American Idol’s Hollie Cavanaugh’s the Best — Steve Thompson Reviews
American Idol: Featuring Songs That Will Make You Wish You Were Never Born
First things first. Should you ever go on a reality competition series and you have several warrants out
for your arrest, you might want to think seriously about telling folks that you might be found out by either the law or someone involved in a case against you. The only thing I can think of any more nonsensical would be to claim a lottery prize when you’re in the Witness Protection Program. I
guess we’ll always have folks who are either so self-involved or deluded
that they think they’re above the law, but enough about politicians…
Now on to the real reason this blog exists… Pervasive snarkiness…
Our contestants were instructed to select songs from their birth year. Apparently, this also includes the sub-category of songs that were covered in your birth year. Honestly, regardless of what songs The Powers That Be have at their disposal, cover songs by artists covering cover songs by contestants singing cover songs is a weird spin on perspective.
Here is my take on the eleven songs we heard tonight, from worst to first. As always, one man’s idea of musicality may be another person’s interpretation of dissonance.
- 11. Heejun Han sang Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx. Frankly, at this point I believe this song would’ve sounded better if sung by Harpo. I’ve liked Heejun’s personality in the
past weeks, but this was not only overtly timid in sound but all over the place in terms of staying on key. I know he still has fans, but so did Milli Vanilli.
- 10. Deandre Brackensick sang Endless Love which has been covered one too many times by better singers. (A quick aside, has there been another song that has outlasted the dreadful movie it came from? Not that this song is any great shakes, by the way.) I’m beginning to think Jimmy Iovine is trying to take out the singers he doesn’t like. If this is true, more power to him.
- 09. Shannon Magrane sang One Sweet Day by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men. I think Shannon might be better served just singing Contemporary Christian music. I thought she was great in week one, but after Whitney and Mariah– well, I’m not feeling it. I was one of the few people in America who didn’t make this song #1 for 18 weeks, so maybe I’m not qualified to
judge the appeal of the song. If she survives, she needs something more modern.
- 08. Erika Van Pelt sang Heaven by Bryan Adams. The top eight were fairly close in my opinion. Given that I have to try and separate the field to make this understandable to those of
you (and you know who you are) who don’t get interested until next week, I’ll say she is the least of the best. I hate to say I agree with Steven Tyler (who has sounded almost as if he’s engaged in giving reviews lately) but I didn’t think this song suited her voice very well.
- 07. Jessica Sanchez sang Turn the Beat Around by Gloria Estefan or Vickie Sue Robinson. Jessica doesn’t need to sing anymore faux disco songs. This was the first major misstep in her performances and hopefully she’s gotten the clunkers out of her system. She was fantastic last week, so I’m thinking the good will she generated will help her continue to garner fan support.
- 06. Skylar Laine sang Love Sneakin’ Up on You by Bonnie Raitt. Well, she stuck to her guns and sang the song she wanted to sing– but Jimmy might’ve been right in that she needed a different song to sing. (His suggestion of Sheryl Crow appealed to me as soon as he said
it.) Skylar has a certain coolness in her country/rock voice and I think she has real potential to easily be bigger than Lauren Alaina. Just not on this song.
- 05. Joshua Ledet sang When a Man Loves a Woman by Michael Bolton or Percy Sledge. Yeah, I know. Those of you who actually watched the show are screaming at me for putting this guy fifth, but I’m not a huge proponent of melismatic singing in popular music. (By the way, Randy– Percy Sledge is no longer with us.) I liked our next four better. Hey, it’s what makes a horse race, no?
- 04. Phil Phillips sang Hard to Handle by Black Crowes or Otis Redding. Phil proved to me he can actually sing without having to hold the guitar in his hands. Up until tonight, I
thought Phil was trying to be Dave Matthews 2.0– now I at least feel like he is more unique than that. Thing is, I still don’t really care for him– but at least I no longer have the same reason.
- 03. Elise Testone sang Let’s Stay Together by Tina Turner or Al Green. It only takes one week on this show to redeem yourself for a poor performance. Obviously, Elise is much, much better at Tina Turner songs than she is at Whitney Houston songs. (And somebody told her to smile!)
- 02. Colton Dixon sang Broken Heart by White Lion. Boy, what did White Lion ever do to Aerosmith? Steven Tyler seemed downright peeved that Colton would eeven sing such a song. Frankly, I thought it continued Colton’s trajectory. Maybe he is playing this game on his own terms. I really enjoyed his performance.
- 01. Hollie Cavanaugh sang The Power of Love by Celine Dion or Jennifer Rush or Laura Branigan. Those of you who are younger than me may not recall the late, great Laura Branigan. I thought she was one of the best pop singers of the 80s and her version of this
song still trumps Celine’s any day of the week. (The original by Jennifer Rush was even better than Laura’s, but there wasn’t much airplay here in America.) Hollie’s voice, even at this early age, may have more power than any of the three. Very impressive.
I’m not convinced someone is going home Thursday night. (As long as it’s not the Wildcats, I’ll be a happy man.) I wouldn’t be shocked if they keep the votes and add them to next week’s tally. After all, Jermaine is no longer germaine.
@March 14, 2012 Stephen W Thompson