So, Idol, where did we last leave things? Well, Heejun-the-”Hilarious” was finally sent home- only 5 or weeks so late, but hey it’s done now. This week we get buried in another Idol theme week of blah as we recite the songs of the 80s. Arguably there’s plenty of gems from that decade but we all know that Nigel Lythgoe and the rest of the producer ghouls will be finding the cheapest and most random they can to bore us for a good 90% of what we’ll watch tonight, and taking a peak at a leaked song list it seems like my pessimistic prediction is dead on. The songs you’ll see are known but truly nothing relevant in today’s world of “One Direction Bieber Lovato” madness so I struggle to understand how this show attempts to stay relevant with songs that less than half the audience likes let alone recognizes. Oh well, let’s play the hand we’re dealt and see what we’ve got tonight.

As we move from last week’s Stevie Nicks to today’s Gwen Stefani as contestant mentor I appreciate the attempt to at least bring in truly successful performers who have been through the stages of early stardom and come out the other end as famed successes so at least they’re hitting that on the head. We’re going to be getting our usual round of solos tonight but with the add of some duets to- let’s be honest- drag out what could be a half hour show into its full 2-hour commercial bonanza. I’ve got my fingers crossed Phil Phil’s shirt busts open tonight, that DeAndre Brackensick forgets the words and yet still gets voted to stay in perfect mockery of what this show has become and that Jessica Sanchez continues to slay the competition along side my dark horse fave Elise Testone. So, without further adieu…

DeAndre Brackensick – “I Like It”

Are we doing worst to best tonight, Idol? Once again, the non-relevant and ever-cringeworthy DeAndre puts us through a falsetto melange of crap and shows us just how little America cares about talent as they pick up the phone to twit their fave of the week. I DARE you to find one teenager who’s even heard of this song let alone has it on their iTunes. Honestly, I’m pretty sure the frizz disaster was paired with this rando choice because his hair matches the singers’ from the 80s throwaway band, DeBarge. Though, the fact that they sang falsetto (IN THE 80S, WHEN IT WAS A THING) does match with D I suppose makes it understandably you’d put them together.. I mean, you wouldn’t want to ruin an actually good song with DeAndre’s voice, would you? He does some wandering through the crowd crap and ends with some hair flips. Honestly, the other thing more ridiculous than this lackluster performance was that J Lo is either so drugged up or paid off that she “liked” it and even complementarily pointed out the hairography… Ugh, how very “Glee” last season. This.Kid.Needs.To.Go.

Elise Testone – “I Want to Know What Love Is”

My favourite blond is up next with the very memorable “I Want to Know What Love Is”- memorable if not a bit blah though. Second spot is arguably the absolute worst of the bunch as you’re forgotten by the end of the night and you don’t get the primacy bump of being first. Topping that with this meh song? Nigel is making it clear they want her unique brand of talent out of this show. Nonetheless, I’d argue this girl yet again turns it out and puts heart and soul into this through the instrument of her sexy raw voice and I love it. They try to ruin her by pairing it up with way too much production and ugh, a choir and Elise is slightly lost in the whole thing. Surprise surprise, the judges bitch out as Stephen argues the song choice and Randy calls her out on pitch. Seriously you coca cola pushers? DeAndre gets cute comments on hair flips and a real singer using a real octave range gets left to die with only 9 contestants remaining? At this point in the show, any negative feedback is a red flag of likely Bottom Three as there’s so few contenders left. While I agree it’s all right to be critical: do.it.fairly. If this girl didn’t have the best night then DeAndre should have been flayed and left for dead after his song that only dogs could hear. I hope she gets the votes like she did last week but I’m highly, highly doubtful.

DUET – Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine – “Islands in the Stream”

Next, there’s some country duet that I’m not going to waste more than a couple words commenting on as it doesn’t count towards the votes and just like their stupid ass Ford commercials, I ain’t givin’ them the time of day. It was a weird match and kind of boring [end commentary]. Still, I’ve found that more than a couple readers use this article as a way of avoiding wasting 1.5hrs they would actually WATCHING this show so I’ll post the duets so you know what you missed as I know that even if I don’t care about something, that’s no reason to punish y’all!

