IDOL: TOP 8 TAKE ON 80's
By Mike Bonnie
Last week’s performances were clearly the best of Season 11. Outstanding performances by Jessica Sanchez, Phil Phillips, Colton Dixon and Elise Testone set the tone for the entire evening. Hoping to keep up the momentum tonight, the Top 8, will be performing songs from the 80’s. Lead singer Gwen Stefani and bassist Tony Kanal, from No Doubt, will appear as celebrity mentors along with Jimmy Iovine. With only 8 contestants remaining each performance is critical and things can change fast.
Just a few short weeks ago my Top 5, contenders for the crown were Jessica Sanchez, Hollie Cavanagh, Phil Phillips, Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine. Three weeks later Jessica Sanchez continues to hold the top spot in my rankings. Phil Phillips with three great performances in a row has moved up to the number 2 spot and Colton Dixon has moved up one spot to the number 3 position. With two great performances in a row, Elise Testone who wasn’t even in my original rankings, has moved all the way up to 4th place. Her last two performances of Led Zeppelin’s, “Whole Lotta Love” and Billy Joel’s “Vienna”,” were simply amazing.
I had a real struggle between Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanagh for the 5th and final spot in my rankings. Since it’s my blog, I declare a tie. With two average performances in a row, Hollie has definitely lost her groove and is struggling to recapture it. While Skylar has been better, her performances seem to blend together. It is almost like she is singing the same song each week. I would like her to try something different and be a little more unique. Both Hollie and Sklyar who were in the Bottom 3, last week for the first time both need 'Wow', performances this week or they could both be in trouble. Let’s move to the performances.
Deandre Brackensick: I have been critical of Deandre’s performances for weeks and can’t understand while he is still in the contest. Maybe it is just me, because the judges rave about his performance each week and while he has been in the Bottom 3, multiple times he is still here. Tonight Deandre sang “I like It”, by Debarge. As usual I didn’t like it, but the judges did. Jennifer said, “I like it”, and then she added, “a lot.” Randy Jackson said, “He thought it was one of Deandre’s best performances yet.”
Elise Testone: was originally planning on singing "Hallelujah" but after meeting with the mentors she decided to do “I Want to Know What Love Is”, by Foreigner. While that is one of my favorite 80’s songs, Elise failed to capture my attention. Steven Tyler said, “He wasn’t sure it was the right song for her”. I disagree, it was the right song, it was just the wrong performance. After two great weeks in a row, Elise definitely took a step back and could find herself in the Bottom 3.
Phil Phillips: playing guitar with his brother, Phillip Phillips sang what I thought was just an average performance of “That’s All”, by Genesis. After four good performances in a row, he was just average tonight. While I don’t think it will hurt him, it will definitely put some additional pressure on him to give a good performance next week.
Joshua Ledet: after three average performances in a row Joshua delivered a terrific performance of “If You Don’t Know Me by Now”, and he was rewarded with a standing ovation by the judges. This was the perfect song for Josh and he sang with confidence and ease. It was clearly the best performance of the evening so far. J-Lo said, “We asked for a power house performance and we got it”. Steven Tyler said your performance was, “over the top and outstanding.”
Jessica Sanchez: showing no fear and going for the jugular Jessica Sanchez sang “How Will I Know”, by Whitney Houston. She is clearly the best singer in the competition and with another top performance is a heavy favorite to win it all.
Hollie Cavanagh: needing a really good performance to turn things around, Hollie sang “What a Feeling”, from the movie Flash Dance. Unfortunately she didn’t deliver. She is definitely in a freefall and despite having a great voice appears to be thinking too much, instead of just singing. After three bad performances in a row, I expect that she will be in the Bottom 3. She is running out of time and is in real danger of going home tomorrow night. On a side note, Hollie looked absolutely beautiful tonight. Her hair and outfits were just perfect.
Colton Dixon: in what I thought was an odd song choice and (Gwen Stefani agreed) Colton sang Cyndi Lauper’s “Time after Time.” For me it was another uninspiring performance is a night of uninspiring performances. While I liked the arrangement there was nothing interesting about his voice.
Skylar Laine: while it wasn’t a 'Wow', performance it was good. Skylar had originally planned on singing Dolly Parton’s, “Nine to Five”, but after talking with the mentors switched to Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings”. A good choice!!! Looking beautiful, Skylar gave a strong performance that should definitely keep her out of the Bottom 3.
After a great night last week, tonight was a real dud. It was so bland, I had trouble staying awake. While Joshua and Jessica gave good performances, the rest of the performances ranged from average to just plain boring. I thought it was interesting that all 3 judges saved their criticism for Hollie, when performances by Colton, Phillip, Deandre and Elise were all less than stellar, but received no criticism. My Bottom 3, this week would be Deandre, Hollie and Elise. While I hope I am wrong, I don’t think that Hollie can overcome the criticism of the judges and three average performances in a row. I think Hollie is going home.