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12 chicks sing to survive on 'American Idol'

Hey -- over here! Chicks are competing! Yes, it's singing in goofy get-ups, not figure skating in hot little skirts. On the bright side, you get to do the voting!

'Idol' contestant Katelyn Epperly. (Michael Becker -- Fox)

Paige Miles has been sewn into a hideous black jumper of some sort with a huge silver sash around her waist. She sings "It's All Right"; lame duck judge Simon Cowell, who is very confused that he has lost his status as The Final Word after each performance, owing to having decided to dump the show after this season to launch a knock-off show of his own, pronounces the performance "cheap." Judge Kara DioGuardi disagrees with Simon. Judge Randy Jackson agrees with them both. New judge Ellen DeGeneres disagrees and agrees with them all. Show host Ryan Seacrest asks Paige to reveal to about 20 million people watching that she's been sewn into this outfit and has been waiting to urinate for five hours. This is way too much information.

Ashley Rodriguez sings "Happy" which is a Leona Lewis tune -- Leona being a Simon Cowell "discovery" which makes this the stupidest song choice of the night. The judges find various ways to say so but Simon says it best when he says "This isn't going particularly well for you, is it?" We will miss Simon terribly next season.

So far the best part of the show is the Old Spice commercial. It is the Best TV Commercial That Has Ever Been Made:

"Hello ladies.
Look at your man.
Now look back at me.
Now back to your man.
Now back at me.
Sadly, he isn't me."

It just never gets old.

Janell Wheeler says she just wants to do what people say she does best, which is "to light up the stage." Modest, that one. Janell sings "What About Love" though she's not up to the task. The judges put it to her nicely -- Ellen may have even called it "great" though "great" is to Ellen as a Standing O was to Paula Abdul.

Lilly Scott sings a very quirky version of the Beatles' "Fixing a Hole," which sent the judges into an paroxysm of praise for her originality, which will tide us over nicely until someone posts the singer she covered on YouTube. Simon pronounces it the best thing in the show so far tonight -- but he did not get to see the Old Spice commercial.

"I don't want to make you feel too short," Lilly tells Seabiscuit when he comes on stage to do the post-judge blah, blah, blah. "It's already done. Since I was born," Seabiscuit says. He brings up Kara in some context and the camera cuts to her but she's ignoring him and chatting cozily with Simon. "I was talking to Simon -- he was touching my knee," Kara says.

Oh! Now we get it! Kara wants to be The New Paula! Well, Kara, we blogged about Paula Abdul. We knew Paula Abdul. Paula Abdul was an obsession of ours. Kara, you are no Paula Abdul. And, anyway, Simon does not seem a willing accomplice.

Katelyn Epperly sings the Beatles "Oh Darlin'." But we can't focus on her performance because she's all tarted up like a hooker in black leather hold-your-legs-together strapless sheath, fishnet stockings, crayon red lipstick, and a black crow's wing is poking out of her helmet of blonde hair. Kara has the same issue and tells her to go back to the Earth-Mother look she had during auditions and Hollywood Week. Seabiscuit wonders what word bubble was in her head when Kara was critiquing her get-up. "I think I know what her word-bubble is: 'Bitch'," Kara interjects. Yikes!

Haeley Vaughn has also picked a Beatles tune, "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" which she sings exuberantly, if occasionally off-key. Because Simon gets to go last this time, the other judges rave about her perkiness and "unpredictability" before Simon pronounces it "verging on terrible," and "a mess" and the other judges realize he's probably right. Even Seabiscuit, who's usually not that perceptive, notes it's like "we are watching two different shows." "If it was a mess it was hot mess," Ellen offers lamely. Clearly embarrassed, this can only mean the next Idolette to perform is in for a whacking as the three non-Simon judges try to make up for their horrible Haeley mis-call.

That fate falls to Lacey Brown Though, in fairness, she is bad, singing "Landslide." Randy calls it "terrible." Even Ellen -- who is The New Oprah and is clearly using her "Idol" gig as a marketing vehicle for her daytime talk show to further her "I'm likeable. I'm cute, I'm a squeaky toy" image -- sort of nicks Lacey, saying she's "better than that." Simon calls the performance "quite depressing" and Kara says she hopes America gives her another chance, but without any real conviction. Simon then notes Lacey has got nice eyes and Kara calls her beautiful, to make sure viewers don't vote for Lacey out of sympathy because the judges have been so mean to her.

Michelle Delamor sings "Falling." The judges can't get over how hot she looks; she can't either. Randy calls her look "hot and dope."

Didi Benami caught a chill and so is wearing a crochet afghan on her back as she sings "The Way I Am." Simon called it dreary and lacking spark, which is his way of saying "You have a crochet afghan on your back." Kara said she agrees and disagrees, which is her way of saying "I acknowledge you have an afghan on your back but I would rather have seen a fleece bathrobe." Randy says this was not the performance of a star which is his way of saying "What is a crocheted afghan?" Ellen does not think this performance made a good first impression, which is her way of saying "I would look adorable in a crocheted afghan." Simon and Seabiscuit kick off a new Homophobic Cross-Talk Season with useless banter about first kisses.

Siobhan Magnus, who should probably win this season based on talent, is a "funny little thing" -- or so Simon thinks after hearing her sing "Wicked Game." He and the other judges long for her to keep singing the same Stevie Wonder tune all season that she sang during Hollywood Week and which knocked their socks off. Sadly, that cannot be, leaving Simon to wonder whether she chose this week's darker tune because she blows glass for a living.

