Idolator’s American Idolatry: The Ladies Step Up Their Game

Feb 22nd, 2007 // 16 Comments

bradybunch.jpgWelcome to Idolator’s American Idolatry, our episode-by-episode breakdown of the American Idol‘s popstar-coronation process. Last night’s installment featured performances by the 12 female finalists (above), and their song selections had an Aretha/Celine quotient of nearly 50% (counting Gina Glocksen’s “All By Myself”). Overall, though, the night was strong, and from the judges’ post-performance comments, you’d think that none of the men last night could carry a tune at all.

THE HIGHLIGHTS: Last night opened with a fiery performance of Prince’s “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore?” by Stephanie Edwards that only lost its way on its final note. While that was followed up by two flat outings–including a rendition of “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman” from Leslie Hunt that somehow managed to incorporate yarling–Sabrina Sloan’s “I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You” gave the show a much-needed bounce-back. Idolator favorite Melinda Doolittle also took on Aretha, barnstorming her way through “Since You Been Gone,” and Lakisha Jones closed out the night with a fierce version of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” that had Simon declaring the competition was over.

CALL THE FASHION POLICE: Poor Haley Scarnato–not only did her version of Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” get likened to a late-night hotel ballroom performance, someone decided to dress her in a too-baggy version of the outfit Madonna wore in “Papa Don’t Preach.”

SOMEONE WATCHED LOST IN TRANSLATION ON HER HOTEL’S PAY-PER-VIEW: What was Mariah Carey lookalike Alaina Alexander thinking when she picked “Brass In Pocket” as her song for the evening, and why didn’t she at least wear a pink wig in order to clue the audience in on the fact that she was basically out to recreate Scarlett Johansson’s Tokyo-karaoke performance? Note: Those sorts of ideas work out a lot better when everyone’s drunk on sake and it’s 2 a.m.

ANTONELLAWATCH: Not only did Antonella Barba’s grueling version of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” inspire groans in the flophouse, her “scandalous” photos were touted heavily in ads for our Fox affiliate’s post-Idol “newscast.” (According to the Broadcasting & Cable blog, though, the segment on the pictures didn’t turn up until 10:45–and the pictures themselves weren’t shown because of “technical difficulties.” Hmmm.) We’re thinking, though, that her hot-girl factor, a grass-roots effort by Vote For The Worst, and the not-as-bad performances of not-as-conventionally-pretty candidates might save her for at least another week.

WHO WE VOTED FOR: Doolittle and Sloan.

WHO AMERICA WILL PROBABLY CUT: Amy Krebs, who looked like she got lost on the way to a 10th-grade formal in 1996, and sounded even more confused; Nicole Tranquillo, whose histrionic performance of Chaka Khan’s “Stay” was at turns unintelligible and screamy. (The Idol prognosticators at DialIdol.com currently have Krebs and Alexander at the bottom.)

PAULA ABDUL OUT-OF-IT SCALE: 4/10; there were a few points where she looked as if she was about to fall asleep face-down on the table, but it was an understandable reaction in at least two of the cases.

Tomorrow: The first four cuts! Fantasia! And, we’re guessing, some sort of awkward tie-in to the series finale of The O.C.!

American Idol [americanidol.com]
Earlier: Idolator’s American Idolatry archives

  1. Rory B. Bellows

    I guess I am the only one that really liked Alexander’s performance. I also hated Sloan’s. I found her boring.

  2. chrisb

    I found it ironic that the judges like to berate contestants for not performing a song and “making it their own,” yet when Lakisha Jones sang a note-for-note exact replica of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” they heaped praise upon her.

  3. brasstax

    I want to like Leslie Hunt and I’m going to cut her some slack for a week or two, but she’d better step up soon.

    But Simon was right… Lakisha Jones was, at least last night, so far removed from the 23 other contestants performance-wise that they could’ve all flown home.

  4. KurticusMaximus

    Wow. Antonella Barba definitely goes to my school, and definitely lived a floor below me in the dorm one year. I knew she wasn’t exactly Miss Morality, but wow.

