American Idol recap: TheTop 12, Oops! Make That the Top 11!

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Welcome to Week Two of the Season 11 American Idol finals. Complete with bonus humiliate-the-contestant segment.

From the top of the show Ryan teased to the fact that they would address the news that "gentle giant" Jermaine had been kicked off the show. Although, despite the fact that it was already all over the Internet, and the vast majority of Americans can access the Internet, they played coy about who was going to be the eliminated Idol.

And of course they left it to 3/4 of the way into the episode (surprised they didn't close with it!)

The theme this episode was for each contestant to sing a song from the year they were born. They're a little loosey-goosey with the rules, though, so a good portion of the songs were actually from many years past, and only covered in the year the contestant was born. I call #shenanigans.

Jimmy Iovine brought will.i.am along to co-mentor the Idols this episode, and while will.i.am is quirky, he is no Mary J, that is all. Bring MJ EVERY week please.

Let's dig in:

1. Phillip Phillips sang Hard to Handle by Black Crowes (or Otis Redding, but who's counting?)

So I've figured out the answer for Phillip Phillips to get me to stop considering him a Dave Matthews wanna-be and like him on his own merits. The answer for him is to drop the guitar. And apparently to have surgery. Kidney stone surgery, ouch. (Although my viewing companion, having just emerged from foot surgery, was surprisingly way less sympathetic to his pain…she wanted him to suck it up!) Phillip did a really good job with this song. Like I said: First time I liked him. I think he's clearly safe.

2. Jessica sang Turn the Beat Around by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine (or Vicki Sue Robinson, but who's counting?)

I thought she did a nice job. She was maybe traipsing around a bit too much, which occasionally distracted her and led to not-so-great mic technique. And she perhaps also distracted herself by trying a little too hard to make it her own, but I simply didn't hear her getting behind the beat like the judges claimed. We watched it twice and thought she managed the syncopation fine. Still it was not a big wow moment like last week. I think she'll be safe, but she wasn't on her A game.

3. Heejun sang Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx

Heejun really has a nice voice and tone, but this was a boring performance, pitch problems or not. And I continue to think the disconnect between prankster personality and crooner vocals will not serve him well long-term. I think he'll be at risk.

4. Elise sang Let's Stay Together by Tina Turner (or Al Green, but who's counting?)

Image Courtesy of FOX

Nice job…a really nice mature, bluesy voice. This was one of my favorite performances of the evening…well, let's face it: It was one of the best songs tackled of the evening…standing out amongst a bunch of dreck.

5. Deandre sang Endless Love by Mariah Carey and Luther Vandross (or Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross, but who's counting?)

This definitely had some rough patches. And it highlighted his immaturity from a performance point of view. Like: Why was he marching in place? A more salient question for me, though, was: Why were they showing an hourglass losing time sand grain by sand grain as a background for a song about Endless Love? #KilltheKaraokeVideoEffects! I think Deandre might be in trouble.

6. Shannon sang by One Sweet Day Mariah Carey and Boyz2Men

Despite all the talk about developing stamina and breath control, she breathed way too much. In the middle of phrases, and I think even in the middle of words (total pet peeve of mine). I also didn't like her outfit. The black tights with silver flats needed to go. Shallow, I know. It was certainly better than last week (not saying too much) but lots of rough patches where she tried to do too much. She is likely at risk again.

7. Colton sang Broken Heart by White Lion

So they go on and on and on convincing us this is a rock song, and he has to sing it like a rock song, and it needs a rock song arrangement. And while he sounded really good, that did not sound like a rock song. It was an upbeat pop number at best. I don't think it will put him at risk (as unknown songs usually do) but it did live up to Colton-size expectations.

8. Erika sang Heaven by Bryan Adams

Ho hum. This sounded fine, but bored me to tears. I think I caught up on Words with Friends during this one (and I hate that game). Of course it could have been the boring boring Bryan Adams song that did her in. He is one boring Canadian. At risk, right? Can we vote off Bryan Adams?

9. Skylar sang That's Just Love Sneakin' Up On You by Bonnie Raitt

Skylar has an undeniably great instrument and energy, but she's just a little too off the cuff, and that means sometimes she gets lost in her performance. She needs to plan her attack more carefully. She seems off the cuff, and sometimes that means she repeats certain riffs, and sometimes it means she sings things that sound a little too random. But she's got so much commitment, and that means a lot. It means she's safe, probably.

10. Joshua sang When a Man Loves a Woman by Michael Bolton (or Percy Sledge, but who's counting?)

Wow. He has an amazing voice. he gave it his all. That was the song of the night. 'nuff said.

11. Hollie sang The Power of Love by Celine Dion

I didn't love this like the judges love it. It actually sounded a little sharp to me some of the time. And it sounded a little yell-y to me much of the time. She has a lovely tone and vibrato, but that was not 100% awesome. Still totally safe, though.

Bottom Line for the Bottom Three:

Should be: Heejun, Shannon, Erika with Shannon going home

Will be: Deandre, Shannon, Erika with Erika going home

But what did you think?

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