'American Idol': Where the Girls Are
Wednesday evening is all about girl power, "American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest says. The 12 girls quickly divide into two camps: the good performers and the non-good performers, who, it seems, are victims of mean old nerves and mean old colds, possibly the worst flu in the history of the country. Really, it's tragic.
Like Kristy Lee Cook, who's getting her just deserts for having hocked "my really good barrel horse" to raise money for her audition trip to Philly -- because apparently she blew through all the money she got for that recording contract she once had.
"Hopefully, if I win this thing and get enough money I really want go buy my horse back," she says, smiling her bright, bright smile and tossing her blonde, blonde hair. ". . . One of the number one things I'm gonna do, is buy him back."
Excuse me? ONE of the No. 1 things she's gonna do? Dead to us.
For the record, the Horse Pawner robotically slogs through "Rescue Me" while doing the Carrie Underwood American Idol Squat, crinkling her pretty little nose, and opening her pretty eyes very big. Judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul rush in with their bag of excuses:
Randy: "Dude, I know the pressure's crazy -- Season 7, first one out in Girls Night."
Paula: "That's okay because being sick and being the first one -- that's a double whammy . . . don't ever let that get in the way of your shine."
Simon Cowell is unimpressed, calling Kristy's performance robotic.
Joanne Borgella's lecture on how hard it is for plus-size women to have thin little voices is followed by a perfectly off-key performance of "Say a Little Prayer." Randy retrieves the Excuse Bag and pulls out: "Maybe it's just the nerves, you know what I'm saying?"
Paula, meanwhile, has discovered: "It's very nerve-racking doing what you're doing now."
Simon continues to be a nerve skeptic: "I don't accept this thing about nerves at all at this point," he says. "Every one of you has got a head start to become a star through this show; if you don't grab hold of it now, you don't deserve to win."
"Well, it's 33-some-odd million watching," Joanne tells Ryan, in re nerves.
Alaina Whitaker's 17th birthday is the next day so she hopes viewers will vote for her while her family can get her "some great shoes." Me? -- I'd have asked for a top with two sleeves. On the bright side, her "More Today Than Yesterday" is far superior to Chikezie Eze's of the previous night.
"Hahaha -- you know why I'm laughing?" Randy asks rhetorically.
(No, Randy, tell us why.)
"This is funny, Season 7 is turning out to be the year of the young ones, man," he says.
Paula says Alaina nailed it.
Simon calls her "very good" and is pleased that for the first time this evening, there'd been no talk of "nerves."
On the other hand, he hated the song and had never heard of it.
"I didn't know it either," Alaina says.
Simon's also never heard of "Baby Please Don't Go," as sung by Amanda Overmyer, who, more than ever, resembles a biker-rocker-nurse as interpreted by Roseanne Barr Arnold Whatever. Amanda shouts, growls and screams her way through the song in a fight to the death with the band for volume supremacy.
Randy says her pants are fly -- only he calls them "trousers." Paula says that no matter what anyone says, she's not a one-trick pony, which we think is another way of saying "you're a one-trick pony." Simon thinks Amanda forgot the words halfway through the performance. Paula and Randy explain to him what "scatting" is.
Seacrest, always one to look on the bright side of things, wonders if the semi-truck driver who totaled Amanda's car before Hollywood week is watching and feeling a perfect fool for nearly killing a maybe American Idol.
"Yeah -- sorry for pulling out in front of you, dude," Amanda says.
Amy Davis slaughters "Where the Boys Are," which, it could be argued, is a mercy killing.
Randy explains to her the song requires scooping up to the notes but when you scoop to a note "you've got to hit it dead on," which she did not. Paula dives into Excuse Bag and retrieves: "I feel your nerves got a little bit to you."
Simon says it seemed to drone on for 10 minutes.
Nanny Brooke White can't stop talking about how good she is and how Simon wants to bring her over to the dark side, which she says "is just not gonna happen." More's the pity.
She turns "Happy Together" into treacle, while clutching her head often.
