IDOL WATCH: The Top 8 Tackle the 80s!

IDOL WATCH: The Top 8 Tackle the 80s!It's another week of performances on Ammmerican Idol! This week, Gwen Stefani and No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal are the guest coaches, Tommy Hilfiger makes an inconspicuous disappearance from the show and Ryan reminds us that this week is eighties week with an old picture of Randy.

First up is DeAndre, who decides to sing large portions of "I Like It" by DeBarge in a pitch that only dogs can hear, leading Jimmy to predict that he'll be in the bottom three before he even performs. Ouch. That's harsh even for Jimmy. Still, DeAndre flips his hair around impressively and sounds, to me anyway, a lot better than last week. "I do like it!" J-Lo tells him. "I like it a lot!"

Elise chooses Foreigner's "I Wanna Know What Love Is." Elise still annoys me - and though she's (impartially) one of the best vocalists in the competition, the whole thing sounds a bit off. I'm a bit of a sucker for a chorus joining in at the end of the song, but even that can't save it. "It was just out of tune everywhere for me," Randy says.

Of course, Idol has to toss in a few group numbers for a two-hour show. This week, it's duets, and Skylar and Colton sing "Islands in the Stream." It's actually much better than the trios last week - easy to listen to on both parts - but still seems really unnecessary to the show.

Phillip Phillips chooses "That's All" from Genesis. It's a song that fits him well - he's very consistent, and this week is no exception - and in a nice gesture he has his brother-in-law on stage to play guitar with him. "You're a wildflower," Steven mumbles. No, seriously.

Hollie and DeAndre don't fare quite as well as Colton and Skylar with their duet: "I'm So Excited" by The Pointer Sisters. They improve as the song goes on, but these duets are so meaningless they could have bombed the thing and it wouldn't matter.

"If You Don't Know Me By Now" by Simply Red, as recorded by diva Patti LaBelle, is Joshua's choice. Everything about the performance rings of Idol's first few seasons - from the suit that Joshua's wearing to the smoke on the floor to the chorus - and while it's not always necessarily on pitch (you know, if you care about those kinds of things, which the judges clearly don't 90% of the time) it's the kind of "vocal gymnastics" that Joshua does very well and the judges love it.

Jessica will perform another Whitney Houston song: "How Will I Know." She interviews without a trace of sarcasm that she'll be Bebe Chez, her alter-ego, for the duration of the performance. Bebe? BB? Perhaps she should wear a nametag. Still, she just 16 years old and has a powerful voice, if a little lacking in rhythm, and Steven tells her that he's never seen her perform where he's felt he should really judge her. I've never felt like Steven should judge anyone, but this is probably his most coherent critique of the night.

Another duet hits the stage, with Phillip and Elise taking on Tom Petty's "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around." It's a good matchup, and both sing it well.

Hollie chooses "What a Feeling" from Flashdance. On one hand, it's completely boring when Hollie constantly chooses ballads, but on the other she can't really keep up with the faster songs. "You're listening to what everybody's telling you, and I can see that," J-Lo says, but despite the multitude of experts hired by Idol it's not a compliment.

That leaves Jessica and Joshua to take on another duet, "I Knew You Were Waiting For Me," and theirs is actually quite good as well (color me shocked - four good duets!), but I'm just waiting on Idol to realize that it doesn't need these time fillers.

Colton, now a blonde, sings "Time After Time." It's very well sung, as his songs usually are. The judges are impressed - they think it's an original twist on the song - but as I'm stewing over the fact that I had this exact version in my iTunes a couple of years back, Colton graciously tells Ryan that he was performing Quietdrive's cover and all is well.

Closing the night is Skylar. She sings a song that's slightly less country this week - Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings," and I like it, cheesy light cues and all. It's the first time where she manages to truly put her own twist on the song since it's not normally heard with such a twang, and it totally works for her.

So Idol delivers another night that has its share of highs and lows. How did your favorites match up? Who will fall short with America's votes this week? Tune in tomorrow to find out!

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