American Idol kicks things off this week with an overly dramatic movie-esque recap of last week's events. For those of you who are suffering from Idol amnesia: Jessica Sanchez got the judges' save. Tonight will be Now and Then, meaning that the contestants will sing a number one hit from the past 12 years and then what Ryan describes as "a soul song from back in the day."
First, though, Ryan gives a sincere speech about television mainstay Dick Clark, who passed away today at 82 years old. "He'd be saying 'Let's get on with the show,'" Ryan quips, and that they do, with Hollie taking on Adele's "Rolling in the Deep." My usual complaint with contestants singing Adele is that they usually don't have a big enough voice to really fill out the song, but for someone so small Hollie does surprisingly well with it. "You did it, I'm so happy for you!" J-Lo says.
Colton, dressed like Dracula during his hipster phase, takes on Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance." I like the song, but I really dislike the arrangement. Like, really dislike it. There's doing something unique, and then there's choosing to turn every song into something that would always be categorized in the same subgenre. He sounds good, I suppose, and the judges shower him with praise, so maybe it's just me.
"I don't think she has a fanbase in this thing, I don't know what it is," Jimmy says of Elise, who'll be taking on Alicia Keys' "No One." I do, Jimmy: she comes across as cocky rather than confident, conducts an invisible orchestra while she sings and never fails to look like she's got something sour under her nose when she gets a critique she doesn't like. Still, she sings the song very well - there's no denying that she can sing. "You stayed on the melody...it was a good lesson in restraint. It was great," Randy says.
Phillip Phillips chooses Usher's "U Got it Bad." Of course, he does what he always has, every week - a mellow arrangement with the guitar and a few other Idol band members - but it's one of the few times this season that it feels like a unique take and it's enjoyable to listen to.
The Idol designers have gone ahead and again designed a set that has no discernible reason for existing for Jessica's performance of Alicia Keys' "Fallin'" - it's pretty much a bunch of umbrellas hanging from the ceiling while umbrellas fall on the screen. Jessica herself, to the point of being a bit boring, sounds great especially given her age. Steven warbles something about Jessica losing her voice in the song and going to find it...or something. I think it's intended as a compliment. "Your talent is so otherworldly for me," Randy says.
Skylar chooses Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" (the country edition, of course). All things considered - including the creepiest fiddle player in the world slinking along two inches behind Skylar the entire performance - it's a good showing and the judges go wild right along with the crowd.