Last night on American Idol, our remaining Top 5 contestants sang for the Final Four.  Each had to tackle two different genres:  Songs of the 60's and The British Invasion.  WBKR's Idol expert, Steve Thompson, was tuned in and shares his thoughts about who won the night and who's in big trouble.  As Steve explains, an early favorite could be sent packing after a very mediocre night.

This morning on The WBKR Waking Crew, Steve and I chatted about last night's show and, while we agreed on the lowlights, debated the highlights.  LISTEN!

From Steve Thompson:

  • It's a fact of life when it comes to certain of these Idol themes-- most of these songs have been sung before.  Of course, when one of your themes is the Sixties you're bound to be in patently familiar territory.  I'm still trying to figure out the British Pop category.
  • Four out of five of tonight's performers had decent nights.  One performer in particular had a less than stellar evening.  This could be quite a shock to the bookies in Las Vegas if these sentiments hold with the West Coast voters.  Here comes the usual rundown, complete with the usual punching bags and the usual punchlines.
  • Stuck in the Sixties


  • 05.  Phil Phillips sang The Letter by The Box Tops.  (Ironically, he could've done the Joe Cocker version for British pop.)  I've said this all season and why should tonight be any different...  I just don't get Phil other than the Dave Matthews clone he's often been compared to.  Not that this song is a favorite of mine by any stretch of the imagination, but sometimes it's nice to actually recognize a melody.  I didn't hear melody.
  • 04.  Jessica Sanchez sang Proud Mary (The Ike & Tina Turner version.)  While Jessica will never be compared to the vivaciousness of a Tina Turner in her prime, I thought this was a serviceable attempt at copying one of the few songs in memory that became more iconic with a second version than it ever was in its original incarnation.  Jessica reminds me a bit of the singers at amusement parks who can give you a 99.9% copy of an original singer. 
  • 03.  Joshua Ledet sang Ain't Too Proud to Beg by The Temptations.  (This is another one that could've qualified for either category because the Rolling Stones version is terrific.)  I've never been a supporter of male singers when a female is a more appealing choice.  I'm just wired that way.  This was about as good as it could be without being the original-- I just liked two other songs better.
  • 02.  Skylar Laine sang Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival.  When John Fogerty mentions you by name and says you did a great job-- why do you need me to tell you how good this was?  Great choice for a country remake.  The comedy stylings of Little Steven and Jimmy notwithstanding-- they were right.  This was a much better song for Skylar than a retread of Knock on Wood.
  • 01.  Hollie Cavanagh sang River Deep, Mountain High by Ike & Tina Turner.  It's one thing to hit the ball out of the park.  It's quite another to nail a song that probably should be untouchable by anyone other than Tina.  I was very impressed by both her showmanship and her vocal ability to make me forget any comparison I might have while listening to her version.  I went back and listened a second time-- still loved it.
  • The British are Coming


  • 05.  Phil Phillips massacred Time of the Season by The Zombies.  Colin Blunstone would be rolling in his grave except for the fact that he's still living.  What am I saying?  If he heard this version it might've killed him anyway.  I've always liked this song except for tonight.  Tonight is what it means to be horrid. 
  • 04.  Jessica Sanchez sang You Are So Beautiful by Joe Cocker.  This might be sacrilege, but I always liked the Billy Preston original better.  Jessica did a very pristine version of this song.  Not nearly as impressive as some of her other weeks, but it probably was good enough to keep her in the final four.
  • 03.  Joshua Ledet sang To Love Somebody by The Bee Gees (but this version owed a huge debt to Michael Bolton's version.)  Okay.  I get that somebody somewhere sometime oversang this ballad and had a huge hit-- but the Bee Gees original was stellar.  Can Joshua sing without resorting to overly emoting the lyrics?  Not that I've heard, but that's why they have different radio stations.  (By the way, comparing this guy to Terence Trent D'arby?  Not happening.)
  • 02.  Skylar Laine sang You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Dusty Springfield.  I loved Dusty Springfield when I was a kid (especially the song Wishin' and Hopin' which may have been a bit sultry to be on a three year old's playlist.)  Skylar did a great job on this song, but I'm of the belief that Skylar could sing the phonebook and it would be sensational.  Skylar would've had the best night of anyone except for...
  • 01.  Hollie Cavanagh sang Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis.  Wow.  Leona Lewis, in many respects, is right up there with the other icons that Hollie has sung this year. (If I had been taking bets, I would've thought Leona's career would be in the Adele stratosphere by now.  That's why I don't bet, kids.)  This was a better version than the original.  I think it was the phrasing that sealed the deal for me.  Hollie sang that song as intimately as possible and it worked like wonders.
  • This will either anger or annoy his fans, but I think Phil Phillips is in big trouble tonight.  Neither of his songs really connected with me and the last time we had someone have this kind of night Colton Dixon was voted off.  After Thursday, Joshua may be the last man standing.
  • As always, we'll see.  Carrie Underwood and Coldplay are the performers.  A pity they couldn't get any names.

@May 2, 2012  Stephen W Thompson