Thursday, February 21, 2008

America Doesn't Want A Woman President, But Do They Want A Woman Idol?

Despite being promised the best ever top 24, the men failed to deliver last night. Sure there were some good performances, but no one, not even David A. or Michael had a “moment.” Will we have a ‘moment’ tonight?

The girls have more pressure on them tonight than the males. Why? There are a few guys that we KNOW will make the top 12 and a few we KNOW will not. However, the girl’s forecast is far less clear; as many as 11 contestants have a legitimate chance to advance into the next round. A bad performance tonight could erase all the good will of the early rounds and send a possible favorite back to their pedestrian life. I feel far less confident with my selection of the top 12 girls, but that won’t stop me from possibly making an idiot of myself. The girls have two can’t miss finalist in Carly Smith and Amanda Overmyer. If you gave these two any more screen time they would need their own time slot. Perhaps the biggest question facing Idol this season is the effect of all the good looking blonde girls splitting the ‘hot girl’ vote. I think the two blondes to advance will be Brooke White and Alaina Whitaker. Brooke because she is a little different and might inspire a different fan base, and Alaina because she not only looks like Carrie Underwood, but she can sing almost as well. Since the top 12 needs a plus side model Joanne should slip in, leaving Ramiele to round out the women. Ramiele’s massive voice in such a small package should earn her early fan support. With the exception of the rocking nurse and the failed Irish pop star, any of these girls might well not make it past the first elimination round – that’s how close the women are in talent! Now on to the show!

Ryan walks down the stairs and tells the women to “bring it on.” Tonight is all about girl power. Uh oh, the flu has hit the girls but the show must go on! Carly is last to walk in front of the camera, which means she gets the pimp spot. Maybe they just do it by age? Oldest goes last I guess. It’s almost like the Idol producers are giving a big **** you to the people complaining that Carly and Michael are both ringers inserted into the competition. Ringers? You want ringers – we’ll just put Carly and Michael last every time, you can’t stop us! Michael is in good shape though, even if he doesn’t win Idol he can go on social security in only a few years. Ryan recaps the previous night with the judges and asks Simon if he enjoys bickering with the contestants, and of course, he said he yes.

Kristy Lee Cook

Can she sing anything other than Amazing Grace? Awww she sold her horse to try out for American Idol and then a tough Hollywood Week almost derailed her chances. She says she wants to win Idol so she can buy her horse back. Huh? She wouldn’t have sold her horse if she didn’t try out for Idol. Does she realize this? Equestrian lovers of the world might untie behind Kristy giving here a heretofore untapped demographic. When you think about it the life of her horse is in America’s hands. If Kristy does not win American Idol her horse will die. Maybe this year on Idol Gives Back they can give back her horse. Come on Simon you are worth like 200 million dollars, do a good deed and buy back this girl’s horse! She is singing a pretty basic song without much room to show off a big voice, but the song is certainly capable of more vocal power than she has tonight. I do like hearing her sing something other than Amazing Grace, especially an upbeat song. If Grace was from the 60s I bet she would have tried to sing it, like Kimberly Locke managed to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow every other week during her Idol season. She sounds good and is hitting almost all the right notes, but despite her attempts to move around the stage add some energy into her performance, this is pretty boring. This is a standard, “So What” performance; no major mistakes but nothing to really grab you by the collar and scream, “listen to me or you’ll regret it tomorrow when everyone is talking about this performance.” At least she remembers all the words, but considering she says the word baby 5 times in 12 seconds near the end of the song this isn’t exactly “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” If Kristy could just add a little soul to her voice this might be a really good performance. Randy says she did ok but had some pitch problems. Paula lets us Kristy is sick, but still thinks she did a pretty good job. Simon asks what is the matter with her, and Randy says she has bronchitis. I like how even though Ryan mentioned the girls are all battling the flu at the start of the show Simon is shocked that one of the girls is sick. Does he not get the same memos as Ryan, Randy, and Paula? Simon says we didn’t get a lot from that performance. He felt she was robotic and doesn’t care if she is sick; the sickness didn’t choose her song, she did. Ryan asks what consideration the voters should give the sickness of several of the women. Randy says they should consider everything, even the preliminary rounds when casting their votes; great news for the girls with little to no screen time before tonight. Somewhere Luke Menard just started crying. Kristy is a horse loving cage fighter with a good voice and lots of preliminary screen time, which should make her safe, despite a bronchitis inhibited performance.


