American Idol Journal – Week 3

Billy Joel

We start Week 3 with the knowledge that everyone you see on the show from this point forward will be in the American Idol Season 11 Tour.  In recent years it seems as if less cities are hosting the tour.  Each time the tour has been in the Seattle/Portland area it has always been well attended, however, I do recall not all shows are sell outs. My brother and his wife went to see the show in Portland last year and had nothing but praise for it.


This is Billy Joel week, I don’t believe American Idol has done a Billy Joel week in the past.  As a foot note here, I have considered trying out for “X-Factor” with a Billy Joel tune.  It should be a great week to gauge how well the contestants adapt to big hits and make them their own.  This is also a week where we may see far too many average (read karaoke) performances.


Deandre Brackensick sings Only The Good Die Young.  This wasn’t a power house song for Deandre, it was very karaoke and he brought nothing imaginative to his version of it.  Niffer thought he brought a laid back vibe to the song… more like borderline boring.  NEXT!


Erika Van Pelt sang “New York State of Mind”.  Jimmy Ivine and Ditty (the guest advisor) advised her to not over sing the tune.  I’m think she over sang it a bit but still a solid performance from my view.  I enjoyed it, and you may have picked up from past reviews of Erika that I’m not her biggest fan.  I view her as on the bubble with regards to fan voting, maybe this outing will put her in better standing with them.  Oh and the new hair style…nice!


Joshua Ledet chose  “She’s Got A Way”.  Scary selection for Ledet.  He started the song out sitting in a chair with the back of the chair facing the audience.  Cool way to set a mood.  The song went for a cool vibe to a gospel thing with back ground singers!  Ouch.  Destroyed the song for me when I thought it started out so well.  Jennifer wasn’t totally impressed and was gentle with her critique.  Tyler admitted to having never heard that song!!! What rock has he been under?  Then he said Joshua sang it well.  Randy wasn’t actually impressed either, truth be known.  Sometimes you just have to serve up the bad news and get it over with Randy.


Skylar Laine picked “Shameless”.  Ditty said it feels forced during her session with them.  She definitely put a country twist to the song.  This was a great strategy because straight up Bill Joel would have been a mistake for her. In fact this could have easily been a full blow country release of the song, go Skylar!   Randy thought it was pitchy in the beginning but didn’t give her full props.  I think Niffer phoned it in this time. and Steven agreed with Randy about the pitch issues.  I think the crowd really enjoyed it.


Elise Testone needed a “Her Week” performances to win fans.  She chose “Vienna“, not Billy’s most recognizable song.  I don’t recall it.  She said she had a conviction about doing THIS song so the mentors worked with what they had.  Elise is carry the Janice Joplin mantle this year, it seems in recent years someone does, too bad too.  No one wins carrying Joplin around.  The judges gave her a standing ovation, I’m guessing they enjoyed it, no?  I don’t feel as though I had an ability to compare her to the others since I wasn’t familiar with the song.  All that being said, she did sing very well.  I hope it’s good enough for her to win votes.

Phillip Phillips, my choice for running the board this year, selected “Movin’ Out” to perform.  He tags each song with his own stylings.  So, what do the judges advise… drop the guitar?  I don’t agree with that because this kid IS a guitar player.  So, what does Phillip do?  Comes to the stage WITH his guitar.  He just scored BIG points with everyone I’d bet, he’s true to himself.  I could listen to Phillip all day, he’s already a star in my book.  Niffer liked it. Steven Tyler liked this interpretation. Randy gave him high props.


Hollie Cavanagh chose “Honesty“.  Hollie seemed to embrace the advice by the mentors.  She looked great tonight… and when anyone starts out that way it’s not a good sign usually.  This was not a tour d’force performance.  She sang off pitch at most of the big parts in the song.  By the end you could tell she knew she was struggling.


Heejun Han chose “My Life”.  Well, Heejun caught everyone off guard with how he started, I loved it!  His singing was quite off guard too, sad.  I think he’ll survive the night inspite of pretty much a lousy outing vocally speaking but he sure was fun.  High marks for creativity from me.


Jessica Sanchez (JChez as I call her) selected “Everybody Has A Dream”. Ditty and Ivine wanted JChez to throttle back during their mentor session.  The clip they showed of her at first was quite bad, then she DID throttle back.   On stage she was careful in the opening bars and then did the song the way she really wanted too.  Although it sounded very “gospel” I still consider this one of the best performances of the night.  The judges loved it and gave her a standing ovation. Go JChez!


Colton Dixon was the last to perform, not a bad position on a night like this.  Most of the performances have been average to bad, save for Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez who were both brilliant.  Colton came to the stage singing “Piano Man”.  Colton is already a showman and tonight was no different.  He played from behind the piano and put his own touches on the tune.  Not his best but he was effective.


This evening’s high points, Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez, Colton Dixon and Elize Testone.


Skating through to next week should be Heejun Han, Joshua Ledet,  Skylar Laine.


Look for Erika Van Pelt, Deadre Brackensick and Hollie Cavanagh to be in the bottom three.


Thanks for reading this far.