American Idol 2012 – Personal Idols Week

This show has officially been sent back to schoolin’

Colton Dixon: I like that Stevie Nicks proved exactly what kind of Idol fan she is when the first thing she did was tell Colton that he was her favourite and that he mustn’t cut his hair whatever he does. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person hoping that I might get invited to a Stevie Nicks Idol Viewing Party one day. If I’m honest, I found Colton’s intro a little offputting this week, with all that talk about how “music found him” through church. I mean, I get that it’s a deeply spiritual thing for a lot of people, and that’s awesome, but when people say things like “I didn’t find music, it found me”, I can’t help finding that both disappointingly egotistical and unbearably pretentious. The good news, though, is that if you ignore the VT and just evaluate the performance on its own terms, it was actually pretty good – Colton dropped that whine in his voice that’s been annoying me recently, and was generally much subtler in his approach to the song, which was to my mind much more effective in terms of what it produced. If he sang like this every week, I think I’d be a much bigger fan of his than I currently am. SCORE: 8/10

(Ugh. Lifehouse. SCORE : 7/10)

Skylar Laine: Bless Skylar, but when she decided to turn her segment into a giant advert for Miranda Lambert she assured herself of a Bottom Three berth right there. This show was never going to tolerate that sort of advert for The Voice, or The Voice adjacent artists. Nigel Lythgoe didn’t get to where he is today by letting his guinea pigs pimp out the competition. I choose to believe she was mostly saved from actual elimination by her ever-present enthusiasm, both for her performance of “Gunpowder & Lead” (which was probably done better by Lauren Alaina, but her performance didn’t feature gleeful woodland squirrel bouncing up and down and so which doesn’t count) and for Stevie Nicks, who was my favourite mentor on this show ever just for being Stevie Nicks. That’s enough for me. If someone had sung “You Can Go Your Own Way” it would have been even better. ANYWAY, Skylar’s momentum seems to have stalled slightly, but who cares right? She’s having fun and really that’s what she’s there for. Oh and also? Do you believe in love? Because she’s got something to say/pull awkward faces about it. SCORE : 8/10

(I’ve just lost all objectivity where Skylar’s concerned; I love her. This wasn’t a great performance, because she lost all of her breath control halfway through, and yet… SCORE: 9/10)

Heejun Han: And so ends the ballad of Heejun Han, with rather a whimper. It was always going to be difficult for him to maintain that intriguing balance of oddball personality and genuinely quite lovely voice that he demonstrated in the early rounds, especially when he lost Richie Law as his foil. Through the live shows, he’s either gone balls-out to brings us the personality but resolutely failed to deliver on the singing front or, like this week, he’s dialled back the obnoxiousness and brought the singing back up to par, but rendered himself far too dull in the process. Eliminating him here seems fair enough: he was always a bit too arch to be a proper comedy contestant, and he wasn’t really good enough to be a viable option in his own right, and he went out on a sort of high note. Well, he cleared the low bar he set for himself, and that’s something to be proud of, right? SCORE: 5/10

(Going out on a high note sucks. He should have pretended his Idol was Tatianna Del Toro or something. SCORE : 5/10)

Hollie Cavanagh: Well, I can see the logic in doing a Carrie Underwood song to try to counteract the criticism of always sounding far older than she is, but ‘Jesus Take The Wheel’ is really not a song with a good performance history on Idol, other than from Carrie herself. Lakisha mangled it back in season six, Danny Gokey’s version left the protagonist spinning on the ice at the end of the song. Couldn’t she have done ‘Last Name’ or something instead? At least that song’s a bit fun. There were a lot of problems here: she started singing off the beat which left her scrambling to get on-tempo in the opening bars, and she was a bit too earnest about the whole thing. This is a song best played with a slight nod to the ridiculousness of the whole thing, as Carrie sometimes does (whether intentionally or not), rather than acting like an entirely sensible thing to do in an out of control car is to suggest that Jesus take over the controls, rather than, oh I don’t know, EASING OFF THE ACCELERATOR AND STEERING INTO THE SKID. Also, what the hell happened to her accent in her intro video this week? I swear she’s turning Canadian now. SCORE: 6/10

(LOL at Jimmy saying that she’s an inferior Jessica, calling her an intellectual (REALLY?) and saying she didn’t have a soul, all in the space of about one sentence. Now THAT’S a bussing. SCORE : 6/10)

DeAndre Brackensick: I find it hard to believe that Eric Benet is in fact DeAndre’s Personal Idol. On the other hand I find it very easy to believe that he said that because Eric Benet consented to turn up this week, and also because singing Eric Benet gave him an opportunity to let rip with that falestto/Prince impersonation that he’s so good at. I think this was one of the better examples of it so far, as he kept up with the song more or less. The problem is that performance wise he’s so much more enjoyable to watch when he’s swinging his hair (and how adorable it was to see Stevie Nicks bonding with him over haircare) around like a mental and trying to give off an Island Vibe, If he can find some way to combine the two he might find a way to crack…well alright, probably only Top Five or so, but still, it’s better than Stefano did. SCORE : 7/10

