Here we are, just a few more performances away from selecting the American Idol's top 12 for Season 9. As the judges noted, the pressure to not tank this week is high. And while there were some memorable performances, for some of the ladies, there was some pretty serious unfortunate tanking going on. So, who let nerves get the best of them? And which singers returned to their former greatness? Let's find out.
Katie Stevens, "Breakaway"
Following the judges' orders to pick both a big song and a young song, Katie tackled Kelly Clarkson, and the results were... not amazing. Her lower register was all over the place, and when she finally got into her big-note safe zone, she seemed to be rushing. (To be fair, the tempo felt a little slow, throughout.) For my money, Katie hasn't lived up to any of her early round performances, which to me suggests the judges' put her through too early, much like Haeley Vaughn, who was a casualty last week.
Judging the Judges: B+ Randy said it paled in comparison to Kelly Clarkson and Kara said Katie hasn't shown herself as an artist. Also, the singing was just plain bad.
Siobhan Magnus, "House of the Rising Sun"
I really dug the a capella opening, and although the big notes were in tune, they felt a little shout-y and brassy, kind of like I was hearing a trombone playing the song instead of someone singing. I do think it was a risky song and that Siobhan will be fine, but I preferred last week's, and even the Chris Isaak tune to this.
Judging the Judges: B- Randy, Kara and Ellen were blown away by the risk, while Simon rightly pointed out that since he was "under-impressed," there was no real reward.
Lacey Brown, "The Story"
I went into the semifinals loving Lacey, but I had forgotten why until tonight. Though I'm unfamiliar with the song (and don't think that will change after the performance), Lacey sang it pretty much perfectly. The song also played to her unique tone without feeling like she was faking it, as it did with "Kiss Me" last week.
Judging the Judges: A Randy and Ellen agreed it was her best showing in weeks. Kara and Simon both thought the song was radio ready and that Lacey was back.
Katelyn Epperly, "I Feel the Earth Move"
Katelyn told the judges she was trying to be less corny than last week. (A performance I thought was excellent, by the way.) If that was indeed her intention, she failed miserably. This was a very middle-of-the-road performance, which, as Kara noted, reeked of Katelyn just trying to play it safe until next week.
Judging the Judges: B Randy said there was no connection, and Kara agreed that Katelyn was going through the motions rather than competing.
Didi Benami, "Rhiannon"
Didi is back! And so is her guitar! Why she failed to play during the last two shows is beyond me, but this stunning performance of the Fleetwood Mac classic was spot-on. It was beautifully sung and in some spots, improved upon the original. (It also helped me forget the terrible version Taylor Swift did with Steve Nicks at the Grammys.) Welcome back, Didi.
Judging the Judges: B Randy stupidly said there wasn't a wow moment, while Kara and Simon agreed that it was one of the best moments of the show so far this season. Ellen applauded Didi for taking last week's (needlessly) brutal criticism and coming back strong.
Paige Miles, "Smile"
Unfortunately for Paige, this rendition of one of the best songs ever caused nothing but frowns in my house. She delivered over half of the song out of tune, and never really found her footing. She seemed to be on the verge of tears throughout, which she later explained was because of Michael Jackson. That's great and all, but maybe next time choose something you can manage to get through during the live show. I predict she just wrote herself out of the finals.
Judging the Judges: A Ellen and Randy agreed it didn't work at all, and Simon is disappointed that Paige has wasted her big-voice potential week after week.
Crystal Bowersox, "Give Me One Reason"
At the risk of sounding like the rest of those who have been praising Crystal endlessly (and, for my money, prematurely), I will say that Crystal impressed me tonight. She made me like a song I grew so tired of during its endless radio play in the '90s. And, it's true that she has her path as an artist already laid out in her mind. I still wish the judges weren't so overtly gaga for her, because at some point, I think that will turn into backlash.
Judging the Judges: B Ellen calls her the best of the night and Kara loved the contemporary take on the song. Simon says the competition is Crystal's to lose.
Lilly Scott, "I Fall to Pieces"
I will never buy a Lilly Scott CD, but I have been entertained by her. That sort of ended tonight. I thought she sang the song fine in her own quirky way, but I was bored by it. And I think Simon picked up on it, as he noted that it was a risky song that may not translate with viewers at home.
Judging the Judges: D Ellen and Randy said useless praiseworthy things as usual, and Simon said it didn't have a wow moment. Kara for some reason believed Lilly made Patsy Cline sound relevant. Um, not at all.
What did you think of the ladies? Who do you think is in danger of going home?
Here we are, just a few more performances away from selecting the American Idol's top 12 for Season 9. As the judges noted, the pressure to not tank this week is high. And while there were some memorable performances, for some of the ladies, there was some pretty serious unfortunate tanking going on. So, who let nerves get the best of them? And which singers returned to their former greatness? Let's find out...