UPDATE: Erika Van Pelt is eliminated
Erika Van Pelt sings for her life. The judges decide NOT to save her.
The American Idol 11 Top 10 results are tonight! Who will be eliminated? Will a finalist be saved? Tune in to find out! Plus, Haley Reinhart will appear in a pre-taped performance (she taped it today) to perform her new single, “Free”. And Lana Del Rey taped her appearance last week (Thank you jeebus) to sing her single, “Video Games”. I heard they ran through it twice.
I’ll be live blogging the show at Entertainment Weekly. Join us, will you?
I really wanted the judges to save Erika. Maybe it doesn’t seem reasonable considering she was a wildcard, and sat in the bottom nearly every week. Maybe she wasn’t connecting with the viewers, but the producers weren’t helping her at all. Elise is my favorite, but even I can see the total pimp job she’s gotten to prop her up that included inviting her students to join her on stage, a pimp spot and standing Os? It feels like Erika was sacrificed to save Elise. They’re styles are in the same wheelhouse–soulful throwbacks–but was it too much to ask to have both for awhile? To be honest, even with all the pimping, I’m not sure how long Elise is going to last, either. I don’t get the sense she’s exactly connecting to viewers either.
Poor Heejun. I said last night that I had mixed feelings about his continued presence in the competition, and that when he inevitably stayed longer than a favorite it would piss me off. Well, it does piss me off, but I can’t get mad at Heejun. It’s the producers who put him in the Top 24. And I’m still not sorry he’s a finalist and made the tour. The price is the loss of a talented, but less charismatic contestant like Erika. The backlash against Heejun has probably already begun. I hope he’s not looking at his twitter mentions.
I hope Heejun goes home this week. It feels like he’s done. He strikes me as an insecure guy who really can’t take criticism. It’s bad enough when it’s the judges and Jimmy. But the negative press and fan backlash could be too much for him. He did not look very happy tonight. Besides, his comment that he’s not trying to be a star is really the wrong answer. And in a way– although I know Heejun didn’t mean it as a diss–a slap in the face to those ambitious finalists trying to get ahead in the music business.
So…EVP. I really enjoyed all of her performances. She connected with ME just fine. I don’t think her makeover helped or hurt her, frankly. She was just doomed–probably splitting votes with Elise and not favored by TPTB. It’s too bad the producers didn’t make an effort to highlight Erika’s warm personality. At least she made the tour, and maybe she’ll perform somewhere in my neck of the woods. I’ll definitely be checking her out.
The rest of the Top 9 will be moving into a mansion in the Hollywood Hills. Let’s hope this house isn’t haunted, or leaky like the Season 9 house. I. Also, it was mentioned that Billy Joel liked Jessica and Colton’s performances. There’s a little extra pimping there for you.
The show kicks off with “another Billy Joel classic,” says Ryan! “The Longest Time.” Oh, how I missed the pointy pose last week! Tonight’s didn’t disappoint. It was full of awkward choreography, off key singing and PLENTY O CHEESE. Hooray. Highlights: Elise sitting in Steven Tyler’s lap as she sings, Skyler serenading Casey Abrams in the audience and Deandre’s fancy footwork!
The Ford music video is next. I’m not really sure what’s going on here, if I’m being perfectly honest. The kids sing “You Found Me”.
At stake? The 9 remaining contestants will move into a mansion next week. Ryan says, “It’s a cool mansion.” O rly? So let’s great straight to the eliminations!
Hollie Cavanagh, Skylar Laine and Elise Testone take center stage. It’s time for recap clips, and Jimmy’s thoughts.
- Jimmy on Hollie, “I knew from the beginning that Hollie might have a problem interpreting this Billy Joel song. You can’t get two individuals more different than Hollie and Billy Joel. Hollie is someone whose foundation is technique. When she loses that, she loses her way. I think unfortunately, that was by far her worst night of the competition. I’m a little afraid that Hollie last night, may have seemed like a sweet diva caught in the headlights. But, she looked beautiful, Tommy did a great job with her and she has a great track record with the audience so far. I believe she stays. “
- Jimmy on Skylar, “I am sure Randy, it wasn’t her best performance. She’s so consistent, she’s a real pro, but she’s going to have to get more creative to win this thing. She has to move it around a bit. Instead of moving forward, she’s starting to stall and possibly even move back a little bit. She’s too good for that. Skyler has got to grow and do it now.
