Friday, 27 April 2012

Queen Rules In America

The Queen certainly rule in America this week at least. With a carefully selected band of singers and guitarists doing a good job of Somebody To Love that track went down well enough, despite the audience not seeming particularly vocal in the join-in section!) but the real buzz happened when Brian and Roger appeared and set the place on fire once again.

Ryan brings Jessica and Elise out and, as you could have guessed, Elise is in the bottom three once more. No surprises there really and my feeling is that it really is the last time she'll be appearing in the bottom three - but not for the reason she'd prefer.

Stefano reappears next. Following Queen, even part of Queen, was never going to be easy. No shiny suit either. A good track that Olly Murs could have a hit with. He seems to have two voices - one that stands out, the higher, sharper one that cuts through the backing track and a pretty much unnoticeable one that let him down. Still, nice to see him again.

Hollie and Joshua. Now we all know the judges would just instantly send Hollie to the bottom three anyway and they must have had some effect on the voters. Joshua's second track was pretty good and the switch between the dance track he did before broadened his appeal. For all that, I wouldn't want to call between these two as I do think Hollie is building her fans, albeit a bit late. Hollie is the one that joins Elise.

Katy Perry comes on in aggressive mood looking like a 90s Ukraine entry in the Eurovision Song Contest. The song has to be a Russell Brand put down. For most of it she's lost in dry ice anyway, her record playing in the background. Another hit, no doubt, but she might at least have tried a bit harder to appear to be singing it. For some reason she was surrounded by alternative versions of herself, all with black knee pads and at the end the ice turned green and I expected some military band to come on as some guy was barking orders in the background. Odd.

OK, back and it's between Skylar and Phillip. Surely no argument here - it has to be Skylar that is safe out of those two. Big surprise again this week! Skylar is the one in 4th place! I wasn't expecting that. Phillip sure must have all the girl's votes now and that must have saved him in not exactly a stunning week for him. As if to quell the storm that was brewing amongst the audience and judges, Ryan almost immediately says that Skylar is safe and that leaves Hollie and Elise.

Elise reaches the end of her road and goes out with her wonderful Led Zep number. I can see that as a single. If Robert Plant wasn't tied up with Alison Krauss he might even have joined her. So now we have the Final Five. Skylar coming 4th after such a good performance and showing consistent strength for a few weeks now really does mean that it is anyone's guess now.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Show Must Go On (and so do the judges)

It's Queen week and there's Brian May, grey hair seemingly ablaze beneath the lights with Roger Taylor, looking rather big and out of place with the tiny idols remaining in the Top 6. They answer some silly questions and still look uncomfortable but that may have been because no-one understood their excellent accents.

The group song was a pretty predictable mix of extracts from some of their hits and it was so noticeable how Elise led the way almost entirely. It suited her too. Brian was smiling throughout, probably thinking about the large fee he'd be getting for not a great deal of hard work. With the bright white light behind him in some shots his huge mass of hair looked extraordinary. I do hope that's a style that doesn't take on.

They finished with We Are The Champions which really didn't work at all well. It was so dull, like a Sunday morning on a cold day in a small church in the country. At no point do I recall hearing either Jessica or Hollie who were together on one mike.


Bohemian Rhapsody
Cameras go to black and white as they associate with the original visuals for this, even putting her face in a similar three-repeat in the background. Not many would dare take this song on! I think she made a good job of that with nice vocals on the gentler side which suited her so much better than when she tries to rock. The rock bit did work but she did look nervous and even seemed to be trying to remember what to do rather than being natural. She's starting to fade a bit and show some weakness.


The Show Must Go On
Excellent performance. I can't fault that and she really is shaping up to win this. That put Jessica in the shade as she was on pitch and it was believable too. Well done. Not as difficult a track as Jessica's but still not easy. She is showing a lot of strength and composure whereas her competition looks vulnerable.


Crazy Little Thing Called Love
I didn't like this at all and not sure he coped that well with this track. He just belted it out whereas it does need light and shade. Not good. Energetic, but not very marketable. So why the SO from the judges??! They're out of line on this, they really are. They must get a totally different sound down there from what we get through a couple of speakers. Jennifer says it all when she announces that he's her 'favourite'. Hmmm.


