American Idol – Stevie Nicks and the Emotions

Okay, this is what we have been waiting for this season. This was a really good night.  I really can’t say that there was a bad performance in the bunch.  And with nine contestants still remaining, that is hard to pull off.  There were three or four that stood way above the rest of the pack.  But even the also-rans had a pretty great go of it.

Stevie Nicks was there to, well, mostly have fun hanging out with her friend Jimmy Iovine. But she did provide some quality mentorship from time to time as well. She steered Jessica right. She gave Hollie something to be emotional about. She lauded Phillip and Elise in pretty ego-boosting ways (she all but offered Elise a place on stage with her, and I think she may have been hitting on Phillip).

Jimmy Iovine was wearing a Springsteen shirt for the second time this year, which leads me to wonder if he is lobbying for a Springsteen week in the future.  I’m totally down with that, by the way.  Let’s go ahead and bring him in to mentor the kids while we’re at it.  “Jessica, I think that song needs more saxophone.  And don’t be afraid to count it off at the beginning.  ONE!  TWO!  THREE!  FOUR!”

For tonight’s show, the contestants were to pick a song from one of their idols.  This more or less meant they could sing whatever they wanted (Really, Heejun?  Donnie Hathaway is one of your “idols”?).  But, for the most part, I think the contestants honored this idea and sang something from the heart.  And it showed.  additionally, contestants were broken up into trios to perform medley’s from Fleetwood Mack (appropriate, what with Stevie Nicks’ presence), Michael Jackson (um, okay…I guess), and Madonna (why?).  These were okay, but nothing more than time fillers.  So, let’s stay focused on the individual performances,

As I rank this week’s performances, remember that just because someone finishes in the number nine slot doesn’t mean they weren’t good.  It just means they were just ninth best.  Dim the lights.  Here we go!

1.  Elise Testone, “Whole Lotta Love” – Whoa.  Holy crap.  Rock. And. ROLL!  Has anyone ever done Zeppelin on the show before?  I don’t recall it, but I guarantee it wasn’t as good as this.  I’m not even sure Zeppelin was as good as this (please note; during the A.I. reviews, you must allow me some hyperbole from time to time.  Thank you)!  She just keeps getting better and better.  In truth, I believe she was always this good, she just had a rough couple of weeks to start the season.  And here is the other thing with Elise – she is absolutely everything that the judges kept trying to tell us Haley was last season (but, of course, wasn’t).  Keep doin’ it, Elise!

2.  Phillip Phillips, “Still Raining” – Phillip felt right at home in this Johnny Lang song.  He was pumped up BIG TIME by Stevie Nicks, even getting told that if he were friends with her and Lindsay Buckingham in 1975 (just go with it), Mick Fleetwood would have invited all three of them to be in the Fleetwood Mac.  And then, 15 years later, Dave Matthews would be getting compared to Phillip Phillips (okay, I added that last part myself.  But it makes sense if you play the observation through to its logical conclusion.  In fact, in this scenario, I believe that Dave Mathews would have changed his name to Matthew Mathews so he could capitolize on that movement).  Phillip just knows who he is and delivers on that promise over and over.  My God, yes.

3.  Joshua Ladet, “Without You” – Jimmy Iovine, like me, feels compelled to point out who the original artist of a song is when someone says something like “I’m going to sing Without You by Mariah Carey”.  Have I mentioned how much I like Jimmy?  And, I just like Joshua, too.  A lot.  He could have just settled for delivering vocal theatrics in this song and relied on that, but he connected to it emotionally and sang from that spot.  So much so, in fact, that he brought himself to tears.  J-Lo must have been told not to mention her goosies tonight, because I am sure she had them on this performance.

