Wednesday, May 2, 2012

AI Season 11- Top 5 Performance, 05-02-12

We relive Elise's elimination, and also her organdy bed jacket. And then the remaining kids each assure us that they want to win.

Entering from the stage (for the first time in a couple of weeks), Randy is in a shiny (not sparkly) gold jacket over a black shirt. Steven is in white lingerie. JLo is wearing a calf-length, skin tight red dress with cut-in shoulders and a very low v-neck with a transparent white modesty panel. Her extensions are very straight tonight and she's actually wearing lip color. Ryan is in pewter polished cotton, and a tie. His pompadour has reached Clay Aiken heights.

Ryan tells us that tonight the kids will each sing one song from the 60's, and one from Brit Pop. Tonight's Guest Mentor is Steven Van Zandt (I don't feel quite comfortable calling him Little, firstly because I think he's older than I am, and secondly, because he isn't). SVZ is in a shapeless purple jacket and coordinating babushka. Ryan says that SVZ is charismatic. I don't think Ryan knows what that word means.

#1. Hollie- River Deep, Mountain High.
I & SVZ are not sure if this is going to work for Hollie. I agree with them.

Onstage, Hollie is wearing a short sparkly shift with an allover sort of geometric pattern of tan, peach, and cream. Her chain earrings hang well below her shoulders. This song is not one of my favorites even when Tina Turner sings it. There's not a whole lot of melody to it. I think Hollie is doing okay, but it's still not a very good match for her voice. She's more relaxed than I've seen her, and she seems to be enjoying her own performance, which is nice to see.

I am surprised that all three judges loved it.

I do wish Phil would stop making those stupid damn faces every time the camera goes by. The head tilt, squint and sneer are really starting to annoy me.

#2 Phil- The Letter
I & SVZ bicker a bit over Phil's general style, with SVZ saying that it's not the Miss America Pageant, and that artistry also matters.

Phil is wearing a khaki green shirt over a gray tee, and he's playing the guitar. This is another song that I don't love (and I came to loathe it during the lead-up to Season 5 when Chris Daughtry's audition of this song was played constantly in the commercials). But Phil is doing his patented growly/bluesy/raspy thing with it, and it's very good.

The audience goes crazy. Randy gushes, JLo doesn't know the song (seriously?), and Steven thinks that Phil got away with skipping the melody altogether.

Phil's cute hometown girlfriend is in the audience.

#3 Skylar
I & SVZ don't like Skylar's first song choice, and they talk her into Fortunate Son.

Skylar's outfit is nearly indescribable (literally- I don't have the words for many of the individual components). She appears to be wearing a white on white striped short rayon dress topped by a black sort-of- Heidi vest with a line of sparkly white diamonds marching across the stomach. There's a sparkly, fringed shawl apparently sewn to the waistline, and she's wearing glitter boots. Oh, and her huge metal earrings look like they weigh a ton. The whole thing is even uglier and less flattering than it sounds. Speaking of sound, her voice is not pleasant here, it's kind of screamy. But girlfriend works the stage like a pro.

JLo talks for a long time without saying much of anything, Steven likes the boot scootin', and Randy name-drops CCR. None of the judges mention the actual singing.

Joshua and Phil are going to sing a duet together for the first time. This should be interesting. Phil is wearing the same outfit that he had on earlier. Joshua is in a heavy black wool jacket with wide black leather lapels (I mean really wide). The sleeves have long leather cuffs. And by long, I mean at least 10"- they go from above the wrist almost to his elbows. They're singing You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling. They start out on stools, and Phil's opening solo sounds a little off. Joshua just sings his portion at first, and he sounds fine. When they sing together, they sound okay. Phil eventually warms into the song, and of course Joshua goes to his Fantasia Place by the end. Afterwards, Phil throws an arm around Joshua's shoulders and Joshua instantly pulls away, like he's been burned. It's a very weird overreaction. He continues to look uncomfortable, edging away from Phil every time he gets within touching distance.

Steven babbles about the guys singing into each others' eyes (you know that Phil and Heejun would have done that), JLo laughs, and Randy says something.

#4. Jessica- Proud Mary
I & SVZ both try to talk Jessica out of Proud Mary, but they end up supporting the song choice.

Jessica is wearing a very short, very tight white wrap dress with a heavy metal semi-circular necklace , a vest made of many drapey chains, and a big ring with chain fringe. If I close my eyes, Jessica sounds fine, but unfortunately I don't close my eyes. Watching her try the Tina Turner Strut makes me really uncomfortable (in a Toddlers & Tiaras way). It feels wildly inappropriate and it reminds me of just how much of a child Jessica really is.

