Wednesday, March 28, 2012

AI Season 11- Top 9 Performance, 03-28-12

We open with old home movie clips of the kids, most of which we've seen before (I will, personally, never get tired of  seeing teeny Deandre in his own itty bittyDrum Major uniform). Over a Stevie Nicks song, we see new clips of the kids that have been sepiaed and faded out to look old. Oh- there's Erika. And a couple other people who've already been eliminated, whose names I've forgotten, and whose faces I barely recognize.

JLo is wearing a white jumpsuit with pleats at the waist, and the bodice has very very deeply cut sides. So deep in fact, that unless she's using a bucket-load of double sided tape, we're going to get a good view of side boob tonight. Her hair is up in a soft French roll, and she has nude lipstick, which washes her face out completely. Randy is in a black leather jacket that must be really ordinary looking because the only other note I wrote was: red glasses. Steven is in a blue wool Civil War coat, and bell-bottoms with narrow, glittery silver stripes. Ryan is wearing solid color, wide tie tonight. Also a suit, but he wears a suit every night this season.

The Top 9 enter the stage. The camera pans the audience. There's Jordin Sparks, and a guy with s sparkly jeweled neck brace. You don't see one of those every day. Ryan makes several Hunger Games references, and then says the kids will be singing their own idols's songs.

Tommy Hilfiger holds the kids hostage and restates the mantra of his life: Style is Everything.

Stevie Nicks is the mentor tonight. Well lookie there- Jimmy Iovine used to sing with Stevie. We see several vintage clips with Stevie and a dark-haired Jimmy wailing.

#1. Colton- Lifehouse, Everything.
Jimmy (I) & Stevie (hereafter: S) are impressed.
Colton is wearing a white jacket with lots of buttons on the sleeves, over a brown tee. His stupid hair is stupid again, though he's wearing his frosted bangs down this week (with the rest of the faux-hawk pointing to the heavens, which is probably symbolic, given that he's singing Contemporary Christian). I know even less about CC music than I do about mainstream pop, but this is a quiet song. So quiet that I don't understand a word for the first half. But Colton builds, and gets louder and louder, and then finishes singing on his knees, and wiping his eyes. The kneeling and weeping may be genuine and heartfelt, but it looks like pandering from here. But all three judges loved the performance.

#2. Skylar, Martina McBride, didn't catch the title
I&S: S sings along with Skylar, but both of them think that she may be in trouble.
Oh my, let me see if I can describe what Skylar is wearing- high heels (actually, you can assume that every girl wears very high heels every time one of them is on stage, because so far, each of them has), tight black pants (they may be leggings, and the tightness is unfortunate, if you get my drift). Over the pants (but not over enough of the pants), she's wearing a loose mullet top (shorter in front, longer on the sides and in the back) that has a wide beige bottom band, and then a much wider black band, and then it abruptly changes into bright red with hoards of shiny gold embroidery and detail. Over all of this, she's wearing a short black leather jacket that was rescued from the Great Bedazzler Explosion of '83. And she's wearing shoulder-length wind chime earrings. Skylar's bling has nearly reached Critical Mass. The song? Well, there's not a whole lot of melody, though many of the words are gun-related. Skylar is energetic as usual, clomping up and down the stage and having a wonderful 'ol time. Everyone in the audience seems to be enjoying it as well. JLo comments on the audience, but does not mention the singing. Randy reminds Skylar to tell the story with the song (this will be the last semi-sensible thing he says this evening).

Rather than giving us a break and cutting the show down to 90 minutes, since there are only 9 kids singing, we're also going to be subjected to trios. First up are Colton, Elise, and Philip, singing a Fleetwood Mac medley. Colton is in a black shirt with a dark gray asymmetric vest, Phil is in black on black, and Elise is in black sparkles and fringe. Colton sounds plaintive, Elise is squatty, and Phil growls. That said, these three don't sound bad together.

#3. Heejun, Donnie Hathaway (hey, that's no more random than anything else Heejun does), A Song For You
I-S: Pleased with Heejun, and happy that he seems to be taking things seriously. Finally.
Heejun is wearing a pale gray blazer which has been painted with gold roses, over a gray shirt. He has on a black knit cap, and tonight, his glasses have lenses. Well, I guess Heejun decided to remind us that he does have a voice- his accent is creeping in, and there are a couple of off notes, but overall, this is lovely. Good for Heejun! The judges definitely appreciate the effort, and they give him a Standing O!

There's Dionne Warwick in the audience!

Ryan says that Coke is having a song writing contest for a collaboration with Jason Derullo. To which I say: Who? Ah- he's the dude with the glittery cervical collar. Turns out that he broke his neck, and he's writing a song about his injury, and the lucky winner of the song-writing contest gets to help. So if you've ever had the hankering to write with a guy who would go on TV wearing a sparkly neck brace, now's your chance!

#4. Hollie, Carrie Underwood, Jesus Take the Wheel
I-S- S talks about her own losses and is moved to tears by Hollie's rehearsal.
Onstage, Hollie is wearing a short white dress with cap sleeves, which appears to have been constructed from latex. She has straight hair tonight, and excellent makeup. Honestly, I find this song to be totally ridiculous (my guess is that Jesus would tell her to steer into the skid, just like every Driver's Ed teacher has said since the dawn of Driver's Ed classes). It doesn't matter which song is chosen, it's always risky to tackle Underwood, but Hollie is doing just fine. Randy faintly praises, JLo disagrees with Randy, and Steven is in the middle- he loves Hollie's voice but didn't love the song choice.

