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March 1

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 Chico Alexander, Jason Block, Don Harpwood & Gordon Pepper, GSNN
Host Ryan Seacrest
Judges Randy Jackson
Jennifer Lopez
Steven Tyler
Mentor Jimmy Iovine
Creator Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
EP Nigel Lythgoe
Ken Warwick
Cecile Frot-Coutaz
Simon Fuller
Packager 19 TV & FremantleMedia North America
Origins CBS Television City, Los Angeles
Web americanidol.com
Airs 8p Wed & Thurs, Fox

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Round of 24: The Women
March 2

So we had the guys perform yesterday. The women take the stage today. Let'ssee what the new crop has in store for us...

We start with Ta-Tynisa Wilson, who gives us Rihanna's 'Only Girl in the World'. Can we start this on a good note?

The Good: ...her hair looks nice?
The Bad: She couldn't sustain any sort of consistent pitch for 30 seconds. The edit of the song was terrible and she should have selected a different song. And the dress looked like it was inspired by crumbled Oreo cookies looking for a home.
The Jason: Very weak vocals and lack of confidence shows me that we are going to say Ta-Ta to Ta-Tynisa Wilson. Although her Ta-tas are nice. Randy is on point.
Grandma Pepper: She sounded good, looked good, and got the show off to an ok start.
The Verdict: Unfortunately, this is not American Ta-tas. And I'd use the Ta-Ta pun, but Jason already beat me to it.

Naima Adedapo gives us some 'Summertime' in the Winter. She jazzes it up. Will we be jazzed about it?

The Good: I really liked the rendition of the song. The second half of the song was powerful, and she did nail the money note at the end.
The Bad: Here's 2 problems that I have with it. First of all, the first half of the song was Karaoke-ish. Second of all, as much as I like the rendition, I don't like the song itself in terms of a choice. More in the Verdict section.
The Jason: A jazzy take on the "Show Boat" standard. Her stage presence is excellent. In her wheelhouse and her vocals were very good. I like her.
Grandma Pepper: Sorry, but that rendition didn't knock my socks off.

So you thought she was terrible.

Grandma Pepper: I say so in Grandma Words, not in Gordon words.
The Verdict: She does have a great voice. Here's the problem: with the online voting up now, the vote is going to skew young and contemporary. The song is neither young nor contemporary, and the rendition, though I liked it, isn't going to attract the voters to her. That's going to spell trouble for her tomorrow.

Kendra Chantelle, with limited visibility, shows up with Christina Aguilera's 'Impossible'. Can she do the impossible and get into the Top 12?

The Good: She nailed the money note on that piece. That's a really nice rendition of a song...
The Bad: ...that none of us have heard of. Yes, it's Christina Aguilera, but how many of the young kids listen to that and vote? We'll find out.
The Jason: Never heard the song before, but the vocals were smoking. She took the stage and made it her own. She showed fire and passion.
Grandma Pepper: Good going. A solid job.
The Verdict: It's a pretty song choice, but because of the lack of visibility around it at this stage of the game, it's a bad song choice, and that, combined with her early placement in the show, is a choice that could come back to haunt her.

Rachel Zevita wants to shake things up. So does an earthquake. We'll see what happens with Fiona Apple's 'Criminal'.

The Good: This is going to be a sort of reversal of the last 2 singers. The song choice was good - it's contemporary.
The Bad: ...but the vocals were weak. She was pitchy all over the place. And I agree with the judges - this rendition was bad in a musical sense.
The Jason: Didn't like the jazzy take of that. Bad song choice, but the vocals were hot.
Grandma Pepper: Take heart, Rachel. The voters may like what you did.
Did you like it grandma?
Grandma Pepper: Not exactly, no.
The Verdict: It's a pretty song choice, but because of the lack of visibility around it at this stage of the game, it's a bad song choice, and that, combined with her early placement in the show, is a choice that could come back to haunt her.

