Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Top 7 Perform: Songs From 2010-Present

Welcome back. Well, we are getting down to it, there are only 7 contestants remaining, and honestly it's one of the strongest Final 7s in recent memory. There are legitimately 3 or 4 front runners, and the other 3 or 4 have a pretty decent shot, so it's really still anyone's ball game, even at this point. Tonight the Final 7 will perform songs from 2010-Present, with Akon helping Jimmy Iovine out as mentor. As we all know the Judge's Save is still in place, so there is still that safety net in case a potential front runner goes nuts tonight(in a bad way), or the audience decides not to vote. But we'll figure all that out tomorrow, so let's get to tonight's performance:

Solo Performances #1:

Skylar Laine(Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You)
This is a relatively lesser known song by Kellie Picker, at least compared to some other songs we might hear tonight. Skylar brings out a guitar for the first time. Jimmy warns her not to use it if it holds her back. In all honesty, the guitar didn't bring much to the performance. It really wasn't necessary. But it doesn't really do anything to harm her either. Her vocal had a few pitchy problems, but it was a nice performance. I love when she gets really into a performance, you can see when she gets really pumped up.
Randy=She was in her wheelhouse tonight. Really was back this week.[Didn't realize she left, especially after last week's great performance]
Jennifer=Sounded in perfect pitch and that's not easy with a song like that. Felt you from your soul. Perfect start to the show.
Steven=When you sing a song it's like a complete sentence. The crows may crow but the hens deliver the goods. Just great.

Colton Dixon(Love The Way You Lie)
Boldly, Jimmy Iovine tells Colton that he is behind Phillip Phillips and needs to push himself. Jimmy wants this performance to really change the audience's point of view. This song is probably more well known from the Rihanna and Eminem version, but the original was this version by Skylar Grey. I enjoyed this performance, it was solid and all, but I don't know what the general audience will do. Not sure if it necessarily got him more voters. It was a decent vocal, maybe a little pitchy, but still pretty solid.
Jennifer=Always surprises with the notes. He has a very signature sound and is able to make everything his own. Did a good job.
Steven=Loves the jacket. A rare talent. Could record that version right now. Don't think that Colton has even hit the top yet.
Randy=The jacket is crazy fly. This was a subtle performance that was really stellar. It showed the sensitivity of the song. Loved the interpretation. Pours his heart into every performance.

Duet Performance #1

Elise & Phillip(Somebody That I Used To Know)
Love this song. Probably my favorite song over the past few months. Phillip and Elise bicker like an old married couple in their discussion over their ideas for the performance. Elise killed it, Phillip not so much. The judges love the whole feel and vibe of the song and their performance. Didn't know it was a competition, but Randy tells them that Elise wins the round. Um, ok.

Solo Performances #2:

Jessica Sanchez(Stuttering)
This is a relatively lesser known song from a relatively unknown performer, Jasmine Sullivan. Jimmy said of Jessica "this voice can move anybody". I tend to agree. Akon is super impressed with her as well, calling her a future legend. I keep forgetting that she is 16, because her voice sounds like she's been around for decades. I never heard this song before, but she sang the crap out of it. She sounded super current, it wasn't just a ballad, there was a melody, it was just incredibly well done. Despite almost falling off the piano at the end, Jessica did a wonderful job.
Randy=Love the arrangement of the song. Set the bar incredibly high. Showed everyone what kind of talent she has. So controlled, with all that scatting. An amazing job. Slayed the biggest fish of the night.
Jennifer=Could see that she was really digging. Has an amazing opportunity to take this audience on a ride. Wants even more impact-ful performances.
Steven=Forgets where he is every time she opens her mouth. Slayed it tonight.

Joshua(Runaway Baby)
Before Joshua even sings Fantasia Barinno, Season 3 American Idol winner, sends a birthday message to Joshua. He has been called "Man-tasia", which is a little odd, but as a fan of hers, he definitely seemed happy. This is actually my favorite Bruno Mars songs. I love seeing Joshua singing a non-ballad, choir/go to church kinda song. This is a fast, fun song. It probably doesn't fit his voice as well as other songs have had, but I am so happy that he sang this song, just because it seems to have taken him out of his comfort zone a little. He definitely seems to be having fun on stage, a couple weeks ago he seemed upset, last week he was sick, so this week he looks rejuvenated and really into the whole performance. He added his Joshua moments in there when he could. By far one of my favorite Joshua performances. The judges give him the first standing ovation of the night.
Steven=Can sell a song like a piece of art. So good.
Jennifer=So much control in his voice. So dynamic, takes control of the audience, knows about being a performer, knows when to stop, when to go.
Randy=An unbelievable performance. The socks with the jacket is awesome. Has everything going right, right now.

