Alright, finally we have some performances to judge! And we have a brand new semi-final stage where all the finalists overlook the singing contestant and sing a long or dance to their little hearts' desires. And of course...The Dawg Pound returns. Well, being the first night that I was back on duty, I took way too many notes. So I will try my best to condense them. But with Paula Abdul ALSO being back in action, it's gonna be tough! So, some very strong performances and some ridiculously weak performances. The big question on everyone's mind, though, have I changed my mind yet about my top 6 female picks? In the words of Simon, Absoloooootely Not! If anything, the minimal airtime girls reinforced why they did not see the light of day or maybe just a cracked open windowshade at airtime in the previous 20 weeks of Idol. So, that being said, let's get to the performances:
- Mandisa - Oh look at that, she DOES only go by one name! I'll spare the backstories that the producers made us suffer through to buy 2 hours of airtime tonight. Our Cali-girl turned Nashvillian decided to perform a Heart song "Never" in her own 'tricked-out' style. And there always has to be one performer that sings with a video background of FIRE every season. Reminded me of Kimberly Locke's awful rendition of Heat Wave in season 2 which kicked off the top 12 performances. Well, Mandisa BROUGHT IT and it was very good, very energetic. All of the judges rejoiced in their discovery....But Paula compared the performance to Carrie taking on Heart last season...How did she sum it up? "You Broke the record for magnificent"....ahh it's great to be back on LIVE TV, isn't it? Simon announces in his own words that Mandisa has set the bar for the competition. I'll reserve my thoughts on her until the Top 12 performances (or I'll try)...she's good enough to make it there!
- Kellie Picker - "How Far" - Martina McBride - Kellie Kellie Kellie....why are you breaking my heart? No one can deny her ridiculously awesome personality...and I agree with the judges that it will carry her far. I just hope it's far enough to get her into that top 12. There were some "YIKES" and "OUCH" notes in there (just going by my notes..lol) that scared me. And she still was sincere with her singing....and people are drawn to this girl. It was clear she was still nervous and hopefully she can work it out. Based on some of the other "talent" though, she is in no danger of being eliminated Thursday. (she got MY votes!) Plus...her celebrity Grandfather and his love for sandwiches may be just what America wanted! (if you didn't hear the story...I can't help you! That's all I wrote down!)
- Becky O'Donahue - performing "Because the Night." Simon summed this up the best. Visually - a 10, Voice - 6 and a haaaalf. It was just a bizarre performance for me, and I don't think she has what it takes to compete in this competition. Then again, neither did Scott Savol or John Stevens.....and well...she's prettier than them! So, I give her a pass this week. I lied before...I think there are other "Men that like girls" that watch this show. But...they're probably mostly all married or their girlfriends make them watch. So...they'll sneak into the bathrooms for a "break" and text or call those votes in for Becky! I feel for you guys....(yeah...like they read this recap!) But I go for the Full Package! And she doesn't cut it!
- Ayla Brown - "Reflection" Christina Aguilera - My first impressions from the auditions with Ayla were that she was a little full of herself....and well she had one of those crazy SOCCER MOMS that think her kid is infallible. I may have come around a bit today. She was really good. I heard some hints of Mariah and Xtina in the 17 year old Basketball star. Was a rough beginning...but she brought it home....in a BIG way. Paula liked that she showed vulnerability. Randy was pleasantly Surprised. Simon said that she's a hard worker who has strived to improve. But there is a limit to her vocal range and we saw it tonight. Maybe...but she's a top 12'er. And Simon agreed that it was better than he expected.
- Paris Bennett - So I've been drawing comparisons to Fantasia since we first saw this girl and her crazy celebrity Grandmother (REAL celebrity!...not like Kellie's Grandfather). Anyone see it yet? The judges do. So, is that a good thing? I guess....I mean...Fantasia DID win American Idol (in an OFF-season). No one can deny either of their talents. And Paris is a LITTLE more likeable than Fantasia....plus she's a cute little 17 year old. Fantasia was/is..a..err....nevermind. This is a family recap! I liked when she did her own little Midnight Train To Georgia and tooted the horn "HOO HOO!" with her arm. Very charismatic....controlled the stage...and so young! So much young talent! nooooo! Paula called her the Energizer Bunny and mentioned she avoided a wardrobe malfunction. Well with all that hoppin and boppin, something was bound to come a POPPIN off! Anyways..love her or hate her....this girl's in it for the long haul.... Jury's out for me.
