It’s Week 1 of American Idol semifinals and the Top 12 ladies are strutting their stuff to songs from the ‘60s. Did the ladies have what it takes to hold the attention of the judges and America? How did they measure up to the Top 12 guys?
The performances got off to a rough start this evening and I was beginning to wonder if I was in for a long night. Apparently the flu and bronchitis are making their way through the ranks, but that didn’t prevent Simon from telling the contestants that they needed to give him something to “hold on to.”
But when the talent finally did emerge tonight it came out in spades. In fact, I have a tie for my pick for best performance – Asia’h Epperson and Syesha Mercado.
I loved Asia’h’s rendition of “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)” because she took the song and made it hers. It really made her stand out from all the other people that have tried to do a Janis Joplin song on the show.
And Syesha blew me away with her version of “Tobacco Road.” It had a nice bluesy feel while still letting us hear the power behind her voice. It rocked.
Similarly, I was impressed with Alexandrea Lushington. Her style isn’t really my thing, but I think she did a fabulous job of taking Blood, Sweat and Tear’s “Spinning Wheel” and putting her own personality into it. She’s got great stage presence.
And I can’t tell if it’s the Hoosier or the rocker in me that likes Amanda Overmyer. I enjoyed the way she took a song that has been around since 1935 and has been covered by everyone from Van Morrison to Muddy Waters to Aerosmith and personalized it. The scatting that she added was a cool adjustment and something not everyone could pull off.
Alaina Whitaker and Ramiele Malubay also put in solid performances although neither wowed me. Alaina showed a lot of pizzazz as she sang “More Today than Yesterday” and Ramiele really belted it out with “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.” She did a better job of honoring Elvis than either of the guys Tuesday night.
The other half of the girls were mediocre at best.
I was disappointed by both Kristy Lee Cook who sang “Rescue Me” and Joanna Borgella’s “I Said a Little Prayer.” The both put in better performances earlier in the process. Let’s chalk these run of the mill performances up to nerves or sickness and hope it gets better next week.
While Amy Davis’ version of “Where the Boys are” left me wondering why I was listening to it, I have to admit she looked the part. With the hairdo, I expected to see her at the dock waving to her sailor as he went off to war. Or maybe she’s the pinup in a WWII calendar. She is a model after all.
Brooke White’s song choice of “So Happy Together” was a perfect pick for her. It just seemed to fit her personality. Unfortunately, the result of her forgettable performance was a discussion by Simon on “wash up soap.” Then I couldn’t get the song “I’m Gonna Wash that Man right out of my Hair” out of my head.
Now we are left with my picks for who should get the boot tomorrow night – Kady Malloy and Carly Smithson.
Kady took what should have been a sweet little love song and made it so sad that you were glad that this performance was a week after Valentine’s Day. Phil Collins’ version of “Groovy Kind of Love” was a friend and her boyfriend’s song when we were in high school. I’m glad they aren’t still a couple, because Kady’s rendition of the song would have broken them up.
And I’m sure I’m a minority here, but Carly’s “Shadow of Your Smile” did absolutely nothing for me. Despite the hype, I’ve never been a fan of hers. I did not like her during her audition or in Hollywood. There’s something about her voice that just doesn’t sit well with me. And she has these really odd facial expressions – like the eyes popping out her head look when Simon told her during her audition that she wasn’t as good as two years ago – that I find disconcerting.
So which of the ladies made a lasting impression on you? And which are you ready to say so long to?