'American Idol' Chicks: Goin' for the Sweeney

With David Archuleta pretty much stealing the show on guys night -- he was recognized with the competition's very first Crazy Paula Wants to Squeeze Your Head Off and Hang Your Body From Her Rearview Mirror Award, a.k.a. The Sweeney -- it's up to the 10 remaining girls to see whether they can make that kind of magic happen twice in one week on "American Idol."

But first, Ryan Seacrest announces that judge Randy Jackson wears a size 13-1/2 shoe, demonstrating once again why Seacrest is so going to win the TV academy's very first Primetime Emmy Award for Best Performance by a Reality Series Host this fall. I know, it's not a Sweeney, but it's still an honor.

The 10 remaining "Idol" chicks are, like the guys, stuck with songs from the '70s -- when their parents were going through puberty. And, like the guys, they must reveal One Thing America Might Not Know About Them.

Carly Smithson (Fox)

What don't we already know about Irish singer Carly Smithson? We know about the record deal, the $2.2 million spent trying to launch her debut album, the sales so stupendously bad the Wall Street Journal wrote a whole article about it, her first tryout on "Idol," botched visa, very sad, tattoo-artist husband. What could possibly be left?

Ah, she works in an Irish bar and loves to make up the bed in her house. Good to know. She sings Heart's "Crazy on You" and continues to be the best chick singer this year. Randaula likes it; Simon says. "You are an incredible singer. I don't think any of these girls can touch you vocally."

Syesha Mercado thinks we'll be surprised to learn she has done TV commercials -- nope, it was all over the Internet -- and that she does this creepy imitation of a baby crying, which she demonstrates. Okay, that was surprising.

She sings "Me and Mrs. Jones" only, of course, she sings it "Me and Mr. Jones," which totally does not work because "Mr." does not convey that the guy's married like "Mrs." does. And her voice gets too itty-bitty during the soft bits. No Sweeney for her, say Randaula and Simon.

Brooke White confesses she went to "beauty school" and can cut hair and when she sees people walking around she wonders what she could do with their hair. This is utterly surprising, given how bad her hair looked during the auditions phase -- before the show's hair stylists got hold of it and at least found a part somewhere, and did something with those elementary-school bangs.

She sings "You're So Vain," while playing the guitar, which the band tries to drown out. Occasionally she hits the right note; at one point she forgets how to play the guitar and stops. Randaula loves it, thinking she was addressing the song to Simon; Simon loves it for the same reason. Seacrest makes a comment, in re Simon, about how when you are that vain and you hear a song about being so vain, you're vain enough to like it. This borders dangerously on what is known in some circles as "being a horse's heinie," which would put at risk Seacrest's lock on the Primetime Emmy Award for Best Performance by a Reality Series Host -- a new category Variety says probably will be added this year.

Ramiele Malubay reveals she learned to do Polynesian dances as a child, then sings "Don't Leave Me This Way," which, of course, has all of two notes in it, though she sings those two notes well. Randaula notices this, as does Simon, who says the song has been forever ruined for him, not by the fact it's horrid but by having been sung so many times at so many "ghastly weddings." You know, weddings with '70s disco themes. Simon gets around, apparently. He tosses Ramiele a bone -- she's one of the three best singers in the competition (he's already declared David Archuleta and Carly Smithson the other two) -- but no Sweeney.

Kristy Lee Cook thinks we'll be surprised to learn she's a tomboy. Given she's already told us she rides horses and kickboxes or something like that, the surprising thing to learn is that she thinks this is surprising. We'll give you a minute to re-read that.

Anyway, she sings "You're No Good" while doing her signature deep-knee-bend squatty thing that is so offputting. On the other hand, she's got a great hair-flipping technique and the best shoes on the show this season, so she's sure to get lots of guy votes.

And the show's producers apparently learned their lesson from the week they gave Jolly Rancher Blue Raspberry candies to the Idolettes to soothe sore throats, which turned all their tongues blue, setting off some kind of mini-hysteria on "Idol" blogs. They have switched to something that turns Kristy's tongue bright red, which is so much less creepy.

