American Idol 2010 – Week 2: Billboard Hits – the girls!

After Miss Bowersox’s hospital visit – did we ever find out what she was in hospital for, anyway? – the remaining 10 ladies of [[American Idol (2010 Series)|American Idol]] take their turn on stage. Randy tries to up the ante by claiming that a bunch of the boys had fire in their eyes. And for a minute, we entertain the notion that some of the guys are satan worshippers who’ve done their deals with the devil (Simon?) in return for winning Idol…

Anyway, mysteriously ailed Crystal Bowersox is up first. Let’s get started:

Crystal Bowersox

Taking on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Long As I Can See The Light, [[Crystal Bowersox]] gives a soulful, atmospheric rendition of a classic tune. Wow, showing off a fantastic voice –  no major tuning problems on this one, and she looks decidedly comfortable being on the stage.

Randy: To me, truth is reality. What that means is that you are the truth, you’re not trying to be anybody else. 50 weeks from now, you’re still going to be that girl. I love that girl. That girl is hot! Ellen: That is pure raw natural talent – there’s nothing forced, there’s nothing pushed. I’m so glad you’re here today. You’re amazing. Kara: You completely recovered from last week. This is who you are – you are that Americana rock. And when you come out here, it’s effortless. You’re just centered, you’re focussed in the way that the greats are. And tonight, I actually think you hit a new level. Simon: I know how sick you were over the last 24 hours, and I didn’t know if you were going to be back here this week. You didn’t play the whole sympathy thing, you chose a great song. I’ve completely misunderestimated (is that actually a word?) you from last week, because for you to actually come back with that song, that performance – the vocal was incredible. This was like the moment where we realised with Kelly Clarkson that we had a serious artist on our hands.

Haeley Vaughn

Bubbly teenager, [[Haeley Vaughn]], is our next contestant. She’s taking on Miley Cyrus’s The Climb, which British readers will have nightmares about after it was [[The X Factor 2009]] winner’s song. OK, and we now notice that Haeley’s gimmick is an oversized flower in her hair. She must have a huge collection. It’s not a perfect rendition by any means, but what can you do with such a morose, dull song? There’s no passion here from Haeley, and coupled with the dreaded pitchiness, that’s a formula for bad comments…

P.S. that skirt’s far too short for a 16 year old.

Randy: You want me to keep it real with you? It didn’t work for me, it was tough for me, it was excruciating. You can sing, you have talent, but it was so pitchy and so not right for you, you have no connection to the song at all. Ellen: Don’t ever stop smiling. I was gonna say unfortunately the same thing – I did not feel that you connected to the song. That song has such a great, powerful message, and it was like you memorised the song and were singing it. Kara: You have kind of the Alex Lambert factor, you have people rooting for you at home. You have people who really like you. Some contestants can learn from you – when you’re on that stage, you’re open, you’re real, you’re smiling. And you’re a really good performer. Unfortunately honey, you need about a year of really strengthening your instrument. Because you do have talent, but it’s very inconsistent. Simon: I don’t want to make this any worse than it already is, because it was a complete and utter mess. In theory it should have worked. But there’s a certain irony in you singing a song about climbing when you actually fell off.

Lacey Brown

Lovely [[Lacey Brown|Lacey]] got some good direction from the judges last week. So she chooses to do Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer. Yes, it showcases her voice nicely (good call, DioGuardi?). She seems very comfortable performing, and she’s got a decent rapport with the audience too.

Randy: It would’ve worked, but I felt for most of the song I was looking for the words to flash across the screen like a club and we’re doing karaoke. You just didn’t do anything or bring anything to it! Ellen: You didn’t change it up or anything, but I thought it was adorable. It was the right song. Last week, it was a downer song and you’re such an up person, I thought it was a good suggestion. I like your personality and I like you. Kara: Last week, I felt we were losing what was special about you, which is your tone. You have this very unique sound in your voice and vocal stylings and this song brought that back. But I have to say that you have to step it up from here – we’re back in the playing field with you, because we can hear your tone. Simon: I think it was marginally better than last week. I get the feeling with you that you’re taking part in a competition rather than showcasing who you are as an artist. So, whatever is suggested for you, you’ll probably do and do quite well. But you compare that to the first performance tonight from Crystal, there is a massive massive difference here.

