Elise Testone, “Let’s Get It On”: Elise starts the performance lounging on a couch, and she’s rocking some serious cleavage — get it, girl! Vocally she’s doing a great job, and she gives a really fun, sexy, and soulful performance, but we just can’t see it really resonating with the core Idol voters. A for effort, though. “You always sounds so good... when you get up there and perform, your vocal talent there’s no question, but I’d like to see more emotion from you,” Jen says. “I think that song showed your versatility, but I think you need to kick it up a notch,” Steven says. “That song choice wasn’t really right for your voice... to me you kind of oversang that song,” Randy says.
Skylar Laine, “Born This Way”: Huh. Not at all what we were expecting from Skylar! This is sort of cool, and sort of weird. It’s very energetic and very Skylar, but she’s sort of mumbly in parts. On the plus side, she gets pyrotechnics at the end, which we always enjoy! “I love your version, I loved that version,” Jen says. “I’m just so glad you were born that way... I really enjoyed it,” Steven says. “You’re our rockin’ country girl... you are just so beyond ready to me,” Randy says.
After a dramatic intro reminding us of Jessica Sanchez’s almost-elimination last week and a shoutout to the legendary Dick Clark, who passed away today, it’s time to jump in and get started — the Idols are singing two songs each tonight, which means we have 14 performances to get through in the next two hours! For the first round, the Idols will be singing a song from the past decade, and in the second round, they’ll be taking on some classic soul tunes.
Joshua Ledet, “I Believe”: So Man-tasia is taking on Season 3 winner Fantasia’s coronation song. Interesting. Joshua has a really sharp bright red blazer on. We like it. We like the performance, too. He’s actually pretty restrained (for him) for most of the song, and by the time he starts going all crazy-like, we’re ready for it. Really nice, and he gets a standing ovation from the judges for his effort. “[The song] meant something to you, and it touched us,” Randy says. “Every time you come out here, you give America all of you... it’s amazing to watch,” Jen says. “This is just another stepping stone to you winning this whole thing,” Steven says.
Phillip Phillips, “In The Midnight Hour”: This song is PERFECT for Phillip, and he’s super smiley and it’s adorable! Oh right, he’s singing, too. He’s really bringing it vocally — he’s giving the best performance in this round so far by a mile. He even performs sans guitar and does some strutting around the stage. Delightful! “Exactly what you need is always what you have,” Randy says, whatever that means. “I watch you and... every once in a while you throw in a little surprise moment... it’s spontaneous and from the soul,” Jen gushes. “Everybody loves you because of who you are deep down inside — brilliantly awkward,” Steven says.
Hollie Cavanagh, “Rolling in the Deep”: Bold move, Hollie. Those are some very big and pretty much flawless shoes to fill. She starts out acapella, which is kind of cool. This is actually a lot better than we expected! It’s not, like, the most amazing cover of this song ever, but it’s solid and enjoyable and our favorite Hollie performance in ages. Or maybe ever. “You finally did what America was waiting for you to do... you ruffled your feathers,” Steven Tyler says. “I am so happy right now... that’s exactly what we’ve been waiting for,” Jennifer Lopez says. “I’m not gonna say it was perfect, but it was close to perfect,” Randy Jackson says.
Jessica Sanchez, “Try a Little Tenderness”: Okay, so the thing is that Jessica has no idea what this song is really about, we don’t think. Vocally she’s perfect as ever, but it just feels like a young girl singing a song that she doesn’t actually understand at all. Also, her outfit is super odd — her top has this random really long fringe and she has on these purple sort of harem pants. Why? “Good god almighty, bless my soul... it’s all about stepping out and winning these people’s hearts,” Steven says. “I think with you after last week, we’ve gotta really start pushing your performances,” Jen says. “The public responds to emotion... you can sing like nobody’s business,” Randy says.
