Published on April 19th, 2012 | by Melody Simpson4
‘American Idol’ Season 11 Review: Top 7 Are In It To Win It!
This week brought one of the best episodes of the season as the top seven aced the challenge of delivering us fantastic performances with songs from the 2000s and on as well as soul songs. Almost everyone impressed and one contestant in particular had her shining moment… which should guarantee her safety if all is fair in the world. Though with Sanchez almost out of the competition last week, “fair” doesn’t exist in this competition. After such a wildly entertaining Wednesday night, the results show tonight is going to be painful to get through. Everyone truly sang their hearts out. The talent is there, the passion was there, the right song choices for the most part were there. What a wonderful night of music. So who deserves to go?
Like her or not, Hollie Cavanagh definitely earned a spot in the final six with a very impressive performance of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” She was phenomenal. Like judge, Steven Tyler said, “You finally did what all of America was waiting for you to do.” Fellow judge, Randy Jackson pointed out that she finally had some emotion and what a difference it made! This is by far her best performance of the season. Phenomenal. Long overdue. The icing on the cake is that Cavanagh can say that she aced Adele and that is not an easy task. While the excitement fell during her second number, “Son of a Preacher Man,” this performance can be looked over after she completely owned the stage with that first number. She slayed it. Top six, here she comes!
Colton Dixon continued the music high with his own rocking rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” Stellar. The keys and the arrangement were so much fun hearing, that journey he took us on so exciting. Dixon shined again, stamping his original sound to Earth, Wind, & Fire’s “September.” Who else cannot wait to buy multiple copies of this kid’s debut album? Who else is counting down the months until the Idol tour mainly to see Colton Dixon in action? The judges weren’t in love with “September” which was really odd because they’ve been pushing for originality all season long but do not seem to be moved if it doesn’t happen in a radical way (i.e. Jackson pointing out that taking on a Lil Wayne song would have been more exciting). Yes, the bar is set higher than ever as we get closer to finals. The pressure is on. But completely dismissing this wonderful performance because the song wasn’t as far out of the box as possible seems harsh.
Elise Testone took on Alicia Keys’s “No One” in a Mariah Carey get up and sang her heart out but that still does not mean that a performance cannot be boring. As a Testone fan, I will admit that her Keys performance did not blow anyone away. Her second performance, “Let’s Get It On” also had the same vibe. As Tyler said, she needs to take it up a notch and sing songs that will win America’s hearts. For someone who’s always in the bottom three, picking safe songs is not as smart a tactic as you might think. People are already clearly bored with you. Show them why they shouldn’t be.
Phil Philips got the crowd going again and may have gotten a lot of panties thrown at him outside of the building after that incredibly sexy performance of Usher’s “U Got It Bad,” accompanied by contemporary jazz artist, Mindi Abair. “That was so sexy” Jennifer Lopez said with a goofy smile. Don’t worry, Lopez, you weren’t the only one making googly eyes at Phillips. Standing ovation well deserved this week for this contestant. His second performance was just as great. Phil Phillips has got soul so this week’s themes worked in his favor in every possible way. The performances he gave last night, surely we would all pay to see again. That’s how good he is. Phillips deserves to be in the final five, so hopefully everyone continues to vote for him… just as long as they are voting for Jessica Sanchez as well! Sanchez blew the house down with her first performance. Like Cavanagh, the song from the 00s was a breeze to take on, but the second song fell a little flat. She gave a great performance, but seeing something different could not have hurt.
As for the ones that should be worried, along with Testone… for the first time in awhile, Skylar Laine was not all that impressive. She brought us the country version of “Born This Way” and that was hit or miss. Her second performance, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” was significantly more entertaining but was it enough to keep her safe from elimination? Finally, there’s Joshua Ledet. This kid is so very talented. That said, he has a certain sound that completely does not phase a large amount of viewers in any way. He has remained safe thus far but how much support will he have come time for the final three? As sweet as it was to hear him sing his idol, Fantasia Barrino’s song, “I Believe,” the performance was actually rather boring. “A Change Is Gonna Come” also brought on the yawns… and the laughs thinking about how they chose him of all of the contestants to sing the civil rights song.
Anyway, at this point in the game, Joshua Ledet is not someone I think of when I think of versatility and versatility is something that we should want in our American Idol. If this is the season for the most original artist, then that should be the case. The judges gave Ledet a standing ovation but was it really necessary? He’s got such a distinct voice and style that it’s difficult to say that any of his performances throughout the season does not sound or look the same. Do we really want Joshua Ledet to be our American Idol? There’s no doubt that this kid is going to get a record deal and sell very well in his market… but his market does not seem like it could cross musical boundaries if it wanted to and that is what bothers me. So if Ledet makes it to the top six, five, four, that is wonderful. But he should be heading out of this competition not long after Testone. What do you think? There’s no denying that all of the contestants sang their hearts out and are all in it to win it, but who deserves the win?
Sitting in the audience last night were John Noble (Fringe) and Idol alum, Chris Allen among others.
Watch American Idol Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox.
*Photo Credit: Michael Becker / FOX