The guys impressed last night. The ladies were more impressive than I expected tonight.
Pick wisely, voters. Pick wisely, judges. And we could be in for a real treat.
I just wish the semifinals lasted more than one week. Some of the girls were oh-so-close tonight, it seems unfair to determine their fate by a single song.
That said, here’s the recap.
Best of the night: I’m not exactly sure when or how Idol determines who’s going to close the show. But they’ve made great picks two straight nights. Up until Wednesday, I didn’t think Idol had showcased Pia Toscano enough. Tonight they did. The result was a simply beautiful rendition of “I’ll Stand By You.” Forgive me, judges, but I think she — not Lauren Alaina — might be the best female singer in this competition.
Runners-up: Haley Reinhart delivered some sass, delivered some sexy and delivered a great vocal on “Fallin’.” This young woman has that Idol spark. I really, really like her. And I have no idea what Randy was listening to. He wanted “husky.” I thought Haley delivered husky and a whole lot more.
Vocally, I thought Kendra Chantelle shined as well, lending her bluesy tone to “Impossible.” But she sang early in a show featuring 12 singers; sometimes that’s a curse. She also lacks the Haley spark.
Suprise of the night: Poor Julie Zorrilla. She was in trouble from the moment she picked “Breakaway.” If you’re going to sing Kelly Clarkson on Idol, your voice had better soar like Kelly’s. Julie crashed instead. Cross her off my list of ladies who should be in the finals. Shame. She looked like a front-runner after that Vegas duet with Tim Halperin. This is what I mean about judging these singers on one performance.
Worst of the night: If Julie’s failure was a surprise, Rachel Zevita’s was not — at least not to me. Perhaps if she had paid more attention to singing and less to strutting … Well, no, I don’t even think that would have helped. All style, black cape and red dress. No substance.
Deserves to go home: Besides Julie and Rachel, I’d put Ta-tynisa Wilson here. Idol portrayed her as inconsistent. They gave her the honor of opening tonight’s show. Which, of course, is no honor at all. And she did nothing to stand out, a curse when you’re singing first.
Please keep them: Lauren Alaina’s performance was a lot of fun, but I didn’t enjoy the singing/shouting as much as the judges. Clearly, they want this teen in the finals. I do, too. If no for other reason than the finals need a mix of singers, and a country gal most of all. Besides, this country gal can sing far better than she demonstrated tonight, and she still got one of the better grades.
Ashthon Jones annoyed me with all the sucking up and preening after her performance. During the performance, she proved once again she belongs in the finals. But, Ashthon, enough ballads. Show us your “Salsa, Salsa” fun side, and I bet the folks at home will like you even better.
Judges’ line of the night: Randy Jackson to Rachel: “I didn’t know who that was. I didn’t even half recognize the Fiona Apple song ‘Criminal.’ It just didn’t work.” Wow! From Randy, that is harsh criticism. As harsh as it comes.
Baffled by the judges: Honestly, I didn’t get the rave reviews for Karen Rodriguez or Thia Megia. Karen because, quite frankly, I didn’t think the vocals were very good. Thia because, quite frankly, it was a sleepy performance on a night when others showed they’re capable of singing well and being very entertaining in the process.
Pick five: If you’ve been following along, I just did. Based on everything I’ve heard to date, I’d want — in this order — Pia Toscano, Haley Reinhart, Lauren Alaina, Ashthon Jones and Kendra Chantelle in the finals.
But if Kendra got nosed out by Naima Adedapo or Lauren Turner, I wouldn’t be too disappointed. Naima, in particular, looks like she could bring musical diversity to the show.
Prediction for Thursday: Pia and Laurne Alaina should breeze. I’m hoping Haley is voted in because I don’t think she’ll be a wild card pick. Kendra, I fear, will miss out. Karen Rodriguez, I fear, will get an undeserved wild card vote from Jennifer Lopez.
If you missed the live, song by song blog, go here.
If you missed my recap of the guys’ semifinals, go here.
Tomorrow night, live blogging as our Season 10 finalists are revealed.
I’ve got my fingers crossed. This could be special.
The song-by-song grades
Pia Toscano: “I’ll Stand By You” — A-
Haley Reinhart: “Fallin’” — B+
Kendra Chantelle: “Impossible” — B+
Ashthon Jones: “Love All Over Me” — B
Lauren Alaina: “Turn on the Radio” — B
Naima Adedapo: “Summertime” — B-
Lauren Turner: “Seven Day Fool” — B-
Thia Megia: “Out Here on My Own” — B-
Tatynisa Wilson: “Only Girl” — C-
Karen Rodriguez: “Hero” — C-
Julie Zorrilla: “Breakaway” — D
Rachel Zevita: “Criminal” — D