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American Idol: It’s Ladies’ Night . . .

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Oh yes it’s ladies night
And the feeling’s right
Oh yes it’s ladies night
Oh what a night (oh what a night)

Oh, wait. That was Kool and The Gang. Or the Atomic Kittens. Or Barry Manilow, whatever.

Anyway, was it really Ryan Seacrest who came out and opened American Idol Season Five by intoning, “Ladies First?”

Never mind. It’s show time.

Ryan takes the Shakespearian-in-the-round stage, Randy Jackson predicts it’s a boy’s year on American Idol, and Paula Abdul looks like the long-lost cousin of Morticia on The Addams Family.

But with 38 minutes of show time to cram into two hours, we get right down to business. And what business it is!

First, the highlights.

Mandisa — saying she wants to prove that “sistahs can rock, too” — came out, channeled Annie Wilson, and did exactly that. She lit up her version of Heart‘s “Never” and even lit up Simon Cowell, who pronounced that she had “thrown down the gauntlet” to the other contestants and that he thought she’d make it all the way through.

[ADBLOCKHERE]The irrepressible Paris Bennett — whom Paula charmingly christened “The Little Firecracker” — came out and rode the “Midnight Train to Georgia” all the way to AI glory. With a little Gladys Knight groove on, Paris rocked and talked and blew the house down.

Lisa Tucker, hailing from the birthplace of No Doubt, wrestled with Jennifer Holliday’s “I Am Changing” – and won. Like Jeff Corwin wrestling a three-ton gator, this wasn’t a perfect performance, but it certainly vaulted Ms. Tucker into the top four.

Finally, Katharine McPhee. Katharine McPhee. Katharine McPhee.

Nope. Nothing’s coming to me.

PAGING CHRIS BERMAN: Boomer, dude, this girl needs a nickname and she needs one fast! CALL ME. I MEAN IT. AND DON’T MAKE IT RHYME WITH ME AND BOBBIE McGEE.

Really, people, you can’t be a pop star and be named Katharine McPhee. Or . . . caaaaannnn you?

What was this girl’s mother thinking?

But, okay.

Apart, from the serious pop star stage name deficit, Katharine McPhee was awesome. She owned the stage. Her vocals were mesmerizing. She took a song, “Since I Fell For You,” and made it sassy and brassy and sultry.

The only thing she has to worry about is the fact that, for whatever reason, she may not be hitting a home run in the likeability department. Just a little iffy-ness there, sorry to say. If, however, the likeability thing breaks her way in the weeks ahead, Katharine McPhee will be unstoppable.

So that makes up the idol habit Ladies’ Night Top Four: Mandisa, Paris Bennett, Lisa Tucker and Katharine McPhee.

The two blondnesses — Kelli Pickler and Heather Cox — make up the second tier. I give them both a pass for nerves and extra blondeness. Both girls seem to have the chops to go deep in the competition, but they didn’t bring it tonight. Heather, especially, bombed out. On the other hand, Heather’s voice is so tantalizingly different that she may be able to get her groove on if she gets the chance.

The rest of the group more or less stunk up the joint. Not only did Becky O’Donohue’s vocals sound like a bunch of 55-gallon drums being dragged behind a Ford Super Duty truck, she seemed to transform herself from Beauty to The Beast as she sang.

Okay, that is one purty truck . . .

Becky O’Donohue and Melissa McGhee were the two contestants who sounded even worse in the recaps than when they sang live.

(And check out Brenna’s expression in the background when Kinnik “hit” some of her high notes. Hee hee hee – and Brenna said the claws weren’t out this week. Meow! OTOH, I’ll grant her that some muscle reactions are absolutely involuntary in the presence of audio torture.)

Speaking of Brenna Gethers, I resemble the fact that the judges apparently have concluded that American Idol needs a Mikalah Gordon thingie going on here again. No, one Mikalah was enough, thank you very much.

Kinnik Sky and Ayla Brown were bitten by the over-singing bug and Stevie Scott was bitten by the under-over-inside-out-which-way-is-up singing bug.

But at least Stevie Scott doesn’t need to page Chris Berman. (Now if only Katharine McPhee had been named Stevie Scott, Katharine McPhee would have had it all!!)

Stevie, however, probably does need to page her opera coach, as she’s likely to be needing that spot in the summer theatre group after all. Can’t say who will join her in getting the boot tomorrow night, but it won’t be Mandisa, Paris, Lisa or Katharine McPhee.

Am I right? See you after the show.

*** idolhabit HOME ***

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  • Trinket

    Ah ha! someone else that caught Brenna’s expression! I agree with your top 4 completely!

  • Ty

    “Can’t say who will join her in getting the boot tomorrow night, but it won’t be Mandisa, Paris, Lisa or Katharine McPhee.”

    I wish it was PARIS especially and Mandisa, but we can’t all have our way.

    Then again, you do vote for who you want on, not off, and as game theory and AI seasons past will tell you, that tends to effect everything.

  • -E

    Oh Paris and McPhee are my two faves. And I can’t help but smile from ear to ear and just wanna cry from joy every time I see Paris. She’s stinkin adorable!

  • Sticker

    Hey, Trinket.

    Yep, ole Brenna can’t help herself. Poor thing, though: so obvious Simon was stirring her up simply for the “TV” value, with no idea that she actually can go places in the competition.

    Unfortunately for Brenna, had she not played into the hands of the prods casting about for someone to play the witch, she might not have overshadowed her singing and basically pleasant good looks.

  • I love Katharine!

    I love Katharine and she will be unstoppable. I just went to her fan site at and it seems like she has a billion fans! Go Katharine!