So You Think You Can Dance: And the winners are...

I need to start off by saying this: FOX, please get your act together and renew So You Think You Can Dance for its tenth season already!!! What could you possibly be waiting for!?

Sigh. OK. Hey, it's finale night! WHO will be named America's favorite male and female dancer?! But first, the tradition I wish American Idol would adopt for its finales as well- encores of our favorite performances of the season.

Nigel's pick: The Titanic Dance, Audrey & Matthew
I'm a little bit surprised he didn't pick last week's burlesque performance! This selection just makes me wonder once again why Matthew wasn't saved over George so they could do this number on tour. So, so beautiful.

Lil C's pick: Witney & All-Star Twitch

This is exactly why Witney was my early pick to win. I still think she's fantastic. More fantastic than Tiffany.

Debbie Allen's pick: Tiffany & George, Contemporary
My feelings haven't changed: lovely as can be, but just not that memorable.

Adam Shankman's pick: Cole & Lindsay, Pasa Doble

I had a feeling we'd see this one again. I love Adam Shankman. Also, Cole.

Tyce Diorio's pick: Jazz Cats, Will & Amelia

Man! I missed these two. Adorbs. I may have that said before.

Mary Murphy's pick: Tyce's Holocaust Dance, Chehon & All-Star Kathryn

Still every bit as powerful.

Eliana's pick: The Bang Bang Dance with All-Star Alex Wong

Seriously. These two need to dance together for the rest of their lives.

Cat's pick: Disco with Tiffany & All-Star Brandon


Chehon's pick: Argentinian Tango with All-Star Anja

This was the moment Chehon sailed ahead of Cole and Will (who was eliminated that night) and all but guaranteed his spot in the finale- along with Cyrus, of course. Very nice choice.

Cyrus with All-Stars Twitch, Comfort & choreographer Christopher Scott

Not to sound like a nerd, but that was seriously neato.

Tiffany's pick: Contemporary with All-Star Ade

AKA the Celine Dion "Power of Love" dance... oh, this song! It's so unfair!

Cyrus' pick: Animation with All-Star Twitch

Ahhh. I'm confused. Did they give Cyrus extra opportunities to shine tonight because he won, or as a consolation!?

Top 10 & All-Stars: Lion King Dance
NappyTabs may have made up for their absence over much of the season with this awesome Lion King remix.

America's Favorite Dancers Are...

I. Am. So. Happy. America got it right! Congrats to Chehon & Eliana!!!

SYTYCD: Performance Finale Recap

As I wrote my So You Think You Can Dance recap last Thursday, I incorrectly believed that tonight would be the final episode of another fabulous season. Discovering there would be a finale finale following tonight's performance finale was almost like putting on a jacket I haven't worn in months and finding a $20 bill in the pocket. 

I want to remind everyone- as I'm sure I will be unable to avoid complaining about Cyrus making it into the finale- I like the guy, it's just that Cole deserved it more and I'm a little bitter. And one final thought before we get into the performances... IF NEIL ISN'T AN ALL-STAR, WE RIOT!

Cyrus & Eliana - Pasa Doble
In a move obviously made to protect Cyrus, Eliana was cast against gender as the matador. While it was as theatrical and entertaining as we have come to expect from this pair, this pasa doble just pales in comparison to the one performed by Cole (and Lindsay, but mostly Cole) earlier this season. Eliana is simply fantastic, but this opening number just summed up everything that frustrates me about Cyrus making it into the finale.

Tiffany & All-Star Will - Jazz
I never would have guessed I'd be sitting here watching Tiffany in the finale when she was first introduced into the Top 20 over two months ago, but unlike Cyrus (sorry, sorry) I can't say she doesn't deserve it. She was great.

Eliana & Chehon - Ballet
I had been hoping to see Eliana and Chehon do some ballet together, and they did not disappoint. Eliana, in her pretty pink tutu, was stunning. We didn't get to see Chehon show off his skills (only his strength) in the same way, but Eliana's brilliance was magnified thanks to his steady support. They both made it look so easy; I'm horrified at my memories of my ballerina youth in comparison.

Tiffany & Cyrus - Hip-hop
Arghhh I can't help it- yes, it is highly commendable that The One Who Never Did Choreography Before This Show learned choreography for five numbers since last Thursday... but hey, they ALL did it. Why does Cyrus get judged on a different standard?! I know I sound like a broken record and I don't WANT to get upset about this but every time they critique him, it drives me nuts. P.S. The hip-hop was great.

The Final Four - "A quirky Tyce Diorio number"
This was the ultimate mash-up and super fun way to show each dancer in their own style but all at the same time.

Eliana - Solo
Strength, grace, emotion. She's got it all. She deserves to win.

Chehon & All-Star Allison - Contemporary
If that one-armed lift was all he did, that would have been enough, but throw in a few other lifts and jumps and... are you kidding me!? (Timeout: did Mary Murphy just say "Nommy Eminated?" That is awesome). Whatever he didn't get to show us in the ballet number, he MORE than made up for in this performance with the amazing Allison. Phenomenal. Truly.

Chehon & Allison (the one-armed lift in particular)

Eliana & Tiffany - Burlesque/Pole
The line of the night goes to Rob Marshall: "I'm just trying to imagine Queen Latifah doing that." The judges have lost their minds and deservedly so. I can't say I've ever seen anything like that and I love that SYTYCD just went there. Also: side by side, Eliana proved to be just a little bit better. She was sexier, her legs extended just a little bit further, her movements were more deliberate, and her facial expressions were spot on. And HELLO, that last thing she did on the pole? I don't even know how that was physically possible.

Cyrus - Solo
Watching Cyrus do his solos will never, ever get old.

Tiffany - Solo
I had forgotten how little they showed Tiffany before the Top 20, and maybe that's why I've had a hard time connecting with her.

Chehon & Cyrus - Contemporary
These two guys must have an ounce of body fat between them. I appreciate that Sonya put these two side-by-side, showing each of their strengths and not letting Cyrus hide. Why are the judges so afraid to say that Chehon deserves to win this over Cyrus? Chehon has thrown everything he possibly can at us to give himself a shot at taking the trophy home.

Chehon - Solo
It seemed a little like Chehon forgot where he was- it was like his music ending took him by surprise- but it was nice to see him so in the moment. One last Chehon-Cyrus comparison: where Cyrus has made everything look so difficult (and impressive as the result of conquering these difficult tasks), Chehon just makes evertyhing look so damn easy.

Eliana & All-Star Alex - Contemporary
C'mon Uncle Nigel, use your new American Idol judge's version of this song! These two are one of those magical SYTYCD pairings, they should take their show on the road. I'm a little surprised to hear Nigel call Eliana his favorite of all time but there is no denying she is special.
Tiffany & Chehon - Rumba
Chehon makes me not miss Neil so much. I guess I won't riot, after all. They were appropriately romantic without being cheesy.

Cyrus & All-Star Twitch - Animation
That was SO COOL but it was TOO SHORT! This just stole any momentum Chehon may have managed to build for himself tonight, but what can ya do. Nigel just blew my mind by finally saying he would be voting for Chehon over Cyrus tonight, but I'm afraid that might just make America rally for Cyrus that much more.

