Girls on Top

Scary Things We Can't Get Out of Our Head About Chick Contestants night on "American Idol"

Like football is such a big part of Jordin Sparks' life she puts on the face paint. After she belts Pat Benatar's "Heartbreaker," judge Randy Jackson says "it's weird for me" because it's "like a different show when the girls come, man...what's going on?" proving he's been napping since mid-January.

On the Coke Couch, Gina Glocksen tells show host Ryan Seacrest it's a blessing that the women are all so good because "we feed off each other's energy" and each week they get "higher and higher." I want some of whatever she's smoking. Sabrina Sloan tells Ryan they must all go out and sing and have fun and leave the rest up to God -- and America, " she adds, lest viewers think that means they don't have to spend the money to phone in their votes for her.

Sabrina Sloan confesses as a child she wanted to be CBS evening news anchor Katie Couric (who we just heard has had her executive producer Rome Hartman replaced by - drum roll - Rick Kaplan! Is there any job in network news Kaplan hasn't had?) .

Sabrina's rendition of En Vogue's "Don't Let Go" causes Randy to do that teeth sucking thing he does when he's not happy, and Paula calls her voice an "amazing instrument." But Simon says she reminded him of a "hotel resort performance," drawing from his bag of insults, that also includes "you sound like a high school production," "you sound like cruise-line entertainment," and the ever popular "you sound like a singer in that bar in Majorca where I spent a week back in the summer of '02."

Antonella Barba says she used to play the violin as a child but she's little rusty now because she hasn't had time to practice recently, what with all those photo sessions for that calendar. She still teaches when she goes home for the summer which she say is "really fun."

Antonella sings Corinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On" and hits most of the notes but, on the other hand, she looks really hot. Randy and Paula are non-committal, but Simon says she's gone as far as she can go and he doesn't think she will get better, though he gives her props for handling herself well as she's "taken a lot of stick in the media" over those photos of varying degrees of naughty-tude. Thunderous applause from the studio audience.

"But I'm not going to patronize you here -- it wasn't your worst performance; we've heard you sing worse," Simon adds. "The problem here is I wish you could sing better."

This causes Antonella to fly into full Jersey-girl-doing-Valley-Girl-speak when Ryan asks her if she understands what Simon is saying.

"I understand it -- yuhaah!" (as in, Duh!) she says, adding that she doesn't think the judges should compare her to the other chicks because "I don't try to be like them and they don't try to be like me."

"Let's get real," Simon snaps back. "No one's being critical for the sake of being critical."

"It's a singing competition," Randy says, leaping to Simon's defense.

"Let's get to a warmer place," Paula interjects.

Haley Scarnato was a promising gymnast until her shoulders gave out at age 15. So she sings Faith Hill's "If My Heart Had Wings " which Randy says lacked "Yo!" and Paula agrees. Simon calls it "horrible, just horrible, like -- some ghastly high school musical performance!" Then Simon pulls the most searing insult yet out of thin air, telling her that half way through her performance he realized "I don't know your name" because she's that forgettable. He is, of course, right; we always have to look up her name. But Paula calls the comment "horrible. So Simon challenges Paula to name the chick, and she says "Haley." Simon asks what is the singer's surname and Paula can't remember. Ryan can, however. Ryan is the consummate professional.

Ryan wonders whether a gal takes it personally when Simon says something like that after she's sung in front of 30 million people.

"Um, you can, but every week I've gotten bad comments," Haley hisses through her frozen-on smile, saying a gal has to do what a gals' got to do, which is "clock in and clock out." Huh?

"Haley, you haven't always gotten bad comments," Paula chides.

"No, but Simon doesn't like me," Haley says bitterly, though the smile.

Stephanie Edwards used to run to her bedroom weeping when her parents asked her to sing for family and friends. Years later, she sings Chaka Khan's "Sweet Thing" on "American Idol" and her voice meanders here and there, but Randy still gives her an A for effort and Paula calls it a "darned near perfect" performance, though Simon says she's good, even if a "copycat."

