Well, here we are America! Starting the live shows. And if I must say so, it started off with a bit of a whimper. Yeah, it happens every year. It's the first time anyone is performing live so the first crop has a bit of a disadvantage (the guys will probable be better Wednesday). But, with them saying how strong the girls are this year, I'm going to need to see a bit more. There were a few that I thought have potential to be really good, but a lot of it just was dull and boring tonight. I really don't know which 2 to pick to go home! But I have about 5 to pick from, so we'll see how I'm feeling when we get to the bottom! One thing I know, things aren't looking good from my TOP 12 Picks so far!
3 Weeks of Semi-Finals in front of us. 2 Guys and Girls eliminated each week until we get to the Top 12. We will be hearing hits from the Billboard Charts for these 3 weeks, so the kids have many songs to choose from. How did they do?
- Paige Miles - 24 from Naples Fl and is a Pre-School Teacher - The one thing I remember saying when we found out she was in the Top 24, was "WHO??" No one knew who this girl was. I don't even remember if we saw her audition, but she got little to no screen time in Hollywood. She knew that as well. And she came out and sang "All Right Now" by Free? Really? She had everything going against her from going first to having limited exposure. She needed to come out and sing something that would blow us away. Now the judges are in her corner. They all were talking about how she has the best voice of the 12. Well, that's a shame, we may never get to hear it! Of course, Kara was hearing something different all night than everyone else. She loved it. She told Paige she "SLAYED" it! Okay, whatever. Tell me this America, do any of you remember it? The only reason I do is because I took notes for this recap!
- Ashley Rodriguez - 22 from Chelsea, Massachusetts - Loved the clip of Simon making fun of Jordin Sparks' "Battlefield". Catchy song, I'll admit it but it is very silly and a very big rip-off of Pat Benetar! Anyway, I think based on exposure, we may have expected great things from Ashley. She sang "Happy" by Leona Lewis. And I'll agree with the judges on this one. It was a so-so performance from a BIG singer (a winner of Simon's UK X-Factor by the way) and it was just 2nd class. Also early in the 12 performances. Simon thinks Ashley may be in trouble, I will not disagree. I don't have much else to say about it!
- Janell Wheeler - 24 from Orlando, Florida and is a Wine Sales Rep - She performed Heart's "What About Love". I like the song, but for Janell's voice? Way too much. The song was eating her alive by the end of it. Again, not too much to say about it. Not memorable at all.
- Lilly Scott - 20 from Littleton, CO - Lilly explains to us her struggling musician career in the pre-performance clips. She definitely is a cut from a different cloth. She sang a crazy rendition of a totally random Beatles song "Fixing a Hole". But the crazy thing is, it kind of worked! She has a Megan Joy vibe to her from last year, but that's not really saying much. It's the quirky-retro Duffy/Adele voice we heard from a lot of people tonight, except that she can actually pull it off unlike Megan. She also brought the guitar to the table which is always a nice spin. She may tire on us after awhile, but I could see her making the top 12. She's definitely one of the safe ones this week.
- Katelyn Epperly - 19 from Wes Demoines, Iowa - I had referred to Katelyn as a dark horse to make the top 12. I actually thought she had top 12 potential until we barely saw her in the Hollywood rounds. She's got the look, she's got the voice and she's very likable. She sang "Oh Darling" by The Beatles and definitely did her own thing with it. Good Voice, good stage presence, no bad notes. I think people are going to vote for her in these early rounds. I agree that she'll need to improve if she wants to win the whole thing, but for this round based on what we have heard? She'll be sticking around a bit longer.
- Haeley Vaughn - 16 from Colorado - Good job Mom on letting Haeley get that nose pierced after making it to Hollywood. NOT an improvement! Now, without trying to be P.C. we remember this girl as the Carrie Underwood singing girl with the LISP! I probably would have held out on bringing up the lisp at least for a few more weeks, but the judges called her out in the auditions. So here we go! Anyway, whenever I see her I have this feeling that she SHOULD be good, but then those high notes just hurt my ears. There is something totally not pleasing about them (thanks Randy!). Yeah, maybe lowering the key would work. I don't know. She can sing, she can play the guitar. That's not the problem. But her singing The Beatles "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" was kind of weird. I've stated it before many times. The younger kids in the competition are usually one-trick ponies. Jordin Sparks was an exception in a year full of dull contestants. I don't quite know if Haeley has what it takes. I think she's a contender to be booted!
