Ryan announces at the top of the show that the girls are sick tonight. Yes, the big mystery behind Carly Smithson’s absence from the sidelines during the guys performance show is the flu. So much for conspiracy theories! The girls get off to a slow start, but improve as the night wears on. And wear on it does. So…many…commercials…Ack!
Overall, the guys ranks have more low-hanging fruit than the girls. The unseen girls performances were much better than the guys. There will actually be a competition amongst the girls. By the way, Simon says he likes it when contestants spar with him.
Video packages: More I Love Idol! from the girls, and Kristy Lee wants to buy her horse back.
Kristy Lee Cook – “Rescue Me” by Fontella Bass – The fact that Kristy Lee is suffering from the flu doesn’t change the fact that Simon is right. This is a terrible song choice for Kristy. And the arrangement? The song plods on and on with no variation. Her performance certainly isn’t soul, it’s barely country. It’s just blah. At one point, there’s a shot of David Cook just staring off into the middle distance. Heh. When she finishes, Kristy looks like she’s going to cry. She knows she blew it. Randy says, “It was a little rough around the edges.” Paula acknowledges Kristy’s illness but then says, “Don’t ever let that get in the way of your shine.” The Paula word of the evening is “Shine”. Simon is taking no excuses. “The song didn’t suit you…it really wasn’t anything to grab hold to.” Previous pimping and her illness will more than likely save her from the chopping block this week. See, early screen time really does matter.
Joanne Borgella – “Say a Little Prayer for You” by Aretha Franklin – Joanne sounds under pitch, behind the beat, and weak. Her nerves are going to kill her in this competition. She’s being swallowed up by the big stage and the band. We aren’t off to a very good start with the girls here. Randy says, “There’s some nerves jumping off right here.” Paula says, “You got to pull it together and shine through.” Says Simon, “I didn’t like it at all. This is the point of the show where you have to come out and nail it.” He’s right. Joanne’s family looks really upset. She promises the audience that she’ll bring her A game next time. If she gets one, that is.
Alaina Whitiker – …I Love You More Today Than Yesterday by Spiral Staircase – Sitting on the couch with Ryan, Alaina asks that America give her a present for her birthday tomorrow. Vote for her. Shameless! It doesn’t matter, because I think she’ll get the votes anyway, based on her memorable performance. She’s one of the unpimped, but she came out of the box swinging. In sharp contrast to Kristy Lee, she’s full of personality, the arrangement of the song has some variation (starts slow, and then picks up) and her phrasing is good. A quick shot of the guys shows them looking bored out of their skulls, though. Hee. Randy says, “The year of the young ones…you sang it with so much conviction…” Paula says, “You nailed it. You had the best ending I’ve heard on that song.” Simon “I think you’re very good. I haven’t seen any nerves. You are sailing through to the next round after that.”
Amanda Overmeyer – “Baby Please Don’t Go” by Amboy Dukes – Amanda pledges not to sing Janis Joplin! What she really needs to do is step out of the blues/rock genre and show us she can step out of her box. She gets the full on rock treatment from the band, complete with a blistering guitar solo. The band helps, although she’d do pretty well without them. She’s got good stage presence, and her steely, raspy vocals are strong. She loses it a bit when she “scats” along with the guitar player. Randy says he loves it, however. Paula insists that Amanda is not a one trick pony. Simon says, “I really like you, I genuinely think you’re authentic.” That Simon–such a judge of rock authenticity! He admits 1. That he’s never heard the song. 2. He thought she forgot the words when she was riffing with the guitar. Pathetic. Ryan quips, “Sometimes I wonder if Simon is in the music business for real.”
Amy Davis – “Where the Boys Are” by Connie Francis – Poor Amy. The producers had no business advancing this mediocre singer simply on her looks. Is her purpose in the Top 24 to look ridiculous? I feel bad for her. She’s beautiful. But. She. Cannot. Sing. Not by any stretch of the imagination. She’s flat through the entire song. Listening to her is actually painful. Please get her off my Tee Vee. Randy helpfully explains why she sucked, “A lot of country singers kind of scoop up to the notes…and when you do that you have to hit it dead on.” Is that what she was doing? I thought she was merely singing like ass. Paula says, “I feel the nerves got a little bit of you…it was a little lackluster.” Simon says simply, “You look great, but you didn’t sound great.” And, “…I think you are going to struggle after that.”
Brooke White – “Happy Together” by the Turtles – I really hope there is a place for a singer like Brooke in this competition. There should be. I suspect there will be no glory notes or big finishes from this singer/songwriter with her engaging, but subtle style. The song was a good pick for her (Mama’s and Papa’s would have been even better). Randy thought she started of shaky, but got her confidence back by the end. Paula says, “You have your own thing…you picked the right song.” Simon says, “It was very you.” But then he adds that he’s “struggling with the relevance.” Simon chafes at Brooke’s good girl image. I’m guessing he thinks it won’t sell a bazillion records or get her hits on KISS. He’s probably right.