Karen Rodriguez wants to put some Latin into this competition. Can she do it with Mariah Carey's 'Hero'?

The Good: I really, really liked what she did with the Spanglish vocals. She stayed in pitch during the song and was technically the best that we've seen so far.
The Bad: She nailed the song technically, but I really would have loved to have seen her take some risks with some money notes. And J-Lo should stop trying to set her up on a date with either Jacob Lusk or Steven Tyler.
The Jason: Too Passionless and I didn't like the Spanglish version of it. I don't think she will make it.
Grandma Pepper: Great performance! Karen lit up the stage!
The Verdict: I completely and utterly disagree with Jason here and I agree with Grandma. American Idol is all about selling yourself and marketing yourself as a singer. You know who Karen Rodriguez is, you know who she's campaigning to, and as there's always been a huge Latino contingency that votes, she should be an absolute lock to make the Top 13.

We end the first half with Lauren Turner. She'll be singing Etta James '7 Day Fool'. The questions is who's fooling who?

The Good: I liked what she did with the song, from a pitch-standpoint.
The Bad: I typed this part in even before she started singing: really bad song choice. Not contemporary at all. Then when I heard her sing, I realized that she doesn't have the emotional timbre to carry anything else (as Jennifer Lopez correctly pointed out), and that's going to be a problem.
The Jason: I liked her attitude and sass. Her vocals sounded a bit Joplin-esque. She has SOUL.
Grandma Pepper: That was nice, Lauren.
The Verdict: She does have soul. The problem is that she needed the same soul on a more contemporary song. Whereas the song choices were really good for the guys, they are really old for the ladies. Even Karen's song is over a decade old.

Ashthon Jones is going to go contemporary with 'Love Over Me' by Monica. The question is - what is she going to put over me?

The Good: A contemporary choice. Yay. She does have the confidence and emotion behind the vocals, which are nice.
The Bad: She's got bad pitch all over me. The notes feel consistently sharp and forced. The voice sounds nice, but that doesn't work if it can't stay in pitch. And if he thinks this is the best performance of the night, someone needs to send Steven Tyler over the Charlie Sheen emporium.
The Jason: She can hit the money notes. But I am just not sure. It felt a bit forced to me.
Grandma Pepper: Like Randy, I didn't love the song, but I did like her performance.
The Verdict: If the R&B battle is between her and Ta-Tynisa, she's in. If there's another R&B singer in the fray and she singe lights out, Ashton is in serious trouble.

Julie Zorrilla wants to break out with Kelly Clarkson's 'Breakaway'. Can she break into the Top 12?

The Good: It was not the worst vocal performance I've heard tonight - that honor goes to Ta-Taniysa. I guess that's not exactly a great thing to say about 'Good', but that's around the best I can come up with.
The Bad: It's a little of everything here. The song choice was generic, there's no vocal range, it was emotionless, and the money note sounded like something I'd want to take back to the pawn shop.
The Jason: Oh boy. Too big of a song for a tiny voice like that. She is not good at all. And some of the notes were just painful.
Grandma Pepper: If the voters back it up, she will learn from tonight's heartbreak.
The Verdict: I think Julie will learn. Unfortunately, it's going to be on another show. Maybe she can migrate over to America's Got Talent. It worked for Thia Megia.

Haley Reinhart's selection is 'Fallin'' from the Alicia Keys library. Will we want to check out her books?

The Good: Now THIS is what I call a vocal range. It was really nice, but it was also really restrained. She didn't belt out because she didn't need to. And she killed on the money note.
The Bad: I agree with Jennifer and Steven on the vocals, but I agree with Randy on her bringing nothing new to the party. She needs to bring some original Haley to the party instead of trying to be Alicia.
The Jason: The problem here is that while the vocals were ok...she was playing grown up and dress up like a 5 yr old girl who is in mommy's clothes. Sorry, Haley you are going home.
Grandma Pepper: Not only did I not care for the performance, I was waiting dfor it to end.

