American Idol Season 9: Top 24, Girls Night

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

You know, I was going to just do one post a week, but it turns out I have so much to say that it's easier to break it up into a post each night. I figured rather than edit the life out of my recap, which would take more time than all of this is worth, I'd just post it here for your enjoyment, in all its 1,600-word glory. Here we go...

We intro the girls, all looking a little more generic than the last time we saw them. We intro the judges; nobody has anything interesting to say except Ryan points out that Ellen is on the far left (meaning Randy no longer has an end spot), which Ellen says is because Simon wants her and it's not going to happen. She needs to be as far as possible from Simon's wandering hands.

Our theme tonight is Billboard Hits, and in chronological order:

Paige Miles, whom I don't remember seeing sing until this point. She's doing "It's All Right Now" by Free. She's, well, all right, except for her ending glory note. But she is toast.

  • Simon says she has the best voice of all the girls but that song was wedding singer-y. He thinks she'll be fine.
  • Kara disagrees to say that the song was a brilliant choice but she could have done more with the chorus.
  • Randy thinks the song is better as a group number, but really likes her big voice.
  • Ellen (Ellen! First live critique!) thinks Paige did an admirable job conquering her nerves at being first and sang better than she did in rehearsal.

Ashley Rodriguez, who likes (and looks like) Jordin Sparks. (Simon, by the way, hates "Battlefield.") She's singing Leona Lewis's "Happy." Way to pick a song no one knows, Ashley Rodriguez. These kids all need mic technique lessons in a big way. Anyway, Ashley has the type of big R&B voice that I can actually stand, but I am not sure that she's interesting.

  • Kara admired Ashley's big notes, but says there were questionable moments; she wants Ashley to do unexpected songs, and I agree that unpredictable is best.
  • Randy's with Kara.
  • Ellen's with all of us.
  • Simon thought it was clumsy and says she might be in trouble.

Janell Wheeler, in a pretty shade of purple, singing "What About Love" by Heart with her velvety voice. Her notes aren't all perfect, but I think she might be the most marketable and relatable of all these girls.

  • Randy didn't love the song choice (I don't know if you know this, but it's ALL. ABOUT. SONG CHOICE), but loves her voice.
  • Ellen liked the song choice and the performance, but acknowledges the sketchy notes.
  • Simon says she gave 100% but delivered maybe 65%. He liked some things about it a lot, though, and thinks she'll be ok this week.
  • Kara thinks the song was too big for her (yup) and took away all the distinctive things about her voice (yup).

Lilly Scott, she of the platinum grey hair. She's singing "Fixing a Hole" by The Beatles, accompanying herself on guitar. Does it make me a bad music major to say I don't know this song? The performance is very Lilly (yes, she already has a thing, and it's a good thing), and I still think she sounds -- and vibes -- exactly like Ashleigh Ball of Hey Ocean.

  • Ellen says that's what they're talking about.
  • Simon says it was the best so far but he needs more star power, although I think that's just her laidback thing.
  • Kara calls her believable and memorable.
  • Randy likes her unaffected manner and honesty.

Lilly is taller than Ryan.

Katelyn Epperly is also singing The Beatles: "Oh! Darling," which is the correct punctuation according to Wikipedia. Frankly, I think she rocks the shit out of it. This surprises me. She might be one of my favourites now. The judges look similarly stoked.

  • Simon thought it was messy, I guess, but he likes her and he liked it.
  • Kara says Katelyn knows her voice very well, which I would agree with. She doesn't like Katelyn's overdone look tonight, though.
  • Randy thinks she looks great, and he digs her tone and how she stayed true to an actual melody.
  • Ellen thought it was interesting but that maybe Katelyn pushed it a little too hard.

Ryan asks Katelyn what the word bubble over her head was when Kara commented on her makeover. Katelyn simply says that she's "all over the place" with style and wanted to try this rock look tonight, but Kara thinks Katelyn was word-bubbling "bitch." Oh, Kara. Way to take it to the ugly place.

Haeley Vaughn, with her Blair Waldorf headband and her guitar, is ALSO singing The Beatles. *headdesk* Let's declare a moratorium on the Lennon/McCartney songbook for the season, yeah? So she's got a funky, bass-heavy arrangement going on, which I am onboard with, but I will never, ever be on board with her horrifying vocals. Or the white tights.

  • Kara says the performance was a bit of an issue, technically speaking, but she liked the fun Haeley was having.
  • Randy likes her unpredictability and boldness, and agrees with Kara that the top of her voice is not pleasing.
  • "E" likes Haeley's stage presence.
  • Simon thought it verged on terrible and doesn't like the unpredictability that Randy likes.

Ryan just threw out the word "apoplectic." I'm glad you exist, Ryan Seacrest.

