After Tuesday night’s over all lack luster performances by the American Idol top ten men the pressure was on the girls Wednesday to bring the talent and give us all some hope for what has been, so far, a pretty unimpressive season of the hit TV show.
It was a mixed bag of performances though with just three of the girls really shining at the end of the night – Crystal Bowersox, Lilly Scott and Siobhan Magnus delivered the goods and went someway towards granting some credibility to Simon‘s earlier prediction that a girl will win Idol this year.
Fresh from an emergency trip to the hospital Crystal Bowersox shared that she has a “square” twin brother called Carl that she “loves very much” and she keeps the memory of those she loves near her during her performance to help with her nerves. Bowersox set the standard to beat for the night with her take on Creedance Clearwater’s hit Long As I Can See The Light. Randy raved, “You are the truth, you do what you do. I love that girl. That girl is hot!” Ellen agreed, commenting, “That was pure natural talent.” Kara joined in the praise, saying, “You completely recovered from lat week. This is who you are. You are centered, you are focused the way that the greats are.” Simon rounded out the praise, saying, “I completely underestimated you. I promise you this was like the moment when we realized with Kelly Clarkson that we have a really serious artist here, and I think you are a really serious artist.”
Next up, 16-year-old Haeley Vaughn chose a Miley Cyrus song, The Climb. Before performing Haeley admitted that her performance last week was “pretty rough” going on to say that she finds it difficult to hide her emotions and her smile as she is a “naturally happy person.” Haeley’s performance left a lot to be desired though, and the judges slammed her. Randy lamented, “It didn’t work for me. It was excruciating. It was so pitchy and so not right for you.” Ellen told Haeley, “Don’t ever stop smiling.” But went on to say, “Unfortunately I didn’t feel connected to you. There was no feeling there.” Kara commented, “You have that Alex Lambert factor. There’s a lot of people that like you and that are rooting for you. Unfortunately you need about a year to strengthen your talent.” Simon summed it up by saying, “It was a complete and utter mess. There was some irony in you singing about climbing when you completely fell off.”
Fiery redhead Lacey Brown performed Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer. Before taking to the stage Lacey shared that she loves antiques shopping and refurbishing old furniture, saying that she finds it “relaxing”. She went on to say that when she’s on stage she tells herself, “You are made to do this.” But despite getting props for the right song choice Lacey scored mixed reviews from the judges for her performance. Randy said, “Interesting choice. Listen, I actually think it was a good song choice and it would of worked but I was waiting for the words to flash across the screen, it was like you were doing karaoke.” Ellen was kinder, saying, “It was adorable. I like your personality and I like you.” Keeping up the positive vibe, Kara said, “You have a very unique sound but I have to say you have to step it up still. You didn’t push it where it could of gone.” Simon, said, “I think it was marginally better than last week. But I get the feeling you are taking part in a competition rather than showcasing your talent. We’re not going to remember your performance and that’s a problem.”
Next up, Katie Stevens confessed that something no-one knows about her is that she can say “give me a kiss” in six different languages, something she is very embarrassed about, apparently. Katie added that she’s doing what the judges asked of her by performing a “younger” song choice and that she hopes they like her performance this week. Unfortunately though when it came to her pitchy rendition of the Corinne Bailey Rae classic, Put Your Records On, Stevens didn’t deliver. Randy said, “There were some bright moments there for me, when you went into your upper bridge it was good, but the first part was kind of pitchy.” Ellen said, “I think you have a great voice but I can’t believe you’re 17. I want to see you younger. I don’t want to hear something I could hear in my dentist’s office.” Kara agreed, “I’m so frustrated with you. At the end you were kind of going off and doing your own thing but you’ve got to do that from the start. I’m still waiting for that moment from you.” Simon said, “It’s very frustrating, you made an attempt to make yourself younger but you’re failing to tell us what kind of recording artist you want to be. It wasn’t a winning performance.”