I looked back at my rankings from my Top 20 recap: I had Eliana and Tiffany at #3 and #7, Cyrus and Chehon and #2 and #4, respectively (although the next week I had Eliana at the top with Tiffany at #8, and the boys traded spots). This is really a toss-up.

Who SHOULD Win: Eliana & Chehon
Who WILL Win: Eliana & Cyrus

I think that Eliana did enough to steal enough votes away from Tiffany. I hope Chehon convinces enough people that he truly deserves to win this over Cyrus.

SYTYCD Recap: Top 6! It's almost over!

So it's the penultimate show and it's ALL UP TO AMERICA! I feel OK going into tonight because we can't really go wrong as they all deserve to make it, it one way or another. Well, OK, maybe some are a little more worthy. I'll get into that later. 

Side note: does anybody else feel like Christina Applegate tries a little too hard (and honey, you did not invent "hairography").

Can anybody explain to me what this thing is that the boys are doing??

  • Jive with All-Star Benji: For the first time, I get Tiffany. She gets all the props in the world for what she just did in those heels. Especially those cartwheels. Ridic. (Also, I couldn't help but think of Amanda Bynes- you know, What I Like About You, her show that used this song as its theme?- what the heck is going on with her?)
  • Solo: Lovely, just lovely.
  • Broadway with Cyrus: OK, I give up. Tiffany has won me over. She's still not someone who makes me want to get on the phone and vote her, nor is she someone I'll be excited to see as an All-Star in a future season, but if she makes it into the finale as I suspect she will, I won't mind.
  • Contemporary with All-Star Melanie: I love how Cole is always a strong, masculine dancer, even while delivering a graceful, emotive performance, and even while he is being lifted by a woman (albeit the amazing Melanie).
  • Solo: I wasn't ready for this to end, I wish he could have kept going! Bonus points for the little added detail of red contact lenses. I really can't decide who I like more between him and Chehon.
  • Contemporary with Eliana: Brilliant, captivating, and so emotional- which is even more impressive from two dancers who seem so goofy in real life.

  • Hip-hop with All-Star Twitch: Fun and entertaining, but it wasn't perfect. Parts of it were great, parts looked a little sloppy. I don't know how she
  • Solo: I maybe unfairly expected a little more from Eliana in her solo. I wonder if she was still feeling a little discouraged after the feedback from her hip-hop number?
  • Contemporary with Cole: Same goes for her as what I said for Cole. A+.

  • Solo: I wish he had done just a little bit more with the time allotted, but it seems like Chehon is finally dancing like he doesn't have a worry in the world. I think we can thank Mom for that. It's fun to see. 
  • Contemporary with All-Star Kathryn: Chills! If Chehon doesn't make it into next week's finale, it'll be a real shame.
  • Cha-cha with Witney: It wasn't exactly a disaster (what would Cyrus have done with that choreography?), but it's too bad that might be his last performance of the season.

  • Solo: We get it, she's a young and Mormon and doesn't dance like it. She is dynamite.
  • Lyrical jazz with All-Star Marko: Yes! Great to see Marko again (he and Melanie are probably still my all-time favorite pairing and still think it's weird to see them dance with other people). Witney's leap, on a scale from 1 to Neil-and-Melanie, was probably only about a 7, but she was still fantastic. I'm sure the judges are pleased to have kept her around.
  • Cha-cha with Chehon: In her element, she stole the show. Anything less would have been a disappointment.

  • Dubstep with All-Star Comfort: Cyrus' surprised face is almost as good as Taylor Swift's! It was great to reward him by letting him shine in his own style. It's really a shame for either Cole or Chehon, but I don't think even they can be mad about America's infatuation with Cyrus. On a side note, I think this is the prettiest I've ever seen Comfort?
  • Solo: Honestly. Who couldn't watch him do this all day? It still blows my mind.
  • Broadway with Tiffany: His weaknesses can't be hidden completely- numbers like this make it painfully clear how much more skilled Cole and Chehon are... but I'm beating a dead horse. I LIKE Cyrus and I'm glad he made it this far, but you can't tell me he deserves a place in the finale (or what seems to be an inevitable victory) over the other two guys.

Ranking the Top 6:
  1. Chehon & Cole
  2. Eliana
  3. Witney
  4. Tiffany
  5. Cyrus

Results and WHO WILL WIN:
I seem to be better at guessing SYTYCD results than American Idol. I am SUPER BUMMED Cole won't get a chance to be America's Favorite Dancer. There's really no question that Cyrus has it in the bag between the two guys (although I will keep my fingers crossed for Chehon!), but I really think it's a toss-up between the ladies. For the sake of venturing of guess, while I am rooting for Eliana, it seems that Tiffany has had the votes all season long.

See you next TUESDAY for the finale! Here's the real question... what shall I blog about next? Should I give The Voice another shot?

SYTYCD Recap: Top 8

Things I loved about the opening of the show: Cat Deeley's lacy black dress, Chehon's mint green jeans (don't try this at home, boys) and the realization that Jesse Tyler Ferguson would be the guest judge this evening. He should just be a permanent judge. I wonder if he'd be great on American Idol too? I'm sure he would. Let's give him the job! But I digress. 

Best. Judge. Ever.

Remember last week how I discovered the judges (particularly Uncle Nigel) really telegraphed the results in their critiques? I'm going to try to guess this time.

Witney & All-Star Twitch - East Coast Hip-Hop
She really sold that, didn't she? There was nothing about that performance that would make anyone suspicious she was anything but a hip-hop dancer, much less actually a ballroom dancer. The judges lavished her with praise and Nigel even mentioned saving her previously, so I'm guessing she is safe tonight. She should be. Unless he brought up saving her because... no, she has to be safe, right?

Cole & All-Star Allison - Contemporary
This number once again let Cole show off his strength and ability to really get deep into a character. But has he really had his technique challenged yet? I enjoyed Jesse Tyler Ferguson's critique that it seemed like an American Horror Story promo, because that is right on (how CREEPY have those teasers been, by the way!?). The judges comments leave me feeling comfortable that Cole is safe tonight as well. His solo just might have been the best of the night, too- he packed everything he could into the little time allotted.

Eliana & All-Star Ryan - Quickstep
Board housewife wants attention? Haven't we seen this story a few times on this show already? Regardless, for a dance that has been the kiss of death for so many contestants, Eliana seemed to have no trouble with it at all. It's so easy for her, it's almost not fair. She must be safe.

Lindsay & All-Star Alex - Jazz
How awesome is it to have Alex Wong back on the show? It might be the show's greatest tragedy that he never got to make it through a season as a competitor. I didn't buy the chemistry at all. For sure. The judges agree and the somber critiques foreshadow that Lindsay will be in trouble. With her so-so solo (ballroom solos are tough enough, you can't waste any time getting into it, girl!), I believe she might be done.

Will & All-Star Lauren - Hip-hop
I like goofy Will, but serious Will isn't so bad either. He showed in his solo he could take things seriously too (was that the first solo we've seen from him?) so it was great seeing this side of him, although it would have been nice to see him do some more partnering with Lauren. Nigel told him that he didn't believe he had to worry about feeling down tonight. Safe?

Cyrus & All-Star Melanie - Jazz
Nigel didn't even try to pretend that Cyrus had a chance at being in the bottom this week. So he's safe. But now I'm confused because I seem to think everybody (except Lindsay) so far is safe. The worst part about him being safe all the time is that we haven't gotten to see him do his thing in WEEKS! So amazing. i just don't understand how anyone can move like that. P.S. I was reminded why I adored Melanie last season. She is fantastic.

