“Idol,” after fiddling around with Billy Joel and the 1980s, gave the contestants a chance to sing songs from this decade. This is helpful to frame each person as a current artist – or not.
Ghosts of “Idols” past popped up with Skylar opting for Kellie Pickler (and doing so quite well) and a duet and trio both going for Kelly Clarkson. (Results: a mixed bag).
Among the solos, I really liked Skylar and (gasp!) Colton tonight. I felt Phillip was cruising in neutral. Hollie did a very clean, if not terribly memorable, Pink. Elise took some chances with a Lady Gaga song, some which worked, some which didn’t. Joshua did a decent job with Bruno Mars. And Jessica opted for a relatively obscure Jazmine Sullivan number and attacked it with gusto.
So who will be at the bottom? This week it’s really hard to say. The past three weeks, the person who went home actually sang well that particular week. This time around, nobody fell flat on their face. (Check out how evenly spread out the results are in the polling.)
Skylar opened the show when viewership is lower so I think she may end up in the bottom three. Hollie is in perpetual danger. Elise received the pimp spot. I wonder if that’s enough to keep her from the bottom three. Jessica and Phillip have yet to be in the bottom three. Joshua has been safe for quite a long time. I think Phillip has gotten complacent. I bet he will be shaken by being in the bottom three with Hollie and Skylar.
My prediction: Hollie will go home and will not be saved.
Colton Dixon (”Love the Way You Lie” Skylar Grey, second up) I’ve been ragging on this guy for weeks. But when he works the piano and gets soft and emotive, it works. He did it first with “Piano Man.” Tonight, he pulled it off again using Skylar Grey’s pretty version of a song that later became a hit for Rihanna and Eminem. He has a future as a Fray/Script-type singer. He feels modern, even with that 1980s-era New Wave haircut. A-minus/A
Skylar Laine (”Didn’t Know How Much I Love You” – Kellie Pickler, first up) – Randy has stopped using the term “in it to win it.” I think last week she proved she was determined to stay in the competition with a gutsy Bette Midler. This time, she didn’t quite go so far outside her comfort zone and at times, she sounded strained. But overall, I thought she brought the necessary emotion to an emotional song. Grade: A-minus/B-plus
Joshua Ledet (”Runaway Baby” Bruno Mars, fourth up) – Big points for avoiding his screeching and runs, just showing off his natural vocal ability. He shows off oodles of energy, running around the stage and giving everyone a show. He’s not quite as smooth as Bruno Mars himself but certainly entertained. Grade: B-plus/A-minus
Hollie Cavanagh (”Perfect” Pink, fifth up) = Note for note, a very very pretty version of this Pink song but it practically begged some of Pink’s grit and pain. Hollie is simply too young to live that depth of rejection and disappointment Pink is able to convey. I also found the slower pacing from the original a bit annoying. Grade: B-plus
Jessica Sanchez (”Stuttering” Jazmine Sullivan, third up) – She is emoting heavily or in my mind, in a heavyhanded way. I always feel like she’s play-acting the “emotion” so much it comes off as grating. I have never been able to buy her as an artist, even if she is a great singer. Still, this is worth listening to, especially if you like R&B. The scatting worked for me. Grade: B-plus
Elise Testone (”You and I” Lady Gaga, pimp spot) – I give her points for messing around with arrangements and experimenting with her vocal instrument. It was a solid performance. I can’t say she deserved all the praise from the judges but she has improved her stage presence over the weeks. Grade: B
Phillip Phillips (”Give a Little More” Maroon 5, sixth up) – For the second week in a row, I’m placing Phillip at the bottom. This doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going home. But I think it’s about time he gets a scare and breaks out of what I feel is a bit of complacency. As opposed to a lot of the others, I”m not sure he truly wants to win, even if he says so to Jimmy Iovine. This performance was good but nothing special. (It was better than his Genesis last week.) He needs a “breakout” performance next week to smooth his path to the final. Grade B/B-minus
My quick thoughts on the duets/trio:
Colton/Skylar (”Don’t You Wanna Stay” Jason Aldean/Kelly Clarkson) – This is a very tough duet to harmonize and they are hit or miss. Colton underplays it while Skylar has to work hard to emulate Kelly’s vocal feelings. Neither does a bad job but this isn’t a “wow” moment for either. Grade: B
Elise/Phillip (”Somebody That I Used to Know’ Gotye) – The judges seemed to prefer Elise here but I liked Phillip more. Still, I don’t think either of them brought enough bile to the song to make it really click. I do give them bonus points for taking on a truly cool song. Grade: B-plus
Jessica/Hollie/Joshua (”Stronger” Kelly Clarkson) – This is not a song meant to be sung by three people. But all three are powerful vocalists. It’s nice to hear the contrasts. Joshua opens well and throws in some gospel accents. Jessica starts surprisingly weak but picks up later. The Joshua/Jessica harmonies? A little rough. Joshua/Hollie was better. Grade: B
And thank all the participants of “Cover it Live’ tonight. I had more live readers than I’ve ever seen before, peaking at about 660 at a time.
I suspect a lot of Hollie fans invaded the blog and the results below show that. At the same time, not a lot of Joshua fans came by. And I’ve never seen such evenly spread results, with 28 to 60% negatives and 41 to 72% positives.
How the live blog readers liked the performances
% who liked it enough to vote, % who liked it but not enough to vote, % who didn’t like it at all
Jessica 58%, 14%, 28%
Hollie 47%, 23%, 30%
Colton 40%, 28%, 31%
Skylar 39%, 21%, 39%
Elise 36%, 34% 30%
Phillip 30%, 23%, 46%
Joshua 13%, 28%, 60%
Phillip/Elise 28% loved them both; 28% preferred Phillip, 29% preferred Elise, 12% didn’t like either 3% another opinion
Colton/Skylar 12%, 18%, 71%
Hollie/Joshua/Jessica 8% loved all three, 39% preferred Hollie, 4% preferred Joshua, 23% preferred Jessica, 6% no preference, just okay, 23% didn’t like it a tall
Fantasia vs. Mantasia “Joshua” : 47% prefer Fantasia, 29% prefer Joshua, 24% prefer neither
Would you enjoy Jimmy Iovine as a judge
79% yes 14% wouldn’t care 8% too mean, no
Where are the live blog readers from?
33% metro Atlanta, 11% Georga, outside of metro Atlanta, 15% Southeast, outside of Georgia, 23% U.S. outside of Southeast, 18% outside the U.S.
Swaybots 7% tolerate them, 93% want them banned
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk