Jessica Sanchez rules stage; Phillip shows why he’s American idolBy Pocholo Concepcion
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Jessica Sanchez ruled the stage, but Phillip Phillips showed Filipinos what originality meant at the “American Idols” 2012 Live Tour on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
A full-house, hometown crowd of about 10,000 came primarily to watch Sanchez (whose mother is Filipino), the “Idol” Season 11 runner-up known for her deep, booming vocals.
The show featured each of the Top 10 “Idol” finalists in solo spot numbers. Eighth-placer DeAndre Brackensick had the first crack, singing Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster (Jammin’).” He danced and twirled like a Rastaman possessed by the spirit of Michael Jackson.
But 10th-placer Erika Van Pelt stood out with her warm, full-bodied pipes on Pink’s “Glitter in the Air.” She pumped energy into an otherwise lame group rendition of Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” with fourth-placer Holly Cavanagh, third-placer Joshua Ledet and seventh-placer Colton Dixon.
Uneventful first number
Sanchez’s first appearance, with ninth-placer Heejun Han and Brackensick on LMFAO’s “Party Rock,” was rather uneventful, given the difficulty of singing while jumping about like pogo sticks.
Sixth-placer Elise Testone’s turn to grab the spotlight, as a metal goddess on Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and a soul siren on Adele’s “Rumour Has It,” was well applauded.
Dixon’s moment allowed him to perform an original song, “Never Gone,” on piano. But his next piece, Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” didn’t suit his nasal voice.
Waiting for Jessica
During intermission, Judy Araneta Roxas of the clan that owns the Big Dome was overheard saying, “I’m just waiting for Jessica.”
The crowd couldn’t contain its excitement when the reed-thin, 17-year-old singer strode onstage for her solo spots. Her soulful, R&B edge shone brightly as she belted out Beyonce’s “Best Thing I Never Had” and Prince’s “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore” with astounding lung power.
Things heated up further when she proceeded to channel Tina Turner on a scorching version of “Proud Mary,” with Brackensick and Ledet playfully acting out their backup vocal chores with theatrical moves. The pair looked like Milli Vannilli parodying the Aldeguer Sisters.
Skylar Laine enhanced her country roots with a bluesy, Janis Joplin-like rendition of Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead” and the Faces’ “Stay With Me,” while Cavanagh demonstrated her own depth as a singer via Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep and Demi Lovato’s “Give Your Heart a Break.”
But nobody was prepared for Ledet’s spine-tingling take on James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”—a song that required machismo to capture its views on the relationship of the sexes. Ledet emerged triumphant, pouring out his innermost sentiments as if his very life depended on it.
Anticipation for Phillips ran high since he was the only one not seen yet onstage. When he emerged with his acoustic guitar and opened with “Superstition,” all doubts on whether he deserved to win the “Idol” title vanished.
He didn’t have to do anything fantastic with his voice or guitar—he simply utilized his precious gift of knowing how to arrange songs, choosing to sing the Stevie Wonder classic on a peculiar, offbeat tempo that distinguished it from the original.
After a couple more covers, Phillips reprised his own song, “Home,” one of the highlights of the “Idol” finals.
And that, in the final analysis, is what makes Phillips a true-blue musician. He can rework other songs to suit his style, and, more important, his own compositions sound good as well.
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