1. Chelsea Sorrell – Cowboy Casanova (Carrie Underwood)
She’s the one who looks a bit like Kimberley Locke.
Plenty of country growl in those vocals, but Carrie Underwood is a lot to live up to. Chelsea did a decent job, although it did inevitably sound a bit copycat, and all the lesser for it.
2. Erika Van Pelt – What About Love? (Heart)
She’s the one who looks a bit like Patricia Arquette, the Medium years.
Erika is no Nancy Wilson, and fell far short by comparison. But if you don’t know the original, it might have sounded better. There’s something old-school and authoritative about her voice, but its limits were audible.
3. Jennifer Hirsh – One And Only (Adele)
She’s the one who looks a little bit like Rachel from Glee. Just not as irritating.
Opting for one of the lesser-known, bluesier tracks from Adele’s album has its positives and negatives in that it should make her stand out and less likely to have vocal comparisons drawn. Unfortunately, whilst she demonstrated a great voice, it was dull and forgettable.
[N.B. When this was written, I didn’t realise what was to come.]
4. Brielle Von Hugel – Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding)
She’s the one that dressed like a mermaid. And had a REALLY irritating Mom during auditions.
Her lower register was a bit of a struggle, but the higher notes had a distinctive tone, even if it briefly bordered on nails-on-a-blackboard at times.
5. Hallie Day – Feeling Good (Nina Simone)
She’s the one that looks a bit like Kim Basinger in LA Confidential.
She seemed comfortable on stage, and her voice went to some nice places, but there were a few dodgy moments too. Unfortunately, this song has been done to death on these shows, making this performance also quite forgettable.
6. Skylar Laine – Stay With Me (Faces)
She’s the one with the strong Southern accent who seemed to have come dressed in the decorations from her Christmas tree.
She strutted around the stage like her hip was a spring, nodding and stomping with confidence, but had the big vocals to match, for the most part. She could be fun to watch, in a Lauren Alaina kind of way. Jennifer Lopez was spot-on with “Tina Turner does country.”
7. Baylie Brown – Amazed (Lonestar)
She’s the pretty, blue-eyed blonde (with her hair down) in the red dress.
“It just keeps getting better”, she sings. I have some news for you, dear. It started sounding absolutely dreadful, and most certainly did not get, in any way, “better.”
8. Hollie Cavanaugh – Reflection (Christina Aguilera)
She’s the one that looks a bit like a young Naomi Watts.
“One of the front runners”, JLo? On this evidence, I suspect not. There was a good voice in there, but unfortunately was drowned out in her (embarrassingly failed) attempts at matching Xtina’s caterwauling. Had she picked a less demanding song (or even the version Mulan herself sings in the film) she would have fared a lot better.
9. Haley Johnsen – Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (Eurythmics)
She’s the blonde one with the fringe, nose piercing and see-through half-skirt thing.
Her weird hand movement reminded me of Diana Vickers, but with a very different kind of bad voice, in that it was more like a man who couldn’t sing. Shouty, out-of-tune and nightmarish. “A little trainwrecky”. Quite, Randy.
10. Shannon Magrane – Go Light Your World (Kathy Troccoli)
She’s the blonde one with the white dress and sparkly Alice band.
The judges loved it, but it did nothing for me. It wasn’t interesting enough to be bad. I admire her choice of obscure song, but it was a bit of a generic Olympic anthem that had zero impact.
11. Jessica Sanchez – I Love You I Do (Dreamgirls)
She’s the Asian girl.
It was a surprisingly accurate impression of Jennifer Hudson, who performed this exact version in the Dreamgirls movie. Which, I guess, is a HUGE compliment. Probably the best of the night.
12. Elize Testone – One and Only (Adele). Again.
She’s the one who sat at the piano. And looked a teeny bit like Lady Gaga, despite wearing neither household appliances nor fridge contents.
In a far more emotional rendition than Jennifer (see above), Elize certainly stole her rival’s thunder by somehow making it not dull. I wasn’t blown away, but she did well.
Round 1 – The US public choose their top 5s (in no particular order).
1. Jessica Sanchez
2. Hollie Cavanaugh
3. Shannon Magrane
4. Skylar Layne
5. Elize Testone
1. Phillip Phillips
2. Joshua Ledet
3. Heejun Han
4. Colton Dixon
5. Jermaine Jones
Round 2 – The judges pick six acts to perform again.
1. Jennifer Hirsh – Oh Darling (The Beatles)
Giving it LARGE on the vocals, she certainly left no doubt that she can sing.
2. Jeremy Rosado – I Know You Won’t (Carrie Underwood)
A hugely emotional performance, WAY better than his previous song.
3. Brielle Von Hugel – Someone Like You (Adele)
Starting off rather rough, she gave it a bit of a rock edge and the growly vocals to match- but it veered into screechy.
4. Deandre Brackensick – Georgia On My Mind (Ray Charles)
My heart sank at his song choice; another song that’s been done to death. Fortunately, he must have read my post as he stuck to his lower register, keeping the falsetto for effect, as and when required.
5. Erika Van Pelt – The Edge of Glory (Lada Gaga)
Opting for the Kitty Brucknell-favoured ballad version, she absolutely smashed it. In a (very) good way.
6. Reed Grimm – Use Me (Bill Withers)
As Hellish as I expected it would be. Writhing about the stage like a broken slinky, his vocals matched. Scoobydoobydatndoodee indeed.
So we say goodbye to…
Round 3 – The judges pick an act each to go through.
The final three through are:
1. Erika Van Pelt – chosen by Randy, and, after that last performance, a good call.
2. Jeremy Rosado – chosen by Jennifer, who obviously has some kind of emotional connection to him.
3. Deandre Brackensick – chosen by Steven. A no-brainer.
So we also say goodbye to…
Jennifer Hirsh (over Jeremy? Really?)
Brielle Von Hugel (another no-brainer)
Reed Grimm (good riddance)