American Idol 11 – Top 11 iTunes Studio Performances (Reviews) (Audio)

AMERICAN IDOL: Erika Van Pelt. CR: Nino Munoz / FOX

This week’s American Idol iTunes studio performance reviews! If something catches my ear in the arrangement, I might mention it, but I’ll be mostly focusing on the vocal performances. My favorites this week are from Erika Van Pelt, Elise Testone and Joshua Ledet. And a special honorable mention goes to Skylar Laine.

Which were your favorites?

Phillip Phillips – “Hard To Handle” –  This week’s tune suffers because it is the least re-worked of all of Phil’s performances.  The thing that has made Phil stand out so far is the way he re-interprets familiar songs. This faithful rendition of the Black Crowe’s version of the song is excellent karaoke, but nothing more.  Plus:  His voice sounds good recorded. –   Download at iTunes

Jessica Sanchez – “Turn The Beat Around” – I like the little growl in her voice, but it doesn’t really work in this song.  I want to hear Jessica go upbeat, but this is too cheesy!  Her aggressive vocals would work well in a rhythmic/urban genre.   I’m waiting for that. –   Download at iTunes

Heejun Han – “Right Here Waiting” – I had to start the song over–my brain kept turning off. Please Heejun, give us a break from treacly ballads! The pluses:  Heejun has a nice tone, and he’s got a nice little rasp. He always sings like he means it. Cons: His vocals are breathy, and he needs help with his diction. I don’t always understand what he’s singing. These are problems that also plague his live performances –   Download at iTunes

Elise Testone – “Let’s Stay Together” – Elise’s phrasing and interpretation are spot on here. Great song choice for her. Very soulful and sexy–she takes the tune to new places.  Elise makes it her own, as they say –  Download at iTunes

Deandre Branckensick – “Endless Love” – Dear Deandre: Please make better song choices in the future. Love, ME.  There’s nothing special going on here.  I could barely get through the song, it was so boring. –   Download at iTunes

Shannon Magrane – “One Sweet Day” – This song is about loss and Shannon is too young to interpret it properly.  The bottom line is that she needed a few more years of life and musical experience before she was ready for Idol –   Download at iTunes

Colton Dixon – “Broken Heart” – Colton’s got a little hitch in his voice, perfect for the angsty rock ballads he prefers.  His sound is dated, but the good news is that he’s likely headed to  Christian Contemporary post Idol.  Light rock like this still rules in that format, so it’s all good –   Download at iTunes

Erika Van Pelt – “Heaven” – Erika’s voice really pops on this recording! I don’t even mind the stuttering arrangement. The studio version is a big upgrade over her live performance. I especially like the way the song kicks into high gear in the bridge and last chorus –  Download at iTunes

Skylar Laine – “Love Sneakin’ Up On You” – I love me some Bonnie Raitt, so I was disappointed when Skyler’s live performance of her song fell flat. But this recorded version is a whole ‘nother ball of wax.  Skyler really lays down some convincing funk here. The girl’s got a groove. For reals. –   Download at iTunes

Joshua Ledet – “When a Man Loves a Woman” –  The recorded version of the song doesn’t contain the excitement of the live version. But then, how could it?  Joshua is till OMG awesome, though, as he sings the Percy Sledge classic, straight from the bottom of his soul. –   Download at iTunes

Hollie Cavanagh – “The Power of Love” – I’m not  a huge fan of power belters, but Hollie has this clear, beautiful tone that captures my attention. Now, I just want her to take a risk and pick a tune that’s outside of the adult contemporary box. You can do it, Hollie! –   Download at iTunes

Jermaine Jones – “Somewhere Out There” –  I couldn’t find a you tube upload of Jermaine’s song, and I was not about to download it. Really. I just don’t care enough –  Download at iTunes

About mj santilli 35015 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!