1. Deandre Brackensick – I Like It (DeBarge)
You could pick ANY song from the 1980s, so why wouldn’t you pick this, right? Well, for starters, it’s not even the best DeBarge song. Rather than feeling the beat of the Rhythm of the Night I was reaching for the Horlicks. Yawn. Great voice but zzzzzzzz.
2. Elise Testone – I Want To Know What Love Is (Foreigner)
Her original choice, Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen was anything but an original choice for a show like this. Therefore we get this far-from-left field power ballad instead, but it’s not an obvious choice for her edgier voice. Unfortunately it just didn’t work. It’s a shame as just as I’d written Elise off, she pulled it out of the bag, two weeks running. Now I’m starting to like her, she goes and messes it up. Hmph.
3. Phillip Philips – That’s All (Genesis)
The rehearsal was a bit of a car crash, but on the night he managed to avoid the obstacles and just about arrived at his destination in one piece. Phil Collins is, after all, one huge voice to live up to. Oh, hang on. Actually I’m being a tad unfair, Phillip was rather good tonight.
4. Joshua Ledet – If You Don’t Know Me By Now (Simply Red)
It was exactly what I expected it to be. I really hope he passes that kidney stone soon. Excruciating.
5. Jessica Sanchez – How Will I Know (Whitney Houston)
Another pitch-perfect, effortless performance. A bit of a bland song choice, but at least she didn’t do another ballad.
6. Hollie Cavanagh – Flashdance… What A Feeling! (Irene Cara)
Most of those vocals were amazing, but a few dodgy moments gave the judges the rope they needed to hang her, which is a shame as she is clearly one of the better vocalists left. Unfortunately what the judges did get right is that the criticisms are getting to her and the performances are becoming increasingly calculated and are losing that naturalism.
7. Colton Dixon – Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper)
Not Phillip Phillips, as ITV2 claimed. I was a bit skeptical about the up-tempo rocking version, but he SO pulled it off. Glad to see him not only back on form, but the best of the night so far. How DARE Randy compare it to Joshua or Phillip, in the “making it your own” department.
8. Skylar Laine – Wind Beneath My Wings (Bette Midler)
Mostly, it was competently bland with a country twang but wow, she brought it home. If you’re going to ad-lib and go off-melody THAT is the way to do it. It added drama, emotion, and her own stamp of identity. That’s the Skylar I’ve been waiting to hear again over the last few weeks.
They also threw in some duets.
Skylar and Colton duetted on Islands in the Stream. I thought it was safe, predictable and rather fabulous. Their voices blended perfectly and neither hit a bum note.
Hollie and Deandre clearly decided to each adopt one of Kylie’s looks from the 1980s for their version of The Pointer Sisters’ I’m So Excited. It was another good match in a sugary pop kind of way. The kind of 80s cheese that I adore.
Elsie and Phillip went for the more credible Stop Dragging My Heart Around. A good match as a couple, and with their song. Anyone who liked the previous duet likely won’t enjoy this and vice versa.
Jessica sang I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) whilst Joshua joined in with the occasional screech. Sadly, Jessica even tried to keep up with Joshua’s screeching at times, more’s the pity. Don’t sink to his level, please.
Surprisingly, I disagreed with Jimmy Iovine a lot this week. Colton and Skylar were the top two for me, whereas he championed the hideous sounds coming from Joshua, placing Colton mid-table.
The bottom three were revealed to be: Deandre, Hollie and Elise. It’s increasingly clear that this bottom three are the only acts left that won’t get the judges’ save, and the American audience seem to be listening to the judges more than ever before.
And so we say goodbye to Deandre, who gave us a rather buoyant, fun version of Master Blaster that might have seen him through, had he chosen THAT as his ’80s song. It’s a shame he didn’t wait a few years, as with some more experience he could be unstoppable. But he’s definitely not ready yet.