American Idol Episodes

2002, TV Show

American Idol Episode: "Top 12 Girls Perform"

Season 10, Episode 14
Episode Synopsis: The semifinal round resumes with the Top 12 female vocalists taking the stage.
Original Air Date: Mar 2, 2011

American Idol Episode Recap: The Top 12 Girls Perform Season 10, Episode 14

Now we're talking. After a pretty lackluster crop of performances from American Idol's Top 12 guys, the girls took the stage Wednesday and redeemed this season's batch of talent. Of course, there were still some performances that could have used some more work. And the judges, especially Steven, were still often maddeningly unhelpful in their critiques. But at least now I am more excited about the next 12 or so weeks.

Let's break it down:

Ta-Tynisa Wilson, "Only Girl (In The World)"
I understand the contestants' urge to sing songs currently on the radio, but like Jordan's performance of Usher's "OMG" the night before, this sometimes has disastrous results.  Ta-Tynisa has a big voice, and she was often trying to diva-fy the song by adding runs that, to my ear, didn't fit the song and therefore sounded bad.  The song ended better than it started, but by the end-of-show replay, I had forgotten the performance completely, which is never a good sign.
The Judges Say: Steven said she sang the song and the song sang her. (Whaa?) J. Lo said she managed to overcome some shaky nerves, but Randy said it paled in comparison to Rihanna's version. He wasn't moved by it like Jennifer was, but Ryan notes it takes a lot to move Randy. Oh, snap  —  short guy made a fat guy joke!

Naima Adedapo, "Summertime"
I must admit I went back and forth on Naima in the earlier rounds, but I thought she sounded great tonight. Although her personal artistic style isn't exactly my cup of tea, it suits her well, and she chose the perfect song.  And that note at the end was pretty awesome as well.
The Judges Say: J. Lo loved her originality, as did Randy, who noted that it was the only thing that helped her, considering how Fantasia blew the same song away seven seasons ago. Steven liked her "new, old-timey thing."

Kendra Chantelle, "Impossible"
I always get nervous when singers take on big voices like Christina Aguilera's, but Kendra chose a song that I am less familiar with, which lessened the urge to compare it to the original. I thought she sounded great and very controlled. It wasn't exactly what I expected coming out of the audition rounds, but it was a pleasant surprise. The question is: How memorable was it for voters?
The Judges Say: Randy liked her warm vibrato, which made him feel connected to her. Steven thought her voice, like her look, was hot. Jennifer said she fought her way into the Top 12, and she thought Kendra only scratched the surface of how great she can be.

Rachel Zevita, "Criminal"
Oy. Randy Jackson, this is why you don't tell every contestant to make the song their own. Rachel's arrangement of Fiona Apple's hit was virtually unrecognizable. All her mugging around the stage showed a lot of confidence, but running from corner to corner often resulted in out-of-breath bum notes. What she did was criminal, indeed.
The Judges Say: Steven liked her swagger but didn't dig her very Broadway-esque performance. J. Lo said she should have presented herself as more of a recording artist and Randy simply said it wasn't good at all.

Karen Rodriguez, "Hero"
Like Kendra, Karen took on a big singer with this Mariah Carey classic. But she added her own trademark, singing portions of the song in Spanish and delivering a nice little version of the song. It didn't blow the doors off, but there was also very little to complain about.
The Judges Say: Jennifer was speechless, so she let her goose bumps speak for themselves. Randy liked how she made it her own, and Steven suggested she sing it as a duet with Jacob Lusk.

Lauren Turner, "Seven Day Fool"
Of all the Top 24, I feel I know the least about Lauren, but she is definitely a singer I want to see more of this season. She has a lot of soul and she chose a fun, upbeat song with which to showcase her voice. I wonder, however, how well her voice would translate to other styles.
The Judges Say: Randy said she was like Amy Winehouse meets Florence + the Machine. Steven said she was like Lauren Turner meets Lauren Turner and that she was a "perfect complete sentence." (Seriously, what the hell is he talking about?).  Jennifer said her voice is undeniable, but she wanted her to punch the camera. Yeah, OK.

Ashthon Jones, "Love Over Me"
Ashthon also has a really big voice, but I felt she wasted it here. I wasn't wild about the song choice. Even though she sang it decently and showed a great deal of personality (which during the back and forth of judges turned a little too cocky at this point in the competition, I think), I worry that this wasn't the first impression she wanted to make with voters.
The Judges Say: Steven said she has the confidence of a queen and takes her voice where few have gone. Jennifer said she has all the makings of a diva, but Randy wanted to see something bigger than Monica from her as well.

Julie Zorrilla, "Breakaway"
Say what you will, but Kelly Clarkson remains one of the best voices this show has discovered. And Julie, as cute as she is, proved she isn't nearly in the same class. Her voice sounded paper-thin in the arrangement (granted, for two nights the band-to-vocal sound mix has been atrocious), and I think she should stick to the quieter, piano-based songs she did well with in Hollywood.
The Judges Say: Jennifer said she liked how she sang from the heart. Randy said the song did nothing to help her stand out, and Steven thought she sang it in the wrong key. (Probably right, but that wouldn't have saved it.)

Haley Reinhart, "Fallin'"
Haley is another singer I couldn't make my mind up about during Hollywood Week. I thought her vocal on this song was very good, though I could have used about 50 percent less of the growl she put on the big notes. By song's end, it kind of sounded like a little girl pretending to be sexy, which then made it all a little uncomfortable. Again, I think she has talent, but I hope if she makes it through, she tames that a bit.
The Judges Say: Randy thought it was karaoke. Steven said it had the right amount of sexy and style. J. Lo liked it, but said she needs to stop overthinking the performance aspect.

Thia Megia, "Out Here on My Own"
Two words came to my mind during this song. The first was cute. She sang the simple melody flawlessly, but there wasn't a whole lot about the performance to get excited about. Which brings me to the second word: sleepy. She's a good singer, and therefore deserves to move ahead in the competition. I just  hope she then will hopefully use that voice on some bigger songs.
The Judges Say:  Steven said she had perfect pitch. Jennifer was captivated by the quiet moment and Randy said the tone of her voice has a Michael Jackson quality to it. (Hilariously, my wife said the same thing halfway through the song. Randy is stepping up his game!)

Lauren Alaina, "Turn on the Radio"
Lauren is undoubtedly who the judges/producers seem to be behind this season, and she hasn't really missed a step. This song was energetic and fun, and she sang it very well, even if I don't think I will be remembering it tomorrow.
The Judges Say: Jennifer said she was amazing and made it look effortless. Randy said she is a combo of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, and that she doesn't even know how good she is. Steven said she kills him.

Pia Toscano, "I'll Stand By You"
Wow. I really didn't know Pia had a song like this in her. Apparently neither did the judges, who were on their feet for the first time this season after she brought the house down with her big final chorus. She's definitely earned a spot in the finals and will definitely be one to watch.
The Judges Say: Randy said the performance ranks among the most memorable in Idol history. Steven said it was gorgeous and Jennifer said she saved her big "out of this world" moment for the moment when it really counts.

So, who are you voting for? Which group —guys or girls — do you think has the edge at this point? Share all your thoughts in the comments below.

Plus, check out our interview with former Season 10 hopeful Chris Medina:

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Now we're talking. After a pretty lackluster crop of performances from American Idol's Top 12 guys, the girls took the stage Wednesday and redeemed this season's batch of talent. Of course, there were still some performances that could have used some more work. And the judges, especially Steven, were still often maddeningly unhelpful in their critiques. But at least now I am more excited about the next 12 or so weeks.

Let's break it down... read more

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Premiered: June 11, 2002, on FOX
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Premise: The smash reality series showcases wannabe pop stars competing for a record deal by crooning for a panel of judges, including, most entertainingly, the acid-tongued Simon Cowell, who departed the show in 2010 after serving for nine seasons. The judges review a performer's talent (or lack thereof), and at-home viewers then vote for their favorite potential star. The show helped launch the careers of such artists as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert.

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