I’m not entirely sure whether or not to be excited for Billy Joel week on American Idol. I like some of his music, but his best songs are the ones that heavily feature the piano, so I’m curious to see how this will translate to a singing competition. My song suggestions caused a bit of a stir in the comments, but mostly because I flippantly called Billy Joel a creep. To backtrack, the music is the important thing here and I’m not sure if musically, this is the right theme for a bunch of teenagers. It appears that the people who love Billy Joel don’t think these kids can do him justice, and the people who don’t care for his music don’t want to hear ten covers of it. Another thing I’m curious about is P. Diddy mentoring on Billy Joel week, but stranger things have happened.

I’m glad I was wrong last week when I thought American Idol wouldn’t send anyone home on Thursday due to Jermaine Jones’s swift disqualification. I was even more pleased to see that Shannon Magrane failed to garner a sufficient amount of viewer votes, or the judges’ save. I guess they’re still doing that save thing. But on with the show that no one wanted to happen.

Wow, way to make it look like Shannon died, Idol. For the record, she did not die, she just got eliminated. SOMEHOW, the Top 10 must figure out how to pick themselves up and go on … TOUR! Seeya, Shannon, wouldn’t wanna be ya!

shannonsfuneral.jpgThe songbook of Billy Joel is upon us and Steven proclaims, boldly, that “if you can’t sing Billy Joel, you can’t sing at all.” What does that mean?! And why is Diddy here? Along with Tommy Hilfiger giving “style advice.” Oh lordy.

DeAndre Brackensick is up first to get Tommy Hilfiger’s advice to wear his hair down. To enhance his style, they decide to add some embellishments to the collar. But not TOO many. DeAndre is singing “Only the Good Die Young.” This is a good week for DeAndre, vocally, and a good week for Diddy as a mentor. His feedback revealed that DeAndre doesn’t have any idea who Christie Brinkley is. Not much talk of DeAndre’s performance in this clip package, it was more about the song’s significance. DeAndre comes out dancing, and here’s what Tommy Hilfiger came up with:

Sleeveless! No rules! The performance is fun and DeAndre gave it his all, but I don’t know that it was dynamic enough to be memorable. I was such a fan of DeAndre’s early on, but my affections have since faded without any oxygen to fuel the fire. Steven thought that at first it was too happy but, meh, whatever! Jennifer thought he did a good job, and Randy is still wearing that crazy man-brooch. He thought the performance was “OK.”

Erika Van Pelt is singing “New York State of Mind,” which she knows is an anthem for Billy Joel and New Yorkers. Jimmy and Diddy tell Erika to be careful about over-singing, which is what the judges were telling her to do a few weeks ago. But what did Tommy Hilfiger have to say?! Erika tells Tommy she likes Pink as an artist, but all Tommy hears is “short hair.” Oh my god. But she’s going for it! It will make her different from Elise in our minds.

Oh my god, I love her hair! It looks so good dark. I’m really glad they made that call. Vocally, the song started out well, and I think there were only a couple over-singing moments. Of course EVP is great, though. I just wish she could get some better placement in the lineup. Randy loves the new look and the vocals (“I think you’re one of the best singers in this whole thing,” he says for the first time in the evening). Jennifer liked it, too, but like Randy, wanted Erika to over-sing it more.

Joshua Ledet does not have new hair. Tommy Hilfiger recommended he go black tie. He’s singing “She’s Got a Way.” Yes! I was hoping someone, maybe Heejun, would sing this song. Joshua is struggling to make this pop song fit his soul voice. Diddy focused Joshua, and the result was the talent we’ve come to expect from him. He’s still wearing all black, though. This performance is good, but I’m with Diddy, Joshua seems a little distracted. Bored, maybe? It was good, but we’ve come to expect that now. Jennifer loves Joshua, but didn’t feel like he was connecting to it. Steven loved it, and Randy can see where Steven and Jennifer are each coming from. “But you’re still one of the greatest singers here,” Randy notes. Drink, everyone!

Skylar Laine loves Diddy, apparently. That’s awesome. She’ll be singing “Shameless.” Diddy gives her the advice not to over-compensate, and Skylar gets his autograph. Tommy Hilfiger tells Skylar, reluctantly, that “country western is very big.” They update her look without abandoning “the boot thing.” This guy at the beginning accidentally got in Skylar’s light, so it looked like she was singing about him. But she meant to be singing to the slide guitar player. Oh who knows.

Skylar did “her thing,” which is to say that she did a great job but the song was pretty ho-hum. What’s a girl to do this week? Randy thought it was “pretty good, not your best,” and Jennifer rattled off some typical stuff about how much we love Skylar. It was really just good. I’m really hoping things pick up at the halfway point.

Elise Testone is singing “Vienna.” Another great choice! I just wish she wasn’t this season’s Haley. Remember how audiences just didn’t take to Haley early on? She was always in the bottom. But we eventually got used to her. The performance is great–you can tell Elise is comfortable with this song and it suits her. It was good with an exclamation point! And Randy thought so, too. I think they’ve realized they need to be more enthusiastic for her. Jennifer was happy we got to see her personality, and Randy really likes the way she made it her own. “She is unbelievably talented,” Randy insists.

