Last night, after Jessica Sanchez revealed to America her Filipino roots and supporters, and after Jessica Sanchez sang a song that few people know, she garnered the least votes. Technically, Sanchez, who sings like Beyonce, was voted off the show.
Before Sanchez’s elimination, last season’s American Idol Rocker, James Durbin showed up and set the stage afire. Durbin’s new album is in stores now. He’s sold 100,000 copies and is currently on tour with Evanescence. Durbin says life is good right now.
Durbin’s elimination was one of the Idol shocker’s last season. Durbin was ousted before Haley Reinhart, Scotty McCreery, and Lauren Alaina. He didn’t seem too good of a sport about it, but he’s recovered and returned with real, hard, honest rock.
In the bottom three with Jessica Sanchez were Joshua Ledet and Elise Testone. Joshua did a Bruno Mars song. Jimmy Iovine said Bruno Mars could have written the song for Joshua. But America didn’t agree. Honestly, I believe Joshua’s most memorable performance was “When A Man Loves a Woman.” But the judges and Jimmy think everything Joshua does is magic. Every little thing.
The nation's voting saved one struggling Idol performer—Holly Cavanaugh. Holly’s performance was outstanding Wednesday night, and it didn’t help that Steven Tyler dogged her out after she sang so beautifully. Randy said Holly did much better than she did last week, which is absolutely true. Sanchez’s elimination was, perhaps, the result of an Idol audience that rightfully had no interest in watching Holly go home tonight. If Cavanaugh had been the eliminated contestant, it’s unlikely the judges would have saved her.
Although Randy said America got the vote wrong, America got the vote right. It's clear Holly and Jessica will have to compete for the remaining votes. If Jessica takes Jennifer Lopez’s advice, and brings songs and elevated performances to the Idol stage, she’ll oust Holly Cavanaugh.
If Holly Cavanaugh sings another song that isn’t in her heart, she’ll likely go home next week. Holly’s biggest problem up against Jessica , Elise, and Skylar, is that Holly isn’t always devoted to the music she sings.
Jessica and Holly’s problem, when compared to Skylar and Elise, is that Skylar and Elise are more than performers. They are more than high stakes karaoke performers. Elise and Skyler are puppet masters with their own ideas about music and song.
Cavanaugh and Sanchez haven’t fully formed their musician’s identitiies yet. Without it, in neither Cavanaugh nor Sanchez will bring the kind of honesty to the Idol stage that James Durbin brought tonight as a result of his Idol experience.
If the visits of past contestants are metaphoric or symbolic, it was ho hum to see Jennifer Hudson. We love J-Hud, honestly we do. But J Hudson on stage engaging in dance moves that she clearly has to think about is something new. Or maybe it was a hoax delivered for Holly's sake because she needs to understand the "contrived" criticisms she receives each week from the grown folks in the music business who mentor her right now.
Jennifer Hudson's dance routine was a sad reminder that vocal talent alone isn’t enough, particularly in R&B (Sanchez's likely genre). Singers need dance moves, originality, and serious presence on stage in order to sell music.
American Idol is changing. It’s evolving into a show that appreciates artists who bring more to the table than “The Voice.” These new contestants may be remnants of Casey Abrams and James Durbin, artists who were musicians that created their own sound, sense and style. This year on Idol, several contestants are quite similar: Elise Testone, Sklyar Laine, Colton Dixon, and Phil Phillips. Although not necessarily in that order.