News Column

'American Idol' Recap: Phil Phillips, Skylar Laine Tackle Usher, Lady Gaga Tunes

April 19, 2012

Casey Gillis

 Lady Gaga

In an unprecedented move, the remaining seven contestants each performed two songs during Wednesday's episode of "American Idol."

That meant 14 songs in two hours and, in this Couch Potato's opinion, one darn good show.

Each contestant was required to sing one song that was released between 2000 and the present, and another from the classic soul era.

I thought Phil Phillips won the night, putting a completely unique spin on Usher's "You Got It Bad" (Jennifer Lopez said it was sexy, and she was right) and, later, Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour."

Skylar Laine also had a good night, rocking out with a country version of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" and Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine." She's becoming more and more of a frontrunner every week, isn't she?

Other standouts were Joshua, who sang Fantasia's "I Believe" and Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" and Colton, who put his own touches on Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" and Earth Wind & Fire's "September" (unlike the judges, I preferred "September" to "Bad Romance").

I was pretty bored with Elise's "No One." It's not that I don't like the Alicia Keys song; it's just that it's been done to death. But I enjoyed her second performance, Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On."

Hollie tried mounting her comeback -- and got back in the judges' good graces -- with strong renditions of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man."

And I think I've finally figured out why Jessica Sanchez -- who sang Alicia Keys' "Fallin'" and Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness" -- was in the bottom three last week, and why she might end up there again tonight.

She, for the most part, sings her songs exactly as we've always heard them. She might change a run here or there, but it's never that different from the original.

And in a season where Phil Phillips and Colton are constantly switching things up, she has to step up her game.

Source: (c)2012 The News & Advance (Lynchburg, Va.)

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