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Jules is listening to mix tapes and thinking about . . . Idol Thoughts

By Julie Anderson
04.05.12

Disclaimer: I love, love, LOVE me some American Idol. It’s like an extra holiday season in the year – Yay! It’s Idol Time again! – and the weeks it’s on kind of revolve around watching DVRed episodes with my husband after we get our preschooler in bed.

Yes, I grieved when Paula left, but I think J.Lo is just as good if not BETTER (although I’m sick to death of those stupid goosies). And Yes, I’m missing Simon’s bitchy and brutal honesty when there’s a mediocre performance.

 

But still! AI is a television show I adore. Haters gonna hate, but there’s only love, sweet love, from ME when it comes to Idol.

And this week was eighties week! Yessss!! Gwen Stefani and some guy with lemony-white hair (which the Internet informs me is No Doubt bandmate Tony Kanal) were the mentors for the week and had all sorts of helpful advice.

Let’s recap:

The show opened with white and violet text intro, very Miami Vice. Nice touch!

DeAndre Brackensick got things started with DeBarge’s I Like It. And I did, I liked it. I wasn’t feeling DeAndre a few weeks ago. In fact, I had him ranked down with HeeJun as somebody who Needs To Go. However, he’s so much more comfortable onstage now, and I’m liking the falsetto thing he does a lot more. I wish he’d done some Terence Trent D’Arby (he’d have rocked out on Wishing Well, no?) but I thought his performance was terrific and DeBarge was a good call.

Elise Testone made me want to scream into my pillow during her performance of Foreigner’s I Want to Know What Love Is. And not, like, a crazed Duran Duran fan kind of happy scream. More of a WTF are you doing Elise? kind of scream. The original is a powerful song, sure, but Elise managed to make it boring and blah. Oh, Elise.

Colton Dixon and Skyler Laine out-adorabled each other with Kenny and Dolly’s Islands in the Stream. Seriously, guys, it was so sweet and great and likeable. I loved seeing Skyler more relaxed and less shout-y, and it was refreshing to see Colton being less, you know, Biblically sincere. Not that that’s a bad thing, but, you know.

On to Phillip Phillips, who, quirky name aside, has also worked his way into my heart. I thought he was sort of bitter and gritty, and didn’t care about the audience, but he won me with last week’s Still Rainin’ by Jonny Lang. This week he chose That’s All by Genesis. And yes, it was awesome, but I find myself wanting him to be more tender and less angry. We’ve seen the bitter, and now I want some sweet, dangit.

Then it was little Hollie Cavanagh and DeAndre Brackensick performing The Pointer Sisters’ I’m So Excited. And, yeah, I wasn’t. DeAndre, floating on his great-performance high, was happy and bouncy, which is what that song demands, but Hollie was all precision and no ebullience. Smile, Hollie! SMILE!

Then Joshua Ledet performed Simply Red’s If You Don’t Know Me by Now. Confession: I really don’t like this song. At all. So I am totally biased here. My husband tried to pinpoint what I had against Simply Red’s big hit, and I told him that it sounds like somebody’s flopping around the house, following me around and whining, and it just grates on my last nerve. Anyway, Joshua toned down the gospel-y theatrics and did great. Whatever.

Next was Jessica Sanchez singing Whitney Houston’s How Will I Know? She NAILED IT. Bebe Chez, or however she spells her stage alter-ego, brought it with an extra dose of hot sauce. Go Jessica! Fabulous and precise, but also enthusiastic and bubbly. (Take notes, Hollie.)

On to our third duet: Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around (Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks) interpreted by Elise Testone and Phillip Phillips. And I WANTED to love it, because I love that song. Maybe it was my disappointment with Elise’s rendition of the Foreigner song, but I was totally expecting more from this pair. Also, I wasn’t digging Phillip’s weirdly syncopated lyrics.

Hollie Cavanagh’s solo was next. She sang Irene Cara’s What a Feeling. And...sigh...as with I’m So Excited, Hollie brought her amazing and mature voice but left the fun backstage. Groan. Her blue fringey dress was cute, though.

And then it was time for our last duet: I Knew You Were Waiting (George Michael and Aretha Franklin) sung by Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet. Fabulous. Hee! They are both soooo good, although I’m a much bigger Jessica fan than a Joshua fan.

Colton Dixon then sang Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper. I don’t like the new blond mohawk he was sporting, but that boy is such a cutie-pie, isn’t he? And he’s got some serious stage presence to go with some serious pipes. I’d have chosen True Colors, personally, because Time After Time gets a little repetitive, but it was a great performance.

Last was little pocket-Reba, aka Sklyer Laine, singing Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings. At first I was way worried, because it was all slow and draggy and boring, but then she kicked it into AWESOME gear and delivered a cute, twangy version that I actually prefer to the original.

And there you have it! I think they’re all pretty amazing singers at this point, but tonight I’m most worried about little Hollie and Elise. On the bright side, though, they all have been getting some terrific exposure, and these top ten get to go on the Magical Summer Tour. Yay Idol!

Read Jules' Other Listening To Mix Tapes & Thinking About . . . Stories

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