American Idol: Top 10 - March 21, 2012
American Idol: Top 10, Billy Joel Week - March 20, 2012
1. Deandre Brackensick - "Only The Good Die Young" B-
Deandre seemed oddly out of breath for the majority of the song but his voice really shined through in a key select parts. He brought an R&B flavor to the song and sang it solidly. Unfortunately for Deandre, it was somewhat forgettable and the kind of performance that has a tough time inspiring votes. There was something missing.
2. Erika Van Pelt - "New York State Of Mind" A
The absolute perfect song choice for Erika this week. She brought a bit of a jazzy tone to the song, which is exactly what it calls for. I felt a touch of Gladys Knight (particularly on "Midnight Train To Georgia") on Erika's vocal here, which was impassioned but beautifully restrained in key moments.
3. Joshua Ledet - "She's Got A Way" B
I've never loved this song and Joshua didn't inspire me to love it with his rendition. I was hoping he would, because Joshua is a phenomenal performer and singer. Joshua put a bit of a groove in a song that normally doesn't have one. The second half was by far and away better than the first as he really sank into the song. Average for him overall.
4. Skylar Laine - "Shameless" B-
*I* should be the shamed one here for not realizing that what I thought was a Garth Brooks song is really by Billy Joel. For some reason, Skylar's version of this song didn't excite me even though I really do love the Garth Brooks version. I was expecting much from Skylar and was overall disappointed. Maybe I was hoping she would put a country twist on one of Billy Joel's more iconic songs rather than picking a song that's already gotten a country reworking. Skylar really got lost in the shuffle tonight.
5. Elise Testone - "Vienna" A
What an unbelievably gorgeous tone Elise showcases on every note that she sings. I love the breaks in her voice, the grit and the growl, the devastation she can put into a chord. In what has become a bit of a teen pageant more and more with each passing year, it is refreshing to see an adult put a bit of her heart and soul into the music she sings. Also, how on earth could Jimmy Iovine think that "Vienna" is a song that America would not recognize? It's certainly one of Billy Joel's most popular.
6. Philip Philips - "Movin' Out" B+
Philip brought something very subversive to this song. Much like "She's Got A Way", I've never really liked "Movin' Out" with its staccato phrasing and pointed commentary. Where Joshua failed, Philip succeeded. I loved the arrangement. The choices Philip made with the song kept my interest and attention throughout.
7. Hollie Cavanagh - "Honesty" B-
I would have to say overall that this is Hollie's weakest performance on the Idol stage so far. Not to say by any means that this was a weak performance, but it seemed to start too low for her register. There is something about this performance I "honestly" just can't put my finger on; I really can't tell whether I like it or not. Perhaps it's the kind of thing I need to have dozens of repeat listenings of.
8. Heejun Han - "My Life" A-/B+
I don't think a "fake out" like this one has ever been used on American Idol before. I actually caught my breath for a minute, thinking Heejun had forgotten his words. It was really a ploy to bring the song uptempo. I may be crazy, you may be right, or it just might be a lunatic we're looking for .... but I LOVED this performance. It was just insane enough to work. It was hard to understand Heejun's phrasing at times, and he wasn't always pitch perfect (often falling below the melody in his tone). But it was fun, it was different, it was unexpected. I loved the 80's aesthetic and I really did think it was Heejun's best performance.
9. Jessica Sanchez - "Everybody Has A Dream" A-
I wasn't sure how I was going to like this performance when she began singing. But the song built slowly into the chorus. She really brought it home in the end. I had the very strong feeling that she could sing this song in a confetti shower at the end of the season - perhaps the updated version of "This Is My Now"? A great performance but it really came together when she put some grit in her voice at the end and then hit that gorgeous upper register.
10. Colton Dixon - "Piano Man" A-/B+
Clearly this was a song Colton felt a strong connection to. Much like Philip, who refused to give into Tommy Hilfiger's styling ideas, Colton maintained his own ideas about his singing and his style. That's certainly admirable in an industry that feels compelled to bend every singer to its will. Colton's vocal wasn't perfect on this song and it dipped into a whiny territory at parts which prevented me from completely enjoying the song. However, his vocals were pretty good overall and I liked the more austere, contemporary vibe he brought to the song.
Best of the night: Elise
Worst of the night: Deandre