'American Idol' Recap: Top 5 Go British
Competition finally starts to heat up as final five take the stage for two songs
By John Kubicek
In the late 18th century, America kicked England's butt in the Revolutionary War. Now they're finally getting their revenge because it's British Week on "American Idol." It makes me wonder if "Pop Idol" in the U.K. ever does American Week. I also wonder if Hollie Cavanagh is actually a mole sent from Liverpool to steal our nation's singing competition secrets. To make this episode even more enjoyable, sing "For British eyes only!" from "Arrested Development" every time Hollie walks on stage.
Anyway, as you may have noticed, BuddyTV's "American Idol" expert Carla Patton is out for the week on vacation. I'm filling in for her to recap the top 5 taking on British songs as well as music from the '60s -- two themes that have nothing in common. Maybe next week it will be Broadway musicals and the Tupac songbook. Or country songs and music by artists whose names start with the letter "P."
And who better to mentor the kids for this week than Little Steven from the E Street Band, a man who is neither British nor a '60s musician. But he was on "The Sopranos," so it's probably best if I don't insult him. Now swap out your beer and pretzels for some tea and crumpets, because this is British "American Idol"!
OK, that "New Girl" promo of the cast talking about watching "American Idol" was hilarious. I wish the "New Girl" cast was with us for the whole show, "Mystery Science Theater 3000"-style.
One girl in the audience has a sign asking Ryan to do her hair. I know those people are probably planted by FOX, but I don't care because that was genius. It turns out Steven Van Zandt is Jimmy Iovine's BFF, which explains why he's the mentor.
Round 1: The '60s
Hollie Cavanagh: "River Deep, Mountain High" by Ike and Tina Turner
Once again, all the advice is for Hollie to stop thinking so damned much. I assumed this would be a disaster, but it's actually pretty darn entertaining. The girl can definitely sing. And for the first time all season, she steps it up as an entertainer and not just a singer. But I still don't see her in this role. It feels like she realized she couldn't beat Jessica Sanchez on ballads, so now she's trying to beat Skylar Laine on energy and spunk.
Phillip Phillips: "The Letter" by the Box Tops
He's changing it up, big time, and Jimmy kind of hates it. It's worth noting Lee DeWyze sang this song in Season 9. In case you don't know what a letter is, the screen behind Phillip has envelopes falling. The "Idol" graphics department needs to stop being so literal. The song itself is exactly what you'd expect because Phillip does the same thing on every song. Jennifer Lopez doesn't know the song, and the judges point out there was no melody. But they don't care. Ryan Seacrest then steals the spotlight by making a joke about how Julianne Hough called Phillip "yummy." It turns out Phillip has a girlfriend, and she's a brunette. I hope that doesn't hurt his votes.
Skylar Laine: "Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes! This is so Skylar it hurts -- a down and dirty piece of rocking country goodness. She's like the Tasmanian devil of country rock. Please, America. Let her win -- because I'm kind of in love with her.
Joshua Ledet and Phillip Phillips: "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" by the Righteous Brothers
These two should not sing together ... ever. Even the "funny" banter before they sing is awkward because Phillip is playing up his "Aw shucks, I'm just a country boy who don't know nothing" act, and Joshua doesn't seem to know what to do with it. When Phillip sings "Something beautiful's dying," I feel the same way. Imagine if, instead of an iceberg, the Titanic crashed into the Hindenburg. Then double it. That's how bad this was. I think Steven Tyler had a stroke because he rambles endlessly about how much he loved it. Did we hear the same song?
Jessica Sanchez: "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival/Tina Turner
Little Steven hates this song because he's heard it so many damn times. I kind of agree, especially because this means all three girls basically sing the same style of song for round one (since this song was famously done by the artists who did Hollie and Skylar's songs). I'm really torn on this one. Jessica sings it amazingly, of course. And she has a ton of energy. But, somehow, it feels artificial, like this isn't really who she is and she's just playing a role. Maybe it's because she did so many old-fashioned ballads early on, but I don't buy her as a fun teenager, even though she is one. Randy Jackson is right to criticize it, and Jennifer Lopez is awful because she thinks everything is sunny all the time.
Joshua Ledet: "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" by the Temptations
This is almost too easy for him. It's so in his wheelhouse. Joshua could nail this song in his sleep, and he does. For some reason, I'm bored of Phillip doing the same thing every week. But I don't mind that Joshua does it. But as good as it is, I keep waiting for another "When a Man Loves a Woman" moment. Steven Tyler calls him one of the two best "Idol" singers of all time. I wonder who the other one is. Stefano Langone maybe? Randy compares him to Terence Trent D'Arby, which seems like a backhanded compliment.
Round 1 Verdict
The judges agree that Joshua, Hollie and Skylar all won. So basically they're saying Phillip and Jessica sucked. That seems about right to me.
Round 2: Brit Pop
Hollie Cavanagh: "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis
She's once again trying to sing a huge song. And wow. That is what I like to call a moment. At the start of the top 13, I thought she was a dark horse. Then she went off track, and I turned on her. But this is the girl I saw at the start of this competition. This is the girl I thought could sneak in and win the whole thing. Steven Tyler has never heard of this song, and Randy Jackson is so passive aggressive about it (as he should be since Leona Lewis won "The X Factor" in the U.K., a show that happens to be from Simon Cowell). Steven Tyler should be fired during the next commercial break for saying something so damn stupid.
Phillip Phillips: "Time of the Season" by the Zombies
Holy crap. Little Steven was right: Phillip is singing melody! Wait, I think I punctuated that wrong. Phillip is singing(?) melody. If this is what happens when Phillip steps outside of his tiny Dave Matthews box, he should go back in and never leave it. Seriously, that falsetto was just plain wrong. I feel like the judges know that Phillip is going to win this competition, so they're going out of their way not to say anything too mean.
