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In the world's ultimate talent search - where the eyes of a nation are upon the best undiscovered singers in the country, where the audience has the power to make or break you, and where a million-dollar recording contract is on the line, there is only one rule: If you can sing it, bring it.

Recaps by Gordon Pepper and Chico Alexander, GSNN

Host: Ryan Seacrest
Judges: Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson
Creator: Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
EP: Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller
Packager: 19 Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America
Airs: Tuesdays at 8:00pm ET and Wednesdays at 8:30p ET on FOX

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Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

February 24/25 - Group 3

A classic American Idol barb could describe last week's show...

"Absolutely dreadful".

Needless to say, tonight's eight, known in the collective as Group Three, better put their hearts, minds, asses, and other body organs into tonight's show, otherwise, we're gonna have a pretty crappy season. All I can say is... Seacrest, you owe us.

He gives us... Elizabeth LeTendre first. All spunk and half class, she learned the hard way that 1.5 doesn't mean you're the one. But she might be the one to beat with "I Wanna Dance with Somebody". Impressive range, and she owns the stage with her energy, but she's all over the place tonewise. And shouting isn't helping either. But so far, better than at least half of group 2.

Randy: "That was hot! Already better than last week!"
Paula: "Your vocals are spot on tonight. Excellent job."
Simon: "Good singer, cheap performance."

Yeah, I bet Simon can perform with the best of them. Elizabeth, meanwhile, admits to being "horny and cheap." So does Ryan. Scary. What's scary also? Eric Yoder, the second coming of Clay Aiken, voicewise. Hes hoping to find some personality inside, but he won't find it "In the Still of the Night". Flat and emotionless. Very flat and very emotionless. And he showboats. Yeah, he knows he sucks. And the falsetto is definitely a killer. Although Randy disagrees.

Randy: "The performance was cool for me, but you brought it home at the end."
Paula: "A little sketchy at the beginning."
Simon: "You are, at the moment, just a good voice."

Wow, all three disagree. I didn't see anything appealing. But apparently the kids love it, so who am I. Next up, Amy Adams, makeup artist and nervous wreck. How nervous? In a word, sorta. She sounds like Celine in the first few bars of "The Power of Love". And the second few bars. And when she injects herself, it comes off as a bit weak. In short, passable, but only passable. Not phenomenal quite yet, but getting there.
Randy: "You got the personality. I was impressed that you started out by yourself."
Paula: "You are phenomenal."
Simon: "I look at you and I think Cabaret Idol rather than American Idol."

If she can get out of the cabaret stage, she could go far in the contest. Big note, William Hung will bang one more time on Monday's "American Idol: Uncut, Uncensored, Untalented". Make a note. Fourth on the hole, "Pen salesman" Jon Peter Lewis. He has no more pens, but he looks like Kurt Nilsen... could be a plus side. He tries out "Tiny Dancer". And we have the first person that I actually wholly like. If he can get out of that facial rut, he's going to go far.

Randy: "Sounds kinda cartoonish, but I was feeling you."
Paula: "I think you did a nice job."
Simon: "I think you are an American with a good voice."

If he doesn't get through, then he should make Wild Card. We'll see when the votes go through. Remember, America loves a loser. Next up from down the road in Pembroke is Charly Lowry. Hey, Tar Heel! Gotta love that. She brings the soul to "Chain of Fools". Could be better. Could be worse. But she works the stage, and that should garner a few thousand votes. As much as I liked the ending, it was a "so what" performance.

Randy: "Pitchwise, you were all over the place. It was just alright for me."
Paula: "Looking for a tighter performance."
Simon: "I'm going to say something really odd. I agree with [Paula]. You just got to let go."

As for me, see above note on Jon Peter Lewis. Rolling all five of his necks is Jonah Moananu. The drama teacher/808 State MC wants America to vote for him because he can sing. And he can, proving it on "I Wish". BUT it isn't the power performance it needs to be. Come on, you need to bring it. You've got a one in four chance of making the show. You've got to convince me that you want it...

Randy: "You didn't really show the vocal skills. Now you need to shine, baby."
Paula: "Just wasn't heavy on melody."
Simon: "I just don't think you're very good."

Down to two... First one: Leah LaBelle (Vladowski). Her mom's a pop star, and if we're lucky, good talent is genetic. She starts out weak on "I Have Nothing". Unfortunately, she stays there for a while. At least until the hook. That's when she pours on the power. I see potential, but right now, "I Have Nothing" is pretty descriptive of the entire package.

Randy: "Whitney's very tough to do. I still feel you. I love the style of your voice."
Paula: "You are a star. You have, by far, such extreme potential."
Simon: "You have almost everything right, but you're not quite right yet. I think, potentially, you are the best we've seen tonight."

And finally, we've got La Toya London. She couldn't stop looking mum-sy. My sister personally thinks her new wardrobe hurts her eyes. But what about the voice? "All By Myself" is the song she eventually choose. This is one of those songs that, unless you can nail it, you shouldn't try. She tries to own it, and for the most part, succeeds. That was the breakout I was looking for all series! This is what Idol is all about. Standing O = definite top 12.

Randy: "You're the best I've heard ever since we started this!"
Paula: "You have the most unbelievable quiet confidence we've seen."
Simon: "Superb and outstanding."

Hey, La Toya. Just a secret between you, me, and the readers of this site... I think you made it. For me now, it's a draw between Jon Peter and Amy for the second chair, with Amy edging out but barely. Tomorrow, we'll see who joins Diana, Fantasia, Matt, and Camile in the top 12.

I am sort of frustrated - I completely agree with Chico - which quite frankly, scares me. La Toya is a no-brainer to get in - but I think that Amy's charisma and performance was so powerful that she will edge out Jon Peter Lewis for the second spot.

We'll see if I'm right - but FOX starts the segment by doing the obvious - telling La Toya that she is in the top three. We then rattle off four people who will not be joining us - Liz, Eric, Charly and Jonah, before we get to Amy Adams - and she's in. That leaves us with Leah and Jon Peter Lewis. I still don't see three women advancing, so I guess that the salesman makes it in. He does, and me and Chico are both 3 for 3.

Who advances? In first place is...La Toya. That's not a surprise - and I will agree with Chico that Amy, due to the stronger charisma, gets in as well. She does, and Amy and La Toya are your 2 finalists.

The final 8 people include... George Huff. Wha? Well apparently, thanks to other people getting into trouble with the law, Mr. Huff is back to perform. We'll see next week if he takes full advantage of his second opportunity - or if he doesn't, who does.

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