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'American Idol' Recap: The Girls Face Rush Week

February 19th, 2014 10:42am EST

'American Idol' Recap: The Girls Face Rush Week 'Idol' kicked off its first "Rush Week" last night with several cool twists on the normal girls' night/boys' night format.
More on that tomorrow, right now, let's just rush to the recap.
Majesty Rose sang "Happy" by Pharrell
Keith Said: There were moments of your vocal range. That was great.
J-Lo Said: That's the way to come out here. Your voice sounds amazing.
Harry Said: You did a fantastic job.
The Verdict:
Fun and spunky little girl with a great personality. Enough to make you wish she could actually sing.
Majesty just doesn't have the voice. She got absolutely lost in the gym and had no quality to her vocals beyond somebody singing along to the radio in their car. She just isn't going to blow anybody away, and this is a show where blowaway vocals are necessary.
She's great on stage though. She absolutely rocked the crowd and could not have been more naturally fun with a great little pop song. It's too bad her singing can't match her presence.
GRADE: C-
Kristen O'Connor sang "Turning Tables" by Adele
Keith Said: You got in the zone half-way through.
J-Lo Said: You locked in half-way through.
Harry Said: A really powerful performance.
The Verdict:
Taking on Adele should be just forbidden on these shows: Nobody is going to do these songs justice and they're just so unique to the original artist.
Kristen tries her best here, but she just doesn't have the pipes. She finds her vocal footing about half-way through after a rough and flat beginning, but never really connected totally with this song with too much effort in her voice and not much going on in the quality department.
Plus, it's such a dreary song to sing on a show like this. Why bring the crowd down to their hankies when you can build them up? It was just all dull and boring.
GRADE: C
Briana Oakley sang "Warrior" by Demi Lovato
Keith Said: You remind me of Irene Cara.
J-Lo Said: Your voice is a young Whitney Houston, but you have to have your performance come together.
Harry Said: Be careful of using high notes as your triple axle.
The Verdict:
Briana brings an instant step up in class in the night's third performance. You can hear it right away: the professional tone to her voice and purity of her vocals make her the night's first contestant who really belongs in a recording studio.
It's just an absolute shocking contrast. Like watching a High School basketball game where only one kid on the floor has a D-1 Scholarship and the rest are playing in their last season outside of an intramural league at their office.
Briana's simply a total pro who connected to the song beautifully and has the rich voice to make anything sound amazing. She's going to make a deep run.
GRADE: B+
Jena Irene sang "Paint it Black" by The Rolling Stones
Keith Said: It was really really good.
J-Lo Said: You're one of my favorites. I'm not gonna lie.
Harry Said: The intensity was there, I just wasn't sure what you were singing about.
The Verdict:
A very cool performance in that it's incredibly hard to define. It wasn't quite jazz, it wasn't quite rock, it definitely wasn't pop, but she's got a voice that could kill the charts.
It's nice to see Jena take a risk right out of the shoot like this - leading off the football game with an onside kick. She rocks a totally original and unique performance that wasn't safe at all and really sets her apart.
GRADE: B
Bria Anai sang "Wrong Side of a Long" by Melody Fiona
Keith Said: You overshot the runway.
J-Lo Said: I think you have star written all over you.
Harry Said: It felt very very shouted.
The Verdict:
Bria can sing runs. She wants you to know she can sing runs. She's just never me a lyric that didn't need a run. It's all runs all the time for Ms. Anai.
And it's horribly distracting. It's like when Christina Aguilera sing 'The Christmas Song' all those years back. It's just fifteen notes when would one would do and it just happened every single beat of the song.
It's cool that she can do all that, but it didn't make any sense within the song. It's like if somebody tried to do a tomahawk windmill dunk on every play when they could just lay it in.
This should have been a layup drill and she turned it into a miss in the dunk contest.
GRADE: D
Marialle Sellars sang "Roar" by Katy Perry
Keith Said: I think that was not the best song for you to shine on. It was too karaoke.
