American Idol: Top 12 Performance Show, Quick Thoughts
American Idol: Top 12 Performance Show, Quick Thoughts
American Idol hits the big stage tonight with an epic two-hour episode that will see performances by all 12 remaining singers.  We're going to try a newer, sort of live blog format, so everyone can follow along as the broadcast progresses.  With that in mind, feel free to comment below on the action (and forgive any minor typos; they're only temporary).

  • “This is American Idol!” excalims Mr. Ryan Seacrest.  Are you all ready out there?  This two-hour marathon will be nothing short of exhausting.  This is the first American Idol episode in the big theater.  And it is BIG.  It's got all sorts of sparkly lights and whatnot.  Lots of moving parts. Almost enough to give me a seizure.
  • Wow, three more months.  American Idol goes on forever. 
  • The band is bigger than it was in previous weeks.  This is good, I suppose. 
  • First time the guys and girls will be performing on the same night.  Randy thinks the guys need to step up.

  • Wow, Paula seems surprisingly lucid tonight.  Well done.
  • Simon says that the big stage “changes everybody”.
  • Tonight we will be honoring Diana Ross, who will be making appearance, in person, on the show tonight.  Unless she attacks someone on her way in.  You never know with Diana.
  • Diana “coached” the top 12 over the past week.  She sits in a leopard print chair while talking to the camera.  Do the kids like Diana Ross these days?  Probably never heard of her. 
  • I guess everyone will be singing a Diana Ross song tonight, which seems crazy. 
  • Brandon Rogers is up first, singing “You Can't Hurry Love”.  It's a pretty straightforward song, and Brandon, being the good singer that he is, performs it okay.  Whoa, he cracks his voice halfway through.  Maybe not so good.  Yikes, Brandon forgets the words for a few bars.  Pretty inexcusable at this point. 
  • Randy thought it wasn't very good. Paula defends it, but Simon lays the smack down. Simon is brutal, saying it sounded like a background singer for a background singer.
  • Melinda Doolittle is up next.  A Diana Ross song should be right up her alley.  I don't know this song (which is likely blasphemy), but she dominates it.  There's not much more any of us can say about Melinda.  It wasn't my favorite performance by her, but it was still better than anyone else can do. 
  • Paula is crying like a little girl, I think.  Oh My God.  Paula is a mess.  An absolute mess.  Take away her mic.  Simon loves it, says Melinda reminds her of a young Gladys Knight.  But, seriously, Paula.  You've become an absolute parody of yourself.  Melinda, barring an absolute miracle, will stay in the pole position after the night is up.
  • Chris Sligh is up next.  Upon meeting Diana, he comments that they have similar hair.
  • This is going to be a fun night, if only because it will include endless cliched, nonsensical advice from Miss Diana.
  • Chris is going sans eyeglasses tonight, which is always a little jarring for the viewer.  He's changed a few chords around on “Endless Love”. Chris is doing an okay job, but I've never liked this song. I don't think the all-Diana Ross song selection is a good idea. He ends it well. 
  • Randy thought it was a mess, especially Chris's arrangement.  Simon hates it.  Even Paula doesn't really dig it, which is crazy.
  • Gina Glocksen will be hitting the stage next, singing “Love Child”.  Gina is a sleeper, I think, that could really surprise some people in the next few weeks.  We'll see.
  • She's doing a good job up there.  The voice has never been an issue.  Harnessing it, and adpating it to the different songs has been the problem.  She's tackling a pure Motown song here and doing about as good a job as she can.  She gets a little sloppy and out of tune at the end, but I thought the whole thing was solid.
  • Randy thought it was boring, and even Paula thought she could've been better.  Simon gives a number of back-handed compliments, ultimately calling it a middle-of-the-pack performance. 
  • Sanjaya Malakar will be up after the break.  In other words, a good time for a bathroom trip.
  • Sanjaya says learning music from Diana Ross is like learning to paint from Van Gogh.  There's a lopped-off ear joke in there somewhere. 
  • Sajaya will be singing “Ain't No Mountain High Enough”.  It looks like Sanjaya is wearing a bunch of Soul-Glo in his hair.  He's the same old Sanjaya: voice extremely soft and weak, compoeltely overwhlemed by the band. He's actually singing a little better than he's sung in the past.  Still not very good.  Still very weird.
  • Randy calls it “almost unlistenable”.  Randy does enjoy the hair, though.  Paula tries to commend him on something, but mostly babbles. Simon hates Sanjaya.  He calls him “brave”, which is the only nice thing he can muster.
  • Haley Scarnato is up next.  She's bolstering her voting base by dropping a little cleavage on us, which is something I always recommend.  Well, not for everyone.
