American Idol Quick Wrap 3/7/12~ Whitney, Stevie and the Idols Oh My!

After watching tonight’s first live competition show of American Idol season 11, I have to say I am very excited for this year. This is arguably one of the best top 13’s in the show’s history. It’s full of variety, personality and immense talent. In fact, as the boys took on the songs of Stevie Wonder and the girls sang the recently and dearly departed Whitney Houston‘s greatest, practically everyone did a decent job. Several singers soared to new heights (Hollie, Joshua, Skylar), one absolutely destroyed everyone (Jessica) and only one really tanked (that annoying pageant girl)…. So, just who did the best and who will be in danger tonight when the judges eliminate one person? (In a twist, the bottom girl and boy with these least votes will be revealed and the judges will choose who actually goes home). Well, let’s take a look at my rankings and predictions below.

American Idol Rankings 3/7/12:
~ the great ones
1. Jessica: holy crap, she attempted Whitney’s biggest and most iconic # 1 smash “I Will Always Love You” and absolutely nailed it. This girl has skills. She’s also humble and a great performer. She is the one to beat at this point and deservedly so. Love her!
2. Hollie: is Hollie the dark horse for the title? Well if the little girl with the big voice keeps blowing the roof off the joint with huge performances like tonight’s “All The Man That I Need”, she certainly will be a big threat to Jessica. And she’s so darn cute. Plus, she sang this audacious # 1 hit form 1990 with aplomb and I think she’s only going to grow each week. How awesome would a Jessica v. Hollie finale be by the way?
3. Skylar: well, hello country girl! I was worried when I heard Skylar was gonna sing Whitney’s big # 1 ballad “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” from 1988, but she put my fears aside very quickly. And then she surpassed all my expectations with a glorious second half to the song fusing wonderful emotion and fantastic notes. This girl is a big threat too.
4. Erika: my second favorite singer in the competition (after Jessica, but she is rising!) gave us a wonderful interpretation of Whitney’s # 4 hit from 1994 “I Believe in You and Me”. She took the song in a rock direction for the second half and it suited her sexy rasp incredibly well. I just love this girl and I highly recommend you check out the iTunes studio version of Erika’s performance. It is even better than her live one and by far the best of this week’s crop (even Jessica’s!)
5. Joshua: faring the best for the men tonight was Mantasia with a glorious take on Stevie’s “I Wish”. Joshua tore up the stage and took us to the heavens with his gospel meets rock performance. Who knew he could throw down like that? Well done!
~ the good ones
6. Colton: I was kinda shocked at how good Colton was on Stevie’s classic “Lately”. He really made the song his own and performed with true emotion and artistry. The second half was incredible.
7. Deandre: this kid is just plain cool. Hello, he did Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster” as a reggae R&B joint and it not only worked, but was great. He is so unique and has so much potential. I hope America gets him.
8. Phillip: bringing the house down with a rocking version of Wonder’s “Superstition”, Phillips gave another rousing performance that had the audience on its feet. He also impressed me more than he has all season. I’m still not a big fan of this talented guy (all the screaming and yelling and affectation are not my thing), but he is certainly trying to turn me around. Good job.
~ the ok ones
9. Heejun: this funny guy has a lovely voice as he proved yet again on Stevie’s “All is Fair in Love”. However, it was all kinds of boring. But he’s a fan favorite and could get better with different songs. How about something upbeat next time mister? … And one more note, this version paled in comparison to the amazing one Pia Toscano delivered last year… Just sayin’….
10. Elise: I really like Elise and her sexy growly voice. However, despite some good moments, she was definitely “boxing” with her song tonight as Randy said. Doing Whitney’s # 1 from 1990 “I’m Your Baby Tonight”, Elise never quite got in the rhythm of the track, but she still sang it pretty well. I wish she had chosen 1999’s “My Love is Your Love”. It would’ve been a perfect fit for her voice… Alas, she is in danger tonight…
11. Jeremy: while he sang better than Elise on “Ribbon in the Sky”, he was just soooo boring. This guy is a great guy with a lovely tone to his voice… but he’s just such a lackluster performer (when he’s not singing for his life that is… which he will probably do tonight).
12. Jermaine: this gentle giant delivered a nice but somewhat forgettable version of Stevie’s “Knocks Me off My Feet” which certainly didn’t knock me off my feet or my chair for that matter. His vocals were very good, but wow I think it was more boring than Jeremy! And that’s saying something.
~ the bad
13. Shannon: the pageant singer should’ve summoned some help from her precious Jesus because she plain stunk up the joint with a flat and off-key version of Houston’s # 4 from 1993 “I Have Nothing”. Sure, Shannon hit some notes ok, but overall, she got swallowed up by the big song and had absolutely no stage presence. Plus, she had no emotional connection to the song. She should’ve chose something she might relate to like “How Will I Know” and she wouldn’t be facing elimination like she deserves to on Thursday night.

Predictions~
Bottom 2 guys: Jeremy and Jermaine
Bottom 2 girls: Elise and Shannon

Bottom girl & guy: Jermaine & Shannon
Going home: Jermaine (unless Jeremy is the lowest male vote getter, then the judges will send him packing).

There are my rankings and predictions. What are yours? Do you think a guy has a chance of surviving another week? I sure don’t… And how great was it to see the judges actually doling out good critiques?And wasn’t Mary J. Blige a wonderful mentor? And how great is Ryan Seacrest’s hair this year? This season is shaping up to be so good!

Before I go, please enjoy Jessica Sanchez just killing it on “I Will Always Love You”

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