Top 5: Fevered Pitch

It seems insane to me that it’s already May. And while I’m still clinging to my studded snow tires for at least another week, thanks to the unpredictable Colorado weather, at least there are some things that I can count on:

  • Ryan will always be the consummate professional host, parlaying into each commercial break with the ease that makes him the bestest host ever.
  • Randy and Steven’s fashion will always baffle me.
  • And Twitter tags on the bottom left-hand side of the screen never cease to infuriate me.

The trailer folks led us into the episode posing deep and philosophical questions about the remaining contestants including, “Who will challenge the weather?”. At least that’s what I thought it said at first glance. Turns out, it really said “Who will weather the challenge?”. I promise I’m not dyslexic. 🙂

This week’s theme? 60’s and Brit Pop…which I found ironic since the show is AMERICAN Idol. I guess Hollie is breaking down a few barriers this season.

Hollie Cavanagh

“River Deep, Mountain High”

Okay, those “do-do’s” that the back-up singers were doing had to have been recorded. Their mouths weren’t quite lining up with what was coming out of the speakers. Still, Hollie channeled her inner Jessica and took to the stage with a newly invigorated stage presence. Still, I’m not sure the “gimme” hand motion (We will also call it the Matrix beckon) is equal to attitude. While her approach was leaps and bounds better than her past performances,  in my humble opinion there was not a lot of originality shown in her version of the song.

But that didn’t stop Randy from being all dramatic and confirming that J.Lo and Steven liked it (pretending that he was going to be contrary) and then agreeing. J.Lo got her feathers all ruffled and she shouldn’t have. I clearly saw Randy lean over after Hollie finished performing and say the word “wow!”. Stupid judges, fake drama is for kids!

“Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis

Keep it intimate is a very good tip from our guest mentor, Steven. I really enjoyed the less aggressive vocal and thought she could have pulled back even more. There was one awkward part that was repeated twice that gave her some transition problems, but for the most part this was a solid performance from the new Hollie.

Nevertheless, the red piano made me miss Colton.

Phillip Phillips

“The Letter” by the Box Tops

unlike Hollie, I do like that Phillip tries to insert his own style into pretty hardcore legendary songs. I just don’t think that this was a slam dunk. Jimmy was right, the song needed progression and a big moment which was noticeably absent from Phil-Phil’s rendition. I was glad to see that Phillip had a little more spark in his eyes this week and I hope that means that some of his pain has been alleviated. Plus, I love the rhythm change-up near the end!

I do just need to get something off of my chest, though. WHY ARE THE AV GUYS SO DEAD SET ON LITERALLY AND VISUALLY INTERPRETING EVERY SONG? For Phillips performance, these geniuses decided to employ the use of the lyrics written on, you guessed, a letter. And, lest we forget that the name of this song is “The Letter”, there were also envelopes flying all over the place. Sheesh. Haven’t these people ever seen a music video? Goodness knows, those rarely have anything to do with the actual song lyrics.

“Time of the Season” by The Zombies

When I heard that Phillip was tackling this song, a deep feeling of dread worked its way into my stomach. Why? Blake Lewis’ version of this song was so iconic to me that I was afraid that Phillip Phillips’ would pale in comparison.

I was right.

Mostly I think I could have enjoyed Phillip’s performance of the song if it hadn’t been riddled with pitch problems. (Cringe.)

[Tie-dye, AV guys? Really? Well, I guess I should be happy that Zombies weren’t present on the screen.]

Skylar Laine

“Fortunate One” by Creedance Clearwater Revival and “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” by Dusty Springfield

I don’t have much more to say about Skylar. I can appreciate that she’s always really into her performance and looks like she’s having a good time. I can further appreciate that she has a good voice and a sparkly personality.

But I don’t like country, I rarely like her songs, and I don’t think she’s going to be here after this week. Goodness knows, however, there are a lot of people out there who champion country music, so I could be wrong!

Jessica Sanchez

“Proud Mary” by Creedance Clearwater Revival

Whoa. That ring she’s got on has got some FRINGE! I liked that the way she did this song was very Jessica. But during her performance several concerns distracted my focus from her actual vocal:

1. I was very concerned about the length and cut of her dress. It felt like there was going to be a wardrobe malfunction at ANY. MINUTE.

2. I was concerned that the Idol producers are not allowing her to eat any food. She is the tiniest person ever.

3. I was concerned that the beaded curtain that dropped from floor to ceiling was a hazard and that one strand would go and all the beads would create a very unstable environment for Jessica and her 10″ heels.

Even with all of that going on, though, she definitely owned the stage and I think she deserves to be in the top 3 this week.

Wait a second, everyone knew that Jennifer was a big Elise fan? I didn’t. You crazy, J.Lo!

“You Are So Beautiful” by Joe Cocher

Jessica started this song surrounded by candles, fog, and random sparkly lights (fire hazard!). But heeding Jimmy’s suggestion to bring in acoustic guitars instead of the more traditional instruments? Best. Choice. Ever.

Like J.Lo, I love that she took her time with the song, didn’t rush it, and made a few small tweaks that modernized it.

QOTN: “I don’t recognize you without your heels.” – Ryan Seacrest (after this statement and neatly sidestepping Randy’s suggestion that he wear the high heels I appreciated anew the fact that he doesn’t take himself too seriously)

Joshua Ledet

“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by The Temptations

The theatrics of the choreography really added something for me. I liked that a lot.

I still stick to my assessment from last week, though. He sings every song at one volume with scant dynamics and most of his vocal (while sometimes impressive) is still screamy.

Also, Ryan, I’m disappointed that you don’t know a tulip from a daffodil! *Headdesk.

“To Love Somebody” by The Bee Gees

The stage guys must have gotten off early tonight since Joshua reused Jessica’s candle set-up.

Here’s the long and short of it:

  • I didn’t like the song.
  • I did like the modicum of restraint he showed vocally at the beginning
  • I don’t understand why the judges gave him another standing ovation.

Joshua and Phillip’s Duet

“You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” by The Righteous Brothers

Phillip treated this song with a light touch and Joshua seemed more relaxed, too. They sounded good together! But it didn’t seem like they were having fun singing it together. Maybe Joshua “friends off-ed” Phillip before they started?

Jessica, Hollie, and Skylar’s Trio

“Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher and Higher” by Jackie Wilson

To introduce this song, Ryan actually uttered the words “Girl Power Activate”. Awesome.

They sounded great and it was a very competent performance. Still, I was kind of distracted by the So You Think You Can Dance promo that came on in the commercial break before. YES!

Ahem. But we’re still on this show. And we’re tantalizingly close to being done for the year…who do you think is going to be in the top two? My take:

I think Phillip and Jessica deserve to be the last two standing but Joshua is clearly the horse that the judges are backing and Hollie is the come-back kid. Plus, like I said, there are lots of crazy lunatics out there that dig country music. Soooo, it really could go down a lot of different ways. Still, my money’s on Skylar to be eliminated tonight.

Haddock out!

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