accessAtlanta

City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

‘American Idol’ top 8 performance show recap: 80s flashback!

Who did you like the best tonight? (pick up to three)

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
AMERICAN IDOL: FINAL 8: Clockwise from L: Skylar Laine, Phillip Phillips, Colton Dixon, DeAndre Brackensick, Elise Testone, Jessica Sanchez, Hollie Cavanagh and Joshua Ledet on AMERICAN IDOL airing Wednesday, March 29 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Frank Micelotta / FOX.

AMERICAN IDOL: FINAL 8: Clockwise from L: Skylar Laine, Phillip Phillips, Colton Dixon, DeAndre Brackensick, Elise Testone, Jessica Sanchez, Hollie Cavanagh and Joshua Ledet on AMERICAN IDOL airing Wednesday, March 29 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Frank Micelotta / FOX.

“Idol” went back to my decade, the 1980s, and based on the song choices, it was definitely the softer side of the 80s: a soaring Foreigner ballad, a syrupy Bette Midler ballad, an Irene Cara pop nugget, a Simply Red cover of an R&B classic.

Overall, the top 8 held up fairly well, though a couple of front runners didn’t quite hit the mark. I definitely enjoyed this week better than last week though there were only two standing ovations this time vs. five a week ago.

My biggest surprise: I found DeAndre Brackensick quite enjoyable. DeBarge fit him like a glove. I was pleasantly surprised to see Skylar Laine come back with a strong ballad. And I didn’t get why the judges were so harsh on Hollie Cavanagh. Elise Testone was pedestrian. Colton Dixon and Jessica Sanchez both did solid jobs but my general blah attitude towards both didn’t change. Phillip Phillips was the biggest disappointment, though oversinging Joshua Ledet was not far behind for me.

Tough call tonight who will be in the bottom three. Hollie, Joshua and Elise are the three I feel have targets on their back. Elise, I believe, will go home for doing a decent but not memorable job that won’t generate a lot of intense voting. I think the judges’ acid against Hollie might incite enough of her fans to keep voting. Joshua was over the top in a way that was a total disconnect to the song. I think he will be punished with this first bottom three ranking.

Who did you like least? (pick up to three)

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

If Elise is at the bottom, will she be saved? I give it a 50/50 shot.

My top 8 in ranking: DeAndre, Skylar, Colton, Hollie, Elise, Jessica, Phillip, Joshua

I expect the rankings among the readers will be all over the place tonight. The Cover it Live blog poll showed a major split in opinion over many contestants. Negatives (% of those who didn’t like a performance) ranged from 19% to 49%. And the highest percentage of people who liked a performance enough to vote was a mere 44%. That’s relatively very low.

Generally, people liked the duets more, especially Joshua and Jessica/ Phillip and Elise combos.

My basic thoughts on each performance:

1- DeAndre (”I Like It” DeBarge, up first) – For the first time, he looked and felt comfortable, relaxed, at ease. He brought a nice mix of his normal voice and falsetto and gave a fun performance. Grade: A/A-minus

2- Skylar (”Wind Beneath My Wings,” pimp spot) – She has never sung anything slow terribly well at this point. But she gave this one just the right level of intensity and emotion. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though a lot of the live bloggers hated it. I’m glad she was able to spread her wings. Grade: A-minus

3- Colton (”Time After Time,” Cyndi Lauper, seventh) – He took a Quietdrive rock version of this classic and did a solid job. I do hate the way he phrases words but he brought a certain level of actual sincerity to this affair. Grade: B-plus

4- Hollie (”Flashdance,” Irene Cara, sixth) – Some live bloggers complained about pitch problems. I thought she really pushed herself here to do something more upbeat and move around the stage. While she wasn’t always spot on, any faults didn’t bug me. She could have brought a wee bit more joy to it but I thought the judges were tougher on her than she deserved. Grade: B-plus

5- Elise (”I Want to Know What Love Is” Foreigner, second)  – Technically, she did a pretty good job but she wasn’t able to transcend the song or give it anything special. It was unmemorable in the end despite the choir. Grade: B

