Thursday, May 03, 2012

American Idol: Season 11 - Top 5 Perform

Hello Idolists!  I've said it before and I'll continue saying it.  We have NEVER seen a competition this intense.  All of the remaining contestants have a legitimate shot at this thing for different reasons.  I still am hoping for the teenage vote to be squandared, but I think it will be enough to spare the person who most definitely should go home tonight.  So, then things get really interesting.  Who on earth will go home tonight?  I have my guess, but we'll break things down below.   But overall, amazing night of performances and one fantastic guest mentor in Little Steven.  Loved the years of history between Jimmy and Steven showing on screen.  Great stuff!   And it sort of made me miss The Sopranos just a little bit! (and of course, yearn to return to a Bruce Springsteen concert)   So let's break things down. 

 No categories this week with there only being 5 left.   60's Night (aka Motown Night) and British Invasion Night aka excuse for mostly more 60s music.  Seriously?  Where's Beatles, Oasis, Coldplay, U2, and ironically no one wanted to do Adele?.  Sometimes I'd love to see the catalog of music these contestants have to choose from.  A lot of these songs have been done to death on the Idol stage.  But we won't focus on that since they sang the hell out of them (mostly). 

The Legit Performances
  • Hollie Cavanagh - "River Deep, Mountain High" & "Bleeding Love" - Look out folks, Hollie is on a roll!  We had counted her out in those middle rounds, but there was a time when we thought Hollie had a legitimate shot of winning this thing.  And to the judges' credit, they thought if she waited a year (last year), that she could seriously win this thing.  So, yes, they have always had faith in her.  When I saw the set list leaked for last night, I knew instantly Hollie would be doing "River Deep, Mountain High" due to Celine having covered it previously.  Hollie loves her some Celine.  But hey, the girl nailed it.  Steven gave her great advice to stop thinking about everything and just sing.  And she went out there with her back-up singers and horn section following her every step of the way and it gave her the confidence to just be awesome.  This combined with a toned down version of the Leona Lewis (X-Factor UK Season 1 Champ) hit "Bleeding Love" gave me chills and renewed my faith in the girl.  I apologize for counting her out.  Amazing night for little miss Hollie.
  • Phillip Phillips - "The Letter" and "Time of the Season" - Ugh...I have learned to rule out pretty much everything the judges say when it comes to Phillip.  Maybe they know the voting results and know that it's impossible for him to lose this thing, so they don't want to come off bashing him every week.  He totally took the melody out of "The Letter" and yes, once again, "Dave Matthewsized" it.   I just can't stand them giving him credit for being unique when his whole sound is based on someone who has already created that sound!  It's not that it's bad, it's just a shadow performance!  So of course, his fans are going to love it and we're going to have to deal with him again.   Time of the Season was horrific.  Again Dave Matthews possessed his vocals.  He did sing the melody but we found out why he usually doesn't.  He has a bit of a weakness in those high notes!  Oh, how it was painful to listen!   So naturally, he'll get lots of votes for it again.   I don't hate Phillip, but he's clearly the least talented VOCALIST of the bunch.  He might be the most talented musician of the group, but I just don't know if that's what should be the focus.  I mean, Randy giving him props on his guitar noodling?  It's a SINGING COMPETITION RANDY!!!   Oh Simon would have had his head for that. 
  • Skylar Laine - "Fortunate Son" and "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" - I know Skylar was out of breath after her first performance, but I was worn out watching her work that stage.  Gotta say it again, she's a little fireball out there.  But she fuses her performances with so much emotion that it's impossible not to be drawn in.  Throw on top of that that her voice is ridiculously good and you've got something special.  With Elise out, she's who I'm rooting for, but these contestants are so good there's only one or 2 that I might be upset if they won.  Her country take on the Dusty Springfield hit was equally good, if not better.  Beautiful vocal, perfect amount of emotion on display.  Awesome.  Nothing more to say.  She was in the bottom 3 last week.  One would hope that this encouraged voters to start calling, texting, clicking or whatever! 
