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‘American Idol’: Girl trouble

GroupI notice Ryan has stopped calling this group “the best ever.” Wise move, since these were the worst back-to-back episodes in the show’s history. Last night the girls tackled “classics” from the ’70s… and the songs tackled them right back. The show allegedly has stylists helping the kids pick out their clothes — although I’m hard pressed to believe that after the parade of fashion-don’ts I saw last night. Why, oh why, don’t they have someone helping them pick out their songs?!

Hey, look everybody, Erin’s back!

Did you miss me? I know you did. First off, I need to commend Paula on her judging method. Over the last year, she’s truly perfected what most human resources reps call the “compliment sandwich” of the good-bad-good criticism.
Example: “You really have a unique sense of style. But you are not being true to yourself. But you really shined through.”
If I had the skills that paid the bills, I would create the “Paula Abdul Compliment Generator” to accurately predict her drunky comments on each show. But alas…

This week, the ladies continue on with the ’70s theme and succeed in creating their own theme of “Songs We Should Have Never, Ever Picked.” On with the show:

Carly_2Carly Smithson (TV Guide power ranking #6)
What America would be surprised to know about her: She works at an Irish bar. Shocker! Also, she likes to cook and clean.
Song: “Crazy on You” (Heart)
Erin: Because I like Guinness and Heart, I give Carly a pass. She did a bang up job. The judges were a bit harsh, but I think they were distracted by the Amy Winehouse tattoo (NOTE: I saw this comment all over the Net and just need to reiterate that I wrote this the minute I saw the tattoo. My roommate can vouch for me.)
Kathy: She’s not the Wilson sisters, but she’s better than nine of the boys. Simon calls her the girl to beat. Kind of a bold prediction before you even give the other nine girls a shot, but whatever. Carly mentions it’s her favorite song ever. And that she loves Heart. And that she told her husband if she ever got the chance she would sing this song on “American Idol.” And that it’s her favorite song ever written. OK, jeez Carly, we get it. Is Heart paying you royalties?

Syesha Mercado (TV Guide power ranking #3)
What America would be surprised to know about her: She’s done a lot of commercials. And she can imitate a crying baby. That must be useful.
Song: “Me and Mrs. Jones,” only, you know, “Me and Mr. Jones” (Billy Paul)
Erin: I have always hated this song, and now that a chick is singing it, it still doesn’t endear it to me. Just for the record, any song that plays up an adulterer/stalker as a romantic interest doesn’t play well in my book. It’s just creepy.
Kathy: Syesha started off rough, then got better, then went off the rails again. Simon said it was silly to sing a song written for a man. In this particular case I agree with him, although I do enjoy Amy Winehouse’s version. Syesha also can’t explain why she changed the arrangement. And that’s the crux of what’s wrong with this show. None of these kids knows anything about music, they’ve just been told they can sing, so they do.

BrookeBrooke White (TV Guide power ranking #5)
What America would be surprised to know about her: She went to beauty school but dropped out. Then she steps on my beauty school dropout joke. And she claims to always be dying to restyle people’s hair for them. Where were you when Amanda was getting ready last night?
Song: “You’re So Vain” (Carly Simon) — with a guitar, at least intermittently.
Erin: Two things really surprised me here: 1) She pumps up her beauty school training but insists she can carry off the Mane ’N Tail maintained mess of blond locks. 2) I adored her version of “You’re So Vain.” Despite the obvious Simon comments to follow, she did a great job. I didn’t even mind that she disregarded the guitar a minute into her set. Good job, Brooke.
Kathy: Brooke was the only one who chose the perfect song for her voice. Loved the performance and I love her. She’s really just got this goofy charm that I enjoy. But it was weird how she used the guitar as an accessory instead of really playing it. Also, what was going on after the song? Why didn’t she stand up? It was as if she was glued to the chair.

RamieleRamiele Malubay (TV Guide power ranking #1)
What America would be surprised to know about her: She can do Polynesian dancing, including hula, and Filipino cultural dances. That’s kind of awesome.
Song: “Don’t Leave Me This Way” (Thelma Houston)
Erin: I know that Ramiele has the chops, but she’s been championing mediocrity for the last two rounds. Her version of this song can easily be heard at the Grove on a Saturday during the holiday season. She also stole my Malubay-lullaby joke. She also stole her haircut from Christian on “Project Runway.”
Kathy: See this is where help with song choice would really be essential. Ramiele says she had picked out a couple of ballads but decided to nix them. Bad choice. Also, I hated her outfit.

Kristy Lee Cook (TV Guide power ranking #2)
What America would be surprised to know about her: She’s a tomboy. Oh really? I didn’t get that from the multiple references to horseback riding and cage fighting.
Song: “You’re No Good” (Linda Ronstadt)
Erin: Sings “You’re No Good,” sans the soul and heart of Ronstadt’s version. Simon claims he has issues labeling her. Here buddy, let me help you out: She sucks. If record labels still followed the ’60s tradition of looking for white chicks to do lame covers of R&B songs for mainstream radio play, Kristy would have a career.
Kathy: Linda Ronstadt fits into that category of female singers the contestants should avoid at all cost. Just add her to the list that includes Celine, Whitney and Mariah. No matter how well you do, you will pale in comparison. Also, I hated her shiny silver top. Simon wisely suggests that Kristy start singing Country songs.

