The 12 women hit the stage tonight, and America will decide which 5 stay. There hasn’t been a female American Idol winner in 5 seasons. Randy spoke for the judges and said that in retrospect, they had been too soft on the guys the night before, and J-Lo said they were caught up in the excitement of the first live show. Guess one lovefest was enough.
Chelsea Sorrell‘s North Carolina town is so small it has one main road and 2 traffic lights; one as you leave town. The country singer started off the night with Carrie Underwood’s Cowboy Casanova. She was on key, but not particularly memorable or remarkable. Steven advised she watch her phrasing and timing, J-Lo thought it sounded nasally, and Randy questioned her song choice, as it didn’t showcase her voice.
Erika Van Pelt, the DJ from Rhode Island, showed her powerful voice and amazing control with Heart’s What About Love. Steven liked her magical confidence while J-Lo said she was nice to watch, and thought she could have pushed herself further. Randy was impressed with her confidence as well as her restraint, and said that if she DJ’d half as well as she sang, she was dangerous.
California native Jen Hirsh sang Adele’s One and Only. I thought she wasn’t very powerful, saving it until the end. Steven liked her confidence, and mentioned the trouble she had towards the end. J-Lo advised that she let loose a little, and Randy told her “Good lookin’ out!”
Brielle Van Hugel is from Staten Island, NY and is a high school cheerleader. We were “treated” to a clip of mom. Brielle sang Otis Redding’s Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay. I thought the start was boring, and she tended to sound shrill when she upped the volume. Steven thought she had a great sense of the blues, and J-Lo thought that she was a true performer. Randy thought she started in too low a key, but was surprised at her swagger.
Hallie Day, a waitress from Baltimore, MD, sang Nina Simone’s I’m Feeling Good. She had a smooth start and a powerful ending. Steven liked her old-timey voice, and thought she was beautiful. J-Lo also thought she had some beautiful moments, and thought she looked like a star. She also remarked that Hallie had lost control, but regained it. Randy wanted to know where she saw herself as an artist, as he was trying to figure it out, and thought she’d done a great job. By the way, she sees herself as doing soul and old-time torch songs.
Mississippi native Skylar Laine put an energetic country twist on a classic Rock ‘n Roll song, with Stay With Me by The Faces. Steven said she was on fire, and J-Lo loved her energy and twang, describing her as Tina Turner goes country. Randy loved her star quality and energy.
Texan Bailie Brown was the 3rd country singer of the evening. She sang Lonestar’s Amazed, but had pitch problems and couldn’t deliver the power notes. Steven though she had made a poor song choice, but thought she was very pretty. J-Lo thought she was beautiful, but commented on how shaky she was all the way through, and how she never had control of the song. Randy noted that she had a shaky, pitchy start, never seizing control, and that she was good, but not great. Kiss of death if the compliments focus more on appearance than performance.
Hollie Cavanagh, also from Texas, has an adorable puppy. How does that voice fit into such a small person? She took on Christina Aguilera’s Reflection, and Steven said she hit the notes perfectly, and asked that she wear her hair down next time. Oh, Steven. J-Lo complimented her on her strong voice, and said she was a front runner. Randy also loved her vocals, and told her she’d had a big dragon to slay with that song. They were glad that she came back after being sent home last year.
Haley Johnson, Oregon barista, sang The Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams. She had a strong start, but then lost her way. Steven liked her stage presence, and J-Lo told her she’d made a poor song and style-of-singing choice. Randy hesitated about how he would phrase his feedback, and then told her that it was a bit of a nightmare instead of a dream. He said she was pitchy and all over the place. He went on to say that it was trainwrecky. OUCH!
Shannon Magrane plays volleyball in Florida, and the whole family is tall. She displayed her powerful voice with Christian artist Kathy Troccoli’s Go Light Your World. Steven thought it was beautiful, and said that she’s taken it up another notch for him. J-Lo said she gave her goosies. Randy said that her performance was what it’s all about.
Jessica Sanchez, shopaholic from San Diego, CA, had been dealing with vocal chord issues. She sang Jennifer Hudson’s Love You I Do, and earned the only standing ovation of the night from the judges. Steven though her timing was exceptional, as were her voice and perfect pitch. J-Lo liked her swagger, attitude and punctuation with her body. She thought the voice was beyond her years. After Randy stopped yelling, “Yo, Yo, Yo!”, he said she was one of the best of the last 2 nights. Can you imagine what she would have done had she been in top form? Another big voice in a small body.
Elise Testone lives in Charleston, S.C., but her parents are in New Jersey. She started off at the piano with Adele’s One and Only, and showcased her bluesy sound. Yes, we’d already heard this song tonight. Steven was proud of her, saying she blew it out of the water. J-Lo called her one of the best singers there, and said she was one to watch. Randy hoped that America would get her, and also said that she was one of the best voices there. He said her performance wasn’t the best, but hoped they’d see more.
Thursday night is results night.The judges will each get a wildcard vote, to bring the total to the top 13. Who will get more spots? The guys? The girls?
My picks for Top 5: Erika Van Pelt, Skylar Laine, Hollie Cavanagh, Shannon Magrane and Jessica Sanchez. Possible saves are Elise Testone and Hallie Day. tune in tomorrow to find out who makes the American Idol Top 13!