The singers, the songs:
Skylar, “Don’t Know How Much I Loved You” (Kellie Pickler)
It wasn’t a perfect vocal; she had a few breathing imperfections, some weird phrasing choices, and she betrayed her nervousness about the highest note in the chorus a bit, though she hit it ok. Skylar’s an amateur; she’ll fix those flaws. Her performance energy was huge; she wrung emotions out of the song and she nailed her real glory note from every angle. She had her game face on, and she delivered. B+
Colton, “Love the Way You Lie” (Eminem/Rhianna)
Colton’s best of the year. I’ll have this one in the top 40, top 20; maybe even top 10 by the end of the year. A
Elise/Phil, “Somebody I Used to Know” (Goyte/Kimbra)
I don’t know what Phil was worried about; he was terrific (so was Elise). What a cool song!!!
Jessica, “Stuttering” (Jazmine Sullivan)
Her voice isn’t 100% right now, but even at 90% her voice is massive. Jessie blew a couple of the passages (the same one twice, actually), but not so badly that it was painful. That is a really tough song to sing. B+
Joshua, “Runaway Baby” (Bruno Mars)
What is going on tonight? Another hot performance. I agree with Jimmy; there needed to be some kind of tempo breakdown to ramp the dynamics up, but even without it Josh smoked the song, the stage and the audience. A-
Colton/Skylar, “Don’t You Wanna Stay” (Jason Aldean/Kelly Clarkson)
Skylar ain’t Kelly, but she pulled Kelly off pretty well. Colt was there, spot on for his supporting role in the song. The harmonies were outstanding. My only beef is that Skylar’s mic was too loud compared to Colton’s.
Hollie, “Perfect” (Pink)
I just love her voice, man…. Jimmy hit it on the head, though. Hollie is, among the tour contestants, the least salted on the stage. She is a true amateur, even more of an amateur than Shannon, who has been singing the National Anthem in major league ballparks for a couple of years. Hollie’s non-Idol experience is 99%, if not 100%, singing into her I-phone. She sang beautifully tonight, and all of the tiny little things that she doesn’t do come down to her complete lack of experience on stage. With everyone bringing it like it’s the seventh game of the World Series tonight, Hollie was probably in trouble no matter how she sang. If she goes home this week, though, she went out with a bang: Flawless vocal, no pitch issues, and a terrific ending note. A-; I should maybe give her a B+, but it’s probably her last performance so I bumped it up.
Phil, “Give a Little More” (Maroon 5)
Wow, even Phil brought it big tonight… Other than one sort of wonky passage towards the end he was in tune. When Phil-Phil sings in tune he’s a lot of fun to listen to. His voice sounded really strong tonight, on both of his performances. One thing he does better than anyone else on the show this year is pick good songs – when he isn’t channeling his inner Phil Collins. A-
Hollie/Jessica/Joshua, “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)” (Kelly Clarkson)
Yaknow, they weren’t that bad, but compared to the rest of tonight’s performances this one came up well short. Hollie was solid and Joshua was his usual self, but Jessica was all over the place and she didn’t sound good even when she was singing the right notes.
There is definitely something wrong with Jessica’s voice. She is getting that quart low sound in there, and she doesn’t have her big fastball tonight. I hope she can get it back next week, but I’m not optimistic. It takes rest to heal those issues, and Jessica doesn’t have time to rest. Jessica is the huge frontrunner right now. If she were to have to drop out it might be the biggest story in Idol history.
Elise, “You and I” (Lady Gaga)
She hit the odd wonky note here and there, but whatever. Another smoking performance, on a night full of them. B+; I thought that it was juust a bit stilted here and there, so I dunned her a half a letter.
I didn’t mention the judges once tonight, did I? That’s because I skipped ‘em. Listening to Randy Jackson on a terrific night like this would be like talking to your Mother in Law on your wedding night.
Safe to in Danger:
This could possibly be the week we see Phil-Phil in the hard chairs, but I doubt it. It looks like another all girl revue….
Hollie is the obvious one in danger, but the voters have been strangely logical so far this year. It’s about time for a shocker, and Hollie was pretty impressive tonight. What would constitute a shocker? Phil? He isn’t a lock to stay out of the hard chairs, but I would be shocked if he was the lowest votegetter. Skylar? I dunno, her late show edit was the worst part of her song, and she did go first. Jessica, now that would be a shocker. The judges still have their save and they only have it for one more week, so it’s possible that they will save whoever gets the green weenie. Hollie, I don’t know, but the rest of them? I would expect them to be saved.