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 6 Power Rankings

Christian musician Colton Dixon is gone from American Idol Season 11.  I am shocked and disappointed. It tells me that American Idol, like all pop music, rewards familiarity over experimentation.  No one took as many risks as Colton Dixon did on American Idol Season 11.  No one demonstrated the musicianship Colton Dixon displayed week in and week out.  No one challenged us with obscure songs and edgy arrangements like Colton Dixon.  I hope he puts his version of “September” on his first album.  Losing Colton Dixon took some of the flavor out of American Idol Season 11.  However, I as thrilled to watch him glorify his Lord during his exit.  Whether or not you agree with his beliefs, please join me in applauding Colton Dixon’s conviction.

Last week in our American Idol Top 7 Power Rankings we put out our first predictions.  Of course, we predicted a Skylar Laine and Colton Dixon in the finale. Last week, Phil Phillips made a nice comeback from a two week slide, Skylar Laine continued building her case toward the American Idol Season 11 and Hollie Cavanagh looked like she may have flipped the switch from amateur to professional.

American Idol Season 11 Top Power Rankings

1) Joshua Ledet did it again.  Mantasi’s version “I Believe” drew another standing ovation from the judges and then he closed the show with “A Change Is Gonna Come”. With that song, Joshua Ledet brought the house down.  We thought the performance needed another minute to develop but it seems we are in the minority.  Reviewers around the country went wild, calling it one of the best performances of the year.  There is a good chance that this old school gospel/R&B singer will not win American Idol Season 11 but few performers in the history of American Idol have put together such consistent body of mind blowing performances.

2) Skylar Laine brought the country to soul night with “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and just established herself more firmly as the best performer on American Idol Season 11.  I was not crazy about “Born This Way” , but, my gosh, this girl does have stage presence.  With her perfect singing, great stage presence and concentrated voting block, it looks like her spot in the finale is hers to lose.

3) Phil Phillips is baaack.  First he takes ownership of Usher’s “U Got It Bad” and then he charms the theater with his Commitment’s like take on “In The Midnight Hour”.  So charming, quirky Phil Phillips has returned to American Idol Season 11 and that makes him a dangerous competitor for the finale.

4) Jessica Sanchez, despite the judges desparate accolades, if being more and more exposed every week.  Her song selections of “Fallin” and “Try A Little Tenderness” both were much too mature for this sixteen year-old and it showed in her performances.  With the right material, Jessica Sanchez can be spectacular but she needs more emotional depth to deliver on her promise.  We will be surprised if we see Jessica Sanchez in the finale.

5) Hollie Cavanagh has arrived.  We saw a completely new Hollie last week. Even between performances she seemed more comfortable and even happy for the first time this season, and it showed in her performances.  She found the right avenue with songs by two blue-eyed British soul singers.  First took the risk of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” and pulled it off completely.  This song was perfect for this song and her delivery was stellar.  But the breakthrough was Hollie Cavanagh‘s take on “Son of A Preacher Man”. She was loose, passionate and engaging. It is probably too little, too late but we are happy to welcome Hollie Cavanagh to the competition.

6) Elise Testone survived two forced, unhappy performances last week.  She has all but said she is miserable.  She has admitted to be frustrated by her frequent residence in the bottom two.  It seems time for Elise Testone to go home.

The Top 6 will perform songs by Queen this week.  Queen has some spectacular songs but much of their catalog is just silly.  This will be a minefield for Joshua Ledet and Skylar LaineElise Testone should do well, this is a theme made for her.  Please join us as we live blog American Idol Season 11 doing Queen.




American Idol Season 11 Top 7 Power Rankings, Pt. 2

I called it in last week’s American Idol Season 11 Top 7 Power Rankings, sort of. I said Jessica Sanchez could be in trouble in the next few weeks, I just did not think she would be eliminated last week. I certainly thought she would be safe after last week’s performances.  Neither Elise Testone or Hollie Cavanagh made a big statement and Jessica Sanchez delivered probably her best performance of the season.  No one has ever won American Idol after being saved by the judges.

The other surprise was Joshua Ledet in the bottom three, which does not bode well for his chances.  That leads me to step back and take a shot at a few predictions.  I simply do not understand the support for Hollie Cavanagh at this point in American Idol Season 11, so I think she will be gone in the next few weeks.  Elise Testone has been too inconsistent and does not fit the profile of an American Idol winner.  We saw last week how tenuous Jessica Sanchez‘s place is on American Idol Season 11.  It seems Phil Phillips is starting to lose momentum in his performances and we saw that Joshua Ledet may not have the following to support his tremendous talent.  That leaves us with finale of Christian musicians Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine. That does not line up with my power rankings but we would not mind this as a finale.

American Idol Season 11 Top 7 Power Rankings, Pt 2

1)Joshua Ledet- Christian musician Joshua Ledet received another standing ovation from the judges last and week and he remains atop our power rankings.  I don’t care that Joshua Ledet was in the bottom three last week.  He just has an instinctive performing style and an other worldly voice.  I intially thought his vocal style was a little outdated but last week he proved he belongs in the middle of the exploding “retro-soul” movement led by Raphael Saadiq, Sharon Jones, Bruno Mars and The Alabama Shakes.  As long as he continues to deliver performances like last week’s “Runaway Baby” Joshua Ledet will continue to lead our power rankings.