Katie Stevens

Teen contestant, [[Katie Stevens]], is next on the stage. She can say “give me a kiss” in six languages, which must be a disconcerting skill for her parents to discover. Katie’s got a surprisingly mature voice on this track – Put Your Records On by Corrine Bailey Rae actually, maybe that was a bit premature: she struggles with the higher notes toward the end.

Randy: There were some bright moments in there, the one bright moment for me was right after the bridge when you went into your upper register, and it reminded me of the girl we saw in the audition. I know you’re young, but you can tackle things that are a little bit more difficult melodically. By the time you got to your sweet spot, it was kind of cool. Ellen: I think you have a great voice. It still feels like I want to see you younger somehow. I don’t want to hear something that I’d hear in my dentist’s office. I want it to be a young, hip song. You have a great voice, but you’re not singing something that’s right for your age. Kara: I’m so frustrated with you Katie, because I see so much in you. And I know it’s confusing, because one week we tell you to do this, one week that, but at the end of the song you started opening up. You were almost in the wrong key. In the end you were going off with the melody and doing your own thing – you’ve got to be doing that from the first time. Simon: You actually did take our notes and made an attempt to make yourself younger. If you came to my record label, I’d say to you get some experience and then tell me what kind of artist you want to be. And that’s what you’re failing to do at the moment. You’ve got to research it a little more. It wasn’t a winning performance.

Didi Benami

Next up is all-American girl – [[Didi Benami]], who we discover miaows (yes, like a cat) before she performs. A thousand weird sexual questions come to mind, which we won’t ask out loud. Did’s chosen to sing Lean On Me by Bill Withers. Eek! I’m a little uncomfortable with her melody during the verses. At least she doesn’t mess with the chorus. Nice to see Big Mike’s massive frame bopping away in the front row! Yes, though, mostly enjoyable performance.

Randy: I don’t know what’s happening tonight, but I just would not have chosen a song like that, that deep-rooted soul for you. I didn’t think it worked – it shows the imperfections rather than heightens the things you do well. Ellen: First of all, I love your voice. You have a great, great voice. I think you have a great presence, and a smile and an energy about you. You tried to do stuff with it, and I applaud you for it. Kara: It wasn’t good. You said you’re a singer songwriter and you want to do something different this week. What I’m missing from you is consistency. If you’re a singer songwriter, sit down, give an honest interpretation of that song. We lost the uniqueness of your voice and the vocal stylings that got you to this point. It was all over the place. I’m still a fan of yours. Simon: At least you continued the cat theme throughout the song, because that’s what it sounded like. It was all over the place, it was screeching, bad choice of song.

Michelle Delamor

Curly haired beauty [[Michelle Delamor]] gives us a brilliant quotable when she says she’s hoping to give Simon a wild moment this week. Well, that would be entertaining… Instead, she’s singing Creed’s With Arms Wide Open. The performance is turgid, to be frank. And we’re more bemused by the weird dress she’s wearing – it’s like a minimalist wedding dress over black leggings. Hmmm.

Randy: Most positive for me, the outfit is hot. You just didn’t do enough with it. It fell flat to me. Ellen: You look fabulous. I think you did a lot with the song, and for a few moments, I forgot it was a rock song. There were a couple of little pitch problems, and you do have a great voice and a great look. Kara: My favourite performance of yours ever. It may not have been technically perfect, but it felt believable for once. You took a risk, you have a good attitude, you listen and you’re trying. But you believed in it. Simon: I’m kind of with Kara on this. I thought the first halff was stronger than the second half. You really struggled with the notes. You didn’t choose a safe song, you attempted to make it your own version.