6- Jessica (”How Will I Know” Whitney Houston, fifth) – As usual, on a technical basis, she is great. She looks good. She moves around the stage well. But as usual for me, she is robotic. I don’t feel anything watching her. Grade: B

7- Phillip (”That’s All” Genesis, third) – I appreciate Phil tried to give this his own spin on it but it felt strained and he never quite got into his pocket with it, even with the non-guitar bridge suggested by Tony of No Doubt, one of the guest mentors. This was in my mind his weakest live performance to date but I don’t think it endangers him in any way. Grade: B/B-minus

8- Joshua (”If You Don’t Know Me By Now” Simply Red, fourth) I recall the Simply Red version, which was heartrending, subtle and beautiful. Joshua tried to turn this into a tutorial on runs. There was no sadness, no connection to the lyrics. Someone on the blog thinks he did the Harold Melvin 1972 version but I went on YouTube to hear him to do it and no, he was restrained, too. Overwrought is the best adjective.  Grade: C

The duets were all interesting. My quick thoughts on them:

Skylar & Colton “Islands in the Stream”: Strangest combo for sure. Skylar sang circles around Colton, who did his best outside his comfort zone.  I noticed they cut the lyric “makin’ love with each other, uh huh.” Grade: B-plus

DeAndre & Hollie “I’m So Excited” : Cheesy as all get out but the two went with it. Hollie, more relaxed than normal, excelled. DeAndre harmonized well with Hollie. Grade: A-minus

Phillip & Elise “Stop Draggin My Heart Around” : I seldom like Elise but in this case, she was perfect in Stevie’s role. Phillip countered her well, even with his distracting Joe Cocker mannerisms. There even seemed to be a connection between the two. Grade: A

Jessica & Joshua “I Knew You Were Waiting”: For some reason, this song works well when over-emoted and both can do that in spades. They may not have a lot of chemistry, but they enjoyed themselves and it worked. Grade: A-minus

Cover it Live polling

Top 8 poll, % voting for sure, % okay, not voting % didn’t like it

Jessica 44%, 33% 23%

Phillip 43%, 32% 25%

Colton 38%, 42% 19%

Joshua 34% 20% 46%

DeAndre 30%, 21%, 49%

Hollie 27% 30% 43%

Skylar 27% 33% 41%

Elise 14% 42% 44%

Grading Skylar & Colton: 18% liked both, 34% preferred Skylar, 14% preferred Colton, 27% didn’t like either, 7% had another opinion

Grading DeAndre & Hollie: 23% liked both, 6% preferred DeAndre, 46 preferred Hollie, 25% didn’t like either

Grading Phillip & Elise: 57% liked both, 4% preferred Phillip, 15% preferred Elise, 17% preferred neither, 7% had another opinion

Grading Joshua & Jessica: 63% liked both, 10% preferred Jessica, 8% preferred Joshua, 18% preferred neither, 4% had another opinion

Judges too harsh on Hollie? 68% said yes

Is this is a singing competition or an “artist” competition? 38% said vocals trump all, 27% artistry trumps all, 35% it depends

Chances Phillip would be eliminated tomorrow: 25% think there’s a 60%+, 10% 30-60%, 10% 10-30%, 55% less than 10%

Would Phillip get saved if he had the fewest votes tomorrow? 72% said yes

Join my Facebook fan page and Twitter.

By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

156 comments Add your comment

JTesla

April 5th, 2012
11:56 am

Might as well go to page 3, who is performing tonight?

Deirdre

April 5th, 2012
11:57 am

Some group called Walkers? Or something like that AND Kellie Pickler

Deirdre

April 5th, 2012
12:01 pm

Prelim ratings are up for last night and Idol wins the night by a large margin. Also Idol beats The Voice again in both number of viewers and the coveted 18-49 demographic.