I Want It All
I like the way she's on it from the very start. Of everyone in the T6 she should be the one this week was made for but, apart from the chorus, this is not the best of songs to make an impression with. The verse is almost instantly forgettable and doesn't allow for anything special to happen either. She did a good, confident job but it wasn't as spectacular as you'd expect from Elise, singing Queen, in the Top Six stage. She got good reviews but obviously not their 'favourite' and she could be disappointed.


Fat Bottomed Girls
He sounded great. It was a good choice for his voice. It's a song where you can mangle the words and it still works. He does look odd - a complete opposite to the stylish and slick Freddie Merucry person. Phillips does have personality, a smile and the voice that people seem to like. Just not my idea of an American Idol.


Save Me
She gets the first pimp spot and needs to be good, having been almost unnoticed in the group song. This was a nice song. Not the usual anthem and not actually a track I remembered at all. She chose well - or Jimmy did. This is what she does well - a powerful, simple song that matches her range and didn't require her to dance around or do something she doesn't look right doing. Nice. It may not have set the world alight but that shouldn't have done her any harm and keep in in the running. just. Well, it would, had the so biased panel supported her a bit more. they're so critical of her and I really am beginning to think that they don't want her on the show any longer and can't wait for her to go. Everyone else is regarded as some sort of hero with comments like 'amazing' 'don't know what to say' blah blah blah. Hollie gets a long long rant from Jennifer. That's it.

For the second round they get to pick their own tracks.


Dance With My Father Again
Finally, she gets her look right - nice dress and overall styling that suits her. This was a really good performance. A heartfely song that she delivers back on top form once more. It was an excellent time to do it too as she'd been looking quite vulnerable of late, never really matching her incredible Whitney moment of what is now a long time ago. She should now be safe after that and that's what I am sure she'll be doing on CDs later in the year, whatever happens in the competition.


Tattoos On This Town
I think that's the title of of good ol' country number which she is totally at home with. This was a good performance, comfortable and assured. She's a professional and you feel that she's totally reliable. Not spectacular but a good night for her and she must be on her way now to the final.


Running For love
No idea what this song is actually called but it could have been written for him. The judges are on their feet again. This time it may have been deserved. It was a nice track and he produced a very soulful, accurate and controlled sound with none of the annoying shouting. Nice job. If he does more like that then he'll be hard to stop, especially with Jennifer and Randy voting for him so obviously. This could be one of the few times that I have heard this guy do something really really well, though, and a great choice.


Bold as love
A Hendrix number, apparently. It's difficult to know what to make of this. She is certainly very, very good and absolutely in her element but where on earth this will fit with potential voters to keep her in the competition I'm not so sure. Randy does the rant this time, going on and on and losing her votes with each sigh. The fact is that she sang tremendously, as well as Joshua before her and interpreted a difficult track well. People just won't recognise it though.


?? Bold As love
Another track I don't know. Boy, is this lot choosing some unique tracks this year. In a way, that's quite a stand out from previous Series and a good thing. Phillip has always been a bit whacky, odd, occasionally weird and downright ridiculous when forced to do the sing-a-long or set tracks. In the preview of what others think about each other the girls were amusingly honest about how odd his expressions can be when singing and in regard to his leg movements that make Olly Murs seem positively static! This time he went to an extreme but a nice extreme. This what what Phillip Phillips is meant to do and he managed to avoid the weird movements as well. It was an odd number that no-one will know and he was accompanied by a two beautiful girls, one on a fiddle or violin and another on a brass instrument. the violinist was superb and the camera seemed to stay on her almost the whole time! I didn't mind that and doubt whether Phillip would have been that bothered either. He's not someone you want to watch.

Now, will the judges give him the same treatment as they gave Elise? Steven was good, calling him 'Off the wall' accurately and, later, admiring him for being true to what he wants to do rather than digging for votes. Randy got it right too. He was doing what Phillip does. So why didn't they just say that to Elise? So unfair. And Jennifer says she is worried that he might not now make the final. Oh boy. So we all know who she doesn't want in the final, don't we.


The Climb
She sure did make the most of the closing slot of the night with this! It's a very familiar song, having been used as the final song in X Factor too with Joe McElderry winning with it a while ago. It's one of those well-written numbers that are great for closing big shows with that lots of people who watch this type of show love. Hollie performed it marvellously, better than the original. And, good grief, the judges are standing up! Unbelievable. Maybe they were told to after Jennifer's rant and unfair comments. So, an excellent song choice and very well delivered. It's not my favourite at all but it could be just what she needs to survive. At times I really could see her with some star quality shining tonight and, whilst Skylar wins the night, Hollie came second. I just hope the voters agree.

