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American Idol: And Then There Were 10

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What a week it has been for American Idol. Earlier this week, the Top 12 became the Top 11 after Jermaine Jones was disqualified from the competition. Additional pressure was added to the remaining contestants, as they were now performing this week to advance to the Top 10 and secure a coveted slot on the Idol summer tour.

AMERICAN IDOL: Elise Testone performs in front of the Judges on AMERICAN IDOL airing Wednesday, March 14 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Carin Baer / FOX.On Wednesday night, the contestants performed songs from the year they were born. Fun fact: The majority of this season’s contestants were born in the early nineties. Anyone else feel old or is it just me?

 Phillip Phillips kicked off the night performing a song from 1991, “Hard to Handle” by The Black Crowes. Personally, my favorite Idol rendition of this song was performed during the Idol summer tour in 2009 by season eight’s Matt Giraud. I was looking for Phillip to just bring it. Sans guitar, he wound up carving out quite the rockin’ moment for himself. He had great interaction with the band, and even though he hung onto the mic stand throughout his performance, it was kind of an endearing sort of stage presence. Also, I like that he knows what songs work with his vocal tone and play to his strengths. Phillip is a contestant that I look forward to hearing what he’s going to do each week.

Another great performance came from Elise Testone, who bounced back from last week with a performance of Tina Turner’s 1983 cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.” She sounded fantastic. The bluesy quality to her voice worked so well on this song; I thought her performance was so soulful and so much better than last week.

Hollie Cavanagh impressed me this week once again with her performance of Celine Dion’s 1993 hit, “The Power of Love.” Her last note was a little iffy, but overall I thought she pulled off the song. Tackling Celine is no small feat, however, it may be time to move away from the ballads and sing something, at the very least, mid-tempo.

This season’s rocker Colton Dixon went with a White Lion song from 1991, “Broken Heart” Wednesday night. Yeah, nobody’s ever heard of the song and it didn’t matter, because Colton had another strong vocal performance. The big, soaring note he hit about three-fourth’s way through the song was pitch-perfect. 

Another standout was Skylar Laine’s performance of Bonnie Raitt’s 1994 tune, “Love Sneakin’ Up on You.” She was full of personality, had great stage presence, and rocked that song like it was her own.

However, it was Joshua Ledet’s performance of “When a Man Loves a Woman,” as sung by Michael Bolton in 1992, that made my night. I mean, holy smokes, y’all! This kid sang his face off. I don’t think we’ve seen such a passion-filled performance like this on Idol in a very long time. He was oh-so good. If you missed his performance or just want to watch it again, check it out below!

With the Idol summer tour on the line, all eyes were on Thursday night’s results show. So, who went home this week?

I figured after Heejun Han’s pitchy performance of Richard Marx’s 1989 hit, “Right Here Waiting,” that he would be receiving a one-way ticket to the bottom three. However that wasn’t the case, as it was “Ladies’ Night” in the bottom three, featuring Erika Van Pelt, Shannon Magrane, and Elise Testone.

I’m thinking since this is Erika’s second time in the bottom three that her ticket home is about to be punched sooner than later. I thought her performance of Bryan Adam’s 1985 tune, “Heaven” was pretty good. I understood what the judges said about messing with the melody too much, like the break she threw in towards the end, but I don’t know if that performance should have sent her to the bottom three.

My thoughts on Elise being in the bottom three is that she absolutely didn’t deserve to be there, so we’ll move on to the person who was sent home, being Shannon Magrane.

Shannon, who failed to pull off her Whitney Houston song last week, decided that the obvious next step was to cover one of Mariah Carey’s biggest songs, being her 1995 hit with Boyz II Men, “One Sweet Day.” To her credit, it was a gutsy song choice and her vocal performance improved from the week before. In the end, her risky song choice just didn’t pay off. 

Out of the thousands of people who tried out for Idol this season, we are officially down to 10. I kind of can’t believe it. The contestants that are moving on to next week and will also be hitting the road this summer on tour are: Phillip Phillips, Colton Dixon, Jessica Sanchez, Hollie Cavanagh, Joshua Ledet, Skylar Laine, Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt, Heejun Han, and my hometown contestant DeAndre Brackensick. 

What did y’all think of this week’s performances and results? If you were an Idol contestant, what song from the year you were born would you sing? (My pick: “Do You Believe in Love” by Huey Lewis and the News.)

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About Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is an Entertainment Writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has interviewed a variety of people from across the entertainment spectrum, including singer-songwriter/Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas, Andrew Dost from the Grammy Award-winning band fun., singer-songwriter Christina Perri, and acclaimed writer-director Derek Cianfrance.