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

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

Phillip is singing Time of the Season, calling it a really sexy song. Steven jokes that Phillip is doing it close to the original melody, so it might scare people. He suggests he improvise it a little at the end though. Jimmy mentions all the things that are helping him such as the charisma and being a good-looking kid, and he and Steven are in agreement over this one.

With psychedelic colors in back of him, Phillip starts out the song playing his guitar to it, but ditches the earpiece at the beginning. It must have been bugging him. He gets a few falsetto notes in on the chorus each time which is interesting, as we normally don’t hear that out of him. It doesn’t wow me, but I think it shows another side to him.

Randy calls it a more relaxed, subdued kind of Phil Phillips sitting on the stool. It was funny to him that Steven mentioned singing the melody might scare some people as the judges were talking, saying that he really can sing the melody. It’s a cool thing, because it lets everyone know he can, but chooses not to for his own reasons. It was a lot less energy than usual, but he liked it and was able to hear him play the guitar more.

Jennifer thought it was mellow and really good. She knows why Phillip picked it, because the verses really suited his style, like it could be his song. Once he got to the chorus it was a recognizable melody and everybody loved it. Steven is glad he chose the song and stuck to the melody as it’s a great song and a crime not to. He sang it really well, so good for him. Phillip puts his arm around Ryan who tries to ham it up with Phillip’s guitar.

Hollie, Jessica, and Skylar get non-stool chat with Ryan. He mentions they like to mimic each other. Skylar gives her impression of Hollie. She says she doesn’t sound like that, but Skylar argues she does. Hollie impersonates Jessica, but does the way she sings, cracking them all up. Jessica just talks about how hard they worked on this song. The three are back in their dresses from the fir set of songs. It seems more and more like this guys’ duet and girls’ trio were thrown in at the last minute. No wardrobe, and no one seems to have picked the songs themselvs.

The three take on Your Love Is Lifting Me Higher and they do a great job with it. One thing that is very telling is that both Jessica and Hollie take turns on the chorus singing the high note. Alone you would think Hollie did a great job, but in comparison, Jessica’s is far better.

Steven just grins at the girls, then tells them it was great. It was a weird arrangement, but they sang the … hell out of it. He asks how you can go wrong with a jackie Wilson song. For Jennifer, seeing the three of them together on the stage is a treat, as they all have such great voices and range. To see them sing together, it suited them better than when they did a trio before. They were like three little dolls.

Randy mentions the girls’ great range, and agrees they sounded great, although it was a weird arrangement. He points out the great Jackie wilson, one of he best entertainers from the 60s, a man doing a falsetto just like them.

Skylar is back after the break to meet with Jimmy and Steven, singing You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me, and the guys love it. Jimmy asks if she’s going for Modern Country with this, and Steven hesitates, then says “Yeah, we can do that.” Skylar thinks they’re hilarious. Jimmy gives him a hard time about acting, and Skylar is just laughing hysterically. Back to business, Steven mentions Dusty Springfield was like the first lady of the British invasion, and she had some country roots.

Skylar looks more beautiful than I’ve ever seen her. She has a very subdued arrangement behind her, leaving just her voice, which is a great mark highlighting a voice she’s not supposed to have as a country rocker, but does. She blows this one out of the park. The emotion and everything is there.

Randy tells Skylar he said it earlier to someone else (Hollie) in round one, and this is now round two. She is definitely peaking at the right time. It was flawless and amazing. Every time she gets up, he believes her. He’s transfixed on everything she’s doing, and it’s the mark of a great singer. Plus, she’s starting to tell the stories more. He does ask who the weird people were on the bench, and there’s Ryan sitting there now talking about Lover’s Lane.

Jennifer asks Skylar, “You want to win, don’t you?” And in fact she does. She thinks she just might with performances like that, as she’s winning over America as we speak. To come out with the two performances, one where she attacked, then ran after the trio, and came back out here totally composed, then glanced over at the couple sitting on the bench making it look like it was her old boyfriend or something. It was all a natural moment and she knows how to make it work.

