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'American Idol' Recap: Some Ups And Downs As Joshua Ledet, Jessica Sanchez And Phillip Phillips Standout

Andrew Payne Andrew Payne
April 19th, 2012 7:16am EDT
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Hollie Cavanaugh performs on AMERICAN IDOL

14 songs. 14 songs! By my count, that’s a record for ‘Idol’. Granted, my count includes no research, no basis and really no thought. Just Ryan’s telling me that it’s so.

Still. 14 songs! Not even time for a guest mentor. Not even time for any pre-packaged videos. Not much time for anything other than singing and a cool ‘Soul Train’ tribute. Thankfully.

And We don’t have any time to waste. Let’s just get right to it, shall we?

Hollie Cavanagh’s First Song: “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele

Steven Said: You finally did what all of America wanted you to do.

J-Lo Said: You felt every word of it. You forgot about everything and just sang that song.

Randy Said: It wasn’t perfect, but it was close to perfect.

The Verdict:

Kind of a wise move for Hollie to come out with the a capella riff. After all, she’s just a great voice without the stage presence, so why not showcase the only thing you really have going for you without any distraction.

Except, as soon as the music kicked in, Hollie suddenly became something more than a voice. For the first time in weeks, I felt a little heart in that vocal. A little grit. A little, dare I say, soul from our pint-sized siren.

By the time she reached the end of the song she was almost owning the stage. This was about the most stage presence I’ve ever seen Hollie show and one of her most heartfelt performances. Maybe her best.

Grade: B+

Hollie Cavanagh’s Second Song: “Son of a Preacher Man” by Dusty Springfield

Steven Said: I think you could push it even more.

J-Lo Said: This was better even than the first time.

Randy Said: I was a little worried, but you worked it out.

The Verdict:

Both sides of Hollie tonight. This is the bad one.

I don’t think there’s any way Hollie understands that this song is about losing your virginity behind a church. In fact, the way she sang it, I don’t think she even knew what the words to the song were. They were just ways of her singing the notes, because that’s all she had here – just the notes. Nothing else.

This is one of the sickest blue-eyed soul songs ever put on vinyl and Hollie absolutely sucked all that out of it, leaving nothing but the melody and a cold (albeit very good) vocal.

Grade: C+

Prediction: The producers tried their damndest to oust Hollie by putting her in the first slots. I think they’re going to get their wish. But who knows after she stuck it out last week.


Colton Dixon’s First Song: “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga

Steven Said: (I honestly have no idea what he was rambling about)

J-Lo Said: It was an exciting performance. There were parts I loved and parts where you lost us a little bit.

Randy Said: We were just at the Colton Dixon concert right there.

The Verdict:

Remember earlier in the year when James Durbin was complaining that Colton was stealing his act? Of course you don’t. Because that’s the stupidest celebrity feud of all time.

Well, on this song, Durbin seemed a bit right. Colton ditched the heartfelt emo for awhile in favor of some really watered-down Glam Rock. I’ve never seen ‘Rock of Ages’, but I imagine this is what a high school production in Cheboygan looks like. Complete with the atrociously bad vocals, ridiculous lighting and total preening disconnect from the song.

Yep, nothing about this one worked.

Grade: D

Colton Dixon’s Second Song: “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire

Steven Said: I think your voice is a lot more powerful than that song.

J-Lo Said: You sounded really good, but I’m not sure everything came together in the way it usually does for you.

Randy Said: You sound good, but it’s not as exciting as we would have liked.

The Verdict:

Look, I respect the effort. But this is one of the absolute best songs ever recorded. I don’t need Colton’s stupid emo version of it. It doesn’t even make sense. This is the happiest song ever with the happiest lyrics ever. The lyric is “Never was a cloudy day”. Why does it sound like it’s raining? Ugh.

Again, I always like somebody actually covering a song on this show; however, I prefer it when they do it well. This was just an absolute destruction of a great song. Super self-indulgent and, like most Colton performances, very poorly sung.

Nope. Not doing it for me.

Grade: D

Prediction: Ergh. Two bummers for Colton. Could our emo prince be in trouble? With those comments from the judges, I’d say so.



Elise Testone’s First Song: “No One” by Alicia Keys

Steven Said: I love your voice, but I was wishing you picked a song with a better chorus.

J-Lo Said: I got my first goosies of the night right there.

Randy Said: You definitely have a strong voice. I was happy you stayed with the melody.

The Verdict:

This was a very professional performance. Professional all the way. Very slick. Professional vocal. Professional vocal. Professional dress. Everything just pro from soup to nuts.

Almost to a fault though. Almost Hollie-esque. No, she wasn’t a robotic statue up there, but it just seemed like she was singing directly to the sheet music and the way the song is supposed to sound without injecting any of herself in there. I was missing a moment. Missing a real connection. It was just a solid vocal and solid performance.

Professional, but not superstar.

Grade: B-

Elise Testone’s Second Song: “Let’s Get it On” by Marvin Gaye

Steven Said: I think you need to take it up a notch.

J-Lo Said: It’s like you don’t like to show emotion too much. I’d like to see more of that.

Randy Said: That song was not right for your voice.

The Verdict:

Of all the songs about having sex, this is probably the most direct, overt and sexiest. Ever.

Well, you wouldn’t know that hearing Elise sing it. She sounded like she was recording a track that was playing on a kiddie ride. So pleasant. So lifeless. Just singing along to a track. Where was the dirt? Where was the sex?

It was all gone in a sea of dissonant runs, arrhythmic scatting and just boring vocals. Yes, she sounds all right, but there’s just a total disconnect from the song here. One that made the performance utterly unbelievable.

Grade: C-

Prediction: Two boring and forgettable performances. That could spell doom for Elise.

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