Lacey Brown, with the hair, singing "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac. THANK YOU. She looks amazing and she sings just oh so good. My gosh. I feel... transcendent. I love everything about her and her voice. I suddenly want her to win.

  • Randy heralds the Dixie Chicks' version of the song, so I already hate what he's saying, and then he SLAMS the performance, saying it was pitchy, all over the place, and utterly the wrong song choice for her voice. Randy. Quit being dumb.
  • Ellen thinks she's better than that performance. WHAT. What is wrong with these people??? It was unbelievably good! We aren't watching the same show. We're getting a different audio feed in Canada!
  • Simon thought it was depressing and indulgent.
  • Kara thought it felt forced. She brings up Sixpence None the Richer, and I'm sorry, but Lacey Brown doesn't have to be Leigh Nash just because she looks like Leigh Nash. SHUT UP, SHOW.

*deep, deep headdesk* I can't do this. I can't do an entire season of this show. I don't know; should I rewatch it? I must have missed something.

Michelle Delamor, who was invisible in Hollywood, is singing "Fallin'" by Alicia Keys. So much headdesking going on over here tonight. From the first phrase, I hate what she's doing with the song, which already sucks as it is. And yep, her pitch is questionable to start; I thought she'd pick it up as the song went along, but not so much. You want to talk about indulgent, Simon? THIS. Ugh, awful.

Hey, I bet the judges are gonna love it!

  • Ellen says it was fantastic. (See?)
  • Simon thought she did very well and sounded very professional, and close to the original. (What, in the sense that Alicia Keys also has no pitch control?)
  • Kara, thankfully, acknowledges that there were moments that weren't great. She says if you're going to go for the diva thing, you have to be technically amazing.
  • Randy thinks it was pretty good but wants her to step outside her comfort zone.

Didi Benami, who was my favourite going into tonight, is doing an awesome song: "The Way I Am" by Ingrid Michaelson. She takes some liberties with the melody, a few of which work, a few of which don't. My overall judgment is that I still like her, but other girls were better tonight (LACEY! Katelyn! Lilly!).

  • Simon thinks she's a good singer, but everybody is trying to sound like Adele or Duffy tonight. He also thought it was dreary, which is what he thinks of every song that runs less than 112 bpm.
  • Kara liked the changes Didi made, but thought it was a bit pitchy.
  • Randy needs more star factor. (And I need more cowbell.)
  • Ellen also felt it was a little lowkey.

Next, the oft questionably dressed, Siobhan Magnus, with Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game." I can only assume she is about to sing the Nouvelle Vague version of such. And I would be wrong; this is most definitely Chris Isaak instrumentation. I find this performance sort of horrifying, in that she is so weird and her voice is so low that I'm never entirely certain that she's not just doing a Chris Isaak impression. I don't know; I think I just don't know where to file this girl.

  • Kara kinda liked it in its quirkiness and connection, but comments on Siobhan's nasalness.
  • Randy liked it when she opened up her vocals in the second verse, because he always only likes it when they belt.
  • Ellen loved it.
  • Simon liked it, but thought her Stevie Wonder in Hollywood was better and more memorable.

There is the cutest boy in the audience cheering for Siobhan. Boyfriend? Brother?

Oh, and here Crystal Bowersox is, with some Alanis ("Hand in My Pocket," goody). The thing about Alanis is that in theory, I like her stuff. When she does it. But you know what, Crystal does an acoustic version accompanying herself with just her guitar and harmonica, and I can't deny her talent, or the fact that her teeth look slightly better. Although I can deny her vocal skill.

  • Randy likes Crystal's honesty.
  • Ellen says they're lucky that she decided to audition for the show because she's fresh.
  • Simon likes it all, story baby blah blah blah, but likens her to your average busker and doesn't like the sound-alike thing. Crystal counters with the fact that they're not allowed to do originals on the show; Simon suggests Bowie or something. Crystal thinks that might be fun.
  • Kara thought she was good but she could be great.

Sigh, I thought we were done. But no, one more: Katie Stevens. She's doing "Feelin' Good" in the style of Michael Bublé. There is no doubt that her voice is an impressive instrument, but she doesn't do anything for me. It's all a little pageant-y.

  • Ellen felt it was a little old for her.
  • Simon totally agrees. He also throws out "pageant-y." YOU'RE WELCOME, SIMON.
  • Kara says Katie was pitchy and must not have been able to hear herself properly, but loves her chops.
  • Randy says she was pushing so hard that she was sharp. But Katie reminds him of Jordin Sparks, so if she youngs it up, she'll do better.

And that's the end of the girls. I think Haeley and Michelle should go, but I think Paige and Ashley will go. Or maybe Lacey, since I'm evidently the only person in the universe who thought she was amazing.

Back tomorrow for the boys!

Tags: american idol, recap, reality

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