Okay, I'm not going to rank our performers this week (well sort of am, sort of am not). I'm categorizing them into how America is probably perceiving them and voting for them. And then somehow I'll pluck a bottom 3 out of it and pick someone to be booted!
Awesome Singers with Emotional Cores
- Skylar Laine - "Born This Way"/"I Heard it Through the Grapevine" - Is it me or is Skylar our most consistent contestant? Sure, I busted on her early on for her Miranda Lambert obsession and I still find a way to mention that name every time Skylar is brought up. (see what I did there?) But, she is just a little fire ball! She rocks the stage every week, she twangs the stage every week and she is just flat out awesome. No, she doesn't have the vocal ability of a Joshua, Jessica or even an Elise. But her likability is off the charts, and she knows how to use her vocal instrument. And don't get me wrong, her voice is AWESOME. But there are just some INSANE vocalists in the competition this year. But as a performer, I think I'd want to see a Skylar Laine concert the most. Loved the "Born this Way" country version. I may have heard it before. It sounds less like "Express Yourself" that way. And Grapevine was a good time too. Skylar should be in no danger tonight.
- Joshua Ledet - "I Believe"/"A Change is Gonna Come" - It took me 20 seconds to start wondering if Joshua was singing one of the Idol Winning songs of the past. It may have taken me a minute to remember it was FANTASIA (Barftasia)'s winning song which led to me almost self-inducing a vomit attack. The thing is, Joshua made me forget for awhile that it was a Fantasia song (penned by Season 1 alum, Tamyra Gray of course) and just had me enjoying it. Such a crazy singer. As for song 2, I LOVE that song. Joshua had me on the edge of my seat waiting for a big moment. And while he did tell a story and did have me fully engaged, I thought it kind of lacked a bit big moment. A moment that, say, may have earned him that standing O from the judges. I felt like THEY felt they were almost required to do it. He certainly left people wanting more. The judges viewed that as a good thing, but I think he could have packed a punch in those final phrasings to absolutely floor the crowd. These categories I've placed the contestants in may not be the greatest. Because, Joshua most certainly brings an emotional element that should be connecting with fans. But, I'm not so sure his appeal has hit the maintstream voters, which could explain the bottom 3 appearance last week. We'll see if more votes come his way after the scare.
- Hollie Cavanagh - "Rolling in the Deep"/"Son of a Preacher Man" - Hollie definitely stepped up her game again this week. She let go of all her worries on song #1 and just sang a great vocal. Most definitely her best of the competition. Preacher Man wasn't bad either, but I didn't think it was better like the judges. Hollie was spared from the bottom 3 last week, but I think that situation may be rectified this week. I mean, I guess she has an outsider's chance at winning this thing, but it's not a very good chance.
- Elise Testone - "No One"/"Let's Get it On" - This one is painful for me, obviously. She's probably my favorite singer of the bunch (a bunch of really good singers). But she definitely has a likability problem. I can see why J-Lo would be suggesting that she smile more. More smiles, less wind machine would be my suggestion. If I closed my eyes and just listened to "No One" I would just sit there with my jaw open and say "WOW. That was one amazing vocal," which is most certainly was. She does things with her voice that any normal human can not do. But, those things are very subtle and I don't think everyone cares about the phrasings she chooses or her awesome vocal tone. Add that to her likability factor, to her "ho him" rendition of "Let's Get it On" and she might be in trouble tonight, I'm sorry to say. I mean, in one of the most steamy songs in existence, she can't show an ounce of excitement or passion? Come on Elise!! Technically though, she hit those notes!
- Jessica Sanchez - "Fallin"/"Try a Little Tenderness" - We just can't place what the problem with Jessica is, can we? She absolutely nailed both of these songs. You could see her trying to EMOTE and CONNECT with the audience. I'm stumped so, I consulted the Mrs. She thinks it has to do with her song selections vs. her age. That maybe people think it's weird that she's singing such grown up songs. I had to remind her that we complained about one Kara DioGuardi not too long ago for consistently harping on that. But, there might be some merit to her comment. Jessica is very young, but she seems so grown up. She may have lost some kind of key demographic of voters along the way. But, I think that last week's scare will also scare up some votes as it normally does.
Male Hearthrobs with Talent and Teenage Voters
- Colton Dixon - "Bad Romance"/"September" - Yes, Steven, you do have to get low to get high. But that "Bad Romance" rendition was a disaster. The choruses were way too low, just so he could sing higher notes later. He totally lost me on the performance. In my notes I called the rendition of Gaga's tune "INVENTIVE but maybe TOO inventive". It was just flat out weird. Now, I didn't share the same harsh feelings that the judges did on his rendition of the Earth, Wind and Fire classic "September". The song is certainly not one of my favorite songs, it may be even on my Bottom 10 songs right there with 8 Red Hot Chili Pepper songs and Collective Soul's "SHINE". But, I will say this. Colton's rendition of the tune was the best rendition I ever heard. Does that make me like it? Eh, I dunno. But he should have gotten more credit for it than the judges gave him. The bigger question is, does it matter? As we have seen over the past years, the vote for a male hearthrob has dominated. The good news for us this year is that there are 2 fighting for those votes. So, they may cancel each other out.
- Phillip Phillips - "U got It Bad"/"In the Midnight Hour" - Okay, so Phillip gets feedback from Jimmy last week that everything sounds like Dave Matthews (and as we all know, Jimmy isn't the only one that has been saying that). So, he does a wise thing and goes to R&B to find his next song to change-up. He takes a well known Usher song and goes for it. The bad news? He made it sound just like a Dave Matthews song again. It's not bad to listen to, but it's just very similar each week. At least he dropped the guitar for song 2 and rocked out to a little Midnight Hour. I preferred that song to song #1. Not a vocal powerhouse, but the man can rock the stage. I think he will have a decent career coming out of this. But, I still am hoping he won't win.
So, let's get to the elimination pick!
Bottom 3: Elise Testone, Hollie Cavanagh, Colton Dixon Wildcard: Jessica Sanchez
Elimination Pick: Elise Testone - In all honesty, she has made it much further than I thought she would. There was a point where I thought she had the momentum to keep getting better and better, but the fan support is just not there. This could be a reverse psychology attempt at getting Hollie booted tonight, but all signs are pointing to Elise.
So that's it. I'm sure people have differing opinions than me. And I'd love to hear them! Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week!