American Idol 2009: The third live show!

Von Smith opens the show tonight. We are reminded that Simon thought his audition was ‘indulgent nonsense’ – will he be as bad tonight? Eugh, he’s singing too low. Looking slightly mismatched in a grey suit and orange t-shirt. He’s redefining singing for me, and not in a good way. You’d think after watching 2 weeks of live rounds, he’d have practised more.

Judges comments: Randy: The last couple of weeks started off rough, but tonight, that was the way to kick off a performance. Welcome to Idol, baby. Kara: You’re coming into your own. You’re really comfortable up there tonight. Paula: America’s going to remember you, you know when to pull back, you know when to push forward. Simon: You remind me of Clay Aitken. You look appalling, but you sang quite well. Much better song than you sang at Hollywood.

Our second contestant is Taylor Vaifanua, looking cute in a kind of black and grey dress. Her singing is better than Von, but the song itself is unremarkable. She’s definitely getting more confident as the song progresses.

Judges comments: Kara: So Taylor, it’s obvious you have a voice. You hit those notes, you’ve got talent. But I want more of your personality to come through. That’s why that performance leaves me a bit cold. Paula: I’m a little perplexed, because we heard you sing this in Hollywood week. You had the opportunity to show us something new and I wish you’d taken that chance. Simon: My problem was that I genuinely couldn’t remember you from the earlier rounds. That song was actually a bit bland. I think you’re going to struggle tonight, to be honest with you. Randy: You’ve got a great voice, you can really sing, but you didn’t show us anything about you. It was kinda boring.

Next up is Alex Wagner-Trugman, playing up his ‘war of words’ with Simon Cowell. Yawn. He’s singing I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues. Yikes, he looks like he’s wandered into a karaoke competition. His face isn’t screaming out star potential to me. The singing isn’t the worst thing – his random attacks on the microphone stand and the dramatic stops are. Crucify him, judges.

Judges comments: Paula: Alex you certainly the showman. We had fun watching you, and I’m glad you got to channel your inner rock star. Simon: We had fun watching you, just not listening to you. The ridiculous growling about halfway through was just stupid, along with the kicking over the microphone. You’re like a little hamster trying to be a tiger. Randy: It definitely was crazy in a kind of buckwild way. The vocals…dude. You can sing, but you just screamed that song. Kara: Here’s the positive thing – at least you’re you.

Arianna Afsar is up now, and we’re told this is the first ever ABBA song ever sang on American Idol. Praise Bjorn! Aw, she’s bubbly and cute. She’s singing The Winner Takes It All, by the way. In a rather slowed down style. Nerves affecting the voice a little, she goes shrill and loses control from time to time. Oh sorry, I wanted to like her, but that was excruciating.

Judges comments: Simon: There was a certain irony to that song choice, because it was absolutely terrible in parts. The song was too big for you and it was an incredibly dreary arrangement. Randy: This is the time that America’s really seeing you and you need to show them that you’re young. You tried to do more with it than was there. Kara: We fell in love with a young vivacious girl. Tonight it was dark, it was kinda depressing. Look at that beautiful face, that smile. Be young, touch people. Tonight it was too serious. Paula: I do believe that the song is a little old-fashioned. But sometimes it’s better to just stick to the melody.

Alrighty, next is the uniquely named Ju’Not Joyner. He’s covering the Plain White Tee’s Hey There Delilah. Unlike the original, it’s a slower, more soulful version. The vocals are far superior to anything else we’ve heard tonight, but he may get slaughtered on song choice and forgettable delivery. I like it, Ju’Not has a really good voice.

Judges comments: Randy: You know what’s really cool in what you did. But you took that song and you really pulled back for most of the song. Dude, I loved it. Kara: I liked your spin on that song. It’s very smooth, just felt really fluid. I think you could bust it out more on the next song. Paula: What was great about your performance was that you changed us. Simon: I’ve got to tell you, that was actually better than I thought it was gonna be. I just wished you’d stripped the whole song down though. I just thought it was a little bit safe.

Kristen McNamara now: you’ll remember her from the group she was in with Nathaniel Marshall. I think we liked her first time. She’s singing a Tracy Chapman song. Good, smoky, sassy voice. Not sure her dress choice is great, but the song choice is spot on. She’s owning the stage, confidently strutting around with the mic stand. Me likey. She didn’t put a foot wrong on that performance.

Judges comments: Kara: I’m liking the hair much better. You are a great singer. The thing is, I could see you more doing a Kelly Clarkson song, or So What by Pink. Paula: When you were in Hollywood, you sang a Kelly Clarkson song. That was what I expected from you. This song was a little safe, but it does show you have a hell of a range. Simon: You look like your mum styled you and it was quite a strange song choice. I’m not quite sure who you are at the moment. Randy: You tried to do too much with the song. I kinda felt like it was a bit of a karaoke thing.