Randaula gives her props, as does Simon. Seacrest and Kristy chat a bit about how last week she was very sick, "on so much medication," something about being hardly able to stand up and "five antibiotics," which, gotta say -- really chilling.

Amanda Overmyer -- this week made up like Yvonne De Carlo on "The Munsters" -- gets mowed over by her song, "Carry on My Wayward Son." And if they thought Jason Yeager looked like he was drunk dancing on stage the night before, then Amanda's in the final throes of alcohol poisoning. Randaula tells her to go back to being Janis Joplin and take off about a pound of makeup; Simon says her hair is terrible and the song is ugly.

Oh, and the thing we might not know about her? She's a bookworm -- "one of those 'knowledge is power' kind of people," she says; mostly reads biographies of "rock icons that I like."

Alaina Whitaker (Fox)

Pretty teen Alaina Whitaker, turns out, is this season's obsessive-compulsive. Remember last season's Melinda Doolittle who, if her right hand got cold, had to make sure her left hand got cold? Well, Alaina doesn't like the foods on her plate to touch each other. "I definitely try to put my food on, you know, sides, but the worst kind of food is, like, when there's, you know, like green beans and there's, like kind of juice and it kind of flows to the other side . . . I don't like it. It's something that started when I was really little. I actually used a different fork for each food." She says she's "gotten better, so maybe in a few years I won't have the problem."

We try to focus while she sings "Hopelessly Devoted to You" but she's not that good and we're still reeling from the OC news. It wasn't Randy's fave; Simon accuses her of having a grandmother for a stylist and manager. Paula tells Alaina she'd like to "mess you up a little" but stops short of saying she'd like to pull her head off and hang her body from her rearview mirror. So close!

Alexandrea Lushington's one bit of news was that she sang at Ground Zero a couple of months after September 11. She sings "If You Leave Me Now," which is the week's oddest song choice. Randaula and Simon think so, too. Simon says the song is "stuck in its time period." Yes, the '70s. Which is the whole point of the week, last we checked.

Kady Malloy apparently can not only do dead-on imitations of Britney Spears and other pop messes but also sings opera. Seriously. Which explains why her version of "Magic Man" sounds like Britney trying to sing opera. Randaula and Simon are frustrated by her inability to be as cute in person as when she is when imitating Britney.

And, finally, Asia'H Epperson reveals she was a cheerleader. I knew it! Randaula like it a lot but Simon tells her she's not a good enough singer for "one of the ultimate diva songs of all time" and should not have attempted it.

Seacrest notes that had she not taken the risk, Simon might have had something negative to say about playing it too safe. Simon says, "You've got to know your limitations, Ryan -- something you managed to do quite well in your career." Randy tells them to "keep it to the scene, guys, come on!" But Seacrest can't resist telling Simon, "Towards the end of yours, you've accomplished a lot too" -- virtually handing this fall's Primetime Emmy Award for Best Performance by a Reality Series Host to Jeff Probst.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  February 28, 2008; 7:07 AM ET "American Idol"
Previous: 'American Idol' Guys: 10 Things We Didn't Know About You | Next: 'American Idol': And Then There Were 16


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Who's first today?

Posted by: new first | February 28, 2008 7:34 AM

Who taught Paula "in the pocket?" Every show, she makes some clumsy reference to a singer getting comfortably "in the pocket," like a hamster she sneaked into Sunday school.

Memo to Washington Post: It's OK to publish this column in the newspaper.

Posted by: Doorknob | February 28, 2008 8:11 AM

The biker chick/skunk woman has got to go. I was shocked, shocked I say, that Simon actually said something about her hair last night. He's right, as usual. I'm more than a little tired of her screeching her songs.

And Brooke looks at people and wonders what she can with their hair? Try looking in the mirror. Charity starts at home.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | February 28, 2008 8:56 AM

Great summary, as usual, Lisa, but you missed the end when Ryan thanked Randy and Paula but not Simon. Flash to Simon rolling his eyes at the slight.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 28, 2008 9:00 AM

Amanda sounded and look dreadful last night. I could barely watch her performance. She looked like a cross between a skunk and Yvonne De Carlo's character on the Munsters.

