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Apparently, I’m not the only one with a cold tonight. Ryan Seacrest informs us that the flu has hit the Idol girls, which puts to rest all the conspiracy theories about whether Carly’s previous record deal caused her to miss last night’s show. Will illnesses get the best of the Idol girls?
Kristy Lee Cook - She sold a horse to get herself to American Idol. She’s wearing way too much make up, and it’s taking away from her All-American Girl look. She sings, “Rescue Me,” and it’s totally bland. She’s also freaking me out with the way she’s looking into the camera. By the end, you can tell she’s not happy with the job she did. Randy thinks she had pitch performance and rough around the edges, Paula says it’s OK because she’s sick with bronchitis, and Simon says she’s robotic and she can’t blame the flu. Simon’s right when he says she did the wrong song, since “Rescue Me” is supposed to be a blast of full-on soul, and Kristy looked like she was holding too much back.
Joanna Borgella - Will there be more plus sized models on Idol that on Tyra’s show over on the CW? We’ll see. She sings “Say A Little Prayer" and does a decent job, even though her pitch is all over the place, but she finishes stronger than she started. She could move around the stage a little more in the future. Randy says its nerves showing, but not great, Paula refers back to her old auditions, which shows that tonight was not the night, but Simon does like it at all. The first two singers are having the same problems as the guys last night; everyone seems a little overwhelmed by the American Idol process.
Aliana Whitaker - She’s the youngest contestant in the show, and her birthday is tomorrow. She sings “More Today Than Yesterday,” which Chikeze did last night to less than enthusiastic judges. She starts outs really strong and really made the song her own. She really puts a lot of soul into the song for a skinny blonde white girl. She showed more poise that any of the girls so far. Randy says she sold it with conviction, Paula thought she nailed it, and Simon says she’s very good even though Simon hates the song. Why is it always the crappy songs that get repeat performances? Paula and Simon get into a fight over how terrible the song is. But Simon is right; Aliana is sailing to the next round.
Amanda Overmyer - She showed up in Hollywood with broken ribs and staples in her head. She sings “Please Don’t Go” which has a huge rock vibe. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a Girls Night performance like it. It has just enough boozy, with just a touch of floozy. She has the voice that can only be achieved with Marlborough Reds and Wild Turkey. Randy likes the scatting in the middle, Paula calls her the real deal, Simon thinks she authentic. Simon was confused as much as I was about the huge pause in her performance, thinking she forgot the words. It was a great performance but good luck trying to do this every week.
Amy Davis - I love that her day job is a trade show model. I wonder if her day job of waving next to the newest models at the car show prepared her for the Idol stage. She sings “Where the Boys Are” and almost all of her notes are flatter than tires on a Gremlin. Some of the notes are actually making me twitch. This is the worst performance of the show so far. At least the guys were just dull and drab, this is actually terrible. Randy says she wasn’t hitting the notes dead on (understatement there), Paula says the camera loves her, showing that Paula is the master of Stewie Griffin’s “Complement Sandwich,” Simon can’t even add to anything. Simon said it was cabaret, but cabaret is at least fun to watch. This is painful.
Brooke White She’s a nanny with the Carly Simon look. Simon wants to bring her to the dark side since she’s never seen an R-Rated movie. She sings “Happy Together” like a good karaoke night. It sounds like she's singing along with the video game “Rock Band,” trying to follow the arrow as it goes up and down for accuracy. And her dance moves look like she’s performing with the New Main Street Singers in A Mighty Wind with the cheery look and blonde hair twirling. Randy says only half the song was good, Paula calls her original, which it not even close to being right, and Simon compares her to a commercial for soap in the 1960s with the cheeriest. Simon recognizes that if she’s going to be so goody-goody all the time, there’s no way they’re going to be able to market her.
Alexandrea Lushington - She’s doing it for her great-grandmother, who she even brought out to the audition round. She sings “Spinning Wheel with an injection of a little soul into a crummy classic rock song. I’m really digging the dance moves too, and she seems to be having a good time on stage. She’s the perfect antidone to Brooke’s safe, sanitary performance. Randy thinks it was hot, Paula likes it from top to bottom, and Simon just doesn’t get it. For the first time, he’s completely off-base. He can’t imagine her on the radio, but it was the best performance of the night so far for me.
