American Idol Top 7 Perform: What Makes Idol Beautiful
Before I actually get to the show, I'd like to apologize for missing last week's results recap. Unfortunately lack of Internet plus a holiday weekend made for busy times. I can't say that I was terribly surprised by Deandre's exit. And I can't say I'll be shocked at whoever gets booted tonight, because 'Songs from this Decade' night on American Idol turned out pretty well.
Before I get to any specifics on performances, I'd like to hand out some advice for all the contestants. Stop picking obvious songs. If there was one constant for most of the night, it was that every performance had a certain predictability to it. This was good in some ways, as it reemphasized that the contestants left on American Idol know who they are, and that they can sing songs that are on today's charts. On the other hand, it indicates there are no surprises left, that there is no "Heartless" around the corner. Which makes this season precariously close to season 9 in that I can't bring myself to really care who wins, because no one is going that extra mile for me. So please, if you can't stop picking obvious songs, then do something with the ones you have.
Also as far as the duets and trio, I really hope that the producers mix up partners next week, because I would love to see the dynamics of a Hollie/Elise pairing, or to see Joshua go country or Skylar go R&B together. I don't think anyone really benefitted except possibly Gotye.
Skylar Laine "Didn't Know How Much I Love You": I could totally see Skylar having a Kellie Pickler-esque career after American Idol, so I get this song choice. I definitely think she delivered in emotion and pitch, but the volume felt like it was on eleven the whole time, and it took a little away from what was a solid performance.
Colton Dixon "Love the Way You Lie": I'm glad he didn't do the Breaking Benjamin song, because in this performance, we got to hear what is nice about Colton's voice, as opposed to the somewhat annoying timbre it takes on when he does the more rock type songs. The only problem I had was that even though I appreciated the quiet nature of the song, I'm not quite sure I believed the emotional connection, which could have elevated this into a moment.
Elise and Phillip "Somebody That I Used to Know": I think that Elise did Phillip a favor on this song. I think she initially picked it because if she was going to get stuck with Phillip another week, at least she was going to sing something super current and popular. But at the very beginning, the song totally made me view Phillip in a new light, and I think they played off each other fairly well. I think if Phillip had committed more, this could have been even better. That said, I think it was the best group effort of the night.
Jessica Sanchez "Stuttering": Confession: if I hadn't have been told, I would have said this was a Beyonce B-side. Which is exactly what Jessica should be doing in terms of style. This was actually one of Jessica's most emotionally relevant performances. I just think I'm going to be more of a fan of her in a post- American Idol world, but another great vocal from her.
Joshua Ledet "Runaway Baby": Points for Joshua for getting away from the screamy gospel mode this week. I really dug his energy and his stage presence last night. My only concern was that it all seemed a little hectic, but again, a good performance.
Skylar and Colton "Don't You Wanna Stay": Well, that was. The thing is, while I think these two get the concept of duet the best, I'm not sure they blend all that well vocally or chemistry wise, no matter what Nigel Lythgoe seems to think. Plus there were some really bad notes on both sides, so if they both survive to next wekk, I hope they get a chance to sing with someone else.
Hollie Cavnagh "Perfect": I'm giving Hollie the award for picking the best song of the night, as this isn't what I would think of her singing. I wish she had stayed on her stool and made the whole song intimate, which would have given more of an illusion of emotional weight that got lost in her power singing. I wish the judges would have at least given her credit for song choice, because after listening to all the performances, I can't see how her lack of connection is any worse than Phillip's 'same song every week' strategy, and her vocals were super on point.
Phillip Phillips "Give a Little More": I get the feeling Phillip doesn't want to be there much anymore. Maybe he does, but that's the vibe he's been giving for a couple of weeks, and that is troubling. I really liked the beginning of the song, before the whole band kicked in, but then it devolved into Phillip's usual style and I tuned out. I like that Jennifer finally pointed out this problem. American Idol viewers love a growth story, and Phillip isn't cutting it.
Hollie, Jessica and Joshua "What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)": I think maybe this did Hollie the most favors? Jessica and Joshua don't really fit into the pop vibe of this song, and the whole performance was a bit of a mess.
Elise Testone "You and I" Elise's strength will always be her believability. I really liked the way she dug into the song. I think I might have liked it a bit more had she stayed at the piano and dialed it back just a notch, but all in all another solid performance. (While I am at it, I really do hope a contestant does more of a "World I Know" or "Mad World" type performance, where they make the focus entirely on them. I miss that kind of intimate performance on the show.)
Since everyone was really solid tonight, I'm picking another shock boot. I think one of the boys is in trouble, and the judges will use the save.