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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: Sad Songs (Say So Much)

Finally, an episode of “American Idol” I can get behind! Several of our Top 8 Women finally shed their all-too-obvious nerves and started to relax. Didi went back to basics, and what she’s good at, with a turn at the guitar. Siobhan has found confidence in her big, soulful voice and deployed her power chords for a second week in a row. And Crystal, well, we all knew she was good. But now it seems like she knows it too. It was Make It Or Break It Night on “Idol.”

Now if only the contestants weren’t so darn gloomy! As the night went on, the ladies unveiled song after depressing, melancholy song. And by the time we got to saddest version of “Smile” I’ve ever heard (what were you thinking Paige?), I was so down in the dumps, that I had to pause my live recording of “Idol” (yay for digital recorders!) and go listen to something happy for a minute just to get my mind off of it. (My personal fave- “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and The News. That always puts a smile on my face! Speaking of which, hey Andrew Garcia, why don’t you try a spin at a Huey song and make an attempt to get back in my good graces? But I digress, back to the ladies…)

But despite all those sad notes, I think the Top 8 Girls did a pretty good job on stage tonight. Here’s how I rank all 8, from best to worst.

Best Of the Night- Crystal Bowersox- Once again Crystal has risen to the top. And it’s not just because the judges shamelessly hail her every week like she’s the second coming of Kelly Clarkson. This girl is really, really awesome. Hitting all the right notes in all the right, soulful, rocking places, Crystal knocked the “sox” (get it? Hahaha) off of Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason.” She’s mastered the intricacies of her voice, so I agree with the judges on that count, but shouldn’t one of them mention the fact that she never keeps her eyes open?

Siobhan Magnus- A choice of song like The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” could end up being a death sentence for an “Idol” contestant. It’s an old song and there’s very few ways to make it sound current. Well, surprisingly, Siobhan has found a way to make it sound radio-ready. How did she do that? I guess it has to do with that awesome a cappella beginning, that moody, jazz-club vibe and the fact that she can hit and sustain all the big notes. My only complaint was that it was a little too slow, but I agree with most of the judges that she’s unique and knows how to take risks. (Our cranky Brit Simon was under-impressed, though I bet he’ll change his tune on her tunes when he watches the show back.)

Didi Benami- This was a much better performance than last week, as shades of Taylor Swift came through on Didi’s performance of a Fleetwood Mac song. At times I liked how Didi’s voice sounded like the melding of two folksy singers, Ingrid Michaelson and Jewel. And though the vibe was cool and she seemed connected to the song, I thought it was way too slow. Simon said the whole performance was a “wow moment.”

Lilly Scott- Her take on Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces” was brave, just like Simon said. Not so much because it was really good, but more because she was taking a chance with a very old song on her last night to wow America before the Top 12 is announced. I like her voice, and she’s definitely quirky, but I wish she had brought a little more 21st century Indie-rock sound to the performance.

Katelyn Epperly- Just like Paula Abdul once sang, Katelyn definitely took two steps back this week. After a bold song choice (Coldplay’s “The Scientist”), which she slow rocked on a piano last week, Katelyn unwisely decided to go the route of singing piano bar host and boringly deliver Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move.” As she admitted after the performance, she was working so hard not to be corny (as the judges had labeled her last week) that she ended up sucking the joy out of the whole thing. It’s too bad, because she has a cool smoky voice and can really hit her notes. I agree with Kara (wait, who said that?!) that Katelyn looked like she was going through the motions.

Lacey Brown- As she was singing Brandi Carlile’s “The Story,” I thought Lacey did a great job at connecting with the song and hitting her notes. All four judges agreed this was her best performance in the competition, and Simon said it looked like she’d been doing this a long time. But ever since she sang that Sixpence song last week, I can’t help but think she’s just doing an imitation of that singer. Maybe if she lasts until country week in the Top 12, she can do a Dolly Parton or Lee Ann Womack song which would really suit her voice.

Katie Stevens- Much like Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston or Leona Lewis songs, most “Idol” contestants should also not attempt songs by Kelly Clarkson. Besides the incredibly powerful voice, it’s also hard to fill the shoes of the very first “Idol.” But Katie decided to sing “Breakaway” anyway, which didn’t turn out so well. She seemed like she was trying too hard and her strong voice doesn’t yet match her age. I think she needs a few more years of practice before she’ll be completely ready.

Paige Miles- I’m not sure where Paige’s musical train went off the tracks here, but when it did, it crashed and burned. It started off shaky and then transitioned into off-key and raspy before ending in complete boredom. Ellen couldn’t understand why it was so sad and Simon didn’t like the arrangement. If Paige doesn’t go home, I hope we’ll see a return of her bubbly personality.

Do you have any favorites yet or is it still too early? Did any of the Top 8 Women show you a “wow moment” or was it just too melancholy? And do you think Crystal is still in the lead, or is Siobhan the new front runner? Post below and tune in for the Top 8 Guys on Wednesday night! –Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on March 10, 2010 12:01 AM
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