Saturday , February 24 2024
Pia Toscana separates herself from the pack and emerges as a front runner.

American Idol: The Season of the Female Winner?

Earlier this year, Randy Jackson said that season 10 of American Idol would be a female’s season to lose. Well ladies, you’re not looking too good right now. When the performances weren’t a hot mess, the majority of the song selections were absolute snoozers.

Up first was Ta-Tynisa Wilson who sang Rihanna’s “Only Girl (In The World).” In short, it was awful. I do not understand why a contestant would ever choose a song that is completely auto-tuned. Songs like that are not singer’s songs; They are performance numbers.

AMERICAN IDOL: Top 24: Lauren Alaina performs in front of the judges on AMERICAN IDOL airing Wednesday, March 2 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOXWilson’s vocals were all over the place. I couldn’t believe that Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez told her that it was good. Why would you lie to this girl? As soon as she starts checking the internet for her name, she’s going to find out that it was a train wreck performance.

Following up Wilson was Naima Adedapo, who sang an up-tempo version “Summertime.” It’s definitely a risk to sing the song that season three winner Fantasia basically owns and made her a household name. I didn’t like the musical arrangement at all. It came off way too old-fashioned. Adedapo’s singing was on point, so she definitely has a chance at cracking the Top 12.

Kendra Chantelle sang “Impossible” by Christina Aguilera. “Impossible” is one of my very favorite Christina Aguilera songs, so if you’re going to sing it, you better bring it. Overall, I thought Kendra did a nice job with the song, although the last note she hit wasn’t pretty. Between this performance and her Vegas “Blackbird” duet with Paul McDonald, Kendra has showcased a diverse vocal range. I will be surprised if she doesn’t make it into the finals.

When I first heard that Rachel Zevita was singing “Criminal” by Fiona Apple, I must admit that I was intrigued. The performance that unfolded on stage was not anything I was expecting. I cannot believe what she did to the musical arrangement. Like Randy said, the song was unrecognizable.

I thought Zevita was trying too hard throughout her performance. From the flinging off of her cape to the looks she was giving the camera, I just thought it was too much. Plus, she didn’t have the vocal performance she needed to have to back up all the theatrics. She had too many pitch problems going on.

I really want to like Karen Rodriguez. I think she has a great voice, but I have to question anyone that sings a classic Mariah Carey song, when it’s not a designated “Mariah Carey Week” on Idol. Nothing about that song made her stand out vocally. As I sit here typing right now, all I can clearly remember about her performance was that her dress made her look like the Statue of Liberty. All and all, I thought the performance was pretty boring. Decent vocal, yet nothing spectacular going on.

During the Hollywood round, I admit that I was not blown away by Lauren Turner in the least. I was actually surprised when she made it to the Top 24. I was pleasantly surprised by her semifinal performance of the Jully Black version of Etta James’ “Seven Day Fool.” I think she has some spunk to her, but she really needs to learn to own that stage, as she can be awkward to watch. I thought her she sounded pretty good, but when she goes for the larger notes, she starts sounding like she’s yelling. She definitely will need to watch that if she makes the finals. And I hope she does advance, because this is a contestant that is aware of her vocal range and what songs work with her voice. I hope the voting audience recognized that.

I really love Ashthon Jones’ voice. I’ve been a fan of hers since the Hollywood round of the competition. I thought Monica’s “Love Over Me” was absolutely the wrong song for her to sing. That song was pretty bland sounding. Jones has great stage presence, and I think she should have picked a song that would have shown off her stage persona as well as her voice. She is such an immense talent, but I am worried that she won’t move on, because that song just made her performance forgettable.

Apparently no one showed Julie Zorrilla the American Idol rulebook, where rule number one is: Do not under any circumstances sing any Kelly Clarkson songs in the house that Clarkson built. I totally understand the sentiment of Zorrilla choosing to sing Clarkson’s huge hit, “Breakaway,” but that song did her voice absolutely no favors. That song was in no way, shape, or form in her “wheelhouse,” as Kurt Hummel would say. And on top of that, she botched the lyrics big time. At that point, not even her ballerina ensemble could save her.

I must say that I am slightly disappointed with Haley Reinhart’s performance of Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’.” Reinhart has tried out for Idol how many times now for Idol, yet chose to make her main stage debut with a predictable, boring song. The beginning of the song was nice and controlled, but she seemed almost desperate to show off that she could do vocal runs, when a nice controlled performance would have suited her better.

Up until this point, I have not understood the appeal of Thia Megia. In all her auditions, up until her performance of “Out Here On My Own” from Fame, the tone of her voice has been odd. If she had been singing like she did in the semifinals all along, I think I would be a little more in favor of her advancing to the finals. I did like how she started out the beginning of her performance acapella, however there’s something about her that I am just not sold on. I didn’t care for her song, or the fact that Randy Jackson said she reminded him of a young Michael Jackson. Puh-lease.

One of my surprise favorites of the night was Lauren Alaina. She’s still a little too precocious for my taste, but she’s super talented. I really enjoyed her rendition of Reba McEntire’s “On the Radio.” Some of her stage movements were a tad awkward, but she worked the stage the best she knew how. Her larger notes got a little pitchy, but overall she had a pretty fantastic performance. One aesthetic nitpick, the makeup team needs to tone down the eye makeup on Lauren. She is 16-years-old, she doesn’t need to be made up like she’s going to a club.

My one last nitpick is that she just needs not to talk unless necessary. Granted “Peaches” Seacrest was fairly amusing, it just wasn’t necessary. We get it hun, you’re the producers darling. Sing, get your voting numbers out there, and smile. That’s all you need to do.

Rounding out the night was Pia Toscano singing The Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand By You.” My favorite Idol rendition of this song was Gina Glocksen’s performance during season six, and no one has topped it on the show since, ‘til now. I wasn’t sold on Pia being in the Top 24, because she hadn’t done anything that really stood out to me in the Hollywood and Vegas rounds.

“I’ll Stand By You” seemed like another throw away song choice at first. And just when you thought it was just going to be a basic, boring vocal, she hits this huge glory note. Talk about saving the best for last. Toscano definitely showed that she has the competitive edge necessary for this competition. I thought she did an absolutely amazing job with that song. She took that song by the horns, and then sang the hell out of it. Someone showed up to play ball, and it saved the show from being a huge bust.

I really thought the girls’ downfall was not knowing what song would work with their vocal range and that would also best showcase their voice. Those who move on, the guys included really need to keep that in mind.

Alright Idol fans, what were your thoughts on the performances from the Top 12 girls?

About Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is a writer and editor from the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit her long-running music blog, Wait...WHAT, at Follow Kirsten Coachman on Twitter: @KirsCoachman

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