From the ladies' night onset, Ryan Seacrest explained that influenza has hit some of the "American Idol" contestants.
Kristy Lee Cook from Selma, Or. was up first. Perhaps Cook's song choice, "Rescue Me" has some foreshadowing, as a combination of nerves and illness resulted in a stiff, pitchy effort. Cook may need rescuing from the bottom three.
New Jersey-ite JoAnne Borgella followed Cook's shaky start with a smart, groomed take on "Say a Little Prayer." Borgella's early lower-note rumblings were overcome with a gradual build of momentum.
Borgella will continue onto next week.
Alaina Whitaker of Tulsa, Okla. is 16 today and indicative of how youth has made its imprint on the show's onset. Whitaker's front teeth sit apart, making me think she's a mix of a young Lauren Bacall and Carrie Underwood. Whitaker hit the jackpot with "More Today Than Yesterday," with a mix of attire, energy, power and pinpoint vocal accuracy.
Lead panelist Simon Cowell and I drank the same happy Kool-Aid after this one, cruise control for Whitaker.
Amanda Overmyer of Mulbury, Ind. Is, is in so many ways, the "real deal." She sang "Baby Please Don't Go" which is not too challenging of a song. Nonetheless, it's easy to like (and respect) Overmyer's ability to be true to her identity, continue to be a ferocious performer and have uncanny wit. Her shout-out to the semi-truck driver that she helped to mangle was… priceless.
"Sorry Dude, didn't mean to total your truck."
The rock-n-roll nurse is 'in it to win it.'
Amy Davis of Cedar Lake, Ind., sang a pitchy, turbulent "Where the Boys Are." Paula Abdul is right about Davis' videogenic nature, but the rest was painful to see – and hear. Three Xs from Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Cowell plus one from this writer … and Amy is likely gone after tonight's Results Show.
Chalk up another contestant done in by improper song selection and a lousy musical arrangement.
Brooke White of Mesa, Ariz., aka Little Miss Sunshine had a logical fit with "Happy Together" by the Lovin' Spoonful. White's sunny disposition, colorful attire and correct key signature helped to propel a very pleasant slant on the tune.
We'll see her next week.
Alexandrea Lushington of Douglasville, Ga. Is one of the youngsters who's adept at 'working it out.' She wrung every bit of production value and talent from a mod take on "Spinning Wheel." Lushington doesn't have the raw tools of some others, but she's already demonstrating a knack for assembling herself as a "package."
Kady Malloy from Grand Prarie, Texas, does a very good Britney Spears impression but failed to imitate herself as a successful Idol contestant. She offered up a bland, pent up "Groovy Kind of Love." It's disappointing because Malloy has vocal talent. We'll likely not see it next week, though.
Asia'h Epperson of Joplin, Mo. started out with a couple bumps, but within 6 or 7 measures, she had "Piece of my Heart" in high gear. Epperson has the hardware and the motivation to go far.
Ramiele Malubay of Miramar, Fla. may not have appeared as voluminous during "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" as her past Idol tries, but her vocal texture and relative pitch continue to be top-shelf material. Mini-She goes onto next week … and will inevitably slay a few giants.
Cowell used the word "consistency" to describe her ability to reproduce a great effort.
Next up was 21-year-old Syesha Mercado of Sarasota, Fla., who performed "Tobacco Road." Mercado maxed out her tools on a serviceable song selection and showed she has the intangible "it" on stage. We'll see her a few more times this season.
Irish native Carly Smithson was up last. Smithson finally addressed her previous record label when she was 15. She's not contracted now, so isn't it immaterial? Smithson sang her heart out with "The Shadow of Your Smile" with a big, booming voice and bright vocals – disputably the best performance of the evening. No matter how you slice it, we will be watching Smithson for awhile.
Who will continue on to next week? And who will go home? Find out on tonight's Results Show at 8 p.m on Fox.
Ryan asked Simon Cowell about the talking back from Chikezie and Danny Noriega last night. Simon said he likes it when the Idols talk back. If they disagree, which he says is rare, they can tell him why. Then we were treated to a reminder of how the girls got to where they are.
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