American Idol Recap – 5/22/12 – The Final Performance!!!

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They’ve shared a dream, and now they’re sharing a stage one last time for the title of American idol.

Ryan Seacrest called out to the audience for an impromptu poll on who they were voting for. Then the battle began; both young finalists, Phillip 21 years old and Jessica only 16 years old, were less than 24 hours from their fate.

Ding, ding, let the singing begin…

They would each sing three songs. Creator and Producer Simon Fuller’s choice, the contestant’s favorite song of season and the potential winning song.

Phillip won the behind the scenes coin toss and elected to go second.

Jessica Sanchez, looking lovely in a long bronzy gown, took on Simon Fuller’s pick for her, “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston. A line or two were a tad rushed towards the end, and the lyrics seemed too mature for an inexperienced teenager. The rest of the vocals were nicely done.

“Stand By Me” by Ben E. King was given to Phillip. A typical mellow performance from this professional looking kid ensued. It was as laid back as his attire; an open denim, button-down shirt, white t-shirt and blackjeans.

At the end of round one, we finally heard from the judges. Jennifer said it was difficult because their voices are two distinct ones; the modern day crooner versus Jessica’s big vocals. Upon Ryan’s pressing on who took the first sing off, Randi declared round one probably went to Jessica; Lopez agreed. I think Phillip had the edge. Though singing off melody, he stayed true to his style, and sang while playing an instrument.

“Undefeated” was written and performed by Jason DeRulo, while his girlfriend, former American Idol winner, Jordin Sparks, sung along in the audience. The uptempo dance song is average at best, but the lyrics are inspirational. (Parts of the chorus reminded me of “Wavin’ Flag” by K’naan.) It was good to see Jason without the neck brace, an accessory he was forced to wear after fracturing his neck during dance rehearsals for his since cancelled tour back in January.

Jessica revisited “The Prayer” by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. It was the song that earned her the top 24 spot. While I thought she dragged a few unnecessary notes, and it works best as the original duet it is, the song is beautiful and she did well with it. She was pretty in a long, pink chiffon dress.

Strong bias here, as Phillip took on his favorite song from Billy Joel week, (not too mention my all-time favorite artist), “Movin’ Out” by Billy Joel. He appeared sleek, in a black long sleeved shirt and he was all business in his singing. He gave the vocal his all, especially at the final lyrics. My winner of round one & two…Phillip. Tyler said Jessica won again, Randi was convinced it was a dead heat tie and Lopez said Phillip took it.

The last round…

“Change Nothing” would be the song Jessica would release if she takes the title. A song of making it through tough times, it was decent, but not even big soaring notes could help this meek potential single. She did well with the tune, sitting on a piano in a white jacket, green top and black leather pants. Randi also didn’t care for the song, but thought she brought it to life. Lopez and Tyler agreed with the poor choice, saying it was too pop for a soulful singer like her. They wisely advised that future albums, whether winner or not, she choose songs that fit her style better. She’d have to stand with her previous two tries on stage to become champion. Was it enough to get the coveted title?

Phillip’s might-be single was “Home”. Lyrics of not being alone, combined with a rolling melody and pretty easy chorus made this song a home-run for Phillip. Simple as his style, dark grey blazer, dark v-neck shirt and black jeans, he stole the show. He got an enthusiastic standing ovation. Randi proclaimed it as similar to Mumford & Sons, brilliant and genius, while Lopez said he sounded so different than anything out there now. Tyler said he compared to Paul Simon and “you are the man.” He played guitar in all songs, making him a true artist. However, were his performances enough to be the last one standing in victory?

Scotty McCreery, last year’s Idol winner, ended the show with the elimination song of the season, “Please Remember Me”.

And now the fate of these two are in America’s hands.

American Idol Recap 5/16/12

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And then there were three…Joshua, Jessica and Phillip.  Tonight’s important American Idol consisted of three rounds.  In the first round, the contestants would sing songs picked by the judges.  Second round would be the idol hopefuls’ choice.  The third and final round would be a tune chosen by Jimmy Iovine.

Joshua was given Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind”.  Perfect choice for him, and he did it with a throwback vibe.  He received a standing ovation.  The judges comments included Jennifer’s “another amazing performance”, and Steven’s strong words of “out of 70,000, one is the American Idol, and you sang like that one tonight”.

