American Idol Journal – Week 7

Phillips owned the night...again!

Tonight is Now and Then night.  Jimmy Ivine will be the solo mentor this week.  I consider that a bit curious since he’s been in on all the previous week mentor sessions with other stars.  Still, Jimmy is absolutely an authority in the music industry and could easily be a special guest mentor if he wasn’t already tied to the show.


First up, Hollie Cavanagh singing an up tempo song with a beat that had a stereo-type African beat.  Sounded like lots of yelling to me, not so much singing.  The judges were back to form after last weeks result show “hysteria”, then complimented “the girl” without much regard to the actual performance.  Honestly, it was better than most of her performances this season so perhaps they had some reason to be excited, but lets keep it real guys.


Colton Dixon had to follow Hollie which is never a bad thing and he chose Bad Romance by Lady Gaga.  He worn a long stripped suit jacket with tails and red tight pants… very rock and roll, ready for prime time.  Randy thought we were at a Colton concert but didn’t think it was his best outing (he said that about Hollie too).  Jennifer thought he struggled with the low notes.  Steven thought a whole lot of it was good, like the set, the band (all girl), his outfit and his vocals.  Then Steven said a very profound thing, “You have to lose sight of this shore to make it to the next shore.”  Very cool


Elise Testone is singing No One by Alicia Keys.  She worn a great orange dress, they added a bit of a wind machine so her hair and some of the dress fluttered. Other than one pitchie part I thought she sang very good tonight.  I wasn’t blown away by it however, but still solid. Jennifer was all about “letting go” when she complimented “the girl”.  Steven was nice in his comments but thought it wasn’t quite a big enough chorus.  Randy thought she was tactfully restrained, he meant it in a good way.


Phillip Phillips does an User song. You Got It Bad.  I think most contestants would rather follow Phillip than precede him on stage, he is typically such a strong and unique singer that it is easy to forget the singer that went before him.  This week he plays a Taylor 12 string guitar. This was a slow and very controlled, well executed performance, he sat on a stool while he sang.  He ended the song with what is a bit of a signature ending for him vocally speaking.  Watch him and you’ll understand what I mean.  The judges gave his a standing ovation which I’m sure they are very reluctant to do for him.  Jennifer thought it was a sexy performance, Randy said he smiles a lot when Phillips sings because he is a “true” artist.  Steven gushed too.


Jessica Sanchez took to the stage next.  Last weeks results show should have been her end on the show but the judges used their save on her without her finishing her song.  She will be carrying into this week the knowledge that, if handled fairly, her “second chance” song, which was horrible, would have been his demise.  It was clear she was caught off guard last week and started to crumble under the pressure, one hopes she’ll pull it together this week.   She is singing Alicia Keys, Fallen.


This week she reminds me of Jennifer Hudson, if I closed my eyes I’d think it was her too.  Her performance was very good.  The judges seemed like they wanted to give her a standing ovation but we reluctant given their own theatrics from last week.


Skylar Laine picked Lady Gaga and put a country slant on the choice.  Born This Way will be Skylar tested tonight.   Although her singing was pretty good this week it was hard to get past her outfit… very bad.  Returning this week was her signature ‘Skylar Strut’.  She actually sounded a bit like Janis Joplin this evening.  The judges were amazed at this performance.  I think it was very good too.


Joshua Ledet sings Fantasia… ouch, oh and FAIL!.  It’s one of very few hits, I Believe, she sang this song during the finals show of the season she won.  The beginning of the song was quite uneventful for me, once it built to the chorus it was better.  I think for the first time I heard some pitch issues too, the judges certainly weren’t going to point THAT out either.  Randy got another jab in at the voting fans of American Idol by saying once again he hopes American gets it right.  Joshua sang ok, but song selection is very important and this song never got anyone overly excited.


The second half of the show didn’t include video recollections of Jimmy Ivine mentoring the contestants, Ryan just kept the contestants coming to the stage in rapid fire.


Hollie Cavanagh’s second song was Son of a Preacher Man originally sung by none other than Aretha Franklin!  I thought it was an uneventful performance, I know the judges don’t agree but then I think they are trying to keep girls on the show.  I heard pitch problems, what did you hear?   I think Hollie is a genuinely nice person, in her interviews she comes off and very nice.  Not sure this is her season.


Colton Dixon chose a classic Earth Wind and Fire tune, Dancing In September.  I liked his version of this song, it was unique and quite unexpected.  I heard a few pitch issues.  Steven and Jennifer didn’t like the tune, neither did Randy. 


Finally a unique interpretation of a classic song (which is tough to do) and the judges panned it.  No accounting for taste.  Go Colton!


Elise Testone sings Lets Get It On by Marvin Gaye.  She wore a black outfit and look the part of a song like this.  Great song for Elise, most parts were excellent but a few parts were over sung.   Jennifer didn’t really like the performance and thought Elise needs to put more emotion out there for the fans.  Elise challenge her on those comments…. good for Elise!  Steven wants her to take it up a notch. I don’t even know what that means, really.  Randy thought the song wasn’t right for her voice and he noticed a bit of the over singing like I did.   I’m think Elise is tired of being pushed around by misguided critiques and is pushing back.


Phillip Phillips  sang Wilson Picket’s Midnight Hour.  No guitar this time and we finally saw Phillip trying to work the stage.  Great song choice for Phillip, he rocked the stage reenforcing that he is the one to beat!  Randy loved it, Jennifer wanted to dance with him, Steven thought it was brilliantly awkward.


Jessica Sanchez picked Otis Redding’s  Try A Little Tenderness.  She didn’t sell me on the song, it wasn’t well suited for her.  Everyone thought it was high times of course, tonight is a JChez love in ya know.  Steven thought it was great, Jennifer thought Jessica‘s alter ego came out.  She said Jessica needs to connect with the audience.  It’s too late if you ask me.  She sings wonderfully but obviously hasn’t fully engaged the voters.


Skylar Laine sang Heard It Through The Grapevine by… pick an artist, who hasn’t done this.  This was a very good performance and I thought would stand up well to any seasoned artist coming on stage to sing.  Randy compared her to Phillip Phillips and how he connects with people, Jennifer echoed pretty much the same, Steven called her a wild horse that refuses to be tamed.


Joshua Ledet chose “an emotional Civil Rights anthem” according to Ryan Seacrest,  Sam Cooke’s A Chance Is Gonna Come.   The message of the song was somewhat lost in the vocalizations used by Ledet.  However, the judges gave a delayed standing ovation for Joshua‘s performance.   Steven loved it, Jennifer gushed… again, but wanted more from him.  She then asked America to NOT send him home.  Randy thought the song was perfect for him.


Once again, tonight had many good performance but only a couple of great outings.  Notable performances tonight were from Phillip Phillips, Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine.


The average performances were from Jessica Sanchez and Elise Testone.


At risk once again will be Joshua Ledet and Hollie Cavanagh.  Look for the bottom three to include Joshua Ledet, Hollie Cavanagh and Jessica Sanchez.  I think Jessica will be going home, perhaps the results show from last week will come back to haunt the judges.


Thanks for reading this far.