The American Idol journey is far from over after the confetti has been swept away from the finale stage. Every summer, the Top 10 Idols embark on a cross-country summer tour, during which they get to sing for all of the fans who supported them on the show. Without the stress of the competition on their shoulders, the Idols soar to new heights vocally, managing to both impress and gain new fans through the live concerts. This year’s Idols proved to be no exception! After witnessing the American Idol Live! Tour in Seattle on July 18th, I can declare without a doubt that this is one of the strongest Top 10 in years, and is now my second favourite group, right beside the illustrious Season 7 Idols.
The two-hour concert plays out as an eclectic jukebox of Top 40 hits and fan favourites from the American Idol show, sprinkled with a couple original tracks from two of the Idols. Instead of the ‘countdown in elimination order’ format of tours’ past, this year’s line-up allows for the Idols to perform together on stage as groups, trios, and duos. Some of the Idols even fill the role of background vocalists! While I would prefer to hear more solos from each of the singers, I still really enjoyed seeing the interaction and energy which this format elicited from the talented group of performers.
For organization’s sake, I will comment on each of the Idols from #10 to #1…
ERIKA VAN PELT
(The Beautiful Belter)
There is quite a bit of pressure placed upon the tenth-place finisher to show the audience what they missed out on, and boy, did Erika deliver on that challenge! Her amazing solo performance of P!nk’s “Glitter In The Air” was so mesmerizing and so emotional, it brought tears to my eyes. Her rich alto, her radiant charisma, and her fun enthusiasm during the group numbers made her a prized player on this tour. Erika has a very promising future ahead of her!
(The Engaging Entertainer)
Yeah yeah, I know, Heejun is freakin’ hilarious, but did you know that he can rap like nobody’s business too? The funny man showed off his skillz on his cool rendition of John Legend’s “Green Light” and on “Party Rock Anthem”, a spectacular shindig of a group number with DeAndre Brackensick and Jessica Sanchez. If his performances on tour are an indication, Heejun has great prospects as an entertainer who will bring smiles to many faces!
(The Talented Troubadour)
My new little brother DeAndre (my mom adopted him before the show, so now we’re family) benefited from having the most stage time on the tour; he is heavily featured as a background vocalist and as a group performer – singing, dancing, shufflin’, and booty shakin’. Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster” was a great pick for his solo song, as he was able to exhibit lots of energy and reggae flavour during the performance. With his uniqueness, versatility, and fantastic falsetto, DeAndre is destined to have an awesome musical career!
(The Passionate Piano Man)
I have to hand it to Colton – out of all of the Idol contestants I was ever on the fence about, he managed to win me over the quickest with his stage presence and passion. Colton’s mini-set is comprised of Switchfoot’s alt-rock anthem, “Meant To Live”, an original song, “Never Gone” (which sounds like a hit!), and a reprise of his shining Idol performance, Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”. He knows exactly who he is as an artist, and isn’t afraid to showcase it. AND he has the Moves Like Jagger. Okay, maybe not, but I definitely have faith in his career in Contemporary Christian Music.
(The Electrifying Enchantress)
Even though I love everyone in this group, if I had to pick one Idol whose album I would buy first, it would be Queen Elise. I tend to gravitate towards the soulful rockers and blonde songstresses on the show, and she is just that with a side of funk and 70s flair! I was rockin’ out like crazy to her reprise of my favourite Season 11 performance, “Whole Lotta Love” (Led Zeppelin) and groovin’ out to her take on “Rumour Has It” (Adele). There is something so supremely special about Elise’s spellbinding voice, and I love how she always adds such unique touches to every song she tackles. I look forward to hearing some of Elise’s originals someday!
(The Fierce Firecracker)
I want to know Skylar’s secret: Where does she get all of that fierceness from? Every time this country rocker hits the stage, she is just bursting with energy, and it is just so exhilarating to watch! She is so lively and powerful in concert. The firecracker’s two solos, Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder & Lead” and Faces’ “Stay With Me”, showcased her sassy and wild stage dynamics, and her duet with best friend Hollie Cavanagh, “Undo It”, was the perfect blend of their two voices. Skylar is going to be a smash in Country music, wait and see!
(The Dazzling Diva)
Tinkerbell Hollie is a real-life Disney Fairy Princess. But don’t be fooled by her small and cute stature, as this pint-sized powerhouse will blow you away with the crystal clear quality of her booming voice. I am amazed by how Hollie fearlessly tackles songs by the likes of Adele (“Rolling In The Deep”) and Demi Lovato (“Give Your Heart A Break”) with such poise and perfection – all while waltzing around in the highest heels known to womankind! It’s like magic! Hollie sparkles on stage and is a delight to watch. I foresee a terrific future for this sweet and lovely lady – either in pop music, or a show like Glee, or both!
(The Standing Ovational Showstopper)
I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that this young man is actually a real person. Seriously, I am awe-stricken whenever I hear those incredible notes escape from his vocal cords. When Joshua opens his mini-set with Bruno Mars’ “Runaway Baby”, he erupts with energy, and then extravagantly explodes during his reprise of one of his many highlights on Idol, James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” (a performance which has earned him standing O’s every single night, thankyouverymuch). His duet of George Michael and Aretha Franklin’s “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” with Jessica Sanchez further showcases the outstanding vocals and spontaneous nature of both singers. Joshua is a shining singer with a heavensent gift for making music that stirs the soul and uplifts the spirits. I can’t wait to see what he does next!