Chehon & All-Star Anya - Tango
Ballroom is funny. I was thinking that although beautiful, it was the least tangoey tango I had ever seen, and wouldn't you know it, they get a standing ovation. He has to be safe too? I'm so confused.

Tiffany & All-Star Ade - Contemporary
SHE IS SO RIGHT about this being a song that's impossible not to sing along with... even though it's impossible to sing it properly (note to Anna, my Celine-loving friend: make sure you watch this intro video when you eventually return from beautiful Ireland and watch this episode). You can't not have an amazing performance to a song like this.

Ranking the Top 8:
  1. Chehon
  2. Cole (saved!)
  3. Eliana
  4. Witney (saved!)
  5. Will
  6. Tiffany
  7. Cyrus
  8. Lindsay

Results & Who Should Go Home:
They tricked me! I had a feeling that Cole might slip into the bottom instead of Cyrus, since he's just too darn loveable... but Nigel promised Will he wouldn't feel down tonight. And then he eliminates him? That seems cruel. But, I am of course thrilled they kept Cole. The girls were easier to call.

Judges don't get a save next week. My guess? Tiffany's standing ovation secures her a spot in the finale and if Witney fans rally to make up for her almost being eliminated the past two weeks and she gets the added benefit of Lindsay's votes, there might be a little upset. It seems like Cyrus can do no wrong, and with Chehon's emotional night (bonus points for mom!) he just might make it in over Cole. Sigh. They all deserve to make it!

But seriously. Shouldn't they just make Jesse Tyler Ferguson a permanent judge? ALL ABOARD THE HOT JALAPENO BUS!!! And can we have NEIL back as an All-Star next week!? Maybe Kent? And the other Lauren? Those are my wishes.

SYTYCD Recap: Top 10 & All-Stars!

SO excited for the reveal of the All-Stars. I resisted the temptation to look up who they would be in advance so they better not let me down! How could they though, really?

Tiffany & All-Star Brandon (season 5) - Disco
Eleven lifts! Eleven!!! I still think TIffany was lucky to get in the Top 10 over Amelia or Janelle, but she definitely gave an exciting, energy-filled performance. I still wouldn't pick up the phone to vote for her.

Witney & All-Star Nick (season 1) - Jazz
Witney dazzled next to the inaugural champ on a piece by Travis Wall. She'll dazzle her way through to the finale, I imagine.

Cole & All-Star Anya (season 3) - Cha-cha
Cat referred to Cole being slightly injured at the top of the show but the judges didn't say anything more about it and he definitely didn't dance like he was hurt. This wasn't my favorite Cole performance, but his cha-cha moves impressed my amateur eye anyway.

Lindsay & All-Star Jacob (season 6) - Broadway
That was fun! I enjoyed that very much. I think my problem with Lindsay is that she reminds me of somebody I don't care for very much and that's certainly not her fault so I should try to get over that.

Will & All-Star Kathryn (season 6) - Bollywood
I completely understand Uncle Nigel's inner battle about wanting Will to calm down a little bit but also loving how much personality he is able to infuse into his dancing. Love him, but would like to see a choreographer challenge him with something more mature soon.

Cyrus & All-Star Jaimie (season 3) - Contemporary
Cyrus? Contemporary? Travis Wall? I'm worried. He definitely has storytelling down, and his partnering ability seems to have come a very long way. It definitely wasn't perfect (that leap, not so great) but he has really proven he deserves a spot on this show. But does he deserve to stay over these other guys? That I'm not so sure about.

Chehon & All-Star Lauren (season 3) - Hip-hop
First of all, Lauren is one of my favorite all-stars. Love her. Second, does Chehon have a great smile or what!? Am I just noticing this or has he not really been smiling much (I guess it must be the latter, based on Nigel's comments)? Third, this lyrical hip hop choreography definitely favored Chehon over something more hard-hitting, and it was lovely.

George & All-Star Allison (season 2) - Jazz
Poor George. I don't know about you, but I watched Allison the whole time. I'm sure he did a great job. Nigel, you're disappointed? MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE SAVED MATTHEW OR DAREIAN (PROBABLY MATTHEW).

Eliana & All-Star OMG! It's Alex Wong! (season 7) - Contemporary
As J-Lo would say, goosies!!! My favorite of the night. Plus, I just love her hair.

Audrey & All-Star Twitch (season 4) - Hip-hop
Loved the concept! I have to agree with Mr. Natalie Portman though- Audrey danced like she was #2 to Twitch, and who can blame her?

Ranking the Top 10:
  1. Chehon (OMG he displaced Cole as my favorite and he had to be SAVED?!)
  2. Cole
  3. Eliana
  4. Witney (saved!)
  5. Will
  6. Cyrus
  7. Lindsay
  8. Audrey
  9. Tiffany
  10. George

Results & Who Should Go Home:
How could Witney and Chehon be in the bottom!? At least there was no suspense going into the eliminations. You know that Audrey and George knew they were dunzo. I'm sad about Audrey, but the judges really should have gotten a clue about George earlier (he has does an amazing solo each time though- especially tonight- I'll give him that). Thinking back, I think you could have guessed from Nigel's comments who was in trouble tonight. I'm going to have to play that game next week.

Oh yes, next week... because the finale needs to be Witney-Eliana-Cole-Chehon, I guess that leaves Lindsay-Tiffany and Will-Cyrus as who I think should be the bottom four dancers. I hate to say it, but it's time for Cyrus to go. Having said that, I'm not sure he'll be in the bottom- I think we may see Cole slip in there with his so-so cha-cha (see what I did there?).

SYTYCD Recap: From 14 to 10

I miss the Olympics, but I happily welcome Cat and Uncle Nigel back to my Wednesday nights! I'm already feeling uneasy about the eliminations tonight, and that was even before I got this text from Anna:

I thought I was OK with the results show being eliminated, but I'm not so sure anymore. There must be a better way? But really, it's going to be sad to lose any of these dancers when they are all so good.

Also, I think I'm excited to see all of these Mia Michaels numbers again, but I'm worried the dancers are being unintentionally set up for failure- how can they measure up to the original? Then again, maybe that's why they brought on guest judges who have never seen the show before. I'm also unsure about how I feel about that.

So, basically, I am confused all around.

Eliana & Cyrus
I loved this dance back when Twitch and Katy did it, and I liked it almost as much the second time around too. The best moment was Cyrus laughing as he slammed the door on Eliana- which isn't exactly a dance moment, but once again showed what a fantastic entertainer he is. And I don't ever think about Eliana being a ballerina in real life. Yet somehow, I'm really nervous about both of these two being sent home tonight.

George & Tiffany
There is no denying George and Tiffany are both beautiful dancers, but these two just don't excite me. There was so much talk about the assisted run that in the end it was a little anticlimactic. I expect to see them both dance for their lives (and perhaps for the last time?) later tonight.