  • Jessica Sanchez - "Proud Mary" and "You Are So Beautiful" - I think Jessica has taken over the role that Hollie assumed for a lot of the early Top 13 weeks.  Perfect vocal performances, yet missing a touch of something.  Everyone, their mother, and their mother's uncle have performed "Proud Mary" on this stage.  And Jessica decided to do a carbon copy of Tiny's rendition, complete with exactly chroegraphed dance moves that she probably watched in the movie or something.  Oh right, Little Steven changed the opening to 1/7 time.  Good job, Stevie!  You'd think that would have given Jessica a clue to make the whole performance a little more unique.  It was good, the vocal was great, but it won't stand out.   Her 2nd performance of the Joe Cocker classic might stand out though.  Sitting on the stage amongst the candles, we've seen it so many times before.  But, with the band cut out to only minimal instrumentation, Jessica's voice and even emotion were on display.  Her long high note was amazing.   My only complaint were with the runs at the end of the song.  The judges loved them which is hysterical.  They complain about singing the melody all of the time and doing less runs but then when Jessica did those, they supposedly were unbelievable.  I didn't think they were necessary and just added noise to a near perfect vocal.  If anything will save Jessica tonight, it will be that performance.
  • Joshua Ledet - "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" and "To Love Somebody" - Oh Joshua, how awesome you are.  And I refuse to refer to you as MANtasia because it discredits how good you are.  Sure, doing "Aint Too Proud to Beg" may be a little predictable for him (not as predictable as Jessica doing "Proud Mary"), but it might be the best version of I've seen of it on this show.  Surely, it's better than Scott Savol's (season 4) performance!  (apparenlty, it was so good that YouTube had to remove it from its servers to save some dignity!)   But no one will even need to remember his first performance.  Give credit to Jimmy and Little Steven for getting Joshua to do the Bee Gee's hit "To Love Somebody" because they may have just made a star.  I don't even know where to begin explaining how amazing it was.  But, I believe my eyes were welling up with the raw emotion he threw into that thing.  Throw in the powerful voice, that rasp, that controlled scream in all the right parts and you have yourselves an IDOL MOMENT folks!  My immediate reaction was if he doesn't win this show, there is something wrong with the world.  He is AMAZING.   Of course, since then reality has set in and the odds may still be stacked against him.  It's anyone's game but Joshua gave a pretty convincing final note here.
The Duo/Trio Performances
  • Joshua and Phillip - "You've Lost That Lovin Feeling" - Most of this performance was horrific.  And it was because they were embarassed to sing it.  Seriously, what the hell?  This was like the most popular duet of its time and still has legs!  It's a 2 dude duet dudes and it's meant to be sung for WOMEN not to each other!  What has happened to today's youth?  I mean, what happened to good ol' bromances like Maverick and Goose?  (Kudos to Ryan for making the REQUIRED Top Gun reference).  Sure, they got into it at the end, but mostly it was comical.  And hey maybe that works too.
  • Skylar, Hollie, Jessica - "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" - This was a decent performance.  Not much else to say. 
The Pick
I did read somewhere a good point.  Maybe the reveal of Phillip having a girlfiend will strike him hard in the voting category.  That would be outstanding!  But, sadly, I think our little plural named squared times 2 Phillip will somehow live on and on and on.   It's not fair and yes I am trying very hard to bestow my very successful reverse psychology into this recap!  (I'm 2 for 2, right?) 

Surely, they won't do a bottom 3 this week to show who the top 2 vote getters are.  So, maybe a bottom 2 at most if they even do that.

Absolutely safe: Joshua
Bottom 2: Jessica, Phillip Wildcard: Skylar or Hollie

Elimination Pick: Jessica Sanchez - My rationale?  She's already been eliminated, and she and Phillip are the 2 I now think have no business winning this season of American Idol.   Jessica is an amazing singer but her age has shown over the past few weeks.  And her lack of personality doesn't help too much either (and of course, that could be an age thing too...not that the older Elise had a better on screen personality!).  It should be Phillip, but I think it will be Jessica. 

