American Idol Recap: The Top 7 Tackle Today's Music

It's a strong group remaining, no doubt about it.

Last night the Idols were set to sing songs released from 2010 until today. Any song. Any genre. Jimmy Iovine brings Akon to co-mentor this week, and that didn't do a whole lot for me, to be honest. There were also more duets, only since the group wasn't divisible by two, there were two duets and one trio, which kinda sucked for the trio…less air time, yo!

Let's dig in:

1. Skylar sang Didn't You Know How Much I Loved You by Kellie Pickler

The guitar did indeed constrain her best quality, her spitfire physicality and performance attack. I disagreed with judges completely that she was perfectly on pitch. Quite the opposite, I thought the choruses were just screamy and under pitch. I did not think this was a good night for Skylar, and she's been at risk before, so I tend to think she will be again.

2. Colton sang Love the Way You Lie by Eminem and Rihanna (A version by Skylar Grey)

While I might eventually get tired of Colton's emo-boy approach, it certainly worked for David Cook all the way to the end, so he's probably smart to stick to what he, and the girls, like. And he did a nice job. Very smooth in and out of his falsetto, and nice strength. Colton does need to watch the nasal quality of his voice…it can get overpowering, but it was mostly controlled last night. He's mega-safe.

Duet #1: Elise and Phillip sang Somebody that I Used to Know by Gaulthier

Meh. I agree this is an intriguing song, but this duet just sounded and looked awkward. Phillip is really not happy unless he's doing what he perceives to be his thing, and while they might have sounded OK together, I didn't get a ton of chemistry out of it.

3. Jessica sang Stuttering by Jasmin Sullivan

Look, Jessica is a very impressive vocal technician. I don't question the quality of her vocal technique at all, but I do question two things. 1. Her performance comes with some weird gesture tics that bug me…I don't need you to show me what notes your hitting with your hand gestures…it's a bad habit a lot of Mariah-Carey-like singers get into. I get it. Sometimes when you're learning a song, especially if you're trying to hang on to a harmony, using your hand to physically mark the notes on an imaginary musical staff in the air is helpful. It connects your mind and body…and a lot of singing is mental. But once you're up onstage performing? Please don't do that. 2. Jessica doesn't sound like Jessica to me. She sounds a little too much like other people…she's kind of a Beyonce/JHud singer, and it's too reminiscent to be original. Still, she's safe and should be.

4. Joshua sang Runaway Baby by Bruno Mars

OK, Joshua, I am just going to come out and say it: No WAY you should have tackled this tune when Bruno Mars KILLED it on the Grammys oh so recently. Question: How on earth is Joshua gonna make it his own? Answer: He's not. This performance made me sad. I don't think he smiled once during this performance. Vocally he sounded great, absolutely!! Performance-wise he actually seemed to be marking it. With the memory of Bruno's charm and charisma just oozing off of him, Joshua looked like a dour, sad-sack poor woman's version of Bruno Mars for sure. Enough to put him at risk? Maybe. He might be one of those people that we get tired of being told we're supposed to love.

Duet #2: Skylar and Colton sang Don't You Wanna Stay by Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson

I don't know why people are even talking about these two and dating. Last duet was a weird love song where they never looked at one another, and this time it was about the same level of (or should I say lack of) chemistry. And she can't quite hit the high notes that Kelly Clarkson hits, just sayin'.

5. Hollie sang Perfect by Pink

Argh. Lot of missed potential in that performance. Here's the thing about Hollie: She has really perfect vibrato. Honestly it's so damn pretty that I want her to be an incredibly good overall singer. But she just misses the mark. She also covers her tone a little too much. It sounds a bit swallowed, a bit constrained. You can even see that she almost has an underbite when she sings. And that constrained feeling means she never really let go here. As a song "Perfect" is a bit repetitive, but Pink does a lot to change things up after the first time, and Pink does some wailing as it goes on. Hollie did it the same, precise and quite perfect, but not passionate, way each and every single time, each and every chorus, each and every melodic hook. It's very frustrating, but I just don't think she's ready. And this may be her swan song.

6. Phillip sang Give a Little More by Maroon 5

Dave Matthews must get so many song ideas from watching Phillip's mini-me performances. And strap a guitar on Phillip, and he can't himself but giving a mini-DMB performance. And that's when I don't like him, because i just don't buy him. This didn't work for me, in case that wasn't clear.

Duet that's really a Trio: Hollie, Joshua and Jessica sang Stronger by Kelly Clarkson

Meh. Awkward. And again, it's clear that Hollie is the weakest link.

7. Elise sang You and I by Lady Gaga

Vocally, Elise is the most intriguing. I still think she shouldn't have played the piano. Just sing. Because until she got up, this wasn't flying. (I still also think this song is a complete and total rip-off of "What's Goin' On" by Four Non-Blondes, but no one else seems to notice.) I hope Elise is safe with this, but I'm not sure she will be…I'm not sure Randy yelling at us all to recognize her talent is the path to safety either. 

Bottom Line for the Bottom Three:

Should be: Skylar, Hollie, Phillip with Hollie going home.

Will be: Skylar, Hollie and Elise with Hollie going home.

Either way, I hope it's Hollie, not Elise going home, but I can't say I'm confident about it. What did you think?

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