Published April 05, 2012
Love was in the air on “American Idol” Wednesday night.
Former lovers and No Doubt bandmates Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal mentored the Top 8 finalists with their ‘80s song selections, while hopefuls Colton Dixon and Skylar Laine attempted to quash host Ryan Seacrest’s suggestion that they are hooking up.
“I have to say – very believable watching that performance – the chemistry here!” teased Ryan after watching the duo’s electric performance of Dolly Parton and Kenny Roger’s 1983 smash, “Islands in the Stream.”
Backstage, the pair explained they were “just really good friends”rather unconvincingly.
“So, everybody’s been asking on Twitter if me and Colton are dating,” chirped Laine, as Dixon stood next to her, smiling knowingly. “No, me and Colton aren’t dating.”
“We’re not?” deadpanned Dixon.
“Shut up, Colton!” gushed Laine, as she playfully punched her maybe paramour. “We’re just really good friends... so that clears that up.”
Later in the show, Laine moved Lopez to tears with her heartfelt version of Bette Midler’s 1989 hit, “Wind Beneath My Wings” from the film “Beaches.”
Dixon, now with blonder, spiky-er hair, impressed the judges with a pop-punk version of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.”
"You could do a record right now," insisted judge Steven Tyler.
Meanwhile, DeAndre Brackensick defied expectations by performing a smooth and confident version of DeBarge’s “I Like It.”
Mentor Jimmy Iovine predicted that Brackensick would find himself in the bottom three, but based on the audience and judges’ reaction, the curly-haired crooner won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
“Totally captivating–I forgot where I was,” raved Tyler. “That was exceptional.”
“El Debarge... is somewhere saying, ‘Oh my God, this kid has arrived,’” praised judge Randy Jackson. “It was amazing.”
Joshua Ledet delivered another exceptionally strong performance with his version of Simply Red’s 1989 ballad, “If You Don't Know Me By Now.”
“We asked for a powerhouse performance, and that’s what we got,” cheered Lopez. “It was spectacular.”
Petite 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez shined when she channeled her alter ego, “Bebe Chez” to sing the late Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know.”
“I’m listening to you and I can’t even believe it’s coming out of that little body,” gushed Lopez. “This is crazy!”
“Your voice is so fantastic,” said Tyler. “Everything you do is beautiful.”
Handsome Phillip Phillips growled his way through another guitar-driven performance, taking on Phil Collins’ “That’s All,” but it wasn’t especially memorable, given the level of his competition.
Elise Testone may have stumbled a bit from her bravura performance of Led Zepplin’s “Whole Lotta Love” last week, delivering a not-quite-spectacular rendition of Foreigner's “I Want to Know What Love Is.”
"It was not your greatest performance," lamented Jackson.
Hollie Cavanaugh may be in the most trouble, as her performance of 1983’s “Flashdance... What a Feeling” by Irene Carey fell flat.
"Your pitch was all over the place," said Tyler. "I'm so sorry to tell you."
Up next: “Idol” alum Kellie Pickler performs and one of the hopefuls is sent home.