Girls (Should Run This Idol)

Before I get into the recap of the top 12 girls, who proved to be both capable singers and entertaining performers, I have to apologize for what is sure to be a scatterbrained blog. Yes, I can be even less cohesive than I normally am. And I most certainly will be because Kris Allen’s “The Vision Of Love” hit the internet during Idol and I might’ve gotten a bit sidetracked. I am still on a delectable falsetto-induced high. Blame all errors in this blog on that.

So I actually never did get around to watching all of Idol. I caught some of it live and then mostly just rewatched the performances, so I have no real comments on the judges. I hear they were actually insightful tonight, though, so that’s a step in the right direction. I also hear that they might think everyone in the world sounds like or should sound like Adele. That’s a little unfortunate, but it’s better than wanting all the girls to sound like Ke$ha. (I wouldn’t mind if they all dressed and performed like Ke$ha one night. They should have “trashy party songs” theme week! How awesome would that be?) I did get to hear them take back their praise of the guys, which was so necessary. I am so happy that the producers gave them a swift kick in the ass for being totally absent on Tuesday night. Maybe there is still hope for the judges yet! (I really am like Charlie Brown and the football, aren’t I?)

Let’s hear them girls sing:

Chelsea Sorrell – “Cowboy Casanova” (Carrie Underwood)
Chelsea’s speaking voice might have been the low point of the show. Good lord, she really does sound like an animated mouse, doesn’t she? Now the general rule of thumb is just to stay away from songs associated with past Idol contestants. This most definitely includes their original material. I think Carrie Underwood’s uptempos are an exception to this rule because they’re so awesome that everyone should hear them all the time. Now Chelsea couldn’t keep up with the song and clearly does not have Carrie’s voice but she was fun! I enjoyed watching her even if listening wasn’t the most pleasant experience ever. Still, the boys started off with Reed, so the girls had a huge lead right off the bat.

Erika Van Pelt – “What About Love” (Heart)
I don’t know that I had a favorite going into this, but if I did, it was probably Erika. First of all, with her striped hair situation, she looked like Kelly Clarkson from her days on Idol. This has to be good news for Erika, right? Anyway, Erika picked a great song for her voice and then just ripped through it vocally. I kind of get where the judging panel was coming from – I do think Erika could’ve built the song a little more for the climax – but I’d hardly say she was holding back. I’m really excited to hear what Erika has coming up for us, because I think she’s pretty versatile and capable of a few showstoppers.

Jen Hirsh – “One And Only” (Adele)
Jen has an absolutely gigantic voice, but it sort of whiffed for most of the song. She sounded pretty good, but it felt a little unfocused. Sometimes you get the notion that Jen is trying to show you what her voice can do versus trying to sell you the song. It’s not even a question of control, because she’s got that. Anyway, enough of honest critique… did you see the wheat fields that were behind her? Because y’know, that’s American! Or something. I don’t know, but WHEAT FIELDS. How is that not great?

Brielle Von Hugel – “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay” (Otis Redding)
Brielle is a pretty obnoxious personality and because of that I don’t want her to get through. That said, she’s actually a good performer and has a good voice. Plus she used the guys as stage props to show them how truly inferior they were to the women. She also had a horrifically literal dock as her backdrop. It was large and just there. Like, I get that wheat fields are kinda pretty? But wooden docks? Not so much. Anyway, her arrangement was actually really interesting and dynamic and damn, relistening to her performance it was solid. If I didn’t like so many of the other girls way better, I’d be rooting for Brielle.

Hallie Day – “Feeling Good” (Nina Simone)
I had no idea who Hallie Day was before tonight and I’m sad about that. Not even talking about her pitch-perfect vocals on a song with a fair amount of nuance, she keyed in on the swagger perfectly. These recaps are super boring when I love everyone as much as I did, because really how many times can I say “you blew it out the box!!” and “you’re in it to win it!!” before it gets old? (See what I did there?) But yeah, I hope you voted for Hallie because she desperately needs it and deserves to go through.

