Vegas Semifinals: Part 3 - The Girls
been a season of new beginnings with new judges paring a
new class of singing hopefuls down to the top 40. Now
they take a new stage with a new challenge in the
Semifinal Round. One song. One shot. Who has what it
takes to sing for YOUR VOTE? Welcome to SUDDEN DEATH!
So far, we've got five men
and five women. This week, we fill the top 20 and then let them loose on
a nation unsuspecting and far less forgiving.
The Beatles Love Theatre by Cirque du Soleil at the Mirage
Ten sing, five move on. In
case of deadlock, Jimmy Iovine's decision will be decisive, whether the
judges or the crowd agree with it or not.
Here's tonight's 10, who are
hoping that the road to superstardom runs through Vegas. AND THEY ARE!
- Melinda Ademi (19;
Yonkers, NY; student)
- Candice Glover (23; St. Helena Island, SC; excursions coordinator)
- Juliana Chahayed (15; West Hills, CA; HS student)
- Jett Hermano (25; Seattle; legal assistant)
- Cristabel Clack (29; San Antonio; worship leader)
- Aubrey Cleland (19; Westland, OR; student)
- Rachel Hale (22; Prescott, AR; student)
- Breanna Steer (18; La Place, LA; student)
- Janelle Arthur (23; Oliver Springs, TN; fitness instructor)
- Zoanette Johnson (20; Tulsa, OK; habilitation specialist)
Melinda kicks it off by
reliving season 10 for all of us. Today, she believes that she's ready
to take on the contest. She'll be taking on "Nobody's Perfect" by Jessie
THEY SAY: Keith loved it,
but could sense that nerves were starting to take hold. Nicki thought
that the song was more connected last week AND that Melinda is relying
too much on one artist... Jessie J. Randy thought that it didn't have
enough "big moments". Mariah repeats what Keith said about nerves.
WE SAY: Seems like she was too busy emoting and giving us the hippie
hippie shakes to deliver a quality vocal. Granted, the song by its very
nature is not controlled at all, but there has to be method to madness.
Overall, a very raw talent behind all of that.
Candice is next. She too was
cut in an earlier season. Can she deliver where Melinda failed with
"Natural Woman" by Aretha?
THEY SAY: Keith said that
song choice was perfect. Nicki says she was born to do this. Randy says
she's grown from last year, though it was NOT her best performance.
Mariah says she's a bonafide singer.
WE SAY: Short answer to the
question asked at the top of her performance: yes. Long answer: HELL
From SC, we go to CA to meet
Juliana Chahayed for the first time. She not only sings, but writes her
own material with her sister. Her family loves to sing in Arabic.
Tonight, she'll be singing in English with her guitar, "Skyscraper" by
THEY SAY: Keith says she was
struggling with pitch and nerves, but her voice is pure. Nicki says that
she has a signature sound to her voice (C-Note: yeah, it sounds like
every other chick with a guitar) which works for what you do, but it may
not work in the context of competition. Randy respects her
responsibility. Mariah thought it was angelic.
WE SAY: A young singer,
singing a young song. Even as it's depressing me to tears and boring me
to death. This is her first real coming out to America, and if I was
her, I'd pick something that showed off her range, not just one note
Jett Hermano took a big risk
coming here, giving up a full-ride scholarship to the University of
Washington to take on music full-time. Today, she takes on "Only Girl
(In the World)" by Rihanna.
THEY SAY: Keith says that
she brought out the sexiness of the song. Nicki also loves the
arrangement, but she never got a climax out of it (smirk). Randy thought
she was going to rock out from the good beginning. Mariah thought she
was "intriguing", even though she didn't "go sick" on the piano.
WE SAY: Perhaps a more
interesting take on the song, and driven by emotion rather than studio
magic. She definitely has range to her. Only time will tell whether she
has anything left in the tank for later.
Up the gut with Cristabel
Clack, who got on the plane back to San Antonio and tried to talk
herself out of coming to Vegas. Will we wish she had succeeded? Here she
is with "No One" by Alicia Keys.
