A couple of things, quickly: First of all; every performer sounded nervous tonight. That’s to be expected, but it was palpable. Only a couple of them were able to shut the nerves out enough to sing freely. Also, the judges seemed nervous as well. Simon got off to a very slow start, and some of his later harshness can probably be attributed to that. He was too nice early, and probably too harsh late. Kara was solid, and Randy was very good tonight. Ellen was inconsequential. If she is going to be a relevant judge she will have to get over the fact that she isn’t a singer, and quit apologizing about it. She needs to be able to go against the others at times, and speak her piece.
The singers, the songs:
Paige Miles- I wasn’t all that high on her performance. Simon called her voice “the best in the competition”, which is ridiculous. She sounds like a car that is down a quart of oil. Instead of humming smoothly, it misses and sounds sick and raspy.
Ashley Rodriguez- She was almost jumping out of her shoes, she was so nervous. Instead of being on top of the song, she seemed to be trying to rope it and drag it to the ground. Her voice is really good, but that song was too full of radical shifts and weird phrasing. If she survives, which is not a lock, she should be much better next week. Hmmmm….. That sounds like ole’ Lil from last season, doesn’t it?
Janelle Wheeler- When they told us what song she was singing I immediately went “uh oh”. Not to beat you to death with car references but Janelle, with her voice, trying to sing an Ann Wilson song is like a 1978 Ford Pinto entering the Daytona 500. She was pretty bad, and I have to question the sanity of anyone that suggested that song to her. She might be going out right away.
Lilly Scott– She started out nervous and jumpy, but she pulled it together and delivered a strong performance. Simon woke up right about here and realized that he hadn’t thrown anyone under the bus yet, and rambled on about her not being a star. Lilly doesn’t have any problems doing the star turn, Simon, but it’s nice to see you are awake.
Katelyn Epperly- I’ve been spelling her name wrong all season, but this one is the correct one. Just in time to see her get bounced, maybe. She was nervous, jumpy and all over the place. She wasn’t horrible, but her facial expressions almost scared me. If it wasn’t for so many other nervous, disjointed performances she would be in major trouble. She might be anyway.
Haeley Vaughn- The judges hammered on her mercilessly, which was really weird. Her voice lit the room up, and I really liked her performance. It was unique and original. She wasn’t perfect, but tonight nobody was. She was room swelling charismatic, and her voice has never sounded better. It might have been my favorite, and most surprising, performance of the night.
Lacey Brown- It might sound like I am sending everyone home, but again Lacey wasn’t very good. Her voice needs a perfect vehicle and technical perfection to stand out. She was miles short on both counts. I don’t really get her look, either. The super short hair makes her look older than she is, and distracts from her best feature. And her dog, man what a mongrel mess he is. I made that last one up, don’t call PETA on me.
Michelle Delamor– No e on the end, so I had her name wrong as well. Michelle was pretty good, and she showed her experience and command. It’s too early for me to tell if she is a real contender yet, but she should be safe this week.
Didi Benami– That last little run was a stinker, but other than that she sounded like signature Didi. The judges, led by Simon, gave it to her hard. As I wrote in the power rankings, this is not surprising. They want to see if she can take the heat. She was forcing it a bit, not as free and easy as she has been in the past. First night jitters, I hope.
Soibhan Magnus– Sha-Von, more than anyone else tonight, was able to tamp down on her adrenaline and deliver a strong, commanding performance. She is going to shoot up in the power rankings if she isn’t ousted. She should be very safe, but you just never know. I liked her look tonight, and that’s encouraging. She usually looks like she just got done changing the oil in her car. Ok, I did that one on purpose.
Crystal Bowersox– I had her name wrong, too, no H in her first name. The H-lessCrystal got a minute and a half to show off, and she played the harp for almost half of it. This was a safe, mailed in performance. ForCrystal this is fine. She is biding her time, waiting for the real competition to get going for her. It won’t be long until she will need that full minute and a half to show off her voice. In the meantime, she slipped in that harp playing as just a little reminder that she is a serious musician. Expect to get blown out of your seat next week when she changes things up.
Katie Stevens– She should have swapped songs with Janelle. She was really pitchy, and even flat out of tune in a lot of places. She should be safe for now, but a performance like this will get her dumped in a month. She needs to be careful.
I won’t know what format they will use on Thursday until – well – Thursday. Bottom four? Bottom three? I dunno. I’ll list them, top to bottom, as I see their relative safety for this week:
My guess is that Lacey will be going home for sure. If it was up to me Katelyn would join her, but anyone up to Michelle could get booted. Janelle had the worst performance, but she has some back class to draw on. Paige wasn’t as bad as a couple of others, but she has zero back history to help her.
Ashley, Michelle and Haeley should be safe, but…..
-Ashley got the kiss of death from Simon
-Michelle has no previous exposure, which means no bandwagon
-Haeley was just absolutely HAMMERED by the judges