Ryan is sick as a dog tonight. There was talk that Nigel might have to fill in for him as the host, but he managed to get through it. According to the source they have buckets set up all over the stage area, just in case. The contestants sing two again tonight; one from Queen and one personal choice.
The singers, the songs:
Jessica, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
So that’s how you condense a six minute song to a minute and a half…. I didn’t like the arrangement (way too wrenching from style to style), but Jessica sang the crap out of it. I still think there is something wrong with her voice and it was noticeable during the group number, but it didn’t affect her that much on her first song. A-; if I consider the arrangement as part of the performance, B.
Skylar, “The Show Must Go On”
Did Ryan almost call her Skylar Alaina? He did!!! He immediately corrected himself. This song wasn’t a fair representation of anything Skylar will do in her career, so the fact that she seemed a little ridiculous singing Queen with her Mississippiaccent probably deserves a pass. She hit some big notes, she sang in tune, and she looked comfortable and confident on the stage. Her last note wasn’t the best idea because she couldn’t hold it. She’s been better, but she was decent despite the thematic misfit. I only sort of cringed. She’ll get hers with her second song. B-
Joshua,“Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
It’s hard to be fair to the contestants when they rework such iconic songs, isn’t it? I don’t generally get much of a connection with Josh, but I thought he was dammed good on this song. He might have gone too far here and there, like he always does, but if I had never heard this song before I would have loved his version. B+; I’ll dun him juuust a little for some of the over the top stuff. He didn’t really need to do so much to the song. Still, I was thoroughly entertained. The kid can really sing.
Elise, “I Want it All”
Ok, that was really weird. Parts were terrific, but some parts were really off-putting. She did way too many trills; they sucked the power out of the song, and made the whole thing sort of schizophrenic. Her lower notes just didn’t fit in, and she didn’t stick the landing at the end. She’s gonna need to blow her second song up, or she will be in trouble tomorrow night. C+
Phil, “Fat Bottomed Girls”
Seriously….. F. If any other contestant in the history of Idol came out and sang like that they would get roasted over the coals. Ryan would meet them at center stage with their suitcase. Did he hit even one note in tune? He didn’t do anything with the song. Hell, he spent the entire song blindly stabbing around, trying to find the melody. Sorry, Phil Phans, but that was just awful. Painful. If I heard it blind, not knowing who sang it, I would have thought I was listening to some faced frat boy who lost a bet during kamikaze karaoke.
Ok, it wasn’t THAT bad, but it sure wasn’t good. I’ll give him a D
Hollie, “Save Me”
I don’t know if I’ve ever heard this song before. It was a good vehicle for Hollie’s voice, so good choice. I can’t say that she really did anything with the song, but she showed more stage presence than she has in the past. She was really into the song. Still, it was a fairly pedestrian vocal by her standards, though she hit all the notes and she sounded (as always) very sweet and powerful. How high are her heels? Her feet were completely perpendicular to the ground. B
Jessica, “Dance with My Father” (Luther Vandross)
If there is something wrong with her voice, it shows up in her falsetto and when she “pops” a high note. She struggled with both on this song a little bit; not hitting the notes so much as hitting them the way she is accustomed to. She seemed like she had to work hard to get those notes out. Still, if you didn’t like this performance you are watching the wrong show. It might have been her best performance of the year. If she is in fact struggling with her voice, that makes the performance even more amazing. A
Skylar, “Tattoos on this Town” (Jason Aldean)
Her voice isn’t fully mature yet, but what a tone she has… This is what you can expect to see and hear when she’s out on tour next summer. By then she’ll be pulling A’s every song, but she still needs a little work on her intonation and some experience with the tweener notes in the melody. B+
Joshua, “Ready for Love” (India Arie)
That last rundown made Elise’s terrific harmonic minor run during “Vienna”a few weeks ago sound like fingernails on a chalkboard in comparison. While I doubt I’ll ever buy one of his records (just not my cup-a tea), I have no doubt that he’s a great singer. A
Elise, “Bold As Love” (Jimmy Hendrix)
I just gave out two A’s, and Elise was better than either one of them. A LOT better. For one thing, she took on a much tougher song, a tougher arrangement, and a massively tougher melody. She schooled the school kids this time. She has never been this good on the show. I’m not sure anyone has been as good on the show this year. Man, she just nailed every single syllable, every single note, and she took command of the song and drove it wherever she wanted to go. MOMENT. Is there such a thing as moment plus?
Phil, “The Stone” (Dave Matthews)
The fiddle player was cute….I don’t really know what else to say about Phil tonight. He was really not good. He was bad Phil. Phil-Phil. Rephill. Is he Phantastic, or Phrigging Phorgettable? His lack of textile adornment is more obvious tonight than it’s been all season. He usually does one decent song, but tonight he was unphullphilling both times. The song bored me, and again he missed a ton of notes. How can I even grade him, when he keeps pulling out wet garbage like this? Dave Matthews doesn’t sound like that at all. F; or should it be PH? Is that a grade? Loved the guitar, though. Loved the fiddle player more….
Hollie, “The Climb”
Well, if that’s her swan song she went out in a blaze of glory. Let’s face facts: Hollie is the weakest overall contestant left, even though she might have the strongest pure tone. If she stays much longer it’s going to start making her look like a Tim Urban, lasting longer than she really should. I’ll miss her when she goes, but fair is fair. It’s probably her turn to leave. That said, I’ve heard “The Climb” on the show several times; once by Miley herself. Hollie did it the best of any of them. I’ll be sure to put this performance in my end of season top 40. She got a spontaneous standing ovation from the entire studio audience. I was going to give her an A-, but the ovation moves her up to an A.
The second half of the show was pretty amazing, wasn’t it? Other than Phil they all pulled off one of their best performances of the season, if not their absolute bests. Even Phil was cool, if you like what Phil does.
Safe to in Danger:
The bottom three will almost certainly include Hollie and Elise. The third spot is just about impossible to figure. Is it possible that Phil will get his first taste of the hard chairs? He was brutal tonight, but he’s been the safest of the safe all season. I’m not sure that he got a good edit during the silly stuff, and he is starting to come off as a little arrogant. Josh, Jessica…. It’s going to be somebody. The only one I will call virtually safe is Skylar.
While I still expect Hollie to be the one going home, Elise is maybe 40% to go herself. I’d call it Hollie 45%, Elise 40%, Phil 5%, Josh and Jessica roughly 5% each, and Skylar less than 1%.