PREVIOUSLY: We have a whole week missed from my NYC trip, so let’s just get current in a hurry. Jessica does very little for me beyond impress me with the technical strength of her voice, but saving her was exactly the right thing to do. So as the Top 7 rolled out last week, HOLLIE saved herself for at least one more week, SKYLAR and PHILLIP showed why they should be the top 2, ELISE continued to flounder with bad song choices and crappy attitude, JOSHUA rode that one-trick pony-- but it’s a really good trick-- and COLTON got exactly what he deserved. A fine and talented young man, and I actually liked his swing through Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” But that slaughter of Earth Wind and Fire’s “September” was just a crime.
So let’s go with the final half-dozen:
Queen? Really? I love Queen, they were part of the soundtrack of my high school and college years-- but there is something increasingly odd about having contestants who were not even born during their prime singing their stuff. If Idol were on in 1985, would the contestants be doing Buddy Holly records?
Watching poor Brian May and Roger Taylor endure the fairly inane company of our finalists was pretty painful. But when they took to the stage, the harmonies of “Fat Bottomed Girls” were pretty spot-on (and probably pre-taped), and it was a joy to see the old boys onstage-- with anybody. But it was such a disconnect with the wheelhouses of these kids, who clearly have no bond with the material, except maybe Old Soul Phillip. Probably just Old Guy syndrome from me, let’s press on.
But wait. JESSICA doing Bohemian Rhapsody is just too much. Simply ridiculous. And there is no arrangement that can boil the six minutes of this classic into the canned 2:30 needed for Idol. Constantine Maroulis did a nice job back in Season 4, but this was just awful.
Now we get one of my least favorite Queen records, “The Show Must Go On,” tackled by my co-favorite contestant SKYLAR. It is a huge challenge for the country chick, but she managed it just fine.
Okay, there’s something the matter with me about JOSHUA LEDET. I am just so underwhelmed. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” is Freddie Mercury’s Elvis turn, and Joshua just screwed it up, I’m sorry.
Queen puts things back into ELISE’S comfort zone, and all she gets is the tedium of ”I Want it All?” There are fifteen album cuts I could have given her that would have been superb. This was just okay, but that’s better than she’s been for a while.
My favorite contestant plus one of my fave Queen songs. Gotta rock, right? Why didn’t I like it more? Maybe a case of bad match. “Fat Bottomed Girls” is not the song for PHILLIP, but he is still a singular talent.
HOLLIE is burdened with another sappy spare from the Queen collection, “Save Me,” from “The Game” (1980, after their prime). But she sang it well and may survive the week.
Round two, songs they pick.
I’m a sucker for back story, especially if it’s real. JESSICA singing a song for her military Dad is guaranteed to get to me, and Luther’s “Dance With My Father” is a favorite for me. But there’s a problem-- this is a song for a man, quite frankly, and a man whose Dad has been gone for a while. This was just wrong. Hearing her sing “when I was a child” when she IS a child-- it just didn’t connect for me.
(And we have another problem-- Dad is apparently ON THE SHOW next week. Am I the only person whose head explodes when they throw loved ones onstage in a move guaranteed to skew voting in what is essentially a popularity contest?)
At some point someone will have to explain to me how Jason Aldean became such a big deal. I don’t get it. But anything in SKYLAR’S hands turns to gold, and even the lame “Tattoos on This Town” was another burst of fun.
Nice song choice for JOSHUA as he goes a little unpredictable with India Arie’s “Ready for Love.” Was it good? Sure. Did the judges love it? Sure. Did I care? Nope.
ELISE doing Hendrix. Ought to work, right? Well, nothing this girl does seems to work any more, and I think she could be headed home. Note to Steven: you do NOT have to do songs people know. Five minutes ago, every judge drooled all over Joshua doing a record no one knew, so please.
You knew it had to happen at some point. PHILLIP singing some Dave Mathews, in this case “The Stone.” Quirky. Challenging. And I loved it. But I wonder what the voting audience thought. If he avoids the Bottom 3 here, it will mean he has a strong, strong fan base that loves whatever he does. And I hope that’s true.
It’s going to be hard to get rid of HOLLIE when she does what she did tonight-- deliver the best performance of the night, and I am not kidding. Miley’s “The Climb” was perfect for her, and there is no way she goes home now. Amazing comeback.
BOTTOM 3: Gets very tricky now, but let’s go with JESSICA, JOSHUA and for the 4th week in a row, ELISE, and that’s who goes home.