American Idol Journal – Week 10 (Top 4)

A Final Four by any other name

The proverbial Final Four of the American Idol Season 11 is upon us.  I know it’s a college basketball metaphor but it applies here. This is an exciting time for the contestants and the fans and although I believe Phillip Phillips is the guy to beat this season I find myself unsure of that outcome at this late stage.  The voting fans are not easily to read this year, combine that with how the judges have been conducting themselves and you have a formula for unexpected results.

The themes for tonight, California Dreamin’ and songs that you wish you’d written.

Phillip Phillips sings CCR’s Have You Ever Seen The RainPhillip has a quirky style without his guitar and I think it suits him to go ‘commando’ from time to time.  I think his vocals struggled a bit.  I enjoyed this because of his own way of doing things.  Steven called him an original, Jennifer was impress and Randy pointed out that his vocals were pitchie in the beginning but at the first chorus he hit his groove.

Holly Cavanagh sang a song by Journey, Faithfully.  I think she struggled in the beginning, must be something in the air.  This was not a great choice for Hollie since most of the song was in her lower vocal range where she doesn’t have much power.

I think this performance alone puts her in the bottom two.

Randy thought she is peaking at the right time.  He liked it. Jennifer said she always believed in HollieHollie nearly made it to Season 10 and the judges told her to come back for Season 11.  Steven gave her high praise but didn’t actually critique the performance.  I’m always suspect when a judge avoids that part.  Needless to say, I couldn’t disagree more with the judges on her singing Faithfully, it wasn’t good.

Joshua Ledet picked the Josh Groban tune, You Raise Me Up.  I really like this song.  Something MUST be in the air, this was not a stellar performance.  I don’t think this type of song (melody) works well for Joshua.  I didn’t think he enunciated his words well.  Jennifer would never say a bad word about Joshua, this was not exception.  Steven said he was glad Joshua got on the plane to join the show.  Randy said he and the other judges feel validated.  He liked that the song had a bit of a church vibe to it.

Jessica Sanchez sings Etta James, Steal Away.  I like the way this song started out for Jessica, she does have a feel for the blues.  This is the first performance of the night that made me smileJennifer still considers her one of the best in the industry! ?  Steven is working on Shaky Ground by Etta and thought that she nailed Steal Away.  Randy thought her vocals were mad crazy good.

Phillip Phillips and Joshua Ledet paired for the first duet of the night singing  This Love from Maroon 5.   I haven’t been impressed with this pairing in past weeks but tonight that were fabulous!  The song suited both and as a duet it went off great.  Steven said it was best, best, best of every way to describe this song.  Jennifer agreed with Steven, Randy said gushed over this arrangement.

Hollie Cavanagh and Jessica Sanchez had to follow the boy performance, night as it turns out that is a pretty high bar.  They sang Eternal Flame by the Bangles, I think Hollie sang this better than JessicaHollie finds her comfort zones on the strangest moments, but she found it.  Randy didn’t like the song and thought it was weird.  Jennifer didn’t think it was so bad and Steven agreed… but in the nicest of ways.  It wasn’t exactly a train wreck because Hollie kept it out of that territory, overall I didn’t like this either.

Next was an all contestant song, they sang the Foreigner classic, I’ve Been WaitingClever but fell short for me.  I’m sure it was meant to be fun.

Phillip Phillips picked Volcano by Damien RiceJimmy thought Phillip hit the bulls eye regarding song selection.  This was a great performance and completely redeeming from his first song.  Steven agreed with Jimmy Ioveen saying it was beautiful.  Jennifer thought very few people could have pulled that song off.  Randy loved it.

Hollie Cavanagh sang I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie RaittJimmy warned her to not over sing this ballad.  Hollie struggled again when singing in her lower register but as the song progressed and as the melody went higher it was nice.  On occasion she had some challenges staying on pitch, it was noticeable to me in any event.  Steven thought it wasn’t a great choice or performance.  Jennifer agreed with Steven and thought the song didn’t suit her.  Randy thought this song didn’t give Hollie her moment.  He wasn’t as harsh about her singing as the other two judges.

Joshua Ledet sings James Brown’s This is a Mans World.  This is Joshua‘s bread and butter style, it was soulful with lots of Brown-esk vocal runs.   Like Phillip, he completely redeemed himself from his first outing.  Good job!  Of course the judges stood for it, turned and egged the crowd on to clap and cheer more.  Steven said he’s never heard a better performance in the show.  Jennifer is simply ridiculous about his comments.  Yes, she loved it.  Randy was equally gushing.

Jessica Sanchez closed out the night with a tune from Dream Girls, And I’m Tellin’ You by Jennifer HollyJimmy thinks that if she nails this song it’s game over on the competition.  I wasn’t inspired although she did sing it very well.  Since some of the contestants were being warned about over singing, this is a classic example of over singing for me.  But, the judges gave her a standing ovation on queue too.  Steven thought it was grand.  Jennifer thought it was crazy good, she was short of words.  JChez got teary eyed.  Randy thinks she joins Phillips and Joshua in the top of the competition.  This is the first I’ve heard Randy really give Phillip his due.

Well, Phillip came the closest to a solid two song night but the judges theatrics will certainly sway some fan votes to Joshua and Jessica‘s corner.  Hollie is the one likely going home, both of her songs were not good.  If she survives tomorrow night I will speechless.

Until tomorrow, thanks for reading this far.