THEY SAY: Keith loved that
"soul croaky thing" in that song, saying she's got "crazy potential".
Nicki thought it was a good song for her, but the rasp got "a little bit
out of control". Randy says she's "on point". Mariah says she wants to
hear just her sing songs simply before giving props to the background
WE SAY: She definitely has
some polish, but she seems like she has to go right to the run to start
off. Soon, it's all run, and the song gets lost in it. There was some
pitchiness here and there. It was just inauthentic.
We're coming down to the
second half of the performances with Aubrey Cleland singing for horses
and chickens before singing for the judges. Her feed of choice: "Sweet
Dreams" by Beyonce.
THEY SAY: Keith said that he
loves the diversity of the ladies and that this lady in particular is
well-balanced. Nicki is "obsessed" with her. Randy says that Aubrey is a
very great "commercial artist". Mariah thinks she's limitless.
WE SAY: Observation... I
hear the same vibes of music day in day out while watching this show.
I'm waiting for someone to break out with someone different. I mean, I
can only hear so much Beyonce-Adele-Alicia Keys collabos before going
nuts. Back to Aubrey... she sounds whiny. That song kicked HER butt.
Rachel Hale is perhaps the
smiliest person in American Idol history. Will she still be smiling
after "Nothing But the Water" by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
THEY SAY: Keith said the
song got on top of her. Nicki: "Where did this burst of crazy confidence
come from?" Randy was happy to hear something uptempo. Mariah may have
heard more of her on other performances.
WE SAY: I could have sworn
that she did this song before. In that, she's using Grace Potter as a
crutch. It worked for Scotty "Babylock'demdoorsandturnthelightsdownlow"
McCreery. It won't work here.
Breanna Steer survived
Hurricane Isaac. Will she survive this? It's "Bust Your Windows" by
THEY SAY: Keith literally
believes that she can bust the windows out of his car. Nicki says that
her and Aubrey could be signed right now. Randy agrees, saying that
she's the whole package. Mariah says she's extremely marketable.
WE SAY: That was daring. Too
bad she didn't do much with it. The GOOD news is that she knows who she
is as an artist, so that will help her.
Janelle Arthur is next, and
she has no problem saying that she's a country girl. The country girl
takes on another country song, "Just a Kiss" by Lady Antebellum.
THEY SAY: Keith says it
didn't go anywhere and it wasn't a great song choice. Nicki thought it
was flat and disconnected. Randy agrees with... Keith. Mariah says that
there's not an ounce of pretense against her and she needed to do
WE SAY: Normally, we'd just
say, "There are a million country singers in this competition. You...
are just one of them." BUT... it was so bad, we only have one word...
Muted. Stick to the shower, stick to your day job.
We're rounding third and
heading for home with Zoanette Johnson waving us in as only she can.
She's originally from Monrovia, Liberia. Bet you didn't know that. Does
she know "Circle of Life" from "The Lion King".
THEY SAY: ... Never mind
what the judges say, I just want Simon Cowell back. Everyone thought her
tone matched the song perfectly and that she was bringing the
competition and her larger-than-life spirit to the judges.
WE SAY: ... how does one
describe this performance? It's a grand and glorious song. It's a
deep-voiced woman who likes to shout. This is who she is. She is
awesomelicious. But I don't think America will GET IT.
And... by my count, that's
ten. Now it's time for the... MOST DRAMATIC ELIMINATION CEREMONY... IN
THE LAST TWO HOURS.
SERIOUS LIGHTS, SERIOUS
- Zoanette Johnson
- Aubrey Cleland
- Candice Glover
- Breanna Steer
- Melinda Ademi
- Juliana Chahayed
- Cristabel Clack
- Jett Hermano
That leaves us with two
country girls, Rachel and Janelle. That's one country girl TOO MANY.
Time to decide who takes the stage and who takes a walk.
And the final girl in
America's top 20... is... JANELLE ARTHUR.
One more set of five stools
needing to be filled before next week's Round of 20.