Duet Performance #2

Colton & Skylar(Don't You Wanna Stay)
They have adamantly denied they are dating. I just don't care. Obviously, this is a country duet, so it fits Skylar like a glove, but Colton holds his own. The judges love the harmonies, and the whole duet. Randy loves them both but thought it was just okay. Thought Skylar was pitchy, and prefers both of their solo performances. Ryan asks Randy and Jennifer who won between the two of them, they decline to say it was Colton due to Skylar's pitchiness. Again, I didn't realize this duet was a competition. I'm sure Colton wouldn't have agreed to sing a country duet if it was a real competition, gives Skylar a bit of an advantage, even if she didn't nail it tonight.

Solo Performances #3

                                                            Hollie Cavanagh(Perfect)
Jimmy is impressed with Hollie's take on this Pink song during rehearsals. He wants Hollie to just keep working hard and make things more natural on stage. I like how simple this performance was. It started with her just her sitting on a stool next to a guy with a guitar. They add the band and she got up towards the middle-end of the song, but it was much simpler and more effective than the past few weeks. I feel she really let go tonight, and did a really nice job. Her last note was killer.
Jennifer=Looked beautiful tonight. Knows she wants to be perfect. Sang beautifully tonight. Should be proud of herself.
Steven=It wasn't perfect, laid there a little, but looked good tonight.
Randy=A lot better than last week. Definitely redeemed herself from last week. Needed a little more feeling from some of the notes, but so much better than last week.

Phillip Phillips(Give A Little More)
Jimmy and Akon don't want Phillip to try to be different just for the sake of being different. Jimmy tells Phillip that Colton might have some more female votes at this point. Surprisingly, Phillip is back on stage with his acoustic guitar. Ok, that was sarcasm, if you didn't read it that way. Loved the saxophone part of the song. I want to really not like Phillip because he does the same shtick every week, but I sorta liked this performance.This is Phillip, this is who he wants to be,  but these performances do tend to blend into each other. Still pretty solid performance tonight.
Steven=Loved that he evolved into a great performer. Like a Steve McQueen/Johnny Cash combination.
Jennifer= A little underwhelming. I've seen this performance a couple times. Needs him to break out, and wants him to showcase more of himself. The lights and all that helped, but not everything he could be.
Randy=Not the greatest performance. It kinda normalized itself after starting out well. Nothing "Wow" about it.

Trio Performance #3

Joshua, Jessica and Hollie(What Doesn't Kill You)
Jessica feels like the third wheel with Best Friends Hollie & Joshua. All 3 of them sounded kind of pitchy in this performance. Not sure what was going on there. But it did not sound good at all. Either this was a wrong song for them, or their voices together just don't blend. There were a few moments that were good, but overall I didn't like it. The judges seem to enjoy it, and thinks that it was beautiful. Randy gives the edge to Joshua but overall liked the trio.

Solo Performances #4

Elise Testone(You & I)
In rehearsals Elise tried to play drums, but Jimmy and Akon swayed her away from doing that.  This song by Lady Gaga should fit Elise's voice like a glove. Rather than drums, Elise starts the song on piano, which is a little safer and more in the style of Lady Gaga. Elise took some liberties with song, did some different things with it, and tried to make it different than the original. I love Elise's voice on this song, it should and did fit as well as any song could. This felt like a full, real performance. She killed it, there's really no denying it. She pushed the song as far as she could.
Randy=America Elise is back. That was a perfect song. Got her moment tonight. This girl is crazy talented.
Jennifer=Did exactly what was needed to do. Nobody can sing like her. She's a closer.
Steven=Turned an effortless song and made it a classic.

Bottom 3?

Going Home(Unless Saved By Judges)

Final Thoughts

*Where did this whole Colton is an underdog come from? He has never been Bottom 3, and has gotten consistently good reviews. He's no Sanjaya here. This is a contrived plot line to garner him voters, because who doesn't like an underdog? I don't like it. I know Jimmy was trying to say that Phillip is outperforming him, but how do we know that? How does he know that? They both have been very consistent. I don't mind an underdog, in fact I tend to root for them a lot, but I don't like when they(the producers/judges) try to make non-underdogs, underdogs.

*I get there needs to be drama but to compare Jessica to Joshua, Hollie to Jessica, Colton to Phillip and so on and so on is just unneeded. Let them be themselves and critique them on their own performances not on what others do or sound like. It's just not needed. It's again, unnecessary drama. If I wanted drama I'd put on HBO, not American Idol.

*Erika, Heejun and DeAndre each left the week that they had one of, if not their best performance, could this also be the case for Hollie? If this was her last performance, it was a good one. Someone really good is going home tomorrow, unless they get saved.

That's it. Tomorrow we will learn the fate of one of these contestants. They will either be eliminated or saved by the judges. Until that save is used anything can happen. So until tomorrow, see ya!

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