The Top 10 Girls – Recap baby!
Ten contestants, 90 minutes…this is killing me…
Like last week, each contestant’s performance was preceded by a little video (coughfillercough) package. This week’s theme was “Defining Idol Moments”–whatever that means. Katharine’s features her very best friend in the whole wide world…Kellie. Yeah, right…sure, they don’t want to claw each others eyes out. Shots of them giggling, putting on makeup, and practically making out (yikes) on Katharine’s bed were–seriously–images I didn’t need in my head. Thanks.
Katharine McPhee – “All In Love Is Fair” Stevie Wonder – Not one of Katharine’s better performances, that’s for sure. She overdoes the vocal runs generally, but tonight–ouch. Not only were they overdone but really off. It was like she was shooting at a target with a blindfold on, and missing every shot. I don’t think this girl is commercial at all, and I can’t imagine what they’d do with her if she won the competition. The judges weren’t enthusiastic–Simon was especially harsh, saying the “competition was more than just singing” and that her performance was forgettable. She really needs to sing a contemporary pop song next to stay competitive. But, despite the off night, she’s still a good bet for the Top 12.
Kinnik Sky – “Here For The Party” by Gretchen Wilson – Kinnik in a cowboy hat–that’s quite a sight. Ok, that was different. A raucous country song was not a good choice for her. She’s got a great big voice, but she just didn’t convince me with that performance. Unlike Paris or Mandisa, I don’t think Kinnik is very versatile. She tried to turn it up a notch and really sell it, but the song fell flat. Simon compared it to something he’d see at Disneyland. I think Kinnik is in great danger of leaving the competition this week.
Lisa Tucker – “Who’s Loving You” by the Jackson 5 (originally Smokey Robinson and the Miracles) – This is a great classic Motown song. Lisa had pitch problems again tonight–worse than last week. She had some really nice moments, though. And still, a lot of poise–but I think she’s a little young for the song. Simon made a good point when he said that she shouldn’t “come over as a very young girl singing grown up songs.” But he added, “You will sail through tonight.” And into the Top 12 as well, I believe.
Melissa McGhee – “Why Haven’t I Heard From You” – Reba McEntire – Melissa is stepping it up! That was hot. The only country song that kicked butt tonight. She’s got a great, husky tone to her voice and a very attractive personality, despite what Simon says. At least she seems real, rather than put on or laying it on thick. I’m glad at least Randy and Paula gave her some props. It’s gonna be tough, ’cause I don’t think the producers want her to advance. Hence, Simon’s harping on Melissa’s lack of connection to the audience. Never-mind that the audience has hardly had the chance to see her until now. I hope Melissa lives to see another week–she deserves it.
Heather Cox – “Hero” by Mariah Carey – I have to say, it cracks me up when Heather says that she’s a “stalker” of American Idol. And then proceeds to describe what it means. Taping every show? Oh, that’s just the tip of the crazy, Heather… Hee. But, her song choices are not so good. Last week it was that horrible Idol song, and this week, it’s a Mariah Carey tune that’s just much too big for her. She sounded pleasant enough, but when she went for the “glory note” it was simply anti-climatic, rather than thrilling. A very lackluster performance. All the judges agreed that singing Mariah is a dangerous thing–especially for a vocalist of lesser gifts. Heather is in danger of leaving this week.
Brenna Gethers – “Last Dance” by Donna Summer – Brenna seemed almost normal, and likable, in her pre-performance package. Imagine that. Too bad she was off-key and that her voice lacked power and energy. It’s amazing that a girl with so much “sass” offstage can be so dull and lifeless when she sings. The producers have probably coached her to “talk back” to the judges, but it was pretty annoying. She was so obviously sub-par, she just came off as stubborn and clueless when she argued back. When she said she had “some people” who would vote for her, I laughed out loud. Could she have been talking about the kids at “Vote for the Worst” who have chosen Brenna as their horse? Har. Simon actually said, “I think this may be the last we see of you after that.” And that usually means goodbye–unless VFTW works overtime.
Paris Bennett – “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler – I adore Paris, but this was not a good song choice for her. It was just a very meh performance. The combination of those unique vocals and her cute personality are what make watching her work the stage such a joy. “Hero” is so leaden and so serious and so boring, that the song came off as a throwaway. Sure, she sounded great, but yawn. She should leave the mediocre songs to the mediocre singers like Heather Cox. Paris should be singing the great songs, and nothing but. She will, of course, advance this week.
Ayla Brown – “I Want You to Need Me” by Celine Dion – Ok, who believes that Ayla never wore makeup? Like, when she performs in front of people–which she has in the past–she’s never worn makeup? Nah, I ain’t buyin’ that. Makeup or no, she did a nice job with the song. She’s a singer of modest gifts, like Heather. But, unlike Heather, she seems to know her limits and she makes the most of what she has. It’s obvious that, like everything else in her life, she is working very very hard here. Simon picked on her for being a little rote and mechanical. He has a point, but I think she’s coming off a lot less bot-like than expected. Ayla definitely stays and will make it to the Top 12.
Kellie Pickler – “Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About” by Bonnie Raitt – Ugh. I hate the “little country girl” schtick Kellie lays on thicker than molasses. Her voice really falls short. I suppose it’s not anything that can’t be fixed with pro-tools. And, that must be what the judges are thinking, because this week–they are still harping on her “likability” as if it’s the only thing that matters. Yes, Kellie is going to need some major pro-tooling to fix those shouty, strained high notes. But the truth is, the audience does love seem to love her. Well, not me. But the vast, American viewing audience–inexplicably yes. She will move on, right into the Top 12. Tell me again that this is a singing competition?
Mandisa – “Cry a Little” by Faith Hill – The other good country song tonight. The practical joke she played on Ryan–telling him she had “dog jaw” and then snapping at his had like a puppy when he reached for her face–was cute. If we’re talking likable here–I think Mandisa is the one–and geez, she can sing too. Despite missing a few notes, Mandisa brought her big, big voice to this Faith Hill song and killed. Unlike the judges, I thought it was a great song choice–proving once again that she can sing just about anything. I love that she’s already hit rock and country, rather than sticking just to R&B. Oh yeah, she headed straight for the Top 12.
Going this week: Kinnik, Heather or Brenna. Possibly Melissa.