Amanda_3Amanda Overmyer (TV Guide power ranking #7)
What America would be surprised to know about her: She’s a bookworm, who likes to read biographies of rock icons. Why does Simon find this charming but David Cook declaring himself a crossword puzzle nut bores him? Simon, brains are charming regardless of your gender.
Song: “Carry on My Wayward Son” (Kansas)
Erin: You’re breaking my heart over here, Amanda. First off, it appears the rocker nurse already made an enemy in the wardrobe department. Secondly, the song was just… bad. A horrible choice. I was about to make a “Hairspray” or “101 Dalmatians” joke, when my “Idol” couchmate Marguerite looked at me with eyes that conveyed betrayal and whispered one word: “Cats.” Since this revelation was announced before her performance, I was unable to look at Amanda without picturing her standing on a pile of tires using jazz hands to sing “The Jellicle Ball.”
Kathy: I was thinking Elvira, but “Cats” is so much better! Thanks, Marguerite! At least her pants matched her hair. I’m trying here, Amanda, I really am. I’ve got two words for our rocker nurse, Joan Jett. That would have been right in her wheelhouse. Kansas hasn’t been relevant since a month after they released this god-awful song. To make Amanda’s night even worse she’s told, by Paula, that she wears too much makeup. Oy. It’s like Randy telling you that you should go on a diet. Also Paula thinks Amanda’s got great moves. And that was after watching Amanda’s spastic attempts at dancing. I have a headache now.

Alaina Whitaker (TV Guide power ranking #9)
What America would be surprised to know about her: She doesn’t like the food on her plate to touch each other. So, to sum it up, she has OCD. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Song: “Hopelessly Devoted to You” (Olivia Newton John)
Erin: She took on “Hopelessly Devoted to You” because someone had to. I have a feeling the performance is probably the exact one she gave at during drama team tryouts. As for the actual perf, it’s nothing I haven’t seen outside of Dimples.
Kathy: There’s something about this girl that makes it impossible for me to remember her. Even immediately after her performances I forget her name. This outing was a mix of good, bad and really awful, all mixed together on the same plate. Also her outfit was a hot mess. Then Ryan claimed to know nothing about women’s fashion. Right, Seacrest.

UrbanAlexandrea Lushington (TV Guide power ranking #10)
What America would be surprised to know about her: She sang at Ground Zero a couple weeks after 9/11.
Song: “If You Leave Me Now” (Chicago)
Erin: Damn you, Urban Outfitters. You may have convinced the better part of the population that the shorts and high heels thing is hot, but you haven’t fooled me. You have your evil, trendy clutches on Alexandrea, but I see past your little ruse. It’s like when Sassy magazine tried to convince me to make a skirt out of ties. I’m not falling for this stupid trend. Not this time. As for Lushy’s perf, “If You Leave Me Now” totally takes me back to waiting with my sister to get my hair cut at Tipperary in my youth. I have a soft spot for the song, but not this version. Her perf was boring, but her interview was endearing.
Kathy: Could I just add, heels and cargo shorts? That’s even worse than heels and regular shorts. Poor girl was awful and she knew it. And I kind of love her now for her funny, self-deprecating manner after her performance. This song was certainly apropos for her last night, since I have a feeling she’ll be leaving us. Too bad, I think she could be fun to have around.

RockdressKady Malloy (TV Guide power ranking #8)
What America would be surprised to know about her: She sings opera, mostly in the bathroom. And actually very well.
Song: “Magic Man” (Heart)
Erin: Her dress reminds me to the gem-encrusted motherboard that beckoned Sleestaks. Poor Kady’s rendition of “Magic Man” fell flat, especially when compared with Carly’s versions of all things Heart.
Kathy: Wow, that dress was distracting. This song worked for her in one way. It reminded me that Kady performs a magic trick every time she’s on the “Idol” stage: She makes funny, kooky Kady disappear. Seriously, she seems so cool in her little video clips and then she hits the stage and becomes this bland, boring blonde. Stop it, Kady. Also Simon says he’s never heard the song before. Liar! He can’t be that ignorant.

Asia’h Epperson (TV Guide power ranking #4)
What America would be surprised to know about her: She was a cheerleader in middle and high school. And she’s straightened her hair tonight.
Song: “All By Myself” (Eric Carmen)
Erin: Singing a tune that has been the theme music of suicide since its release, Asia’h’s version of “All By Myself” will inspire a new set of masses to head to the medicine cabinet and swallow fistfuls of Tylenol PM with a vodka chaser. Good job.
At this point, Marguerite and I caught on to the behind-the-scenes sabotage action that was happening when the cameras were cut. Allow me to illustrate:
Asia’h: I don’t know about this song. It’s a bit of a downer.
Ramiele: You really do an awesome job at it. You should sing it. It totally highlights your vocal range.
Kady: I agree.
Asia’h: Aww, thanks guys. And Kady, you really need to wear that rock dress. It’s not strange or ugly at all.
Kady: Thanks Asia’h. I have to go. I’m helping Amanda with her hair.
Kathy: Asia’h, since Celine did an overwrought version of this horrible, horrible song, it should be avoided at all costs. Please see the advice I gave Kristy Lee. I hope to never hear this song again as long as I live.

Best:
Kathy: Brooke, Carly
Erin: Brooke, Carly

Probably going home:
Kathy: Alexandrea, Alaina
Erin: Amanda, Alaina

Tonight, four go home.

Looking forward to new themes and mutilations next week, when I presume the theme will be songs from the ’80s, or music your parents might have been listening to when you were conceived.

— Kathy Lyford and Erin Maxwell

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