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'American Idol' Top 8 power rankings -- Skylar returns
Set your calendars. A month from today, there will be a VERY SHOCKING elimination from “American Idol.”
How do I know? Because last night – “'80s Night,” for those keeping track – it became very clear that there's a five-person lead pack this season and three stragglers that will be picked off one by one in whatever order “Idol” voters get bored with them.
Will it be hair-tossing DeAndre Brackensick followed by easily confused Elise Testone followed by not-quite-ready Hollie Cavanagh? Hard to tell. PoTAYto, potahto. (I think Hollie's two bad performances in a row get her sent packing this week.)
The interesting thing is that there are five singers who have a genuine shot at winning this season. As Randy Jackson will likely bellow, (more predictions!) “Ryan, we've got a horse race right here!”
Skylar Laine re-emerged as a possible front-runner with a stellar version of “Wind Beneath My Wings” that was so powerfully sung and heartfelt that it ended with an emotional run that brought Jennifer Lopez to tears. (Her taped piece was also wonderfully honest, when she declared, “I miss my guns.”) Her final run was also more inventive and real than anything the beloved Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez have come up with so far.
That said, when Jessica and Joshua finished roaring through “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” they received a standing ovation from the judges and then Lopez asked, “Final?” Ooh, I hope not.
Let's be honest. The judges aren't doing Joshua any favors because he's still oversinging. (By the way, “If You Don't Know Me By Now” is really a song originally from 1972 by Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, but whatever, right?) His oversinging is wa-wa-wa-wa-way-eee-ooh-oooh-eee too much and doesn't show artistry, just indulgence. He got credit for “holding back” at the beginning. That's because he wasn't singing! He stayed quiet while the choir handled the chorus first. He was overemphasizing from the first line, “All the things that we've been throoooo-ooo.” Joshua has a very good voice, but he needs to learn that less is more.
Jessica is struggling with that lesson as well. (Or maybe it's her alter ego BB Chez that needs to learn it?) Her take on “How Will I Know?” was more restrained than Joshua – and the judges once again kept their seats, after showing him more love – but it could also have used some rearranging. She would have done well to have cribbed from Whitney Houston's live version of the song, where she inserts some masterful runs.
Colton Dixon continues to deliver the only performances that are perfect for right now, with a Coldplay/Christian rock version of Cyndi Lauper's “Time After Time” that could chart today.
And how great is Phillip Phillips? Well, his “That's All” was a little pinched and nervous early on, but he made it work for him. By the time he reached the bridge, where Tony Kanal told him to stop playing guitar so he could better connect with the crowd, he was able to sell it. He even makes awkward judges' comments work for him.
“You're just a wildflower, aren't you?” Tyler said.
“Um, I don't know,” Phillip said.
The growl-off between Phillip and Elise on “Stop Draggin' My Heart Around” was a little uncomfortable, but it was also the closest thing to a believable rock duet last night.
“I want more of that show,” Lopez said.
Hmm. Then maybe you should start promoting those performances instead of repping DeAndre at every turn. Or are they trying to make the VERY SHOCKING elimination happen sooner than scheduled?
Skylar Laine, “Wind Beneath My Wings”
Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”
Colton Dixon, “Time After Time”
Jessica Sanchez, “How Will I Know”
Joshua Ledet, “If You Don't Know Me By Now”
Phillip Phillips and Elise Testone, “Stop Draggin' My Heart Around”
Phillip Phillips, “That's All”
Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine, “Islands in the Stream”
DeAndre Brackensick and Hollie Cavanagh, “I'm So Excited”
DeAndre Brackensick, “I Like It”
Hollie Cavanagh, “Flashdance (What a Feeling)”
Elise Testone, “I Want to Know What Love Is”
BOTTOM THREE: Elise, Hollie, DeAndre
WILL BE ELIMINATED: Hollie
SHOULD BE ELIMINATED: Elise
ACTUALLY ELIMINATED: DeAndre
**What Jessica should have done starts around 2:40 if watching the whole thing is too sad. R.I.P. Whitney.
Tags: American Idol , Phillip Phillips , Jessica Sanchez , Colton Dixon , Skylar Laine , Hollie Cavanagh , Joshua Ledet , Elise Testone , DeAndre Brackensick , Jennifer Lopez , Steven Tyler , Randy Jackson , Jimmy Iovine , Harold Melvin