Let’s get the tears and anger out of the way: Donovan is gone for the week living it up in LALA land so you have the blog bitch taking over to tell you EVERYthing that’s wrong with the girls and boys of Idol this year and if you’re lucky I’ll throw one or two compliments into the mix.

Tonight the ol’ show tries to mix things up as they’re down to the Top 40 and are looking to go sudden death for a live audience as we leave the night with the Top 5 ladies from 10 who will sing of the total remaining 20. Complicated right? Randy tries to explain it and basically over the next four nights of idol groups of ten (by gender) will sing off and be pared down to their “best 5″ according to the judges until only 20 remain to be voted on by the kids at home. Boys hit the stage tomorrow so it’s the “5 years and still no winner” girls who start it off. The judges look covered in makeup while Mariah looks gorgeous and comes across as very well spoken when you remember the sad and go nowhere ramblings of past panelists like Paula and J Lo. Jimmy Iovine looks more disgustingly tanned than ever and Nicki manages to say “better BRING it” in the first ten seconds of speaking: huge shocker. Okay, click through and let’s get this show on the road folks: PLEASE note that I picked these video versions for their quality and full length, each starts with an advert but just click the x in the top right corner to skip!

Contestants are allowed to choose ANY song in ANY genre: first off Idol, WELL done first choice. Too often do you lose the attention of the audience in the early rounds and clearly Nigel has learned from allowing his dancers in SYTYCD to dance in their style week one, showing off their best talent rather than putting a rap singer into 1920 swing music right off the bat. Rather than bore you with my thoughts on the season thus far and my current faves I’m going to treat these girls as fresh off the boat and judge them on this performance alone as the judges are reportedly meant to.

Jenny Beth Willis – “Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love” by Trisha Yearwood


Let’s start with the dress and makeup. She looks like someone forced Helena Bonham Carter into “cowboy boots” and told her to sing something only people from the far south would recognize. I’m sorry but the pale thing juxtaposed with the frilly pink and odd spiderweb black lace looked a fright. The only thing worse was her singing. Jenny Beth blew it out there and lost the pace and her breath on stage. Keith is an idiot and only called it a “great way to start the show” because- as we all know- country fans make up, oh I don’t know, like 90% of the viewers/voters. The judges were way too nice and fell for the little girl thing: Nicki barely called her out, Randy was more on the nose seeing her slips in speed and pairing with the band. Finally, Mariah was VERY full of things to say and while I do appreciate a judge who isn’t drugged out I think she’s verging too close to being the “nice judge” and we don’t need that here. I’m calling Jenny Beth out and ONLY in if the producers force them to keep all the country guys and gals they get.

Tenna Torres – “Soulmate” by Natasha Bedingfield


Act two and I’m starting to remember why I hate the early songs with half the budget for clothes and styling and the pained pitchy tones. Tenna terrified me. First off- god I’m gay tonight- that hair. Flat and “oh so clearly a heinous wig from Shh It’s a Wig” doesn’t even begin to describe it. Her giant, scared eyes continue to freak me through her entire song which (once again, seriously kids what are you doing!?) I don’t recognize at all. Idiots, PANDER a bit and pick something the judges all know and will get behind and most importantly get the viewers excited about you early as it’s the early faves that go the farthest. Okay, the singing was too sad, it didn’t sound great, it was an unknown song, I didn’t like it at all really no matter how good the end. Nicki called her OUT on that hairdo and I loved that. Keith is gonna annoy me if he starts every critique with his “sweetness”: puke. Call a dull song a dull song and fellas, this was a dull song. The judges quite liked it but I don’t think they’re allowed to trash this early in the game so whatever. I think Tenna will make it through though as Randy declares this the TRUE start of the night… burn to Jenny Beth!

