American Idol 2012 Recap of the Top 8 Performances on April 4, 2012
Credit: Michael Becker/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co.    

American Idol

American Idol 2012 Recap of the Top 8 Performances on April 4, 2012

Tonight’s episode opens up with a dramatic montage set to Mr. Mister’s “Broken Wings,” reminding us of how last week Heejun Han went home and it was totally sad, and now there are only eight contestants left, and they all want to win.

Tonight, Jimmy Iovine has Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal from No Doubt to help him mentor the contestants, and the Top Eight will be telling us what they miss the most from home. We’ll also be getting guy/girl duets. Sounds exciting! Let’s do this.

Jessica Sanchez, “How Will I Know?”: Jessica misses doing normal teenager stuff like singing to boxes (huh?) and painting her nails. Jessica also has an alter ego named BB Chez, who came out last week and she hopes will come out again tonight. Last time Jessica did an uptempo song it was kind of a mess, but this is a definite improvement. She’s still obviously better on ballads, but we’re no longer doubting she’s capable of going uptempo. And she sounds fab, duh! “That’s two powerhouse vocals in a row... your vocals just make everything go away for me,” Jen says. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you sing where I can judge you, everything you do is beautiful,” Steven says. “You did an amazing job, those are some big shoes to fill,” Randy says.

Elise and Phillip, “Stop Dragging My Heart Around”: Yay, this is a way less silly song than the first two duets. Phillip and Elise actually sound pretty great together, but poor Phillip is so awkward without his guitar! This was a perfect song for the two of them, and it’s definitely the best duet of the evening so far. “Elise, welcome back baby, that was hot... both of you very nice,” Randy says. Jen says something nonsensical about wanting to be them and feeling like they were in love even though she knows they’re not and thanks them. “A Tom Petty moment wrapped up in Elise and Phillip... it was beautiful,” Steven says.

Hollie Cavanagh, “What a Feeling”: Hollie misses her family and friends and her puppy, and was starstruck by Gwen Stefani. (So are we!) Hollie’s dress is REALLY fringe-y, wow. There’s an issue with one of the instruments, so Ryan makes small talk with her for a few minutes until they’re ready. Hmm, we’re not so sure about this. Hollie’s kind of shouty, and while she moves well, she seems to have lost any emotional connection to the lyrics. Not our favorite performance of hers. “Girl... your pitch was all over the place, I’m so sorry to tell you,” Steven says. “You’re listening to what everybody’s telling you, and I see that... at the end of the day you do have to let it go... you have to forget what everybody tells you once you get up there,” Jen says.

DeAndre Brackensick, “I Like It”: DeAndre misses his car. Like, really a lot. Gwen wants him to work on his confidence. He’s like “I’m 17, what do you want from me?” DeAndre starts his performance sitting in the audience, which should give you an idea of the sort of performance we’re dealing with. It’s competent, but cheesy. There’s hair-flipping and a lot of bopping around, and of course his signature falsetto. If you like DeAndre, you probably love it. “I like it, I like it a lot... you had the crowd going, you sounded amazing, great start to the show,” Jennifer Lopez says. “Totally captivating, I forgot where I was,” Steven Tyler says.

Jessica and Joshua, “I Knew You Were Waiting For Me”: This is another song choice that actually makes sense, hooray! They both look fantastic and they probably have the most chemistry of any of the pairs we’ve seen, plus they can both really sing, so they sound terrific. Super fun performance from two outstanding vocalists, and a standing ovation from the judges. “Two of the greatest singers to ever hit this competition,” Randy says. “I’m like... Final? Maybe? I don’t know?” Jen says. “That performance was so over the top it defies judging,” Steven says.

Colton Dixon, “Time After Time”: Colton misses being home and his job as a professional face-painter. Huh. This arrangement is a little strange — it sounds good, but it sort of takes all the vulnerability of the song away. He sounds excellent, though — it’s a smart choice for him. “You could do a record right now, you nailed it,” Steven says, giving props to the drummer. “You were in sync with the band... I felt so many different things as I was watching that, it was a journey,” Jen says. Randy puts Colton with Joshua and Phillip as being great at making songs his own. Ryan makes a crack about Colton’s new hair, and Colton volunteers that the arrangement he used was by a band called Quiet Drive. Good move — there have been assorted Covergates in the past; don’t get caught up in that, Colton!

