Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Top 10 Perform: Billy Joel Night

Welcome Back. After a relatively quiet week on the Idol front we are back to see how the Top 10 perform songs from Billy Joel. Given that the average age of these contestants is around 20, I'm sure we'll learn tonight that at least a few of them have easily never heard of Billy Joel. It's kinda like a few years ago when they first had Beatles week, and many of the younger contestants either didn't know who The Beatles were, or couldn't name one song. And for that they needed to be locked in a room and only listen to them for hours and hours. There are certain people or bands that aspiring singers and songwriters need to know, and The Beatles and Billy Joel are two of them. Billy Joel is one of the greatest singer/songwriters ever, so if they didn't know him before they will at least know him now.

Tonight should be interesting. Jessica Sanchez had a big night 2 weeks ago, Joshua Ledet had one last week, we'll see if either of them or someone new can have a big night. Diddy is helping Jimmy Iovine out with the mentoring this week. We also will get to see Tommy Hilfiger meet with the contestants for some fashion tips.  Should be an interesting night, let's check it out:

Deandre Brackensick(Only The Good Die Young)
I get the fun that he tried with this song, but he sounded out of breath early on. Never really felt the groove that he tried to put out there. I think going early can make this performance incredibly forgettable. Nothing really was memorable about it.
Steven=Thought it was at first too happy, but that's the way it should be.
Jennifer=Great way to start the show. Nice mix. Like the islandy feel of it.
Randy=Wasn't jumping up and down, because it didn't show anything special. But it was Ok, nothing great.

Erika Van Pelt(New York State of Mind)
Erika came out with a totally brand new hairdo. Gone is her longish blonde hair, it is now short black hair, she looks like a completely different person, but her voice still shines through. It's a crazy transformation, but it distinguishes her from some of the other blondes on the show. She kinda looks like Gina Glocksen from a few seasons ago(if you remember that name). Anyways, tonight's performance was much more solid and balanced throughout. I don't think she over-sung like Jimmy and Diddy worried that she might. It sounded great. One of her best performances in awhile.
Randy=Love the look. It's hot. Loved the vocals. One of the best singers in the whole competition. Beautiful. Only advice is to take some more liberties and make it your own at the end.
Jennifer=Beautiful beautiful vocal.  Let loose more throughout your body. The vocal was beautiful though.
Steven=Coulda put more character into it, but she did an outstanding job.

Joshua Ledet(She's Got A Way)
I liked some of the things he did to make the song his own, but he seemed almost bored by his own performance. Joshua got about 10 backup singers this week, that was something, kinda like a choir. I think he did a solid job, but nowhere near as good as last week. He just seemed out of it. Not sure what's up.
Jennifer=Didn't think he felt connected to the lyrics. Felt like he was singing but not singing it. Still beautiful though.
Steven=Took a song like this and put life into it. Never heard the song before.[Interesting]
Randy=Jump in and make this song your own, don't be fearful of it.

Skylar Laine(Shameless)
Well for one thing, she made the song her own, she put her country spin to it for sure. It didn't even sound like a Billy Joel song anymore, it sounded like it was written in a studio in Nashville. When she hit the chorus it was good, some of the more wordier parts of the song weren't so great, she was a little off key.
Randy=Great song, the front was a little pitchy, but the middle of the song was great. It was pretty good. Not her best.
Jennifer=Love her attack. By the end of the song the whole audience is with her.
Steven=Amazed at the chorus when she hit it with conviction. The beginning was a little pitchy, but she brought life to it.

Elise Testone(Vienna)
Jimmy and Diddy are worried about this performance, and so am I. The song is a lesser known Billy Joel song. But ya know what, she sang it great. She made a song that I was unfamiliar with and really made me enjoy it. She seemed like she had fun on stage and really killed it. The judges give her a standing ovation. Very much deserved.
Steven=That melody was so fantastic. Brilliant, lot of heart. Beautiful.
Jennifer=So happy for you. All the different things she did with her voice. Really saw her personality tonight for the first time.
Randy=Made the song her own. She is unbelievably talented. That vocal performance was easily the best of the night.

Phillip Phillips(Movin' Out)
Diddy told Phillip to put his guitar down, literally.  But Phillip brought the guitar back on stage. He completely changed the song, the beginning didn't sound like the song at all, at least not until the band kicked in. I like when people change songs around to make them better, but this was a bit too much. The song didn't need to be that different from the original. A little intense for me. This is a high paced, fast moving song, but he made it like an indie rock version, which I'm not that pleased with.Was it terrible? No, but I didn't connect to this version at all.
Jennifer=Took out aggression. He is who he is. Awesome. Great rendition.
Steven= Took that song and did a beautiful job with it.
Randy= You know who you are. One of the best renditions ever. Stick to your guns. Brilliant.

