American Idol -- after the drama

I can barely stand the drama of tonight's opening.  This show slow motion replays of last weeks' Jessica debacle accompanied by some piano music.  They show Jessica laying on the couch afterward.  And re-watching last weeks' show.  Drama, drama, drama.

On with the show, please.

When Ryan comes out, he pays tribute to Dick Clark, who passed away today.   Very sad news.  Ryan said Dick's in a better place, pointing at his watch, and saying "let's get on with the show."  Ryan said, "You got it, boss."

Tonight each Idol is singing 2 songs...one will be a #1 hit from 2000-present, the other will be an old school R&B song.
Hollie is up first, and oh geez, she's going Adele's "Rolling in the Deep." I think that all singers on all competitions should be banned from singing Adele.  No one can match.  She starts of a capella and sounds good.  She looks good tonight too...and more relaxed.  Okay, I take it back...Hollie can do Adele.  And ta-da, the judges loved it.  Steven said she finally did what everyone's been wanting  her to do--come out of her shell.  He said it was perfect.  JLo said there was no thinking, she did it!  Randy said it wasn't perfect, but what he loved is that he felt her...she had feeling and emotion.

Colton is next.  First Ryan brings up his sister Skylar and reminds us that she was the one who actually came to audition.  She seems proud of him though.  Colton's got a red streak in his hair tonight and it's the exact same color as his sister's hair, so I guess they used the same box of dye.  Colton is doing "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga.  Jimmy says to have a moment, he's got to hit a high when the chorus comes in.  He says Gaga lifts you, and it comes from the bottom of her soul....Colton needs to do the same.  Jimmy also pointed out that he has the female vote that backs him like a stone wall.  Not this female, but whatever.  He's got a female band backing him up...I like that.  He does a good job...it's the best I've seen from him--it was interesting and he commanded the stage.  Randy said we were at the Colton Dixon concert.  He loved his interpretation of Gaga.  Steven loved the outfit and the band, of course.

Elise is up next.  Jimmy said she has a vacation home in the bottom 3.  Tonight she's singing Alicia Keys' "No One."  He told her to know going in that she has to prove herself every week, and she should fight for it.  Jimmy says she's a fabulous singer, but doesn't have a big fan base.  She's being judged completely week to week.  She sounds good tonight.  I love her voice.  I'll call for her tonight.  JLo said she got her first goosies of the night.  Steven loves her but said her voice is meant for a better chorus.  (Is that saying it was the wrong song choice?)  Randy liked that she stayed with the melody this week.  He says it was a great lesson in restraint for her.

Phillip is singing Usher's "You Got It Bad."  He wants to keep it intimate.  Jimmy loved it in rehearsal, and said if he can repeat that, he might pick up new fans.  I love it.  He sounds great and I'll probably download this.  Loved it!  Standing O from the judges.  Steven said, "I feel like a chump up here...we never know what we're going to get with you.  It was great tonight."  Jennifer said it was so sexy.  It was...she's right.  I just noticed that Randy looks handsome tonight in his lavender/light purple jacket.  He says that Phillip is a true artist--he tries to be original and he tries to be himself.  "You know who you are, and dude, you are the bomb."

Ryan says that  Jessica is singing for redemption.  I don't think that's true...America are the ones who need to redeem themselves if they truly put her in the bottom three (though I'm not 100% sure that was the case).  She's doing Alicia Keys' "Fallin'."   Jimmy tells her she's got to feel the music.  She sounds amazing right off the bat.  She was awesome.  I'd download that too.  No standing O from the judges though.  Steven said she released the passion and America knows she can sing as if they didn't know before.  Jen said she did a great job and loved the way she played with the song.  Randy said her talent is otherworldly.

Here comes Skylar.  She's doing Gaga's country version of "Born This Way."  She sounded flat at first, but then got into it.  JLo said she loved that version.  Randy called it amazing.  I missed what Steven said.

Joshua is doing one of Fantasia's songs, "I Believe."  She's one of his biggest inspirations.  Jimmy said J needs to dig down deep and sing his butt off.  The song was made for him to sing.  Great job.  Standing O from the judges.  Randy said he's one of the most gifted singers we've met on the show.  "Love you, love our voice.  Well done."  Jen says he leaves it all on the stage every single time.  She feels blessed that he's in the competition and that we get to watch.  Steven said it was another stepping stone to him winning the whole thing.  Ryan pointed out that that was Fantasia's winning song at the finale--and asked if Josh was foreshadowing.  Josh didn't know what to make of the question.

Hollie is up for round 2.  Ryan says it's "based on a show similar to American Bandstand, that made an incredible mark on pop culture"--it's Souuuuuuuuuuuul Train.  Don Cornelius' son is in the audience.  He's tall like his dad.  Anyway, Hollie is singing "Son of a Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield.  I'll have to queue up Dusty on the iPod tomorrow.  Hollie does another good job.  Randy said she worked it out!  Randy liked it better than round one.  JLo said she's showing a new composure.  Steven said you've got the voice, you've got the vehicle...you can push it even more.  Push it over the top.

Colton's doing Earth, Wind & Fire's "September."  On piano and slowed down.  Right off the bat, I don't like it.  EWF is one of my favorite bands and I don't think he did them or that song justice.  I understand him "making it his own," but I didn't like this one.  Steven said, I love your voice, but this is the point where you have to find the right song for the competition.  Your voice was too strong for the song.  Jen agreed that it was the wrong song choice...it wasn't the perfect performance and didn't come together.  Randy didn't like it either.

Elise brings us Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On."  She got down and dirty with this one.  I really like her.  Nice job!  Jen went on about how Elise doesn't like to show emotion, but that's what Jen wants to see.  Steven thought the song showed her versatility and suggested she take it up a notch.  Randy said the song wasn't right for her voice.

Phillip's doing Wilson Pickett's "Midnight Hour."  Perfect song for him and his voice.  Randy loved it.  JLo wants to get up and do his little dance step with him.  I missed Steven's comments again.

Jessica  sings Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness."  She overdid it on this one.  The song is about trying tenderness, but she was screaming her head off at the end.  Jen said she needs to push her performances...we have to connect with her from the heart.  "Just the voice isn't going to do it."  Randy agreed.  Now she should connect with the emotion, with the lyric.  They liked what she did at the end...I thought it was too much.

Skylar's doing a country version of Gladys Knight's version of "Heard It Through the Grapevine."  I enjoyed it.  Randy said it was the Skylar Lane Rock & Roll Country Party.  He says she and Joshua do naturally what they've been trying to get the other contestants to do--lay it all out there, etc. Steven & Jen agreed.

And finally, Joshua sings Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come." What did I say earlier about Elise getting down & dirty with the song.  Josh did the same thing here.  He got the gritty thing goin'.  Love it!  Standing O from the judges. That was fantastic.  Steven said "you have stretched your voice to the limit!....Your voice climbs inside everybody and changes them for that moment."  Jen begged America not to send Josh home.  Randy said it was the perfect song for him.  Randy loved it.  He says the talent this season is better than any show on TV.  I had to rewind and watch this one again.

Wow...the talent is good on this show.  Thinking of both performances, here's how I'd rank the contestants:

1. Phillip
2.  Josh
3.  Elise
4.  Jessica
5.  Hollie
6.  Skylar
7.  Colton

We'll see what happens tomorrow.

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