Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Top 4 Perform: Songs From Singers or Bands From or About California & Songs I'd Wish I'd Written

Welcome back. We are down to the Final 4. This is easily one of the strongest Top 4s in recent memory. I would almost compare this season's strong Top 4 talent to that of Season 1.  Although Hollie Cavanagh is a stronger performer and singer than Nicki McKibbin, their Journey on American Idol are quite similar, with both of them in the Bottom 3 or 2 consistently. Jessica, Joshua and Phillip are collectively just as strong(maybe even a little stronger) as Season 1's powerhouse of Tamyra Gray, Justin Guarini and eventual winner Kelly Clarkson. It's an interesting debate, post in the comment section the season you believe had the best Top 4.

This week this season's Top 4 will be singing "Songs From Singers or Bands from or about California" and "Songs They Wish They'd Written". They will also be performing a duet and a group performance. Should be pretty packed, so as always, let's get to it:

Solo Performances 1: [Songs From or About California]

Phillip Phillips(Have You Ever Seen The Rain)
No Jimmy Iovine for this part of the show. Phillip goes after this Creedance Clearwater Revival song. His voice seemed strained and a bit froggy. I enjoyed the arrangement of the song, I like the inclusion of the saxophone player. He did a few changes to the melody, but in all honesty it was kinda boring. He was without his guitar which is always nice, but it didn't really hold my attention all the way through.
Steven=Living proof that success is always under construction. [Then J.Lo cut him off]
Jennifer=The vocal quality was perfect for this song. Great way to start the show.
Randy=Started a little rough, but once he hit the first chorus he fell into his old stuff. Sensational from the middle onwards.

Hollie Cavanagh(Faithfully)
The beginning of the song was a little shaky, that's for sure. I thought when she got to the middle of the song she would pick it up but it didn't really happen. Maybe I'm being overly critical but I was kinda bored through this performance as well. Her voice sounded nice, but she didn't really get into it until those high notes right at the end. But I don't think that saved the whole performance. Her big voice for sure helps, but the whole thing dragged a little.
Randy=Peaking at the right time.  Did Steve Perry proud. Right in the zone.
Jennifer=Knowing how far she came is beautiful. Had a lot of confidence. Really very beautiful.
Steven=Seeing her blossom throughout the past 2 years has been wonderful. Perfect song choice tonight. Beautiful.

Joshua Ledet(You Raise Me Up)
When Ryan Seacrest said he was singing this I thought it was kinda predictable. I know he hasn't sung Josh Grobin before, but this song is very Joshua Ledet, not saying it's bad, just a little predictable. The beginning of the song was a little weak, but then the choir came out and he got into it. But it seemed he was a little of it at points, like he was just under where his voice usually is. It didn't go to where he usually goes. The theatrics of the performance, and the ending were pretty superb, but the whole performance as a whole wasn't exactly typical Joshua despite a predictable song choice.
Jennifer=Another great performance. Loved the drama of the whole performance. Keep it consistent to the end.
Steven=Sang his little tush off again. Loves the way he sings.
Randy=Extremely happy he is here. Didn't think he would do what he did with this song, but he did. An amazing performer with a ginormous career in front of him.

Jessica Sanchez(Steal Away)
This is definitely a side of Jessica that hasn't come out much recently. She always sings well but tonight she has her grit, her growl and energy back for sure. This is kinda how we first saw her in Vegas when she sang that Buddy Holly song in the trio. I'm not entirely familiar with the song, but she did a really beautiful job with it. She did a lot with it without doing too much. I'm a little nervous that this wasn't a very well known song, but we'll see what happens.
Jennifer=The growl was in full effect tonight. Some of the things she did in there were one of the best. Just one of the best females out there, in all music, not just this competition.
Steven=Loved it. Nailed it. Showed another side of her voice. Shaking off the old you and changing.
Randy=Loved the whole vibe. Has so much soul and blues in it. The vocals are ridiculous. Can sing the phonebook. Amazing again.

Joshua and Phillip(This Love)
Last week got awkward fast because Joshua wasn't really in the kidding mood with Phillip. Phillip seems like a goofball so when he was playing around with Joshua he didn't much get into it, which made it look and seem awkward. They combine to sing this Maroon 5 song. I love how they ensure that they don't look at each other when they are singing the words. It's kinda funny. It was good. Nothing spectacular. Both Joshua and Phillip sounded better know than they did during their solo performances. Steven thought everything about it was perfect. Jennifer thought it was a cool song choice because it was an unexpected treat. Randy thought they added something to it to make it sound amazing.

Hollie and Jessica(Eternal Flame)
They both are sitting and swinging in these make-shift swings. Really odd, but it didn't take away the fact they sound great. The swinging was just nuts though. A little distracting. I'm sure the person who came up with this idea was pumped but it was a little strange. Thankfully mid song they did get up off of the swings. Their voices do blend nicely, their big voices sound well together. Randy thought it was a little strange, he didn't like the blend of their voices, didn't think they got the best of both of them. Jennifer believes both their sweetness and power came through. Steven thought the boys sang better, but they still sang well.

