Still dredging songs from the all-time Billboard Hot 100, we’re back for another battle between the ladies who want to be this year’s [[American Idol (2010 Series)|American Idol]]. After a fairly weak showing in the first two live shows, will they have finally worked out how to sing a whole song…in tune?
This is the last week where 4 Idol finalists will get booted in one week. After this, we’re reduced to the final 12, and one contestant per week. As [[Simon Cowell]] says at the head of the show, this is one of the worst weeks to get booted – because you’re gonna get forgotten if you go out at this stage.
Teen contender [[Katie Stevens]] opens the show tonight with [[Kelly Clarkson]]’s Breakaway. I’ve been rooting for Katie as one of the younger contestants, but the performance is mired in problems – her tuning issues being among the top of them, but there’s also very little excitement surrounding this performance.
Randy: It paled in comparison to Kelly’s original, it was almost like karaoke to me. It just didn’t work for me. Ellen: I love that you took a young song and that’s was a good song choice. You’re young, but I didn’t feel you taking a chance. Let’s see some personality as well. Kara: You have a great radio voice, you do. What’s going on this year is that we have people who know themselves and people who don’t. And I don’t think you really know who you are yet. You’re stumbling trying to figure it out. Simon: This has been very confusing for you, because you’ve had an awful lot of advice – and to be fair, you’ve taken the advice. You look 100% better than you did two weeks ago, you’ve chosen a young song. Your issue is that you don’t know what type of artist you want to be. You kind of sucked the energy out of the song and made it gloomy, but I’ve got to give you 10 out of 10 for trying.
Kooky contestant [[Siobhan Magnus]] rocked us last week with one note. This week she’s giving us some vintage rock in the form of The House Of The Rising Sun by The Animals. I’m not going to give her a (deserved) hard time for the styling nightmare that she is, because I’m warming to her quirky tastes. An all-too-short performance of a rock masterpiece.
Randy: You know I’m already a fan. You come out every week, you surprise us. That was kinda different, you started out on a sombre note – I love what you do, because you take every risk, every chance. Ellen: You are why I love music, because it’s supposed to move you – I was captivated, I love what you did with the song, you made it current. And you’re spectacular. Kara: I love the acapella vibe at the front. The thing about you is you are so unique and different – week to week I’m surprised by you. Simon: I wasn’t quite such a fan of that. It was all a bit weird. If this was the first time I’d seen you, I’d have real doubts after all that. You didn’t do anything with the song, I was under-impressed. I thought you were so much better last week.
Flame haired beauty, [[Lacey Brown]], is singing The Story by Brandy Carlile. Never heard it before. But she’s singing beautifully tonight in a very intimite, laid back style. The vocals are on the money, and I loved her clear voice on this track. Best I’ve heard from Lacey so far.
Randy: The song is a little sleepy, but this is your best performance for me in a long time. I forget you had that break in your voice, and it was very cool, very cool. Ellen: It is your best performance to date. It was a perfect song choice and I thought it was really good. Kara: Performances like this are why you got here. Effortless singing, reaching at different places in your register, and this is the kind of record you need to be doing. Simon: I didn’t love, love the song, but you sang it really well. That to me was like listening to something on the radio. Where you’re very good is you know where the cameras are and it feels like you’ve been doing this a long time. It still for me feels as if you haven’t made the right song connection yet – this is in danger of being forgetten.
Cutie [[Katelyn Epperly]] takes on Carole King’s I Feel The Earth Move (except I know it from the Martika version, which had quite a rawk vocal). She’s playing keyboard to this, but the whole thing sounds so mellow and not as energetic as the version I have in my head. Still, it has an almost jazzy, cool feel.
Randy: I like that you did the Carole King hair thing, you played the Wurlitzer. I just didn’t feel that you had the right connection, the vibe. It all felt very put on for me, there was nothing special about it, it was a little sleepy, a little boring. Ellen: I don’t know that that was the song to choose to wow people with. You have a great voice, a great look, you’re adorable, you have everything going for you. I don’t know that that’s going to be the thing to make people pick up the phone and vote for you. Kara: I didn’t feel like you were competing up there tonight, I just felt that you were going through the motions. Carole King is one of the most connected performers, somebody who’s more in it, in the zone. I felt more of that from you last week. Simon: I like your hair. On the downside, it was kind of like request night on a Friday night in a restaurant. On what is arguably the most important night of your career, you picked quite a simple song, didn’t do anything special with it, and other people will look like they tried harder. This may have been a mistake for you tonight.
