Wednesday, April 25, 2012

AI Season 11-Top 6 Performance, 04-25-12

Oh hey, I forgot until just this minute, that Colton went home last week. That makes sitting through yet another 2-hour show a little more bearable.

Tonight the kids are singing Queen, which seems like a recipe for disaster.

Randy is in a gray jacket over a yellow shirt. He has a lapel *YO*  pin (not the knitting abbreviation for *yarn over*, but the actual letters *Y* and *O*) that looks like it was made in a kids' craft class at Hobby Lobby. Steven is in a dark shirt, a spangly vest, and a blazer composed of mummy wrappings tacked together here and there. It looks like it smells. JLo has her front hair barretted back, and her lipstick, once again, is nude. She's wearing a gold lame, puffed sleeve, shortie top with a zipper front, and low-rider lame (I can't make the accent work- they're shiny and sparkly... that kind of la-may... though they're pretty lame too) almost-Hammer Pants. We're talking ugly, here. So ugly that Randy is the best dressed of the judges tonight.

Ryan's hair is higher and more sculpted than ever. He's wearing a blue three piece suit, with no tie, and the collar open. He looks rather rumpled.

Since we have to fill up 2 hours with only 12 performances, we have lots of time for surviving Queen members to remind us of their prodigious catalog. We're also reminded that orthodontia wasn't as ubiquitous back then. The Queen fellas give the kids some generic encouragement.

And in a departure from the usual format, the Top 6 sing a medley of Queen songs, with Queen itself.  And indeed, we fat-bottom girls do make the rockin' world go round. Phil and Joshua flounder. Elise and Skylar do well. Hollie can't sing low enough, and Jessica's vibrato is totally out of control.

Tonight, there are no individual mentor clips, and no Jimmy Iovine opinions. In fact, there is very little chatter in between performances for this first half. Ryan marches things along smartly.

#1 Jessica is singing Bohemian Rhapsody. Her hair is in a small pompadour, and since the performance starts out in black and white, I don't know what color her vaguely Navajo print skirt, unlaced tennis shoes, shirt and vest are. Three Jessicas (all with much higher hair) sing to us from the big screen, and then everything colorizes and I see that her vest is brown and her skirt is sparkly red, black and white. She's wearing a pink glittery choker that may actually be a zipper running down the front of her shirt. Her performance is totally underwhelming, not worthy of the song, but the judges overpraise her.

#2. Skylar is in a tan, strappy dress with copper sparkles all over, and a black belt. Her hair is soft and pretty, and she's wearing rhinestone pistol earrings. She's singing The Show Must Go On, but it's not the song that I think it's going to be. She ditches the Country altogether, and is doing very well with this,at least until the end. Her last couple of notes were off. JLo gets goosies! (she's not particularly enthusiastic about them- they're lower-case at best). Steven was overwhelmed, and Randy thought it was incredible.

Gah- I hate Subway commercials. Why oh why are they trying to convince us that normally sized people are fat enough to burst swimming pools and break swings? (Nevermind- I know why and I hate them for it).

#3 Joshua is singing Crazy Little Thing Called Love. He's dressed all in black, and is using an old-fashioned microphone, which he holds weirdly throughout. Yikes, this is awful- shrieky, tuneless, thin, and it makes my ears bleed. Also: really awkward dancing. Randy and Steven stand, JLo stays seated, though when the camera pans back to them, she is standing with the others. Randy keeps comparing Joshua to Sam Cooke, which is ridiculous. Sam Cooke understood the power of restraint.

#4. Elise is singing I Want It All. she's wearing a long, floaty sleeveless tie-dye robe over a short leather flapper skirt and black top. Her necklace appears to be made of chain mail. She's playing a tambourine and there's definitely a Hippie Vibe going on. Elise is doing her Janis Joplin best with this, and I like it a lot. The judges enthuse.

#5. Phil is in a blue tee shirt and tan shirt. I am surprised to find that he's singing Fat Bottomed Girls, since they sang that in the opening medley. He's singing without guitar... and... well... this is Phil's first phizzle. It's not awful, but it's not good either. Steven needs to watch it with the more cushion for the pushin' jokes. Steven and JLo are gushy, and Randy is vaguely neutral.

