‘American Idol’ 2012: Top 8 perform songs from the ’80sApril 9 2012 at 9:51 PM
American Idol 2012: Top 8 perform songs from the 80s
By Lisa de Moraes
Elise Testone performs i (Michael Becker - Fox)
Its 80s Week on American Idol so, naturally, the shows three judges have come dressed like its finals week at Clown School. Steven Tyler is dressed in skinny white pants on which have been painted even skinnier legs. Jennifer Lopez is dressed in tinsel. Randys in a red polka dot shirt white tie and black jacket he needs bigger shoes, though, and tears painted under one eye. If they dont start tumbling, or riding bareback well be disappointed.
Show host Ryan Seacrest, meanwhile, is wearing his newest-member-of-the-NBC-family suit. Hes just come from Rockefeller Center where, this morning, he informed Matt Lauer hes been groomed to replace him eventually.
This week each Idolette will be asked what they miss most while in Los Angeles, shacking up at Foreclosure Plaza Hollywood, and working seven days a week learning songs, shilling for Idol, and selling Ford cars.
Who better to mentor the Idolettes during 80s week than No Doubts singer Gwen Stefani and drummer Tony Kanal.
DeAndre Brackensick really misses driving. Gwen tells him he has to stop with the scared puppy look during and after each performance and Idol Mentor in Chief Jimmy Iovine tells him hes got to conquer his nerves or its all over for him tonight.
Im only 17, DeAndre responds.
He sings I Like It by DeBarge and no, it was all just manufactured suspense. Hes completely at ease, working the stage, going in and out of his falsetto. He should just hop into the Back to the Future DeLorean and go be a star in the second Reagan administration.
I was comfortable and I know I brought it, DeAndre tells Seacrest afer its over.
Big props from the judging table. Randy loved you used more of your natural voice not just falsettoYou could be a 2012 version of DeBarge! Randy enthuses.
Elise Testone first wants to sing Leonard Cohens misery song Hallelujah, but the judges convince her to sing Foreigners I Want to Know What Love Is because Stefani says her voice is sick and the rehearsal performance of that tune gave her and Kanal goosebumps. Kanal corrects Stefani, explaining theyre called goosies on this show.
Its merely dull, not wrist-slitting. The verse is out of her range on the low side and shes pitchy, too. Its so rare for the judges to ding a contestant that were jolted out of our seats when they agree that Elise blew it, though adding that shes still great and can do nothing to diminish her greatness. Im not sure if that song was the right song for you baby, says Tyler.
More bad news: the Idolettes will be paired off to sing duets this week. First victims: Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine do Kenny and Dolly doing Islands In the Stream, the country hit from 1983. Hey -- turns out they are a calming influence on each other, and thats all to the good. Restrained from chewing scenery all over the stage, the two deliver straight ahead performances that really work, especially for Skylar who gives what might be her best performance of the competition to date. No, theres no chemistry between them -- but you cant have everything.
Nonetheless, Skylar says backstage, Everybody is asking on Twitter if me and Colton are datingWere not, while no doubt off-camera a publicist gives her a big thumbs-up.
Phillip, who misses playing guitar with his brother-in-law, is going to sing Thats All, by Genesis. During rehearsal, Kanal suggests Phil stop playing the guitar during the song for some dramatic emphasis and Kanal doesnt say it but we will -- to give the audience a break from the self-absorbed strumming that gives that muddled background to all of Phils performances. Of course, that schtick from a scruffy, good-looking white guy with guitar has worked like gangbusters for the last several Idol winners, so Phil should probably ignore Kanals advice. Which Phil mostly does, in a performance thats okay at best, and most notable for the fact that hes brought his brother-in-law to strum along, making a big move on the Family Voting Bloc.
Youre just a wildflower arent you? Tyler asks, confusing Phillip. Tyler loves that you brought your bro up here though JLo shockingly hints that maybe the brother-in-law wasnt such a great idea. He plays loud, she says, adding that Phil looked like that threw him off track at the start. Randy settles it by coming down firmly on the side of brothers-in-law as sidemen.
Hollie and DeAndre perform The Pointer Sisters Im So Excited. His soft voice combined with her piercing one is the sonic equivalent of taking a bite of a hot buttered English muffin and then sucking on a lemon.
And nowMoments of Wisdom from the Judges Table. How goes the evening so far, Ryan asks each? Hard to judge for Steven because the 80s wasnt really good for meI was other places. Randy announces it doesnt matter what song an Idolette chooses because if you sing it great, it wont matter, negating every season of Idol before this one.
Bring on Joshua Ledet the best male singer, already! He will perform If You Dont Know Me By Now from Simply Red. The mentors are enthusiastic during rehearsal. In fact, Jimmy says hes going to stand outside the hall and sell Holy Ghost tee-shirts because Joshuas performance is sure to inspire people to buy the T-shirts. Its a music-industry inside joke, we guess?
Joshua starts at a leisurely pace, and theres a large drown-the-singer choir, but he manages to sidestep them and keeps on building. Joshuas the real deal. The judges are buying the T-shirts. Spectacular! raves JLo. I think we found someone tonight whos got to have it, screams Randy. Seacrest screams You gots to have it!
Joshua, on the other hand, is disarmingly modest, telling Seacrest, who asks how he can sing a tune like that, I dont know anything about the songs. Im only 19 years old I cant say Ive had any love problems.
Jessica Sanchez, by far the best female vocalist, has been having some issues lately, pulling it all together into a really satisfying performance. Shes going to do How Will I Know, from the Whitney Houston songbook. Stefani advises Jessica to try some stage moves instead of her usual lounge-singer shtick. Jessica promises that she will surprise everybody by displaying her alter ego.
The alter ego turns out to be more imaginary friend. Jessica stage presence is virtually identical to that of her other performances: mostly about walking around and sometimes wagging her head. As always, her voice is strong, but this should have been a high-energy turn for her and its just medium energy. No matter, judges love it. Everything you do is beautiful, says Tyler. Randy is moved to a rare double-stroke judges commentary, in which he both manages to fawn over himself and Seacrest: I had the pleasure of working on that song he begins, and ends with, Ryan, some might say shes an Olympic performer. Are you going to judge the Olympics? Ryan demurs.
Philip and Elise are supposed to duet Stop Dragging My Heart Around. Shes pitchy again and were just going to walk away quickly.
Oh dear, Hollie Cavanagh, The Girl Who Thinks Too Much. Mentors come and mentors go, but always the advice is the same: think less, feel more. And always she goes out on stage and counts feel, two, three, feel, two, three. So when we hear that her song choice this week is What a Feeling from the flick Flashdance we think at last the solution to Hollies problem! A song in which she gets a big bucket of water dumped on her head!
As if. Hollies pitchy, she does a lot of stage walking, even a twirl, but stays dry. Stop thinking and get up here and feel it, JLo urges. And so the cycle starts again.
Jessica and Joshua duet the George Michael/Aretha Franklin tune, I Knew You Were Waiting for Me. Theyre very good at vocal dueling.
We would have loved to listen to them riffing off each other more, but Idol rules require a large back-up choir to intervene. Even so, JLo forecasts they will be the two finalists. That would be great but, its probably not accurate since neither is a scruffy white guy with a guitar.
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