Final ten perform

Billy Joel songs tonight….Colton is the obvious beneficiary since he is a piano player who likes to do big, dramatic ballads, but I kind of think Elise and Erika might be the ones who benefit the most. A few song “suggestions”:

Skylar-Obvious choice is that she’ll do “Shameless”, since it was covered by Garth Brooks.

Erika– She might go for “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me”, especially since the judges keep telling her to be a rocker. I’d give her “Only the Good Die Young”.

Colton– My first pick would be “She’s Got a Way”, but “Always a Woman” is the more likely choice. “New York State of Mind” works too. He won’t do “Piano Man”, will he? That seems too obvious.

Phil- “Always a Woman” would allow him to do his thing, or maybe “Don’t Ask Me Why”.

Elise- I’m thinking “Tell Her About It”, but “My Life” would be an inspired choice, where she could get gritty and then blow up some big notes.

Deandre- “An Innocent Man” would be perfect.

Honestly there are a lot of good songs for these kids to choose from. I’d steer clear of “Honesty” and “Everybody has a Dream”; Honesty because it’s a sneaky tough melody, and “Dream” because it’s one of those constant loop songs without a comfortable place to end it in a minute and a half. I expect that both songs will show up tonight, though. Oh, and my choice for the group song is “Uptown Girl”/“For the Longest Time”. Let’s get to the show:

Oh, wait, Sean “Puff Daddy P. Diddy Diddy Diddy Dirty Money” Combs is the mentor. On a Billy Joel theme night. P Diddy. Billy Joel. Seriously…

Oh, one more thing: I came back up here to add one more pre-show comment when I heard the first song: Joel is a piano player (you can’t bend a note on a piano), but he’s also a blues/gospel styled singer (lots and lots of bent notes). Because of this he mixes blues and gospel scales in with major and minor scales all the freaking time, sometimes singing with a different scale than the band is using. This makes his melodies hard to get a full handle on without just ear-memorizing them. They don’t make logical sense to a trained singer, and even if you hit all of HIS notes you often won’t sound like you are in tune – he never did.

The singers, the songs:

Deandre, “Only the Good Die Young”

Deandre had no chance in hell of hitting all of the melody notes (see above), but he missed some of the key notes that he should have been able to handle. He will know those notes and inflections in a few years, but he doesn’t have them in his bag yet. I thought he sounded good and entertained the crowd, but nobody will remember him by the end of the show. It’s hard to go first. C+

Erika, “New York State of Mind”

She delivered a very strong performance, with just tiny imperfections at the top and bottom marring an otherwise technically perfect vocal. If she were the frontrunner, this performance would be one of those nice, safe “seeya next week” kind of performances. With her survival on the line, though, it probably isn’t enough. It’s a solid B; maybe even a B+ – on a night when she needed to be an A.

Joshua, “She’s got a Way”

I hated it. This was a vintage Jacob Lusk performance, and while he didn’t hit a bunch of wonky notes (like Jacob always did) he lost the melody before he left the on-ramp. I’ll give the kid some credit for his voice and his chops, but why did he have to butcher this song to show them off? I still like Josh, but he needs to take this performance out back and bury it. C-

Skylar, “Shameless”

She didn’t quite have enough range for the song, so she had to make a tough choice: Either keep it low enough to hit the big notes, or go high enough to hit the bottom notes with more power. She picked low, and I think that was the right choice. It made the first part of the song kind of threadbare but she ended very, very strongly. Skylar’s tone is soooo sweet, but she does have some work to do with her phrasing and intonation. She wasn’t as strong vocally as Erika, who I gave a B, but she has so much natural charm and charisma that I can’t see giving her less than a B+

Elise, “Vienna”

This performance absolutely will be in my top 40 at the end of the year; I have to try to figure out how high on the list it will be. I’m sure that this was a moment for Elise; it might end up being THE moment for Elise. Is it a moment for the show? I’m just not sure. She blew the doors off the song all the way, and that ending harmonic minor run was faaaaaantastic!! I’ll stop just short of moment, but I’m giving her an A. Time out while I go back and listen to it again….

Screw it. I’m calling it a moment. That was masterful. I was entertained, impressed, and that last harmonic minor run will be the stuff of legend on Idol for a long time.

Phil, “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)

Maybe he’s growing on me, but he did pretty much what Joshua did (butcher a song to fit his own style) and I kind of liked it. Maybe he is a genius. B+; or A, or D, or anywhere in there. Who can judge something so outside the box? He’s either thinking outside the box, or he can’t find the box. It’s your call,America. Don’t ask me, I don’t know.

Hollie, “Honesty”

I was worried about the move up to the chorus, and Hollie butchered it pretty bad. That was about it for the bad stuff, though, and it was so early in the song that I doubt that anyone will really remember it. She blew the song up, as I would expect with her huge voice. B+

She missed exactly one note, and the judges drove a truck through it. Oh well, it was a pretty bad note. I guess we’ll see how Hollie deals with some negativity next week.

Heejun, “My Life”

Ok, is he Sanjiya, or is he another freaking genius? I’ll go with both. I loved it!!!! I hated it!!!! He’s soooooo safe this week. D vocal at best, but it doesn’t matter. This was an A; and I could be talked into calling it a moment. He won’t get away with this forever, but he sure as hell is getting away with it this week. It’s not great music, but it couldn’t have been better TV. It was so amazingly awful, so horribly fantastic…

Jessica Sanchez, “Everybody Has a Dream”

What she did was fantastic, so let’s just forget what song she sang. If you didn’t know the song before tonight – well, you still don’t know how the song goes. Let’s just move on. Jessica was dynamic and powerful, and she hit the notes and looked very adult and glamorous. B+; A- vocal, dunned just a bit for using the song as a vehicle to show off rather than representing the song itself.

Colton, “Piano Man”

Hokey song choice, but he didn’t get hammered for it like I expected he would. Why didn’t Jimmy tell him to fix the stupid “you got us all feeling alright” phrase? It stood out like a dumb, sore thumb in the middle of a really strong performance. Such an easy fix that would take five minutes, guys. B+; could have been A level.

Safe to in Danger:







Could sit in a hard chair:




Sweating bullets:



I figure the bottom three will be Deandre, Erika and ???? who goes to safety right away. Erika is most likely going home. Last week we got a completely predictable result, though. Idol’s pattern is a predictable result, followed by something insane. Hollie might be the green weenie, based on how the judges so unfairly hammered on her.

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