IDOL WATCH: The Top 5 Take On the 1960s and British Pop!


Tonight's American Idol was two hours even with only five contestants left (really, Idol?) leading to another week with two categories and some strong performances: the music of the 1960s and British pop. It'll certainly be a show on which some of them struggle on one category or the other, but who'll rise to the occasion with the help of guest judge Steven Van Zandt? Find out now!

"The stress once again reaches a fever pitch," Ryan tells us earnestly at the top of the show. I wonder if he believes the things he says, or if he dies a little inside every time he has to deliver a line like that.

Hollie, the first to hit the stage, chooses "River Deep - Mountain High" because she thinks people want her to come out of her shell more. Maybe that's true, but I think Hollie's main problem is that she's got a powerful voice, but is always trying to seem more exciting. It's not a bad performance, but even with all her trying it still seems a bit boring. "It was a different type of Hollie out there tonight," J-Lo (who's wearing what can best be described as a cross between a dress and a 90s halter top) says.

The Box Tops' "The Letter" is Phil Phillips' 1960s choice, and he gives it his usual treatment (as letters fall on the screen behind him. For the second time tonight, I have to ask: really, Idol?) but this week, it's just what we'd expect and he doesn't really bring much beyond that. Still, I do like Phil and the crowd seems to as well - he gets some of the longest applause this season. "I missed the melody," Steven Tyler says (he's surprisingly coherent tonight). "But you get away with it."

Skylar performs Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son," and it's two thumbs up from me - she's wearing her hair back from her face again and looks more her age, which makes it doubly impressive that she does so well at just eighteen years old. "You are born to be on the stage!" Randy tells her.

Apparently Idol is bringing back the duet/trio thing tonight. I mean, if you've read any of the other recaps you know how much I hate these, but just to reiterate: I really hate these. First up is Joshua and Phil, singing "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling." Begrudgingly, I have to admit that it's actually not unlistenable and they do well together. Ryan calls them Goose and Maverick - I wonder which one is Goose, because that's a grim ending to Idol.

Jessica, predictably, chooses "Proud Mary." Jessica's sort of musically illiterate (I mean, other than her freakishly large voice), but Steven Van Zandt talks with the musical director and gives the beginning a bit of a jazzy feel so it's refreshing to hear Jessica singing something that doesn't sound like straight up karaoke. Steven Tyler can't go a whole night without being weird, though, and tells her that "There's nothing that beats experience except a sixteen year old." Oookay.


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