American Idol Recap: The Top 9 Sing Their Idols

And I have to say: Inspiration makes for good performances (and, maybe, so does a Stevie Nicks spell or two).

This is the week that the Idols were supposed to sing their idols. Jimmy brought Stevie Nicks to mentor, and I just kinda love everything she does, so I was happy. 

And I was happy with the performances too, actually. It was much much tougher to call the bottom three this week (vs. last week, when I batted 1.000)

They also broke the Idols into 3 groups of 3 to sing medleys. Meh. I would have rather seen each Idol sing a longer version of their song.

1. Colton sang Everything by Lifehouse

So I had to catch up on this performance online later, as I got home a bit late last night. I turned it on in time to see the judges absolutely raving, and so of course I felt a little let down once I watched it. I could see the true emotion, which I appreciated, but I thought this was the roughest Colton ever sounded. Strained, a monotone feel, sometimes pitchy. The emotion overcame his ability to really sing the song. I actually really like Lifehouse, and much of that is about the singer's rich tone. I didn't think Colton matched it. And yet, I think he's very safe.

2. Skylar sang Gunpowder and Lead by Miranda Lambert

I like Skylar's general vibe, but her vibe can become a schtick if she's not careful. Stevie's exhortations to tell the story didn't improve Skylar's enunciation, and not being familiar with the song, I couldn't really understand the words and, therefore, the story. Like I said, Skylar's energy and attack really appealed to me early on, but I'm starting to see that it's always the same energy and the same attack, and I'd like to see her mix it up a bit. I'm not sure she's safe with this one, if others feel, like me, that we've seen it before.

Trio: Colton, Elise, Phillip sang Stevie Nicks: Landslide, Edge of Seventeen, Don't Stop

Well, with this performance, we've learned Phillip is not a harmony-singer. Of course a Stevie Nicks medley was kind of custom-built for Elise, and she rocked out Edge of Seventeen. The harmonies just weren't good enough on Landslide, and I can't hear Don't Stop without thinking about the Clintons. So mixed bag here.

3. Heejun sang A Song for You by Donny Hathaway

Heejun wanted to show us he was serious on this one, and he wanted us to feel his heart. Rule #1: If you want us to feel you, open your eyes. That's how you connect. A little closed eye singing goes a long (masturbatory) way. Especially if you're going to hit some off notes, as Heejun still did. I think he's still at risk.

4. Hollie sang Jesus Take the Wheel by Carrie Underwood

This was also a nicely emotional performance, which led to some rough spots. But I felt for someone like Hollie, who (unlike Colton) hadn't really made us feel anything yet that in this case it was just like Stevie said; it doesn't matter when you sing with heart. (This is a case where the shortened length of the songs really hurts the performance, though, as she didn't sing the KEY phrase where the narrator loses control of her car, therefore leading to "Jesus take the wheel" in a more coherent way. #pickypicky

5. Deandre sang Sometimes I Cry by Eric Benet

Wow, this was so awesomely, totally Phillip Bailey. And it was Deandre's best performance yet. Even though I still like his lower register more, he proved he can indeed work it out with an all-falsetto song. I was really set thinking Deandre and Heejun were the obvious bottom two after last week, but he might have saved himself with this soulful and high-quality performance.

6. Jessica sang Sweet Dreams by Beyonce

She made this a ballad (natch), and it was a nice enough vocal. I thought it was a bit over-dramatic in presentation, and I'm not sure I loved the rendition. Could people connect to it? She's probably OK, but I wasn't over the moon.

Trio #2: Deandre, Heejun, Joshua sing MJ: Listen to HeartRock with YouPYT

Well, with this performance, we learned that Joshua is not a moonwalker. This was only mediocre. By the end, when Heejun once again made it seem like he didn't really care by dropping the octave and looking checked out, I checked out too.

7. Phillip sang Look Out My Window by Jonny Lang

Phillip has that Skylar wild quality, but he knows enough to keep it a little more contained, and therefore actually a little more intense. He's kind of winning me over, and he beginning to be more Phillip Phillips than Dave Matthews.

8. Joshua sang Without You by Mariah Carey (or Harry Nilsson, but who's counting)

He's got chops. I am not denying it. But I was quite surprised when he lost his composure at the end because I wasn't feeling that emotion come out until that moment. But vocally he did nail it. Again, like Skylar, if he makes every song seem the same, does he lose people by not seeming to "grow"? That's his challenge.

Trio #3: Hollie, Skylar and Jessica sing Madonna: Like a PrayerBorderlineExpress Yourself

Well, with this performance, we learn that I am really really sick of seeing all the female contestants have to hobble about in massive stilletos and platforms. Seriously, I am worried for their safety, that's all. This was completely forgettable.

9. Elise sang Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin

And. Wow. This girl can saaang. If she goes home, I will now officially be pissed. What guts, she deserves the glory.

Bottom Line for the Bottom Three:

Should be: Heejun, Hollie, Skylar with Heejun going home

Will be: Heejun, Deandre, Skylar, with Heejun going home

But what did you think?

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