'American Idol': Double-Elimination Night Honors the 1980s

Boy George helped the contestants reach their potential.
Courtesy of FOX
American Idol

After Qaasim Middleton surprisingly but deservedly snagged the only save of the season last week, the pressure was on for tonight’s performances. It was a double-elimination night on American Idol, and Boy George mentored the top 11 contestants as they took on hits from the 1980s.

After David Hasselhoff delivered the results and performed a quick medley dedicated to the '80s, the top 11 did a group performance of “Karma Chameleon,” and then it was time to get to the results. Daniel Seavey was the first contestant through, and he took on “You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates. The biggest takeaway from his session with Boy George was that he needs to relax onstage and really prove he has the vocals to stay in the competition. The song choice suited his voice, and all the judges thought he improved, but his performance still looked over-rehearsed.

Quentin Alexander also advanced, singing “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins. Alexander has always had a calmness to him that makes him seem confident and sure of who he is as an artist. Tonight, Harry Connick Jr. said he hoped Alexander could back up his risks onstage with tight technique. His vocals were indeed strong tonight, and even though this is less important, he also looked fantastic.

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Also looking fantastic, Joey Cook, who described her outfit as “Madonna in space,” sang “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper. Boy George advised her to make the performance as dynamic as possible and show different sides of her voice. Her performance wasn’t as strong as it usually is, and as Connick put it, she seemed distracted. She’s still one of the best artists in the competition, but this wasn’t her best week.

Tyanna Jones survived the voting after her weakest performance of the season last week and bounced back with an amazing performance of “I Want to Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston. “If anyone can take on a Whitney song, it’s you, Tyanna,” Keith Urban said. And he’s right. Of all the contestants left in the competition, she consistently has the most impressive voice. Jones has been American Idol material for a while now.

Next, Jax Cole sang “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi. She returned to the piano tonight, and it was a strong choice. Even though she was confined behind the piano, she gave a seductive and exciting performance, and the arrangement was one of the more original arrangements of the night. “You’ve got so much originality,” Urban said. The judges thought her voice got a little lost in the middle of the song but had mostly positive things to say. There’s no denying Cole is one of the more self-assured contestants in the competition.

Nick Fradiani gave an underwhelming performance of “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson. The vocals were solid, and Fradiani is undeniably talented, but his energy and artistry just isn’t interesting enough for one of the greatest songs of all time. Compared to most of the other contestants, Fradiani just isn’t exciting enough to stand out, but voters must disagree.

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Salt-N-Pepa gave a throwback performance of their lasting hit “Push It” before the next contestant, Clark Beckham, took the stage. Similar to Fradiani, Beckham hasn’t done much to make himself stand out as someone who can really win this competition. After deciding to switch the key a couple of times in rehearsal, he performed “Every Breath You Take” by The Police and also decided to stay behind the piano. This was one his more emotional performances of the season, but it’s still hard to believe that Beckham could be the next American Idol.

After quite literally dropping the mic last week, Qaasim Middleton thankfully advanced tonight. He hit the stage with “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer. It was a much more muted performance than last week's, but it still worked because Middleton is one of the best storytellers and stage performers in the competition.

Rayvon Owen, Adanna Duru and Maddie Walker made up the bottom three of the night, and Walker and Duru went home, leaving Owen to give the last performance of the evening. He sang “Everybody Wants to Rule The World” by Tears for Fears. Owen has consistently strong vocals, but the judges are still waiting for him to show more of what he can do as an artist.

The competition continues next week, as Kelly Clarkson joins the top nine to give advice based on her own Idol experiences. With no more saves left, it’s more important than ever to vote for your favorites. Who won your vote tonight?

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