American Idol Episodes

2002, TV Show

American Idol Episode: "Semifinalist Girls Perform"

Season 11, Episode 15
Episode Synopsis: The female semifinalists perform.
Original Air Date: Feb 29, 2012

American Idol Recap: Ladies' Night! Season 11, Episode 15

It's ladies' night on American Idol, as the Top 12 girls take their turn at convincing America  to vote them into the finals. Overall, it was a much better showcase than the guys put on the night before, and I suspect a girl has a better chance of winning this season than any in recent memory. But despite many standout moments tonight, there were also a few frightening lows. So, who deserves to move on to the Top 13? Let's break it down.

But first: I really hope America's votes weed out some of the similarly named girls. In this bunch we have a Hallie, a Hollie, a Haley and a Baylie. I am fairly certain at least two of them should be going home, but we'll get to that in a second.

One other aside: Randy and J. Lo did admit during the show that they were perhaps a bit too lenient in their critiques of some of the guys last night. The optimist in me wants to say that admitting the problem is the first step to recovery. But we all know these judges aren't capable of that kind of change.

Ok, the girls!

Chelsea Sorrell, "Cowboy Cassanova"
Of all the Carrie Underwood songs to choose from, this seems like a poor choice. Chelsea doesn't really hit the high notes with ease and J. Lo rightly says the performance was a bit nasal. When she wasn't reaching for the big notes, her voice was nice, but the performance was ultimately forgettable. "You definitely can sing," Randy says, but he encourages her to separate herself from Carrie Underwood (and the other country-girl competitors this season). All the judges agree the song choice was off, and J. Lo says the song didn't show off the best parts of Chelsea's voice.

Erika Van Pelt, "What About Love"
Although I liked most of the performance (and do enjoy the tone of Erika's voice), nothing about this really excited me. She went for and hit some big notes, but she didn't do anything with the song that really made her stand out. Steven, however, said she "breathes wings into songs." (What?) Randy likes her confidence. But it was perhaps J. Lo who put her finger on why, to quote Randy, it was "just OK for me. J. Lo said  she thought Erika was holding a little bit of her strength back. Maybe so, but I'd like to see Erika stay around long enough to show us what else she has in her bag of tricks.

Jen Hirsh, "One and Only"
Jen, who treats her dog like her daughter (excuse me, dog-ter), makes a great case for why Adele should be added to the list of artists Idol singers dare not cover. (See also: Whitney, Mariah, Celine.) Although Jen had one of my favorite voices during Hollywood week, and sings this song proficiently, it just lacks the soul Adele puts into her music. I think she'll be safe, but I want to see something than Jen can put her stamp on rather than a cover that feels empty.  Steven said her voice soared and J. Lo said she saw Jen's feeling. Randy said she is one of the greatest singers in the competition.

Brielle Von Hugel, "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay"
This was the first major speed bump for me. Brielle started the song in a very low key, and therefore struggled to hit some of the low notes in the first verse. When she took the song up in the second verse, it was much better, but her interpretation of the song didn't add up for me. Steven likes her "great sense of the blues" and J. Lo gave her high marks for her ability to perform and entertain. (I will agree that she was the first person to actually perform her song as opposed to just singing it.) Randy said what he always says when he has nothing to say: "You actually really can sing." I'd like to think we already know that at this stage, Randy.

Hallie Day, "Feeling Good"
I've liked Hallie through the competition, and I love this song. But I did not like the two of them together. Maybe it's the various versions I have on my iPod, but I am used to hearing a really soulful rendition of the song, and Hallie's felt much too cute and delicate. She had a few bight spots that were nice, but overall, I just didn't see the artist Hallie is (or wants to be) in this performance. J. Lo said she Hallie looks like a star, but she did lose control of her voice a bit. Steven like her old-timey appeal. Randy, like me (wait, what? We agree?) was confused about what kind of artist Hallie sees herself becoming based on that song.

