You know you're growing up when '80s Night on American Idol equals Oldies Night for most of the contestants. Or the forgotten era for Steven Tyler, who joked about being "somewhere else" for most of the decade.
The top eight hopefuls took on songs from the golden age (the first one, at least) of Michael Jackson, U2, Bruce Springsteen and Madonna tonight, so, what did we get?
Foreigner, Genesis and Simply Red, natch!
Actually, we appreciate those guys even more now, after hearing Elise Testone fumble with "I Want to Know What Love Is."
But Phil Collins may be writing a congratulatory email tonight to Phillip Phillips, who once again turned one of the Brit's soft-rock hits—"That's All," in this case—into a believable contemporary jam.
But the judges didn't think it was perfect, with Jennifer Lopez noting he didn't sound in the zone when he first got started.
Joshua Ledet, however, put a Sam Cooke/Percy Sledge-reminiscent twist on Simply Red's "If You Don't Know Me by Now" (first released by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes in 1962) that was flawless.
"You could have fooled us," Ryan Seacrest said when Joshua reminded us that he was only 19 and therefore hadn't had a major heartbreak yet.
Jessica Sanchez tried to recapture the magic from a few weeks ago by returning to the Whitney Houston songbook, this time the '80s-tastic "How Will I Know."
"Well, that's two powerhouse vocals in a row," Jennifer said as Jessica followed Joshua onstage. "I can't even believe what's coming out of that little body!"
"I can't believe the maturity in you," added Randy Jackson. "She's gotta have it, too!"
Deandre Brackensick also had a strong night, opening the show with a version of DeBarge's "I Like It" that the judges loved and then completing overshadowing Hollie Cavanagh when they joined forces on the Pointer Sisters' "I'm So Excited"—one of four boy-girl duets tonight.
Hollie fared even less favorably with Irene Cara's "Flashdance...What a Feeling," which felt good but sounded not-so-good. The 18-year-old had some impressive moments when she was standing still, but all the walking around tripped her up. Vocally, not literally.
"Your pitch was all over the place, I'm so sorry to tell you," said a regretful Steven, fully present for this slice of the '80s, at least.
Phil and Elise's performance of Tom Petty's "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" was like a battle of the growls, each one trying to out-scream the other, but the parts where the harmony clicked were fierce—a resounding comeback for Elise.
Fittingly, Joshua and Jessica were paired together, and their take on Aretha Franklin's "I Know You Were Waiting for Me" was reminiscent of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Yes, that's deservedly high praise.
Skylar Laine was also rather darling with Colton Dixon on "Islands in the Stream," with Skylar sounding just like Dolly Parton and Colton holding his own (although he was no Kenny Rogers).
It wasn't our favorite, but the judges liked what Colton did—he gave a shout-out to Quietdrive's arrangement—with Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," and then Skylar closed the show with a Reba-rific version of Bette Midler's Beaches tearjerker "Wind Beneath My Wings."
"That was just so fine," Steven said appreciatively.
Kellie Pickler and The Wanted perform on Thursday night's results show, and then the competition will be cut to seven.
Who was your absolute favorite tonight? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
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