Steven thinks it proves more that it works when you work it. He loves that she picked that song, and notes the other Steven was right about Dusty, saying she was the first one among groups like Stones, Animals, Kinks. Skylar took the song and brought it into the twenty-first century and did it so well. I rewound the performance at this point to watch the couple on the bench, as I had missed them. Sure enough, they they are.

Jessica is up next and is singing You Are So Beautiful for her second song. Jimmy mentions the arrangement is going to be very important, because she has to have that rough background against her beautiful voice. It has to be more Joe Cocker than a lounge singer song. They don’t want it to sound like Musak. As Jessica cracks up, Stevie says he used to produce music while Jimmy was just the engineer. As Jimmy continues talking about about how it can’t be too beautiful, Stevie cracks it’s something Joe Cocker will never be accused of. All kidding aside, I do know what Jimmy means. It needs that certain grit to it.

Jessica sings tonight, sitting amongst candles on the stage. And there’s no grit, per se, but there’s a groundedness to it that feels like it’s a naked performance, like we can see through her. It’s absolutely 100% gorgeous.

Steven tells Jessica once again she showed America how beautiful her voice is and what a great singer she is. He thinks she’s going to be number one. Jennifer asks how they could have let that girl go home. It reminded her of when she sang I Will Always Love You and how she captivated the audience. She did it again. She took her time with it even though it was so easy to rush a song like that.

Randy mentions Round one, and says this time, Jessica is on the top of the leader board. Did we turn into Dancing with the Stars? He points to the wisdom and talent she has. People who want to be singers should note when you could hold a note like that, even the vibrato, it is so pro, and there are people who have been singing for fifty ears who can’t sing like that. And if she can tap into the feeling like she just did, she’s off to the races. She was actually singing without her shoes, so Ryan goes out and gives them to her to make her feel more comfortable.

Joshua gets the last song of the night and thinks about singing some Tom Jones, but Jimmy and Steven tell him it’s a bad idea, suggesting he sing To Love Somebody. He’s not too sure about it, walks away to try out the song on his own, then comes back and does the song fifteen minutes later. Steven slaps the chair saying he loved it. He doesn’t think Jimmy could do that. It’s an incredible performance, and he wishes everyone who watches the show could have been in the room.

Now I’m primed and ready after that setup. Joshua takes the stage and sings subdued for him in the beginning. I’m waiting for it. It’s just a different vibe for him until the end when he completely belts it like only Joshua can. He puts everything into it and just lets it rip. It leads to the only complete standing O of the night. Complete with yells and whistles from the judges.

Randy gives a shoutout first to Robin Gibb who’s battling an illness. The Bee Gees were the greatest songwriting people in the world, and he calls it amazing that Joshua had never heard the song, then did that to it, as that’s what it’s “all about.” To do that with all that passion, his experience is way beyond his age. It’s not so much of a learned thing. He is one of the best singers ever on the show. No matter what goes down, he’s one of the best ever. That was incredible and no one could do that better.

Jessica says there are so few people who could do that with that passion and voice. It’s been years since they’ve seen anyone do that. She thinks he’s one of the best singers in the past fifty years. With the right record … she tells Jimmy to not mess this thing up, as this boy deserves this. Steven can’t say much more than they’ve said. If he’s never heard the song before, and went out and came back in fifteen minutes, it’s what a real artist is. It would have been a hit record right there.

Tomorrow night is a hard call, as Hollie did do better than she ever has tonight, but I don’t know if she’ll get a chance at staying another week. Week five isn’t usually the time to stay beacuse you finally get what people have been telling you since the beginning. It’s usually the time to clean house. The judges haven’t liked Phillip the last few weeks as much as they have, but he’s the only one to never be in the bottom three, and it’s clear he’s a huge fan favorite. I just can’t imagine who will be there. Hollie has to at least appear, if not go home. And season three was the last time a winner appeared in the bottom three and still won. For my money, I’d rather keep the two artists that always make songs their own, Phillip and Skylar. I want different in season 11, not what I’ve heard before, but who people are saying is the best. As far as albums, I would probably only buy Phillip’s of the people left.

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