Review: Top 10 Girls Perform!
When the show opened and Ryan first took the stage last night, the drama was high and the question remained: was Crystal Bowersox still in the hospital? Thankfully, she was released in time to perform and helped make the night an overall memorable one for the girls. As the men had done the previous evening, the ladies likewise stepped up their game and proved that there are more than a couple of talented singers among them, and at least one star. So, let’s take a look at the reviews, going from best to worst:
CRYSTAL BOWERSOX – Long As I Can See The Light – There must be some mighty powerful trinkets in that lucky coin purse of hers, because not only was Crystal healthy enough to make it to the show, she turned in the first “Magic Moment” of the season for me. Anyone who saw last night’s episode and is still grumbling that there are no star contestants this year should probably just stop watching now. A truly transcendent performance. Grade: A
LILLY SCOTT – A Change Is Gonna Come – When the first three judges called this “the best of the night,” I began to question my ears…until Simon provided the reality check with “great, but not as good as Crystal.” Lilly is a wonderfully unique singer, but she does need to learn how to work the microphone a little better, as her volume dropped a few times when she moved too far away. But still, a very strong showing from Lilly. Grade: A-
KATELYN EPPERLY – The Scientist – I think Katelyn is probably on a few more people’s radar after taking on this Coldplay song at the piano and having a very nice moment. I didn’t like some of her facial expressions, and maybe that’s what Simon was referring to when he informed her that “you become a bit corny when you perform.” But he also told her “You’re back in the race.” Grade: B
SIOBHAN MAGNUS – Think – Yes, that final note was beyond impressive, but it wasn’t enough to lift an overall good performance to greatness. I’m afraid that Siobhan turned to this bouncy, 60’s classic after hearing repeatedly that she’s “such a strange person” (Simon’s actual words) who can be “too dark” (Kara)…but I’d rather her embrace those unusual qualities and stick with more left-of-center choices like last week’s “Wicked Game.” Grade: B
PAIGE MILES – Walk Away – They keep showing that clip of Simon informing Paige that she is the best singer in the competition and I still have no idea what he’s talking about. She certainly is one of the better vocalists here, but nowhere near the best. And tonight, what I heard was a well-sung performance that was slightly inferior to the Kelly Clarkson original. Major props to Kara for pointing out that Paige had no business smiling her way through a lyrically angry song. Grade: B-
MICHELLE DELAMOR – With Arms Wide Open – She gets a lot of credit for taking a Creed track and giving it an r&b spin, and I also find her personality very appealing. But her voice is a little thin and I don’t feel that she has a deep emotional connection to the words she’s singing. Grade: B-
DIDI BENAMI – Lean On Me – You know, Didi actually has a very nice voice and she’s certainly beautiful, but I’m deducting major points for her inability to control her emotions. If teenagers Katie Stevens and Haeley Vaughn can stand there and take the sometimes brutal criticism of the judges, Didi had better learn how to likewise roll with the punches or she’ll never make it in the music industry. There’s no crying on Idol! Grade: C
KATIE STEVENS – Put Your Records On – Katie may have picked a more current tune, but it certainly wasn’t any more youthful, as the 17 year-old turned in another overly mature performance. Maybe she wants to rethink her strategy of yelling “You’re awesome!” into the mirror beforehand? In an effort to help Katie emotionally connect with her next song selection, Kara gave the phenomenal advice of choosing something that reflects what she’s going through and feeling at the moment. Simon was right when he told her “Show us what kind of artist you want to be.” Grade: C
HAELEY VAUGHN – The Climb – She may be one of the weakest vocalists in the competition, but I still love Haeley! Unfortunately, her bubbly personality, sunny smile, and positive attitude are her only qualities that have a chance of keeping her in the race. After tough critiques from the previous three judges, Simon announced “They’ve said it all and I don’t want to make things worse”… and then he did by harshly proclaiming her performance ” a complete and utter mess” that “was not a climb, but a fall.” Props to Ryan for asking Simon “What good did that do?” Grade: C-
LACEY BROWN – Kiss Me – The first half of this performance was actually pretty good, and then the beat kicked in. Lacey is very sweet, but she’s not cool at all…something about the way she moved around the stage made her seem like a much older woman. Simon noted that it was marginally better than last week, but Randy was also right when he called it “karaoke.” Grade: C-
Who is going home tonight? Probably Lacey and Haeley, although I’m okay with losing anyone who’s not in my Top 4.
Here are some random thoughts on the judges:
* Maybe Randy Jackson is a good producer and talented musician, but he’s not a great judge. I just don’t feel he brings any unique insight to the process. Do any of you disagree?
* If anyone ever makes the mistake of creating a drinking game around Ellen’s use of the word “great,” I have a feeling they won’t be able to get up from the couch when the show is over. Also, Ellen’s joke about singing “Who Let The Dogs Out” at her grandmother’s funeral was a bomb.
* Am I alone in noticing that Kara is often the judge that makes the most sense? She certainly is the only one that consistently gives the contestants constructive feedback that they can actually use and apply to their upcoming performances. Ellen may be the nicest, but I think Kara truly cares about seeing these singers improve.
* Simon was not happy with Ryan last night! Our host lobbed not one, but two potent zingers at the grumpy Brit, including this one: “I can’t read Simon’s reactions any more because of the botox.”
Now I’d like to hear from you: who is going home tonight? And who is your favorite? (Vote in our poll on the right.) Sound off with a comment below!