LaKisha Jones tells the audience she is terrified of animals and if she comes to your house and you have a pet, she will jump up on your table. She sings Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing" which the judges all love.

Ryan has a pillow fight with the girls on the Coke Couch. Then Gina Glockson shows us her lucky charms including Mr. Troll, who is always in her pocket, and Pickle the Plush Toy. Gina has finally figured out about the "American Idol" Rocker Exemption and makes a grab for it, singing Evanescense's "Call Me When You're Sober." The judges wonder what took her so long. Gina weeps tears of joy, explaining "I got a compliment from Simon Cowell!"

Ryan notes Pickle the Plush Toy is sitting on her boyfriend's chest in the audience.

And finally, Melinda Doolittle: Melinda tells us her friends say she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but she likes to call it "equal opportunity." Here's how it works: When she steps on a crack with one foot, she must step on the crack with the other foot, and when she touches something cold with her left hand she must quickly touch something cold with her right hand.

"It's all about equality, we're all in this together, right?" Melinda asks. "Not me!" about 25 million "Idol: viewers respond in their heads.

Melinda sings "I'm a Woman" which Randy calls "the hottest one of the night" while Simon tells her "You little tiger!" and then launches into another thinly veiled attack on Jennifer Hudson, who got booted from "Idol," but just won an Oscar.

Specifically, he says what he likes about her is that while SOME previous contestants have called their "Idol" experience "a stepping stone" -- extra points for correctly guessing who -- Melinda is "actually enjoying every second" on stage.

We're still way back at "you say 'OCD '-- I say 'equal opportunity'."

By Lisa de Moraes  |  March 8, 2007; 8:23 AM ET "American Idol"
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Goodbye Jordin and Haley...

Posted by: Rob Iola | March 8, 2007 8:52 AM

sadly I think Rob is right.....antonella will likely be around a little bit longer. america loves a train wreck. the guys all sort of stink so i wouldn't be surprised to see sanjaya stick around a little longer too...if for no other reason than the train wreck factor.

Posted by: sophie's mom | March 8, 2007 9:01 AM

Sadly, I agree with the previous comments. Let the train wreck begin.

Posted by: Marie | March 8, 2007 9:43 AM

I'm really discouraged by the crop of American Idol contestants this season. As far as I'm concerned there are only 4 worth continuing -- Melinda, LaKisha, Chris S and Blake. The others are merely ordinary. Frankly, I'm beginning to think that AI has run its course.

Posted by: pnina | March 8, 2007 10:11 AM

Jordin's dad is former NFL cornerback Phillippi Sparks, so the football thing isn't that surprising.

Posted by: Phil | March 8, 2007 10:14 AM

Agree with Rob as to the likely deportees. Haley's comment about clocking in and clocking out is SO not the attitude of an American Idol. Antonella's boots are going to keep her around for another week.

I'm surprised they were so kind to Gina for her Evanescence song; I thought her performance simply highlighted how much better the original singer is. Gina's take on it struck me as flat and grating, and she couldn't hit the big notes that song requires. It's a rock equivalent of singing Whitney, and she just couldn't match it.

I have a little OCD myself, so I totally identified with Melinda.

Posted by: Tom T. | March 8, 2007 10:36 AM

I'm going to add to the consensus here, but I don't think it will be Jordin -- I think it will be Sabrina. Jordin has the cute factor going on and while Sabrina is the better singer I just don't feel that she's connecting to the audience. Haley is doomed, which is a shame as she's so darned likable, and Antonella...well, stick her in a pair of FMBs and a minidress and I think she'll be around for a long time.

In a related note, kudos to Simon for both addressing the undiscussed issues surrounding Antonella and also for what I thought was an honest assessment of both her talent and composure. He was bang on the money and his candor was refreshing. That moment saved a lot of this season in my eyes.

Although the men still stink out loud. :-)

Posted by: Chris C | March 8, 2007 10:39 AM

Paula's confusion about Haley's name wasn't about what her name is, but that Paula didn't know what a "surname" is.