That's pretty strong, grandma. What happened to grandma words and not Gordon words?

Grandma Pepper: Well, that's what I think. I was getting nauseous. I couldn't wait for her to finish.

Well, there you go.

The Verdict: I'm going to disagree with everyone again. I liked what she sang. What really helps her is that she's placed near the end of the show, and people are more likely to remember this than Naima or Kendra's performances earlier. Fair? No. Way of the world? Yes, and Haley's going to benefit from it.

Will Thia Megia also benefit from it? She better, because her choice of 'Out Here on My Own' by Irene Cara is far from contemporary. Can she pull it off?

The Good: I'll give her credit for going a capella here. It's a challenging selection...
The Bad: ...that I'm not sure paid off. The problem is that being out here on your own means that you don't have the background helping you when you are flatter than a pancake, which she was in the middle of the song.
The Jason: NAILED the song. Loved the voice.
Grandma Pepper: A bring in the vote job. I didn't love her, but I liked her, and I know she's going to get in.
The Verdict: She's going to get in, between the 15 year old vibe and the audience already built in from 'America's Got Talent'. That being said, I didn't like this nearly as much as the judges and everyone else did.

A 16 year old, Lauren Alaina, is up next. She's going to countrify us with 'Turn on the Radio' by Reba McIntyre. Will she turn us on?

The Good: For a nice contemporary song (or should I say the contemporary rendition), she did everything she could with this song.
The Bad: For a nice contemporary song (or should I say the contemporary rendition, with no vocal range or emotional pitch needed whatsoever), she did everything she could with this song. The song's too easy, and if she wants to stick around, I agree with Steven - she needs something more challenging to show America what she can do.
The Jason: Just like Scotty McCreery last night, she has a country career nailed.
Grandma Pepper: The word for Lauren is natural. Like Jennifer, I am a fan, too.
The Verdict: I agree with Jason. She's got an image and voice perfect for country right now. She can't go yet, because she's going to be sticking around on Idol for a few more weeks.

Finally, it's Pia Toscano with 'I'll Stand By You' by The Pretenders. Will we stand by her?
The Good: That's a nice vocal. Technically, she was perfect. Vocally, she was perfect. It was perfect.
The Bad: However, I have a legitimate complaint. The song did nothing for her. And I mean it this way: The vocals from the competitors shows us an identity of who they are what what voting base they need to be. All I know from Pia is she has a nice vocal. I don't know what genre or base she's attracting. As of now, it's not going to be an issue, but she needs to carve out a genre.
The Jason: Her vocals were on point, and she had the presence and polish of a veteran!
Grandma Pepper: This says it all: Grace, looks, passion, performance. All of which are excellent.
The Verdict: That's a really nice way to end the night. She's locked and loaded to be a player in the competition. Best vocal ever? No. But she'll be in the hunt.

Overall: It's an interesting dichotomy. I think the women had the better vocals for the night, but the guys had the better song choices. The ladies will have to make better song selections if they want to win Idol this year - but I think a lady is going to win it this year.

LOCKS: Pia Toscano, Laurn Alaina, Thia Megia, Karen Rodgiruez
JUDGES CHOICES: Haley Reinhart, Naima Adedapo, Kendra Chantelle, Lauren Turner
SEE YA: Ta-Tynisa Wilson, Rachel Zevita, Ashthon Jones, Julie Zorilla

The Jason: The girls won the night. And there were 5 distinct winners to
me--Although this decision was tougher.
IN: Thia Megia, Lauren Alaina, Pia Toscano, Naimi Adepopo, Kendra Chantelle.
WC - Ashthon Jones, Rachel Zevita, Lauren Turner

Grandma Pepper: IN: Karen, Lauren, Pia, Thia, Kendra

Next, the RESULTS...


To see extras from this episode, go to www.americanidol.com.