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American Idol Review: A Couple of "Perfect" Performances

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Last week we watched as American Idol contestant DeAndre Brackensick received the fewest votes of the week and the judges chose not to save him. Tonight's opener showed that the other contestants were quite broken up about his departure. Or they were broken up because that means they're one week closer to departures of their own.

Tonight, the Top 7 are performing songs released from 2010 to 2012 which can be great if the contestants can use this to show what kind of current artist they'd be and, well, not great if they break my cardinal rule of singing competitions--if you pick a big, popular number, you'd best sing it better than the original artist. Choose wisely, contestants. Please.

Our pal Jimmy has called in Akon to guest mentor this week. Let's see how they did.

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Skylar Laine is up first tonight and she's picked Kellie Pickler's "Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You." Jimmy wonders if it's a big enough song after Skylar's performance last week. I'm not sure Akon even knows who Kellie Pickler is. Skylar's decided to play the guitar while she performs tonight, which will probably help with her sometimes distracting hands. That is, until she stops playing the guitar and just holds it. Randy says this song was in Skylar's wheelhouse and this is the kind of music she'd be making. (No, Randy? Really?) Randy and J.Lo also think she was in perfect pitch, which is weird because I heard three spots where she didn't quite hit the note and was, instead, flat. Steven compared the boys to crows and Skylar to a hen. 3/5

Taking on "Love The Way You Lie" by Skylar Grey, Colton Dixon returns to his spot behind the piano. Jimmy and Akon think Colton's behind Phillip in the rankings and that this is the moment when Colton can surpass his competitors. The staging is haunting and Colton returns to his old ways as Mr. Eye Sex, which never hurts. Except he's not enunciating all of his words which is detrimental in such a stripped down performance where every piece counts. J.Lo says this was a signature Colton performance and that he's tackled many different artists now and done them all in his own way. Steven says this performance was good enough to go out for sale right now. Randy says this performance showed Colton's sensitive side. I kind of expected more. 3.5/5

Teaming up again, Elise and Phillip sing Gauthier's "Somebody That I Used to Know." Phillip says in the interview that he's not expecting much from himself in this song but expects Elise to shine because she wanted to sing this one so bad. I totally beg to differ, Phillip. Totally. He started really well and she was great, too. Their duet was great. Quirky, entertaining, and awesome.

Jessica Sanchez picks "Stuttering" by Jazmine Sullivan. Jimmy said her voice moves people and Akon wants to put Jessica in his pocket and walk out the door with her. Very nice opening notes from Jessica, and being able to sing a current song like this is certainly helps figure out her place in the current music market. This is her best performance to date and any remaining contestants tonight will have a hard time being better than that. Randy says she showed everyone her talent level. J.Lo wants to see Jessica show the kind of emotion she showed tonight in all of her remaining performances. Steven said he forgets where he is every time Jessica sings. (I think the problem you're having is a result of the 70s and 80s, Steven. Maybe.) Loved this performance. 5/5

"Mantasia," Joshua Ledet, turned 20 on Monday. (I had a baby on Monday. Is American Idol destiny for her now that she shares a birthday with Joshua?) He's singing "Runaway Baby" by Bruno Mars and I'm excited because it's not a ballad. Akon like Joshua because "he's quiet and he listens." Jimmy thinks Joshua's humility is an asset. Tonight's "theme" has done for Joshua exactly what it did for Jessica. It's made him current. Steven says Joshua always sells whatever he sings. J.Lo complimented Joshua on his control and dynamic performances. Randy says Joshua has everything going right now. This birthday is proving to be a good one for Joshua. I think this is his night to lose. 5/5

Colton and Skylar are once again paired for duets. They're singing the Jason Aldean-Kelly Clarkson love song "Don't You Wanna Stay," and just like last week, producers play up the "We're not dating" angle. I think Skylar's having trouble with her voice this week because she hits another flat note or two in this song. Colton just looks miserable being asked to sing country again.

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Hollie Cavanagh's chosen "Perfect" by Pink. Jimmy and Akon think that what Hollie's missing is experience. Akon tells Hollie to stop thinking about whsat everyone's saying and just sing. Getting out of her own head is Hollie's biggest problem. This was basically Hollie singing another ballad. And I don't think this song's supposed to be a ballad. J.Lo leads with a compliment about Hollie's attire which is basically a death knell. Steven said the performance wasn't perfect and that it "kind of just laid there. And the audience was dead silent. Randy said it was better than last week so Hollie should be proud of that. 1/5

Channeling his inner Adam Levine, Phillip Phillips is singing "Give A Little More" by Maroon 5. Akon says it's not exciting. Phillip says he wanted to try something different. Jimmy says it's not about being different for the sake of being different. You have to be different for the sake of being great. I think I like Phillip's rendition of this song as much as I like the original, but this isn't Phillip's best performance on Idol. Consistent, but not a stand-out. Steven says Phillip has evolved in this competition. J.Lo thinks this performance was underwhelming, but Phillip is what would result if Steven McQueen and Johnny Cash had a baby. Randy said he never had a "wow moment" in the song. 4/5

Jessica, Joshua, and Hollie are singing Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger." This is interesting. And the three of them don't sound great. In fact, they sound so bad I'm inclined to think there's something wrong with their monitors. Seriously wrong. Or it's just that bad.

Closing out the night, Elise Testone is going Gaga with "You and I." She wants to start the song by playing the drums. (Elise, remember Reed Grimm?)  Akon and Jimmy talk her out of that, thankfully, and she turns to the piano instead. I hate her dress, first of all. And this is not her Zepelin performance, that's for sure. It's kind of a lackluster way to end the night, honestly. Randy proclaims "Elise is back!!" J.Lo calls Elise a closer. Steven says it was great. I think whatever plagued the trio plagued Elise because there were definitely moments here in my living room that weren't as perfect as what the judges heard there in the studio. 3/5

It should come as a shock to absolutely NO ONE that tonight's winners are Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, and Phillip Phillips, if for no other reason than his consistency alone, and I readily admit to playing favorites in picking Phillip over Colton Dixon for a spot in the top three of the night. Either way they'll both be safe for another week.

