They tried something different on American Idol last night. At the beginning of the night, a total of 40 contestants remained in the competition: 20 women and 20 men vying for the title of American Idol. Last night, 10 of the women sang for their lives on the show with five of them being sent home before the night ended.
For the most part, I agree with the decisions that the judges made. I called four out of the five ladies moving on correctly. Only one was questionable, not to say that I don't think that she had talent. The last spot for me really came down to personal preference, and looking back on it now, I think the judges made the right call saving Teena Torres and sending Isabelle home.
The other four were a much easier call-- Bree Harrison, a clear standout for the night, Adriana Latonio, the mini powerhouse, Amber Holcomb, who could be a dark horse in this competition, and last but not least, judge's fave Angela Miller who is already singing and writing her own music.
Overall, the night was filled with lots of songs that I didn't know. The ladies did not do a good job of making sure that their song choices related to the audience. I understand that maybe they wanted to impress the judges, but you also want the public to start thinking about supporting you should you advance to the next round.
Songs I had no idea about:
Jenny Beth Willis-- Heaven, Heartache, and The Power of Love by Trisha Yearwood-- This was a stiff performance. I think her inexperience really showed through tonight, and the 17 year old was one of the ones sent home.
Teena Torres-- Soulmate by Natasha Bedingfield-- Although her entire performance complete with hair and outfit was a complete throwback to the 1980's, I think Teena has potential. I actually hope she doesn't lose that tone in her voice, I just want her to seriously think about doing something with her hair and updating her wardrobe. She advanced by the skin of her teeth.
Brandy Hotard-- I Don't Love You Anymore by Travis Tritt-- Sweet young woman, but her performance lacked credibility. I also think it was too heavy of a song for a night like this. This is the first time a lot of us are seeing her and it was all just a bit much.
Two eliminated ladies sang very well known songs, but ruined them by changing them up too much.
Shubba Vedula sang Born This Way by Lady Gaga, and I loved how she started the performance out at the piano. I really thought it was going to go somewhere, and it did, but not where I wanted it to go. She tried to do too much in a few minutes. She should have stayed at the piano, sang her heart and soul out and nailed it.
Kamaria Ousley sang Mr. Know it All by Kelly Clarkson, and it was a train wreck from start to finish. I actually feel badly for this girl because she has the resume to back up the talent, but this performance certainly didn't prove it. It was probably the worst performance of the night.
Now for the goodies!
Kree Harrison did a soul stirring rendition of Up to the Mountain by Patti Griffin; she was my favorite performer of the night. Her performance was so heartfelt and sincere. Nicki was so right when she said that the other ladies in this competition should be scared because this young woman is a force. Mariah Carey, of all people out there, said that Kree sang the hell out of that song. I cannot wait to see her in the Top 10 because if she isn't there, than there's something wrong with the public.
Adriana Latonio has tons of potential, especially considering that she is only 17. She's chock full of maturity, and she proved that by singing Ain't No Way by Aretha Franklin with lots of emotion. My one criticism is that she needs to make sure she isn't performing too "pageanty"; coming off too polished can almost hurt you in a way. The best singers, take Whitney Houston for example, were able to dirty up the performance with their emotion. It's almost like she really needs to get down into the song.
Angela Miller sang Nobody's Perfect by Jessie J., and I love Angela but I don't think this was the song to best showcase her actual abilities. I think anyone who saw her performance last week is still coming down from that, because she is so talented that regardless of the outcome of this competition, she's going to be a star. She's going to have musicians knocking on her door asking her to write and sing songs for them.
Amber Holcomb just impressed the heck out of me taking on My Funny Valentine. The soul was just so present, and she has what Adriana lacks, she got down into the performance, she really felt the lyrics. What was beautiful about this was that blend of toughness and vulnerability.
The semifinalist that could have been:
Isabelle was the girl who finished last night in that tough fifth or sixth place position. She sang God Bless the Child which was a great song choice, I think she just didn't make much of a mark though. She wasn't different enough or unique enough for the judges to be like, "we have originality right here". It's too bad because while her performance wasn't bad, it didn't stand out as phenomenal either.