Skylar Laine – “Stay With Me” (Faces)
I don’t think we’ve ever had a performer with the sheer spunk per square foot that Skylar has. (Spunk per square foot, or spf^2 as its known in scientific circles, is a legitimate metric and you should believe me because I’m a science PhD candidate.) Skylar had crazy amounts of charisma and then managed to actually stay in tune and belt with the best of ’em at the same time! It was like Amy Adams’ “Sin Wagon” except less country and, thus, infinitely more listenable.

Baylie Brown – “Amazed” (Lonestar)
Why are the prettiest ones always so bad at singing? I don’t get it! She sounded good before. Why was this such an awful trainwreck? Baylie! You are so hot. It’s unfair that I can’t root for you because of it. It’s a shame she couldn’t even be mediocre. Sigh.

Hollie Cavanagh – “Reflection” (Christina Aguilera)
“Reflection” is an awful song to sing. It’s trite and from a Disney movie not about talking animals. So, really, what’s the point? So… of course I loved it and felt the need to instantly replay it. Not even in a “let’s laugh at her ridiculously sparkly dress and the fact that her backdrop is her face and her face’s reflection in water” sort of way either. I actually really wanted to hear it again. Her voice is incredibly compelling and it just totally sold “Reflection” and all its gooey glory. She’s dangerously close to my favorite contestant and it boggles my mind. I hate myself a little more every day because of American Idol.

Haley Johnsen – “Sweet Dreams” (Eurythmics)
This might’ve been a good performance if Haley had hit any notes during it. Like any notes. Sadly, she didn’t and then didn’t even have a ridiculous haunted forest werewolf themed stage production to fall back on like X-Factor’s dear Tiah Tolliver. But man were those eyes creepy.

Shannon Magrane – “Go Light Your World” (Kathy Troccoli)
Okay, Idol, we get it. Steven Tyler is really creepy and hits on underage girls. That’s not something I need to be reminded of constantly. It’s gross and not in a remotely entertaining way. Shannon’s performance was really good in just about every way it could’ve been. I want to fault her for just having a good voice and no personality, but I do think she carried the song pretty well. I still don’t ever need to hear or see that performance ever again in my life and will probably forget everything about it in an hour. But, y’know, I’m sure there were people who liked that somewhere. Just probably not people on the internet.

Jessica Sanchez – “I Do” (Jennifer Hudson)
Jessica Sanchez’s performance was pretty much a how-to guide for a great Idol offering. She picked a song that wasn’t too well known but still relevant and, most importantly, actually goes somewhere. She might have the best voice in the entire competition and actually uses it effectively. And she’s not afraid to actually perform on stage. She’s got no problems in the stage presence department. The arrangement of her song was fantastic. It went up! It went down! It moved! It went out with a bang! I don’t know, guys. I stopped being able to form coherent sentences hours ago and I’ve been faking it this entire blog and now it’s starting to catch up to me. But, like, you should all be excited about the girls this year because I am super excited for them. They’re so good. Okay. I still have another one to talk about…

Elise Testone – “One And Only” (Adele)
First of all: Elise and Jen doing the same song is stupid to begin with, but both of them doing an Adele album track is just bizarre. Anyway, I’m glad Elise did the song because she totally delivered with it. I’m a sucker for anyone who plays the piano, so she won me over immediately. I love her smokey tone and all her interesting vocal quirks. It makes her voice interesting instead of just weird and flimsy like half of the “quirky” girls on The Voice. Because one thing is certain, Elise has a strong, full voice. It’s rough around the edges in the best way possible. I am out of words. I just am. There are none left. Idol! You have redeemed yourself! Now send through three women in the wildcard and we’ll be even.

Going through: Elise Testone, Jessica Sanchez, Erika Van Pelt, Skylar Laine, Hollie Cavanagh
Wildcards: Jen Hirsh, Hallie Day, Brielle Von Hugel, Shannon Magrane
Dead In The Water: Baylie Brown, Chelsea Sorrell, Haley Johnsen

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