March 1, 2005

"American Idol" -- the "girls."

It's "girls" night, and I expect to find it less entertaining than last night. But Randy does think they are going to "bring it," so let's see if they do.

Aloha Mischeaux. Wearing a big red flower in her hair and a giant rectangle of red chiffon, she sings a draggy song, one of those meandering, tuneless R&B songs so many of the contestants do. It's an Alicia Keys song. The judges all hate it.

Lindsey Cardinale. I can barely hear her over the band. Seems to be some sort of country song. She does that growly thing with her throat that singers do to seem sexy and emotional, but the effect is phony. The judges all hate it.

Jessica Sierra. She tells us she's a country girl. She's wearing a large swath of blue satin, possibly an actual article of clothing. I hate the song -- something about angels flying, but I think she's singing pretty well. Some good belting, some decent range. The judges all love her. Simon: "amazing."

Mikalah Gordon. This is an incredibly annoying 16-year-old who looks 40, has (apparently) heavily collagened lips, and tries to act as much like TV's "The Nanny" as she possibly can. How long can we put up with that? But you vote for people on this show, not against them, so she may be able to hold on for another week or so. Wow! She sits on a stool, she wears a real article of clothing (a red turtleneck), and she sings a real song: "God Bless the Child." Damn, I like her just for singing a real song! Randy: "I give you mad props, man." Paula: "You nailed it." Simon: "That was just a joy to watch and listen to... You weren't annoying in the slightest, because you're not talking!" Well, somebody gave her some good advice, and she adjusted well.

Celena Rae. More bogus throatiness. Another cheesy country-ish song. I Google a lyric and figure out it's Faith Hill's "When the Lights Go Down." I hate that kind of crap. The judges find her ordinary. Simon: "There's a thin line between being a pop star and singing in a hotel."

Nadia Turner. The coolest looking person who has ever appeared on the show. Amazing, huge hair is just the beginning. She's wearing a short white camisole and a red skirt held up by her pubic bone. And some kind of wacky black and white boots. She sings Paul McCartney: "My Love." She's not really a good enough singer, but we all like her.

Amanda Avila. She attributes her success to "God's timing." She sings "Turn the Beat Around" -- horrendously. She's pretty, but get her out of here!! Painful! I bet the judges tell her she's pretty. Randy: better than last week -- not just a beautiful face. Paula: better than last week. They are not harsh enough. Please, Simon: slam her! "Overall, it was a great performance." Ridiculous!

Janay Castine. She was terrified last week, so what will she do now? She's singing some weird song that reminds me of that "I love to sing-a" cartoon with the frog -- you know? But much less musical. I just can't understand this concept of music. It's somewhere in a realm that is not music. Randy: "That wasn't very good, man.... A little rough." Paula: "It wasn't bad..." Simon: "You're like a little doll who's been programmed to be a pop star.... Right now, I think you're too young."

Carrie Underwood. She accepts being thought of as "farm girl." She sings "Piece of My Heart"! But she starts too low for her range. She dances in that bouncy, wiggly way that does not make me feel anything -- maybe it works for you. My opinion: not enough real feeling. Randy: "It's hard to do Janis Joplin." Get back in your country box! Paula: "That wasn't believable." Get back in your country box! Simon: "We loved you last week. This was reminiscent of what a cover band would do... You lost some star quality." All true! "Oh, you're holding me!" Ryan says when she puts her arm around him. "That's a first this season." Hey, get back in the box! You're the squeaky clean girl!

Vonzell Solomon. She's going last, the mailman girl. So I guess she's going to be good. She's wearing a black sheath and a clunky gold breast plate. Her voice is thin and screetchy. I don't like it! Randy: "Didn't quite make it." Paula: "You were ambitious... you're a fun performer... hold your center together." Simon: "An overcooked performance." Well, I'm glad they broke from the pattern of putting the best person last.

America, feel free to vote off: Aloha, Lindsey, Celena, Amanda, Janay, Carrie. Especially Amanda! But you've got to keep: Jessica and Mikalah. And let's give Nadia and Vonzell some more chances. Tomorrow night, I'm predicting Amanda and Celena are gone.

UPDATE: A reader emails that Carrie really was still in her country box, because Faith Hill had a big hit with "Piece of My Heart," and Carrie was probably doing the Faith Hill version. Another emailer writes to say that Alicia Keys is not herself "meandering and tuneless" when doing that song that Aloha did badly. I assumed so. I think Keys -- whom I haven't listened to much -- has a lovely voice that brings musicality to things that mediocre singers can't find the music in.

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