'American Idol' Season 11, Episode 33 Recap - Top 5 Performance Night
British Night kicks off with "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones, because when they wrote that song, all the talk about war, rape, murder and other horrors was really about singing on television for a recording contract.
The judges come out and Stephen has Jennifer on his arm, and she DOES NOT look like she wants to be on his arm. Also, does anyone else recoil in horror every time they do that crash zoom on Seacrest's face? It's disturbing to me that he has the exact same smile every time. They could literally pre-record that and just run it every night.
So, the kids will have to sing one British song from the 1960's, and then one Brit-pop song. If anyone does The Wanted, I will be very upset. If anyone goes with the Spice Girls, we can call this a win. For some reason, Steven Van Zandt is there to help mentor on Brit Night, despite the fact that he's American and performed with Bruce Springsteen, who I believe is usually lumped in with baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet as quintessentially American symbols.
First Performances (1960's):
Hollie is the first one up, and Steven gives her some nice advice: get rid of the "showbiz" and pretend that you don't care what anyone thinks. It's essentially the same note she's gotten for weeks, just phrased differently. We'll see if it sticks this time.
Nope, not really. She does "River Deep - Mountain High," which is an Ike and Tina Turner song, so I guess the 1960's songs don't have to be British after all. She belts it as she usually does, but it's still very calculated. She never seems to care about what she's singing, which is the wrong kind of not caring.
The judges love it anyway! Jennifer loved the big production and says she was "a different type of Hollie." Steven lauds her for coming out of her shell. Randy tries to set up a joke, and fails as usual.
Phillip will be doing "The Letter" by The Box Tops, but he'll be Phillip-izing it. Jimmy isn't a huge fan of the arrangement, but Steven says to "leave him alone." Phillip's version makes the rhythm a little more bluesy, but also slows down the song a bit. It's an interesting take, but I wouldn't say it's better than the original. Still, the crowd goes nuts.
The judges love it! Randy like the take, but notes that the melody got lost a little. True. Jennifer doesn't know the original, which is kinda surprising, but she loved it anyway. Steven also missed the melody, but says that Phillip "got away with it" anyway.
Skylar came in with her own idea, but Jimmy and Steven gave her "Fortunate Son" instead. Pretty politicized for a gun-totin' country girl, if you ask me. Skylar sings it nicely, as she usually does, but the message seems to go above her head this time. It's a little too peppy for the subject matter.
The judges love it! Jennifer lauds her energy, Randy applauds Creedence and thinks that they would be proud, and Steven drools over Skylar a little more.
Joshua and Phillip take on a duet together, taking on "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" by The Righteous Brothers, which both of them claim that they don't really know very well. What, they've never seen "Top Gun?" Phillip looks uncomfortable, but they do pretty well with it, considering they don't know it. Phillip attempts to put his arm around Joshua at the end of the song, and Joshua gets all freaked out. Their homophobia is adorable.
Jessica time, who will be doing "Proud Mary." Steven notes that he's heard it way too many f*ckin times, but Jessica changes his mind by being awesome. Plus, I anticipate this being a really good song for her. I'm kinda right: there's plenty of opportunity for her to show off vocally, and of course it's a high-energy song. But she may have been doing a bit too much in terms of the staging, which seems to have thrown her off a bit.
The judges love it! Jennifer notes how much she's grown, and like that she brought a bit of the grit that we're missing now that Elise is gone. "The only thing that gives experience a run for its money is a 16 year old," says Steven Tyler, as creepily as possible. Combine that with his awkward hitting on Shannon earlier this season, and Steven is 2 for 2 on creepy pedophile moments.
Joshua is doing one of my favorites, "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," which is a perfect choice for him. In the performance, he does a great job of sticking with the melody while adding in enough embellishment to make it his own. It lacks a really big moment and gets a little out of hand toward the end, but it's still pretty great.
The judges love it! Steven calls him "one of the best two Idols of all time." Now I'm curious who the other one is. Kelly Clarkson? Carrie Underwood? Reuben Studdard? Just kidding, it's totally not Reuben. Randy comments on how fly Joshua's jacket is, and loves the flower. Seacrest says "what is that, a tulip?" It is not a tulip. It is a daffodil. Botanists everywhere are yelling at their TVs. Also probably the costume people backstage. I would peg Seacrest as a guy who would know flowers.
Second Performances (Brit Pop):
Hollie will be doing "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis for her Brit pop song. I was not aware Leona Lewis was British. This show is so educational for me. I'm learning the nationality of pop stars AND learning the incorrect names of flowers. Hollie is really hitting the pitch today, and singing well, but there's a lack of vulnerability with this song that absolutely needs to be there.
The judges love it! Steven doesn't know the song. I would have figured it would have been sung on this show at some point before now. Randy mentions that Leona Lewis came from "The X Factor," and drops Simon Cowell's name, and he gets a couple of boos. Still getting booed, even after he left. Still got it.
Phillip will be doing "Time of the Season" by The Zombies. It looks like Phillip is actually going to stick with the melody at first, but then Steven and Jimmy tell him to break off from it. Sigh. It does make sense that Phillip would stick with the 1960's even in this second round. The performance is decent, but it's a little shaky during that falsetto part at the end of the chorus.
The judges love it! Randy loves the relaxed vibe and notes that it was good that he sang the melody so that, basically, we know that he can actually do it.
The three girls do their own rendition of "(Your Love Keep Lifting Me) Higher and Higher," which is the only song I can think of whose title actually starts with a parenthesis. It's a solid performance. Then again, these duets don't matter for anything.
Skylar's turn, and I highly doubt she'll find a Brit pop song that's country. She chooses "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" by Dusty Springfield, and Steven and Jimmy talk about making it "modern country," and I say "no no why why whyyyy?" Sure enough, there's just a hint of slide guitar in there, but it's not too bad. Breathe easy, everyone.
The judges love it! Randy calls it "flawless." More praise is heaped on. Blah blah.
Jessica wants to do "You Are So Beautiful," but the piano makes things a little too "loungey" for Jimmy's liking, so he goes a little more for a Joe Cocker version and adds acoustic guitar instead. It is, of course, really lovely, because it's Jessica. Not sure it was the best song choice, since it doesn't much matter what version you do, it runs the risk of being loungey.
The judges love it! Jennifer compares it to her "I Will Always Love You" performance, though I don't think it was that great. Randy has nothing but praise. Seacrest is nice enough to get Jessica her heels back, which I think add about 2 feet.
Joshua will finish up the night with the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody," which he didn't know, then took 15 minutes with it, and then came back into rehearsal and blew Steven away with it. Sure enough, the performance starts slow but Joshua ends up killing it toward the end.
The judges love it! Joshua gets a standing ovation. Randy praises him for doing so well with a song that he had never heard before, and reiterates that he thinks Joshua is "one of the best singers ever on this show." Jennifer heaps more praise on him, comparing him to James Brown. Joshua, through all this, still looks less than pleased. But that's just how he is, I guess.
If you asked me, I would say that Hollie, Phillip and Skylar should be in the bottom three. But Jessica might be in trouble again this week, too. While I think Phillip is a good performer I'm getting tired of his thing. Hollie may very well go home tomorrow.