American Idol – America’s Most Wanted edition.

Tonight’s show started quite ominously, with Ryan stepping up on a stool to announce that somebody had already been dismissed due to undisclosed criminal activity. Then, in glorious Idol fashion, the move was exploited by making us wait for an hour before announcing that Jermaine Jones, the not-so-gentle giant, had FOUR outstanding warrants for his arrest. And, in an even more glorious and uncomfortable form of exploitation, they revealed it by having Jermaine be confronted by the producers ON CAMERA. At least this gave Jermaine the chance to explain that his FOUR warrants, in which he twice gave false names to the police, were simply the result of him accidentally falling down the stairs and then getting into a disagreement with a friend. Makes sense.

Any-who, Jermaine wasn’t going to win, and didn’t make it to the top 24 to begin with, so I’m really not that disappointed to see him go (although, when they showed a preview of him singing Feivel’s song in rehearsals this week, I got the feeling we would have been treated to something kind of special if he wasn’t such a recidivist).  Honestly, my greatest fear was that they were going to use this as an excuse to reunite Mama-bear J-Lo with her little cub Jer-bear.  That didn’t happen, thank the maker.  But what did happen was a strangely underwhelming night of performances, with only one truly stand-out moment.  At least Will.I.Am was there to teach us about Swaggernauts, Ghuntry, and dunking like Vladimir.  So, Jermaine, I do wish you well and hope you can get your life straightened out.  But now, it’s time to rank this week’s performances.

This week, contestants sang a song from the year they were born.  Though it kind of felt like the category was “Sing a well-known song that was covered less memorably in the year you were born”.   All of that aside, here’s how I saw things tonight, ranked in order from best to worst performance:

1.  Joshua Ledet, “When A Man Loves A Woman” – The gap between Josh and the rest of the pack was a wide one tonight.  Joshua elevated his game tonight, singing like a seasoned pro and absolutely killing his performance (that slow, jacket removal toward the end of the song was a moment of genius – so good).  This was so good that I won’t deduct any points for the fact that he had to credit Michael Bolton for the to count it in his birth year.  Percy Sledge, baby.  Percy Sledge.

2.  Hollie Cavanagh, “The Power of Love” – Though not on the same level as Joshua, this was easily the second best performance of the night.  Hollie is looking a little more like a sure bet for top five considerations.  Again, this is a song that was made famous prior to the version cited here (Celine Dion).  Jennifer Rush co-wrote the song and scored the first hit with it, followed by notable versions by Laura Brannigan and Air Supply.  Just sayin’.

3.  Skylar Laine, “Love Sneaking Up On You” – Jimmy Iovine tried to talk Skylar out of doing this Bonnie Raitt song, but Skylar stuck to her guns and made it pay off.  She remains reliably great and chooses good songs that don’t sound stereotypically country.  I really like her strong voice.  And she gets points for picking a song that was first recorded in her birth year.

4.  Colton Dixon, “Broken Heart” – There is a reason that nobody remembers this song from White Lion.  It’s the same reason you can’t remember it right now.  But, despite the songs obvious deficiencies, Colton sang it really convincingly and stood out because of it.  Randy was right, it didn’t matter what song he chose.  This was about his performance.  Steven disagreed, got booed, then said “Raspberries”.  I’m not sure why.

5.  Phillip Phillips, “Hard to Handle” – Great song choice for Phillip, who performed this fresh from post-op.  The dude actually looked like he was singing in pain.  His “Oh, Oh, Oh’s” looked more like “Ow, Ow, Ow’s”.  Honestly, this was a great performance that I probably should have ranked higher, especially given Phillip’s medical adventures this week.  Thank God he didn’t fall down the stairs and get into an argument with his friend.  BY THE WAY – While most remember know this song from the Black Crowe’s’ 1990 version, it should be noted that this is an Otis Redding originally done in the sixties.  Again, just sayin’.

6.  Elise Testone, “Let’s Stay Together” – Now this is the smooth, smokey voiced Elise I love.  This song was right in her wheel-house, though I was shocked to find out that Elise was born in 1972!  Oh…Tina Turner did a version in 1983?  Ah.