Elise Testone, “I Wanna Know What Love Is”: Elise misses “rocking it out” with her band. There’s a funny moment when Tony tells Elise that he and Gwen both had goosebumps listening to her sing in rehearsal, and Gwen goes “they’re called goosies on this show” completely deadpan, and Tony says “oh, they are?” and it’s adorable. ANYWAY! Elise starts out kind of rough, ouch. She looks really good in a one-shouldered top, but this performance doesn’t come anywhere close to last week. Elise could be in trouble this week. “I love your style, I love your voice, I’m not sure if that song was the right choice for you tonight, baby,” Steven says. “It wasn’t totally right, every single moment, but you still sounded beautiful to me,” Jen says. “What technically happened for you was you never quite hit the pitch right... it was not your greatest performance,” Randy Jackson says.

Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine, “Islands in the Stream”: Oh jeez, this song is so corny! Also, Colton’s mostly blond now. It’s an upgrade from the skunk hair. The duet is fine. They don’t have much chemistry, but they sound decent and they’re both cute as buttons, so whatever! “I loved that,” Randy says. “It was beautiful,” Jen says. “Match made in heaven,” Steven says.

Phillip Phillips, “That’s All”: Phillip misses jamming with his brother, so he’s having him come play guitar for him this week. Phillip’s kind of a mess in rehearsal, but Gwen thinks he’ll get it together in time for the show. Which he does! It’s his usual hot growly Dave Matthews thing, which we’re super into, so we have no complaints! Neither does the crowd, which gives him quite the round of applause. “You’re just a wildflower, aren’t you... I love your individuality,” Steven says. “Towards the end you brought it home and you were the Phillip that we love,” Jen says, noting that he’d seemed a little off in the beginning. “I love the whole brotherly love thing,” Randy says.

Skylar Laine, “Wind Beneath My Wings”: Sklyar misses her gun. No, really. Her gun! Taking on Bette Midler, huh? Bold move, country gal. And a good move, it turns out — she sounds incredible. It turns out that this totally works as a country song. Also, it’s worth mentioning that she’s looking gorgeous in a deep pink dress and her usual gigantic earrings. Standing O from the judges! “Wow, wow, wow... I think this is your best performance on the show to date,” Randy says. “You know what you just said to America with that performance? ‘Do not count me out’,” Jen says. “That’s the best song you could’ve picked for your voice and the end of the night,” Steven says.

Hollie Cavanagh and DeAndre, “I’m So Excited”: What’s with these cheesetastic songs for the duets? Not everything from the ‘80s was ridiculous! Anyway, there’s lots of synchronized step-touching, and they’re both in black and white, and Hollie’s hair is curled and we can only assume it’s to make them match better. It’s cute. Hollie’s better on an uptempo song than we would’ve expected. “That was a beautiful duet, man,” Steven says. “It was amazing, together you guys sounded great,” Jen says. “Very, very, very, very nice,” Randy says.

Joshua Ledet, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”: Joshua misses his family, of which he’s the youngest member. The performance starts with a choir all criss-crossing on the stage before Joshua makes a dramatic entrance through the big screen in the back. This is a really good song choice for Joshua. He goes kind of crazy by the end, but he makes it work, and he sounds amazing, as usual. He gets the first standing ovation of the night from the judges! “Ask and ye shall receive... we asked for a powerhouse performance and that’s what we got,” Jen says. “It wasn’t too much over the top, and it was over the top, so it was just perfect,” Steven says. “It’s very rare I want to stand up from beginning to end, that’s how good that was,” Randy says.

And that’s it! Man, there were a lot of performances packed into that show! Who do you think will be in trouble tomorrow? Our guess is that we’ll have a DeAndre, Elise, and Hollie Bottom 3. Do you agree? Who was your favorite tonight? Let us know?

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04.5.2012 / 10:55 AM EDT by Tracy Fusaro
Related: American Idol, Recaps

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