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American Idol Recap: Top 12 Girls Broken Down

Tonight started much like every episode of “American Idol” does. Ryan Seacrest introduced America to the top twelve female contestants left after the audition process and then each of the judges as the show went live in Hollywood. I was excited to see these contestants knowing that in a few short months, one of them could be America’s next huge pop stars, following in the footsteps of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jordin Sparks.

I have found that breaking down each performance is not only annoying but time consuming. Here are some of my highlights. My favorite performance of the night came from Lilly Scott who sang “Fixing A Hole” by The Beatles. What made this performance stand out was that she took a risk, going with a lesser known song and pulling it off in her own style really well. Her performance was also helped by the three girls (Paige Miles, Ashley Rodriguez and Janell Wheeler) who led off the show in a less than stellar manner. Scott’s was the first performance that did not feel generic.

With a number of Beatles songs performed last night, Scott’s was certainly the best. Katelyn Epperly also took a crack at one singing “Oh Darlin.” Despite struggling to hit her highest notes, Epperly’s performance was a solid one and gave her the award for second best Beatles cover of the night.

The worst performance of the night was turned in by Lacey Brown who sang Fleetwood Macs classic theme “Landslide.” Right from the start you could see Brown attempting to do her best Stevie Nix impression. This was not only an unoriginal performance but it lacked flair.

One of the more tense moments of the show came in a moment of exchange between Simon Cowell and new judge Ellen Degeneres. After disagreeing on Haeley Vaughn’s performance, Seacrest pointed out the disparity to which Cowell replied “It’s called having an opinion.” Although the show moved forward, there was certainly some animosity from both judges after that moment.

There were three other performances that really stood out in this episode. Didi Benami performed “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson, making an indie song all her own and really finding a song that fit her personality. Although Cowell thought that she was “Missing a spark,” Benami turned in another original performance. Speaking of indie performances, non seemed more out there than Crystal Bowersox who performed Alanis MorissettesĀ ”Hand In My Pocket” complete with a harmonica solo. Again, a unique performance in which Bowersox had a load of fun on stage with the audience.

Finally, Katie Stevens performance ended the night. Singing a cliched song “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble, Stevens was rediculed by the judges but seemed to really play to the audience really well. She demonstrated great power in her voice and a stage presence that was missing with all the other girls.

One theme of the night was the the judges being hyper-crytical of the better performers. As if they new who would advance, they really pounded the great performances to make them better in the weeks to come. Instead of spending time critiquing weaker performances, Cowell would dismiss many of them stating that he didn’t see the “spark” or the “star power.”

Here is a complete list of the performances, my rating and a two word description:

  1. Paige Miles, “All Right Now” by Free, 7/10, wrong song
  2. Ashley Rodriguez, “Happy” by Leona Lewis, 4/10, off key
  3. Janell Wheeler, “What About Love” by Heart, 6/10, wrong song
  4. Lilly Scott, “Fixing a Hole” by The Beatles, 9/10, great fit
  5. Katelyn Epperly, “Oh Darlin” by The Beatles, 8.5/10, great voice
  6. Haeley Vaughn, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles, 6.5/10, pitch issues
  7. Lacey Brown, “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac, 4/10, very boring
  8. Michelle Delamor, “Fallin” by Alicia Keys, 8.5/10, safe song
  9. Didi Benami, “The Way I Am” by Ingrid Michaelson, 9/10, great control
  10. Siobhan Magnus, “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak, 7/10, unique voice
  11. Crystal Bowersox, “Hand In My Pocket” by Alanis Morissette, 8/10, totally original
  12. Katie Stevens, “Feelin Good” by Michael Buble, 9/10, great performer

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