Leap year only comes around once every four years. It doesn’t seem that long, but last time it did, David Cook was a contestant. Now that seems a long time ago. It was so long ago that it was the last year the three judges were Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson, the year before Kara DioGuardi joined the show. Now that really seems like a long time ago. In 2016 will we be saying the era of Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, and Randy seems like a long time ago? From the guys’ talent we heard last night, it’s bound to be a memorable season. Will the girls’ talent tonight add to that?
Starting right out of the block tonight is Chelsea Sorrell, 23, from North Carolina. Just like the guys, the girls were all given cameras to show us a slice of their lives back home, and she shows us the first and second stoplights in her small town. Also shown is her shooting targets and her mom shopping. She wants to make her mommy and daddy proud tonight.
Chelsea sings Cowboy Casanova, and sounds really good. Her rendition doesn’t make us forget Carrie Underwood’s, but she’s good, nonetheless. She adds a little bit of sexy to the country girl thing, as well as a little bit of grit.
Randy tells Chelsea she can definitely sing and has a huge, big voice, and she showed that with the big note at the end. But he just wondered if it was the best choice, as they’ve seen the Carrie thing, and even though that’s what she likes, she needs to separate herself out. She needs to say this is who I am, as it’s like being compared to Steven Tyler, because you’re not going to compare. Yet it was strong vocals.
Jennifer is a big fan of Chelsea’s, and has loved her voice since the beginning. But to her, the song seemed a little nasally to her, which she hadn’t heard in her voice before. It makes her feel people didn’t get to hear the best part of her. It sucks to go first, so maybe the nerves added to that. Steven can feel her heart pounding from where he’s sitting. He thought she sang good, but he wants her to watch her phrasing and timing.
Erika Van Pelt is 26 and from Rhode Island. She introduces us to her mom and says she’s really shy, which she feels is weird, because she herself isn’t. The rest of the family is introduced as well. She rides mini bikes when she’s not mobile DJing. It’s nice to take a break from that after carrying the same speaker for ten years.Tonight she just wants to be electric and rock really hard to show everyone what she’s made of.
With What About Love, Erika takes the stage with straightened hair, which gives her a different look. Again, she’s really good, just like Chelsea, but I’m not sure the performance stands alone to make us remember it. She definitely has some great glory notes in it though.
Steven tells Erika it was beautiful, and there’s something magical about having the confidence she just had, as it breathes wings into a song. She nailed it. He loves the confidence and the way she hit the notes. Jennifer recognizes Erika as being one of the power voices, and as being comfortable up there. She feels she could have gone even further with it, knowing her. She wants her to let loose next time. Randy agrees with Jennifer, but says she showed the confidence with a restraint, almost like Adele. The first time he heard that, he thought if this girl DJs half as good as she sings, she’s dangerous.
Jen Hirsh, 24, of Agora Hills, CA, shows her apartment off, as well as her dog, Sadie. Oddly, she says she’s like her daughter as she’s walking her on a leash. Perhaps she shouldn’t become a mom. She also shows her boyfriend, who is not on a leash. The family vineyards also picks up a highlight as well as her new baby niece. She’s singing my favorite Adele song, One and Only Will this season be filled with Adele hits and comparisons? She does great with the song and does a few different things with it while staying true to the song itself. She has a great glory note in the middle.
J-Lo calls this beautiful and thinks Jen is the first one to come out and really let loose a little. She went for the high notes and she felt the emotion in the song. Steven thinks something about confidence makes a voice fly, and hers was soaring. She had a little rouble at the end, but she has what it trakes. Randy has loved Jen and her voice since the beginning with the swag and R&B, as she can do the runs. She needs to always remember she can go there. He thinks she’s one fo the best singers in the competition this year.
Ryan Seacrest puts Randy on the spot here and asks how the guys and girls are comparing gender to gender. Randy went home and watched the show last night and felt they were a little lenient and a little soft on them. There were some great perfromances, but some of them weren’t quite there. Ryan asks for names, and Randy is hesitant to do that. He thinks the girls are coming out scorching tonight and that the girls might come out winning the two-night rally. From where I’m sitting, so far the guys are taking the rally.
Brielle von Hugel, 17, from Staten Island, is a typical teenage girl. She goes to high school where she’s a cheerleader. She shows her brother and her house, as well as her mom, but we know Stage Mom very well. Apparently she Stage Moms the whole group. We didn’t see that coming, did we? Nah.
Brielle sings Sittin’ on the Dock of Bay surrounded by the top 13 guys. She leaves them behind and takes the stage. She has a great voice, but is missing the soul from this song. I’ve heard it sung by a street perfromer in new Orleans, and that’s the type of grit the song needs. It’s a grit that a 17-year-old isn’t going to recognize, but she does make ea valiant attempt to throw it up there at the end.
Steven tells Brielle she did it and has a great sense of the blues. He calls it beautiful and nice, nice, nice. That guy needs to head to New Orleans. I’m going to a wedding there on Good Friday; do you think Steven wants to go? This is what Jennifer loves about Brielle. She doesn’t know if people think of her as one of the big voices there, but she loves that she’s a true performer, eating it up and understanding what it takes to entertain. Randy was a little worried in the beginning, and thought it might be too low of a key for her, but she got into a sweet spot vocally. She can really swing and surprised him, with almost a little Janis Joplin in there.