If you’re the type of person who watches American Idol once the actual competition gets down to the nitty gritty and doesn’t follow the show through the auditions and Hollywood rounds, you are in luck. My friend Tiffany (@TVProducerLady) and I recorded a podcast that summed up a lot of what you missed. And we posted it Monday, so go take a listen.

I generally don’t like the long two-hour shows. Blogging them is like a marathon, but hey, this isn’t Burger King and I can’t have it my way. So, I’m here to write tons and tons of words about this week’s show. I’ll try to make it painless to read and hopefully somewhat entertaining.

This is my 10th year of blogging this show and the format will mostly stay the same. Last year, I tried to incorporate lots of Twitter posts from American Idol fans, but this year, I’m like Beyonce’. I’m going solo.

Once more thing before I get to the show — why are they singing Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston songs? It’s the first week. They should have these youngsters grow into Whitney and Stevie. Maybe start with something easier, like J. Lo songs. I guess it’s good in a way because it will definitely distance the good from the bad immediately.

Onto the show!

Ryno brings out the 6 girls first. Shannon looks about 14 feet tall standing next to Hollie and Jessica. He then brings out the guys and I’m still unsure why Colton wears a coonskin cap mullet on top of his head.

Ryno says that this week, it’s guys versus girls. The lowest voted guy will face off against the lowest voted girl tomorrow night and the judges choose who stays. Check mate, X Factor! Mary J. Blige is mentoring the folks tonight.

Joshua Ledet is up first and he’s singing I Wish. With his wacky facials, Joshua kind of reminds me of a young Al Jarreau. (And really, what other website blogging American Idol is going to mention Al Jarreau? Popblerd FTW!) Joshua has a great voice, but he went a little overboard with both the vocals and the theatrics. Don’t go too Jacob Lusk on us Joshua! Randall says that Joshua wore it out. Jenny Lo says she felt the performance. Steven says he nailed it.

Elise Testone at first wanted to sing The Greatest Love Of All, but Jimmy Iovine switched her to I’m Your Baby Tonight which is my favorite Whitty song. I have a bad feeling about this. Poor Elise. I think I might be able to perform this song better than she did tonight. It was all over the place. Jenny Lo says it wasn’t her best. Steven says it was good, but …. Randall says she was boxing with the song. I think this song gave her a black eye.

Jermaine Jones is singing Knocks Me Off My Feet. This is one of my favorite Stevie songs. I’m expecting big things Jermaine! I’m not mad at ya Jermaine. While it’s hard for me to get into his voice simply because you rarely hear his deep bass-y voice in pop music, he did a really nice job with this song. Steven says the song fit him like an Armani suit. Jenny Lo says she wants him to sing to someone and relax his face. Randall says he liked the verses, but didn’t love the chorus.

Erika Van Pelt is performing I Believe In You And Me. It started off slowly, but I liked her energy in the money part of the song and she closed it strongly. Randall says when she let herself go, it was unbelievable. Jenny Lo says she can’t wait until she completely lets go. Steven says it was perfect and he thinks she’s great.

Colton Dixon is performing Lately. I hope he doesn’t kill this song dead. Stevie hopes so. Jodeci hopes so. And Martin Payne hopes so.

It was a better stage performance than an actual vocal performance, but that’s how he had to do it. He actually took something that looked like it could’ve been a train wreck and made it pretty decent. Steven says it was beautiful and well done. Jenny Lo says it was great. Randall says it wasn’t picture perfect vocally, but by the end, he was flawless.

Shannon Magrane is singing I Have Nothing. How is a 16-year old going to even understand how she’s supposed to feel while singing this song? I think it’s too big for her. She should’ve done something more fun. Since I write the Sweet Chin Muzak baseball column for this website, I’ll use a baseball analogy. During one game, Oakland A’s pitcher Tim Hudson plunked Barry Bonds during a Giants vs. A’s match-up. Bonds was at his muscular apex at this point, while Hudson was a little wiry guy. Giants manager Dusty Baker mentioned in the paper the next day that Hudson was too light in the ass to try to keep Barry honest. That’s Shannon. She’s too light in the ass to pull off the soul and emotion of such a big song. Jenny Lo says Shannon was thinking too much. Steven says her nerves got the best of her. Randall says they know she can sing, but the nerves got the best of her.

Deandre Brackensick is singing Master Blaster (Jammin’), which is such a fun song. He doesn’t get to fully show off his vocals, but he definitely wins the showman award. His performance correctly represented what the song is supposed to represent. Steven says he’s always loved him and he liked it tonight. Jenny Lo says he brought it from the beginning. Randall says he was in perfect rhythm.

Skylar Laine is singing Where Do Broken Hearts Go. This is probably the best song fit per the performer so far. If Shannon wanted to go ballad, this is what she should’ve chosen. She didn’t actually hit it out of the ball park, but it was totally fine. She closed it strong. Jenny Lo says she didn’t start perfectly, but she kept it together and gave them the biggest moment of the night. Steven says it was beautiful. Randall says it was hot and she proved that she’s more than just country.

Heejun Han is doing another one of my favorites. He’s singing All in Love Is Fair. Heejun is @TVProducerLady‘s favorite so I’m rooting for him. I thought he did a commendable job. He went for the bigger notes at the end and it was fine, but I don’t think Stevie is his gig. I’d love to hear him sing James Ingram. Jenny Lo says she loves him. Steven says it was fantastic. Randall says it wasn’t perfect, but it was really good.

Hollie Cavanagh is singing All The Man That I Need. She will break my heart worse than Hulk Hogan and Nikolai put together if she doesn’t at least do a decent job with this one. This is another one of my favorite Whitty joints. Well, she didn’t break my heart. But she didn’t have me jumping up and down either. She might be the most disposable person in the top 13. Randall says she nailed it. Jenny Lo says she might be the one. Steven says it was really nice.

Jeremy Rosado aka Big Pun is up next with Ribbon in the Sky. His voice is a little light. Stevie sang this one from his guts. I think Jeremy is just trying to get through it. Too bad too, because he’s such a likable guy. He did do it a little differently, so that might work in his favor. He didn’t try to mimic Steveland. Steven says the voice was velvety smooth. Jenny Lo says she loves his interpretation. Randall says it wasn’t his best and he didn’t have enough swag in it to make it believable.

Jessica Sanchez wins the big balls award. She’s trying to take on I Will Always Love You. Not to make this all about Martin Payne, but one of my favorite interpretations of that song was when he sang it to Gina to get her back from the guy who’d eventually play Braxton on “The Jamie Foxx Show”.

If it was up to me, we’d cut through the fat immediately because Jessica is the stuff and she’s so much better than most of the contestants. I’m not sure we need 13 weeks to decide who is good. Let’s just put Jessica in the finals with someone like Joshua or Phillip and call it a day. Jessica’s the showstopper tonight. Randall says she wins best vocal of the night. Jenny Lo says it was amazing and she’s speechless. (By the way, can you really be speechless when you’re babbling?) Steven says she may be the one.

Phillip Phillips is closing the show with Superstition. I think the only thing that stops him from going far is the number of groupies that he’s going to roll through. Get your sleep Phillip. He’s like David Cook, except he’s fun. I’m not sure I liked some of the shouting, but he put a fun take on the song. The dude also has charisma out the wazoo. Steven says he has a lot of forgetabout in his voice. Jenny Lo says he made it his own and he killed it. Randall says he drives in his own lane and he loves it.

Top 3
1. Jessica Sanchez
2. Erika Van Pelt
3. Phillip Phillips

Bottom 3
1. Elise Testone
2. Shannon Magrane
3. Jeremy Rosado

Seacrest out!

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