Thursday, 3 May 2012

Sopranos Star On American Idol. And then there was Joshua.

So now it's down to Hollie, Jessica, Joshua, Phillip and Skylar. One of these will be American Idol 2012. To help voters cut one more from that list they see them perform tracks from the 60s and BritPop! Now, that's a great combination.

Then we get told that Steven Van Zandt, an East Coast guy, friend of The Boss and Sopranos star is helping Jimmy Iovine do the mentoring bit. Ah! That'll be for the 60s bit, I guess.

Hollie

River Deep, Mountain High
Jimmy was absolutely right again in saying that it is all about her attitude, how she comes across to the audience and this time she really seems to have taken notice and had a brilliant time with this very difficult song. No faults and one great start to the show. She let go and it showed - and it worked so well. This was a potential star performing at last, not just a talented contestant in a reality TV show. Ryan notices and remarks that "Something's going on for you" with a hint about her next song too which is interesting. For probably the first time she gets genuinely good reviews from all the judges too and this has certainly set the bar high for the other four tonight.

If she can do this well with only bare understanding of the lyrics then what will she be able to do once life and loves have had an impact?

Phillip

The Letter
I always feel that this guy is chewing the lyrics and this he did in spades this time. The Box Tops' version was a simple song, just a few notes and over in an instant. He mashed it all up and turned it inside out and lost the melody completely. Just a lot of noise. He's good at what he does in a jazz way but I can't see any real reason for him still challenging the other four now. Ryan pointing out Phillip's very attractive girlfriend in the audience might have lost a bunch of girl fan votes too, although, with only Joshua to compete with for them, that weird smile might just get him enough to survive, against all odds.

Skylar

Fortunate Son
A great song that should get her lots of votes from across the board. Nice. She put a lot into it and you could tell it was not something she knew too well. More of a 'performance' than we've had from her of late. frantic and a bit breathless but enjoyable enough for all that.

Now we see a duet  between Phillip and Joshua. You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling sounds like it ought to be a good number for both of them. But, oh dear, this is not an easy song by any stretch of the imagination. Joshua carries Phillip from as soon as he comes in, an inspired performance by one and very poor by the other.

Jessica

Proud Mary
Another Creedence Clearwater Revival track. Not what I would have suggested she try. Neil Diamond comes to mind as better. However, she was on good raunchy and range form and, as always, she had great rhythm and excellent notes. She looked quite a deal older than her 16 years but not as attractive as Hollie and this didn't match either of her two female rivals.

Joshua

Ain't Too Proud To Beg
It sould like it should be a good track for this guy. And it sure was. I felt we were watching the winner this time. Boosted by his earlier rescue of the duet, this was assured and excellent. Faultless and Steven calls him one of the top 2 vocalists of all time. That'll please him. I'm still not sure, though, whether he'll get his fair share of the votes as deserved, with the background support in the audience noticeably dimmer than for Phillip.

In the second round, it's tracks from British acts.

Hollie

Hollie goes first again and gives us her version of a recent hit for one of X Factor's best finds, Leona Lewis's Bleeding Love. This might well have been a number Jessica could have scored heavily with - Hollie gives a different approach to Leona but actually, and this is quite surprising, actually more credible. Now that is interesting. all we need now is a track that we can totally identify her with, or with her. I think it needs to be an anthem. I hope she'll get a chance next week if the three girl vote split goes her way. This was a good performance again and she is looking the best of the three girls at the moment, well on her way to a final that I would have not expected her to make a few weeks ago. Her voice is strong and very clear, and accurate. Add that extra bit of passion and believability that has been absent to date and this is one dark horse.

Phillip

Phillips's second number is the Zombie's Time Of The Season. This has not been covered to my knowledge, which is an indication of how it is quite a unique track and not something you'd expect to here on American Idol. It kind of suited him. For a change he did just cover a number. He gets huge adulation again from the crowd but this is very forgettable and I just don't see why he is still around other than the fact that he is the sole white male. he may have his talents in a slightly peculiar and jazz-like way but others who have been ejected from this process to date would have been far better at this stage of the competition in my view.

Jessica, Skylar and Hollie do the Jackie Wilson number Higher and Higher. Jessica seems desperate and a bit over-competitive. Skylar is the natural performer, at ease but not very inspiring this time. Hollie seems the winner of the three for this track, in charge and reliable, although, to be honest, this was not a memorable moment on the show.

Skylar

You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
A good choice. Whilst she is no Dusty Springfrield, I can see her country fans liking this soulful and honest rendition that might have been one of the best of the night. However, she missed a lot of notes and went off track quite badly, really spoiling it for anyone listening at the end. From very cool to worryingly off in one track. This might cost her a lot.

Jessica

You're So Beautiful
Again, this could be her 'moment' or another one. A brilliant choice. Beautiful start and continuing to a lovely performance that, whilst not as magical as her earlier round YouTube record breaker had been, this was very good and really ought to have bought her ticket for the Top 4.

Joshua

To Love Somebody
Now this is one of my all time favourite tracks. What will he do with it? It's beauty for me is its simplicity. Joshua didn't destroy it as he might have done at all. In fact, he kept it remarkably restrained whilst letting go near the end but this time letting go in a controlled and very impressive way. It was pretty damn good and that just has to be not only the performance of the night but may be enough to see him through to the final, never mind the Top 4.

The judges were well over the top with comments from Jennifer gushing out that he was the best singer for over 50 years sounding slightly ridiculous. No, very ridiculous and, actually, that won't have helped his chances. He will be getting a record deal, that's for sure and there were plenty of hints from Jimmy and Steven that they'll be doing something with him (as well as being instructed very clearly by Jennifer to choose the right tracks for him to ensure he does stay!)

I think we could have been watching a winner here. We know one of the five will win and, despite Jessica's appeal, I believe Joshua and Hollie won this evening. Phillip ought to be the one going home but a less than popular Jessica or off-form Skylar may lose out to his big fan base. It'll be a close call as even Joshua may not have the volume of votes that his remarkable performances tonight might justify. And Hollie has been in the bottom two or three rather more often than any of the others. All have a reason to be vulnerable.