This week of ‘American Idol’ was one of my favorites! It was filled with absolutely phenomenal performances, both by the contestants and the result night performers. The themes this week were California Dreamin’—songs inspired by the Golden State or written by musicians from there—and songs that inspire the contestants, or that they wish they wrote.
Since this week revealed the top three, who will be going back to their hometowns this next week for their American Idol homecomings, the opening video montage showed past homecomings. It also showed the top four contestants talking about what it means to them to have made it this far and what it would mean to make it to the top three and go home a hero. They said things like “it makes you want to try harder because you’re so close.”
Following the video, the judges and Ryan made their usual debut, but this time they walked out to a red carpet and a few lucky fans that got to shake their hands. The top four then came out and sang “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas and the Papas on the red carpet. It was a cute performance, although not my favorite. I thought it could have been a little better.
Next up—the Ford music video of the week! Instead of going straight to the video like usual, however, we got a behind-the-scenes look at how the videos are made. This week’s video was different in that they used an electric car—the first electric car to ever be used in a Ford music video—and it was a sort of “green,” environmentally friendly video. It had lots of flowers, trees and other plants blooming everywhere. The video was done to Jennifer Lopez’s “Feeling So Good.”
After 70 million votes—10 million more than last week, Ryan then began to go over Wednesday night’s performances and what the judges and Jimmy had to say. First up was Phillip. His first song was CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain.” Steven liked the performance, saying that Phillip is “living proof that the road to success is always under construction.” Randy was unsure of the beginning of the song, saying that it started kind of rough. Once Phillip really got into the song, however, he started to smile and relax and the rest of the performance went over much better. Jimmy pointed out the fact that the song was written for acoustic guitar. Phillip decided to ditch the acoustic guitar and use a sax instead. Jimmy believes that that could be the beginning of him coming into his own. He may finally be becoming a real artist, someone who takes a song and makes it completely their own, and also someone who knows who they are. Jimmy thought this was really magical to watch, Phillip finding his true identity and voice. Phillip’s second song was Damien Rice’s “Volcano.” I loved this performance! He hasn’t been my favorite this season, but this definitely turned me into a Phillip fan. Like Jimmy said, with this performance everything came together. Every single detail of the performance was just perfect. Jimmy said if he had seen Phillip perform this song at a club he would have signed him on the spot. The judges agreed, saying that the performance was absolutely beautiful and one of his best performances all season. Before Ryan had Phillip go back to the couches (no results were revealed until the very end of the night) he asked him what was going through his mind. Phillip replied by saying that it has been a long journey, but he is feeling very blessed.
Next they went over Hollie’s performances from Wednesday night. Her first song was Journey’s “Faithfully.” This was one of my favorites that night, and one of my favorites of Hollie’s all season. Randy also enjoyed it, saying that she is peaking at the right time of the competition. The other judges agreed, saying that her creativity has finally come around and it was a beautiful performance. Jimmy, however, had mixed feelings. He said that everything aided her in the song, but he thought it was the wrong direction for her. Hollie’s second song of the night was Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” This song wasn’t her best, as her emotions got the best of her, causing her vocals to not be so great. Randy said it was the wrong choice and the wrong time. Jimmy mentioned that this week he didn’t push anyone in any direction song wise. He wanted everyone on the same level. He thought Hollie had understood the song, but it turns out she didn’t.
Season 7’s David Cook was the first performer of the night, with his new single “The Last Song I’ll Ever Write for You.” It was an
absolutely fantastic performance! I think I found one of my new favorite songs.
After David, they went of Joshua’s performances. His first song was Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up.” This was another great performance. Jimmy wasn’t a fan of this song, saying that it works great in high school graduation type moments, but Joshua’s going for the full gospel rendition didn’t work with this song or situation. He said that Joshua can’t use the gospel trick every time with every song. His second song was James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” This caused quite the commotion among the judges and Jimmy. Jennifer started speaking in Spanish because apparently she couldn’t find the right words in English. Joshua was fine with this, saying backstage “keep speaking in Spanish, it’s really hot.” Steven said he had never heard anything like that in his life. Jimmy said that the performance created a piece of magic very rarely seen on the American Idol stage. At some points it sounded like Joshua was “speaking in tongues.” Jimmy said he has seen Prince and Bruce Springsteen do that, but never on American Idol. He wants to see it again and again.
Jessica was up next. Her first song was Etta James’ “Steal Away.” Jennifer commented that when she thinks of the great female contemporary singers out there right now, she believes that Jessica is one of the best. Jimmy thought she did a great job, but he didn’t like her “growling” trick. After a while that trick get old and expected. Jessica’s second song was Jennifer Holliday’s “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” the hit song from “Dreamgirls.” This was, as Randy said it, a phenomenal performance. All three judges and Jimmy agreed on this one. “Another winning performance,” said Steven. Just like Phillip’s performance of “Volcano,” every detail of Jessica’s second performance came together for one amazing, flawless performance. Jimmy had two comments that I really liked. The first was that after Wednesday night’s show he got an email from Tommy Mottola, who helped start the careers of Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey, saying “I’m going to her first concert. This is the real thing.” The second comment was the fact that Jimmy has no clue who is going to win, or even get into the finals, this year. Last year he knew that Scotty would win. This year, however, it is going to be a fight to the finish.
Next up was the second guest performance of the night. This week we got a special performance from judge Jennifer Lopez herself! She
performed her latest hit single “Dance Again.” It was an absolutely phenomenal performance, with fantastic special effects. The lights, the fog, the background images, the dancers, everything about this was wonderful. It made me want to get up and dance.
Before revealing the top three, Ryan asked for some opinions from the judges. First he asked Steven how he has seen Phillip evolve throughout the competition. Steven replied by saying that Phillip has proved to everyone that “things don’t change unless you do. We’ve seen him go from ‘I don’t care’ to finding out who he is and still not caring.” Jennifer was next, with thoughts on Hollie. For those of you who didn’t see this week’s shows, or don’t know much about Hollie, she was also on the show last season but did not make it to the live shows. Jennifer said that she had watched Wednesday night’s show again, and she was close to tears because she remembered Hollie’s very first audition. Her first audition didn’t go so well because her nerves got the best of her, but the judges gave her a second chance and then put her through to Hollywood. Now, a year later, it’s very clear the huge progress Hollie has made. She has grown so much, and is much more composed and collected now. And that’s what this whole American Idol competition is about. It’s about coming into your own, and discovering who you are. Basically, it’s a journey. Randy was next, with thoughts on Joshua. He also auditioned last season, but did not make it through. Steven wanted to put him through, but Jennifer and Randy felt he wasn’t quite ready. Randy said that he is happy they didn’t put him through originally, because just like Hollie he has progressed so much within the past year. Finally, Jennifer shared some thoughts on Jessica. She said that she disagreed with Jimmy’s saying that the growling trick gets old after a while. She thinks it is a really good singing trick, and wishes she could use it.
And now for the results… The first person to make into the final three was Jessica, followed by Joshua and then Phillip. Which means we said goodbye to Hollie on Thursday night. During her video, they showed a clip of Hollie reflecting on the past year. She said that she can definitely see a change from last year to now. “That is when I realized this is what I want to do with the rest of my life,” she said.
The show ended with Hollie’s last song—Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.” This is my favorite song she sang and one of my favorite songs all together. It was a fantastic way for her to leave the competition.
Make sure to watch next Wednesday and Thursday night to see what happens when the top three—Jessica Sanchez, Phillip Phillips and Joshua Ledet— return to their hometowns for the first time in months!
Author: Ariel Walborn