J-Lo Said: This wasn't the best showcase of who you are.
Harry Said: You need to stay more in tune.
The Verdict:
Marialle shows the exact opposite of Bria here. She doesn't need to show off crazy vocals and a gymnastic singing ability to sell a song. Instead, she finds the rhythm and groove of the tune and reinvents it into something that commands heads to be bobbed.
Her vocals aren't blowaway, but they're good enough for her to belong and everything else she did was so fantastically fun that she doesn't need a Whitney Houston voice to really bring dynamite to the stage.
Even if her show blew up.
GRADE: B
Pink Hair sang "Drink a Beer" by Luke Bryan
Keith Said: There was a disconnect, but you have the ability to tell a story with your voice.
J-Lo Said: Your country tone is really appealing to it. I really love it.
Harry Said: You bring something fresh and exciting.
The Verdict:
We have our country chick this year and it's...Pink Hair! With Purple Hair now. So disappointing. But the name lives on.
This is a nice simple country ditty from Ms. Pink Hair. It's easy to picture her in the side corner of a country beach bar or on a Nashville Stage. She's got the perfect little twang and a strong ability to sell the emotions of the song. She's a country siren through and through.
This is not what we expected from Pink Hair: It's a helluva lot better.
GRADE: B
Emily Piriz sang "Paris Ooh La La" by Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Keith Said: True artistry is not about pretending.
J-Lo Said: I thought you did this very well.
Harry Said: Is that really what you want to be singing?
The Verdict:
Oh, Emily. You're not a rock star. You're just not equipped to sing this song.
This had wannabe karaoke bursting out the screen from measure one to the coda. From the dancing, to the arm waving, to the fake-growl on her vocals, Emily just chose the absolute wrong song for her on this stage.
It made her seem like an amateur. It made her seem like a total phony. It made her seem like she didn't belong.
And I don't think she does.
GRADE: D
MK Nobilette sang "All of Me" by John Legend
Keith Said: That was the perfect song choice.
J-Lo Said: It was a true feeling. I loved it so much.
Harry Said: You're an elegant, articulate singer. You belong here.
The Verdict:
Oh no. She didn't do this. She didn't just go full on Bronski Beat/Smiths/Siouxsie post-punk vocal all over a John Legend song. It can't be happening. It's too unreal.
But she did. MK did it. MK absolutely slaughtered it. An absolute masterpiece of a vocal as she strips the song down to its base elements and builds it back up with a vocal that may not hit the diva belting operatic heights that make people go crazy, but instead stuck with wonderful emotional purity that turned the song into her own without any note of pretense or effort.
She's on another level.
GRADE: A
Malaya Watson sang "Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I)" by Ray Charles
Keith Said: It was a little over-the-top, but I can't wait to hear what you do next.
J-Lo Said: Every time you get up on here it's just epic.
Harry Said: It was just to-the-wall energy.
The Verdict:
Adam Lambert said it all in the mentor package: Her voice is stupid. It's just stupid. She's the one girl on night one who showed the ability to really belt a song and make it work without shouting or oversinging.
She's a little fireball up on stage with a voice that erupts in a fury that makes her seem like a decades-long vet, when, in reality, she hasn't even hit her second on the planet. Braces and all, she may have it all.
GRADE: A-
Final Thoughts:
First of all, fond farewell to Jillian Jensen - my former 'X-Factor' crush, and no longer 'American Idol' crush. Robbed again, she's still never performed live. Always next year. Also, good-bye to Kenzie Hall who gave the best performance on the show so far with her version of 'Can't Hold Us'. She might not need next year.
As for last night's contestants, Malaya and MK are definitely through after closing the show with the two best of the night. Let's put Pink Hair in for being the lone country singer and keep Marialle around since her shoe broke - because, why not?
That leaves one spot left. I like Jena there: she did something different, she went for her own voting group, and she was just plain good.
Check back tomorrow for a recap of the boys.

Related: American Idol, Starpulse Exclusives, Recaps, Television, Reality, Reality (Talent)

Photo Credits: Michael Becker / FOX

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