American Idol Journal – Another night of games

This evening the ladies competed for your votes. After last night I fully expected the judges to give nothing but rave reviews.  Part way into the night they admitted to being soft on the men… ya think?  They weren’t easy on the ladies and I discovered I’m still out of sync with them for the most part.


Chelsea Sorrell took the stage first, her performance set the tone for the rest of the night I think.  It was fun and solid by all accounts.  The judges seem to be in a different mood this evening, instead of fawning over her they mostly had criticisms for her.  She sang a tune originally done by Carrie Underwood, Randy Jackson thought that was a mistake… I disagree with Randy.  The song suited her; I think she’ll get votes from this performance.


Erika Van Pelt sang the power ballad, What About Love.  She’s a DJ and I think does lots of karaoke DJ’ing too.  She has a powerful voice, that much is clear, I also think her performance was a bit ‘karaoke’ too.  The judges weren’t totally flattering again.  Must be something in the air, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the singers tonight.


Jennifer Hirsh sang an Adele ballad.  She worked the stage nicely and I didn’t detect any challenges in her delivery until the very end of her song.  By then she’d won the crowd.  Niffer liked what she heard, Steven considered her confident and heard the same struggle at the end as I did.  Randy was positive too.  Although it was a good performance I was less impressed with her than the judges, I didn’t see the  spark.


Brielle Von Hugel sang Sittin’ On The Dock of the Bay.  She tried to be sultry, even her choice of clothes was going for sultry.  Not an easy match of song , clothing or energy for me.  Steven liked her, in fact he raved about her.  Niffer gave her high marks too.  Randy thought the start was questionable and then said she hit her groove by the middle of the song.  Again, I’m out of sync with the judges because I didn’t like it as a performance.


Hallie Day sang a jazz tune,  I’m Feeling Good.  I recently heard a version of this song performed by Michael Buble and Hallie sang it at least as well!  She brought her A-Game to this stage tonight.   I wish Randy (and the other judges) would stop asking the contestants what kind of artist they want to be… frankly they be whatever type of artist that will make them successful.  Also, many of them can sing about any style they choose, so what’s the rush to define themselves now.


Skylar Laine sang Stay With Me.  She’s an exciting performer and had a command of the stage.  The only challenge for her this season is that a number of other ladies have a very similar styling.  The judges liked her too.  She’s just the third contestant tonight that I really liked.


Baylie Brown is from Texas, she wants you to know that.  She sang Lone Star’s version of Amazed.  What’s to hate about a blonde in a red dress singing country music… except she sang off key in the middle of her song.  A bit of buzz kill if I’m being fair.  Steven and Niffer and Randy weren’t  impressed but were actually very nice about it.  Not sure Baylie has a future on the Idol stage after tonight.


Hollie Cavenagh is one of the younger ladies this year, she sang Reflection.  I think she struggled in the beginning but seemed to find her solid ground as the song progressed, until the last vocal run where she went sadly flat.  I don’t know what Niffer and Steven were listening too, honestly, they thought the performance was stellar.  Randy conceded that her performance wasn’t perfect to which I must agree. She may sneak through, we’ll see.


Haley Johnsen from Portland sang next.  She’s typical Northwest talent, singing Sweet Dreams by Annie Lennox.  Niffer didn’t like her version but Steven thought she pulled it through. Randy thought it was a nightmare.  I wouldn’t say it was nightmare-ish exactly but … ouch!  On the whole it continues to confirm to me that the men are much stronger again this season than the ladies.


Shannon Magrane is one of the youngest talents on the show this year for the ladies, singing a Kathy Troccoli song tonight. I’m not sure if she’s going to be able to compete with the men.  As a 16 year old she’s impressive but not up to the level of the competition.  Hers was not a perfect outing but the judges tried to be encouraging.  I don’t think we’ll see her again on the stage after tonight.


Jessica Sanchez is 16 too.  Tonight they did a preemptive interview with her, explaining in advance that she has a problem with her voice.  Her low notes were pretty tough and pitchy, however when she hit her power notes I didn’t hear any problem. She’s one of the better singers and I think she’s going to make the final cut.  The judges gave her a standing ovation; I think that was over the top.  I came away with the feeling they were going for the sympathy vote, you know, priming the pump as it were, given her strained vocal chords.  I wish they could hide their bias’s better.


Elise Testone is singing an Adele tune from the piano. I like her throaty vocal style, the song selection was perfect for her.  I don’t have much to say about her other than I really like it.  The judges did too.  During the performance Steven seemed moved, Niffer glowed about her, Randy rubber stamped what the other two said.  Niffer said she was likely the best vocalist this year, men or women.  I’m not sure Niffer is listening to the men.


My picks for the five ladies going through directly to the main event are, Chelsea Sorrell, Hallie Day, Skylar Laine, Jessica Sanchez and Elise Testone.  The suspense will be over tomorrow night.