Jessica Sanchez, Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanagh: "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" by Jackie Wilson
Is it wrong that I associate this song with the "Ghostbusters 2" (when they use it to activate the goo and make the Statue of Liberty walk across New York City)? That movie is awesome, and this song is actually pretty good, too. All three girls sang the same style in the first half of the show, so they blend much better than the guys.
Skylar Laine: "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" by Dusty Springfield
The common theme of the mentor sessions seems to be that Jimmy and Little Steven are having fun, which annoys me because it should be about the singers not Jimmy and his BFF. And Skylar just did the same thing Hollie did, which is slow it down and give an amazingly powerful performance. I love that Skylar can actually sing beautifully and tell stories. She's not just a spitfire. I'm glad Randy Jackson points out how silly it is that the sets are starting to involve actors sitting on benches. That was just weird.
Jessica Sanchez: "You Are So Beautiful" as performed by Joe Cocker
Huh. This is an interesting choice for her, and Jimmy is worried that it might sound like Muzak. In the end, I can't decide if I liked it or not. The girl is definitely an unbelievable singer, and her control and notes are insanely perfect. And it's slow and emotional and should be a real moment. But I don't feel it. There's a disconnect here between the beauty of her singing and the actual story. Even the final close-up of her face made it look like she was trying to force out a tear to prove how good she is. The judges, naturally, love it. Then we get yet another "Ryan cross-dressing" joke as he helps Jessica put on her high heels.
Joshua Ledet: "To Love Somebody" by the Bee Gees
Thankfully, this marks the last time we have to see the Jimmy and Steven comedy hour, which is the most annoying, self-serving nonsense this show has ever subjected us to. I don't care about Jimmy Iovine, and I certainly don't care about him and his friend joking around. Anyway, Joshua does his best to put his gospel spin on this song. And after a rather boring and tepid first half, he takes us to church! Preach on, Reverend James Brown! That's the Joshua I love, but what I don't love is that the judges give their boy his 100th standing ovation of the season.
I'm so over the judges standing for Joshua, and it kind of makes me resent him, even though he's very good. Jennifer Lopez says he's one of the best singers in 50 years. They gave him the Pimp Spot already. They don't need to keep pimping him this hard. Like I said, it was really good. But the judges act like he just cured cancer while bringing peace to the Middle East.
This is going to be hard to predict. Realistically, Phillip Phillips probably did the worst out of the top 5, but we keep on being told how much everyone loves him, and he's never been in the bottom. I think we could be in for some crazy results tomorrow night along with Carrie Underwood and Coldplay.
What did you think of Wednesday night's performances? Who's in trouble?
"American Idol" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.
Skylar should not have been eliminated, it should have been Phillips or Sanchez and then we could have had a fantastic finalle to the championship night.
Josh can scream, holly can wail, jessica can croon and Phil can sing off key and there you have the final four. Look for Joshua to streal the whole thing, no one can compare to his talents and voice.
I must agree with Hobbie. The judges did their job and now must accept how the voting turns out as far as who is elimiated. So sick and tired of them pouting whenever Holly is voted through and whoever is let go. I am also tired of Joshua's screaming and Phillip's antics. Yes, they both have their own unique style and I'm sure will end up with a recording contract. Holly and Jessica both have amazing voices and hope they are in the finals and congrats to whom ever wins!!
Shocked to see Skylar eliminated. She is passionate about singing, has an amazing voice, and is a natural entertainer that can engage an audience and draw them into her music. I really thought she would win-but then again, only 2 of the last 11 idol winners made it big. I hope she gets a big record contract cuz I will buy her music.
Holly-love love your voice, range and tone. You are an amazing singer. You've worked hard in spite of the judges unfair critism of you so they could elevate their favs. You deserve to win.
Phillip Phillips - tired and boring. Do not like your facial expressions. You need to go home
Jessica - fake - fake - Im better than you attitude - trying to act older than you are- horrible song choices- i cannot connect with you and do not like your voice because of your attitude.
Joshua - scream, scream, scream - and yes bands scream but this is soooo annoying. Gospel singer.
I'm done watching - the show is probably fixed - 60 million votes?? For real?? I don't think so. The votes online should be limited to 5 or 10, not 50. And I'm frustrated with the the judges - appropriately called the Three Stooges - the mad dash onstage to save Jessica, the ridiculous standing ovations for Josh, the unfair critism of Hollie...and pushing their favorites (Josh & Jessica) on the voters. I thought their role was to give advice and guidance - not their opinion of who should win. That's for America to decide. And Ryan please quit asking the judges who they think should win or if America got it right - I could care less what the judges think about who should win. And its not fair or considerate to the other contestants.
Good Luck Holly!!
I'm no fan of Skylar's though i like country music/southrn rock. I also can't see how Philip is still hanging on based on his less than stellar performances for the past few weeks.
Hollie has finally stepped it up, and she can definitely sing. However, If talent is the real basis for this show, Josh shouldno doubt take it all the way...that guy's got the vocal cords and he's a natural performer!!
Has anyone noticed that someone has been missing from the Ford Music videos for the past few weeks?
Yep, Phillip Philllips has not been in them? What gives???
the abv quote from j.ho re joshua. Jennifer Lopez says he's one of the best singers in 50 years.
who is forgetting about? etta, shirley, billie, lena, barbara, etc. quite a big bold statement aint it?
first, j.ho cant sing (too much electronic voodoo stuff in her music)
second, j.ho cant sing (see first)
third, she, and randy, are trying to sell him to america.
fourth, j.ho cant sing (see first and second)
Okay, sorry H.G. I thought you had changed your moniker. Unless you have 2 accounts...