Last week’s American Idol was a tough cut. Of the Top 25 only 13 got through. Then last night on the 400th episode they turned it in to a battle of the sexes. The guys sang Stevie Wonder songs and the girls took on Whitney Houston classics. Everyone was mentored by Mary J. Blige.
This was the first time ever in American Idol history that it was the girls versus the boys. What a way to mark the 400th episode!
Here’s how everyone did, in the order of their appearance:
Joshua Ledet was amazing singing I Wish. I wish I could sing like that. All the judges loved it. Randy said, “you just wore it out at the top of the show, what I really love is that you have this amazing gospel sound, you can do anything, flawless, loved it dude”. Jennifer said,”I love that I felt your performance.” She even loved his hand gestures! Steven, predictably, said it was “beautiful, man.” I wish he’d get another catchphrase.
Elise Testone sang I’m Your Baby Tonight next. No-one liked it, even Mary J. Blige, who changed the song. Jennifer remarked on the timing issues and although she said Elise has an “amazing voice” and Steven usually likes the “character” in her voice, they were missing it last night. Randy likened the performance to boxing! Elise lost that round, clearly.
Jermaine Jones sang Knock Me Off My Feet. He was good, but I’m not feeling a connection. It was like he was singing for himself, almost. Jennifer picked up on that too and Randy liked the low parts in the verses but he didn’t like the chorus. Steven said “that song fit you like an Armani suit, I can’t wait for what you have in store for us”.
If I had to bet on who would attempt a Whitney Houston copy, my money would have been on Erika Van Pelt. So her soundalike version of I Believe In You And Me got on my nerves a little bit. But the judges seemed to love it.Randy said, “you have an amazing voice and tone, it was unbelievable, you sold me. You can sing anything, let yourself go”. Jennifer said, “the way you interpret the song and your voice really makes songs come alive, you are playing it safe and I can’t wait for you to let loose”. Steven said, “you have a beautiful voice, the place reacted exactly how you sound, you are perfect, you are great”.
Colton Dixon was way, way out of his comfort zone singing Lately, but guess what? I loved it! For once I agreed with Steven gushing, “that was outstanding, beautiful, well done” and Jennifer saying “it was amazing, it was great”. Ok, now for a reality check from Randy, who said, “technically it wasn’t perfect, but here’s the key to that, when you hit your power point, you were flawless. You slayed it in the end, well done.” Well, yes sir I think he did.
Shannon Magrane was a bit off singing I Have Nothing. Jennifer said, “you can sing that song but we didn’t hear that tonight.” So what is she, psychic or something? How do we know she can do a good job on that song? She didn’t last night. As Steven said (understandably, perhaps) she sounded nervous. I wouldn’t exactly agree with him that she “crashed and burned”. I think that’s a little harsh. Randy had it better when he again put the not so great performance down to nerves. Shannon could be in trouble in the results show tonight. (That’s me saying that, not Randy.)
Deandre Brackensack disappointed me a bit singing Master Blaster but maybe that’s just because I don’t like the song much. The judges were complimentary about the performance. Steven said, “you take over the stage and I love it, it’s beautiful, I loved it tonight”. Jennifer said, “you have swag, I loved it, you brought it from the beginning”. Randy said, “you showed another side of yourself tonight, perfect rhythm and everyone was feeling it, that’s how good it was, job well done”. Well, I wasn’t feeling it but I guess the swag was there.
Skylar Laine sang Where Do Broken Hearts Go. Jennifer and Steven were obviously listening to two different songs. Jennifer said, “the front part of it for me wasn’t perfect, but you kept it together and you gave us our biggest moment of the night” while Steven said, “the front was beautiful, the way you climbed the ladder, that was fantastic”. I’m more inclined to agree with Randy who said, “you are a country girl, but what you just proved is that you can sing anything, great job”. I really liked her. What is it with country? First Scotty McCreery last year and now Skylar Laine! Am I turning into a country girl now? I always thought boybands were more my thing!
Heejun Han, sang All Is Fair In Love and hardly got any critique,. Were the judges as bored by this performance as I was? Jennifer said, “I love you from the first time you sang for me and I love you now”. Steven said, “I love your voice, keep it up man”. Randy said, “It wasn’t perfect, but it was really good”. No, it wasn’t perfect, so unless you have given up on Heejun completely as just a novelty act can you please start telling him HOW it wasn’t perfect!
Hollie Cavanaugh was up next, singing All The Man That I Need. She was really good. Randy nd Steven both said she nailed it and se did. Jennifer said, “you are the one”. For what? She’s a long way off winning yet!
I loved Jeremy Rosado last week and I am not ashamed to admit I cried when he got through. But I wasn’t feeling him singing Ribbon In The Sky last night. Steven said, “great song tonight, good passion”. Jennifer said, “I love to hear where you are going to go, good job”. Randy said, “this wasn’t your best song for me, you should have put more swag in it”. Yes, he should, but does he have it to give?
Next was the one we’d all been waiting for. The song, at least! Jessica Sanchez got the big one: Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You. I think my jaw is still on the floor and she thoroughly deserved her standing ovation from both the audience and the judges. Randy called her “the best singer on the show, you are so talented, Oh My God”. Jennifer was speechless, except to say it was beautiful. Steven said, “You may be the one, you made 40 million people cry”. He would have said even more but he was cut off.
I felt a little sorry for Phillip Phillips having to follow that singing “Superstition, but boy did he do it in style. The most exciting performance of the night for me. Jennifer said he “killed it.” The guys were just annoying, harping back to how Phillip is unusual. Yes, but he can sing.
So that’s it. Thirteen performers sang for your votes. The vote tonight is so important because it’s guys against girls. How is that going to work out? Who do you want to see progress further in American Idol?