Gwen Stefani and No Doubt bandmate Tony Kanal mentored the final eight tonight as American Idol kicked off a night of songs from the 80's.
DeAndre Brackensick opened the show with a bang, bringing the crowd to their feet with an enjoyable rendition of DeBarge's 1982 hit, I Like It. All three of the judges sang their praise for the DeAndre, with Jennifer Lopez declaring the performance a "great start to the show."
Elise Testone followed up Brackensick's crowd pleaser with a moving take on Foreigner's I Want to Know What Love Is. In the end, Elise took in mixed reviews from the panel for both her song choice and delivery.
Phillip Phillips went on to perform the Genesis classic That's All to fit the theme for this week, which seemed an ideal choice for the young singer until he delivered a disappointing performance to his mentors in rehearsals. Following the advice of Kanal, Phillips abandoned his guitar during key moments of the song onstage, which proved to be a big hit.
Joshua Ledet then tackled the Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes hit If You Don't Know Me By Now which gained high marks from the judges, especially Randy Jackson. "It's very rare that I want to stand up from beginning to end," he praised. "That's how great that song was."
Jessica Sanchez took to the stage for her second homage to the late Whitney Houston. Singing How Will I Know, Sanchez embraced her fiery alter ego, BB Chez, with great success. "Everything you do is beautiful," commended judge Steven Tyler, with Randy adding that Sanchez had "big shoes to fill," but knocked it out of the park.
Hollie Cavanagh set her sights high with What a Feeling from Flashdance, but ultimately disappointed the judges with her inability to "freefall" into the song as well as her tendency to get "pitchy" throughout the performance.
Colton Dixon brought his trademark flavor to Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time, wowing the panel and earning the ultimate compliment from the Aerosmith frontman. "You could do a record right now," Tyler lauded.
Last but certainly not least, country cutie Skylar Laine blew the crowd away with the Beaches theme, Wind Beneath my Wings. The unlikely ballad had all three of the judges on their feet by song's end with Jennifer Lopez wiping away tears. Randy proclaimed it her "best performance on the show to date."
American Idol returns tomorrow night on FOX. Stay tuned to see which of these talented eight makes it that much closer to becoming our next Idol!
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