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American Idol Recap: Top 12 “Birth Year” Performances

March 14, 2012 06:55 PM by Lisa Princ

Last week on FOX‘s American Idol the Top 13 finalists took the stage, and it was Jeremy Rosado who was eliminated. Tonight, the contestants took on songs from their birth year. Read on for all the highlights…

American Idol kicked off tonight as Ryan Seacrest announced that one contestant would be getting booted, which we already knew, but he said we would have to wait a bit to hear the story. We also learned that the contestants would take on tunes from the year they were born, and their mentor this week was will.i.am.

Phillip Phillips was up first tonight, and his parents shared the sad story of how he was born prematurely and he almost died as an infant. Phillip revealed during rehearsals that he was having surgery for kidney stones and he was in a lot of pain, but he still rehearsed wonderfully. Born in 1990, Phillip performed Hard To Handle by The Black Crowes and no one could tell that he had surgery because he rocked it! Randy Jackson told Phillip that he was amazing, and he loved the song choice. Jennifer thought that Phillip was a “natural,” while Steven thought the song matched his voice and personality.

Jessica Sanchez was next, and the 16-year-old’s parents dished on what a diva Jessica was at as a young girl. Jessica took on Gloria Estefan’s Turn The Beat Around from 1995, the year she was born. Jessica definitely had fun with the song this week, but the performance was not even close to last week’s. Steven asked Jessica not to stray from the ballads, while Jennifer commented that her voice was too strong and she lost the energy with the beat. Randy agreed, but then told Jessica that she was one of the best there, so he needed to push her in the right direction – in simple terms, it was the wrong song choice!

HeeJun Han was born in 1989, and we got to meet his parents, who shared how HeeJun was also a happy child. They also joked that he got his sense of humor from both of them. HeeJun took on Richard Marx’s Right Here Waiting. HeeJun was okay, but he sounded out of breathe the entire time, bringing the performance down. Randy said that he did not enjoy it, it was all over the place, and it was the wrong song for him. Jennifer Lopez disagreed, and she thought while he may have been struggling with the song, she loved it and felt his heart. Steven Tyler said HeeJun stepped too far out of his comfort zone, and that it was not a great song choice.

Elise Testone was up next after being saved last week, but could she make it another week? Elise’s parents dished on how Elise was always a little troublemaker, who kept them on her toes. Born in 1983, Elise gave us her rendition of Let’s Stay Together by Al Green. Elise gave it her all after last week, and she knocked it out of the park this week! Steven Tyler kicked off telling Elise that he loved her voice, while Jennifer Lopez said that Elise showed us who she was. Randy Jackson ended by saying that Elise was back.

Deandre Brackensick was born in 1994, and his parents told us all about how Deandre would sing and perform as a young child. With the advice of Jimmy and will.i.am, Deandre decided to perform Endless Love by whomever redid it in 1994, but most of us know Lionel Richie’s version, so Deandre had his work cut out for him. The performance was okay, but he probably could have done better with a different song. Jennifer Lopez told Deandre that Jimmy steered him wrong, but he sang it beautifully. Steven said it was not the right song, but reiterated how good his voice was. Randy agreed and told Deandre that it was too boring and safe.

Shannon Magrane‘s parents informed us of how interested she was in singing as a small child, and how her father used to sing her version of Thumbelina before his games. Shannon, born in 1995, took on Mariah Carey’s One Sweet Day, and it was beautiful and heartfelt. Jennifer kicked off by saying that Shannon did a great job, despite having huge shoes to fill. Randy said that he was nervous at first when he heard the song choice, but he loved it. Steven Tyler said that Shannon sings best when she doesn’t try too hard, and tonight she sang perfectly.

Next up was Colton Dixon, who shared that he met up with Chris Daughtry recently, which boosted Colton’s confidence. Born in 1991, Colton was a perfect baby according to his parents. At 13, Colton realized that he was not meant to play ball, but to sing. Colton chose to perform a lesser known song, Broken Heart by White Lion. Colton completely rocked this song, and he definitely had fun with it. Jennifer kicked off saying she did not know the song, but she loved the performance. Steven Tyler thought that the song was the wrong song for Colton, and got booed from the audience. Randy did not think the song mattered because Colton rocked out perfectly.

Erika Van Pelt, who was born in 1985, was a very loud child according to her mother. Her mother revealed that Erika used to sing the national anthem before her baseball games. Erika decided to take on the power ballad, Heaven by Bryan Adams and Jimmy helped her put her own spin on it. It was a great performance and had originality. Steven Tyler said that Erika was “too busy” all over the song, while Jennifer called her “this year’s Janis Joplin.” Randy Jackson gave it an 8 out 10, but he warned her not to make too much out of a great, simple song like that.

Next on American Idol, as promised, Ryan Seacrest announced that Jermaine Jones was let go from the competition. We watched a video of Jermaine Jones being confronted by Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick about his four outstanding warrants. Jermaine said he was afraid of getting into trouble, but the guys informed him that they were not allowed to have anyone on the show with any outstanding warrants. Too bad, he sure could sing!

Skylar Laine hit the stage next, and her parents told the tale of an awful child, who used to bang her head into everything. Skylar’s birth year was 1994 and she wanted to take on a Bonnie Raitt song, but Jimmy and will.i.am tried to persuade her in another direction. Skylar stuck with her gut though, and performed Bonnie Raitt’s Love Sneakin’ Up On You. Skylar was correct by sticking with her gut as she rocked the song, it was an awesome performance! Steven Tyler liked it and told her that he loved her voice. Jennifer Lopez told Skylar that she killed it, while Randy Jackson loved it and said that she rocked it.

Joshua Ledet was born in 1992, and his mother revealed that he was the baby, and the youngest of eight children. His mother shared that Joshua was a spitfire as a child, and always loved to sing. Joshua took on Michael Bolton’s version of When A Man Loves A Woman and it was a powerful performance. Joshua blew it out of the water – best performance of the night! The judges gave him a standing ovation. Randy kicked off by saying that Joshua knocked it out of the park, while Jennifer Lopez said it was the best thing she has ever seen on American Idol. Steven told Joshua that he gave it up so big, God showed in his eyes tonight.

Hollie Cavanagh was last to take the stage tonight, and her parents shared that they did not know for the longest time how great a gift Hollie had with her voice. Luckily for Hollie, who has that powerful voice, she was born in 1993, the year Celine Dion released The Power Of Love, which is what she sang tonight. Hollie put on a powerful performance tonight, leaving no doubt that this girl is one of the best this season. Jennifer Lopez was too impressed to point out the few small mistakes, and Steven called it beautiful. Randy Jackson said she blew it out of the water.

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Photos courtesy: FOX

Topics: American Idol, FOX Reality TV Shows |

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