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

American Idol, Apr. 25 – “Die, Sink, or Swim”

Phillip takes on Fat-Bottomed Girls, and I can’t wait to see what he does with this one. It’s not a song that requires a lot of vocal technique. It just requires you to really get into it, and that’s exactly what Phillip does. He embraces every moment of this song, and moves a little aside from the type of performance he usually does. As Steven would say, he’s singing the melody here instead of just dong his own thing to it.

Steven says it just goes to prove about fat-bottomed girls that the bigger the cushion, the bigger the cushion. J-Lo wonders why he looks at her when he says that. Well … Back to Phillip, Steven loves watching him run out of breath, because it’s that character that nobody else has. It was a great song choice. What Jennifer loves is that he gives them different flavors. Even though he sings songs the same and they’re his, we get a different side to him. This didn’t remind her of Dave Matthews at all. That is great and the mark of a good singer.

To be honest, Randy liked it, but he wasn’t jumping up and down. The question is if the security guy was. It was good, but he doesn’t know if it was “Oh my God.” Ryan notes that he’s hosted all the shows and hasn’t ever seen Randy jump up and down. And I’ve seen all the shows, and I haven’t seen that either. Phillip says he’s here to take criticism and he got to perform with Queen, which no one ever gets to say. It’s going on his resume. We know what he wants, as that’s not going to matter to anyone on the pawn shop career path.

Hollie sings , and as soon as she starts, I think this girl isn’t listening. Someone this young is never going to get the meaning behind this song. This is one of my favorite Queen songs, so I’m hypercritical on it. She’s pitchy and trying to force the emotion. Squinting and staring doesn’t mean emotion. Her voice cracks, too, on the big note. It could have been something we really felt, and we didn’t.

Steven loves the way Hollie sings this song, an old-fashioned one with a strong melody, which he misses today sometimes. He thinks she did a good job with it. Jennifer felt her get emotional in the middle of it, and Hollie confirms that she fell in love with the song and started to get emotional with it. Jennifer sees that, but thinks she did go off a tiny bit. She’s always going to sound good, but she wants to see her enjoy it more and connect more. She wants to see her smile and get upset. She was told once to just perform, as people are going to watch no matter what. She now does it thinking you can watch if you want to, and if Hollie can do that, it will help her enjoy herself more, which will help us enjoy it more.

Randy agrees, telling Jennifer that was well-said. He thinks this was a good performance, which Hollie has had a lot of, but one thing he didn’t like was that she didn’t have to pull back as much because the melody was simple. She could take more chances, as every time they take the stage now they need to have a moment so that people think they could win, and that song didn’t have that for him. Hollie thinks last week she felt comfortable, and knows it’s time to step it up each week. Yet … she doesn’t.

Looking back on round one of the performances, Jennifer is asked who she thinks won that round, and she responds Skylar. Randy is asked who needs to step it up, and he thinks Hollie needs to. He agrees with Jennifer about Skylar, but also thinks Joshua and Elise were great. Ryan wonders if Steven was worried about the Idols taking on the Freddie Mercury songs, and he admits he was, because they’re vocal gymnasts, and these were simpler melodies they needed to hang hats on. Like he said to Hollie, she hang her hat on it, and it was good, but he’s a big Skylar fan here too.

Jessica gets stool chat with Ryan discussing her own song choice for this round, which gets her emotional. She’s singing Dance with My Father. Her dad has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan before, and he’s headed to Singapore very soon. She’s a daddy’s girl and wants to dedicate this to him.

The other Idols get a chance to chime in on what they think of Jessica, and Phillip deadpans the judges saved her, and now “we’re all messed up because of her. Thanks a lot, Jessica … Thanks for ruining our lives” Hollie wishes there were three saves. Skylar talks about how jessica is such a tiny girl, then gets on stage, and powers it. Joshua calls it very weird. She’s also the only left who is still in school. Phillip cracks they don’t know if she actually goes to school, and he thinks she could be doing something with the government, or she could be an alien. Jessica says they’re having parties in the Idol school, and the others are jealous they’re not invited.

Jessica starts singing Dance with My Father seated on the steps. She definitely gets the emotion in this song, and just looking in her face makes me start to tear up, until the squirrel convention going on outside my window takes my attention away. Really, there were seemingly five or six of them that were chasing each other around in the tree. Maybe they want to see Jessica’s performance too. It really is great, and it’s because we can see her connect. It’s that part that Hollie doesn’t get yet.

Jennifer tells Jessica Luther Vandross is one of her favorite singers of all time, and that may be the best she has ever heard that song, and they’ve heard it a lot over the past two years. Jacob Letz sang it last year amazingly, but the tenderness and vocal ability here is great, and it’s the feeling that makes her say it was the most beautiful ever. Steven doesn’t think Jessica can sing a song bad. He’s heard her not up to snuff, but her voice is so different than everyone else’s, it touches on Whitney, but she has her own thing going on. It’s been a joy, pleasure, and honor to watch her unfold her wings the way she has.

Randy is so amazed at the talent this year. He thinks they’re all ready to jump on the charts and have a big career with this. Jessica is so amazing, as she is so natural, and her tendencies vocally, where she goes with it, and now with the feeling in there and the connection, every time she gets up and sings, you know what’s wrong with it? Absolutely nothing. She’s happy that tomorrow her dad will attend the show before he heads to Singapore.

The Idols chip on on their impressions of Skylar. Elise says she’s full of fire. Joshua says she’s ridiculous when she gets onstage, and it’s like something just takes over her. Hollie and Jessica try to do an impression jumping around and singing “Yeah.” Joshua compares her to a firecracker that’s been lit and popping ever since. The last two performances, Hollie thought Skylar was actually going to jump into the crowd. Phillip suggests we Google the known fact that she can’t stop singing or talking. She’s also a tough girl, or “thick-boned, per Hollie. Skylar is a little upset that she thinks she called her fat.

Skylar picks up the guitar tonight to sing Tattoos on the Town, and she’s embodying everything they said about her. Except the fat thing. I think it’s just an expression the British Hollie wasn’t in touch with. She meant thick-skinned. This is just Skylar as we know her. Great at country in every way and seemingly so full of life.

Randy mentions that Jennifer just asked what they were judging tonight, as they’re all so good. Skylar hit the big note at the end, and he’s a ginormous fan. To be that country singer with that big range that she has, and to be fearless and go after notes, have fun every time she’s up there, and sing the way she wants and be effortless, it pours out to us. Jennifer knows Skylar is really comfortable up there, and thats what makes it great to watch. She keeps wowing. She started the season with people not taking notice of her, but now she’s really hitting her stride.

Steven doesn’t think Skylar took that song where she’s taken others, and he kind of misses that flair, but she can do no wrong, and he’s her biggest fan. Just like Heard It Through the Grapevine, she needs to find songs that take her voice to that place. But, he enjoyed it. She shows her feather tattoo to Ryan, saying it means her problems are as light as a feather because God holds them for her. As far as the song, it was for everyone in her hometown.

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