Last night on American Idol 2012 the nine remaining contestants sang songs from their idols and I think it gave us one of the best episodes ever. Even Heejun Han took the competition seriously last night and according to Randy Jackson they’re all in it to win it at this point.
But who really stands a chance of grabbing the American Idol title this year? Let’s have a look at how they all did with rock and roll legend Stevie Nicks mentoring them this week.
Stevie assured Colton Dixon that Tommy Hilfiger is not the boss of him when it comes to his hair, so we won’t be seeing the end of the skunk anytime soon. (His hair, not Colton.) Colton chose to sing his “favorite worship song of all time,” Lifehouse’s Everything. Good decision. The judges raved about his emotional composure and believability. I liked it…sort of. But I prefer Colton back on the piano. I was with Jennifer, feeling his passion, though.
Jimmy Iovine said Skylar Laine took a big risk with Miranda Lambert’s Gunpowder and Lead because it has such a narrow melody. But I think it was a risk worth taking. She got to show off her range at the end of the song, at least. She told us the story, just like Stevie wanted her to. Randy was so impressed he compared Skylar to Carrie Underwood.
Heejun Han got a standing ovation from the judges. Was it just because he took the competition seriously this week? Because I thought it was a bit much. Stevie psychoanalyzed Heejun and said he acts the joker so he can fake an “I don’t care” attitude when he doesn’t win.” Of course, that verdict didn’t take a genius but he’s still not going to win. But I enjoyed seeing what he could do with Donnie Hathaway’s A Song For You. I agree with Randy that Heejun’s voice has a “buttery, beautiful tone,” but for me his diction often leaves a lot to be desired. He gets in to the emotion of the song, though. “When you go there, when you believe, when you let go of all the other stuff,” Jennifer says, “you move people.”
Hollie Cavanagh had Carrie Underwood Tweeting her support, which might be helpful after her not so great version of Jesus Take the Wheel. I loved how the judges and Jimmy were apparently surprised that Hollie is a Carrie Underwood fan. Even if she wasn’t, Hollie’s smart; she knows it’s a good move to sing a song by America’s best-selling Idol with the word “Jesus” in the title. Randy got booed by the audience for saying Hollie missed a few notes, but it was still true; she did. Jennifer disagreed; she thought it was one of Hollie’s best because she connected emotionally. But Steven wished she had picked a different song, but he’s not going to mess with Jesus or Carrie.
DeAndre Brackenstick sang Sometimes I Cry by Eric Benet this week who cheated on Halle Berry because of his sex addiction. This is who DeAndre idolizes! Once again I wished that the 17-year-old had waited to come on the show as an over-25. His over-reliance on his falsetto is starting to grate on me now and I just think in a few years’ time he might really know how to use all his voice. But the judges were on their feet again for this one.
“PEOPLE, PICK UP YOUR PHONES AND VOTE FOR DEANDRE,” J. Lo screamed. “I need to hear that voice more! A few more weeks for me!” Funny that she only said a “few” weeks; basically she’s saying what we all know: that there’s no way he could win.
I was impressed Jessica Sanchez‘s slow ballad version of Sweet Dreams by Beyonce. True, like the judges said, the song didn’t allow Jessica to push her limits but I thought it was good to see her holding back a bit. She’s a strange one for me: I don’t think I’d but her records but I want to see her remain in the competition, and I think she will.
The contrast with Phillip Phillips is a sharp one, even when he’s not singing Still Rainin’ by Johnny Lang, prompting the judges to give their third standing O of the night. He isn’t necessarily always on the melody and yet I just can’t take my eyes off him when he performs. Stevie Nicks paid him a great compliment, saying that if he’d been friends with her and Lindsey Buckingham in 1975, “Mick Fleetwood would have said ‘I want all three of you to join Fleetwood Mac.’ No doubt in my mind, because you’re that good.” She was crushing on him, though, calling him “gorgeous.”
Joshua Ledet‘s cover of Mariah Carey’s version of Without You started off a little shaky, but then Joshua took us to church again with his trademark vocal acrobatics. I loved the emotion but I really could have done without him wiping his nose in the middle of the last line of the song. Another Standing O from the judges! So at this point they had stood up for every guy. His big crescendo at the end was totally what this song needed. Jennifer thinks Joshua is an angel from heaven.
Next up was Elise Testone with Whole Lottta Love. Seriously impressive song choice, lady. She said she’d sung it before with her band, so that explains why she was so comfortable embracing her true grit onstage. She knew exactly what she was doing, dragging that mic stand around, wiggling her butt, but it all felt so natural. The Robert Plant-esque final wail was great.
Stevie told Jimmy, “If I needed a singer, I would hire [Elise] in a second.” So Elise is going nowhere and they saved the best for last.
So, they the American Idol Top 9 were all pretty good last night and it will be pretty sad whoever goes tonight. Who do you think it will be?