Oh, American Idol. What is a season without manufactured scandal and drama? Jermaine Jones has been kicked out after being brought back for a second chance. Where do I start?
- I’ll admit I haven’t been a Jermaine fan. Last week, my off-blog quote to my mother—a converted Idol addict since Season Two—was “something’s not right with him.” She then told me I was being mean, so I dropped it. The tip-off to me was his quick turn from playing it so humble and sweet in earlier rounds to the flashes of anger shown last week. I had a “who are you” feeling from the touch of duality. So hello fake names and multiple open warrants.
- Speaking of fake, I don’t believe for a moment that the producers just learned about Jermaine’s criminal issues. Toss me into the tub with the conspiracy crew. I call a pile of super-duper shenanigans. The timeline works for the trickery of letting him go, bringing him back as a surprise 13th male contestant, making the finals then using this “criminal issues” out to get rid of him again. All for a hope to boost ratings.
- On to the performances. Phillip Phillips (“Hard to Handle”) – Great song. Not so great performance. Better than last week since at least he kept the melody. Meh.
- Jessica Sanchez (“Turn the Beat Around”) – I get her not wanting to be trapped to singing ballads. This was the wrong song choice. Fasts songs are okay as long as they are singer songs. She’s got wicked great stage presence though. Meh.
- Heejun Han (“Right Here Waiting for You”) – I think Heejun’s weaknesses are flashing bright. However, his wit and personality won fans in the earlier rounds, so he’ll be protected for a little bit. I like you, Heejun, but this was…zzzzzzz… Here’s your door prize.
- Elise Testone (“Let’s Stay Together”) – Well she gets points for being the most improved contestant this week. This song choice allowed her to play up the soulful tinges of her voice and her natural phrasing. She’s much more in her element. I’m afraid her attitude last week paired with not already being a fan favorite will still hurt her. I’d listen again.
- Deandre Brackensick (“Endless Love”) – I do agree with mentor of the night, Will.i.am, that Deandre is dooming himself with hasty song choices that aren’t a good fit for his voice. His initial choice of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” would not have worked. But—and this is a huge but—what they picked also wasn’t right. It makes me want to call shenanigans again. Are they trying to sabotage him? Boring. He looked unsure as he sang it. Oh it pains me to say it. Here’s your door prize.
- Shannon Magrane (“One Sweet Day”) – Okay, Idol, kill me with all the sappy songs I hate. Song from the year you are born offers a gazillion options. I can’t believe they are picking things that don’t work. Shannon fought with this song. Since the judges toss mounds of praise on her, I’m shrugging my shoulders and moving on. Here’s your door prize.
- Colton Dixon (“Broken Heart”) – Oh great. Colton is now pimping Chris Daughtry for votes. Don’t fall for it, Daughtry fans! Colton’s not a real rocker. Wasn’t he just doing some moody emo stuff two weeks back? I shall cry uncle on this one too. *heading to make some sweet potato fries* Here’s your door prize.
- Erika Van Pelt (“Heaven”) – Now this is a great song choice for her voice. Will.i.am is right that she needs to execute. She gets points for having styling that works with her personality and body type. She does an okay job, but I must say I flashed back to Elliott Yamin’s version Season Five. Elliott killed it with feeling. Erika’s version would have been better if she’d stood in one place. She and the arrangement meandered a bit too much around the stage. Meh.
- Skylar Laine (“Love Sneaking Up on You”) – Kudos to Skylar for knowing herself. This song was her first choice. Jimmy said it wasn’t enough song for her. She decided to stay with her gut and kept her choice. I LOVE Bonnie Raitt and think that her songs are in the wheelhouse for Skylar. It isn’t country, but Skylar is capable of pulling off the bluesy edge. It was a solid choice, but I get what Jimmy was saying in terms of it lacking build. I’d listen again.
- Joshua Ledet (“When a Man Loves a Woman”) – Last week, I’d said, “Joshua’s gospel-flavored voice did way more than was written for the song—and I’m not sure that was a good thing.” Way to pick a song! Now that is the way you sing. Joshua has a bit of an Al Green vibe riding through his tone. The judges hopped up on their feet halfway through and I was right there with them. Oh yeah, I’d listen again.
- Hollie Cavanaugh (“Power of Love”) – I’m not a fan of the song, but she sings it well. I’d have preferred to end on Joshua. Because of that and a few bum notes, this was a bit of a letdown. I’d listen again.
- Worst of the night hands down was Shannon. She’s just not the same caliber of vocal talent yet.
- Bottom three: Shannon, Erika and Elise. Déjà vu.
- Elise is told she is safe, then Erika.
- Shannon sings for her life and once again cannot do any justice to the Mariah and Boyz II Men number.
- The judges decide not to use their save (yes, they get one again) and Shannon goes home.
What’s your take on the Jermaine scandal? Do you think they should have brought someone else back? Have you ever seen a live Idol concert?