It’s the girls turn to sing and dedicate their performances to loved ones. I think the boys edged out the girls this week. At the very least, they picked interesting songs–by Ray LaMontagna, Jamiroquai, Irving Berlin and Jason Mraz. The girls had the typical Celine-Whitney-Christina triumvirate–with a little Beyonce thrown in on the side. YAWN. I was a little bored tonight. Even writing this recap took some effort.
Gina Glocksen – “Alone” by Heart – Gina dedicates her song to her boyfriend. We see her literally jumping on him everytime she makes a round. Her b-friend is very supportive. Carrie Underwood did a nice job (personally, I thought her performance was overrated–the background vocals carried her on the chorus) performing this song Season 4. The arrangement cuts the song way short. It sounds choppy. Gina strains on some of the high notes, but she does a good job. Randy and Paula like it. Simon says it wasn’t “edgy” enough. And if she had picked some punk rock song, she would have been criticized for being obscure, I’m sure. I think the song choice was fine. I don’t think of Gina as a rock singer necessarily, anyway. However, no matter what she sings, she does not seem to be a judges favorite.
Alaina Alexander – “Not Ready to Make Nice” by Dixie Chicks – She dedicates her song to her awesome mom. Alaina is better this week than last, but that’s not saying much. I agree with the judges, she starts off OK, but spends most of the song singing off key. Her stage presence is really awkward. It involves bobbing up and down and lots of pointing–very amateur. The judges slam her, but what do they expect? She should have never been promoted to the top 24, in the first place. The sad part, is that she feels she did a good job. The role of cannon fodder is brutal. But somebody’s got to do it. Alaina may be gone this week.
LaKisha Jones – “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight – LaKisha dedicates her song to her grandmother. Some have predicted that LaKisha peaked last week. Indeed, her performance tonight is certainly not as showy as last week’s. She’s wearing this bright, but ill-fitting shirt and fugly leopard print high-heeled sandals. She definitely needs some styling. Something is missing. Her vocals are good, but not passionate. LaKisha adds a lot of weird embellishments to her phrasing that don’t add much to the song. There’s no doubt that LaKisha will advance to the Top 12, but I think at this point she’s mostly hype.
Melinda Doolittle – “My Funny Valentine” – She dedicates her song to her stylist and her vocal coach. Perfect. Now, here is a girl who’s got her priorities straight. Fo’ sho’. I dig Melinda. She shakes it up this week. She reaches back and pulls out a standard. She manages to sound neither boring or old-fashioned. Her interpretation is unique–she really owns the song. Melinda is proving right off the bat that she will be able to navigate theme weeks. I appreciate the fact that she sings with finesse, rather than clobbering the song over the head. Thank you, Melinda! The judges go crazy. Randy says that the battle will be between Melinda and LaKisha. Tonight, Melinda pwnd LaKisha, absolutely.
Antonella Barba – “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion – Antonella dedicates her song to her brother Vincenza, who also is a performer. Antonella tries on Celine, and it just does not work. She’s flat and she has too much vibrato. When she tries to hit the high note, it’s underwhelming. Honestly, like Alaina, she should have never been advanced to the Top 24. Afterward, when the judges criticize her, she gives Randy a big ole’ eye roll. Paula tells her she was better than last week. But, again, like Alaina, that’s not saying much. Simon says that her vocals weren’t good enough. When Ryan joins her on stage, she takes on an attitude; she says she’s going to listen to Paula, because Simon was wrong about Jennifer Hudson. Did she just say that? Oh, yes she did. Simon becomes annoyed and tells her that he didn’t dump Jennifer, America did. Wow, Antonella is in no position to have attitude this week. She’s lucky her black-thonged butt is still standing up on that stage. She should be gone, but I have a sinking feeling Antonella and her crappy vocals will be advancing to the Top 12. Antonella’s got people.
Jordin Sparks – “Reflections” by Christina Aguilera – Jordin dedicates her song to her brother DJ. She starts to cry during her dedication–that’s worth a few votes. Her performance of “Reflections” is not up to par. It’s boring, breathy and off-key in spots. However, the judges go wayyy easy on her. It’s probably a combination of her youth and emotionalism, and that they really want her to advance no matter what. All the judges stress the fact that she’s so good for a 17 year old. So, she gets extra points for her youth? Another reason why the bottom age limit should be 18, at least. Ha. Ryan didn’t notice, but she kept squatting to make herself his size. Jordin has a decent voice, an engaging personality and the judges on her side. That combination will propel her into the Top 12.
Stephanie Edwards – “Dangerously in Love” by Beyonce – Stephanie dedicates her song to her parents. Her performance is not as over the top as last week’s, and that allows her vocals to shine through. She can definitely sing, and if she was the only African American Diva in this competition she would sail on to the Top 12. Unfortunately, she had little screen time prior to the Top 24–she’s had no time to develop her character. There’s Jordin and her exuberant youth, Melinda the shy background singer and LaKisha the proud single mama with the big voice. Stephanie may get lost in the shuffle. The judges love her, though, and that may help.
Leslie Hunt – “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone and Micheal Buble – She dedicates her song to her grandpa. Commenting on her performance last week, Leslie says she realizes that her typical performance style does not work on the Idol stage. Tonight she stands still and jazzes it up. She sings the same song that AJ did last night “Feeling Good” but her version is subtler, cooler and jazzier–she even throws in a bit of scatting. To me she’s stands out from the rest because her style is so different and so unique. Personally, I think the competition needs her, because the girls in the Top 10 are interchangeable in many ways. Alas, I must agree with Simon, she is going to get lost in the diva sauce. I expect she’ll go this week, and that’s unfortunate. Leslie is a breath of fresh air in this competition.
Haley Scarnato – “Queen of the Night” by Whitney Houston – Haley dedicates her song to her fiance, who is in the audience tonight. Haley is better than last week, but not good enough to rise above her cannon fodder status. It’s obvious she’s trying hard to change it up. But when Simon tells her she’s probably going home, she starts to cry. That might get her a few votes. She may go home this week, nevertheless.
Sabrina Sloan – “All the Man That I Need” by Whitney Houston – She dedicates her performance to her gramy. At this point, I’ve heard enough Whitney Huston songs for one night, and I’m in no mood. Sabrina hits the notes. Well, except for that last one. She hits a really bum note at the end. But otherwise, she sings like a good diva should, but her performance is rote and unremarkable. If Sabrina can’t mix it up, she’s going to get old really really fast. The pimp spot, and assurances from Simon assure her a spot in the Top 16.