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Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 03/29/2012

‘American Idol’ 2012: Top 9 Idolettes wow the judges

This week, the 9 remaining Idolettes will sing songs from their personal idols.

But only after being dressed by Tommy Hilfiger again. Hilfiger isn’t risking rejection again, after his fashion advice was roundly ignored by the Idolettes last week. This week he meekly directs them to the racks full of “Idol”-branded merchandise and tells them to pick their own outfits. “Don’t forget, you can mix and match!” Hilfiger says as they start to poke around.

“By the time we get to the finale, the styles will be outrageous,” Hilfiger tells the camera, which we take as a warning.

This week’s guest mentor: Stevie Nicks, who worked with Mentor In Chief Jimmy Iovine back in the day. Show host Ryan Seacrest shows the audience period stills of Iovine and Nicks with big hair.

First up, Colton Dixon. Nicks tells him how happy she is that he blew off Hilfiger’s advice to lose the pet raccoon from his head. “When you said it’s your baby I’m like, “I SO understand!’ It’s like ‘Back off!’,” Nicks whispers to Colton.

“I know, right?!” Colton giggles.

Colton has chosen Lifehouse’s “Everything” because it is his “favorite worship song of all time.” The mentors don’t want him to change a thing. Nicks apparently does not know what “worship song” means, pronouncing it just the kind of song a man should sing to a woman.

Colton gives it his all, which is pitchy and weak, but he thumps his chest and points to the ceiling a lot, and he even ends in a prayerful pose on his knees. Naturally, the judges won’t dare nick him for this performance.

“I think we’re looking at a contender for the title! He wants to win!” Randy shouts in the direction of America.

Country belter Skylar Laine shows the mentors her rendition of Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead.” Something’s missing, Nicks says – harmonizing by Nicks, that’s what! So she sings along.

Skylar starts the live performance with her trademark jogging in place, moves on to the stage stalking, and then fist pumping, and sings it hard. Same antics every week.

“It had so much of Galveston in that I couldn’t believe it,” Tyler says. Is there a Galveston singing style? Does he mean she could be heard over a hurricane? He doesn’t explain.

Because the competition is down to just nine singers, but Fox is determined to pull in two hours of “Idol” ratings, tonight they will pad the show with three trios. The first, a medley of Fleetwood Mac material. The less said about these the better, so it’s the last you’ll hear of them from us.

Last week’s stage antics got Heejun Han in big trouble with the judges, who said he was Not Taking The Competition Seriously, an offense even higher up in the “Idol” Penal Code than Not Being Yourself, so we are wondering: have they succeeded in breaking his spirit?

“Tonight, he’s decided to rethink everything,” Ryan promises, so it’s not looking good for levity.

Heejun sings a very straight ahead “A Song for You,” by Donny Hathaway. It’s a lovely song, and he’s got a pleasant, if breathy, voice, which works well on this number, except that his diction needs work — which always goes unmentioned by the judges.

Heejun ends by pointing to the man upstairs — Colton’s diabolically clever move having not gone unnoticed. “You did it man, you turned it around!” enthuses Tyler, who’d slapped the Lack of Seriousness charge on Heejun last week.

R&B singer Jason Derulo is going to write a song for Coke, and “Idol” viewers have the opportunity to help him finish it. Then he will perform it on the finale on May 22. But Jason broke his neck and we can’t take our eyes off his neck brace, which is black and blingy and gives the unsettling effect of being a prop from an Elton John-produced space aliens movie that’s got a death grip on Derulo. This is going to be the most trying performance of a promotional song for a soft drink since Michael Jackson set his hair on fire for Pepsi. May 22 — we’re marking our calendar!

If Hollie Cavanagh gets any more doll-like in her stage style, they’re going to have to start displaying her in a curio cabinet. Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” and a non-Harlequin Romance outfit help Hollie seem more lifelike than usual, and, in her midrange at least, she conveys some real feeling. But Randy and Tyler aren’t feeling it and give her only lukewarm praise. JLo, however, has noticed that this is the first time she really felt Hollie connected with a song.

DeAndre Brackensick is “one of the guys in jeopardy” this week, Iovine notes, so he has a lot riding on Eric Benet’s “Sometimes I Cry.” DeAndre’s falsetto rises to the occasion. Literally. It’s like his falsetto climbed the falsetto Matterhorn. His falsetto goes so high only Winkie can hear it. And, DeAndre’s hair bobs around less than usual this week, which is all to the good. “You gave Prince a run for his money!” Tyler raves. “People pick up your phones and vote for DeAndre!” JLo pleads.

Enormously talented Jessica Sanchez loves Beyonce and has chosen to do a slowed-down version of her “Sweet Dreams” which, as it turns out, is a pretty dull song when slowed down. But with Jessica singing, it’s still interesting. “I love the resolve you used not to go there with the big notes,” Randy enthuses.

If Phillip Phillips had been around when they were putting Fleetwood Mac together, back in the day, Nicks would have asked him to join, she coos at him. What better cue for her to jump in and start harmonizing with Phil on Johnny Lang’s “Still Rainin’ ”? And, Nicks notes, Phil’s gorgeous. Phil blushes prettily and asks for her autograph.

Talk about sincerity: Phil’s vein pops out from his forehead as he sings this rock/bluesy number. It’s fun but a sort of mid-concert song lineup choice, not the show-stopper “Idol” craves.

Even so, he gets a Standing O from the judges. “You want us to feel the music … because you know the secret: that it’s the best thing in the world and it makes everything else go away,”JLo says. We wonder if she was so philosophical when Fox suits informed her that after four weeks of lousy ratings, they were yanking her Latin music and performance reality series, “Q’Viva,” from Saturday primetime, replacing it with “Cops,” and shipping it to late night.

“Big Johnny Lang fan, he’s a friend,” Randy name drops. You know how every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings? Well, every time Randy name drops, we stop listening.

Iovine pronounces Joshua Ledet’s song choice, Harry Nilsson’s “Without You,” “one of the most challenging five songs you could ever sing in pop music.” “That chorus is a magic trick,” Iovine warns. He doesn’t sound too confident about Joshua’s ability to pull it off. But Joshua, who’d picked the tune because his idol is Mariah Carey who’d covered it, runs through the difficult changes effortlessly and with so much emotion he has trouble finishing the number.

Another standing O at the judges’ table. “It was Mariah’s birthday yesterday and I was talking to her,” Randy begins. That’s all we heard. “You’re a phenom,” JLo adds.

Elise Testone reminds Iovine of Nicks back when she started. And what better cue for Nicks to start to harmonize with Elise on her old hit “Dreams.” Nicks says Elise must be really good because “I don’t like to sing with anybody!” Yeah, except Skylar and Phillip.

Dueting “Dreams” is all well and good, but Elise has come to rehearse “Whole Lotta Love,” by Led Zeppelin. Elise has some rock and roll pipes, but is the next “American Idol” going to be fronting a ’60s cover band? Really?

And yet — another Standing O from the judges! “You made me get up!” JLo rants.

Ryan’s been keeping score: a record 5 standing ovations tonight.

Related reading:

Last Thursday: Top 9 are named as Erika Van Pelt gets the boot

Last Wednesday: Top 10 perform Billy Joel songs

By  |  06:00 AM ET, 03/29/2012

Tags:  American Idol, American Idol 2012

 
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