The countdown is on for the final 16 contestants on this season of American Idol. The top eight girls took the stage last night, two of them for the very last time. And I have to hand it to the ladies this season. They are by miles, so much better than the top eight guys and a couple ladies truly stepped up this week to hopefully make their way into the Top 12.
Katie Stevens kicked off the show with Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway". I seriously take issue with the contestants continuing to sing former Idol's hit songs on the show. I think if they are going to chance it and sing one of their songs, they better be better than the original. Katie was not the exception last night.
The performance was mildly pitchy and completely uninspiring. I feel like her back story (her grandmother has Alzheimer's) may have ran its course. Now that the Idol viewers know that her voice isn't living up to the hype, Katie's livelihood on the show may be just about over as well.
Next up was Siobhan Magnus, who in the past judge Simon Cowell has referred to as "strange" with her performance of "House of the Rising Sun". In an unexpected move, Siobhan opened the song completely a capella.
After the performance, the only judge that seemed to be impressed with Siobhan was Ellen DeGeneres. Simon lamented that she didn't produce a moment like she had the week prior with her big glory note during her performance of Aretha Franklin's "Think". Perhaps Simon wasn't paying attention to the beginning of Siobhan's performance, because it was pretty breathtaking.
Lacey Brown was up next singing "The Story" by Brandi Carlile. It was the right song choice for her and she sang it really well. She's definitely the new dark horse in the competition. I was thrilled with her performance last night, and she could possibly pull off quite the upset come Thursday night. However, I also worry that it may be too little too late for Lacey, due to struggling in the earlier rounds. I hope to see her in the Top 12.
Up next was Katelyn Epperly who sort of bounced through her rendition of Carole King's "I Feel The Earth Move". Katelyn was placed in the middle of the stage on her keyboard, and for me it looked and felt awkward. With songs like that, I feel that she should have maybe thought about not playing an instrument. I think her performance would have been better if she had sang the song and just worked the stage and engaged the audience more. It's a possibility that her performance last night could have hurt her chances to move on in the competition.
Didi Benami sang "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac, which turned out to be her best performance since the Hollywood Week rounds. It was great to see her bounce back this week after a couple train wreck performances in the past couple of weeks. I am not really sure how the odds will play in her favor for Top 12, but if Didi winds up leaving this week, she gets to leave on high note.
I was so disappointed with Paige Miles' performance of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile". From the first note, Paige looked nervous and very emotional. One would think that if you're going to sing a song about smiling, that maybe the performer should throw a smile on their own face. Just a thought there. After her performance last week, I had very high hopes of Paige cracking the Top 12, but last night I felt like she hand delivered her spot to Katie Stevens.
Up next, Crystal Bowersox singing Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason". Yes, the song has been done a couple times during past seasons, notably by season-six winner, Jordin Sparks. Crystal made the song her own, while riffing away on the electric guitar. The audience and the judges just ate it up. There's no doubt in my mind that Crystal will be making the Top 12 Thursday night and I can't wait to see what she brings into the Top 12.
Last, but not least was Lilly Scott singing "I Fall To Pieces" by Patsy Cline. The way Lilly incorporated her jazzy flair was really interesting, and I have to agree with Kara (it doesn't happen often) that she really did make Patsy Cline sound current. And that is going to be key for Lilly if she makes it into the Top 12, because her voice is very original sounding, which may trip her up during the various theme nights.
Overall, this was the best night for the ladies so far this season. I cannot wait for the results on Thursday. But first, the top eight guys perform tonight, so don't forget to tune in tonight to American Idol on FOX.