About LauraBelle

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

American Idol, May 9 – The Four Swingers

I was wondering how they were going to stretch the final four of American Idol out to two hours, and I have my answer. Two duets, a group performance, and an Adam Shankman mansion visit, and it seemed like nearly thirty to forty–five minutes. What will they add on next week? Three songs apiece is still only an hour. Tonight they’re doing two songs apiece, one a song song by an California artist or about California, and the other a song that so inspires them, they wish they wrote it. They’re also reflecting back on their road to get here.

Phillip Phillips is up first, and says he never even expected to make it through the judges in Savannah, GA. They saw some amazing singers, so he surprised himself then to get through, and continues to surprise himself learning two or three songs in a week. His family and friends tell him he’s getting better and he believes them, as his brother-in-law was honest enough to tell him that Time of the Season was kind of rough. He tries to perform like every song could be his last.

For Phillip’s first song selection tonight, it’s Have You Ever Seen the Rain, and he’s out onstage sans guitar. He’s back in his groove tonight. He’s singing the melody, which Steven Tyler should like, and he seems to be missing that awkwardness he picked up last week. He also has that thing trapped in him again that’s clawing it’s way out. He’s back.

Steven can’t even talk at first as the screams for Phillip are too loud. He finally gets an opening and tells him he’s living proof the road to success is always under construction. He’s something else. Jennifer Lopez then interrupts and asks him if he sang with cottonmouth. She thought it sounded pretty good and like it had a Joe Cocker type of quality they hadn’t heard from him before. The vocal quality was perfect for that song.

Randy thought it sounded a little rough in the beginning as Phillip tried to find the pitch, but as soon as he started to smile when he hit the chorus, Randy knew the vibe was setting in and that the pitch would be there and he was right on the money. He wants Phillip to remember if he has a good time the judges and the audience have a good time too. Ryan Seacrest brings Phillip out a bottle of water, then mentions that in rehearsal, Phillip had been worried about getting the lyrics right. Phillip got it and didn’t even have to write them down.

Hollie Cavanagh remembers walking into the auditions last year with no confidence and Randy thinking she wasn’t ready. When she sang another song for the judges and sang The Climb, it was a turning point for her, and she knew it was what she wanted to do the rest of her life. She didn’t make it last year, but he faith that Jennifer had in her that she would make it in a year or two inspired her this time. She has a hard time believing how far she’s come. She believes if you want something you should just go for it.

It’s not too surprising that Hollie chooses to do Faithfully for her first song choice, as she can’t seem to help but choose the big songs. She’s horribly off in the beginning of the song and never really seems to find the correct pitch. Maybe the wind machine on her is preempting that. She does have one helluva note at the end though when she finally does find the pitch.

How Randy could find the pitch off with Phillip, but not find that with Hollie, I’m not sure. He tells her she’s peaking at the right time and says he’s so amazed watching her clip and realizing how much Jennifer had championed her. The song is near and dear to his heart with all the time he spent with the Journey boys, and he thinks Hollie did Steve Perry proud. She’s right in the zone, and he thinks she wants to take this thing. Jennifer got a little emotional seeing how far Hollie has come, and how she was so laid back in the beginning of the song with such a confidence. It’s something they’ve been waiting to see from her.

Steven watched Hollie two years ago and she was so young, but he’s watched her creativity come around. Creativity is a delicate flower, but you can make it bloom by giving it positive affirmations as Jennifer did. Hollie does it every night as her choice of song was over the top again. Seriously I’m about to pull my hair out as Hollie admits she wasn’t 100% sure of the true meaning of the song but other people helped her with it. If you don’t understand the lyrics in a song, don’t sing it just because it’s a power ballad.

Jason Derulo is still working on that Idol coronation song for this year, and we get a chance to see him working on the song. He’s been working so hard on it he’s in a neck brace. His engineers have been helping him find the right sound to go with the lyrics the audience has suggested. He wants the fans to keep on voting for the favorite lyrics. And … that was a use of another five minutes or so.

Joshua Ledet gets non-stool chat and discusses his first song choice. He wanted a song with some meaning to it, and in fact he wants to dedicate it to his dad because he goes through so much and carries the burdens of so many. If he gets to go on the hometown visit next week he’s looking forward to the people, the environment, and the humidity.

He remembers auditioning for season 10 and that everyone turned him away except for Steven. Joshua was going through so much and had just lost his grandmother, so knew he wasn’t ready. Randy thought he could come back and slay it, and in fact he did and made it this year. His whole family has overcome their fear of flying just because he’s on the show. And now, he’s top four, which he calls ridiculous.

Joshua’s first song choice tonight is You Raise Me Up, which we just heard on The Voice this week as well. I’m not sure if you can compare the two versions of the song, though. Chris Mann sang it classically, while Joshua is singing it with his R&B and gospel influence in it. Both seem just as good to me.

Jennifer thinks the whole world knows what she thinks of Joshua. She also thinks it will be interesting from now until the end, because they do have such amazing singers who she feels are great artists. Watching the final four walk out tonight, these are the ones she thought would be there at the end. This was another great performance for her, and she loved the drama of it. Sh thinks if he stays consistent, he could end up right there.

After it was mentioned in Joshua’s film clip that he almost didn’t get on the plane to come to Idol, Steven is glad he did. He sang his little tush off again. Courage is fear that has said its prayers, and he has said his prayers and the world is accepting him like nobody’s business. Randy is also extremely happy he came back, as he’s validating what they say. If you are a great singer and artist, you can sing anything. He never would have thought the Josh Groban song could have been taken to church. Joshua is just an amazing artist with a ginormous career ahead of him. While that song was for Joshua’s father, he admits that his second one is for his mom for Mother’s Day.

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