Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Top 5 Perform: No Hugs for You!

5 Things that Suck about Being an Idol Recapper:
1. Maintaining the divine judgment that guarantees my opinion is always right. (Don't question this.)
2. Finding new words to describe Randy's critiques even though he has a vocabulary of ten.
3. Watching Idol even when it's freaking awful. (Seasons 9 & 10, you owe me.)
4. Jimmy Iovine.
5. Keeping up with your recaps when you're pregnant. (So, yeah, sorry about that.)

But Dawgs, I am nothing if not determined! I will pick these recaps back up, no matter how many times I doze off or how often typing rapidly causes a bout of nausea. Someday, I'll tell Rachel Jr. that I did this for her/him. However, if I expect to actually finish my recaps (as opposed to starting one and needing a "rest" halfway through), the format has to change. So prepare for more lists and less commentary! I promise you'll still be entertained. (I hope.)

Let's do this, shall we?

Top 5 Theme:
The 60s - Because, hell, why not?
Brit Pop - Because most of that music had absolutely nothing to do with the 60s. /sarcasm

Guest Mentor:
Steven Van Zandt - Apparently called Little Stevie in the "industry" by "people" and the only person on Planet Earth with the gift to humanize Jimmy Iovine.

Seacrest Status:

In case you were wondering ...

Judging Panel Status:
Uncle Steven loves everything, J. Lo doesn't know "The Letter", and Randy owns a sea anemone pin.

The Sixties Round:

Who's "Gotta Have It"? (Damn you, Randy Jackson)

Skylar Laine - "Fortunate Son" by CCR
I love Skylar's country throwdown parties more than I love watching Ryan Seacrest expertly navigate awkward televised moments with a nervous laugh and that bossy request to poor Kieran to "dim the lights!" al-freaking-ready. That's a lot of love, Dawgs. Skylar has grit and talent, and there's something vaguely therapeutic about watching her jolt like she's standing in a lightning field. And how refreshing is it to watch a young woman on stage who doesn't find it necessary to shimmy and shake in sexy ways and play it up like Jessica Rabbit? In an industry that sexualizes women to the extreme, Skylar is a breath of fresh, real person air. I want her in the final, Dawgs. I want her in the final SO BAD. 

Joshua Ledet - "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" by The Temptations
When Josh announced to Jimmy and Little Stevie that he was singing this song, I just said to the TV, "Okay, I'm sold." Looking cool in a retro jacket and bright shirt, Joshua did exactly what Joshua Ledet does to awesome classic songs - he made it awesome in 2012. At this point, Josh really can't disappoint me. I mean, I suppose he could piss me off by acting preposterously awkward with Phil Phillips again (more on that later), but vocally? Nope! Vocally, Joshua is an angel of the highest order. If Joshua Ledet had a baby with Aretha Franklin (I know, ew, but go along with it), their child would sing rainbows and pee unicorns. 

Who's "Peaking at Just the Right Time"?

Hollie Cavanagh - "River Deep, Mountain High" by Tina Turner
Oh, I see it now, this strategy Hollie's been playing since she fluttered onto our TV screens in a blink of fairy dust one year ago. If you were the 20,000-year-old fairy queen of Sunshine and Gently Rambling Brooks, you'd play this Idol game just as wisely as she has. What other than her ageless wisdom could explain her sudden surge to the top of this sloppy heap of contestants? Hollie dominated the stage during this performance, even performing convincingly as a leader for the back-up singers. Even better, her voice was spot-on throughout. Okay, Hollie, you clever sprite, keep up the good work.

Who's Maybe/Possibly Not the Front-Runner We Thought?

Jessica Sanchez - "Proud Mary" by Ike & Tina Turner
It isn't like I get my kicks off by criticizing Jessica, Dawgs. I think she has a stellar voice. But in the game of Reality TV, she's falling so far behind. So let's give props to Jessica for shaking her hair up last night. That was cute. Also, Little Stevie really seems to believe in her. I just wish that I could believe in her. Jessica picked a high energy song that Tina Turner made memorable by thrashing around the stage like a woman on fire but also wore a restrictive white mini dress and uncomfortable high heels. Instead of running around, Jessica waddled/limped around, and that distracted me. Uncle Steven was correct when he noted that Jessica was starting to sing the blues, but is she really feeling the blues? IDK. This little dynamo will never be my favorite, and I need to get over my guilt. Sorry, Jessica Sanchez. Don't take it personally, but I'm just not that into you.

