American Idol Season 11 Recap Week 2: The Top 12 That Was Really 11

Only 11...where's Jermaine?

This week’s American Idol created news almost a day before the live show aired.  On Tuesday night, American Idol contestant Jermaine Jones tweeted on his official American Idol Twitter account: “Awww I will no longer b on the show.”  Later, both the tweet and Jones’ Twitter account were deleted.  A spokeswoman for Fox declined to comment on the tweet.  No official confirmation was offered about Jones’ departure from the competition until the show aired but video obtained by TMZ shows Jones at the airport.  The video can be seen here.

At the beginning of the Idol performance, Ryan Seacrest started off with a speech about how Idol has its share of controversies.  Ryan explains that with the cooperation of law enforcement agencies they found out about a contestant’s criminal record, never mentioning Jones’ name.  He says that unfortunately the contestant has been eliminated from the competition and promises more on the elimination later in the show.

The theme for the Top 12 (which is now 11) is songs from the year the contestant was born.  Ryan states the fact about the range of birth years is from 1983-1995.  In relation to the theme, Ryan shows childhood pics of Randy, Jennifer, and Steven on the big screen.  Then Randy turns the tables on Ryan and a picture of a baby Ryan Seacrest appears on the big screen.  Aside from Jimmy Iovine, the mentor for this week is Will-I-Am from the Black Eyed Peas.  The competition begins with:

  • Phillip Phillips- “Hard to Handle”: Phillip was born in 1990 as a premature baby.  His parents talk about the difficulties Phillip endured during that time.  Then we go to footage from Phillip’s mentor session where he tells Jimmy about he’s having surgery for kidney stones in his right kidney.  Both Jimmy and Will are impressed of how well Phillip can sing while in pain.  It’s apparent that Phillip is serious about being on the show.  The performance begins and Phillip nails The Black Crowes hit from 1990.  The judges ask when Phillip had his surgery and Phillip says Thursday.  All the judges praise Phillips’ dedication.

  • Jessica Sanchez- “Turn the Beat Around”:  Jessica was born in 1995.  Her parents talk about her being their first child and from an early age she was a diva.  During Jessica’s mentor session, Will is impressed with the young lady.  Cut to Jessica’s performance.  While the performance is not as stellar as last week’s, the girl can belt out the notes.  The judges are not pleased with the song choice and give her constructive criticism to stick ballads.

  • Heejun Han- “Right Here Waiting”: Born in 1989, Heejun’s parents talk about how he was a happy baby and had a sense of humor early.  Heejun’s time with the mentors consisted of an English lesson and getting Will’s autograph.  He also tries unsuccessfully to get Fergie’s phone number. In his live performance, Heejun sings the Richard Marx song from Marx’s second album, Repeat Offender.  While the song is not is the usual type of song, Heejun sings the song well.  The judges say it was the wrong song because of his breathing during the song.  When the banter between Ryan and Heejun starts, Ryan asks Heejun about his emotional reaction during the song and Heejun tells Ryan he was thinking of his girlfriend, who is in the audience.  How sweet.

  • Elise Testone-“Let’s Stay Together”: Elise was born in 1983 and was a “cute” troublemaker.  During her session this week, Elise says some things that make it apparent she knew she came off as a diva bitch last week.  Despite this realization, Elise makes a comment about a baby boom from her song choice.  Elise tackles the Al Green song that Tina Turner took on in 1983.  The wannabe diva starts off trying to be sexy by singing while on a piano ala about every torch singer that does far better at being sexy.  When the song gets going, Elise sounds like she is screaming the song, but the judges love it.

  • DeAndre Brackensick- “Endless Love”:  DeAndre was born in 1994 and his parents say he was a natural ham.  Once again the producers show the old video of DeAndre as a young kid singing “76 Trombones” from The Music Man.  Originally, DeAndre was going to sing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from Disney’s The Lion King but Will insists that it is the wrong song for him.  Jimmy talks DeAndre into doing “Endless Love” which was performed by Mariah Carey and Luther Vandross in 1994.  DeAndre does okay on the song but it’s not his best performance.  the judges admonish DeAndre for not sticking to his convictions on song choice.

  • Shannon Magrane- “One Sweet Day” : Shannon was born in 1995, and was obsessed with the cartoon Thumbelina.  During her mentor session, Shannon has not decided on a song from her list, so Jimmy assists her through shamless sponsor product promotion of AT&T’s HTC Vivid phone with wireless Beat speaker.  He plays No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” but Shannon chooses the Mariah Carey/ Boyz II Men duet from 1995.  Will instructs Shannon on breathing techniques to improve her singing.  Cut to her performance, Shannon has a couple of pitch issues but does a great job overall.

  • Colton Dixon- “Broken Heart”: Colton was born in 1991 and was into sports until he discovered he could sing.  Before Colton performs, Ryan asks him about meeting Chris Daughtry last week.  Colton tells Ryan and the whole world that Chris contacted him through Twitter to meet up.  Colton picks an obscure White Lion song, and proves that hard rock is where he shines.  Colton’s performance is flawless.

  • Erika Van Pelt- “Heaven” : Born in 1985, Erika was a loud child.  Erika decides to sing the Bryan Adams hit “Heaven” and puts a unique take on it.  She has a star moment.  While the judges pick apart her performance, they praise how she looks.  In my opinion, she had an Adele look about her, and she looks good.  Could this be because of Tommy Hilfiger being hired as the fashion mentor?

After Erika’s performance, Ryan addresses that the issue of a departed contestant.  The video of the executive producers sitting down with Jermaine.  They explain that they found out that Jermaine had four outstanding arrest warrants.  Two of them for provide police with a fake name.  Nigel explained to Jermaine that they ask for full disclosure on the contestants for a reason.  Nigel tells Jones that he has to go home.  As Jermaine leaves, footage is shown of Jermaine’s rehearsal on Tuesday where he is singing “Somewhere Out There”.  After the Jermaine part is over, Ryan explains that a contestant will still be eliminated on the results show to build the Top 10.

Then it’s back to the competition:

  • Skylar Laine- “Love Sneaking Up on You”: Skylar was born in 1994 and according to her parents, she was a menace.  Jimmy and Will try to talk Skylar out of her song choice but Skylar sticks to her choice of Bonnie Raitt’s hit from ’94.  Skylar nails the bluesy, country vibe of the song.  On a different note, does she have to wear big earrings on every show?

  • Joshua Ledet- “When a Man Loves Woman”: Ledet was born in 1992 and is the youngest of 8 kids.  I have to say I do not care for Joshua.  Before the show goes into Joshua’s story, Ryan has a bunch of crawfish brought out that Ryan got while he was in New Orleans over the weekend for Joshua.  Joshua performs the Michael Bolton hit from 1992 and the judges love it, giving him a standing ovation when his performance is complete.  Randy said that Joshua had his moment.

  • Hollie Cavanagh- “The Power of Love”: Hollie was born in 1993, and her parents in their British accents say that she was a goofy child.  Hollie’s parents, knowing nothing about music, had no idea how gifted at singing Hollie was.  Hollie gets praise from both Jimmy and Will.  During her live performance, she slays the Celine Dion song.  Hollie has a star moment and lives up to the best saved for last.

It is really hard to predict who will be going home tonight on American Idol, but I would make a guess that Heejun is going to be in the bottom three for sure.




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