As the eleventh season of FOX’s hit show “American Idol” winds down, the two finalists voted by America gear up to take the stage this Tuesday one last time. Georgia native Phillip Phillips, who has never been in the bottom three, is believed to have one of the strongest fan bases this year. After delivering a few performances that were, to say the least, elimination worthy, Phillips has escaped the clutches by America’s votes.
California native and saved contestant Jessica Sanchez has delivered week-to-week. Some (and to some existent myself) believe that her trip to the bottom three and save of the season was all staged following the disqualification of Jermaine Jones. Would Producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick stage such an event? Who knows but what I do know, if it was, there’s a reason why Jennifer Lopez doesn’t have an Oscar on her mantle. How awkward was that delivery?
Let’s break it down week-to-week and see what may or should have been throughout the competition.
Top 12 Girls
It’s been obvious all season that the girls held the upper hand on talent and vocal abilities. Sanchez blazed onto the screens with minimal screen time prior to voting with Jennifer Hudson’s “Love You I Do” from the hit film, “Dreamgirls.” Proving out the gate, she was a force to be reckoned with. Elise Testone also showed a soulful interpretation of Adele’s “One and Only” which got people scratching their heads immediately, could a girl really win after a five year hiatus? Under-the-radar performers came up and showed up including Hallie Day’s perfected “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone.
Voted Through by America – Elise Testone, Jessica Sanchez, Hollie Cavanagh, Skylar Laine, Shannon Magrane
Should Have Been Voted – Elise Testone, Jessica Sanchez, Hollie Cavanagh, Skylar Laine, Hallie Day
Top 13 Boys
The Idol machine started a buzz about bringing a boy back that was eliminated by the judges in Hollywood. Why was Jermaine Jones keeping them up at night, I’ll never know. Some believe they brought him back to simply disqualify him when he made the finals. What a waste. His rendition of Luther Vandross’ “Dance with my Father” was nothing to write home about and finalist Jessica Sanchez put him to shame with her Top 7 performance later in the competition. Jennifer Hudson was a great choice for our soulful artists as Joshua Ledet brought down the house with “You Pulled Me Through” from her freshman album. Phillips showed his power of arrangement when her performed Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” and Colton Dixon rocked the house with Paramore’s “Decode.” What the judges and America missed the boat on was Creighton Fraker’s tender “True Colors” and Jeremy Rosado’s “Gravity” by Sara Barielles.
Voted through by America – Jermaine Jones, Joshua Ledet, Heejun Han, Colton Dixon, Phillip Phillips
Should Have Been Voted – Joshua Ledet, Colton Dixon, Phillip Phillips, Jeremy Rosado, Creighton Fraker
Wild Card Round
For the most part, the judges gave second chances to the right contestants on this night of results. Jeremy Rosado won the night over with his beautiful version of Carrie Underwood’s “I Know You Won’t.” Erika Van Pelt was a close second showing her vocal chops after a misstep in song choice her opening night. Her Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory” proved a dark horse could be in the competition. After Van Pelt, this is where the choices get murky. Jennifer Hirsh, who suffered from singing the same song as Elise Testone on performance night chose The Beatles’ “Oh Darling” and while it started uneven, the places her voice has the ability to go were one of the more impressive things from the ladies. Deandre Brackensick and his falsetto made Ray Charles’ “Georgia on my Mind” a wimpy, un-original version that I didn’t care much for. And don’t get me started on the calling upon Brielle Von Hugel and Reed Grimm. Seconds after music mentor Jimmy Iovine says “stay away from Adele,” here comes Staten Island native Brielle mutilating “Someone Like You.” Where was the second chance for Hallie Day and Creighton Fraker? Judges are misled sometimes or too up their own rectums to realize talent.
Judges Chose: Erika Van Pelt, Jeremy Rosado, Deandre Brackensick
Should Have Chose: Erika Van Pelt, Jeremy Rosado, Jennifer Hirsh
Top 13 (Stevie Wonder/Whitney Houston)
The competition officially begins but with a twist. For this week, and this week only, the bottom three girls and the bottom three guys would be revealed and the judges would choose which one is eliminated. That wouldn’t stop standouts like Jessica Sanchez singing “I Will Always Love You” or Deandre Brackensick singing “Master Blaster” from blazing through. At the end of the night, Elise Testone made her first trip to the bottom three after failing at Whitney’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight” and Jeremy Rosado had no more room for second chances after missing the chords on “Ribbon in the Sky.” The judges chose Elise to advance.
