American Idol – Bringin’ it on Billy Joel Night

Last week was something of an overall disaster on Idol. But leave it to Billy Joel to bring things back to life!

Truth be told, I do love me some Billy Joel. The Stranger, which was heavily represented on tonight’s show, was a staple in the Morris house during community cards night while I was growing up. Even those who criticize him can probably list one or two of his songs that they enjoy. The guy, a rock-and-roll hall of famer, is not altogether cool, but he’s just easy to like. And so was tonight’s show.

Sean “Puffy”, “Puff- Daddy”, “P. Diddy”, “Diddy”, “Diddy-Dirty Money”, “Sparky” Combs was tonight’s guest mentor with Jimmy Iovine.  At first, I was a little skeptical of this choice, especially on Billy Joel night.  But, he lived up and offered some quality suggestions, with “The truth will set you free” not necessarily among them.  By the way…does Randy Jackson seem to be growing more and more defensive about the counter-critiques that Jimmy Iovine seem to deliver each week?  Deal with it, Randy.  Jimmy makes the show now that Simon is gone.

Also, Tommy Hilfiger was on hand to play dress-up with the contestants.  Some were really into the idea.  Others (read: Phillip Phillips) weren’t really feelin’ him.  Personally, I don’t really care.  But I understand that Fox had some time to kill while filling two hours of show with just ten performances.  So, do your thing, Tommy!

Alright, enough chit-chat.  This really was an overall great night of performances.  There were some long-awaited signature moments from some early favorites, and a few early leaders delivered some ordinary performances.  This is how I ranked the top ten this week:

1.  Elise Testone, “Vienna” – Yes.  YES!  Great, great great.  I am so glad to see her shine like this.  I thought so highly of her after all of the tryouts, but she had not yet delivered the goods live.  Tonight, consider the goods delivered.  She was so good that J-Lo threatened her with physical violence.  We should all be so lucky.  The performance was comfortable and she was completely living in the song.  Her vocal run at the end was so amazing – she sang the minor notes!  It was not the same old “look how I can sound like Mariah” kind of run.  Stunning.  And this is a great Billy Joel song that more people should be aware of .  Now ya know.

2.  Phillip Phillips, “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” – During rehearsal, Diddy begged Phillip to put down the guitar.  We were then treated to glimpses of Diddy’s hot-girl posse, swooning during Phillip’s performance.   Then, during his visit with Tommy Hilfiger, Phillips was encouraged to add some color to his standard grey on grey fashion sense.  Phillips shunned all of this advice and delivered an absolutely special, Dave Mathews-esque, guitar holden’, grey wearin’, hot-girl posse sleighin’ version of this song that was shmoove.  Natalie proclaimed it was “Tasty”, then sang the word “tasty”.

3.  Colton Dixon, “Piano Man” – This is the “wow” moment I have been waiting for Colton to deliver.  He owned this song, and J-Lo’s goosies confirmed it.  It was good to see Colton, alone, sitting at the (extraordinarily red) piano.  It seemed so simple, but it was great.  And this is Joel’s most beloved, recognizable song.  Tough task, delivered perfectly.

4.  Jessica Sanchez, “Everybody Has A Dream” – Sanchez listened to Diddy’s coaching, pulled back a little, lost some of the vibrato, and sang this tremendously.  I think most will rank her higher than this, but I just can’t shake the feeling that I’ve heard her sing this before.  I don’t want to ger bored by her.

5.  Erika Van Pelt, “New York State of Mind” – After “Piano Man”, this is Joel’s most iconic song.  EVP delivered it well, whilst sporting a pretty dramatic new look, courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger.  Following Jimmy and Diddy’s lead, she didn’t try to kill this song, choosing instead to let it kind of melt all over the stage.

6.  Joshua Ladet, “She’s Got a Way” – This actually sounded pretty great, considering Josh had never heard the song before.  The couple of arrangement twists, along with the gospel blowout at the end, were nice.  BUT – J. Lo was right; he was not connected to the song.  And his vocals were a little off at times.  Gotta tighten’ that up, dude.

7.  Skylar Laine, “Shameless” – Kind of an obvious choice for Skylar, given the song’s place in country music circles.  But Skylar didn’t seem fully invested in this one.  There were some great moments, but the performance was just overall average.  Skylar needs to find something either super emotional or that allows her to blow the roof off.  For two weeks in a row, she has tried to make me forget why she is so great.  It’s starting to work, Skylar.  Do something about it.

8.  Hollie Cavanagh, “Honesty” – This was good, not great.  And it could’ve been great.  The vocals were off here.  But more distracting was the large dandelion that was blowing around behind her while she was singing.  It kept reminding me of my lawn, which has become overrun by dandelions.  I have spread dandelion killer on the grass, but the little yellow monsters just keep growing back!  They pop up, die the next morning, then resurface again a day later.  Seriously, if anybody out there has any ideas, I would love to hear how I can solve this problem.  And Cavanagh needs to be more connected to the salty bits of Joe’s life.

9.  Deandre Brackensick, “Only The Good Die Young” – Oh, the missed opportunity.  It’s never good when the band out-performs the contestant.  Deandres needed to stop bouncing in his reggae style and lean more into this song.  It demanded a tough performance, and he delivered layed back.  Missed.

10.  Heejun Han, “My Life” – Okay, this was just not right.  Look, I really wanted to love this performance.  But I really kind of hated it.  This weird duck is entertaining, though.  Bottom three this week, bro.

Okay, that’s what I’ve got this week.  For the bottom three, I think Heejun and Deandre are locks.  After that, I see a toss-up between Hollie and Skylar for the final stool.  But I don’t believe anyone else deserves to be let down by Ryan this week.

So, who do I think SHOULD go home this week:  Heejun.  The act has worn thin.  It’s time, bro.

Who do I think WILL go home: While it should be Heejun, he has not been in the bottom three yet.  He’s getting votes.  I don’t know why.  Deandre has been in the bottom three before and was forgettable tonight.  He may be leaving us.

That’s it!  Let me know what you thought of the show and what you think of my rankings!



~ by themattmorrisshow on March 22, 2012.

3 Responses to “American Idol – Bringin’ it on Billy Joel Night”

  1. I thought Elise, Jessica ,EVP,Phil and Colten
    We’re the best tonight.
    Holly and skylar missed the mark but Deserve to stay.
    The bottom 3 for me was Heejun ,Deandres and Joshua .

  2. I hate this part of elimination !
    America got it wrong sorry Erica Van Pelt

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