Ryan pretends to vacuum the fake snow up off the stage. Yeah, right.

#5. Deandre, Eric Benet, Sometimes I Cry
I-S: I tells Deandre that he's wearing Stevie's old hairstyle. S tells Deandre to slow down. I thinks Deandre may be in jeopardy.
Deandre, with locks loose and curly, is wearing a long gray leather jacket which either has elbow-length sleeves, or the sleeves are pushed way up, over a collarless gray shirt and a black scarf. This song is almost all falsetto- parts are nice, and parts are pretty awful. JLo looks to be in pain, so I think she's going to criticize, but it turns out that her I Like This But Not at GOOSIES! Levels face also looks like her This Is Awful face. Deandre gets another unanimous Standing O.

Ryan's mom is in the audience. Also Jessica's sister.

#6. Jessica, Beyonce, Sweet Dreams
I-S give Specific suggestions on the singing of this song, and then they banter back and forth. It's pretty cute, actually.
The camera focuses on a harp, and then pans to Jessica as she comes through a red door that has been set in the middle of the stage. She's wearing her hair pulled up and back. Her dress is gray satin with an overall black print (it looks like brocade, except without any texture) with short puffy sleeves and a short tight skirt. There is a waterfall of chiffon cascading from the back waistline, to the floor. Jessica's voice is better than Beyonce's, and evidently she's doing something *different* with the song (I don't know the song, so I wouldn't know if The Hub hadn't said so) (he listens to the radio at work). Jessica sounds better than she did last week. At the end of the song, she leaves through the red door. She does not get a Standing O, which is interesting, though she does get high praise from all three. And then Randy babbles: I say this all the time and no one believes me, but stars are born... Good to know Randy, we thought they were hatched.

Next trio is Deandre, Heejun and Joshua, singing Michael Jackson songs. All three are in dark jackets (black, blue denim, black) and hats (I'd call the hats stupid, but it's obvious that they're going for an MJ Vibe, so I'll give them a pass just this once). Again, they sound just fine together. Color me amazed.

#7. Phillip, John (Lynn? Lyne? Line? Lynne? beats the hell outta me), didn't catch the title
I-S: Stevie would have hired Phil to sing with Fleetwood Mac back in the day.
Phil is wearing a brown blazer over a brown shirt, and he's playing his guitar. I have said this before, and I will likely say it again, but if Taylor Hicks had been allowed to play his guitar during his season, people would have an entirely different opinion of him now. Phil writhes and makes even weirder faces than Taylor ever did, and he's being lionized- it's the guitar, y'all. I don't know this song, but it's a Phil-song, sung Phil-ly, and even I can tell that he's doing a good job with it. JLo and Randy stand immediately, and after a bit of hesitation, Steven follows suit.

Ryan talks to Dionne Warwick a bit, and then hints that Jordin and Sparkly Neck Brace are an Item. This is what happens when you slot 2 hours for a show that barely needs an hour.

#8. Joshua, Mariah Carey (What?), Without You
I-S: S tells Joshua to stand up straight, and both of them worry that he won't pull this song off.
On stage, Joshua is in a black and white print jacket (the print looks like chain mail) that is, once again, too small for him. The top button alone is buttoned, which is not a good look. Even when Joshua isn't singing Mariah Carey, he brings out the Mariah Carey Reaction in me (a fervent wish that someone would make him just sing the damn song). Joshua starts out low and quiet and slow, but very quickly, he cranks it to Joshua Levels. He gets another Standing O. Gah- I just don't get it. At all. Randy, however, is thrilled to have the opportunity to Name Drop Mariah for awhile (another result of an overlong show- Randy has far too much time to talk).

Hollie, Skylar and Jessica sing Madonna songs for the final trio. They're in black and white, white and black, and white with just a teensy bit of black. Only Skylar is wearing a hat. Skylar sings that that we keep on pushing her love over the borderlan. Hollie sounds a little weak, and the light actually shines through Jessica's ears, making them glow red. Skylar finds ever more creative ways to dress badly.

#9. Elise, Led Zepplin (seriously?), and Whole Lotta Love (jaw dropped)
I-S: both surprised that Elise even knows this song, much less intends to sing it. Stevie harmonizes with Elise, and they sound great together.
Sometime during the evening, Elise stole Steven Tyler's pants. She's also wearing a black hippie-top with an asymmetrical hem and silver sparkly fringes. Since she's singing last, I assume that this is going to be a good performance, but damn! This is a great performance. I would never have guessed that Elise could do this song justice. WOW! This is one Standing O that was absolutely well deserved.

So, tonight was really unusual- no one biffed it, and there were some very good performances. I would prefer that Joshua go home, but that's just because I don't like him. I would guess that Deandre is in danger, and Heejun. And probably Elise, just because she's in the bottom every week, though she absolutely deserves to stay.

Tomorrow night will be interesting.

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