When Janell Wheeler auditioned in her hometown, Simon wasn't as in love with her as the other judges were. Janell's goal in Hollywood was to win over Simon, and she did it with her acoustic guitar and reworking of Estelle's "American Boy." However, Janell decided not to bring out the guitar and rearrange a song tonight. Instead, she belted out "What About Love" by Heart. Since Janell thrives more with being creative than she does with singing her Heart out (excuse the pun), the judges encouraged her to go down that route next week.
Lilly Scott never anticipated trying out for the show, but when Idol came to her hometown she decided to give it a try and hasn't looked back since. The quirky songbird took on The Beatles "Fixing A Hole," and showed why it was a good thing she auditioned. The judges appreciate that she knows who she is and said that she would be remembered. Lilly stood next to Ryan and said "I don't want to make you feel short," and Ryan said, "Don't worry, I've been feeling that way my whole life." Perhaps he'll interview Lilly from atop the stairs next week.
Katelyn Epperly can't believe she's here and feels like it's all a dream. She better believe it because her performance of "Oh Darling" will probably keep her around another week in the competition. Ellen and Simon like her personality, and Randy and Kara noticed that Katelyn really knows her voice and pays attention to tone. The big question is whether or not Katelyn will be wearing red lipstick again next week.
Sixteen year old Haeley Vaughn got her nose pierced for making it to Hollywood Week. Pierced noses seem to be a trend among the contestants this year. I could never join in on that trend because of my fear of needles and because I can't figure out the nose blowing logistics of it all. Haeley gave a shout out to "Poudre," which I thought was the name of her high school mascot, but it's actually the name of her school. She sang and strummed a red guitar (a shout out to Kris Allen?) to "I Want To Hold Your Hand." Although Haeley is ridiculously adorable, she had some trouble with the higher notes that she sang.
Lacey Brown lost out to Megan Joy for a seat in the Top 36 last season. They're both a little bit quirky (okay, Megan Joy is a lot quirky). Lacey has beautiful eyes, but the judges didn't think her performance was that beautiful. Props to Lacey for remaining composed on stage.
We haven't heard much from Michelle Delamor who Ryan jokes, "Has more jobs than me." The Corporate Singer/Sales Associate/Children's Choir Leader has an enthusiastic family who started conga trains during Hollywood. Awesome. She chose to sing "Fallin'" by Alicia Keys which makes me nervous because people always sing that on this show and they rarely do it justice. Michelle actually did a great job with the song, but the judges want her to do something a little different next time. Michelle reminds me of the girls on the first few seasons of Idol that could really sing well, but over the past several seasons, the show has started a trend of original contestants.
Didi Benami's defining moment in Hollywood was a terrifying one -- when she sang "Terrified" for Kara DioGuardi. She says she's going to try not to get teary eyed again, but as she said that, she fought back tears. Didi sang "The Way I Am" by Ingrid Michaelson and she did a great job with it, but just like they told Michelle, the judges want to see Didi be more unique.
Siobhan Magnus is an unassuming glassblowing apprentice, but when she gets on stage she transforms. She sang Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" with her strong, deep voice that captivated the judges. The most endearing part of it all is that Siobhan didn't know what "a dark horse" was. When Ryan greeted Siobhan he made a joke about Randy saying that she can blow, because she's a glass blower, and crickets chirped in the room. Next!
Crystal Bowersox isn't sure if this is the right platform for the type of musician she is, but her young son has inspired her. She sang "Hand In My Pocket" while playing the harmonica and guitar. That's a wow factor. It reminds me of Bert's one-man-band in "Mary Poppins." The judges like that she's a fresh, original artist, but they encouraged her to stray away from being a sound-a-like. Ryan offered to be Crystal's assistant and hold her instruments, but the last thing he needs is another job.
Middlebury's Katie Stevens closed the night. She's 17 but she likes to pick old songs. Fortunately, she sings them well. She sang "Feeling Good" which is technically an old Rat Pack song (remember when Adam Lambert sang it?) but she sang the Michael Buble version of the hit. I can't tell the difference, but I can tell that Katie feels comfortable performing. The judges appreciate her raw natural talent, but as Randy put it, she needs to "Young it up."
Although it would be nice to see all of the girls stick around for another week and see how they do when they're less nervous, two must go home. Who will it be?