Who's Totally/Probably Still a Front-Runner Even While He Falls Behind?

Phillip Phillips - "The Letter" by Box Tops
The melody wasn't there, Dawgs. I get that Phil's an "artist" and "creative" and "only does what he wants," but damn it, I require a melody! God only knows what Phil found so distasteful about the original version of the song (you know, the one with a melody), but this effort just faltered for me. Sure, he stayed true to himself, but remaining an individual shouldn't negate melodies. The judges sorta-kinda praised and criticized Phil for having gumption, although it was clear that Uncle Steven totally preferred the original. J. Lo, on the other, was in the dark because she's never heard "The Letter" before. Nuts of wonder, J. Lo! I'd expect that from the kids but not from you! Oh, and FYI, Phil has a girlfriend. Ryan Seacrest can settle his ruffled feathers now. His girlfriend is safe.

The Brit Pop Round:
Best to worst

1. Joshua Ledet - "To Love Somebody" by the Bee Gees
Oh, I have such a soft spot for this song. Joshua's performance took an express train to my heart and parked there for all of eternity. But seriously, Joshua, I call BS on your insistence that you haven't heard the song before. If that's true, I fear that these child contestants are living in caves!

2. Hollie Cavanagh - "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis
Hollie was the only member of the group unafraid to pick something current, and I think she made the right choice. By scaling back Leona Lewis' bombastic original version, Hollie actually managed to show off her voice even more. I loved the quiet arrangement and the way that she calmly perched on the piano. Beautiful!

3. Jessica Sanchez - "You Are So Beautiful" by Joe Cocker
Maybe I don't connect to Jessica on an emotional level, but her vocals were stunning throughout this performance. When she split into her head voice, I got real chills. I may have gotten more enjoyment from the performance if I hadn't been afraid that Jessica would inadvertently catch on fire due to all of the open candle flames around her. Sometimes, candles don't add artistic qualities - we just call them fire hazards. 

4. Skylar Laine - "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" by Dusty Springfield
I adore this song, and it fit very well with Skylar's country lilt. As usual, Skylar exhibited the confidence and emotional connection that make her fantastic. Alas, her voice sounded a little strained at the end. She didn't screw up, but it sounded like she may be overdoing it. Vocal rest for you, Miss Laine. You'll need your voice in the finals.

5. Phillip Phillips - "Time of the Season" by The Zombies
Here's another song that I love. Phil did us all a favor by sticking to the melody, and I was surprised when he deftly managed the higher key. All that being said, Phil didn't bring out the big guns for this round like his competitors. I get it. Big performances aren't Phil's style, but sometimes I have the attention span of a gnat. On the bright side, coming in at 5th in this ultra-competent round isn't a bad thing. It just isn't as good as the other things. 

This is a Hug-Free Zone!
Did you notice that some of these kids don't seem willing to touch each other? After Phil and Joshua's at-times cringe-worthy performance of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," Phil attempted to give Joshua a brotherly pat on the back and Joshua threw a hissy. Boys, the original song was done by the Righteous Brothers. It's okay for two men to sing at the same time on the same stage and not catch cooties. What the hell was this? I mean, sure, Phil's weird, but I wouldn't deny the poor guy a hug. 

Later, after the girls outdid the boys with "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher," Skylar and Hollie went in for the group hug, and Jessica totally wasn't having it. Methinks she took Hollie's earlier impression of her - a vibrato-infused line from "I Will Always Love You" - personally. Either that, or her troublesome love for high heels makes it impossible to lean in for a real embrace. 

Whatever the case may be, HUG IT OUT! Even Uncle Steven said so! 

My Prediction
With Joshua, Hollie and Skylar delivering strong performances and Phil's current immortal status as Idol's Cute White Guy with a Guitar, Jessica may have to say "Au revoir!" for good tonight. The prediction site says that <spoiler>Phil Phillips is a goner and that Skylar Laine is sitting at the top of the pack. Oh SNAP!</spoiler>.

And just in case J. Lo stops by later ...


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