Well, Elise Testone has fallen and the group is down to 5. As we lose one of the most mature and natural performers we’ve ever seen, my list of faves is quickly melting away. I use to have a huge ear-crush on Jessica Sanchez but her reviews and performances have been a bit spotty recently as she’s lost her way some: I still see her insane voice as a real contender and see her Top 3. Skylar Laine has shockingly started to steal my heart as the country girl with brains whose twang has thankfully taken a back seat to her sweetness and beautiful sound: I’m liking her for a final spot as well. And, then of course there’s my boyfriend Phil Phils: of late, I’ve had to be a bit harsher on him as his sexy growl and looks are starting to lack in the face of the remaining talent. I still see him as a real iTunes seller, but am not sure he’s right for the gold ring. Finally, he have the bottoms: Joshua Ledet (yes I did just make that joke) and Hollie Cavanagh. I’ve been called out for being close-minded about Josh’s resale value after this show ends but I honestly don’t get the appeal of the church boy sound and Hollie is just not killing with her too-old looks and big voice.

Tonight, the kids again take on two songs each as they attempt British Pop and Songs from the 60s… Can you imagine what I’m going to say next? CHRIST Idol, you’re dating yourself even more?? I’ve been getting a lot of flack for not covering “The Voice” and considering the contemporary spin they actually put on their approach, I’m starting to wonder WTF myself! Full disclosure, I’ve also been getting a LOT of flack recently on the comments (though more than a couple nice knights have taken up defending me) for my lack of all things 80s and beyond particularly as far as RnB and Classic Rock is concerned so I’ll try to resist mentioning that I don’t actually know by name alone who Stevie Van Zandt from Bruce Springsteen‘s E Street Band and the Sopranos (tonight’s mentor) is as apparently letting people know you don’t know every song and artist from before you were born completely disqualifies you from having an opinion for what kind of sound and singing you like (yes, that was meant to be condescending and flippant, it wasn’t just the way you read it). Listen, no one knows absolutely everything about music: particularly about styles, artists or periods they don’t enjoy listening to. I’m here just to comment on how this show comes across to me as someone who has watched it evolve for years and as someone who likes good music. If you want an opinion from someone who knows everything, click on wikipedia and see if their review of the night works for you cause no one else is gonna get everything right. Sorry. Rant done! Let’s get to the night and see how the good awful producers at Idol have screwed it up today!

Hollie Cavanagh – “River Deep, Mountain High”

It’s a little more than ironic that the opening words to Hollie’s song are: “When I was a little girl” cause that plastic looking hair and outfit, sheesh, you ain’t no little girl anymore! Her movements and entire styling including the Elizabeth Taylor white diamonds accessories scream aged. Her voice is good, she kills the final high note but man do I not connect with her or this song. I know they all need to try a fast and a slow song these days to show diversity but her sped up is not a good thing and just didn’t do it for me. The judges are too nice in my opinion- especially Randy who loved it- but I’m hoping they’re just warming up the critique cause she got away with a lack luster one there. The big band background drowned her and the outfit was the anchor.

Phillip Phillips – “The Letter”

Same ol’ styling and definitely the same ol’ sound but hey: why mess with success right? Before I comment on how he did tonight, I have to posit that while commenters here often get angry I approve of Phil’s approach, all I have to say is look at how well he’s doing! He’s seemingly untouchable as far as the Bottom Three is concerned so really is it stupid that he doesn’t change his style and sound? Tonight he was adorable as per and sang his song without a hitch. The final little country hit and face spasm was too damn cute and I was actually into the song despite it’s origins. Thankfully he put a lot of himself into this version he’s offered us and the the judges appreciate both that and him and give him great praise for it. Man up for song #2!

Skylar Laine – “Fortunate Son”

My new secret number one pick takes to the stage and once again converts a sooooo not country song with her Skylarism and makes this classic hit a twangy, fun tune. While I would have dropped that stringy black thing covering the backside, I loved her look and see her becoming mature and the new face of country more and more with every performance. She’s hopping and bopping around without missing a single beat and the whole crowd gets into it. The judges adore her up there and see the natural stage presence she was born with. Skylar has a great start to the night and truth be told I’m looking forward to her second song the most.