Posted by: Tito | March 8, 2007 10:47 AM

Ryan had a pillow fight? Good Lord, thank you Lisa for taking this burden on for all of us so we don't have to watch it.

Posted by: Hate to Watch, Glad you Do | March 8, 2007 11:01 AM

Did anyone else notice that during the last note of Jordin's song, the camera changes and she's holding the microphone down by her leg, and there is no change in the sound of the note she is singing? It sounds as though the microphone is still by her mouth, but it clearly isn't.

Posted by: Jim | March 8, 2007 11:19 AM

Here's hoping that tonight's "big news" is that other than the 2 girls who get booted tonight, the rest are all safely in the top 12 - next week, 4 guys will be booted. It's highly unfair to boot an additional 2 girls next week who can actually sing and be worth watching just to arbitrarily keep it 6:6. Or fine, only boot 2 guys next week but still keep the top 8 girls, so that it's the top 14 instead of 12. Other than Antonella (she has SO got to go!!!), the girls are all better than all but Phil & Chris on the guys' side.

Posted by: KJS | March 8, 2007 11:27 AM

I hope Sabrina sticks around, I like her, and I think she's fairly talented.

And with all due respect to Randy and Simon, AI isn't a singing competition; it's a popularity contest. And thus, we're gonna see more of Antonella.

Posted by: Justin | March 8, 2007 11:29 AM

Beginning next week, unless there's a change in the process, only 1 person will be sent home each week until the finale.

Posted by: Fredrick | March 8, 2007 11:37 AM

Anyone who really thinks Antonella is going home tonight is kidding themselves. Sabrina or Stephanie will likely go in her place. If Antonella goes, it is because the show asked her to leave.

As to the poster who commented about the big surprise, I think you are doing your math wrong - there are 8 men and 8 women left, and two each will go tonight to give us the top 12. Then, 1 gets booted each week, and it's not determined by sex.

Posted by: chickie | March 8, 2007 11:41 AM

I thought the OCD comment was so wierd. I could not even begin to imagine why she would bring it up.

Posted by: Terri | March 8, 2007 12:03 PM

the big announcement will likely be something disappointing, like you can download performances for free on their web site. (hurl). I was kinda bored watching last night. I've resigned myself that toilet chick will be around, so much so that I didn't vote at all, and I usually do.

Hayley will go (but leave your hot boyfriend in the audience, please), and I'll venture a guess at Sabrina, though of course, I wish it were the flush we're all hoping for.

Posted by: cmj | March 8, 2007 12:24 PM

My vote...let the four lowest vote-getters go tonight, regardless of gender. If that happens, then likely only one of the ladies will be going home (probably Haley) and three of the guys.

Posted by: kdinsd | March 8, 2007 12:41 PM

I wonder if Antonella's been spotted on the CU campus this morning, like last week's ridiculous rumor.

Posted by: fish-steak | March 8, 2007 12:47 PM

I don't think Paula forgot Haley's surname-- I think she forgot the definition of the word "surname."

Haley's a goner, but I doubt Jordin will be the other evictee-- more likely, it's one of the "S" girls, who I can never keep straight. Sadly, Antonella seems safe, and not just because of "Vote for the Worst" and her extracurricular activities. There's enough Simon-hate out there to provide support for any contestant who spats with him. Just look at the televisionwithoutpity board. They've all decided that Jennifer Hudson was terribly misused and that it's sacrilege for any contestant to sing any number she did on the show, even though at the time they mostly referred to her as "@$$face."

Posted by: Lemmy | March 8, 2007 1:09 PM

Have to say-- I think Simon's "stepping stone" comments were much more directed at Chris Daughtry than anyone else. Read his recent interview over in Entertainment Weekly... he basically spat in AI's eye.

Posted by: Jen | March 8, 2007 1:16 PM

I wish they'd boot 4 guys and leave the girls alone.

Also wondering why Lakisha never gets called on the "karaoke" thing. Every song she sings is note for note exactly like the original.

