April 28, 2012

Guest Post: American Idol Recap - Top 7

Guest Blogger Daniel recaps American Idol - Top 7:

Colton Dixon delivered one of best performances of this season in “Love The Way You Lie”

American Idol is down to the top 7. Wow. Time flies. We have a really good group this year. They are very talented and they are clearly all pretty close. The theme tonight is songs from the last 3 years. Wow! Great theme. And the guest mentor is Akon. In addition to their solos, they all performed with one or two other contestants. I’ll grade the multi-contestant performances first cause they weren’t too good so we can get them out of the way. As a fun bonus to the pre-performance videos, we get to see the reaction of the people in each of the contestants hometowns to them being on American Idol. Also, I would like to make a quick comment before I start. The producers are clearly trying to push Jessica and Joshua because they want a conventional powerhouse voice to be the American Idol. That said, while they are both very good, I don’t think either of them are the best in this competition. It has greatly annoyed me the way the judges have lathered them with enthusiastic praise and comments like “best ever” while they get outshone by other contestants. I would like to officially say that my ideal top 3 this season are Colton Dixon, Skylar Laine, and Phillip Phillips. Again, I’m not saying I don’t like Joshua and Jessica, I am saying that they have been drastically overhyped. I still say they are both very talented. Also, just know, I will likely ramble at least a little about this for every post until I think it has been fixed.

Multi Contestant Performances

Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine provided the best duet of the night yet again

Elise/Phillp                            Somebody That I Used To Know
This is a great, great song. I suggest watching Gotye’s live performance that he did on SNL with Kimbra because even though I hadn’t heard of him until it was announced that he would be on SNL, I think he is insanely talented. Also, watch the music video. And the SNL Digital Short starring Andy Samberg, Taran Killam, and Gotye himself, parodying the music video. Anyway, it was ok. The beginning was really good but when the band joined in for the first chorus, things fell apart a bit. Also, they chose a song that was originally a duet but they didn’t sing it the same way. It’t not like they were taking a normal song and turning it into a duet, but the way they arranged it you wouldn’t have known that it was originally a duet. Anyway, not great. B-

Skylar/Colton                                 Don’t You Wanna Stay
The pre performance video was really funny. Just in case you didn’t see it, Colton did his best country boy impression, and they made it clear that they were not dating; Colton jokingly claiming it was because Skylar owned a gun. Anyway, they took on “Don’t You Wanna Stay”, a country duet by Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean. Colton, once again, showed how versatile his voice is. However, he didn’t really have a chance to shine during this performance. Skylar was good generally but she was a bit pitchy at time. Overall, really good, but not perfect. Also, they “made love to each other on stage???” Really Steven? Really with Seth and Amy?!? A-

Jessica/Hollie/Joshua                       What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)
I would like to say that Hollie is super cute. Also the idols are good at doing the little comedic bits this season. This was just a train wreck. Joshua sounded good when he first sang the beginning of the first verse on his own, but then Jessica came in to do her part of the verse and sounded awful. Hollie didn’t sound much better. Then trying to listen to Joshua and Jessica try to harmonize with each other was painful and so was Joshua trying to harmonize with Hollie. Joshua’s strong start is what keeps this from failing. And of the judges mindlessly praised them because the judges cant speak ill of Joshua or Jessica. D


Skylar Laine                           Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You
Skylar is coming off a monumental performance and she was able to follow it up very nicely. She sang beautifully. She also played the guitar, which I think really added to her performance. She’s definitely a contender and usually the people that win aren’t the favorites at the beginning of the season. While Colton is still my favorite, I would be very happy with Skylar winning the whole thing. She is by far my favorite girl in the competition. Also, she is too cute. A-