Joshua and Phil – “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”

A duo I never thought I’d see happen, it starts off with a minute of boring vamping as they pretend they never wanted to take the stage together (well, Josh was joking, Phil is worried his duet partner might flirt with him which he better not cause Brandi: the boy is mine!). This song was MUCH more made for the sound of Josh and the two of them did not mesh well. Phil does well on his own for sure but when they hit the notes together, you see this isn’t really the place for cute growlin’. I don’t consider this a real performance and would prefer if Idol quit trying to fill ad space with this unnecessary pairing and honestly doubt they’ll ever put these two together again after this. Oh, and can we talk about how Josh PUSHED Phil away as he tried to hug him at the end? The lady doth protest too much, methinks!

Jessica Sanchez – “Proud Mary”

I often like Jess’ styling the most and feel like she must already have a flock of gay followers who secretly find her the best their limited wardrobe has to offer cause damn she looked hot tonight. The energy was absolutely there as she took on this Titanic-eque iconic song that has conquered so many before it. She in huge heels and a size -1 dress and does an amazing job despite it all. Her voice is huge but honestly it NEEDS to be for this song and I love every second of it. Yes, this song is a bit “done”, but it ain’t no simple “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” crap: this is Tina Turner turning it out black diamond stuff! The judges are a little harsher than I thought they’d be as Randy for the first time tonight takes off the nice guy mask and says it was just ai’ght (sp randy?) for him. Damn, that’s cold dawg!

Joshua Ledet – “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg””

VERY good song choice for him. It’s his age, his sound and his style for sure. His zebra stripes and atrociously neon yellow adorned blazer are heinous and make me smile when I think of how people mock Phil’s tee shirt styling: there IS such a thing as too much and it was on the stage tonight, folks. While I hated his final 18 notes of “sounds” and ughs and ahghs, the remainder of the song was right up Ledet alley and he blasted it. The boys in this show never seem to have pitch problems for the most part and Josh is no different as he hits every note on the mark and gets the crowd jumping. I.am.stunned. as the judges do NOT give him a standing ovation for the first time (possibly ever?!). I’m telling myself that one of their PA’s pointed out my article and they finally got the over-the-top-idiots memo and toned it down finally. Once again, Steven ruins it by throwing out the quintessential Idol accolade: “Top 2 singer on this show ever!” crap though. Oh well, so close.

Hollie Cavanagh – “Bleeding Love”

Wait a minute, is this girl maybe back in the race? FINALLY dressed simply all in black, Hollie sits sweetly atop a piano and delivers this big voice song emotionally and with exposed power. She completely reverses the path outta dodge she was on as she DESTROYS the final runs and huge ballad high notes near the end and might have just changed the minds of millions as she clearly did those of the judges. They declare her an unexpected dark horse and applaud her amazing job. This is exactly why I love her in slow jams and feel that that’s what will keep her in the running. While I don’t know if it’ll be enough to save her come tomorrow as she was Bottom Three last week, I’m not counting her out after this. Best of the night for me so far!

Phillip Phillips – “Time of the Season”

God, how much do I hate the tie-dye in the background of this piece. I’ve sung this song before and know just how impossible the highest parts are for a guy and damned if Phil doesn’t have to strain himself to hit them. I do get that this seems like a “Phil Phil song” but too often does it stretch his range to the point that he has to almost make a joke out it and laugh and scratch his way into the next part of the song. This version is NOT however different much from the original and for that I’m definitely awarding him a spanking. My favourite part of this show is hearing the artists make the pieces their own and he gave up on this one. The judges thought it a good song match and very mellow blah blah but honestly, I’m saying not enough for me this time. We’re still dating, but you’re definitely gonna have to make this up to me.