#6. Hollie is in a slim-legged red satin pantsuit over a black shirt. Her necklace has lots of heavy, square stones. I don't know this song, but she's doing well with it. I would have bet that Hollie was going to crash and burn, so I'm glad for her. The judges are critical though- JLo going on and on about connecting to the song (or rather, Hollie's lack of connection).

Ryan asks the Judges who the Round 1 winners are. JLo says Skylar, Randy  says Skylar, Joshua, and Elise. Steven says Skylar. They all agree that Hollie needs to pick it up.

Round 2 is songs that the kids chose for themselves.

#7. Jessica is in a Shrek-green, one-shouldered toga with a mullet hem. Oh no, she's singing Dance With My Father, which she considers as a tribute to her own father (though I'm pretty sure that her father is still alive, so she has no real notion of what the song is about). Before she starts singing, the other kids interview about Jessica- saying that she's a kid, and still in school, and teeny, and is perhaps an alien. Onstage, Jessica sings with the wind machine. I would probably think this performance was okay if I did not absolutely loathe this song (it's the musical equivalent of a dead-dog story... sad for no other reason than to make you cry). The judges love it.

#8. Skylar has lots of cleavage in her cream dress with the scalloped hem and scattered sparkles. The others  interview that Skylar talks a lot, all the time, and is a bundle of energy. Hollie says that Skylar is "thick-boned" when she really means  "thick-skinned". The twang is back, front and center. I don't know this song, and did not catch the title, but it seems to be about tattoos. JLo babbles, Randy speaks his own language, and Steven missed... something... I think.

#9. Joshua is in a tan leather jacket, a brown loopy scarf, and a white shirt. The others interview that Joshua is loud, crazy, messy, and he screams a lot. Joshua starts out on a stool, and the back lighting shines through his ears, making them glow redly. I don't know this song, but Joshua is far more restrained than usual. I figure that means he's about to go purely crazy, but... and you may need to sit down for this... he doesn't. In fact, Joshua controls himself and his voice throughout, and he delivers a really lovely performance. For the first time ever, I hear the Sam Cooke similarity. He gets a thoroughly deserved Standing O from the Judges.

#10. Elise is wearing a vaguely Grecian, blue, strappy, satin, mullet dress. She has an orange tie-dye scarf that attaches to her ring, and then loops around behind and is somehow anchored to the back of her dress. The other kids make fun of Elise's laugh, and her goofy hand motions. I don't know this song, but it's jazzy and bluesy and growly and exactly the kind of song that Elise needs to sing. Steven loved it but cautions Elise to pick songs that people know. JLo understands what Steven is saying, but thinks that Elise did well enough for it not to matter (I'm with JLo on this one). Randy gives some kind of silly critique. Ryan makes a point to mention that the guitarist is from Elise's own band.

#11. Phil is in all black, and playing the guitar. Jessica says that Phil is handsome in regular life but goofy looking when he sings. Onstage with a baritone sax and a violin, this song is odd. There's no real melody, and Phil is not making as many weird faces as usual. It's fierce and yet the vocal is soft. It's weirdly good. Mesmerizing.  Steven commends Phil for damning the torpedoes and full-speeding his Philness ahead. JLo worries about choosing such an obscure song. Randy is actually coherent. Ryan says that his "girlfriend" is backstage and she has a crush on Phil.

#12. Hollie is wearing a cute dress with a gold-banded, black circular skirt, and a sparkly gold bustier top whose neckline seems to be encrusted with metal flowers. The others make fun of her Texas/English accent. She's singing that inspirational Miley Cyrus song, and since she only has to sing it better than Miley does, the bar is set pretty low. Even so, Hollie is doing very well with this- she's hitting all of the notes (something she doesn't always manage), and she seems to be connected to the song emotionally. It's a very good performance, and she gets a Standing O from the judges.

Ryan did his job too well, after the recap-clips, there are still 3 minutes to kill, which feels like 3 hours by the time he gets done letting the judges blather. They all stress the importance of voting.

Tonight's Best:
Joshua #2
Elise #1
Phil #2

Honorable Mention: Skylar #1-#2

Tonight's Worst:
Joshua #1
Phil #1
Jessica #1

Dishonorable Mention: Jessica #2

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