Tuesday, March 9, 2010

‘American Idol 9′ – Top 8 girls

We’ll be live blogging tonight’s performance show so stay tuned for all the action! One comment before we begin. I am astounded by the poor quality of the group photos for the Top 16 this year. Awful. I did the best I could with it, but really, couldn’t they do better than this?

The show starts out with an introduction of the eight remaining girls in silhouette. Heavy drama ensues. It looks like Lilly has the pimp spot and Katie’s going first. But this could change, of course.

At the hard opening, Ryan is sitting at the judges’ table and Ellen and Simon are smooching. That’s right, smooching. Ellen’s wearing a tie. “Ellen’s taken,” Ryan reminds Simon. Simon says, “This is the worst night to go… the stakes are the highest they’ve ever been.”

Katie Stevens – “Breakaway” (Kelly Clarkson)

Katie is completely out of tune and her vocals are breathy. She’s sharp, very sharp, and not in a good way. The sound mix is atrocious and her pitchiness is horribly apparent. I can’t even hear the band. Even the backup singers sound as though they are in another theater. Not good at all. Could Katie be in danger?

Randy says Katie’s version pales in comparison to the original. “It wasn’t great.” Ellen loves that Katie took their advice and sang a young song. “I didn’t feel those words,” she says. “It’s about personality… I didn’t see it.” Kara says Katie has a great radio voice but that Katie doesn’t know herself as an artist. She says Katie needs experience. “The singing needed to be perfect tonight, and it just wasn’t.” Simon says Katie’s taken their advice, but that she hasn’t worked out what kind of artist she is. He says she kind of sucked the energy out of the end of the song. He gives her 10 out of 10 for taken their advice, though.

Katie says she tried to do a bigger song like Randy told her to do and a young song like Ellen tried to do. She says she wants to be a soulful, youthful, edgy artist. Honey, you ain’t no Kelly Clarkson, so get that out of your head right now.

Siobhan Magnus – “House of the Rising Sun” (The Animals)

Siobhan chose this song in honor of her dad. Weird choice. She starts out a cappella, a risk in that her vocals are naked. An acoustic guitar comes in and then the band picks up a bit. Siobhan has a very mature voice and belts this thing out. But there are some moments where her tone is so pure, it sends a bit of a chill down my spine.

Randy says he likes that she always surprises them. “I love what you do because you take every risk and every chance.” He says it was hot. Ellen says she knows that house. “You are why I love music because it’s supposed to move us.” She says she was captivated. Kara loves the a cappella opening. She says Siobhan is unique and different, and that she is always surprised by her. Simon says he wasn’t quite as big a fan and says it was all a bit weird. “If this was the first time I’d seen you, I’d have real doubts.” He said it was “ploddy, boring, and dark,” and he “didn’t get it.”

Lacey Brown – “The Story” (Brandi Carlile)

I don’t know this song, so I can’t compare it to the original. To me, it sounds exactly the same as everything else Lacey’s done so far. Thing is, it’s a whole lot better than last week, despite the Dolly Partonesque tone of her voice. The song was a bit plodding, but her vocals were rather pretty. She seems very confident, which certainly helps. I’m surprised, but I really liked this.

Randy says the song was a little sleepy, but this was her best performance so far. “It was very cool, man.” Ellen also thinks this was her best performance to date. “I thought it was really good.” Kara calls her singing effortless and calls it a brilliant choice. “You’re back on your path.” Simon didn’t love the song, but says she sang it very well. He likes that she knows how to work the cameras. Good for you, Lacey!

Katelyn Epperly - “I Feel the Earth Move” (Carole King)

Katelyn’s playing the keyboards again. I’m going to call this a karaoke performance. She doesn’t seem to be at all connected to the lyrics and seems to be going through the motions. It’s an incredibly bad song choice. Towards the end, she goes off the melody and the whole thing falls flat. Of course, the sound mix doesn’t help a bit. Is the band even playing?

Randy is laughing. He says he doesn’t feel the vibe. “There was nothing special about it.” Ellen says this probably wasn’t the song to choose to wow people. She doesn’t think this performance was “enough.” Kara says she didn’t feel like Katelyn was competing and that Katelyn was just going through the motions. She doesn’t know what happened? Katelyn says she was trying to be less “corny” per Simon’s instructions from last week.

