JACKIE TOHN. Any incipient prurient interest I had in Ms. Tohn was decimated like a failed Roman legion by her bizarre “Olive Oyl in leather pants” ensemble. Her performance wasn’t great, either – she was all over the place tonally – but given what would come later, it might be good enough to get her through. Rocker chicks usually last pretty far in, but please God, no more of that outfit.
RICKY BRADDY. Ricky, who I had pegged as the most hopeless case of all the guys, actually surprised me by turning in a pretty great vocal performance, at least insofar as his actual voice goes. He’s still seriously lacking in charisma and identity, which is what the ever-wise Simon zeroed in on. I have to admit he’s better than I thought, but still not good enough to win.
ALEXIS GRACE. Another big surprise – Alexis was something of a cipher who seemed like she barely scraped through the previous round, but she looked and sounded great this time out, having actually taken the judges’ advice to grime it up a bit. In a normal year she wouldn’t be a standout, but it’s a bad crop of women this time out, so even Simon Cowell gave her some dap. She’ll move on, I think.
BRENT KEITH. Brent rather cynically took what is likely to be his only featured performance on the show to sing a retarded populist country song, and when the judges pointed out that he came across like a spoiled ham, he got all defensive and said, well, this is the kind of artist I’m going to be. No, Brent, the kind of artist you’re going to be is the kind that can’t get a record contract.
STEVIE WRIGHT. Stevie was just abysmal. I mean, it wasn’t just a failure of look, moves, song choice, or anything like that – she actually could not sing. She was off key for at least half of what isn’t even a particularly hard song. I kinda like how her mom got all bitchy at the judges – look, maternal pride is one thing, but it’s their job to spell out what a fuckup your daughter really is. One of the worst ever.
ANOOP DESAI. Anoop has been a favorite of mine right out of the gate, but he was a bit of a letdown tonight. His song choice was bad (no matter how meaningful it is to him, it doesn’t really fit his vocal style and delivery) and he wasn’t as charismatic as usual. Still, I think he’s solid enough to get through, and people like him enough to vote him a second chance. Plus, his parents were totally charming.
CASEY CARLSON. I don’t know why all the dudes think Casey is so hot – she’s perfectly plain-looking – and I won’t need to know after this round, because she’s doomed. This was the worst performance this side of Stevie Wright, and maybe even worse than that because of the grotesque stage business she was doing. Casey Carlson made drunk Paula cry, and that’s only slightly easy to do.
MICHAEL SARVER. Mr. Oil Rig Man delivered his song the way Brent Keith wishes he had, and considering that he’s a lumbering lard-ass, he didn’t hulk around on stage the way I thought he might, so last night has to be considered a victory for him. Still, he just isn’t the strongest singer in the bunch; he might stick around because so many people done fucked up, but he’ll need the special pleading he got from Simon.
ANNE MARIE BOSKOVITCH. Instead of going with the Rocker Chick Minor League persona she cultivated in Hollywood, Anne Marie instead chose to do a soul-belter vibe, for which her pipes are entirely unsuited. She was more bland than she was terrible, and she won points for her (perhaps unintentionally) bitchy dig at Kara, but I would be a bit surprised if she made it any further than this round.
STEPHEN FOWLER. I keep hoping for great things out of this guy, because he’s got a great voice, but he keeps completely disappointing me. After his weeded-out double forgetting of the lyrics in Hollywood, now he oversings a Michael Jackson song and botches a couple of the top-notes. He’s not gonna stick around long enough to show us what he’s capable of, and that’s entirely his fault.
TATIANA DEL TORO. Tatiana tried to downplay her crazy, or maybe she’s just on Xanax, but it crept through before her performance, during the “I believe in marketing” speech to the judges, and her creepy plea to America during the voting info bit. As for her voice, it was adequate if unspectacular, and she should stick around unless she stays on the medication that quells the reason she’s on the show.
DANNY GOKEY. The anti-Danny backlash has begun, and I can’t really imagine why – he seems the same now as when he started and everybody loved him. His voice is great, his personality hasn’t changed, his wife is still dead; is it just that Jamar isn’t around anymore to act as his foil? Whatever the case, I still think he’s a major talent and I hope people stop the hatin’. He’s pretty much a shoe-in for R2.
Predictions: I can't remember if they're KEEPING three each round, or DUMPING three -- I know they changed the rules. If it's the former, Alexis, Anoop and Danny move on; Tatiana, Jackie and Michael are remote possibilities. If it's the latter, I'd guess that Stevie, Casey and Anne Marie are doomed, with an outside chance of Ricky and Stephen being gone.