American Idol 2012: Top 9 Performance Show Recap

American Idol Season 11 Elise Testone

This week the American Idol 2012 Top 9 took on songs by their own idols and the outcome was scores better than last week. All of the Top 9 performances are available now on iTunes for download.

Jennifer Lopez asked what was up with the performances being so good and the answer is simple. They got to pick their own songs. Songs by people they love. If American Idol would just drop the ridiculous themes and stop painting the singers in a corner, all shows would end up being this good.

And aside from the good performances, Stevie Nicks as a mentor was amazing. I LOVE Stevie and she gave some of the best advice I’ve ever heard given on Idol.

As always, I’ll review each performance (but not those pointless trios) and assign the letter grade that I think each deserves.

(In order of performance)

Colton Dixon, “Everything.” I thought this was a terrible song choice. It was boring and it never went anywhere. Colton sang the same note all the way through. I don’t care if it’s his favorite worship song. American Idol is a singing competition, not a worship and praise concert. Sing a song that showcases your voice. This song did nothing for him. He’s a much better singer than this. (C-)

Skylar Laine, “Gunpowder and Lead.” Skylar got some spunk that can’t’ be matched. I love her stage presence. And I like her twang. This song was a little bit edgy for a little country girl. I loved it. And her vocal was very powerful and it turns out she’s not a bad song storyteller. (A-)

Heejun Han, “A Song For You.” This is a good song and Heejun actually wasn’t that bad. He decided to leave behind the jokes this week and I think that was a very good idea. He may have saved himself this week, but just barely. (B)

Hollie Cavanagh, “Jesus Take The Wheel.” I agree with Steven that she should’ve picked another song, but I DO NOT agree with Randy. I heard no issues with pitch. I thought Hollie was technically flawless. There was a lot of power and emotion in the song. I thought it was one of her best vocals. Even if the song was wrong. I have no idea why Randy is picking on her. Every season there’s one person he always picks on. Guess he picked Hollie this season. (A-)

DeAndre Brackensick, “Sometimes I Cry.” First of all, unless you’re a Bee Gee, NO song should be performed in all falsetto. Waaay too much falsetto on this performance. And I have no idea what the song was. I hated his performance. (D+)

Jessica Sanchez, “Sweet Dreams.” I wasn’t feeling Jessica this week. I think I was a little tricked by her during Whitney Houston week and so were a lot of people. The difference between me and everyone else is, my awe for Jessica has worn off. I’m starting to find her bland and kind of soul-less when she sings. I don’t think she make a connection to the audience. And this week I think she was just a Beyonce sound-alike. (B+)

Phillip Phillips, “Still Rainin.” I had never heard this song, but I now want to hear more of it. I thought Phillip was as fantastic as always. And had I not already been convinced, Stevie Nicks’ opinion of Phil would’ve have definitely changed my mind. She loved him. And I understand why. His performance tonight was oozing soul. He’s a true musician.( A+)

Joshua Ledet, “Without You.” Of course this was the Nilsson version of the song and not really the Mariah one, but they’re still technically the same song. I thought no one else could do this song justice, but Joshua did. He nailed it. It was completely flawless. He might not be the most interesting contestant, but I think he’s probably the best vocalist. He killed it tonight. (A+)

Elise Testone, “A Whole Lotta Love.” When I heard that one of the contestants was going to do Zeppelin, I had a feeling it might be Elise. I was a little worried and now I feel silly for ever being nervous. THIS is the Elise I always thought/knew/hoped she was. This was her zone. She was phenomenal. I’m still in awe. I never vote for anyone and I actually picked up the phone for her. I’m afraid that the teen girl voters are going to overlook her and she will unfairly go home too early. And I was completely amazed when Elise and Stevie started harmonizing on Stevie’s/Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” Amazing. (A++)

Now we get to the part where I predict who is safe and who might not be safe based only on how I think America might vote. These are not my personal opinions.

100 Percent Safe: Phillip Phillips, Colton Dixon, Jessica Sanchez

Most Likely Safe: Elise Testone (let’s hope), Joshua Ledet, Skylar Laine

Possibly the Bottom 3: DeAndre Brackensick, Heejun Han, Hollie Cavanagh

Possibly going home: DeAndre

My thinking: I think DeAndre and Heejun will definitely be in the bottom. The third spot could go a number of ways. It could be Hollie because we’re getting to the point where someone has to go in that spot and people could be bored with her. It could also be Skylar for the same reasons. I THINK Elise has finally gotten herself away from the bottom for a bit, but it’s still possible she could end up there. Stranger things have happened. At any rate, Heejun or DeAndre will be going home, I think. And the judges won’t use the save on either of them.

What did you think of the performances? How do you think the votes will play out tomorrow night?