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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

American Idol, Mar. 21 – Best Advice, “Stay individual.”

It’s Haley Reinhart in the audience, because she’ll be singing her new single tomorrow night on the results show. Something for all the Haley fans to look forward to.

Heejun Han chose My LIfe this week, and admits to Jimmy that he had a tough time last week with the criticism from the judges. It made him heartbroken to hear all the negative comments. He asks Jimmy and Diddy for advice on how to handle it. Diddy tells him you need to have tough skin in this business. He just tries to take in what he can learn and not make it personal. Jimmy is honest, saying people who can’t handle it shouldn’t be in the game. Diddy tells him he’s still standing, so obviously he’s alright. The normally upbeat and funny Heejun says he’s only there to see Diddy. Diddy isn’t sure whether he’s an actor or conman, and isn’t even sure if he’s Asian; he may be black.

It’s onto the stylist portion as Heejun picks up his attitude and says it’s obvious he’s a stylish guy, wearing a t-shirt that says “We Love You.” As far as someone he thinks has a lot of style that he looks up to, he deadpans “Jessica Sanchez and Madonna.” Tommy realizes Heejun is testing him. He never really found out what he liked, but did encourage him to find his own style, so Heejun says he might surprise him tonight. Heejun wears a tux with a knit cap and tells the piano player the song is much too slow; “I wanna dance!” He rips off the tux to reveal a T-shirt over a button down shirt and sings the song really campy. He’s pitchy at first, then finds his spot once he gets more humor into it. I can’t quit staring, even though it clearly isn’t the best of the night. He’s just so fun and cute.

J-Lo loved that Heejun brought a little fun to the night, as there have been a lot of ballads. It was a breath of fresh air. Because he was running around a lot, he didn’t hit the vocal exactly like he would have liked to and she knows he can. He jokes with the audience a little, and she admits it was a lot of fun. Steven calls him HeeMan and asks if he is happy he took the piss out of the song. He’s glad if it made him feel good inside. Yet, they’re right that the music business will eat you alive, and at some point, Heejun needs to take it more seriously.

Randy tells Heejun last week it was a little rough. This time, he at least had a good time and it was entertaining. There were still some vocal problems, but as much as he was entertaining, he was happy to see him have a good time. They’ve come to know him as this funny dude, and he loves that part of it, even though it was messy a little vocally. Heejun doesn’t think he’ll be lapping the stage again soon, as it was kind of long.

Heejun’s fashion model is next, Jessica Sanchez. She admits she loves shopping and clothes and freaked out to find out Tommy would be on the show. He wants to see her wear a dress because of her size. He asks about the length, but thinks she should shorten it, as when you’re petite, you need to go very short, or very long in a dress. He thinks the dress is cool for her though and believes she could become a fashion icon.

It’s onto her mentoring session, where Jessica debuts Everybody Has a Dream. Again, too old of a song for a young girl. Diddy says he has a responsibility here, and he doesn’t believe her when she’s singing it. He thinks she’s over-singing it and doesn’t believe she has that dream. She needs to pull back on showing off the tricks. He thinks too much vibrato will get her in trouble. Jimmy tells her to sing to Diddy, and she pulls back and is much more believable. Tonight, the vocal gymnastics are amazing. Bar none. I don’t know if she is 100% believable, but the sound is great. Thats the half Hollie was missing.

After a judges’ standing O, Steven tells Jessica she has gone way past his judging. When God was giving out vocal chords, she was in the font of the line. He has nothing to say but, “thank you for letting me hear you sing, Baby.” Jennifer thinks the song was written for Jessica. It was a defining moment for her, and she really feels it’s her. It’s her, her dream, and they’re living every second. What Randy is loving is that dong the show for eleven seasons, it takes consistency. You have to have a moment every time you step on the stage, and she does. Jimmy, Diddy, and Tommy did excellent mentoring and styling with her.

Colton Dixon explains to Tommy that as far as image, he doesn’t want to go after one certain person and wants to create his own style. Tommy enjoys him and that he is so explicit and clear about who he wants to be, as he explains he wants to be edgy, punk rock, and the military style. Tommy thinks he’s capable of being a star. He asks to see his hair, and of course Colton has hat hair going on. Tommy is worried, as he thinks the hair takes away from it. He wants him to dictate the image with the outfit, then tweak the hair around it. Colton admits the hair is his baby.

Colton is singing the iconic Piano Man. He admits he misses being around a piano after not being in front of one for the past few weeks. He figures this is the best week to get back in his comfort zone. Jimmy knows Colton has the advantage this week. This song is tailor-made for him. Diddy wanted to buy the record when he got finished with it. Jimmy and Diddy disagree on the note behind the word “man.” Listening to him tonight, I don’t have J-Lo’s goosies, but I have Laura’s tears. This is how this song was meant to be sung. Two words … iTunes Download.

Jennifer tells Colton he sings with pure feeling, and she had goosies from head to toe from the moment he started. Diddy gave him the biggest compliment saying he wanted to buy the record the moment he got done singing and she agrees. Steven says Colton’s choice of chords when his voice resolved was stunning, just outrageous. He is a great musician and a great singer.

What Randy loved was what Colton said to Tommy, that he wanted to be an individual. That’s what this is about. They have done great things and interesting arrangements with this great Billy Joel songbook. Colton gave a very sensitive, touching, and moving performance on one of Billy’s classics. He couldn’t even make it different, but just simple made it different. Randy loves the hair and loves the voice. “Stay individual.”

Before they wrap, the judges give their callout of who they feel stood out the most. Randy names Jessica, Elise, Phil, and Colton, J-Lo names Elise, Colton, and Jessica, and Steven names Jessica, Colton, Elise, and Phillip. And while Ryan is signing off, Heejun and Phil try to prank him from behind. That’s what they need to do … have fun.

There’s a thin line that the Idols try to tightrope over every year. They have to sing songs we are familiar with, yet be individual with them, but not change them too much that we get turned off. Some people never do figure it out, and they leave early. Those who stick around get it. Phil and Colton get it, and will be around for the long haul. Jessica doesn’t really get it, but will be around for the long haul because she has amazing talent. Erika showed some originality with her style tonight, and I think it might allow her to open up for us see the real her. Elise is amazingly talented, but style-wise, she doesn’t stand out, and that’s where Tommy failed her. Heejun just stands out .. period. This week, it will most likely be someone who didn’t stand out who will go home.

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