American Idol 11: Top 8 Perform

Tonight it’s songs of the 1980’s night here on American Idol, with two members of No Doubt mentoring (Gwen Stefani and some random dude).

DeAndre Brackensick leads off the night, he misses driving apparently. He’s doing “I Like It” by El Debarge. He’s literally seated in the crowd to start off before walking onstage and doing his falsetto thing. At least it’s not all falsetto this week, he’s mixing up his tone, kinda showing off some soul during the chant-like chorus parts, before doing a little falsetto scatting towards the end. Pretty good actually. JLo says she likes it, she likes it a lot. Steven Tyler says he was captivated and he owned his voice. Randy Jackson liked that he used more of his natural voice and not just his falsetto (I agree Randy).

Elise Testone is next, she misses her band and hometown Charleston. She’ll be doing “Hallelujah” by Leornard Cohen or maybe “I Want to Know What Love is by Foreigner”. She goes with Foreigner. Starts if off slow and sultry before slowly building it up to the big 80’s style chorus. She’s working well with the background singers, giving the song a little rasp and power in the bridge section, making each one bigger than the one before. Weird pause in the arrangement before the ending set of the chorus. Steven isn’t sure that was the right song but he likes her voice. Jennifer Lopez says she has a powerhouse voice but it wasn’t right every single moment. Randy says tough song and it was pitchy the whole song.

Phillip Phillips is doing “That’s All” by Genesis. It’s totally off in the mentoring session. Gwen likes him though. He’s rocking the acoustic guitar this week with his brother up there playing guitar. Got the growl going on a bit and there’s the Dave Mathews thing… not just the voice, the way he holds his guitar and his movements on stage. Pretty interesting version of the song Phillip, it sounds a bit angrier than the pure pop Phil Collins vocal. Good performance, as all of his are. Steven says he’s great. JLo didn’t really like the beginning but dug the end. Randy loved it.

Joshua Ledet follows up with “If You Don’t Me By Now” by Simply Red. Wow. Big song that’s right up his alley. It starts off with a chorus of singers before they part for him to come in slowly and powerfully. The song showcases his huge voice with a gospel tinge- preach it Joshua, preach it. His suit jacket is a ridiculous pattern, btw, like pajamas. There he goes, going off falsetto, screaming, up and down, all over the place- super solid, vocal dynamics zoom around the room baby. JLo says that was a powerhouse performance, she likes how he held back in the beginning. Steven says he’s unreal, how he can sing like that at his age. Randy says he wanted to stand up from beginning to end, he sang it.

Jessica Sanchez misses her room and singing to boxes? She’s doing “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston. She’s giving a power pop performance here, holding back bouncing around the stage, showing off her huge voice. She’s very expressive on stage and looks like she’s having a great time. JLo says she’s a little girl and a women at the same time, she can’t believe the huge voice coming from a little body. Steven says her voice is fantastic. Randy says she had big shoes to fill with Whitney and it was just effortless and mature.

Hollie Cavanagh misses her puppy, aaaah. She’s singing “What a Feeling” from Flashdance. She’s very controlled in the slower intro here, singing along with the keytar before blasting off into 2nd gear with the big What a Feeling chorus. She’s building it up and holding onto some big notes. Decent but missing something or other, just sounds kinda off somehow. Steven says her pitch was off until the end. JLo says stop listening to everyone and just do your thing and let go when you get onstage. Randy concurs, she has talent but just needs to stop thinking so much and just feel it.

Colton Dixon misses his face painting business at home. He’s singing Cyndi Lauper’s “Time after Time”. Flipping gender on the song almost always works well. He’s speeding it up a bit and rocking it, punk style a bit. His voice is so good that he can pull this off. He’s totally made the song his. Just give this guy the record contract right now. Drum and vocal breakdown section- this shit is so hot. So hot. Put that version on the radio right now. Steven Tyler says he can do a record right now (I just said that dude). JLo says he was in sync with the band and she really like it, it was like a journey. Randy says he made the song his own, he’s so current.

Skylar Laine is doing Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” or Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath my Wings”. She chooses the latter. And it’s a good choice for her to mix it up a bit from the barrage of high energy country she does every week. She’s putting a slow country twang on the song, really showing off her voice which is surprisingly good. She can actually hit some big ol’ notes here. Wow. A whole new side of Sklyar Laine and it’s good! Well deserved standing ovation. JLo is in tears. Randy says wow, her best performance to date. JLo says she showed America that she can sing that way and don’t count her out. Steven is with them on that.

Some really strong performances this week, again but a few weak ones that make it easy to choose the worst. The bottom two are clearly Elise Testone and Hollie Cavanagh and I think it’s Hollie’s turn to hit the road this week.

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