There’s no way I could not talk about Billy Joel week on American Idol, is there? I’m much too big a fan for that.
I wish I had the time to be more comprehensive with it, but we’ll have to resort to bullet points:
Elise had an Idol Moment this week, for sure. I watched it twice in a row. “Vienna” is a great song, and one Joel plays regularly when he tours, but it’s not on one of the Greatest Hits albums or anything, so not too many people seem to know it. But it was made for her voice. I would have pegged her for a “New York State of Mind” girl, but she chose one better.
Skylar doing “Shameless” was the most predictable moment of the show. It’s weird that an ode to Jimmy Hendrix has become a country hit twice now, but it was an obvious choice for Skylar. Joel has done a countrified “My Life” on tour, too. That might have been more interesting to hear.
Also, they have to stop walking through the crowd in these songs. Both Elise and Skylar looked a little uncomfortable in the middle fo their songs walking through a sea of 12 years olds nervously trying to figure out whether to clap (and where’s the rhythm?) or smile for the camera.
Heejun did “My Life,” instead, and made a damn fool of himself. Surely, the judges are only kidding themselves when they praise him for, well, anything, right? They’re just trying to save face for putting this doofus through. I’m all for having fun on stage — remember Casey? — but this is getting to Sanjaya/John Stevens territory here. No, wait, Stevens was a better singer. Man, did Steven Tyler look ticked off by the whole thing or what?
Phillip Phillips’ “Anthony’s Song (Movin’ Out)” was great. Like so many contestants this week, he completely ignored Tommy HIlfiger and Jimmy, and it worked.
Diddy doing Idol? Did he hand off his weapon to J-Lo’s bodyguard for old time’s sake, while he was at it?
Steven Tyler has never heard “She’s Got a Way.” I can understand that — he was on a lot of drugs at the time that song hit — both the first and the second time Joel recorded it. (It hit Top 40 status with “Songs from the Attic”, not “Cold Spring Harbor” a decade prior.)
Never thought “Piano Man” would make it as an “Idol” song. Kind of a simple little ditty, but Colton did it about as well as anyone could.
DeAndre should have done better with “Only the Good Die Young,” which has a natural reggae feel to it. He was OK, but I didn’t feel like he ever really got into it as much as he could have.
Joshua Ledet has a great voice, but meandered through the song desperately searching for a choir to back him up for a chorus or two. And he looked dead in his eyes. There was no connection to the song.
Erika Van Pelt did all right with “New York State of Mind.”
I’ll say this, though: Overall, it was a pretty good night. There were no crash and burns. Hollie was disappointing. But, man, I just want to go back and listen to Elise on “Vienna” again…
Bonus content: Holly singing an Adele song: