I must say, at 11 seasons in, this was my first year enjoying the Billy Joel theme week. Amazing what having a majority good singers can do. Are they all possessed with breakout star appeal that will help them win Idol and/or find big market success later? No, yet the evening was an enjoyable diversion.
Breakdown of events:
- Watching the notes from iconic fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger made me wonder that Idol’s actual stylist (sitting next to him and looking clueless) has been doing these past few weeks. Does she go out, pick up and suggest the garb or do the contestants grab things alone? Does she give them input on the wares? Can we vote her off?
- As for Tommy, yeah he wasn’t much help either. Did he really “evolve” anyone’s look? And how did he let Colton’s skunk peak get past him without comment? Now bring in a stylist with their finger on the pulse of modern performance edge—say whoever works with Rihanna, P!nk, Chris Brown, Demi Lovato or even The Black Eyed Peas—and the contestants will get better advice.
- Sean “Puffy” Combs was in the house as this week’s guest mentor. What are we supposed to call him these days? Ah, we are still using Diddy. And now I shall sing, “the D the I the D the D the Y…it’s Diddy (hold up). It’s Diddy.” Tell me someone remembers that hit with Pharrell. Heh.
- Random thought: J-Lo sure has dated a lot of people.
- Oh, DeAndre. You had no clue or connection to the lyrics of “Only the Good Die Young.” I sunk low in my seat and refused to watch. And going first of the night? Big trouble. Oh honey, here’s your door prize.
- Erika showed up with a severe makeover. Drastic hair cut (short and angular). Drastic color change (near black from blond with streaks). Idol audiences can get finicky and Erika—already not making an impression—has already visited the bottom three. She did good with “New York State of Mind.” I really like her voice, but think she’s still holding back and that doesn’t win you American Idol. I’d listen again.
- Joshua took “She’s Got a Way” to church. Yes, Diddy and Jimmy Iovine told him to tune that down, but he can’t help it. As soon as he stood up from the chair, I heard his voice start to soar and felt it turn the corner and head for the church pews. Having the phantom Idol choir appear from behind the wall also added to the amped up production. I liked it and don’t get what the judges were saying about his lack of connection. There was a sad, pleading tinge that Joshua brought to it and he definitely “made it his own.” I’d listen again and might even download it.
- Skylar picked the wrong song, “Shameless,” and it did nothing to highlight the fun of her personality and positive aspects of her voice. Meh.
- Elise’s rendition of “Vienna” was beautiful and a right song choice. I just don’t think the viewers are connecting with her. She had little screen time during the earlier rounds and hasn’t put forth the best stage presence and attitude as part of the finals. To possibly help show her as capable of human connection, the producers brought two of her voice students on stage after the performance and they cried with joy and pride. In terms of styling, I don’t think her hair works for her; at least not as it was last night. I’d listen again.
- Phillip’s presence is growing on me. I know, freaks me out too. I have to appreciate and give kudos for him knowing who he wants to be as an artist. Tommy ragged him for the gray on gray ensemble and he wore it anyway. He also stayed behind his guitar against mentor wishes. His take on “Movin’ Out” wasn’t awful, though he seems more interested in growly voice antics than regular singing. And as I looked at him straight on, I saw a gleam of cuteness. Someone help me. Meh.
- Poor Hollie was styled as a miniature femme fatale with ‘50s-styled movie actress waves framing her face, high waist pants and sequined belly skimming top. It is much more fitting for her body type and age than last week’s dress. The classy look didn’t hide the off-pitch flair on “Honesty.” The first hit was a transition she made before the first chorus. It was like she couldn’t hear the music and I was afraid she’d be off for the remainder of the song. She got back on key for the chorus, but then wandered off several more times. The song was a great choice for her so I’m not sure what was off. Sadly tonight, Meh.
- Does Heejun want to go home? His humor, that I once loved, has rolled into an evil tinged, condescending mockery. His banter with Tommy was rude and the antics as he performed “My Life” were juvenile to the point of drawing the glare and lashing of Steven Tyler, who asked him “Are you happy that you took the piss out of that song?” Yeah. Here’s your door prize, buster.
- Jessica gave us “Everybody Has a Dream” and was technically fantastic as usual. Jimmy and Diddy pawed at her during the mentoring rehearsal saying that they didn’t believe what she was singing. I think that can tend to be an issue with many of the technical wizard, diva singers. Remember robot Pia Toscano from Season 10 or how stiff and pageantry behind the eyes Carrie Underwood used to be? I’m not saying a diva singer has to have a life of pain before being able to connect emotionally with a song and in turn with the audience. I am saying they need to have a touch of acting skills to be able to tap in and deliver. I’m a little worried for Jessica in future weeks. I still remember the smile she tossed out while delivering a strong rendition of “I Will Always Love You” when there is nothing to smile about in those lyrics. I’d listen again.
- Colton got the pimp spot and played a deep red piano with white spotlight beams shooting up to the ceiling all around. Oooo…I think they were trying to make me feel it was a performance “moment.” I felt a moment of dread. His voice irritates me. Plus, he was manipulated into the competition (showed up with sister, pretending to not be auditioning again, made to by the judges, oh look at the hope and promise). Not a fan of performance shows playing tricks. The classy Star Search approach, where it is the singing that matters, goes a long way. Why even bother rating the anointed one?
- Based on performance alone, the bottom three should be DeAndre (sniff), Heejun and Colton (cause I’m biased). Yes, I know Colton won’t be down there. Elise and Erika might not have strong fan bases, so I’ll say the third will be one of them. I say send home Heejun and give DeAndre a little more time to figure out song choice. Such a beautiful voice, still so young.
- Haley Reinhart (Season 10) is on stage singing in a cage. They need to fill in the bars so her voice can’t come out.
- We get a bottom three of DeAndre, Heejun and Erika. Bottom two of Heejun and Erika. Oye. And this week’s sacrifice is… Erika.
So, who is your top pick to win it all? Any Colton fans out there? Don’t be shy. What are your predictions for his success post show?