'American Idol' Top 25: Females Fizzle at Semi-Finals
Ladies, you've got some catching up to do.
The Top 12 female semi-finalists of "American Idol" took their turn onstage Wednesday night (Feb. 29), after the show's male contestants crooned for votes the night before. While the guys were by no means immensely impressive, they're looking like bona fide stars compared to some of the girls' performances.
In a season which features 13 males who (for the most part) have distinctive personalities and voices, the 12 remaining females seem to be struggling to find their voice -- that is, unless your name is Skylar or Jessica.
As with the guys' episode, I present to you my assessments of each contestant's current standing, from those who are shoo-ins for the next round to those who are looking to recapture the magic that got them to the live shows in the first place.
Will Move On:
Skylar Laine - "Stay With Me"
Did you watch last season and wish Lauren Alaina had a little more of an edge to her? Then Skylar's your girl. The country starlet, a mix of "Reba and Kelly" according to Randy Jackson, really went for it with Faces' "Stay With Me," a song ripe for country-styled interpretation. Not only should she have the country vote -- she was also far and away the best vocalist of the evening.
Jessica Sanchez - "Love You I Do"
I thought Jessica might have the most raw potential after her showing in the previous rounds, and I wasn't disappointed last night. Behind her voice was some definite swagger, the mark of a true performer, even one still developing. Like Joshua Ledet last night, Jessica went the J-Hud route with "Love You I Do," and it should pay off big time for the young singer.
Should Move On:
Shannon Magrane - "Go Light Your World"
Shannon's vocal on "Go Light Your World" wasn't extraordinary, but it was solid -- and on a night like tonight, solid does it. We've seen Shannon sing her heart out in the past, and she's sure to have much more in her than the ensuing rounds if she's put through. She certainly stood out, so I can't see her going home Thursday.
Hollie Cavanagh - "Reflection"
Hollie was another contestant whose star didn't shine like we know it has the potential to. Her take on Christina Aguilera's "Reflection" was, again, solid, but it lacked the star power one might expect from an Aguilera ballad. She'll make it to the next round either through voting or the wild card.
Erika Van Pelt - "What About Love"
"Idol" Wednesday night was a smorgasbord of safe performances, and Erika Van Pelt might take the cake in that category. Heart's "What About Love" is a standard "Idol" power ballad, and Van Pelt sang it to its fullest potential, but there seemed to be some restrain in her voice, as though she can ggo even bigger. If that's the case, I'd love to see it. Please keep her around, America/judges!
Elise Testone - "One and Only"
Two singers sang the exact same Adele song during the show. Elise got the upper hand on this one, because she actually seemed to feel the song she was singing. Male contestant Eben Franckewitz (who sang "Set Fire to the Rain" on Tuesday) and the other female contestant (Jen Hirsh, who we'll touch upon shortly) lacked a connection to the tune, but Elise belted it out with an impassioned edge to her voice. She could be this year's Haley Reinhart.
Shouldn't, But Have a Shot:
Jen Hirsh - "One and Only"
The aforementioned "other girl" who sang Adele's "One and Only"? Here she is. Jen established herself as a frontrunner on the girls' side early on, but her star seems to be fading. She's a talented vocalist, but it's hard not to compare her performance with Elise's. Jen just seemed to lack emotional connection to the song to make it work. But Jen's been strong all season, so she's got a chance with the fan vote, or even the wild card.
Hallie Day - "Feeling Good"
Hallie's another contestant who went with an extremely safe song choice -- in her case, "Feeling Good," an "Idol" staple. Hallie unfortunately lacked any sort of stage presence, and her performance was altogether forgettable by the end of the evening, which is saying something given last night's altogether yawn-worthy renditions. The judges seem to really like Hallie, and she's known to have a strong voice, so she may not be out just yet.
Chelsea Sorrell - "Cowboy Casanova"
Chelsea might have won the country vote by default had it not been for Skylar Laine's outstanding performance. Chelsea's take on "Idol" alum Carrie Underwood's "Cowboy Casanova" was decent, but incomparable to the original. She's certainly got the genre's accent down, though -- and it's the little victories that count, right? She could go through if "Idol" voters are looking for multiple female country crooners.
Brielle Von Hugel - "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay"
I was left second-guessing myself once the show went to commercial break after Brielle's performance, because while I saw nothing special, the judges thought differently -- "You actually can really sing," said Randy, "and tonight, you surprised me." Her version of the Otis Redding staple wasn't awful, but if her performance was considered good, it speaks volumes about the state of female contestants on "Idol" season 11.
Won't Move On:
Haley Johnsen - "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"
I just don't think you come back from a performance like this one. Haley decided to show off her alto register with the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," and while pitchy here and there, things were going fine at first -- until she changed to a higher octave. If Haley does stick around, she'll either need to work on avoiding pitchiness on her higher register, or she'll have to stick to singing songs more in her range.
Baylie Brown - "Amazed"
If it weren't for Eben Franckewitz, I'd probably label this the worst performance of the two nights. Baylie's proven herself to be a decent singer, but she didn't show it on Lonestar's "Amazed." Plus, compared to Skylar and even Chelsea, she's just "diet country." They're her biggest competitors here, and they outshined her tremendously. It's not looking good, unless she can muster up some fan support.
Who ruled and who drooled Wednesday night? Is the group of female semi-finalists altogether weaker than the males? Let us know in the comments, and watch "Idol" tonight at 8 p.m. on FOX to find out who made it into the Top 13.