Amelia & Will
The butt dance perfectly illustrated why I don't love them re-doing these dances from the past- as Uncle Nigel said, Mia Michaels choreographed this for two specific dancers. I'm not sure that Amelia was totally committed to her character, though, and Will was trying just a little bit too hard. Having said that, I still adore them both.
Dareian & Janelle
Huh. His feet really must be that bad, although I can't say I've ever noticed. But I can't stop saying I wish they would stop with the comparisons! I think Dareian did an excellent job and contrary to what the judges said, I did feel the emotion from Janelle. If they survive this week though, they really need to step up (see what I did there, Adam Shankman?) their game.
Audrey & Matthew
Ugh! I'm going to sound like a broken record. Uncle Nigel, this has got to stop! You can't do a tribute show and criticize these kids for not being the original dancers! I did not appreciate him putting these two on the spot, after they have already been chastised for not being Neil (sigh!) and Lacey, about Mia's inspiration behind the choreography.

Witney & Chehon
I didn't watch the season this dance was originally from, and in this case, I appreciated Nigel's explanation of Mia's choreography (then again, he was actually OK with Witney and Chehon being Witney and Chehon). These two are so beautiful to watch. And I suddenly find myself worried about them too.

Lindsay & Cole
One of Cole's greatest strengths- outside of his dancing- is his ability to completely immerse himself into the character he decides to play in his performances. These last two dances were definitely my favorites of the night. I still don't love Lindsay, though, and I'm still not sure why.

The Girls:
  1. Eliana
  2. Witney
  3. Amelia
  4. Audrey
  5. Lindsay (saved!)
  6. Janelle
  7. Tiffany

The Guys:
  1. Cole
  2. Chehon
  3. Will
  4. Matthew
  5. Dareian
  6. Cyrus
  7. George (saved!)

Results & Who Should Go Home:

I wasn't quite as heartbroken about the bottom six as I feared I would be (you can see that I guessed four of the six of them in my previous recap). I am bummed about Amelia, though. As far as the guys go- I am shocked they saved George, who has been in the bottom every week (? is that only twice? I guess maybe you can say the same about Dareian?) but he just doesn't have the excitement factor of Dareian or Matthew.

However! I am excited for the ALL-STARS to join us next week! I'm still perplexed by this voting system that will send someone home next week based on this week's dances but after they dance with an all-star... whatever. And it's going to be an overall bottom 3 next though, right, no more gender parity? My guess for the bottom is: George, Tiffany, Lindsay.

SYTYCD Recap: Top 16

I took a little vacation, and in the process fell a bit behind (so, obviously, no recap from last week). I was actually able to watch last week's episode with my dear Anna, which was a special treat. There were a couple surprises- I certainly did not expect to see Witney and Chehon in their respective bottom threes (although I certainly did expect them both to be saved by the judges), but I also wouldn't have guessed that Alexa and Daniel would have such brief stays on the show. Oh well? Although it wasn't a surprise after the lack of airtime she had received, I felt bad that Janaya got the boot after a great, personality-filled performance that might have kept her safe this week.

Again, I'm behind, and thus will simply share my favorite performances and overall rankings from this past week.

Favorite Performances:
  1. Witney & Chehon
  2. Eliana & Cyrus
Witney & Chehon

The Girls:
  1. Eliana (How was she in the bottom 3!?)
  2. Witney
  3. Amelia
  4. Audrey
  5. Lindsay (I don't know how she was the automatic safe instead of Eliana)
  6. Tiffany
  7. Janelle
  8. Amber

The Boys:
  1. Cole
  2. Chehon
  3. Will
  4. Matthew
  5. Cyrus
  6. Dareian
  7. Brandon
  8. George (Hey look, my bottom 3 boys matched up!)

Who Should Go Home:
Four people are going home when the show comes back in two weeks, right? If Cyrus slips into the bottom three, I have to think the judges will sadly send him home. George and Dareian will probably end up in the bottom again as well. As far as the girls go- I'm guessing it'll be Tiffany and Janelle with Amelia or Audrey falling in there as well.

SYTYCD Recap: Top 20

It's been a long two weeks without So You Think You Can Dance. I'm still perplexed as to exactly how the eliminations are going to work- contestants will be eliminated at the beginning of the following week? But how many will dance for their lives? Did I miss that? I know that Cat explained it for us at the beginning, but my brain wasn't ready to really listen yet and I couldn't be bothered to rewind just for that. In any case... I'll start with my brief thoughts on each routine before ranking everybody, as they are being voted on individually, not in pairs, with gender parity (I did catch that!).

Witney & Chehon - Samba (Louis Van Amstel)
Chehon's technique may not have been perfect, but I doubt anyone will care. Leading off on a two-hour show could spell danger for some dancers, but that is exactly why Witney and Chehon were put in this spot. This extremely talented, likeable couple with funny-spelled names will definitely be safe.

Tiffany & George - Contemporary (Sonya Tayeh)
This was a beautiful routine by two lovely dancers, but they have a couple things going against them that could spell doom. The early slot and slow tempo- without any big, standout moments- may cause them to be overlooked or forgotten completely by voters. However, if they end up dancing for their lives, depending of course on who else joins them, I would think the judges would be inclined to keep both of them around a little longer.

Janaya & Brandon - Hip-Hop (Tabitha & Napoleon)
Nappy Tabs seemed to take it a little easy on these two, and Janaya's dancing was a little too pretty and delicate to really sell herself as a serious hip-hop dancer. They haven't benefited from a whole lot of air time up to this point- especially Janaya- which may hurt them in the first week of voting.

Alexa & Daniel - Jazz (Sean Cheesman)
Between the bright red outfits and The X-Factor spots showing the "mean" side of Britney (Bad to the bone? Really? You tell them, Brit Brit!), I was half-expecting them to dance to "Oops I Did it Again." And where was Alexa's bright red lipstick? She was barely recognizable without the crazy curly hair and bright red lips. Jokes aside, Alexa and Daniel showed some serious athleticism in this routine, but didn't quite bring in the personality they both showed in their video intros.

Amber & Nick - Vietnamese Waltz (Jason Gilkison)
I was a little shocked at the way Jason barked at Nick- he always seemed so nice as judge!- but it seems he was able to get through to him. Still, Nick is my early least-favorite contestant on this show. Amber moved beautifully in that gorgeous dress, but I still can't shake the baditude she showed in her first go-around with the show. I really enjoyed the dream-like choreography, and while I haven't done any scientific research on the issue, memory tells me that the Vietnamese Waltz rarely is a hit with viewers- so they could be in trouble.

Amelia & Will - Hip-Hop (Tabitha & Napoleon)
Now this is more like the Nappy Tabs we know and love! Both of these dancers really express their personalities well on stage and have both shot way up on my rankings. Will showed us last week that he may not have the incredible physique of the other male dancers, but he has proven to be kind of a giant, endearing dork, and there's no better to describe Amelia than how Mary did: she's a quirky little vixen. I enjoy these two. They'll gets lots of votes.

Janelle & Dareian - African Jazz (Sean Cheesman)
Dareian definitely does an impressive Donald Duck, if this whole dancing thing doesn't work out for him (but I think it might). I think he'd be a shoo-in to play Jacob in Twilight: The Musical. Janelle continues to impress- I wondered if the belly dancer would really have the technique to master other styles of dance, but she has shown no reason not to believe she can do it.

