American Idol 11: Top 5 Perform

Tonight’s theme is the 60’s and Brit Pop. Little Stevie is helping Jimmie Iovine mentor the contestants tonight.

Hollie Cavanagh is starting off the night with River Deep, Mountain High. She’s starting the song in the audience with a parade of instruments behind. It does have a mod 60’s feel I guess. This song is not right for her, she can’t do the low parts properly. Without the lows, there’s no highs. It feels like a showtune, but I just don’t feel like she has command of the stage. Kinda gets good at the end but I just don’t know about this one. Steven Tyler says she used the blues tonight, thank you. JLo liked that she lead the production around her, a different Hollie tonight. Randy Jackson loved it too.

Phillip Phillips is doing The Letter by the Box Tops. He’s putting his Phillip Philips thing onto this song, kinda funktifying it. He’s changing the phrasing a bit, ok a lot. It’s pretty good, sounds totally contemporary I think. Crowd goes bazonkers for this one. Randy says he made it his own, vibes it up, and made it new in a jambandy way. Jennifer Lopez doesn’t know the original song? really? she liked it though, says he’s a dynamic performer. Steven missed the melody but says he can get away with it.

Skylar Laine follows up and she’s singing Knock on Wood but Jimmy and Stevie say hell no how about Fortunate Son? That’s her energy. This is her song, arm raised, foot stomping rock with a country twinge. It’s an angry song and since she sings angry songs like it’s her fucking job, she’s killing it. She’s very expressive with the lyrics, gets the crowd into it at the end and just rocks it the hell out. Energy out the roof. Bam. Killed it. She is a performer 100%. JLo says she attacks every song and it’s so natural and she’s fearless. Steven says he loves when she boot scoots out there, he loved it. Randy says she was born to be on a stage.

Jessica Sanchez is doing Proud Mary. Little Stevie tries to talk her out of it but decides against that. She starts it off nice and slow as she steps through a giant beaded curtain before they step up the tempo and bring in the background dancers and singers. Bring in the big notes, Jessica’s hitting them all, including a big ol’ one at the end. The problem with her, and she’s good, is that her voice is so much bigger than she is, that on TV it looks like she’s lip syncing. JLo says she’s all grown up there and she did a little Tina Turner and Beyonce combo deal. Steven Tyler says she did it again, she brought the blues too. Randy thought it was just ok because the song was big but her voice kinda pulled it out but kinda not.

Joshua Ledet is going for The Temptations’ Ain’t Too Proud to Beg. Starts off with a bang, and he’s adding his vocal soul flourishes all over the place. This is right up his alley, he’s got the energy and the voice and the feeling. Little extra run at the end and stick a fork in this one, he’s done. Steven calls him one of the top 2 Idols of all time, he sings so fine and is on fire. JLo dug it. Randy says he can bring R&B back and he’s got a Terrence Trent D’Arby thing going on.

Brit Pop time now and Hollie is doing Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis. Odd choice maybe. She’s perched atop the piano, singing pretty well but she just kinda feels generic like 200 other American Idol contestants before her. She can do the big notes at the end but it just doesn’t have that feeling to it, it feels hollow and mechanical. Steven doesn’t know the song but she nailed it. JLo says there were some beautiful runs. Randy says it was unbelievable and she’s 2 for 2 tonight and she’s peaking at the right time.

Phillip Phillips is doing Time of the Season by The Zombies. He’s playing it pretty close to the original melody. He tries out a little falsetto on the chorus, which is kinda awkward and doesn’t really work. Other than that part, it’s pretty decent. Randy liked the relaxed subdued Phillip Phillips. JLo thought it was mellow and good job. Steven likes that he sang the melody and he sang it well.

Skylar’s second song is You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Dusty Springfield. She starts if off minimally accompanied singing sweetly before bringing us in country style with a big chorus. It’s pretty good, nice big run at the end. Short and to the point I guess. Randy thought it was flawless and amazing and transfixed. JLo says she’s winning over the hearts of America as we speak.

Jessica Sanchez’s second song will be You Are So Beautiful by Joe Cocker. She’s sitting on the ground onstage for this one? Nice and slow to start, really showcasing those pipes. She’s adding a touch of nuance and beauty to the vocals, kinda adding a little run at the end before holding the final note nicely. Good job. Steven Tyler says she showed America what a great singer she is. Jennifer Lopez says she captivated the audience, again. Randy says she’s top of the leader board for round two right now, unbelievable talent level.

Closing out the night is Joshua Ledet with the Bee Gees “To Love Somebody”. He’s building it up nice and slow, very restrained at the beginning before going the hell off on the chorus. Going the hell off, just taking his voice, here there and out the door and back like he’s walking on coals. Excellent. So patient and then explosive. Standing ovation from the judges. Randy says nobody can do it like that, one of the best ever on the show. Jennifer says he’s one of the best singers of the last 50 years (wow JLo!) Steven says he’s such a great artist.

It’s getting down the wire here and they’ve culled a lot of the bad out, so making our bottom three picks is more a matter of not who is bad but who isn’t as good as the others. I think Joshua Ledet and Skylar Laine both killed it tonight are safe. Phillip was decent and showed a little versatility, he’ll be bottom 3 but safe. That leaves Jessica and Hollie. I think it’s (way overdue) Hollie’s night to go home. She’s just not the performer that the others are. Jessica really isn’t either but she has the awesome voice to make up for that. Hollie is too robotic, still.

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