America’s favorite plus side model is up next. Isn’t that kinda offensive? Why not just call her a model. It’s like they assume people will hear she is a model and think “there is no way she is a model, not carrying that much weight,” these Idol people are lying! Just call her a model, leave out the plus, and give the people at home a little credit. Fans of ‘My Best Friends Wedding’ are excited to hear Joanne’s song choice. Not a really good song choice, but unlike Kristy, this song goes a little too low for Joanne. She is struggling on the lower notes but gets a little better near the end of the song. This is our second “So What” performance tonight. She is just ok, nothing great, but nothing bad. Will the voters accept such a thin voice out of a plus size model? In previous seasons of Idol the size of the contestants has never held them back, but the stereotype is big girl big voice. Joanne has a sweet voice, not a big one, which might mean the audience will not look past her plus side and instead turn their support to one of the Barbies. I really think I would rather hear Rupert Evert sing this song than Joanne; this is not a good sign for her safety. Randy says the nerves are apparent, he calls her pretty good, despite not liking the beginning. Paula wants Joanne to get her earlier rounds confidence back. Simon says he didn’t like it at all. He says what she did was a very average version of the song sans confidence, and he found nothing in her vocals that would indicate she would be a recording star. If the contestants cannot control their nerves by now they do not deserve to be on the show he continues. The camera quickly shows her father; if he has a gun Simon better get out of the building. Joanne says she will take both Randy and Simon’s comments into consideration, and Simon interjects if she does that then the entire thing would be awful. After the first two contestants the guys aren’t looking nearly as bad as they did about 22 hours ago.

Alaina Whitaker

Alaina is younger than David A., but will she get the same kids glove treatment. Tomorrow is her birthday and she wants our votes as her birthday present, and some great shoes. Ryan asks her how she prepared for the song and she says she has a lot of energy and wants to have fun. If she continues to not answer questions like that this girl has a future as a politician. Only a junior in high school, she never thought she would make it this far into Idol. She says it’s a once and a lifetime opportunity, which is wrong, just look at Carly and Michael – they get chance after chance! The Carrie look-alike starts off singing a really slow song that speeds up and there is no doubt she has a really good voice. 45 seconds into her song she has already claimed the ‘best of the night so far award.’ Her fellow contestants are clapping away, which confirms she is doing well. She is BY FAR the best of the night (granted only 2 people have gone already). She sounds really good. Randy is amazed by her confidence and once she got going really loved it. Paula says she nailed it and had the best ending she has ever heard on that song. No hyperbole there Paula. Simon says, “I think you are very good.” This was the first time tonight he didn’t see any nerves, but he really didn’t like the song itself, in fact he has never heard it before. Neither has Alaina, who says she didn’t know of it until just a few days ago. Normally picking an unknown song is a risky move, but not for the soon to be 17-year-old. Simon thinks on a decent song Alaina will be great. He predicts she will sail through the first round. Alaina is so happy she can barely put together a complete sentence when Ryan gets to her side. It really is like they cloned Carrie for another Idol run. Tonight Alaina is as good as any of the guys were the night before and will advance into the next round.

