'American Idol' Recap: Semi-Finals Go Live With Top Ten Girls
It’s clear this year that the producers want a girl to win. They’re craving it. They’re desperate for it. They’re so in need of a girl to snap the cute guy with guitar streak that there isn’t even a cute guy with a guitar to be seen this year! Or even one with much talent.
That leaves last night’s performers with the staunch task of justifying the producers’ stacking this season’s lineup in the females’ favor. So who answered the producers calls and who left them hanging?
Let’s find out, shall we?
Zoanette Sang “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” by Tina Turner
Keith Said: I love the way you perform, but I don’t know if your theatricality worked with this song choice.
Nicki Said: That wasn’t it.
Randy Said: That was a mess right there.
Mariah Said: This wasn’t my favorite performance of yours.
I’m not 100% sure Zoanette knew where she was during this performance. That’s evidenced by the fact that she turned around more than Kevin Hart’s character during that 360 News sketch on ‘SNL’ this week. Seriously, pick a spot and focus on it. If only for a second.
Her vocals, however, were much more on track. After a very rough beginning where her voice and memory wandered more than her pee-dance around the stage, Zoanette settled into some real Tina and took it home like a pro at the end.
It would have been nice to see her do something a little bit different with the song as this was basically sing-a-long karaoke. But when Zoanette is doing sing-a-long karaoke, it’s more fun than just about anybody else.
Prediction: Zoanette leading off? That just seems like a mistake by the producers. Couple that impossible spot with universal admonishment from the judges and you have a tough sell to make it through to the final 12. Only Vote for the Worst can save her now. (We’ll miss you, guys!)
Breanna Steer Sang “Flaws and All” by Beyonce
Keith Said: You find the right songs that show who you are as a singer. I hope that you also find a song that takes you more into your own place.
Nicki Said: That was the absolute wrong song for you. You sounded like you were straining the whole way through it. That wasn’t it.
Randy Said: It think it was safe and there weren’t enough moments in it.
Mariah Said: There weren’t many big vocal moments.
I’ve never seen somebody back up so little talent with such an insufferably cocky demeanor. Like a guy at the local run talking trash when he goes 2-12 and his only defense is hard fouls.
Breanna cannot find the pitch at any point in this song. She sang it about fifteen different keys and absolutely no clue how to control her breath as she fell out on more notes than she hit. The connection to the song was non-present. This is a song about how you’re willing to accept somebody no matter what and she sang it like she was yelling it at the audience. Saying, “Look at me! I can kinda sing and you better recognize that fact.”
Everything about her was off-putting. Especially the fact that she chose to stand like a defiant mannequin for the entire performance, if you can call it that.
I’d prefer to call it an annoying dud.
Prediction: That was too forgettable this early on to think that she’ll be safe.
Aubrey Cleland Sang “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie
Keith Said: I wish the song would have allowed you to soar more.
Nicki Said: I love all the stuff you do that’s intimate and sweet, but when you go out of that it doesn’t quite work.
Randy Said: I love you. I love the vibrato.
Mariah Said: You have multi-platinum potential.
This is a very frustrating performance because it was so close to being good. Like right on the verge, just staring at good – looking it dead in the eye but failing to take the final step to cross out of mediocre.
It was a cool arrangement – a nice funky little acoustic take on the song that felt like it was going to work from the outset – it just never quite got to where it was going to go.
The vocal was solid enough, but didn’t cross out of just being solid. Acceptable. It stuck in second gear as she failed to find a big moment or show that kind of effortless instrument that turns a good singer into a real recording artist.
So frustrated because the elements were in place, but she just couldn’t quite get the formula right.
Prediction: The first big outpouring of love from the judges will likely carry Aubrey through to the next round.
Janelle Arthur Sang “If I Can Dream” by Elvis Presley
Keith Said: I love that you have this really classic country voice and blend it with modern runs.
Nicki Said: That’s my girl! You’re back. You are a little marshmallow that I wanna eat.
Randy Said: I like the old throwback thing in your voice.
Mariah Said: You came here to do your thing and you were great.
Ick. If she was singing like this at the campfire, she’d soon look up to see a few marshmallow skewers left by the kindling as everybody’d scurried out of earshot as she closed her eyes to try to hit that note she couldn’t reach.
On top of the fact that she has a voice that would clear a firepit, she sang with all the verve of somebody waiting in line at the DMV. Absolutely no connection with the song or any fun had singing it, just a sullen trod through the lyrics and a merciful and reached not quickly enough.
Prediction: This tiny song from this tiny country siren will get lost along the way as it came too early in the show.
Teena Torres Sang “Lost Lyrics” by Faith Hill
Keith Said: I love that song and I thought you did a really good job with it.
Nicki Said: I really love hearing you sing.
Randy Said: I like the restraint. How you gave it just enough.
Mariah Said: I love you and I hope America loves you too.
Teena is just an out-and-out pro. She takes the stage with such grace and poise and instantly forms a real connection with the song. She’s not just singing along to the song, she’s actually singing it. Like it’s her song.
Here she really makes a country song her own, turning it into a seventies soul song that she delivers like a true diva. Not a wrong note, not a moment out of place, just a focused and complete performance where she never wavers.
It could have been a temporary flashback to a diva killing it on a talk show in the seventies and we’d have been none the wiser, she was just that locked in.
Prediction: A controlled performance like that could get lost, but I think the judges did enough to get her through.