Welcome 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.!