- Jimmy on Elise, “I was concerned about “Vienna”, because no one knows the song. But Elise stood by it and wanted to sing it. She must have known something. She came to that stage with a confidence I’ve not seen so far. Something transformed in her. Maybe it was the song, maybe it was the material, maybe it was something else. The clothing was fabulous. The judges gave her a standing ovation. Hey Jennifer. I got goosies. It was incredible. I’m not sure what goosies are, but I felt something. I think Elise is going to go right to the top of the heap this week.”
Kieren…dim the lights! Hollie…say goodbye to Hollywood, and hello to the Hollywood Hills. You are moving into the mansion! Hollie is SAFE. Hugs all around! Skyler and Elise are left. The person who continues on to next week and moves into the mansion is Skylar! Skylar is SAFE. Ryan puts his arm around Elise. “So Elise, you were in the bottom 3 the last two weeks.” “Yeah,” says Elise, smiling, “Pretty cool!” Ryan says, “Tonight’s cooler. You’re also safe.” Elise is ALSO SAFE! Relieved, she laughs and throws her arms around Ryan. She skips over to the Couches of Safety.
Lana Del Ray sings “Video Games” – Now, it’s time for a previously taped performance of Lana Del Rey. Well. She wasn’t the train wreck she was on Saturday Night Live, but she sure was…uhmm…uh…zzzzzzzz. Oh did I doze off? Sorry! Do not get the hype. I do not. The point isn’t whether she’s manufactured or not, or whether her Daddy is buying up all her records, or whatever the hell. She’s just a cipher. And her stage presence is awful. I’m not hearing anything here I haven’t done a million times better by other artists.
The Top 10 sing Happy Birthday to Steven Tyler with Joe Perry on guitar! It’s Steven Tyer’s birthday, and as a surprise, Joe Perry comes out from behind the Top 10 to lead the kids in Happy Birthday! It’s so sweet. Afterward, Joe jumps down into the judges pit to hug his rival/old friend. There are shots of Steven’s kids and grandkids in the audience. Aw.
Enough of that! It’s time for some more eliminations. Deandre Brackensick, Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez take center stage. Video recap and Jimmy’s thoughts follow.
- Jimmy on Deandre, “Well, someone was jumping up and down. And too much. I told Deandre ‘Try and have a good time with this song, but don’t go out there and frolic’. I was looking for the bouncing ball. There was jumping and bopping and just swinging. You have to study these songs. You have to know what they are about. You have to a lot of things at once to be a great singer. This was not his best night. And I think it’s really going to hurt him.
- Jimmy on Joshua, “Joshua last week, scored one, two and three for me. He didn’t this week. This song, I felt he didn’t understand it. He oversang the bridge. He went to that whole Darth Vader kind of thing in the bridge, really low voice, like James Earl Jones. I wasn’t feeling that at all. He’s going to have to really grow now to win this thing. How does Joshua win American Idol? We got to figure that out.
- Jimmy on Jessica, “Jessica did a great job last night–took a simple song and really expanded it. She had a great time with it, it seemed. I was totally behind last night’s performance, so were the judges. As across the board.”
Dim the lights! Billy Joel enjoyed Jessica’s version of the song. (Really?) and so did America! Jessica is SAFE. HUGS. Jessica ambles slowly to the couches in impossibly high yellow platform shoes. Joshua and Deandre are left. Joshua was out of his comfort zone last night, but he’s in the zone for America! Joshua is SAFE. Which means, Deandre is in the Bottom 3 tonight. He’s the first to head over to the Stools of Doom.
Haley Reinhart takes the stage to sing “Free” – It’s official. I don’t like this song. It’s got no hook and I can’t even imagine it on the radio. The staging for this was too much. What was that cage thingy? But, although she could have dialed back the spray tan, Haley looked absolutely beautiful in a slit up to there red dress. When Haley’s got the right song, she’s sensational. I’m looking forward to the rest of her album on May 22. Check out her performance in a separate thread.
The last 4 finalists take the stage–Erika Van Pelt, Heejun Han, Phillip Phillips and Colton Dixon. Video and Jimmy’s comments are next.
- Jimmy on Colton, “Billy Joel emailed last night, and said Colton did a great job. I agree with Billy. He killed it. Colton had the advantage here. He came in. The clothes were right, the song was right, his tone was right, he played the piano. Last week I said there might be a 3rd horse coming into this race. We got Jessica, we got Joshua–maybe Colton is that 3rd horse.
