American Idol 11: Top 12 Perform

Ryan Seacrest starts off the show with a bombshell! Someone had previously gotten in trouble with the law and will have to be eliminated on the spot! Ouch. Who is it? Contestants are doing songs from the year they were born.

Phillip Phillips is up first doing Hard to Handle from 1990. Oh and he has to go to the hospital for a kidney stone operation. He sings for Will.I.Am and then heads off to surgery. Well he’s ok enough to perform and he’s out, no guitar tonight. Good song for him, in his vibe with the Southern rock thing going on, and he doesn’t sound so much like Dave Mathews tonight. High energy performance, pretty good. Randy says that was a great type of song for him. JLo loved it. Steven says he picked a song that matched his voice and character.

Jessica Sanchez, who was born in 1995 (wow ’95, they are getting younger and younger, wow) will be singing Gloria Estefan’s Turn the Beat Around. Will.I.Am calls her a swaggernaut. She comes out in sparkle pants, giving the song big soaring vocals over the background singers, even way more than the original. Flute solo? Uhmmm. She’s doing the fast vocals part well, pauses for a breakdown, and rocks out the ending with a huge vocal. Not bad, kinda weird. Steven says she strayed a little too far from her strength which is ballads. JLo said the bravado made her lose a little energy on this one. Randy said not the best song choice.

Heejun Han up now with a song from 1989- Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx. Good song for him. Softly soaring slowly, he adds his own little flourish to the end of some lines, while singing from the heart. Really strong performance, exactly the type of song he should be singing, the way he should be singing. Randy says it was pitchy all over the place and it felt like he was out of breath and the wrong type of song (I disagree Randy). JLo felt him struggling but it was really beautiful. Steven Tyler kinda agrees with both of them.

Elise Testone will be singing something from 1993- Let’s Stay Together. She’s on a stool with just the piano starting it off slow before the whole band joins in. She’s got the husky throaty voice that just sounds like a wedding singer. I don’t know about this one but everyone seems to be digging it. Better than last week for sure. Steven likes the rasp, loves her voice. Jennifer says it was right and from the heart. RJ says Elise is back.

Deandre Brackensick is up next singing from 1994- Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”. Jimmy Iovine and Will.I.Am question that choice, he switches to Endless Love instead. He’s got his big hair down and in a white suit looking right into the camera. Sweetly singing, dropping into a falsetto at points. The crowd goes crazy for him. Jennifer Lopez says he sang that beautifully but it wasn’t really the right song. ST agrees, as does Randy Jackson.

The pride of Tampa Florida Shannon Magrane is singing from 1995- One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey. They’ve got her out on stage in a cloud of low smoke with a giant screen showing fields of wheat or something behind her. She seems like she’s a bit under this song, maybe not mixed right or something. It’s a bit underwhelming for some reason, maybe too restrained. JLo was impressed. ST says she sings her best when she doesn’t try so hard. Randy said it was a huge song and she did alright.

Colton Dixon is singing from 1991-Broken Heart by White Lion. The band doesn’t even know this one, Jimmy says strip it down to just piano. Heavy metal ballad, this could be good for Colton. He is rocking out, full band and everything. He looks and feels like a true leader of a band out there. He’s made it his own (ok maybe because I don’t know the song). JLo liked it and says he looks pretty when he sings. Steven didn’t like the song choice. Randy says the song didn’t matter, he performed it dope.

Erika Van Pelt will be doing Bryan Adam’s Heaven. Good song. Wow cool effect, they have a giant staircase on the video screen behind her. Eeeh, I’m easily amused. She’s putting a nice touch to the song, changing the gender on songs always works well. It’s showing off her voice, she totally reminds me of Heart. Very good performance. Steven says she was too busy with the song. Jennifer rambles on about how she looks. Randy liked it, said 8 out of 10.

Uh-oh, now they’re showing Jermaine Jones brought into the American Idol producer’s office. They said he was charged twice criminally but gave fake names both times. They said he has four outstanding warrants against him. They have to let him go- off the show. Seacrest says they’re still sending someone home tomorrow. Hmm.

Skylar Laine was born in 1994 and will be singing Bonnie Raitt’s Love Sneaking Up on You. The mentors give her some other (better) choices, including Coolio. She sticks to her guns though. It kind of reminds me of all the other songs she’s done, high energy country. JLo says she killed it, didn’t like that the song had not much of a chorus. Randy said it didn’t matter about the song, you rocked it.

Joshua Ledet, born in 1992 will be singing Michael Bolton’s When a Man Loves a Woman. This song is right in his wheelhouse. He’s got the soul and the voice to do it justice and he does. He even gives us a little jacket stripping in the middle of the song; preach it dude, preach it. The crowd goes crazy, the judges go crazy. Randy says he blew it out the block, he regulated, incredible on every level. JLo calls it the best thing she’s ever seen on American Idol.

Closing out the night is Hollie Cavanagh singing 1993’s Power of Love by Celine Dion. Big song, but she doesn’t want to play it safe. Wow she’s pretty much pulling it off here, holding onto those big long notes, really doing the song justice. Very powerful. JLo says they saved the best for last. Steven says it was a little pitchy but just great overall. Randy says she blew it out the box.

We’re going with a bottom three prediction of Deandre, Shannon Magrane and Skylar Laine. If we had to choose, I’d say Shannon is going home. She’s got a great voice but she’s kinda boring.

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