We haven’t seen Amy before tonight either, but she is a 22 year old optometrist’s assistant from Seattle, and says when she took the stage in Hollywood, it was exhilarating. She learned so much about herself with everything right in her face. You have to deal with the good, bad, and ugly. It’s a little nerve-wracking, but it means a whole lot to her to be there. Tonight she sings I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt, but I always compare it to the version by Maria Bello in the movie Duets. And really Amy can’t compare to her either. In the beginning, it sounds like she’s in the wrong key for her or something, as she has a hard time hitting the low notes. She ends it with a nice run, though. Chris Sligh is seen looking around to see if he should clap for it.
Randy calls this a medium, middle-of-the-road performance for Amy and kind of a boring song. Seeing her clip from the auditions, she has this bluesy soulful thing going on and can do runs, but she chose a song where she can’t do that, yet tried, and it didn’t work. He gets booed here. Paula says she has to agree with Randy. Amy impressed them in her earlier auditions with her bluesy, R&B feel, and this song is very sentimental, and meant to be soft and breathy. Simon asks for some clarification on what she means, and Randy says either Amy is better than the song she chose or she didn’t sing it that good. Well, that’s blunt.
Simon says the problem is what we saw in Amy’s clip, when he said he wasn’t going to remember her and still can’t. He gets in his first analogy of the season, and says when she sings she has the personality of a candle. There’s nothing to remember this, and two singers from now, he’s going to forget her. That’s why he thinks she’s going to have a problem in this competition, unless she can do something to change it. Amy agrees that her personality does need to shine a little bit more and she hopes to get the chance again next week. Simon doesn’t stop though, and says everything from the song, what she’s wearing and her hair at the moment are forgettable. He’s booed for this, and Ryan notes that this is all coming from the fashion disaster himself. I think Amy has good reason to be worried.
Leslie Hunt, 24, of Chicago, is the third in a row we haven’t seen before. She’s a dog walker and when she auditioned, she had all the judges, including Olivia Newton-John, talking dogs, with Simon telling her to make Paula sit, prompting Paula to put her paws up and pant. Her American Idol experience has been filled with the confidence and self-assuredness that she needed so much. When she found out she was in the top 24, she was so excited, as she felt like she really accomplished something. She hopes it continues, yet she’s very proud of herself just to have comes this far.
And now I just have to tell her, “Leslie, Leslie, Leslie.” I don’t know what she was thinking when she decided to do Aretha Franklin’s Natural Woman. Since season one, Aretha has shared this song with Kelly Clarkson, and I say this at least a few times every season. Don’t take on Idol classics that are so closely identified with one of our past Idols, unless you can totally nail it, and are are sure you can stick your name up there to share the identity of the song. This will never be a Leslie Hunt song.
Randy says he was hoping for definite greatness, but he felt the song was too big for her. Just like he said last night, he says again, that you can’t take on Aretha, Stevie, or Mariah, and let it lay there. You have to make it, “Oh my God! She sang that!?!” Paula, trying to be PC, says she thinks Leslie did a great job; however, she needs to watch the songs that she picks, as she’s a really good artist. In the earlier auditions, Leslie was shining more with the songs she picked.
Simon says it wasn’t great, and has trouble finding an appropriate analogy, but ends up saying Leslie looked embarrassed and ungainly when she performs, and makes comparisons to her job as a dog walker. He thinks it looks like she really doesn’t want to be there. It comes off as the worst comment ever, and the man in the audience supporting her gives Simon a really dirty look. He looks too young to be her father at first, but then I think about it, and realize I could be her mother, so perhaps that’s why he looks “young” to me. Ryan helps Simon out a little here and says he thinks he actually knows what Simon was trying to say with all that, that Leslie was out of her comfort zone. andy indicates the Dawg Pound is always there to help as well.
Sabrina Sloan is a professional singer and loves watching the show. This year she knew she had to give it a shot, or she’d regret it. The thousands of people that tried out were overwhelming to her, as they all want the same thing. Simon had told her it would take the perfect song for her to progress past the first round of Hollywood, and she spent a lot of time thinking about it, and ended up with a standing ovation from Paula. This night she wants to try and nail the perfect song again, and just do what she loves to do and enjoy every second of it.