Tonight, American Idol took on my favorite decade of music, the 80′s. That decade had everything: power ballads, cheesy pop, hair metal, the birth of rap, new wave and Madonna! What’s not to like? Well, if the songs sounded like Phillip‘s awful assault on a nice Genesis tune, that would certainly tarnish my view of my favorite greedy, fun, big hair, more, more, more decade. So instead, let’s focus on the good duets and the re-emergence of Skylar as a serious contender for the crown as I rank tonight’s performances:
American Idol Performance Rankings 4/4/12:
1. Skylar: like the judges I was worried when Skylar said she was singing Bette Midler’s Grammy winning # 1 smash from 1989 “Wind Beneath My Wings”, but she quickly brushed those concerns aside with her best performance to date. Her vocals were glorious. Her emotion was true and she even made me tear up. I loved the country spin on the record too. Skylar is back ya’ll!
2. Joshua: keeping up his momentum, Joshua slayed Simply Red’s # 1 hit from 1989 “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”. He really connected to the song and made it his own, as they say. This was my favorite Mantasia performance in weeks.
3. Jessica: my favorite gave another solid interpretation on Whitney’s Houston’s fun frolicking # 1 hit form 1985 “How Will I Know”. The song fit her perfectly and it showcased her vocals and her youth. At 16, this girl is a seasoned pro, but she still can have a lot of fun. Loved it.
4. Colton: also delivering a good spin on a #1 hit was Colton with his rocking and aching version of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” from 1984. I really enjoyed this take on the song that Colton fairly admitted was derived from a rearrangement by some group I’d never heard of. Loved the blond hair too.
5. Deandre: I was worried about him going first and taking on a pretty obscure song, but Deandre totally sold me on Debarge’s # 31 hit from 1983 “I Like It”. It was a solid effort, but was it enough?
6. Hollie: I like this girl a lot and I looooove the fact that she took on one of my favorite songs of all time, Irene Cara’s 1983 Oscar-winning # 1 anthem from Flashdance, “What A Feeling”. However, she stumbled in parts and had some pitch issues. I’m really worried for her because moments of the song were quite good. Unfortunately, Hollie needed to really hit it out of the park to be safe this week, so she is in trouble.
7. Elise: Last week, she destroyed the competition. This week she got destroyed by her song choice. Unfortunately, our blues rock girl (and eldest contestant) was super pitchy throughout her take on Foreigner’s # 1 from 1984 “I Want to Know What Love Is”. The song got better towards the end, but all the momentum she built up from last week may be lost now…
8. Philip: bet you thought you’d never see this growling Joe Cocker/Dave Matthews hybrid so low on the list, did ya? … Well, he absolutely deserves to be here after his atrocious, forced, disconnected and totally bad take on Genesis’ “That’s All” which was a # 6 hit in 1983. Sorry, Phillip, nothing about that worked. You may have lost your “top guy” status to Colton after that one.
And the duets….
1. Jessica/Joshua: holy heck, raise the roof for that amazing take on Aretha Franklin & George Michael’s # 1 hit from 1987 “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me”. Talk about a power couple. That was amazing. It had me on my feet and I watched it twice. I kinda want to see them fight it out in the finale now!
2. Elise/Phillip: making up for their poor solos, these two delivered quite a good version of the Stevie Nicks/Tom Petty ballad “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”, a # 3 hit from 1981. While they needed more chemistry, their voices melded wonderfully and it was the perfect song for them.
3. Skylar/Colton: this odd pairing actually worked really well on a sweet and beautiful version of “Islands in the Stream” which hit # 1 in 1983 for Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. While they didn’t have much chemistry either, they were super cute and sounded great.
4. Hollie/Deandre: it’s kind of sad that this good pairing finds itself at the bottom of the duets ranks because it was well done too. The two delivered an assured version of The Pointer Sister’s # 9 hit from 1984 “I’m So Excited”. It’s just unfortunate that this fun performance got so overshadowed by their peers.
And now for the predictions….
Bottom 3: Elise, Hollie, Deandre
Bottom 2: Elise, Hollie
Going Home: Hollie (in a squeaker… I think Elise may have some good will left from last week to save her).
So, it looks like a girl may be heading home this week. If I had my way, I’d say buh bye to Phillip, but I know that ain’t gonna happen. But will it be Hollie or Elise? Or will the judges whip out the “Save”? Find out tomorrow night on the results show which will also bring back season 5 country cutie Kellie Pickler.