'American Idol' Recap: Another One Bites the Dust, 5 Remain
A record 58 million votes were cast for the episode featuring performances by Katy Perry and Queen tribute band the Queen Extravaganza.
Elise Testone’s permanent vacation home in the bottom three now has a “vacancy sign,” as the South Carolina blues rocker was eliminated on last night’s American Idol results show.
After last week’s shocking elimination of Colton Dixon, Testone’s dismissal seemed a foregone conclusion. She was in the bottom three almost every week, no matter what she did.
Mentor Jimmy Iovine blamed Testone’s fate on that old Idol Achilles' heel: song choice. He called the singer’s decision to do Queen’s “I Want It All” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Bold as Love” a “double-down on bad choice for the night.”
Iovine additionally tapped into his inner Simon Cowell, saying Testone’s take on “I Want It All” made him feel like he was "at a nightclub somewhere in the back … It didn’t move me. I didn’t hit rewind, and I didn’t want to see it again.”
Iovine summed it up this way: “Elise has a problem: She's a great singer, makes bad choices."
Song choice seems to be the theme this season: It was the reason Dixon got the ax last week, and even the judges have been pleading with the talent to pick more popular tunes.
It didn't hurt every vocalist. Phillip Phillips, still suffering from kidney stones and not doing well, according to Iovine, was safe despite doing a song even Dave Matthews doesn't remember, "The Stone," which the executive described as a "mistake" to perform. Iovine also called out Phillips on a lack of energy on "Fat Bottomed Girls" and added that Casey Abrams and Jack Black had "exploded" with the raunchy ode to the derriere during last season's finale.
Joshua Ledet picked India.Arie's "Ready for Love" and won positive feedback from the judges, Iovine and Arie herself. Host Ryan Seacrest read the hopeful Arie's consecutive tweets: "come onnnnn! Sing it Boy! Yes! Whoo hooo hooo hoo.I got chills all over. Thanks Joshua, call me."
We admit, it was humorous hearing Seacrest paraphrase, "whooo hooo hooo." Iovine predicted that Ledet would make it to the finals, noting his crossover potential and comparing him to Gary U.S. Bonds. He said if Ledet had been voted off last night, "something is wrong with the competition." Note to Iovine: This show always has shockers. See Chris Daughtry's elimination for further proof.
Jessica Sanchez's "Bohemian Rhapsody" scared Iovine, who was noticeably freaked out by the "three faces of Jessica" on the video screen. He compared the performance to Stephen King but then pointed to Sanchez as an example of how to pick just the right song, praising the teen's selection of "Dance With My Father."
"She sang it brilliantly," he said of Sanchez, who did the heartfelt ballad as a tribute to her father, who is about to serve overseas in the military. "She understood the words; she also understands her audience."
The Idol audience was loud and clear Thursday night. After a season-high 58 million votes cast, according to Seacrest, Testone was joined by Hollie Cavanagh and Skylar Laine in the bottom three.
Laine’s bottom-three appearance might have had something to do with her song choice, Jason Aldean’s “Tattoos on This Town.” Iovine called the pick “self-indulgent” (another Cowell classic). He disagreed with Laine’s choice to serenade her hometown, saying that if you are going to sing to one town, you better make sure it connects with the rest of the nation. He did, however, say that Laine's emotive take on "The Show Must Go On" was competent, albeit out of her country theme.
It seemed like Cavanagh might get the boot, but Iovine thought she saved herself subconsciously with Queen’s “Save Me” and with a repeat of Miley Cyrus' “The Climb,” her audition song.
Seacrest noted that the votes were "so close," but Testone came out on the losing end.
Still, Testone went out on a high note, repeating her fierce cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and prompting Steven Tyler, arguably her musical soulmate, to join in on vocals. It was a shame the producers cut away from her performance just as she was about to wail, but take heart: Idol fans will get a chance to hear her again on the American Idol Live! tour, kicking off July 6 at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena. Tickets go on sale May 11.
An Idol veteran stopped by to give contestants some friendly advice. Finalists should beware of pranks, according to Casey Abrams, who returned to the stage to chat with Seacrest and the top six.
Speaking of Season 10, how cool was it to see a virtual reunion of last year’s finalists, including Haley Reinhart (Friday's guest on THR's Idol Hangover)? Stefano Langone performed his new single, “I’m on a Roll” and at last took the judge’s advice to sing with his eyes open. As for the song, it sounded like a summer hit in the vein of Jason DeRulo.
Additional performances included The Queen Extravaganza, the Queen tribute band led by Canadian vocalist Marc Martel, who sounds eerily like Freddie Mercury. As for the band? The guitar player did a back flip while shredding on lead! Now that’s theater! Mercury would approve.
Katy Perry and her pretaped segment of the hit “Part of Me” was stunning from a visual perspective, but the pop star was getting short of breath. However, she’s not being judged, and this reporter’s 8-year-old daughter thought it was awesome, so we’ll let it go.
So, are you sad to see Testone gone from the competition? Do you think Ledet has what it takes to make the finale? Which girl has the best shot at top 2? Do you think Tyler has a second career in fast food as a Burger King employee (just had to throw that in there -- his commercial was a hoot!). What do you think, Worshippers?
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