Eliana & Cyrus - Broadway (Tyce Diorio)
The idea of Cyrus dancing to a song from Hairspray did get a little chuckle out of me, but his performance was definitely nothing to laugh at. As Mary said, CYRUS, PEOPLE ARE GOING TO GOOGLE YOU UP! If this was to be based on votes alone through the whole season, Cyrus' personality would carry him past better dancers all the way through to the finish. And I know I'm not the first person to say this, but Eliana might just be the girl to beat in this competition.

Audrey & Matthew - Contemporary (Travis Wall)
Travis Wall's Titanic-inspired number was just stunning (and Matthew was a suitable replacement for young Leo). Audrey's jump off of the chaise lounge wasn't quite the breathtaking moment that Melanie leaping into Neil's arms (sigh) was last year, but it was still a moment. Just a side note: I don't know what this says about me, but whenever I hear "Unchained Melody" I can't help but think hey, that's Simon Cowell's favorite song. Anyone else? No?

Lindsay & Cole - Paso Doble (Jason Gilkison)
Hmmm... so all three ballroom dancers were given ballroom styles. Coincidence? Conspiracy theories aside, of all the ballroom styles, the paso doble really seemed like a great fit for Cole in theory- being a ninja and fighting bulls are almost like the same thing- and he absolutely would have knocked my socks off had I been wearing socks (it's finally summer in Seattle!). With the way Cole commanded attention, I honestly barely noticed Lindsay- and it's rare for the girl to be overshadowed in ballroom numbers, isn't it?

Favorite Performances: 
  1. Lindsay & Cole
  2. Amelia & Will
  3. Audrey & Matthew
  4. Eliana & Cyrus
  5. Janelle & Dareian

The Girls:
  1. Eliana (+2)
  2. Witney (-1)
  3. Amelia (+5)
  4. Alexa (-2)
  5. Lindsay (-1)
  6. Janelle (-1)
  7. Audrey (-1)
  8. Tiffany (-1)
  9. Amber (+1)
  10. Janaya (-1)

The Boys:
  1. Cole (-)
  2. Chehon (+2)
  3. Will (+7)
  4. Cyrus (-2)
  5. Matthew (+3)
  6. Daniel (-)
  7. Dareian (-)
  8. George (-3)
  9. Brandon (-6)
  10. Nick (-1)

The number next to their names indicates how they moved in my rankings compared to last week.

Who Should Go Home:
Four dancers- two girls, two guys- will be eliminated next week. My guesses are Tiffany, Janaya, Brandon and Nick.

So You Think You Can Dance: Ranking the Top 20

Uncle Nigel! Cat Deeley! Mary Murphy! Zooey Desch- oh, whatever. So You Think You Can Dance is BACK!!!

This is really an impossible ranking at this point, but what the hey. Might as well give it a shot. I reserve the right to change this completely next week.

The Girls:
  1. Witney Carson
  2. Alexa Anderson
  3. Eliana Girard
  4. Lindsay Arnold
  5. Janelle Issis
  6. Audrey Case
  7. Tiffany Maher
  8. Amelia Lowe
  9. Janaya French
  10. Amber Jackson

The Boys:
  1. Cole Horibe
  2. Cyrus Spencer
  3. Brandon Mitchell
  4. Chehon Wespi-Tschopp
  5. George Lawrence II
  6. Daniel Baker
  7. Dareian Kujawa
  8. Matthew Kazmierczak
  9. Nick Bloxsom-Carter
  10. Will Thomas

Favorite Dance of the Night:

"Resolve" - Nathan Lanier 
{How I wish I could embed a video of this dance in this space right now!} There were several great moments, but picking my personal favorite of the night is an easy choice: the baseball dance. I'm biased, but the clever way Christopher Scott managed to choreograph three stunningly different dancers alone would have done it- Cole, the martial artist; Cyrus, the animator; and Brandon, the stepper. Amazing.

So. This is going to be a great season. I LOVE THIS SHOW.

P.S. Did you catch that the MLB All-Star Game is coming up on FOX on July 10th? Must have been all that subliminal messaging.

Idol recap: And then there was one.

I have been in solitary confinement all evening in order to remain spoiler-free. Let's get on with the show!!!

"Runaway Baby"
The opening number was cute, but... hands up if you would have rather seen this as reprise solo performance by Joshua. Wow, I really didn't miss some of these contestants. Also, some people can pull off the head-to-toe white outfit better than others.

"Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" & "Bad Moon Rising"
I think- although it was enjoyable- that getting the chance to sing these CCR classics with John Fogerty was more fun for Phillip than for anyone else. And that's totally fair.

"Take Me to the Pilot"
Now I know why they just showed us the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises. Holy extensions, Batman! Is that really Fantasia? She is unrecognizable. Like utterly, completely, unrecognizable. AND WHO LET HER OUT IN THAT OUTFIT? She's like Catwoman gone horribly, horribly wrong. Was that awkward? Or was it just me? I feel like that was awkward. And dang it, I was so distracted by Fantasia this whole time I completely missed Joshua.

I have no words.

Chaka Khan medley
Love the ladies in their sparkly dresses for this Chaka Khan medley. Just once I'd like to find an occasion where it'd be appropriate to wear one of these sparkly dresses.

"I Will Always Love You"
...and explain to me again why Jessica didn't sing this yesterday?!

"Turn on the Radio" 
Skylar!!! Rock it gurrrrl! Did she just upstage Reba? I think she might have!

Neil Diamond medley
It turns out the only boys I missed were Colton and Joshua.

Ace & Diana
Well, well, well, what do we have here- it appears to be our first ever finale wedding proposal! Cute? Uncomfortable? Desperate for attention? Cute? I can't decide. And for some reason- although I liked both Diana and Ace on their respective seasons- they kind of creep me out together? This does appear to be a genuine moment for both of them though. I think I've decided it was kind of weird but mostly sweet. (Anybody plan on watching Taylor Hicks on The Choice? HAHAHA I can't get that out with a straight face).

"Never Walk Alone"
Finally, though, we have our first female non-contestant on the stage not required to wear an unflattering outfit. How gorgeous is Jordin Sparks these days? If it were up to me though, I would have liked to see Holli singing with someone like Kristin Chenoweth or Carrie Underwood.

Bee Gees medley
Did they throw this together in an hour before the show? Sure sounded like it. Other than Joshua, who was sheer perfection as usual, of course.

"And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going"
That. Just. Happened. And even with the freaky faces.... GOOSIES!!! But OMG part of me was scared to death that Jennifer Holliday was about to drop her jaw and swallow Jessica whole.

"Up Where We Belong"
First of all- Steven Tyler has still got it. And did you notice I didn't have anything to say about Rihanna or J-Lo? But this was a sweet little song by our two finalists.


And the winner is....

Phillip Phillips. What a nice moment. "Home" really is a great song and I look forward to hearing it on the radio. NOW GET YOUR KIDNEYS FIXED.


Didn't this season just start? How are we already at the finale? Can Jessica WOW us and become the first female champ since Jordin Sparks? What the heck is J-Lo wearing? Who else wishes that Skylar and/or Joshua were in this show instead of Jessica? Do we really need to watch tonight to know that Phillip (and his bum kidneys) will ultimately win, as we suspected all along?

OK, I'll knock it off. I do love these clips of Jessica and Phillip back from where it all began. GOOSIES!


I was barely mentally prepared by the time Jessica had already finished belting out "I Have Nothing"- I was tempted to rewind, but... I get the drift. She's a powerhouse vocalist, I think. Phillip's "Stand By Me" was pleasant, but neither singer really gave a standout performance in the first round.

