Top 7 (yes, again)

Hey guys! Well, whether you know it or not, today is a very special day in the Idol-verse. Not only is it my good friend Renee’s birthday, but it’s also her very first foray in the recapping of American Idol. That’s the kind of friend I am, folks. I make my other friends work on their birthday. 🙂

And I gotta say, I’m excited. Renee and I often agree on things ranging from music to books to life in general, but usually we’re coming at it from a totally different place. And there are many times that we just don’t agree at all, but it sure does make for some awesome conversations. Anyway, Renee agreed to provide the blog post today. And all I have to give her is lots and lots of chocolate. Thanks, Renee! 

[P.S. If you see any blue in this post, it means that I couldn’t help but throw in my two cents.]

Hi! I’m super excited to be doing the recap for Amy today. But I understand that I have some pretty big blogging shoes to fill, so I’ll keep my intro brief and just plow forward.

There are two rounds this week. 1st round is anything from this millennium and the 2nd round is Soul Train. Now, I’m a fairly abstract thinker, but I just don’t see how those two things go together. And I tried really hard.

Cue the judges: I love Steven Tyler. He’s equal parts rock star, sweet dad, weird old man, genuine music lover, and totally awesome. He’s just so rock and roll. Sometimes when he gives the contestants feedback I understand what he means even though the words don’t make sense. And then there are other times that I am pretty sure he isn’t even speaking English. Those are my favorite Steven Tyler moments.

After American Idol wraps in May, Randy will be going on a giant national tour with his one man show, “Peace, pastel, and my giant fricking watch.”

And apparently, J Lo will be signing on for a reboot of Stargate SG1. [I know, right?? I was torn between comparing her to Seven of Nine or some sort of reptile.]

Hollie Cavanagh.

“Rolling in the Deep” by Adele

Great song. It’s a big one so I was a little bit nervous for her at first, but even hearing her sing for Jimmy made me feel a bit better. That girl’s got chops and she’s so understated about it. Though that was part of her appeal in the beginning, it’s fallen a little flat throughout the competition.

Her styling was so distracting to me that I almost didn’t care what notes came out of her mouth. Were those hot pants? Emcee Hammer pants? And were those glow sticks around her neck? Can’t you just see Tommy Hilfiger saying. “Yes, but what those hot pants need is The Awesome Glow Stick Necklace of Power. That will propel you to number one!” [Stupid Tommy Hilfiger.]

I’ll give her this, she didn’t sound as nervous as usual. But I still think she’s at the bottom of the pack.

50 awesome host points awarded to Seacrest because he sounded so genuine when he told her she did well. Warmed my cynical heart right up.

[Holly really impressed me even though I was LOATHE to see another Adele song performed. I do feel like this was her best performance to date.]

Colton Dixon.

“Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga

I just adore his sister. She’s so sweet and unassuming and their relationship feels totally genuine—you can tell that she just adores him. I’m glad that even though she didn’t make it through that she seems super supportive of her brother and in no way trying to steal the spotlight from him.

I love that Jimmy talked about the “female vote that backs him like a stone wall” In looking at the last three winners of American Idol, I have to wonder if Colton is going to win on that alone.

ALL CHICK BAND! I loved that. The verses were good the longer the song went on, the more it felt like a weird Halloween karaoke. Or maybe like he was trying to audition for The Weird Sisters.

Randy said we were at the Colton Dixon Concert, that he was in the zone. Really Randy? From where I sat it was campy, overdone, and faux-goth.

Yep—I just said a Gaga song was overdone.

Best Steven Tylerism so far this season: “Gaga knows that secret. If you want to try to get to the other shore, you have to lose sight of this one.”

……..?

[I LOVED Colton’s performance! I just wish he wasn’t trying to slowly transform into Dracula.]

Elise Testone.

“No One” by Alicia Keys

“I don’t know why I’m in the bottom three.” Elise, baby, it’s because for the most part you pick stupid or unknown songs.