  • Haley is singing “Missing You” tonight.  Diana says that Haley has more of a “studio voice” than a “live voice”.  Tonight's the night of back-handed compliments.  I hope Haley surprises us tonight.
  • She does the “sitting on a stool” thing for this song.  Her voice is soft, but it suits the song.  If the judges are ever going to say anything nice about Haley, it'll be tonight.  Shoot, she forgets the words.  Only momentarily, but it still looked bad.  She struggles on the high stuff, singing out of tune.  Her voice can't do the powerful stuff.
  • The only nice thing to say to Haley is that she looks good, which she does.  As I've said, Haley is sneaky hot.  Simon actually compliments her, saying that he thinks he may have undervalued Haley.  He liked her stage presence, which was, admittedly, very good.  I actually think the combo of Haley looking good and her getting a Simon compliment will keep her around till at least next week.
  • Phil Stacey will be performing next. Phil is a good singer, and I think a Motown tune may do him well.  Hopefully, he can begin the song well, which is what has killed him lately.
  • And he does start out a lot better.  He is doing a bang-up job here.  His voice could be more powerful on the loud stuff, but that's a nit-pick.  If this doesn't get a lot of love from the judges, they're crazy.  In tune, well sung, well performed.  Good job, Phil.
  • Randy thought the performance was boring, but that the vocals were great.  Simon thought it wasn't outstanding, just okay.  He'll be around next week.
  • Lakisha Jones will be on stage next.  Motown should be in her wheelhouse.  She'll be singing a Billie Holliday song that Diana sang in a movie years ago.  So, I guess it's not really a Motown joint.  Show us something good, Lakisha.
  • It's a real jazzy song.  She's wearing a big, white dress that I'm sure she'll be getting some compliments on.  Lakisha is very good.  Any time she can show off that big old voice, it's going to suit her.  Lakisha is in another league than anyone but Melinda.
  • Randy calls it “sensational”.  Simon says “she's got it”.  Simon completely echoes my previous sentiments almost verbatim, saying that Melinda and Laksiha are in a different league. 
  • Blake Lewis, the best beat boxer in American Idol history, performs next.  It will be interesting to see the modern take he has on whatever Diana song he chooses. 
  • Blake put the song he chose on his computer and decided to “remix it”, if you will.  He'll be singing “You Keep Me Hanging On”, a classic, and giving it the Blake Lewis treatment.
  • Blake is as comfortable as you can be on stage.  I actually like his rendition.  It's like a neo-disco version.  The song has been done so much that it's hard to make it sound new, but Blake has.
  • Randy wasn't a huge fan of the arrangement, but is still a Blake fan.  Paula liked it.  Simon “didn't get it”.  Blake will still be around next week.
  • Stephanie Edwards is in love with Diana Ross.  Diana wants Stephanie to add a little sexiness to her performance.  She's singing “Love Hangover”.  She still sings a little out of tune.  This is an old disco song, I think, and it's pretty boring.  She gets better as the song goes on, but it's still not close to Melinda or Lakisha. 
  • Randy thought it was okay, as did Paula.  Simon didn't like the arrangement. 
  • Chris Richardson was a little star struck by Diana.  He's going to sing “The Boss”.  Finally, we get a nice upbeat song. The lower range of Chris's voice is still weak.  Everything else is okay.  He overdoes the JT impersonation sometime.  He runs out to the audience and stands on a ledge behind the judges.  There's no doubt that Chris is a good performer.  His voice is still a tad lacking, but he does sing in tune.
  • Randy thought it was “half good, half bad”.  Paula thought he nailed the blend of contemporary and old-school.  Simon says, if you take out the charm and personality out of  Chris and focus only on the vocals, it was “dreadful”.  I don't really disagree.
  • Jordin Sparks is the last performer of the night, and she'll be singing a slower ballad, “If We Hold on Together.”
  • HAHAHA.  Apparently this song was featured in the movie “The Land Before Time”.  When I was a tiny kid I used to watch that movie repeatedly as a double feature with “The Brave Little Toaster”.
  • Jordin is a good singer, still sloppy in places,though.  She has a problem on a couple of the high notes.  Her ceiling is high, but she's too inconsistent.
  • Randy thinks Jordin can compete with Melinda and Lakisha.  I'm not so sure.  Simon really liked it. 

Well, that was a long show.  Who will be kicked off tomorrow night?  Who should be kicked off tomorrow?  Both very different questions.  What do you all think? Comment below.      

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer

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