I couldn't sing for my supper. Somewhere between what is playing in my head and what comes out of my mouth, there is a malfunction. I am singing challenged. But I am not musically challenged. As anyone can tell you who has seen me dance, I've got rhythm in a Taylor Hicks way. With piano and band experience, a musical culture that supports musical education and a dad who played an awesome button accordion, I have managed to train my ear to what is musical and what isn't. I know what I like. And last night I LIKED. Not withstanding some minor problems, every one of those girls could have won American Idol in the early years. The array of talent was impressive!
The girls walked out ready to lay it down. They were stepping up and out in their glad rags. Makeup, appropriate jewelry, nice outfits and even tattoos proved that they had given stage presence some thought. I felt, contrary to Simon's opinion, that they "had it going on!"
As in last night's performances, the girls were dedicating their performances to a loved one who had supported or inspired them. It made it emotionally challenging to begin their songs and I kept the tissues nearby.
Gina Glocksen was up first in a gorgeous red dress. If you have to go first, red is the confidence builder. Her boyfriend, Joe, was her rock who pulled her together. She rocked it with a husky voice, singing “Alone.” I did find her high notes a little shrill. Randy, on the other hand, liked the high notes but not the beginning. Paula felt she did an excellent job! Simon felt the song was a good choice but he was confused about her fashion.
Alaina Alexander's mother worked four jobs to support her family, and Alaina's dream is to return the favor. I can relate. She left her mom in tears. In a lovely blue, bare shouldered dress, she entertained us with "Not ready to Make Nice" by The Dixie Chicks. Her expressions suited the song but she was a little pitchy on the chorus. On this one, Randy agreed with me. Paula thought she did well on a hard song but Simon felt that she ran out of steam three quarters of the way through, much like Randy in a 100 meter dash. I am not fond of Alaina's responses to the judges. She always sounds so challenging. They are trying to help you, dear.
Next up, in a hot salmon tunic and short jean skirt, was Lakisha, who dedicated her song to her very outgoing, inspirational grandmother. I loved the look and her voice, especially the ending. My son felt "She Killed,” which, in teenspeak, means awesome. Randy felt she was hot. Paula loved it and her. Simon thought her dancing was interesting but didn't like the outfit. He would like Lakisha to sing more confidently and act like the star she is certain to become. Excuse me Simon, but if she develops an attitude she could turn away fans. We like her the way she is.
The best performance award this week goes to Melinda Doolittle. WOW (And I don't give those out easily)! Singing "My funny Valentine" for her two special "Gails" who help her with vocals and style, Melinda totally impresses. I loved, loved, loved the voice, the purity of the notes, her range, phrasing and volume. It was a flawless, memorable performance. Where can I buy the single? In particular, her professional experience was obvious with the way she phrased the words of the song. Taylor Hicks and Willie Nelson are two other singers who are talented that way. It makes the song theirs and makes it hard for someone else to sing. Randy is excited because he knows "we have a competition". "Melinda set the standards bar tonight." Paula felt the performance was "astounding" and, like me, loved the phrasing. Simon felt the performance was "incredible" and what he really likes is the fact that she is so unaware of just how great she is. Ryan asks Melinda if she was nervous and she replies jokingly: "Naw, piece of cake." I do love that girl and hope we will see her in the finale..
Antonella Barba, looking fresh and young in a blue/green striped dress, tackled Celine Dion's "Because You Love Me" for her brother. She does a nice job, and hits a beautiful high-note that was bell clear. My only complaint was the lack of variety in volume and phrasing. The song became boring. But, of course, she had the unfortunate task of following Melinda. Randy thought she picked the wrong song but that "she was drop dead gorgeous". Paula felt that she had made leaps and bounds from last week. Simon liked her better last week. I am not happy with the way these young girls attack Simon. Cultivate graciousness, please.
Another girl who appreciates her brother's support is Jordin Sparks, and it is obvious she misses him dearly. She looked tall and lovely in a blue dress. She sang Christina Aguilera, and she pulls it off with a beautiful soft ending. She demonstrates great range but is a little shaky on the low notes. She’s also a little breathy at times. Randy thought it was a good song, although pitchy at times. But he is impressed by her ability considering she is only seventeen. Paula thinks Jordin is an infectious, brilliantly talented girl. Simon didn't feel it was her best but that her potential was massive.
Beautiful Stephanie Edwards dedicates her song to her parents, who made her audition. I love Stephanie. In a lovely long gown, and beautifully coiffed, Stephanie amazes us with her ability to hold those power notes. Singing a Beyonce song with more words than the dictionary, she surprises us with a different kind of performance. Randy said she was hot and that she "sang her face off.” Hopefully not! But he felt she was too much like Beyonce. Paula thought her performance was fantastic and brilliant and that so many people are going to love her. Simon agreed with ....Paula! Now there is something you don't see often.
Leslie Hunt sings for her deceased Grandpa who gave her unconditional support. I know from where she comes. Looking so pretty and with a lovely sultry tone and a jazzy style, she sings "It’s a New Day". She throws in some skat, which is not the best I've heard. Randy likes the beginning but found it pitchy. Paula felt it was a "different flavor of ice-cream performance." I understand what she means. Simon felt the skat sounded like Paula talking. He thinks she is good but that she has been "whacked by three or four powerhouses." That's on the money, Simon.
Haley Scarnato dedicates "Queen of the Night" to her fiancé, Bobby, who makes her feel better. She has a younger sound, good movement, except I thought she was smelling her armpit at one point. But she is a very pretty girl! I thought she did a fairly good job. Randy thought she had a good time but didn't like the song. It had more background parts than lead. Paula felt she was leaps and bounds better than last week and showed a lot of personality. Simon gave her an A for effort but thought the performance was a little manic. He felt it was a bad song choice because singers come away looking badly when they try a Whitney song. He feels she is one of the four in danger tonight.
Sabrina throws down "He fills me up" by Whitney Houston for her eighty-six year old glamorous grandmother, who thrives in church. She looks great (I love the hair) and still reminds me of Barbra Streisand, but this week her tone is not bell clear. At times it sounds nasally and shrill. Randy thinks it is nice overall. Paula thinks she is a big contender and I agree. Simon advises her not to confuse power with shouting. He liked her better last week but thinks she will be back.