Final five perform

Two songs from each contestant again; one British song and one from the 1960s. There will be a couple of group numbers tossed in the mix as well. Silvio (Little Steven) is the mentor. There is a rumor going around that Hollie will sing both of her songs from the hard chairs to save her a trip, but I don’t buy it. Let’s have it, kiddies…

The Singers, the Songs:

Hollie, “River Deep (Mountain High)” (Ike and Tina Turner)

Pia’s “got me dumped from the show” song…

Tiny woodland creature Hollie doesn’t have much of a low range and she was a little timid on her ending note, but other than that she smoked it; her best performance of the year. She moved around comfortably on the stage, and even showed some swagger. She was glamorous, and even a little sexy. The song was perfect for her tone, and she sounded even better than Pia did on it last year. She might end up picking this song for the tour, it was that good. A; it was a moment for Hollie, but was it a true moment? You tell me, I’m too biased to say for sure.

Phil, “The Letter” (Boxtops)

His version wasn’t anything like the Boxtops’ version; it was more like Joe Cocker’s version, so much so that I have to assume that Phil had heard it and was aiming for it. B+

Skylar,“Fortunate Son” (CCR)

Wow…. I was tired by the end myself, just sitting here. Skylar owns that stage, doesn’t she? I liked the melody move she kept making at the end of the choruses, and she stood up to Fogerty’s imposing version nicely; making all the right changes to fit the song to her own style. Kelly Pickler has never been this good, and she’s a superstar. A

Joshua/Phil,“You Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” (Righteous Brothers)

I don’t know why they were playing it off like that; I thought they did it pretty well. I’ve been singing both parts of this song at karaoke for years, so I was listening closely. Was it better than the original? Please…. But it was pretty good, especially if they didn’t really know it.

Jessica,“Proud Mary” (Ike and Tina Turner)

That was harder than it looked, Jessie running around out there in those huge heels. Hollie and Jessie both work at a big disadvantage, trying to move around on stilts most of the time because they are really short. If I had a criticism for Jessie on this song it would be that she looked “stilted” because she was literally on stilts. I’m giving that a pass. Sooner or later she’ll realize that she doesn’t have to be 6 feet tall out there. Dolly Parton ain’t any taller than she is, and she owns the stage even barefoot. Oh, and Jessie sang the holy crap out of the song, too. It’s a singing competition, right? B+; dunned a bit for her slightly inexperienced way of bending the melodies at times, and a tiny bit for the stilted dancing.

Joshua,“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” (Temptations)

He sang the crap out of it, but for some reason I couldn’t really feel the excitement. He seemed a little tight, held in or something. Distracted, like there is something going on outside of the performance that he can’t get out of his mind. Did he have a fight with Phil or something? B; A vocal (really strong vocal; the kid can sing like few others can), but C everything else. He said later that he was distracted by the dance moves. Since Jessie had the same issues (sort of) I’m moving him up to B+.

The judges gave the first half win to Hollie, Joshua and Skylar. I’d go with Hollie and Skylar, with the other three just a smidge behind them. All of them were really good, but Hollie and Skylar might have made lasting moments.

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Hollie,“Bleeding Love” (Leona Lewis)

Once Hollie gets her falsetto, watch out. Her full voice parts were A quality (if not moment quality), but her falsetto was a little shaky early in the song so I’m going to drop her to A-. She earned it tonight, justifying her presence on the show despite being inches from getting the boot for several weeks. The second half of this song was absolutely beautiful, and I don’t even like the song.

Phil, “Time of the Season” (Zombies)

I really like this song, and for the lower parts Phil was terrific. The mood was perfect, and I was enjoying it. The high parts? Well, Hollie has a weak falsetto but hers is miles better than Phil’s. Hollie hid her weaknesses in the early part of her song, giving everyone a chance to forget about them by the end. Phil’s weaknesses were highlighted in bold relief, repeated over and over, and he ended on one of the weakest notes ever sung on the Idol stage. I don’t really know how to grade it. I’ve been on Phil so much that it would look spiteful to give him a really low grade, but ask yourself this: If any of the other contestants had sounded like that, how would they be judged? C+; raised quite a bit because of the good low parts and the cool mood he gave the song.

Jessica, Skylar and Hollie, “Higher and Higher” (Jackie Wilson)

Eh, whatever. It would have been miles better if they hadn’t had six hundred backup singers out there drowning them out. I thought Skylar and Hollie sounded terrific, Jessica not as good but certainly not bad.

Skylar, “You don’t have to say you love me” (Dusty Springfield)

Ninety nine and forty four one hundred percent pure…. I wasn’t thrilled with a couple of her melody choices (trying a little too hard), but just a couple. She is already this good, and she’s just getting started. A-

Jessica, “You Are So Beautiful” (Joe Cocker)

I wasn’t thrilled with the extra trilling at the end, because the rest of the performance was absolutely perfect. They even gave her the Siobhan “Paint it Black” close-up at the end. The trill is the only thing keeping me from calling it a moment. A; Skylar was fantastic, and Jessica just blew her off the stage. Donate those heels to the circus, kid, and go barefoot the rest of the season.

Joshua, “To Love Somebody” (Bee Gees)

This performance reminded me a lot of Phil’s first song. Joshua didn’t sing the actual song; he used the song as a platform to sing HIS song. Like Phil did Phil, Josh did Josh extremely well, and this time I could feel him. The first half of the song was really sleepy and boring, but he brought it home at the end. B+, like Phil. Like Phil, I could be talked into an A-.

Ryan signed off without talking about the second half with the judges. If you ask me Jessica owned it, with Skylar and Hollie just behind her and Joshua also very strong. Phil wasn’t in their league, though he had some nice moments in his song.

Safe to in Danger:

The only even sort of weak performance was Phil’s second song, and while he was technically weak he was entertaining. Phil’s been safe all year, and I don’t expect him to suddenly get bounced. He might sit hard, though.

Phil

Skylar

Jessica

Joshua

Hollie

As great as Hollie was tonight, she’s still in the barrel. Unlike the past weeks, though, she was one of the best singers of the night. Percentage guess on who will go home:

Hollie- 50%

Joshua- 20%

Jessica- 15%

Skylar- 10%

Phillip- 5%

My guess is that Hollie will be standing next to someone else at the end again, and it will be a coin flip whether she survives a fifth bottom two appearance. The other contestant in the bottom two? I kind of have a feeling that it’s going to be Joshua, but honestly none of them would surprise me.