It's '80s night tonight on American Idol, and you know who isn't happy? Steven Tyler. In fact, halfway through the evening he says, "The '80s wasn't so good for me, with music. Partially because I wasn't all there for it. I was other places at the time!" And by that he means... drugs, kids! Do 'em! They'll take you wherever you want to go! (We kid.)
Here's the rundown of what to expect from tonight:
Time-Filler — Guy/girl duet performances
Mentors — No Doubt's Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal
Contestant Anecdote — "Things I miss from home"
Deandre really misses his car. This answer indicates that we're going to be hearing a lot of #FirstWorldProblems tonight. We can only assume the thing Deandre misses most about his car is driving with the windows down, allowing the air to blow his tendrils around. He's singing "I Like It" by DeBarge. The mentors point out he seems nervous — but when he takes the stage, the nerves seemed to dissipate. Anyone who regularly reads these recaps knows that I'm a huge Deandre hater, but I will say the performance had a cool quality to it. It was a smooth, kind of like a slow jam, and overall...I like it. Which coincidentally is the name of the song! "Totally captivating!" says Steven. "I forgot where I was." (Sorry, bud. That's actually because of all the drugs you did in 1975).
Elise misses her band members in Charleston. Which gives her a little more street cred than missing her cat, I guess. She rehearses two different songs that give Gwen and Tony "goosies," and they help her choose Foreigner's "I Want To Know What Love Is." The performance was heartfelt and passionate — and while she was able to show off her signature raspy tone, it probably wasn't the best song choice. "You look beautiful tonight — so beautiful!" says J. Lo. (Surefire sign you're screwed: when the judge leads with a looks-related compliment). "It wasn't totally right every single moment."
"Islands in the Stream"
The punk-rock dude and the southern country chick. What an odd couple. (They're not dating, by the way, OK?!) It was a bit cheesy — a little too Donny and Marie for my taste. But maybe all the duets will feel that way? Let's hope not.
Phillip's missing doing something with his brother-in-law — jamming, maybe? Honestly I rewound it three times and have no idea what he said. Eventually he'll have that southern twang media-coached right out of him. Anyway, he wants to do "That's All" by Genesis, but in rehearsal, his attempt is almost cringe-worthy, and the mentors take note. Tony gives him some helpful pointers. He ends up improving in time for his performance, but I felt like he had a worried or nervous look on his face (accompanying his usual intense stare). Final verdict? I liked it. But I didn't love it. Did love that brother-in-law Ben joined him on stage, though! "I thought it was a great song choice for you. Another great performance," says Randy.
"I'm So Excited"
Hollie owned the performance and so did her faux-cornrows. And her pink bling-bling hoop earrings. It was fun and upbeat. Deandre was essentially a non-entity throughout.
It's a tie between what he misses most: his family and crawfish. Because we know he performs best on a full diet of crawfish. He'll be singing Simply Red's "If You Don't Know Me By Now." He was criticized for being a little "too much," but the mentors help him take it down a notch. And then: it's perfect. The performance is virtually flawless. A classic Joshua knock-it-out-of-the-park showing. It was definitely apparent that he forced himself to reel it in at the beginning, but by the end, the judges were out of their seats. "Lawd, lawd, lawd, lawd!" says preacher J. Lo. "Ask and ye shall receive! We asked for a powerhouse performance and that's what we got!"
"Boys, and nails and shopping!" And Jessica brings us right back to previously discussed #FirstWorldProblems. All good, though. Girl's just being honest. Tonight she's singing Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know," — or perhaps I should say, B.B. Chez, her Sasha Fierce-inspired alter-ego will be singing it. This is the first we're hearing of said split-personality... and that's probably a good thing. Jessica takes the stage in full '80s regalia. Finally! It should have been required of all the contestants tonight, I think. When it comes to Jessica, she really can do no wrong — she's the most vocally gifted female in the competition. I thought she could have picked something a bit more emotional because her voice lends itself better to ballads, but it was a stunning performance regardless. "You did an amazing job because those were big shoes to fill," says Randy, who of course must mention that he worked on the song with Whitney. Because ultimately, it's all about Randy, right?
"Stop Draggin' My Heart Around"
I can't say enough positive things about these two. Maybe they should just drop out and form a band together? Did no one think of this before? Their voices compliment each other perfectly, and above all, they just seem authentically cool — like two raspy rockers you want to be friends with.
Family, friends, puppy. Nothing new here. Hollie is singing Irene Cara's "What a Feeling" from Flashdance. For a moment, piano-related technical difficulties threaten her performance, and Seacrest is forced to ad-lib. The best he can come up with: "So, you're having fun?" he asks her. Brilliant. Once the piano problems are solved, Hollie is able to sing her little heart out — to say the least. Personally, I thought the performance was fun and enthusiastic — I noticed a few pitch problems, but for the most part, I thought the high notes she hit were kind of amazing. But the judges could not have disagreed more. Shows how much I know. "Your pitch was all over the place, I'm sorry to tell you," says Steven. "You got there at the end, but it took a while to get there." J. Lo tells Hollie that people are giving her great advice and that she should take it, and then forget all of it when she gets on stage. Which is kind of confusing, but whatever.
"I Knew You Were Waiting For Me"
Ah ha! Now I see what they're doing here. A second brilliant pairing! These two together are a serious force. Between their voices and the church-choir-style back-up singers, it was an incredibly memorable, mind-blowing performance.
Colton misses his family's face-painting business, which must be absolutely booming right now. Definitely the hottest face-painting business in Tennessee at the moment. He's singing "Time After Time," a song that Gwen and Tony absolutely adore, which is to say...you better not F this up, Colton. I love the song choice right off the bat, because it's unexpected, but also makes perfect sense. His rendition of it was unique — he really put his own alt-rock twist on it, and it totally worked. "I felt so many different things as I was watching that, and at the end when you hit the big note I was like 'Yes! Yes! That's where I wanted to go! Yes! Thank you!' It was the climax. It was amazing." Says J. Lo, who has now confirmed what we already knew: girl needs to get laid.
She misses her friends, her family, cookin' and deer meat sausage. I think it must be illegal to sell that in New York, because I've never seen it, that's for damn sure. She also misses her four-wheeler and her gun. Seems like Skylar misses so much, maybe should just go home. She debates two song choices, but decides on Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings." Gwen says her voice is like ice cream. The performance starts off slow, but WOW does it take a turn half-way through. As Gwen would say... goosies to the max! We're used to seeing Skylar lash out all over the stage but tonight she strictly channeled that power and energy into her voice, and it showed. It's the kind of performance that would make people cry for no reason at all (which happened to J. Lo). Perfect way to end the night. Skylar was in the bottom three last week, but after this showing, she has every reason to feel safe tomorrow. "I think this is your best performance on the show to date. Congratulations. Unbelievable. Amazing," says Randy.
So who's it going to be folks? Who goes home tomorrow? And who gave the best performance tonight? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
It's '80s night tonight on American Idol, and you know who isn't happy? Steven Tyler. In fact, halfway through the evening he says, "The '80s wasn't so good for me, with music. Partially because I wasn't all there for it. I was other places at the time!"