So crazy that someone of this group of talent has to go home.  Really, it could be any of them for any number of reasons going home.  But, I have to imagine that it will be by the slightest margin of votes.  And, if Phillip is in the bottom 2, I hope they do NOT reveal who the bottom 2 are.  Because you know if he barely escapes elimination, his voters will come back in full force next week guaranteeing him a Top 3 slot and a trip to his hometown.   It's probably inevitable anyway, but a man can dream!

Anyway, these are only my opinions and I'd love to hear everyone else's thoughts!  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week!


Leslie said...

First off, I love the nights when I recognize all the songs! OK, I didn’t recognize Hollie’s second song, but all the rest! I’m so glad Hollie is doing better the last couple of weeks! And, thank you for saying Phillip was horrible on those high notes in the second song! I was actually surprised the judges praised how well he sang it. Did they hear the same thing I did????? It was painful!! And, I hated his rendition of The Letter. It was hardly recognizable.

You’re so right about the duet with Phillip and Joshua. Obviously, they don’t get that song at all. They acted ridiculous!

Between the girls left, Hollie is my favorite, and as they said, she’s peaking at the right time. Skylar is the most comfortable and energetic performer and always fun to watch, but I’m not a country fan, however, Carrie Underwood was my favorite in her year, no question. I’ve not been a Jessica fan from the beginning, so for the third week, she’s my choice to go.

I said a couple of weeks ago that I suspected the final 3 will be Joshua, Skylar and Phillip. I definitely believe Joshua and Skylar deserve to be there, but personally, I hope Phillip goes before Hollie (after Jessica this week). In my mind, he’s not been good at all the last couple of weeks. You’re right about him being the best musician, but this is a singing contest after all.

Mike V. said...

Totally agree on everything said about Phillip. He has had 2 bad weeks now. It's ridiculous how much they praise him!

It just pains me that we live in a world where there are people that don't know "You've Lost That Lovin Feeling"!!! lol And to act all H-Phobic about it...come on!!

I think Skylar has branched out a lot in these theme weeks. She is singing pop songs and other genres, but her voice brings the "country" to it. That's basically what a lot of NEW country music is anyway. Pop Music with a bit of twang and a violin. lol I've never been a HUGE fan of Jessica's but I always thought she deserved to stay in the competition because of her voice. But, now that we're down to the Top 5, she should no longer be safe. They probably should have just let her go in the "surprise week"...but they'll always use that save!

I'd love for the final 3 to be Joshua, Skylar and Hollie. And I honestly couldn't tell you how that would go. But I also wouldn't care. They're all likable and deserving. I hope my reverse psychology works tonight! lol

Leslie said...

You're so right about people not knowing "You've Lost that Lovin Feeling"! Even if you don't remember the original, there's the whole Top Gun thing, but some of these guys weren't born yet when it came out. On a side note, have you heard that they plan on making a sequel to that? Not sure that's a good thing. That memorable volleyball scene just needs to be left alone. (Ask your wife.) :)

I get what you're saying about Skylar. She has shown more range with the themes, but it's her strong twang that I don't like, and I'm from Texas! There are other country artists that aren't as "twangy", and I like their crossover songs like Shania Twain.

Unknown said...

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!!! Phillip is the MOST talented out of this whole group in EVERY way (since Colton left). Phillip should win this thing if he keeps doing what he's doing

Mike V. said...

Oh he definitely could win but not because he deserves it. The voting system needs to be revamped. He's talented but he does the same thing every week. I will not change my mind on it.

Mike V. said...

And come on. Every way??? You're going to tell ke his vocal range matches the other 3 remaining contestants?? That's pretty laughable considering his high notes on "time of the season". My thoughts are in line with jimmy. Phil has been coasting and it doesn't matter to his voters. I will include you in this group! Lol

Mike V. said...