Crystal Bowersox, aka Mama Sox, sings "Hand in My Pocket" and, once again, some of the other judges - okay, Randy and Ellen -- rave, until Simon, who goes last, notes that while she has an adorable little baby and a great back story "the truth is there are thousands of you doing this outside subway stations." He then amends that statement -- upping the number to "tens of thousands" and suggests she do something original next week. Mama Sox notes the producers will not let her sing one of her original songs. Simon explains that what he meant was she should sing a David Bowie tune next week. Mama Sox allows as how she could do that. Kara then warns her not to be "just a coffee house performer."

Katie Stevens looks like a little girl her mother dressed up and sent out into the front parlour to vamp to "Feelin' Good" for the amusement of her bridge party. The judges are too polite -- but we aren't -- to note Adam Lambert hit this one out of the park last season and she should never go anywhere near any tune Lambert performed last season. Instead they blathered on about how she needed to be younger, when she just needed to be better. Lots and lots better.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  February 24, 2010; 7:17 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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The bar is set pretty low - just staying in key should get the singer through to next week.

Posted by: kirstenpaulson | February 24, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who wonders why Ellen Degeneres is a judge? It's hilarious to watch her comment before the other judges, she clearly has no idea at all what she's watching. My wife and I exceed her level of commentary on our couch. She can't offer any advice, has no expertise at all beyond, "Well, I liked it." Such as they are, the other judges, even Paula, have accomplishments in pop music. This is the last season anyone will watch anyway, so I guess it's no worries. But wow, is she ever weak, and no one seems willing to say it.

Posted by: rkrisher | February 24, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I was SO underwhelmed last night. Most of the singers are trying to beLily Allen or Colbie Callait (or however you spell her last name). And the band was AWFUL -- the arrangements were so fuddy duddy Marriott hotel lobby band. Did anyone else notice that they had the singers do the SAME lame dramatic ending for each song?
And I agree with Simon -- the song choices were dreadful. Out of all the songs they could possibly choose -- THAT's where they went? The Beatles?? Heart?? Honestly -- no one should TOUCH a Heart song except perhaps Adam Lambert.
The best song choices were Wicked Game and Landslide, if they had been performed better, and if they hadn't been presented along with a whole big ball of slow songs one right after another. It WAS depressing. Don't these kids know in what order they'll be performing when they pick their songs. That kind of info is IMPORTANT.
I hope poor Katie Stevens sticks around. Her voice is so good, but her performance was cringe-inducing.
And I thought Ellen was HORRIBLE as a judge. Did she say ANYTHING besides, "But I think you're great." As in, "Yeah, that was really horrible and you sucked big time. But I think you're great!" WTF?
And let me just say this here because I say it every 5 mins. during Idol: I. HATE. KARA. Total waste of space to me. I change the channel every time she starts talking. She bothers me so much. Please, replace her with the Old Spice Guy. PLEASE.
And finally, I love how IDOL is so desperate to make sure a girl wins this season that it has been promoting this season's Chicks as The Best EVER! Not so much.

Posted by: tmeintermedia | February 24, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

The girls are really bad this year..

Posted by: ozpunk | February 24, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Just once, I want to hear one of the so-called divas try a dance tune. That was simply dreary. Surely there must've been at least one dance tune that's made the Hot 100. The only thing that kept me from falling asleep were all those false notes.

Posted by: SheldonAlexandria | February 24, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Well, if they wanted a girl to win this year, they should have picked some better girls. None of these girls are a Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood, not even a Jordin Sparks.

My prediction...another all guys final this year, just like the past two seasons.

And so, why again did they let Angela Martin go?

Posted by: kdinsd | February 24, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Last night was extremely lame. I passed out on the floor at some point between Janell Wheeler's performance and woke up while Michelle Delamor was singing. Glad I didn't miss much in between. During the entire show, my husband was in another room complaining about the horrible sounds coming through our television.

Posted by: kdinsd | February 24, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

SOOO glad you're all over this Lisa! Thanks!

I think Kara says perfectly AWFUL things to people. Is it just me, or is she always horrid?

Posted by: Ellen705 | February 24, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Every time I say I'm finished with this and every time I get sucked in . . . .

Ellen D adds as little to this as she did to "So You Think You Can Dance" but it looks nice on her resume. It's the Oprah Winfrey-ing of America. Oprah decided she should tell America what to read and now Ellen apparently feels she must tell America what to listen (or is that dance?) to.

I did appreciate Crystal B's response to yet another lame "be original" comment. I assume that what was meant was that a David Bowie cover would be "original" just because another Idolette isn't doing it? Or maybe has never done it? (I'm not so sure the latter is a fact.)

What happened to the girl who sang the jazz? Did she get axed or go pop? I forget now who she was. Jazz would be "original" to this show.

Otherwise, I could only suggest one of them play the spoons rather than the guitar, since the latter's been done to death - and as far as I know, spoons would be original!

Posted by: jqw3827 | February 24, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

While I agree with most of the complaints on the judges, I would take Ellen and Kara over Paula any day of the week. Ellen is articulate, occasionally funny, and brief. She neither adds nor detracts from the show. Kara is annoying and detracts from the show. But Paula was on a whole other level. Not only was she the worst player on the team, but she tended to hog the review time because she was so inarticulate. She was also frequently drunk/stoned. So far this season, I haven't once had to hit the fast forward on my dvr because of an annoying judge rant.

Posted by: niceshoes1 | February 24, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

>>But Paula was on a whole other level. Not only was she the worst player on the team, but she tended to hog the review time because she was so inarticulate. She was also frequently drunk/stoned. >>

Um. Yeah! This is why Idol used to be so much fun to watch -- I loved crazy Paula. Paula added the camp that IS Idol. Now the judges are taking this WAY too seriously. Snore.

Posted by: tmeintermedia | February 25, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

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