Thoughts on last week's eliminations:
Well, you all know how I felt about Janell, but she totally blew it with song choice last week. You just don't take on Heart this early in the competition unless you have Carrie Underwood/Alison Iraheta level pipes, and that was not Janell's strength. Oh, well...
As for Ashley...whatever. She always bored me, so I wasn't too upset to see her go.
Although, the fact that probably the two hottest females went away in the first week says a lot about the demographics of this show, don't you think?
This week, the Interwebz were abuzz all day with news of Crystal's hospitalization due to some complications related to her diabetes...this was the first I had heard of her being diabetic, and it kind of makes me feel bad about the jokes about her teeth.
Anyway, I thought she played it perfectly tonight...she didn't beg for sympathy votes, she just said she was a "tough cookie" and moved on. Good for her...other contestants in the past would probably have had themselves wheeled out on stage in a wheelchair in order to garner as much sympathy as possible.
And, what do you know, she's the first one up!
1) Crystal Bowersox - "Long As I Can See the Light": One of my all time favorite songs from one of my all time favorite bands, and perfect for her voice and style. I wasn't a HUGE fan of the arrangement, but her tone was perfect, there was not the slightest evidence of nerves or sickness...it was pretty much awesome, and she's a pro. Not much else to say.
2) Haeley Vaughn - "The Climb": What a weird little child this girl is. It's like she's a cartoon. I'm not saying that's bad, she's just really...strange.
I did NOT like this song choice for her, even though I do like the song (I like the message). She always has pitch problems, but when she's being quirky, like last week, she can get away with it because you're not sure if it's intentional or not. When she just tries to sing the song straight, like this one, then those problems become a lot more noticeable, and the high parts on this one were just painful
Kara is right...she has a nice instrument, she just doesn't know how to use it yet. She would have been better served if the judges told her to come back next year, but it's too late for that now.
3) Lacey Brown - "Kiss Me": Oof, that opening was rough. It's usually not a good idea to sing an arrangement with virtually no band backing when you're as nervous as she obviously is. And you can tell that was at least a big part of the problem, because once the band kicks in she's fine.
This was a nice little performance, probably enough to keep her around for another week. Her biggest problem is that there are so many of these "quirky" females this year that you really have to do something to stand out, and I don't think she's capable. She may last this week, but not much longer.
4) Katie Stevens - "Put Your Records On": Continues a theme that we have seen this season with contestants listening to the judges too much. Look, Simon even admits later in the show that they have been wildly inconsistent in their critiques and advice this year. And if you think going "younger" means singing this song, then "younger" is obviously not your thing.
These people supposedly watch this show every year, and so few of them understand what this show is now. You have to know who you are as an artist, and go out every week and be that. Chris Daughtry started it, and all of the best ones who have come after him have continued it. The attitude should be, "Fine. You want me to sing Broadway? OK, but I'm singing it like I'm going to sing it on my album. Same thing I'll be doing on Country Night, Michael Jackson Night, Madonna Night, Teletubbies Night, Yanni Night, or whatever else crappy theme you stick us with." But so many of these people are trying to please the JUDGES...forgetting that these judges aren't actually judging anymore, they are critiquing. The JUDGES are the people at home watching, and those are the people you have to please. The only way to do that is find something you totally kick butt at and then keep doing it, no matter what the judges say. Show us what kind of album you want to make, and we'll decide if we want to buy it or not. Otherwise, you just come off as weak and fake, and the judges will keep bouncing you back and forth and beating the "you" out of "you" until you slowly shrivel up into nothingness and die like Lil Rounds and Brooke White.
OK, rant over...back to Katie. She really does have a great voice, but this song showed me that her range may be a little more limited than I thought. She cracked on one of the glory notes, and then threw in an overly pushed "run" to try and make up for it, the way most people (including myself sometimes) do. The ending was nice.
If she sticks around, and I think she will, she needs to just forget the judges and sing what SHE wants to sing.
