I just don’t get it. Considering the talent pool on the ladies side, I was expecting a dozen stellar performances that would’ve had me off my feet and praising hallelujah. Instead, I found myself fast forwarding through a lot of the performances asking myself… “what the fug happened?”
With all the hype about this being the girls season to win, illustrated through the highlighted performances from auditions and Hollywood week, I was left feeling underwhelmed and taken for a fool. I’m hoping last night’s sub-par performances were due to nerves, first night jitters and their inclination to play it safe for week one. If the girls don’t regroup, I’m going to quickly abandon ship and place all my poker chips on Andrew Garcia.
12. Ashley Rodriguez
Performance: Happy by Leona Lewis
Eeks. It pains to me to put Ashley this low on the list, but lets face it… she blew chunks. There was nothing “Happy” about the performance. She was off-key from the beginning and never recovered. For once, the judges cumulatively provided constructive feedback. Ashley is one of those contestants that would’ve done well in earlier seasons where it was all about singing the songs straight out. Nowadays, it’s all about interpreting a song, musically rearranging it and picking songs that the judges would’ve never expected you to pick. Even taking into account her mini-trainwreck, I think Ashley will survive due to her fanbase she’s accumulated since her first audition.
11. Haeley Vaughn
Performance: I Want To Hold Your Hand by The Beatles
Here’s another one I thought would’ve performed better and placed higher on my list. Haeley has the goods to be exceptional but also has a voice that could borderline drive people insane. Unfortunately for her, she hit more off notes with her performance and even annoyed me. And I was one of her biggest fans. I have a feeling she’ll survive due to her likable personality. America will give her another chance and she’ll be around another week to prove she belongs.
10. Lacey Brown
Performance: Landslide by Fleetwood Mac
Overall, it wasn’t too bad but Lacey committed the most heinous Idol crime. It was boring as shizz. She seems like a nice enough person, but there’s nothing about her that makes me want to vote for her. Unless she’s Mormon and comes from the state of Utah, Lacey has a good chance of be eliminated this week. Sucks to wait a year to make it, only to be cut during the first week.
9. Janell Wheeler
Performance: What About Love by Heart
Out of the five blonde-guitar-wielding contestants, Janell decided to go completely different from the rest of the blondie brigade. Instead of picking a singer-songwriter song like the majority of them, she chose an 80s power rock song as her first live performance. Kudos for the risk, but unfortunately her voice isn’t big enough to pull off such a big song. If she wanted to sing a Heart song, she should’ve completely stripped it down and perform it in a completely different manner than the original like her take on Estelle’s “American Boy” during Hollywood Hell week. She might show up in the bottom, but I feel she’s earned enough merit badges from the viewing public to warrant a first week reprieve.
8. Paige Miles
Performance: All Right Now by Free
Considering we’ve never heard her sing a note prior to last night’s show, we’ve been told by the judges that she has one of the best voices amongst the girls. She did pretty well, but unfortunately song selection did her in. Taking into account her lack of airtime, being first to sing, and lukewarm critique from the judges, I’d be very surprised if she survives this week. With just a middle-of-the-road performance, she needed a WOW showing to overcome her handicapping by the Idol producers’ hands. Like good cannon fodder, she’s outta here to allow a few of the pimped contestants an extra week to find their groove and work out the kinks and nerves.
7. Siobhan Magnus
Performance: Wicked Game by Chris Isaak
I’ll give her credit for picking a song never sung on the Idol stage, but it didn’t allow her to fully showcase her big powerful voice. It did however, showcase her upper register and great control of her vocal instrument. After taking Ellen’s advice during Hollywood week about dressing younger, she decided to throw it out the window and channel her inner ladies-who-lunch persona. Seriously she looked 19 going on 39.
6. Michelle Delamor
Performance: Fallin’ by Alicia Keys
Here’s another girl not given the same exposure as most of the girls, but unlike Paige, I think Michelle did enough to warrant her safety. Granted, I wanted to shoot her and myself when Seacrest informed us that she was singing this oft-maligned Alicia Keys song. Seriously, the producers need to make a list of overused butchered songs banned from the competition. There’s something about her that I like and I have my fingers crossed she blows us out of the water next week (if she survives). As much as I like the indie Lilith Fair girls, the season is seriously lacking a diva in the vein of Mariah, Whitney and Celine. Michelle could fit the bill if she works it out.
5. Katie Stevens
Performance: Feeling Good by Michael Buble
Katie, what happened? During Hollywood week, you were sassy, youthful and a clear-frontrunner for this year’s title. But last night you looked and sounded like a teenage poor man’s Katherine McPhee. At times, I felt I was watching an episode of TLC’s “Toddler’s and Tiaras”. I was such a big fan of Katie that I’m willing to chalk up this performance as a brain fart. Vocally she wasn’t at her best, but even with that, she still sang circles around a few of the contestants at the bottom of my list.
4. Katelyn Epperly
Performance: Oh! Darling by The Beatles
Before last night’s first live show, I anticipated placing Katelyn near the bottom of my list. Given the night’s collective weaker-than-expected performances, she was able to place higher on my list on the strength of her Beatles’ rendition. As much as I’m not Kara’s biggest fan, I agreed with her comments with Katelyn’s unflattering rock-chic makeover. If she keeps delivering solid performances, she might not be the first of the blonde girls to get the heave-ho as I expected.
3. Crystal Bowersox
Performance: Hand in My Pocket by Alanis Morrissette
Maybe it was the super high expectations the judges and I had for Crystal, but she didn’t own the night like I had hoped. I’m glad she opted to use the harmonica and guitar and was pleasantly surprised she chose one of my favorite Alanis songs, but I have to agree with Simon’s critique. It was nothing original and was a copycat of the original. It didn’t vastly differ from the many talented buskers you see on a daily basis at your local subway station. I have no doubt, Crystal will bounce back next week and blow our minds. This week she gets bonus points for pimping her baby’s daddy. WOOF. Was I the only one who thought he was cute?
2. Didi Benami
Performance: The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson
It was a tad expected and on the too-mellow side, but I still loved it. What I didn’t love was that heinous knitted vest top- Regina George would not approve. But this isn’t Project Runway, so let’s get back to her vocals. There were moments where her voice soared and wowed me. Didi is one of my favorites in the competition, and though not exceptional, this performance will easily take her to the next round.
1. Lilly Scott
Performance: Fixing A Hole by The Beatles
Not the Colbie Callait-like girl I was expecting to top my list, but she definitely earned the pole position with her well-received performance. She was one of the few who took a chance with song selection and made it her own. Not only that, but she delivered it vocally perfect. Everything about her last night was pure-perfection. Even her hair looked less gray and frizzy. If she keeps this up, she’ll overtake Crystal and Didi as my two girl favorites.
ELIMINATION PREDICTION: Factoring everything we’ve seen from these women and inputting the data into my highly elaborate algorithm, I am predicting cannon fodder, Paige Miles, and looks-older-than-she-probably-is, Lacey Brown as the ones who’ll be leaving the group. I could also see Siobhan and Ashley going in a more shocking elimination.
What were your thoughts about this season’s first live performances? Would any of them entice you to purchase them off iTunes? Who disappointed and who surprised you? Weigh in below.