Wednesday, February 29, 2012
AI Season 11- Top 24 Girls Performance, 02-29-2012
Ryan is wearing a tie with his suit tonight, and the girls are glammed up.
Steven is wearing Aunt Mabel's harlequin housecoat. JLo is once again in formal shorts (which fit oddly in the crotch) and a frothy, tulle shoulder fungus. Randy is dressed normally in a leather jacket. Good thing- I think my brain would have exploded if he'd worn another shirt like last night's.
The girls come out, mostly dressed in neutrals, though there are a few splashes of color, and more than a few boobs on display. As the camera pans the lineup, I realize that I barely remember any of these girls. Like the guys, the girls (and I use that word because that's the word that the show uses) went home and filmed their lives for our entertainment.
#1. Chelsea. Chelsea is country. She enjoys target shooting, and her town has one stop light. She's singing Carrie Underwood's Cowboy Cassanova in a tight, black, fringed top, from which the girls are trying to escape. She's also wearing a red leather jacket, and maybe black leather tights. I am not familiar with the recent Underwood Oeuvre, but Chelsea seems to be going okay with this lyrically complicated ditty (and by *lyrically complicated*, I mean: using lots of words and multiple syllables). Since I think she's giving a passable performance, it makes sense that the judges pick it apart. Randy complains in general. JLo calls her nasal, and Steven tells her to work on her phrasing. Where were these "judges" last night?
Ryan discovers that he cannot see well with Deandre's prescription glasses. Whoda thunk?
#2. Erika. Erika is from Rhode Island. Her mom looks young, and her sister seems nice. She rides a mini-bike and was not always blonde. Erika is wearing a really unflattering long, black jacket with sheer sleeves. It's unfortunately buttoned right under the bustline. That's right, Erika was the DJ. You can tell that she's not used to moving around on the stage. She's singing What About Love, and I think she's doing a great job. Steven agrees with me.JLo wants her to push it more. Randy babbles, making no sense whatsoever.
#3. Jen. Jen lives in Agoura Hills, CA (I was there last month. Not at Jen's house, just in the city). She has a cute doggie, and a boyfriend. Her big family has a vineyard, and they probably appreciate the prime time commercial they just got. Jen is singing Adele's One and Only. Adele is the new Whitney, and I suspect that Jen will get dinged for even attempting this. And certainly, I've heard her sing better. The judges compliment, but it feels like faint praise.
Side Note: After the last few seasons packed with mostly tall, leggy beauties, it's refreshing to see some ordinary bodies on stage. Maybe Adele is reminding everyone that it's the voice that matters.
Randy acknowledges that in the excitement of the first live show, the judges sort of forgot to, you know, judge. They plan to make up for it tonight.
#4. Brielle. Brielle is a New Jersey girl. And a cheerleader. Color me surprised. Her awful mom (though she hasn't done anything particularly awful tonight- I'm still holding a grudge from a few weeks ago) is clutching Ryan's hand for dear life. Brielle is singing Dock of the Bay, starting out sitting with some of the guys. She clumsily stands up and I see that her dress fades hippie-style from blue, to brown, to cream, to purple. Oh my, Brielle is crooning DotB like it's a stripper anthem. Wow, this is so completely horrible that I'm embarrassed for Brielle personally. So of course, the judges fall all over themselves praising her. I don't get it. I honestly don't get it.
#5. Hallie. Not to be confused with Hollie or Haley, Hallie is from Baltimore. Oh, that's right- she's the one whose large husband saved her sanity and her life. She's wearing jeans, a spangly top, and a tight blazer. Her hair is in nice curls. She's singing You Know How I feel. Aha, I just realized who Hallie looks like: Kim Basinger. She starts low, with a beautiful sultry tone, but there are a few thin notes in the middle. Still, this is miles better than nearly all of the guys last night. JLo gives Hallie an accurate critique. Randy asks her what kind of artist she wants to be, and when Hallie says she wants to be exactly this kind of artist (sultry/bluesy), Randy explains his question again. Several times. Maybe hoping that Hallie will change her mind. He wastes a lot of time explaining a question that Hallie understood perfectly, and answered, the first time he asked it. So, for the first time this season, I say: Shut up, Randy!