STOP:  For me, the contestants mentioned so far were the ABSOLUTE top three tonight.  No one else touched them.  But not to far off of touching distance was…

4.  Jessica Sanchez, “Sweet Dreams” – This was an absolutely beautiful reworking of Beyoncé’s song.  I think J-Lo was right about Beyoncé hearing this and wanting to do it this way in her own concert.  This also worked really well for Jessica, fitting into her dramatic comfort zone.  Steven said “it was delicious”, which made me a little fearful that he might actually swallow Jessica (she is bite-sized, you know).  I’m glad she had several doors on stage to escape through.

STOP:  The separation from number four to five is a much steeper drop off.  The remaining performances were still really good, and even a little great.  They just weren’t on the same level as the top four.  Let’s continue!

5.  Heejun Han, “A Song For You” – I know, right?  I didn’t see this coming, yet I should have.  Dude was solid tonight.  He picked a song that fit right in his wheel-house and connected for a solid stand-up triple (Non sports fans – that’s a baseball metaphor.  A stand up triple is really good.  Not home run good, but almost as exciting.  Okay, I’m done explaining).  Look, I still think the guy should have gone home last week, but it was a treat to hear him sing this song.

6.  Skylar Laine, “Gunpowder and Lead” – Oh, she is a little spitfire, this one.  I want her to sing songs like this every week.  No more mid-tempo numbers.  Rock it out, Skylar!  Honestly, this wasn’t her best performance, but she is fiery and likeable.  Steven said it had “so much Galveston in it”.  As with most things from Steven Tyler, I don’t know what this meant.  But sure, okay, it was very Galveston.  I’m going to start using that in any situation where I don’t know how to comment.  “Matt, what do you think of this new paint color?”  “Hmm…it’s got so much Galveston in it.  Now, if you’ll excuse me…”

7.  Colton Dixon, “Everything” – The judges went much more crazy for Colton tonight than I did.  Yes, he is sincere, passionate, and believable, but I actually thought this was a little weak for Colton.  definitely not much Galveston in it.  The vocals felt a little strained, and he was outperformed by the band.  It actually made me want to go and listen to the original to remember how good it sounds.  That’s not a good thing.  BUT…I have set hight expectation for Colton, and this  was not a bad performance.  It just seemed like it could have been so much better.  In fact, when Colton sang “Landslide” during his Fleetwood Mac trio, he was amazing.  So Galveston.

8.  Deandre Brackensick, “Sometimes I Cry” – Again, just because he is in eight place doesn’t meant this wasn’t really good.  I like falsetto Deandre much more than Master Blaster Deandre.  He went for it tonight and, despite some definite pitchy moments, delivered well.

9.  Hollie Cavanagh, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” – This was good, but not great.  Stevie Nicks helped her connect to some emotion, which is a weakness of Hollie’s, but it didn’t help her over-come the general bigness of this song, which I believe swallowed her up a little.  She could have used a little Galveston.  Which is ironic, because she lives closer to Galveston than any other contestant.

So, who SHOULD go home?  Well, based on Heejun’s performance this week, I think he has earned himself a spot on next week’s show.  It hurts me to say it, but I think it is Deandre’s turn.  He has been consistently stool-worthy for a few weeks now and I think it’s time for him to come on back to San Jose.  We will welcome you proudly, son.

But, who WILL go home?  Okay, I whiffed on this a few weeks ago.  BUT, I still believe, as a result of their unexpected double elimination a few weeks back, that they are going to have to find a week where they don’t send anyone home.  They made such a big deal about how emotional this week was, I think it could be the week.  So, in a surprise, I think nobody goes home this week and we bring all nine back next week.  That would be so Galveston.

What did you think?  Who were your favorites this week?



~ by themattmorrisshow on March 29, 2012.

One Response to “American Idol – Stevie Nicks and the Emotions”

  1. What a show last night! The contestants this year are exceptional. Phillip Phillips is consistently great. Joshua Ledet was so strong and his emotional response was touching. I just love Skylar and all her spunky performances. I know Elise is a great singer but her personality is lacking. The others were all good too. It seems more difficult this year to pick the one to go home each week. Thanks Matt, for this blog! It makes AI even more fun!

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