Last night the American Idol the top 12 girls performed live for America’s votes for the first time this season. Could they beat the boys? Actually, judge Randy Jackson won my respected by admitting that the judges were perhaps a little easy on the guys the previous night.
Well, I loved the guys. Maybe I was carried away with the judges’ enthusiasm but let’s see how the girls compared. And let’s see if they added a thirteenth girl into the mix to balance up the boys.
First up was Chelsea Sorrell singing Cowboy Casanova by Carrie Underwood. It wasn’t an impressive start. Randy said she can sing and he liked the ending, but didn’t it was the right song for her. He wanted to see more Chelsea. I’m not sure I do. Even Jennifer, a huge fan of Chelsea’s, said the performance was nasally and Steven warned her to watch her phrasing. In her favour, Chelsea is a passionate performance and it’s obvious she loves singing.
Erika Van Pelt was up next, singing What About Love By Heart. Now this was a lot more impressive. All three judges loved the performance but also said she had more to give. No sense in peaking too early, I say. Those were some powerful vocals.
Next came Jen Hirsh with One And Only by Adele. Randy came right out and said it: she’s one of the best singers in the competition. Jennifer also thought it was beautiful and loved the way Jen really let loose. For once it was left to Steven to be a little bit negative. Yes, she did mess up the ending a little bit; thanks for reminding us, Steven. It wasn’t Jen’s finest hour but she was still pretty good.
Brielle Von Hugel sang On The Dock In A Bay by Otis Redding next. I needn’t have worried for her taking on such a classic. Steven remarked on her “great sense of the blues.” Jennifer said she was “a true performer and she comes out and eats it up.” Randy even compares her to Janis Joplin! This girl was good. She had the style, te voice and a nice thing going with the audience, too.
Hallie Day was next with Feeling Good by Muse. Despite some loss of control which Jennifer commented on, there were some beautiful moments. Steven liked its “old timey” feel but Randy wants to see some soul in her performance. I liked Hallie on this, the first time she really stood out for me. Liking the old school jazz vibe and she can certainly hit the high notes.
Skylar Laine was up next, singing Stay With Me By Faces. This country girl was fab, very like Lauren Alaina from last season. Randy said she is a “rocking country girl” like Reba mixed with Kelly or Tina. Jennifer loved it and called it Tina Turner gone country. As Steven said, “she is on fire, a pistol. Keep it up!”
Then Baylie Brown sang Amazed by Lonestar and we crashed back down to earth. Even Steven admitted it was not her best performance. Jennifer blamed nerves and maybe that was it. But I’m with Randy: she looked amazing but performance just wasn’t so great. But don’t forget this girl has range.
Hollie Cavanaugh sang Reflections by Christina Aguilera next and shot herself right ahead of the competition. Steven called it “just beautiful” and said she hit all the right notes. Randy said she slayed the dragon, “not perfect but the parts that were were genius.”
Haley Johnsen was next with Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) by Annie Lennox. This girl really split the judges. I agree with Randy, who said “it was kind of a nightmare, pitchy and all over the place.” A great song murdered in cold blood is what I’d call this performance. But Jennifer said she “has soul, pop element, skills and can do all the runs.” OK, so she has the tools; can she build the machine? Steven said the money shots were on (they weren’t) and he loved how she acted on stage.
Shannon Magrane performed There Is A Candle by Susie Luchsinger next and gave Jennifer goosies. Randy was impressed too, as he always is with her. Steven said “it started off low and gospel-y then she took it upstairs and up a notch.” Very impressive performance. I think we’ll see a lot more of Shannon.
Jessica Sanchez sang Love You, I Do by Jennifer Hudson and got the judges raving about her. Randy said she was “one of the best of both nights… unbelievably talented.” Steven told her they will need to pay her to sing the National Anthem. And Jennifer said she performed beyond her years. She looked surprisingly comfortable on stage and had a strong yet pure voice. I liked her a lot and I didn’t expect to.
Next Elise Testone sang One and Only by Adele and Steven said she “blew it out of the water,” For Jennifer she is perhaps one of the best singers and she knows she can do even more. Randy called her “a force to be reckoned with” and so she is. He even got chills hearing her. I wouldn’t go that far, but she was great.
After watching the girls I didn’t have a clue who to vote for and I’m worried about the severe cut that’s coming. Tune in to the American Idol Results tonight to find out which singers we have seen the last of.