American Idol Journal – Week 4

Heejun and Phillip were brilliant

Tonight the boys and girls of the Idol Pursuit will be singing songs from THEIR favorite music icons.   Beside Jimmy Ivine they kids will be mentored by Stevie Nicks.  Not many know that Jimmy Ivine was a background singer on a number if Stevie Nicks’ hits from the 70’s and 80’s!


Colton Dixon started off the night.  He sang a song by Lighthouse, a gospel song. Jimmy really likes his chances this week to break from the pack.  Stevie didn’t really ‘get’ the song, she thought it was a love song to a woman.  Ouch.  It is clear that Colton is very comfortable with his gospel roots and quite unapologetically too. Good for him.  Although American Idol has had other singers of faith, Colton is more out of the closet than most; at least he’s been given a more open platform than the other and he’s taking advantage of it.  The judges were thrilled.  Randy really tried to make it an “Idol Moment” and when Colton said it was his favorite “worship tune” of all time you could hear Jennifer try to be heard saying,”me too… me too”.


Skylar Laine was up next singing a song from one of her favorite Miranda Lambert.  Stevie Nick chimed in with harmonies during the practice session.  Jimmy thought it was an uphill battle for her.  I’ve never heard this song but I thought it rocked!  Skylar has her own strut on stage, it needs some work but fit the tune tonight.  The judges like it.


Tonight artist will be singing as trios.  In some years this idea has worked well, some years it wasn’t so good.  I don’t think it effects the voting however so it’s a no harm no foul situation for the contestants.


Colton Dixon, Elise Testone and Phillip Phillips sang the first medley, all songs by Stevie Nicks.  Each piece featured one of the performers and this trio was great.


Heejun Han has changed his game plan.  Jimmy loved the new Heejun.  This was a pulled together, emotionally vested performance by Heejun and it was everything I have always liked about him and his vocal styling.  Besides a couple of Phillip Phillips performances, this is as close to an American Idol Moment as this year has had.  He received a standing ovation from the judges and audience.  This style is his sweet spot. Steven delivers the best compliments and did for Heejun, Jennifer tried to be profound, Randy was completely impressed (except for a couple of notes… really Randy?  Ya got to rain on his parade?).  I didn’t hear the bad notes Randy mentioned.


Hollie Cavanagh will be singing the Carrie Underwood song, “Jesus Take The Wheel”.  Hollie needed to sing this song as well as Colton and Heejun to recover from her recent disappointing outings.  The only problem is this song is way too recent and over done.  She doesn’t have any life’s experience to relate, I think the song came off very karaoke and she sang off key at the end.  Fail!  Randy didn’t like what she did but tried to mask it with “constructive” criticism.  Jennifer thought it was one of her best outings!!! Are you freakin’ kidding me?  It’s clear Niffer wants Hollie to move on.  Steven didn’t really like it either and masked his comments well too.


Deandre Brackensick was up next. Eric Bonet was his choice and we’re gonna hear lots of falsetto tonight.  I’m thinkin’ Deandre is not long for the American Idol stage.  I considered this performance to be a total train wreck.  His natural voice is not bad, his falsetto is a cliche at this point.  The judges gave him a standing ovation… something is very wrong about their conduct.   Jennifer said she wants to hear his voice for a few more weeks, code for not any longer than that!  Randy thinks Deandre is BACK.  Again…something is very wrong about their conduct.


Jessica Sanchez sings Sasha.  JChez is a wonderful singer but this was a boring song.  I don’t think many folks know this tune.  The crowd liked it more than me.  Jennifer and Steven were happy with the performance although both mentioned she held back.  Randy thought she was a born star and that she told a story in the song.  Boring.  She’ll be safe for now, she’s a crowd pleaser.


Deandre Brackensick, Heejun Han and Joshua Ledet sang as the next trio, Michael Jackson songs.  Deandre and Joshua grooved the tunes with some dancing, Heejun just doesn’t get that part so well.  All in all it was fun, nothing much more than that.


Phillip Phillips chose a Johnny Lang song.  Stevie thought Mick Fleetwood would ask him into the group.  THAT is a compliment.

Phillip is the master of all he chooses to sing, tonight he proved again why I consider him the one to beat.  For some reason the judges don’t fully commit to him, again, this screams AGENDA but his performances are so good that if they panned anything he sang it would reflect on them more than Phillip.

Joshua Ledet will sing a Mariah Carey song, “Without You”.  It’s actually a Harry Nilsson song and it’s one of my personal favorites.  I wasn’t feeling this tune by Joshua tonight.  I think calling it karaoke would be fair because it seemed to have some of his own twists in it, but it wasn’t a great performance.  … and the judges stood up again… something is very wrong about their conduct.  They’ve always like Joshua so it isn’t surprising they are going to try to save him from embarrassment.  Jennifer referred to him as a phenom.


Hollie Cavanagh, Skylar Laine and Jessica Sanchez make up the final trio performance tonight singing a medley of songs by Madonna.  All I will say is that I was glad when their portion of the night concluded.  Contrast this performance with the first trio… they wouldn’t have made it out of Hollywood week.


Elise Testone sings Led Zeppelin.  Elise has been coming on in recent weeks.  I think she’s been pretty good the entire way and was a standout last week.  ROCK ON ELISE!  Move over Heart, a new rock queen is in the wings!  Brilliant!  ….and did I mention she was BRILLIANT!  Tonight she sang Zeppelin so well I didn’t want the song to end, that’s only happened a handful of times since American Idol has been on.


The standout tonights are easy, Colton Dixon, Heejun Han, Phillip Phillips and Elise Testone, each of them killed it.


The average performances were Skylar Laine and Jessica Sanchez.


The contestants in trouble based on tonight’s performances are Deandre Brackensick, Joshua Ledet and Hollie Cavanagh.  If I had to commit to one contestant leaving I’d go with Deandre Brackensick, it’s his time to exit.


Thanks for reading this far!