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Round of 20: The Women - February 28

The guys are back in this competition, so the girls are going to have to step it up. Can the girls prove that they can bring it every week?

Continuing with the dedications, our first singer tonight is Gina Glocksen, who dedicates her singing of Heart's "Alone" to her boyfriend. He's even dyed his hair to match hers, which she thinks is cute.

What they say: Randy says that it started pitchy but came onto its own. Paula cites that Carrie sang this... and she was surprised even more now. Simon liked the song choice, but the vocal was forced at the end. "You're never going to outsing some of the big singers in this competition. I'm thinking you were a little more edgy."

What we say: Hey, so she's dressed like a prom night princess. The voice is still there, and she can still blow. The song was dead on for her. Oh yeah, and to quote Ryan... Joe, if you're reading... two years... "Time for the ring..."

Alaina Alexander and LaKisha Smith are next. LaKisha is showing some leg at the major cola Red Room. She doesn't look nervous... not at all. Meanwhile, Alaina gets grilled on song choice. She thinks "Not Ready to Make Nice" by the Dixie Chicks is more her bag. She dedicates it to mom. Because you all know about Latins and their moms (C-Note: I can SO vouch for that).

What they say: Randy said that when she went for the chorus, the song was let go. "It was a mess for me." Paula says it's a hard song to sing. "It was a little bit off." Simon says she ran out of steam three quarters of the way.

What we say: When it wasn't too strong (the end), it was not strong enough (the beginning). The chorus was also pretty sharp. And she's got to control that pesky breathing!

LaKisha, showing off the leg, dedicates this performance to grandmother Ruth Morris. She'll be 90 on March 30 (happy birthday), and she's leaving on Gladys Knight's "Midnight Train to Georgia".

What they say: Randy thought she flipped it from last week, although she was a little off at the beginning. Paula reminds her of what I said last week, "You're LaKisha." Simon: "Interesting dance at the end." She's a good singer, but it was not as good as last week. She needs to start believing that she is a star.

What we say: She definitely leads with her best... err... leg in the competition, but she has to do more than just engage the audience at TV City. She has to remember that they don't vote for her, the audience at home does. That said... Paris Bennett still has the version of this song to beat.

Next, Melinda Doolittle is dedicating her performance to her "Gayles"... because, you know, they refer to her as "Oprah.". But seriously, they've pretty much gussied her up for Idol performance, and she's now Idol ready. She sings "My Funny Valentine", the Mary J. version.

What they say: Randy says that she's come to win. "You made the mark tonight. You are the one to beat." Paula calls it just astounding. Simon calls it incredible.

What we say: Best of the night hands down. And Melinda's silent confidence is the exclamation mark.

Next up, Antonella Barba... yeah, her. Last week, she was ravaged. This week, she hopes to ravage back with Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me", dedicated to her brother Vincenzo.

What they say: in a rare bit of accordance among the panel, Randy, Paula, and Simon basically say the same thing. She's beautiful, but that song was too big for her.

What we say: I hated the arrangement. The pitch was horrendous. It was nowhere near the level of Celine Dion. And she just didn't really sell herself. That said, she's probably going to stay on another week... because a man much wiser than I once said that "Any publicity is good publicity."

What Antonella says: Simon was wrong about Jennifer Hudson.

What we say REVISED: a) stop using Jennifer Hudson as a scapegoat. You sucked on your own. b) Don't argue with the judges. They can snap you like a twig, put you together with epoxy, and snap you again.

Halfway home. Jordin Sparks is next, as she dedicates tonight to PJ. They goof around a lot. He watches as big sis sings "Reflection" by Christina Aguilera.

What they say: Randy said she chose a good song and that at 17, she's unbelievable. "It wasn't the best you've done, but it was still really good." Paula says she's a good human being. Simon agrees with Randy, not the best, but still very good. "Massive potential."

What we say: The tone was nonexistent at the beginning. But once the chorus started, she felt the passion of the song... unfortunately, the song isn't all chorus, and she went back to being a mite mediocre.

Kellie Pickler will be back on the Idol stage in all her vacant glory next week. Meanwhile, Stephanie Edwards still believes that the atmosphere is friendly. She wants to pour her heart and soul into the piece tonight. Her performance of "Dangerously In Love" by Beyonce is dedicated to probably the biggest stage parents ever. 

What they say: Randy says it was better than last week, but it was a little Beyonce-lite. "I want Stephanie Edwards." Paula echoes his sentiment. Simon echoes Paula's sentiment. "I thought it was a terrific performance."

What we say: that was a copycat Beyonce performance. Granted, it did sound good, but it brought nothing to the party.

Back up in the red room with Leslie Hunt and Haley Scarnato. Haley wants to have a little fun with an upbeat song. Leslie, meanwhile, thinks that "less is more", drawing from her experience as a gig singer. Leslie dedicates Nina Simone's "Feeling Good"... popular song this year... to her late grandpa Bob.

What they say: Randy likes that she returned to form, but "it was definitely a little bit on the pitchy side." Paula says she was being her. Simon said the scatting sounded like Paula talking. "You've just been whacked by three or four big voices before you."

What we say: What... the... hell... No seriously, it was another in a line of copycat performances that were begging to be put on with something more, and... well, we didn't get it. And getting ahead of the music didn't help either.

Next, Haley sings "Queen of the Night" by Whitney Houston to her fiancée. He's not good with him being away, and she's not good with being away, but this is what needs to be done.

What they say: Randy didn't like the fact that there are more backing parts than there are leads. "Vocally, it wasn't on point." Paula says it was leaps and bounds better than last week. Simon gives an A for effort. "It was a little bit manic verging on insane. If you are going to take on a Whitney song, you do it at your perils. Vocally, you came out bad. You are one of two or three vulnerable girls tonight."

What we say: Wrong... song!!!! But on the plus side, you challenged yourself, and that keeps you out of the "Gee, I wonder if she's going home tonight" pile.

Last up is Sabrina Sloan with the closer dedicated to her grammy. Tonight's closer, "All the Man I Need" by Whitney.

What they say: Randy cited some moments, but very nice. Paula calls her fantastic. Simon says it was good, but don't confuse power to shouting. She came over better last week. "You'll be back next week."

What we say: Back to what Simon said about taking on Whitney Houston. There's always that comparison, but where the difference between her and Haley is... Sabrina can actually compete. It was a little pitchy at times, but scores better than what the contestant prior did.

So to sum up...

"Head of the Class": Gina, LaKisha, Melinda
The Class on "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader": Jordin, Stephanie, Haley, Sabrina
"The Class": Alaina, Antonella, Leslie

Bell curve. So who's going home and who's going for another week? See you in 22.5 for the results.



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