#6. Skylar. Skylar is a Mississippi homegirl. She goes mud boggin'. She likes drivin' around. She works at her family store. She's wearing a rather confusing dress- it's black but there are irridescent spangles all over the bodice, and shiny fringes. It sort of makes me think of a Vegas Wilma Flintstone. She's singing Stay With Me. I'm not sure how she's doing with the song because I am totally unfamiliar with it, but she certainly has a lot of energy. It's not my style, but the audience seems to be with her, and she genuinely appears to be having fun. Randy is incoherent, though not so incoherent that he can't drop a few names. JLo gushes. Steven loves everyone and everything tonight. I have to say that I find Skylar rather goofily endearing.
#7. Baylee. Baylee is from Texas. She has sheep, horses and cats. She cheerleads and runs track. She does not play softball, having been smacked in the mouth with a ball as a wee lass. She has a really sweet Grandpa, who fixes her breakfast and who wants to fatten her up. She's wearing a red formal with a mullet skirt, and a bandage-y top. There's an awful lot of cleavage going on here. My notes say "Amazed", which I think is the title of the song, and not my astonishment that she does not fall out of her dress. I'm hearing wonky notes. Lots and lots of them. The judges heard them too. They all lead their critiques with how pretty Baylee is, which is the go-to opener when you can't say anything nice about the singing.
#8. Hollie. Not to be confused with Hallie or Haley, Hollie is also from Texas, though her accent sounds Maine to me. She has a half-grown golden retriever puppy. I love goldens. She also has a very supportive family. Hollie is wearing a short, gold sparkly dress with those plain side panels that are supposed to be very slimming, not that Hollie needs any help in that department. She's wee. She starts to sing, and... WOW! That is not at all the voice I expected from her. Her voice is rich and textured, with a great tone. She took on Aguilera and won. The judges loved it. JLo babbles a bit, talking about what Hollie can "do do", and both Randy and I laugh. I am so ashamed.
#9. Haley. Not to be confused with Hollie or Hallie, Haley is a former barista from Portland. She shows us the rain and her cute boots. She's another blonde, with long hair and heavy bangs. Her dress is all Stevie Nicks on top, and batshit crazy on the bottom (short tight skirt with a long, fishnet overskirt). She's singing Sweet Dreams, if singing is what you want to call it. It's pretty awful. I hope Annie Lennox never hears this. JLO tries to convince everyone that Haley can sing, despite recent evidence to the contrary. Even Steven praises faintly. Randy ums and ahs, and finally comes out with a really mean joke, and the most blunt assessment so far. Unfortunately, he's right.
#10. Shannon. Ryan starts with Shannon's large, ball playing father, and they remind us, for the bazillionth time, that Steven was creepy. You know, when you get to the point where Daddy is joking about wrestling with the guy who made sexually inappropriate comments to the underage daughter, just to get laughs from the audience, it might just be time to let it go already. Shannon's home movies mostly remind us that she comes from tall stock. She's wearing a floaty white pageant dress. I don't know this song, but it's certainly churchy. And pageanty. Shannon is clipping her words weirdly, and though she seems to be in tune, the whole performance feels robotic. JLo gets goosies. Her goosies are deaf. Steven critiques Shannon very very carefully.
#11. Jessica. Jessica is from San Diego. She has an adorable younger cousin, who looks up to her. Jessica has had voice issues this week. She's worried about performing, and is very very nervous. She's wearing a black and silver sort of halter dress over black tights. She's singing Love You, I Do. She starts out so quietly that I think her mike is malfunctioning. But no, she's just singing very very softly. But she gains a little confidence and suddenly, this huge voice bursts from her. The audience and the judges go wild and give her a Standing O. Where are your goosies now, JLo? Jessica is overwhelmed by the reaction, and she giggles adorably.
#12. Elise. Elise lives in Charlston, SC, but she's from New Jersey. She says that she needs to be exposed, but what she means is that she welcomes the exposure that will come from being on this show. Elise is also singing Adele's One and Only. It's maybe not such a good idea to sing the same song that Jen performed. Elise begins at the piano. She has lots of flowers and foofery in her hair, and her voice is nasaly. When she stands up and leaves the piano, I see that she's also wearing a mullet skirt, this one asymetrical and made from netting. This performance did not do it for me, and the judges are tiptoeing around it as well.
Hmmm. There are almost eight minutes left- that's a lot of time on a live show notorious for overruns. I briefly wonder if they're going to surprise us and bring back Lauren Gray. But no, they just finished early. Go figure.
Tonight's Best: Hollie, Skylar, Erika
My Favorite: Hollie
Worst: Brielle, Shannon, Baylie, Haley
Who goes home? We'll find out tomorrow night. Please let it be a one hour show.