March 28, 2012 07:08 PM by Candace Young
Last week on FOX‘s American Idol, some were surprised to see Erika Van Pelt passed over for the save and get eliminated. This week, judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler will evaluate the Top 9 as they perform songs they have chosen themselves. The celebrity mentor is Stevie Nicks. Keep reading for all the highlights…
Host Ryan Seacrest calls out the Top 9 and the American Idol judges for tonight’s live performances. Footage is shown of the contestants meeting with Tommy Hilfiger and getting to choose outfits from the new Authentic Icon apparel line.
Colton Dixon meets with Jimmy and Stevie Nicks, and is floored that Stevie’s been watching and knows who he is. Colton, in a cool white jacket, performs Everything by Lifehouse – it’s his favorite worship song of all time. He gives a heartfelt and powerful rendition of the song. Steven Tyler says he’s a dream come true – he has perfect pitch and star quality. Jennifer says she was really moved just hearing his song. Randy tells Colton he believes in him – he thinks he’s looking at a contender for the title!
Skylar Laine is doing a Miranda Lambert tune this week on American Idol. Skylar comes down a set of stairs as she begins her performance. She delivers Gunpowder & Lead with attitude and energy – she kills it! Jennifer says it was the perfect song for her – she won everyone over! Steven says it was over the top! Randy calls it ‘dirty south’ and says he loved it. He notes she also showed off her range – powerhouse city!
Colton, Elise, and Phillip perform a Fleetwood Mac medley.
Heejun Han is getting serious this week with an intense ballad, A Song For You, by Donny Hathaway. Heejun does an amazing job – no funny stuff this time! Steven Tyler says he turned it around! Jennifer says it was beautiful tone and beautiful vibrato – when he connects he moves people! Randy says it wasn’t perfect, but the Heejun they selected came back to them tonight.
Hollie Cavanaugh will be singing Jesus Take The Wheel by Carrie Underwood. Stevie Nicks tells Hollie that her mother died and how it feels – that’s the level of emotion she has to deliver or it won’t fly. Hollie brings tears to Stevie’s eyes in rehearsal. On stage, Hollie really belts it out and the crowd responds! Randy thinks she did a really good job, though it was slightly pitchy in the lower range. He says he was impressed overall. Jennifer says it was one of Hollie’s best! Steven wishes she’d sang a different song – he would have liked to see more of her range.
DeAndre Brackensick is doing an Eric Benet tune tonight – he is exactly the type of singer DeAndre wants to be. Stevie advises him to slow the tempo down in rehearsal, and she and Jimmy coach him on connecting with the audience. DeAndre looks fantastic in a dark suit, but it’s his vocals that are incredible as he does some amazing runs during Sometimes I Cry! The judges and crowd come to their feet! Steven says that’s what his voice was made to do – with those runs he gives Prince a run for his money! Jennifer implores people to pick up the phone and vote for DeAndre – she wants to hear more! Randy enthuses that this is who DeAndre is – he’s back in the house!
Jessica Sanchez elects to perform Sweet Dreams by her idol, Beyonce. Stevie gives her some coaching, and again the tune is slowed down considerably. Jessica’s voice sounds lilting, rich, and strong. The slower arrangement builds to some drama. Jennifer says it was a beautiful rendition of the song – she left them wanting more! Steven says she’s a star and he likes how she held back a bit. Randy marvels at the maturity in her voice at such a young age – she’s one of the best singers he’s heard in many years. Randy warns Colton to look out – she wants it too!
Joshua Ledet, Heejun, and DeAndre perform a Michael Jackson medley.
Phillip Phillips is doing a Jonny Lang tune. Stevie thinks Phillip is going to be very famous, and stuns him by saying that back in the day he would have been asked to join Fleetwood Mac – plus he’s gorgeous. Phillip is right at home performing the blues song It’s Still Rainin’. His intensity is mind-blowing! The judges and crowd again come to their feet! Jennifer yells, “It’s too much!” She says they experience the music with him when he performs – everything else goes away. She calls it a great, amazing performance. Steven says he sings every song with body and soul – he loved it! Randy says he loves him, he loves the artist he is, and the individuality. Randy feels he’s got big things in front of him.
Joshua Ledet has decided to do a Mariah Carey song, Without You. Jimmy calls it one of the five most difficult songs to perform in popular music. Joshua strolls across the stage as he begins, and proceeds to deliver an extremely powerful rendition of the song – he ends choked with emotion. Randy comments on the emotion and tells him it was brilliant! Steven says he pushed beyond his limits tonight – so far that he had an emotional breakdown! Jennifer calls him a phenom, saying his voice is God-sent.
Jessica, Hollie, and Skylar perform a Madonna medley.
Elise Testone will sing Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin for the American Idol finale tonight. Stevie and Jimmy are completely surprised that Elise murders it in rehearsal. Stevie tells her Robert Plant would be proud, and sings a duet with Elise on one of her own songs before practice ends. Elise hits the stage in full rock star mode and delivers sexy, raspy, edgy perfection! The judges and crowd get up again! Steven wasn’t sure she could pull that off, because no one can pull that off – he says she made Robert Plant proud! Jennifer yells that she made everybody get up! Randy says she did an amazing job – congrats!
Tonight’s American Idol was phenomenal – such a contrast when the contestants choose their own songs to when they’re forced to perform old Billy Joel tunes they aren’t familiar with or can’t relate to – they should do this more often! Thoughts? Who will you vote for? Tune into the results show tomorrow night when Scotty McCreery will perform his new single live!
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Photos courtesy: FOX