Top 7: The Fashion Connection

So, it turns out that my musical confession from last week only served to remind me that I’m weird. And, apparently, the Idol-verse’s ideal fan. Ahem. If anyone out there also has a lot of American Idol music and was holding back, please email or Facebook message me so I don’t feel so ridiculous. Friends don’t let friends hang out to dry!

Last night, the trailer people whipped themselves into a Titanic-sized frenzy with their messaging. I believe it was something like (or EXACTLY like):

“How do you find the strength to move on after your friends leave one by one?”

I’m sorry, did I miss something? Did someone die? Or are they really just making a big deal about the fact that Skylar, Colton, Elise, Phillip, Hollie, Joshua, and Jessica are deprived of their friend for a mere 6 weeks? I have a feeling they are. And I would like to remind them that this is a REALITY SINGING COMPETITION and not the difference between life and death. Seriously, people. Let’s put this in perspective!

DeAndre’s peeps were crestfallen to see him leave the stage last week. And it seems that my passing moment of compassion for DeAndre’s family is long gone, because I feel nothing but relief. No silly hair tosses, no weird falsetto-heavy song choices, no gushing from J.Lo about how fabulous he is. My friend Amy and I may or may not have done a happy dance this week in celebration of our liberation from DeAndre.

The crowd seemed super scream-y this week, and while I’m all for enthusiasm (I was a cheerleader, for goodness sakes!), I was kind of annoyed. I also have this conspiracy theory that they prepped the audience to scream a lot because the Voice always has a super scream-y crowd. But that could just be my mind working overtime.

Our frenemy, Tommy Hilfiger was nowhere to be found last week and I found that refreshing. Ah, well. I guess he’s back this week. Let’s listen in and see what sort of lofty inspiration he will give that will  “take the contestants to the next level”. I guess by “next level” he means that they should put together good outfits for their everyday clothes. I don’t know how we’ve lived without his wisdom thus far, do you?

Ryan gave us the theme for this week, which was music from 2010 to today. Okay, who makes these decisions? Why was “2010” made the cut-off year? Oh, to be a fly on the wall.

I was confused with all the hometown chatter this early in the competition. And while that is one of my favorite weeks, I didn’t appreciate the “mission impossible” map that preceded each contestant’s video package. I’m sorry, are we in the situation room or something? What’s the deal with the Alias-like graphics?

Finally, after all that lead up (remind me why this isn’t a one hour show again?), people actually sang. I know. It’s crazy stuff.

Skylar Laine

“Didn’t You Know How Much I Love You ”  by Kellie Pickler

Dearest Skylar is from Brandon, MS. That’s where you shoot things and mount them.

If her “grandpaw” is to be trusted, Skylar made off with his guitar when she left for LA and she magnanimously decided to use it this week.

I’m still a little unclear about why there was a city burning in the graphic background. And whoa flames!

All in all a typical Skylar performance, but I didn’t find it to be particularly gripping. And I feel like she’s getting more and more subdued each week!

Colton Dixon

“Love the Way You Lie” by Skylar Gray

Colton came all the way from the face-painting hometown of Murfreesboro, TN. People love him there, especially his high school.

Oh. Em. Gosh! I LOVE THE SONG HE CHOSE.

Jimmy has decided to back a different horse in this competition and told Colton that they should cut the crap…that he and Phillip were in direct competition. I don’t agree with the assessment that it’s either Colton or Phillip going into the finals…didn’t we have two country artists in the last finale? Why, yes we did. However, I do think that Jimmy’s getting tired of Phillips constant flouting of his advice and has turned to the open-eared Colton to bestow his insight on.

YES. Let’s do more strings instead choirs. I appreciate that.

During his performance, his falsetto wasn’t as smooth as I wanted. Those notes almost sounded like he was thinking too hard about it. There was one pitchy note in the bridge, but no one will remember that with the end like it was! The whole performance had beautiful phrasing and delivery. If only it didn’t also have plastic emotion. I wish that Colton was more authentic, but so far I’m digging his musical style and performances.

Also, dear Randy and Steven,

You guys make a lot of money by giving “beautiful” comments to these contestants and telling them that they “gotta have it”. I think you should be able to buy your own jackets without trying to rip Colton’s off his back.

Elise & Phillip sing  “Somebody that I used to know”

It seems that the producers are keeping the duet partners and will only reshuffle when one person gets voted off the show. I have to say, I’m glad about that. Jessica and Joshua were magical last time and Elise and Phillip are an awesome pairing.

I’m pretty the lighting guy, Kieren, has washed his hands of the AV crew. This background was like a zebra in a blender…minus the blood, of course. (Ew!)

I really like it when Phillip does harmonies because he holds back and doesn’t just depend on the gritty big notes that he usually leans on to accentuate each phrase. (If that makes any sense). I really enjoyed their performance and thought they both stepped up to the plate in an equal way…though all the judges sang Elise’s praises.

Jessica Sanchez

“Stuttering” by Jasmine Sullivan

Jessica hails from San Diego, CA which is synonymous in my head with Sea World. Gotta wonder how long she’s been there since she’s still singing to boxes in her room…

Quote of the Night: “Feed her a few more hamburgers and she’s ready to go.” – Guest mentor Akon about why he’s a fan of Jessica.

Ever since Jessica sang Beyoncé, I can’t help but compare her to Beyoncé every second. They sound SO similar. I like Jessica’s sense of style more, though, I have to say. What a super fantastic dress!

As far as the performance goes, I think the do-do’s were my favorite. I like the singer-songwrite-y mellow vibe (hence my love of Sara Bareilles), but I think the song was just kind of ‘blah’ for me. I’m not sure if it was the arrangement or what. That could just be me.

