American Idol 2012 – Queen/Personal Choice Week

My personal choice would’ve been not having to do a Queen song.

Jessica Sanchez: Huge bonus points to Jessica Sanchez for being the one person who looked up, saw Queen Week, and thought “right, I’m going to be the one who tries to cram Bohemian Rhapsody into 90 seconds”. Someone always has to try, someone always has to fail, usually at the attempt to segue out of the mental bit in the middle, and this time it was Jessica Sanchez. Huge bonus point also for consenting to that bizarre video treatment where three giant floating Jessica Sanchez heads all sang in creepy unison behind her. It wasn’t high art, but it’s the best that Queen Week got for me, or was ever likely to. Then for “Sing A Song Nobody Knows Week” she chose the (just about) most mainstream American Idol pick of the bunch, with yet another waltz merrily through “Dance With My Father AGAIN“. To Jessica’s credit she at least managed to bring something new to the song. Not much, but enough. Certainly enough for her to be the sole female avoider of this week’s VAGINAPOCALYPSE Bottom Three, and looking once again like the female front-runner and shoe-in for the runners-up spot she seemed in the beginning. (I notice this is the week when Nigel started yelling “IT’S REALLY UNPREDICTABLE!” which is as sure a sign as any that it’s all about to get very predictable indeed). SCORES : Bohemian Rhapsody 7/10, Dance With My Father A-BLOODY-GAIN 8/10

(They really need to ban ‘Dance With My Father’. FOREVER. SCORES: Bohemian Rhapsody 9/10; Dance With My Father 6/10)

Skylar Laine: I’m not sure if this week was a turning point for Skylar Laine. There seemed to be real momentum gathering behind her, but that all seems to have dissipated in a week where a mediocre performance slot met mediocre performances and the result was her second Bottom Three performance, and needing to pull a Fantasia to win. “The Show Must Go On” is an awfully easy song to lapse into just shouting in, although to be fair to Skylar, she didn’t so much lapse into it as embrace it whole-heartedly from the beginning. I’m not sure she really got the vulnerability and irony behind the defiance, although I’m not sure she really got the defiance in the first place. Beyond shouting. Her choice for “Winners Song Week” was “Tattoos On This Town” which is oddly enough not a lesbian torch-song, but another country stomped about being a rough-house red-neck with a heart of gold. As a performance it was far more likable and (*p’tuh*) authentic than her first one, but I can’t ignore some of those notes, and some of that nasalness, enough to not give it exactly the same score. SCORES : The Show Must Go On : 5/10, Tattoos On This Town : 5/10

(More like ‘The Show Might Go On, Possibly, I’ll See How I Feel. SCORES: The Show Must Go On 6/10; Tattoos On This Town 7/10)

Joshua Ledet: In an evening where most people seemed to excel at one theme or the other but not both, I found myself kind of unmoved by both of Joshua’s performances, to be honest. It wasn’t for a lack of effort on his part: he gave ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ a whole bunch of energy and really vamped his way around the stage while wearing some fairly tight trousers, but the whole thing felt a bit stagey and hollow. All the stars were in alignment for him to have A Moment with his version of ‘Ready For Love’ by India.Arie, but it just didn’t come together somehow. His second performance was immaculately staged, well-sung and generally impressively executed, but I just had no emotional response to it at all, no matter how much he stared earnestly into the camera. Possibly that’s my problem rather than his, but it is what it is. SCORE: Crazy Little Thing Called Love 5/10; Ready For Love 6/10

(I thought the opposite – the first performance was a hot mess spraying flaming liquid garbage everywhere, utterly out-of-control, and the second song was pretty darned great. Crazy Little Thing Called Love : 3/10, Ready For Love : 9/10)

Elise Testone: I had mixed feelings about Elise’s obvious departure this week. On the one hand, if she’d survived another week, she would have held an Official Idol Record of “Most Times In The Bottom” (*insert Adam Lambert joke here*). On the other hand if she’d done so, she would have surpassed current record-holders Syesha Mercado and Nikki McKibbles, and I’m not suite sure if Elise Testone is truly iconic (*drink*) enough to take that place in Idol lore. Fortunately for my brain, Elise decided to force the point by singing an obscure Jimi Hendrix song and then getting all hipster “I think everyone knows that song Randy, and if you don’t then you’re probably a bit slow” about it. The performance itself was fine enough, but I sadly don’t know the song, so the whole affair was just a matter of trying to find a jumping on-point in this theme week of “Songs That Simon Would Have Called Self-Indulgent”. Her Queen performance? Singing “I Want It All” whilst mimsily waving a tambourine about, for all the world like she wanted it all, but then would happily trade it all for a blunt, wasn’t a bad performance, but I’m glad she went out with a bizarre act of self-immolation followed by autopiloting through that awesome series-defining performance of “Whole Lotta Love” again. Sail on, Elise Testone, sail on. SCORES : I Want It All 7/10 ; Bold As Love 5/10)

(I would have liked it if her last competitive turn hadn’t basically been doing Maureen’s performance art piece from Rent, but you can’t have it all. SCORES: I Want It All 8/10; Bold As Love 4/10)

Flup Flups: Well, with Colton gone last week, Jessica needing saving from elimination two weeks ago, and Skylar in the bottom three this week, I really struggle to see what possible obstacle there is to stop Phil2 from winning this whole darn thing. Especially when he can be so thoroughly underwhelming as he was this week and not even hit the bottom three as a result. His take on ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ was just dumb – he looked embarrassed to be there, and I felt embarrassed to be watching it. Frankly, humanity as a whole was above that entire performance, and he looks so fundamentally uncomfortable the second you take his guitar away from him that I feel the show might as well just let him keep it and embrace having another WGWG winner. I have no idea if he was trying to be super-meta by doing a Dave Matthews track for his second song, but at least he looked slightly more at ease on stage. Shame he was overshadowed by the other musicians on stage with him, really. By far the most interesting bit of his whole segment was the vox pops from the other contestants, where Jessica said he was “not attractive”, Hollie declared that he does “weird things with his legs” and Elise thought he was “always complaining”. SINK THOSE SHIPS, LADIES! Clearly all chance of a showmance was ruined when our Phillip/Colton OTP was heartlessly divided last week. I haven’t been this devastated since Cake were torn apart in season six. SCORE: Fat Bottomed Girls 2/10; The Stone 5/10

(“Fat Bottomed Girls” seems like the sort of song that you’d pick if you didn’t really like Queen. This should make me like Phillip Phillips more. It doesn’t. Fat Bottomed Girls : 4/10, The Stone : 2/10)

Hollie Cavanagh: I’m like 99% certain that she made that alleged “Queen” song up on the spot. I mean, it has a Wikipedia entry and everything, but I had never heard it and neither had Chris. We got used to that experience in the second round, but as part of the Queen theme it was just jarring. Her performance was very Hollie-like, in that it was sturdy but unremarkable, and it was a nice surprise to see her dressed like someone in their mid-30s instead of like a grandmother for a change. ‘The Climb’ was far more in her wheelhouse, and one of the best performances of the night. It doesn’t really require much depth or subtlety, but if you can be winsome and wholesome, you’re practically home free with it, and Hollie pulled that off very well. I also very much enjoyed her getting super-defensive in her VT about her accent, and the fact that when she tries to do a British accent, she does it proper Mary Poppins-style. It must be very confusing inside her head. SCORE: Save Me 4/10; The Climb 9/10

(Can I just point out that I am nowhere near being a “Queen Expert” so me not knowing the song Hollie sang means next to sod all? Save Me : 4/10, The Climb : 9/10)

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