Wednesday, February 29, 2012

American Idol 11: Let's Talk About Chicks, Man

As tonight's show begins, Ryan Seacrest tells us that we'll be hearing from "some of the most buzzed about people in the nation." Wait, Jeremy Lin and Angelina Jolie's right leg will be performing tonight? Awesome! Oh, wait...turns out Ryan was talking about the Top 12 girls. Bah.

Then, an amazing thing happens: the judges admit they may have been a little too easy on the guys last night. What, you mean they weren't the 13 wonders of the modern world that I was led to believe? Damn you, judges. You fooled me. You fooled us all!

In the lead-off spot of doom is Chelsea Sorrell, whom I remember from Vegas as one of the stronger girls. Who knows what happened, but her cover of Carrie Underwood's "Cowboy Casanova" is not good. At critique time, Randy is clearly hesitating to say anything remotely negative, but then launches into a "Nothing Compares 2 Carrie" speech. Meanwhile, J.Lo says Chelsea's vocals were nasally, and Steven warns her to watch her phrasing. Now, all together everyone: But other than all that, YOU'RE GREAT!

Erika Van Pelt sings my favorite Heart song, "What About Love?" and she's not as good as I had expected. She sings well enough, but doesn't seem to have very much energy. The whole thing has a very wedding singer vibe to it, but I think it's actually the cheesy musical arrangement that I have a problem with. After mumbling some stuff about breathing wind into the song, Steven falls back on his standard critique of, "beautiful." Jen thinks Erika can push herself even farther. Randy sticks with his schtick of comparing every contestant to another singer, and in this case it's Adele. He likes the Adele vibe now, which is interesting considering that the judges all bitched about Erika's decision to sing an Adele song for her final Vegas solo.

Speaking of Adele, Jen Hirsh is doing the first of two Adele songs tonight. Actually, it's the first version of the same Adele song ("One and Only") that we'll be hearing. Seriously? It's only the first live round and they're already letting contestants perform the same numbers? Again, I was expecting this to be much better because Jen had proved herself to be one of the strongest, if not THE strongest, of the girl singers during the preliminary rounds, but this is pretty shaky. I'm not moved. I guess Jennifer is though, because she steals Steven's trademark "beautiful." Steven says Jen had some trouble at the end of the song, but pulled it out, while Randy suggests that she just do more runs because he's got a hankering for some melisma.

Brielle Von Hugel tells us that she's a "typical Staten Island girl," which explains why no one ever wants to go to Staten Island. I'd prefer to see her (Taking a Long Walk off a) Short Pier instead of "(Sittin' on the) Dock of the Bay," but no such luck.Wow, I can't stand this fake broad and her terrible fake voice. I can't imagine her inspiring the public to vote, although the judges seem to think she's fantastic, with Randy going so far as to compare her to Janis Joplin. Really? Is it because they both have long, dark hair? Because I can't see or hear any other similarities.

It's a new dawn, it's Hallie Day, but it's certainly nothing new for an Idol contestant to sing "Feelin' Good." I sort of remember Hallie as being a VSC, but I can't really remember her sob story. Drug addiction, I think? And a suicide attempt? Good for her for not attending the Gokey School of Shameless Pimping, but the decision to be a human being will definitely come back to bite her since her performance is very average. If she's not great and people can't remember her misfortune enough to feel sorry for her, she's not going to get the votes. Steven and Jen throw around a lot of "beautifuls," as Randy struggles to put Hallie in one of his little boxes. He demands to know who she thinks she is: Adele? Lana del Rey? Adele Rey Day? Her response that she just wants to bring soul to whatever she does means nothing to the Dawg.

Skylar Laine is wearing the schnazziest dress, y'all! (Seriously, I love it.) She's also got some weird blonde streak in her hair, which I guess makes her "edgy." She sings Faces' "Stay With Me" and convulses around the stage in a surprisingly entertaining manner. I never really thought this girl deserved to be in the Top 12, and I still don't think her voice is that strong, but she's actually a good performer. And as the only viable country singer in the mix, she'll get a gazillion votes from all the country fans, unless the more Christian among them get upset that she's singing about having a one-night stand with a woman. Tell us who she reminds you of, Randy! "Reba and Kelly Clarkson, yo!" Randy also is excited for the opportunity to tell an uninterested world that he recorded a cover of this song with Travis Tritt. J.Lo pulls out a Tina Turner comparison, and Steven says that Skylar is a "pistol."

