'American Idol'-'The Voice': Is Phillip Phillips the best of all?
On "American Idol" this week, DeAndre Brackensick got the heave-ho, while on "The Voice," Charlotte Sometimes and Naia Kete from Blake Shelton's team and Sera Hill and Moses Stone from Christina Aguilera's group said goodbye.
But the shows go on, as does our "Idol"-"Voice" mash-up that takes all the singers from both shows and puts them head to head each week. I will be choosing my top five performers from among the two shows, along with Times music writers Todd Martens and Chris Barton -- and you can cast your votes too, at the bottom of this post.
Below are my picks for the week. To see what my co-judges have to say, and to view the performances, click here.
1. Phillip Phillips, "American Idol": There's no other contestant on either "American Idol" or "The Voice" I love more than Phillip Phillips at the moment. He earned my love all over again during '80s week on "Idol," taking "That's All" by Genesis and phillip-phillipsing it into something totally his and totally appealing. And then his crazy chicken-necked stroll across the stage while dueting with Elise Testone on "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" put him right over the top.
2. Jesse Campbell, "The Voice": Campbell has been my "Voice" favorite from the start, and even more so during the battle rounds, when he stutter-stepped his vocals straight into a deep pocket of my heart. Singing "What a Wonderful World" during his performance on the first live show this week, he made his sweet voice stretch and bend and melt and expand in ways I can't recall hearing from anyone else before. Wonderful.
3. Jessica Sanchez, "American Idol": Sanchez is the total diva package: She can sing, she can move, she can emote, and she can wear pretty much anything onstage and make it look fab. She showed she was up to an up-tempo with "How Will I Know" this week, tackling it with the complete command with which she tackles everything. She even introduced her alter ego, Bebe Chez (a la her idol Beyonce's Sacha Fierce), who she says "likes to party and have fun." See? She really is only 16. Oh, and her "I Knew You Were Waiting" duet with Joshua Ledet wasn't too shabby either.
4. Lindsey Pavao, "The Voice": There's something about Pavao's offbeat vibe, weird tone, asymmetrical hair and frank glare I can't get enough of. It's friendly and familiar, yet totally fresh and a little bit fierce. Her "Somebody I Used to Know" had a strange, haunting quality -– and it wasn't just the freaky guys in the masks. I'm looking forward to watching her stare down her adversaries -– and to seeing what she tackles next.
5. Erin Willett, "The Voice": She's kind of a dark horse, Willett. During the battle rounds, when she dedicated her performance to her dying father, it would have been easy to dismiss her as a sympathy-vote contender. But this week, with "Living for the City," she did her late dad, and herself, proud –- and proved herself worthy of our admiration as well as our sympathy. I didn't really care for the hokey "Smokey Joe's Cafe"-esque staging. But Willett's soulful, full-throttle vocals cut right through the visual clutter. She nailed it.
-- Amy Reiter
Photo: Phillip Phillips performs on "American Idol." Credit: Michael Becker / Fox