‘American Idol’ Top 8 Recap: Ladies’ Night
I sincerely hope by the end of tonight’s American Idol I feel inspired to sing Kool & The Gang’s classic song “Ladies’ Night,” rather than reaching for the Tylenol.
With four eliminations down, we’ve almost gotten rid of the contestants who can’t sing, and certainly a couple who could. So, I’m hopeful that the only tone deaf singing that will happen tonight will be me at 6pm cawing, “Oh yes it’s ladies night. And the feeling’s right. Oh yes it’s ladies night. Oh what a night.” Lucky for you, and the rest of America, that will be a private performance that only my cats will be tortured with.
Tonight, the remaining eight ladies will take the stage to tackle Billboard’s Hottest Singles, again. This is almost as boring as John Park’s song choice…but, hopefully this week at least one of them will take my advice.
That means: no retro songs for Katie Stevens and something, anything, that doesn’t make Lacey Brown sound like a drunk woman attempting Bjork at karaoke. Watch along with me live as we see what the ladies sing and if “Ladies’ Night” will have us proclaiming, “Oh what a night” or “Oh what a fright!”
By the looks of the introduction, my gray haired goddess Lilly Scott was gifted the pimp spot and I am totally okay with that.
“Break Away” by Kelly Clarkson
Well, at least Katie went for a contemporary song tonight, but I think singing a Kelly Clarkson song on this stage is stepping in dangerous territory. Especially if you’re a teenager and have a shaky voice. Plus, no offense to Kelly and this song, which I love, but the tempo is still a little slow to wake me up from the nap that Katie’s performances have had me in all season. The long notes show off Katie’s weaknesses and none of her strengths. It’s just too big of a song for a little girl so it came across as karaoke, not bad karaoke, but karaoke all the same.
Simon Says (Best Judges’ Comment): “You kind of sucked….the energy out of it and made it kind of gloomy.”
Safe, Shaky, or Should Be Packing: Should be packing — it’s just been one too many shaky performances for Katie.
“House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals
Hmmm…I love this song and it’s been done a bunch already this season, I’m not sure I would’ve chosen this tune for Siobhan but she says it is meaningful to her and I’m eager to see what she does with it.
Siobhan starts out acapella, no band to back her or cover any shakiness in her vocals, a risky choice if there ever was one on Idol. But that’s what I love most about Siobhan, she takes risks every single time she steps on stage. Will “House of the Rising Sun” be one that pays off? I’m not so sure, I got goose bumps, but the performance started off slow, suffered from pitch issues at the end and didn’t even hint at one of those “holy wow” notes.
Simon Says: “We offer you advice and I don’t think you take it at all, keep doing it. That’s what is hot,” says Randy. Simon’s on my side though, “I was under impressed, there were no moments in that.”
Safe, Shaky or Should Be Packing: Shaky — if the rest of the quirky indie girls flail, she’ll be safe. If they do well, she could be in trouble.
“The Story” by Brandi Carlile
Having seen Brandi Carlile rise from local favorite to a national sensation, I’m nervous for Lacey…and for Brandi’s song. But Lacey’s vocals are stronger than they’ve ever been and she gets the emotion and slight twang that Brandi so expertly conveys down pat. She’s still a off on her highest notes and the song is a bit sleepy, but it was world’s better than anything she’s done so far. If America has kept Lacey around this far, I would be shocked if this absolutely passable performance sent her home.
Simon Says: Kara says “it was a brilliant and you are back on your path.” Simon says “I didn’t love the song, but it was like listening to something on the radio.”
Safe, Shaky or Should Be Packing: Safe
“I Feel The Earth Move” by Carole King
Katelyn Epperly doing Carole King? Interesting. Early in the audition process I compared season 9’s curly haired cutie to King unfavorably, she looked like her but didn’t have the chops to sound like her. However, Katelyn has improved and “I Feel The Earth Move” shows off Katelyn’s sultry side and piano skills. Thing is, it is almost impossible to not make this song sound like the soundtrack for a ’70s lounge complete with lava lamp — and I think Katelyn definitely suffers that fate. Was it well performed? Absolutely. Were the vocals the best of the night so far? Absolutely. But it was still too groovy snoozy and Katelyn could be in trouble. Why oh why didn’t you take my advice Katelyn? Two words: Fiona. Apple. Two more: Regina. Spektor.
