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
Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop
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of 24: The Women
24 new singers that America has never heard of. By the time 3 weeks have
elapsed, we'll have 12 people who will be judged, ridiculed, and have their egos
put through the ringers like they have never been before. And those will be the
people who would have made the Top 12. The other 12 will be looking for jobs
that include the phrases, 'Do you want it supersized' and 'I'll try to see if
there's a bigger shoe that fits.'
But that's why we watch the show. And that's why we read the articles, so we can
revel in tearing these 24 people apart.
Just a reminder as to what to look for in these shows:
1. Sing well (Duh)
2. Select the right song - something in your vocal range that's not over sung.
3. Make the song your own - don't make it a sound-alike from the original
4. Don't argue with the judges.
I'm sure there will be more critiques not covered here that will be gotten to as
the show goes on. Also joining me, as usual, is my colleague from
GameShowNewsNet.com, Mr. Jason Block. I'll also be getting other colleagues from
GSNN as the season progresses. Now without further ado, let's start with the
women, who have been touted as the strongest ever. Really? We'll see about that?
We start with Paige Miles, who
is a 24 year old high school teacher from Florida that we have yet to hear a
full song from. Since she's gotten almost zero camera time, she needs to show up
tonight. She starts us off with 'All Right Now' by Free.
The Good - She gets her nerves
together in the second half of the song and once she got going, she has a nice
vocal range. She pulls off the last 'money' note well, which almost makes me
forget about the first half of the song.
The Bad - Almost, but doesn't.
The first half of the song was flat. I agree with Simon that this was the wrong
song selection for her, but for a different reason - these songs are supposed to
define what sort of singer you are, and if she tries to go the rock route
(instead of the R&B route, which she likes when she's singing Michael Jackson
songs), she's going to run into Crystal Bowersox. And the really tight and
(hideously too big) silver belt across her black dress may also not only make
her want to pee, but it looks like when she does go to the rest room, that the
wardrobe designer wants to squeeze Hershey Kisses out of her.
The Jason - Interesting
choice, because Southern Pop-Rock is not what you would expect from her. But she
is slurring her words, and every time she raises the volume, she is screaming.
This is an auspicious start. Not good. I didn't agree with the judges at all.
The Verdict - Simon says that
he thinks she's going to be fine. I'm not so sure that she's going to be fine. I
agree with Jason - not a good start for her, and she may need people to be
worse. That being said, as this is the first show of the new season, I'm sure
we'll be seeing lots of worse.
Ashley Rodriguez is
a 22 year old singer. She's a happy person, and she'll try to make us happy with
Leona Lewis' 'Happy'.
The Good - I like the silvery
jacket. The beads around her neck were pretty. The silver clashes against the
black pants. As far as the song was concerned, the performance wasn't brutal.
The Bad - We are going to see
a lot of nerves tonight. We are also going to see a lot of bad song choices.
This was a terrible song choice because #1. She didn't hit the pitch on top, #2.
the pop song doesn't really define her R&B roots and #3. the song itself is
contemporary, but not well-known in the U.S. (It only got to #31, which means
that only Leona Lewis fans are going to know that song).
The Jason - There's a lot of
bad microphone sounds in the beginning, but it doesn't hamper a competent, yet
emotionless vocal performance. She can and will do better. But it is enough to
get her through.
The Verdict - I agree with
SImon here. Ashley could have some problems, especially being at the top of the
show with 10 other singers ready to give more memorable performances.
Janell Wheeler is
a 24 year old wine rep who wants to show America that this is where she wants to
be. Her choice is 'What About Love' by Heart.
The Good - Now this is what
I'm talking about. Jannell came in as a rock and country/acoustic singer. She
countrified the song, which showed us who she is, and gives the country/rock fan
base someone to vote for.
The Bad - Janell did have a
couple of pitch blips in the song, and while she did make it different, she
didn't make it different enough. And while it is a good song, it's been oversung
to death; there are many other songs she could have chosen (Rascal Flats, etc.)
and she could have switched up a little to really make a strong first
The Jason - She shows her
vocal styles, and a little bit of attitude. She is fine vocally, but needs to
let go stage wise. I felt she was holding back.
The Verdict - This is the
first 'good' performance that we've gotten tonight. It's also the first song
that got a positive response from the crowd. This is the first singer out of the
three that I think will be safe on Thursday.
Lilly Scott was
living out of her car a year ago. Now she's on Idol and is looking to improve
herself, musically. She sings 'Fixing a Hole' by The Beatles.
The Good - She definitely
makes the song her own and is very clear as to where she is going as a singer.
She's this sultry vixen who felt very comfortable on the stage with a very
The Bad - Lilly takes
liberties with the vocals, and the melodies, and the harmonies. It's very indie,
which could turn off traditionalists who are used to hearing their music in a
certain way. It's Beatles improv night!