Amanda Overmyer

The rock and roll nurse survived a wreck with a semi, so she is not too worried with the pressures American Idol presents. She says she will not sing Janis anymore. Good for her! Most of the time when a contestant finds a singer they can emulate they sing those songs as often as possible (see Michael Johns). I wonder if she will keep that up all season or bust it out when she gets in the finals. She is rock scatting to start the song, but the key is too low and her voice disappears at the end of the first couple phrases. The band is rocking, but her vocals are at times barely audible. This is not a good song choice, but she manages to slip in some nice vocals when she goes into the higher notes. She has almost no enunciation skills on this song, in fact she sounds like a goat a few times. Rickey Minor and the band are the stars of this song, not Amanda. Yet, this is a fun performance, just not the best vocally. Randy loves the bluesy rocker feel to her song, he also likes her pants. Paula loves everything Amanda does because she is the real deal. Simon, laughing, says he really likes her because she is authentic. He asks her if she forgot the words halfway through, she says no. Even though he doesn’t consider this a great performance, he still likes Amanda. Notice none of the judges say “great vocals.” They all managed to compiment her without really saying you sang the song well. Ryan asks her what’s been the hardest thing so far, and she says when they had to dance after they made the top 24. She apologized for pulling out in front of the semi. Well at least she probably will get that guy’s vote.

Amy Davis

She is a trade show model and a grad student back home. I know when I think trade show model I think graduate degrees. We learn she was terrified during Hollywood Week, but overcame. She says being on Idol is like 100 Christmases to a little girl. Hear that? She hates Jesus. She just compared his birthday to a TV show. Oh sorry, I thought I was the media covering Hillary for a second. Amy is off pitch to start the song. After her early difficulties, she is recovering nicely. I hate this song choice, it’s really boring, yet it’s a hard song to sing. With all the vocal jumps this is the hardest song of the night so far. She has a nice voice and ends the song significantly better than she started, but in a field crowded with good-looking girls she needs to have a lot more life on stage. Randy says he doesn’t think it was great because she missed some pitches when she scooped up the notes. Paula, ever the one to put looks over ability, says the camera loves Amy, but even Paula thinks it was lackluster. Simon says she didn’t sing as well as she looks. He says the song was dull and felt like 10 minutes because she did not have the right ‘country’ voice for her song selection. Amy says she was somewhere between terrified and shaky when she started singing. Tomorrow night she will be far beyond shaky and fully terrified, because she is in a lot of trouble.

Brooke White

Brooke is a nanny, unlike Carly who has been in the music business longer than Keith Richards. During the early rounds we learned Brooke is the best person of all time. She has never seen a rated R movie, but how do we know she hasn’t seen some rated X stuff? She says she will never fall to the dark side, even though Simon might try to corrupt her morals. Prediction – if she wins she is a cocaine junkie inside of two years. She is singing a scaled back version of the song with only a guitar to start off; I like this arrangement. She has a really nice voice and is hitting all the right notes. The song is in the perfect key for her and she can show off her range, including some nice lower notes. She might be the best of the night. It’s refreshing to hear someone not go for every big not possible, avoid unnecessary runs, and just sing the song. Randy says it started rough for him but felt she got her confidence back near the end. He thinks she ‘slayed’ the last part of the song. Paula loves Brooke’s originality and thinks she picked the right song. Simon says it was the right song, but he feels like he is stuck in the 1960s right now. Really, does he understand they are doing a 60s theme tonight? Sometimes I wonder if he took some of Paula’s pills by accident. He says it was “very you.” Even though he cannot find the relevance of performance, he credits her for singing well. Simon still wants her to turn to the dark side, but she vows to say nice throughout the entire competition. Brooke is unlike most successful Idol contestants, in that she is not a ‘big’ singer, doesn’t advertise her sex appeal, and doesn’t have an infectious personality, but she can sing. I hope the voters will keep her around for a while; I think they will.

