Themes: California Dreamin' and Songs They Wish They Wrote (aka - Sing whatever you want).
The Individual Performances
- Phillip Phillips - CCR's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" and Damien Rice's "Volcano" - I really don't have much negative to say about Phillip this week. He finally looked like he was trying to win this thing. Maybe the previous weeks were in fact due to illness or maybe he was coasting. But, seeing Phillip do his thing out there and actually appear to be enjoying himself makes all of the difference in the world. That was missing the past couple weeks. The CCR tune was good and his changes in the arrangement actually worked well for the song. Obvisouly, the judges were awestruck by his take on the unknown Damien Rice song. It definitely was good and definitely only he could pull it off. But, it was still a risky maneuver when everyone else was singing well known songs that the masses would most likely enjoy. But Phillip's talent was on display in both tunes. He has skills and his voice is actually not half bad when the right song is chosen. I don't think any of us doubted that Phillip would be safe going into the Top 3. So, I'll leave my complaints for another week!
- Hollie Cavanagh - Journey's "Faithfully" and Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" - Oh boy...It seems like Hollie reverted back to her old self. Singing these really popular songs because she likes the melodies but has no idea what she's singing about. That was especially true on "Faithfully". I could tell during the song that she didn't know what she was singing about and then she ADMITTED it after the song that she needed the "help" to explain the song to her. I'm sorry, at 19 you should know what this song is about. I knew way before then. It's not really hard to grasp. Come on...it's a JOURNEY song! It's not like they were writing deep introspective tunes where you really have to analyze the lyrics. A rockstar on the road tempted by the fan girls. How hard is that? Anyway, the minute Hollie said "loving a music man ain't always what it's supposed to be"...I knew she had no idea what she was singing. Sure, she changed "Oh BOY, you stand by me" but not "loving a music man"??? So, vocally, it was all there, but emotionally it lacked a lot. My wife and Randy Jackson were drinking from the same fountain for song #2. Bonnie Raitt's classic ballad is one of the greatest ballads of all time. But, it's not supposed to be some POWER VOCAL ballad. Jimmy warned Hollie of it. She needed a song that was meant to fit that powerful voice of hers. This song and Hollie did not mix well. Go back to Carrie Underwood's audition and see how it should sound. I'm not even sure if the negative attention from the judges can draw enough sympathy this week to save Hollie. But we'll see.
- Joshua Ledet - Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up" and James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" - WOW. I almost just left it at that and moved on to Jessica. Joshua is the only contestant this season that makes me drop everything I'm doing and just listen. I hate to refer to the judges as they said something similar. By now you probably all know I take notes when I watch the show for these silly recaps. I don't take notes on Joshua. I just have to watch the man do his thing. He is a pure talent and you never know where he's going to take a song. But when he goes there, it's almost always the right move. The Groban tune was a beautiful tune and Simon would have been eating out of his hand as it is one of his favorites. It was classic Joshua doing his thing. Start off simple and build to climax. And of course, actually RAISE in elevation when singing the final chorus. Nice touch! That level of intensity would have been enough to be amazed, but then he took it to astronomical levels on the James Brown ditty. A------MAZING! How do we even put into words what he did with that song? The whole thing from start to finish was intense, but he had control the whole time. He had us all waiting on the edge of our seats. And then when we already thought we had seen it all, he hit that high note in perfect pitch and it was other worldly. J-Lo said it was sickening. Yep, in all the right ways. That performance SHOULD HAVE sealed the Idol Victory for Mr. Joshua Ledet. In a fair world, that's what will happen. The man is ridiculously good. And he's funny! The whole banter between him and Jimmy this week was hysterical. "Jimmy Crazy Man!" and when he was laughing after Jimmy told him to call him. "I don't have your number!". Good stuff. I will admit it. I haven't voted all season, I sent in a few (I'll never say how many) texts for Joshua last night. It was that good, and he deserves it.
- Jessica Sanchez - Etta James' "Steal Away and "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" (from Dreamgirls) - I kind of felt bad for Miss Sanchez last night, especially for the 2nd song. She had the pimp slot, but she also had to follow Joshua after that IDOL MOMENT of MOMENTS performance. Still, Jessica held her own on both tunes. I thought the Etta James song was a risk, but man did she sing it well! For her age to feel the music like she does and grown and rasp and just sing the hell out of tunes, it's pretty amazing. And then she brought a whole heap of emotion for her Dreamgirls peformance and it clearly showed. She told the world that she ain't goin' nowhere. She did a stellar job in doing so. Obviously, nothing could match Joshua's intensity, but I think just the simple placement of her performance will keep her in this competition. I've been wrong before on this show.
- Joshua & Phillip - Maroon 5's "This Love - I love how Idol still sing Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera songs on the show like it's nobody's business even though they're in direct competition with The Voice. Of course, maybe they were sort of rubbing it in The Voice's face that they still dominated the ratings in the long run. Anyway, Joshua and Phillip had a real fun time with the performance and they did some decent harmonies. The whole choreography around the piano was a bit strange, but whatever. It was fun.
- Hollie & Jessica - The Bangles' "Eternal Flame" - I'm not ashamed to say that I love that tune. It'll come on my iPod every once in awhile when I'm driving (with windows closed) and I'll blast that thing! We'll leave it to your imagination if I sing along or not. The whole swing-set scenery was a bit strange. (more than a bit if I'm being honest) But I thought they sang it really well. I thought Randy was kind of hard on them. But, I could be biased being a child of the 80s.
- The Top 4 - Foreigner's "Waiting for a Girl/Guy Like You" - Some brief moments of brilliance by individual contestants, but overall - AWFUL.
I think this is usually the week where they say who is in the Top 3 rather than who the bottom 3 are. So, I'm just going to make my elmination pick.
Eliminated: Hollie Cavanaugh - She rebounded for a few weeks and made us believers, but in the end it was never hers to win. This week was proof of that. It's been quite a 2 year journey for her and sad that she couldn't go all the way. But she'll be just fine.
I really don't know who else it could be. Phillip and Joshua should be safe. Jessica had the pimp slot and was really good. I don't know the statistics of eliminations of contestants who performed last on those respective weeks (not including the final 2 weeks). I have to think it's pretty low. But, anything goes when the talent is this good. Would love to hear everyone's comments as always. Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week!