JTesla

April 5th, 2012
12:13 pm

Interesting that they take back the 18-49 demographic. I’d written that off as a loss.

Scary Darry

April 5th, 2012
12:14 pm

Actually the band is called The Wanted and they have one of the hottest jams on the radio right now….Glad You Came.

Sam-A

April 5th, 2012
12:26 pm

Thanks, RoHo – hopefully they can take care of us before tomorrow’s flood.

JTesla

April 5th, 2012
12:31 pm

I kind of hope that Idol gets the band Fun. “We are young” is the anthem for the summer.

G

April 5th, 2012
12:34 pm

The Walkers featuring Janelle Monae’?

I wouldn’t fret over the numbers between The Voice and Idol just yet. People will be more inclined to tune into The Voice more once the number of contestants shrink down.

However, I’m wondering if the numbers for The Voice will take a dive if and r&b contestant wins again? There are many r&b contestants that may go far: Erin Willette, Jessie Campbell, and Kim. Much like XF, The Voice has the potential of becoming the anti-idol show, which appeals to a different mainstream.

The Sing-off’s first two winners were predominantly african american groups. If they had allowed Afro Blue to go through to the voting rounds, they would’ve been a surefire winner. They had a huge FB following. However, they chose a more traditional group in sound and color (which came in last place in the voting rounds). They were a worthy group also. I’m not sure it was designed that way to tilt the ratings or not. However, an ethnically mixed group took top honors.

Scary Darry

April 5th, 2012
12:36 pm

.fun featuring Janelle Monae. Looking at numbers above, finale will be Joshua and Skylar. Worse than the Lee/Crystal finale. Never thought it possible but never say never.

Deirdre

April 5th, 2012
12:40 pm

Thanks Scary Darry for correcting the band name…brain freeze on my part.

Sam-A

April 5th, 2012
12:41 pm

Scary: the only thing scarier than your scenario is if the final was Joshua and DeAndre! Much scarier & grossier than any episode of “Walking Dead” has been, and that’s saying a lot, since I spend appx 30% of each WD show with my hands over my eyes!

Nadine

April 5th, 2012
12:41 pm

We Are Young is competing with Glad You Came as THE summer anthem. Both are good, both are boy bands. It will be refreshing to have new talent, new faces, new sounds for the season. Anything but Katy Perry shooting whip cream from two bottles strapped conveniently to her breasts! Uugh.

Scary Darry

April 5th, 2012
12:44 pm

If Joshua and DeAndre are final two, it’s time to rid ourselves of this set of judges…the ones that released these atrocities to our ears!

JTesla

April 5th, 2012
12:46 pm

Agree Nadine, we do need something new.

Scary Darry

April 5th, 2012
12:46 pm

I agree with one earlier post….if you put the radio on and heard Joshua’s voice, you couldn’t turn the dial fast enough. If I want someone yelling in my ears, I’ll just sit beside my wife.

G

April 5th, 2012
12:59 pm

If Joshua was on the radio, probably 90% of this blog wouldn’t hear him anyway.

The worse thing that could happen to the show is have PP win. Talk about polarizing.

Dave

April 5th, 2012
1:13 pm

I get confused, which one is the Queen Deandre or Deirdre?

JTesla

April 5th, 2012
1:15 pm

G 12:59pm: LOL true, very true.

Deirdre

April 5th, 2012
1:17 pm

Dave: neither

Mercedes S.

April 5th, 2012
1:44 pm

Death to Mebo bar!!!!! It makes it hard to click on to the blog AND to move out.

Seth, at 11:38 – sweet. My favorite Adele song.
D, at 8:42, yes, I think Hollie is the best singer there. Which doesn’t mean she’s Idol-material. Deandre is Idol-material.
Skjylar is Idol-material.
Elise is too dour.
Jessica is too soul-less.
PP is too individualistic.
Joshua too emotional, and too churchy
Skunkhair just right, right amount of churchiness and thin legs. Your furure Idol.

Mercedes S.

April 5th, 2012
1:45 pm

Sorry for all the typos. “Effulgence” threw me.

