American Idol: Top Ten Women Perform

michelle-delamor_320Like the men the night before, the Top Ten women performed last night and there were marked improvements. It was very nearly two hours of nearly enjoyable TV listening. Of course, there are still a couple of standout performers, and I use that term loosely, who really have no business being on the Idol stage, but for the most part, it was a good, solid night of performances.

I’m happy to say that Crystal Bowersox was healthy enough to participate. The day before, Crystal suffered a “medical emergency” that landed her in the hospital overnight. That was actually the reason for the swicheroo between the men and woman on Tuesday and Wednesday.

For a while yesterday, it was touch and go. It had gotten so serious that at one point in the day Executive Producer Simon Fuller went on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show to discuss the possibility of her disqualification and subsequent elimination of only one female contestant. Fortunately, it never got to that point. Crystal went on and sang great. She wasn’t the best of the night, but she was damn close.

Lilly Scott – You want different? The judges want different? Lilly is definitely that, and damn good, to boot. Last week she sang the Beatles’ Fixin’ a Hole, and she gave it a very cool, modern vibe. Last night she went retro yet again and sang Sam Cooke’s 1964 hit, A Change Is Gonna Come. Kara tells her “She just had her first moment in this competition.” And Ellen tells her, “I don’t know what “It” is, but you have it”. My only fear is the risk of her getting voted out by the knuckleheads who just don’t get it. PAY ATTENTION PEOPLE: LILLY SCOTT IS ONE OF THE BEST TALENTS IN THIS COMPETITION.

Crystal Bowersox – Coming off what is being called a “major illness”, Crystal took the stage like a pro and rocked CCR’s As Long As I Can See The Light. In what is quickly becoming typical Crystal fashion, and what we are coming to expect from her, she was strong and confident. You just can’t help but think of Janis Joplin watching her, and that is a compliment in every way possible. Crystal remains a front-runner in this competition and the one to beat.

Katie Stevens – For the second week in a row, Katie gave a rock-solid performance. Last week she sang Michael Buble’s Feelin’ Good. This week, Katie (sort of) took the judges’ suggestions to try and sing something more age-appropriate and sang Corrine Bailey Rae’s ballad, Put Your Records On. My assertion, that neither my wife nor my daughter agreed with, was that Put Your Records On is strangely similar in style to a Buble’ song. I still think Katie has the rich, clear voice that is perfect for those songs. But, she needs to “pop” it up a bit next week, without going all bubblegummy on us. Tough to do. I’m thinking, maybe some Christina Aguilera or Katy Perry.

Siobhan Magnus – Whoa! So, you wanna take on Aretha? OK, let’s see what you got. OK, the girl really can sing. Siobhan has improved every week from her audition to Hollywood Week to last week to last night. She tackled Aretha Franklin’s Think like it was nothing, and she hit the glory note at the end with serious precision. If truth be told, I thought it was screechy the first time I heard it, but when I heard it the second time, it sounded much better. There were points in the beginning of the song where she seemed a little unsure of where she was going, but let me tell you, this is a girl to be reckoned with.

Katelyn Epperly – Full Disclosure: I dislike Coldplay, a lot. That aside, Katelyn sang The Scientist beautifully, sitting at a white grand piano. And who knew she could play like that? The one major flaw: it was way too slow. It was so slow, in fact, that it almost put Ellen in a coma. She thought Katelyn was playing a guitar up there. On the bright side, she did show us some new talents and just how rich her voice really is.

Paige Miles – In all fairness, for me, Paige is really on the fence between Good and OK. Her voice is one of the best in the competition, but sadly, she continues to make poor song choices that don’t showcase it. Last night, she chose Kelly Clarkson’s Walk Away, which was written by Kara DioGuardio. Kara slammed her for smiling too much while she was singing it, telling her that she should have been angrier while she was singing it, because she was in a bad place when she wrote it. OK, that’s interesting. Anyway, this girl can sing. I just wish she would improve her song selections and show us.

Lacey Brown – Last week, Lacey sang a very lackluster, boring version of Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide. She listened to the judges’ critiques and came back this week with Sixpence None the Richer’s Kiss Me. Well, it didn’t suck. She clearly enjoyed herself and had a good time walking around the stage singing it. And, she has a similar voice to Sixpence’s Leigh Nash, but nowhere nearly as strong. But, she still pulled it off just enough to probably keep her in for another week to give her another chance.

Michelle Delamore – Yet another girl with a very good voice who insists on making very poor song choices. You know, if the judges (or someone) helped the contestants pick out the right songs that best suited their vocal abilities, we’d have an amazing competition. In a very interesting twist, Michelle sang Creed’s Arms Wide Open. It was unexpected and it was different. That’s not to say it was good. I’m not ready to say that she destroyed the song, but she could have picked something better.

Didi Benami – And speaking of making poor song choices, here we go again. Didi is another one, like so many before her, who has a very different, very good voice, that would greatly benefit from singing the right song. Last night’s choice of Bill Wither’s classic, Lean On Me, was not it. She sounded meek and afraid, like she really didn’t want her brother to lean on her at all, but she was offering anyway. Not that I want to pigeonhole her, but she needs to sing some Carly Simon, or Carole King, at least until she gets some of her confidence back. She would have done very nicely singing Put Your Records On instead of Katie earlier. She actually has the perfect voice for that song.

Haely Vaughn – OK. I don’t even know where to begin. Yeah, I know she’s only 16, but she’s awful. Last week, she destroyed The Beatles’ I Wanna Hold Your Hand, and last night she butchered Miley Cyrus’ The Climb. Now, I am not a Miley Cyrus fan by any stretch of the imagination, but what Haely did to that song last night was just criminal. Simon hit it on the head when he called it a complete and utter mess. She was all over the place with it. She couldn’t find her pitch with a GPS. Dude, the girl has got to go!!! If she isn’t voted out tonight, the FCC needs to launch an investigation into American Idol’s voting practices. And here’s a question: If Kara said that she needs another year to strengthen her instrument, why the hell did they put her through and leave poor Angela Martin at home? Someone, please, answer that question.