By Steve Kirk, TSB Editor
Music legend Stevie Nicks shared a tender moment with McKinney’s Hollie Cavanagh this week on American Idol, and Hollie’s emotions were still stirred during the show’s live performance Wednesday night.
Hollie sang “Jesus Take the Wheel” by Carrie Underwood. And Nicks, a guest coach this week, pleaded with her during practice to better connect with the song. Nicks shared with Hollie that her mother just died two months ago, and Hollie’s song, which tackles a heartbreaking family drama, needed to relate to those powerful emotions.
“It doesn’t matter about your big voice,” Nicks, fighting back tears, whispered to Hollie during her practice session. “It matters about your heart.”
After 18-year-old Hollie sang her practice number, Nicks said, “When she sang I started to cry. I believe her, and I think the world will believe her.”
Hollie said it meant a lot that her practice session turned personal with the iconic solo artist and former Fleetwood Mac lead singer.
But after the live performance Wednesday on Fox, the judges were mixed in their reviews.
“It’s always dangerous taking on one of those songs from (past) Idol winners,” judge Randy Jackson said. “We often say don’t do that. But I think you really did a good job. … I was impressed.”
Judge Jennifer Lopez appeared to like it most: “I’m gonna have to disagree with Randy here, because to me that was one of your best,” she said. “We’ve heard (Hollie) sing big notes, we’ve heard her be up in the stratosphere, but like Stevie said to her it matters about your heart. I felt she connected emotionally.”
Finally, judge Steven Tyler liked it the least.
“I’m not gonna mess with Jesus or Carrie,” Tyler said. “I heard her emotion and I felt it. I just wish you’d sing a different song. It was just OK for me.”
During her post-performance interview with host Ryan Seacrest, Hollie said, “Every time I look back at that (tape of her practice session with Nicks) I get emotional. She was so amazing, and it just all took over my body at that time.”
Nine contestants remain. One will be eliminated tonight at 7 p.m., according to America’s lowest vote total, unless the judges use their save.