Tuesday, February 23, 2010

AI Semi-Finals -- Top 12 Girls

The first live show of the season. It's a lot of pressure. What if I'm not as sharp as I'd like to be? What if my comments are flat or sharp or pitchy? What if I forget that American Idol isn't all about me?

We get a little bit of a shock right off the bat with the new seating arrangements. Ellen's sexual harassment story was cute, but let's face it, this move was designed specifically with Kara in mind. Simon's leaving at the end of the year. They've got this season only to get his stamp of approval on her. It's clear they are trying to position her as a more lucid Paula. Let's see how that works out for them.

Just to touch on something that irritated the hell out of me all last season, we saw much less armpit from Kara in her introductory wave. Let's hope it's a trend.

OK. OK. Enough chit chat. Let's get to the performances. Oh, one correction first. I mistakenly said last week that only one girl and one guy would be eliminated each week in the semi-finals. Thank God I don't make my living doing math. It's two each. And one other thing. Just a reminder that I take my notes as things are happening to try to keep my opinions uninfluenced by the judges.

Paige Miles (It's Alright Now) -- As if it wasn't bad enough that they buried her completely during the Hollywood round, they are making her perform first on a two-hour show. They might as well just put a graphic of a circle with a line through it over her while she's singing. She's not doing herself any favors either though. I think this was a poor choice as an introduction to America. Plus, she sounds flat during the choruses to me (actually, I don't really know from flat -- but it doesn't sound right). 4.5

I am surprised to hear Simon say she has the best voice of all the girls. I didn't hear that tonight. And based on the judges' comments, I can only assume it sounded different live than it did on TV. When Randy mentioned that the chorus is usually done as a group, I thought maybe that's what I was hearing that didn't sound right.

I loved that Ryan had her tell us about the dress being sewn on her and that she had to pee for five hours. Say what you want about him, but he is brilliant at humanizing the contestants for the audience.

Ashley Rodriguez (Happy) -- I think it's always a bad idea to do a Leona Lewis song on this show because she is Simon's pet and you will almost never be compared favorably to her. She looks really good, but I feel like the performance is way dull. And maybe the acoustics are bad because she doesn't sound as good as she has previously. 6

Well, Simon didn't surprise me at all with his comments. But they all must have surprised her because she looks absolutely broken after hearing them.

Janell Wheeler (What About Love) -- This song choice is a surprise. I don't remember her voice being big enough to pull this off. Actually, she's sounds OK, but she is lacking the passion that I think this song requires. 5

Hmm. Kara actually made sense with the comment about her voice getting overshadowed by the song.

Lily Scott (Fixing a Hole) -- She's the best so far. I like that you can see her personality in her performance. But that eye makeup! No, honey. No. 7.5

What the hell?! Kara's making sense tonight. Up is down. Black is white. Paula is Simon. (I think I will try to work Paula Abdul into every post this season.)

Katelyn Epperley (Oh Darling) -- During her clip, she mentioned that there were 12,000 people there the day she auditioned and only 13 made it through. I know I'm probably alone here because I never thought she should have gotten this far, but that had to be one hateful audition day for the judges if she was the 13th best singer they saw that day. And all I could think when she came out in that get up was, "Cigars. Cigarettes." I'll give her this though. She sounds better than she did in her audition and in Hollywood. 7

Oh my God. I LOVE the face she made when Kara told her that her makeover didn't work.

Oh. Wait. I really love that Ryan called her on it. And credit to Satan, she knew exactly what that word bubble over Katelyn's head was saying.

Haeley Vaughn (I Wanna Hold Your Hand) -- She looks very 16. I really, really like her, but this is an absolute disaster. She changed the song up way too much in ways that really didn't work. 4.5

Randy had the understatement of the night when he said that her high notes "weren't that pleasing." And I loved that Simon said he was just saying what everyone else was thinking -- he definitely said what I was thinking.

Lacey Brown (Landslide) -- She looks so sultry. I have to say I like her a lot more than I like this performance. There is something good about her, but we're not seeing it right now. 5.5

She did a good job of straddling the line of disagreeing with Simon without coming across as bitter or bitchy.

Did anyone else have to rewind when they saw Kris Allen in the Ford Fusion commercial? I love him.

Michelle Delamor (Falling) -- I think she's doing a pretty good job of making up for her lack of screen time in Hollywood. She sounds very good to me. I think her humility while talking to Ryan in the red room will also help her. 8

I swear Kara spent the entire off-season practicing her critiques.

Didi Benami (The Way I Am) -- I never heard this song before, but this is the first one tonight that I could see myself downloading from iTunes (if I were inclined to spend 99 cents on a semifinal performance). I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her. 9

Sorry Simon. I have no idea what he's talking about. I don't think she sounds anything like the other girls so far tonight.

Siobhan Magnus (Wicked Game) I don't really like this song choice, but I have to admit she's pulling it off. 7

Goddammit. If Kara and I agree one more time tonight I'm giving up on blogging forever.

Did you all notice how long it took before Simon got the glassblowing joke Ryan made. He started laughing about 20 seconds late.

Crystal Bowersox (Hand in My Pocket) -- Well, she definitely did something about her teeth between Hollywood and tonight. I think she might be even better than we thought (and many of us already thought she was great). She's still one of my top three girls. 9

She (and all of them) should be less defensive when Simon is talking and just listen to the advice. There's usually some good shit there.

Katie Stevens (Feeling Good) -- Her earrings are very bling-y. She's got a big-ass voice, that's for sure. Right now, though, I'm still having a hard time buying her as a pop star. 7

They usually don't do a traditional bottom three during these results shows where two guys and two girls go home, so I'll just make my prediction as to which two won't make it to next week. I think Paige Miles is screwed. She's going home for sure. The other one is a little tougher to pick, but I'm going to go with Janell Wheeler.

