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American Idol – Girls Night – Have A Nice Decade

I hope the girls will win me over tonight since last night was such (as 70s heroes The Bee Gees would say) a tragedy. What’s the thing I’m looking forward to the most tonight? The 70s nights are over! Already you know Ryan isn’t big on tonight’s show because he didn’t bother to dress up. Where’s the blazer? Where’s the vest? He looks like he’s running a web startup. I’m wearing a better outfit typing this review that Seacrest has on TV right now. Well, enough with the Tim Gunn-ness, on with the show:

Carly Smithson – Here’s a big shock: She’s a Irish girl works in a pub. This is supposed to surprise us? She sings “Crazy On You,” which is not the best song for her in my opinion. To pull off the 70s-era Ann Wilson, you have to be more of a screamer. Her voice is almost too melodic. But it is a pretty good performance, even if the end of the song was a little all over the place. Randy says it was good, but he didn’t like the beginning (Nice to see that Randy and I are on the same page on this one), Paula is just happy Carly got over the flu, and Simon says she hasn’t still picked the right song yet. She does show more emotion that half the guys last night, but it the song was only 80% spot on.

Syesha Mercado - Her surprising fact is that she is an actress in commercials. Anyone who makes the commitment to stand in line for days for Idol probably did want to be in showbiz, so this doesn’t surprise me. She sings “Me & Mrs. Jones," and arrangement the band givers her is really weak. The first 25 seconds are not very good, but then she hits a stride. She also doesn’t look very comfortable doing this song. Syesha is kinda like a roller-coaster tonight: The verses are awful, but choruses are fantastic, so it’s hard to make a real judgment about her. Randy says it wasn’t a good pick for her, Paula points out that her quiet notes is where she went off, and Simon calls it “indulgent” and “silly” for a girl to sing this song. She finished strong but there were too many issues for one big note to save her.

Brooke White - Maybe her going to beauty school is a bit of a surprise, but her singing Carly Simon isn’t. She’s only been compared to Carly since the day she went into the audition room. She sings “You’re So Vain” along with her guitar. She does a good job, in fact, almost too good. It’s like watching one of those “Legends In Concert” shows in Vegas where its someone’s job to pretend to be the singer of the song. But on Idol, it’s your job to stand out, and not do an impression. Randy and Paula think it was the perfect song and Simon totally loves it. Unlike last night, where the guys who didn’t do vocal copies did the best, it looks like the way to win tonight is to be a bit of a copycat.

Ramiele Malubay - Her big surprise is that she’s a Polyneisan dancer. Will there ever be an actual surprise in one of these videos tonight? She sings “Don’t Leave Me This Way.” I don’t like the slow start to the song, but when it grows into the disco part, she wins me over, until she hits a bottom note that sounds like crap. But she recovers nicely with a big finish. I really like this one, and while it wasn’t as good as Brooke vocally, Ramiele sees to be having more fun. Randy points out again that she picked the wrong 70s song. Randy, just admit it, if every song in the last two days is a “terrible song” from the 70s, wouldn’t it prove that not every hit song in the decade was as good as you claim? Paula says the song has the same notes all the way thorough, it’s not really much of a challenge, and Simon doesn’t think it will be remembered. Ramiele says she had to decide between 4 different songs before settling on this one, because the rest were too slow. I thought it was fun enough to keep her out of the bottom two, but we still have half a show to go.

Kristy Lee Cook - She says she’s a sports-loving tomboy at heart, which is a surprise (finally!) since she has a model’s body and long legs. She sings “You’re No Good,” and it turns out she has a decent soulful voice for a song like this. I like the white-girl head bobbing she’s doing to prove she got rhythm, too. What I like is that a song like this seems pretty effortless for her. I think this has been the best song of the night so far overall, only because it was so solid from top to bottom and I don’t really have any complaints about it. Randy thinks she improved 100% over last night, Paula says she’s back, and Simon recommends she should go country. Kristy also notes that last week she was on meds, which contributed to her bad performance. She also plans to embrace Simon’s advice to go country next week (If next week is the 80s, I’m thinking she goes Dolly).

Amanda Overmeyer - Her big surprise is that she reads a lot. She her favorite books are major rock bios, which I can’t make fun of since that’s about 80% of the books I read. Amanda is really letting me down this week. First, I’m hating the the Bride of Frankenstein hair job. Second, she picks “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas, one of the most overrated rock songs ever recorded. And third, she is managing to make a terrible song worse. Last week, she barely escaped, but this week, she can plan on spending more time in the library. Randy says it was the worst song for her, Paula likes her dance moves, which is not going to help her, and Simon feels tonight felt fake and contrived. I think the best thing would have been if Carly and Amanda switched songs, because they both would have been better off with songs more in their comfort zone. Amanda was my girl when the competition started, but when someone makes me feel bad for Kansas, the end of the road is coming.

Alania Whitaker – She has an OCD about foods on her plate touching, which makes her a diva-in-training already. Another surprise about her is that tonight she looks like she was cloned from a strand of Carrie Underwood’s hair left on the Ford tire coffee table in the American Idol waiting room. She sings “Hopelessly Devoted To You,” which couldn’t have been more corny. With her over-styled hair and evening gown, she looks and sounds like she’s singing in the Miss Junior World competition. Randy thinks she had problems, Paula likes it, and Simon doesn’t like how she was styled. When Simon calls the overall performance “Pagenty,” it makes me smile a little.

Alexandrea Lushington – She sings “If You Leave Me Now,” which is another terrible 70s song by Chicago. This is an awful song choice. Someone with a voice as good as she has shouldn’t have to sing something as sappy as this. He’s hitting a few bad notes here and there, too. Her problem is that the original song is sung in such a high register that it will be impossible for her to hit the notes the same way. Some of her “Woo-oo-oos” are not hitting the mark and I think it’s going to cost her a few votes. Randy asks her what she thinks, and she’s just glad it’s over. Randy thinks it was too safe and boring, which Paula disagrees with, and Simon says she was struggled with it and she couldn’t do anything with the song. Alexandrea will benefit from the fact that the song choice was so bad, and people will most likely give her another chance.

Kady Malloy - She says her biggest surprise is that she sings opera in the bathroom, which must make her an excellent roommate. She sings “Magic Man,” and although she’s looking at the camera confidently, her voice is telling a different story. It's fading in and out, like the words are slowly escaping her. She also doesn’t look comfortable, and I think she’s running out of breath. This was a pretty weak performance. Randy says she never found the right notes, Paula thinks the power was good but the low notes got lost, and Simon says he was struggling as much as she is. While some of the previous songs were not perfect, Kady just didn’t show enough, and I think she’ll be back to singing arias in the shower again.

Asia’h Epperson – Again, not a big surprise that a cheerleader’s dream is to be on American Idol. She sings “All By Myself,” and within the first 10 seconds, she hits one of the worst notes in the history of the show. Somehow, though, she finds her voice. Seriously, it’s like watching two different people as the song goes along; she goes from packing her bangs to having one of the better songs of the night. Randy thinks that when difficulty is considered she did a great job, Paula thinks she brought it home, Simon says she didn’t pull it off, but came really close, and that the song was too big for her.

Overall, this was a pretty lackluster show. Nothing happened tonight that will change Simon’s mind that the show is now 19 people chasing little David Archuleta. But now that the 1970s are finally over, maybe the remaining contestants will do better with songs that are a little more contemporary.

Predictions

Top Three: Kristy Lee, Brooke, Ramiele & Carly (equally as good)

See Ya: Amanda & Kady