All in all the performances were decent but not spectacular. Here's hoping that the performances on Idol improve somehow I doubt it.

Posted by: I wish it was Friday | February 28, 2008 9:06 AM

Hey, Lisa

TMZ is reporting that Robbie Carrico wears a wig. Is this true?

Posted by: Brooklyn | February 28, 2008 9:29 AM

Speaking of hair, it looks like one of the boys is not exactly "keepin' it real" http://www.tmz.com/2008/02/27/idol-contestant-wigs-out/

Posted by: scottyboy122 | February 28, 2008 9:32 AM

Eighth! bwahahahaha :-)

Posted by: dork! | February 28, 2008 9:59 AM

hey Amanda Overmyer - my 67 year old Aunt Irma called. She wants her hairdo from the 1960s back.

Posted by: jpstang | February 28, 2008 10:00 AM

Am I the only one old enough to remember that it was Eric Carmen who *first* sang "All by Myself" despite Diva (Celine) Dion tormenting our souls with her version?

Posted by: jpstang part 2 | February 28, 2008 10:06 AM

jpstang - No, you're not the only one. And any song by Celine Dion is torture to me.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | February 28, 2008 10:11 AM

Me? Sweet!

Anyhoo.... Ramiele that wasn't Hawaiian dancing, it was Tahitian.

Posted by: HP | February 28, 2008 10:23 AM

Thank you waterfrontproperty for my morning validation. It's bad enough when my 12 year old rolls his eyes at me when I make him listen to the 70s station on XM radio; but to have Seabiscuit et. al. make no reference to the great Eric Carmen ... why, that's just sacrilege!

Posted by: jpstang | February 28, 2008 10:27 AM

Country music veteran (and Birchmere darling) Suzy Bogguss did a really nice cover of "If You Leave Me Now" on her last album, and it wouldn't surprise me if that was the impetus for Alexandrea picking it. It's a sweet song, very suited for a female voice.

Posted by: 23112 | February 28, 2008 11:27 AM

I don't think anyone was all that good last night. Amanda was awful, I don't think Carly's that good and the rest were forgettable.

Will somebody pull Ryan aside and tell him that if he were to leave the show nobody would care, but if Simon left so would most of the viewers? What crawled up his behind? Has hosting New Years Rockin Eve gone to his head? Or has the gel finally gotten to him??

Posted by: hangin in herndon | February 28, 2008 11:35 AM

simon just gives paula words to say. this week it seems to be "in the pocket" last week, it was "colors". then of course he denies it afterwards and lets her take the "blame". I assume she is on it, otherwise simon is being very rude to her.

Posted by: m | February 28, 2008 11:42 AM

Ramiele's dancing reminded me so much on the moment last year when Sanyaja confessed he can dance hula. Of course it was way funnier to see him do the hula.

It was like the second or third time now that Ryan does not thank Simon at the end of the show. The first time he did that I thought it was really funny. But to repeat it week after week? That's getting old and it's rude, too.

Posted by: anja | February 28, 2008 11:47 AM

Amanda looked and sounded awful. It's like she's doing an impersonation of a real singer with her crooning. I think they're keeping her on just becasue she's endorcing Harley Davidson. A lot of the decision this show makes regards sponsors. Like Randy keeps mentionin karaoke. I think this has something to do with the karaoke system (www.techtogo.com) that has only Idol songs on it. Anyway the boys are WAY better than the girls overall this season.

Posted by: Ebony | February 28, 2008 12:03 PM

Amanda - channeling her inner Bea Arthur...

Posted by: Rob Iola | February 28, 2008 12:19 PM

Yes, I remember Eric Carmen, definitely not a diva. Simon is showing his lack of musical knowledge more than ever this year. He never heard Magic Man? It has become a song selection competition instead of a singing competition. Simon should have all the cushy gigs that Ryan has grabbed. The guy's everywhere.

Posted by: Rob | February 28, 2008 12:30 PM

Oh Amanda, why not channel Patti Smith's "Because the Night Belongs to Lovers" instead of Kansas.

She is so easy to vote against despite Idol desperately needing "someone different" so that we don't all end up with diabetes from so much sugar!

