The voice of this season’s American Idol will not be denied, and tonight that voice declared “And I Am Telling You, I’m Not Going”. It was a fitting sentiment for Jessica Sanchez who was shockingly almost eliminated a few weeks ago as she utterly destroyed the competition on tonight’s show with that iconic Dreamgirls number and a wonderful Etta James cover. I was thrilled that she threw down the gauntlet and proclaimed her rightful place at the top of this race with those numbers. It’s even more incredible considering Joshua Ledet gave arguably his best performance to date as well…. So, what does it all mean for tomorrow’s elimination? Well, you can probably guess who’s safe… But for more clarification, let’s take a look at my rankings and predictions from tonight’s Idol where they tackled “Songs they wish they had written” and “Songs by Californian artists.” (Yes, I thought those were pretty odd themes too in case you’re wondering.)
American Idol Performance Rankings 5-9-11
1. Jessica “And I Am Telling You, I’m Not Going”: singing the ultimate diva anthem, Jessica literally blew the roof off the joint. She made wonderful versions of this song previously sung on the show by the likes of Tamyra Gray and Lakisha Jones seem pedestrian in comparison and I’d say she made both Jennifer Holliday and Jennifer Hudson proud. This vocal was simply brilliant. Everything about this performance was perfection. Simply astounding. And she finally got her much deserved standing ovation from the judges. I believe it was her first since her brilliant “I Will Always Love You” rendition months ago!
2. Joshua- “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”: holy crap was that one fantastic performance?!! It was easily Joshua’s best, most nuanced, emotional and vibrant performance. He really interpreted the song perfectly and his vocals were naturally amazing resulting in yet another standing “O”. And this standing ovation I totally approve of for once!
3. Jessica- “Steal Away”: singing Etta James classic blues number “Steal Away”, Jessica showed a sexy and powerful side that easily was the best of the “California” numbers. She was mature beyond her years in this number, and it still felt so natural for her. Fantastic!
~ the good
4. Phillip- “Volcano”: I was truly surprised at how much I liked this one. Our heart-throb really gave a layered and moving performance of this great song by Damian Rice. The background singer helped a bit too, but it was still one of his best numbers of the season…. And I say all that despite him still sounding very much like Dave Matthews on it.
5. Hollie- “Faithfully”: our cutie patootie really sang this Journey power ballad beautifully, especially the second half. While I wish she had picked something younger and fresher (perhaps No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” or “Hella Good”) for her “Cali” song, I still really liked this. And she looked so pretty doing it! (love the wind fans!)
~ the ok
6. Joshua- “You Raise Me Up”: singing Josh Groban’s iconic uplifting ballad, Joshua was predictably good. However, it was all so predictable. And I felt his gospel’d up arrangement stripped the song of some of its simple true emotion. It was a nice vocal, but the whole thing felt a bit forced.
7. Hollie- “I Can’t Make You Love Me”: Hollie sang this beautiful song very well. Unfortunately, she paled in comparison to the heart-breaking original by Bonnie Raitt, not to mention the amazingly haunting versions by George Michael, Adele and original recipe Idol Kelly Clarkson. It was lovely, but rather forgettable in the end.
8. Phillip- “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”: Phillip did a fine job on this Credence Clearwater Revival hit and he clearly seemed to be enjoying himself throughout. I liked that it didn’t evolve into a Dave Matthews song, but overall, it was rather unremarkable. Thus, it ends up at the bottom of the list.
Duets & Group Performances:
1. Joshua/Phillip- “This Love”: this version of Maroon 5′s # 1 hit really got moving as it went along and by the end it was pretty darn entertaining. I think this one was a million times better than their duet from last week too.
2. Hollie/Jessica- “Eternal Flame”: I liked this one a LOT more than the judges. It was quite pretty, thank you very much. And how can you not love this # 1 smash from 1989 by the Bangles?
3. Hollie/Jessica/Joshua/Phililp- “Waiting for a Girl/Boy Like You”: um, that was plain weird. Sorry
Bottom 2: Hollie and Phillip (yes, I think he may finally land here!!!)
Buh Bye: Hollie
Well, it looks like Hollie’s long and rather roller coaster run on Idol may finally come to an end tomorrow night. This dark horse has survived long after many thought she would fall and I have to give her big props for that… Now, if she can make it one more week and knock off Phillip, I would be over the moon! …. We will see. Now, let me see what you thought of tonight’s show. Sound off below.
Tags: Adele, American Idol, Bonnie Raitt, Dreamgirls, George Michael, Hollie Cavanagh, Jennifer Holliday, Jennifer Hudson, Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Kelly Clarkson, Lakisha Jones, Phillip Phillips, Tamyra Gray, The Bangles