American Idol: And then there were seven

(Let’s just start with a note to the producers of Idol: STOP it with the intensely dramatic opening video packages full of crying contestants and people holding signs. It’s not like the Idol contestants are shipping off to Afghanistan! End rant)

This week, it’s the top 7 performing, and I’m VERY happy that Deandre won’t be performing tonight. Sorry, his style—and his falsetto—was never my favorite. Anyway, this week, they’ll be singing songs from 2010 until today, meaning any genre song released in those years.

This could be interesting. . .

Skylar “Didn’t You Know How Much I Love You” by Kellie Pickler
• Please, please, please outsing Kellie Pickler. Skylar, you are better than Kellie! (See, I said something nice about Skylar.)
• I’m not a fan of the lazy enunciation in the style of Lucinda Williams at the beginning of the song, but when Skylar got to the chorus, she owned it. Big vocals, a lot of emotion.
• I do think Skylar sometimes tries to do too much with her voice (in the form of pushes and runs) and there was a little run at the end I think she lost control of a little, but overall, great performance and 400 times better than Kellie Pickler.
• Big vocals; she connected emotionally; and she played the guitar and it didn’t hold her back. Good performance.But really, am I the only person who thinks Skylar is kind of shouty?

Colton “Love the Way You Lie”
• I am concerned about Colton’s song choice.
• I’m confused by Colton sometimes. One week he’s screaming and rocking; the next he’s singing a ballad at the piano. It’s good he has range.
• Vocals are right on, and Colton’s performance was really good. But I don’t know how to explain it, but I just didn’t connect with this song. IT was like it got all emotional but it didn’t touch me in any way. It went somewhere, but it never went as full-out broken and gritty as I wanted it to. Definitely good, but I’m not sure it was memorable enough.

And now for duet #1.
Elise and Phillip are going to sing Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know” as a duet. OK, this song is a revelation and this could be very UGLY. Actually, though, these two surprised me. Sure some parts were a hot mess, but they actually achieved harmony and sounded great together at other points. It is in no way better than the original, but since I had NO faith in these two, it was a pleasant surprise.

Jessica “Stuttering”
• Does ANYONE know this song? I surely don’t.
• I hate Jessica’s weird space-age shoulders on her top, but this performance—is really, really good. Yeah, I don’t think the song is anything special, but it did give Jessica to show off her voice. I feel like she has better control of her voice than Skylar and uses runs to greater effect.
• Really, I can’t find much wrong with this performance. Vocals were great, emotion was good, it was probably the best so far, but was it a memorable performance full of stage presence and personality? I’m not sure. I’m still not sold on Jessica as a star—what kind of music does she want to make? If it’s just ballads and wild runs and stuff, I won’t buy her album.

Joshua “Runaway, Baby”
• OK, I have a love/hate relationship with the beginning of this. Loved Joshua’s throwback look; hated the dancer gyrating behind him.
• I’m not usually a big Joshua fan, but this song was fun and Joshua knows how to work the stage and actually perform. I feel like everyone’s been a little bit boring tonight, then Joshua came out and took us on a little ride.
• Yeah, I think he screamed and shouted a bit too much, but that was just fun. And very, very memorable.

And now for Duet #2.
Colton and Skylar are singing “Don’t You Want to Stay?” by Kelly Clarkson and Jason Aldean. And are people really insinuating that Skylar and Colton are dating? For reals? That’s just. . . weird. Now for another tangent: I’m not a big Jason Aldean fan. I don’t think he sings that well, and I liked Colton’s vocals SO much better. Sometimes, their harmonies weren’t quite on, generally at the beginning of a section, but they’d quickly figure it out. Good job, kids!

Hollie “Perfect”
• I think Jimmy hits the nail on the head when he says that Hollie lacks a certain type of experience. Colton, Joshua, and several others know how to work the stage and exude star quality. Hollie gives off the air of a nice girl who can sing but isn’t sure of herself or that she deserves to be there.
• This song is a little boring. Like Colton’s song, I keep wanting it to go somewhere, to take me to a new level, but there’s just not much substance. Granted, those last few notes were amazing. But it was still kind of boring. Plus, when all of the judges comments involve complimenting Hollie’s outfit or look, it’s not a good sign. I think they just wrote her off.

Phillip Phillips “Get a Little More”
• OK, if you’ve read this blog long, you know I’m not Phillip’s biggest fan. But he’s growing on me each week, just because he’s so laid back and has a good sense of humor. He’s like a guy I’d actually enjoy hanging out with.
• I was concerned about this song choice—and it did take a bit for the song to really take off. But when it does, it’s fun. But don’t read that as me saying it’s perfect. Vocally, there are some not good parts, but Phillip seems to be having fun. It wasn’t awesome, but it was good. Phillip should be safe.

And now for the final group performance.
Joshua, Hollie, and Jessica sing “Stronger.” And this thing is all over the place. Hollie and Joshua are better harmonizing together than Jessica and Joshua, and then there’s just a diva scream off/ big note contest once they get into the chorus section. One of my friends described this as a “hot mess” on Twitter, and I’m pretty sure she hit the nail on the head.

Elise “You and I”
• Who does Elise’s makeup? Can I talk to them? That lipstick? NO. NO. NO. Also, WHAT IS SHE WEARING?
• I don’t really know what to say about the performance. It was better than last week, but a lot of it was just singing the phrase “you and I” over and over. Vocals were good (not perfect, but that’s sort of what makes Elise interesting). She performed—or at least tried to. I think it was good, but I didn’t love it as much as the judges did.

In trouble:
Hollie, Elise, and Phillip may visit the bottom three this week. I think Hollie’s probably in trouble.

The best:
I’m not sure. No one really wowed me this week. If I had to give it to one contestant, I’d say Joshua. I think Skylar, Colton, and Joshua are completely safe.

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