American Idol Recap: The Top 5 Are Down to the Wire

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And it's a nice crop of talented youngsters.

This week Jimmy Iovine brought Little Steven as a mentor, so most of their mentoring seemed to consist of them ribbing each other and ignoring the Idols. Not sure how helpful that was.

Each Idol sang two songs, one from the 60s, one from Britain. If there was a *reason* those were the themes, I missed it. Somehow everyone except Hollie picked old British songs, so the whole evening had a retro feel. (Not old, like parlor songs sung on a harpsichord, just old, like the 60s again.)

Let's dig in.

Image courtesy of Fox

1. Hollie

60s: River Deep Mountain High by Tina Turner: The pre-package was all about how she had to show some fierceness and sass, and she really doesn't have that sass. She still seemed eager to please. And she also seemed pretty concerned about looking pretty. Tina Turner does not worry about looking pretty when she sings, y'all, she gets down and dirty and doesn't care who knows it. Oh. And she sounded good. You know, for what that's worth.

British: Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis: That was really lovely. Her best, most connected and heartfelt performance. I still don't think Hollie is at the level she needs to be to have gotten this far, but I enjoyed this a lot.

Bottom line: She might have saved her self with last night's performances, might have even saved herself form the Bottom Two.

2. Phillip

60s: The Letter by the Boxtops: I liked that enough, certainly more than I've liked many of his performances. Although every time he sings and plays the guitar doing his Dave Matthews foot moves and Dave Matthews vocal turns (and way more disturbing than Dave Matthews facial contortions and scrunched up neck), I'm reminded I'm annoyed by his DMB-ness. Also, I loathed the stupid video of letters and airplane tickets floating around behind his turtle head.

British: Time of the Season by the Zombies: I thought this was weak. Really really weak. Weak falsetto. Weak hold on pitch. He looks pained and uncomfortable throughout. Bad bad choice.

Bottom Line: I thought he had a bad night, but it doesn't seem to matter with Phillip.

3. Skylar

60s: Fortunate Son by CCR: I did not think this was a good singer's song. Very repetitive, not very rangy. And then there's the performance of it. Skylar's an adorable spitfire, but this song is an angry song, and Skylar didn't seem angry. She seemed slightly peeved, but mostly it was clear she wasn't really singing about anything. 

British: You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Dusty Springfield: While I was glad to see her do something less upbeat, this was a little predictable. She goes for the same big notes at the end every time, and it's a little pageant Diana De Garmo. Also: What was UP with that weird staging with people sitting on a bench behind her? Epic oddness.

Bottom line: I think Skylar could be in trouble.She didn't bring anything new, and a couple of the others did indeed seem to grow this week

4. Jessica

60s: Proud Mary by CCR: God, is it just me? I found that incredibly awkward with her prancing around in those hobbling shoes and trying to dance, and SO afraid not to look adorable. It wasn't particularly age-appropriate, and it wasn't particularly believable. Again remember: Tina Turner never worried about looking pretty. I'm with Randy; that was weak.

British: You Are So Beautiful to Me by Joe Cocker: So, what happened to the advice to not have the background arrangement too pretty? So it wouldn't be loungey? That, apparently, went out the window. This was ALL about the pretty…pretty hair, pretty candles, pretty strings, pretty boring. Oh. But she sounded nice.

Bottom Line: I was pretty uninspired by Jessica's performances last night, even as I acknowledge that her vocal technique is terrific. Sometimes that happens…I can admire a voice but not enjoy the performance.

5. Joshua

60s: Ain't Too Proud to Beg by The Temptations: He sounded great. He still has the dead eye issue, but that certainly didn't keep Carrie Underwood from winning. This was very very solid.

British: To Love Somebody by the Bee Gees: Joshua did a great job on this one…his best performance ever.  He even overcome a bit of the dead eye issue. Nice shout-out to Robin Gibb by Randy, by the way. 

Bottom Line: Great night for Joshua. Absolutely solidified his position.

Duets/Trios:

Phillip and Joshua sang You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling

I wasn't feeling hopeful, given Phillip isn't a great harmony singer. And then, OMG, what did they do to the rhythm during the chorus. It was so straight and soulless. And the requisite homophobic moment at the end, jeez, Joshua relax!!! His discomfort made me very uncomfortable.

Jessica, Hollie and Skylar sang Your Love Is Lifting Me HIgher by Jackie Wilson

They are all good, loud singers. What else can you really say about that?

Bottom Line for the Bottom Two:

Should Be: Phillip and Hollie with Hollie going home (based on potential to be interesting long-term…I can see Phillip has tons of potential, even if he annoys me pretty frequently)

Will Be: The Bottom two will be two of the girls and a girl will go home. How's that for hedging my bets?

But what did you think?

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