So much of this show requires a depth of music history that seems beyond most idol contestants. So many good songs, so many bad choices.

I am available as a song consultant.

Posted by: Feasting.with.Panthers | February 28, 2008 12:37 PM

Yeah, last night's show was such a "yawn". No one really stood out, was really disappointed in the song choices and caliber of the music being sung. It's beginning to look more and more as though we'll have yet another male winner this year. Of course, being biased, no one will fill Taylor's shoes, but I do think little David has a lot of potential.

Posted by: Squirrel | February 28, 2008 12:49 PM

I think "in the pocket" is a reference to billiards - not hamsters - but if Paula says it one more time I'll become bilious. I'll bet David Cook knows that word.

Posted by: Jean | February 28, 2008 12:51 PM

But wait, you neglected to tell those of us who don't watch because you do for us what "diva song" Asia'H Epperson tried to sing? Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: Pookie Fan | February 28, 2008 12:57 PM

Can you all please stop writing these posts and comments? I can't stop reading them and snorting and laughing uncontrollably. I'm going to get fired.

Posted by: Kate in Baltimore | February 28, 2008 1:00 PM

Asia'H Epperson sang "All By Myself." I'm assuming the song was originally done in the '70s, but made famous by "Diva" Celine Deon.

Posted by: kdinsd | February 28, 2008 1:10 PM

Lisa, I think that Randy said, "stick to the singing," not, "stick to the scene." Although no one could blame you for not accurately transcribing what Randy mumbles about.

But honestly, I just wrote in to point out that Paula should get some kind of lifetime achievement award for attempting to compliment Archuletta by saying she wants to decapitate him and hang him from her mirror. Her Coke cup runneth over this year, methinks.

Posted by: Bud Omsman | February 28, 2008 1:13 PM

What a great article!! I couldn't stop laughing, and I actually agree with most of it. I've noticed that Ryan has not acknowledged Simon at the ends of some shows. I'm like,"WHAT!!?????"

I cannot get attached to these AI7 contestants. I kind of like David A.,and I kind of like Asia'h. But, I'm still sorting through all the hype about the super-talented 24.

I hate for the contestants to be assigned a specific decade of music and then get criticized because their selections are not relevant enough. DUH!! Maybe the mentors will be better for them!!

Posted by: shirley6700 | February 28, 2008 1:32 PM

Abominable Amanda and what's-her-name (Alexandrea?) should go away tonight.

My odds-on pick for best girl: Brooke by a mile! She's just so luscious and does excellent Carly Simon/Carole King to boot. 15 million men and just as many women are going to stay riveted to the show waiting for the Big Prize: to see Brooke's elusive Dark Side come out in full flower. Yummmmy .......

Posted by: Christin | February 28, 2008 2:02 PM

...easy there, Christin.

Posted by: Whoa now... | February 28, 2008 2:17 PM

Pookie, fun write-up as always. To be fair, though, I think Paula meant to dangle David's head, not his entire body. Still creepy, though. Love the shoes line.

Posted by: Bat99 | February 28, 2008 2:20 PM

"And, finally, Asia'H Epperson reveals she was a cheerleader. I knew it! Randaula like it a lot but Simon tells her she's not a good enough singer for "one of the ultimate diva songs of all time" and should not have attempted it."

So... what song did Asia'H Epperson actually sing? Or did Randaula like it a lot that she was a cheerleader?

Posted by: Katie | February 28, 2008 2:23 PM

Well, despite Idol having an odd fascination with older music (see 80% of their categories like Diana Ross night, 60's, 70's, etc) they have a curiously blind eye to the artists of those eras. For example, they frequently say that "Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me" is by George Michael who covered is in 1992. There are many instances where they list songs by the cover artists instead of by the original artists. So, the latest Eric Carmen slight is just one of many. For those who haven't figured it out, Asia'h E sang "All By Myself" by Eric Carmen covered by Celine Dion.