Lilly Scott

[[Lilly Scott|Lilly]] got some great comments from the judges in her first week. She’s doing her own version of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come. A classic, I love this song. I was rooting for her, but I don’t like her voice on this – the phrasing isn’t doing the track justice, and her voice is a tad shrill in places.

Randy: That song is one of the toughest songs ever to sing. My favourite performance so far tonight. Ellen: I’d forgotten we were in a singing competition, I was just a fan sitting in a seat watching a performance. By far the best performance of the night. Kara: You just had your first ‘moment’ in this competition. I was rivetted, I just couledn’t wait to see what you were going to do next. You are gonna change the game. Simon: This really makes the point about how you become relevant and use the show as a showcase. I thought it was good, I wasn’t crazy about it like the others. I know you and Crystal are similar artists, but I thought Crystal was stronger than you. It was still great.

Katelyn Epperly

The other hot blonde in the competition, [[Katelyn Epperly]] is singing Coldplay’s The Scientist. We all know the Cowell loves to give a diva a mardy indie song every once in a while. She’s playing piano – but this song choice is going to kill us all. I wonder how many suicides Coldplay are actually responsible for? They must be stopped! This is dreary, dismal, depressing, and other d words. Just miserable. A cloud has passed outside my window…

Randy: I really liked it. It’s an amazing song, and actually it was nice to hear you play the piano. It was great until the last couple of notes. Ellen: I liked that you were playing guitar I mean piano. I kinda fell asleep. It was way too slow. People can’t vote if they’re asleep. Kara: I understand what Randy and Ellen are saying. But I kind of love you. You have an incredible instrument, and you can do a lot of things with it. Figure out who you are though, real quick. Simon: Did you hear the Natasha Bedingfield version of the song? Because it’s almost identical. Nice choice of song, it made you contemporary. I think it was a million times better than last week, and you may have put yourself back in the race here.

Paige Miles

Continuing the tradition of flattering DioGuardi, [[Paige Miles]] chooses to sing a song Kara co-wrote, namely Kelly Clarkson’s Walk Away. Starts off weak, but there’s a middle bit that just blows us away! This girl has a fantastic voice!

Randy: So you love being a rocker. I liked it. I wasn’t over the top in love with it. For me, there were so many words I didn’t get to hear you singing. You got one of the best voices in this whole thing. Ellen: I totally disagree with Randy. I like everything you did with it, and it was kind of risky to change it up. I thought you changed it up just enough to make it yours and you had great energy and fun. Kara: I can see you having a hit with that song. Here’s the thing. If you knew the guy that I wrote that song about and how upset I was. You wouldn’t have been smiling so much. I loved it. Simon: I’m gonna agree with Randy. Two weeks in a row you have failed to choose the right song for you. It’s frustrating, because you have such a good voice. You’re making bad decisions. You’ve gotta come on that stage, nail the song and put your marker down that you could be the one to beat.

Siobhan Magnus

[[Siobhan Magnus|Siobhan]] reveals that she warms up for performances by doing that thing Sharpay does in High School Musical. Tonight, closing the show, Siobhan is singing Aretha Franklin’s Think. Hardly contemporary, but that high note at the end was just scary! Wow!

Randy: You picked the dopest coolest singer of all time – you slayed! She is going crazy for this! Ellen: I loved it too. Most people would say don’t take on such a big song!  Man, that was good! Kara: I can’t get over that note. I don’t know if there’s a correlation between the glass blowing and being able to hit those note [she credits singing Kelly Clarkson in the shower]. Simon: Once again, you’re such a strange person. I thought there were parts of the song that were terrible, then that note was amazing.

Some boring performances tonight. I’ve gotta give credit to Siobhan Magnus for that final performance and belting out an Aretha classic. Lilly Scott impressed as always, and I enjoyed Paige Miles’ song, despite the judges’ comments.

Who were your favourites from the final 10 ladies of American Idol?

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