Last night on American Idol, our final seven contestants went to the mic twice to sing to stay.  And the themes were quite simple.  Contestants had to choose a song from NOW and one from THEN.  So, who won the night and who's in danger of elimination?  Let's turn to our American Idol expert, Steve Thompson, who ranks the performances from 7 to 1 in each category and gives his predictions about who will be packing their bags and leaving the Idol mansion.

Take a listen to this morning's IDOL Chatter from The WBKR Waking Crew . . .

From Steve Thompson:

  • I had forgotten how much I didn't like this category last year.  I start watching and suddenly I had this sense of deja-vu.  Is it because we still have seven contestants?  No...  It's because then and now never seem to mesh.  One of the two are always more pleasing to the ear.  I'm not sure if what passes for music of this decade could ever really exist in the universe of Don Cornelius.  That's why we have oldies stations and pop stations in the radio that we call Life.
  • Given the high volume of music, I'm going to rank each section separately.  We'll try to reach some kind of conclusion sometime before the end of this continuing story.


  • 07.  Joshua Ledet sang I Believe.  I'm not sure if invoking Fantasia is the best thing to do with many of the voters tonight.  I thought this was a bit weak given that he has the most voter support according to all the polls.  Don't forsake your fans when the race isn't quite a runaway.
  • 06. Colton Dixon sang Bad Romance by Lady Gaga.  Just when I ranked him as last week's winner, Colton decides to go all Gaga on us and delivers one of his least appealing performances.  It's a good thing he has an active voting fanbase because he may need their support to get to next week.
  • 05.  Phil Phillips sang U Got It Bad by Usher.  This didn't really do anything for me.  I can't say I'm really for it or against it-- I just frankly didn't care one way or the other.  Once again, it's a good thing he has a fanbase as well because this wouldn't make me rush to the phones on his behalf.
  • 04.  Jessica Sanchez sang Fallin' by Alicia Keys.  I doubt she's in danger this week, even though many of her detractors were pulling for the same result just to prove that the judges wasted their save.  She's no threat to Alicia and I really don't think this was her shining moment in the sun.
  • 03.  Sklylar Laine sang Born This Way by Lady Gaga.  I never really thought about this song as a country anthem.  (Yeah, I know...  What country are you talking about?)  I will say that it was the best Lady Gaga cover of the night.  I realize that's being darned by faint praise, but I'm trying to be positive about her performance.
  • 02.  Elise Testone sang No One by Alicia Keys.  I was pleasantly surprised that Elise sang Alicia so well (I figured she was going to cover Florence and the Machine or Paramore.)  This was one of her better efforts of the past few weeks-- just not sure if she'll ever be out of the bottom three.
  • 01.  Hollie Cavanaugh sang Rolling in the Deep by Adele.  Yes, I know.  The girl who seems to have been everybody's whipping post as the most lackluster singer of the year sings the most iconic song from the most iconic singer of the 21st century.  One of my favorite entertainment writers, Annie Barrett from Entertainment Weekly, said a few months back that this show was turning into American Adele.   I agreed with her at the time-- but by golly this wasn't as bad as it sounds on paper.  WATCH HOLLIE NOW!


  • 07.  Colton Dixon sang September by Earth, Wind & Fire.  Are you kidding me?  This should've been covered by our resident Phillip Bailey (Joshua Ledet.)  Colton basically reinvented the wheel on this version and I'm not convinced the wheel needed to be reinvented.  This might be considered blasphemy, but this is the worst song in the EWF catalogue.  Colton brought nothing good to this version.
  • 06.  Jessica Sanchez sang Try a Little Tenderness.  Why not try to sing with a little tenderness?  Is the only emotion she can sing the one where she seemingly screams the lyrics?  Maybe it's the shortcoming of her youth, but I felt like this was the wrong approach to this song.
  • 05.  Phil Phillips sang In the Midnight Hour.  Okay...  This was much better than his previous Usher effort.  If Phil can remember to give all his songs a bit more soul and a bit less Dave Matthews Band he might stick around to the end of May.  Unfortunately, the other four improved on their songs as well.
  • 04.  Hollie Cavanaugh sang Son of a Preacher Man.  I've always loved Dusty Spingfield and tonight I saw signs of what some commentators have said this year-- Hollie can sing uptempo rather well.  Between Adele and Dusty, Hollie has taken on two of Britain's biggest ever female icons in the same show and has acquitted herself well.  She may have her fans back (as well as some who questioned her ability to rebound.)
  • 03.  Elise Testone sang Let's Get It On and every straight guy in America said name the time and the place.  Granted, Elise is the only real adult left in the competition and this version seemed to have a scorching hot melt down all your inhibitions vibe going for it.  I doubt she endeared herself to the female voters, but I have a feeling she may have won the male vote tonight.
  • 02.  Joshua Ledet sang A Change is Gonna Come.  Add one more song to the list of songs that should be retired from competition.  Joshua sang this song so much better than his first selection that it was hard to believe it was the same singer. (Granted, this song is miles better than his last one.)  He would've been the best of this category except for...
  • 01.  Skylar Laine sang I Heard It Through the Grapevine.  (I wonder if Gladys Knight was next door at Dancing with the Stars-- this sounded like her version of this song to me.)  Very impressive.  Skylar sounded better on the older song than she did on what is considered current.  That may be an interesting tell to those of you who are only peripherally interested in this show.  You would think a country singer would be more in tune with the past.  (Quick.  Name any country song and consider if the theme is something in the past.  See?  Not so farfetched.)  CHECK OUT SKYLAR'S PERFORMANCE!
  • So what's it all about, Alfie?  Well...  Unless I miss my guess we have some of the usual suspects in the bottom three.  Elise is in the bottom three and probably will be for the rest of her time on the show.  (It's like the old basketball adage "survive and advance.")  Colton may be in the bottom three because both of his songs together gave him the worst night of anybody.  Depending on the voters, Skylar may slip down to the bottom three because of the perceived closeness of the voting.  I think Colton is in the most trouble.
  • We'll see Thursday night.

@April 18, 2012  Stephen W Thompson