(I didn’t enjoy this at all; I know DeAndre has an impressive range, but it felt like this song was squarely outside it. SCORE: 5/10)

Jessica Sanchez: And so it came to pass that Jessica Sanchez gave yet performance that I didn’t really get and yet which everyone spooged themselves senseless over because bits of it sounded like a passable Beyonce impression. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m so glad to see a new generation of terrifying miniature American pageant divas inspired utterly and completely by Beyonce, because there was that whole period just after she left Destiny’s Child when people told me that Beyonce wasn’t going to happen but now YOU CANNOT DENY THAT SHE HAS HAPPENED AND WILL ALWAYS HAVE HAPPENED AND HER NAME WILL BE WRITTEN FOREVER AMONGST THE GREAT DIVAS OF POP MUSIC HISTORY. Ahem, anyway, most of this sounded really ropey to me, and the stage-set, where she wandered inside the doors of her subconscious was effing BATTY, second only this week to Joshua’s Forest Of The Dead. But then one bit where she sang about the guy’s name being “TATTOOED ON HER HEART” was undeniably kind of awesome and pulls this up to a SCORE : 6/10.

(She sang the hell out of it, but I hated – HATED – that boring-ass arrangement. She’s lucky she wore that amazing dress or I’d have probably docked her several more points. SCORE: 7/10)

Phillip Phillips: So many Personal Idols this week where I have no idea who they are. On the one hand this is probably down to what can be cleared. And on the it’s because this show is from an entirely different country to the one in which I live. But part of me hopes that, on a third invisible arm (*ponders about Phillip Phillip’s third, invisible arm) (IN HIS PANTS) that it’s because the cast this year really seem to know and care about music? To a degree? Certainly, even with Heejun in it this was the best week on Idol I can remember in a while, and it’s mostly due to the fact that there are really no duds (again, apart from Heejun) in the bunch. I’m going to say Best Top Seven ever yes? Which of course means it’s getting its lowest ratings ever. Whatever, Phillip put out another competent performance, although it my head in my memory he’s singing “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” by CCR, mostly because it was on an episode of Cold Case I watched the other day. Placeholder performance is what I’m saying. Although enough to get him in Fleetwood Mac apparently. SCORE : 6/10

(I agree; this is what treading water sounds like. SCORE: 6/10)

Joshua Ledet: Well, he got the words wrong, to start with. Everybody knows it’s “I can’t forget the semen on your face as you were leaving.” This just feels like one of those songs that you probably shouldn’t touch on Idol unless you have some sort of death wish (a cursory glance at What Not To Sing reveals that it’s only been attempted three times prior to this, and one of those was by Flawless Goddess Kelly Clarkson, so that doesn’t count) but I did think, going into it, that if anyone from this season could pull it off, it was Joshua. And he sort of did, but also sort of didn’t. There was a lovely tone to his voice in the first half of the song, but it all felt a bit reticent – he wasn’t pushing himself up into the higher octave where the real money notes were, and then in the second half of the song when he got a bit braver and did try that, he lost all of the accuracy he had in the first half, so he was never quite running at full speed. The fact that he looked choked up at the end suggested that he knew he hadn’t really pulled it off, but it was a credible attempt. SCORE: 7/10

(THE TREES! THE TREES! Score : 6/10)

Elise Testone : Ha ha ha ha ha ha NAILED IT. I knew she had it in her after last week, but Jesus Christ. She just went through the whole song like a hot knife through butter, providing the show, for once, with a performance that felt genuinely like a Rock performance that was theatrical in the way that actual rock music is, rather than one that’s theatrical in the way that Rock Of Ages is. The way that she moved from set-piece to set-piece with absolute confidence and stage-presence, landing them all perfectly was just…too good for this show in many ways. That she was dressed throughout like a Robert Plant Drag Queen was just the cherry on top of the first SCORE : 10/10 of the season.

(I really wanted to give it 12/10, but Chris wouldn’t let me. SCORE: 10/10)


2 thoughts on “American Idol 2012 – Personal Idols Week

  1. JimBob

    For about three-quarters of Hollie’s song, I thought she was singing “Jesus take a wee”.

    I can’t remember which contestant it was the other week, but I recall Steve Tyler saying “God came out of your eyes”, which possibly lead me down this (blasphemous) road.

    1. monkseal Post author

      The Internet suggests that it was Joshua’s version of When A Man Loves A Woman that provoked that…response. Oh STEVEN.


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