“She can’t afford to slip at all.”—Jimmy Iovine. Unfortunately, I agree with that.

Here’s the truth: I can’t stand Alicia Keys’ music. It’s just not my style. So I wish she had done something else. That said—her performance was good. Maybe it was the restraint that Randy mentioned. Or maybe it was the pervasive power of the Beyonce “wind” that came from that fan. Whatever it was, she did a genuinely great job with the song. That’s one thing I appreciate about her–she knows who she is as an artist.

[Arrrg! This song is my nemesis. Everytime I hear it, it gets stuck in my teeth like a green apple Jolly Rancher.]

All last week instead of the Goyte version of “Someone I Used to Know”, I had the Elise Testone version stuck in my head. (Notice I didn’t say the Elise and Phillip version because she ate him alive on the song.)

And apparently, her dog was sick. All together now—“Aww.”

Phillip Phillips.

“U Got it Bad” by Usher

When the song started I jumped off my couch and shouted “THIS IS WHAT I’VE WANTED FROM HIM!” at my television. What a little stud. He needed a moment like Kris Allen’s Heartless cover. [AMEN! And the more people can learn from Kris Allen, the better!] Honest, intimate, low-key. I liked the set up with the band clumped around him and him with a guitar on a stool.

I need to get this off my chest–He’s a baby Dave Matthews. I don’t understand why the judges don’t push him further in that direction. Not that he would listen. He certainly hasn’t listened to Tommy Hilfiger about the gray shirts. And that’s part of why I love him.

Jessica Sanchez.

“Fallin’” by Alicia Keys

I’m glad the judges saved her. She’s great. I’m just not the hugest fan. Her connection with the audience isn’t as strong as I would like. But I always like when she sings. But I just want to climb through my TV screen and give her a sandwich. Her and Colton both.

Again, the song was fine but like Hollie I was completely distracted by her outfit and this time the set, too. Why did I feel like she in a Traveler’s insurance commercial?

She looked absolutely gorgeous–except for that weird bird creature around her neck posing as a necklace.

Her version of the song was fine. A little looser than she has been in the past, but I’m sure that was just post-save nerves.

Skylar Laine.

“Born This Way” by Country Gaga

When Jimmy told her she came off like a front runner last week (which I completely agree with) she looked so shocked. She’s unassuming—but not in the same way that Hollie is. Skylar has that extra bit of sparkle that will serve her well in the future. She was absolutely born to be a star.

[I don’t really agree that she’s a front runner, but I agree about the sparkle.]

I know that Jennifer raved about the country version of “Born This Way”, but it felt a little forced to me. Not bad. Just forced. But the mobile violin player saved the whole thing for me! He should be her permanent accessory. Travel with her to red carpet events and everything.

[He kind of IS her permanent accessory! He’s played for her performances a gazillion times.]

Joshua Ledet.

“I Believe” by Fantasia

Oh gosh, I love him. And he looks so dapper in that red suit coat. In my mind, he’s everything that Jacob Lusk tried to be last year and failed miserably. He just set about setting people’s teeth on edge. [YES!]

Jacob on the other hand—that boy can wail! He a Sunday-morning-church-on-a-hot-summer day-with-a-sweaty-church-program-clutched- in-your-hand-while-you-dream-of-mama’s-sweet-tea kind of voice. But, the song was so cheeseball. He sang the heck out of it, but it was cheesy.

Seacrest: “So Fantasia sang this song when she won. Is this foreshadowing?”

Joshua Ledet. “……..” “Foreshadowing?” “……..”

“You know, like the literary device by which an author eludes to a future event by…You have no idea what I’m talking about do you?”

“……I love Fantasia.” *tears up and looks soulfully at Jennifer Lopez for help*

And NOW for something completely different: Soul Train.

Ryan says that this segment is meant to “Celebrate the Sprirt of Soul Train”.

Does that mean that Naima is coming back and doing her African tribal dance? Someone, quick! Help me find my remote! I can’t put myself through that again.

