Before we get started, I just wanted to mention a few superficial things.
1. The height differential between the girls, and between Jermaine and Ryan, is utterly hilarious to me. I’m pretty sure when Jermaine and Ryan are in the same shot the camera has to zoom out just to make sure both of them are in the picture. It cracks me up.
2. It took me a few contestants to notice it, maybe because my nose was too deep in my computer but what the hell was that pin that Randy was wearing on his lapel? It wasn’t even on his lapel. It was almost in his armpit. Some are saying it’s Betty Boop? In what deranged world does Betty Boop have a fu manchu? Apparently I wasn’t the only one who noticed so that makes me happy. I used to do those melted bead things. I think my mom still has Christmas tree ornaments made from that stuff, but as a pin? I just don’t get that. If you didn’t notice it, don’t you worry because I got a screencap for ya! You’re welcome.
Let’s get down to the music though. Enough about how weird Randy’s accessory choices are. I knew tonight was going to be Whitney and Stevie and I knew it would bother me, immediately. I don’t like “Boys vs. Girls” and I don’t like when contestants essentially have separate standards to live up to. I also don’t like that the judges get to pick which girl or guy will go home. Isn’t it our choice now? Come on! Beyond the whole “Boys vs. Girls” thing though, was the sheer difficulty associated with singing Stevie. It’s nothing compared to having to sing Whitney! He’s a great talent and all but she’s iconic. It’s nice they’re able to do a tribute to her but I don’t think it should be in this format. Let them do a group song or something on Results Night. Don’t just let the girls sing her, especially when there’s only one girl who holds a candle to Jennifer Hudson, or Pia Toscano, when it comes to Whitney Houston performances, this season. It’s no surprise to me that Jessica Sanchez had the performance of the night. It was her show to steal, but for how badly I thought last night might go for the ladies, I think there were more good performances with them than with the guys. My top 3 of the evening were all female. So with that, lets dish…
1. Jeremy Ledet – Out of his comfort zone, indeed. What I loved most about his performance of I Wish, was that it wasn’t a Lusky-ballad and there were far fewer contorted facial expressions than past performances. I still don’t love the faces this kid makes while he sings in general, but when you don’t look at his face, you can say he had a great performance on this song. It showed that he can be fun, and that he can get into the song when the music calls for it. It is a really good way to start the show off.
2. Elise Testone – I wouldn’t have hated it if Elise was allowed to sing what she originally wanted to, but I thought the song choice Jimmy came up with really wasn’t half bad considering a one Haley Reinhart sang I’m Your Baby Tonight in her season, and I see a lot in common between the two of them. Some of her notes seemed a little eh, and I don’t know if it was her shoes or the ugliness of her dress but she seemed distracted and incapable moving around. I wish they wouldn’t have focused so much on how much she didn’t know the song here and how Jimmy and Mary J. made her change her song, and more on the fact that Whitney just isn’t a shoe that fits her. It’s ok. People who like your voice still appreciate your voice and I think/hope she’ll still be safe (although a bottom 3 wouldn’t surprise me here).
3. Jermaine Jones – Mr. Loveline and I are both 1000% thrilled that Jermaine is on the show still. I hate to critique clothing so much but this is the second “Thriller-esque” jacket on the show this season, and a pink shirt underneath just wasn’t doing him any favors. Is it just that hard to find things in Giant size? Onto his singing though, I didn’t love Knocks Me Off My Feet as much as last weeks Luther performance, but I still think he was good. I just want him to move around a little more, give it a little more energy. He just needs to maybe bring like, the “gospel choir” up on the stage. Wave his arms around, possibly a little hooting and/or hollerin’? JLo and I are really on the same wavelength tonight as far as her comments. Sing to her Jermaine!
4. Erika Van Pelt – Did anyone else have this image come to their mind when Mary J. Blige said that Erikas voice was “like eating steak and potatoes, that’s how filling she is.”
Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. I do agree though, regarding Erika, which is why she was in my Top 3 of performances tonight. Well, tied for third. I think Jimmy and MJB’s advice goes for all the girls tonight. They can’t try to be Whitney or they’re going to fail. (Even though when Elise showed she wasn’t Whitney they kind of reamed her about it). When I shut my eyes, I really love Erika’s version of I Believe in You and Me. Even knowing that JHud and Melinda Doolittle have both sung it previously. She has such a great tone and she hit every note exactly how I wanted it to be hit. I have to watch her with my eyes shut because what the stylists do to her is almost insulting to me. You can see back fat and no girl wants that. She needs to get off that stage and change into some sweat pants. She’d look prettier singing in sweat pants, I guarantee it.
5. Colton Dixon – Again, Jimmy hit the nail on the head while advising the contestants. Telling Colton to rely on his vulnerability was spot on. I mean, Stevie is almost the opposite of the type of music that Colton sings but all he really needs to do I think, is look into the camera with those quasi-teary eyes, and he’ll get votes all day…. or at least until they get a better theme night that he’s a little more comfortable with.