Jessica took on the incomparable Mariah Carey and her beautiful song, “My All”.  The judges chose it for its’ tenderness and that’s what they got.  Her words of judgement were Randi’s “excellent”, J.Lo’s “hard song” and Tyler declaring she’d be “the last one standing”.  Her voice wasn’t great on the very low notes, but she did well.

Phillip performed “Beggin'” by Madcon.  The trio said it was “great”, he was definitely “in the zone”, and Tyler made a drastic note, saying he could be “the new age Springsteen”.  Phillip Phillips?  The Boss?  Come on!

Contestants’ choice was up next, after a special clip of each of their return home.

Joshua picked “Imagine” by John Lennon.  Some songs shouldn’t be touched, but of course, he did well.  He took it to church, people.  “Preaching while singing”, there was a sense he was pulling back a bit on vocals which worked well to spread the message of the song.

Jessica had guts to sing “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith, in front of their frontman, Steven Tyler.  He was clearly pleased with her rendition, giving her a standing ovation.  The big note at song’s end was wonderful.

Phillip did not fair as well.  He chose Matchbox Twenty’s “Disease” and sang it slightly off the melody, as he sometimes does.  The judges were not a fan, saying it was safe and he needed a better performance than that at this stage of the game.

Now down to the last round to make it into the finals.  Advisor Jimmy Iovine gave each finalist his choice.

Mary J. Blige’s classic, “No More Drama”, was perfectly matched to Joshua.  Her free spirit when singing it transcended to Joshua and church was back in session.  His ad libs at the end was good, and he seemed truly exhausted by the last note.  This guy left it all on the line with fabulous results.  The judges loved it, praising him as a natural performer.

To showcase the youth of Jessica, “I’ll Be There” by the Jackson 5 was hers.  She did a lovely vocal on the song, but like Randi, I, too, was waiting for the big moment that never came.  It was all pretty even toned.  Was it enough for votes?

Phillip returned to close out the show with Bob Seger’s heart wrenching “We Got Tonight”.  Subdued, straight vocals without guitar, sticking to the melody, staring at the camera and singing words of longing…he succeeded in achieving his moment, and all three judges gave him a deserved standing ovation.

It is clear fans of Phillip were present in the audience, as every one of his sets concluded with girlish screams of delight.  No doubt his youthful teen fan club will help sway votes, too.  Will it be enough to push Phillip to the end?  And if Phillip’s in, who’s out?  Joshua?  Or Jessica?  Tune in to tomorrow night’s show, as the final two are revealed!

American Idol Recap 5/9/12

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Tonight’s songs were California Dreaming (anything involving California, song or artist), and songs the last four  contestants wish they had written.

Phillip sans guitar started things off with Credence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”  Sounding good, it fit his style and the judges gave him high praise.

Journey’s epic ballad, “Faithfully” was sung by a nervous Hollie.  It was not her best, which may spell trouble.  The judges disagreed with my opinion, so perhaps she’ll be able to reel in the votes.

After a quick word about the lyric contest with Jason DeRulo, (check the American Idol website for more info), Joshua took on one of the most make-you-cry-in-an-instant songs, Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up”.  Though no one compares to Groban’s version, Joshua did an amazing job.  The beginning was a bit rushed, but it worked itself out.  The judges enjoyed it.

Jessica sang legendary jazz great Etta James with her rendition of “Steal Away”.  The song seemed way too old for her, but her vocals were on point.  The trio of judges loved it.

Phillip and Joshua were once again teamed up for a duet, performing Maroon 5’s “This Love”.  One thing was clear, the girls LOVE Phillip, screaming for him whenever it was his turn.

Hollie and Jessica sang the duet “Eternal Flame” by the Bangles.  You could tell the friendship that Phillip and Joshua shared on stage was missing from these two and both tried to outshine each other resulting in an awkward performance.

A preview of the promising movie Rock of Ages was shown, (see the musical!  It was EXCELLENT!) followed by the remaining four idol hopefuls singing “Waiting For A Girl Like You” by Foreigner.  The performance was messy as the vocals didn’t blend well at all.

