About LauraBelle

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

American Idol, May 2 – Your Choice: Different or Best?

I’m thinking when Elise Testone left last week, she gave Hollie Cavanagh the keys to her summer house in the bottom three. I think she’ll be there no matter what she does tonight.

To start the show, a girl with medium-length blonde hair is holding a sign that says, “Ryan, will you do my hair?” He tells her he will right after the show. I thought his request line on the radio meant something a little different. Ryan moves on to discussing our two themes of the night, 60s and Brit pop. Jimmy Iovine brought in Steven Van Zandt, aka Little Steven from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, to help him mentor this week. He’s looking forward to meeting these Idol singers.

Meeting first with Jimmy and Little Steven is Hollie. She wants to sing River Deep Mountain High this week, and Steven tells her it’s probably one of the most exciting records of all time. She chose the song because she thinks people want her to come out of her shell more. He advises her to get rid of that part of her that just wants to please people. Jimmy agrees if she thinks she has to entertain, she’s dead. Right. Why would I want to be entertained watching American Idol?

Hollie starts the song from deep in the audience, then walks up to the stage with her backup singers following her. She looks a bit like the Pied Piper. She’s definitely better on this than I’ve heard her in a while and has so much more confidence. She gets a little screamy for a bit, and the 60s dancing she throws in looks definitely forced. Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler give her a standing O while Jennifer Lopez stays seated.

Steven Tyler tells Hollie it’s the first time he’s heard her really step out and use her blues. You can always learn how to shake it off a little, but the blues are something you have to learn through experience, yet she showed him she had it in her with some of the runs. Jennifer thinks it was nice to see her surrounded by the bigger production and was glad to see she could lead that. She loved when in the second verse Hollie was attacking the song and biting into the words.

Randy confirms the others loved it, then makes it unanimous. What they said about Hollie not caring if any one else was there is true. She has to keep doing it that way. Jennifer was right about the second verse, as Hollie wore it out and was digging in. Ryan tells us her second song is great, too, judging from the rehearsals. Sounds like the judges might be worried about her chances too.

Phillip Phillips is singing The Letter, which is a song perhaps sung by every rocker on this show. He’s not real crazy about the original version, so changed it up a lot. Steven calls it very cool, then Jimmy asks if he’s bothered that Phillip doesn’t go for the high note in the bridge. Stevie tries to tell him that’s the way he hears it and says he watches the show, but now wonders if Jimmy does. “Leave him alone. He’s good.”

It’s definitely a different version of the song, which is good since we hear it every year, and I have to say I’m really digging it. I’m just enjoying the hell out of it. Who cares about the high note he ignores. I’d rather hear this thing that is different than hear it the same way every time.

The judges can’t even talk because the crowd is going so crazy. Randy eventually says they were discussing it amongst them, and he understands the conversation between Steven and Jimmy, but what he’s loving in this minute is that it’s down to the wire and while some do a typical version of a song that isn’t as good, Phillip came out and made it his own, vibed it up. It might be missing some melody, but he made it new for Randy. He loved it.

Jennifer doesn’t know the original song and didn’t know what to compare it to so was asking about the melody, because she knows Phillip tends to take the melody out of songs and “Phillip Phillips it.” He’s so compelling to watch, and she just wants to get up on her feet at the end as he’s really a dynamic performer.

Steven has good news and bad news. The bad news is that he did miss the melody, but the good news is that Phillip gets away with it, and that should make him proud. The Stones got away with it too. Rarely does someone come around who actually wears it proud and wears his freak flag. Randy agrees that the best part about Phillip is that he strives to be original. His girlfriend’s in the audience, and she’s cute as a button. Ryan’s just glad that that leaves his girlfriend, Julianna Hough, out of Phillip’s range.

Skylar Laine is singing Knock On Wood, but Steven doesn’t really like it on her. They go through a few other choices and end up with Fortunate Son. Without even hearing her sing it I know it’s a better choice for her. Jimmy likes it on her as it’s a song of rebellion, and that’s how he sees Skylar. He knows she needs a jetpack on this week to stay out of the bottom three.

Oh yeah. Skylar is totally rocking this one out. Forgive my 80s vernacular but it’s the only way I can think of to phrase it right now. And talk about confidence. Wow. If Phillip “Phillip Philliped” his song, she “Skylar Laines” this one. And I love her sparkly boots.

Jennifer asks Skylar how she’s feeling, as she pictures her backstage with people holding her while she begs to be let out there until she finally gets out and gives us all that energy. It’s amazing, as she attacks every single song and makes everyone go crazy for her. Each week we see how much more willing she is to be fearless.

Steven knows Skylar loves music, and music loves her. He particularly likes when she boot scoots out there and takes it up a bunch of notches. He loves her voice, the way she dresses, everything. Randy calls CCR one of the greatest bands ever, and believes Fogerty and the others would be very proud. She was born to be on the stage. He knows she’s born to do what she’s doing, and she was so in her element, it must be what she loves the best. He also likes that she calls him Sir.

Joshua and Phillip are teaming up for their first duet. This ought to be very interesting. They get non-stool chat with Ryan, and Phillip explains that when he first found out they’d be doing this, he was dreading it. Joshua admits it was horrible news. Joshua doesn’t know it, and Phillip messes him up all the time. Ryan suggests it could be purposely.

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