And for me, although I am thoroughly tired of the "rocker nurse" and want her to go, I think the two blondes, Kady M and Alaina W (I have trouble telling them apart without the an announcer) are going. I think that Amanda O has too much of a fan base to go out this early. She is also the VFTW candidate of the week and being plugged by a few big AI bloggers.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | February 28, 2008 2:56 PM

I will grant you it was not Amanda's night last night. But I still think she makes the competition less homogeneous and is really quite a good little rocker. Kudos to her for the courage to sing what she did. The skunk hairdo will be tamed down by next week - the hairdressers DO pay attention to Simon's notes!

HOWEVER: note to Lisa de Moraes: there's enough negativity in this world without you trashing each and every individual who made an appearance on American Idol. If you hate the show that much, change the channel and spare us your condescending "reviews." If you can't shut up and won't change the channel, then at least admit you're enjoying watching TV junk. Isn't there something you love that's guilty pleasure viewing for you?

Just remember you're earning a pretty penny writing all this - far more than the majority of the American viewing public, I dare say. Maybe I need to remind myself you write for the Most Cerebral Newspaper in North America, and that appreciation of brain candy just isn't part of the job description at the Post online.

Posted by: Caroline | February 28, 2008 3:50 PM

I hated the Mr. Jones thing. Not because of the married issue you mentioned (I promise you NO man in America noticed that, but becaues Mr. Jones has a totaly differient connotation than Mrs. Jones, especially back in the seventies. Mr. Jones is what you call an adiction.

When she sang, "Me and Mr. Jones.." the only image I got was of a girl alone in a hotel room with her heroin habbit, or a meth pipe.

She is probably too young to make that assocition, but someone should have told her.

Posted by: mike | February 28, 2008 4:52 PM

Caroline, if you hate the blog that much, don't read it. You obviously know nothing about Lisa, her oft-professed love of TV, or her writing style.

p.s. Celine Dion covered "All by Myself?" Who knew. Seriously that's news to me.

Posted by: arlington | February 28, 2008 5:05 PM

Chillax, lady. Lisa's reviews are totally tongue-in-cheek. And like arlington noted, if you don't like what you read, click away over to something else. Jeez.

Posted by: Caroline go away | February 28, 2008 5:22 PM

Hey folks, chill. Caroline is obviously new
to the divine Ms. de M. but is entitled to her opinion.

Caroline--Lisa has frequently mentioned that she loves Idol and it is essentially a secret junkie habit. Part of the enjoyment for her and her many hoardes of loyal followers is the snarkiness (a la Simon Cowell) attitude and stripping away the show for its humor content. If it bothers you, there are plenty of other very sugary positive based Idol reviews that come out almost daily (you can find hundreds of them by Googling "American Idol reviews").

Arlington--both the original by Carmen (1975) and the cover by Dion (1996) were amongst the most popular versions of this song. Both were certified Gold with over 500K sales as a single. But the Dion version is currently the more well known because of its relative youth. Those of us who know the original better are just plain old. :-)

Posted by: DadWannaBe | February 28, 2008 5:50 PM

And while we're at it, let's only cover the "uplifting" news. Enough of all this war drivel. Maybe you could cover some "wholesome" TV -- like supernanny (WHAT is that, by the way?) or Rock of Love?

Caroline, please entertain the possibility that AI is a bloated joke made all the better by snark and wit (they may be synonymous.

Posted by: Doorknob | February 28, 2008 9:17 PM

Does anyone else think Amanda is doing bad imitations of Suzi Quatro?

Posted by: Paula | February 28, 2008 10:28 PM

Seacrest is doing that on purpose, forgetting Simon at the closing. I heard him on the radio and people have called in asking 'why he has forgotten to thank Simon.' He says, 'You have to go back and watch again. You're wrong.' then says, 'I'll be sure to thank Simon tonight.' But he never does. Since last year when he was (really) pissed at Simon for the 'sweetheart' he forgot Simon out of revenge, nowdays it's either 'payback' or just being a smartass. I vote for the ladder. lol. I love it!

Posted by: Kay | March 1, 2008 8:01 PM

Great post, just like always. When I'm entering your blog I'm always sure I won't regret it. Continue writing.

Posted by: mebig0 | April 6, 2008 11:55 AM

Great post, just like always. When I'm entering your blog I'm always sure I won't regret it. Continue writing.

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