Fox, Wed., March 15, 2012, 8 pm (ET) “American Idol” contestants had a hit-or-miss night. Most of the misses seemed to hinge on the young performers listening to the advice of their elders (Jimmy Iovine and Will i.am.) to sing alternate songs. Each performer was to sing a song from the year they were born.
Standouts of the Night
Definitely the standout performer of the night was Joshua Ledet, who has the best male voice. Singing next-to-last, Jennifer Lopez commented that the show had “saved the best for last” as Joshua delivered a soulful rendition of “When A Man Loves A Woman.” Randy Jackson even said that, somewhere, Percy Sledge, who originally sang the song (Ledet sang Michael Bolton’s version), was smiling down. “You gave it up so big God came through your eyes.” Jennifer Lopez said it was “the best thing I’ve ever seen on ‘American Idol.'” Steven Tyler spared the hyperbole, but did note that Joshua was in the same class as Jessica Sanchez last week, when she did an incredible job with Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All.” With adjectives like “phenomenal” and “incredible” Joshua stood out.
Performers Who Did Well
The final performer of the night, petite Hollie Cavanagh, who sang Celine Dion’s “The Power of Love,” did well, as did Phillip Phillips, who survived very recent kidney stone surgery to do his Dave Matthews schtick. Others who should be safe include Skylar Laine, one of the few Idols who stuck to her guns and sang the song she wanted to sing, Bonnie Raitt’s “Love Sneakin’ Up On You.” Also good this night was Erika Van Pelt. She sang a bluesy version of Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” and earned kudos for her performance and appearance from two of the three judges (“You look amazing tonight.”) Shannon Magrane, who sang Mariah Carey’s “One Sweet Day”, also did well, and the judges seemed to like Colton Dixon’s “Broken Heart” by White Lion. Elise Testone scored with an Al Green song that President Obama crooned recently, and earned praise for making it her own.
Performers Who Struggled
Although Jessica Sanchez is arguably the best female vocalist in the competition, her choice of Gloria Estefan’s “Hard to Be Around” did not serve her well. Likewise, Heejun Han faltered with Richard Marx’s “Right There Waiting.” He seemed to be out of breath. Randy called it “pitchy in at least five or six spots.” Deandre Brackensick of the flyaway hair let the coaches talk him into singing “Endless Love.” The judges all agreed it was the wrong song to showcase Deandre’s falsetto. Randy picked Heejun to get the axe.
Unluckiest Performer of All
The performer who definitely had the worst night was Jermaine Jones. He was kicked off “Idol” for failing to disclose four active arrest warrants. Elsewhere on the Internet, rumors ran rampant that Jermaine had also lied about being abandoned by his father in childhood. From the rehearsal tape, Jermaine’s version of “Somewhere Out There” would have been very good, but it was always odd (and unfair) that he was allowed in as the thirteenth male contestant, when no similar “extra” girl was allowed into the competition