Thursday, April 26, 2012

American Idol: Season 11 - Top 6 Perform

Hello Idol fanatics!  The battle is getting intense out there.  One would think that any slight misstep could be a contestant's downfall.  And under normal circumstances, that might be true for tonight's results show.  But, I think there is the entity that has plagued American Idol since season 7 causing the more talented vocalists to fall while a certain breed stands victorious year after year.   Could this be the year the curse is broken?  I've been saying all year that I don't want one particular person to win.  If there was ever a season where it could happen, it is season 11 my friends.  I'm being vague on purpose, obviously! 

The theme last night was Queen and Contestant's choice.  Not since season 5 have we done a Queen night.  Is it any coincidence that season 5 was probably the last season where there was a batch of very talented contestants such as this? It's tough to say if this season's crop are stronger vocalists than Chris Daughtry, Elliott Yamin, Kellie Pickler, Paris Bennett, SMASH's Katharine McPhee, and Bucky Covington (okay, maybe he wasn't the strongest) yes....Taylor Hicks among others.  But, it's easy to see why they save Queen nights for when they have a group that can take a stab at some Freddy Mercury fronted tunes!   Anyway, let's get to the recap!
As the judges said, everybody had at least one good performance last night, so it's a tough night to figure out.  I do disagree on one person having a good night, but that person has something else going for him or her.  So let's give this a shot.

Consistency is "Queen" (or King I guess)
  • Skylar Laine - "The Show Must Go On" and Jason Aldean's "Tattoos on this Town" - I challenge anyone to tell me who other than Skylar has been the most consistent contestant of the bunch.  As I mentioned last week, I think she has a really strong chance to win this whole thing.  Every performance tells a story and she has more stage presence than many country contestants that have preceded her (INCLUDING Miss Carrie Underwood.  Carrie's voice was/ still is unmatched, but she had to grow into her stage persona.  And I still laugh at some of the performance antics with the arm motion/kicks she does on stage!)   She rocked out on the Queen anthem and then secured the country vote with singing one of Mr. Aldean's biggest current hits.  For the judges to even call her out on picking a bad song is ridiculous.  She was singing to her hometown and that was sweet y'all.  And anyone that takes pride in HOMETOWNS in the south will eat that stuff up!  Skylar has to be safe this week.  You never know, but come on.  She was great!  Oh wait, I forgot to say something in this analysis.  MIRANDA LAMBERT!!  Whew that was close.  Anyone thing it's a coincidence that Miranda has a song called "Gunpowder and Lead" and Skylar wrote a song called "Diamond Studded Pistol"?    Good times.
  • Joshua Ledet - "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and India Arie's "Ready for Love" - I have to agree with Miss Lopez.  Whenever Joshua takes the stage, we know we're in for a wild ride.  He rocked out the Queen classic and made people want to get up, dance and clap.  Great stuff.  And I would say the most consistent performer next to Skylar.  The ballad was very slow, but just listening to that voice is a treat.  And he his some amazing notes with an intense emotion and earned himself a standing O from the judges.  Surely, he's safe tonight.  Though, nothing would surprise me anymore on this show. 

"Climbed" out of previous bad weeks, but enough?
  • Elise Testone - "I Want it All" and Jimi Hendrix's "Bold as Love" - As always, I enjoyed Elise's performances.  I thought she rocked out on the Queen song showing those crazy vocal twists she can take on a song.  I think the Hendrix song was definitely a mistake.  I mean, she nailed it and had a blast doing it.  And I enjoyed watching it.  But, for both songs, I was just hoping she would have picked different songs.  And it was very naive of her to think EVERYONE knows "Bold as Love".   I mean, I've probably heard it before but it's not on regular rotation on my iPod or anything!  She is right though, the rock songs are her forte and should she make it through this week, she should continue down that path.  But, it's going to be a close one tonight.
  • Hollie Cavanagh - "Save Me" and Miley Cyrus' "The Climb" - Once we saw Hollie slated to perform 6th, we knew she must have something special going for the final song of the night.  Her Queen song was typical Hollie.  She belted out those notes beautifully.  And actually hat red Power Suit she had on seemed to give her a bit of confidence in the performance.  But, when she really shined was on her go to crowd pleaser, "The Climb".   It has to be her favorite song to perform because you could tell she actually identified with the lyrics and just went to down on it.  There's a lesson in that performance to Miley herself on how to actually sing a song!  It was wonderful, and you would think that would renew her life in this competition a bit.  Of course, with Hollie staying around, that means someone else needs to go.

