So after watching the top 12 girls perform last night, I have my favorites, which incidentally, have been my favorites all along. No surprises, really. Here's a recap for those of you who care about my opinion.
So Ryan "I'll keep you my dirty little" Seacrest starts by jumping Simon's crumpets about Simon's "criticism" this year. I guess to the Seacrest, blunt honesty=criticism. Personally, I think Simon’s opinions are usually right on target vocal-wise. I question his judgment when it comes to his personality choices (Brenna? Brenna?), but even Einstein fucked up late in his career. The difference is Einstein had humility. But I digress. Randy "believes in the boys" this year and ironically and for totally different reasons, so does the Seacrest. Paula’s hair is the real story for the first 3 minutes of the show. She apparently found a barrette in her vanity and decided to put it to use by pulling her mane up and back off her face. This was a bad decision for two reasons. First, the pulled-back hair formed a pouf on top that bordered on conehead. Second, without the distraction of wisps in her face, the fact that she has aged considerably since the “Cold Hearted Snake” years is all too evident.
Mandisa – Never (Heart)
Oh my flames. Mandisa is literally on fire. So maybe she should have rethought her choice of outfit – Fredrick’s of Hollywood by way of Lane Bryant isn’t really prime-time couture. Her performance was terrific, though. Simon was impressed, as he should be. She better go all the way to the finals or someone’s gonna get squished.
Kellie Pickler – How Far (Martina McBride)
Gotta love the Pickler. That accent is hilarious, especially when talking about her incarcerated father. Mentioning you are singing a love song to said incarcerated father is a bit creepy though. Kellie wore an old car wash chamois with belt buckle purchased at an Indian casino pinned right in the center to hold the chamois together. Vocally, she was OK. Not spectacular. But she is likable, and adorable, and I’d rather see her advance than some of the others.
Becky O’Donohue – Because the Night (10,000 Maniacs)
I think this girl is nuts, which is scary, because she has an identical twin who is also likely nuts. I think Becky is trying to fuck me with her face through the TV and I’m disturbed. Her voice isn’t bad, it just isn’t great, and her facial expressions are uncomfortably… big. Her last note sounded more like Pat Benetar than Natalie Merchant, and not in a good way. Becky’s sleeveless shirt is made from her Grandma’s old dresser scarf.
Ayla Brown – Reflection (Christina Aguilera)
Little Miss Perfect makes it to the Top 24. Next to the Seacrest, she’s a total Amazon. A robotic, empty Amazon. I don’t want her to win American Idol – she’s rich, she’s talented, she’s athletic – she don’t need this. But her vocal was good. It made her “feel so complete” – huh? Anyway, I see her and she just gets under my skin. Jealous much? Hell yes – but come on – there are more talented people in this competition and there are certainly more people who would benefit from winning this competition. Bottom line is I don’t care if she sounds like Aretha Fucking Franklin (which she doesn’t, but stick with me here) don’t vote for her. Let her play basketball and go to Debutante parties, okay?
Paris Bennett – Midnight Train to Georgia (Gladys Knight)
Oh yeah. Here we go. This girl is incredible – she looks great, she sings great, she’s got personality by the truckload, she’s a helluva performer. Even that 70s blue-jean pantsuit and Bakelite necklace she borrowed from her great aunt couldn’t stop this girl from rocking the stage – she looked hot! The best part of Paris is that she sings like a powerhouse, but when she talks she sounds like the littlest mouse in The Secret of Nimh. How cool is that? Paris is one of my favorites – I could have watched an hour of her by herself.
Stevie Scott – To Where You Are (Josh Groban)
First of all, Stevie should have chosen a Stevie Wonder song just because I think that would have been cool. She wants to “be the girl version” of Josh Groban, and her vocals are okay, but they aren’t spectacular. There was a power missing behind her sustained notes that should have been present in an opera-trained voice. Overall, the performance was lukewarm at best. Stevie was very disappointing, as some excellent pop singers have been classically trained. Why couldn’t she have gone all out Mariah Carey for us? Stevie wore the 15th sleeveless shirt and jeans combination of the night. Paula didn’t even try to prop Stevie up by telling her she looked beautiful, which is just sad news for this girl.
