My weekly reviews of the American Idol Studio performances are back–with audio streams for your listening pleasure! My favorites this week are from Elise Testone, Joshua Ledet, Erika Van Pelt and Hollie Cavanagh. Yes. In that order!
The backing tracks are serviceable, but generic. Nothing new–so my critiques will focus on the vocal performance from each Idol. I’d love to hear what you think of the recorded tunes.
Joshua Ledet – “I Wish” – Joshua is my favorite male right now–hands down. And he sounds awesome on the recorded version of “I Wish”. I absolutely love his soulful rasp. He’s got a throw back vibe, but I can’t see why he couldn’t do contemporary R&B. He’s got loads of stage presence, and his voice records well – Download at iTunes
Elise Testone– “I’m Your Baby Tonight” – Eh. I thought the judges were too hard on Elise last week. On the recorded version of “I’m Your Baby Tonight” she sings confidently–the thing that was missing from her live performance. I love her tone–so soulful. It would have been a crime if she had left us this week. – Download at iTunes
Jermaine Jones – “Knocks Me Off My Feet” – Jermaine has his moments on the recorded version of “Knocks Me Off My Feet”, but it’s a lackluster performance. Jermaine needs to learn how to connect emotionally to a song. Singing pretty just isn’t enough. – Download at iTunes
Erika Van Pelt -”I Believe in You and Me” – Erika sang this real good live, and she sings it beautifully here too. Her husky alto sounds awesome recorded. – Download at iTunes
Colton Dixon – “Lately” – Recorded, “Lately” is less emo rock and more like the teen pop version of a Stevie classic–which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But, like Jimmy asked, who is Colton Dixon musically? – Download at iTunes
Shannon Magrane – “I Have Nothing” – No doubt, Shannon has potential. On pitch and in tune she’s got a nice recording voice. However, I still maintain that Shannon needs a few more years to develop a style and ability to connect to a song. – Download at iTunes
Deandre Brackensick – “Master Blaster” – Deandre continues to impress in his lower register. Use that falsetto sparingly–where it counts! Good looking, great voice–this kid is going to be super marketable once he’s off the show – Download at iTunes
Skylar Laine – “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” – This song works as a country tune–in no small measure to Skyler’s heartbreaking interpretation. She sounds beautiful here. I expect her to go deep in the competition and will be shocked if she’s not snapped up by a label after the show is over – Download at iTunes
Heejun Han – “All is Fair In Love” – There’s a lot to like about Heejun’s voice. He’s got a beautiful tone and connects emotionally to the lyrics–that’s half the battle. Now, he needs to learn how to modulate–and he needs to work on his diction. I’ve never noticed until now–but he’s got a sweet little rasp – Download at iTunes
Hollie Cavanagh – “All The Man That I Need” – Hollie’s big rich tone sounds so…effortless. She lets those big notes loose with such ease–it doesn’t sound forced or over the top. I’d love to hear her tackle genres other than pop. Something tells me she’d excel. – Download at iTunes
Jeremy Rosado – “Ribbon in the Sky” – Jeremy has a few nice moments here–particularly some lovely riffing at the end of the song. Still, there’s nothing in this recording that changes my mind about his elimination. The right person went home this week. – Download at iTunes
Jessica Sanchez – “I Will Always Love You” – A beautiful, faithful recreation of the classic “I Will Always Love You”. I’m looking forward to what else Jessica has up her sleeve – Download at iTunes
Phillip Phillips – “Superstition” – P2 is has a way with re-arranging classics to fit his vibe, I just don’t like his voice. I will say–his recorded vocal is a notch up from his unpleasant, overly-congested sounding live voice – Download at iTunes