Wednesday night was the girls night to shine on American Idol as their first live performances of the season took place. A half hour into the two hour broadcast, judge, Randy Jackson admitted that the judges gave “some passes in judgement” when the boys performed on Tuesday night. So the judges got their act together and took their roles as judges just a bit more seriously this time around. The night started off just as strong as boys’ night but it wasn’t until Hallie Day made her way to the stage that this became a broadcast worth watching. If Day doesn’t make it to the top 13, we mine as well turn the voting over to Vote for the Worst. But let’s get to those before Day for a moment…
Country music jump started the night as Chelsea Sorrell graced the stage with her best Carrie Underwood performance. But as judge, Jennifer Lopez pointed out, she sounded a bit nasally. Nasal issues aside, the performance was good. Still, it’s not enough just to be good. As judge, Randy Jackson said, we already know she can sing a Carrie Underwood tune and hit all of the right notes. Now is not the time to be safe. People think they can coast early in the season and then they get cut because they didn’t show enough cards, enough diversity even while sticking within their desired genre. Switch it up next time, you won’t regret it! Country competitor, Skylar Laine showed Sorrell how it’s done with her performance of “Stay With Me.” She brought the house down. Laine was rocking her little heart out. That’s how an incredible, entertaining country performance is done. She proved that she has the whole package and demanded her rightful spot in the top 13. If it’s Laine against Sorrell, Laine should definitely move further in the competition. Make it happen America!
Brielle Von Hugel almost brought the house down with the first performance of the night to really get audiences both on set and in living rooms across America grooving along with her. Like Lopez said, “You understand what it is to entertain.” She may have had a rocky start but in no time she found a comfortable high and from there, continued to soar. Von Hugel was already on our radar for her bossy ways in Hollywood week but now she’s on our radar for being able to own the stage and put on a stellar performance. Von Hugel in the top thirteen, who’s with me?
If there’s any female who should be guaranteed a spot in the top thirteen, it’s Hallie Day. We all might be tired of seeing Jennifer Hudson singing “Feeling Good” in those weight loss commercials but Day made us forget all about that. Day delivered the best performance of the night. Speaking of Jennifer Hudson… 16 year old California girl and Youtube sensation, Jessica Sanchez took on a Dreamgirls favorite and earned herself a standing ovation from the judges. Well deserved even this early in the game. Okay, so maybe it’s not too early to hand out standing Os. Even with a sore throat, Sanchez gave one of the best performances of the night and shows no signs of slowing down. We let Thia Megia go too soon last season. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen this season. Top thirteen, here Sanchez comes.
Hollie Cavanagh also captivated viewers with her powerful rendition of Christina Aguilera’s “Reflection.” It’s not an easy song to sing and Cavanagh did Aguilera enough justice for this performance to be satisfactory. She does have a much stronger voice than many may have remembered but a front runner in this competition… what do you think? Did Jennifer Lopez speak too prematurely on that? It’s not an easy image picturing her winning this. What do you think?
With the good comes the bad and Baylie Brown was the first contestant to really spell out the bad. But first, Kelly Clarkson, uh, I mean Erika Van Pelt gave a very lackluster performance that may have won over viewers in earlier seasons but it is simply not enough now. Believe it or not, there are still standards on this show, high ones and Pelt could have reached deeper like Lopez mentioned. If reaching continues to be a problem, we can expect her elimination sooner rather than later and I’m okay with that. Jen Hirsh is another one with more to prove. Hirsh, who had a little black dress that was not complimenting her in the best way, had a strong start taking on Adele but a shaky finish that only judge, Steven Tyler pointed out. What were the other judges thinking, not pointing this out as well?
So then there’s Brown who was all over the place in pitch with her Lonestar performance. What a terrible song choice. As the judges confirmed, Brown never gained control of the song. Nerves got in the way and while understandable, all of America may not empathize. This performance could send her home. There are only so many spaces in this competition… hopefully America has given her a second chance. Not worthy of a second chance based on last night’s performance alone is Haley Johnsen. Johnsen may have forced a few viewers to cut off their ears after her dreadful performance. She almost ruined “Sweet Dreams” for us all. Randy Jackson could not have said it better when he said, “It was a bit of a nightmare for me instead of a dream.” If Brown makes it through the next round, she has a got an awful lot of angels looking out for her because that was the worst performance of the boys and girls combined.
16 year old, Shannon Magrane went very safe with her performance, even while taking on a ballad that most are unfamiliar with. The song showed just enough of her range to put her in the top thirteen so hopefully America took notice of that and doesn’t let her slip through the cracks. The same can be said for 28 year old Elise Testone who closed out the show. Though with her voice, you either love it or hate it so it will be interesting to see how America votes when it comes to Testone. Overall, the girls did significantly better than the boys while also being judged more realistically. Is it an even playing field? No. But is it really supposed to be? Hmm. Well, here’s how my top 13 looks like: Hallie Day, Skylar Laine, Brielle Von Hugel, Shannon Magrane, Elise Testone, Jessica Sanchez, Hollie Cavanagh, DeAndre Brackensick, Colton Dixon, Reed Grimm, Heejun Han, Phil Phillips, and Creighton Fraker or Jeremy Rosado. What does your top 13 look like?
Watch American Idol Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox.
*Photo Credit: Michael Becker / FOX