2) Colton Dixon- So Colton Dixon continues to charm the mentors and the judges with his song selection and arrangements.  This week he delivered another emotional, technically perfect, dynamically fascinating version of an obscure song “Love The Way You Lie.”  Colton Dixon seems to be an unusual combination of an artist who continues to grow throughout the American Idol season even though he arrived a fully developed artist. You could interchange any of his performances from Season 11 and they would all hold up to the competition of the Top 7.  I think it is because he came in fully confident of who he is as a person, artist and believer and yet humble to the process.

3) Skyar Laine- I do not like her style of country music but I have loved Skylar Laine from the moment shook her way through “Stay With Me” in the first week.  Skylar Laine is strong, confident, sure of herself as a performer and a tremendous vocal talent.  She asserted herself as a big voiced singer with “Wind Beneath My Wings” and now she is asserting herself to be considered the best female singer on American Idol Season 11.  That is a big statement in the company of Jessica, Elise and Hollie.  J-Lo said this performance was pitch perfect.  I agree. But watch her tremendous delivery of this song.  Skylar Laine, better than anyone on American Idol Season 11 can reach into the television and connect with the audience.

4) Jessica Sanchez- This is the only change from last week’s power rankings.  Jessica Sanchez gave us her best performance of the season with complex, thrilling performance of “Stuttering”.  She did not deserve the fate she experienced last Thursday night.  This is a real roller coaster ride in which Jessica Sanchez is in complete control of every dip, curve and climb.  The singing, of course, the phrasing, the tempo changes, the growling, the scatting it was all perfectly used and perfectly executed. If she can hang around a few more weeks and deliver a few more of these performances, Jessica Sanchez could surprise us all, but I don’t think Jessica has developed the powerful personality necessary to make history on American Idol.

5) Phil Phillips- The rebellious rocker has lost his momentum and seems to have lost his enthusiasm for American IdolPhil Phillips performance of “Give A Little More” was his second lackluster performance in a row.  He also seems to be losing patience with the coaching and criticism from the mentors and judges.  He increasingly dismisses them with comments like “I just play music”.  He has completely ignored Tommy Hilfiger’s advice.  I wonder if this change in attitude coincides with the departure of his best buddy Heejun Hahn? Regardless the reason, unless he picks up his game, Phil Phillips will be gone in the next three weeks.

6) Elise Testone- She needed to be great last week and “You & I” was only very good.  Very good won Elise Testone a place in the bottom two again. Elise seems to be frustrated by the results each week and too much of that angst carries over into each week’s performances.  The week she let go and just had fun with “Whole Lotta Love”, she looked like an American Idol winner.  The other weeks she seems to be trying to please the judges or the voters, with mixed results.  I will buy her album but I don’t think Elise Testone makes it into the top five.

7) Hollie Cavanagh- I am perplexed about who is voting for Hollie Cavanagh.  She was ahead of both Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez last week.  I like Hollie, I think she has killer voice and she is a Texas girl, sort of.  However, it is clear that she is not as polished as the other six performers.  It is hard to say this after last week’s results but I think she is gone this week or the next.

So, there you have it.  Feel free to comment, to agree or disagree with me.  I love the dialogue.

In any case join us on Wednesday night as the American Idol Season 11 does “Songs From Now and Then”.  The performers will be singing a Billboard #1 from this century and then a soul song from a previous decade.  That should set up well for Joshua Ledet, Jessica Sanchez and Elise Testone.

American Idol Season 11 Top 7 Results

Another good night on American Idol Season 11 last night as the Idols performed “songs of this decade” beautifully.  Joshua Ledet, Jessica Sanchez, Skylar Laine and Colton Dixon were amazing.  Elise Testone did well but did not have the standout moment she may need to make it into the top five.  Phil Phillips and Hollie Cavanagh were enjoyable but did not reach the bar set by Joshua.  Elise Testone and Hollie Cavanagh will probably be in the bottom two and either of them could go home tonight.

Christian musician Jennifer Hudson and Michael Durbin perform tonight so the entire hour should be entertaining, I guess in a gladiator sort of way.  Take the ride with us as they build the bottom three.  Remember, Jennifer Hudson was eliminated on this night several years ago and she has done all right.

So now American Idol starts building the bottom three with Hollie Cavanagh and Jessica Sanchez. Not much tension here. Hollie Cavanagh is starting a group but Ryan is not saying what the groups mean.  Hollie on one side of the stage and Jessica on the other side.  What could it mean?

James Durbin’s expression of his rock vision was pretty good and it sounds like it is popular too. Three weeks after release he has already sold 100,000 units. It is good to him doing well.  If you remember, he was financially crippled while pursuing his rock dream.

We continue to form the two group dance with Phil Phillips and Elise Testone. Ryan sends Phillip to Hollie’s group and Elise joins Jessica. Will one of our Christian musicians be in the bottom three this week?

Joshua Ledet and Colton Dixon are next for results. Joshua joins Jessica and Elise while Colton joins Hollie and Phillip. Skylar Laine is the first performer to be safe and Ryan is asking her to pick the group she belongs to.

Oh my gosh, Joshua Ledet, Elise Testone and Jessica Sanchez are in the bottom three.  Expect the judges to use their save tonight.  This is a shocking travesty.

The first one to safety is Joshua Ledet, so Elise and Jessica are the bottom two.  Jessica Sanchez is singing for her American Idol life.  I predicted something like this but that does not mean it is right.  The judges do not even let her finish her song before they save her.

Wow, tonight was shocking.

Check back this weekend for my revised power rankings.



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 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.