Stephanie is up next, and her secret is that while she has been singing since she was 3, she would only sing in front of her parents. When they would have friends over for a cookout or BBQ, she’d run to her room and cry. She realizes people will think that’s weird, because now she’s comfortable onstage, but she used to be really shy. Oddly enough, I used to run to my room when my parents had friends over as well, but it had nothing to do with singing in front of them. Just the shyness. Tonight she sings some Chaka Khan, Sweet Thang, and with who is probably her family dancing and singing in the audience together, her voice cracks uncharacteristically on the high notes. She’s pushing it too much. Yet, she’s still leagues above the past two.
Randy gives Stephanie an A for a valiant effort, and says it’s always hard for him, hearing a song originally by Chaka, as in his head he’s comparing it to that. It’s just okay for him, and he notes her pitchy problems. Paula thought she was darn near flawless, although she wants her to watch her timing, as she was falling slightly behind the music. She has a beautiful voice, though, and great showmanship, as she commanded the stage. Simon says there is no question or doubt she is one of the best they’ve got, and picking up from what Randy said, Stephanie has a tendency to go a little copycat with the performance. For him, though, she’s done 100% enough to sing her way into the finals. Ryan notes it boils down to the yovfactor, and asks if she has the yo. Randy believes she definitely has the yo, but warns her to pick different songs, as Chaka done sung it already. Simon thinks it’s scary when Paula starts to make sense, but I think it’s scary when I start to understand Randy.
Ryan seeks out Lakisha Jones, and says we need her to bring the energy up. He’s right. She believes she can bring it, but asks if she can get a hug first, and asks him to lay it on her, which he does. Her secret is that she’s terrified of animals, all of them. When she was younger her mom had a doberman and a poodle, and while her mom would let them run, Lakisha would be hiding behind the doors. She says if she comes to our house, we better put the animals away, or she’ll be on the table or couch. If she sings for me, I don’t care what she stands on in my house. Yet she won’t be able to stand on anything high enough to be away from my two jumpy airedale mixes that jump on people for the first five minutes they see them in some odd competition with each other.
With absolutely gorgeous hair tonight, Lakisha sings a masterful rendition of Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing. See, you can get away with singing Whitney if you bring it, and she did. While Melinda and Jordin jam together during the song, Ryan appears to be dancing in he audience with two women who are wearing Lakisha shirts and are probably her family. Randy tells us to check it out, as while he’s not sure if it was her best ever, it was another great performance by the great Lakisha. Paula says she already made us love her, and she doesn’t have to run anywhere. She’s going to stay right there, working on being the next Idol.
Simon says what we haven’t seen that she brought tonight was passion, talent, and believability, getting a well-deserved yo from Randy. Picking up what he mentioned last week about her outfit, tonight Simon thinks she looks beautiful. And hey, I have a dress just like that. Ryan comes back onstage from being in the audience, and says Lakisha’s auntie and momma need a show of their own. Lakisha says she told her auntie and momma not to act up. Ryan notes they are clearly listening to her. This is light and fun right now, anyone else singing this song, we’d be tense, but with Lakisha, no worries.
Walking through the waiting room upstairs, Ryan gets pelted with a pillow fight, then meets up with Gina where they have a quick-paced conversation about nerves, being ready, and the pressure being on. Her secret is her lucky charms, a troll, a stuffed pickle, and a pillow from her niece and nephews that says, ‘Auntie GG, our American Idol.” She’s rocking it tonight, and wow, this is what we’ve been waiting for from her. She sings some Evanescence, and it’s right up her alley, Call Me When You’re Sober. She’s got the look tonight of a rocker and is an awesome Pat Benatar type of rocker, or more to the point, her counterpart from the 80s, Quarterflash. Or even a Patty Smyth type.