'American Idol' Recap: The Top 5 Get British
'American Idol' Recap: The Top 5 Get British
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
In the late 18th century, America kicked England's butt in the Revolutionary War. Now they're finally getting their revenge because it's British Week on American Idol. It makes me wonder if Pop Idol in the U.K. ever does American Week. I also wonder if Hollie Cavanagh is actually a mole sent from Liverpool to steal our nation's singing competition secrets. To make tonight's episode even more enjoyable, sing "For British eyes only!" from Arrested Development every time Hollie walks on stage.

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Anyway, as you may have noticed, BuddyTV's American Idol expert Carla Patton is out for the week on vacation. I'm filling in for her to recap the Top 5 taking on British songs as well as music from the '60s, two themes that have nothing in common. Maybe next week it will be Broadway musicals and the Tupac songbook. Or country songs and music by artists whose names start with the letter "P."

And who better to mentor the kids for this week than Little Steven from the E Street Band, a man who is neither British nor a '60s musician. But he was on The Sopranos, so it's probably best if I don't insult him.

Now swap out your beer and pretzels for some tea and crumpets, because THIS is British American Idol!


OK, that New Girl promo of the cast talking about watching American Idol was hilarious. I wish the New Girl cast was with us for the whole show, Mystery Science Theater 3000-style.

One girl in the audience has a sign asking Ryan to do her hair. I know those people are probably planted by FOX, but I don't care cuz that was genius.

It turns out Steven Van Zandt is Jimmy Iovine's BFF, which explains why he's the mentor.

Round 1: The '60s

Hollie Cavangh: "River Deep - Mountain High" by Ike and Tina Turner

Once again, all the advice is for Hollie to stop thinking so damn much. I assumed this would be a disaster, but it's actually pretty darn entertaining. The girl can definitely sing and, for the first time all season, she steps it up as an entertainer and not just a singer, but I still don't see her in this role. It feels like she realized she couldn't beat Jessica Sanchez on ballads, so now she's trying to beat Skylar Laine on energy and spunk.

Phillip Phillips: "The Letter" by The Box Tops

He's changing it up, big time, and Jimmy kind of hates it. It's worth noting Lee Dewyze sang this song in season 9. In case you don't know what a letter is, the screen behind P2 has envelopes falling. The Idol graphics department needs to stop being so literal. The song itself is exactly what you'd expect because Phillip does the same thing on every song. Jennifer Lopez doesn't know the song and the judges point out there was no melody, but they don't care. Ryan Seacrest then steals the spotlight by making a joke about how Julianne Hough called P2 "yummy." It turns out Phillip has a girlfriend and she's a brunette. I hope that doesn't hurt his votes.

Skylar Laine: "Fortunate Son" by CCR

Yes. YES. A thousand times yes! This is so Skylar it hurts, a down and dirty piece of rocking country goodness. She's like the Tasmanian Devil of Country Rock. Please, America, let her win, cuz I'm kind of in love with her.

Joshua Ledet and Phillip Phillips: "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" by The Righteous Brothers

These two should not sing together. Ever. Even the "funny" banter before they sing is awkward cuz P2 is playing up his "aw shucks, I'm just a country boy who don't know nothing" act and Joshua doesn't seem to know what to do with it. When P2 sings "Something beautiful's dying," I feel the same way. Imagine if, instead of an iceberg, the Titanic crashed into the Hindenburg. Then double it. That's how bad this was. I think Steven Tyler had a stroke because he rambles endlessly about how much he loved it. Did we hear the same song?

Jessica Sanchez: "Proud Mary" by CCR/Tina Turner

Little Steven hates this song because he's heard it so many damn times. I kind of agree, especially because this means all three girls basically sing the same style of song for round one since this song was famously done by the artists who did Hollie and Skylar's songs. I'm really torn on this one. Jessica sings it amazingly, of course. And she has a ton of energy, But somehow it feels artificial, like this isn't really who she is and she's just playing a role. Maybe it's because she did so many old-fashioned ballads early on, but I don't buy her as a fun teenager, even though she is one. Randy Jackson is right to criticize it and Jennifer Lopez is awful because she thinks everything is sunny all the time always.