[[Didi Benami]] picks Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac. And wow! A very simple arrangement gives her voice a chance to really shine. And shine. A beautiful, understated performance from Didi, who may just have made herself stand out for the first time in the live shows.
Randy: That was definitely a whole lot better than last week. At least it was for me. I’m not sure there was a wow moment in it. I don’t know if it’s the best that you can do, but it was definitely a lot better. Ellen: What I love is that you were torn apart last week. And then you get back up here and you’re smiling and you’re singing. I was nervous when I heard what you were singing, but you did a great job with it. Kara: One of my favourite moments of the show so far this season. When I saw you were picking that song I thought you were out of your mind. And it just goes to show that song choice is important, but sometimes you can come along and surprise us with what you bring to the song. Simon: I have to agree with Kara. Head and shoulders above anything we’ve heard tonight. For the first time since the live shows, you proved that you’re an artist. And I disagree with Randy, she did have a wow moment, it was the whole performance.
We love [[Paige Miles]] here. We’re not so fussed on her choice of Smile by Charles Chaplin (you may have heard of him). Again, she gives a sweet, understated rendition of the song. Although, in the wake of Didi Benami, will it seem a little wanting?
Randy: That’s one of my favourite songs, but it just didn’t work. It turned into a bossa nova with the band. Ellen: Yeah, that song is supposed to be inspiring and uplifting and it was just sad and heavy. You’ve got such a great personality and we didn’t get to see it. Kara: What can I say – they’ve said it. It was all wrong, it really was. Tonight was not the night to do that. Simon: It was a horrible choice of song. The arrangement was awful, it was the sort of thing you’d hear in the Holiday Inn in 1974. It’s such a shame, you have so much potential. You’ve got a great voice, but like a lot of people, you’ve no idea what kind of artist you want to be.
Our favourite dreadlocked lady, [[Crystal Bowersox]] is rocking a gorgeous white Les Paul. Me want. Singing Give Me One Reason by Tracy Chapman, Crystal give bluesy vocals and sings so loud we can see her missing teeth (watch it back, people!). She wins points just on the basis of an authentic live performance. Some of the other contestants need to watch this lady and copy some of that mojo.
Randy: This is what this shows about for me – love that, love you, love the song, love the honesty. I’m a fan, that was hot. Ellen: I need new adjectives for you. I’m sick and tired of telling you you’re amazing. Best performance of the night. Kara: This is what we talk about when people know who they are.Every time you step up there, it’s easy for you, because you know. That is a great song choice, and it’s kind of what you’d be doing on your record. And that’s when I start to get excited. Simon: You are one million billion percent gonna be in the top 12 next week. Definitely the most improved artist. You’ve got confidence, you’ve started to believe in yourself and you’re the one to beat.
I hear the country strains before I look up and see [[Lilly Scott]] singing I Fall To Pieces by Patsy Cline. I hate this song. Ugh. And I hate how she’s singing it. The phrase ‘backwards step’ pops into my head to describe this. The vocal is shrill, Crystal has just mopped the floor with her in advance.
Randy: Love the mandolin, love that song, love the original singer of that song. I think it was hot tonight, you’re in the zone, well done. Ellen: Love your voice, love your originality, your style. Kara: I don’t know how you did it, but you made it feel like Patsy Cline is current. Simon: I think you’re very brave choosing that song on a night like this. What it didn’t have was the wow factor. It was cute, it was quirky, it plays into what you’re all about, but that could’ve been a risky thing to do.
Thankfully Simon poured some cold water on a horrible performance by Lilly. What were the judges smoking to make them praise that? Sorry, but it was an awful song choice, and if it were a choice between Crystal Bowersox and Lilly, I know which one I’d choose. Is there room on American Idol for two unique singer/songwriter types?