So, might as well just come out and say it: '70s night was not exactly the best for our American Idol ladies. And now I'm really wondering what exactly it is the producers think they're doing this season. After all that promotion telling us it's the most talented group ever, why wouldn't they start without having themes at all, giving us a few weeks to get to know this group as they sing their very best songs?
That said, I'm not sure it was entirely the theme that hurt the ladies on Wednesday. How can you go that wrong with a decade that brought us Carly Simon and Heart? And yet, while there were two or three good performances, the rest seemed to range from "eh" to "ow." Still, a couple of the ladies do have me believing they could give little David Archuleta a run for his money, so to see what went down on Wednesday (and don't forget to vote for which singers will go home tonight), just
Carly Smithson: Fun fact: She's a bartender in an Irish bar. She picked Heart's "Crazy on You," and I'm surprised at how much I liked it, especially because last week had set me up to be disappointed by her. Maybe she's just better with rock songs than ballads. Randy, oddly, came out swinging — maybe to compensate for his overpraise last time — saying it had a rough beginning, Paula could tell she was singing a song she liked, and Simon said it was better than last week, though she still hasn't found the right song.
Syesha Mercado — Apparently she's acted in a bunch of commercials, and she can cry like a creepy baby. She does "Me and Mrs. Jones," except it's "Mr. Jones," and here's the thing: I really like this song, but the version she sang has to be the most boring version I have ever heard. The chorus was OK, but she lost me on the verse. Randy said it was a bad choice, Paula called her out for going off pitch on softer notes, and Simon thought it was indulgent for her to sing a song written for a guy, which is pretty lame as far as criticism goes.
Brooke White — She's a beauty school dropout! She came out looking like a '70s folkie with her guitar and sang "You're So Vain" while looking pretty directly at Simon, who — true to form — seemed to think the song was about him. She sounds an awful lot like Carly Simon, with all the good and bad that that implies; it's nothing new, but it's very pleasant to listen to. Randy liked it though it stayed close to the original, Paula said it was a great song, and Simon loved it. Because it was about him. Clearly.
Ramiele Malubay — She's a hula dancer, but she busted a different kind of move on the stage with "Don't Leave Me This Way." It was the first really disco-sounding song of the night, and it absolutely sold me on Ramiele. I could imagine her voice on the radio right now, it's that smooth and that commercially appealing. She could have put more into her performance, but it's a little early to harp on that. The judges universally thought it was just OK, though, even though Simon's criticism seemed to have way more to do with the song than the singing.
Kristy Lee Cook — I thought we could maybe get through her whole secret without her mentioning horses, but no. Hey Kristy: not a secret. She's back to her crunchier hair and was wearing a whole lot of shiny fabric, but her "You're No Good" sounded better than last week. It's a song that has about five notes and five words, and I was bored by the end, but at least she hit those five notes, you know? Randy called it a 100 percent improvement, Paula said it was a good song for her, and Simon said he wants to know what kind of singer she is; they seemed to decide that she should be this year's country girl.
Amanda Overmyer — Dear lord in heaven, what did they do to her hair? And would it kill them to dress her in pants of a solid color? I know she's "a rocker," but that doesn't mean she should look like she shopped in the discount aisle at a Halloween superstore. The chorus of "Carry On My Wayward Son" was fine, but the verse? Was B-A-D. Like, off pitch, where's the tune, "well, that's how you get picked by Vote for the Worst" bad. Randy said the song had too much melody for her to sing (heh), Paula said the song didn't fit, and Simon said the whole thing was contrived. Sad. I really like Amanda, the rocker nurse bookworm.
Alaina Whitaker — She's one of those people whose food can't touch her other food. She sang "Hopelessly Devoted to You," which is not a song I'm hopelessly devoted to. Her voice was strong enough to pull it off, but there's something about the whole performance that made her seem both 16 and 60 at the same time. Randy thought she had pitch problems, Paula liked it OK, and Simon said everything about Alaina seemed too old.
Alexandrea Lushington — She's a fire department poster child, and — this isn't her fun fact, just something I noticed — she has incredibly long arms. She tried Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now," another one of those '70s songs that I knew by sound but not by name, and she looked like she didn't even like the performance. I didn't think it was that bad, but she tried to do some things with her voice that her voice can't do, and it just hurt her in the end. Randy said it was too safe, Paula thought it was cool to hear a girl do the song, and Simon said that song is a '70s relic, period.
Kady Malloy — She sings opera. She also sang "Magic Man," and not that well. She's not awful (and better than last week, for sure), but she doesn't quite have the power in her voice to really hit the chorus, so she ends not doing much with the song. Randy said the verse was never quite on pitch, Paula said the power notes, at least, were good, and Simon said there's still a gap between Kady on stage and Kady the rest of the time. Then he claimed to have never heard "Magic Man," so whatever.
Asia'h Epperson — She, not totally surprisingly, was a cheerleader and came out looking totally different this time, with hair extensions and a sort of sassy-secretary pencil skirt. She went bold with "All By Myself" and then totally missed the first high note, so I have to give her credit for finishing the song, which got better as it went along. Randy gave her credit for the difficulty of the song, Paula said the ending counts and she made it work, and Simon said he's not a good enough singer to do one of the big diva songs, though she almost pulled it off.
My favorites: Brooke by a mile, then Carly, then Ramiele.
Should be worried: Amanda, unless she's built up enough goodwill to get votes. Kady, Alexandrea, and Alaina, if people forget they exist.
Going home: I actually think there's a chance Amanda won't go home, so I'm predicting Kady and Alexandrea.
Photos courtesy of Fox