This is a difficult week to call now. Hollie could have been the vulnerable one (again) but she may just have done enough to grow her fan base to be a challenger and is certainly looking like someone who could make a late run for the final.

Jessica seemed good at the time but, on second listening, she has quite a tinny sound and isn't actually singing as well now as she seemed to be at the start. I know the judges and even Jimmy go on about how brilliant she is but I do wonder what support she has and whether her efforts this week will have increased it significantly. I would say she is now more likely to go than Hollie.

Elise has always been struggling, last week being an exception. I don't think her supporters are that solid, not the people who will phone and phone again to keep her in. They'll respect her but not always vote for her. Her songs weren't great this week and she is the one I would have predicted would go on first consideration.

Phillip's strange second song makes me think twice, though. He must have a strong female backing and is the only white male left too so may survive for that reason alone. He's the one that I'm inclined to think could go, though, on second consideration.

Joshua may get huge props from the judges and Jennifer's own band of voting fans will keep his numbers up. He's an almost guaranteed finalist but shouldn't be. He ought to go but I don't think he will.

Looking back like this, therefore, surprisingly in some ways, it is Skylar and Hollie who managed to hit all the right buttons this week and they may well be the two that are quite safe, Skylar definitely so.

Friday, 20 April 2012

The Top 6 Decided on American Idol

We start with a reminder of the crazy results last week that resulted in Jessica being 'saved' by the judges and there was quite a serious, quite non Idol-like introduction video of the top 7.


Rolling In The Deep
At last!! A great performance and she's looking so much better. She sounded perfectly in tune, right from the start and it was nice to see her smiling and getting the song across so well. "Hollie, very well done." said Randy. She does know this song very well indeed, having been doing it for years so was totally at ease and what a difference that made. Now she is a contender again - well, unless the others also up their game as effectively. She must have been very heartened at the support that put her above Jessie, Elise and Joshua last week.


A Bad Romance
Pretty good. That should be popular. a bit thrashy and not sure it was an ideal interpretation. His fans should like it though and should keep him safe.


She performs so well, every time. Totally reliable but, as Jimmy says, she has to do this without a huge fan base. This was a nice job again but not a big one and they make her a vulnerable for no other reason I can think of.


My least favourite so far. He sang an old Usher song. Quite good and in his own style, clearly. I guess it will appeal to a sector like no-one else in the Top 7 will. Not my choice at all but it seemed to go down well and he's always getting good votes!


In and Out of Love
Another complex song. Again, with a possibly quite limited audience appeal so she's taking a big risk. A remarkable performance. Accurate and with style although I felt she'd lost the passion this time. I don't know. I really don't know. As it ended I was thinking that she has talent for sure, in abundance, but is she making life too difficult for her potential voters? She gets big, big props from Randy. Will that make a difference?


Born This Way
Lady Gaga does country style? Really didn't like the start of this. But Skylar is very confident now, probably much buoyed by the realisation that Jessica isn't the favourite and now everyone has a chance of winning. She has as good as any, especially with the country voters out there on her side. Although this really wasn't very good, too loud and quite scratchy, I have a feeling she is the dark horse and will reach the final 3.


He came and screeched quite a bit and went leaving no impression on me at all. I do hope he picks something less desperate next time or he'll be on his way home.

Now, Round two, as the seven have a second song - selected from 'soul music'. Hmmm. That won't suit everyone.


Son of a Preacher Man
Boosted by Liverpool FC's wonderful personal support she looks so much better and, with another good choice, she is making her mark once again this week. She certainly belted it out well but I'm not convinced it will keep her out of the bottom three, lacking a little light and shade as this song requires.


He does an Earth Wing & Fire track. It was pitchy. It may have been called Dancing In September. Good in places but not that great a reception. It was not his best performance so he's taking a chance there. Maybe Gaga will have saved him though.


Let's Get It On
This was ideal for her although I'm not sure at all about the voters. This was a stand-out performance and she growled and moved through this well. Definitely not the one who should go tonight but I still don't know how she'll go down.


