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

American Idol, Apr. 4 – The Search for the Total Package

Phillip and Elise combine in a duet, and it has to be a musical marriage made in rock heaven. They sing Stop Dragging My Heart Around by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty. Phillip is such an individual performer, that it made me nervous for him doing a duet, but you’d think he was combining with his brother-in-law here, because he does it seemingly so naturally. Both of them are feeling every ounce of this song in their bodies. Thank God she had this performance to redeem herself a little after her earlier individual performance. One word. Download.

Randy welcomes Elise back and tells her it was hot. Her and Phil together was hot. Jennifer told him she wants to hear more of that show. Randy says it was great and very nice. Jennifer says it’s like when you hear a duet imagining the guy and the girl and you want to be the person in that. She wanted to be up there singing and was feeling like they were in love, even though they’re not. Steven calls it outstanding. A Tom Petty moment wrapped up in Elise and Phillip. Phillip’s scatting vocal with the rhythm chase was beautiful and as nice as it gets.

Hollie misses her family, friends, and her puppy. When she left him he was a puppy, and she knows when she sees him again he’ll be the size of her body (which is tiny …). She had no idea she’d be meeting Gwen. She’s singing What a Feeling from the movie Flashdance, and finally the girl is getting it, that she needs to move beyond the big emotional productions that she doesn’t have the maturity for. Jimmy hears a little of the Rocky thing in this version of it, and Gwen thinks she needs to sing it more tough than sad. Even though it’s not a big emotional song, she’s still somewhat missing it apparently.

Yet, when Hollie starts the song off tonight, she’s not displaying tough, and is displaying sad. And she has far too much vibrato in the song. If you’re going to make it younger and fun, just do it already. She has some fun out there dancing a little , and that’s good that she’s lightening up that way. But the bouncy moves don’t match up with that really heavy vibrato.

Steven tells Hollie she always arrives by the end, and it took awhile to get there this time, but she did. However, her pitch was all over the place. Jennifer recognizes that she’s listening to everything that people are telling her. But at the end of the day, she does have to let it go. It started off like she was singing it like a musical and not a pop song, and it just seemed she wasn’t releasing. The smart thing is to listen to people, but she has to let it go and stop thinking. Just feel it from her heart.

Randy labels Steven and Jennifer as absolutely correct. Hollie has the talent, and that’s why they say those things to her. If she’d stop thinking, then her voice would be amazing. It started slowly and it was pitchy, but those things always happen to her when she’s thinking and not just living it. Hollie always tries to take everything in and is still learning about the music business. As everyone in the show is.

Jessica and Joshua combine on what seems to be a custom-made song for them, I Knew You Were Waiting for Me by George Michaels and Aretha Franklin. They can both power it out, just like the original. The two powerhouses combine here, and you just know it’s going to be magical before they even start, and they don’t let anyone down here. The ending is amazing and has the judges on their feet.

Randy notes that two of the greatest singers to ever hit the competition are Joshua and Jessica, and Randy worked on that original song, and they both brought their own flavor to it. They have style and look dope. It’s one of the greatest performances he’s ever seen on the show. They both have to have it. Jennifer is wondering if this is the final two right here, but knows with all the great singers they have there, it could be anyone. Steven calls the performance over the top. It defied judging and was only to be amazed.

Colton Dixon is usually working in the family-owned face-painting business this time of year at the Nashville Predators games. They earned a spot int he playoffs this year and he’s missing it. He wonders if he’s losing his skills. He’s singing Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper. Tony mentions they always try to write that song every time they go into a writing session as it’s such a great song. Gwen thought that song was strange at first, but also thought it was great. He sugggests singing half time, and Gwen combines with him. He wanted to ask her to sing it live with him, although she does have to tell him it’s not about her. Jimmy thinks it’s the right song this week.

Singing live tonight, Colton indeeds speeds it up to singing it halftime, and it was the right decision for him. I find myself bopping my head to the halftime beat as he sings. It’s hard not to find yourself lost in the song with him. I don’t think I have ever not enjoyed him though.

Steven tells Colton he has one of those voices that is so good he could do a record right now. He just proved what he could do to a good song and nailed it. He also wants to know who the drummer is because he’s outstanding. Jennifer adds he was in synch with the band and if a song is a journey, she felt so many different things while she was watching that. At the end when he hit the big note, she knew that’s where she wanted to go at the cliimax.

Randy explains that what Colton, Joshua, and Phillip did tonight was take the songs and make them their own. People have sung the song a lot, but Gwen and Tony gave him good advice. The breakdown thing with the drums in halftime was just sick. Colton is so sick, Steven is right. He’s ready. And “that drummer is sick, Dude.” Colton admits he stole the arrangement from another band, so he gives credit where it’s due.

Skylar misses her family and friends, the cooking, and the boiler and her guns. Yet she is still happy to be here and know it’s her only time to do it. Someone told her the mentor was Shalamar from the 80s, and she didn’t know who that was, but kept thinking it looked liked Gwen Stefani. She goes in there not sure what to do with song choice. They think 9 to 5 is a good song on her, but when she sings Wind Beneath My Wings, everyone was shocked it sounded so good. Gwen compares her voice to ice cream and thinks it could be a wow moment for her.

This is what I’ve been saying Skylar needed, to go back to showing she can do more than country, and this song shows hat. She can do the big songs too. And she hits the emotion in it, just like everyone was doing last week. She so hits it, that I want to know who she’s thinking of. I want to know who her hero is that she’s singing to. She still belts it, just like she does in her country tunes at the end, but in such a different way. Yep. Standing O, and it has Jennifer in tears, which puts me in tears.

Randy can only say wow fat first. The song started and was beautiful, and he loves the way Skylar looks. At the end she showed up, and he thinks it’s her best performance to date on the show. He thinks she wants it too. Jennifer explains Skylar just told America to not count her out. She’s been doing the country songs that she does great, but she just told them she can sing with the best of everyone here. Steven tells her it’s the best song she could have picked for her voice and the end of the night. It’s the beginning of a great career for her. Jennifer admits it’s an emotional song, but it was also the way she sang it that got her crying.

Randy thinks you have to vote now for who you want to win this thing. Skylar and Deandre were both great, as well as Jessica and Colton. Jennifer thinks you have to vote for who you feel has the whole package. Steven calls the era a hard one to sing for today’s voices, but he agrees you need to be the total package.

Clearly Hollie and Elise didn’t quite hit it tonight, but Elise completely redeemed herself in the duet with Phillip. I’m not sure who’s going to hit the bottom three, but I think Hollie has a good shot at going home. This is a year with so much talent, and she just isn’t getting this thing 100% An amazing voice just isn’t enough this year. You have to be the complete package, and Skylar just showed she could be a good performer and has a stunning voice.

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