Okay, didn't have much time to comment on the elimination last night. (just time for a couple jabs lol) But, obviously it is upsetting that Skylar went home. I was getting that vibe when the show started last night, not sure why. And I guess I should have known that chances were 2 country acts wouldn't win (let alone dominate) 2 years in a row.

But the continuing travesty is what this implies about what could possibly happen in this year's finale. Apparently, there are many that hold a blind devotion to Phillip Phillips regardless of what he throws up on stage. (see comments in this post as an example) It's the Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery, Kris Allen effect. Scotty was good, but in a mediocre season of talent. And now I can't help but laugh any time I see him perform.

Obviously, I have stated many times that Phil is TALENTED. The key word is TALENTED. Regardless of how people perceive American Idol now, it is and always should be a singing competition first and foremost. Phil has most definitely the weakest voice of the remaining competitors. Sure, he has skills on the guitar and changing every song to sound like it could have been performed by Dave Matthews but that should only get someone so far.

But teenage girls and their cell phones love a teen idol and their guitar noodlin. They will text and text and text and text and text and text and text for as long as they can until they see yet another male teen hearthrob idol take the crown. And it makes me sick! It's why I've been against Phillip winning all season and while I will continue to root for anyone other than him.

At this point, I would like to think it's Joshua's to lose, but that is not a safe bet with the Phillip factor still in play. I would have preferred to see a girl win this thing but the only viable candidate for me now is Hollie. Jessica has her moments, but there's still too much growth that has to happen there...where I've seen Hollie grow in the competition.

Anyway, I'm rambling.

@Leslie - of course I know about Top Gun 2! lol And I've been a huge fan of the unintentional comedy in that volleyball scene since the first time I saw it. I even remember the Kenny Loggins song "Playing with the Boys" that played over it. And of course, a friend of mine and I never resist a chance to do a "Top Gun High Five" in public. lol So yes, there must be an homage to the volleyball scene in any possible sequel. Maybe even people just watching game tape of the original volleyball scene! lol

Leslie said...

Wow! I was really surprised it was Skylar last night even though she's not my personal favorite. When Jessica wasn't in the bottom two, I was afraid for Hollie, but I knew I wasn't going to get my wish for Jessica to go.

I agree, Phillip is talented, but he's definitely NOT the best singer left. If anyone else had butchered those high notes in "Time of the Season" over and over again like he did the other night, the judges and Jimmy would have blasted them! It's like what you said the other day in a post about "drinking the Kool-Aid" on Taylor in his season. I think the same thing is happening with Phillip which is not to say he isn't talented.

Mike V. said...

Yeah...Phillip and Taylor do have similar qualities. It's just the fact that no female has won since season 6 that makes me think that there is credit to this whole TEENAGE/TWEENAGE TEXTING Conspiracy.

With wasn't a texting was a "let's prove simon wrong" soul patrol campaign. He dominated the votes every week and was untouchable. And it was because Simon ruled him out in the auditions when everyone else loved what he brought to the table. He had a fun time on that stage too which was hard to resist at the time...but when it came time for people to support him POST-Idol, the fascination with him was over for most.

Now, there is this whole "He's SICK" excuse that they keep throwing out there with Phil. (I also noticed he wasn't in the Ford music video) I wonder if that's drawing a bit of a sympathy vote too. I remember when Kelly Clarkson and Tamyra got sick in season 1. Tamyra suffered and got booted because of it. Kelly somehow powered through with STILL amazing vocals. Phillip is definitely not giving his all out there....and his creativity has been maxed out to show us mostly the same type of "changed up song" every week.

Eh...i'm sick of talking about it (until next week naturally. lol) There's no way this guy won't be in the top 3. And he'll probably be in the finale. Which means, I'll probably end up picking the other guy out of spite and he'll end up winning...just like every year since Adam Lambert lost. lol (of course, I was happy Kris won that year...but still Adam was the better voice)