In The Midnight Hour
This was a good one for him. This is right in his bag and should make up for the first round mess. I still find him tiring to listen to, though - it's all the same. Very natural performance, all credit for that. That worked.


Try a Little Tenderness
Styled and looking more mature. I thought this would suit her and she put everything into it but it didn't work - tenderness? No way. It was also all over far too quickly. She seemed to be quite unnatural tonight and even missed a note or two. That was not great. Popular? I don't know. She should go back to the emotional stuff or cheery younger music.


 I Heard It Through The Grapevine
This could work well. It did. For my money, Skylar beat Jessica this week. Quite natural and enjoying herself out there on the stage. I didn't like her version much but do respect what she does. She'll be safe.


A Change Is Gonna Come
A classic for Joshua. He mangled the words at one point but otherwise this was really well presented and he controlled himself so much better than has been the case before. When he did let go it was worth waiting for and this was extremely well-received. That ought to save him too. Inspired choice.

Part two: the Results!

Dancing In The Street - it's a credit to the talent of this series that 6 of the 7 made a very respectable job of the song. If this had been the sole Finale decider then Skylar, Joshua and Hollie would be there, with Elise just missing out. Phil and Colton seemed to be right out their comfort zone but coped well. Jessica was virtually non-existent. Odd.

Ryan brings Hollie and Joshua centre stage. Out of these two, after Joshua's last performance he's the one most likely to be safe and that is, indeed, the case, Hollie being in the bottom three.

Kris Allen, Season 8 winner, appears with a mediocre song that won't trouble the UK charts. Colton can take some comfort there as the two share a similar sound and, of the two, it is Colton that should sell most.

Skylar and Elise next. You kinda know that it'll be Elise who is in the bottom three. It is.

Phillip, Colton, Jessica. One more to be added to the bottom three. I feel it ought to be Jessica but no, it's Colton, the voters seeming to have remembered to vote for Jessica after all and Phillip's fans must be more numerous than I'd realised as it is Colton who joins the bottom three for the first time.

So it's between Hollie, Elise and Colton. Surely it's Elise who will finish at No 7? No, in fact she's the first saved. Now between Hollie and Colton any other week  Hollie would have already had her bags packed and the re-run team would have the video of the time on Idol ready to go. They would have to put it away though, as, another shock this week - it's Colton whose run has ended. He goes with a super performance of a track that was arguably the best part of tonight's results show. Hollie survives again and, with Elise still there, and Jessica's talents and support not necessarily insuperable any more, she must stand a chance of reaching making that Finale prediction actually feasible.

Friday, 13 April 2012

American Idol Voters Disagree with Randy About "The Best Singer In America"

The show starts with what I had really hoped they'd abandoned - the sing-a-long spot. Especially for a Pink track this was ridiculous and Jessica was right out of it. Not a good sign for the one we've started to think might win this thing. Elise, excellent yet again, might just as well have sung it alone with only Hollie, interestingly, providing anything strong by way of support. Odd.

Hollie & Jessica: surely it has to be Jessica that's the safe one out of these two? Or this is a night of surprises? One with a rather average performance. One with a little known track. One natural. One lacking some emotion.  Ryan doesn't tell us just yet. Damn.

James Durbin turned up and screamed quite a lot, looking better fed and healthier than in the old days and sporting a blonde hairstyle reminiscent of the Sex Pistols. I guess it was a track of his new album. It sort of came and went.

Plug for alumni sorted, Ryan brings out Phillip & Elise. Hmmm. One who hasn't been popular but performed well. One who seems to have been popular in the past but who didn't. Elise should stay out of the bottom three but that would still be a surprise as if she is in the 'staying group' that implies that she was in the top three. Phillip joining Hollie makes sense - they're both vulnerable tonight.

Another alumni spot with a record to promote - Jennifer Hudson, who many think should have won in Series whatever, with Ne-Yo who, even with chunky shoes was strangely towered over by what I'd always thought to be a pretty normal-height Jennifer in 8 inch stilettos. Men really will have to start wearing these or maybe Elton John 70s boots or women will be much more aware of the extent of their hair loss.

So Skylar, Joshua and Colton remain. They might have been the Top 3 in my reckoning of how the voters might decide (but not my preference). Colton and Joshua to be split. Hmmm again. Both ought to be safe so this will be interesting. Skylar will probably be sent direct to the safe seat. So... I suppose as neither Joshua nor Colton are going home it doesn't matter too much. Joshua goes to the group I expected to be safe. Very interesting.

