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

American Idol, May 9 – The Four Swingers

Hollie meets with Jimmy to debut her second song choice, I Can’t Make You Love Me. She thinks every girl wants to be able to write the things you want to say to a guy but can’t. Jimmy thinks you can’t get a girl with more soul and feel than Bonnie Raitt, and the problem is Hollie struggles with that. He warns her not to over-feel it. She seems to finally get it, though, saying just reading the lyrics makes her tear up. If she sings it like she sang last week, Jimmy thinks she might do okay.

I think it’s probably a song Hollie has sung often before, nevertheless she’s on pitch and gets the feeling, the two knocks she usually has against her. I agree about Bonnie Raitt, and happen to love this song, and was waiting to trash it, but I can’t. It’s good. It’s too much vibrato, but in tune. I know she understands it, even if it’s on a very basic level. She should have been singing songs she understood the whole time. Thats what was wrong with her first performance. She didn’t understand the words and had to be told what they meant.

Steven thinks Jimmy was right about the song. You have to have gone through a bunch of things to sing a song like that. It’s not how you sing the song, but how you say the words and come across. He felt it fell a little short of the dynamic range in which she can sing. Jennifer agrees, saying when she’s interpreting a song that’s not her own, if you’ve gone through that stuff, it’s easier to sing, but she’s trying to make America love her, and that could have been her hook. It doesn’t have to be so literal, but J-Lo felt she bought the emotion and it got the better of her with too much vibrato that made her vocal go off. She wanted it to be her best performance ever, but it just didn’t happen that way.

For Randy it wasn’t the maturity in her with the song, but it was just the song. She needs moments now, and it’s a great song, but she’s a different type of singer than Bonnie Raitt. She has a ginormous voice and needs things that give her those moments, but had nowhere to go with it. It was the wrong song at the wrong time.

Joshua is singing It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World for his second performance and dedicating it to his mom. She’s the backbone of the family, and he knows without her, his dad wouldn’t be the man that he is today. Jimmy admits he was very fortunate to hear James Brown in the studio a few times and feels very fortunate. He was just 19 years old and was impressed because some guy would come in and comb James’ hair, and he wondered if that’s what being famous was. He thinks he kills this song more than other things we’ve heard from him.

From note one, Jimmy is right. I have a hard time hearing him singing thinking that it’s not his original song. He even strains singing it like that person inside Phillip has now crawled inside Joshua. Maybe they’re beginning to rub off on each other in their duets. Phillip found something new in himself tonight, and now Joshua has as well. This is flat out amazing. He gets a well-deserved judges’ standing O.

Steven tells Joshua that neither man nor woman has ever sang that good with that much compassion on the show ever. He can go home now. He’s never heard anything like it in his life. Jennifer feels people at home may have thought like she did that they had seen everything he had to give and how he can interpret a song, but we haven’t. She then has to speak in Spanish to get the right words out.

Randy tells Joshua he delivered them and America tonight. Everyone got something tonight from this performance. This is the time when you should make everyone forget about everything other than what you’re doing. He thinks it’s one of the best performances in the history of any signing show including theirs. If you want to know what singing is all about, with emotion and connecting to lyrics, watch Joshua Ledet. Jennifer never know what “takin’ it to church” meant before this.

Jessica is singing And I’m Tellin’ You, and talks about when she was saved. I’m sure it made her say she wasn’t goin’ home. She probably does understand the song to that level, but if you look at the part in the movie where this song takes place, she can’t understand that at her age. Jimmy notes he had Jessica in his bottom two last week, but he knows she comes back ferocious when she’s challenged. He tells her listening to her sing the song he’ll remember many things in his life, and will definitely remember this one.

Jessica can belt the song out tonight like nobody’s business with as much power as I’ve ever heard. She screams it and shouts some anger with it, that’s true, and has some tremendous glory notes. I think she was right that she’s secretly 65. However it’s a song she’s been performing since she was 7 years old, so it should be one that she knows how to sing. That’s my only knock against it. It’s another judges’ standing O, that looks a little begrudging.

Steven calls it another winning performance and just over the top. He jokingly asks her to tell him how she really feels. It’s what they have been talking about since the beginning, getting out of yourself, and putting yourself into the songs where it makes everyone think what they were doing.

Jessica is predicting a real race to the finish. There’s nothing else to say after a performance like that. Jessica’s vocal ability isn’t something you see all the time. She’s sure she feels a little emotional as she let so much out. Randy doesn’t know what’s going on tonight. but Phillip, Joshua, and Jessica are in it to really win it This song is one of the hardest in the world to sing, but she got up on the stage and slayed it. Julian Lennon is in the house, and from the audience he gives Jessica her props.

Randy just about said as much, that he believes Hollie should be going home. It’s hard to say this close to the wire when all the people left are the judges’ favorites, especially when they continue to heap so much praise on them by telling them the performances are the best ever on a TV show, it goes a little tar. Yet, reading between all their lines, I think if they had their druthers, they’d send Hollie home tonight, as much as Jennifer does like her. We’ll see ho wit turns out.

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