I just finished watching last night’s Idol and wow. What a show. Here are my thoughts on how the Top 4 did performing each of their two songs – the first a song either about California or by musicians from California ; and the second a song that the contestant “wishes they had written” and find inspiring. For all four artists, round two was infinitely better in my opinion. The first acts were good or okay or even great; but in round two – they really brought it with some major moments.
Phillip opened the show with Creedence Clearwater Revival’s, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” and he did a good job but for me it was a bit safe. He had some classic moments with it as he got into the song, but compared to what I know he can do, I was verging on unimpressed. That said, in round two he took on Damien Rice’s, “Volcano,” which I have never heard before and his performance left me truly speechless. My notes for this song were simply, “Wow. Just wow.” I thought I knew his bag of tricks pretty well but this song astounded me. He’s been a major contender for me since the beginning and this performance just slayed me (and the judges). Overall a solid A.
Hollie was in the bottom for me this week which was disappointing because I like her so much and enjoy her voice but I found both her performance of Journey’s “Faithfully” and Bonnie Raitt’s ”I Can’t Make You Love Me” to be subpar, especially compared to the other contestants who have basically made the Idol stage their home at this point. She had a few beautiful moments – reminding me of why I like her, but they were so short this week and so small. I love her, but if it were up to me, she’d be going home tonight. C+
Joshua sang Josh Groban’s “You Raise me Up” and then James Brown’s ”It’s a Man’s World” – the first performance for me was fine, not nearly as good as the judges praised it, but fine. I’m kind of used to this by now. But his rendition of ”It’s a Man’s World” was truly amazing, I have to admit. He really had a major moment last night and it’s performances like that which remind me that this kid could win the whole competition regardless of whether I would ever buy his album. I can’t deny those moments and he ended the night, much like my Phillip, with a stuttering A.
Jessica closed the show after a couple of cah-razy good performances with Etta James’s “Steal Away” and Jennifer Holliday’s “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.” Some might say that an Etta James song is too old for Jessica, a complaint she’s been getting a lot of but obviously she likes these older songs and you know what? I do, too. And I love her voice and her second song selection. Hot damn, girl. It is clearly anybody’s game at this point because in round two I heard three songs that all had me stuttering and floored. They were all amazing. Easy A.
Sadly, all except Hollie. If she doesn’t go home this week… I will be really, really surprised because three performers gave amazing, jaw dropping performances this week and it wasn’t her. I think she’ll be amazing someday, with a little life experience, but she’s not there yet. And those other three contestants? They really are.
What did you think?