Posted by: RM | March 8, 2007 1:23 PM

Antonella is lovely. That said-she needs to go on another reality show. If she can still get her lips around words like "Doncha Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me?"then she's got it made. In a perfect world, American Idol is about the singing...

Posted by: Margo | March 8, 2007 2:27 PM

OK, so AI is a popularity contest. Given. That still doesn't explain to me why Pin-up Barba is still on the show. Clearly, she can't sing. And, she's a snotty, stuck up little princess. She and her *BFF* (ugh) were so full of themselves during Hollywood week. They represent all that is bad about the Jersey Shore. I can't imagine that there are THAT many horny teenage boys watching the show and voting for her in the hopes of seeing more naked pictures of her the longer she stays on. I think the producers have fixed it so that the buzz on the show will keep going (the singing talent itself isn't enough for that) and people will keep talking about it and tuning in. Oh, and guess what--IT'S WORKING. MOOOOOOO.

Posted by: baffled | March 8, 2007 2:43 PM

One thing that Lisa didn't mention is that Melinda tore the roof off last night. She was amazing (I'm blown away partly by the contrast when she sings vs. her shy personality).

Also, I seriously doubt that Antonella is still around b/c she is "popular". I can't imagine many people being motivated to vote for her. I've never visited votefortheworst, but it's apparent that they're affecting the outcome. Why else would both Sanjaya and Antonella (clearly the worst singers) still be here? Popularity can't possibly explain it...

Posted by: Reluctant AI viewer | March 8, 2007 2:46 PM

is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that Melinda has no neck? Doesn't matter--she can still sing like nobody's business, but just an observation...

Posted by: neckless | March 8, 2007 3:00 PM

YESSSSSSSS!!! Whenever I'm talking with friends about AI and they mention her, I'm like, "Is she the one with no neck?!" She totally killed the rest of them last night, though. She's becoming my new fave.

Posted by: kc | March 8, 2007 3:58 PM

ncekless - i have made the exact same observation!

Posted by: yep! | March 8, 2007 3:59 PM

Wow! Melinda is such a sweet soul. That said; is it because her neck is short or that her head is so very large that she looks neck-less? I suppose she doesn't really need a neck to SING like that.

Posted by: Margo | March 8, 2007 4:32 PM

Carrie Underwood is gonna sing "Wasted" tonight. Poor Jennifer Hudson is the only alumni that can't return to AI. She outgrew them. They should invite Frenchie so she can stop talking about her "money for breasts" scam.

Posted by: Margo (again) | March 8, 2007 4:47 PM

There was talk last fall that Paul McCartney was gonna be involved with the show...gonna tutor the kids as they sang Paulie/Beatles' songs. Then it seemed to have fallen thru. Wonder if it's back on and that's the "big news".

It's Melinda's to lose, no question about it. And, if Daughtry can sell rock records, then so can Gina Glocksen.

No way Jordin's going anywhere. Every girl in a high school choir is relating to her right now.

Say goodbye to Haley and Antonella.

Anyone notice that Katherine McPhee's music vid, "I'm Over It" comes out and is instantly #1 on TRL? The song is catchy, in a Kelly C. kinda way, and Katherine looks like a freakin' movie star in it.

Meanwhile, there should be an Amber Alert out on Taylor Hicks career. Seems like he was America's favorite pet, but no one wants to lay down hard cash to buy his album.

Posted by: filmex | March 8, 2007 6:07 PM

I think Melinda has a short neck and long face, which kind of hides what neck she has. She also might have a habit of hunching her shoulders. It doesn't help that her stylist friend seems to favor putting her in vests, which emphasize her shoulders.

She looked a lot better last night in the sccop-necked dress, because it made the most of what neck she has. Camera angles also make a difference, I've noticed.

Posted by: GJ | March 8, 2007 7:57 PM

chickie - that just proves why nobody should listen to anything you say.

Posted by: cynicalJ | March 9, 2007 10:31 AM

Even though it only took two minutes to read your column, it's two minutes I wish I had back. You are snotty and condescending. What is worse than that is YOU ARE BORING.

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