Round One Winner: Draw.

Jason Derulo? I'm going to take this opportunity to fix myself a nice cup of cocoa. Did you guys know my cats like to eat marshmallows? Watching them anxiously waiting for me to drop one on the floor is more captivating than this performance.

Real Round One Winner: Larry, who beat Lucy to the marshmallow I just dropped.


While not a terribly exciting song choice, Jessica really nailed it on "The Prayer." She again showed beautiful control and restraint, and hit those high notes perfectly. I'm guessing the "potential first single" is a ballad as per usual though, so I really wish Jessica had gone with something more upbeat to start off the show. Phillip seemed to give "Moving Out" everything he physically could (which probably isn't a whole lot, with the whole needing emergency surgery, like, yesterday thing). And there's that blonde saxophonist again! I wonder if Phillip has negotiated to have her included in his prize package if he wins this thing?

Round Two: Slight edge to Phillip based on the "excitement" factor.


What? Don't they want Jessica to win? This song, aside from possibly being the worst AI finale song ever (more on that in a second), sits in a horrible place in her voice and did her zero favors. I hope, for Jessica's sake, this song quickly disappears much like that Kara DioGuardi song for Kris Allen and Adam Lambert (I just figured out that this song, quite ironically, is called "Change Nothing"), which is the other contender for the title of Worst AI Finale Song Ever. I would have changed everything. And Phillip just sealed the deal. That song- "Home"- was perfect for him.

Round Three: Absolutely Phillip.


Wow. This one-hour finale just flew on by, didn't it? I am still so puzzled at the song choices for Jessica these last two shows. Is there any chance she manages to pull off the ultimate upset and win tomorrow? Maybe, since she managed to knock off Joshua last week. But I wouldn't hold my breath.

Tomorrow's AI finale: A few thoughts

A few thoughts going into tomorrow's final performance show:
  • Let's all remind ourselves that American Idol is on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. I finally got used to it being on Wednesday/Thursday and now they do this to me. What if I had made other plans, Uncle Nigel? Don't laugh.
  • I am shocked that Jessica made it into the finale over Joshua. Shocked. But, good for her. It's not that she doesn't deserve it. She better bring it.
  • Remember last year's BIG SCARE that Lauren Alaina might be too sick to perform in the finale? I guffawed then and I guffawed now. Not to make light of illness, but c'mon. That was clearly exaggerated to add some drama. If they had some medical authority on hand then to discuss her health issues, what are they going to do for Phillip Phillips? Have an ambulance parked on stage? Seriously though, I am concerned this time after news broke that his kidneys are so bad he actually needs emergency surgery. Hopefully he's making a safe decision by continuing on with the show.
  • The emptiness of American Idol being over will be quickly filled by Thursday's season premiere of So You Think You Can Dance. Who else is excited???
  • THE SING-OFF WAS CANCELLED? NOOOOOO!!! (This is me being seriously upset).
Anna lamented to me the other night how much more exciting a Joshua/Skylar finale would have been, and I have to agree. But regardless, I anxiously await tomorrow night's show and leave you with this:

Idol recap: Down to 3

Tonight, instead of a clean, organized recap, I am opting to go with stream-of-consciousness writing. You've been warned. So we start with this: I am drooling over J-Lo's pink blazer. I want it. I don't think I'd wear it with matching pink pants personally, but I seriously love it.

Oh- the show is on Tuesday/Wednesday next week? Good to know.

Round 1, Judges' Choice.

Randy picked Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind" for Joshua. And Joshua kicks off the show with a standing ovation. Maybe not his best performance, and I question the necessity of a standing ovation (especially leading off the night) but we're off to a rather enjoyable start.

Oh look! A glimpse of the Top 12. As good as they were, I'm surprised at how many of them I already kind of forgot. Looking at you, Jeremy, EVP, DeAndre, and Shannon. I really had to think long and hard about Shannon's name. In fact, I'm still not 100% confident that was her name but I'm going with it.

Jessica Sanchez with J-Lo's choice, Mariah Carey's "My All." She is showing some beautiful restraint and tenderness, but the lower notes aren't exactly perfect. I think this was another song a little too mature for the 16-year-old. J-Lo might have appreciated her for not doing The Big Part of the song but I found myself waiting for it and missing it when it never came.

Steven Tyler picked a song with a melody for Phillip which is apparently called "Beggin'" by Madcon. Do you think they have the girls in the front row rehearse clapping their hands above their heads in unison before the show? It looks so unnatural. As I've said before- or at least I think I have- it's probably best for American Idol if Phillip Phillip doesn't win. However, it sure looks like he's going to anyway.

ROUND 1 WINNER: Phillip Phillips.

Round 2, Contestant's Choice.

How I love the hometown visits. They overwhelm and amaze me. But Josh doesn't seem fazed one bit! As a rule of thumb, I prepare to cringe whenever anyone who isn't John Lennon takes on "Imagine" but that probably shouldn't apply when someone like Joshua Ledet is singing. Hey, they are both JLs! I'm surprised Anna didn't point that out to me. You could say Josh took "Imagine" to church, which seems a little ironic. I liked it, though.

Oh dear. For how mature she seems when she sings, it is painfully clear that Jessica is still only 16 years old when she speaks. WOW look at how many people showed up for her!!! Cute moment with her brothers. And I can't get over how young her dad must be. "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" was not my favorite Jessica performance- glory note aside (which was a little flat?), she steered clear of any big moments again. She better have an amazing third song. I do get a kick out of how much Steven Tyler likes Jessica- and in a totally non-creepy, supportive kind of way.

That kid with the "you still owe me $10" sign for Phillip is awesome. And how adorable is his dad? I bet he made Anna cry. Speaking of which- the other two just soaked up the attention, but this is a very emotional Phillip we're witnessing here. I'm loving his take on this Matchbox 20 song, however it was a bit of a safe choice. With three songs tonight, I don't blame him one bit. OMG RANDY SHUT UP!!! HOW ANNOYING WAS THAT JUST NOW?!?!

ROUND 2 WINNER: Joshua Ledet.

Round 3, Jimmy's Choice.

Jimmy picks "No More Drama" for Joshua- ugh. I see we're going to get some Mantasia here tonight. Not a huge fan of Mantasia. My favorite moment of this performance was the shot of Hollie, Shannon and Elise totally geeking out about Josh. I can't love this because I hate the song, but I do love Joshua.

Why hasn't anybody told Steven Tyler yet that he isn't exactly using the term "over the top" accurately?

Jessica is sounding absolutely perfect on "I'll Be There." Very pretty. In fact, she sang three very pretty songs, but there was no growling, no attacking. There were no huge moments for Jessica tonight. I'm really not sure she did enough to get into next week's finale, unfortunately. The show needs her there, but I just don't think she got people to pick up the phone for her. And I REALLY HATE to agree with Randy Jackson here but he's completely right that she should have borrowed from Mariah Carey's version and added a few little fancy things here and there. That could have given her a moment. But, alas. No moment.

Bob Seger? This seems promising. <Silence. I am captivated!> Phillip came through. What a smart choice by Jimmy- it let us focus on Phillip's voice, which is actually lovely. It's clear he doesn't love playing the part of The Heartthrob (which makes him even more endearing, no?) but he should thank Jimmy one day for forcing him into it here.