    And apparently I’m missing out on some ridiculous parties.

  5. Chris Molanphy

    I liked Tranquillo’s Chaka reading, and I thought the song was a ballsy choice. (cf. Kellie Pickler: “What’s a ballsy?”)

    I can’t believe I’m about to say this because I’ve been a hater for so long, but Paula was not only fairly cogent last night but often useful. She seems to be finding (after five friggin’ seasons) a way to make her comments relevant: as the judges’ institutional memory. She almost always remembers the contestants’ audition performance and works it into her comment. She actually nailed Scarnato for doing the same song she’d done in her audition again, something neither Jackson or Cowell seemed to notice or acknowledge.

    I’ve detested Paula during the seasons I’ve watched (we literally used to do a single TiVo 30-second skip over her to get from Randy to Simon). But honestly, if she lays off the sauce or the goofballs or whatever she was laying off last night and continues using her one skill – a long memory - she could be…well, still the worst judge, but at least not pointless/grating.

  6. Hamm Beerger

    Does anyone remember how accurate DialIdol was at this time last year? Their website isn’t showing historical results at the moment. I know they were right on towards the end, but I’m thinking they’ll miss a couple each week until the final 12.

  7. futurewomen

    Barba was easily the worst of the night.

    Paula was useful last night? Are you kidding?

    I guess you missed her shrugging and “uhh-ing” after all the terrible performances… only to offer up: “You’re a beautiful person! You look great!”


    And, yeah. Jones is in a league of her own.

  8. DeeJayQueue

    what’s really a shame is that there are way more talented girls than boys and they’re going to end up sending some of them home because of the stupid b’grl rules rather than because they can’t sing.

    I think if you got rid of the white girls trying to sing aretha franklin songs (which was about half of them) that would be a pretty good paring down.

  9. brasstax

    The Boy/Girl rule went into effect in which season? I hear you, though. Don’t like it.

  10. Maura Johnston

    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing about the gender split.

  11. MTS

    Well, the University of the Arts Alumni Association has finally reached out to me — they want me to vote for Nicole.

  12. Chris Molanphy

    @futurewomen: I agree that her “you look so pretty” shit is virtually useless, other than the old motherly if-you-can’t-say-something-nice… edict. But it doesn’t obliterate the moments where she was useful. Not just remembering auditions and making comparisons, but actually backing up Randy on his harsher criticisms, so that the singer wouldn’t get away with thinking, Well that’s just Randy calling me “pitchy” – he always says that.

    Let me put it another way: Paula is so nice-nice and mamby-pamby all the time that she’s actually a useful contra-indicator: If she criticizes you, you know you’ve dumped it. I have a feeling this is why the show producers have put up with her all these years – she’s histrionic and clearly insane. But if Randy’s negative 50% of the time and Simon 85% of the time, her 15%-of-the-time negativity makes for a balance.

    My problems with her are the same as Chris Rock’s – how anyone with as feeble a singing voice as hers got to be a judge on a singing competition in the first place is beyond me. But I’ll give her this much credit: she’s figured out what her job, her role, is on the show (be the den mother, but tell the contestants when they really need to listen to Randy and Simon), and I can live with her as long as she sticks to it.

  13. Nicolars

    I think it went into effect after season three, when the finalists skewed very female: Fantasia, Diana DeGarmo, Jasmine Trias, and LaToya London (who should really be given a second chance the way JHud has).

  14. The Mozfather

    I actually like having half boys, half girls. The boys aren’t terribly amazing singers, but many of the boys are really, really cute.

  15. Rory B. Bellows

    In past years, the boys have also been more interesting to watch. As good as some of the girls are, there are only so many times I want to hear a soulful ballad — which is what they all seem to want to sing.

  16. Hallux Valgus

    Antonella Barba and Haley Scarnato make my ears want to go on strike. Antonella would’ve been awesome for that WB’s Superstar USA show a few years ago. That show was awsome

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