I hope you enjoyed the current music on American Idol last week.
Because it’s gone, gone, gone.
This week, the not-so-wise folks at Idol decided to ignore the fact that giving the cast a chance to sing contemporary music translated into one of the best performance shows ever.
They’ve decided to transport the gang back to the 1980s. Which means singing songs from before they were born for all but one of the Idols.
The two bits of good news: Our top eight get to pick songs from the genres they’re comfortable with. And they just might be talented enough to pull it off.
Here are this week’s rankings. The number is parenthesis is where the contestant was ranked a week ago. Follow the link by each name and you’ll find yourself on a page featuring all their performances since the voting began, plus a couple from before Season 11 began.
1. Phillip Phillips (1): Until he falters, Phillip stays right here in the rankings. And he sure didn’t falter last week, when his rocked-out rendition of Johnny Lang’s “Still Raing” ranked as one of the show’s highlights. Oh, I also couldn’t help noticing that Phillip made no attempt to spice up his wardrobe, despite being chatised a week earlier for ignoring Tommy Hilfiger’s advice. Way to go, Phillip.
2. Jessica Sanchez (3): Yep, Jessica moves up another notch in the rankings after that brilliant, sensational … well, I could use any superlative you like to describe what she did with Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams” last week. It gave me the goosies, and I don’t get the goosies nearly as easily as Jennifer Lopez. I’m just hoping Jessica doesn’t fall into the ballad trap. My advice: Come back young and fun this week.
3. Colton Dixon (2): I’m glad Jimmy Iovine was mildly critical of Colton’s show-opening performance last week, because the way the judges were carrying on, I thought I’d failed to appreciate something truly special. Jimmy seemed to have the same opinion I did: solid, not special. As for Randy’s proclamation that he thinks Colton’s a contender: Way to pay attention, Dawg. I think most of use could have told you that weeks ago.
4. Elise Testone (6): She has moved from eighth to fourth in these rankings in just two weeks. That’s what happens when you dazzle us with “Vienna,” then do a 180-degree turn and belt out “Whole Lotta Love” like you never want to see the bottom three again. Jimmy thinks she might have an edge this week because she’s the only contestant who lived through any portion of the ’80s. The bigger edge should be a huge confidence boost from the past two weeks.
5. Joshua Ledet (4): Joshua’s over-the-top performance of “Without You” last week showed off all his vocal prowess, and probably came off as trying to do a little too little with a classic tune. For the first time this season, he reminded me of Jacob Lusk, and not in a good way. I now think Joshua might be the Season 11 contestant most in need — and most deserving — of a judges’ save sometime soon.
6. Hollie Cavanagh (5): This week is more critical for Hollie than anyone else among the final eight. Just a week ago, she was standing by Heejun Han, on the brink of elimination, with a judges’ save highly unlikely. She’s shown enough pluck that I expect her to bounce back strong. But I also sense a growing gap between the first five singers on this list and the bottom three.
7. Skylar Laine (7): The country gal needs some help with her song choices. I mean, I’m sorry Skylar fans, but she is not Miranda Lambert. And to pick a sassy Miranda song like “Gunpowder and Lead,” not change it one bit … well, I mean, how do you impress with that performance. It’s pretty much a no-win situation. Hopefully, with a whole decade of country hits to choice from, Skylar will find one she can put her stamp on and sound unique doing it.
8. Deandre Brackensick (8): How Deandre avoided the bottom three last week is beyond me. Maybe it was Jennifer Lopez’s impassioned plea for votes on his behalf because she wants to hear more of that voice. I prefer that voice when he doesn’t sing an entire song in falsetto. His version of “Sometimes I Cry” was my least favorite performance last week. And I could care less if it brought the suddenly easy-to-please judges to their feet.