And let’s pause to remember Heejun Han, who was eliminated from the Fox competition last week, just as he started to take it seriously.
But today Heejun gets to sing God Bless America during Opening Day at Citi Field for the New York Mets.
In the bottom two with him was Hollie, so it was interesting to see how she did last night.
But up first was DeAndre, whom mentor Gwen Stefani has the whole package. But as Jimmy pointed out, he has to conquer his nerves. His song was “I Like It” by Debarge. Jennifer Lopez liked it a lot too. Steven was also totally captivated by the natural performance. Randy called it a “perfect song choice, one of my best performances from you yet.” Strong start to the show.
Elise Testone wanted to sing “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. I love that song but when Jimmy Iovine had her try “I Want To Know What Love Is” by Foreigner all the mentors got goosies, so that became her performance song. It’s got to be good when Gwen Stefani calls your voice “sick,” hasn’t it? Well, I am not so sure. The judges seemed to like Elise but not on this song. Steven said, “I love your sound and I love your voice, but I don’t know if that was a good song choice for you tonight”. Jennifer gave her the kiss of death with “You look beautiful tonight” but remarked, “you have a powerhouse voice but I didn’t feel this song,” although she admitted it was a good performance. Randy pointed out that she “never quite hit the pitch right, it was not your greatest performance, it was out of tune everywhere for me”. Oh dear. Poor Elise could be in trouble again.
Next up were Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine singing one of my favorite duets, “Islands In The Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. The judges were really complimentary about it but I thought they murdered it with their flat singing and overall boring performance.
Phillip Phillps didn’t feel ready for his performance of “That’s All” by Genesis. He was also encouraged to forego is guitar in an effort to connect with the audience. Actually, for me he is better with his guitar and I feel connected OK. He’s not my favorite but he’s usually interesting. Steven said he is “great every time I hear you”. I wouldn’t quite agree with that but Jennifer said, “The beginning felt like you weren’t in your comfort zone but you brought it home and it was pretty great”. Randy loved the great song choice and he said “Tony was brilliant having you not use the guitar in the beginning”. That was the part Jennifer liked least. Will the American Idol judges ever get on the same page?
DeAndre and Hollie sang a duet next: “I’m So Excited” by the Pointer Sisters. I wasn’t excited by it but the judges seemed to be.
Joshua Ledet is sometimes too much according to Gwen Stefani. His version of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” by Simply Red drew great praise from the judges, though. Steven said, “Over the top, it was unreal that someone your age can sing like that, but not too much over the top”. Randy said, “It is very rare that I want to stand up from beginning to end… We found someone tonight that’s got to have it”. Jennifer was pleased they got the “power house performance” they had wanted. Don’t they always get that from Joshua? “You held back in the beginning, then let loose, it was spectacular” she said. Nice job.
Jessica Sanchez has a voice that Gewn called “ridiculous,” but she meant it in a good way, I imagine. She sang “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston and Jennifer said, “That’s two powerhouse vocals in a row. You are such a natural perform, you are so amazing, your vocals, I can’t believe they come out of that body”. Randy said, “You did an amazing job,” and he was impressed with her maturity in filling the diva’s shoes. Steven said, “I don’t think you have ever sang like this, everything you do is beautiful”. I felt a bit emotional but I don’t know why.
Next up, Phillip Phillips and Elise Testone sing a duet “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty. I don’t know the song, but this was certainly the best duo of the night. Randy welcomed Elise back to the competition on this one.
Hollie Cavanagh was very excited to meet Gwen, who told Hollie to have confidence, put some edge into it and not feel sorry for herself. I didn’t understand that last part but I know what Jimmy meant when he said he thinks Hollie sometimes gets too technical. Hollie seemed to have listened to the judges’ advice, going by her performance of “What A Feeling” by Irene Cara. But Jennifer still wanted more: se told her “to free fall, you have to feel it from your heart and soul”. Randy also advised her to “stop thinking and live it” because he thinks she has an amazing voice. Steven was least impressed. He said: “You always arrive at the end, your pitch was all over the place, I am so sorry”.
Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet were fabulous on their duet of “I Knew You Were Waiting For Me” by Aretha Franklin and George Michael. As Randy pointed out, they are “two of the greatest singers on this show” who delivered “one of the greatest performances ever on this show.”
Colton Dixon shocked Gwen and me) with his song choice: “Time After Time” by Cindi Lauper. But Jimmy loved it.The judges did too. Steven said, “You got one those voices that is so good, you could make a record right now”. Jennifer said, “You were in synch with the band, I loved when you hit the big note at the end, I really like it”. Randy said, “you took these songs and made them your own, you are so current.” Great comments for Colton.
Skylar Laine changed her song from “9 to 5” to “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler. From the judges’ comments it was a good decision. Steven called it, “The beginning of a great career, girl”. Jennifer said, “You just told America, don’t count me out. You are great, you can sing with the best of everyone here”. Had anyone been counting Skylar out? Maybe I didn’t notice because I like her. Randy called this her best performance, though and he was probably right so hopefully the curse of Heejun Han won’t get her.
Jessica and Joshua were the standout performers last night for me, as usual, but it was a pretty great show all around. Who do you think will land in the bottom two tonight?