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'Idol' finalist with Hawaii ties earns standing ovation from judges

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:43 p.m. HST, Mar 29, 2012

LOS ANGELES » American Idol finalist Deandre Brackensick, who grew up singing Hawaiian falsetto songs, earned a standing ovation and praise from judge Steven Tyler for his performance Wednesday night.

“That’s what your voice was made to do,” Steven Tyler beamed to Brackensick after he performed Eric Benet’s “Sometimes I Cry.”

Also earning standing ovations from the judges were 16-year-old student Jessica Sanchez of San Diego with Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams”; 21-year-old pawn shop worker Phillip Phillips of Leesburg, Ga., with Jonny Lang’s “Still Rainin”’; and  Elise Testone and Joshua Ledet, who successfully channeled icons of the opposite sex on “American Idol.”

Shaking her wavy blond hair and sporting a pair of tight bellbottoms, Testone delivered a faithful rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” while Ledet soared by embracing Mariah Carey’s vocal acrobatics on Badfinger’s “Without You” during the Fox singing competition’s idol-themed performance round Wednesday night.

“You made everybody get up,” Jennifer Lopez told Testone. “It was crazy.”

Heejun Han, the goofy 22-year-old nonprofit organizer from New York, found his way back into the judges’ good graces after last week’s silliness with a serious take on Leon Russell’s “A Song for You.” Tyler, the most critical of Han’s wacky antics, said he made the song “come alive in such a way that no one else can.”

“You don’t make it this far by mistake,” said Lopez.

This week’s performances kicked off with consistency from a pair of front-runners: 20-year-old rocker Colton Dixon, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., with an emotional version of Lifehouse’s “Everything,” which he called his favorite worship song, and spunky 18-year-old country rocker Skylar Laine of Brandon, Miss., with Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead.”

“You are a powerhouse singer,” Jackson informed Laine.

Jackson and Tyler weren’t as fired up about the song choice from 18-year-old singer Hollie Cavanaugh of McKinney, Texas. Cavanaugh tackled former “Idol” champion Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel” to mixed results. Jackson cited pitch problems, and Tyler claimed that it didn’t show off her vocal range.

“I wish you sang a different song,” said the Aerosmith frontman. “It was just OK for me.”

One of the remaining nine finalists will face elimination Thursday.

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nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
I can see the judges really promoting the contestants this year. This year's crop are pretty boring. Many of them would not have made the cut in previous years. Another ho-hum show. Can't wait for football to be back again.
on March 28,2012 | 11:47PM
hanoz808 wrote:
on March 29,2012 | 08:33AM
AniMatsuri wrote:
There were 5 standing ovations. Enough to make them almost meaningless. Plus, Deandre has yet to talk about his Island connections on the show so I doubt anyone here was jumping up from the couch to vote for him. I won't be surprised if he gets the boot this week.
on March 29,2012 | 02:00AM
kailua000 wrote:
I grew up singing Motown, doesn't mean I have black ties. this is just a ploy because his 'people' know how Hawaii votes. Hawaii is loyal and vote for their own. He doesnt have a drop of blood in him and he's never lived in Hawaii. Hey, if he event went to elementary school, or a couple years of high school, that would be different. Not even a parent in the military and lived here. Who cares if you got friends and family, doesnt mean anything. He's pretty good though, but good enough to get into the top 5 Im sure.
on March 29,2012 | 03:55AM
paradisetax wrote:
Idol has become tired,boring,and formulaic. The judges use the same hackneyed jingo over and over. Randy's 'yo dog' nonsense seems to underscore his limited vocabulary and grasp of sentence structure. Steven Tyler is just plain creepy. I'm surprised the show has lasted this long.
on March 29,2012 | 05:07AM
hanoz808 wrote:
the voice is way better
on March 29,2012 | 08:34AM
kailua000 wrote:
After the blind auditions, even The Voice is boring. Some of the contestants you gotta wonder 'what the ?" - like the Beauty Queen of the Nile. Stunning, great smile, but really? Weak voice, sings off key, and they picked her because she's different? no, because she's beautiful and marketable.
on March 30,2012 | 01:17AM
Manapua_Man wrote:
So singing 'Hawaiian falsetto' style is considered having "Hawaii ties"? I suppose if someone plays the Hawaii Five O theme song on a banjo... that makes him "local" too? :)
on March 29,2012 | 06:45AM
Graham wrote:
Yep..and eligible for Hawaiian record of the Year.
on March 29,2012 | 07:33AM
allie wrote:
graham can be mean though
on March 29,2012 | 10:31AM
allie wrote:
well said
on March 29,2012 | 10:31AM
moku42 wrote:
Wow, before ripping him look up his history. He lived in Hawaii as a child, danced in the Merrie Monarch Festival under Kapua Dalire-Moe, speaks fluent Hawaiian and hopes to move back here some day. His youtube videos shows he is on par with many Hawaiian falsetto singers.
on March 29,2012 | 10:52AM
Oahuan wrote:
LOL!!!................Hawaii ties?!!............HAHAHAHAHA!
on March 29,2012 | 07:30AM
beebler wrote:
on March 29,2012 | 03:59PM
Publicbraddah wrote:
He has as much ties to Hawaii as President Obama does. He's from San Jose and Obama is from Chicago.
on March 29,2012 | 08:27AM
moku42 wrote:
See my above reply.
on March 29,2012 | 10:54AM
hanoz808 wrote:
the show isn't good anymore.
on March 29,2012 | 08:36AM
silvangold wrote:
on March 29,2012 | 11:42AM
allie wrote:
and why should anyone care about this Hollywood manufactured "news?"
on March 29,2012 | 10:30AM
silvangold wrote:
....same comment to you too.
on March 29,2012 | 11:42AM
maafifloos wrote:
Is dis news?? The whole idol thing is boring.
on March 29,2012 | 12:20PM
beebler wrote:
American Idol is bs. Hardly any of them became idols. Fans vote for the best voice when voice is not exactly on the top of what's needed to be an idol. Looks are first. Presence is second.
on March 29,2012 | 04:00PM
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