There’s at least a chance the music will be more current on American Idol this week.
The top nine get to sing songs from their own Idols. Which means, I suppose, that Phillip Phillips could sing Dave Matthews. And that Skylar Laine could sing Miranda Lambert.
The Idols, of course, aren’t giving any big hints about their song choices on Twitter or Facebook. But Phillip did tweet that he’s picked a song so great, he isn’t even going to change it much.
This week’s rankings follow. The number in parenthesis is last week’s rank. Follow the link and it’ll take you to all of the singer’s performances since the voting began, plus a pre-season bio and, in most cases, some pre-Idol music.
1. Phillip Phillips (1): Jimmy Iovine criticized Phillip for not taking advice after he refused to change his style for Tommy Hilfiger. I say congrats to Phillip. Whether the move was strategic of not, his proclamation that he wants to let his music — not style — do the talking was probably music to the ears of his growing legion of fans.
2. Colton Dixon (3): I’m not a huge fan of Colton’s voice, but he scores big points for musicianship. And he seems connected to everything he sings. After his “Piano Man” performance, Colton joined Jimmy’s big three, which also includes Joshua and Jessica (but not Phillip?). At this point, I think he’s got a big edge over Joshua in fan support.
3. Jessica Sanchez (4): If any Season 11 female has a shot at ending Idol’s string of male winners, it’s Jessica. She’s young. She’s stylish (with or without Tommy). She’s not going to sing ballads every week. And she just keeps churning out one impressive performance after another. Her “Everybody Has a Dream” was one of the top two performances last week.
4. Joshua Ledet (2): OK, Joshua clearly lacked an emotional connection to his song last week. That’s going to happen when Idol makes everyone sing songs by the same artist, regardless of whether or not they’re familiar with the music. But let’s not forget that he sang it wonderfully and remains in a league of his own vocally among the guys.
5. Hollie Cavanagh (5): Nothing much worked for Idol’s little ray of sunshine last week. The fashion look was all wrong, making Hollie appear older instead of capitalizing on her youth. And she tried to put her power ballad stamp on Billy Joel’s “Honesty.” Fail. I’m expecting much, much better in week four. And hoping at some point she sings something other than a power ballad.
6. Elise Testone (8): Welcome back, Elise. On a night filled with solid performances, her version of Billy Joel’s “Vienna” was the best. She might also pick up some votes from former supports of Erika Van Pelt. But before anyone starts an “Elise for the win” chant, remember, this is boy-friendly Idol. Erika has about 23,000 followers on her Idol Twitter page. Colton and Phillip are hovering around 90,000.
7. Skylar Laine (6): Skylar needs to pick a kick-butt country song this week. Then she needs to kick its butt. Because the girl with the twang and the attitude has been just OK and, perhaps, slipping a little the past two weeks. She’s yet to land in the bottom three, but I don’t think she can count on Elise or Deandre taking up permanent residence there.
8. Deandre Brackensick (7): What? The guy with the hair landed in the bottom three? It’s probably a case of the cute-guy vote being split multiple ways. And performing first probably didn’t help either. But five performances into the voting rounds, I’ve yet to give him better than a “C.” He doesn’t just need a moment, he needs anything verging on a moment.
9. Heejun Han (10): Wow, some of the folks in Idol land sure overreacted to Heejun’s “crazy” performance of “Movin’ Out.” (I’m looking at you, Jimmy.) How can you capitalize on the guy’s sense of humor throughout the Idol process, then get upset when he tries to put it to use on stage? Personally, I thought it was a wise move from a guy who’s outmatched vocally by nearly everyone else still standing.