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Eight for the ‘80s: ‘Idol’ girls give it a whirl

Girls tear it up

Another week of "American Idol"

80s WEEK CONCLUDES

Again, dual plots (genre of music and "question of the week") ran in parallel, along with a whole lotta Whitney. Granted, Houston's star shone blindingly bright, but...

Let's see what happened:

Asia'h Epperson was one of many Whitney Houston imitators, singing "I Wanna Dance With Somebody." Technically, it worked for her in a number of ways and her reproduction was accurate, but it was the kind of performance the show could earn the moniker "American Karaoke." Like Simon Cowell, this writer sees it as "at best it was second-rate Whitney Houston."

Give Kady Malloy points for being straight: Malloy said she was certain she was going home last week." She also played it straight — and stiff — as a board during a try at Queen's "Who Wants to Live Forever." Malloy, the quintessential "practice player," is great during casual time but a grip when it counts. Better than last week isn't enough Wednesday. The silver bullet will not miss Malloy on Thursday.

Amanda Overmyer is anything but stiff, including a smile tonight. Her "embarrassing moment" (question of the week) was burning down her backyard pool by accident. Overmyer's back yard wasn't the only thing that was hot. She scorched Joan Jett's "I Hate Myself for Loving You" and looked about as pleasing as a gritty rocker could. Unless voters get fickle or the ballot box is stacked (see votefortheworst.com), we should see the "Rock-n-roll nurse" next week.

Can you imagine Carly Smithson's leg getting stuck in a railing. Eesh! To free herself, the leg had to be well-greased – and so was her delivery of Celine Dion's "I Drove All Night." Wow! Smithson is a well-oiled talent, the reason why millions at home tune in each week. And look for her again next Tuesday.

Kristy Lee Cook gained "Dawg pound" appeal in selecting Journey's "Faithfully." The song is the right key signature for her voice and Cook's addition of a country twang made it warm, and genuine. Cook looked wonderful and put her best forward. She'll likely need some consolation after Thursday's Results Show.

Ramiele Malubay shared an embarrassing/disappointing moment about how a crush and his mom laughed at her disclosure of affection. Coincidentally, she sang the pants off of Phil Collins classic "Against All Odds."
For the zillion whack comments Abdul makes, her comment about Malubay is dead on: "You have such pure voice, and it's lovely." Absolutely!

Last week, Brooke White garnered the compliments of snidely Simon – and again on Wednesday night. Not only was White's appearance simplistic and lovely, so was her remake on Pat Benatar's "Love is a Battlefield." Changing the song from a rant to an acoustic stringed lament was pure genius, one that White backed with a stellar performance.

Despite White's blonde appearance and unassuming affect on the exterior, there lies a chess master on the inside. She will continue to make her way down the game board.

Syesha Mercado is another singer who can't resist the Whitney Houston temptation, singing "Saving All My Love for You." The three panelists gave truncated remarks due to earlier extended squabbles; a disservice to Mercado's worked-it-out effort. Mercado got about as close to the real deal as anyone probably will, hitting the upper register highs and inflecting vibrato without overworking the tune. Simon's "Predictable but good" is accurate. But is good enough?

Malloy is a bottom dweller for certain. Cook may join her. Without sounding milktoast, it is very fair to say that although some may exit earlier than others, each of the top eight is a champ in their own right.

With all the wackiness generated by center panelist Paula Abdul, it was an odd, challenging night for emcee Ryan Seacrest. Who dropped the cue cards and who spiked the Coca Cola cup contents? Thank heavens for eight wonderfully talented singers.

Don't miss tonight's Results Show, where two guys and two ladies go home, trimming the field to 12 finalists. It starts at 8 p.m. on Fox.

Last night's hottest performance:

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