Adriana Latonio – “Ain’t No Way” by Aretha Franklin


Good god, save the old songs for genre weeks down the line and sing something recent for christsake. Adriana so far is the first actually pretty girl to take the stage and looks sexy in red. This song unfortunately ages her more than a contender on this youth-driven show should aim for and I personally would have held this one in my arsenal if I was Adriana for a show down the road when the judges demand more “soul”. Still, she did VERY well with it and controls this song from start to finish. Keith and Randy get up out of their seats (good GOD do you all remember the non-stop standing ovations for that gospel queen from last year and his stupid flowers in his too tight blazers? Sorry I digress), and rightfully so. Nicki finds out this little girl is a 5 foot nothin’ Filipino and the crowd goes wild as they see her the most poised singer so far. 17 years old? Damn. This girl is the one to beat so far- I know, 3 singers in but I’m saying it anyway. It’s a hard song and a big singer to fill out and this girl did in spades.

Brandy Hotard – “Anymore” by Travis Tritt


Lookin’ like a cross between the face of Catherine McPhee and the body of her blond frenemy from “Smash”, Brandy looks mature but sings like a scared teen. I felt the outfit looked more like a 5 star hotel sexy bath robe than a dress but even that couldn’t distract from the desperate sound out of this singer. Once again, singing a lesser known pseudo country song, I can say I appreciate a girl signing a boy’s hit but damn it wasn’t there. Keith actually goes far enough to call Brandy out as he gets critical for the first time tonight. What I REALLY appreciated was the lack of booing from the crowd when the judges trash: WHAT must they have threatened the audience with to keep them in check?? I’m super happy for it though as the booing is the most annoying part of the process and often keeps the judges from being fully honest I feel. Brandy gets pretty well panned as they call out her inappropriate looks of happiness during this one and feel she didn’t live up to her potential. OOPS! I spoke too soon- Randy and Nicky to a lesser extent get SOME boos from the crowd but I stand by saying it’s much more managed than in past years so I’m still saying I’m happy with it. Brandy is a wild card that stays if there’s enough crap still to come from the others. Mostly cause she’s very very pretty and they need to keep that in the game.

Shubha Vedula – “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga


Starting at the piano AND doing Gaga? Damn them some bold choices. Gaga has VERY often been a kiss of death in the past as she’s so damn hard to mimic and sound appropriate without insane dancing and production behind it. Shubha’s song introduces hints of east asian influence, classical piano, country and pop: it’s all over the place but a strong decision no matter how you cut it. I honestly don’t think I would have the balls to throw out something so random and creative day one so good on her for putting it all out there. Coming across as creative as hell Keith was a bit scared (back to the farm kiddo) but I think she won the audience and truly they’re the real goal of the night so long as you can make the judges think you better than 5 others. Nicki trashed it, and WAY too harshly bringing up Psi from nowhere and thankfully Randy was able to appreciate the work put into it- big surprise sweet Mariah loved it as well. I think she’s good enough to pass through and will VERY much benefit from Jimmy Iovine’s direction and mentoring in future episodes.

Kamaria Ousley – “Mr. Know-It-All” by Kelly Clarkson


And we have a new contender for worst of the night. This girl BLEW it. First off, the M.C. Escher pants and ghetto top covering a 2$ drag queen bra. Second, the SCREAMING that was her performance. You will want to watch this video if you were angry about other favourites going home early and want evidence they were robbed. Okay, we HAVE to talk about her father who looked like he just came in from the race track and is just WAITING for his daughter to be his ticket to the big show desperately calling his daughter’s performance as perfect… until he looks about ready to shoot Keith who starts the trash talk by the judges. Once again, you know you suck when all the panelists can say is how “great you look” on stage. Randy couldn’t say a SINGLE nice thing and neither can I. Mariah, her smile is not getting her through this round and it’s ridiculous the girls think what she’s wearing is at all stylish. It’s hooker sheek.