Sam-A

April 5th, 2012
2:12 pm

Mercedes: I agree – Hollie is the best singer. They don’t win too often, do they.

Deirdre

April 5th, 2012
2:20 pm

If you think she is the best choice for the winner of American idol then go for it. You’re lucky you have a choice this early. I don’t and I’m pretty sure that one of my favorites(Elise) will be eliminated tonight thanks to an extremely poor song choice and the judges ripping into Hollie.

But, hey, I don’t want to harp on it so I’ll just leave her out of my opinions.

JTesla

April 5th, 2012
2:35 pm

LOL Deirdre.

I think it is good that Idol is not about the best singer. Opera singers could be considered technically the “best singers” but that doesn’t mean they should win a competition like this. Heck, if it were only about the best singer American Idol would be a radio program or perhaps a Podcast program these days.

kelly&carriefan

April 5th, 2012
2:58 pm

Hi y’all,

I’ve liked Hollie in the past, but last night’s performance wasn’t as good as she could be. My problem with her is that she’s not reaching her potential. However, my bigger problem is the judges blatantly harsh commentary when it comes to her. In no way was she as bad as they made it sound. If she stays tonight she’s got to change it up and go back to the girl who went toe-to-toe with Jessica a few weeks ago.

Phillip wasn’t as good as he’s been before. He looked awkward (moreso than usual) and as if he were in pain. Still, I enjoy him and he’s my pick. The first time I’m pulling for a WGWG, so let’s see the streak end! ;)

Deandre and Joshua were alright. Joshua needs to take a gospel break at least for one week. See, here’s an example. Why is it fine for him to do this choir thing and gets celebrated for it, but Hollie’s ballads are raked over the coals?

I would guess a bottom 3 of Hollie, Elise and Joshua. Who is eliminated? Elise.

In other news, ABC has announced the date for the Duets premiere….May 24th. The day after the Idol finale.

Deirdre

April 5th, 2012
3:06 pm

Hey k&cf, good to see you!

Phil IS in pain and I also thought that was the case last night. The stent he has in his kidney to keep it operating is supposed to be quite painful.

Thanks for the Duets date. I really like the duets on Idol so I’m pretty sure I’ll be watching that show…and, of course, having Kelly on it doesn’t hurt either.

kelly&carriefan

April 5th, 2012
3:23 pm

D, you too! Been super busy with work lately, so not much time to day blog. I do try to make it on to the coveritlive, tho. I felt really bad for Phil last night, he looked like he was going to cry.

Deirdre

April 5th, 2012
3:26 pm

Seth T

April 5th, 2012
3:48 pm

I have read a couple books written by people who worked inside the Idol bubble for a time, seen an interview with a couple guys that formerly worked on the inside, and here are some impressions from reading their material:

1. The show is not “rigged” for any contestant. There are, however, producer favorites that appear to be a promising investment even before Hollywood – that will get some extra positive camera time or plugs from the Judges.

2. As the show progresses, there are indicators of how each contestant is “selling” to the general music buying public and how they are being supported or dissed by the great many press articles written about the show. ITunes downloads, You Tube Hits, Twitter followers, etc.

3. The Judges, as encouraged or as suggested by the Producers, may try to “steer” voters – by comments about performances.

My take on what I have seen and read is that while the Judges are not puppets to the money and major controllers of the show – neither do they run this show in a complete vacuum of outside influences such as the Record Company, associated promotional management teams, etc., that might say —

Well, let’s help start cutting the field —–

When all three Judges suddenly start finding fault with someone, or find a way to keep uplifting someone through a bad performance — there may be another clue as to what is going on.

In some cases, such as Hollie’s, she is very likely under no contractual obligation to Idol, other than the tour at this point. If Universal or another record company wanted to sign her, I don’t think that Interscope and Jimmy Iovine could stop her.