In fact, if anyone other than Hollie Cavanagh ends up on the chopping block tomorrow night, the judges will use the save, but my bet is that Hollie's going home after this week's performance. Joining her in the bottom three will likely be Elise Testone and Skylar Laine, and the main reason Skylar would be there is simply because she went first.

What did you think? Come back tomorrow where we'll recap the American Idol results show.

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Jessica Sanchez is the best singer. I don't care what people say. I don't care what race or what she looks like. She is the best. Racism and hate has turned people blind and deaf. Overconfidence? That's Skylar & Elise,not Jessica. I call that talent. Jessica is shy but loves to sing. When she perform she forgets being shy and sing w feeling w/c people call overconfidence. No humility? Are u paying attn? She is humble, respectful and shy. Stop judging her by her looks. Skylar and Hollie r screamers. They try to cover their lack in vocals by screaming themselves out.Boring? That's Hollie ,Skylar and Elise. They put you to sleep w thief unemotional singing if you call that singing.Jessica has Karaoke voice? Boy you deaf and full of hate.That's a hate comment based on untruth. Colton, Phillips, Skylar and Elise have the karaoke voice. Skylar has an annoying trumpet voice there's no music in it. Phillips and Colton r ok but boring and not as talented as James. They don't have the vocal talent of Jessica & Josh who sing w feeling. Both Josh and Jessica have amazing control and vocals, the rest are just plain and simple w no understanding of the melody and technique as well as feeling that goes w the song. If she was white we wouldn't be having this problem. You might as well vote for the cutest. I feel bad for Jessica who's put in this situation. She does not deserve this. I can feel the hate in "some comments" here. I don't blame the judges for their reaction. It's so obvious Jessica should win, only Joshua comes close to her. To experts its very obvious Jessica has the best vocals so yes, as judges they have a right to react to something so wrong. It deserved ghastly reaction. She's also very humble despite of what some say. All diets besides Josh & Jessica's sucked. Individual performances r incomparable & so far down to be compared to Jessica and Josh. If people were fair and vote for the best SINGER, Jessica will be the next American Idol.

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People who say Jessica has no talent are tone deaf and their racism has blinded them. So no matter what u say they will not change their minds because they feel hate. Boring???lol, she sings w feeling. The rest except Josh r boring. Karaoke? There u go sterotyping. Just cuz Filipinos like Karaoke u insult Jessica this way? Skylar, Elise & Hollie r screamers u call that talent? Colton & PHILIPS choose safe songs, no vocals there. Jessica has the best vocals and is a performer. U call talent overconfidence? I call it singing w feeling. U say she had no humility? Watch again. She is humble and respectful. Don't judge her looks. If she was white, I would not hear these hateful comments. U might as well vote for the cutest contestant.

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No more Idol for me this year. The bias has completely gotten to me.

Miranda-wicker

@farsia2010--perhaps it WAS that so many of these songs have made their way onto Glee that made them strange. @Steve T--it deserved a 1, but like you, I agree that she's gotten the short-end so far in terms of what she's been told to do. However, she's consistently been told to get out of her own head and she just can't do that. It's her night to go. @Terrie--I'm tired of the non-constructive comments, too. Give them something they can work with! Make them better! @blu--nope, not kidding! I had a baby Monday night! I agree with you RE the duets. They need to find a balance if they're going to continue pairing the same people together. Otherwise, totally unfair, even if they aren't technically judged on duets.

Blu

Nice review! And congratulations on the baby? Unless you were kidding then you can ignore. Skylar was kind of pitchy. I thoroughly enjoyed colton and his rendition better then the original. Jessica was fantastic. Joshua was good but didn't like the song choice same for Phillip. Poor hollie was just not good.she was trying too hard. Elyse chose a great song and fell flat. I love when she and Philip duet. Same with josh and jess but I hate skylar and colton duets where they sing a song that suits her and he looks uncomfortable the whole time. Kind of wish they'd mix and match a bit more. Top performances for me were Jessica, colton, and Joshua

Terrie

I think this is the week Hollie goes home.
If anyone else but her, I see the judges using the save. I'm getting tired of all three judges saying "that was beautiful" or " your beautiful" It's sickening hearing that every single time about every single contestant. They are there to offer their critique......and they are not doing that at all. Steven and Randy have come close several times.....but.....

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A good and well-balanced review, Miranda. Just not sure Hollie deserved a "1". Yes she is clearly not in the elite in this competition right now but I think a "1" is a bit harsh, as was Tyler's comments. I think the silence was the audience in shock. It appears this girl's ego has been crushed by Idol... she looks like she has been pulled in every direction and this is the result (do this... do that... just sing). For the love of Pete... vote her off and end the misery. I feel so sorry for her. I have to say this was another week of mediocity for me, the "themes" are really just distraction now. Especially in the final weeks, Idol should help them pick the right songs and make this a better show every week.

Farsia2010

btw, they had quite a few of glee songs and it was weird for me. what doesn't kill you makes you stronger fell flat for me in comparison with trouble tones on glee. and i liked Kurt and Blaine's Perfect way more than Hollie's, it was just not earnest enough for me with Hollie

Farsia2010

a bit weird to hear "Somebody that i used to know" right after i heard it in glee with Matt Bomer and Darren Chris

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me too...!!!! i love the review...i apologized for the bad things i said before.. pardon my immaturity