I was right about Skylar. My guess is that it's the Hollie, Phillip and Colton group that's the bottom three. Wrong!! Now that is a big surprise. The bottom one is Jessica. Even before she starts Steven had said that they'll be using their save - for any of the three. She does start but sounds terrible. Then I thought it was her parents walking on stage but it was the three judges and Jennifer was clearly angry, demanding the microphone and making it clear that they would not even need to listen. Probably just as well as that performance was not going to win her any extra fans. Good to see a bit of chaos on the normally over-produced show. Randy announced that America should be voting for the best, referring to Jessica as 'the best singer in the whole of America'. He may regret that, however well-intended the remark.

Ryan did a great job coping with the comings and goings but shouldn't have asked Jessica to sing to close the programme. This is now getting very interesting. It is now anybody's race and my money's moving to Skylar. Well some of it. I hope Hollie will really make the most of what she must regard as a second second chance too!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

American Idol: The Top 7 Pt 1

In all the previous series, and X Factor too, there has been at least a couple of clear also rans, contestants who really shouldn't still be there, often who shouldn't even have been included in the Top 24 in the first place. This year, I cannot say that there is any contestant who shouldn't be in this Top 7. Each, in their own way, has shown something that could make them American Idol Series 11 Winner. The clear leaders change a little each week, Jessica consistently being one, Colton and Joshua also being on the board most weeks. None of the others can be totally discounted, though, and any could make a late run - one starry performance lifting them to join the three mentioned.

So it is difficult to judge and you do have to bear in mind just how much support they may have already established and how vulnerable that may be if any week brings something less than they'd hoped for. This week we're taken to each of their home towns where you get the impression that the whole ruddy place will be voting en bloc for their boy or girl. They won't, but the bigger areas will have an influence and the biggest fan clubs that can be sure to get out their vote might make the significant difference at this stage between who comes 6th and who comes 7th.

First off is this country rock girl who takes what I thought must be a big chance with a Kellie Pickler number, Don't You Know How Much I Love You. Now I hadn't heard this before and, however much I adore The Pickler, this was not a great big huge hit and, outside a particular genre of listeners, she's been more well known as that delightful personality from Series 6 (and I need to check that!). This was a brilliant choice, though, and a great, very commercial song which worked so well. I have a suspicion, too, that this could have sold far more than the original had it been released and then I might well have heard about it. Skylar had plenty of passion, is totally credible as a performer on stage and, as with everyone this week, the time to worry about bad notes or not knowing a song seems to have passed. A very good performance indeed and, in my view, this puts Skylar very much in that top group that I can imagine in the final.

He also comes out with a track I don't know and one I guess that not that many watching will know either. Love The Way You Lie is a powerful, emotional and very difficult to reproduce song. In many ways this was Colton in that zone with which he seems most comfortable. It's not a place that I can imagine hordes of fans following him into but he certainly does have a huge female fan club and this will also have earned him a good amount of respect amongst the men with cool taste. Not mainstream and there were places where I felt that the song got the better of him as it was that difficult to interpret and perform but all due respect to the guy for a non-commercial or typical Idol attempt.

Elise & Phillip
They did the Gotye Somebody that was recently Number 1 here in the UK and, I think, has just started doing the rounds there. the audience loved it. Elise was absolutely superb, making Phillip seem like a walk-on part for the act but, in a sense, the track is written that way and it's how the song works. A truly exceptional voice, look or stance would be necessary to match the female input which he got about 70% of but Elise was just brilliant. That will not have done her chances any harm at all. In fact, it may have made all the difference.

This girl is quite exceptional. I would have expected her to play it safe for a couple of weeks with big popular and recognisable numbers that will be played over and again on YouTube and maintain her as the most downloaded of them all. Stuttering was almost completely unknown to most of the audience and wasn't even the one that I thought it was going to be. It was really well sung - a very tough song as Randy Jackson confirmed. She really did impress the judges who have been pretty demanding of her to date so must have done something right for them at last. Quiet what the audience made of it I'm not sure as their initial reaction was lukewarm but then you could almost sense the fans kicking in and the cries and applause duly came. She is the one who is the big find in this series and with her cute looks, amazing voice and control of someone way more mature, she simply has to make the final. Whether she'll get the votes she needs from this week's performance shouldn't be in doubt but I do harbour a small reservation that her base may not be as big as some others. I'm pretty sure she's one that would, in any event, be saved, however, although I can't imagine that being necessary.

