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Thursday night on American Idol, it was up to the judges to decide which of the bottom two vote getters went home, and it was Jennifer Lopez who had to deliver the bad news to her favorite contestant: Florida crooner and this season’s resident nice guy, Jeremy Rosado.
Rosado and raspy voiced rocker girl Elise Testone ended up in the bottom two, and Lopez looked sad to send her “Jer Bear” home. He took his elimination quite well, calling the experience “awesome” before having the honor of being the first finalist serenaded by Season 10 champ Scotty McCreery’s “Please Remember Me.”
Rosado’s ouster was correctly called by judge Steven Tyler, who answered host Ryan Seacrest’s awkward question of “who should be sent home tonight?” (viewers at home may have even heard what sounded like Jennifer Lopez marveling at the “bad question”). It also reverses the longtime Idol trend of girls getting the axe early in the competition. You don’t have to think back all that far: last season saw female singers (including favorite Pia Toscano) ousted week after week. Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M and Idol‘s in-house mentor, definitely took notice of the women and their “vocal fireworks.”
Still, it was a long hour, beginning with a slow paced group number of the Stevie Wonder song “As.” Seacrest then called the contestants one by one, revealing that the bottom six singers included Testone, Erika Van Pelt, Shannon Magrane, Joshua Ledet, and Jermaine Jones. Of that group, Magrane undoubtedly had the weakest vocal performance of the bunch, but the Idol voting bloc was on her side, at least this week.
Testone also had a rough time with “I’m Your Baby Tonight,” but I’m glad the judges are giving her another chance, even though it was at the expense of one of Lopez’s favorite vocalists.
In addition, fans were treated to a rousing performance by Season 10 runner-up Lauren Alaina, newly slimmed down and getting her Carrie Underwood on as she performed her single, “Georgia Peaches,” off her debut CD, Wildflower. Later on, guest mentor Mary J. Blige schooled the contestants in the art of performance with her single, “Why?”
Other reveals: Phillip Phillips seemed to be feeling OK after a trip to a medical treatment center for the removal of kidney stones. He had similar complaints during the Hollywood Week episodes. Surprisingly, Seacrest incorrectly stated that Phillips was in the hospital, which the frontrunner quickly shot down on stage.
And what would American Idol be without that Ford commercial? This year’s first offering was set to Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time,” with the contestants roaming the city streets, Godzilla style. Was that a nod to Idol “Giants” Jones and Magrane? We digress.
As always, there was colorful commentary from Iovine. Randy Jackson was quick to point out that the three judges are in disagreement a good percentage of the time. Here is how it went down:
Before Seacrest began to break down the voting order, Iovine had a message for the audience. He noted that Whitney Houston was “made by hand by God” and that it was “difficult for the girls to sing these songs… Stevie Wonder is no walk in the park either.”
With that, Seacrest called the contestants one by one. For the most part, I agreed with most of Iovine’s critiques, especially these comments:
Elise Testone: “Elise didn’t rise to the occasion… I think she’s in trouble.”
Hollie Cavanaugh: “She delivered on the promise” and “suited up and showed up… She was fantastic.”
Jessica Sanchez: “Probably the best performance I’ve seen of anyone on American Idol.” Iovine was, however concerned that Sanchez will get overconfident and “believe the applause.”
Heejun Han: “This showed off all of his flaws,” he warned, saying that he would most likely not record a Stevie Wonder track with Han. However, Iovine had praise, noting, “ I like the tone of his voice.”
Colton Dixon: “Is he a pop singer? Is he a rock singer? I don’t think he’s found his truth yet.”
Jermaine Jones: In a rare moment of agreement, Iovine sided with one judge. “Jennifer was right — he was thinking too much.”
Erika Van Pelt: “Here’s a case where somebody’s not really made for this song, yet she took it, enhanced it and did a really believable job. Her problem is in her presentation..She needs to be direct.”
Shannon Magrane: Magrane thinks she cracked on only one note, but Iovine thinks she cracked on the whole rendition of “I Have Nothing.” “Nerves got the best of Shannon. It tightened up her vocal chords. She has a lot of talent, but needs a lot more experience.”
Skylar Laine: Iovine disagrees with Lopez’s assessment Laine’s vocals were nasal. Said Iovine: “I like that in her voice. I like nasal.”
Joshua Ledet: Iovine liked that Ledet performed an up-tempo song, but said: “My concern is that the audience will get bored of his voice after a while… The judges loved him. I’m worried about him.”
DeAndre Brackensick: Brackensick’s reggae stylings were a happy surprise for Iovine. “He didn’t overdo it. He didn’t try too hard. I won’t be surprised if he’s in the top 10 this week.”
Phillip Phillips: “He came knowing who he is,” said Iovine of Phillips and his “big advantage.” However, he added, “What I’m a little nervous about is these girls have a lot of vocal fireworks and that could outshine him in weeks to come.”
Jeremy Rosado: In the most prescient comment of the night, Iovine said, “He did not deliver at all. All the girls outperformed Jeremy last night, and I think Jeremy will go.”
Did America get it right? Do you think the judges sent the right singer home? What say you Idol Worshippers?
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