Brenna Gethers – You Are the Sunshine of My Life (Stevie Wonder)
What an obnoxious child this is. I think she believes she’s some sort of “do-me” feminist, but in reality she’s just a brat. Besides doing this strange “ooh” orgasm face when trying to punctuate notes, her stage movements are kind of icky – squatting, bouncing – they make me uncomfortable. Her vocals weren’t bad, but I think Randy and Simon did her a disservice by telling her to be herself, because the “real” Brenna is just awful. Anyone who votes for her hoping she makes good TV should have their dialing fingers amputated. As for attire, Brenna wore an off-the-rack ensemble from the softer side of Sears.
Heather Cox – When You Tell Me That You Love Me (Vonzell Solomon)
If looks got you thorough this competition, Heather would be a shoe-in. She’s cute, sexy, and has a great combination of youth and maturity. But looks aren’t everything in this competition, and vocally, Heather was bland as unsalted white rice. What a disappointment. Simon nailed it when he said she should have used the excuse of laryngitis, because if this is her at her best, it just isn’t good enough. But what did she wear, you ask? I don’t remember. Bor-ing. Heather’s performance did bring about the most uncomfortable moment of the night, however. After the obligatory brow-beating by Simon, Paula chimes in with, “But she looks so beautiful.” Way to pad the ego, Paula. Is that what you need to get through the day? People telling you how beautiful you are? Well sorry Ms. Abdul – you look like you have ass-hair tonight.
Melissa McGhee - When the Lights Go Down (Faith Hill)
Maybe it was her eye makeup, maybe it was the Baja thing she borrowed from Bo, but Melissa looked like a pothead during this performance. She over-sang the song, but the embellishments she did to the extended notes were pretty good. Flat, but good. I think she could make it another week. Not finals material, but not bad, either. I look forward to hearing her sing something else.
Lisa Tucker – I Am Changing (Jennifer Holiday)
Lisa is a 16 year-old bundle of talent. Her performance was sultry, like a seasoned jazz performer. She worked the audience and got them into a song that most had probably never heard before. This girl channeled Diana Ross with her hair, wardrobe (a black v-neck disco dress), mannerisms and vocals. Can you say finalist? We had another weird moment from Paula, who called Lisa “a precious little gift.” What a pandering fool Paula is. Can we replace her with a tuna sandwich or something?
Kinnik Sky – Get Here (Oleta Adams)
A denim prom dress? What is with all the damn denim tonight? That said, Kinnik did her song justice. A little Toni Braxton, a little Oleta. I didn’t like that she used most of her performance time for the big finish of the song, but she did a very nice job. However, there were better performances tonight and Kinnik just can’t compare to them. Once again, Paula tells a contestant she looks “stunning” – I am starting to think that Paula doesn’t even listen to the performers - she just sees them. She’s probably got an earpiece in and someone is constantly reassuring her how gorgeous she looks at any given moment. What a crap job that must be.
Katherine McPhee - Since I Fell for You (Barbara Streisand)
Great performance. The vocals were great, her showmanship was spot-on, and I loved that she wore jeans (see? Denim isn’t always bad). It was as if she just rolled out of bed and decided she had to sing in front of America today. Katherine looks genuinely grateful to be on that stage. She’s got the cuteness factor, but the fact that she chose Streisand and totally owned that song is a testament to her talent. Paula looked jealous, which is another point in Katherine’s favor.
In summary, my favorites from this night were:
No surprises there. I can’t wait to see how the guys fare tonight. Taylor Hicks is gonna be awesome. I’m not saying if he’s gonna be awesomely good, or awesomely bad, but whatever he does it’s gonna be awesome.