I was never a fan of Baylie Brown, but even I'm "Amazed" at how terrible and off-key tonight's performance is. The judges take a page from the Paula Abdul Critiquing Handbook by letting Baylie know just how pretty she is, while trying their best to not come right out and say that her vocals are downright ugly. Jennifer suggests that Baylie's nerves got the best of her, which Baylie uses as a jumping-off point to try every excuse in the book to explain away her suckitude. There are too many people watching! I'm having heart palpitations! My dress is too tight!

Hollie Cavanagh is from Texas, but has the weirdest accent. It's like half Boston/half Aussie. Baussie? Anyway, she sings Christina Aguilera's "Reflection" pretty well, without any of Xtina's annoying mannerisms or 5,000 extra syllables. Guess what Steven thinks? It's beautiful! Jennifer thinks that Hollie could win the whole shebang. Randy likes Hollie, but doesn't think the performance was perfect, especially all the parts where she didn't sound exactly like Christina.

Oh, Haley Johnsen. "Sweet Dreams" are so not made of this. Wow. It's like she's trying to hit every note in her range at once. It's like she's trying to be Annie Lennox and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan at the same time. Obviously, this is dreadful, but I can't stop laughing, so it's almost becoming a so-bad-it's-good kind of thing. This is like the Troll 2 of American Idol performances. J.Lo hopes that America can hear "all of the special things" Haley did with her voice, and tries to suggest that everything bad about the performance was the song's fault. Steven mumbles something about money shots, perhaps as a nod to Haley's other career options. Randy is very excited to say what he's been working on the whole time Haley was singing: "It was a bit of a nightmare for me instead of a dream." Oh, BURN. Yeah, Randy may not be the most clever guy, but so far he's the only one who's bothered to be honest.

Shannon Magrane is singing some nonsense about a candle in your soul. I guess it's a religious song, and one that was stuck in Shannon's soul, gut and craw, so it's good that she got it out. I still think she is so very average, but she's a squeaky clean girl in a white dress singing God rock, so she'll easily pull in votes. Randy thinks Shannon has a Lauryn Hill vibrato (o...k...) and reminds her that she's "mad young!" Jen gets her first "goosies" of the night, and Steven's reality check bounced, whatever the hell that means.

Seacrest gives Jessica Sanchez a chance to offer up the preemptive excuse that she's got a sore throat, but her cover of "Love You I Do" from Dreamgirls is really quite good. She even sounds a little like J-Hud in parts, which no doubt makes Randy happy. My only issue with this is Jessica's annoying habit of tapping out morse code on her mic (like Xtina and Carrie Underwood), but this is definitely one of the stronger performances of the night. Randy, when he's finally able to stop barking "YO!" actually thinks that this is one of the best of the last two nights. And then he surprises us all by comparing Jessica to Beyoncé instead of Jennifer Hudson.

Closing things out is Elise Testone with the second version of Adele's "One and Only." She plays the piano at the beginning before getting up to belt the rest out. I like her raspy voice, and even though she cracks a few times, I prefer this version to Jen Hirsh's. She just seems like the most authentic of all of the girls. Steven likes the bluesy quality Elise brought to the song, and Randy says that he hopes America "gets" her. J.Lo obviously gets her, as she announces that Elise "might" be the best singer here.

So, which 5 girls will leap into the Top 13? (See what I did there??) I'm gonna have to go with Jen Hirsh, Skylar Laine, Shannon Magrane, Jessica Sanchez and Elise Testone. As I said in last night's recap, I think that of the 3 wild card spots, only 1 will go to a girl. And I'm guessing that girl will be Hollie Cavanagh.

Find more Idol news and recaps at SirLinksaLot.


Scope said...

Watching it last night, it seemed like they were all playing not to loose, not to win. Everyone kept setting the bar lower and lower. There weren't 5 performances last night that should keep them in.

Oh well, at least Eban didn't sing last night, so that was good. (Yes, I'm gonna flog that git all season.)

Cora said...

Hollie Cavanagh's performance actually made me cry. In a badass way though, of course.

I thought Jessica Sanchez was really good too, so I hope they both make it in. As for the others, I really don't care, but I would guess Skylar, Elise, and Shannon make it and Jen is the wild card pick.

NYMomofBoys said...

Wow I DVR'd girls nite so no chance to vote. I 100% agree with your picks ( yeah even tho I know they're right b/c I watched results already) I am so thrilled the overconfident Staten Island teen got booted .
I was wondering about Cavanaugh's accent also. Seems Celtic to me. Or at least Boston. Wish I could recall what her family is about.


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