Alexandrea Washington

She is only 17, but in her audition she sang an older song, so she might be well suited for 60s night. Whoa, she is starting at the top of the stairs, is that even legal? Even though she is young, she looks and performs much older. She is going off on the song moving around more than everyone else combined – including all the guys last night. She is showing off several different parts of her voice, from high to low. She does have a few pitch problems, going flat in the middle of the song, but overall she is great. She just took the crown for most enjoyable performance of the night, maybe even the best so far. Randy says no matter what her age, she blew the door off the song; it was hot! Paula loved her entrance, her dope outfit, and saw more confidence in her than any other contestant. She thinks Alex is relevant and could be successful on the radio today. Simon did not get it. He didn’t think the vocals were great and it reminded him of a horrible little show you see where people do awful musicals. Simon cannot imagine this song on the radio. Alex tells Ryan he is not pronouncing her name correctly, you go girl! Ryan asks why Simon diverges from the other judges so much, and he says it’s because he expects more from the contestants, but has only heard one outstanding vocal so far. Alex won two out of the three judges tonight and should win plenty of votes, making her safe.

Kady Malloy

Ryan is in the Coke room sitting next to Kady who is fired up and ready to go. Kady was shocked when Simon said she was the best one he had seen so far. Kady is obsessed with music and can do the best Britney Spears impersonation I’ve ever heard. She starts the song sitting on a stool, which denotes seriousness. How long until she stands up? She sounds like someone right now, almost Celine at times. Kady has a really pretty voice. However, her face looks sad the entire time devoid of any happiness. Shouldn’t she be happy to share a groovy kind of love?
Randy loves the Spears impersonation, but felt Kady was too reserved tonight, even getting a little lost in the middle of the song. Paula says Kady is really pretty but wants to see the life of her more. She wants more the fun Kady version. Simon agrees with Paula, but goes further calling it night of the living dead, in fact, he felt she came across as 80 years old. Only a pencil could impersonate Kady, that’s how boring he thinks she was tonight. The judges do not say she sang poorly, instead they just say it wasn’t fun. The judges are incredibly inconsistent every year. They talk about how this is a singing competition, but when the rocking nurse gives a great performance with poor vocals they LOVE it and genuflect at her feet. Then Kady gives a great vocal but a weak performance and they crucify her for not having more fun. Who cares about the fun, how did she sing? They never say she didn’t sing well, but when a contestant butchers a song missing pitch after pitch would have had a more positive evaluation than Kady.
Ryan, surprised Simon turned so negative towards Kady, says Simon did a 180 and Randy says no, it’s more of a 360. Randy is not really good with the whole math thing I guess. Kady says she would have had more fun with an upbeat song, but she was trying to be serious. Randy wants her to let the vocals go and just sing. Kady looks blown away, but still manages 8 held up fingers. Paula’s parting words of wisdom, “just be.” Randy then says, “this is a singing show, just sing.” Are you serious? You just spent the whole time talking about HOW THEY WANTED MORE FUN FROM HER BUT NOT TALKING ABOUT HER SINGING NOW HE SAYS THIS IS A SINGING SHOW JUST SING! Geez.


Her dad died during her American Idol journey but still managed to survive her audition. She is living her father’s dream she says, which means her dad wanted to be a 19-year-old girl. She starts the song near the bottom of her vocals, but is enunciating the words. Amanda is screaming back stage, “How dare you do Janis you whore!” I am not feeling Aisha on this song. The vocals are too big for her and the entire time all I can think is how Amanda would sing this song much better. I am not feeling this song on Asiah and think Janis is rolling over in her grave right now. Randy says she did her thing with the song and he was impressed. Paula thinks she had some really good moments in the song and had a lot of fun. For Simon, she is his favorite of the night because he likes likes her voice and the way she doesn’t take herself too seriously. Ryan asks how she can manage to still have fun with all she has endured, and she says she is just naturally happy. Hear that dead father of Asiah…she is happy you are dead. Sorry, thought I was the media analyzing Hillary again. Even if the judges won’t say it - this should be on a cruise ship.

