The Verdict on Idol: Top 7 Performances

Tonight, the Idols treated us to a theme that should pop up more often than the likes of “disco” and “songs from the year you were born.” It seems like everyone has been waiting for a “songs from this decade” theme, and tonight, we finally got it! This
theme is great, because it finally allows the contestants to show us who they are as relevant recording artists. We want to know what type of album these kids are going to make, and for some, it was a golden opportunity to demonstrate that.
Overall, it was yet another solid night of performances. At this point, the competition is getting tighter, and everyone is putting on their game faces! It was a fierce battle, but some clearly outshone the others.
Skylar Laine – Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You
Last week, Skylar showed us the full power of her voice. The week prior, she performed the hell out of a gritty and energetic song. However, this week, she was able to do something magical. She brought both features of her two best performances together this week for one stellar performance. When Jimmy asked her “Is this song big enough,” she kind gave a roundabout answer. What she was really saying was “I’m a better singer than Kellie Pickler, and I can slay this song!” And slay it she did. She brought her gee-tar on stage, and with the help of some pyrotechnics, put on a great show for the viewers. By far this was Skylar’s best performance, and one that shows that she is more deserving of Country stardom than many of the show’s alumni (I’m looking at you Alaina).


Colton Dixon – Love the Way You Lie

Colton went back to his piano this week, and gave a truly haunting performance of a song originally by Eminem. Yeah. The arrangement of this performance was absolutely epic, and really allowed Colton to demonstrate his strengths. What he has that nobody else has is the ability to project his emotion and passion out into the audience. Colton feels whatever he sings, and its clear as day. He was able to push his voice into areas that we don’t usually see, and I think that it was probably his strongest vocal yet, even if there were one or two off notes. Overall, it was yet another solid performance.

Jessica Sanchez – Stuttering
Jessica wins the award for riskiest song choice. On a night where everyone is singing songs that everyone knows, Jessica chose a song that nobody has ever heard, by an artist that’s also a bit more obscure. Usually, that would doom a contestant, but this is Jessica we’re talking about. I’ve said before that she has room to take risks, so I was pleased to see her take on a song like this. Stuttering, it turns out, is a solid RnB ballad that really allowed her to show off the full ranger of her voice. Jessica can belt out high notes, growl through low notes, and do all kinds of vocal gymnastics, but what this performance really demonstrated was soul. Either you have it or you don’t, and for being only 17, Jessica just oozes soul.


Joshua Ledet – Runnaway Baby
Can I just say how freakin’ excited I was to hear Joshua’s song choice? This was just perfect for him! It allowed him to keep his signature throwback sound, while at the same time, sounding completely contemporary! This performance was fun, energetic, funky, and simply flawless. It was great to see him let loose and work the stage. Plus, I feel like Joshua has been gaining the most from the fashion consulting. He looked like a contemporary singer this week, and it was really nice to see the transformation!


Hollie Cavanaugh – Perfect
Hollie has been circling the drain for the past few weeks, but this was a valiant effort at fighting her downward spiral. This song didn’t fit her voice, so she played with the arrangement and made it fit her and who she is. As such, she turned it into yet another  boring pageant ballad. Luckily, she was able to connect with the lyrics for the first time since the semi-finals, and the acoustic arrangement was a great fit for her. Vocally, it was her best in awhile, and she totally didn’t deserve to be thrown under the bus by the judges. Hollie turned in a solid performance, and she deserves credit for it.


Phillip Phillips – Give a Little More
Am I the only one who sees the irony of the song title? Phil has been coasting through this competition without really trying at all. I think that’s part of the benefit of being a humbly attractive white guy who can play a guitar. This performance started out well, with just Phil growling away with his guitar. However, once the band kicked in, it became the exact same performance that we’ve seen for five weeks now. Also, I don’t get Phil fascination with the saxophone. Was it a bad performance? No, of course not. It just wasn’t particularly memorable either.


Elise Testone – You and I
I had my reservations about Elise choosing this song. You and I seems to be a song that only Gaga understands well enough to sing properly. However, Elise made a solid effort, and while she didn’t quite get there, she came damn close. Her voice fit the song like a velvet glove. Her rasp and grit really shined, but at the same time, there were some off moments here and there. What I can say is that Elise knows who she is as an artist, and I think this was the perfect song for her to show off what type of record she should make. While it wasn’t her best, it was still a great rebound after last week’s performance.


In conclusion…
7. Phillip Phillips
6. Elise Testone
5. Hollie Cavanaugh
4. Jessica Sanchez
3. Colton Dixon
2. Skylar Laine
1. Joshua Ledet

Although I would love to see Phillip take a trip to the bottom three, we all know that just wont happen.
Its going to be a battle between Hollie and Elise for the save tomorrow night. Hopefully the judges keep Elise around.

Until tomorrow!


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