American Idol: Sing us a Song, You’re the Piano Man

It’s time for “American Idol” and once again it starts with shots of Deandre crying. He cries more than I do and that’s saying something!

Anyway, we’re down to the top 10.

Apparently tonight’s the night when the judges wear their black and white outfits because they’re getting some Olan Mills photos later.

But let’s get on with the show. This week the contestants will dive into the songbook of Billy Joel. This might be a complete train wreck!

Deandre “Only the Good Die Young”
Thoughts:
• Wow, Deandre flops his hair more than Taylor Swift.
• At first, I thought this might be a good fit for his voice, but actually he sang the whole song in a really weird vibrato-y place in his voice. The song didn’t do anything or go anywhere. Not bad, but not good. Snoozer.
(Judges liked it, but Randy said it was just OK.)

Erika “New York State of Mind”
Thoughts:
• I hate Erika’s really dark hair, but like the short cut.
• The deal with Erika is that sometimes she’s so on and her voice is beautiful. But there are always these moments where she just doesn’t quite hit her notes.
• Erika’s performance is good, particularly the end, but this song is really dated and she really didn’t do much with it. I want someone to un-Billy Joel one of these songs and that wasn’t it.

Joshua “She’s Got a Way”
Thoughts:
• I hate the singing while straddling a chair. I mean, really?
• Vocally, the beginning is really nice. I think he added some runs where it would have been nicer without them, though, particularly as he moved into the “big” part of the song.
• Somehow, Joshua just turned the last part of that song into a soul choir church special. It was amazing and weird at the same time. Probably the best performance so far, but I agree with Jennifer’s criticism that Joshua didn’t quite connect with the lyrics.

Skylar “Shameless”
Thoughts:
• Oh, steel guitar!!!
• I want to like Skylar, but I just don’t. Beginning had some shaky notes, chorus got a bit screamy, and while she did some really nice vocal tricks, the song never really went anywhere. And I didn’t feel like she really was shameless. I mean this song is about someone laying themselves out there, vulnerable and facing rejection, but so in love they’ve lost all shame. She doesn’t even know what that feels like yet!
(Also, someone tell Randy that Brad Paisley didn’t record that song. At least not that I’m aware of. Garth did.)

Elise “Vienna”
Thoughts:
• Why was Elise wearing a muppet on her head during her mentoring session? I hope Tommy Hilfiger talks to her about not wearing that or purple frosted eye shadow.
• My friend Buddy loves Elise, but that growls thing she relies on so much hurts my ears. And she did it at the start of nearly every phrase in this performance.
• There are some really pretty places in this performance, then she screamed and did some ill-advised runs. Maybe I’m just negative because the entire audience and the judges loved it. And I just didn’t.

Phillip Phillips “Moving Out”
Thoughts:
• I still worry about Phillip hurting his vocal chords with the way he sings, but this was my favorite of his performances to date. Yeah, he screamed and sang at the back of his throat, but it was at least a performance, not just someone singing a song. At least his song went somewhere and didn’t stay at the same dynamic and level for the entire time.

Hollie “Honesty”
Thoughts:
• Is Hollie dressed as a circus performer? I don’t understand.
• I think this was a little bit of a weird song choice, but I love Hollie’s voice and think she did a fine job on this song. I wish she’d done a little more to make the song an experience, though. It felt like she sang the chorus the same way each time she sang it, then tagged on an ending. Overall, good performance, but not amazing.

Heejun “My Life”
Thoughts:
• What just happened?!
• Oh my word! Heejun is singing with his full voice! And there’s are some weird notes, but he’s singing and not using his tiny little pretty voice. I hate it when he goes down to the really low notes, but this was actually fun and he made me laugh out loud. Not vocally amazing, but a lot of fun.

Jessica “Everybody Has a Dream”
Thoughts:
• Diddy advised against all the vocal tricks. Thank you so much for saying that! I’ve been saying that for years.
• Vocally, it’s pretty good, but she may have gone too big in the first chorus.
• Good, but not great.

Colton “Piano Man”
Thoughts:
• For the record, I thought he’d sing this song since I heard they were doing Billy Joel songs.
• I want a red piano.
• I like how Colton slightly changed up the melodic line. I liked him using the break in his voice, too, but think he might have overused that early on in the song.
• Loved, loved, loved the last chorus and the end of the song. That was my favorite performance of the season, hands down.

Who’s in Trouble:
Let’s see . . . probably Erika and Elise will be in the bottom. I think Erika will probably go home. Not sure either of them deserve to be in the bottom since they are decent singers, but they aren’t the most memorable and they’re not garnering the votes (BTW, I don’t vote). I hope Deandre joins them in the bottom, but he’s got the teen girl vote for some reason, so I doubt he goes home.

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