Hollie Cavanagh.

“Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield

The soccer players from Liverpool looked like someone was holding a gun to their collective heads to wish this sweet little girl good luck. Could they have been less excited? But she was happy, so that’s what matters. [And who wouldn’t be with that accent wishing you good luck?]

With the opening notes of the song, I knew she was back to her robotic rigidity. She tends to just come out and attack a song, wrestle with it for a few minutes and finally overpower it at last note. I wish she would really focus on the lyrics, and tell a story with her songs. [Yep!]

Colton Dixon.

“September” by Earth Wind and Fire

BLAST, COLTON DIXON! I tried so hard not to like you but you’re going to make my buy your album aren’t you? I’m a sucker for rock covers of classic rock songs. The judges did not like this song at all—which I find odd. It was lyrical, interesting and completely original. So sorry professionals, I’m siding with the 12 year old girls on this–I loved it.

[YES! Give me a Justin Bieber t-shirt and call me 12 years old because I thought his performance of this song was AMAZING. And I even thought he showed some real emotion. The judges were cri-zay-zee.]

Elise Testone.

“Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye

At first, this song seemed like the brilliant, obvious choice. Her voice is sultry and gravely and perfectly suited to this type of song. But as she got into the song it felt forced, over the top, and like she wasn’t really having fun with it.

And then she talked back to J Lo. And she was no more.

I understand that she wants to clarify her struggle. She feels like it’s her last week and she wants to make sure she’s been heard…unfortunately, it could be her last week. But I wish she wouldn’t clarify. I think that’s the kiss of death on this show. [Absolutely. A lesson taught to us by the old classic song that said: “Yakety yak, don’t talk back!”]

Phillip Phillips.

“In the Midnight Hour” Wilson Pickett

I always love when he doesn’t have a guitar in his hands. He’s so twitchy and darling. [I feel like it’s kind of like Dave Matthews meets Paul McDonald.] He has no idea what to do with his body and it’s so endearing! And that vein in his forehead–he’s going to have to watch that in the future. Seriously, I’m going to throw something if he doesn’t sing at least ONE Dave Matthews song. “Grave Digger”! “Grace is Gone”! Anything! I appreciate that the judges love him but I wish that they would push him to branch out more.

“Brilliantly Awkward”–Steven Tyler

[I didn’t love this Phil Phil performance that much. It sounded exactly like his other performances have been…with the exception of the Usher song. He just distracted us with his flapping dancing.]

Jessica Sanchez.

“Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding

I couldn’t tell if she was wearing bib or a necklace. Or a weird necklace/bib combo. [Yes, those ARE making a comeback.]

One of the most surprising things about her is that the kid was born during the Clinton Administration yet she owns that stage like a pro. The song was a little brassy for me, but she sang it fine. I think she’ll be safe this week.

Skylar Laine.

“I Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye

I’m the hugest fan of hers. But there was little to love about that frantic version of the song. On the other hand, her flirty pink skirt was wonderful. And Fiddler McGee! [:)]

Joshua Ledet.

“A Change Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke

This was absolutely the perfect song for him to sing. This segment of the night made him an obvious front runner for the evening. He’s such a perfect balance of letting go and control vocally.

“Your voice just climbs inside of everybody and changes them for that moment.”– Steven Tyler

And then he said he would sing beautifully if he could look at J Lo’s abs. Though the suggestion was a little weird, I have to admit—her stomach was rather mesmerizing.

But no worries, Seacrest to the rescue bringing us all back to the task at hand—voting. Way to reel it back in, Ryan. That’s why you get the big bucks.

My predictions for the bottom 3 tonight? Hollie Cavanaugh, Elise Testone, and Joshua Ledet. [I concur.]

Going home? I would have said Hollie. But since Elise talked back and made herself generally unlikeable? Elise will get the boot.

So how ’bout it? After two hours of music, who do you think is going home?

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