7.  Erika Van Pelt, “Heaven” –  This is a perfect song for her strong, powerful vocals that I like so much.  I agree with J-Lo that the arrangement didn’t work to her advantage.  But she was still solid.  And this was the original year of the song.

8.  Deandre Brackensick, “Endless Love” – You all know that I love Jimmy Iovine like a brother, but he steered Deandre wrong tonight.  The kid should have stuck with the Lion King song and channeled his inner Simba.  Instead, he delivered a mediocre and forgettable version of Mariah and Luther’s version of this Lionel and Diana song.  Natalie said it sounded “thin”.  Indeed.  No “umph” tonight.  To paraphrase Will.I.Am, he did not master his blaster.

9.  Jessica Sanchez, “Turn the Beat Around” – Ugh.  This song, which was a huge disco hit for Vicki Sue Robinson in the 70’s, and a much smaller hit for Gloria Estefan the year Jessica was born, is about as tired as any song ever.  It was tired when the Anita Mann Singers and Dancers performed it on our second anniversary cruise 14 years ago.  It’s still resting.  And Jessica, who was stellar last week, got swallowed up by this tired old disco anthem.  It was a really messy performance that didn’t suit her at all.  Part of being successful on this show is knowing how broaden your appeal while staying in your wheel-house.  This was way outside of Jessica’s comfort zone and it showed.

10.  Shannon Magrane, “One Sweet Day” –  Meh.  I like Shannon.  She is a sweet, enjoyable 15-year-old that, if I had a 15-year-old son, I would encourage to ask out on a date.  But this felt like a performance at the county fair.  Her voice is pleasant enough, but not great.  She seems more and more to be uncomfortable and unseasoned.  And the judges were WAY to easy on her tonight.

11.  Heejun Han, “Right Here Waiting” – Oof.  I knew it was only a matter of time before Heejun was exposed in this competition.  He’s just so funny I was hoping it would take a little longer.  Easily the worst performance of the night.

Who SHOULD go home?  Well, I could argue for either Shannon or Heejun.  But, based on tonight’s show, it should be Heejun.

Who WILL go home?  No one.  With the unexpected loss of Jermaine, the producers have an extra week to make up.  I predict that they will not send anyone home this week, waiting until the very end of the results show to announce this.  Hopefully they will still tell us who received the least amount of votes, because that will make next week’s show more interesting!

So that’s what I’ve got!  Did I get it right?  I’ve been sick the past two days and wrote this while hopped up on goofy juice, so my judgements may have been slightly skewed.  Let me know, okay?

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~ by themattmorrisshow on March 15, 2012.

2 Responses to “American Idol – America’s Most Wanted edition.”

  1. I have to say that overall the song choices bored me out of my mind!
    This is the best those kids could come up with ? blah .
    I think Shannon should have listened to jimmy and done “don’t speak”
    That she may have landed in a much better spot.
    Your order is pretty much right on except I would put Phil on top.
    Maybe hes not as strong a voice like Joshua but because he’s
    More of a natural talent. His song choice was perfect for him.
    Joshua and Holly really blew it out of the park . Skylar well I love Bonnie Raitt
    This just wasn’t the best song , they said Skylar was to big for this song
    And they were right it didn’t really showcase her enough.
    They all need to be careful of song choice now .
    And don’t let the producers pigeon hole ballads either like I think Steven
    Said to Jessica.
    Nothing about tonight’s show showed me a contemporary artist
    That I would go out and buy !!!

    • Hi Kimm! I like your comment that “nothing about tonight’s show showed me a contemporary artist…” I totally agree. It all felt somewhat disjointed and old fashioned. Although, I still think Joshua absolutely slayed “When A Man Loves A Woman” and made it sound very relevant.

      And make no mistake, I do love Phillip Phillips voice. I just thought tonight’s performance felt a little mailed in, certainly because he just had surgery less than a week ago. It’s hard to fault a guy for that, but it is what it is. He’s still my overall number one.

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