OK, we might have missed a bit, but here’s lisping Nathaniel Marshall with his gawdawful hairbands and a Meat Loaf song to butcher. I could never understand how he made the Top 36: he’s rubbish as a singer. Do they still have Guantanamo Bay? They should send him down to sing to the prisoners. Because this, if you didn’t guess, is audio torture. Vote him out, America!

Judges comments: Simon: Some people will probably quite like that – the minority – other people will think it was excruciating. The awful Olivia Newton John hairband and…everything else. To be fair, you actually are fun, and I like you. Randy: I’m curious about that song choice, is that one of your favourites? You definitely can sing. It’s hard to imagine as a recording artist what kind of music we can make with you. Kara: The thing is, if you want to be taken seriously, you’re going to have to pick a song that shows the more serious side of you. Right now, you’re the guy I wanna go to karaoke with. Paula: You know I love you. Here’s the thing, this song it was like the Boy George version of…this song.

Now, Felecia Barton, a contestant who got booted initially, but was brought back when another contestant was eliminated. She’ll be singing No-one by Alicia Keys. Okay, funky and modern. Felecia is decked out in all-black with a purple jacket. She’s got a good voice, and she’s mostly in tune, but is killing the song slightly by oversinging it.

Judges comments: Paula: Isn’t it funny how the universe works? Your talent, your gift…is unbelievable. I’m so glad we brought you back. Simon: I thought the first part of the song was better than the last. Randy: I’m really happy that you came back, because I think you’ve got a great voice. Kara: This is by far your best look. You had attitude, you had presence. I noticed you for the first time tonight.

Next is Idol’s blind contestant, Scott MacIntyre. Don’t know the song, but I’m not impressed with his voice. He’s a bit screechy in places. In my ear, I’m being told to back off, because Scott is at his best when he’s playing piano! Not the best of the night.

Judges comments: Randy: This wasn’t the most perfect vocal for me, but the bits that were good were great. Props to you, job well done. Kara: Scott, you move mountains when you step up on that stage. You do what you love, you’re passionate about it and you don’t make excuses. And when you have issues with your vocals, it doesn’t matter, because it’s coming from your heart. I want America to see you play and sing, because that’s when they’re really gonna see Scott. Paula: Whatever challenges you face to get here, I’m just so happy and proud that you made it. Simon: I wasn’t crazy about the song, particularly some of the lyrics. But I have to say, Scott, you’re starting to grow on me. There are better singers in the competition, but in a sea of forgettable people tonight, you’re the only one who I think I’m gonna remember. I’ll be amazed if you don’t sail through to the next round, young man.

Now for a taste of country music with the unfortunately named Kendall Beard. She got through on a unanimous vote from the judges. She’s singing a song by Martina McBride, Listen To The Girls. Will her father be performing his alligator dance alongside her?

Yep, I can hear that country twang in her singing. It’s not the best voice ever, but she’s smiling and looking like she’s having fun. Unfortunately, the song means nothing to me.

Judges comments: Kara: You’ve got a big personality and it comes through. But you had some issues – there was some flat stuff going on. You’ve got that personality that we saw, that we liked. Paula: Best outfit. You look awesome. Your parents must be so proud of you. Simon: Kendall, I think you probably did the right thing tonight. I’ll be honest, about halfway through I couldn’t wait for it to end. It got a bit shrill towards the end. Not my cup of tea. Randy: The song choice was good, the outfit was good, you look amazing. But it wasn’t your best vocal.

OK, here comes Jorge Nuñez with the second Elton John song of the night: Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me. A very serious performance from Jorge. And another song choice I’m personally lukewarm on. Not overly impressed.

Judges comments: Paula: [Sorry, I’m not even going to bother reporting Paula’s weak-ass comments] Simon: I think we were wrong to say you shouldn’t sing with an accent. You’re actually a very good singer. Randy: Accent or not, it’s the vocals that matter. This wasn’t the perfect vocal, but it was really, really good, dawg. Kara: You were born to sing. That’s your gig, you’re a singer.

Finally…Lil Rounds, the last performance of the night. I’m drained folks, this has been my least favourite night of the three so far. Having said that, I’m looking forward to hearing Lil. I think she’ll be a memorable contestant.

Her song is Mary J Blige’s Be Without You. Mmm, nice dress Lil! Suddenly I remember that the last two show closers got straight through to the finals. Why do I remember this? Because Lil is freakin’ amazing! The audience is waving along with her, her voice is just brilliant. Best of the evening. [Stops to wipe dribble]. Best of the night.

Judges comments: Simon: Lil, I’m gonna keep this very brief…brilliant. My favourite performance. I think you have great prospects in this competition. Randy: I think you’re one of the best we’ve found in this season so far. You kept your swagger on. You got unbelievable vocals and you definitely know who you are. Kara: You were a powerhouse the first day we met you and you’re still a powerhouse. I can’t wait to see what you’re gonna sing next week. And the week after that. Paula: [Another awful, pointless comment]

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