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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

American Idol, Feb. 20 & 27 – The Top 20 Girls Become the Top 10

Kamaria Ousley, 29, Oakland, has been in the music business for a number of years and has background singing with P Diddy and other artists. This is her shot to step into her own spotlight. To do that, she sings Mr. Know-It-All, but singing Kelly Clarkson is definitely the wrong song choice for her. Additionally, she seems off. Not in tone, but in terms of matching up with timing of the music.

Keith isn’t sure if this was a great song for Kamaria, because she can really sing, but again he didn’t find any emotional connection to what the song is about. He’s not a fan of unnecessary theatrical performance, and while she was singing “you don’t know a thing about me,” he was thinking he didn’t. He doesn’t know a thing about Kamaria, but he’d like to. Nicki tells her she looks very nicely styled, and it’s all working, but what she never noticed until tonight was a throaty, twangy thing, and she doesn’t know if it was just added tonight or what.

Randy agrees that from the start of the song it never caught on. She was all over the place pitch-wise, and it’s her worst performance so far. It didn’t work tonight, and there’s nothing redeemable about it at all. That’s harsh. Mariah knew Randy would comment on the pitch, but Mariah wondered if Kamaria was struggling to hear herself. She thinks she’s really adorable, as she’s so vivacious, and her smile lighs up the entire room. A producer could put her in the studio and work with her. Mariah loves the ensemble, but the song was wrong.

Kree Harrison, 22, Nashville, is a demo singer. Her mom listened to Otis Redding and Al Green, her dad listened to Stevie Ray Vaughn, and it definitely shaped her. To work in the industry is a crazy process, and it’s really important to pay your dues. This show is such a cool platform for a singer to tell their story. Tonight she sings Up to the Mountain, and it’s so … effortless. Of all the comments about how all the girls were dressed so well tonight, she’s just in some leggings and a big top. That’s it. And I have to say it’s because she doesn’t need anything more. Her voice says it all.

Keith pumps his fists in the air, as he and Nicki give Kree a standing ovation. He tells her she is such a natural born singer. It is so beautiful to watch her sing and to listen to her. For him there are so many styles in the foundation of country music, and for sure blues and gospel, and she embodied that so purely and beautifully. She’s doesn’t over-try and there’s no desperation. It’s authentic. Nicki would be very afraid if she were any of the other girls there tonight. When she watched the show and heard Kree’s story, she said there was something inside of her, a mystery that couldn’t be explained. Every time she sings, she makes love to the song. She gets up there and is completely clothed, but she’s so sexy.

Randy says that’s a natural born singer. Kree doesn’t need to wear the outfit or do anything. She gets there, opens her mouth and sings with it being an amazing song, a beautiful song. It was effortless, and he felt he was at her show with her doing it for twenty-five years. Mariah adds that she’s lost in the song, and that’s a beautiful thing to watch. It’s unaffected and incredibly organic, and she sang the hell out of the song.

Angela Miller, 18, Beverly, MA, watched the show the first time to see Ruben Studdard beat Clay Aiken in season two. She thinks it’s definitely a year for a girl to win. Angela just might be the one to do it after wowing the judges in Hollywood with a song she wrote herself. Tonight she ditches the piano and sings Nobody’s Perfect and is absolutely gorgeous while she sings and does great with the Jessie J song. It’s not the same impact as her original song, but she won’t ever be able to match that. That’s the bad part. The judges will always be looking for that from her.

Keith tells Angela she has a huge talent vocally and with musicianship. She has a big gift that doesn’t require any compensating. He wants her to keep believing that she can do it. He wishes he had more time for more adjectives. Nicki loves Angie. Nothing is going to compare to the performance of her original song, and watching it back, it was the most beautiful thing Nicki has experienced since she has been doing Idol. Angela needs to rest in that and remember she’s already a top contender. Her voice is unmatched, she’s striking, and needs to know she’s an artist.

Randy calls Angela definitely one of his favorites in the competition, and he thinks America is witnessing the birth of a superstar. She can sing anything, and he enjoys her interpretation of the song. She is so passionate as she gets inside, and he calls her the real deal, saying she’s going places. Mariah feels Angela’s potential is limitless. She asks for the name of the original song – You Set Me Free. Mariah wants everyone to hear that, because she was clothed in goosebumps and bathed in tears watching her. Angela needs to keep writing.

Isabelle Pasqualone, 22, Johns Creek, GA, weighed 200 pounds in school and wasn’t the pretty girl. It was tough, but it’s made her who she is today. She wants to be an encouragement to girls that you can overcome just about anything. To do this, she sings God Bless the Child and sounds great. This song needs to be powerful or really light, and she does the stronger version of it … to the hilt.

Keith tells Isabelle that to every guy who never invited her to prom, he wants that performance to be the key to the side of those guy’s cars. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Keith? Nicki tells the boys to keep an eye out, as Isabelle is up there looking like a diva tonight. She looks very pretty, sounds very pretty, and she is proud of her. She’s overcome obstacles and is up there shining.

Randy gives Isabelle props for getting it together to become healthy and being an inspiration to girls and guys. He thinks she has a big old voice, but if being honest, felt it was old-fashioned and felt he was at a pageant. She can sing, but the arrangement made him wonder. She promises contemporary next time. Mariah clears it up, saying if she’d done it more simply arranged, it would have been different. To her, though, Isabelle’s vocal is what’s selling her, as well as her heart.

Amber Holcomb, 18, Houston, is an assistant teacher. She got cut in Vegas last year and was so shy, timid, and scared. She’s more confident this season and needs to portray the person she is and come harder to bring it. To do so tonight she sings Funny Valentine. That’s an odd choice for someone who said they need to come harder and bring it. It’s beautiful, but does have some clunker notes, and I cannot understand why the stylists let her walk out with a red dress and blue shoes.

Keith asks Amber why she makes it so tough on everyone else, saying it was so technically great with breath control, etc. She took the song that could easily be an old-fashioned song in Randy’s world, but she made it timeless and knocked it out of the park. Nicki talks about her legs that go on for days and say she’s proud of her for coming back and making an effort to come out of her shell. The vocal was A+++, but she’s wondering if the inner shine will shine through the TV to the people voting. But the vocal was at the top of the class.

Randy thinks it could shine through the TV, but Amber has to believe it before anyone else does, and he thinks she doubts herself too much What he loved about the song was that she had the control and took her time, but her run stood out well because she wasn’t over-singing before it. Mariah thinks Amber knows how beautiful the performance was, although she did want to slap her because it was so good. Mariah has been listening to that song her whole life, and she loved her interpretation of it and can’t wait for her to get into the studio. Was I the only one who heard the clunkers?

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