The judges are (mostly) thrilled with the top seven but call the male frontrunner "underwhelming"

By Aaron Parsley
April 11, 2012 11:00 PM
Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

American Idol‘s top seven are sizzling!

The judges gave mostly praise on Wednesday night – and much of it was simply glowing – as the remaining contestants performed songs from the last three years.

Keep reading for a full report on Skylar Laine, Colton Dixon, Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Hollie Cavanagh, Phillip Phillips and Elise Testone.

Elise has been in the bottom a handful of times, but the judges are clearly rooting for her after a performance of Lady Gaga‘s “Yoü and I.” “That was the perfect song for you,” said Randy Jackson, who declared Elise “back” and urged voters to recognize her talent. “You let go but you kept control at the same time and that’s when you’re at your best,” Jennifer Lopez said of the performance, which closed out the show.

Meanwhile, Phillip Phillips was one of two contestants whose marks weren’t stellar. “It was a little bit underwhelming for the Phillip Phillips that I love,” Jennifer said of his version of Maroon 5’s “Give a Little More.” “It wasn’t everything that I know that you can give us.”

Randy agreed: “I don’t know if it was that ‘wow’ kind of a moment,” he said.

But it’s hard to get a rise out of Phillip, who said, “It’s all good.”

Skylar Laine opened the show with Kellie Pickler‘s “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You,” and Randy predicted, “You’re going to have a hit with a song like that.” Jennifer commented on her “perfect pitch.”

“I found this week more challenging than any other week I’ve been on American Idol,” Colton Dixon said of preparing a soulful version of “Love the Way You Lie.” According to Steven Tyler, he nailed it. “You are such a rare talent,” the rocker said. “You could have recorded that right now.”

Jessica Sanchez sang Jazmine Sullivan’s “Stuttering” and “set the bar really high,” according to Randy. “You sing like nobody we’ve ever heard sing,” Jennifer said, before telling Jessica to “take us on a ride” in the weeks to come.

Dressed in a spiffy suit, Joshua Ledet danced around and sang a high-energy version of Bruno Mars’s “Runaway Baby,” which earned a standing ovation from the judges. Jennifer praised him for the overall performance, which she said was “so dynamic, it takes control of the audience, it’s so much energy. It’s not just the vocals.”

And the judges seemed to console Hollie Cavanagh, who gave a strong (but, apparently, not strong enough) G-rated performance of Pink‘s “F––kin’ Perfect.” “It wasn’t perfect but it was a lot better than it was last week,” Randy said. “You got to be proud of that.”

Can Hollie hang on another week? We’ll find out Thursday on Idol‘s results night (8 p.m. ET).