- Lacey Brown - 24 from Amarillo, Tx - So, now the question is if people will sympathize with Lacey for not making it to the Semi-Finals last year because of Megan Joy (why are we still talking about her?!) Because singing that very strange version of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" isn't gonna cut it! What was up with background singer guy and the melodies. Were they doing a duet? The judges said she was a bit pitchy. I didn't even notice. I was just trying to make sense of the song arrangement and her crazy vocal choices. I was also trying to think of what her voice reminded me of. I guess my nemesis, Kara, may have pointed me in the right direction with Six Pence None the Richer. No fear though, Simon likes her eyes. She's SAFE! Naa, she's one of my bottom contenders too.
- Michelle Delamor - 22 from Miami, Fl - Yeah, another 2nd class version of a big singer song: Alicia Keys' "Fallen". But, she has a really good voice. I agree that the Star Power is missing. None of the contestants really took their performances to the next level tonight. But at least she got through the song and I can still kind of remember it! The one thing I started to get annoyed with at this point was that we have 4 judges pretty much telling us the same thing. WHY OH WHY do we have 4 judges? Ellen wasn't too bad with her LIVE debut, at least she admitted she is only judging from how she'd be watching at home. But there were times when they ALL were saying the same thing. I just think the 3 judge format is better. So get rid of Kara and then end the show after Simon leaves this season! THE END! (oh how I miss Paula)
- Didi Benami - 23 from Knoxville, TN - I understand wanting to make a statement with a song in the first week. And the judges came down on Didi for being another Duffy/Adele sound-a-like. I thought Didi's rendition of Ingrid Michelson's "The Way I Am" was really really good. She has a very soothing voice and she did some interesting things with it to make the song her own. Yeah, maybe 4 of the singers sound similar, but I thought she was the best of the 4. That being said, I'm not sure how she'd do on a big Rock song if she has to do that down the road. We'll find out what stuff she has next week! I'm certain of it.
- Siobhan Magnus - 19 from Cape Cod, MA - It was cute when she asked what Simon meant by being a "dark horse" in the competition. But that's where my enjoyment ended once again. She did a little Chris Isask "Wicked Game" and it was just weird. She sang it well, I guess. But this is when I started thinking, "this is the girl's season? Lots of talent?" You start thinking about the Top 12 contestants from the past 8 years and start wondering if any of these girls match up. I am just going to chalk it up to 1st week jitters for now. I think she'll be safe.
- Crystal Bowersox - 24 from Elliston, OH - Just like a true rock girl, she tells America basically that she's "in it for the paycheck" Props for being honest and the shots of the baby help a bit too. I already had Crystal down as a favorite for me going into these rounds. It's interesting that she's never seen the show before and it showed when she responded to Simon "We can't do original songs on the show!" when he told her to do something original. She hasn't seen Chris Daughtry, David Cook, and ugh...Adam Lambert change up their tunes into something pretty awesome. I still thought her whipping out the guitar and harmonica on Alanis Morissette's "Hand in My Pocket" was darn good, even if she kept repeating the same lyrics. She gave us a flavor of what she can bring to the table. And I like her and am interested in seeing more of her (just like Ellen suggested). She is SAFE!
- Katie Stevens - 17 from Middlebury, CT - Okay, based on what we've seen since the beginning of this season, if any 16 or 17 year old should be in the top 12, it's Katie. She has a great voice. Yeah, doing "Feeling Good" may have not been the best choice for her. The judges want her to be younger. And I'm sure Adam Lambert fans scoffed at this little girl ruining his legacy to the song on the show (even though I thought his performance of it was a bit over the top). But, putting her in the final slot, and doing a decent vocal will keep Katie alive in future rounds. I think she already has a solid backing to stick around and "BE A KID" next week. But please, NO TAYLOR SWIFT!!!
Okay, so who is going home? I will go through my normal process of elimination, but I think at some point I'm just going to have to randomly pick 2!
Who is safe this week? Lilly Scott, Katelyn Epperly, Michelle Delamor, Didi Benami, Crystal Bowersox
Most Likely Safe? Siobhan Magnus, Katie Stevens
Who is left? Lacey Brown, Ashley Rodriguez, Paige Davis, Haeley Vaughn, Janell Wheeler
Who had some previous exposure? Ashley, Lacey, Haeley
Who might get a sympathy vote because Simon told her she was in trouble? Ashley
Who might be forgotten about after going 1st, having no exposure, and the judges saying she's probably safe? Paige
Who couldn't I think of much to write about at all? Janell
My Elimination Picks: Janell Wheeler, Paige Davis Bonus Pick: Ashley Rodriguez
Let me tell you, my record for getting this stuff right is not very good! Only for picking the winner of the whole thing. It is way too early for that kind of predicting. That's all I have for now. Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you Wednesday for the Guy's recap!
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