Simon says he likes her hair. “On the down side, he says, “It was kind of like request night on a Friday night in a restaurant.” He also thinks she didn’t try hard enough. “This might have been a mistake for you tonight.” Katelyn says she definitely cares.

Didi Benami – “Rhiannon” (Fleetwood Mac)

I like that she’s playing her guitar and that she kept the arrangement very simple. I don’t care what anyone says. I like Didi’s voice and vibe. The background singers don’t help at all, though. I think she made the song current and fresh, and really made it her own. I loved it.

Randy says it was definitely a whole lot better than last week. He says this was the person they fell in love with. Ellen says, “Yes indeedy, Didi.” She loves that Didi was torn apart last week, but that she got back and did it again. “Good job.” Kara says this was one of her favorite moments of the show so far this season. She says that song choice is important, but that she loves that Didi made it her own. Simon says that he agrees with Kara. “I thought that was head and shoulders above anything that we’ve heard tonight.” He thinks the whole performance was a wow moment. He also congratulates her for overcoming their shredding last week and doing so well this week.

Paige Miles – “Smile”

Warning, warning, this is a very risky choice considering you might have to sing this as your swan song. Her vocals are shaky and she seems very tentative. Again, the band is nearly non-existent and the arrangement is awful. Overall, it’s boring and uninspired. Sorry Paige, you needed a knockout tonight and you didn’t get it.

Randy says it’s one of his favorite songs, but it didn’t work for her at all. “It didn’t work at all.” Ellen says the song is supposed to be inspired, but it was sad. She doesn’t think this was the right song. Kara agrees. “It was all wrong… tonight was not the night to do that.” Paige says she loves the song and is sorry it didn’t work. She’s close to tears. Simon says it was a horrible choice of song. He calls is a peanut performance – normally people are at the bar and don’t pay any attention. “The problem is, you’ve got no idea who you are.” He thinks this could be the end of the road. I totally agree.

Paige says she’s a huge Michael Jackson fan and he did this one. She says she gets all emotional singing it. Awww, I feel so bad for her.

Crystal Bowersox – “Give Me One Reason” (Tracy Chapman)

Crystal picks up an electric guitar and leaves everyone else in the dust. Everything seems so effortless for Crystal. She twists this up, and turns it into her own creation. She doesn’t push her vocals, they just seem to flow from her soul and she know exactly where she has to be throughout the 90 seconds. Amazing. Simply amazing. Why hasn’t this girl been “discovered” before now.

Randy says, “This is what the show’s about for me.” Ellen says she’s tired of calling Crystal amazing. “Best performance of the night.” Kara says this was a great song choice and what Crystal would be doing on her record. She points out that Crystal knows who she is as an artists. All this makes Kara excited. Simon says Crystal is one billion, million going to be in the Top 12. He likes her confidence too. “Right now, you are the one everyone has to beat.” Yup, I’d say so!

Lilly Scott – “I Fall to Pieces” (Patsy Cline)

Again, a weird choice. Lilly changes it up a bit, giving the song a fresh new take. She’s playing a mandolin, which is also different. It felt a bit stiff, though, and on the boring side. I wish she’d done something a little more upbeat, but it wasn’t bad. Hard to follow Crystal, though.

Randy says it was hot and that Lilly is in the zone. Ellen loves her voice, style, and originality. Kara says she doesn’t know how Lilly did it, but that she made Patsy Kline current. Simon calls her brave for choosing a song on a night like this. But, he doesn’t think it had the wow factor, especially being in the pimp spot.

Best and the worst

Once again, Crystal wins the night for me, followed by Didi and Lilly. Lacey is my fourth spot, followed by Siobhan, Katelyn, Katie, and Paige. Paige is a goner, of that I’m fairly certain, but who will join her? Based on her three performances, I think Katie should go home, but I’m going to predict the season’s first shocker – Lilly. Why? There are too many oddball girls in this group and votes are going to be all split up between Lilly, Siobhan, and Lacey. Siobhan is appealing for her quirkiness and Lacey for being a survivor. That leaves Lilly.

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