No, its the ladies singing Whitney Houston. As KK pointed out, nothing more could be designed to set up a giant fail by the *girls* than asking them to sing Whitney barely a month after she died while all of her adoring fans (of which I never was one) are in mourning. Idol compounds this by giving the guys Stevie Wonder who has probably more songs in the universe than any other artist alive today to choose from. I'm pleased to say the women, for the most part, escaped the trap set for them by the evil Nygel Lythgoe, who opportunistically capitalized on the Whitney mourning while not even managing to find time in the show to mention that she is...well...DEAD and offer a few words of tribute.
No, Nygel uses this *guys* vs. *girls* week to throw another wrench into the Idol works by announcing that the judges, who have already had plenty of input into who stays and who goes, and in my opinion really botched the wild card selection, will pick who goes home this week between the bottom *girl* and the bottom guy. Unless the bottom woman is Jessica Sanchez, we will end up with 5 women and 7 boys next week to entertain us.
As for their performances, well let me say I was pretty much underwhelmed by all but a few and realized that I really don't like Stevie Wonder songs unless Stevie is singing them and sometimes even Stevie bores me (blasphemy I know). And further realized that Whitney's songs were pretty much pap and sound very dated today.
Josh Ledet gets what is commonly referred to as the *death spot* or the *poop spot* and goes first singing *I Wish*. I am not familiar with this song so thank goodness for my closed captioned feature or I would not have the slightest idea what he was growling about and why he was popping around the stage. He doesn't overdo the melisma but decides to try scatting (I'm done with scatting now). I like Joshua but thought this was an average performance of a crappy song. The judges loved him. He is strong. He's invincible. He can do anything. He's a guy.
Elise Testone goes into Jimmy and Mary J Blige with *Greatest Love of All* and they don't like it. So they suggest the completely insipid *I'm Your Baby Tonight* which cannot be one of Whitney's best songs. There really isn't a lot she can do with that song which rings no emotional bells with the audience and makes me think of Studio 54 and Donna Summers more than Whitney Houston. If I were her and Jimmy gave me song advice again, I would be tempted to punch him. So her voice and talent are wasted, she knew they were going to be wasted, and I just hope she survives this week and can come back and sing a song she likes. Poor Elise.
Jermaine the Giant is up next singing *Knocks Me Off My Feet* and my feet remained on the ground. It wasn't terrible. Jimmy loves him, Steven thought he was good, JLo thinks he needs to feel the song more, and Randy was lukewarm about Jermaine's chorus but loved the verses. Jermaine thinks he did *pretty good* and says he is *happy* with his performance. Big big mistake. Now you look like an ungrateful cocky ass, Jermaine and the audience will punish you for it. He is in danger, in my opinion,
primarily because of his less than humble reaction to the judges critiques.
Erika Van Peldt (or EVP) sings *I Believe in You and Me* and was, I think, sensational. The judges want her to belt more. I liked her restraint, particularly since I know we are going to get belted to the moon in later performances. She might be in trouble for not belting enough and because she is performing a little too close to the poop spot for the audience to remember to vote for her.
Colton, the emo hearthrob sings some song in a very self important *artiste* fashion. The judges are so glad he showed his feelings (like this is something new for Mr. Emo). Earlier in the week, James Durbin has dissed Colton for copying Durbin's style. I think I detected a few eye squints in Colton's performance so maybe Durbin is right. I'm not jumping on Colton's train. Even if I wanted to, a pack of screaming teens would beat me with their pink cell phones until I fell onto the tracks between the wheels. He's going to be around forever.
Shannon takes on *I Have Nothing*. I did not think she was as terrible as the judges did but maybe I was trying to overcome my visceral dislike of her personally and giving her too much credit. When they did the playback of all the performances at the end of the show, I heard what the judges heard. She is still America's sweetheart, however, and she is not going to be the bottom girl even though she should be. Next week she will come back with a feel good song about God and Hope and regain her front-runner status.
Diandre has his hair in a ponytail ala Sanjaya but styled so it looks like dreadlocks like Jason Castro. He is making a serious play to get some screaming teens on his train. He sings some upbeat song and tones down the falsetto so I will give him some credit for that. Boring.
The people on the official American Idol fan boards were predicting that Skylar would tackle the big song and sing it the way it was originally meant to be sung...ala Dolly. I really like this young woman but was not expecting much and prayed she didn't sing THE song because I didn't want to have to mock her. She no more knows Whitney Houston than she knows Coco Chanel but man she nailed that song. She made my heart hurt. I think she succeeded because she just sang the song and didn't try to melisma vibrato the thing to death.
HeJun makes nice with Jimmy and I must say, his performance of All is Fair In Love was, for me, about the best male performance of the night. He didn't do any of that octave jumping to a falsetto which I hate and I think had a 50's crooner vibe. He did much better than last week.
I love Hollie. I thought she did a great job with *All the Man I Need*. She is a belter too, but for some reason she doesn't put me off the way most of them do and have done over the seasons. Sadly, she was doomed to be overshadowed because even though it was a big song, it wasn't THE song.
Jeremy is giving lots of love and hair stroking (to use KK's phrase) for his performance of *Ribbon In the Sky*. I like this guy but I thought his performance sucked. His voice seemed tinny to me and it was clear he was nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Steven and JLo loved it, Randy was more critical.
Cut to commercial with the promise that Jessica is going to sing THE song. Of course she is. Would have loved to see how she wrestled it away from Holly and Shannon. She gets a standing ovation and probably deserves it, even though her performance mimicked Jennifer Hudson's performance at the Grammys the day after Whitney's untimely demise. I'm not liking her personally so much. I don't know why. Maybe I just don't like teenagers coming in and getting all the glory. The girl has been on at least 2 other talent shows in her life and she is only 17. She is a female pukealetta to me. And isn't her family living in a box so she can have a career or something? Or is that the Hawaiian girl on the Voice?
Finally, the amazing, dazzling, original, never before seen Phillip Phillips sings *Superstition*. Because, as he enlightens us, its been done before on Idol but not like HE is going to do it. I thought his performance was pure cheese and he is driving his car right down the David Cook/Kris Allen/LeDwize highway. Except he draws out his words...*suuuper steeeeee tion* like he is straining at the stool (that killed Elvis, you know). He's going to win it all.
I predict the bottom girl to be either Elise or Ericka and the bottom guy to be Jermaine or Jeremy. If its Jeremy, a girl will go home because JLo is not going to let her guy leave before the top 10. Even if its Jermaine, it may still be a girl because neither girl has a big supporter among the judges.