(The Sensational Superstar)
The Idol who makes the biggest transition from the show stage to the tour stage is Jessica, as the teenaged phenom reinvents herself and taps into her swaggarific BB Chez persona. In her mini-set, Jessica blazes through her Idol Beyoncé’s “Best Thing I Never Had”, oozes soul and emotion with Prince’s “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?”, and unleashes her inner Tina Turner with the dynamic “Proud Mary”. And, as shown through her part in “Party Rock Anthem”, she can move, groove, and rap with the best of them! With her sensational voice and impeccable confidence, Jessica is destined to be burning up the R&B/Soul charts soon enough. I look forward to seeing her remarkable talents translate into mega-stardom!
(The Amazing Artist)
The Award for Man of the Hour certainly goes to reigning winner, Phillip Phillips, as he garnered the loudest cheers of the night. The Idol champ exhibits a very relaxed demeanour on stage and charms the audience with his immensely likeable personality. Phillip jams out with his jazzy take on Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and strips down Usher’s R&B steamer “Nice And Slow” to a intimate acoustic number. Elise Testone joins Phillip for their awesome duet of Goyte and Kimbra’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”, and their musical chemistry is off the charts. Jessica Sanchez sings the female backing vocals to Damien Rice’s “Volcano”, which is Phillip’s most stunning and intense performance to date. Phillip closes his set with his golden single, “Home”, which doesn’t fail to get a great reception from the fans. I believe that Phillip is a phenomenal musician and has that “It” factor that Idol is constantly searching for, and I look forward to seeing what this singer-songwriter has to say through his music!
Overall, I was thoroughly entertained by this year’s Idol tour! My Top 5 performances would have to be Elise’s “Whole Lotta Love”, Joshua’s “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World”, Jessica’s “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?”, Phillip’s “Volcano”, and Erika’s “Glitter In The Air”. And I have to give a special shoutout to “Party Rock Anthem” by Heejun, DeAndre, and Jessica because that was one of the craziest Idol numbers I have ever been blessed to see happen live before my eyes.
Long story short, these ten singers are wonderful, talented, stunning, flawless, -insert every positive adjective here-, etc. I had to opportunity to meet the cast before and after the concert as well, and I was so impressed by how friendly, warm, and appreciative they were to the fans. Because of their phenomenal performances on and off the stage, Season 11’s Top 10 have guaranteed that I will be buying their singles, albums, and concert tickets for years to come.
I “Raise My Glass” to Phillip, Jessica, Joshua, Hollie, Skylar, Elise, Colton, DeAndre, Heejun, and Erika, and I am “Glad I Came” to see them on tour this summer.
Season 11 is truly a wish come true. 🙂
View my photoset from the Seattle show on Flickr.
Top 10 (except Phillip Phillips) – “Sing” (My Chemical Romance)
DeAndre Brackensick – “Master Blaster (Jammin’)” (Stevie Wonder)
Hollie Cavanagh & Skylar Laine – “Undo It” (Carrie Underwood)
Erika Van Pelt – “Glitter In The Air” (Pink)
Erika Van Pelt, Hollie Cavanagh, Joshua Ledet & Colton Dixon – “Moves Like Jagger” (Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera)
Heejun Han – “Green Light” (John Legend)
Heejun Han, DeAndre Brackensick & Jessica Sanchez – “Party Rock Anthem” (LMFAO)
Joshua Ledet, Colton Dixon, DeAndre Brackensick & Heejun Han – “Everybody Talks” (Neon Trees)
Elise Testone – “Whole Lotta Love” (Led Zeppelin), “Rumour Has It” (Adele) (with DeAndre Brackensick & Erika Van Pelt on backing vocals)
Colton Dixon – “Meant To Live” (Switchfoot), “Never Gone” (Colton Dixon) and “Piano Man” (Billy Joel)
Top 10 (except Phillip Phillips) – “Just The Way You Are”/”What Makes You Beautiful” (Bruno Mars/One Direction)
Jessica Sanchez – “Best Thing I Never Had” (Beyoncé), “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?” (Prince) and “Proud Mary” (Creedence Clearwater Revival) (with Joshua Ledet & DeAndre Brackensick on backing vocals)
Skylar Laine – “Gunpowder & Lead” (Miranda Lambert) and “Stay With Me” (Faces)
Hollie Cavanagh – “Rolling In The Deep” (Adele) (with Elise Testone & Erika Van Pelt on backing vocals) and “Give Your Heart A Break” (Demi Lovato)
Joshua Ledet – “Runaway Baby” (Bruno Mars) (with Elise Testone, DeAndre Brackensick & Erika Van Pelt on backing vocals) and “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” (James Brown)
Joshua Ledet & Jessica Sanchez – “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” (George Michael & Aretha Franklin)
Phillip Phillips – “Superstition” (Stevie Wonder) and “Nice & Slow” (Usher)
Phillip Phillips & Elise Testone – “Somebody That I Used To Know” (Gotye feat. Kimbra)
Phillip Phillips – “Volcano” (Damien Rice) (with Jessica Sanchez on backing vocal)
Phillip Phillips – “Home” (Phillip Phillips) (with Colton Dixon & DeAndre Brackensick on backing vocals)
Jessica Sanchez, Hollie Cavanagh, Skylar Laine, Elise Testone & Erika Van Pelt – “Raise Your Glass” (Pink)
Top 10 – “Glad You Came” (The Wanted)