Thursday, February 28, 2008

Idol's Top 20: The Girls

You won't be smiling for long, ladies.

Dude, only one day into my new system and already it’s shot to hell. I’m finding it nearly impossible to rank the Top 20 girls’ performances last night because I can’t decide who sucked most. The best performances didn’t blow me away (far from it)…they were just on-key and not horrifying to listen to. What a ringing endorsement (please note my intense sarcasm) for the girls, who were sitting pretty last week when the judges deemed them a stronger crop of competitors than the guys. The guys responded to that dig by bringing it, while the girls followed up a fantastic Week 1 showing by dropping heaps of suck all over the stage.

So, instead of ranking the performances, I will do a “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” list. Because it makes me giggle.


Brooke White

While everyone was falling all over themselves to praise Brooke last week, I was sitting there scratching my head and wondering what the heck I was missing. As I said in my Top 24 Girls blog, she kind of freaks me out. The girl is so gosh-darn vanilla (c’mon, you know she’s never dropped an f-bomb in her life) that she just sort of fades into the background for me. I think she’s very middle-of-the-road, in every single way.

When I heard the opening notes of “You’re So Vain” my stomach clenched. That is one of my absolute favorite songs and I was very, very afraid of what Miss Vanilla was about to do to it. Well…she was pretty freakin’ great. Having earned comparisons to Carly Simon early in the competition, it was a very smart decision to cover her on 70s night. The vocals were fantastic. Granted, she didn’t bring much of anything new to the number, but she definitely did it justice (and then some).

My favorite of the night. Shockingly.

She had minor problems hitting a couple of the lower notes in the chorus, and her demeanor was a bit too happy and peppy for a song about the disdain one has for a former lover. Still, she only arrived in Holywood a few weeks ago. The city hasn’t had time to introduce her to condescension and anger and resentment and disappointment. Give it time, Miss Vanilla, give it time.

Carly Smithson

What was she staring at, off in the distance and slightly above her head? For the first verse she was staring so intensely at…something…that I had to quash an urge to look over my own shoulder. It was mildly distracting.

Minor quibbles aside, I think she rocked “Crazy On You” pretty hardcore. Her performance was strong and controlled and you could tell that she knew she was owning it. It was without a doubt the strongest performance of the night. I like Carly a lot, but there’s something (I can’t quite put my finger on what) that stops me from totally jumping on the Carly Smithson bandwagon. She’ll definitely be around next week for me to keep trying to figure it out, though.


Syesha Mercado

I’m going to skip right past how her baby imitation gave me nightmares…*shudder* I will say “stop staring at the camera” though. Stop staring at the camera, Syesha.

Call me crazy, but I liked her take on “Me and Mrs. Jones.” With the exception of the last note (which made me wince), her power vocals on the chorus were great. Her vocals on the verses were weaker, but definitely not awful. It comes down (again) to song choice. It probably wasn’t the best idea to pick a song originally sung by a man…because this is what happened:

Syesha: Me-e-e-e-e and Mr. – Mr. Joooooones…

Me: …tell each other fairy tales and we stare at the beautiful women…

Even though she’s not one of my favorites, I hope she sticks around because I see flashes of brilliance in her that have yet to be fully realized.

Ramiele Malubay

What happened to all of the charisma and power that she showed in her performance last week? Her performance was disconnected and listless, and it sucked the life out of a decent vocal. She hit most of her notes and sounded nice enough, but not backing that up with, you know, a personality really killed the entire thing.

I don’t know if she was trying to play it safe or not, but everything about what she did last night was just right down the middle and boring. Still, I’m a big fan of her voice in general (to my hers, she has one of the most enjoyable female voices) so I hope she sticks around as well.

Asia’h Epperson

I love this girl so much…and I think that’s why my heart lurched painfully when she missed that note in the chorus of “All By Myself.” America…pleasepleasePLEASE forgive her for being really sick. I couldn’t even bear to give her performance a second listen (which I normally do before reviewing) because I just couldn’t take it.

For someone who was sick, I think she pulled this song off remarkably well. It was incredibly rough in certain patches (early on) but by the end she was hitting some impressive notes. If that’s what she sounds like with the flu, she’d probably kick this song’s ass if she was healthy.
Unfortunately, she wasn’t. She would’ve been smart to pick a song that wasn’t as tough (and Randy was right – it was far and away the most difficult song of the night) to save herself from the “ouch” moment when Simon called her out on being “a very good, but not a great” singer. Simon, though sometimes I think he’s harsher than he needs to be, isn’t wrong. Asia’h overreached a bit this week, but she showed me enough to hope/pray/beg that I get to see her next week.

