Sometimes in life I think we try so hard to do the right thing, we do the wrong thing. This is definitely the case of last night’s and tonight’s American Idol. The contestants are trying so hard to impress the audience, judges and each other, that in the end they impress no one.
Last night the twelve men sang with mixed results; tonight it’s ladies night. The twelve women will get their chance in the spotlight. Surprisingly, not one Whitney song, but both Celine Dion and Mariah Carey songs make a showing.
Stepping up to the plate, first of the evening is Vonzell Solomon singing Heatwave by Martha and the Vandellas. She sings it well and makes it appear effortless. Randy thinks it was a great way to start and asks the dog pound for approval. The dog pound, by the way, is the twelve guys that sang last night, sitting in the audience. Paula likes how Vonzell got the crowd going with an upbeat song. Simon agrees and says it was an amazing start.
Amanda Avila sings How Am I Supposed to Live Without You, the same song Joseph Murena sang last night. I have to say I enjoy this version much more than Joseph’s last night. Randy says it’s alright and that she hung in there. Paula calls it beautiful, yet says it wasn’t her best. Simon says, disgustingly, that in his second life he wants to come back as her microphone. I am completely grossed out, but at least he didn’t pull a Prince Charles and say he wants to come back as her … well, never mind.
Janay Castine sings a song I don’t recognize. It’s a little pitchy, and she doesn’t look comfortable at all. She looks completely scared to death. Randy even asks if she was nervous and scared. He calls the song very ambitious and rangy, saying it wasn’t the best choice for her. Paula agrees, and says she’s normally a fun singer, but she still thinks Janay is a dynamo. Simon thinks the song is too old for her, and she’s not fifty years old like Paula. He tells her before they liked her because she was herself; she should stick to what she does well. Gee, maybe that’s why I don’t recognize it. I must be too young; yeah, that’s it.
Carrie Underwood sings Could’ve Been by Mandy Moore, and it fits her like a glove. Randy tells her she is a breath of fresh air and her performance was absolutely brilliant. He wonders why no one has discovered her yet. Paula adds that Carrie’s vocals were open and beautiful tonight. Simon tells her she is one of his favorites because she knows who she is. He tells her she has potentially a very good singing voice.
Picking up the beat a little is Sarah Mather singing Get Ready. She seems a little shaky with this and I can’t help wondering, watching the dog pound groove along with her, how some of them would have done with this song. Randy tells her it was a fun song choice, but believes her voice is better than it showed tonight. Paula nails the reason why. She says this song is more for a group, and doesn’t highlight just one voice very well. Simon says in this business you have to go on one first impression, and his with this performance is that it was clumsy and forgettable, calling it a big mistake. I think that’s rather harsh.
Melinda Lira sings the Celine Dion song of the night, giving us her rendition of Power of Love. I think she sounded okay, but this song I am so tired of, it’s hard to critique, and she did a weird bouncing thing when she was trying to belt it out. Randy believes she is one of the best in the competition and compares her to a young Kelly Clarkson. I think her voice is comparable, but is missing that magic that Kelly provides. Paula agrees with Randy and thinks she is a strong contender. Simon says at this point he is waiting for a star to emerge, and he has seen this type of thing on other shows; he’s unimpressed. Me too, Simon.
Stepping away from the ballads is Nadia Turner, singing another song I don’t don’t recognize, but she is so awesome, and owns every second of this song, that I would like to know it. Randy likes it, too, since she stayed true to who she is. Paula says she did a great job and she is surprised. Simon says Nadia is the answer to karaoke hell, and that that’s a compliment. She decided not to play it safe, threw down the gauntlet, and said I’m here to win. It was a great song choice. The dog pound seemed to really enjoy it as well.
Celena Rae returns us to the ballads with I Will Love Again. It’s good, and that’s about all I can say about it. Randy calls it very safe and boring. Paula calls her tentative and nervous and says she’s not sure of the song selection. Simon says it made it difficult to know who she was. The judges believe following Nadia’s performance must have been hard, and a performance that doesn’t step out on a limb isn’t going to compare. I have to agree.
Here she is. It’s Mikalah Gordon’s turn. I had been waiting for her. She appears with the makeup a little heavy. It’s almost as if she’s trying to look older than she is. She is so fresh, that it kills that just a slight bit. She sings Young Hearts Run Free, and still throws in some talking to the judges inside the song, calling out to Randy. Randy does like her personality and says he was having fun. Paula also had fun, calling her lovable and goofy. Before Simon can comment, Mikalah brings up the prom date she wanted Simon to go on with her. Simon says half the audience will think she is amusing and good, and the other half will find her annoying. Judging from what I have read on message boards, I know he is correct, and I’m on the side that finds her amusing and good.
Lindsey Cardinale sings Standing Right Next To Me, and summoning my best Randy, I think it was awright, Dog. I don’t know if it was the camera angle or what, but it looked like she kept touching her breast throughout the song. My son noticed it too, but hey, he’s twelve. Randy calls this song a bad choice and says she is a better singer than that. Paula didn’t like it, saying what normally makes her stand out is her deep sexy tone. Simon tell her she has a very good voice potentially and needs to take a risk. She appeared boring and he knows she’s not. Except when she’s touching herself.
Jessica Sciera sings Against All Odds, our Mariah Carey song of the evening. This song seemed to fit her well. Randy likes the husky tone to her voice, and Paula notices how she commandeered the whole stage. Simon just doesn’t think it’s the best they have heard from her. We didn’t get a chance to hear much of her in the audition rounds, so it’s hard for us to compare her to earlier performances.
We also didn’t hear anything from Aloha Mischeaux in earlier rounds. Luckily for her she has an interesting name and we remember her based on seeing her only at the Final 24 decision. She sings a Beyonce tune, Work It Out, a completely risky tune. She makes some weird gestures while performing that kind of throw me off, as I find them odd. Randy loved it and Paula feels she has found herself a great niche with her showmanship. Simon gives her the best compliment of the evening, saying out of the twelve girls singing, he will remember three or four performances, and one of them will be hers.
All in all, not as heavily relying on the ballads as the guys did last night, but still a little too much. This makes me long for the theme nights of the Finals part of the competition. When song choice is left solely up to the performer, they sometimes think we will be most impressed with powerful ballads, and they are wrong. We want excitement. I predict the votes will speak for that tomorrow night. If eight-year-old girls’ opinions count, my daughter picked up the phone and called in for Carrie, Nadia and Jessica. Last night my son voted for Constantine fifteen times. I think my kids have pretty good taste.
I welcome all questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com