We’re not going to lie: So far, we’re rooting for the guys this season.
With the exception of rising stars Thia Megia and Pia Toscano, the unveiling of the Top 12 girls on Wednesday night’s “American Idol” was a bit of a letdown. Even the best and brightest contestants chose dull, overplayed songs, and we often found ourselves struggling to pay attention.
Let’s take it in chronological order, shall we?
Ta-Tynisa Wilson: "Only Girl (In the World)" by Rihanna
“Only Girl” is actually one of our favorite songs -- it makes us feel like getting dressed up to go on a hot date (if only we had Rihanna’s bod). But Wilson sucked most if not all of the sex appeal out of the song, and while her energy was good, the singing just wasn’t special. Jennifer Lopez read our minds when she said, “It’s good that it’s over now.”
Naima Adedapo: "Summertime" by Ella Fitzgerald
There’s nothing about Naima Adedapo that isn’t original, including her dress, which she designed herself. We agreed with Randy that her arrangement of “Summertime” was a little boring and lounge-y, but this lady has star quality, and as J-Lo said, she “nailed the note at the end.”
Kendra Chantelle: "Impossible" by Christina Aguilera
Kendra definitely has the sultry thing going on -- and she knows how to rock a pair of leather pants. But J-Lo felt there’s “more in her” that she wasn’t showing us, and we had to agree.
Rachel Zevita: "Criminal" by Fiona Apple
We get it that quirky New Yorker Rachel Zevita is inspired by Fiona Apple, but beginning with the slightly awkward striptease, her performance of “Criminal” went from bad to worse. Zevita spent more time running around the stage than actually showing off her voice, and we had to agree with Steven that the performance was “a little too Broadway.” You didn’t have to make it her cry, though, Randy!
Karen Rodriguez: "Hero" by Mariah Carey
We love Karen Rodriguez for her spunky cuteness -- so we were a little disappointed that she decided to sing a boring, overplayed Mariah Carey ballad. That said, she made it her own by singing in English and Spanish -- establishing herself as a possible future “Latin crossover” artist -- and the performance can only be described as lovely.
Lauren Turner: "Seven Day Fool" by Etta James
Turner just doesn’t seem very “Idol” to us, so we don’t have high hopes that she’ll last very long in the competition. But others certainly disagree: Randy thinks she’s a cross between Amy Winehouse and Florence + the Machine! Let’s hope she takes J-Lo’s advice and “gets in the camera’s face” a little more next time -- if there is a next time.
Ashthon Jones: "Love Over Me" by Monica
Ashthon’s performance of a Monica song that nobody knows can be described in one word: snooze. But Steven Tyler thinks she goes to a place with her voice that “few have gone.” Where’s Simon Cowell when you need him?
Julie Zorrilla: "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson
Zorrilla has been one of our favorites for several weeks now, so all we want to know is: What the heck happened? Zorrilla’s singing was way off, and sadly, Randy was right when he said she “paled in comparison” to the original. We do agree with Tyler that she would have been better off with different song in a different key -- let’s hope that she coast through this week on her beauty-queen good looks.
Haley Reinhart: "Fallin'" by Alicia Keys
Reinhart’s performance of Alicia Keys’ “Fallen” was a little too sexed up for our taste, but her voice is unique and cool and she’s likeable and fun to watch. One of the better performances of the night.
Thia Megia: "Out Here On My Own" by Irene Cara (from "Fame")
15-year-old Thia Megia had her “moment” on Wednesday night with Irene Cara’s “Out Here on My Own.” Thia opened the song with no musical accompaniment – all the better to display her show-stopper voice -- and Randy even compared her tone to the “late, great Michael Jackson.” Consider this girl a contender for the big prize!
Lauren Alaina: "Turn on the Radio" by Reba McEntire
Thia is going to have her work cut out for her competing against 16-year-old Lauren Alaina. It wasn’t Lauren’s best performance, but the bubbly blonde teenager is such a good singer, such a natural performer and so down-to-earth and likable, she has “Idol winner” written all over her. Future Shania Twain, anyone?
Pia Toscano: "I'll Stand By You" by the Pretenders
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night came from Pia Toscano, who gave one of the best vocals so far and proved that she’s truly in it to win it. The song choice was a little dull and she didn’t really “bring anything new to it,” but the beautiful performance earned her the first standing ovation of the season. Will it be the first of many? We’ll find out tomorrow night!
--Jennifer D’Angelo Friedman, PopNews Wire