Hollie Cavanagh, “Bleeding Love”: So Hollie kicks off our Brit-Pop round with a little Leona Lewis. This is a smart song choice! It was a huge hit a few years ago — recently enough to be remembered but long enough ago for people to have recovered from its severe overplaying. Wow, this is actually really nice! It’s a prettily stripped-down piano version, and Hollie’s selling the hell out of it. She looks gorgeous, too, perched on the piano in a little black dress. “I loved it, I loved it, I loved it,” Steven says. “It had a very beautiful and intimate quality... that was amazing,” Jen says. “You’ve been the dark horse all season, and to me you’re two for two tonight... you’re peaking now at the right time,” Randy says.
It’s really hard to believe that we’re already down to the Top 5, isn’t it? It feels like the auditions just ended a couple of weeks ago, and yet, here we are ready to watch Phillip, Jessica, Joshua, Skylar, and Hollie battle it out for a spot in the Top 4. Tonight’s themes are the ‘60s and Brit Pop.
Hollie Cavanagh, “River Deep, Mountain High”: Remember when Santana and Mercedes KILLED this song on Glee? So awesome. Meanwhile, back on our show, Hollie looks amazing in a cute little sequined mod dress and has approximately 47 people on stage with her; a slew of dancing backup singers, a guy with bongo drums, a brass section, a strings section... it’s intense! Hollie’s showing a lot of life tonight — it’s not the best performance of this song ever, but she’s definitely pulling it off. “Hollie, that’s the first time I’ve really hard you step out and use your blues... that’s it, you just did it and you showed me you got it in you,” Steven Tyler says. “It was nice to see you surrounded by kind of a bigger production... I could feel you, I loved the energy,” Jennifer Lopez says. “I was like yo, she’s diggin’ in, she’s going in... very nice,” Randy Jackson says.
Phillip Phillips, “Time of the Season”: Remember Blake Lewis’s version of this song from Season 6? There was beatboxing! No beatboxing from Phillip, but this is sort of awkward. He rips his earpiece out after about four bars, and there’s a little bit of a nasal, Kermit the Frog voice happening on and off. It gets better once he gets through the first chorus, but it’s not great, and he looks pretty uncomfortable by the time he finishes. “I loved that... it was a lot less energy kind of vibe... I thought it was a nice performance,” Randy says. “You did a good job with it,” Jen says. “I’m glad you chose that song and I’m glad you sang the melody... you sang it really well, so good for you,” Steven says.
Phillip Phillips, “The Letter”: This song’s been done on Idol about a million times, but Phillip Dave Matthews Band’ed it up, so it definitely doesn’t feel like a repeat. It’s actually a terrific song choice for him, and he looks like he’s having a great time, unlike last week. “You made it new for me in your own sort of jam band-y way... I loved it, dude,” Randy says. “I don’t know the original song... you’re so compelling to watch, I wanna get up on my feet when you’re done, I wanna start clapping and applaud you,” Jen says. “The bad news is, I missed the melody, but the good news is you get away with it,” Steven says.
Hollie, Skylar, and Jessica, “Higher and Higher”: Okay, these three look ADORABLE together. They’re like a little Charlie’s Angels kind of girl group. Vocally it’s fine — it seems like there are a couple of missed lyrics here and there, and it’s sort of an odd arrangement, but the performance is fun. “I loved it,” Steven says. “It was just so cute for me,” Jen says. “Very nice... girl power!” Randy exclaims.
Skylar Laine, “Fortunate Son”: Okay, so here’s the thing — this is an awesome song, and it’s got the right vibe for Skylar, but she has clearly no idea what she’s singing about, which is soooo annoying! This is not a song about cute and sassy, Skylar! Argh. Anyway, she sounds great and she’s got a lot of energy, as usual, but we wish she’d gone with something else. “You give us all this energy... you attack every single song, and each week we’re seeing how much more comfortable you’re getting,” Jen says. “I love it when you boot scoot out there, this was just fabulous,” Steven says. “You are born to be on the stage... you are so comfortable, you are so in your element,” Randy says.
Joshua Ledet and Phillip Phillips, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”: Oh, this is a weird match-up. This song is way better suited to Joshua’s voice, so Phillip isn’t coming across that well. It gets better once they both stand up from their stools and let loose a little, and then it gets HILARIOUS at the end. Phillip goes to put his arm around Joshua’s shoulders and Joshua panics and pushes him away and Phillip’s just, like, smiling and thinking what is wrong with you? and we rewound it like four times, whatever, watch it below if you missed it. “You need to embrace each other up there,” Steven says. “When you let loose, look what happened,” Jen says. “Y’all can sing anything,” Randy says.
Skylar Laine, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”: Yay, Dusty Springfield is always the correct choice. Good job, Skylar. This is a thousand percent better than her first performance. It’s not all that different from the original, but she manages to give it just the right amount of country twang, and she gets the emotion exactly right. “That was flawless, that was amazing... I’m transfixed on everything that you’re doing,” Randy says. “With performances like that, Skylar, you’re winning over the hearts of America as we speak,” Jen says. “Just more proof that it works when you work it,” Steven says.
Jessica Sanchez, “You Are So Beautiful”: So, Jessica’s singing this while lounging on the stage, surrounded by fog and a billion candles. It’s really, really beautiful and really, really boring. Actually, it’s not even so much that it’s boring as it is sleep-inducing. It’d be good to listen to at bedtime. You’d probably have nice dreams! “You once again showed America how beautiful your voice is and what a great singer you are,” Steven says. “That reminded me of when you sang ‘I Will Always Love You’ and how you just captivated the audience... great job, mama,” Jen says. “Round two, this girl’s in the top of the leader board right now, dude... you are off to the races, unbelievable, so good,” Randy says.
Jessica Sanchez, “Proud Mary”: Jessica is gorgeous and a fantastic singer and very professional, so she’s doing fine, but this mostly feels like a little girl doing a Tina Turner impression. She’s no match for Tina’s ferocity, so we wish she would’ve made the song a little more her own or chosen something else. It’s not bad at all, but it’s just not what Jessica’s best at doing. “You’re so grown up there... you were a little bit of Tina, a little bit of Beyonce,” Jen says. “The one thing that beats experience is a 16-year-old,” Steven says. “This performance was barely okay for me... it didn’t really quite sit with me,” Randy says.
Joshua Ledet, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”: Well, this is absolutely the perfect song for Joshua. He has a really awesome jacket for the second week in a row (this week’s striped-sleeve number might be even snazzier than last week’s red blazer), he has a quartet of gorgeous female backup singers, and he’s just totally nailing it. It’s like watching an amazing performance from 50 years ago. “You’ve gotta be on the the top two best Idols of all time... you sing so fine,” Steven says. “You’re like a throwback from another era, you’re sick,” Jen says. “You could make a record like this and to me you could bring R&B back... I think you’ve got the power to do that,” Randy says.
Joshua Ledet, “To Love Somebody”: Aw, The Bee Gees! This is such a good song. Joshua’s really holding back, until he gets to the chorus and goes totally cray-cray. He’s growling and yelling and doing runs and throwing in some falsetto and it’s completely wild. It’s also awesome, in sort of an overwhelming way. The judges all jump to their feet to give him a standing ovation. “Yo man, listen... Wow. Now that is what it’s really all about... you’re one of the best singers ever on this show,” Randy says. “There’s so few people who can perform that way... I think you’re one of the best singers I’ve seen in 50 years,” Jen says, which seems excessive, but okay! “You’re such a great artist... that would’ve been a hit record right there,” Steven says.