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.

Idol recap: Top 8

What an incredible Top 8. I keep saying that, but it's true. Even so, there's something that has been troubling me: I don't feel as emotionally involved as I usually do, and I couldn't figure out why... until I expressed my troubles to the always-there-for-me-when-I-need-her-most Anna.

She's so right. No one is antagonizing me. I'm not passionately rooting against anybody a la James Durbin or Danny Gokey. THERE'S NO VILLAIN. Sane people would actually find that a relief, even more enjoyable, right? Not me. That is exactly what is missing.

Brilliant, Anna. Brilliant.

So, that's my problem. I'll have to work on getting past that. In the meantime, here are my thoughts on this week's performances, in order of who I think did the worst the least well to the best. Because they're all great.

Hollie Cavanagh ("What a Feeling")
I'm glad that Hollie finally sang an upbeat song, but I wish it wasn't at the expense of quite that much of her pitch. I think the judges were a little harsh, but with THIS INCREDIBLE TOP 8, you really can't afford any slips.

Elise Testone ("I Want to Know What Love Is")
Elise took two huge steps forward last week but appears to have taken one step backward tonight. She's having a hard time building any kind of momentum. I don't have any better ideas off the top of my head, but I do think she could have picked a song better suited for her voice this week (and I don't think "Hallelujah" was it either).

DeAndre Brackensick ("I Like It")
This was probably DeAndre's best performance since we moved into the Top 13, but it's beginning to feel like we get the same thing from him every week. He seems like a very nice kid, but I just don't get that excited about him. Is it just me?

Phillip Phillips ("That's All")
Nice moment with his brother on stage. I think Phillip is settling nicely into the comfort zone Scotty McCreery sat in all last season. He just does his thing, and people vote for him. Must be nice.

Colton Dixon ("Time After Time")
If this song is available on iTunes, I might just purchase it right now.

Joshua Ledet ("If You Don't Know Me By Now")
Jessica Sanchez ("How Will I Know")
I'm giving these two the same critique: it's unfair how freaking easy singing is for them. And that's all I have to say about that.

Skylar Laine ("Wind Beneath My Wings")
SEE? Skylar. This is what happens when you pick a song that can handle your big voice. Beautiful. Powerful. Incredible!

I loved the duets. Jessica and Joshua sang the holy bejeebus out of their song, and Elise and Phillip complement each other so pleasingly. I'd purchase that duet off iTunes too.
  • Jessica & Joshua "I Knew You Were Waiting For Me": A+
  • Elise & Phillip - "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around": A
  • Skylar & Colton - "Islands in the Stream": B+
  • Hollie & DeAndre - "I'm So Excited": B

Unfortunately, Hollie. I imagine she'll be flanked by DeAndre and Elise in the Bottom 3.

Unfortunately, Hollie.