OK. Let me have it. I've been waiting six months to hear from you all again. Don't leave me hanging.


  1. My picks to go home: Paige for the reasons you mentioned and Lacey because she sounded awful, IMHO. I don't think Janell is going anywhere because she got too much face time. My alternate pick to go home would be Michelle, just because of the limited face time.

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  3. I vote Paige and Janell to go home. Petr, your comments were pretty dead-on. Overall, I thought tonight was pretty painful to watch! Call it nerves, but these girls better shake 'em out and pick better songs. Ugh!

  4. janet here. so much to say! i have to put the kids on the bus soon so i may come back later to say more. anyway, first -- kara. i noticed it right away too, petr. someone has pulled her aside and told her "we hired you because you bring credible musical and industry knowledge and we want to hear you use that knowledge." in fact, it seems like randy is making a concerted effort to get more specific as well. now, onto the girls. i hate to say it but i didn't LOVE anyone. the undead chick (whom randy and i decided remind both of us of nancy spungen and the replicant played by daryl hannah in bladerunner) is definitely original but i can see that act getting on my nerves fast. i have no idea why they seemed to praise the cigarette girl (katelyn?) so much. that rendition of oh, darling was painful for me. way worse than even cruise-shippy. just awful. i also hated haeley vaughn's performance. and ladies, just stay away from ann wilson if you can help it. i thought that song did jannell no favors. i was shocked at how harsh they were being with michelle delamor (if the contest were judged by names, she'd win hands down). she was safe, yes, but every note was right and they just seemed to mildly slam her. and ellen was absolutely right about katie. you're 17. be 17.

  5. Comment from a friend on Facebook: "Why do all the girls on AI tonight look like rejects from Pat Benetar's 'Love Is A Battlefield' video?"

  6. The judges are funny....make the song your own; it didn't sound like the original; you have to put your own style on it; you didn't sing it like her, and she's my favorite. What a pain in the ass! And, of course, when the get a new catch phrase, they use it to death. You were honest; you kept it real; it came from the heart. Jesus Christ.

    Some of them were awful.
    I did like "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", though. Her tempo was off at times, but I liked the way she MADE IT HER OWN.

  7. @janet ... NANCY SPUNGEON! Yes! Thank you! All night long I just kept throwing out names of ghoulish looking people and none of them was ever right (which is why I didn't bother to try in the post). That's exactly right.

  8. was disappointed in all of the ladies also. every season i wonder how some of these people made it to top ANYTHING. Didi Benami (The Way I Am) was definitely my fave. also sort of disappointed in Ellen, bit superfluous her presence tonight. just sayin...Billy

  9. janet again. that thing about "love is a battlefield" rejects is hilarious ... and so true! one girl was wearing the one long earring and the shorter earring and i though, God help me, i did that in the 80s! (remember, petr?...) anyway, i also wanted to say that i liked didi and couldn't figure out what they were slamming her for. i did think ellen's comment was the most on-point, however. that her performance would be great in the middle of a bigger set of songs but perhaps was a bit low-key for your "hello, america!" introduction to the competition.

  10. Well I'll just post my ratings and add a few comments
    Paige Miles - 5 (where the hell did she come from)
    Ashley Rodriquez - 4 (she watches to much Ru Pauls drag Race, girl put your tongue back in your mouth.
    Janelle Wheeler - 3 (oh dear)
    Lilly Scott - 8 (thank God they corrected her hair color to read as platinum and not purple any longer)
    Katelyn Epperly - 6 (forgetable)
    Haley Vaughn - 7 (I like her, and loved the controlled screaming.
    Lacey Brown - 5 (very middle of the road)
    Michelle Delamor -9 (show girl)
    Didi Benami - 8 (distinctive)
    Siobhan Magney - 9 (dark horse)
    Crystal Bowersox - 8 (I am glad they whitened her teeth.
    Katie stevens - 7 (she will shine)

    To Go home - Ashley and Janelle

    Comments on the judges - Randy's bottom teeth are three shades darker than his upper teeth.

    When Ellen isn't being funny, she said the same thing, and seems really nervous

    Kara is making more sense and seems to have her own opinion this season

    Simon seems a bit nicer since it's his swan song season

  11. I disagreed with all of the comments made by the judges about Didi Benami. She was my favorite. Lilly Munster, I mean Scott, has a very interesting voice, but the eye makeup was just wierd. The award for the worst performance of the evening goes to Haley Vaughn, but she won't go home. She has a great voice, she just did a terrible arrangement. I think Paige Miles will go home. Very forgetable. Some observations about the judges: I did not hear Randy say "the thing for me for you" once tonight! Kara also seemed, dare I say it? Intelligent without being obnoxious. Simon seems a bit kinder, and Ellen is very down to earth, but I would prefer her to be funny more often. I love Ellen. Maybe she needs to relax a little, after all this was her first night of judging on live TV. - Brenda

  12. The girls: I definitely agree that they are more talented performers than the boys...
    Let's just let Paige, Janell and Ashley go home.
    I LOVE Crystal (Sheryl Crowe), Lily (Aimee Mann) and Michelle (Tamyra Grey). I also really like Didi (I LOVE that song and she pulled it off!), Katie (she reminds me of KC...let's see how she does w/different types of music) and Siobhan.
    Haeley is too young (what is that thing on her head?) and while I really liked Lacey's other performances, she tried to sound like Stevie...and didn't/shouldn't.
    And lastly, I don't dislike her voice, but your Cigarette Girl comment is too perfect for Katelyn...appearance does count for something...she's a cross between early Madonna and something from a 40's steak house...

    It has to be a girl winner this year! (I like Casey, but I am afraid he may be a one trick pony...)