Joshua Ledet: "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" by The Temptations

This is almost too easy for him, it's so in his wheelhouse. Joshua could nail this song in his sleep, and he does. For some reason I'm bored of P2 doing the same thing every week, but I don't mind that Joshua does it. But as good as it is, I keep waiting for another "When a Man Loves a Woman" moment. Steven Tyler calls him one of the two best Idol singers of all-time. I wonder who the other one is. Kelly Clarkson? Clay Aiken? Fantasia? Carrie? McPhee? Jordin? Daughtry? Lambert? Do I need to continue to prove how idiotic Steven's statement is? Randy compares him to Terence Trent D'Arby, which seems like a backhanded compliment to me.

Round 1 Verdict

The judges agree that Joshua, Hollie and Skylar all won. So basically they're saying P2 and Jessica sucked. That seems about right to me.

Round 2: Brit Pop

Hollie Cavangh: "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis

She's once again trying to sing a huge song. And WOW. That is what I like to call a moment. At the start of the Top 13 I thought she was a dark horse, then she went off track and I turned on her. But this is the girl I saw at the start of the competition. This is the girl I thought could sneak in and win the whole thing. Steven Tyler has never heard of this song and Randy Jackson is SOOOOOO passive aggressive about it, as he should be since Leona Lewis won The X Factor in the U.K., a show that happens to be from Simon Cowell. Steven Tyler should be fired during the next commercial break for saying something so damn stupid.

Phillip Phillips: "Time of the Season" by The Zombies

Holy crap, Little Steven was right: P2 is singing melody! Wait, I think I punctuated that wrong. Phillip is singing(?) melody. If this is what happens when P2 steps outside of his tiny, Dave Matthews box, he should go back in and never leave it. Seriously, that falsetto was just plain wrong. I feel like the judges know that P2 is going to win this competition so they're going out ouf their way not to say anything too mean. But I really did not enjoy that. At all. On the bright side, it was slightly better than his duet with Joshua.

Jessica Sanchez, Skylar Laine and Hollie Cavanagh: "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" by Jackie Wilson

Is it wrong that I associate this song with the movie Ghostbusters 2 when they use it to activate the goo and make the Statue of Liberty walk across New York City? That movie is awesome, and this song is actually pretty good too. All three girls sang the same style in the first half of the show, so they blend much better than the guys.

Skylar Laine: "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" by Dusty Springfield

The common theme of the mentor sessions seems to be that Jimmy and Little Steven are having fun, which annoys me because it should be about the singers, not Jimmy and his BFF. And Skylar just did the same thing Hollie did, which is slow it down and give an amazingly powerful performance. I love that Skylar can actually sing beautifully and tell stories. She's not just a spitfire. I'm glad Randy Jackson points out how silly it is that the sets are starting to involve actors sitting on benches. That was just weird.

Jessica Sanchez: "You Are So Beautiful" by Joe Cocker

Huh, this is an interesting choice for her and Jimmy is worried that it might sound like Muzak. In the end, I can't decide if I liked it or not. The girl is definitely an unbelievable singer and her control and notes are insanely perfect. And it's slow and emotional and should be a real MOMENT. But I don't feel it. There's a disconnect here between the beauty of her singing and the actual story. Even the final close-up of her face made it look like she was trying to force out a tear to prove how good she is. The judges, naturally, love it. Then we get yet another "Ryan cross-dressing" joke as he helps Jessica put on her high heels.

Joshua Ledet: "To Love Somebody" by The Bee Gees

Thankfully this marks the last time we have to see the Jimmy and Steven Comedy Hour, which is the most annoying, self-serving nonsense this show has ever subjected us to. I don't care about Jimmy Iovine and I certainly don't care about him and his friend joking around. Anyway, Joshua does his best to put his gospel spin on this song, and after a rather boring and tepid first half, he takes us to CHURCH! Preach on, Reverend James Brown! That's the Joshua I love, but what I don't love is that the judges give their boy his 100th standing ovation of the season.

I'm so over the judges standing for Joshua and it kind of makes me resent him, even though he's very good. Jennifer Lopez says he's one of the best singers in 50 years. They gave him the Pimp Spot already, they don't need to keep pimping him THIS hard. Like I said, it was really good, but the judges act like he just cured cancer while bringing peace to the Middle East.

Final Verdict

This is going to be hard to predict. Realistically, Phillip Phillips probably did the worst out of the Top 5, but we keep being told how much everyone loves him, and he's never been in the bottom. I think we could be in for some crazy results tomorrow night along with Carrie Underwood and Coldplay.


(Image courtesy of FOX)



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