Ramiele (The Desert Fox)

Even though she cannot get on the rides at most amusement parks she has a powerhouse voice. She is excited to get on stage and show people what she can do. The song starts really soft. Will she build form there or make the mistake of keeping it small the entire time? She has a really thick rich voice capable of hitting the lower notes with strength. The song has a lot of pitch variations, making it hard to sing the right notes, but she does a good job. However, she had no more fun on stage than Kady, will the judges give her the same ‘have fun’ on stage treatment they gave the faux Spears? No. Randy loves the way she built up the song and the way she stuck to the melody. He thinks she was hot. Paula wants her to sail ‘all the way in there,’ and loves her voice. Simon admits he didn’t like her when he first saw her, but grew to like her in Hollywood, and thinks she ‘outsung’ everyone tonight. She is shocked! She says hair and makeup has been the best part of the entire Idol experience, along with some great shoes. Alaina and her would have a lot of fun shopping together. I bet Ryan likes talking to her, since he looks like a giant for the first time since he hosted the “4th Annual Midget Toss” in 1997.


Ryan is in the Coke room with her on the couch while she sits on her knees. She looks like a giant human being in that position. It gets a little awkward when Ryan asks if she is trying to stay away from the sick ones. She says they keep us separated, so no worries. Who do they keep separated? The whites and the blacks? The young and the old? Her recap reminds us she lost her voice during Hollywood Week. She is singing a fast song, which is good since the judges don’t seem to like the slower ones tonight. She has the best lower register of anyone, even hitting the deep ‘road’ note. It sounds like she almost gets behind the melody but if she did she quickly recovers. She is now the best of the night. Randy says she can definitely sing. Not his favorite performance of the night (Really? Who was better?), but he did like it, even though he spotted some pitch problems. Paula says the song was joyful and gives her a ‘way to go.” Simon agrees with Randy that this wasn’t her best performance, but says it doesn’t matter because she is one of the most talented girls in this competition. He thinks she was terrific tonight. She is safe tomorrow even though he father didn’t just die, she wasn’t in a car accident, and she didn’t have to sell her horse.


They actually mention that she had a record deal when she was 15 years old. However, she crashed and burned and was washed up 17. She is just here to sing, not be a diva, she is just a girl with a changed name. Since she didn’t sit with the rest of the girls last night I’m guessing she is really sick. She seems unable to complete the entire first phrase of the song; her voice disappears on the last note. Her lower register sounds a little weak and she has a few pitch problems interspersed with some really nice vocal prowess. I’d like to hear her sing this song completely healthy. I think the sickness if forcing her to scream a few notes she can normally sing. A smiling Randy says that’s what the show is all about, her going out there singing even while sick. He calls her the best vocal of the top 24. He says she is hot, hot, blazing hot. I’m not saying he is pimping the Irish princess, but they are sure impressed she is singing while sick. I wonder if Kristy is sitting in the Coke room thinking, “umm why didn’t you mention I was sick too Randy.” Paula says it doesn’t matter Carly is sick because the tenderness of her voice carries through. Carly is nervous for Simon’s views and calls him Captain Fantastic. He says there is so much hype about Carly but he just didn’t get it tonight. Simon says the song was way too old fashioned for her and even criticized the way she held the microphone; he felt she was way too cabaret. Everything about this song was a let down because he expected something fantastic from her; she gave him no reason to jump and up down. Carly is not pleased with Simon, but she puts on a fake smile as best she can.

Final Thoughts

Ryan asks Randy to compare the guys and the girls. Randy says the girls were a little hotter than the guys this week. Well I hope so Randy, unless you are gay you should think the girls are hotter. Oh, you mean their singing was hotter. Paula says nerves are always there, but you have to do good job and then utter something completely nonsensical. Simon is so bewildered by Paula’s statement he stares at her in disbelief. Ryan asks the judges to predict if this is a guy or girl season. Simon says they are about equal, with 3 great guys and 3 or maybe 4 great girls. As the show ends Kady is standing right behind Ryan and looks depressed in the background. Her pouting will probably pick up a few extra votes. So who goes home tomorrow? Amy Davis for sure and then it gets far more difficult to prognosticate. I think Joanne and Kristy are in a lot of trouble, and unfortunately, Kady might be as well. I’ll assume Kristy being sick will save her and Joanne will join Amy in the “I used to be on American Idol” support group


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