Steven and JLo both love it. Randy says that the voice was fine, but that the performance was not up to Tina  Turner Standards. Yikes, I actually agree with Randy.

#5. Joshua- Ain't Too Proud to Beg
I & SVZ both dance in their chairs to Joshua's rehearsal.

Onstage, Joshua is wearing a navy blazer whose white sleeves have narrow blue sparkly stripes, over a royal shirt with robin's egg facing (a color scheme that I like to call Ex-Nun). He also has a huge yellow daffodil in his pocket. He's doing The Temptation's version of the song, and it sounds just fine. He's even dancing a little. Of course, this is Joshua, and Joshua simply cannot resist the Jacob Lusk finish, which ruins the whole thing for me.

Steven admires the sleeves. JLo gushes (though she does not mention GOOSIES!). Randy compares Joshua to Terence Trent d'Arby, which I think he means as a compliment.

#6. Hollie- Bleeding Love
I & SVZ remind Hollie to sing to just one person, and ignore the rest of the audience.

Hollie is seated on a piano. She's wearing an oddly-ruched black halter dress with a very long transparent overskirt. How long, you ask? Long enough to be draped and arranged on the floor below Hollie, who is still perched up on the piano. I don't know this song, but I like it. Hollie sounds good and this melody suits her voice and style very well. Afterwards, she slides down to the floor and gathers up her train.

Steven and JLo love it. Randy takes forever (and drops Simon Cowell's and Leona Lewis's names) before finally getting around to saying that he loved it too.

I am pretty sure that I just saw Pam Beesley's old fiance Roy, in the audience. Is he on another show now?

#7. Phil- Time of the Season
I& SVZ both think that this is going to be good.

Phil, with guitar, is on a stool. He's wearing a black long-sleeved tee. He removes one of his earpieces right away, so I wonder if there are sound troubles. This is far more laid back, softer, and much more melodic than Phil's usual performance. I do believe I'll be purchasing this one for download tomorrow.

JLo likes the mellow vibe. Steven says that Phil sang it well. Randy says that Phil showed, and this is an exact quote: A lot more less energy. There is the whiff of Faint Praise hanging over all of the comments.

Jessica, Hollie, and Skylar are going to sing a trio, but first they imitate each other (and Jessica has to force a smile when Hollie trots out the runaway vibrato). All three girls are wearing the same things they wore for their earlier performances. They're singing Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher, and though they sound okay, this is not a stellar performance.

Steven says it was a weird arrangement, JLo says it was cute (Cute? Baby ducks are cute! tm Annie Savoy). Randy: bablebabblebabble

#8. Skylar- You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
I & SVZ make Skylar ugly-giggle with their arguments.

Skylar has changed into a floor-length, one shouldered toga dress made from a snakeskin bed sheet. Do I even need to add that it has a white belt and a mullet hem? She wanders past a couple of prop people smooching on a bench as she sings. And, oh my, this is really nasal. I think she maybe should be singing in a lower key. This is Skylar's worst performance on the show.

But of course, all three judges love it.

#9. Jessica- You Are So Beautiful
I & SVZ are worried that Jessica will sound like Muzak.

Jessica is sitting on the floor, surrounded by candles. She's wearing a gold and purple dress (at least I think it's purple, the stage is pretty dark so it's hard to tell) with a floaty high-waisted skirt and a cris-cross bodice. She's doing the Joe Cocker version by way of Whitney Houston. Her voice sounds rich and full and lovely and I like it, except for some overdone runs at the end.

She stands up and we see that she's barefoot. Ryan brings her very high heels over, and Randy makes a nasty joke about Ryan wearing them before declaring the Judges universal love for Jessica.

#10 Joshua- To Love somebody
I & SVZ don't like Joshua's first song choice, so they talk him into The BeeGees. Joshua runs off and learns the song in 15 minutes (he'd never heard it before... sigh). He wows them.

Onstage, Joshua is wearing the same jacket as he wore in his duet with Phil. He's also wearing a drapey cowl neck tee, like the ones Colton favored. He starts out more subdued than usual, but of course the vibrato and screech quickly take over. Joshua and this song are both exhausting.

He looks very smug as he gets yet another Standing O from the judges.

Tonight's Best:
Phil #1-2
Hollie #2

Tonight's Worst:
Skylar #1-2

Almost Great Except for Excess Notage at the End:
Joshua #1
Jessica #2

Who's going home tomorrow? It could be any of them.

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