Randy says in the back bits of the tune she "started getting her slay on." Paula reminds Brooke she "has her own thing." Simon says her performance reminded him of one of those terminally upbeat ads for dishwashing liquid in which the pretty blonde prattles on ecstatically about her new dishwashing liquid that has made it the best of all possible worlds. We've all seen those ads. Only, being a Brit, he calls it "washing-up liquid" so the other judges and Seacrest do this, "Can you believe the crazy foreigner -- we have no idea what he's saying!" number on him. Brooke lets it be known she's going to be nice throughout the competition no matter what.
Alexandrea Lushington sings "Spinning Wheel" in a clown outfit, which Paula thinks is dope. But the performance is good anyway. Randy announces she "blew the doors off that." Paula proclaims it "relevant," but Simon says it reminded him of one of "those horrible little shows you see where people do some . . . terrible '60s musical."
Simon and Seacrest get into an argument in re whether it's Simon's fault that he picked competitors whose performances fail to impress Simon. Alexandrea nicks Ryan for pronouncing her first name "Alex-and-rea."
Fox follows with an antidepressant ad.
Dear Fox: We do not want to see ads for antidepressants on "American Idol." "American Idol" is supposed to be fun.
Just ask Randy, and Paula and Simon.
Ads for Old Navy -- you betcha.
Target ads -- hot.
Ads for your ridiculous new drama series about a Dutch soldier from the 1600s who can't die and is now a cop in Manhattan -- whatevs.
But no downer antidepressant ads.
On the other hand, maybe Fox was setting up the next couple of performances.
Kady Malloy, for instance, gives a dirge interpretation of "A Groovy Kind of Love."
"It was like 'Night of the Living Dead,' " Simon says. All three judges agree she's more interesting when she's pretending to be Britney Spears than when she's pretending to be herself. "When you do Britney, you're brilliant, and when you do you, the lights go off," Simon says.
And Asia'H Epperson mentions -- again -- that her dad died just before she auditioned for "Idol" and that she almost started crying during her audition but she didn't, and when she takes the stage tonight, "my dad is going to be here with me."
Speaking of sad deaths, how about that Janis Joplin, whose "Piece of My Heart" Asia'H chooses to sing? Randaula loves it. Simon says it was his favorite of the night because she had fun. "It's what it's all about -- fun," Simon says.
Ryan, who did not get that memo, immediately tells Asia'H while wearing his sad face: "You have been through so much personally," and wonders where her upbeat nature comes from.
"It's just me," she explains.
Ramiele Malubay is maybe the evening's biggest surprise, unless you count how shockingly bad the Horse Pawner was. Ramiele's "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" goes over well and Simon even feels compelled to tell her he did not like her at first, but tonight she's "outsung every single person."
"What's been the best part" about being in "Idol"? Seacrest gushes in her direction.
"Hair and makeup," Ramiele says. "And, these shoes are awesome!"
She had my vote at "hair and makeup."
Syesha Mercado picks "Tobacco Road" and though she wildly misses a few notes, at least she does not overdo the big notes like she's prone to do; overall it sounds very good. Randaula loves it; Simon says it wasn't her best performance but it doesn't matter because she's one of the most talented chicks in the running.
And finally -- saving the most controversial for last -- Carly Smithson, the Idolette whose name has been bandied about the blather-o-sphere for days now, in re the recording contract she once had, the alleged couple million the record label spent on her, the paltry number of albums she sold, blah, blah, blah.
Though numerous other Idolettes also had recording contracts in their pasts -- some, like Robbie Carrico have even had genuine careers touring with Britney, the blather-o-spherers have homed in on Carly for their wrath.
The show's producers wisely have her talk about her recording contract in her taped walkup bit. She explains she was signed by a record label when she was 15, only the record company imploded and she was left with nothing. Appearing on "Idol" "is like a second chance for me."
Then, she sings the lovely "The Shadow of Your Smile," and her performance is in a different league from any of this year's other Idolettes.
"Man, that's what the show is all about! . . . That was hot hot blazin' hot!"
Simon, on the other hand, doesn't get it: "There was so much hype about you and so much expectation."
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