It’s that time of year again. The competition on American Idol begins with the Top 13. This time around, with the beginning of the finals, new rules are in place. Even though I do not like when they make up new rules on the spot, this one seemed to make it an interesting night. The rule that Ryan decreed was that it was boys against girls and tonight it would be revealed who received the lowest votes among the boys and the girls. From there, the judges would decide if it is the boy or the girl who would be sent home. With the guys taking on the songs of Stevie Wonder and the girls paying tribute to the recently departed Whitney Houston, the Top 13 competition show looked promising. As it was last year, Interscope Records exec/ producer, Jimmy Iovine and the guest mentor, Mary J. Blige, helped the contestants with their song choices. For more on each contestant, click on their picture.
- Joshua Ledet “I Wish”: While Joshua’s performance won him praise from the judges, I thought his performance was okay but didn’t have star potential. In all honesty, I thought he did a cheap imitation of Stevie Wonder.
- Elise Testone “I’m Your Baby Tonight”: At first, Elise was going to sing Whitney’s “Greatest Love of All” but after hearing her sing it, Mary J. suggested “I’m Your Baby Tonight”. From this suggestion to Jimmy’s and Mary’s pointers, Elise had this divaish attitude about her. The performance itself was horrendous. Elise sounded terrible on singing and her dancing consisted of just bopping up and down. After the judges gave their critiques of her, Elise’s body language screamed bitchy.
- Jermaine Jones “Knocks Me Off My Feet”: I admit I did not like Jermaine during Hollywood Week and the Vegas Round. I also thought he shouldn’t have been brought back into the Top 24 (25, counting him), but I can see now why he was put through. The guy has a Barry White quality about him. His low voice had a sexy tone during “Knocks Me Off My Feet” and his expressions proved he picked the right song.
- Erika Van Pelt “I Believe in You and Me”: Picked as a wild card last week, Erika wasted no time proving she belonged in the competition. After showing video of Erika’s rehearsal with Jimmy and Mary J., who was impressed with her, Erika belted out the hit song from Whitney’s movie, The Preacher’s Wife. The way she sung the song with her raspy voice helped her make the song her own.
- Colton Dixon “Lately”: I couldn’t understand some of the words that Colton was singing. He had excellent stage presence though.
- Shannon Magrane “I Have Nothing”: This performance was a hot mess. Shannon was more often sharp than not. It was a decent karaoke version but she was stiff in her stage movements.
- DeAndre Brackensick “Master Blaster”: Another of the wild cards from last week, he proved he belonged as well. I have never heard this Stevie Wonder song but DeAndre was excellent. His stage presence showed that he owned the stage. Now about his hair….
- Skylar Laine “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”: Skylar managed to make a terrific country version of Whitney’s single from February 1988. She did make the song her own.
- Heejun Han “All in Love is Fair”: I absolutely love Heejun. The guy has a terrific sense of humor and he sings magnificently. He nailed his song.
- Hollie Cavanagh “All the Man That I Need”: Hollie definitely made the second single from Houston’s I’m Your Baby Tonight album her own. The girl had a small star moment.
- Jeremy Rosado “Ribbon in the Sky”: Jeremy’s performance of Stevie’s 1983 hit was decent but far from perfect. Being the third of the wild cards from last week, I’m not sure he deserved to be in the Top 13.
- Jessica Sanchez “I Will Always Love You”: After blowing away Jimmy and Mary J. in rehearsals, Jessica performs a stellar rendition of the Dolly Parton penned song that Whitney was best known for. This sixteen year old girl is remarkably talented!! The judges even gave her a standing ovation and encouraged the audience to keep cheering. Randy said that she was “one of the best talents in the country”. Here is the video of performance:
- Phillip Phillips “Superstition”: Phillip received the final spot of the night and it’s no surprise that he shined. Aside from Jessica, Phillip had one of the best performances of the night. Phillip turned Stevie’s hit from his Talking Book album and gave it a country edge that suited it. Going into rehearsal, Phillip knew the song had been done numerous times on the show but was confident in his selection. Mary J. Blige made an interesting observation about Phillips: he gets lost in the music and it suits him.
If I had to make a guess as to who was going home tonight, it would be a tossup between Shannon and Elise. We will find out tonight who is eliminated from American Idol tonight.