The Top 12
Though some avid viewers disagree, it seems that America has done a fairly good job of deciding who should go on, and who needs to leave. Unfortunately, this week, the majority of the contestants did worse than normal. Maybe it was nerves, maybe it was the new stage, maybe it was because all of the contestants had to sing a Diana Ross song. As Simon said, "This stage changes everybody," and so far, it seems to be true.
The first contestant, Brandon, singing, "You Can't Hurry Love," didn't do his best work, and his dancing was terrible. He was off-key, probably flat, and he forgot his words. Randy said that Brandon seemed to go back to being a background singer, though the last two notes were better. Paula gave a standard encouraging response, and Simon told the truth: that he was a complete letdown, the dancing was bad, the song was predictable and unoriginal, and that it wasn't good enough. When it was all said and done, even Brandon acknowledged that he hadn't done very well, "I felt like it was going my way until I forgot the words."
Contestant number two, Melinda, came onto the stage looking very cute. Though still good, it's likely that her nerves were affecting her, as her voice was not nearly as powerful as usual. The judges disagreed. Randy said, "That was hot, Baby!" Paula said, "It's exciting, this is it for you." Is Paula predicting that Melinda will be the new American Idol? Even Simon agreed, and said, "You made a very boring song fantastic." Melinda, however, was completely overwhelmed and couldn't remember her performance at all. Paula spoke for her, with a push from Ryan.
To my disappointment, contestant number three, Chris S, started out rocky. However, by the time he got to the chorus of, "Endless Love," he'd stepped it up a notch. He has a powerful voice, but he fell short of making the song more contemporary. Randy agreed, saying that it was a weird way to do the song. Paula encouraged him saying he had a beautiful voice, but that she didn't like the melody. Simon said that he murdered the arrangement. Chris, while grateful for the Judge's advice, still told Ryan, "I went with my gut."
Gina, contestant number 4, sang, "Love Child." Gina looked both cute and comfortable, and seemed confident. She made good use of the stage, unlike the three contestants before her, but she needed to enunciate more. She sang well, but at times it was very difficult to understand her. Randy said it was boring, and that she was pitchy in spots. Paula said she didn't think she did well. And Simon said it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't fantastic, though he liked her image.
Contestant number 5, Sanjaya, was predictably terrible with his rendition of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." Sanjaya doesn't seem able to find an image that suits him. In fact, he can't seem to find anything that suits him. His crimped hair made him look like a poodle, and his earrings and clothing made him look like a cross dresser. And, to make it even worse, he mumbled for a good part of the song, and we couldn't hear him. That wasn't actually a bad thing. As Randy said, "Thank God for the background singers." Paula fell back on a sweet response, and Simon said, "When you hear a wail in Beverly Hills, that is Diana Ross." Unfortunately, Sanjaya didn't quite catch what he was trying to say, and his big, confused, puppy dog eyes only made him look stupid.
Contestant number 6, Hailey, sang "I'm Missing You" well, but she sang too quietly. At first, I was glad she stood up, by way of involving the audience, but only until I saw what she was wearing. Randy said she made a valiant effort, but that she sounded nervous, forgot her words, and added his standard, "pitchy." Paula agreed with Randy about Hailey's pitch, but reminded her to remember the words. And Simon surprised me by disagreeing with both of them. "I don't think it was that bad," and he complimented her stage presence. Hailey told Ryan, "I messed up my words, and I feel like a shmuck."
The seventh contestant, Phil, did much better this week, singing, "I'm going to Make You Love Me," than he did last week. However, though he did all righ on the chorus, he did terribly on the verses. Randy said that his vocals were good, but that his performance was boring. Paula said more or less the same thing, and added tha the song should have been more up-tempo. Simon said that he chose the right tempo, but that he shouts when trying to hit his big notes. He agreed, though, that he did better than last week.
Contestant number 8, Lakisha, really shone this week. She has a great voice, and she sang powerfully. She was confident and completely in-control. Randy told her she has unbelievable volume, and that she did a sensational job. Paula said something characteristically sweet, and Simon said, "You've either got it or you haven't got it. You've got it."
Blake, contestant number 9, my standard favorite and current crush, sang, "You Keep Me Hanging On," with a much more contemporary style, and I have to admit that he fell short. To make it worse, he danced like Michael Jackson, who is not my favorite. He has a good voice, but he didn't sing as well tonight. Randy agreed, and told him, "You sing better than that. You were modern, hip, and cool, but let the classics be classic." Paula said there was a difference between what he and Chris did, though she didn't expound on that, which would have been nice, because I didn't see a difference - I thought they were both pretty bad. And Simon, Simon says he didn't get it at all. He understands why he wanted to do it differently, but changing the melody didn't work.
To my utmost surprise, contestant number 10, Stephanie, did a great job. She sang "Disco Diva," and she sang very, very well. However, I disliked her outfit, and agreed with Meoldoy who called it, "Odd and distracting." Randy said that the vocal was good, but not her best. I disagree. Paula and Simon didn't like the part of the song she chose. I don't know the song, but according to them, she cut out the best part.
Contestant 11, Chris R, sang "The Boss," and I'm pretty sure it was one of his best. He did a good job including the audience, which has been one of his shortcomings in the past. He sang well, but he still sounded a bit nasally in parts. Randy didn't like it, and that it was overdone. Paula said he nailed making the song contemporary, and Simon said his vocals were dreadful.
Jordin, the twelfth and final contestant, sang, "Belong Together," and did what was probably her best performance. She sang very well, and did a great job. She mumbled a little towards the end, and should have enunciated more, but it was was still a good job. The judges agreed, Randy was impressed by her, Paula said she felt like "a breath of fresh air," and Simon said, "Very very good vocal."
So, the question is: who's going to go home? Personally, I hope it's Sanjaya. But, I guess the fun with this, is you never really know.