Uh Oh
  • Jessica Sanchez - "Bohemian Rhapsody" and Luther Vandross' "Dance With My Father' -Constantine in season 4 did the best version of this song on Idol, so it's hard to see anyone else attempt it since.  Of course, that was 7 years ago.  But with Jessica's inability to really feel these songs and with the advice she received last week to try and sing younger songs....the Rhapsody of all Rhapsodies was a tough one to take on.  It wasn't awful, but it was NOT great.  There definitely is something to be said about her dedicating a song to her military-bound father.  And it might even win her some military votes and some father votes.  But, I do not agree with the judges on the performance being stellar at all.  It was good, but it was missing the impactful punch it needed to make every father watching shed a few tears.  I hope she doesn't get booted after being saved a couple weeks back, but there is a wildcard at play here.
  • Phillip Phillips - "Fat Bottomed Girls" and Dave Matthews Band's "The Stone"  -Absolutely DREADFUL rendition of "Fat Bottomed Girls".  Even worse than the Idol Top 6 performing it at the beginning of the show.  He screamed the repetitive song and just wasn't himself at all.  Of course, Phillip doesn't really have much vocal range so he was very much out of his comfort zone.  The judges of course, were drinking the kool-aid and said he was fantastic.  Except Randy, at least he stuck to his most over used critique "I'm not jumping up and down.  I was good, I won't say I loved it" ...something like that.   And then, if that first song wasn't bad enough, he embraced the comparisons to Dave Matthews to honor is favorite band.  And no, he didn't do "Ants Marching" or "Satellite" or "Crash into Me" or a song that everyone knows.  He did "THE STONE".  I know it, because I used to be a big DMB fan.  And I figured Randy, being a "musician", would have heard of it so he could give a better critique.  I'm sure it took talent to absolutely clone the DMB version of the song complete with Sax (RIP DMB Sax player) and Violin.   But, it was an ABSOLUTE CLONED performance!   It was Dave Matthews doing Dave Matthews!  Why on earth would he do that?  Was he trying to get booted this week?  Randy said his musical choices were outstanding.  He chose to perform it just like his favorite band!  Come on!!!   Alas, though, Colton was booted last week and Phillip has yet to be in the bottom 3.  He has fans, he has the support of, and he has a quality of the past 4 winners of American Idol.  He plays guitar, hes a man, and the teenage girls will text until he wins!   I'm almost annoyed already that he will not be eliminated tonight.  But, I might be happy to see him get a bottom 3 scare.  Let's see what we can do here.
I gave enough analysis above.  Clearly I think Phillip deserves to go home but I don't think that's how it will go down.  I think Skylar, Joshua and Hollie are safest tonight.   So, I probably know who will go home, but I'm not going to pick her. 

Bottom 3: Jessica, Phillip, Elise  Wildcard: Don't need it.  It shouldn't be anyone else

Elminated: Jessica Sanchez -  She doesn't deserve to go.  It could easliy be Elise tonight, but I just couldn't pick her!  And if it's Phillip, I'll be elated.  But it won't be, unless we see some pigs sprout wings tonight. 

That's all I have.  I look forward to your thoughts as always.  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week!


Leslie said...

