All right, kids, this is it. Top 13 night — the show is really kicking off for real now! It’s time for theme weeks and cheesy Ford commercials and hot mess group performances. Are you as psyched as we are? Probably not, because we’re extremely psyched!
So tonight the dudes take on the songs of Stevie Wonder, while the ladies will be paying tribute to the late Whitney Houston. Tomorrow, the guy and girl with the lowest votes will be up for elimination, and the judges will choose which one to send home. Interesting. You’d better choose correctly, judges. We’re still mad at you for cutting Lauren Gray.
Watch all the performances from Wednesday night right here.
Josha Ledet, “I Wish”: While this music might not really be gospel guy Joshua’s preferred genre, his voice is exactly right for belting out some Stevie. He sounds fantastic, and he looks like he’s having a lot of fun, dancing and working the crowd. This is a perfect way to start out the show, plus this song always makes us think of “Wild Wild West,” so bonus points to Josh! “If you feel the beat and rock like that, dude, you can do anything,” Randy says. “I love that I just felt your performance,” Jennifer says.
Elise Testone, “I’m Your Baby Tonight”: Elise had originally planned to sing “The Greatest Love of All,” but Jimmy Iovine talked her into picking this song instead. It’s probably a better choice for Elise, but it doesn’t quite come together for her in this performance. She sounds fine, but she seems very much out of her element. “I just don’t think this was your best... you just felt a little unsure — I know Elise, and I know she can murder this up here,” Jen says. “What it felt like was that you were boxing with the song... sometimes it’s nice to just sit in the song and enjoy it so people feel it,” Randy says.
Jermaine Jones, “Knocks Me Off My Feet”: Jermaine’s voice is just so rich and deep and smooth, it’s like chocolate mousse for your ears. Yum. Performance-wise it’s kind of uneventful — he moseys around stage and smiles and that’s about it, but damn, he sounds great. “That song just now fits you like an Armani suit, it was perfect,” Steven says. Jennifer says she hopes he relaxes and lets himself feel his songs more. “I didn’t love the chorus, but I loved the verses,” Randy says.
Erika Van Pelt, “I Believe in You and Me”: Well, Erika looks gorgeous in her red dress, but we kind of wish she was dressed a little less formally. Then again, who cares what she’s wearing? She sounds amaaaazing. We’re really glad she made it through the wildcard round — what a gorgeous performance! “You have an amazing voice and an unbelievable tone... when you just let yourself go and stopped thinking about where you were and what you were doing, I was like yes, yes, go, go,” says Randy. “I can’t wait until you stop thinking,” Jen says.
Colton Dixon, “Lately”: Colton’s sans piano this week, but he’s sporting the Adam Lambert/James Durbin version of Idol Rocker Chic — his black suit jacket has a studded collar, and he’s got a wallet chain in case someone tries to pick his pocket onstage. We love Colton, but this sounds awfully nasal. It’s a very earnest performance, but certainly not his prettiest vocally. “Colton man, that was outstanding... beautiful, well done,” Steven says. “Technically for a second, it wasn’t picture perfect... the song started a little shaky for me, but by the end you were flawless,” Randy says.
Shannon Magrane, “I Have Nothing”: We really like Shannon’s look this week — black leather jacket and lots of sparkly jewelry, her hair in a sleek ponytail. She’s a pretty girl. We’re trying to avoid talking about the singing, because it’s starting out kind of bland and devolving into just plain awful. “Sweet baby, I think the thinking got the best of you on that one,” Jen says. “I think your nerves got the best of you, baby... you kind of crashed and burned on the turnaround,” Steven says.
DeAndre Brackensick, “Master Blaster”: On a very important shallow note, DeAndre looks much better with his hair pulled back. We don’t know this song — is it always reggae-tastic? This is the most we’ve ever liked DeAndre! It’s really fun, and he’s laying off the falsetto for a change. “You have a different flavor than everyone else, like a Jamaican patois, and I loved it,” Steven days. “Dude, you came out tonight and you were in perfect rhythm, I was feeling it, the audience was feeling it... job well done,” Randy says.
Skylar Laine, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?”: We loved Sklyar’s rockin’ performance last week, so we weren’t sure how much we’d enjoy this when we saw her sitting demurely on a stool. No worries, though — soon enough, Skylar’s up on her feet, letting loose vocally and emoting her butt off! Her earrings are the size of her head; it’s adorable. “You are like the definition of composure... you gave us our biggest moment of the night,” Jen says. “That was a thing of beauty,” Steven says.
Heejun Han, “All is Fair”: Is there a way we can make Heejun’s awesome, hilarious personaility show up more in his performances? His voice is incredibly pretty, but this is — we hate to say it — a little bit boring. Heejun’s Twitter pictures that they showed before the performance were way more entertaining. “I love you, I love you from the first time you sang for me, and I still love you now,” Jen says. “It wasn’t perfect, but it was really good,” Randy says.
Hollie Cavanagh, “All the Man That I Need”: Hollie took Steven’s advice from last week, and has her hair down tonight, and she looks beautiful in a little black dress. Just like Heejun before her, her performance is very pretty vocally and a little bland performance-wise. Still, Hollie has the chops to pull off some seriously killer notes as the song builds toward the end, and overall, we’re into it. “You’ve been nailing it every time, that was really nice,” Steven says. “That was beautiful... that’s the Hollie I know from last year and this year,” Jen says.
Jeremy Rosado, “Ribbon in the Sky”: We know, we know, Jeremy is super nice. We get it. And his voice is nice, too. But nice isn’t going to cut it! Watching Jeremy kind of feels like watching an unassuming local dude sing karaoke at the bar, and it turns out he’s a really good singer, but would you pay to see him? “I love to hear your interpretation of songs... that was really, really beautiful,” Jen says. “For me it wasn’t your best performance... it’s the kind of song that you just need to put more swag in it to really make it believable,” Randy says.
Jessica Sanchez, “I Will Always Love You”: This is a bold choice! Holy guac, Jessica is KILLING this. Not only does she look stunning in a blue gown, but vocally she’s pretty much flawless, both on the big notes and on the softer moments. The best part is the end, when she realizes that she nailed it — it’s like when an Olympic gymnast lands the dismount. Awesome. “Yo, Jessica Sanchez is legit... not only the best vocal of the night, I think you’re one of the best singers in this whole competition,” Randy says. “Just, just... amazing,” Jen says, tearing up.
Phillip Phillips, “Superstition”: Swoony sigh! Phillip’s doing his Phillip thing, with his guitar and some raspy vocals and his pretty blue eyes. The arrangement is totally working for him, and while it’s not the vocal showcase that Jessica just gave, it’s one of the most flat-out enjoyable performances of the night, if you ask us. And since we’re the ones recapping, that’s what matters! “There’s no words for it, you just are,” Steven says. “You just took it and you made it your own and you killed it,” Jen says. “You’re probably the most different artist that we have on the show... you drive your own car in your own lane and I love it,” Randy says.
And that’s it for tonight! Who were your favorites, and who do you think will be in trouble? Let us know!