Colton Dixon, “Bad Romance”: Colton’s sporting a perky little streak of red in the front of his hair this week. This is an interesting song choice for him. His version is more rock than Gaga’s, and it takes away a little of the deliciously catchy aspect of the song, but it’s well-executed and he puts on a really engaging performance. “We were just at the Colton Dixon concert, you are so in the zone right now,” Randy says. “It was an exciting, exciting performance,” Jen says. “I know you’ve gotta get low to get high,” Steven says.
Time for Round Two, y’all!
Hollie Cavanagh, “Son of a Preacher Man”: Ooh, this is such a good song! Dusty Springfield makes sense for Hollie, who, by the way, is looking dynamite in a little hot-pink dress. Something happened to Hollie since last week — she’s still not perfect, but she’s really come alive in both of her performances tonight, and we’re loving it! “Yo, that was crazy dude... you worked it out,” Randy says. “I really think that you’re showing a new composure in your performances,” Jen says. “I see it too, and I hear it, and I still think you can push it even more, girl,” Steven says.
Colton Dixon, “September”: Colton’s on the piano — which incidentally has autumn leaves scattered across the top of it — for this song. Oh, there are leaves actually gently floating down while he sings. That’s distracting. This is sort of awesome... he does his piano rock thing and it works on this track, we think. The judges are less enthused. “I think your voice is a lot more powerful than that song,” Steven says. “You sounded really good, but I’m not sure it was the perfect performance,” Jen says. “You sounded good, but it’s not as exciting as we would’ve liked,” Randy says.
Skylar Laine, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”: Seeing Skylar perform right after Jessica just sort of reiterates what Jessica’s missing. Skylar’s selling this song SO much more convincingly — she seems like she gets it in a way that Jessica just doesn’t, even though they’re close in age. We like this a lot more than her first performance. “You and Phillip have no problem connecting and feeling... every time you come on stage it’s a party,” Randy says. “We love your spunkiness... you’re just doing a great job up there,” Jen says. “You’re like a wild horse that refuses to be tamed... you are just something else,” Steven says.
Elise Testone, “No One”: It’s sort of odd that Elise chose not to play piano on this song, but okay. She looks pretty in a flowy orange dress, and she sounds pretty fab, too. This probably isn’t remotely flashy enough to keep her out of the Bottom 3 tomorrow, but it’s definitely... nice? Sigh. Oh, Elise. “I love seeing your eyes come alive,” Jen says. “You sang your tushy off tonight,” Steven says. “This is a great song, and I think you sang it great,” Randy says.
Joshua Ledet, “A Change is Gonna Come”: Oh, this is such an incredible song. There’s a lot of fog onstage with Joshua, and not much else. Also, he has a really cool leather vest. We like Joshua’s wardrobe tonight. This song isn’t really suited for being shortened so much, but Joshua makes it work, and the performance is incredible, and Joshua gets his second standing ovation from the judges tonight. “You have stretched your voice to the limits of soul... your voice just climbs inside of everybody,” Steven says. “Please, America, don’t send this boy home,” Jen begs. “This song was, like, perfect for you... it was just stellar,” Randy says.
Phillip Phillips, “U Got It Bad”: Well, this is smoking hot! We weren’t sure about the saxophone and the bongo drums, but it’s definitely working. It’s really different from Phillip’s usual thing — much smoother and sexier. We wholeheartedly approve. So do the judges, who give him the night’s first standing ovation. “I feel like a chump up here, you got melody, it’s just beautiful,” Steven says. “That was so sexy,” Jen says. (Yeah it was!) “I smile every week that I see you,” Randy says.
Jessica Sanchez, “Fallin’”: Jessica’s hair is really big tonight. It looks awesome and we’re jealous. In less superficial commentary, she sounds fantastic, of course, because she always does, but this is still a little empty-feeling. Gorgeous vocals, but not a whole lot of emotional connection. “That was the passion that you released,” Steven says. “The way you play with songs is just crazy,” Jen says. “Your talent is so otherworldly to me on this show,” Randy says.