The self-congratulatory feel of the Idol crew remains strong, with Crusty discussing how popular the judging panel is. I am just hoping that as the night progresses, this judging panel does more than they did last night, and make me miss Simon Cowell just a little bit less than I did. Cause I sure do. Crusty talks to the judges, and I feel they will not be much different.
Ta-Tynisa Wilson is the first to take the stage, and umps right into singing Rihanna's Only Girl (In The World). It is not great. There is a thinness to the quality, and some obvious nerves showing through. Wow, at times she just goes way off. Not very good. Steven compliments her, saying it was great. Jennifer says it was a bit shaky at the start, but she really brought it home. Randy disagrees, noticing the bad notes and the uninspired phrasing. J-Lo doesn't likeRandy having an opinion, and soon Ryan is making a fat joke. So quickly they settle in, right? Thankfully, it is time for a commercial break.
It's all about the ladies, or so says Crusty. Next we have Naima Adedapo, who is wearing a dreass she designed. She is singing Summertime, with music by George Gershwin, and the most notable version by Billie Holiday. She is doing a lively jazz, up tempo with a bit of swing to it. She does a lovely job, but seemed a little nightclub to me. Oddly, Randy agrees with me, but not so surprising, J-Lo and Steven just loved it, thinks that it just what American needs. "She used to sell bathtubs, Crusty tells us, and now she is singing on Idol." He is talking about Kendra Chantelle who comes out to perform the Christina Aguilera song, Impossible. She proceeds to oversing it every bit as much as Xtina would herself. Randy was fearful about the choice, but liked it after all. Steven, of course, thinks she is beautiful, and sounded great. J-Lo thinks she delivered that beautiful voice once again. I sigh and move forward, happy for the commercial break.
Quirky was a big selling point last night, and that is something I thought Rachel Zevita certainly brought to the table in the few times we've heard her sing so far. She is singing Criminal by the amazing Fiona Apple, which is an excellent choice, if she can pull it off. This appearance has been 4 years in the making. She comes out in a big shawl, and a little red dress under it. The performance starts really well, but there is some inconsistency as we move forward. She's taken a sultry alternative rock song and made it generic jazz. For the first time, the judges are unanimous, and it is not a good thing for Rachel. Steven calls it too Broadway, and J-Lo wishes she would have tossed the content out and just used her big range to show off. Randy, the voice of wisdom this season, tells her it wasn't good, and that he didn't recognize the song. Isn't that what he tells others to do? Now we have Karen Rodriguez. She breaks the rule and decides to sing Mariah Carey, which seldom has gone well for any lady on the show. Her choice is Hero (she sang half in Spanish) and it was not good. She is just a tad off for most of the song, going a little under most of the notes, but never really sliding up into the right one. When the judges come, I swear they are watching other performers, cause they think she was amazing. Tyler even suggests she duets with Jacob, and we discover they are best friends. No pitch problems. Hmmmm. Another commercial break so I can get my hearing checked.
We come back to Crusty continuing J-Lo's week-long commercial for her new single, and we will see the video tomorrow night. Jennifer thinks she might be a young Bette Midler, so the hopes are high for Lauren Turner. She sings an old blues number, Seven Day Fool. The incredible Etta James had a popular version I like a lot. Lauren channels a bit of Amy Winehouse, without the crack habit, and takes it to another level. The judges love it, and J-Lo asks for more of a physical performance. Really, Jennifer? Have you ever watched yourself on a TV appearance? Just sayin'... Another quick commercial break - there is money to be made.
Why did James Durbin join Crusty out of the commercial? Rein it in, James! Ashton Jones comes out to sing Monica's latest single, Love All Over Me. She is immediately doing a bit of ad libbing, but she should be more concerned with pitch. I thought most of the song was sharp, and a bit shrill. Steven makes a pass at her, telling her she is amazing and confident. J-Lo agrees, and there is a mutual admiration thing going on. Randy chimes in that he loves her, but it might not have been the right song for her. More Diana Ross, less Monica. Whatever, we are off to yet another commercial break.
Returning to old school Idol, Julie Zorrilla picks Breakaway by the first Idol, Kelly Clarkson. She doesn't start off particularly well, and , unfortunately, doesn't pick it up. In fact, she is falling apart a bit, and, even worse, she knows it. Just sad. Jennifer liked it - WTF? - but thought it lacked a bit. She thought she didn't connect with the lyrics - like that is what she is looking for when the vocal gymnastics pull together. Randy thought it was the wrong song, and she paled in comparison to Ms. Clarkson. Steven thought it was a great chorus, but the wrong song. Next. Singing a song that seems to be sung endlessly the last few years on the Idol stages, Haley Reinhart performs Alicia Keys' Fallin'. She starts out okay, and over-sings the song just the way the judges have liked it, adding that false growl and whatever else she can add in, including a couple of very bum notes. Randy goes first, and he doesn't love her. Steven, on the other hand, loves it, and loves the growl, no matter how fake it was. Jennifer agrees with Tyler, and no one is surprised. I am shocked Randy didn't taste the Kool-Aide during the commercial break. Speaking of which, time for more money in the producer's pockets.
One of the youngest competitors in the competition picks a song from before she was born. Thia Megia sings Out Here On My Own from the movie Fame, made popular by Irene Cara. Thia is a big-voiced 15-year-old, and she starts out quietly in the spotlight. She is actually doing a nice job with the song, going from soft to belting, and ending with a big note. Steven slaps himself on the back, talking about what a great job they did as judges, and this was proof, a great performance. The judges love her. Surprising. Another youngster, 16-year-old Lauren Alaina, picks a song that is more current, and sings Turn on the Radio, a recent single from Reba McEntire. She immediately bonded with Tyler, singing Aerosmith. She comes out, giving a southern-fried-rock approach to Reba's song. Honestly, the first thing I notice is that she needs styling help. She hits the notes, although I have to say it was a rather generic. Would like to hear more. J-Lo loves her, and thinks there is more there. Randy loved here, comparing her to Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. Tyler adore her, as we knew he would. After the judging, she tells us Crusty's name is now Peaches, as he is from Georgia. Sorry, babe, I'll stick with Crusty.
The last of the ladies performing is Pia Toscano, who, before tonight, was thought to be Karen R's best friend, until the revelation about Jacob came to the front. Pia will be singing I’ll Stand By You, a song by the great band, The Pretenders, and epic lead singer, Chrissie Hynde. She is doing a rather nice job on a song that should be way more spectacular. Yelling at the end didn't help for me. Wow, color me wrong, cause the audience is eating up the glory note, and the first standing ovation. Randy loves it, and so does Steven. L-Lo thinks it was out of this world. Damn, wrong audio again.
I think there are 3 or 4 of the ladies who are sure to get through; Lauren Turner; Thia; and Lauren Alaina. And, apparently, Pia. That leaves Naima, Haley and Karen R fighting for the coveted 5th slot. Of course, in 22 hours, we should be getting a better idea what America is looking for this season, as the results show comes on Thursday night, and about 50% of these kids are sent home. Five of the men and five of the women will be getting through on your votes, and there will be wild cards from the judges. In 24 hours, we should have some answers.