6. Shannon Magrane – I hate to agree with the judges but this was definitely Shannons worst performance to date. She’s lucky she has some Major League twitter love (ie – @RaysJoeMaddon) because she’s going to need it this evening in the results show. I don’t think it was the nerves that got the best of her per se… I think it’s that Jennifer Hudson and Katherine McPhee had some amazing performances of I Have Nothing, and Shannons just didn’t live up to them. This song has actually been performed on the Idol stage 7 times! It’s tied with Elton Johns Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me for the most popular song that’s been sung on Idol! That didn’t do her any favors. All those cracks in her voice just got worse and worse as the performance progressed. Sorry Shannon. I guess we’ll see if you can make it through but unlike Katniss Everdeen, I don’t think the odds will be ever in your favor.
7. DeAndre Brakensick – This performance of Master Blaster was by far my favorite performance of his to date. I thought it fit him really well, he was energetic throughout. He didn’t blow me away but it was nice to see him singing something up beat and fun, instead of constantly standing there showing off his falsetto. I might turn out to like him after all, as long as he keeps up these kind of performances.
8. Skylar Laine – This was my 2nd place performance of the evening. As far as her singing it might not have been as good as my other Tied for 3rd contestant, Hollie, but she’s just so fun to watch that I can’t help but put her in 2nd place for the evening, in my book. She had that great country twang, she hit all the notes the right way and she’s just so fun to watch sing. When I heard she’d be singing Where do Broken Hearts Go? I immediately thought of Pia Toscano’s version from last year and I had some reservation of how well she’d do but she destroyed Pia in my mind just because of that force within her. She’s also just more youthful and fun, as I have already said but can’t emphasize enough!
9. Heejun Han – So I don’t know if you know this, but Heejun joke between the pictures and Jimmy/MJB brought back an almost forgotten memory that I had to share. See, back in 2005 I went to LA with my friend Ashley and while waiting in line for over 24 hours to get into the Million Dollar Price is Right episode (and the final Bob Barker season), this comedian, Josh DiDonato came up to us, trying to get us to come to his show. He also may or may not have been trying to kidnap/rape/murder my friend Ashley. He wasn’t a big fan of me. But we asked for his autograph in case he ever became more than a guy telling jokes on the street. So he signed our book with a note to me and a note to Ashley.
It was so funny and definitely one of the many crazy/amazing moments of that trip. Ashley and I make great travelling companions because things like this just happen to us spontaneously and we love it. We’re also our own worst enemies when it comes to morals. hahaha. I digress but here’s a picture of the guy in case anyone recognizes him as someone who’s actually famous that and we can say we know him:
Back to Heejun though. I hope that every celebrity mentor says what MJB says “Wow. You surprised me.” He’s like a much funnier Susan Boyle, without quite the voice she has. He certainly wasn’t a Pia Toscano (damn that girl would’ve killed in this episode) but he sang the All in Love is Fair really well. The best though, was his notes to Jimmy and Mary. So perfect. It makes for great comedy (as I proved above and hope to be able to provide photographic evidence of, shortly) Maybe his comedy will keep him on? Longer than the people who are here for the music will want him to be on, for sure. It’s like everyone wants to be his friend. It’s adorable. I hope that whenever he does get kicked off, they keep him on just for color commentary.
10. Hollie Cavanaugh – And now we have my other Tied for 3rd contestant. I loved how big Randys eyes got when he said she nailed it. She really nailed it. If it weren’t for Skylars presence on stage, I think Hollie would’ve been my #2 vote. Her version of All the Man That I Need was really great though. She’s got a lot of power packed in that tiny little body!
11. JerBear Rosado – Sweet sweet JerBear. I want to like this kid, but he’s just kind of boring to me. He did alright. Going in between Hollie and Jessica certainly didn’t do him any favors but dare I say that I agreed with the pin wearing Randy when he said that the song needed more swag. I honestly have no idea. I’m not that familiar with Ribbon in the Sky, but it needed something that JerBear didn’t provide.
12. Jessica Sanchez – And now we have tonights clear winner. Part of me wonders if they secretly held a “who can sing this I Will Always Love You the best” audition before this show aired. They probably didn’t need to, really. It’s pretty clear that a song like that is what she likes to sing and that’s what she does best. It almost makes me angry… not almost, it does make me angry how good she is. I didn’t want her to nail it, but I can’t deny it when I see talent and she’s got the talent. I just don’t like her. She could’ve hit the big “And I…” a little better and held it a little longer, but if that’s my only complaint, it’s pretty dumb to even mention it… so I’ll move on to the nights final contestant.
13. Phil Phillips – This song made me really happy because it brought back the Philip Phillips Jr. that sang Thriller. Superstitionwas in the same vein as that rendition. My husband thinks and I agree, that if DMB fans were to watch this show, he’d win every night. And because I’m pretty sure that DMB fans don’t watch this show, at least we all know he can have a career when the show is over, opening for DMB and becoming the front man akin to Dave, Zack Brown or maybe even the lead singer of OAR. Something along those lines for sure. He’s got a lot to offer though to the Summer Concert tours and I think it won’t be long before we see him on those stages. Maybe even this Summer if we’re lucky!