Runaway Baby is a Bruno Mars number, yet again not as well known as one might have expected someone to choose. It was great for him, though, fast and fun and giving him a comparatively easy ride through to lots of applause and credits. Bearing in mind that this boy is steeped in the church and seems to have spent his whole life in a choir and under the big thumb of a church family, the lyrics seemed way out of either his comprehension or, at least, what his bible friends would approve of! Perhaps the producers didn't really appreciate what they meant either. It shouldn't matter - Josh seems pretty well supported. Although quite why Ryan brought Joshua's odd-looking father onto the stage I have no idea. Is he going to call up everyone's dad?

Colton & Skylar
Don't You Want To Stay  is a better know country song and the performance was a credit to both of them. Skylar is having a great night, coming across really well in this duet, putting Colton pretty much in the shade and is increasingly developing a real star quality that could well attract a lot of very useful supporters and, crucially, country votes.

The stylist have done a superb job this week and made this girl look lovely rather than a little ordinary as has been the case for a while. She took on the Pink track, Perfect which, for the first time in the solo performances so far, is something that everyone should recognise. Now Pink is quite an act to follow and Hollie did really well with just one thing missing. Emotion. She's good, very good, but you just don't quite get the feeling that she herself feels the words that she's sending us. The notes are strong - I don't agree with the judges that she was pitchy - she is a very reliable reproducer of songs but I want more than that. Because her competition is so very strong the comparisons with Skylar, Jessica and Elise may not be in her favour. They could be but she needs that special moment that hasn't happened yet. Jimmy - you need to work harder on her!! The judges seemed very harsh - again - and I do wonder why they don't support her more, their favouritism towards Joshua, for instance, being almost embarrassing.

Got A Little More by Maron 5 is another uncommon one and this one did leave me wondering just what this chap is doing here. He has always 'performed' well and you can tell that he loves his music and strumming away on that guitar but the tracks he chooses can only appeal to quite a small section of the record-buying public. Whereas Colton gets the cool vote, Phillip gets the off-beat, maybe some jazz and a collection of other minor passion votes. This did nothing for me at all. 'Underwhelming' was Jennifer's very apt description and, unusually, all three judges were less than enthralled with this. Having said that, he does seem to have accumulated a big fan club amongst the girls and they do tend to vote. The weakest act tonight but I don't see him going somehow for all that. Illogical? Maybe. But this is American Idol. (And Chris, the one-trick-pony, was a runner-up on X Factor USA.)

Joshua, Hollie & Jessica
This was a super performance of Stronger by Kelly Clarkson, American Idol's Series 1 Winner. Joshua was in the middle and did a good solid job, nice tone and rhythm. Hollie matched this well and blended in exactly as she should, strong voice, excellent notes and enjoyable to watch. On their own they'd have been great. Jessica seems to be doing a solo part and, interestingly, using this as an opportunity to show just who's best, not just competing with Hollie but probably with Joshua too! She was absolutely brilliant! Maybe a little too much pushing herself into our attention span but you have to admire her. She was the star, despite the other two being great. Every note was just a little clearer, louder and she moved a lot more and really did give it her all. This was, for the first time, Jessica determined to show us that she is the one. Not Hollie, and not even Joshua. If there is going to be a Hollie V Jessica battle then this was her indication that she'll win. Probably sooner rather than later.

She certainly knows what tracks to pick. So far her choices have been inspired. It could be simply because she has a good 10 years more experience than the younger girls. They may seem to be more 'today' but Elise has the market for the older voters. She just needs more of them as previous votes haven't been going her way as often as they might have been expected to on the quality of her brilliant performances week after week. Her choice this week was Lady Gaga's You And I. She not only had the artist herself to compete with in people's minds, that number being fresh in most minds still, but she was also treading on the much revered Haley Reinhart part of the stage where that same number was wonderfully performed last year.

