Cast: Ryan Seacrest, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson
Network: Fox, airs Wednesdays and Thursdays @ 8 p.m.
Original Telecast: April 18, 2012

After American had a brain fart last week or it was all rigged for ratings on the world’s greatest karaoke competition, AMERICAN IDOL, we get a double dose of karaoke with each singer performing twice. It’s fitting then that two will go home this week without any saves from the judges.

That’s because the judges saved Jessica Sanchez from elimination last week in case you forgot after she placed inexplicably last in votes. This week they are singing songs from 2000 to present and the second song will be a “soul” song, which is ambiguous to say the least.

With so many songs, let’s volunteer as tribute and get to it.

Hollie Cavanaugh
Song: “Rollin’ in the Deep” by Adele
What I Thought: Somehow Hollie wasn’t in the bottom three last week when she for all intents should have been the one to go home. This was definitely a step up from last week and a huge leap from two weeks ago. I still think that she’s in trouble because I don’t think she has the votes to take enough from the other contestants but stranger things have happened – like Jessica getting the fewest votes.
What the Judges Thought: Steven said she came out of her shell and made it perfect. Jennifer is happy and thought she did a good job just singing and not thinking. Randy didn’t think it was perfect but was really well done.
Grade: B

Colton Dixon
Song: “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga
What I Thought: I’m never really a fan of dude’s singing chick’s songs and this performance was why. Of all the songs he could choose from during the time frame they gave them it seems something would have stuck out a little better for him. I get he is trying to make it his own and mix it up but it just fell flat. Although his rocker outfit was pretty good (which is my way of saying the song sucked). After such a great performance last week, this was disappointing.
What the Judges Thought: Randy said he is in the zone but not his greatest performance. Jennifer thought it was an exciting performance but some parts weren’t perfect. Steven loved the outfit and the band and the performance. I guess I watched a different performance.
Grade: C

Elise Testone
Song: “No One” by Alicia Keys
What I Thought: This was an interesting choice and at first I thought I would hate given how Elise sings and the tempo of the song. However, not only did she nail it but it showed how she can have some range and continue to deliver that whole Janis Joplin type singing style even with a R&B pop song. It will be interesting to see if Elise continues to delve in the bottom or she’ll finally get the boot this week.
What the Judges Thought: Jennifer said she is a natural at this. Steven loves her but didn’t like the chorus. Randy said he’s a huge fan (which means he isn’t that happy with her) but actually compliments her saying she had some good restraint during the melody.
Grade: B+

Phillip Phillips
Song: “U Got it Bad” by Usher
What I Thought: I have been hot and cold on Phillip because he’s pretty much the same singer the entire time. However, last week I (and apparently America given the votes) thought he mixed it up nicely. Did he continue his range this week or did he fall back into Dave Matthews Phillip? Actually, it was a mixture of both. He had some of that same style that has won him a lot of fans but it continued the jazz-ish type of singing he displayed last week, which I welcome. It shows he can do more than just be a guy that sings all ranges of songs basically the same way each week. I hope he continues this trend.
What the Judges Thought: Steven said he fools him all the time (in a good way) and thought it was great. Jennifer thought it was sexy. Randy calls him a true artist and always tries to be original.
Grade: B+

Jessica Sanchez
Song: “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys
What I Thought: This is probably the most intriguing story of the night. Was it rigged to give them some emotion to the show or draw ratings? Or did America just forget to vote for arguably the best singer in the competition? What happens now: I’ve said it many times that once a singer goes into the bottom, it is hard to climb out of that hole. Mostly because the audience gets predisposed to the fact that the singer won’t be around much longer so why bother casting a vote for them? Now, Elise has bucked that trend considerably climbing in and out of the bottom a few times. But it is a fact that those that are saved by the judges don’t last that long in the competition afterwards. However, Jessica is a much better singer than anyone that was saved before. Once again here, she continued to be strong and sing great. Will the rest of the voting bloc think so as well?
What the Judges Thought: Steven thought she sang angry and with passion. Jennifer said she did a great job tonight after talking about juggling balls. Randy said she is great and called it brilliant.
Grade: B

Skylar Laine
Song: “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga
What I Thought: Well shave a dog and make it walk backwards, Hillbilly Hoedown took a popular song by Lady Gaga and made it feel as if you could use it hunt coon and make Velveeta nachos. Was that dude playing a chocolate banjo up there? Skylar cracks me up, mostly because she’s unapologetic about who she is, or where she comes from or what she eats on the propane torch grill after killin’, skinnin’ and cleanin’ it.
What the Judges Thought: Jennifer loved that version. Steven said she is giving the girls a run for their money.
Grade: B

Joshua Ledet
Song: “I Believe” by Fantasia
What I Thought: I know that Joshua’s a huge fan of Fantasia but really man, this was a terrible choice for a song. I won’t comment on how it was sung because he’s a great singer. There’s never been anything wrong with how he sings. It’s everything else. The way he performs, the way he goes back to doing only gospel and the way he continues to do ballads that may not appeal to the audience as much as some singers believe it does. But another thing, this song isn’t nearly as popular as some of the other songs that were sung by others. Everyone knows Lady Gaga, Usher and Alicia Keys’ work. Fantasia? Not so much. Also, the judges giving him standing ovations for songs that do not – do not – deserve it doesn’t help because obviously I’m not the only one thinking this same thing given he’s been in the bottom twice now. I think he’s in trouble this week.
What the Judges Thought: Randy thinks he’s one of the most gifted singers on the show. Jennifer said he leaves it all on the stage and it is amazing to watch. Steven basically couldn’t comment it was so good.
Grade: C+