The Jason - This is my
favorite performance of the night so far. I loved the jazzy vibe of this take.
This was fun and had a Bjork attitude to it.
The Verdict - I didn't like it
as much as Jason, but what I really liked was her potential to really mix the
songs and make them her own. And I agree with Kara that people will remember
this performance in a good way. Lilly has nothing to worry about.
Katelyn Epperly is
also an indie spirit. Now will she use that spirit for good or for evil? We'll
see as she sings 'Oh Darling' by The Beatles.
The Good - The beginning was
killer and brought my attention to the song, in a good way. The first half of
the song was really nice, with her smooth tone and crisp melodic lines. Like
Lilly, she also brings up that sultry vixen spirit and steams up my tv set in
the process. I need to go get some Handi-Wipes.
The Bad - Watch the excessive
over-smoldering. The look on her face seemed that, like Paige, she wanted to go
to the bathroom. And the excessively rapid speed up at the end of the song
showed that she was ready to run off the stage and ask one of the production
assistants which direction the bathroom was.
The Jason - This performance
was killer. I loved everything about it. I loved the arrangement and her vocals.
The Verdict - Once again, I
didn't like it as much as Jason did, but I do like the potential she has. Now
she needs to stick with this and not be too indie. But it was a good performance
and should easily get her to next week.
Haeley Vaughn's present
to herself for getting to Hollywood was a nose piercing. I don't want to know
what she got pierced when she made the Top 24. Her present to us? 'I Wanna Hold
Your Hand' by...once again...The Beatles.
The Good - Well, she certainly
made that her own. She had that Jamaican flavored style throughout the piece.
And she was actually in tune throughout most of the song, so I'll give her
credit for that.
The Bad - What. Was. That? The
high notes could change the song to 'I want to hold your hoof' as I'm sure
barnyard animals would be mesmerized with her high pitched money notes. She
completely lost the word spacing of the song. And the tiara and sea dress made
her look like she was trying to hold a naval officer's hand while rowing a boat
in the South Pacific.
The Jason - We get the first
WTF performance of the night? Horrible song choice and the vocals are a screechy
mess. She is in HUGE trouble tonight.
The Verdict - Ellen called it
a hot mess. You can get rid of the hot part...it was a mess. HOWEVER, in a move
that will distress people, I think she has a shot to be safe here just because
she was a complete disaster. Vote For The Worst will be all over this
performance and I think that with only 2 people leaving, she has a legitimate
shot to stick around.
Lacey Brown will
not be singing a Beatles song. The party planner will be singing Fleetwood Mac's
'Landslide'. Can she get a landslide of people to vote for her?
The Good - It's a beautiful,
challenging song, and I actually think a good choice. If you add some emotion,
this could be one of the better songs of the evening.
The Bad - Notice I said 'if'
you did it, and not that she actually did do it, because she didn't. We really
didn't have any pitch disasters...until now. Her pitch was completely off, which
made it sound more like a mudslide. And the cougar outfit combined with the
bizarrely tinted red hair made it look like she was trapped in a mudslide,
trying to save animals for her local zoo.
The Jason - Too small of a
voice for a big song like this. Her vocals are all over the place. She is no
The Verdict - If I'm Angela
Martin, I'm wondering how I didn't get a second chance and Lacey did, which will
probably result in me having to buy a new TV after shoving a boot in it. I think
there will be a landslide of disapproval of the general public wanting to hear
her sing again.
Michelle Delamor used
to be a corporate sales associate. She talks about today being the only day that
she can rehearse (way to try to rationale the bad singing so far, but I'm not
buying it). She tries to make it up to us by singing Alicia Keys' 'Fallin'.
The Good - This is a good
selection of song because it defines herself as to who she is. And she certainly
does look nice in the dressed down outfit.
The Bad - This is a really
hard key to sing the song in (C Sharp/D Flat), because it's very prone for the
person's voice to go flat, which she consistently was throughout the piece. This
was the wrong song in another aspect - it was way too big for her. She needs to
sing with more emotion, because then she would have hit the notes instead of
coming out flatter than Tina Fey making pancakes.
The Jason - Came strong with
this one. Very good attitude as the song projects, and her vocals are very good.
No problems tonight.
The Verdict - I completely
agree with Kara. If she's going to be a R&B Diva, she needs the attitude, which
she doesn't have quite yet. If she was emotional, she would have nailed that
song, which she really didn't do. I think she's safe this week, but she really
needs to bring it next week.
Didi Benami thinks
America has seen enough of her tears (Nooo, really?). She's hoping that 'The Way
I Am' by Ingrid Michaelsen will put the smiles back on people's faces.
