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.

Jessica

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.

Skylar

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.

Joshua

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.

Elise

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.

Phillip

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.

Hollie

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.

Jessica

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.

Skylar

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.

Joshua

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.

Elise

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.

Phillip

?? 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.

Hollie

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.