Adam Shankman the director of Rock of Ages and Julianne Hough a star of Rock of Ages(also Ryan Seacrest's girlfriend) got to pimp out their new movie. Ya gotta love an advertisement for a movie right in the middle of a competition show. Awesome. I'd get it during a Results Show but it's absurd to do this during the Performance show. Not saying I won't even go see this movie but I don't want to know about it right now.Plus the commercial/trailer for it was pretty long. Then Ryan went and interviewed both Adam and Julianne. It was only saved because Ryan did a kind of fake out marriage proposal with Julianne. That was the only thing that saved the whole segment.

Top 4 Perform
The Top 4 sing Foreigner's "Waiting For A Girl(Guy) Like You". It was fine. They all had their moments. It was competent, the end was kinda cool. I don't know the song so I didn't really get into it, but it was pleasant enough.

Solo Performances 2: [Songs I Wish I'd Written]

Jimmy Iovine is mentoring for this part of the competition. Jimmy thinks Phillip's voice is in a different place this week. Jimmy is thrilled for him and for us. I'll be honest I never heard this song ever before by Damien Rice, so I can't judge if Phillip did anything different with it, but seeing what he's done the past few months I'm sure he did. This song was so much better than his first performance of the night. His voice was right on the money. His voice had so much power and restraint. For the first time he really took his voice to a different place and I went right there with him. My favorite Phillip performance, by far.
Steven=Never heard him sing like that before. Everything just shone. It was beautiful.
Jennifer=Very few people can pull that off, but he did. Showed exactly who he wants to be as an artist. One of the most poignant moments a contestant ever had. Really lovely.
Randy=That was one of his best performances of the entire season. Sometimes a simple statement like that speaks more volumes.
Hollie(I Can Make You Love Me)
Jimmy tells Hollie not to oversing this song and just to feel it, she needs to pull it off otherwise she'll have no chance. Hollie chose this Bonnie Raitt song and she sang it pretty well. Her vocal prowess and power really came through at points. When she got to the middle-end of the song the orchestra pumped up a little and her voice had a nice tone to it. I wish she took it a little further, but still a little better than her first performance.
Steven=Felt a little short in terms of a dynamic range of how she can sing.
Jennifer=Didn't have the hook that she should have. Can see she bought into the emotion, but it made her vocals go off at times.She took the song to literally.
Randy=The song choice was poor. This song didn't allow her to have a moment. Didn't give her anywhere to go. Wrong choice at the wrong time.
Joshua(This is A Man's Man's Man's World)
Jimmy thinks he will kill it. This song allows the performer a great amount of chance to showcase all of their talent. Without hearing a note I knew this was a perfect song choice for Joshua. He is all about the drama and theatrics of the performance and backed by an orchestra and band he did just that. The way that he wasn't into the last performance he was so into this performance. You could just feel his energy on every note. The reason I didn't like the first performance that much was because Joshua is capable of performances like this. He's had some big moments on this show before, but that performance was one of his best. The judges give Joshua the first and very deserved standing ovation of the night.
Steven=Neither man nor woman has song that good with so much passion on this show ever. Never heard anything like that in his life.
Jennifer=People might have thought we'd seen everything he had to give but they hadn't. So much passion. Sickening!
Randy=Delivered to us and America tonight. Greatest song choice, one of the best performances on any singing show. Sends everyone to school.

Jessica(And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going)
This is an epic song for sure. Jimmy thinks that the way she sings this song was as powerful as you could get. If the audience and judges see that then it could be game over. Jessica has never had the pimp/last spot on the show before, so this is a big moment for her. Luckily for us, she pulled it off. She didn't need an orchestra or band or choir behind her, it was just her and her alone. I've heard this song a lot but Jessica sang this song like I'd almost never heard it before. It was so crazy good it's almost hard to put into words. Just unbelievable.The judges give Jessica a much much deserved standing ovation. She hasn't received a ton of them over the course of the season but she deserved it tonight.
Steven=Another winning performance. Just over the top.
Jennifer=That was just a winning performance. Her vocal ability is not something you see all the time. Felt her dig deep. It was a real moment. That was amazing.
Randy=In it to really win it. One of the hardest songs in the world to sing, but she slayed it. She is phenomenal.


Bottom 2
Jessica(Rather put Phillip but he hasn't been near Bottom 3 or 2, so although he should he probably won't)

Going Home
Hollie. I've said Hollie a few times as going home and she never has, but everyone had at least 1 moment tonight but Hollie. Her first performance was just ok and then her second one gave her critical feedback. She's been Bottom 2 or 3 for several weeks in a row. Unless people are really gonna vote for the underdog here I think she's going home tomorrow. 

Final Thoughts

*Jessica and Joshua's final performances were out of this world. If there is anything just those are the Final 2. Phillip also did beautifully on his second performance, but Jessica and Joshua delivered moments that don't come around often. Hollie faltered tonight, and given that she was Bottom 2 last week when she was pretty flawless makes me think she is in some serious danger.

*I know I wrote it before but that long trailer/commercial for Rock of Ages bothered me. I know they do it and have done it before, but they usually do it during Results Show, for them to do it in the middle of the show was just absurd. I know it makes the most sense in terms of pimping out the movie, but doesn't take away the fact that it was incredibly annoying. 

Well that's it. Who do you think deserves to go home? Can Hollie escape again? Will Phillip continue to be the only Idol this season to not be in the Bottom? All those questions and more will be answered tomorrow night. Please check us out tomorrow after the episode. Also take our poll below on who you think had the best night and who should be going home. Until tomorrow, see ya!

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