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American Idol, Apr. 11 – “Crawling Into People’s Hearts”

Skylar and Colton are combining on a duet, this time on Don’t You Wanna Stay. He notes it’s “once again a country duet with Skylar Laine.” She can’t believe it’s yet another love song with everyone already thinking they’re dating anyway. He tries tell people yet again they are not dating, and she says it’s only other people that keep going on and on about it. He assures us they are not dating, because she owns a gun.

I just love this song to begin with, and love Kelly Clarkson, so I’m going to be very pointed with my comments here. Or at least I wanted to. There aren’t many people who can power the same as Kelly, but Skylar manages it, although countrifies it a bit more. Colton is respectable on this as well, despite not being a country guy.

Steven tells the two they just made love singing to each other, so it doesn’t much matter anyway. He calls it beautiful, and really appreciated the turnaround before the pre-chorus. The way they held their harmonies was gorgeous. Jennifer agrees about the harmonies and discusses seeing Kelly and Jason perform the song on the stage last year. She knows it’s not an easy song to sing with everything going on with it. Randy loves them both dearly, but for him it was just okay. He thought their solos were better. He and Jennifer both agree that while Skylar was pitchy a few times, she also had more wow moments, but they recognize it’s not easy to do Kelly.

It’s back on the road, this time to McKinney, Texas, Hollie Cavanagh’s hometown. A woman that owns a fudge shop has made Hollie Pops. Her biggest supporters are of course her family, including her family in England. I have noticed her accent before tonight. She also has a whole stack of cards supporting her.

To get a fresh start after a few bottom three appearances, she is singing Perfect. Jimmy says she wins the last note of the night award. He knows all she is missing is extensive experience. Akon thinks she needs a bolt of lightening to get there. At this point, though, the bolt of lightening should have already happened.

Hollie sings from a stool sitting next to a guitar player on an accompanying stool. She slows the song way down, but as a fan of the original version, it’s not really what I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear her rock it out. Her phrasing is also a little off. She cuts off the notes in odd places. She’s also not getting the emotions again on a song, as while she’s singing to someone about how perfect they are, she’s looking pained. But yes, she gets the last note of the night award.

Jennifer tells Hollie she looks beautiful tonight, which means she could be working her way into a criticism. She feels her fighting and wanting to be perfect, but it’s not all about that. She then oddly says, “We’ll see how it all turns out.” In other words, she thinks she’s gone this week. Don’t look for a save from her. Steven agrees it’s not about being perfect and says it wasn’t perfect for him tonight, as it kind of just laid there compared to how she usually sings. But he agrees she looks good tonight.

Randy notes how quiet it is in there suddenly and agrees it’s not perfect, but thinks it’s a lot better than it was last week. He believes she redeemed herself somewhat. She can definitely sing and hit those big notes and was spot on, but he was missing some feeling behind them. Yet he thinks she should be proud of being better than last week. That was just … very uncomfortable.

Our road trip continues, this time to Leesburg, Georgia, Phillip’s hometown. He appreciate’s their support, saying without them, he wouldn’t be here. Back at the pawn shop, people have been trying to buy his truck, his first guitar, his dad’s turkey, etc. He thinks it’s a little funny. He misses it, but is glad to be here chasing his dreams.

This week Phillip is singing Give a Little More, because he wants to be different, but Akon doesn’t think it’s exciting enough. Akon has the piano drop out and just Phillip play on the guitar, and Jimmy thinks that fixes it. Jimmy again talks about Phillip vs. Colton for the female vote, and it clearly makes Phillip a little uncomfortable.

Phillip performs the song as Akon suggested, and they have a sax player backing him up. He so Phillip Phillips it, that it’s hard to even imagine it as a Maroon 5 song. Yet, it’s still different than what we usually see him do, but in a good way. It’s not my favorite he’s done, but still really good. It just doesn’t have that same excitement it usually does.

Steven tells Phillip they’ve watched him evolve here, and the more he’s taken himself seriously, the more he’s singing melody and hitting the lines, which is different than the guy who first came to see them. He now sees Phillip as a Steve McQueen/Johnny Cash kind of guy. Jennifer agrees with the comparison of him being a McQueen/Cash baby. As for the performance, it was a little underwhelming for her, and she loves him. What she wanted to see him do is break out a little to really have exciting performances.

Randy has to agree. It wasn’t Phillip’s greatest performance. What he liked most about it was the first eight or so bars where it was just him and the guitar, and he felt it was going somewhere, but it normalized itself later. He is singing more melody, which will lead him to more of a hit/radio type of song if that’s what he’s looking for. Phillip’s cool, though, and calls this “all good.”

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