1. Joshua Ledet – I Wish.
I still can’t hear the opening bars of this song without getting chills from memories of that horrid Wild Wild West movie. Cheers, Will Smith. Wiki wiki wawa away. But, anyway…
Joshua’s performance was safely unremarkable. Far from terrible, more than competent, occasionally a bit screechy. Unfortunately he has zero star power. I can’t see him lasting long, but he’s not giving me hackles just yet.
2. Elise Testone – I’m Your Baby Tonight.
Oh, there are those hackles I was talking about. To come across as the grumpiest person in the same room as Mary J. Blige is quite an achievement. If she didn’t like the change of song from The Greatest Love of All, she should have said so rather than whine like a little child. Given the mess she made of this song, maybe it was just as well, since a voice like that singing about the the children being our future may lead to mass paedocide. Awful. “It’s undeniable you have an amazing voice”, says JLo. Only if you don’t mean it as a compliment.
3. Jermaine Jones – Knocks Me Off My Feet.
“I don’t want to bore you with it”. You read my mind, Jermaine. I don’t know this song, so you either sang an utterly boring song perfectly, or made a great song incredibly boring. Your voice sounded velvety smooth, just wake me up if a melody decides to join us at any time.
4. Erika Van Pelt – I Believe In You And Me.
She has a very rich, deep lower register that sounded effortless, and it then freed her up for a great demonstration of her full vocal range. Another dull song choice, but an excellent showcase of her voice. I’m interested.
5. Colton Dixon – Lately.
I loved the simplicity of Colton’s performance. Therefore, there isn’t much to say, other than that his voice sounded fantastic, and the song sounded fantastic.
6. Shannon Magrane – I Have Nothing.
I wasn’t expecting great things from the rehearsal VT, and I’m not sure the advice worked in her favour. The build to the big moments of the song removed their drama. This then encouraged her to push her voice further, but went beyonds its limits. Regrettably it meant that she then had to pull it back again, and it was horribly conspicuous. There was potential, but lots of terrible moments. She took a risk. She failed.
7. Deandre Brackensick – Master Blaster.
Nice to see him restrain himself even further, using the falsetto sparingly and just singing the song as it was written to be sung. His stage performance felt comfortable and genuine. There’s still some work to do though.
8. Skylar – Where Do Broken Hearts Go?
I loved when Skylar out-sang Mary in the VT, and I found her Dolly-esque take on this song rather cute. If I didn’t know this song, I would never have known it wasn’t a country song. She is destined for big things in the States, trust me. Many think changing a vocal melody makes a song your own. This highlighted the difference. She. Made. It. Her. Own. There, I said it. And I’m not even sorry. Jennifer “Pot Kettle” Lopez accused her of being nasal in her vocals. She wasn’t wrong, just a hypocrite.
9. Heejun Han – All In Love Is Fair.
Firstly, I LOVE that he gave his mentors HIS autograph! But despite his off-stage antics, his performance was anything but amusing. Amazing would be more accurate. Much like Colton’s “Lately” earlier, he kept it simple, and his vocals sounded gorgeous; it felt like being hugged. It wasn’t perfect, but its flaws just made the hugs feel warmer.
10. Hollie Cavanagh – All The Man That I Need.
This is one of my favourite Whitney songs, and this sounded very far off the mark by comparison, despite being an excellent vocal. I can’t believe Randy “pitchy” Jackson found it perfect. Compared with what Skylar just did, Hollie needs to up her game in this competition.
11. Jeremy Rosado – Ribbon In The Sky.
The rehearsals sounded terrible, and my expectations were already pretty low. He wanted to prove that the judges were right to save him last week- I didn’t think they were. This week, I’m certain they weren’t, as that made Jermaine’s song from earlier sound positively caffeinated. Yawnsville. Absolutely nothing about this guy that makes me think he deserves a spot in this competition.
12. Jessica Sanchez – I Will Always Love You.
Having set herself a rather large precedent last week, Jessica then goes on to set herself an even bigger task by picking THAT song. Not even THAT Whitney song, but THAT song. The untouchable one. Fortunately, it was near-perfect. A slight mis-step in the key change after the break, but it was barely noticeable. It was too colour-by-numbers for me to get overly excited about it though, however challenging. She’s the new Pia! Let’s hope she lasts a bit longer.
13. Phillip Phillips – Superstition.
From the rehearsal VT, I was led to expect a stripped-down acoustic jam version of this song. It started a little rough, sounding a little like he was on 33 again, but suddenly we were bombarded by a wall of noise that almost threatened to drown out Phillip’s vocals. However, I can’t deny that it made a statement, he made an impact and he’s officially forgiven for last week’s atrocity. I still prefer Marcus Collins’s “Need You Tonight” mash-up though.
Top 13: “As” (Stevie Wonder)
These group performances are often cringe-making, and this was no exception. Those who were poor last night were poor again, with the surprising addition of Skylar, but nobody really stood out in a good way.
A welcome return to the stage for last year’s runner up Lauren Alaina, someone who’s always good value to watch, even when she doesn’t intend to be. She didn’t disappoint, thanks to a wardrobe malfunction involving her earpiece. Sometimes I wish country music was more popular in the UK, but then sometimes I like thinking of such artists as being my little secret pleasure.
Before the reveals of who is and isn’t through, we also get critiques from Jimmy Iovine. Why they don’t just make him an official judge I don’t know, but he’s the only one (ever) I’ve almost consistently agreed with, and tonight was no exception.
There was also a performance by Mary J Blige, but I’ve never really understood her appeal, to be honest. Let’s just say she did what she does as good/bad as she ever does it. It gave me a few minutes to re-check my spelling and punctuation anyway.
The bottom three girls are: Elise, Erika and Shannon.
The bottom three boys are: Jermaine, Joshua and Jeremy.
The judges must choose between Jeremy and Elise.
The judges save Elise, so it’s goodbye to Jeremy, who, frankly, shouldn’t have been there in the first place.