Jessica, Hollie and Skylar – “Higher and Higher”

Ugh, I hated the duet, how much am I gonna loathe the trio? The gay boy in me is disappointed we didn’t get to see a costume change from the ladies but I suppose that can’t always be helped. They sounded much more together than the boys did and they all got fair share of centre stage so in that respect it did well to celebrate their different sounds. Fortunately, unlike the men there wasn’t much overlapping in the singing between the girls so their disparate tones didn’t contrast and ruin the song. There was more work put into this one than Phil and Josh’s and it was evident; judges loved it blah blah. Back to real singing!

Skylar Laine – “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”

The snakeskin-esque and poorly drapped dress looked a little Wilma Flinstone but once you get over that you hear a simple and beautiful performance by rising star Skylar. It’s not overdone and- once again like last week- only ever-so-lightly touched with her country twang to give it a southern soul as the girl starts easy and explodes at the end. The arrangement is well-done and I continue to praise how smartly put together Laine’s approach to the final few days of this competition is as she’s swooping out of nowhere to snare us all in her net. I’m loving this girl and this song is just another example of why: she’s emotional but not overly, unique and puts her own sound on every song and she’s humble as pie. Her final notes are a tad screeched for me but I don’t care and neither did the judges as they basically announce her their new sweetheart.

Jessica Sanchez – “You Are So Beautiful”

Man, she’s just picking the big songs tonight isn’t she? I don’t know how the hell she accesses her diaphragm as she essentially lays across the stage, surrounded by 1,700 candles (okay, floor lighting, let me pretend!) and is wrapped in fog. The piece is well-done but a little forced to be seen as truly emotional. She hasn’t a single problem with pitch or tone or anything technical but I’m left comparing her to Skylar before and Hollie before that and find her slightly less than. It might be that once again the arrangement is a little dependent and unchanged from the original so I’m feeling like this wasn’t unique enough- as such this one was just okay for me. Judges of course saw perfection and haven’t a bad thing to say about her.

Joshua Ledet – “To Love Somebody”

Wow, Josh didn’t know a Bee Gees song… I can’t wait for the haters on here to write how atrocious and “gay stupid” (I think that’s what I was called) he is for not knowing EVERYTHING. Somehow, I doubt we’ll be reading that but oh well 😉 Back to the performance: Idol, cool it with the fog. It doesn’t even make sense in this song, I’m starting to think you bought too much and needed to use it up before it spoiled or something. Josh is picking songs made for him tonight and he really needs it as we get down to the wire. He does a great job with his “no no NO! no no NO!” and pulls on the heartstrings with this one. The judges erupt and Randy looks around dumbly yelling “WHAT?! WHAT?!” into every camera he can find and they ruin the song for me a little. Admitting he did great, seeing them up to their old standing ovation tricks demeans the value of this actually brilliantly done performance as I’ve seen them do that for everything from crap to mediocre to now this. They’re the judges who cried O! I think that he got to close with this stand alone act is absolutely going to make a difference how the votes go tomorrow as he’s leaving a great taste in the mouths and ears of all the viewers with this swan song of the evening.

Adam’s Loser Picks for Thursday:
Jessica Sanchez
Phillip Phillips
Hollie Canavangh

How WEIRD are those choices? At least, by my standards. I think Jessica is honestly the loser of the evening and just didn’t have the great night most of the other kids did. Her songs were a little too typical and she didn’t work enough to make them her own. Hollie had the great final song but has already tasted that Bottom Three spot and recently and I think she might again though I’d argue that she’ll probably just escape going home that’s to her Leona Lewis performance. Finally, Phil. DUDE! I think he’s going to feel the sting Colton felt as voters start calling in more and more for talent and those with a great night as oppose to those they’d most want 7 Minutes in Heaven with. His first song was well done but the second fell way flat and overall he was not at the technical or emotional level of the rest of the kids this evening. I’ve very much shifted from my past weeks’ evaluations tonight but honestly, Skylar and Josh did killer jobs and I think the voting will reflect it! Tune in tomorrow as I cover the Elimination!!

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