Last week Simon Cowell gave a stinging critique of Didi Benami‘s performance, comparing it to “a dull first kiss”. This week she didn’t fare much better in the praise takes. Before taking to the stage Didi shared that she was the school mascot for two years before talking through her pre-performance ritual, confessing that she prays and “meows” to open up her vocal cords. Benami chose Bill Withers‘ Lean On Me and her flat performance garnered unanimous criticism from the judges. Randy commented that her song choice, “Revealed what you can’t do rather than heightening what you do well.” Ellen said, “First of all I love your voice. You have a great smile and a great presence, you tried to do stuff with it, but I don’t think it was the greatest song choice.” Kara bluntly said, “Didi it was not good. What we’re missing from you is consistency. It felt like a karaoke bar.” Simon heaped it on, saying, “At least you carried the cat theme throughout the song because that’s what it sounded like. You get this fantastic opportunity and then you do something very generic – it’s just a wasted opportunity.” Didi could barely hold back the tears before exiting the stage.
Michelle Delamor chose Arms Wide Open by Creed. Before her performance Michelle said that she is a children’s choir director at church, working with ages 5 up to 12, and that before each performance she prays and meditates as well as visualizing her desired outcome. Delamor scored mixed reviews from the judges. Randy said, “Couple of pitch problems here and there. I sound like a broken record here, it’s so frustrating for me, it fell flat for me.” Ellen commented, “I think you did do a lot with the song. There were a couple of little pitch problems but I’m glad you tried to do something different. It almost worked.” Kara raved though, “My favorite performance of yours ever. It felt believable for once. You listen and you are trying.” Simon took Kara’s lead, “I thought the first half was much stronger than the second. But you took the point, you didn’t choose a safe choice, you made it work 80%.”
Last week Lilly Scott, guitar in hand, delivered one of the most praise worthy performances of the night with her take on the Cheap Trick hit Fixing A Hole. This week she got mainly rave reviews again with her take on A Change Is Gonna Come by legendary soul crooner Sam Cooke. Before performing Scott boasted that she can play a lot of different instruments and that she’s trying to be unpredictable. Randy said, “This season is some of the most unique contestants we have ever had, and that’s what I love about you. You worked it out, my favorite performance of the night.” Ellen raved, “You have got “it” I forgot we were in a singing competition.” Kara joined in with the praise,. “You just had your moment. I was riveted, I couldn’t wait to see what you did next. You are going to change the game.” Simon rounded out by saying, “I thought it was good but I wasn’t crazy about it compared to last week. I think Crystal was stronger than you, personally. But it was still great.”
Katelyn Epperly took to the piano and performed a version of Coldplay’s The Scientists. Katelyn said that before auditioning for Idol she was studying to become a sound engineer, and went on to say that some day she would like to open her own studio. Epperly gave an admirable performance of the Brit band’s classic but scored mixed reviews from the judges. Randy said “It was really slow, but I like it. I’m not over the top about it, but I like it.” Ellen said it was so slow that she “fell kind of asleep, it was so slow, it was way too slow.” Kara said that she understood where Randy and Ellen were coming from but, “I kind of love you, I kind of do. But you keep switching around, you’re all over the place, but you’re really good. Figure out who you are though, really quick.” Simon warned her, “What you’ve got to be careful of is that you’ve become really corny.
Before hitting the stage Paige Miles shared that she loves to color, in coloring books, and that that acts as a pre-show ritual for her. She chose Walk Away by the original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson, and despite seeming to really have fun with her performance she garnered mixed reviews. Randy commented, “I liked it but wasn’t over the top in love with it. I’m not sure it was the best choice. I want to hear your voice.” Ellen said, “I totally disagree with Randy. I really liked it. You changed just enough to make it fun. I thought you did great. You have one of the best voices.” Kara said, “Here’s the thing, the song is kind of a bit angry and I missed that with you.” Simon said, “I’m going to agree with Randy. For two weeks in a row you’ve made bad song choices. It was forgettable. Sorry.”
Last but not least, Siobhan Magnus closed out this week’s performances with her rousing take on Think by Aretha Franklin. Before performing Magnus confessed that she used to have a mohawk, and that before performing she does lip vibration exercises. Randy heaped on the praise, saying, “You pickesd the dopest, coolest, biggest singer of all time and you came out and you were fearless, and you were dope! I loved it dude, I loved it.” Ellen agreed, “I loved it too. Oh man, that was good.” Kara said, “I can’t get over that note. I don’t know how you do that, how you get that note.” Simon said, “Once again, you are such a strange person. I thought there were parts of the song that were terrible but that note was incredible. There’s no doubt that you can sing.”