The noxious Amy was sent packing last week, as was the unlucky (and, okay, not all that talented) Nicole; on the guy side, the doomed Rudy went home, and to my surprise (and delight), so did the Joey Fatone of South Korea, Paul Kim. Sundance survived, as did Mariah Carey, but what will this week bring? Let's get started!
Randy says the guys "brought it" last night. Randy is mistaken. There was no "it" that the guys "brought" last night. I keep meaning to take notes on the fellas like I do the gals, but the guys keep lulling me into a coma.
GINA: Ooog, she missed some notes bad early on. I know many Americans are gaga for Gina ("I'm GAGA for GINA!" shirts on sale in the lobby after the show), but I'd double-damned if I can understand why. This was her worst performance yet, way out of her range and with zero personality. She got outperformed by her own backup singers. (Judges were uncharacteristically light on her, especially Paula, who is sober enough to remember something that happened a couple of years ago. This will totally amaze you: Randy thought she was "pitchy"!)
MARIAH CAREY: Ha ha, she's singing that Dixie Chicks song! And in a very, very boring fashion, too, even for a Dixie Chicks song. You should maybe try and sound a little mad if you're singing a song about being mad, instead of sounding like you misplaced your second-favorite lip gloss and you only have six hours to find it. Mariah wasn't great last week, but at least she wasn't this dull. She honestly can't pick songs for shit. I dunno if she's gonna survive this week, because nobody seems to like her anyway. (Everyone hated her this week, including Paula, whose highest praise is that she's a better singer than Randy Jackson.)
LAKISHA: Man, this was a fine performance, but it was the most underwhelming one she's ever given. Maybe this song is a little too smooth for her? I dunno, it was great – certainly shined in comparison to Gina and Alaina – but I know LaKisha can do better. Not bad by any means, and I don't think there's any reason she needs to be worried, but she better keep her eye on Melinda this round… (Judges were kindlier than I, further proving that she's got nothing to worry about. Simon's got it: she just needs to sell like crazy, because she's got zero problems with her voice.)
MELINDA: Melinda comes out swinging with a big standard, and she does it amazingly well. "My Funny Valentine" is a hard one to do, because, well, it's pretty fucking sad if you think about it, but she really nailed it, I thought, and she looked quite good, confident and a bit stylish. Sorry to say, since she's the clear standout to my eyes and ears, she's gonna have to pretty up and get all brassy to win, but if she keeps delivering like this, she's down to the final round fo' sho. (Holy cats, Paula actually made an insightful comment – what really killed in this performance was her phrasing. Simon calls this the best performance we've seen so far this season, and it's hard to disagree.)
ANTONELLA: Lord God Almighty, I hate this song so much. And, Antonella being Antonella, she delivers a pretty shitty rendition of it; she's not even taking risks like she did last time, and she looks stiff to boot. Since learning her brother is named Vincenzo, I have made up a backstory where she is a Mafia princess whose father is in the Witness Protection Program, and I think about this story and let it hold my attention while she is singing, because it's a lot more fun. (Paula is insane. The only thing Antonella has leaped past is my ability to stay away from the mute button. Hey, look, I'm bitchy like Simon!)
JORDIN: Boy, I dunno what this song is, but it sounds like the "When Will I Be Special?" song that David Cross sang in Hitler: The Musical. This was a competent performance by Jordin – she's got hella chops – but I feel like she can do better and please, please pick a better song. Compared to Melinda and LaKisha, she's more impressive for how good she is this young than how good she is in general. She'll be around for a while, though, no doubt. (Paula says "There is something infectious about you", which probably isn't the best thing to say to a teenage girl.)
STEPHANIE: Another fine performance from Stephanie, who's just got a swell voice and an outstanding delivery; she's also got a pretty amazing look, and advantage she has over Melinda. If she has a flaw, though, it's that she sticks to this sort of soul-jazz style; I wonder if she's ever gonna switch it up and do a belter or a pop tune – that is, a non-Beyonce pop song -- or something like that. Right now, though, she and Melinda are absolutely running away with the show. (Randy says: "You sang your face off.")
LESLIE: Leslie is from Chicago, as was Jennifer Hudson. Unfortunately, Leslie is not really talented as was Jennifer Hudson. I guess I can hope that she gets voted off earlier than she deserves, as did Jennifer Hudson. To be fair, though, she did a much better job this time around than last, and even took a few chances, but Jesus…how to say this without sounding kinda like a hater? If you ain't a belter, don't front like a belter. You gotta sing to your strengths, and this kinda semi-jazz/blues bump and grind is not Leslie's strength by a longshot. I don't think she's in any immediate danger, but she won't last too long. (Simon just called Paula a retard, I think.)
HALEY: Is…is Haley trying to be metal? No? Okay, I must have just drunk too much cold medication. The second performance of the evening where a singer is schooled by her backup singers, which may explain why Melinda is stomping all over everybody. Haley got all red-hot-mama here, which I guess is an improvement over her snorefest last week, but there's still nothing about her that is any different than a hundred other mediocre pop singers. (Randy says he doesn't like the song because there's more backup vocals than leads; Simon, going for the jugular, says "that's why she chose it.")
SABRINA: Deciding to follow my brilliant advice, Sabrina forsook the bluesy shouters and went for a more Whitneyish tune that suits her high, clean voice a lot more. The judges eat this sort of stuff up because it's got all those scaley runs that people have gone apeshit for since 1984 or so, and she's not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but she's also not noteworthy in any way. She'll stick around 'til late if she keeps turning in performances like this, but no way is she gonna win. (I think Paula believes she has to stand up and dance for anyone who goes last.)
Tomorrow night: special guest Kellie Pickler! I assume they mean "special" in the "Special Olympics" sense, because no other application of the word makes any sense when applied to Kellie Pickler.
To recap tonight:
(Hauntingly familiar, eh?)
1. Mariah Carey
(Also pretty much exactly the same, only I hated Gina a tad less and Mariah Carey a tad more.)
I COULD HAVE BEEN PLAYING MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE INSTEAD
I'm running 2-2 in predictions so far. Not stellar. My predictions for tomorrow: Sanjaya and Blake get the boot while the lunkheaded Sundance survives, and also gone are Mariah Carey and Antonella, who are now the most loathsome contestants now that Amy is gone, but Gina inexplicably lives another day.