Things are feeling a bit off-kilter tonight on American Idol. For starters, no Colton Dixon in memoriam! Apparently they nixed the Colton montage in favor of a little band by the name of Queen. I guess they're more deserving. But what's even stranger about this evening is the fact that Seacrest looks like he just came back from a crack-fueled bender in Tijuana. Full disclosure: We actually hear that he's been extremely ill, but it's always a delight making fun of Seacrest. Isn't it?
Queen's on double duty tonight — they're performing and serving as mentors. The finalists join Queen on stage for a medley of their greatest hits. Elise is the clear stand out of the bunch (plus, she got the most solo time), but overall I think everyone sounded quite lovely.
In sticking with the all-Queen all-night theme, the contestants will sing a Queen song for their first performance, and any song of their choice for the second.
It was a decent execution. She started out soft with a slow build-up, and then exploded into a series of impressive high notes for the chorus. One thing I could have done without? The floating Jessica heads in the background (whose idea was that Snooki poof?) As is the case with several of her past performances, there just seems to be something missing from this one. "Rock isn't your forte. I wouldn't say it was at all," says Steven. "But I still love your voice no matter what."
"The Show Must Go On"
What a refreshing thing it is, Skylar not singing country! This was a really great performance for Skylar and here's why: it was perfectly powerful without being over-the-top and it showed that she's capable of more than just country. "It was effortless. Yo Ryan!" says Randy, who is unironically wearing a pin that says "yo." "That was phenomenal!"
"Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
Digging Joshua's look tonight! He hasn't let go of the blazer just yet, but the leather accents really spice things up for him. There's not much to say about this performance other than it was fantastic. He was energetic, the vocals were flawless, he made it his own and he looked the part. A standing O from the judges. "Is it bad for me to say that the Joshua part of the show is my favorite part of the show?" says J.Lo, blatantly dissing the other four performers.
"I Want it All"
This was foreshadowed earlier in the group number, but Elise's voice lends itself so naturally to Queen's sound. Her look was awesome and her performance was even better. Elise seemed genuinely excited, and it was a prime example of her singing something she believed in. "That style of song is so right for you," says Randy. "Brilliant. To me that was one of your best performances to date."
"Fat Bottomed Girls"
It must be a full moon tonight, because things are just getting crazy around here. And by that I mean...Phillip goes guitar-less! Honestly, some of my favorite Phillip performances are the ones where he leaves the guitar behind, because he tends to use it as a crutch. This song was a great choice for Phillip, and per usual, he was as passionate as ever. The bulging vein in his forehead is totally becoming his signature look. Steven couldn't resist the opportunity to make an unfunny remark about girls with large behinds, naturally. "I guess it only goes to prove... fat bottomed girls, huh? The bigger the cushion... the bigger the cushion." Huh is right. "When you sing it's just that character that nobody else has," he says.
Well, it was only a matter of time before the Hollie parade came to a screeching halt, and tonight... it came to a screeching halt. Unfortunately, not only did that parade consist of some pitchy notes and a seemingly forced performance, but it was also wearing an ill-fitting red satin pantsuit. Have to give the girl credit for sticking it out this long, but if she doesn't redeem herself in the next performance, we'll probably say goodbye to Hollie tomorrow. Randy, who clearly doesn't want to be the first to rip her, immediately defers to both J. Lo and Steven. He then says, "Everybody that comes on every time needs to have a moment. There needs to be a moment that has people going, 'they could win.' That song didn't quite have that for me."
CONTESTANT'S CHOICE PERFORMANCES
"Dance With My Father"
Described by fellow Idols as: "We're still trying to figure out if she's like, an alien"
Critics have been giving Jessica a hard time lately about her inability to connect, but when we take a step back — and remember that she's only 16 — it's unbelievable how profoundly talented and poised she is. This performance was perfect evidence of that. She's finally learned the best type of song for her voice. It was so emotional, and we truly felt how relevant it became to her own relationship with her father (who is currently deployed in Iraq). "That may have been the best I've ever heard that song sang. And we've heard a lot of people sing that song," says J. Lo.
"Tattoos On This Town"
Described by fellow Idols as: "Full of fire" "ridiculous" "very tough" "thick-boned"
Not my favorite Skylar performance. The chorus was strong, but certain points in the song seemed to be a little too low for her voice. And for goodness sake, can someone get that pink thing out of her hair? There were definitely positive moments, and I give her credit for knowing herself better than anyone in the competition, but something about it was lacking for me. Randy and J. Lo loved it, but Steven and I were in agreement. "You didn't take that song where you've taken every other song," he says. "I kind of missed that flair."
"Ready For Love"
Described by fellow Idols as: "crazy" "loud" "a mess"
A beautiful song, and a beautiful rendition. It was dramatic yet effortless. The range in Joshua's voice continues to amaze me, and this was the ideal song to showcase it. Only two standing O's from the judges so far this evening, and Joshua earned both of them. "I don't even know what to say anymore, man. I'm just so speechless," says Randy, bearer of the "yo" pin. "You're so spot on. You're so way beyond your age in experience and talent."
"Bold As Love"
Described by fellow Idols as: "She's like a sniper. Trying to kill the notes."
Hate to say it, but Elise overdid it with this one. I wanted so badly to like it — I did. But it seemed like it was too fast, there was too much going on and it was kind of all over the place. J.Lo and Randy were at odds — she loved it; he wasn't buying it. Steven criticized her song choice. "You gotta remember: you gotta sing a familiar song. But I loved it nevertheless."
Described by fellow Idols as: "boring" "sarcastic" "handsome" "drama queen"
It's the moment we've all been waiting for: Phillip, who has been compared to Dave Matthews throughout this entire competition, sings Dave Matthews. I was hoping for more out of this performance, and maybe I would have been satisfied if he had chosen a different Dave song. Regardless, it was still strong enough to keep him around for another few weeks. The judges were divided. J. Lo called it too artsy and obscure; Steven and Randy were fans. "What you just did, is you showed your true colors once again... Die, sink or swim, Phil Phillips will always be Phil Phillips," says Randy.
Described by fellow Idols as: "my bestie" "weird, like a little mouse"
If Hollie performs, but she isn't wearing sparkles, is it even a performance at all? The answer is no. The sparkles brought Hollie back to life in the final hour tonight, with her take on Miley Cyrus' hit. Hollie's problem is that she is so incredibly hot or cold. She either picks a song that works for her and she nails it, or makes a bad selection and sounds freakishly pitchy. In this case, she fell in the former category. She even earned a standing O from the judges! "That was stepping it up," says J. Lo. "It was perfect! It was perfect for you!"
Who was your favorite tonight? Did Hollie's performance save her for another week? Who do you think will be eliminated tomorrow?
Speaking of eliminations — check out our interview with last week's eliminated contestant, Colton Dixon!
Things are feeling a bit off-kilter tonight on American Idol. For starters, no Colton Dixon in memoriam! Apparently they nixed the Colton montage in favor of a little band by the name of Queen. I guess they're more deserving. But what's even stranger about this evening is the fact that Seacrest looks like he just came back from a crack-fueled bender in Tijuana.