ROUND 3 WINNER: I wouldn't blame those of you who say Joshua here, but my pick is Phillip.

So I guess what I'm saying is... I'm left feeling completely perplexed about Jessica's song choices. How did Uncle Nigel let this happen when he so badly needs her to win? The finale is definitely going to be a boy's show.

Idol recap: FINAL FOUR!

What's left to say at this point? It's a fantastic Top 4, I get a kick out of the fact that they all truly seem to get along so well... but I do miss Skylar.

Oh, and two things for Adam Shankman: 1) Yes, I will go see your movie, and 2) I can't wait for So You Think You Can Dance!!! (Do we know if he going to be back on this season? I hope so.)

Phillip Phillips
He seemed like a different guy up there- maybe he finally realized how good of a chance he has at taking home the trophy and decided to take things up another level. "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" was nice, but "Volcano" was really nice.

Hollie Cavanagh
It was nice that they finally showed what happened to Hollie last year as well as her first audition this season (even if it was only a second, and only of her being welcomed to Hollywood). Personally, I felt that "I Can't Make You Love Me" was a lot better than the judges made it seem, but I wouldn't have minded seeing Hollie back up "Faithfully" with a more uptempo song (like last week's "River Deep Mountain High").

Joshua Ledet
"You Raise Me Up" was only OK, but he more than made up for it with "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" which truly was one of the all-time greatest moments on the Idol stage. We're running out of adjectives to describe how good Joshua is. I also enjoy that smile he gets at the end of his performances, where he knows he just did a really good job and is so happy that everybody else realizes it too.

Jessica Sanchez
She growled her way through "Steal Away" like no one's business (but again, where was Jimmy? Wasn't that another song too "old" for the 16-year-old?), but "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" did everything the judges said Hollie didn't do with "I Can't Make You Love Me."

Duet #1: Phillip & Joshua ("This Love")
They both sounded great on this song individually, but I have to agree that it in a bizarre way, against all odds, this duet worked.

Duet #2: Hollie & Jessica ("Eternal Flame")
The swings were weird. But I love this song and I think I would have really enjoyed hearing one of them sing it as their own. As a duet, it didn't really fly, as much as I really wanted to love it.

I'll keep it simple... Hollie, you had a great run, but I think it's over.

Idol recap: Top 5

I'm writing this recap well after 1AM so forgive me for posting what will most likely be my briefest of recaps. Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I loved the Jimmy-and-Stevie show. I'd watch that every week.

Hollie Cavanagh
I loved her showmanship on "River Deep Mountain High." Probably her best performance of the season. I also want her dress. "Bleeding Love" was also very nice- her best all around night for sure. I think she finally gets that it's about more than just singing pretty.

Phillip Phillip
Phillip's version of "The Letter" was one way to get around not being able to perform original songs, I guess, since it sounded nothing like the original. "Time of the Season" on the other hand- yes, he stuck to the melody, and yes, those high notes were not perfect, but I think this is the most he's reached out of his comfort zone. And I liked it.

Skylar Laine
I think Jimmy did a great thing for Skylar by having her perform "Fortunate Son" instead of "Knock on Wood." Skylar is at her best with high-energy songs that she can just wail on... but she also made me believe that "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" was always a country ballad. And how about that spot-on glory note at the end?

Jessica Sanchez
It kind of cracks me up how Jessica is like a wild animal unleashed on the stage when she performs, then becomes this quiet little lamb the second the music shuts off. She definitely brought the divaliciousness with all that hair-whipping and hip-shaking. "You Are So Beautiful" was another stunning performance, and I think it sounded a lot like what Beyonce would sound like on that song (that's a compliment).

Joshua Ledet
Maybe it's because I'm exhausted or because I was too worried that Joshua's backup singers were on the the verge of a wardrobe malfunction (Steven Tyler just confirmed the latter was probably true), but I don't think I enjoyed "Ain't to Proud to Beg" as much as I should have. He's brilliant. I'm sure I just spaced out for a second. BTW Ryan- that's a daffodil. Not a tulip. I definitely didn't miss his brilliance on "To Love Somebody" however. Freaking incredible. WELL DESERVED STANDING O.

Joshua & Phillip: "You've Lost That Loving Feeling"
What this duet showed me- beyond Joshua's simple awesomeness- was that Phillip is capable of singing more earnestly than he ever has in his solo performances. And be honest: who else found themselves chuckling out loud about Joshua's fear of Phillip?

Jessica, Skylar & Hollie: "Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher"
These three are just adorbs. How does Skylar make her country twang fit in so nicely on songs like this?

I'm going to try this again... nobody?

I'm not ready to make a decision at this time, but put a gun to my head and I'll guess Jessica... with the two boys rounding out the Bottom 3. I think she was too good that she hypnotized voters into not voting for her. But if it's not Jessica, it's Phillip. I think.

Idol recap: Top 6

First of all, I promise to get through this Queen-themed week without mentioning Adam Lambert. Except for that. Second, I love it when they have the contestants talk about each other. Hilarity ensues. Third, IT REALLY SUCKS THAT SOMEONE HAS TO GO HOME.

Jessica Sanchez
If she only had "Bohemian Rhapsody" to rely on, I'd say Jessica would definitely be in trouble again this week (she didn't do a bad job, there's just something about it that wasn't right). I'm torn on how I feel about her second song. I'd be pointing out the obvious to say her vocals are stunningly beautiful, but picking "Dance with my Father" could either be a brilliant move on her part, with the story of her dad's deployment garnering emotional votes... or the dated and slightly overdone song (come on Jimmy, weren't you going to keep her from doing songs like this?) could sink her back into the Bottom 3. I realize I really didn't say anything there. She's so good though, seriously.

Skylar Laine
Queen would spell doom for most country singers (as would many of the theme weeks we've had), but not for Skylar. "The Show Must Go On" showed off yet another side of her voice (those high notes!) and even though she's already proven how good she is, this song just really blew through my expectations. "Tattoos on this Town" further proved she's ready for the real thing right now.

Joshua Ledet
"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" was a fun performance, but I have to say that it didn't deserve the standing ovation from the judges (it seemed like J-Lo really didn't want to, but wasn't about to be the only one of the three judges who didn't). But it does make me want to post this picture below again for Anna. And then, no big deal, he schooled everyone and put on another vocal clinic with "Ready For Love."

Elise Testone
I'm giving an assist to the tambourine on "I Want it All"- I think it helped Elise stay out of her head and just sing the heck out of that song. And you know what Steven and Randy, I really enjoyed the Hendrix song too. I would like to agree with J-Lo that Elise sang "Bold as Love" so well it doesn't matter that it may be slightly obscure, but... I'm afraid most voters are too easily distracted by shiny objects (aka Hollie).

Phillip Phillips
I think I would have liked to see Phil move around the stage a little more on "Fat Bottomed Girls" without his guitar, but he picked a great song and it was a fun performance. I hate to agree with Randy, but I wasn't jumping up and down either. And then I really didn't like the second song, only to learn it was Dave Matthews, which explains it for me. PHILLIP PHILLIPS > DAVE MATTHEWS. He was so funny and charming in his clips talking about the others too that he'll definitely continue to stay out of trouble (plus, I'm guessing he gets most of Colton's votes).

