Deandre Brackensick sings for his life.
A sneak peak of Jennifer Lopez's new video, "Dance Again," was first on the docket. Sorry, but I didn't pay much attention. Don't forget, though: the last song she debuted on this show became huge. [JENNIFER LOPEZ VIDEO PREVIEW]
For the Ford video, the Top 8 went on a scavenger hunt in a colorful city to the strains of "Alright."
The results would be by duets, host Ryan Seacret announced, first with Joshua Ledet, who wasn't feeling well, and Jessica Sanchez. Music mentor Jimmy Iovine, in recorded comments, said that Joshua looked really comfortable during his performance, like a real pro, and that it was the perfect song. About Jessica, he said the song wasn't big enough for her. She's one of two power vocalists (Joshua being the other one), and he said that she lost to him this week.
Ryan messed with poor sick Joshua, telling him, "You are not going to be happy... until you sit and relax on the couch. You are safe." He also messed with Jessica: "You are the first person... to join Joshua on the couches."
With their hit "Glad You Came," The Wanted performed. They seem to be the newest boy band, and they were, of course, bouncy and cute, with pleasant tenors. All of them wore casual street gear, including leather jackets, and they were joined onstage by a group of female dancers who initially looked like a bunch of fans running up from the audience. [THE WANTED PERFORMANCE]
Next to hear results were Skylar Laine and Colton Dixon. Jimmy was happy with Skylar's song choice, and he liked that she'd proved that she was a power singer, too. He thought she went "from the bottom right to the top" and predicted that, if she continues, she could win the whole thing. Jimmy thought that Colton came in third or fourth and just wasn't the best last night.
Ryan asked Skylar if she'd been overlooked as a power vocalist. She said that she was, but she loves country music, and that doesn't offer a lot of huge songs.
Before delivering those verdicts, though, Ryan asked Hollie Cavanaugh and DeAndre Brackensick to join him onstage. Jimmy said that Hollie's been a lot like a high school performer and tonight wasn't even a great high school performance. He said that "she might be fighting with DeAndre for who's packing." Jimmy told the judges, "DeAndre was not great." He said that Joshua is growing in leaps and bounds, but DeAndre was growing marginally. He predicted he could be going home unless Jennifer, who's been fighting for him the entire show, saves him.
In response to Jimmy's criticism, Ryan asked Jennifer if she stood by the positive feedback, and Jennifer said that absolutely she did. Jennifer reiterated that DeAndre gave a great performance. Then Ryan asked DeAndre how he felt about the comparisons. He said he was fine with it. Hollie agreed, kind of: "Yes... I don't know. Jessica is amazing."
To DeAndre, Ryan said, "The judges praised you last night. America agreed with Jimmy." He was in the bottom three. Shot of his family members crying. To Colton, Ryan said, "Time after time, America has loved you. You are safe." One of the remaining two was in the bottom three, Ryan said. They are also roommates. The person in the bottom three is Hollie. Skylar was safe. She hugged her roomie and told her, "You're going to be all right."
Returning "Idol" contestant Kellie Pickler returned to sing "Where's Tammy Wynette" from her new album, "100 Proof," wearing skinny jeans and a royal blue sleeveless top with a glittery necklace. She's definitely loosened up a lot since she was competing. She was very comfortable working the stage, including singing to the contestants who were on the couch. Afterward, she told Ryan that everyone this season should get a record deal. [KELLIE PICKLER'S PERFORMANCE]
And then it was time for Elise Testone and Phillip Phillips to come center stage. Jimmy said there are both a good and terrible version of each person. He thought he had a safe song, and he needs to be pushed so he can be the best version of himself. If he stands still, other contestants could come up and pass him, Jimmy said. Disagreeing with Steven Tyler, who had disliked the song choice for Elise, Jimmy said that the song was right for her, that she was good in rehearsal but choked during the live show. "That could take her from the top right to the bottom."
Ryan asked for Elise's response to Jimmy saying she'd choked. She said that she'd gotten really into the song, and that made it hard for her to stay in the lines. She acknowledged she should have tried to control it more. Ryan asked Phillip if he was worried about being complacent. He said he's just being himself and is not "worried about walking around and touching people's hands." Hmm.
Who would be in the bottom three? Ryan told Elise that "Tonight, I'm sorry, you are in the bottom three." Phillip was safe.
Ryan then said, "Who will be singing for the save? That name will be revealed after... Hollie goes back to the couches." Ouch.
After the break, Ryan asked the judges is America got it right. Steven said no, while both Jennifer and Randy said they got it half right (I'm guessing they thought DeAndre was the one who deserved to be there). The person singing for the save: DeAndre. I guess he already knew that he wouldn't be saved, right?
DeAndre looked glum and then smiled at the support from the crowd and mouthed something to his family in the audience. He sang a bouncy song, Stevie Wonder's "Master Blaster," going over to the other contestants, hugging them, greeting fans in the audience, and singing to the judges' table briefly. Shot of Colton clapping along, as well as Hollie and Elise.
Ryan summed it up: he was a Wild Card pick who'd been loved by the judges, especially Jennifer. Would they use the one save on DeAndre? Jennifer heard the little girls yelling, "Save! Save! Save" briefly and laughed. She said, "You're an amazing performer... I only get one vote. I'm sorry. We're not saving you tonight." Ryan pushed her, asking, "Are you saying that you voted to save and the other two didn't?" Jennifer responded, "Yes, that's what I'm saying."
In a way, it's a surprise, because DeAndre was a good-looking young guy with a sweet, boy-next-door personality. But when there are such strong singers competing, someone has to go. Any other year, he probably would have gotten an extra week or two.
The main stumbling block for DeAndre was probably his highly stylized way of singing. Frequent use of falsetto can be a workable stylistic trademark, but it's one that's currently out of fashion. Also, it's a technique that has to be executed spot on, or it begins to sound like a parody of itself. DeAndre has a lot of growing to do as a singer before he can become the new Frankie Avalon, if there's even a market for that today.
It's good to stand out, but you've also got to execute.