Friday, April 20, 2012

American Idol 11: Top 7 Redux

Yes, another solid performance night for the Top 7 Redux, especially at this stage of the competition with so many still left! I'm just happy to have such a great season of singing! Seriously. I thought everyone delivered some good performances and while not as stellar as the previous weeks, there were some people who really stood out.

Oh, one minor complain was the excessive standing ovations from the judges AGAIN! They all looked unnatural and forced - especially towards Joshua's second performance. Even the audience was kind pf nonchalant with some of the standing ovations. I guess, it's official. When Simon Cowell left American Idol, standing ovations are useless! Haha.

Anyway, here we go!

DISCLAIMER: I am no expert, but this is my opinion - to each his own - and yours will be in the comments below! Haha. 


07. Colton Dixon
Bad Romance
.. and just when I thought Colton's hair couldn't go worst, he added a red streak and now looked like he has a head wound. Haha. I did like the idea of adding rock element to the Gaga ditty, but the overall execution was disappointing. His lower range was weak,  his voice sounded squeaky and his pitch was all over the place. I just didn't buy the vocals. It's a shame because I knew what he was aiming for, but he failed. Sorry. 5/10

06. Joshua Ledet
I Believe
He should've picked a different song. Seriously. I Believe was Fantasia's defining moment on American Idol and there's NO WAY that Joshua could recreate that moment, especially during a Top 7 week. I don't know. This just didn't work for me, particularly when he went way into overdrive with his runs and whatnot towards the end of it. Vocally, it was good - as usual - but I just didn't care much about the performance. 6.5/10

05. Skylar Laine
Bad Romance
Until now, I'm still not sure how I feel about a country version of this Lady Gaga hit. The arrangement was strange - at least for me - and something about the fiddler annoyed the heck out of me. However, I must say that Skylar's effort to mix things up was actually kind of refreshing. Plus, I thought her vocals were mighty fine. 7/10

04. Elise Testone
No One
So, Elise used Haley Reinhart's Rhiannon wind machine! Haha. I must say, Elise sounded great on this song. The dynamics in her vocals was great and her pitch was spot on most of the time. Somehow though, I felt like the performance went nowhere. It fell flat and kind of repetitive. Not sure if it was because of the arrangement, but there was no impact whatsoever in her performance. 7/10

03. Jessica Sanchez
Aside from the fact that the background singers kind of drowned her out in parts, this was another solid performance from Jessica. She didn't stray too much from the original and I'm not also particularly a fan of the arrangement, but her voice just brought the performance into another level. Her pitch was spot on, I thought she connected well with the song and the inflections were flawless. She's a vocal genius! Enough said. 8/10 

02. Phillip Phillips
U Got It Bad
While I hated the fact that Phillip turned this Usher song into a 3-note interpretation, I found myself genuinely enjoying his performance. He sounded so current and somehow that throaty tone worked well with his rearrangement of the song. This, to me, was possibly one of my favorite performances from him. But seriously Randy, Phillip was the first "real artist" to ever, EVER, grace the Idol stage? Look at your back, Kris Allen's there! Can't. Even. 8.5/10

01. Hollie Cavanagh
Rolling In The Deep
She tackled an Adele song and there's NOTHING Hollie can do to make it better or change it up in any way that would leave anyone amazed.  That being said, this was clearly one of her best performances on the show. Her vocals were powerful, she was on pitch and she did better this time in conveying some emotions. Yes, I liked Adele's deeper tone on this song, but Hollie's vocals were outstanding. 9/10


07. Elise Testone
Let's Get It On
Piano would've been a better option for Elise than a freakin' white couch don't you think? Haha. To be fair, I thought he brought a certain level of maturity in her delivery that was somewhat lacking from the other contestants, but this performance was a little disappointing. I did not like her phrasing, there's a certain hitch to her voice that were annoying in parts and I didn't think she connected with the material that well. Sure, she technically sang it well, but strangely, it had zero seduction whatsoever - even though she tried. The song demands a certain amount of whisper and a soft touch to actually work, and Elise just lacked that. Too bad. 6/10

06. Phillip Phillips
In The Midnight Hour
I appreciated the fact that, at least, he tried to slightly modify the tempo of the song relative to his previous performances, but quite frankly, this was somehow a bit underwhelming. I expected him to do good just because this was in his wheelhouse, but from the shrug, stare into space, and smile stupidly shtick to his mediocre vocals, the performance was lacking. He seemed like he was having fun. So, good for him! 6.5/10