Hollie Cavanagh
"Save Me" had its issues. J-Lo's little soliloquy was nice but.. it's Top 6 week. Where has that been when it could have actually saved her- see what I did there?- in this competition? "The Climb" was perrr-fect (said in the delightful British-Texan accent) and I loved seeing her jump up and down in glee (GLEE! They're graduating and need more new students soon!) when she saw the judges get up on their feet for her. It just might give her another week.

Since "nobody" isn't a realistic choice, I have no choice but to go with Hollie again. However, I don't actually believe she'll be making a trip to the stools-of-doom tomorrow.

This might sound crazy but I'm guessing we'll have a Bottom 3 of Elise, Jessica and Joshua... with Elise going home. (But since I'm going to finally stop guessing Hollie, it probably means it'll be her).

Idol recap: Top 7 (2nd edition)

So... here's my thought. And I know Anna will agree with me on this. Can't we just keep this Top 7 every week until we just crown the ultimate winner at the end? Why can't we enjoy all seven of them just a little while longer?

I give up ranking these kids plus Elise, who is not a kid but at the ripe old age of about my age, so here they are, in the order they performed.

Hollie Cavanagh
"Rolling in the Deep" was Hollie's best performance yet. I loved her acapella intro and she finally was able combine emotional connection with great technique. I disagree with the judges that "Son of a Preacher Man" was better than her first song, but- and this is going to sound cheesy- it did show me that maybe, just maybe, she finally gets how to lose herself in the music.

Colton Dixon
The arrangement for "Bad Romance" was a little chaotic, but what a fun, exciting performance. I would really like to see what he would do with the entire song instead of just a 90-second snippet. I also enjoyed how Colton matched his hair to his pants. Colton's second song "September" sounded like something that would be filler material on his future album... which isn't really a bad thing, but not quite as good a thing as if it were to sound like something I could imagine on the radio.

Elise Testone
I didn't really care for the arrangement of "No One" either- it just felt rushed to me- and I really hate to say it, but "Let's Get It On" didn't do much for me. I simultaneously understand and don't understand why Elise doesn't have a bigger fan base, but I think she'll find her little niche after her Idol days are over (which might quite possibly be tomorrow). I look forward to hearing her perform original music that is much better suited for her.

Phillip Phillips
I expected really great things from Phillip this week after his so-so performance last week, and he did not disappoint. I loved his interpretation of "You Got It Bad" (I actually think Usher spells it "U" instead of "You" but I refuse to do that) and "In the Midnight Hour" was another solid performance. I do however take issue with Randy Jackson's comment that he is "the first true artist" on the stage- oh, really? I'd like to know if David Cook, Kris Allen and Adam Lambert agree.

Jessica Sanchez
First of all, this is the first time I have ever seen Jessica Sanchez actually look 16 years old. Was it the hair? I chuckled slightly when Steve Tyler told her it was OK to get angry at "Fallin'"- she really did sound mad. I felt like she was pushing a little, trying too hard, but who can blame her? Having said that, "Try a Little Tenderness" might have been my favorite Jessica moment of the season. As J-Lo said: Jessica, you it.

Skylar Laine
I remember hearing that Lady Gaga did a country version of "Born This Way" but I don't think I ever actually heard it. And the fearlessness she showed turning "Heard it Through the Grapevine" into a country song? How ready is Skylar for the big time? I can't help but think of little RaeLynn, eliminated this week from The Voice, when I watch Skylar. RaeLynn might have a career in country music too, but she is nowhere near the level of Skylar.

Joshua Ledet
Hmm. If Joshua ends up in the bottom three last week, I'm not convinced that Fantasia's "I Believe" is the song that keeps him out of it this week. But who knows? I didn't really get Fantasia, and she won. Last week was my favorite Joshua performance, and he was in the bottom three. "A Change is Gonna Come" was a beautiful performance too, but didn't move me as much as Adam Lambert did when he performed it. I'm not really that biased, am I?

So.. now the not-so-fun part.


Elise. Bottom three will also include Hollie and *gasp!* Colton.

Idol recap: Top 7

Sigh. Last week was hard, this week was harder, and it's just going to get worse. Because it keeps getting better. Do you follow me?  But seriously- is there any doubt that all seven of these contestants will receive record deals? Will Uncle Nigel be able to top this season next year? And hey- the girls are surviving!

Now on to the performances, again from my least to most favorite of the night.

Hollie Cavanagh ("Perfect")
Oh, Hollie. The thing is, she is good- most seasons she probably would have been one of the standout performances- but unfortunately, everyone else is just ridiculously amazing this year. Hollie's problem is that she tries too hard, every note is so calculated, and it's all over her face. She isn't able to lose herself in a song like the rest of this group does, and that's why she will certainly find herself in the bottom once again.

Colton Dixon ("Love the Way You Lie")
Colton at the piano = automatic swoon. Having said that, I'm ready for Colton to shake things up a bit. He's getting a little predictable (predictably great, but predictable nonetheless) and it's time for him to surprise us.

Phillip Phillip ("Give a Little More")
Gasp! Was that criticism from the judges!? Like I just said about Colton, it might be time for Phillip to... give a little more. See what I did there?

Elise Testone ("You and I")
Hey, remember when Haley sang this last year before anyone (except, apparently, Jimmy) had ever heard it? Haley's version is still hands-down the best rendition of this song- yes, better than Gaga- but I enjoyed Elise on this tune as well. Mostly though I'm still annoyed that the judges couldn't give Haley her due credit on this song last year (remind yourself of her greatness here).

Skylar Laine ("Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You")
Randy Jackson said that Skylar is "definitely back." And that he felt her for the first time in "a long time." WTF RANDY JACKSON? I HAVE JUST ABOUT HAD IT WITH YOU! Have you already forgotten her performance of "Wind Beneath My Wings" last week that you gave her a standing ovation for? OMG. I can't handle it. About her performance though- I, like Jimmy, was worried a Kellie Pickler song wouldn't be big enough for Skylar, but we needn't have worried. I have never heard Kellie's version, but there's no way it could be anywhere near as good as Skylar's.

Jessica Sanchez ("Stuttering")
Sigh. It's just not fair how good she is at freaking 16 years old. I don't know if I was that good at anything at 16 years old. Not even math. She didn't waver one bit when she nearly fell off the piano at the end of the song (and with a smile, at that). Akon's right that she could use a few burgers, though. That's my constructive criticism for Jessica Sanchez. And maybe Colton could go with her for those burgers.

Joshua Ledet ("Runaway Baby")
I loved this. Was it Joshua's most technically perfect performance? No. But did I enjoy the heck out of it? Yes, yes I did. This performance finally convinced me that Joshua is ready for contemporary radio. More of this please!


  • Phillip & Elise ("Somebody That I Used to Know"): A
  • Skylar & Colton ("Don't You Want to Stay"): B
  • Joshua, Jessica & Hollie ("Stronger"): C+

Hollie :(

Hollie :( But she won't be sad for soon. I'm sure Disney will come knocking down her door ASAP. She definitely has the look and can even sing circles around Miley, Demi and Selena. And I can't even begin to imagine who might be in the bottom with her... maybe Colton and Elise? If Ryan Seacrest's little card should end up having any name other than Hollie Cavanagh on it, count on the judges to finally use their big save this week.