American Idol Top 12 (or 11): Song by song grades

Who knows how many Idol contestants will perform tonight?

All we know for certain is that Jermaine Jones, a member of the Top 12 just two days ago, won’t be among them. broke the story Tuesday, saying he’d been booted from the show for not telling Idol about his criminal past.

Idol producers Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe confirmed that earlier this afternoon in a call to TMZ.

Warwick said Jermaine was “very apologetic” when confronted with the information, including outstanding warrants for driving with a suspended license.

Lythgoe said “lots of kids have moving violations or they drive on a suspended license and they get warrants against them that are outstanding, and we help them, where we can, in clearing them up before we come to Idol.”

But Idol didn’t know about Jermaine’s legal problems, and the fact that he allegedly gave the wrong name to police on two occasions made matters worse, the producers indicated.

So tonight’s big question is less about Jermaine than what Idol will do now that it has only 11 finalists on the week when the field was to be cut to 11.

We start off with singing without knowing what’s happening tonight. Whether anyone will be eliminated. Whether their will be a replacement for Jermaine. Nothing.

Phillip Phillips:  Wow, you wonder if kidney stones might force Phillip out of this competition after hearing that opening segment. But have no fear, Phillip is on stage and launches into a rowdy version of Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle.”  There’s nothing painful about that energetic performance.  He didn’t change it up as much as he’s changed up songs in the past, but he sounded just fine. The judges compliment him on his song choice and his performance.  Apparently, Phillip underwent surgery for those kidney stones near the end of last week.  Grade: B.

Jessica Sanchez:  The gal who slayed Whitney Houston last week admits she was “such a little diva” as a child. This week, she’s going to sing “Turn the Beat Around.”  Love Jessica Sanchez’s outfit.  Check out those pants.  Forget the outfit, check out that performance.  This 16-year-old knows what she’s doing on stage.  She didn’t sound as good as last week, and that playful little stunt near the end was adorable.  Steven needs to shut up.  Singing nothing but ballads is not the answer to success on Idol.  Look where it got Pia Toscano and Thia Megia last year.  Grade: B

 Heejun Han:  Always the character, Heejun can’t leave the rehearsal room without asking Will i am for Fergie’s phone number.  He’s tackling Richard Marx’s “Waiting for You.”  And tackling might be an accurate description for this performance.  Folks, bottom line, this is absolutely brutal.  Heejun’s trying to pour his heart and soul into the performance, and is accomplishing that.  But that was easily the weakest vocal we’ve seen this season. Grade: D-

Elise Testone:  Sounds like Elise was something of a little trouble maker growing up.  “When I start singing, people are going to start making babies,” Elise says, then breaks up laughing. Will i am told her to smile. The smiles actually look a little phony.  But she’s rocking out to Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”  Now there’s a song she could put her raspy voice to good use on. And very nice twist at the end.  Randy proclaims that “Elise is back.”  Hey, Idol, is was your theme that threw her off last week.  I wasn’t as thrilled as the judges, but it was a major improvement over last week.  Grade: B-

Deandre Brackensick:  We see home video of Deandre performing Music Man, complete with outfit, from his youth, and it’s adorable.  That will be worth a few votes for the guy the girls already love.  He’s going to sing “Endless Love.”  Not sure he has the voice to pull this off as well as he’d like, but it is giving him a chance to show off his vocal range.  And that’s a wise move because, besides the hair, that’s what sets him apart from the other guys.  Jennifer is talking a lot of mumbo jumbo that basically means she likes Deandre.  No one liked the song choice.  Randy calls it boring.  Grade: C-.

Shannon Magrane:  The 16-year-old decides to sing “One Sweet Day.”  Not “Thumbelina,” though that was a very cute story.  Shannon said she had a long list of songs she was trying to chose between.  Somewhere in that batch, there had to be a song she could sing much better than this.  All the lying on her back and practicing didn’t help.  She went sharp, she went shouty.  She went all over the place.  She’s getting undeserved high praise from the judges.  Randy gives her props for being “Fearless.”  Were the judges hearing the same thing I was?  Grade: D.

Colton Dixon:   Hey, look at that, Colton said last week that the Idol he’d most like to meet was Chris Daughtry.  And he got to meet Chris earlier this week.  Chris and the guys will perform on the show Thursday night.  Colton’s going to sing “Broken Heart” by White Lion.  Who cares that no one ever heard the song?  Colton is doing an excellent job with it.  He’s rocking it out.  He sounds great, perhaps the best he has since Vegas. Absolutely one of the highlights of tonight’s show.  Who knows? I won’t be surprised if it outsells the orginal.  Of course, Steven didn’t like it.  Maybe we should just spin his chair to face the crowd.  Oops, wrong show.  Grade: A-

Erika Van Pelt:  She’ll sing “Heaven,” and Will i am warns that she might go home if she doesn’t execute.  Neat effect at the beginning of that song.  Perfectly fine performance of the song, but I’m not sure she did anything to stand out from the crowd.  And I really think she could have selected a song that showed off her voice better. Especially if she wanted to rock out.  Oh, well, Randy called it a great song choice.  Now I know I’m right.  Grade: C.

Now they’re showing Jermaine’s disqualification.  He’s being filmed being confronted by Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe.  Nigel explains that they can’t have anyone on the show with an outstanding warrant.  Now they’re showing a clip of Jermaine’s rehearsal.

And Ryan answers the lingering question: Yes, someone will be eliminated tomorrow night.

Skylar Laine:  Idol’s country gal tells the judges they’re “being really hard” but says the contestants are taking it well and she doesn’t think there have been any tears yet.  Oh, and Skylar admits she was a handful as a child. She’s going to sing “Love’s Sneaking Up On You” by Bonnie Raitt.  Who would figure?  I think I liked Skylar singing Whitney Houston more than I like Skylar singing Bonnie Raitt.  I mean, this is OK, but it’s way short of special, and it sounds like Skylar is just shouting in some spots.  Grade: C+

Joshua Ledet:  He gets a special delivery of crawfish from his home state of Louisiana, and tries to teach some young girls from the audience how to eat them.  They don’t seem interested.  The better news: Joshua is going to sing “When a Man Loves a Woman.”  I think I predicted this happened.  Joshua is back with all his vocal flash.  Bad news for the rest of the contestants.  He’s Jacob Lusk with a better voice and tons more control, and a far better knack for picking his spots.  If he winds up in the bottom after this performance, Idol voters are deaf.  Just spot-on brilliant.  Steven says: “You gave it up so big, God came through your eyes.” Grade: A.

Hollie Cavanagh:  Little Hollie has a tough act to follow.  Hollie says she thinks she was an angel growing up.  Her parents say she was untidy and goofy.  Oops.  She’s going to sing the “Power of Love” by Celine Dion.  She gets credit for not playing it safe with this song choice.  Jennifer calls her performance “beautiful.”  Steven calls her voice “heaven above.”  And she gets praise from all three judges.  Well-deserved praise I’d say.  That was the best performance we heard from a gal all night.  Grade: B+

Now, we hear from the judges …

Randy:  Joshua is safest; Heejun is in trouble.

Jennifer:  Joshua is safest.  She mentions Hollie and Phillip, too.  She’ll let America decide who’s going home.

Steven:  He liked Joshua too.  But declines to say who’s in trouble.




3 Responses to “American Idol Top 12 (or 11): Song by song grades”

  1. [...] song by song grades from last night’s show, head here.  For a recap of who should stay and who should go and which critiques the judges flubbed, head [...]

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