Well, thank goodness Uncle Nigel (Idol Exec. Producer Nigel Lythgoe) listened to the fans and gave us a current theme for once because tonight American Idol took on the songs from this decade and it was fantastic. With only 2 and 1/3 years of material to choose from, it could have gone either way. However, this years incredibly talented top 7 (the best top 7 ever???) did a wonderful job on these modern hits. (Well most of them anyway). It was perhaps the best performance show ever, and definitely of the season. So, just who stood out the most and who fell short? Take a look at my rankings and predictions below.
American Idol Season 11 Top 7 Performance Rankings~ 4/11/12
~ The Great
1. Jessica: our youngest competitor is also perhaps our most savvy. She knocks it out of the park every week no matter the genre (hello shades of Kelly Clarkson). And this week, she does a song that was a minor R&B hit for Jazmine Sullivan, but damn if she didn’t make me run to iTunes and buy her version of “Stuttering” as soon as the show ended. This girl is a superstar, a hit maker, and a brilliant vocalist. And how about that outfit? Girl better win this thing!
2. Joshua: Mantasia got a shout out from Fantasia even before he performed Bruno Mars’ “Runaway Baby, but he certainly earned it. It was another flawless vocal and an incredibly enthusiastic and energetic performance. He is a born entertainer and the best guy in the competition by a mile.
3. Skylar: keeping up her momentum from last week, our country spitfire gave a blazing performance on former Idol Kellie Pickler’s hit ballad from 2010 “Didn’t You Know How Much I Love You”. I dare say it improved on the original. Her emotion and intonation were perfect, and hello, she played the guitar too! Skylar is a fierce competitor, not to mention a great singer. She is soooo getting a record deal regardless of where she places when all is said and done this season.
4. Elise: improving ten fold from last week, Elise delivered a soaring version of Lady Gaga’s top ten smash from last year, “You and I”. While it wasn’t as good as Haley Reinhart’s incredible performance of the song from last year, it was still fantastic. I especially loved the beginning with just Elise and the piano. I sure hope the audience embraces her again and keeps her in the race.
~ the good
5. Hollie: I don’t know what the judges were babbling about because Hollie did a wonderful job on Pink’s Grammy nominated top ten smash from last year “Perfect”. It was her best performance since Whitney Houston week when the finals began. Her vocals sounded wonderful and she had more confidence than she’s had in ages. I just wish she had connected a tad more to the lyrics. All in all, it was a job well done. But was it enough to keep her in the game? I’m not sure.
6. Colton: I’m a little surprised I have him ranked so low because I really liked his performance of Skylar Grey’s “Love the Way You Lie”. (You probably know the Grammy winning # 1 hit version of the song by Rihanna and Eminem by the way). He was vulnerable and gave a really strong spin on the song. In fact, it probably would be a great recording for him. The only drawback is that it became a little forgettable compared to the others tonight.
~ the blah
7. Phillip: oh dear, sweet Southern charmer Phillip… Why oh why must you turn every song into a Dave Matthews track? J Lo was dead on when she said she’d seen that performance before. Um, hello, because he does pretty much the same thing week after week. And his take on Maroon 5′s “Give A Little More” was nothing new and far inferior to the original. If there was any justice, his growling on the show would come to an end tomorrow night. Sorry people, he’s a great guy, but that aint gonna cut it anymore.
The Duets/Group Numbers:
1. Joshua/Jessica/Hollie: despite a little shaky start, this trio sold the crap out of Kelly Clarkson’s recent # 1 smash “Stronger”. Their big powerhouse vocals fit the song well, and I wasn’t sure if Joshua could do a pop anthem. However, he totally did. In fact, I agree with Randy that he may have stolen the number from the ladies.
2. Colton/Skylar: I’m not sure why the judges didn’t love this. It was a wonderful interpretation of Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean’s ACM and CMA Award winning, Grammy nominated, # 1 country smash “Don’t You Wanna Stay”… No, it wasn’t as good as the original, but it was still pretty darn good. (It was also a whole lot better than the version Lauren and Scotty did last year).
3. Elise/Phillip: taking on Gotye & Kimbra’s current # 2 hit “Somebody that I Used to Know”, this duo did an admirable job. But let’s be honest, Elise did all the heavy lifting and totally served Phillip on the number. In his defense, it was out of his wheelhouse, but he didn’t need to look so uncomfortable throughout. That said, I kinda liked their spooky chemistry. Unfortunately, it paled compared to their great collaboration from last week.
Bottom 3: Hollie, Elise, Phillip (but Skylar and Colton might show up too)
Bottom 2: Hollie, Phillip
Going Home: Hollie (but it really should be Philip)
So, Idol producers, you better have taken notes tonight. Doing a current theme can work wonders for your show! And I bet your Idol download sales are probably soaring this week too…. Now, the question is how will America vote? Despite an improved performance, I still think Hollie is in big trouble. But will we see a surprise elimination instead? Or will the judges finally use their “Save”? Are we heading to a Joshua v. Jessica finale? Can Colton or Skylar break into the top two? Did Phillip finally make a misstep that could cost him big? Watch the results show tomorrow night and find out. And let me know your thoughts below.