Alexandrea Lushington – “Spinning Wheel” by Blood Sweat and Tears – I feel like I’m going to have another David Cook moment here. You know–where I’m liking a performance all on my own here. I think the song choice is inspired. She’s got a soul/jazz thing going on that I really like. She’s got a confident stage presence that’s winning. I agree with Paula–the performance is current. Alex is a little weak in her head voice, but other than that, I think her vocals are terrific. The boys like it. They give her a standing O. Randy starts harping on the age thing again (Alex is 16). Shut Up! But, we agree that Alex is good. Simon hates it, “I didn’t get it…it reminds me of one of these horrible little shows you see…some awful musical.” Afterward, Alex schools Ryan on how to say her name, “It’s Alex Andrea” she should have added, “BITCH!” Heh.
Kady Malloy – “Groovy Kind of Love” by The Mindbenders – Kady’s vocals are a little generic, but I give her props for a beautifully modulated vocal. I think Kady has a good recording voice. I can hear her voice on the radio right now. The judges advice to her is asinine. They think she’s really good when she does her little vocal impressions, but not so much when she’s herself. Randy and Paula tell her she needs to have fun on stage. Simon comments, “It was like the Night of the Living Dead.” I think they are being too hard on her. I bet, if she sings something fun next time, she’ll be criticized for lack of depth. That’s what happens to the contestants who are considered cannon fodder. They can’t win. Kady looked pretty upset after her beat-down from the judges. Poor thing.
Asia’h Epperson – “A Piece of My Heart” by Janis Joplin – Great song choice for Asia’h. She chooses to rock out first, rather than give the audience the typical soul-thang. Are they saving all the Motown songs for the inevitable theme week? I don’t miss them. I really love the throaty quality in her voice. Her performance is solid, without being forced or over the top. Randy says, “You did your thing with it.” Paula says, “…You have fun up there. You had some good moments in that song.” And Simon, “It was my favorite of the night.” TBTB pimping + Dead Dad + Good vocals = Asia’h will make it into the finals.
Ramiele Malubay – “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” by Dusty Springfield – Ramiele’s video package reveals a grounded and very mature young woman. She’s really likable. Her interpretation of this Dusty Springfield classic is truly grown-up, without being robotic or boring. This song is ripe for contestant over singing, but she manages to swell to a big finish without overdoing the runs. Randy says, “that was hot.” Paula says, “You are a force to be reckoned with.” Simon says, “You out-sung every single person.” Between the pimping and the Pinoys, Ramiele just might make it into the finals.
Syesha Mercado – “Tobacco Road” by The Nashville Teens – Syesha has a big voice, but she’s Screamy McScreamerton. She confuses belting with singing. And she throws way too many runs into the mix. I’m thinking if she had to sing something subtle, she couldn’t do it. She has a big gorgeous smile, and stage presence to match. She may be able to get by on her charisma, even if her performances falter. It wasn’t one of Randy’s favorite performances, but he liked it. Paula says, “Joyful, fun, big.” Simon says, “I agree with Randy, not your best performance, but you are probably one of the most talented girls in this competition.”
Carly Smithson – “The Shadow of Your Smile” by Tony Bennett – Carly mentions her failed record deal in her video package. She had no choice–the story has grown big giant legs (boards and blogs BAH) and isn’t going away. She says the label she was on “imploded so I got kind of left.” She feels that Idol is her second chance and stresses, “I’m not here to be a diva.” Carly chooses to sing a standard from the era, rather than pop or rock. Her vocals are fine, a little off pitch in spots, but she’s solid. However, she sounds–dare I say it–old fashioned. Will Simon call her on it? After Carly finishes, Randy gets the hyperbole rolling, praising Carly for singing with bronchitis and gushing, “That’s what the show is all about. The best vocal of the Top 24!” “Sick is not an excuse, ” smugs Carly. Paula babbles on in her usual way. But then, Simon pops Carly’s bubble pretty quick, “I didn’t get it. There is so much hype about you, and so much expectation. I thought the song was way too old fashioned for you. Everything about it for me was a let down. I was genuinely expecting fantastic and it wasn’t fantastic.” Then he calls her cabaret! OMG, Simon went there! I suspect, however, that the conflict is producer-manufactured for maximum controversy, and to gain sympathy votes for Carly. That’s how it works in Idol-land. For fun, roll back the tape if you can, and check out Carly’s bitchface. It’s priceless.
Ryan has time to kill. He chats with the judges. Randy thinks the girls were hotter tonight. They were. Simon thinks there are 3 great guys, 3 maybe 4 great girls at the moment. Paula sits in her chair and stews. She looks pissed! Ha.
Tonight, 2 girls and 2 guys are eliminated. I think the girls will be Amy Davis and Joanne Borgella. The boys–Chikezie and David Hernandez.