“Volcano” by Damien Rice was Phillip’s song wish, and he did a great job.  He played the instrument this time around, showing how much more comfortable he is with the guitar.  He appeared to feel the lyrics and melody and the female guest vocalist added a nice tone to the song.  High praises were given from the judges, with Jennifer Lopez saying it was one of the most poignant moments of American Idol.

Hollie puzzlingly picked Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me”.  She did a sweet job, but the judges disagreed.  Randi Jackson gave the obvious criticism, saying it was the wrong kind of song and she was a different kind of singer from Bonnie Raitt.

Joshua’s gift to his mother was “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” by the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.  Barring any disastrous results, the kid is mere weeks away from taking the title of American Idol.  Steven Tyler declared his performance to be the most passionate rendition of that song of all time.

Determined to have the night’s spotlight, Jessica took on the Dream Girls’ mega-hit by Jennifer Holiday, “You’re Gonna Love Me”.  I still don’t, but others do, like the judges.  It fell short of Jennifer Hudson’s Oscar show-stopper, however, feelings of arrogance aside, Jessica deserves to be in the final two for sure.  Like J.Lo said, it will be a race to the finish.

 

American Idol Elimination 5/3/12

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In case you got side tracked by tuning into MTV.com for the Justin Bieber interview, here is a recap of tonight’s American Idol.

After the first order of business, saving Joshua, the ultra cool Coldplay performed “Paradise” from their album, “Mylo Xyloto”.

Hollie and Phillip were called up front and center with Ryan sending Hollie to the bottom two.

Looking lovely as ever, former American Idol winner Carrie Underwood returned to the stage, singing the title track to her new album, “Blown Away”.  Side note: the wind machine was making her dress dangerously fly away, bringing her close to a wardrobe malfunction!

Skylar and Jessica soon had their agonizing moment in the spotlight, until Seacrest announced safety was to be handed to Jessica.

Coldplay came back to sing “Every Teardrop A Waterfall” with strong energy.  What a great band!

Hollie and Skylar stood as the bottom two.  Both talented, both ever so close to the singing title, but one’s dream to be crushed.

The person leaving was…Skylar Laine.

Top four left in the competition.  

 

 

American Idol Recap 5/2/12

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60s songs and Brit pop hits was this week’s theme, guided by the great Steve Van Zandt of Springsteen’s E Street Band.

Hollie kicked it off with “River Deep, Mountain High”.  This girl is in it to win it.  She looked relaxed, it was good energy, and I hope she makes it to the final!

Phillip performed “The Letter” with a twist on the melody with good results.  His style is his style; guitar, bluesy rock vocals and cuteness.  

“Fortunate Son” was delivered by Skylar with her bouncy high energy.  

“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” was provided as a duet between Phillip and Joshua.  A bit odd, but both did well.

Jessica provided “Proud Mary” complete with dance moves and spunk.  

“Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” was sung by Joshua with near perfection.  He was the closest to being a throwback from the 60s era.

Hollie returned with “Bleeding Love”.  There seemed a slight disconnect here and there, but her vocals were beautiful. Hollie deserves to be in the finals.

“Time of the Seasons” was smoothed out by Phillip.  The groovy tune worked well.  

The trio of girls sang “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” and sounded ok enough.

Skylar took on “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me”.  The country twang was ever present and though she cracked at one point, she did hit a big note at the end.

Jessica sang “You Are So Beautiful” and though it kinda pains me to say, she sang it beautifully!  Loved it.

Joshua closed out the show with “To Love Somebody”.  Performance of the night!  Before the multitude of praises, Randi Jackson gave a shout out to the ailing Robin Gibbs, recuperating from a coma, and the Gibbs family.  

Who’s to say who will be eliminated?  Possibly Phillip is in trouble, possibly Hollie for her past stiffness, maybe even Skylar for her one errant note.  Every single vote counts, so keep your favorite in!  Tune in tomorrow night for results, and to watch Coldplay perform!

American Idol Elimination 4/12/12

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The top seven unconvincingly sang Pink’s “Raise Your Glass” as an out-of-sync, poorly choreographed Idol super group.  

The fun really began when Hollie and Jessica were separated to the two sides of the stage.

“Higher Than Heaven” was sung by former contestant and newlywed James Durbin.  Durbin lost some of his cuteness with that bleach blond hair, but his song was straight up rock.  Good luck on his career!