5) DiDi Benami - "Lean on Me": You know what? I actually kind of liked this, even though I think it was a TERRIBLE choice of song for her. I dug the arrangement, and she sounded good, although it was at the very TOP of her range. I just wonder when she's going to get back to what got her here...because singing a tricked up version of a classic soul song ain't it.
Oh, and after the judges critique, I don't think she was crying because she was sad...I think she was crying because she was PISSED. And I do think the judges were overly harsh with her.
6) Michelle Delamor - "With Arms Wide Open": I'm sorry, but this person just bores me to tears when she performs. Talk about old-fashioned. I can't tell if she's trying to be the "diva" of this season, since we seem to be missing that particular dynamic this time, but her voice isn't big enough for that.
I said it last week, and I'll probably keep saying it as long as she is here...this is not what this show is anymore.
This song really goes nowhere, vocally...she ripped the mic off the stand and stomped around like it was about to get really awesome, but then...it....didn't. And then it was over.
Oh, and does anybody know if she has a daughter? Because, if not, changing the "he" in that song to "she" is just stupid, and it distracted me.
7) Lilly Scott - "A Change is Gonna Come": It's hard for me to explain why her weirdness bugs me and my girl Siobhan's doesn't, but I guess the best way to put it is that hers seems "forced". Like, "I'm going to be just as weird and socially awkward as I can be, and I DARE you to react to it negatively in any way, because then I'm just going to go off on you about how square and closed-minded you are, and I can't WAIT to do that." I really don't think she's very secure in herself, so she acts and dresses like this to convince everybody that SHE is not the one with the identity problem...YOU are. While, with Siobhan (and also Haeley) I think they are just naturally different than most other people, and they have accepted it without projecting it out all over everybody else.
Of course, I don't know any of these people, and I fully admit I could be totally off base. But, you know....my blog, so my opinion.
Oh, and to the Anonymous commenter from last week...I'm aware that she's not actually 37 years old, but thanks for correcting me. She's like 40, right? Excuse me for trying to be nice.
OK, on to the song...love the song, but I don't think it fits her voice at all. And I really do like her voice, but this is not the song for it, especially if you're just going to sing it straight and not really change it up all that much from the original. So, it's not that I didn't like this, but I think she is tons better when she picks the right song (like she did last week).
8) Katelyn Epperly - "The Scientist": Wow, she looks....stunning. Seriously. And this was gorgeous.
The judges talk about taking "risks" all the time, and usually both they and the contestants are equating that with doing some big arrangement with glory notes all over the place, and the lights going all crazy, etc, etc. And those are risky, sometimes. But this is REAL risk. No extras, no distractions...just strip everything down to your voice and your piano, and take the time to tell a story with the song. It really takes a lot of discipline to keep...that...rhythm and not speed up, and that tempo really fit the song, I thought.
Unfortunately, half of the judges are apparently four years old and can't pay attention to something unless it is bright and sparkly, so I guess they didn't get it.
9) Paige Miles - "Walk Away": I'll say this, if you want to show off your voice, it's always a good idea to pick a Kelly C song. And Paige can really sing, although I don't think she's as good as Simon does. There was just nothing about this that made her stand out in any way whatsoever, and the falsetto parts at end were just not in tune.
We really don't have the "Black Girl With The Big Voice" among the semifinalists this year, do we? How long has it been since we didn't?
10) Siobhan Magnus -"Think": I just love this girl...she's such a weird, geeky, awkward little miracle of a person. I am just fascinated by everything that comes out of her mouth, because it's like she's operating in a different dimension than the rest of us. I wonder what color her sky is?
Anyway, on top of everything else, she has the BEST voice out of any of them from a pure vocal standpoint. I actually love most of the female voices on the show this season, but this one is the most pure, and the most powerful. I would not have picked this song for her, but she made it work.
If she ever comes out and does some Paramore, I'll probably just pass right out.
Another really good show...this week's were much better than last week, I thought.
I am already done with Randy for the season...he is on automatic FF from here on out, so if he says something you think I would want to hear, feel free to let me know.
2) Siobhan (only moved down a slot because of song choice)
Who SHOULD go home: Haeley and Michelle.
Who WILL go home: Lacey and Paige.