Thursday, September 3, 2015

'Idol' recap: Mercury poisoning

Cover your ears - it's Queen night

‘Idol’ recap: Mercury poisoning

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Ah, Queen night on American Idol. Think of it as the desert outside the gates of Quarth on Game of Thrones. It is a Garden of Bones for amateur singers.

You know how many Idol singers have survived Queen night intact? Precisely one. Adam Lambert.

The final six gamely threw themselves at the rococo walls of Freddie Mercury last night and afterwards got to sing a number of their own choosing. In other words, a double disaster.

First we had Jessica Sanchez taking a flying leap at “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Here’s how that went.

All I’m going to say is that if Randy, Steven and Jennifer praised that, it’s time we officially changed their job description from “judges” to “cheerleaders”.

Jessica came back with Luther’s “Dance With My Father” a sentimental chestnut that has become something of an Idol cliché.

Skylar Laine up next with “The Show Must Go On” followed by Jason Aldean’s “Tattoos on This Town”. Nothing really to criticize here except Skylar’s increasingly arrogant air of entitlement. You ain’t won nothing yet, baby.

Joshua Ledet poured himself into “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, doing it up Bruno Mars style. Came back with an Indie Arie song. Interesting choice.

Elise Testone emoted her way through “I Want It All” and then flew out her own guitarist from South Carolina to accompany her on Jimi Hendrix’s “Bold As Love”. JLo observed the song was too obscure for this point in the competition. Let me tell you, from the point of view of those who did recognize it, Testone didn’t win herself any fans by giving Jimi a jazz scat treatment.

Then the highlight of every Idol competition night this season, Phillip Phillips. (Do you think his parents were drinking in the maternity ward?) First up, “Fat Bottomed Girl”. Nicely done but he really should have thanked Puck afterwards because he took the entire arrangement from the mohawked Glee character.

Afterwards, Jennifer stoutly defended Phillips against those who said he is nothing more than a one note Dave Matthews imitator who makes squinchy faces when he sings. Phillips proved her right by coming back with what sounded like a tribute band cover of Dave Matthews’ “The Stone”. Check it out.

JLo is absolutely correct. Phillips doesn’t sound like Matthews. He sounds exactly like Matthews.

Finally Hollie Cavanagh who got raked for her timid cover of Queen’s “Save Me” and came back with a passionate version of “The Climb”. That’s right. We now have contestants on Idol who think of Miley Cyrus songs as classics. Don’t that make you feel old?

The best part of the night involved the kids making fun of each other's peccadillos on and off the stage. Joshua’s Elise imitation was killer.

My prediction: Bottom three Elise, Jessica and Joshua. I know, I know, crazy, right? It should be Hollie, not Joshua. But I’m going bold (as love). My theory is that the judges’ relative harshness to Hollie stood out so starkly that it will win her sympathy votes.

Inquirer TV Critic
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