‘American Idol’ top 7 review: Elise Testone, Joshua Ledet tear it down

There were some great moments.

This week’s edition of “American Idol” began with the horrifying imagery of people in DeAndre’s hometown sobbing over his elimination, and there was one thing we were immediately thinking — it has to get better from here.

Thankfully, it did — despite a few weak moments here and there, this was one of the best nights of the season. Can we have current music more often?

Skylar Laine – Was it a little predictable that Skylar chose to sing something by Kellie Pickler? Sure, but it’s also hard to complain when the performance was as a whole so divine. No missed notes, plenty of storytelling, and a comfort level that most country singers can only dream of.

Really, the biggest problem Skylar has is that she is coming on the show at a time when we’ve just had Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina. Country music’s just not as exciting in the “Idol” universe at the moment, and this is really the only explanation we have for her being in the bottom two a couple of weeks ago. Based on her going early in the show, we worry she will find herself in the same place again.

Colton Dixon – We know the audience loved this, but we really couldn’t feel it this time. Maybe it’s because it was really just too depressing for a show like “American Idol.” Why do “Love the Way You Lie” on this show?

Really, though, our entire critique of this performance is subjective. It was vocally strong, and we don’t deny that he did a wonderful job when it comes to adapting the song to suit his voice.

Jessica Sanchez – We really don’t know how much credit we can feasibly give Jessica for this. It was just about as great as anything can get from a performance standpoint on this show — there was artistry in the arrangement, some beautiful moments with the vocal, and she seems at this point to be the obvious winner of this season if people don’t suddenly start to lose their minds.

With this, we have a concern — that people will take advantage of how good she is a la Pia Toscano or Chris Daughtry, and forget to cast as many votes. We’re thankful that the judges still have a save, just in case something goes south.

Joshua Ledet – Quite possibly the best uptempo performance of the entire season. We were dancing, we were jumping up and down, and we are begging for this guy to join Jessica in the final two.

We admit that when we heard what Joshua was going to be singing, we were almost a little worried that Bruno Mars wouldn’t be a great choice — but it was and then some.

Hollie Cavanagh – The strangest thing about Hollie’s performance this week? The rather subtle inference by Ryan that she wasn’t very good last week with him saying that she was “so much stronger” this time. Wait … Ryan is now a judge?

We really didn’t have a problem with any of the notes Hollie sang, but she feels almost like she is programmed to sing a certain way and is nervous about messing up more than getting into the performance. Pink’s version of “Perfect” (we’ll censor the first word) is so emotional, and this version was just flat.

Phillip Phillips – Phillip finally found his way back! Yes, this performance of Maroon 5 was pretty much the same thing the guy has done for weeks at this point, but we will at least give him a little bit of credit for giving a better job with the arrangement and the vocal.

We’ve thought the judges have been ridiculously nice to Phillip all season, but they actually were too hard on him this time. Really, it felt as though they had been told to say something negative about Phillip after last week, and they were going to say it so long as he didn’t blow the roof off of the place. He was great, but not spectacular.

Elise Testone – Elise was bold to even tackle the song that Randy Jackson hated last year in “You and I” by Lady Gaga. Did she surpass Haley Reinhart’s version? Surprisingly, yes — and we were prepared to go on here and complain that it paled in comparison to the growler from last season.

What we didn’t like here? That Randy suddenly loves the song! Where was this last year, Randy? Did you have on your hate goggles? ¬†We just don’t understand the irrational critiques from year to year … but that’s not Elise’s fault. We’re just happy she got the support she deserved for one of the two best vocals of the night. We just can’t figure out if we loved her performance more than Joshua’s.

The duets

Phillip Phillips and Elise Testone – As excited as we were to hear this performance, this was more or less the equivalent of someone saying “wah wah wah” when a joke falls flat. Elise slurred way too many of the words and was flat on the pitch, and Phillip looked like he was in pain for about half of the performance. He actually disagree with the judges here, though — we enjoyed Phillip more than Elise, if for no other reason than that it was something different than watching him strum a guitar in the middle of the stage.

Thankfully, we’re happy that Elise completely killed her solo number, so we’re not worried about this hurting her at all.

Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine – Why is Ryan Seacrest still trying to make these two happen as a romantic couple? This is annoying in itself, and we almost feel bad for Skylar continually forcing Colton into doing country songs rather than him getting the chance to do a rock song with her. “Don’t You Wanna Stay” is a big song, and at least these two can celebrate giving a performance (one bad note from Skylar aside) that was better than what Phillip and Elise put out there.

Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, and Hollie Cavanagh – Can Hollie go on “The X Factor” and audition as a group? We really think she does better on stage when she has someone to work with — and this was far better than her solo performance.

It’s almost weird, but this was probably Jessica’s weakest vocal since her Gloria Estefan cover earlier this season — mostly because she was under the tone for the first few bars of the song before finding her way. Ultimately, though, Joshua took this performance and was head and shoulders above the rest.

Who was your favorite from Wednesday night’s performance show? Be sure to leave your comments in the box below along with the poll!

Photo: Fox

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