Hollie needs modern music – she’s the one who can make an Adele or Christina Perry type of album with good songwriters – these 70’s -80’s songbooks are handcuffing her abilities, along with the pageanty or garrish dresses and hair&makeup looks that take-away from her youthful cuteness.

She needs a real mentor, and not this circus of clowns that have been advising her to do 20 different things at once. If she is eliminated tonight or next week, she may be better-off in the long run.

G

April 5th, 2012
3:50 pm

Chile please…….Phil always sounds and looks like he’s in pain. That’s his style right? Pain….

Alex

April 5th, 2012
4:03 pm

Jermaine being kicked off or not, the judges will NOT pass up the opportunity to use the save.

Alex

April 5th, 2012
4:07 pm

Seth T
April 5th, 2012
3:48 pm

If #1 and #3 in your post are true how could anyone NOT thinks it’s rigged?

DanJ

April 5th, 2012
4:08 pm

Great post Seth. I think Idol is trying to get a a male vs female final. It seems Jessica is favored based on comments from Judges and Jimmy. I also think Joshua is the chosen one. Personally I think it would make a good final. Although I do like Elise and Hollie.

I was about to get on the Phil bandwagon until last night. I wonder if maybe because he’s sick and he’s had to deal with people trying to change him if he phoned it in last night. Maybe he want’s to leave on a subconscious level. I’m sure none of these contestants knew how stressful and demanding doing the show could be.

Sam-A

April 5th, 2012
4:14 pm

Deirdre: thanks for the link. Loved “Ouchies! (That’s the opposite of “goosies,” right?) “

Deirdre

April 5th, 2012
4:17 pm

Love his writing, Sam. Don’t always agree but he’s so much fun to read.

Sam-A

April 5th, 2012
4:28 pm

I had a lot of “ouchies” last night!

G

April 5th, 2012
4:32 pm

DanJ. You make some good points. Yeah, I definitely see momentum from the judges trying to swing the way of Jess and Josh.

I do see a clash between Phil and Idol if he wins. I know PP would demand creative control, but Idol will see things a bit diffferently. So, I believe he feels that he’s done enough to get the exposure needed for him to succeed. There’s a strong possibility he’s mailing it in, but there’s one problem. His fans won’t let him.

JTesla

April 5th, 2012
4:33 pm

Best part of last night: Gwen correcting her band mate by saying “on this show they are called ‘goosies’” and he shot her a glare that said “don’t make me smack the stupid out of you!”

Sam-A

April 5th, 2012
4:34 pm

JT: I caught that (and loved it) too.

JTesla

April 5th, 2012
4:36 pm

If it’s true that Phillip is mailing it in, he could be a “shocking” elimination as his voting base slowly erodes. I don’t see them pushing Joshua for the finale, he isn’t nearly as commercial as Colton, but then they already had a Colton win the last 3 years. Pushing of Jessica seems to match what the fans like, so is it really pushing?

Deirdre

April 5th, 2012
4:44 pm

The worst thing for Phil would be to win.

Jessica is very talented and she would make a good end to the girl drought. However, she needs training.

To tell you the truth, I’m not really looking forward to tonight’s show. With the exception of Deandre, I’m really not that happy to see anyone leave. They all have their strengths and weaknesses but overall, I’ve been entertained every week by more than one of them(and sometimes the person who entertains me the most is different each week)

Mercedes S.

April 5th, 2012
5:23 pm

I care, D., I love the Slezak review! Also liked comment from poster:

“Jennifer is Margo Channing – she sees all female idol contestants as potential Eve Harringtons – she wildly overpraises mediocre performances from the guys, but from her comments you’d think Elise and Hollie were truly earsplittingly awful. Last night wasn’t their best performance but they were nowhere as bad as the judges’ comments. Philip had an off-night too but still received praise. Jennifer has an unhealtrhy obsession with DeAndre.”

Mercedes S.

April 5th, 2012
5:25 pm

PS Jessica needs traning? She needs a personality!

