Ryan Seacrest started off by getting all the formalities out of the way, a/k/a by revealing Joshua Ledet was safe. What I’m saying is, when Jimmy Iovine describes your prior night’s performance as “sky opening,” you’ve got a good thing going.
Speaking of no drama, “Paradise” by Coldplay! Look, we’re not trying to pile on the divisive Brits during their Idol debut. We tend to enjoy them around these parts, but this performance of this song did nothing to combat the argument that they’re nothing more than flaccid anthem peddlers. Don’t worry, Round 2 was better. And we still love the blacklight-neon, skid row-on-acid aesthetic.
Coldplay, “Paradise” (Live on American Idol)
Jimmy then commended Phillip Phillips for fighting through his kidney illness, but swiftly called him out for coasting. Soften them up and then STRIKE: classic Iovine rope-a-dope! Despite having arguably the weakest performances of the Top 5 on Wednesday, Phil survived. The show joked about his sickness a few weeks ago, but it’s clearly taking its toll. Next week we’ll find out if he has a Michael Jordan “Flu Game” in him.
Next we got the delightful Carrie Underwood, performing the aptly named “Blown Away” off her new album of the same name. And it was all kinds of good. She was like a neo-Stevie Nicks up there, blond locks and flowy dress all blowing in the wind, making for a compelling and eminently listenable piece of television. Seven years ago, people. That’s when she won. We are THE OLDS.
Now, let’s chat about vocal wunderkind/stylistic talking point Jessica Sanchez. Jimmy loved her rendition of “You Are So Beautiful” but could not abide that super-tight dress she wore for “Proud Mary.” A “travesty,” he called it, before saying that the stylists are “torpedoing” her. Is he right? Yeah, they should probably tone it down a bit. Plus, why distract from her voice? But to paraphrase JLo: Hollywood just has a higher threshold for raciness, so dig THAT, flyover states!
Time for the sad part. Hollie Cavanagh and Skylar found themselves on the bottom. Jimmy felt they both knocked their first songs out of the park and turned out middling second songs. But before things were sorted out (Seacrest dramatic pause) — it was time for another Coldplay song.
This time they did “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall,” which fared much better and had all the grandiosity we’ve come to expect from both Idol and the British megastars. As far as spectacles go, it’s hard to beat Chris Martin galloping around stage as confetti rains on the crowd and the song hits a crescendo. And allow us to throw some shine on guitarist Jonny Buckland: He’s an underappreciated, clean, consistent guitarist. That is all.
Coldplay, “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” (Live on American Idol)
OK, back to the bottom. When asked how they felt about the results, both Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler said it was the best Top 5 the show’s ever had. That didn’t stop Skylar from looking like the saddest puppy dog; we just wanted to hug her and pet her head and tell her it would all be OK.
But it wasn’t, America. It wasn’t OK. You just took her back behind the shed (you just know Skylar has a shed back home), and put her out of her misery. We’re astounded that Hollie has cracked the Top 4. We don’t mean to be mean, but it’s so clear she’s missing that performer gene that the other four (now three) have. Still, we’re happy for her, she’s dealt with all the criticism very gracefully.
As for Skylar: You know what, girl? You go get a headstart on cutting your album and making BUCKS before the rest of ‘em.