Phillip Phillips was told by Tommy Hilfiger that he needs help. “I’m just a simple guy,” Phillip says charmingly, “I just wanna bring the music first.” Oh Tommy, you’re fighting an uphill battle. Phillip has selected “Movin’ Out.” Diddy took Phillips guitar/crutch away, as a risk. But the guitar was back in Phillip’s hands for the performance, and the grey was back on him. He really made it his own, though, and in this case it was really working. People will download the original and be disappointed, I think. The judges loved it and the way he made it his own. Steven threw Phillip his scarf like a sassy lady.

Hollie Cavanagh sings next, and it looks like Tommy Hilfiger put her in a futuristic pantsuit. Tommy and Jimmy think Hollie is dressed too old, so they put her in a white pantsuit? Well, I don’t get fashion. She is singing “Honesty.” Can she sing it like the old lady she’s dressed as? Look at that dandelion fluff blowing in the simulated wind! It was good, but not exciting or anything. Steven thought it was a little pitchy, but good. Jennifer said “you have to know every single note of that song.” I don’t know the song, so I didn’t know the difference. They all agreed that you have to nail everything and she didn’t. None of these kids have heard these songs. But if you want to learn them, you can download them online, we are told over and over again.

Heejun Han asks Diddy and Jimmy for advice on taking criticism and not letting it shatter you. He’s singing “My Life.” Diddy is not sure if Heejun is acting, or even if he’s Asian at this point. Tommy asked Heejun who his icons are and Heejun says “Jessica Sanchez, Madonna, and Michael Bolton.” Poor Heejun. He will be wearing a suit forever. OR NOT!

Heejun did an amazing thing where he pretended to start a ballad, mess up, then told the piano player, “that’s just to slow for me.” He ripped off his tux and tore into “My Life.” It was a delightful surprise that gave energy to a somewhat confusing and bland performance. He has my favorite personality in the competition, and I loved watching him dance and take on an up-tempo song, but this was a little pitchy and like bad karaoke. I want to keep him around, though! Jennifer loved that Heejun brought some fun to a ballad-laden night, but he may not have hit the vocal exactly on. Steven told Heejun that eventually he will have to start taking things a little more seriously. “At least you had a good time,” Randy said.

Creepily, Tommy Hilfiger suggested that Jessica Sanchez wear a dress “because of your size.” Jessica loves shopping and clothes, though, and she’s one of Heejun’s fashion icons, so she had a good time. In rehearsal, Diddy told her he didn’t believe her performance, she over-sung it, and there were too many vocal tricks. Yes, Diddy, you are a good mentor! She’s singing “Everybody Has a Dream” in a more subdued, personal style tonight. I thought she was quite successful maneuvering into the key change with a lot of vocal control. She did it well, and didn’t use every single vocal trick in her arsenal. It was nice! Steven just thanked her for letting him listen to her sing. Jennifer felt like the song was written for Jessica. Randy loves that Jessica auditioned for this show. Yay, ratings!

Last but never least, it’s Colton Dixon. This week, if for anyone, is for Colton. He plays the piano! Tommy Hilfiger likes that Colton wants to be a stylemaker, but is concerned about the hair. As am I, Tommy. Colton had some attitude about his hair, which kind of makes me hate him again, and the way he said he missed being at the piano “hehehehe.” Naturally, Colton is singing “Piano Man”! Diddy loved it, though. Going last, sitting at a red piano, singing “Piano Man,” Colton is untouchable. I think he did that vocal whine/squeak too much, but that is my own hangup. Overall I liked it. It made me feel something, as “Piano Man” is wont to do.

Ooh, when Jennifer almost called Diddy “Puffy” we remember when they dated. Oh my gahhhh is it awkward? It’s all I can think about now. The judges loved it, of course, and the teenage girls started chanting “COLTON, COLTON, COLTON!” Colton mentions that he has been praying to God, and wants God to shine first and foremost, and I think with that he just won himself this competition. Oh boy.

Who was the best? Who was the worst (no, you can’t pick “all of them”! “Billy Joel as a theme week” is an acceptable answer, though)? Do you think it’s awkward for Jennifer Lopez and Diddy?

(images courtesy of FOX)

Carla Patton

Writer, BuddyTV

Originally from Seattle, Carla recently took a husband and moved to Austin, Texas, where she is finally using her television “problem” to her advantage. It’s sort of like Dexter, but boring and less murdering. Carla’s favorite shows include 30 RockThe Amazing RaceProject RunwayModern Family, anything with murder, and pretty much anything gross and weird (CSIThe BachelorToddlers & Tiaras, etc.). Favorite canceled shows include: Arrested DevelopmentVeronica Mars and Average Joe. In her spare time, Carla leads tours of downtown Austin on a Segway (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!), blogs about Netflix Instant, and visits elementary schools telling children they don’t need math to succeed (just kidding, stay in school, kids).