Phillip and Elise were also split, with Elise joining Jessica and Phillip standing next to Hollie.

Oscar winner, Grammy winner, and weight loss winner Jennifer Hudson and super smooth Ne-Yo performed “Think Like A Man”.  Great song.  

Colton was relegated to Hollie’s and Phillip’s side; Joshua joined Jessica and Elise.

Skylar, who was told she was safe, was shockingly asked by Seacrest to choose sides; (as if this lame-o trick doesn’t come up every friggin’ year).

Once she wisely refused, Ryan guided her to…Hollie, Phillip and Colton!  Leaving the bottom three to be Joshua!  Elise!  And even Jessica!

Steven Tyler ruined any type of mystique by declaring they will be using their one save for the eliminated contestant.

Joshua was sent back to safety, (thank God!) as well as Elise!  

And so there stood unlikable Jessica, singing her song for life in the competition, when all three judges came marching onstage, Jennifer Lopez dramatically grabbing the microphone and telling her to go sit down!

Despite the exaggerated remarks by Randy Jackson that she’s one of the best singers in America, I was glad she was saved.  She deserves to be in it.

Great shocker tonight!  We still have a top 7, and the votes will count next week, as the save is over and the chips will fall where they may!

 

American Idol Recap 4/11/12

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American Idol began with a contrived nonsense question…”How do you find the strength to carry on when your friends leave one by one?”  The answer, in case anyone is interested, is by remembering that this is a singing competition the contestants entered solo in order to win the title…not to make friends!

This week’s theme was music from 2010 – today.  The choices were disappointing, as most of their songs I had never heard of!

Skylar began the night with a country song by Kellie Pickler, “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You”.  This Reba McEntire look-alike played the guitar and looked every bit the country singer she’ll be, but it seemed slightly forced to me, and that nasally quality to her voice is ever present and a big turn off.

Cutie Colton sang and also played the piano to Skylar Gray’s “Love the Way You Lie”.  It was nice to hear this version of the song, and his vocals were great, particularly when hitting the higher notes.  The melody of the song was lovely, as was his performance.

Gotye’s mega-hit “Somebody That I Used To Know” was seen as a duet of Elise and Phillip.  This awesome song I love, their duet I did not.  Contrary to the judges opinions, I thought Phillip worked it out well, while Elise, who sang it almost off beat as reggae-ton, didn’t do as well.

Jessica took on Jasmine Sullivan’s “Stuttering”, a song I’ve never heard of, and didn’t care for.  Jessica comes across as a Beyonce wanna-be, but she has the chops to win it.  

Joshua once again brought the house down with Bruno Mars’ “Runaway Baby”.  Yet another tune I was unfamiliar with, but what an excellent performance.  High energy, jazz rock style; this kid is in it to win it, too.

Colton and Skylar returned for another duet, however, unlike last week, where their voices melded together sweetly, this week it went sour.  They sang Jason Aldean’s and Kelly Clarkson’s “Don’t You Wanna Stay”, making me scream at my television, “NOOOO!”  Skylar over-sang her parts, and Colton got lost in his.

Hollie may have jinxed herself by choosing Pink’s “Perfect”, which unfortunately it wasn’t for the judges.  I see the stiffness they speak of and hope she does well anyway, because despite the annoying accent here and there, the likability factor is stronger than Jessica.  It began with a stripped down start, with just her vocals and a guitarist next to her, and kicked in strong at the end.  By the judges’ reactions, it’s looking like a flight home for Hollie.

Phillip picked Maroon 5’s “Give A Little More”; his take on the song was sexier, intimate, and true to his style.  Foxy Phil did well, but the judges want more out of him.

Hollie, her bestie Joshua and third-wheel Jessica performed as a trio to Kelly Clarkson’s powerful song, “Stronger”.  It might as well have been introduced as Josh and his back-up singers, because he stole the show.

Elise ended the night beginning at the piano, and singing Lady Gaga’s “You and I”.  The judges loved it; I thought it was mostly good, though a bit all over the place.  We’ll see if it’s good enough to keep her out of the bottom three.

Tune in tomorrow to see which of the 7 leave, and if the save option is used…