Kree Harrison – “Up to the Mountain” by Patty Griffin


One of the most plainly dressed and zero-style efforted girls of the night, Kree depends on her singing rather than a purple bra to grab our attention: and I’d argue it works. Again, I of course don’t know the song, but do appreciate that this girl is working hard to stay controlled rather than just belt this bitch out. The judges go pretty nuts by the end of it and I know it’s not just me that enjoyed it. She’s so calm and subdued on the stage that I really appreciate someone who doesn’t need to force her POV onto that stage. I’m slightly annoyed with ANOTHER country singer getting so much attention but I need to accept that’s the world we live in and get over it. Kree looks humble as hell up there taking in the compliments and they are fully deserved as this girl is full of confidence without a whisper of ego or conceit and I think she’s another one to beat for sure.

Angela Miller – “Nobody’s Perfect” by Jessie J


So far a clear fan favourite and producer choice considering the amount of screen time this big toothed girl gets, it’s Angela’s game to lose. She absolutely looks like a joke SNL character about huge haired and bright lipstick girls from Staten Island in her shoulder padded, studded top but thankfully sings well so has a good chance to take this one pretty far. Is she the best singer? No- no one is arguing that. BUT, she’s quite a performer and that is a huge part of this show and might do her quite well. The song was yelled a bit more than I wanted it to be but sounded decent enough. Even Nicki knows this one was a bit strained to get out there and as such came across a bit desperado but she’s running on past successes having written an original song and I think she has nothing to worry about.

Isabelle Pasqualone – “God Bless the Child” by Billie Holiday


A character from a Jerry Springer “I use to be fat but honey now I’m ALL that!”, Isabelle is still riding her past difficulties a little too hard as we get to the point when people need to convince with their voices and not just their history. A cream and healthy sized sexpot, the blond does a very good job with a pretty iconic song that most people don’t ascribe to a bleached and tanned vixen who looks like she just escaped the suburbs of Tarzana. That bitchy rant aside, by the mid-way of the song to the end this girl quite a bit killed it. Her voice was volume perfect and pitch perfect which has NOT been an easy success for the other girls tonight so I think she deserves even more props. Randy goes shady on Isabelle and calls her out for being too old fashioned and the singer tries to get a bit sassy but it doesn’t play quite as funny as she was hoping for. In the end, she’s a for sure thing and those wild card picks of mine must be sweating seeing another spot disappear.

Amber Holcomb – “My Funny Valentine” by Chet Baker


Hated it. Wrong song, wrong shoes, wrong lipstick. This girl sounded like a pirate had her on the plank and told her to sing as loud as she possibly could. This young girl picked such an old song and didn’t really add anything to it IMO. She bounced around and screeched more than she sang and in comparing it to singers like Kree and Isabelle and I was waiting for the judges to hate it. DAMN was I wrong. The judges LOVED her and thought it dead on?! I do not claim to be a music expert but hate hate hate when the songs come across as forced and that’s honestly all I could hear from this girl. Her volume dropped from way too low to way too loud and everything was a huge run that sounded like a 10 year old showing off for her family as she learns to sing for the first time. I guess I just don’t get it cause I’m completely against the judges on this one.

RESULTS


BAM! The judges confer over the break and are suddenly moved to their director chairs (why you ask? for no reason whatsoever- maybe they’re suppose to seem “approachable” or some crap) as they bring out the girls one by one to let them know how they did. In short order and without repeating what the judges have already said about these kids here’s the results: Jenny Beth Willis GOES HOME, Brandy Hotard GOES HOME, Tenna Torres STAYS, Kree Harrison STAYS, Isabelle Paqualone GOES HOME (wow, that shocked me AND the audience who obviously didn’t care about the no boo rule come this announcement), Angela Miller STAYS, Kamaria Ousley GOES HOME, Amber Holcomb STAYS, Shubha Vedula GOES HOME and Adriana Latonio STAYS!

Honestly, I think there were too many producer favourites in this group for some real talent like Shubha and even Isabelle to make it through and that sucks but hey, we’re cutting hard and fast and that I appreciate. I wasn’t that great in my predictions and need to learn to focus on what Nigel would like as I get ready for a boy night tomorrow! Let me know what you thought of the results below and the new show style thus far!! See you Thursday!