Simon Says: “Let me start with a positive, I like your hair. On the downside, it was kind of like request night on a Friday night at a restaurant.”
Safe, Shaky or Should Be Packing: Shaky: that performance was two big steps back for Katelyn.
“Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac
Didi has strapped on her guitar for tonight’s performance. FINALLY. Sorry am I yelling? BUT WHY WOULD YOU KEEP AWAY WHAT WE LOVED ABOUT YOU DIDI? Things like this well-done acoustic rewrite of “Rhiannon,” that remind us Didi can in fact sing and when she feels good about a song, there’s a little bit of swagger and sly smile to her performance. It’s still a little ’70s loungey but it is so SO much better than last week’s performance and of all the songs we’ve heard tonight, it’s the lone song that we might turn the radio up for instead of off.
Simon Says: Randy says, “I don’t know if it’s the best you can do, but it’s definitely a lot better.” Kara says it was “one of my favorite moments of the season.” Simon, shockingly, agrees with Kara.
Safe, Shaky or Should Be Packing: Safe
“Smile” by Charlie Chaplin
Paige walks to the mic nervously in a move that recalls every vocal recital that’s taken place. It makes me uncomfortable immediately, like I’m about to witness a performance only a parent could love. And, sadly for Paige, that’s exactly what she delivers. Her parents (and grand parents) might love this but I hate it. For a song about smiling, Paige’s performance feels like a funeral and after that performance it is probably her own.
Side note: What god forsaken secret seventies lounge society did the girls’ of Season 9 sell their soul to since last Wednesday? That is the only explanation I can come up with. Three performances in a row have made me feel like I’m at some 1976 wake with velvet wallpaper and everythang. Are we in an episode of the Twilight Zone secretly?
Simon Says: “It was all wrong and it really was.” Simon says it was awful and the arrangement was like “something you’d hear at a Holiday Inn in 1974.”
Safe, Shaky or Should Be Packing: Should be Packing. I can say with 100% confidence, Paige is going home for that performance.
“Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman
Crystal has strapped on the electric guitar and chosen a perfect song to sing. Why I didn’t think of Crystal singing Tracy Chapman and this song in particular, will haunt me for literal minutes to come. Hands down, the best song choice of the entire season of any contestant. Crystal’s bluesy, passionate, soulful vocals make me want to stand up and say “Preach!” Finally a performance that doesn’t make me feel like I just swallowed a handful of Ambien. And yet again, Crystal is the only girl who I feel has any kind of chance outside of American Idol. I’d buy this girl’s album without shame or hesitation. (Which I can’t really say about almost any other American Idol winner or contestant.)
Simon Says: “You will 1 million billion percent be in the Top 12 next week. Right now you are the one to beat, this is yours to lose.”
Safe, Shaky or Should Be Packing: Super-Duper Safe
And last but not least, in the pimp spot:
“I Fall To Pieces” by Patsy Cline
I love Lilly, I love Patsy Cline. I’m not sure I love them together at this point in the competition. Maybe I would have during week one or week two, but it’s long past time for Lilly to do a contemporary song. Despite great vocals, a fricking electric mandolin, and the same unique style (both vocally and fashion wise) we’ve come to expect from Lilly — there was nothing that made me say “wow.” If you weren’t a fan of Lilly’s before, this performance is not going to be what converts you. If you were a Lilly fan before you might, like me, be a wee bit frustrated and wanting something new from Lilly…like a song written after 1970.
Simon Says: Randy thought it was hot and that Lilly is “in the zone.” But Simon chides her for not having the “wow factor.” And I tend to agree with Simon.
Safe, Shaky or Should Be Packing: Safe, thanks to the pimp spot. If Lilly had done that first or second, she would be in serious trouble.
So it was ladies’ night in name alone. Surely what we saw tonight, save Crystal Bowersox, was nothing to celebrate or to sing about. I may not be reaching for the Tylenol tonight, but I also won’t be needing any help getting to sleep. Most boring hour of Idol ever?
Seeing that the girls didn’t take my advice and paid the price, I hope the boys pay closer attention.
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