I can't deny the passion that Elise puts into her performances and the notes, voice, style, looks and everything were great. But it didn't grab me as Haley's had done. There was something missing. I can't think what it could be but I felt a bit disappointed. I might have expected too much. Again, like so many of the others, she is good, very good but there is a big question over her voting popularity and, for some reason I can't explain, I don't see her as an American Idol or even a finalist. She deserves to be on all her consistently remarkable performances so far but I'm still not sure I know who Elise is. I hope I'm wrong, though, as I'm sure she'll put her heart and soul into whatever she's asked to do and would be more interesting to watch than Phillip, Hollie if she doesn't let go of some self control and even Joshua who I would think could be a little boring for more than 3 minutes.

So, quite a night! Skylar, I predict, will easily top the poll and be 100% safe. Joshua will sleep soundly too, as will Jessica and Colton with sufficient fans now to battle any likely nightmares. Hollie, Phillip and Elise are the ones who will be worrying. Hollie will worry the most, after a second week of unhelpful judges' remarks. Elise will wonder what she can do to appeal to voters and may conclude that she can do nothing more. Phillip is probably amazed to be there anyway and my guess is that he isn't that bothered any more. His fan base ought to be enough to protect him so it'll be between Hollie and Elise. If it were a normal competition I'd expect to say farewell to Hollie but, as she could still turn it around and even win, it may be Elise this time. My own preference would be to see Phillip go but I wouldn't risk any money on that bet!

Friday, 6 April 2012

American Idol Top 8 Review Pt 2

I fear this could be the one where Hollie goes out. But that is just a feeling I started watching this week's results show with. Let's see...

It all gets under way with an ad for Jennifer's new single - the video being a sort of feint attempt at emulating a bit of Gaga crossed with Madonna. Almost instantly, forgettable, unlike Gaga and Madonna.

The Wanted followed. The audience wanted 1D but this was another UK group so that's almost the same for many of them. They sang I'm Glad You Came which could have been a Eurovision entry had some older guy not nabbed the job already.

Jessica and a worryingly ill Joshua get sent to safety quickly, as they rightly should be. Then Skylar and Colton are brought up. Now they should also both be safe but, if that were the case it would imply that only one of the remaining four would be safe! Fortunately, to avoid giving the game away just like that, Ryan brings out Deandre and Hollie.

Jimmy Iovine gives his views, always spot-on and thankfully someone to counter the crazy views of the judges when necessary. He says that DeAndre mat well be fighting with Hollie as to who'll be packing tonight and that's been my opinion too. He's certainly on the right tracks as, eventually, it is indeed Holllie and Deandre that are the first two at risk.

That leaves Elise and Phillip. They'll probably be joined by Elise yet again, although it ought to be Phillip but, again, it's Phillip who has been getting all the praise and, apart from last week's amazing performance, Elise gets universal disinterest from the judges for no reason I can discern. Something must have gone down at some point that we don't know about.

Before we learn which we get to meet the cute and wonderful Kellie Pickler. She shows us that coming 6th (Season 5) needn't be so bad. I love her personality and you couldn't help but smile when she appeared. We're not too bothered about what she actually sings.

Yes, it is, inded, Elise again who joins the bottom three. So which of DeAndre or Hollie did the voters place bottom? My prediction is proven quite wrong as Hollie is declared safe! That was quite a surprise - I really had expected her to be up against DeAndre. And between Elise and DeAndre it is Elise who survives. Great. Glad she's safe as I really do believe both she and Hollie have a lot more to offer. If they don't perform well next week though then they may as well both go home as they're unlikely to get much support from the judges while Phillip and Joshua are around.

DeAndre then gives a pretty reasonable performance with his reggae number that does suit him and, without the falsetto nonsense, I wondered whether he might not have earned himself a save. Throughout the series Jennifer and Randy have been making him out to be amazing and a whole load of other superlatives so this might be the time when they decide to act. It appears that Jennifer voted for him to stay but Steven and Randy did not so his demise was not to be dragged into next week.

All in all a good result in my view. From here on it could be fascinating as I don't see Phillip actually doing much different, Elise and Hollie have an opportunity to do something remarkable (again, in Elise's case and, hopefully, for the first time in Hollie's). If Skylar picks a poor song and Joshua gets annoying then they may be vulnerable with Phillip. Only Jessica and Colton seem relatively untouchable just at this point.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Top 8 Perform on American Idol Pt 1

It's Eighties Week. Key tracks we all recognise, big numbers and, probably, some unfortunate song choices too along the way, with so many ballads and American Idol-type tracks to choose from.