Katie Malloy - Katie is trying to hold in her nervousness and sultry for the camera, but it just came off as odd. She breaks out a Britney Spears impression and says her obsession with music is unhealthy (not the first time Britney and unhealthy was used in the same sentence). She sings “Groovy kind of Love.” Her voice kinda has a Whitney Houston bigness to it, but she can’t hold on to it for very long, and sometimes the power makes her voice break. It was good for about 75% of the time, and tonight 75% puts you in the top 5. Randy likes the Britney bit, but not much else, Paula says she’s pretty (Paula has to stop the personality and outfit comments because it’s too much of a dead give away of how bad tonight is), and Simon calls her act the “Night of the Living Dead.” He thought her impressions have more personality that she does, which is something they’ve mentioned before. She proves Simon right by giving the camera a spacey look when Ryan asks her questions.
Asia’h Epperson - She sings “A Piece of My Heart” wearing earrings that are as big as Janis Joplin’s head was. She sounds like she’s holding back a little bit in the beginning. I really like the breakdown that the band lets her do towards middle, and then she finishes strong. Her voice always sounds like it’s about to give out, but it held up. Randy is impressed by it, Paula can tell Asia’h was having fun with it, and Simon said it was his favorite so far. Looking back, I can see why: We’re up to singer number nine and everyone has either been the worst or just middling.
Rameile Malubay - She’s the little girl who wants to be the first Asian American Idol. She’s singing “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me”, but I’m totally distracted by her pink lip gloss, so much so that I can’t really concentrate on her voice. She’s trying to hit these deep notes to show her range, but the bottom of her voice is getting a little lost. When she hits the middle to highs, things get a little better. Randy says she stuck to the melody and hung around until to the end, Paula calls Rameile a force to be reckoned with, and Simon says he didn’t liked her before Hollywood and thought she out-sung everyone tonight. She was good on a mediocre night, so it’s not surprising that she did so well. So far Rameile is more impressed with the clothes they gave her than the whole vocal part of experience, an opinion that the audience is probably sharing as the show goes on; the clothes are hot, the singing is not so much.
Syesha Mercado - She lost her voice in Hollywood, which left her to hold up signs to express her thoughts (and some of the Idol cliché’s as well). She sings “Tobacco Road” which she infuses with a little bit of rock. It’s a little shaky, but she still has such a strong voice and excellent personality that no one will really notice. She saves everything for her big finish, which was the most amazing of any of the performances. Randy calls her consistent, Paula says it’s all about consistency and joy, and Simon says it wasn’t the best, but it doesn’t really matter, because she’s so talented. She has the voice and talent to be able to push though any song. If she can get though tonight, which will be easy, the rest of the show should be a cruise for her.
Carly Smithson - Here comes the most controversial contestant. Will it matter that she once had a record contract and was featured in the Wall Street Journal? And more importantly, will she show off her excellent sleeve tattoo? The answer to both is a big no. She tells the story of her record signing, which is smart of the Idol producers to have her own up to it . She sings “Shadow of Your Smile” and does alright despite hitting some bad notes. Even with bronchitis and the flu, Randy calls it blazing hot, Paula says the tenderness of her voice really carries her. Simon again doesn’t get it, even though Simon admits that part of the problem is that she had so much pre-show buzz that he was let down. For me, it’s about song choice for Carly, since she picked a really lame song. I also don’t like the sour face she has on her when they’re giving out her number, but then if I spent the week getting hammered on the internet and sick, I’d be a little annoyed too.
For all of Ryan’s hype of how talented this 24 is, no one has really blown anyone away. It’s almost becoming like Carrie Underwood’s year when each week was a pretty futile exercise until the final. People are going to have to step it up, or Michael Johns and Syesha are just going to run away with this, and the show is going to stink until May.
Top Three - Syesha Mercado, Asia’h Epperson, Amanda Overmyer
Going Home - Amy Davis & Kristy Lee Cooke