'Idol' 11: 'I Knew You Were Waiting' for the 80s

Ryan Seacrest’s epic travel schedule showed not only in his hosting - but it seemed the contestants were a bit loopy, too. Ryan had been on the Today show earlier that morning talking about his new gig with the Olympics for NBC. Was it throwing him a bone in lieu of succeeding Matt Lauer? Who knows. Who cares?

The performances:

DeAndre Brackensick
I actually liked this joint. Finally, after getting feedback, DeAndre worked his chest voice longer and chose a good song for him. He’s still not a top contender, but for this week, he did a great job and chose well. Grade: B+

Elise Testone
Ironically, “Hallelujah,” was a better choice than “I Wanna Know What Love Is.” The mentors fuck it up again - Elise should have stuck to her guns. I really like this girl even despite her flat moments in this song. I’m hoping she makes it another week because we need to see her more. Grade: C

Phil Phillips
“That’s All” was terrible for me. Where DeAndre chose the perfect song for his style of singing - and even though the Genesis tune technically was in his wheelhouse - it didn’t allow him to do anything with it. He’s a good performer but this missed the mark. Grade: C

Joshua Ledet
Joshua is turning out to be the biggest surprise of the season thus far. “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” was not only a great choice for him, but it was up there with the “moments” other contestants have had (i.e., “Summertime” by Fantasia and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Katherine McPhee). Randy is right - it was mature beyond belief, and didn’t descend into vocal acrobatics like past weeks. Controlled and powerhouse. Great job. Grade: A

Jessica Sanchez
Oh sorry, “B.B. Chez.” “How Will I Know” is an iconic if fluffy song that doesn’t show us any new territory with what we know Jessica can do. Although it was not the best song choice, she had a different command of the stage this week. She’s beyond her time and her age, for sure, but this wasn’t her best. Having said that, the judges are right about her maturity. Grade: B-

Hollie Cavanaugh
The technical glitch with the keyboard might have thrown off other performers, but Hollie stuck to it. Why is it that she seems so bummed after each performance? She was so busy hitting her staging marks that she missed many of her pitch points - and JLo is right. She doesn’t let herself go most times, and it was evident here. Great song, middling performance. Grade: C

(Don’t usually comment on the cheesy duets or trios, but let me say that “I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me)” should be a record, now. I’d have Joshua and Jessica record that and send it back to the top of the charts. That’d be a No. 1 record, period. Get that done folks. TIA.)

Colton Dixon
Our resident Bible thumper tackled the oft-covered “Time After Time” with good results. With a Coldplay-esque arrangement, it was a good flavor for him. Make no mistake, though: Colton sings flat. All the time, actually. He’s more style than substance. He’s not as good a technical singer as they give him credit for, even though he finished strong with some great runs. Grade for arrangement: A. Grade for performance: B

Skylar Laine
“Wind Beneath My Wings” needed a new flavor, and a country feel it worked well. The judges loved it, and I was not quite as ga ga for it, particularly given the whimper that the song ended with. Still, a nice way to end the show and Skylar captured the feeling of the song and took it to a new place. Grade: B+

Best of the night: DeAndre, Joshua, Skylar

At risk of bottom three: Elise, Hollie, Phillip (DeAndre may not rise out of the bottom three given his performance position, and we could see Jessica in this slot, too, because of the tepid “How Will I Know” performance.)

JLo fashion grade: B. Waist up was an A, below the waist was like, huh?

See you for results tonight!
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