Editor’s Top 2 Picks – Jessica Sanchez & Phillip Phillips
Editor’s Bottom 3 – Shannon Magrane, Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt (Females)
- Jeremy Rosado, Jermaine Jones, Heejun Han (Males)
- Shannon Magrane should have been eliminated!
Top 11 (Songs from the Year We Were Born)
The most controversial week of the competition as Jermaine Jones was eliminated, the producers still chose to eliminate a contestant from the show. Shannon Magrane had already misfired the week before, so audiences had no trouble sending her home when she took on the biggest tiger, Mariah Carey, and sang “One Sweet Day.” Erika Van Pelt made her second (undeserving) trip to the bottom three for her take on Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” along with Elise Testone once again. Joshua Ledet however, had his first “moment” of the competition blazing through Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman” with fierce feeling and unbelievable vocals. Hollie Cavanagh even managed to have a standout moment with Celine Dion’s “The Power of Love.” Sanchez had her first hiccup with “Turn the Beat Around” and country singer Skylar Laine start showing some true potential as a force in the competition.
Editor’s Top 2 Picks – Joshua Ledet, & Hollie Cavanagh
Editor’s Bottom 3 – Heejun Han, Deandre Brackensick, Jessica Sanchez
Top 10 (Billy Joel)
We’ve had this theme before back in Season 2 and I wasn’t anticipating anything new or fresh. Well, I can admit when I’m wrong. Sanchez did it yet again, with a beautiful and inspiring rendition of “Everybody Has a Dream” that garnered raves from critics and the judges. Unbeknownst to me, Erika Van Pelt, with a sleek new haircut and hair dyed jet black, couldn’t come out of the bottom three and eventually get eliminated no matter how good she actually sang. Heejun Han revealed himself as the “Sanjaya” of the season pulling in a mediocre “My Life” with Deandre Brackensick delivering “Only the Good Die Young” with a hop, skip, and jump around the stage. Both gentleman appeared in the Bottom Three. Joshua and Hollie started to show signs of weakness with their performances of “She’s Got a Way” and “Honesty.” Both received mixed critiques. Colton Dixon was the big talk of the night with his emotional “Piano Man” that would get him lots of new and improved fans to carry him throughout the competition.
Editor’s Top 2 Picks – Jessica Sanchez & Erika Van Pelt
Editor’s Bottom 3 – Deandre Brackensick, Skylar Laine, Heejun Han
Top 9 (Personal Idol)
The best collective night of the competition and perhaps one of the best nights in Idol history. Many of the Top 9 delivered their best vocals. Elise Testone “blew it out the box” with her take on Led Zepplin’s “A Whole Lotta Love,” what many consider the single best performance of the season. Heejun even managed a strong comeback with a decent take on Donny Hathaway’s “A Song for You.” Phillips and Sanchez continued their rain on the competition with Jonny Lang’s “Still Rainin’” and Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams.” Colton showed the world his religious side with Lifehouse’s “Everything,” he even managed to fit a prayer in the performance. Ledet would get his one, of many, standing ovations from the judges, which is completely undeserved after giving a weird, tree-on-stage version of Mariah Carey’s “Without You.” In the end, Han was ousted with Hollie Cavanagh and Skylar Laine right beside him.
Editor’s Top 2 Picks – Jessica Sanchez & Elise Testone
Editor’s Bottom 3 – Deandre Brackensick, Hollie Cavanagh, Joshua Ledet
Top 8 (80′s Week)
Insert the beginning of pointless duets but I won’t comment on them with the exception of Ledet and Sanchez’s version of “I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me)” which was absolutely brilliant. After a strong showing the week prior, many of the Idols missed the mark on performances. Elise choked on “I Want to Know What Love Is” and Hollie was all over the place with “Flashdance…What a Feeling.” Brackensick, who delivered his second strongest vocal, couldn’t beat out his fellow Idols and was ousted for his take on “I Like It.” Elise and Hollie found themselves beside Deandre. Skylar Laine delivered her strongest vocal as well with show-closing “Wind Beneath my Wings.”
