'American Idol' Burning Questions: Were the Top 6 Worried Ryan Seacrest Wouldn't Show? Why Did Phillip Phillips Choose Obscure DMB?
Plus: Hollie Cavanagh reveals the other Queen song she was considering, Elise Testone talks about her band back home and Skylar Laine explains the tattoos on her town.
American Idol’s Top 6 were downright giddy following Wednesday’s performance episode -- perhaps realizing, as they do every week, just how close they are to the finish line. But burning questions persist, like these from the Top 5 (we missed Jessica Sanchez due to her curfew, but included a photo of the adorable 16-year-old hamming it up with a Fox crew.
Why didn’t Phillip Phillips choose a better known Dave Matthews song? “Ants Marching,” “The Space Between,” the artist affectionately known only as Dave certainly has had his share of radio hits, so why pick the more obscure “The Stone?” “That’s probably my favorite song by him,” Phillip told THR. “It's got meaning to me and I'm sure a lot of other people, too.” The irony of singing about stones while suffering from kidney stones was lost on the 21-year-old Georgia native, however. “I didn't even think about that, it’s funny.”
What was the story with the cool looking microphone Joshua Ledet used during “Crazy Little Thing Called Love?” After rehearsing with a standard issue microphone, Joshua had an idea. “I asked for an old-fashioned microphone last-minute and they ordered it,” he explained. “It’s a song you can boogie out to -- I wanted to do a lot of swinging and stuff with it.”
What does the lyric “tattoos on this town” mean to Skylar Laine?“It’s like all the memories we've left in this town,” she explained. “And it's exactly my town. Like hanging out at the car wash is a tattoo on our town. And going mud riding or hunting -- it's something we'll always remember and will always be there. It was completely 100% to my town of Brandon Mississippi.” As for her own ink? Skylar says she got the feather on her right wrist in February, the day the after she turned 18. “I was planning on it for a while,” she said. “The feather mean my problems are light as a feather because God holds them for me.”
Is Joshua Ledet the biggest slob ever? “That was so fake,” he says Josh of the video segment showing a bedroom disaster zone. “My room was not that dirty and I will stand by that. I'm not messy at all -- or I'm not that messy.” Josh blames it on the wonders of television.
What the deal with Elise’s guitar player? His name is Wallace Mullinax, and he’s her bandmate in Charleston, South Carolina’s The Freeloaders (listen to some of their tunes here). Named best Funk/Soul/R&B Artist of the Year in 2011, they were profiled in the Charleston City Paper only three months months before Idol season 11 kicked off. According to Elise, the band was known for covers of songs by Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix (like her contestant’s choice song. “Bold As Love,” which was also covered by John Mayer, Elise pointed out), Rolling Stones, Beatles, James Brown and Prince. “We've been playing together for about 5 years,” she said. “Wallace is one of my idols and inspirations - he's like the nicest most humble player I’ve ever known and one of my best friends. To have him here was incredible.”
Did living in England for some of her childhood create a deeper connection with the British band Queen for Hollie Cavanagh?“I grew up hearing Queen and the Beatles so they're both inspirations,” she said with that peculiar accent Liverpool-meets-Texas drawl. “To meet them was just ridiculous. They are the sweetest people and so genuine. They just do what they feel and its' all about passion and meaning. Hollie chose to sing a lesser-known hit, 1980’s “Save Me,” but also revealed the other Queen song she was considering. “I thought, ‘I Want to Break Free’ would be fun, but vocally it didn't really take me anywhere, With ‘Save Me,’ I didn't know the song and as I started learning it, I fell more in love with it. Emotionally, I connected to the song and maybe it showed a little in my performance. I felt every word of it.”
Is there anything “effortless” about singing Queen? Not for Skylar Laine, who was battling a hoarse throat. “It's hard to sing Queen so I just kind of let it go,” she said after her soaring rendition of “The Show Must Go On.” “Your voice gets tired and on Tuesday, my high register was just shot, so I was, like, it's either gonna come out or it's not. Luckily, I pulled it out.”
Was Phillip unnecessarily harsh in calling Hollie “weird” and “mousy” during his video segment?“She’s justa cute little bug,” Phillip clarified. “I love Hollie. We’re close and there are no hard feelings. People take stuff way out of proportion -- that's just what people do when they have nothing else to do. It's all fun and games. I don't take offense with what anybody says to me. Life's too short.” Besides, Hollie didn’t take offense either, telling THR: “It’s OK, he’s weird too!”
Were the contestants at all worried that Ryan Seacrest might be too sick to host the live show? “Nah,” said Elise Testone. “He's Ryan Seacrest -- he's like a robot!” The elder Idol did however, inquire as to how the host was feeling during a break. “I love Ryan, I really do,” she gushed. “I look forward to seeing him every week so I wanted to make sure he was OK. He's tough.”