American Idol’ 11 Recap: Top 7 (Redux) Perform

It’s a sad day for the entertainment industry. Dick Clark on Wednesday died at age 82 after having a massive heart attack. And after we all found out, all eyes turned to Dick Clark 2.0, Ryan Seacrest. At the start of the show, Ryan gave his thoughts on his good friend. And he also mentioned that “Without Dick, a show like this would not exist. He will be missed greatly. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.” And that is so very true. Without Dick Clark and without a show like American Bandstand, there would be no American Idol. Dick Clark started it all; he was a true pioneer and an icon. And yes, he will be greatly missed.

During this Top 7 Redux show, the Top 7 performed two songs each, the first anywhere from 2000 to today, and the second being a soul song “from back in the day,” as Ryan put it, or Soul Train music.

1. Hollie Cavanagh: “Rolling in the Deep”
Do we need more Adele on these shows? There’s a lot of overkill over the past several months. And this could’ve been a complete disaster, but it wasn’t. Hollie’s starting to get back on her feet. Her vocals were strong and pretty solid. It might be too late, though. Voters will most likely be trying save most of last week’s Bottom 3 (mainly Jessica and Joshua), and she might be left behind.

2. Colton Dixon: “Bad Romance”
It’s not everyday that you see a guy take on Lady Gaga. This is a pop song, and I loved that Colton added rock elements into it, what with the electric guitars and such, that made the song extremely fresh. It wasn’t perfect–he couldn’t hit the low notes, but overall, he presented a solid performance. It was certainly better than I thought it’d be.

3. Elise Testone: “No One”
They’re taking on some big songs this week. Another solid vocal from Elise, as always. She’s rarely off in that department. But I just don’t know if she did enough. She needed to absolutely blow us away to get more votes, but that didn’t happen. Maybe she’ll pull it out in Round 2?

4. Phillip Phillips: “U Got It Bad”
At the start, I had to really listen to recognize the song. Once I did, I’m like, oh, this was originally an R&B song. And I started to get into it because they completely changed the arrangement–that fascinated me. I wasn’t sure about the middle area, but overall it was pretty good.

5. Jessica Sanchez: “I Keep On Falling”
Let’s hope this helps her rebound and stay out of the Bottom 3. Her vocals were solid and strong, and she did justice to such a great Alicia Keys song. My favorite moments were the growls she infused into some of the notes.

6. Skylar Laine: “Born This Way”
As soon as I heard she was doing this, I laughed. I was waiting for another disaster tonight, but that didn’t happen. And doing Gaga’s country version was a perfect fit, and she killed it; she was fierce. I’m starting to see her as a contender lately now.

7. Joshua Ledet: “I Believe”
Up until now, he’s gone from just sounding like Fantasia, to now singing one of her songs. It’s hard to go wrong with “I Believe,” and it’s one of my favorite of the Idol coronation songs. His vocals were solid (I know I keep saying solid, but it’s so very true). Randy said he pulled it back a bit. I noticed, but I wanted less restraint, actually.

Now on to the soul songs…

1. Hollie Cavanagh: “Son of a Preacher Man”
I think “Rolling in the Deep” should’ve been her second song, because that one was better. For most of “Son of a Preacher Man,” she was a little out of her element. Fortunately, she got stronger at the end, and I loved that power note at the end–she put everything into it. That end may have saved her, unless it’s too late.

2. Colton Dixon: “September”
Again, the two songs should’ve been switched. He took a step down. He started off on the wrong foot, leveled out during the first chorus, then was muddled again for most of the rest. There were a few good moments. But I did not like the arrangement whatsoever–it ruined the song.

3. Elise Testone: “Let’s Get It On”
I said earlier she needed to really blow us away. And that didn’t happen tonight. She could be in danger. I have a feeling most voters (girls/women) won’t be receptive to this since it’s not a sexy guy singing it, as we usually see with this song. When Jennifer Lopez told the truth of why voters aren’t connecting to her, she seemed confused, as if this all was news to her. Well, I hate to break it to her, but JLo’s right.

4. Phillip Phillips: “Midnight Hour”
This didn’t have as strong of an impact as the first song. There were a couple sloppy moments, and that final note was off. But on the plus side, his voice was really strong most of the time, especially towards the end. But it was a little generic in the middle.

5. Jessica Sanchez: “Try a Little Tenderness”
There were good moments and just okay moments here. The start when the focus was on her, I loved it. There are certain things she does with her voice that bring all the soul and energy into the notes and out to us. But when the musicians came in more, the middle was just alright. I’m glad she was able to take it back home at the end, which was fantastic.

6. Skylar Laine: “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”
This is one of those been there/done that songs. But Skylar gave it a country feel to it, which made me appreciate her and the song even more. Her vocals were in top form. It’s not always good to peak too soon on this show. But she is only now starting to come into her own, and I could see her in the finals.

7. Joshua Ledet: “A Change is Gonna Come”
This is one of those songs that’s absolutely perfect for Josh. I was worried at first because it was slow and wasn’t going anywhere. But then he was able to wail. But like with the first song, he was more restrained than usual. In the case of his two songs tonight, I don’t want the restraint. But he was still excellent.

Favorite Performances: Skylar Laine (both songs) / Jessica Sanchez (I Keep On Falling) / Joshua Ledet (both songs) / Hollie Cavanagh (Rolling in the Deep)

My Votes: Jessica Sanchez (35 votes) / Joshua Ledet (35 votes)

Bottom 3 Predictions: Hollie Cavanagh / Elise Testone / Phillip Phillips

Elimination Prediction: Elise Testone

After that dramatic moment last week when the judges saved Jessica Sanchez, where do we go from here? Well, Hollie should have gone home last week. Will she this time around? She’ll at least be in the Bottom 3. But who joins her? The most obvious answer is Elise Testone. I think it’s safe to say that both of them will be in danger.

But who take that final spot? To be a little broader here, it’s between Colton, Phillip and Joshua. After his shocking Bottom 3 appearance last week, I’m hoping Joshua’s fans rallied hard around him to make sure that doesn’t happen a second week in a row. If that’s the case, then it’s between Colton and Phillip. And I think Colton’s fan base is just too strong to penetrate just yet. So that leaves us with Phillip, who also has a solid fan base. But at the end of the night, he might not be remembered as much.

Then who goes home? Whoever is in that third spot will be safe. Again, stating the obvious (as long as everything rights itself after last week’s wrongs), either Hollie or Elise is going home. Initially, I thought that Hollie would go. But once I got through both of Elise’s performances, I started to have my doubts that Elise did enough to sway voters in her direction. Plus, she did not have the happiest face on when Jennifer Lopez told her why voters aren’t connecting with her; she didn’t look happy at all. And that’s the thing; she doesn’t always let her personality through. And that affects votes. So I’m going with Elise as the one to be eliminated. There is no more Judges Save, so no one can hide any longer.

Who was your favorite this week? And who should go home?

During the results show, Idol winner Kris Allen as well as LMFAO will all take to the stage to perform before one contestant is eliminated. See ya then…

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