We were reminded it has been five years since a female won American Idol, and judging by the collective debut of the final 12 girls in this year’s competition that streak may reach reach six. (It should be noted, however, if it had not been for the dreadful Lee Dwyze upsetting Crystal Bowersox two years ago that string would have ended.)
There were a couple of bright spots Wednesday night, but as a group the girls were far and away the weaker of the two genders this week. Erika Van Pelt is a genuine talent. Jen Hirsh and Jessica Sanchez have real potential, but after that … ?? Wow, the pickin’s seem mighty thin.
Here are my thoughts:
1. ERIKA VAN PELT
Song: “What About Love.”
Comment: I have loved Erika since her audition. She may be the only legitimate threat to about a half dozen of the guys for the overall title. This particular Heart song was a perfect choice for her power voice. With this, she has already set the standard for the girls. Steven Tyler noted her confidence on stage, which was a great point. Randy even dropped an “Adele” compliment, talking about her “restrained power.” Aside from Erika and a couple of others, this is an incredibly weak collection of girls. America cannot possibly screw this up. This is Erika’s kingdom and the rest of the girls should simply be honored to sing for second.
2. JEN HIRSH
Song: “One And Only.”
Comment: Jen’s another one of my favorites, but this Adele song (why do I think we’re going to be hearing a lot of Adele this season?!) left me a little flat. Jen probably has the best chance to challenge Erika over the long haul, but right now I don’t think she connects quite as well with the audience. She’s No. 2, but right now it’s a distant No. 2.
3. JESSICA SANCHEZ
Song: “I Do.”
Comment: She was another of my faves coming out of Las Vegas. Once she got going she was her usual dominant self. I hope voters don’t hold the first 15 seconds against her. With the right song choice, she has the potential to challenge Erika. I just hope she makes it to the round of 13.
4. HALEY JOHNSEN
Song: “Sweet Dreams.”
Comment: Probably the surprise of the night. Haley definitely raised her game with a great rendition of this Annie Lennox masterpiece. I think she will be safe.
5. SHANNON MAGRANE
Song: “There Is A Candle in Every Soul.”
Comment: I’m rooting for Shannon. She has that “it” factor. Hopefully, she can hang around long enough to build a following.
6. HOLLIE CAVANAGH
Comment: She overcame a ragged beginning and finished strong. But she’s still miles behind the top two.
7. BAYLIE BROWN
Comment: The girl is beautiful, but watching her perform is like watching a Barbie doll sing karaoke.
8. HALLIE DAY
Song: “Feeling Good.”
Comment: Beautiful voice, but Hallie, come on. Sing something a little more relevant than this dreadful, tired song.
9. ELISE TESTONE
Song: “One And Only.”
Comment: This was … uhh… brutal.
10. SKYLER LAINE
Song: “Stay With Me.”
Comment: Thank heaven Brielle Von Hugel was on the show or Skyler would have been the worst of the night. Why would a girl who resembles Reba McIntire try and do a Rod Stewart (and Faces) song? Why? Why? Why? It was horrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrible.
11. CHELSEA SORRELL
Song: “Cowboy Casanova.”
Comment: At best, this tribute to Carrie Underwood was pedestrian. No chance of Chelsea doing anything in this contest except returning home much sooner than she wants.
12. BRIELLE VON HUGEL
Song: “(Sittin’ On The) Dock Of The Bay.”
Comment: OMG, what a disaster. Over the top, off key and even laughable. She needs to go, if for no other reason than because of her stage mom.
– The judges seemed to make an effort to actually critique more of the acts following Tuesday night’s lovefest. Not everyone can be wonderful and brilliant. Some of the performances actually stink. Honest. Even Randy admitted he and his two compadres were a bit “soft” on some of the boys.
– What happens to Steven Tyler once the finals start? This is two years in a row now that he almost seems intimidated to say something negative.
– Thursday night’s results show will be two hours long. Two hours. Need I say more?
– Nice to have longtime Idol blog follower Kelly Wilson back again this year. Ms. Wilson recently return from a trip to Nicaragua.