American Idol 9 Semifinals: Top 12 Girls

Before we start, a moment, if I may… a comment for Chris Golightly.  STFU.  Really.  You got caught with your hand in the cookie jar, and 19/Fremantle did what they told you they would do.  If you have a contract at the time of the audition, and you lie about it, you’ll be DQ’ed as soon as they find out.  There’s a lot that the producers do wrong on Idol.  This isn’t one of them.  You signed a release that said you didn’t have a contract when you did.  Doesn’t matter if you were let out of the contract later… you lied, you lose.  Bye.

That said… it’s time for the 12 female semifinalists to take the stage at Television City.  Over the next 2 hours, we’re going to get a crash course on these 12 ladies… one of whom will be the 9th American Idol, if the producers get their way. :) 

Standard disclaimer: I have one basic rule for my writeups – “did the song and performance entertain me?”  I’m not generally going to complain that a singer is pitchy, dawg.  And I’m not going to drool over them, either, Kara.  I just want to be entertained – in a good way.  If I’m entertained a hundred million percent, so much the better.   If I’m entertained in a VFTW way… OK, I’ll admit, that’s fun, too.

Word is that dress rehearsal ran really long… we’ll see if that means anything…

OK, it’s showtime…

This is opening night.  This is the first step on the road to fame (and a recording contract, and a lot of money, according to this NY Times article).  THIS… is American Idol! *hit the music*

All 24 (and Ryan) onstage for the pretaped cold open.  Then cut to the girls on the stairs… if you go by the order of introduction, Paige Miles apparently goes first (she’s been invisible so far)… and Katie Stevens (of the Alzheimer’s grandma) looks to be going last.   First and last are the notorious pimp spots, where the producers put performers to whom they want to give a nudge…

OK, cue the judges… Ellen introed first, then Randy, Kara, and (last but hardly least) Simon… of course, as always, we’re spending too damn much time on the judges and not enough on the contestants.  It should be noted that I consider anything more than an introduction “too damn much time”. 🙂

The semifinal theme is “songs from the Billboard charts” (in other words, it’s a free-for-all, pretty much)… or, at least, those songs that the producers have licensed.

Here we go… ages and hometowns are from and do conflict with what was aired for a few singers… go figure…

Paige Miles, 24, Cypress, TX – “All Right Now”, Free – She sounds a bit nervous… and she’s eating some of the words… she’s trying real hard, but I don’t think she’s really a rocker… give her credit for trying this, but it was just OK… I sense pimpage from the judges because we barely saw her in the prelims.

Ashley Rodriguez, 22, Chelsea, MA – “Happy”, Leona Lewis – Took on a song she can handle… kind of a short performance?… but she definitely did a solid job on it.  I’m sure she’s safe.  The judges are wrong, though… at THIS point, you play it safe.  Save the risks for later.

Janell Wheeler, 24, Orlando, FL – “What About Love”, Heart – Interesting take on the song… didn’t seem to quite catch it, but I enjoyed it… looks to be safe. 

SCORECARD – At this point, Paige needs to worry a bit.

Lilly Scott, 20, Littleton, CO – “Fixing A Hole”, Beatles – Nice choice, a less-played Beatles album track (charted on Sgt. Pepper, I guess), and she’s playing guitar… she’s got a quirky but engaging voice… OK, the competition just started for real with our first “wow” performance of the night.  Solid and memorable.  Judges agree, so of course, they’re right. 🙂

Katelyn Epperly, 19, West Des Moines, IA – “Oh Darling”, Beatles (charted for Robin Gibb) – Oh my… WOW.  I really, really liked this performance.  Kind of a “torch singer” vibe to it.  Entertaining, and she’s definitely in good shape here.

Haeley Vaughn, 16, Fort Collins, CO – “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, Beatles – 2nd guitar-based performance of the night… she’s trying to strip the song down… she took a big risk… but her voice isn’t just up to this classic… I didn’t really like it.  

SCORECARD – Paige and Haeley need someone to stumble…

Lacey Brown, 24, Amarillo, TX – “Landslide”, Fleetwood Mac (charted for Dixie Chicks) – Oh, man… serious ambivalence here.  I like the song, she gave it a good shot, but her voice doesn’t work for me.  Might be enough to come back next week, but I’m not a big fan.

Insert a Product Placement Red Room pimpage session with Katie.  The producers are REALLY pushing her, aren’t they?  Pimp spot and in-show interview?

Michelle Delamor, 22, Miami, FL – “Fallin’”, Alicia Keys – Nicely done.  Measured and confident.  I like her voice… and enjoyed the performance.  She’ll be back.

Didi Benami, 23, Hollywood, CA – “The Way I Am”, Ingrid Michaelson – Taking on a recent hit is risky… it’s an unconventional song… and she gave it a good-but-not-great performance.  On this one, I agree with the standard “you need to make it yours” criticism… I think she’ll be back (but not by much).

SCORECARD – Paige, Haeley, and Lacey are certainly in trouble… Didi could be…

Siobhan Magnus, 19, Barnstable, MA – “Wicked Game”, Chris Isaak – This… is a risk.   And it worked.  A really good performance that, I think, did “make it hers”.  She’ll be back (and could well be the “dark horse” Simon predicted).

Crystal Bowersox, 24, Elliston, OH – “Hand In My Pocket”, Alanis Morrissette – Guitar *and* harmonica (her regular accompaniment)… the harmonica makes her stand out… she’s going to be an acquired taste… the question is whether she’ll stick around long enough for us to make the acquisition.  Likely to come back, but middle-of-the-pack, I think.

Completely unrelated thought – Fox is going to fail AGAIN with a sitcom.  “Sons of Tucson” looks awful.

Katie Stevens, 17, Middlebury, CT – “Feeling Good”, Michael Bublé – Again, going to a lesser-known song (that I can’t find a Billboard charting for, but that’s OK) seems to work out.  Hard to believe THAT voice is coming from a 17-year-old, but she closed the show in style.  Well done.

Wrapping this up while Fox plays Technical Difficulties Theatre with the closing montage…

The Big Finish…

  • FINALS WATCH: Lilly, Katelyn, Michelle, Siobhan, Katie
  • I’D SEND HOME: Paige, Haeley
  • AMERICA WILL SEND HOME: Paige, Lacey (but Didi could fall through)

It’s the guys tomorrow night.  See you then.  Your late local news is next…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s