It is crunch time and American Idol contestants are down to four. Philip Lim thinks it’s time to separate the potential winner from the also-rans
AFTER 60 million votes were tallied, Skylar Laine found herself the least popular among the remaining five. Being in the fifth position in the current season doesn’t really mean Skylar was the least talented. It just shows that if you don’t have millions of faceless fans rooting for you, your days are numbered.
The remaining four contestants are now under tremendous pressure and at least one is hanging on by her finger nails.
I thought Skylar did reasonably well last week hanging on to that taut but slippery rope. It was a week that combined 1960s hits and a popular number from the land famed for its white cliffs of Dover.
Her first song was Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival. CCR was THE band when I was still in school. The rhythm and tempo of that song set my foot tapping.
How can one even forget the incomparable voice of CCR’s lead vocalist John Fogerty? To her credit, Skylar did her best with that number and the judges were more than pleased.
Prancing around on the stage in a short skirt and cowboy boots, 18-year-old Skylar didn’t leave any doubt that she would only leave the competition in fighting form. And she did.
Even her second number, You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me by Dusty Springfield, was quite impressive. Yes, it wasn’t exactly in Springfield style but one couldn’t really compare Skylar to Springfield, nicknamed the White Queen of Soul.
Even Randy Jackson said: “You are definitely peaking at the right time. That’s the mark of a great singer.” J.Lo went one step further and added: “You wanna win, don’t you? You just might with performances like that.”
Hollie Cavanagh had another scare too. She was in bottom two with Skylar. Since it was down to five contestants, there was no bottom three.
I had a hunch it would be either Skylar or Hollie who would be going home. Someone did ask me that question. My instinctive response was not based on vocal ability but on the contestants’ popularity.
In previous Idol seasons, it was popularity that pulled and pushed the candidates to the Top 3 positions.
Hollie did very well with her first song River Deep Mountain High. It was a number made famous by Ike and Tina Turner when they were a couple.
One could tell that it was one of those moments when Hollie was “letting go” all her concerns. It was a performance that was slightly short of being remarkable.
For a pint-sized girl, Hollie stood head and shoulders above most of her peers. Her second song was Bleeding Love, which I thought was just average. I remember her most for that first song.
The one whom the judges thought should be in the finals was undoubtedly Joshua Ledet. His first song, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg by The Temptations, marked him as one of those unforgettable Idol contestants-having made a name for himself even before the grand finale.
It was his British selection that left the judges breathless. During rehearsal, chief mentor Jimmy Iovine had the assistance of guest mentor Little Steven, guitarist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
When Joshua said he had not heard of the song To Love Somebody by the Bee Gees, both men suggested he take a 15-minute break to learn that song.
When Joshua returned and performed it, Little Steven was so impressed that he gleefully slapped his chair with his hand. Randy, J.Lo and Steven Tyler gave Joshua a standing ovation for his performance.
I admit that for a person to master an unfamiliar number in 15 minutes is almost unheard of. And to sing it the way Joshua did was just pure talent.
It is clear that the two persons who deserve to be in the finals are Joshua and Jessica Sanchez.
Jessica went with Proud Mary in round one. She was good but most of us who have heard that song in our teens would recall vividly how Tina Turner did it.
It is almost a sin to compare Tina with Jessica which Randy actually did! There is no Tina Turner double anywhere in the world. On her own, Jessica performed well enough to earn a heap of compliments.
It was You Are So Beautiful in round two. Jessica left everybody speechless, including the judges. For a 16-year-old, she put to shame more than half the professional singers in the American music industry.
Steven hit the nail right on its head when he commented: “You just showed America what a beautiful singer you are.”
It was Randy who, perhaps for once, was almost at a loss for words but he did say “This girl is at the top of the leader board. Unbelievable. So good!”
I don’t think Phillip Phillips out-performed any of his peers last week. However, he went on merrily to stay on course for a
place in Top 4.
Phillip’s two songs, The Letter and Time of the Season, were unfamiliar to many. By right, he should break out of his comfort zone and go for gold but that’s not Phillip.
Frankly, he is so popular right now, he might just shock three quarters of Season 11 viewers by grabbing the crown in the end.
By this Friday, it will be down to the Top 3. See you all there.
American Idol is aired on Star World (Astro Channel 711) & Star World HD (Astro Channel 722) every Thursday and Friday at 6pm (live) with repeats at 8pm.