Ry-Ry started the show with the usual dramatic lighting and extravagant statements designed to make us all feel like we’re a part of something important instead of being a part of a reality television show that demands a three-or-more hours a week committment. What was NOT usual about this intro was the dramatic girl peel-off that was executed with none of the flair or crispness of momevement that my high school choir teacher would have demanded. I suppose that it’s good that Ryan reacquainted us with our top 8 girls, though, since the American Idol machine apparently decided that we needed no other information about them individually to make an informed decision of who to put through to the top 12…in a nutshell – they nixed the intro videos, folks.
But, as they say, the show must go on. And go on it did. Ryan continued to remind us that it was “ladies night” lest we confuse Katelyn Epperly for Casey James. Hey Ryan? We get that last week was a fluke and that the girls are supposed to perform on Tuesday night. I’m not so comatose that I can’t tell a girl from a boy. I’m just sayin’. Ryan also delivered some good news in the midst of all the judges tomfoolery (which now seems so staged that I no longer think it’s funny. What I do think is funny is that somehow someone got Kara’s dress before the show and bedazzled it and she STILL WORE IT. But AGAIN. I’m off topic.) Ryan reminded us that at this time next week we’ll have our Top 12! And all I have to say is, I’m stoked! Now, ignore the judges cries for attention and let’s move on to the actual singing portion of the show.
Katie Stevens: “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson
And I Quote: “You kind of sucked (pause) the energy out of it.” – Simon Cowell
I have to give Katie credit for trying the da-da-da-da-da-da’s, but I cannot give her credit for staying on key…at least two thirds of the song was flat! We now interrupt this blog to bring you a Paula Abdul comment: I loved her necklace! (But I’m boycotting her cowboy belt buckle…). I think Katie might be in trouble, but I think she could also be one of those people with a town that sets up dialing centers and a mayor whose sole purpose in life is to have someone from his town win American Idol. I guess we’ll find out soon enough!
Siobhan Magnus – “The House of the Rising Son” by The Animals
And I Quote: “I’m from New Orleans…I know that house!” – Ellen DeGeneres
Wow. Siobhan took the stage and really commanded the room. The intro was soft and A cappella and had it’s intended result…casting a web of muscial magic over it’s audience. That show “The Sing-Off” should take note. This is how A capella should be done, Nick Lachey. There’s not too much negative that I can say about Siobhan. She’s clearly talented and has a stage presence unlike many of her other competitors. Her voice was pitch perfect as far as I could tell and because there was no intro video, there were no weird comments to freak me out and I found myself liking her much more this week. Sure, some parts of the song were a touch nasally, but no one’s perfect. Right?
Lacey Brown – “The Story” by Brandy Carlisle
And I Quote: “This is in danger of being forgotten.” – Simon Cowell
“‘The Story’, Lacey? Really?” Those were my thoughts when Ryan announced Lacey’s choice of song for the week. Not be cast out forever, but I’ve never heard of Brandy Carlisle and was afraid that Lacey would sing another song that made her fade into the background behind Lilly’s peacock feather earrings. I have to say, though, that my skepticism dissapated early on. I like the quality of Lacey’s voice and I agree with the judges – this was her best song to date. She seemed more comfortable on stage and while the song didn’t blow me away, I like her and I thought she performed well tonight. My favorite part, though, was the look on Lacey’s parent’s faces when they finally heard GOOD critique from the judges. It was like they walked into a room full of money and were told that they could take it all.
Katelyn Epperly – “I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet” by Carole King
And I Quote: “Let me start with a positive…I like your hair.” – Simon Cowell
Oh, KATELYN! I’m so mad at you right now. First of all, who told you to play a keyboard? Keyboards are way awkward and they make me feel weird. Also, why in the WORLD would you choose a song like this that doesn’t give you any meat in the lyrics and is melodically simple? YOU WERE ON A PATH! I was walking with you on the path. Then, you jumped off the path and dove into the bushes and started fashioning a hut with sticks and mud. Come back to the path, Katelyn. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. This was my least favorite performance of hers (the fact that the lyrics repeated over and over did nothing to win me over), but I still really like her and her hair and hope they both make it to the top 12! But, Randy? Something tells me that it was not her intention to have Carole King hair. Maybe you should have left that comment in your pocket.
Didi Benami – “Rihannon” by Fleetwood Mac
And I Quote: “Yes indeedy, Didi!” – Ellen DeGeneres
Yes. I will buy your CD, Didi Benami! Sign me up! You make every song sound like summer.
I like that unlike some of her other girl competitors, she seems a little more normal and emotionally connected and, you know, not a weirdo. Now, I’d never heard the song before, but was Didi giving a shout out to Rihanna in the middle of the song? ‘Cause that would be kinda weird to me. Under the judges positive comments, our wilted Didi perked right up. If she doesn’t make it to the top 12, I’ll be REAL sad.
Paige Miles – “Smile” by Charlie Chaplain
And I Quote: “I felt like looking at Simon and Ellen and Kara and saying…’you guys gonna have the chicken, the beef or the shrimp?'”
Oh boy, do I hate her vibrato. It’s super annoying. That plus the fact that she was alternately sharp and flat throughout the song…let’s turn the Paige already, America! I found it interesting that during her little one-on-one time with the judging panel, she admitted to fighting emotion. Immediately, I was concerned that the tears and an emotional story about how her family had nothing, but they would sing this song when times got tough to remind them that smiling is the only way to go through life and that this song had a wealth of meaning behind it would garner America’s sympathy vote. Turns out, I needn’t have worried. Paige was choked up because Michael Jackson recorded the song and now he’s gone. That’s true of a lot of musical artists, Paige. I don’t know. That didn’t really tug my the heartstrings. Maybe that makes me cold, calloused and unfeeling. If so, I’m alright with that.
Crystal Bowersox – “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman
And I Quote: “You are one million, billion percent going to be in the top 12.” – Simon Cowell, channeling Randy Jackson
Crystal definitely rocked it tonight – she delivered a performance wrapped in nice little electric guitar package and I think she was one of the top 2 performances of the the night. (I personally prefer Didi, of course). My comments from last week stand, though, and I think she needs to be knocked down a few pegs so that she’s a little more likeable. I am glad, however, that Ellen admitted to needing new adjectives. Throw a “gnarly” in there, Ellen! You can do it!
Lilly Scott – “I Fall to Pieces” by Patsy Cline
Oh NO, she didn’t! LILLY! You went country? Really? Okay. Fine. I mean, I like you and your little scrunchy face, but you’re going to have to return to better music if I am to fully commit to liking you on a regular basis. I’m just saying. A friendship is give and take. She did a good job with the song and I still love her, but it didn’t make me love her more. Maybe it was the earrings that doubled as washcloths that made me pity her or the fact that the judges only had time for staccato judging blurbs due to time, but I’m still rooting for her. But I’d be rooting for her a lot more if she’d cut this whole country thing out. I do have standards, after all.
If I had to hazard a guess about who is going home this week, I’d probably say Paige Miles and either Katie Stevens or Lacey Brown.
One quick item (hey, I just realized that if you rearrange the letters in “item” then you get “time!) then I’m off to bed…
Simon’s always been like a cranky, crusty old grandpa to me (both my grandpas were perfectly lovely, so I’m thinking more in the Mr. Wilson of Dennis the Menace fame…), but THIS season he seems much more “grandpa” than “cranky”. He doles out advice to these contestents with an extra measure of grace this season than we’ve seen in seasons past. Maybe Simon’s going soft?