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

American Idol, Apr. 26 – Outlook for Remaining Top 5

The writing was on the wall over who would be going home tonight on American Idol. Elise Testone and Hollie Cavanagh have appeared in the bottom three so often, there is no way either were going to win the show. Regardless of whether you’re not the person with the least amount of votes, you had less votes than most of the other people there. You’re not going to get the votes. Period. You can have some great weeks to earn a few more fans, but you’re not going to win enough people over to eventually get more than half of the votes to win the show. It’s just not going to happen.

That’s what bonds Elise and Hollie, but what separates them is their experience. There is no doubt they are both stunning vocalists. Yet, the decade of difference in their ages answers for a lot. Elise, a vocal coach and wedding singer, knows exactly who she is as an artist. She’s been showing us that this entire time. Hollie, like many her age, isn’t completely sure. She knows what makes her voice sound really good, but she doesn’t know how to perform and entertain.

The audiences aren’t responding to Hollie because of that. They need to connect with her and can’t, because she doesn’t connect with herself. With Elise, she’s so wrapped up in knowing exactly who she is, that she found it hard to open herself up past that. She has some type of hidden pain going on in her and didn’t want to let us in on that. That’s okay, but in the process she locked out the audience who wanted to get to know her. Had we seen more of that person who laughs after everything she says, instead of the person who holds it all so tightly together to try and prove she has it all together, she would have been a frontrunner.

It’s the difference between her and Phillip Phillips. He also knows exactly who he is as an artist, but he’s so sure of who he is, he’s wide open. You get what you get with him. And since he’s the only one of the final five to not appear in the bottom three yet, audiences are apparently liking what they’re getting from him, no matter what Jimmy Iovine says, and no matter how many neutral colors he wears.

Here’s a look at what Phillip and Hollie and the rest of the top 5 have to do to stay out of the bottom three next week, to ensure they make it to the final 4.

Hollie Cavanagh – This girl is living on borrowed time. This week she had one performance where she tried so hard to show emotion she had a hard time staying in tune, and another that was perfection, but only because it’s a song she knows so well she auditioned with it. There is no way she could have understood the full meaning behind the lyrics of Save Me. I love the original version that was so packed with emotion, and Hollie’s version just didn’t have that. If she had worked on the emotions earlier in the competition, she could have possibly saved herself, but it’s too late now. She might make it to final four, but if she does, one of the others will have to have a really bad week.

Skylar Laine – Skylar just has to keep doing what she’s doing, as she’s doing it well. It seems the only reason she was in the bottom three was by default. Someone had to be there with Elise and Hollie. Jimmy Iovine called her self-indulgent for picking a song for her community when she had the choice of any song she wanted. But it wasn’t self-indulgent for Hollie to choose a song she’d already performed for the show? Skylar needs to not worry about his criticisms and just keep doing what she’s doing, as it was enough for Jennifer Lopez to have thought she won the night.

Joshua Ledet – It is so effortless for Joshua. It all just pours out of him. You would think he doesn’t really need to do a lot to stay out of the bottom three, however he has been there a few times already. He just needs to keep taking songs and straddling that line between gospel and all the other musical genres, and he’ll continue to be successful. In some ways it’s reminiscent of what Ruben Studdard did in season two, minus the sweat and area code.

Phillip Phillips – We’ve been let into the fact that Phillip is a really sick guy. That’s why he’s often not in the Ford music videos. That’s why he looked so pale tonight. It wasn’t fear of making it to the final five, but fear of … making it out of there alive. He knows who he is as a performer and continues to do well just being himself. He just needs to keep doing that no matter what Jimmy and the judges say. Fat-Bottomed Girls was the perfect song for him and showed another side to him, and it was the opposite to the type of performance he turned in for the Dave Matthews song. He has the best shot of anyone of singing the Idol coronation song in a few weeks.

Jessica Sanchez – She still seems like she’s on borrowed time, only because she needed a judges’ save to get here. She’s the type of performer it was created for. However, no one who has been saved has made it to the final two. She could be the first. However, as stunning of a vocalist as she is, she still doesn’t always pick the right songs. Jimmy was right that Dance with My Father was a good choice, and Bohemian Rhapsody was a bad choice. That was self-indulgent. She thought she had the vocal chops to pull it off, and indeed she does, but she’s not a rocker. Every time she’s tried it this season, it hasn’t come off well. She needs to avoid that going forward, or she will have no chance of being the first to the final two with a save.

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