- Jimmy on Phillip, “There’s a feeling that seeps into this show, that collaboration is a bad thing. You think the Beatles walked in to George Martin’s office with velvet collars on their suits? No. There was a stylist involved. When you’re out there in the real world, and you’re doing your own material–be who you are. But when you’re in this competition, young man, take all the advice you can get.”
- Jimmy on Erika, “Tommy bold. Erika brave. Tommy, how you got a girl the day before her show, to cut her hair and go on stage and sing to 20 million people? I’ve never seen that in 40 years of working in the record business. As far as Erika’s singing last night–she deserves to be at the top of the batch. But what confused me last night, was what Randy said. ‘Jimmy was right about the whatever whatever—those that can do, should, those that can’t do shouldn’t, right?’ Those who could should…but wouldn’t if they could…and did…there fore they didn’t…Randy help me out here. You’re keeping me up at night trying to figure this stuff out!”
- Jimmy on Heejun, “Well, Steven, got pretty angry last night from what I can see. I thought he was right. I think he felt that Heejun came out and disrespected the entire process. I think it’s going to bite him in the butt. His performance was more like 4 minutes of a bad Adam Sandler movie that goes straight to DVD. It was a stunt gone wrong. He was out of breath, he ran around too much. I would give that a D. At the end of the day, Interscope has to spend a lot of money on somebody who wins this show. And that’s not it.”
Whoa, The crowd is booing after Jimmy’s scathing remarks. Ryan gives Heejun a chance to respond, “When I was ripping my clothes off as a metaphor, it was literally saying, this is who I really am, I’m just the guy after God’s own heart, trying to help the kids back at home…I’m not trying to be a star. I’m just really happy where I am.” The audience claps, but I’m thinking….Heejun, if you aren’t interested in becoming a star, or at least to have an interest in show business, what the hell are you doing on Idol?
Dim the lights, here we go. “Colton, you’ve been safe for the last few weeks,” says Ryan, “But tonight, things have changed…because I’m NOT going to mess with you, I’m going to send you to the couches.” Colton is SAFE. and Ryan is still trolling him! “Erika…after the nationwide vote…and a big risk with that Billy Joel song…and the drastic change of the look…unfortunately I have to tell you, you are in the Bottom 3.” Erika is in the Bottom 3. Erika runs over to Elise to grab some toy maracas before she joins Deandre on the Stools of Doom. “I’m bringing the party with me!”.
Oh man. The bros are left–Phillip and Heejun! “Phillip, like your song said last night…you are moving out of the hotel,” says Ryan, “and into the mansion.” Phillip is SAFE. Phillip heads towards the Couches of Safety, but with one last look back at his pal heading for the Stools of Doom.
Jennifer reacts to the bottom 3, “First, Heejun, I want to say I think you are a star. I don’t think you should sell yourself short, ever. Then you can teach those kids that back home too, that they’re all stars too.” Uhm. I think Jennifer missed the point. “But I think, with this group, everybody who goes home is a loss. You’re all wonderful. You see them in the opening number…they’re just all great. We’re proud of ourselves this year for who we chose. It’s sad to see who’s in the bottom 3. Somebody’s got to go home.”
After the break, Ryan sends Deandre back to safety. Deandre is Safe. HUGS. It’s down to Erica and Heejun. And the person who is in danger of leaving the competition tonight is…Erika Van Pelt. Heejun is SAFE. There’s a mixed reaction from the crowd. Colton’s got a bit of a side-eye going on the couch.
Now, Erika must sing for her life. She performs “I Believe in You and Me.” Heejun looks really upset. Deandre is crying. Jessica is also teary. Her vocal performance is impressive but…Randy says, “Unfortunately, Ryan..no sorry.” BOOS FROM THE AUDIENCE. Erika keeps a brave face, while she watches her goodbye video. She tears up a little. Elise is the first of the finalists to run out to center stage to console Erika. The others follow, and we’re out.
Erika Van Pelt sings for her life, is not saved.
- Hollie Cavanagh
- Skylar Laine
- Elise Testone
- Jessica Sanchez
- Joshua Ledet
- Colton Dixon
- Phillip Phillips
- Deandre Brackensick
- Heejun Han
- Erika Van Pelt