05. Colton Dixon
Obviously, Colton studied the American Idol winning book extensively. Haha. I'm not particularly attached to the original arrangement of the song as I find it a little too schmaltzy for my taste, so yes, I partly appreciated what Colton tried to do with the song. At first, I seriously thought he gave the song a cool and contemporary vibe to it. Then it hit me, you can't just rearrange a song for the sake of doing so. September is a fun song and turning it into something emo just didn't make any sense. He then came off more Andrew Garcia than David Cook. If he had watched Season 9, he would know that not all rearrangements would be applauded. Plus, just like his Bad Romance performance, his execution was a problem. His pitch in the verses was uneven, he again exposed the thin quality of his voice and his vocal choices were a bit odd. As for you Randy, you're absolutely useless! Rearrange a classic soul like Lil' Wayne? You're kidding right? 7/10

04. Joshua Ledet
A Change Is Gonna Come
Another standing ovation? Really? Vocally, this was, yet again, another solid performance from Joshua, but he's been doing the same old thing every single week. Somehow, I now can't stand the screaming, caterwauling and throwing the indulgent crazy runs at the end of each of his performances. Sure, it was more nuanced than I expected, but something was missing. Emotional connection? To me, this was the right song to rally his fan base, but it wasn't all that I expected it to be. This was a missed opportunity for Joshua to garner more fans outside his core, I think. 7/10

03. Hollie Cavanagh
Son Of A Preacher Man
I wonder if Hollie knew what the song really meant no? Haha. I wouldn't say that this was a particularly remarkable performance from Hollie, but it was a nice and pleasant effort from her and she seemed shockingly comfortable on stage. There was so much control in her voice and the belting was just stellar. If she could loosen up a bit more, she'd be unstoppable! 7.5/10

02. Skylar Laine
Heard It Through The Grapevine
True, Skylar's arrangements tonight were a bit polarizing, but one thing she showed was her undeniably sass and spunk. A countrified version of this classic Motown song would've been a serious train wreck, but she worked it out. As always, I felt her connection with the song, and while she did tend to get a tad shouty towards the end, it felt like it happened in service of the song and her emotions. Not the best rendition I've heard, but this was a solid one. 8/10

01. Jessica Sanchez
Try A Little Tenderness
Heavens, Jessica!! Yes, the performance could have used a little tenderness, but this was a different side of her that was a pleasant surprise. Like Fantasia would say, "she got ugly" with it and it was brilliant. I thought the growling and the grit was a bit over-the-top, but they were placed where it was supposed to be. Interesting vocal choices. Soulful delivery. Emotional connection. This may have been too polarizing and I don't think she won any detractors over, but she might have galvanized her core fanbase. Tactically, she should aim at blowing the roof off the joint NEXT week, and she should get the pimp spot then. 8.5/10


Who should go? 
Colton Dixon

Who will go?
Elise Testone


Shawn Jang said...

Love and completely agree with all your reviews!

Just one minor error: Skylar sang "Born This Way," not "Bad Romance."

Also one question: what do you mean by the "pimp spot?" I remember you mentioning it in one of your past posts that Elise got the pimp spot one week (I think you said her). What does that mean??

benjie_boi08 said...

i love this review DAM.. welcome back.. sana puro ai nalang.. hehehe... saka ka na magibang topic pag tapos ng ai para di narereport blog mo.. hehe.. GBU! benj here from fb.

benjie_boi08 said...

i think pimp spot yung parang super praise sya ng mga judges for her performance vocally and stage presence.. satingin ko lang. haha.

Anonymous said...

Pimp Spot - last performance of the night

Shawn Jang said...

Ohhhh okay, thanks!

Will said...

Welcome back! :)

destinycayin said...

Waaaah! So relieved to know that my fave site is still up.. sorry to hear what happened with the old one though. I was thinking that AI would finally give the pimp spot to Jessica this time but I guess guuuurl didn't need any pimping!

destinycayin said...

sorry to hear what happened to the original site but im glad you decided to put up a new one! Will you still post the AI songs??? *fingers crossed*

alex h. said...

hollies performance of rolling in the deep was the beat of the night

alex h. said...

where is your top 6 review

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