I Like It
Well no, I don't much - I'm getting tired of the falsetto so it was some relief to hear him being a bit more natural and not forcing things so much for a while. Soom enough, though, he was back up there in 70s Bee Gee land but without that special quality Barry and his brothers exhibited.

This was certainly his best performance, though, and much more in his comfort zone than we've seen in the last few weeks. He's no Idol winner this Season but neither an obvious candidate to go home in 8th position either.

I Want To Know What Love Is
Quite a number this. Everyone knows it and she did a good job, bringing a touch of her own style too on the way. Somehow, though, it didn't quite give her that magic moment that we all expected, never quite going anywhere. The judges weren't impressed but then they've been hard on her since the start, apart from last week. Her previous experience helps a lot as she has presence on the stage and knows how to peform and that is a major thing in her favour. I've often thought of her as that dark horse that might cause trouble for Colton, Jessica or even Hollie should their stars fade. Tonight she fell back a bit too and, recalling the poor votes for previous excellent performances, she may have reason to worry.

Colton & Skylar
Islands in The Stream
Very average. I expected Skylar to steal all our votes with tghis which should have suited her perfectly. Colton, who should have been uncomfortable, actually matched her for most of the time. There was also an absence of chemistry between them, something that this song so deserves. Towards the end Skylar did seem to warm up and start to give it what we'd expected from the start but it still wasn't that memorable.

It's A Shame, That's All
Uninspiring. He put a lot into it but it came across as a bit desperate and poorly produced, messy. He sings with enthusiasm and likes what he does, clearly enjoys himself but he needs to add some polish if it is really going to work for him. Sometimes I feel as if he is well out of his depth and we've yet to have that special performance from him in this Season.

Hollie & DeAndre
I'm So Excited
Nice mixture with these two emulating The Pointer Sisters well. Hollie was spot-on with the tone and matched the song well - in black leather trousers she looked so much better too. Good performance for both of them.

If You Don't know Me By Now
My goodness, the size of his family! But back to the song. This suited him well and the first half was excellent but then he started his tinny shouting and running and playing around with notes and it became painful. It wasn't worth the adulation that the judges gave. He's good, in parts, but really needs to control those extra bits he feels obliged to put in every number.

How Will I Know
From the start she had it. A great performance again. That was brilliant and she was clearly enjoying that and totally natural. She looked great in another chic outfit too. She has to be there at the end.

Phillip & Elise
Stop Dragging My Heart around
Now that's better - both far more in their element. A bit noisy in places, this track needs more shade than they gave it, tending to be competing with each other and the band at times but not at all bad.

What A Feeling
This is a super song and after a nervous start when she seemed to be thinking before she did anything she did get into it well. She was technically accurate but that kinda spoilt it. It's a track about success against the odds and, much as I have supported this girl, it maybe wasn't a good choice for her. She did move around and she did put some effort in to add the right tone but it didn't have that crucial passion that the song is so well known for. In a way, because of the huge association with the dancer in the film that it comes from it may even have been better if she'd delivered it more gently and still. The judges were very harsh indeed and that could mean bad news for this talented girl tonight. They really could have, at least, said something good about the parts she did do well.

Joshua & Jessica
I'm Right Here Waiting
This was an excellent duet and both performed brilliantly. It can be a tough job matching Joshua when he winds up and starts playing with the notes but Jessica rose to the occasion and was not to be beaten. In a sense, that is the sort of thing you'd expect to see in a final. All credit to both of them.

Time After Time
A superb version of the Cyndi Lauper clasic. Whilst putting his own style into this expertly he also kepttrue to the emotions and rhythm of the song that are so important. It worked really well and could have been the best performance of the night.

The Wind Beneath My Wings
She did what Hollie should have done by presenting an anthem-like song and slowing it right down, showing how she can do passion and not just the country fun rock. Towards the end she let go but stayed in control, hitting all the important notes that counted well. A good job that should see her safely through this week

Hollie, DeAndre and Phillip should be the ones in trouble this week, the other five being virtually untouchable after their superb performances. Of the three, if the judges are to be believed then it will be farewell to Hollie. I hope not as she has so much more to give but I have a feeling she won't get the chance and will be this year's No.8.