- Stevie Scott - "To Where You Are" - Opera girl sings Opera Song - ...... ........ ....... ummm ......... ummmm ......WHAT????? Are you KIDDING ME??? Those were my exact reactions to Stevie's performances. This "I'm so unique to this competition that people will love me!" girl was ridiculously boring...and didn't even try to rely on ONE note to save her performance...it was all monotone....it was weird.....it was .....FORGETTABLE. Well, I remember it because I wrote it down! Paula pulled out some big words to support her...I think I heard her drop "EPHERIAL" in there. Simon said what we were all thinking...an UTTER MESS! It was a disaster. And there is no question in my mind that she will be going home this week. In the words of Adam Sandler's Opera Man...."BYE BYE!!!!"
- Ana Lucia - errrr umm...Brenna Gethers - Any dual Lost/AI watchers should immediately see the resemblance. It's uncanny! Here are my notes from her performance "Please don't Ad Lib ever EVER again! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!" Yeah...she was bad. She did a little Stevie Wonder ditty called "You are the sunshine of my life" and it was incredibly bland. She was trying to reverse the Attitude persona that made her instantly famous on previous editions of Idol. Simon asked for the CLAWS to come back out. And she may just get her chance...because believe it or not...someone was worse than her!
- Heather Cox - "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" - The AI Season 4 Song. Are you INSANE, Heather? This girl has had little to no airtime...and apparently suffered from laryngitis (I'm not even going to try and spell it right) in the previous audition rounds. So, she really need to wow the crowd. And she picks the awful IDOL song performed by last year's top 12? And not only that....she did nothing to make the song her own...or even STAND OUT. It was the wrong Key! Too low for her! and THANK YOU RANDY for agreeing with me! This is not the way to stand out of the crowd...and because of that....She's Done!
- Melissa McGee - I believe my previous comment about her was "WHO?" And I turned out to be justified. She wasn't even on the AIR before last Wednesday's show when she made the Top 24. She performed "When the Lights Go Down" by Faith Hill. She was aight...but she has an uphill battle to fight and this wasn't the performance to begin that fight. Paula thought it was a shining moment for Melissa and loved the tone of her voice. I thought the tone was kinda boring....but what do I know? Simon thinks she is overshadowed by other strong personalities in the competition...well that would explain the lack of Airtime! she may have earned herself a few votes this week. I have to think more than the other 2 awful performances.
- Lisa Tucker - What's there to say about this 16 year old wonder? She's phenomenal. She really got into her performance of "I am Changing" (Jennifer Holliday). Randy suggested it was a very ambitious song choice especially for a girl her age. Paula again with the priceless comments "You are a precious little gift. You light a little fire in my heart. You are a star!" Simon "you make the older girls look ordinary." Gotta agree with them here. Miss Lionel Richie has got the goods! No question a Top 12'er.
- Kinnik Sky - let's get this out of the way. Are we at a Beauty Pageant or American Idol? What's with the evening gown Kinnik? Way too look WAY TOO OLD for this competition! Oh wait...you're singing Justin Guarini's "GET HERE?" DING DING! You've officially lost any respect I was going to give you! Okay...in all seriousness...Justin didn't write it! But he still sang the song a billion times in season 1. And sounded like such a girl doing it. She's got a big voice....but I thought the performances was quite dull. The judges all agreed. Simon summed it up saying the Youth in the competition are making it look too easy and there was no WOW factor with Kinnik. Alright, Simon, I couldn't figure it out but I'm sold. I wasn't WOW'd either.
- Katharine McPhee - "Since I Fell For You" - made famous by Barbara. Wow....the music teacher's daughter....finally gets the stage. And she put on quite a show. My only complaint was that she was very emotional with the performance, but it looked like her feet were glued to the floor! Just a minor nitpicking detail. She was awesome. There are some strong female contestants. The judges argue she may just be the strongest (well, Simon said it). I thought she was fannnntastic, but she has some female competition. But she's in it to win it! Paula declared she's going all the way...and Congrats Katharine...you made her love her job!
Whew...that was a lot of typing. So what did we learn tonight? There are 4 singers that are untouchable as of this point: Mandisa, Paris, Lisa, Katharine So there's 2 spots open. And...well I'm sticking with Kellie and Ayla to round out the 6. There really shouldn't be any big surprises with who's getting kicked out here. There was such a dramatic difference. Here are how I rank the bottom 6:
7) Kinnik Sky, 8) Melissa McGee, 9) Becky O'Donahue, 10) Brenna Gethers, 11) Stevie Scott, 12) Heather Cox
It's only a question of when at this point. And Stevie and Heather were just THAT bad! If one of them somehow gets the sympathy vote, then my extra guess would be Melissa McGee, I just don't think people will remember her performance. So that's it kids! Tune in tomorrow for the GUYS. We'll get to see if Taylor Hicks can consistently bring the heat! Thanks for Reading!
Elimination Picks: Stevie Scott, Heather Cox Wildcard Pick: Melissa McGee