The Good - Now this is the
emotion I was talking about earlier. She brought the song to a different level
than the original song.
The Bad - The problem isn't
the performance as much as it was the song. It's a nice song, but you can't
really do anything with it. There's no high range to do a run with and she
didn't do anything with the lyrics to make the song stand out, which made her
sound indulgent. You have to take a song and make an impression with it, and
The Jason - I love this song,
and I love this performance. But it was a little sound alike. Nothing terrible
about it, but she will be in TROUBLE tonight.
The Verdict - I think she will
be fine, but only because we've seen what she has done in the past. She, like a
lot of the other women tonight, really need to turn it up on the next show.
Siobhan Magnus doesn't
know what 'Dark Horse' means, but she could be one, since she didn't get much
air time. She has a great set of pipes, though. Let's see if Chris Isaak's
'Wicked Game' does anything to improve her standing.
The Good - She came out very
enthusiastic and memorable. Wicked Game is a good song if you execute it
correctly. For the most part, she did.
The Bad - There's a disconnect
that I have with her when she sings. She does hit the notes, but the nasally
tone for me is off. It may be the right song, but it's the wrong pitch; she
needed to take the song higher a few steps because the low register at the
beginning made the lyrics too muddled. And the ragged dress combined with the
flower in her hair makes her look like a prostitute singing a song of lament
after being ravaged by Chris Isaak. But based on the lyrics on the song, that
may have been what she was going for.
The Jason - Her vocals are
technically very cool. But she needs a fashion makeover. That dress was awful.
She is going on to next week.
The Verdict - Siobhan showed
that she wanted to hit the high notes and be passionate. She may have to work on
the public speech part, because she's wandering into Kellie Pickler territory,
but mission accomplished. No problems going into Thursday, but she needs to work
on that tone going into next week.
Crystal Bowersox wasn't
going to go on Idol, but she's doing it for her son 'Baby needs a bigger
paycheck'. So she's in it for the money. At least we know your intentions,
Crystal. Hopefully 'Hand in My Pocket' will help me cure my jadedness of her.
The Good - It feels like she's
been doing this song forever (which she probably has). Very well-performed song
and very well staged.
The Bad - I can understand why
Randy wasn't a fan of the song. It's a very safe song which doesn't have a vocal
range to it. It was well-done, but she didn't make it her own and step out of
her comfort zone like Lilly Scott (and even Haeley Vaughn) did. And don't go
arguing with Simon when he's 100% right. Challenge yourself and do some David
Bowie or something more risky next week.
The Jason - This is unique and
fun. She was different enough to make it through. I liked her vibe and vocals.
The Verdict - She was very
good. She can be a lot better. She will be fine this week.
Katie Stevens ends
the show with 'Feelin' Good' by Michael Buble. This is one of the most oversung
tunes in American Idol history. Can she do anything to make it different?
The Good - What I liked the
most about her performance was her confidence, her swagger. She was the only
person tonight that came in there saying 'hi, here I am, vote for me'. While it
wasn't the best performance, it was the only one that I saw that much drive to
The Bad - The song was
completely wrong for her. It's a nice pop song, but it was oversung and way too
big. Katie doesn't want to fall into the 'only sing the too big song' trap which
has killed a lot of singers early.
The Jason - And we are feeling
good with this one, and that is why we ended the show with her. Her vocals were
The Verdict - I was feeling
pretty good. Not really good, but good enough that Katie will come back next
week and try it again.
Overall Verdict - It's a
typical Top 24 Women's show. You had some good performances and a ton of nerves.
You also had a couple of very noticeable train wrecks, which makes it easy this
week to pick your people in peril.
Trouble: Paige Miles, Ashley
Rodriguez, Haeley Vaughn, Lacey Brown
I think it's safe to assume that Lacey is gonzo. Most people will probably also
say Haeley, BUT she was memorable and I think people will vote for her to stick
around. I don't think they will vote for someone who was forgetable, which was
at the early part of the show. It's a toss-up between Ashley and Paige, and I
think that Paige, with no camera time, will be the other first week casualty.
OUT: Lacey Brown, Paige Miles
The Jason: The first live show
was a mixed bag. Some women came strong, a lot were just there, and some were
just a total mess.
Trouble: Lacey Brown, Haeley
Vaughn, Paige Miles, Didi Benami
Didi Benami was just there, but she has the chops to go on next week. Paige
Miles was the first out of the box, and I liked her choice. But Lacey Brown and
Haeley Vaughn were so out there, that they are going to be out this time around.
OUT: Lacey Brown, Haeley Vaughn.
Join us in 24 hours for the guys.
To see this episode in its
entirety, go to www.americanidol.com.