Colton Dixon                          Love The Way You Lie
It was really cute watching that little kid give him self a “Colton” hairstyle. Anyway, when I heard what song he was singing I was seriously concerned. It's one of my favorite songs ever but it is also a hard song to sing, and I wasn’t sure how he would get around the rap part. I should have known better. This is Colton Dixon. He cleverly combined “Love The Way You Lie” with “Love The Way You Lie Part II” to avoid the rap because in part II the verses are sung. And that’s just what he did with the arrangement. Colton delivered one of his best vocals to date. The reason I love this song so much is it’s so intense and it really tells an intense story. Colton used the awesome intensity he has brought to so many of his performances to tell the story differently then Eminem did, differently then Rihanna did, and differently then Skylar Grey did, yet without straying too far from the song. That is the mark of a true artist. The best part though was at the end when he hit the big note with “Our memories” and finished the song just him and the piano. It was a great decision to start off just him and the piano and end just him and the piano. And yet, no standing o from the judges? I’m not going to say anything, because you know what I’m thinking. Buy this one on iTunes. Anyway, I’m inventing a new grade for this one. A++

Jessica Sanchez                      Stuttering
Jessica is very talented, but this was a very sleepy, boring performance. In choosing a song that isn’t very well known, she took a big swing and quite frankly, I think she missed. In spite of all of the BS the judges spouted after her performance, I think this early favorite is starting to fall back. Not really much more to say here. B-

Joshua Ledet                          Runaway Baby
It’s really cool that Joshua got that birthday message from his idol, Fantasia. I always like when they do those kinds of things on Idol. Joshua chose an up-beat Bruno Mars song. Good choice for two reasons. One, because he hasn’t sung an upbeat song in his solo performance since Stevie Wonder/Whitney Houston week. It’s also cool because I said that Bruno Mars would be a good direction for Joshua to go when he wants to throw a change up. Anyway, he more then held his own here. He put his stamp on this song without getting lost in it or loosing his breath the way some ballad singers can when they sing faster songs (think Jessica singing “Turn The Beat Around” or Hollie singing “Flash Dance.”) Joshua didn’t fall into the trap that they fell into; although Jessica also proved she could nail a fast song last week. Surprise, surprise! The judges stood up for him. I don’t mind it that much this time in part because they didn’t go over the top saying anything like “I saw G-d come out of your eyes” (Steven) and because this performance was fantastic. A+

Hollie Cavanagh                    Perfect
She has been really off her game lately. She’s super cute and I love the way she said that “pehfect by p!nk would be the pehfect song for her to be pehfect” with that strange Texan-British mix accent. Was she great? No. Was she much better then she has been for the past 3 weeks (not counting the duet she did with DeAndre)? Yes. And the last not, as Jimmy predicted, was fantastic. I will say though that she might have dug herself a hole that she can’t dig herself out of. If she makes it, she still has a ways to go if she wants to get to where she was earlier in the season.  And with such a good group this season, she needs more than a B+, especially coming off a three-week slump. Bottom line, while she ended her slump, she wasn’t exactly the old Hollie that we loved in the first few weeks. B+

Phillip Phillips                           Give A Little More
This was ok, but Jennifer was absolutely right when she said that it seemed kind of familiar. He also had a few notes that just landed a little flat. At this point, in my opinion, Phillip has fallen behind Skylar. B-

Elise Testone                             You And I
Wow. What a lame setup to play the video Jason Segal sent in telling Elise that he was a fan. Basically, she said that on her day off she went and saw Segal’s new movie “Jeff Who Lives At Home” (which I saw by the way and is fantastic) and that she was such a big Jason Segal fan and sometimes she wondered if he ever watched her. And cue the tape! LAME! Anyway Elise talked about how she missed Charleston but the map showed her hometown as Kinnelon, NJ. The American Idol website says she’s from Charleston, SC though. Confusing. Anyway, Elise chose “You and I” by Lady Gaga which was actually debuted last season on American Idol by Haley Reinhart, who nailed it. Interesting song choice because I actually think of Elise as an arrogant, very poor mans Haley. I liked Haley and I think Elise tries too hard, but they have similar styles. At first, Elise had the dreadful idea of trying to do the entire performance from behind the drums. Thankfully, Jimmy was able to talk her out of it. That said, it was just mediocre. She sounded really bad until she got to the chorus and that was already halfway into the song. Elise is definitely at risk. At this stage you are expected to be more consistent then she is. This wasn’t just one off-week. She goes back and forth every week. However due to both Jessica and Phillip having off-nights, this was not the worst performance of the night. B

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