Nice little American Idol tribute to Dick Clark, courtesy of Ryan Seacrest. Two songs tonight for each singer. The contestants are doing one recent song and a soul song from back in the day.
Hollie Cavanagh is leading off with Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” It’s a pretty strong number for her, showcasing long soaring vocals that Hollie can pull off. She seems a little less robotic this week but not totally. Steven says he can’t judge it, too perfect. JLo says she felt every word of it. Randy says it was close to perfect and she actually had feeling and emotion this week.
Colton Dixon is doing Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”. He comes out in a long tailed suit jacket, rocking a punky version of the song with an all female band. The chorus shows off his voice, the rest is pretty rocking, interesting version of the song, solid performance. Randy Jackson, says it wasn’t his greatest but he still loved it and love the interpretation. JLo didn’t like the low parts but even so it didn’t matter because he has so much character in his voice. Steven Tyler like the outfit, the band and the song.
Elise Testone is doing “No One” by Alicia Keys. She’s onstage in a sultry flowing dress with the fans blowing on her. Pretty good performance, not especially memorable but good. Nothing wrong with it but nothing so right about it. JLo says she needs to smile more but she liked it. Steven wishes she had a better chorus but she sang her butt off. Randy liked how she stayed with the melody and great restraint.
Phillip Phillips is doing an Usher song, odd choice. Phillip’s got his acoustic guitar tonight, kinda slow for him, sounding totally different than his usual high energy thing although he is bringing good energy to the song and making weird faces. Standing ovation from the judges. Steven says he’s got melody now and you never know what you’re going to get. JLo says it was so sexy and likes what he did with the song, showing his versatility. Randy says they have a true artist on the stage tonight, he’s original and himself.
Jessica Sanchez, last week’s judges save, has to save herself with Alicia Keys’ “Fallin” this week. Weird floating red umbrellas on stage. She’s showing off her power with this song, really putting extra oomph into this one. Great job. Steven Tyler says she has enough talent to get mad at a song and she unleashed the passion. Jennifer Lopez is glad they used the save, great job. Randy says she has otherworldly talent.
Sklyar Laine is closing out the first round with Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” (the country version). Skylar’s doing her high powered country thing, just another great performance. JLo loved that version of the song, perfect song for her. Steven says she’s giving all the girls in this competition a run for their money. Randy says she has crossover appeal, country and rock.
Joshua Ledet is doing Fantasia’s “I Believe”. Slow and soulful he starts off before the big build of the chorus. Just solid power to his voice, huge energy. Randy says he’s one of the most gifted singers they’ve ever had on the show and he showed great restraint tonight. JLo says he gives all of him every time, amazing.
Now we’re doing the Soul Train tribute part of the show.
Hollie Cavanagh is giving us a little “Son of a Preacher Man”. Wow she actually looks human and full of life and personality for this one. She’s clearly got the voice for this thing but now she’s got the performing ability. Probably her best one yet. Randy Jackson says she worked it out. JLo thought it was better than the first song even, and she’s showing a new composure. Steven Tyler wants her to push it over the top.
Colton Dixon’s second song is a really unusual version of September by Earth Wind and Fire. It sounds so different, almost unrecognizable but in a good way. It’s very electronica sounding almost but showing off his voice really well. Wow. Weird in a good way. Steven Tyler didn’t think it was the right song, his voice has more power than the song. JLo kinda agrees, he sounded good but not the perfect performance for him. Randy didn’t think it was as exciting as they would have like it to be.
Elise Testone is doing “Let’s Get It On”. Her voice is so raspy and sultry, this is good for her; well except for the little screech in the middle there. It’s good but it’s missing something that I can’t quite put my finger on. JLo would like to see more emotion from her. Randy says that song choice wasn’t right for her voice, she oversang it.
Phillip Phillips follows up with Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour”. No guitar for this song. This one is pretty appropriate for his voice, he’s dancing around, adding some nice flourishes there vocally. High energy, as usual. Randy says he took his time, let the song breath, and really felt it. JLo said it had feeling and soul, it was spontaneous. Steven Tyler says it was brilliantly awkward.
Jessica Sanchez doing Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness”. Right off the bat, I’m not sure if this song is right for her, she’s just putting too much into it. Let the song breath a bit, girl. She’s trying to do a gritty thing and it’s strong but just not working at all for me. Maybe a little bit at the end. Steven likes that she’s stepping out. JLo says the vocal ability is great she need to connect with the performance. Randy agrees she needs to connect with the lyrics and have more emotion.
Skylar Laine’s second song is “Heard it Through the Grapevine”. She’s country-fying it in an interesting way. Different arrangement here, that shows off her voice more than her typical type of song that she does, especially on the chorus. Really well done. Randy says she has no problem connecting, every time she’s on stage it’s a party. JLo loves her spunkiness, great job. Steven Tyler says she’s a wild horse that refuses to be tamed.
Joshua Ledet is doing “A Change is Gonna Come”. Oh geez, if anyone’s going to knock a soul song out of the park, this is Josh’s week to lose. Starts slow before he starts going off a bit on the “change” part. Surprisingly restrained for him but good. Steven says he’s done it again. JLo says it’s how he sings, he held back and let it go, maybe held back too much? Randy Jackson says it was the perfect song for him, he took his time, totally stellar.
Tough to choose the weakest this week but we’re going to predict Elise Testone, Colton Dixon and Jessica Sanchez (again) in the bottom three and it looks like the end of the road for Elise.