Those of us clamoring for more current music on American Idol get our way this week.
Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe tweeted that this week’s theme will be this decade, as in songs recorded from 2010-12.
That should help contestants who struggle with song choice when the selection is too broad, like Elise Testone did last week when she had all the songs of the 1980s to pick from.
And that should help the younger contestants, who’ve been asked to sing songs from before they were born nearly every week since the finals started.
Bottom line: Everyone should be able to pick a song they’re familiar with. Everyone should be able to pick a song they love singing.
The last time that happened — when the Idols sang songs from their idols — the result was the best performance night we’ve had all year.
On to the rankings. As always, if you click on a contestant’s name, it will take you to a page with all their performances since the semifinals.
1. Phillip Phillips (1): You know, I sorta agree with Jimmy Iovine’s critique of Phillip last week. It was his weakest performance since the finals started. And the guy who’s known for changing up songs hasn’t exactly reminded me of the second coming of David Cook. But he won’t be in danger of coming anywhere near the bottom three for a couple more weeks, so he’s got time to catch fire.
2. Jessica Sanchez (2): Here, however, I disagree with Jimmy. Poor Jessica gets slammed slightly every time she goes young and fun and upbeat. If she belted out a power ballad every week, she’d be criticized for that, too. I thoroughly enjoyed her take on Whitney’s “How Will I Know.” If anything, Jessica is proving the most versatile of Idol’s final seven.
3. Colton Dixon (3): Speaking of changing up songs, Colton did a brilliant job with Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” last week and didn’t get enough credit for it. He’s quietly putting together a string of solid performances. If you discount that “Islands in the Stream” duet with Skylar Laine that he should never have been forced to sing.
4. Joshua Ledet (5): Does anyone else think that Joshua has gone a little bit over the top the past two weeks? Does anyone else notice how one-dimensional he is? Joshua’s fortunate in that he’s blessed with such an amazing voice, perhaps the best in the competition. But I’m not sure he’s connecting with fans the way Idol would like to think he is.
5. Elise Testone (4): Which Elise will show up Wednesday night? The one who dazzled us three times, most recently on “Whole Lotta Love?” Or the one who fell flat three times, most recently on “I Want to Know What Love Is?” Landing in the bottom three tends to be a real motivator for this bunch, so I won’t be a bit surprised if Elise reaffirms her status as a superb singer deserving to be considered a frontrunner.
6. Skylar Laine (7): Hello, Skylar. Stuck in the bottom three two weeks ago, she responded with her best performance all year on the most unlikely tune to be twanged, “Wind Beneath My Wings.” It’ll take a couple more of those performances in a row for me to consider her a serious contender. But here’s betting her fan base in just as strong as anyone else not named Phillip, Jessica or Colton.
7. Hollie Cavanagh (6): Speaking of clamoring, I’ve been hoping Hollie would go upbeat all year. She did last week, looked entirely uncomfortable doing it and might have exhausted her last second chance. That’s two straight clunkers, and the days when Hollie surprised us with those big booming notes coming from such a small gal seem like the distant past. She needs to pull off a Skylar on Wednesday.