Hollie Cavanagh(Honesty)
While accompanied by a 10 piece orchestra, Hollie goes for a song she never heard before. Although she's young and doesn't seem like she should connect to the lyrics, she seemed like she felt it. Tonight was a little less than she usually puts out, but it was still pretty good. The moments that were good were very good, the moments that were bad weren't horrible, but weren't that great either.
Steven=One of the grand singers, but tonight was a little pitchy. It was good.
Jennifer=Need to know every single note of the song, and tonight didn't really get there. She didn't nail it every time tonight.
Randy=Can be really great, but tonight was underneath that. Can see that she was over thinking it a bit tonight.

Heejun Han(My Life)
I'll give this guy some credit. I thought he messed up in the beginning, but he pulled one over us and instead got rid of his suit and had on this t-shirt and beanie cap, and made into a high tempo performance. Was it a fun performance? Sure . But the vocals weren't so great. It was all over the place. Will people vote for him because he's fun? Highly possible. But his tone was off and he was off key for the majority of the time. I like that it wasn't a ballad like he has been doing, but this was like going from being a funeral director to a circus performer in 1 week. Not believable and this was just not so good Heejun.
Jennifer=Loved that he brought some fun. But because he was running around his vocal wasn't hit like it should have been. But it was very entertaining.
Steven= The music business will kick his ass, and he should take it more serious.
Randy=He showed he had and can deliver a good time, but the vocals were kinda rough. Entertained though.  

Jessica Sanchez(Everybody Has A Dream) 
I'm gonna be honest, I have never heard this song before. Diddy and Jimmy didn't believe Jessica's version at first but became believers by the end.  Tommy Hilfiger did a good job with Jessica, she looked great, young and very stylish. I don't know have anything to compare it to, but Jessica had a little gospel spin to the song, and made it very soulful, while keeping her strong powerful voice. She gets accompanied by the 10 member choir just like Joshua, but as opposed to Joshua, Jessica looked very pumped and into her performance. That song could be her own. Just unbelievably good. She's so consistent, week in week out. Last week was still one of the best of the night, despite supposedly having an off night. As opposed to Diddy and Jimmy initially, I believed her all the way through and I know for sure I want that song on my IPod right now.
Steven=When God was giving out vocal chords you were at the front of the line. Thanks for letting me her you.
Jennifer=That song was written for you. I feel that song is you. She's living that song.
Randy=She has a moment every time she steps on stage. It was perfect. It was flawless. Perfection!

Colton Dixon(Piano Man)
I was waiting for someone to get behind the Piano for Billy Joel night, and Colton got to do it. Piano Man is a tougher song because in essence the song is a story, and Colton gets less than 2 minutes to tell a story. I love this version though. He made sure all the well known, and hooky parts of the song were there. He told a different story, but he told it really well. It was just Colton and a piano for the majority of the time. No 10 piece orchestra or choir, just a man and a Piano and a little band at the end. Kinda like Billy Joel himself.
Jennifer=You sing with pure feeling. Goosies from the beginning to the end.
Steven=Choice of chords was stunning. Great musician and singer.
Randy= Gave a sensitive, touching, moving performance. He's an individual and should stay that way.

Bottom 3
Heejun Han
Hollie Cavanagh
Deandre Brackensick

Going Home?
Heejun Han

Final Thoughts:

*I was relatively disappointed with the night. I thought a lot of the performers were kind of laid back and not giving it their all this week. I think the judges weren't as concise or critical. There were some great moments, like Jessica and Elise. But there were some subpar ones as well.

*With as large as the Billy Joel songbook is, and how diverse some of his songs could be, I thought some people played it too safe. Hollie, Joshua and Skylar had off nights for sure. Don't get me started on Heejun. Erika and Elise rebounded. And Phillip, Jessica and Colton continued to be consistent. It was a very odd, unbalanced night.

That's it. Interesting night. Check us out here after tomorrow night's show for all the Idol news and to see which contestant was sent packing. As after every performance recap below this blog is a poll for your choice for Best and Worst Performance of The Night. Let us know what ya think. Until tomorrow, see ya.

1 comment:

  1. In my opinion, they need to pick theme nights that the performers can relate to more. These older legends are creating a disconnect and making the performances less powerful/enjoyable. It's hard for me to get into a song or artist that I don't know and I could see it with some of these performers, as well. It creates an unfair advantage for some who might know the theme better.