DanJ

April 5th, 2012
5:38 pm

I think Jessica is just young maybe even somewhat shy. When Carrie was on the show they were times where she seemed timid. No matter how much you prepare it’s hard to fathom for a young singer everything they are put through on a show like Idol. Carrie was just a country girl and didn’t become Carrie Underwood mega-star over night. It took some time and effort for her confidence and personality to come out. I think at heart Jessica is just a typical young lady being forced to mature at a record pace. Phil, Colton, Elise know who they are musically and have confidence. So I’ll give Jessica a pass until her CD comes out. Same for Joshua. Joshua is doing what he knows best, singing and pouring his spirit into his songs. Yes it sounds like gospel to a degree because that’s what he knows. Jimmy isn’t trying to tone him down he’s playing to his strengths.My two cents anyway!

JTesla

April 5th, 2012
5:42 pm

I’m not seeing the lack of personality with Jessica, at least not anymore. Especially when compared to last years Pia and Thia Megia.

Highlander

April 5th, 2012
6:13 pm

The best thing for Hollie to do would be to ignore the three stooges (the judges, not the movie) and go back to what she was doing earlier on her own. (Someone needs to show her what all the confusing comments from the judges did to Siobhan!)

I disagree with many of you regarding Hollie and Jessica. If anyone is mechanical, it’s Jessica. She has a great voice but shows nothing of her own personality. She mimics the original artist on every song she sings. And they don’t call her on it! As someone said before, she’s the singbot.

Deirdre

April 5th, 2012
6:17 pm

Love the All About Eve references!

Speaking of JLo’s obsession with Deandre…I wish she’d just go ahead and youknowwhat him so she can move on and we can be rid of him. She was waaaaay over-the-top about Deandre last night…it was kind of embarrassing to watch.

Re Jessica, she’s 16. I wouldn’t expect her to be even close to a whole person yet.

Deirdre

April 5th, 2012
6:19 pm

JT, P-squat and Thia were practically cyphers compared to these kids.

Nana

April 5th, 2012
6:43 pm

Okay, I will try my post again for the 4th time. Can’t figure out why it won’t post.

I finally finished watching last night’s performances. I can honestly say that not any one person stood out to me, but on the other hand, none of them were as bad as the judges said, especially Hollie. I will agree that last night wasn’t her best performaces, but she didn’t deserve the comments she received.

And on the judges, I have a few comments on them. RJ’s red polka dotted shirt reminded me of the circus clown minus the bid red nose. And before ST can critize the dress styles of anyone, he needs to learn a few things himself. I know that he is a rocker (abiet an aged one) and he dresses in his own style, the contestants has the same right. As far as JLo, when will AL ever get a female judge that will not go ape over the young males???? The only female judge that didn’t do that was Ellen. JLo’s reaction to DeAndre, Phillip and others past & present, is just plain silly. She can comment on their performance without all the gushing and pinning that she does.

If Joshua, Elise or DeAndre go home tonight, I will be happy. However, I think it will be Elise. DeAndre still has the tweens voting for him so he will probably last a few more weeks.

WatchingIdol

April 5th, 2012
7:03 pm

@Seth stated: In some cases, such as Hollie’s, she is very likely under no contractual obligation to Idol, other than the tour at this point. If Universal or another record company wanted to sign her, I don’t think that Interscope and Jimmy Iovine could stop her.

Here is a link to the contract section that deals with this: http://www.eejlaw.com/materials/American_Idol_Contestant_Agreement.pdf

Each of the Top 10 is under exclusive contract with 19 Recordings, which has the right to pick up the contract, except for the winner, who is guaranteed a pick-up. The option remains in place until after the summer tour.

Disney will now have an Idol attraction, and it is believed that most of the middle packers in the Top 10 will have their contracts executed and will be assigned at least a year on Orlando.

These contracts are ironclad, so there is no circle of record companies swimming around any of the contestants this year. If another label wants any of the Top 10, they will have to negotiate with 19 Recordings, which, in partnership with Disney, has too much on the line requiring they keep the lower tier performers.