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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: Crystal Clear

This is a strange year for “American Idol.” You could call it the Year of Quirky, or maybe Oddfest 2010. But whatever you call it, it’s hard not to notice that this year’s female singers aren’t your typical reality-singing-TV contestants. From the gray-haired and slightly kooky Lilly Scott to Crystal “Miss Harmonica” Bowersox to glass-blower Siobhan Magnus, it’s hard to even classify what types of singers we’re listening to this year.

It doesn’t matter, though, because I feel like we’re watching several artists emerge, instead of feeling like we’re watching last call at a late-night karaoke bar. And when you compare the ladies to the so-far sub-par Top 10 men, these girls are even better.

Here’s the breakdown on who’s probably sticking around (for a long time) and who’s about to check out of their hotel room from the Top 10 Women:

Power Players, or “You Light Up My Life”:

Crystal Bowersox- As the only consistent singer in this whole Top 20, I breathed a giant sigh of relief (probably as many of you did as well) when Crystal showed up for tonight’s episode. I’m not sure what was wrong with her (rumors of diabetes and other ailments abound), but she managed to come back to us for another interesting performance. She hit all her notes on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “As Long As I See the Light,” pushing her even further in front of the competition. All the judges agreed on her natural talent, while Simon paid her a huge compliment. He said he had the same feeling watching her as he did when he realized how good Kelly Clarkson was back in Season 1. Now that’s a compliment! Hope to see you again next week Crystal!

Lilly Scott- She’s weird and once again, I like it. Showing off her uniqueness with her off-kilter voice and black guitar, Lilly sang Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come.” Unlike many of her competitors, she knows how to infuse a song with her own style, without making it sound corny, out-of-date, irrelevant or unrecognizable. I’m glad we finally have a credible indie rock singer on the show, and so are the judges. Ellen said she has “it” and Kara congratulated her on having a “moment.”

Katelyn Epperly- At first glance I thought Katelyn had a super-cool performance tonight. Between the awesome vocals, the slowed down song (Coldplay’s “The Scientist”), the blue backlighting and the piano playing, I thought she was great. After listening to the judges, I agree her movements and facial expressions were a little too corny and the song may have been a tad bit slow. But overall I think Katelyn proved what she could do and threw the hammer down to the audience that she isn’t ready to leave just yet. If she builds on this, she could be a real contender.

Siobhan Magnus- You never know what our quirky, little glass-blowing apprentice is going to have up her sleeve. Will it be a slow song? A big song? A Mohawk? You never know. Tonight she offered up Aretha Franklin’s “Think,” surprising everyone with her powerful pipes. And I couldn’t believe it when she hit that power note near the end. On the bad side, I don’t think her outfit jived with the performance or the song, so she needs to work on being more consistent with everything. Randy loved it, Ellen compared her to a Snuggie and Simon wasn’t sure if he loved it or hated it.

Middle of the Road, or “Nobody Said it Was Easy”:

Didi Benami- I never thought I’d put my girl Didi in the middle of the pack, but the facts are the facts. Didi has an awesome voice, and I still think she’s headed to the Top 12, but this was not a good night for her. Her take on Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me,” was not even in her vocal range, so why did she pick it? I understand she wanted to be unique and switch things up, but there’s also something to be said about just picking a song that matches your type of voice. Underneath the strange song choice, you could still hear what a great tone she has, and hopefully she’ll be back next week to show us more.

Lacey Brown- No matter what the judges say to Lacey, I just want to root for her. She seems like she really wants this, and I’m happy she listened to Kara’s song advice last week. Singing Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me” really suited her voice. She almost sounded like the original singer. But is that enough? Where will she go from here? There are only so many songs like that one and I wonder how she could adapt other songs to her voice. Simon said the difference between her and Crystal is star power, and Lacey needs to find hers fast.

Katie Stevens- What did we learn about Katie tonight? Well, for starters, she can say “give me a kiss” in six languages for no apparent reason. And also, no one believes she’s 17 years old. Usually that would be a compliment, but I think the judges are saying she’s acting too old for her age. And while she picked a younger, more contemporary song, Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On,” the judges agreed she needs younger songs and a clearer idea about what type of artist she actually is.

Paige Miles- I almost put Paige in the first category, she’s improved that much. I thought her take on Kelly Clarkson’s “Walk Away” was spot-on (at one point they sounded exactly the same), though at times it sounded like she was screaming. The judges were all over the map on this one: Randy didn’t like the song choice, Ellen loved it, Kara thought she was being too happy and Simon thought the song swallowed her up. I think if she finds a way to pair her awesome voice with a suitable song, they’ll change their tune.

The Bottom of the Pack, or “I’m Going Home, Back to the Place Where I Belong”:

Michelle Delamor- Some of the judges seemed to like Michelle’s version of Creed’s “Arms Wide Open,” but I wasn’t a fan. It was all over the place, trying to be a rock, pop and R&B song all at once. She was very pitchy and the last note wasn’t very good. I agree with Simon that she took last week’s advice to make the song her own and achieved that, but I don’t think this version came off very well. She may be in trouble this week.

Haeley Vaughn- It’s hard to criticize this ultra-bubbly teen. She’s always so happy and you can tell she loves what she’s doing, but it’s just not there yet. Maybe she’s too young and maybe it’s inexperience, but I think Haeley should practice for a couple more years and see what happens. The judges were spot on when they said her take on “The Climb” lacked emotion, though Simon took it one step further when he said it “was a complete and utter mess.” Maybe the teen votes will save her, but it won’t be for long.

So, what did you think of the Top 10 Girls? Do you enjoy the ladies more than this year’s male contestants? Are you glad Crystal is still in the competition, or is there another female singer you can’t live without? And what songs would you recommend for those singers who just can’t seem to pick the right one? Sound off below and tune your channel to “Idol” one more time on Thursday as we find out which four singers are headed home! –Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on March 4, 2010 8:00 PM
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