Skylar Laine, "Stay With Me"
And then, Skylar kicked the show into a higher gear. The country sparkplug commanded the stage with her fiery rendition of the Faces' song. Her energy was infectious and made watching the performance as much fun as it looks like she had singing it. She also got the crowd going, even if she did look like she was having a seizure on stage a couple times. (One note: Sometimes her twangy notes turn a bit shout-y. I'll be interested to see how she does when she dials things back a bit.) The judges say she's like a country Tina Turner or a mixture of Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson. I'll buy that.

Baylie Brown, "Amazed"
Without a doubt, the night's worst. From almost the first line, Baylie was not in control of her voice, and she stumbled through the whole song. It went from bad to worse as she approached the big notes at the end. It was amateur and timid-sounding, you'd almost swear she was making it up as she went along. (They do rehearse these things, don't they?) Steven said he's heard her sing better, but that she's pretty. (Translation: You were not good.) J. Lo said Baylie's not pretty, she's beautiful. (Translation: You really sucked.)  Randy said she never seized the song, but she looked amazing. (Translation: I really don't know how I'm still earning a paycheck.) If Baylie makes it through, it will be because of her cleavage alone.

Hollie Cavanagh, "Reflection"
This performance surprised me the most. Perhaps I just wasn't paying attention during the earlier rounds, but I didn't know Hollie was capable of some of the monster notes she hits in this song. Taking on Christina Aguilera is always risky, but Hollie did a fantastic job. Her big note at the ends is one of the few that stuck with me after the show. Steven said she hits her notes perfectly and can't wait for her to let her hair down. J. Lo said she's a frontrunner, and she, too, can't wait to she'll "do when you do let your hair down. Randy says: Heh, J. Lo said do-do. Seriously.

Haley Johnsen, "Sweet Dreams"
Maybe it was the arrangement or the backup singers, but this was kind of a mess. Haley did her best to show off her vocal runs during the song, but they didn't really fit at all. And when she decided to bring it home, she basically yelled the last half of the song. All of this could have been corrected by choosing a different song. I just didn't get any of it. J. Lo hopes America heard the special things in her voice, even though the song didn't showcase them. Steven said the "money shots were spot-on." (Hmmmm....) Randy said it was a nightmare rather than a dream.

Shannon Magrane, "Go Light Your World"
Dressed either for prom or her wedding, Shannon did what Shannon always does: She sang everything well technically, but I have zero connection with her. I will admit that she conveyed more emotion in this song than anything she's done prior, and she clearly chose a song that meant a lot to her. I can't say it was a bad performance, and she does have a great voice for her age. I just don't see the "wow" factor yet. Randy said she came out swinging and had lots of promise. J. Lo got "goosies" and Steven said Shannon made his "reality check bounce."  Which means... oh, who the hell knows anymore...

Jessica Sanchez, "Love You I Do"
Jessica Sanchez was absotutley terrific. She got a standing ovation that was well-deserved, but it was scary in some of the early parts of the song how much she sounded like Jennifer Hudson. My one complaint: Ryan spent five minutes telling America how sick Jessica has been all week. So, yes, when she brings the house down, it's a major accomplishment. But wouldn't that accomplishment be all the more genuine if she just sang and blew us away without the caveat?

Elise Testone, "One and Only"
Elise delivers a much different (and better) version of the Adele song than Jen did. The tone of her voice I think is much better suited to it, which is exactly why I didn't love Jen's performance the way I could have with another song. She gets a little extra wound up at the end, but she brings it home nicely. Steven said she blew it out of the water. J. Lo loves the tone of her voice and calls her one to watch. Randy said she's a force to be reckoned with.

So, what did you think of the girls? Who do you want to see in the Top 13?





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It's ladies' night on American Idol, as the Top 12 girls take their turn at convincing America  to vote them into the finals. Overall, it was a much better showcase than the guys put on the night before, and I suspect a girl has a better chance of winning this season than any in recent memory. But despite many standout moments tonight, there were also a few frightening lows. So, who deserves to move on to the Top 13? Let's break it down.

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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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