Editor’s Top 2 Picks – Skylar Laine & Jessica Sanchez
Editor’s Bottom 3 – Elise Testone, Hollie Cavanagh, Colton Dixon
Top 7 (2010′s)
This was producer Nigel’s attempt to give the audience contemporary music. Colton Dixon gave his finest moment in the competition with his interpretation of Skylar Grey’s “Love the Way You Lie.” It was the first time his vocals didn’t seem forced, the piano fit with the performance, and I wasn’t annoyed by his often at times, whiny vocal range. Sanchez took on the unknown “Stuttering” by Jazmine Sullivan. If we’re suppose to believe the results, that’s what could have hurt her and landed her in the Bottom 3. Ledet’s take on Bruno Mars’ “Runaway Baby” was absolutely horrific. That’s not him at all and with a line like “there’s only one carrot and they’ve all got to share it,” I didn’t buy it for a second. His weakest night up to that point. While the judges continued to throw grenades at Hollie, voters fought back and rewarded her acoustic, tender vocal on Pink’s “Perfect” and kept her on the show. It was Elise, who received the “pimp” spot for the third time, that crashed with Lady Gaga’s “You and I” and ended up in the Bottom 2. What this night taught me was that P2 was indestructible after a flat “Give a Little More” by Maroon 5 was sang. There’s was no stopping him from here on out.
Editor’s Top 2 – Colton Dixon & Jessica Sanchez
Editor’s Bottom 3 – Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips, Elise Testone
Top 7 Part 2 (Now and Then)
Jessica Sanchez fought back with two very good performances while Phillips showed great versatility with Usher’s “U Got it Bad.” Colton Dixon delivered his worst pair of performances and was ousted next to the great Hollie Cavanagh, who delivered the best Adele rendition on the show thus far while Elise escaped elimination again and probably deserved this appearance for the first time.
Editor’s Top 2 – Hollie Cavanagh & Phillip Phillips
Editor’s Bottom 3 – Colton Dixon, Elise Testone, Joshua Ledet
Top 6 (Queen and Open Theme)
Skylar Laine delivered the best of the Queen performances. Her “Show Must Go On” was inventive, powerful, and believable. For the second round, Hollie and Jessica delivered two emotional renditions of “The Climb” and “Dance with my Father.” After six bottom three appearances, Elise was finally given the boot. Hollie joined her the fifth time while Skylar enjoyed the scenery.
Editor’s Top 2 -Hollie Cavanagh & Jessica Sanchez
Editor’s Bottom 3 – Elise Testone, Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips
Top 5 (60′s & British Theme)
Hands down, Phillip Phillips should NOT be in the finale based on this night alone. He delivered two of the worst performances of the competition. His “Time of the Season” was un-listenable and “The Letter” was an absolute mess. If Hollie had delivered what she delivered on this night, five weeks prior, Hollie would have been the hands down favorite to win it all. Her “Bleeding Love” might have been my single favorite vocal of the year and “River Deep Mountain High” put Season 10′s Pia Toscano’s to shame. At the end of the day, Skylar Laine was given the boot alongside Hollie Cavanagh.
Editor’s Top 2 – Hollie Cavanagh & Joshua Ledet
Editor’s Bottom 2 – Phillip Phillips & Skylar Laine
Top 4 (California & Wish You Wrote)
When you think it’s gotten as good as it gets, they come back bringing even more. The California theme was okay with Hollie being the standout. It all changed the second round. Phillip Phillips delivered his strongest vocal and performance with Damien Rice’s “Volcano.” Joshua Ledet delivered his second best performance with James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” Jessica Sanchez brought flavor and attitude to Jennifer Holliday’s “And I Am Telling You (I’m Not Going).” Unfortunately Hollie couldn’t rise to the occasion with a lackluster vocal on Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”
Editor’s Top 1 – Phillip Phillips
Editor’s Elimination Choice – Hollie Cavanagh
Top 3 (Judges/Jimmy Iovine/Contestant’s Choice)
Joshua Ledet unfortunately didn’t deliver strong enough vocals to land himself into the finals. While Jessica was probably the most undeserving by the night’s standards, her fanbase his much stronger. Phillip sailed through.
Editor’s Top 1 – Phillip Phillips
Editor’s Elimination Choice – Jessica Sanchez
Top 2 Prediction
As much as I want Jessica to win, it’s probably Phillips to lose. I’ll hope.
Prediction – Jessica Sanchez wins
Tags: american idol, American Idol Season 11, Colton Dixon, Deandre Brackensick, elise testone, Erika Van Pelt, Heejun Han, Hollie Cavanagh, Jeremy Rosado, Jermaine Jones, Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips, Shannon Magrane, skylar laine, television