Hollie Cavanaugh
Song: “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield
What I Thought: Hey, John Noble in the house. Watch FRINGE everyone, if you don’t, you are missing out. Anyway, I’m going out on a limb here: I think Hollie saved herself this week. Her singing was soooo much better than the last few weeks for one, which is obviously a huge thing. But her song choice was smart and her performances had a ton of life to them. I’ve always said it is more about the song choice and how you perform as it is about the actual singing on IDOL. But picking Adele and this song, brilliant choices. Everyone knows these songs, sings them and will sing along.
What the Judges Thought: Randy thought it was good and she did a great job with a tough song. Jennifer said she has a new composure. Steven still thinks she can push it more and liked what she did tonight.
Grade: B+

Colton Dixon
Song: “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire
What I Thought: Yikes. I’ve been pretty high on Colton this year because he’s a very good performer (and his voice is very good too) but I’m not a fan of him tonight. His first song and this one just very underwhelming. Maybe he peaked last week with his brilliant song that may have been the best of the season. I hope not cause I’d love to see more of that type of performance. I just didn’t like this nearly as much as he seemed to be reaching and sleepy through much of it. I think he’s still safe because the chicks dig him.
What the Judges Thought: Steven loves his voice and thought he played it safe. Jennifer thought he sounded good but not the perfect performance. Randy also didn’t like the song choice.
Grade: C

Elise Testone
Song: “Let’s Get it On” by Marvin Gaye
What I Thought: I think it boils down to whether enough people vote for Hollie over Elise this week in terms of who will go home. In my mind, Joshua is already a goner. That means it is down to Elise or Hollie. Colton and Phillip have the tween girl vote to push them over. Jessica was a fluke last week. Skylar has the redneck bloc sealed. I think Hollie just did a bit better this week. Which is shocking given how well Elise has done in the past.
What the Judges Thought: Jennifer thinks she needs to connect more with the song and show more emotion. Steven thought it showed her versatility but needs to amp it up. Randy didn’t like the song choice and over sang it.
Grade: B-

Phillip Phillips
Song: “In the Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett
What I Thought: Unlike his first song, Phillip went back to the Dave Matthews well and did a basic adult contemporary edit of the classic Wilson Pickett song. I think his first song was great and how he did it, this was more of what we have seen from him the past. I think he’s safe given the tween voting bloc will carry him over but more of the first song, less of this type of song in the future may carry him deep.
What the Judges Thought: Randy said he took his time with the song and showed his style. Jennifer wants to dance with him. Steven called it brilliantly awkward.
Grade: C+

Jessica Sanchez
Song: “Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding
What I Thought: I may have figured out a bit why America maybe didn’t vote for Jessica last week (if it wasn’t rigged that is). She may have the same problem as Phillip and Joshua. She’s kinda the same each time she sings. I noticed this more with her while watching her first and second performance this time. They were basically carbon copies except with this one being louder. I can see how that might discourage someone from voting. However, there’s no denying she’s got a HUGE voice but it may not be enough. That said, I think she moves on this week.
What the Judges Thought: Steven wants her to step out and win people’s hearts. Jennifer said she needs to start pushing her performances and connect more with the audience. Randy also thinks she needs to connect more with the emotion of the song and the audience.
Grade: B

Skylar Laine
Song: “Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye
What I Thought: What can you say about Hillbilly Hoedown other than she has mastered taking virtually any song and making it a country tune. And did she pay the dude with the chocolate banjo this week since he got as much camera time as she did. This song is nothing like the original or the vast number of carbon copies over the years, and that’s a good thing. I’m no country fan but at this point, I wouldn’t count out Skylar to win it.
What the Judges Thought: Randy said she has no problem connecting with the audience and having a good time. Jennifer said the audience gets into her and thought this was a good song. Steven called her a wild horse that refuses to be tamed.
Grade: B+

Joshua Ledet
Song: “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke
What I Thought: If the first ballad Joshua did tonight didn’t seal his fate with the audience (especially after having as much fun with Phillip and Skylar as they did this night), his second ballad finished the job. Again, I don’t knock his singing. He’s amazing in that regard. I just don’t think he will register with voters with two ballads that are virtually the same.
What the Judges Thought: Another standing ovation. Sigh. Sit down already. Steven said he was brilliant. Jennifer said he is great because he holds back on us, and then begs America not to send him home. Randy said the song was perfect for him and called it stellar.
Grade: C

So who will be in the bottom three and who will be the two people going home? I think Hollie Cavanaugh, Joshua Ledet and Elise Testone will be in the bottom with Elise and Joshua going home.

UPDATE: Related Link: AMERICAN IDOL Season 11 recap: Colton Dixon Kicked off, Six Left

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Article Source: Assignment X 
Article: AMERICAN IDOL Season 11 recap: Hollie Cavanaugh Rocks, Joshua Ledet Sinks 

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Comments:

  1. I am striving to truly believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion, no matter how completely insane it may be. Your review of Joshua Ledet’s performance of “I Believe” was so off the mark, I’m stunned. I actually replayed that performance four times, which I have only done once or twice since this series first aired. Joshua controlled that incredible voice of his and didn’t over sing it which would have been easy to do. He is in a whole didfferent class from the other singers. You criticized for his choise of songs. He sang it with just the right amount of emotion and I thought he nailed it. So respectfully, I think your opinion of Joshua Ledet’s performance of “I Believe” was as inaccurate as it could be.

    Bill

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