by Lee Stabert
Ahoy-hoy, gentle Cream readers. It's time for another evening of singing and moving robotically on American Idol! First, we have to discuss the shock of all shocks — local boy Colton's elimination. I was genuinely surprised. They keep telling us the tweens always win, but maybe there is hope yet. That said, I stand by my affection for his "September" last week. Colton, we will miss your skinny pants, your Jesus talk and, of course, the hair. See you at The Rutledge, my brother.
Let's get to the action. This week is all about Queen, and the show opens on a surprising note with the contestants joining Brian May and Roger Taylor for a medley. I love how gay queen is — sometimes it seems like Freddie Mercury was enacting a top secret plan to get straight people to like as much gay stuff as possible. World, consider yourself punked! (Rob Halford from Judas Priest, who is now out and proud, did the same thing with all the leather.) The medley is fine. Elise sounds great on this stuff, and something about Holly and Jessica singing "We Will Rock You" without an ounce of the necessary conviction or self-awareness makes me laugh.
Again this week the contestants will be singing two songs: a Queen jam and then their personal choice.
Jessica Sanchez opens the show with "Bohemian Rhapsody." The production team does this thing where her doppelgangers are projected onto the screen behind her. It's incredibly creepy. Oh, and they shoot the first half of the song in black and white. WTF?! I paid good money for my color TV. This could have been cool, but there were so many things that were distracting. Also, she never nailed the manic energy of the song. She sings everything the same way. The judges say they liked it, but I think they're faking.
My gal Skylar is up next. She talks about being a songwriter, and says she would love to sing an original song on the show. Don't hold your breath, honey. She's singing "The Show Must Go On." These Queen songs are so hilariously campy and sort of silly — that said, she sings the balls off it. She always knows how to tell a story. The judges loved it. Also, I think her earrings are little rhinestone pistols.
Joshua Ledet is singing "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," and using one of those old-timey microphones! I love his leather-trimmed tux jacket. He's flanked by a huge crew of musicians. They are really going all out with the bands/staging this season. Remember when this was literally a karaoke show? He does a great job; the bridge is especially fun. The judges can never stay in their seats for this kid. Another standing O. Let's be serious: They're cheap.
Now it's time for Elise, singing "I Want It All." She's rocking a tambourine. Love it. As during the medley, she's great on these big rock songs. She also seems to relax with a loud, full band. This is the most I've liked Old Lady Testone in weeks. Steven says, "You sang that like the classical song it was." He does not know what words mean.
Ryan announces that my boyfriend Phillip Phillips will be singing "Fat Bottom Girls" and JLo's face immediately lights up. He always looks kind of like he's trying to poop when he sings. I don't know why the producers aren't terrified by the prospect of him winning this thing. Again, it's a cool performance for a bar singer, but I just don't know about him and this show. I mean, I would have sex with him, but he shouldn't win. Steven says, "I love watching you run out of breath." I love watching the judges twist themselves into knots not to criticize this guy. JLo says, "I feel like you give us different flavors." Ha! There is no contestant who sounds more the same week to week. Randy liked it but didn't love it.
Holly is taking on "Save Me." She is dressed like someone accepting an award for Top Ocean County Realtor 2012. Terrible. It's a solid performance, but one of the last notes goes a little wonky. "Save me / I'm naked and I'm far from home" is a funny line for a 16-year-old girl to sing. The judges are lukewarm. They still think she's a bit of a robot.
Now it's time for the contestants' choice. Jessica is singing "Dance With My Father" and mentions that her father has deployed twice and is about to deploy again. Well played, Sanchez. Personally, I never got the whole daddy's girl thing. This song makes me think of Purity Balls and the like. She does sing it beautifully. JLo says it was the best they've heard the song sang on Idol. She's saying that, but she doesn't seem all that excited. That's the problem with Jessica: She's missing that je ne sais quoi that moves people. That's a song designed to make people cry, and it's all dry eyes.
Skylar is up next, singing a big slice of country pie. I had to look it up, but apparently it's Jason Aldean’s “Tattoos on This Town.” She KILLS it. This girl is really going to have a big career, I think. Country loves a rough-and-tumble girl like her. She is still my favorite by far. Go, Skylar.
Joshua has chosen India.Arie's "Ready for Love," which is kind of awesome. Having the contestants pick their own songs tells us something about their taste. It's a great performance, especially because he reels it in and lets the song breathe. He builds to a beautiful, emotional crescendo. The judges are on their feet again! JLo calls it "transcendent." Meanwhile, in some backstage footage, Skylar ribs him for all the standing O's.
OMG! Seacrest just teased that we're going to hear Dave Matthews Band tonight! Mwahahahahaha!
As for Elise, she's singing Jimi Hendrix's "Bold as Love," a song a lot of people probably don't know. She's gotten really into the flowey garb recently. Tonight is no different. This song is right in her wheelhouse, and she seems to be feeling it. Steven warns her to sing more familiar songs — I think he wants her to stay. JLo loved it. A guy from her band at home got to come play with her. That's awesome.
Phillip is up. Is DMB really happening?! So, he is a fan?! Stop the presses! Which song will it be?!?!? Well, it's an obscure jam off Before These Crowded Streets called "The Stone" that I remember from when a girl in my bunk at camp used to play that record nonstop. What an odd choice. Sort of dark and twisty for DMB. (By the way, the Dave Matthews Wikipedia entry is reallllly long.) Steven pretty much says that he hated the song, but still manages to say that Phillip was great. JLo calls it "too artsy," which is hilarious. She seems worried for him: "I need you to do songs that will get you on that last show." Randy liked it.
In a twist, Holly is closing the show. She is singing the Miley Cyrus classic "The Climb," which I think she sang during her original audition during season 10. She sings it really well — I bet it's the sort of song she sings in the shower. The judges give her a standing O, and her tickled reaction is the best part of the night. She is rocking another horrendous outfit. Get it together, girl.
So, who is in danger? I think Holly will finally go home. I think Elise and Phillip will join her in the bottom three.