Review: Top 8 Girls Perform!
When season 9’s Top 12 is announced tomorrow night, only six of these girls will advance…and the pressure showed. Several of the contestants were nowhere near as good as they were last week, and a couple were downright awful, but thankfully there were a handful of standout performances. Let’s take a look, from best to worst:
CRYSTAL BOWERSOX - Give Me One Reason - Vocally, Crystal is so for ahead of the pack it’s not even funny…she even outdid the original artist herself! I do have one small criticism, though: songs from singers like Tracy Chapman, Sheryl Crow and Alanis Morissette are far too predictable. Never having watched “American Idol” before has put Crystal at a slight disadvantage, as she doesn’t seem to fully understand yet how much the judges value the art of taking a song from another genre and making it her own. But wow, what a voice. Grade: A
DIDI BENAMI - Rhiannon - Talk about a comeback! Most Improved Of The Week honors easily go to Ms. Benami, whose guitar seemed to have gifted her with a quiet confidence that was missing in prior shows. And as Ellen pointed out, it’s commendable how Didi improved after the way she was torn apart last week. Kara even said it was one of her favorite moments of this season. Grade: A-
SIOBHAN MAGNUS - The House of the Rising Sun - It’s safe to say that at this point, Siobhan has firmly established the fact that she has some powerful chops, and she admirably has no intention of trying to be anything but herself. But as my friend Fielding Pierce points out, “she’s new to planet earth and hasn’t learned our ways yet.” Still, I’m always curious to see what she’ll do next. Grade: B
LILLY SCOTT - I Fall to Pieces – Normally I’m a bit more captivated by Lilly’s quirky charm, but something about it felt forced for the first time last night. Her vocals were a little harsh in a couple of spots, and as Simon noted, the performance just didn’t have that “wow” factor…especially for the evening’s closing number. Grade: B-
LACEY BROWN - The Story - Lacey runs a close second behind Didi when it comes to “most improved,” but the whole thing still came awfully close to being boring. I’m just not sure if Lacey is really youthful enough (even though she’s only 24) to go too much further in the competition. Grade: B-
KATELYN EPPERLY - I Feel the Earth Move – After Katelyn’s knockout performance of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” last week, I never expected her to end up in my bottom three, but this copycat rendition of the original was entirely lacking. Note to Simon: Katelyn’s hair has looked that way all along, and was in no way a tribute to Carole King. Grade: C
KATIE STEVENS - Breakaway - Katie fell prey to The Kelly Clarkson Curse and joined all the other prior contestants who have paled in comparison to the original. Simon was a little more blunt: “You sucked…the energy right out of that song.” Katie’s only shot at making the Top 12 rested in the hands of teen and pre-teen female voters, as she is the youngest girl left in the competition. Grade: C-
PAIGE MILES - Smile - I’ve never connected with Paige, even in the weeks where she sang well. Where’s the personality? But the judges addressed this near-disaster best. Ellen: “It was sad and heavy.” Simon: “I felt like it was 1974 and I’m in a Holiday Inn and people are at the bar eating peanuts and not paying attention.” Yep, that about sums it up! Grade: D
Who is going home tomorrow night? If there’s any justice, we’ll be saying goodbye to Paige Miles and Katie Stevens, although I don’t think Lacey Brown should feel completely confident after finally having one good performance.
What did you think? Who would you like to leave behind? And who is your favorite? (Vote in our poll on the right.) Is there anyone you feel is better than Crystal? Sound off below!