Ryan made a big deal about how Jessica was wearing J.Lo’s shoes. I guess that the judges and contestants are set on bonding over apparel tonight.

Before Ryan went to give Jessica’s numbers, he grabbed her hand and held it almost like he was going to help her down the stairs or something. But they were standing flat on the stage and the whole thing was kind of weird.

Joshua Ledet

“Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars

Joshua comes from the crawfish-infested city of Westlake, LA. I dont’ know if you know this, but he really misses the food.

First, let me just say that I’m glad that we’ve stopped calling Joshua “Mantasia”. That nickname was ill-conceived right from the get-go. It reared its ugly head in Fantasia’s birthday message to Joshua, but it didn’t even bother me because his face lit up. I think he was so beside himself that it made any unfortunate references worth it.

Joshua took the stage at the top of the staircase of stardom and…WHY IS THERE A STRIPPER BEHIND HIM? Oh, I guess she was just a dancer. Her outfit confused me…I’m seriously unsure as to why we weren’t trying to make this stage set-up and vibe more contemporary for Josh’s Bruno Mars song. See what J.Lo has wrought? Sigh.

As far as I could tell, Joshua rocked his pink socks, but not really his “dance” moves. There was a weird crouch thing that almost looked like he was trying to be an ape of some kind?

The whole song was really loud and there was a lot going on every second. I think that could have been okay with a singular voice, but Joshua has so much going on with the texture of his voice that I found the whole thing assaulting. I started looking forward to the part where the band cut out, like Jimmy and Akon had recommended. But, then it never happened! It was all just too much.

BUT. I like that he did a more contemporary song because Bruno has such a smooth voice that Joshua’s voice, with all of its character, didn’t come across as a sound-alike.

Colton and Skylar sing “Don’t You Want to Stay”

I do NOT get why everyone is trying to make Skylar and Colton an item. They clearly have zero chemistry and have vehemently denied a relationship at every turn. And not in a coy “but we might be!” kind of way, but almost in an “offensive to the other person” kind of way.

I think Colton needs to make Skylar sing out of her genre instead of him always being the one to adapt. Don’t you? I think it’s his turn. Skylar was a little off on the harmony to begin with. And some of the big notes weren’t quite in tune. But even with all of that, I didn’t find the performance cringe worthy at all. I mostly just found it boring.

Hollie Cavanagh

 “Perfect” by Pink

Out of all the contestants, I think Hollie got the hometown (which is Mickinney, TX btw) shaft. It could have been a timing thing, or just that they focused on her letters from England too much, but I can’t help but think that the producers were trying to spend less time on Hollie since she’s originally from the UK. And this is AMERICAN Idol. 🙂

Speaking of the UK, why is it when Hollie talks she only sometimes has an accent? It’s kind of odd. And disconcerting to me for some reason.

Hollie singing Pink? This should be interesting. I actually really think that the rock acoustic thing is a good sound on her. She softens it a bit and it’s cool and vibe and whatnot. But she never shows any emotion and every single week she struggles with her pitch. In the case of this song, I think she needed to start a little more vulnerable and soft and then build up to her major vocal blitz.

I still find myself uninspired by Hollie. I think she might be the one to go this week. It just wasn’t “per-fact”.

Phillip Phillips

 “Give a Little More” by Maroon 5

We’ve already been to Phillip Phillip’s hometown of Leesburg, GA a lot, so this all familiar terrain. Pawn shop, check. Super proud Dad, check. Encouraging town signs cheering him on, check.

I was really glad to hear that Phillip say that he respects Jimmy. I’m not sure if he had to choose between accepting Tommy Hilfigers wardrobe or accepting Jimmy’s advice, but either way it’s a nice change.

The saxophone on this song was sooo unnecessary.  It made the entire song sound too lounge-y. But, the background vocalists actually enhanced the performance, which is kind of a first for me to say. I like that Phillip showed restraint in the beginning, but I felt like by the time he got to the bridge of the song he needed to be more powerful.

I agreed with J.Lo, actually, when she said that we’ve seen this performance before. And you know how much I hate to agree with J.Lo.

Hollie, Joshua, and Jessica sing “Stronger”

Word on the street is that Hollie and Josh are BFF, and Jessica was a third-wheel this week. But I don’t think that’s any excuse for the terrible pitch problems that she exhibited throughout the performance.  I never thought I’d say it, but I think that Hollie did a better job in the trio. But the clear winner was Joshua. Both of the ladies harmonies were completely horrid and Hollie’s voice even cracked at one point.Honestly, I think they should have taken the whole song down a half-step.

But don’t you just love how Jennifer Lopez always turns things around to make it about her? She said they had a great performance (I don’t agree, it was the hottest of messes), and that she’s was so glad that the judges found these contestants. Blech.

Elise Testone

“You and I” by Lady Gaga

I pretty much love the fact that one of Elise’s friends put together a spoof-y “How to Vote for Elise” tutorial video. So much so that I’ll share the full thing with you here instead of talking about her hometown:

I really like her song choice and I think this performance is bound to  go well for her this week. Mostly because Jimmy and Akon wisely steered her away from playing the drums as she sang. Um, does anyone remember that this did not really work out for Reed?

Since I’ve given the AV guys a hard time this season, I should give credit where credit is due. Elise’s background of granite-ness was pretty amazing. Her outfit was a whole ‘nother thing. Whose idea was it to wear leather, a tutu on her bum, and an awkward sheer skirt to “pull it all together”? I’m going to lay this one at Tommy Hilfiger’s doorstep.

I thought Elise’s version of the song was wonderfully interesting with her improvisations to the melody. The only thing I’d say is that she needed a better, more finished ending. The song just kind of stopped.

I can’t believe we only have six more weeks of this thing we call Idol. Who do you think is going to be cut this week?

Haddock out!

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