Kristy Lee Cook

Hey look! Kristy found some personality this week (along with a bunch of shiny spandex). I still don’t quite believe that she’s not a robot, though – she just got upgraded to a newer model that has “human emotions.” In other words, an improvement, but she still seemed not all there while she was singing. Is she over thinking? Really nervous? Actually that vacant?

And the award for most improved goes to...

To be fair, she hit almost all of her notes and the performance was a vast improvement over last week (in case you didn’t glean that through the ton of snark in the previous paragraph). I actually enjoyed listening to her. She just doesn’t do anything special for me. Nothing about her is memorable. Stick around and convince me, Kristy.


Amanda Overmyer

Amanda, did you go and audition for The Lion King right before you went on stage? Woman, WTF were you thinking?! I have no words for what you looked like. Other than “something that would show up in my nightmare about crazy Goth bikers from Texas.” I actually tried to open my mouth to form some and just ended up sputtering until my roommate told me to can it.

Tears, Amanda. You have caused me tears.

I should’ve kept talking. Her version of “Carry On My Wayward Son” makes the baby Jesus cry. It’s just…AWFUL. The judges obviously like her and tried desperately to find something positive to say about it, but let’s face it…there isn’t a damn thing (I’m saying “damn” here because you just know that, unlike Brooke, Amanda drops f-bombs like it’s her freakin’ job).

I have a sneaking suspicion that Amanda just wasn’t prepared for what Idol would be like. She doesn’t seem to be having all that much fun when she’s out there. Her in-your-face uniqueness covered for most of that for a while…but she couldn’t seem to cover it up this week. Yes, she’s great and different and helps bolster the argument that American Idol isn’t cookie cutter, but I just don’t think I’m buying it anymore. I want to see her stick around to shake things up a little; she just might not be able to recover from the huge mess that was last night.

Aliana Whitaker

OMG, I hate “Hopelessly Devoted To You.” I just cannot take that song at all. It’s barely tolerable when sung by Olivia Newton-John. When sung by a 17-year-old moppet in a strangely shapeless camouflage (well it was, considering the background) dress…it’s bad, bad news.

I had a hard time focusing on anything but how much I loathe that song. I know she was all over the place vocally, and the song doesn’t lend itself to much of a performance…so she kind of shot herself in the foot from the get-go. If you don’t have the vocal ability to infuse a slow song with charisma, you’re doomed (please see David Archuleta as the epitome of success in that arena). Alaina, you doomed yourself. And you make me yawn.

Alexandrea Lushington

Please excuse me, my eyes are still bleeding. Who dressed you? Seriously. Cargo pants and heels? Plus that strange puffy vest thing? Please tell me the Go Fug Yourself girls critique American Idol…I need a good giggle after making it through last night’s show.

“If You leave Me Now” is another song that I just plain hate. It’s not a fun song to listen to. I like Alexandrea (she’s one of the two girls I placed in this category that I’ll be upset to see go home) and she tried to salvage her awful song choice…but she just couldn’t do it. Worse, she seemed so focused on trying to save the song that her exuberance and youthful energy that is so infectious was completely absent from her performance. I shall be chanting “Save Alexandrea” for the rest of the day.

Kady Malloy

They’re stairs, Kady. Stairs. Apparently, you shouldn’t ever try to do anything else while walking up or down them. I understand. Sometimes things are hard to do at the same time, like sitting and breathing.

Which one of these buttons calls your mother to come pick you up?

Okay, that was mean, I admit. But don’t you practice these numbers over and over again? When every performance can make or break you, why would you throw an extra element in that you’re obviously not 100% comfortable with doing? Unfortunately for her, the performance went (mostly) downhill from there. Her version of “Magic Man” was warbled and uneven. She hit a few nice notes, but it wasn’t nearly enough to save the performance. To use Simon’s most oft-quoted phrase from last week, “I just didn’t get it.”
I have no idea who's going home. It's a freakin' crapshoot. I'm going to go with Kady and Alaina.

1 comment:

danielletbd said...

Just when I was about to be done with "AI" (it's too dull this year): MARIAH WILL BE ON THE IDOL GIVES BACK SHOW!!!! Dude, if you haven't heard of Idol Gives Back yet, you need to check it out asap. It's classic stuff.