American Idol: Hollie-day
I never thought I would utter the following sentence: “I voted for Hollie last night.”
Hollie Cavanagh always had the voice but she couldn’t seem to wring any emotion out of her interpretations. Last night she channeled a couple of British musical icons, Adele and the late great Dusty Springfield, and she delivered enough emotion and power to leap to the top of the Idol line-up, at least for one week.
In the doubleheader format, with each contestant singing a modern song (last three years) and a classic soul song, Hollie had the nerve to sing Adele’s “Rolling In the Deep” and pull it off beautifully. She always kills with the big notes but the revelation was her connection to the lyrics, a connection she was able to convey in her performance. As a devoted Dusty Springfield fan, I’ve always been weary of Idol renditions of her songs. However Hollie figured out she had a better shot delivering a soul tune if it was a soul tune made famous by the all time best female “blue-eyed soul” singer. Hollie seemed to enjoy herself as she sang “Son of a Preacher Man” and it showed. I also like the video shout-out she received from the Liverpool Football team.
Skylar Laine is making a major case for two country Idols in a row. She was her sassy best, with a great vocal to match, on Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and provided a soulful rock edge to her take on “Heard It Through the Grapevine.”
There were a lot of outstanding performances last night. Phil Phillips had been suffering from Casey Abrams syndrome — too much growling — but he found his melody stroke big time with his two selections, Usher’s “U Got It Bad,” and Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour.” Phil Squared really upped his sexy vibe with the latter.
Jessica Sanchez showed that she didn’t want to leave after her scare last week, showing fire and emotion during her songs, Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’” and Otis Redding’s “Try A Little Tenderness.”
Joshua did his gospel fire and brimstone thing with his two songs, Fantasia’s “I Believe” and especially his thoughtful take on Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
So who’s in trouble? Without a safety net, Elise Testone is likely to be going home tonight. She seemed out of sorts last night. Her first song was okay, Alicia Keys’ “No One,” but she over-sang her soul song badly, “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye, taking the sex out of it.
And Colton Dixon was flat out terrible with his soul song, a weird interpretation of Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September,” after an okay rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”
Here is my top seven:
What did you think?