It seems like this week on “Idol” is more of a formality than an actual competition. (You know, kind of like holding the Oscars anyway even though even the most casual movie watchers had already predicted the winners in the four acting categories.)
In this season of lackluster performances, it has become pretty obvious who is going to be sticking around for a bit and who is on borrowed time. In fact, Kara even commented last night that Katelyn Epperly didn’t seem to be in competition mode. She has been a strong performer the last couple of weeks and is probably pretty confident that there are at least three ladies that will be eliminated before her, regardless of how good or bad her performance was this week.
Another thing that stood out was the lack of connection to the songs. (Ahem — Katie Stevens, Paige Miles and Siobhan Magnus.) Each of these girls claimed that they chose songs that had deep personal meaning to them yet none of them seemed to portray the emotions adequately. Stevens can blame her youth and Magnus can blame her social awkwardness but I’m not sure what was going on with Miles.
KATIE STEVENS — “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson
At first I thought, “Is she serious with this song choice?” But, as she later explained, she is from a small town, after all. And I’m pretty sure that when the rain would fall down, she’d just stare out her window. Unfortunately, at this point, staring out the window seems like a more viable entertainment option for me than listening to one more performance by Katie Stevens. Yes, her voice is pleasant but she has yet to “wow” me the way she did with her first audition to “At Last.” Interestingly enough, while that song is more of a standard, the judges have been pressing her to be more youthful. Ellen thought that she gave it a good try this week but it still didn’t work for me, dawg. Never sing a song that’s too big for you. And never, never, never sing Kelly Clarkson as a contestant on “American Idol.” Ever.
SIOBHAN MAGNUS — “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals
Siobhan sounded amazing as always, but I didn’t feel she was particularly connected with the song. What’s odd about that is that she chose it because it’s so “special” to her and her dad. “From the interview beforehand to the performance to what you’re wearing, it was all a bit weird,” said Simon. I can’t argue with that, Cowell, but that weirdness is kind of the reason I love her. Asperger suspicions aside, the girl can blow. (BTW, my Googling skills have taught me that I’m not the only one with those suspicions.) I have no idea what she’s going to sing (or wear) next but I’m pretty sure that it’ll sound good. I just want her to make me feel it.
LACEY BROWN — “The Story” by Brandi Carlile
Lacey truly redeemed herself this week. She chose a song that really complimented her voice, and she didn’t have any weird pitchy things going on. (To play devil’s advocate, though, she was sitting on the floor the whole time.) She never once had me holding my breath bracing for the awkward moments I have come to expect from her. That being said, I’m not sure that “she didn’t make my ears bleed” is exactly a ringing endorsement. I think this week’s performance may have bought her another week and I’m curious to see what she sings if she survives.
KATELYN EPPERLY — “I Feel the Earth Move” by Carole King
As much as I like Katelyn, this performance did not do it for me. I know I defended her makeover and red lipstick on Week 1, but her style seems to be just a little schizophrenic. I mean, what was up with that romper? It was very reminiscent of my friend, Robin’s, favorite outfit from back in the day. (Did I mention that Robin was my Cabbage Patch Kid?) This was Katelyn’s effort to be less corny? Her old-school stand-up keyboard looked like the one that the gorilla played at Showbiz Pizza Place or maybe she was going for “Partridge Family refugee.” Regardless of how forgettable this performance was, I think we’ll see more of Katelyn (and hopefully less of her rompers).
DIDI BENAMI — “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac
With her golden curls and guitar, Benami almost looked like she could be pretty little Taylor Swift’s older sister. Unlike Swift’s Grammy performance, though, Didi’s rendition of “Rhiannon” was actually painless. For me, this was the standout performance of the night. I have been a fan of Didi’s since Hollywood Week and I’m so relieved that the judges are finally giving her the credit that she deserves. I think that she’s the real thing and I appreciated Ellen’s words of wisdom that “you’re always gonna be torn apart by somebody” and “that everybody has opinions.” Yup. Opinion-haver right here, Ellen!
PAIGE MILES — “Smile” by Charlie Chaplin
I know that this song can be a bit melancholy but Paige’s version made me want to cut myself! It’s called “Smile” and she didn’t … not once. In fact, she should’ve been the one to sing Kara’s “Terrified,” as that word seems to better sum up her mood. I didn’t quite get her reference to Michael Jackson, either. I know that he also loved and recorded this song but why did that make her so emotional? We all remember where we were when we heard of MJ’s passing but I explored all my feelings of grief and abandonment in therapu, not on the “American Idol” stage. MJ, the ultimate entertainer, would not be proud; the show must go on, emotions and drug addictions be damned.
CRYSTAL BOWERSOX — “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman
Bowersox has a huge voice but she’s just not challenging herself enough. And why should she? When you’re continually referred to as “the one to beat,” there’s not much motivation to change up your act. And that’s what I get the sense she’s performing: her coffee-house act. I think that these songs are already in her repertoire and I’d like to hear her do something not so … folksy, because while I enjoy her voice, I can tell you that I won’t be buying any folksy records. I’d love for her to take a clichéd, sugar-sweet pop song and turn it on its head. Guess we’ll have to wait for the theme weeks to hear her mix it up a bit.
LILLY SCOTT — “I Fall to Pieces” by Patsy Cline
I’ll take a page out of Ellen’s comment book and say that even though this performance was a little pitchy, it really doesn’t matter because I love Lilly Scott anyway. I agree with Kara’s comment that Scott made this song sound current, but I think it could’ve been even more impressive without the old school country music as accompaniment. Still, the Beatles? Patsy Cline? Is there any artist this girl can’t cover and make it sound unique? (I’m waiting for Elvis!) She took a chance and I think it paid off. Scott is the most unique artist on the show this year and I’d like to see her make it to at least the Top 4.
I predict that Katie Stevens and Paige Miles will be leaving us this tomorrow night, with Lacey Brown following soon after.