American Idol Quick Wrap 4/18/12~ The Top Seven of Season 11…. Again

After last week’s shocker almost-elimination of the season’s best vocalist and my favorite, Jessica Sanchez, it was clear tonight that all bets are off. Practically all the contestants stepped up their game or stepped out of their boxes. Luckily only one of them stepped in “it”, but it’s clear he ain’t goin’ home anytime soon. (More on Colton later…) So, it’s time to count down this week’s double dose of American Idol performances as the singers took on # 1 hits from the last decade and “Soul Classics”. Let’s see who did what and who just might hang on another week…

American Idol Season 11 Top 7 Performance Rankings 4/18/12

# 1 Hits from the Last Decade:
~ the great
1. Hollie: Um, hello, Hollie took on the Adele beast and she actually slayed it. Not only did she give her best performance to date on last year’s Grammy winning smash “Rolling in the Deep”, but she also made it her own. The opening a capella was brilliant and she was confident and composed throughout. She also finally let go. Great performance!
2. Skylar: maybe some people thought Lady Gaga’s country version of her 2010 # 1 “Born This Way” was a little odd, but in Skylar Laine’s capable hands, it was simply fantastic. This girl is a born performer and she owned this number. Plus, let’s be honest, she brings so much energy, joy and ferocious presence to the stage you can’t help but love her every time. It’s hard not to think of the finale without her at this point.
3. Joshua: Mantasia was totally inhabiting Fantasia on her chart topping Idol coronation song from 2004, and I loved it. The song fit him like a glove and his gospel-riffic performance was roof-raising without being cloying or copycat. Another good one from Mr. Ledet.
4. Jessica: taking on the song that has probably been sung more on Idol than any other, our new underdog fought hard and gave what I consider the best performance of the song on this show to date. Singing Alicia Keyes’ 2000 # 1 “Fallin'”, Jessica’s vocals were predictably glorious, but she also dug deep and really interpreted the song. This girl really should never have even been in the bottom three. I mean come on America!
~ the really good
5. Elise: it’s crazy that Elise’s lovely, charismatic and beautiful interpretation of Keyes’ 2007 Grammy winning chart topper is all the way down in 5th place. That just goes to show how good the top five songs in this genre were tonight. Elise’s vocals were great and she really communicated the song like the seasoned pro she is. Well done.
~ and now for the two clunkers
6. Colton: sorry, this rocking re-interpretation of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” from 2009 was just kind of weird. He was a little pitchy in parts and the arrangement never quite felt right. What was worse was that Colton was never convincing for one moment throughout the song. It was a bad way for him to start the night… and it only got worse for him from there…
7. Phillip: I have no idea why the judges gave that piece of crap performance a standing ovation. Poor Phillip utterly decimated Usher’s “U Got It Bad” from 2001. He stripped it of any meaning, growled like usual and just turned it into another unnecessary Dave Matthews Band knockoff. Blech.

Soul Classics
~ the great
1. Jessica: holy crap was that a fantastic interpretation of Otis Redding’s 1966 hit “Try a Little Tenderness”. Jessica sang the you know what out of it, had fun doing it and really fought for her place in this race. Outstanding.
~ the good
2. Phillip: ok, on this number I could see what ya’ll love about Mr. Growly Pants. When he smiles and the song fits him and he’s not screaming, he is incredibly charming. This performance of Wilson Pickett’s 1965 classic “In the Midnight Hour” was sublimely entertaining and the song fit his limited vocal range perfectly. It was his best effort in ages.
3. Hollie: um, hello Hollie delivered on both of her numbers this evening This little belter was letting us have it tonight and I loved it. She totally won me over on Dusty Springfield’s # 10 hit from 1968 “Son of a Preacher Man.”
4. Skylar: while it wasn’t a perfect fit for her, Skylar, none the less, sold the heck out of her version of Marvin Gaye’s # 1 smash from 1968 “I Heard it through the Grapevine”. She’s so good and so genuine that she can pretty much sing anything and make it feel like a Skylar Laine original. Another solid effort.
~the pretty good
5. Joshua: while nowhere near the brilliant version Adam Lambert did in season 8, Joshua’s take on Sam Cooke’s civil rights anthem from 1965 “A Change is Gonna Come” was quite assured. His voice sounded wonderful as usual, but did it feel like more of the same from Mr. Ledet or was it me?
~ the ok
6. Elise: unfortunately Elise’s perfectly passable version of Marvin Gaye’s 1973 # 1 classic “Let’s Get it On” fell short in comparison to her competitors other efforts tonight. Her vocals were fine and she seemed to be having a pretty good time singing it. However, it was a tad forgettable when all was said and done.
~ the atrocious
7. Colton: sorry even Colton’s precious Jesus would’ve hated skinny leg boy’s awful reinvention of Earth Wind and Fire’s # 8 hit from 1978 “September”. He basically turned the soul song into an anemic, pitchy and tuneless mess version of One Republic’s “Apologize” and completely stripped it of any soul whatsoever . While I give the guy credit for taking a page out of the David Cook/Adam Lambert playbook by taking serious risk, unfortunately this one tanked…. And it tanked big time.

Predictions~
Bottom 3: Elise, Joshua, Hollie (but Jessica and Colton might show up here too… things are getting crazy this season!)
Bottom 2: Elise, Joshua
Going Home: Elise

So according to my crazy tea leaves, it looks like Elise Testone’s roller coaster American Idol journey may finally be coming to an end tomorrow. But as you might guess, my predictions haven’t been to spot on this season, lol. So, will she last another week? Will Colton finally make a (very deserving) appearance in the bottom three? Did Jessica galvanize her fan base or did Hollie steal her voters? Find out tomorrow night on American Idol.

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