American Idol 2012 – Top 9 Performance Episode Review
by Jill Mader on March 30, 2012

I was glad to hear the Idol kids would be singing songs of their own choice this week, because it’s when Idol departs from the usual theme weeks (OK, it was “Your Personal Idol”, but that would be anyone) that we get to see what the contestants are all about as performers. They were being mentored by Stevie Nicks, and would be performing in trios as well as doing their usual solo spots. So, let’s get to the recap!

 

Colton Dixon – “Everything” (Lifehouse)

I wasn’t the biggest fan of this performance – not because I don’t think Colton is good, I just found the song kind of boring. But he said it was about Jesus, so American Idol voters will probably like it. Personally, I found it forgettable.

Skylar Laine – “Gunpowder and Lead” (Miranda Lambert)

Oh Skylar, if Miranda Lambert is your personal idol then you’re on the wrong singing show! She’s over on The Voice molding talent alongside her dreamy husband! I liked that Skylar hand a chance to do the kind of song she’s really suited for. I disagreed with Jimmy Iovine – I didn’t think Skylar took a risk here, I just thought it was plain fun.

Trio Time with Colton, Elyse and Phillip: Well this was a good combination of singers! This Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks medley was absolutely delightful. It left me wondering how any other trio could possibly top it.

Heejun Han – “A Song For You” (Stevie Wonder)

If Heejun was trying to be taken seriously, maybe he should have left the stocking cap backstage this week? I thought this performance was pretty good, but even when he’s at his best Heejun’s style isn’t for me. I’ve always found him rather melodramatic.

Hollie Cavanagh – “Jesus Take The Wheel” (Carrie Underwood)

Sigh. I am a HUGE Carrie Underwood fan…but this is my least favorite song of hers. And I was surprised to see Hollie choose a country artist, because I didn’t think that was her style. I thought she was more of an old school powerhouse type. (Not that Carrie isn’t a powerhouse, but you know what I mean.) But even though I don’t love this song, I knew Hollie would be great. She made Stevie Nicks cry, for goodness sake! Hollie looked freakin’ amazing and sang well, but I really want her to sing something uptempo next week. Especially after her part in that trio performance!

DeAndre Brackensick – “Sometimes I Cry” (Eric Benet)

Eric Benet? Really? That’s an odd choice for an idol from a seventeen year-old boy. And doesn’t he care about Halle Berry? Oh. Probably not, I suppose. Anyway, I’ll be honest – I fast-forwarded through most of this performance. All that falsetto was upsetting my imaginary dog. Not. My. Thing.

Jessica Sanchez – “Sweet Dreams” (Beyonce)

Stevie Nicks pointed out that Jessica is a good student, which I think is a high compliment – the girl can take notes, and that’s important. I wasn’t surprised that Jessica chose Beyonce as her idol because, well, we all know that Beyonce is too perfect to have come from this planet. Jessica killed this performance – seriously, that girl can sing. Her performance was beautiful. I can’t believe this girl is so young! I think she’s one of the best vocalists Idol has had in a while.

Trio Time with DeAndre, Heejun and Joshua: This Michael Jackson medley didn’t excite me as much as the last one did, probably because I’m not a big fan of two of the performers. Joshua was good, though. And at least DeAndre looked more comfortable than Heejun did during “PYT”.

Phillip Phillips – “Still Rainin’” (Jonny Lang)

I loved the chemistry between Stevie and Phillip during their rehearsal. I wasn’t familiar with this song, but with Phillip that never seems to matter. I dig his performances.

Joshua Ledet – “Without You” (Mariah Carey, originally Badfinger)

Joshua can sing, and every time he performs I think “Checkmate, DeAndre and Heejun. This is an R&B singer.” Joshua’s performance was powerful and emotional. It was also a little sappy, but I was into it.

Trio Time with Jessica, Skylar and Hollie: All three of these girls can sing, and this Madonna medley was just a lot of fun to watch. I was a little distracted by Skylar’s dreadfully unflattering outfit, but the performance was great. Watching Skylar have a ball up there made me think Jessica and Hollie need to up their games in the “fun stage presence” department, though.

Elise Testone – “Whole Lotta Love” (Led Zeppelin)

Remember when Haley Reinhart sang a Zeppelin song? I miss her. I like Elise, but she kind of feels like Reinhart Lite to me. That said, I can be fans of both and I loved this performance. I was glad Elise got the pimp spot of the night, and she made the most of it. You’ve got to hand it to Elise here. I wasn’t sure she had it in her, but did she ever deliver. It was my favorite performance of the night.

And now, the weekly rankings:

  1. Elise Testone (Last week #4)
  2. Jessica Sanchez (Last week #1)
  3. Skylar Laine (Last week #7)
  4. Joshua Ledet (Last week #8)
  5. Phillip Phillips (Last week #3)
  6. Hollie Cavanagh (Last week #5)
  7. Colton Dixon (Last week #2)

I won’t bother ranking Heejun or DeAndre because for me they’re pretty interchangeable – if they both went home I’d be pleased as punch. What did you guys think of the episode? Who were your favorites?



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