Phillip Phillips – “That’s All”

Back to my main man Phil. Now, I’ll admit it right away, it wasn’t a life-changing performance but I honestly blame this lack-luster song a lot more for that than Phil himself. His voice is dead on and without error and as you can tell by his forehead vein (which I think is CUTE), he’s still trying to bust it out as best he can. His performance is sweet if a bit slow but god damn if it still isn’t sexy as hell. I know I’ve been criticized for being under his spell, I still argue he’s killing it with the girls and gays and has nothing to worry about in the least.. until it gets down to Top 3 or 4 that is. We get informed it was his brother playing alongside him tonight which is actually quite adorable, still I need to have some impartiality even as I judge my secret husband and admit that’s some pretty blatant producer bumping. He’s getting the star treatment with a “back story” boost as they continue to pimp this boy realizing he’s the new (actually talented) Kris Allen- but cuter. I’ll admit his performances blend a bit so I’m really hoping that next week- and we all know there’s gonna be a next week for this kid- he changes it up with a new style or adaptation that shows us a different side to the sex machine that is Phil Phils.

DUET – Deandre Brackensick and Hollie Cavanagh – “I’m So Excited”

Miiiissssmaaattch. Like an overweight bald dude and his gym bunny blond boyfriend, this pair did not compute for me. It was an oddly gay production with two kids that should never be competing against one another let alone paired. Hollie sounded decent doing possibly her first real uptempo tonight.

Joshua Ledet – “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”

Once again, backed up by his church choir (not really, but how much is that exactly how you see this guy?), Joshua does his normal thing: a overly humungous performance ended by standing O from the judges. It’s hard to criticize a guy who sings as well and as powerfully as Joshua, but I’m gonna do it anyway: he runs those notes like a marathon and does everything at 110%. Now, though our high school gym coach would have us believe that 110 is the way we should be doing stuff, it’s just too much for this show. His performances week to week are what I’d expect from someone up for elimination who has to sing for their life and needs to pull out every stop, trick and tranny in the book. For a Wednesday night, it’s too much. Sing softly, soulfully, sweetly… hell, sing anything under your top volume and range and I’d appreciate the break- as I’m sure your vocal chords would as well. Still, he’s a good singer so I’ll give him credit for that, I just don’t think he’ll sell the most records or connect with the most kids out there… especially given the whole choir singer effeminate thing.

Jessica Sanchez – “How Will I Know”

God I hate it when they start the singer surrounded by clamouring fans… just so staged. That aside, I like what she’s wearing tonight! Some modern denim-esque short jacket and some eye popping yellow neon stripes underneath? I approve Jessica! Youthful and looking to the future, Jess sings on 18″ stilettos and does a really good job. Is this her best? No. But, it’s the 80s and she’s singing uptempo so not her strong suit on either. It’s Whitney Houston so that’s always a bump to her when she can control the queen diva’s own lyrics, but honestly, I’m not jumping up and down over this. While I don’t actually believe she’ll be in danger, so far this is her scariest week yet as she for once isn’t memorable. I love this girl and believe she is likely the most talented of the bunch but this wasn’t her week and I put a lot of the blame on this bogus theme.

DUET – Phillip Phillips and Elise Testone – “Stop Dragging My Heart Around”

The only reason I stopped to really watch this unnecessary duet was because it’s my two favourites (according to my heart… my ears and brain belong to Jessica) so I had to give them a listen. A great performance, these two show what maturity can combine to create as the crowd goes nuts. It’s a simple combo with limited production and background singing crap to ruin it and we see what the final days of this terrifying season might actually be able to produce if America gets the votes right. That said, I’m terrified for Elise so this might be her final Wednesday performance ever.