I do agree that Skylar has been the most consistent, and she’s really comfortable on stage, but I enjoyed Carrie Underwood a lot more than Skylar, and as I’ve said, I’m not a country fan at all. That being said, I enjoyed Joshua and Elise the most tonight. I think they did well on both of their songs, although I agree that Elise’s second song wasn’t the best choice, but she performed it well. Hollie did have a good night, and I can’t help but root for her even though I’m sure she won’t win. Her second song was her best, but I noticed she was looking down a lot which bothered me.

Neither of Phillip’s songs worked for me this week. And, Jessica probably picked the worst Queen song to do because, in my opinion, that’s one of those classic songs that only sounds right with the original voice. I definitely think Elise should stay over Jessica, so I hope it is Jessica going home this week. I haven’t been a fan of hers at all.

Mike V. said...

Oh, I in no way was trying to say Skylar was BETTER than Carrie Underwood. Not in the least actually. Just that she has better stage presence than Carrie had on her run to the crown. If you watch season 4 clips back on youtube, you'd be surprised how far Carrie has come as a performer since she became a superstar. But her voice, has always been unmatched. It's a thing of beauty. Skylar is just a little fireball on the stage. lol

I'm totally with you...I think Elise technically has one of the best voices in the competition and it's still on display every week. I just don't think it will resonate with the masses.

That was kinda my point too with Jessica. You don't tackle "Bohemian Rhapsody" unless you mean to slay it. And she didn't. Constantine did a very memorable performance of it back in his day. It actually made people think he was a contender to overthrow Carrie or Bo for the crown that season.

Yeah, if it's not going to be Phillip, then I hope it's Jessica that goes home. But, I think Elise is going to be a mainstay in that bottom 3 until they can't do bottom 3s anymore. lol

Leslie said...

Sorry, misread that statement and thought you meant Skylar's voice was/is unmatched, and I was worried about you. OK, I feel better now. :)

Mike V. said...

No problem. I can see where the confusion was so I fixed it! :)

Mike V. said...

Okay, so deep down I knew it was going to be Elise (as I mentioned in the recap), so I've made my peace with that.

The big story here, obviously, is that Phil was nowhere near the bottom 3. Signs are pointing to a very upsetting finale right now. If he wins and continues to roll out these redundant and sub par performances....something is SERIOUSLY wrong with the voting system. It will have been proven that the past few years were a coincidence. But, it may be too early to be getting annoyed. We'll see what happens.

Sad to see Skylar in the bottom 3 over Jessica as well. I guess she really got a boost from that "SAVE" a couple weeks back, plus maybe the appeal to singing to her father the other night.

As always, it'll be interesting to see where things go from here!

Leslie said...

As you know, I was hoping it would be Jessica, so when she was the first that was safe, I knew Elise was in trouble. Maybe Elise will be like Chris Daughtry ... wasn't he voted out at about this stage of the game?

Mike V. said...

I think Chris was Top 5 or top 4. But he was the clear favorite to win that season. It was just Taylor Hicks' popularity all season that couldn't be stopped. lol

I checked my recaps from back then (much more detailed recaps with pictures and high comedy lol) Chris was Top 4.

That said, maybe Elise could have a successful career ahead of her. She definitely has to get control of her facial expressions a bit! lol

Leslie said...

Nice to visit your recaps from that time! I was watching, but I don't know if I had discovered your blogs by then. I know I started with your LOST blog sometime that year. That was the year I wanted Katherine McPhee to win.

Mike V. said...

I had definitely drank (drunk, drinken? lol) the Taylor Hicks Kool-Aid that year. I didn't think he'd be very successful, but I wanted him to win. He was just an entertaining guy.

But yeah, Idol was the really the first show I was writing about on a weekly basis, since it pre-dated LOST. But, both Idol and LOST were in email form to some coworkers and friends way back in the day. So some of the emails didn't survive. lol Then I heard of these crazy things called "blogs" and figured that might be an easier distribution system for my thoughts. Never would have imagined the LOST blog would blow up the way it did! lol

But thankfully, Idol has remained somewhat of a secret so my reputation did not get tarnished too much. lol