plain fun.  I could see that as a regular song on his live shows.  I agree with Stephen that he has character in his performances that no one else brings.  J-Lo says we get new flavors every week.  Randy did not love it, he just liked it.  That was fun and distinctive but nothing special.

Was last week an anomaly for Hollie Cavanagh or the start of her American Idol Season 11 push.  We find out now as she sings “Save Me”. I hope that necklace is cubic zirconium. Didn’t really like that song so much.  She sang it big and she sang it strong but it was boring for me.  J-Lo felt her emotion in the song but feels like she is still thinking too much. Randy says it was a good performance but would have liked her to take more risks.  I agree with  he judges, that did not excite me.

That was the end of the Queen portion of the competition.  Skylar Laine and Joshua Ledet were heads and shoulders above everyone else.  I watch Skylar and think “there is this year’s winner” and then along comes Joshua and I think he deserves to win.  I don’t think that about anyone else on American Idol Season 11.

Now to the free choice section of the night.

Jessica Sanchez picks R&B classic “Dance With My Father”.  She dedicates it to her father who is active in the military.  This has been a big song for soul singers on American Idol over the past few years. I know this is very emotional for Jessica.  I would have liked her to keep it a little more simple for the emotion to come forth.  I think she may have oversung that a little.  J-Lo says that may have been the best she has ever seen that song sang.  Randy says she is truly amazing in the way she constructs her performances. I guess I missed what the judges saw.  I am glad she will get to see her father.

Now Skylar Laine returns to the country with “Tattoos On This Town”. She is playing grandpaw’s guitar and she is in full twang. I did not like this song.  Skylar Laine sang the dog out of it, but I can’t really get excited about the song.  Randy is gushing and J-Lo says she is so comfortable on stage.  I think Stephen was lukewarm.  Me too.

Joshua Ledet is singing India Arie’s “Ready for Love”.  A neo-soul hit from a female is a perplexing choice by the big voiced soul singer. Who is this guy?  I could not write while he was singing.  The control, the pacing, the phrasing, the runs.  I am just blown away.  In a season of great performances that was a revelation. Another standing O!  Stephen is urging the audience to cheer more.  The judges are speechless. J-Lo says transcendent and that he snaps everyone to reality when he sings.  That was amazing! Wow, wow, wow. Joshua Ledet for American Idol Season 11 finale!

Now Elise Testone goes full tilt rock with Jimi Hendrix’s “Bold As Love”. Another awkward opening for Elise? That was pretty cool.  A bold, daring choice at this point in the competition.  I loved the directions she took this song.  The runs and scatting was very cool.  J-Lo loved what she did with the song.  Randy and Stephen did not love the song choice and Randy felt she over sang the song.  I agree with J-Lo that she made that song exciting.  Good job Elise.

Now we jump to Phil Phillips doing a Dave Matthews song. Imagine that? I don’t know any of Dave Matthews’ music so I don’t know this song and I really don’t like the song.  I think the choice is bad for Phil Phillips as well because it makes him sound derivative. The judges look perplexed. Stephen says it was off the wall.  He loved this but not Bold As Love.  I don’t understand the distinction.  J-Lo did not like the song choice either.  Randy liked it and loved that he showed his artistic chops.  I thought it was undistinctive.

Hollie Cavanagh ends the show with an unfortunate song choice.  “The Climb” is a big Hollie Cavanagh song that is very similar in tone to her first performance.  I think Hollie needed to show a little more varietyand capture some excitement. That was beautiful vocal performance.  I am afraid it will be a lovely way for her to leave American Idol Season 11.  The judges love it as they leap to their feet.  Randy and J-Lo said it was perfect.  I think Hollie Cavanagh was spectacular but I don’t think it will excite the voting public.

Another spectacular night for Joshua Ledet with a near great night for Skylar Laine. Who will go home from among the other four?  Join us tomorrow night as we live blog the American Idol Season 11 top 6 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.