Hollie Cavanagh – “Flashdance… What a Feeling”

How do you age a young singer even more than you have for weeks now? Give her some 80s hit that everyone associates with their mom and see how she does. Thankfully, Hollie pulls out the vocals and gives a strong performance. There are some HUGE errors in the beginning of this one as Ryan attempts to vamp on stage (we can literally HEAR the technicians in the back.. and then see them as they tap the pint-size host on the shoulder- HILARIOUS) but soon enough she starts pulling off some “So You Think You Can Dance” attitude as she fills the stage and flits around. It’s nice to see her uptempo as well for a break but good god, let’s get her real song to attempt and see what she can do with it. Instead, she’s stuck into a pretty rigid tune that doesn’t allow for too much individuation and we just have to see through the rehearsed piece to appreciate the talent who’s performing it. Steven for once got his bitch on and said her pitch was all over the place so I’m left wondering just how safe this typically top voted girl is this week. Maybe if she didn’t have to run around the stage 18 times she would have had better breathe and tone control… who does choreograph this crap?

DUET – Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet – “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me”

Finding their inner soul sista, these two power voices pit against one another and it’s a bit of a pissing contest of vocal prowess on the stage. I’m a Jessica fan through and through so I’m obvi gonna give her the gold but I will argue that the ebullience by the judges is once again unnecessary and say that it seems like they’re just acting like bowled over maniacs for video clips for Idol to put on their website to prove how: “Amazing the Evening Was!!” NEXT!

Colton Dixon – “Time After Time”

Now, I have to admit, I have a special place in my heart for this song. Have performed an impromptu dance remake of the infamous “Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion” final scene in the middle of the streets of Portland with a muscled friend a few years ago, this Cyndi Lauper hit is a def fave. On top of that, I love love love when a guy performs a quintessential woman’s song or vice versa so going into this, I’m already excited. First up, I’m hating the new hair. While I loathed the red crap in it, the blond is even worse and I’m wondering how hot would this kid be if he just shaved it all off. Realizing that he’s saving that shocker for when he finally hits “Teen Beat” or whatever when he’s off this disaster show, I roll my eyes and get back to the signing. He’s quite good. I’m not blown away like the ever-positive judges (again, HE’S perfect and Elise needs to be told three things she did wrong?), but I’ll give him that this was definitely a “Colton” version of a Cyndi classic. However, it’s a far cry from the epic that I remember dancing to in the streets of PDX. I’m preferring the original and have to say that this wasn’t Colton’s best night… and again with the stage gymnastics?! Were they criticized for not making use of the real estate up there? Who’s in charge, serious!? All in all, it WAS a modern version of an older song so in that regard I’ll give the boy a nod. He definitely has a sound that youth today can get behind. It just missed that je ne said quoi.

Skylar Laine – “Wind Beneath My Wings”

An iconic song and a big one to take one, Skylar has her work cut out for her tonight. Getting the top spot as closer, my country girl kills it tonight. Looking prettier than ever upscale red, she adds her country flavour to this “Beaches” classic and does it up right. Slowing down where she usually likes to speed up (it was a night of speed reversals for these girls!), she tries something new and it’s monstrously appreciated by the judges. They once again jump out of their seats (who DON’T they do that for these days? Oh, right: Elise), and throw the complements as fast as they can. I did really like the performance and am glad to see her back in the game but I don’t think she has what it takes to win. In classic Idol singing style, Skylar saves the best for the final few notes and ends her song and the evening itself on a high note and I’m thinking just may have secured her spot come tomorrow night as kids remember her the most running to the phone as the show ends. I think she’ll be safe this week but in real trouble unless she gets back to her high energy roots and finds a strong voting base real soon. Good luck Sky, I do love ya, but don’t think top spot is in the books this year around.

So there we have it. Another night, another terrible theme. I am actually a child of the 80s so can rightfully denounce it as something today’s kids do not need on a show that purports to create “America’s Next Idol”. The kids did them best they could with the crap they were offered and people like Elise and Jessica suffered as a consequence. For my pics, you see some familiar faces as I wonder who will it be this week: the actual, untalented and mop-headed DeAndre Brackensick or the unique and unwanted by the idiot voters and idiot producers Elise Testone. Elise actually earned a “top” spot last week but I think it was a blip and the unnecessarily rough judging tonight was a clear indication they want her out. And, what that monster exec Nigel Lythgoe wants, he gets. Check in tomorrow!!

Adam’s Loser Picks for Thursday:
Elise Testone
DeAndre Brackensick
Hollie Cavanagh

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