I have a crazy busy day, but I wanted to post a little something about last night's Idol, which was pretty darn disappointing. It felt more like some B-level county fair pageant than a nationally-televised talent competition with millions of dollars at stake. By the time Shannon Magrane came out in her floor length white gown singing some song about lighting candles (putting American Idol in danger of becoming Christian Idol), I was just about ready to check out.
Thank God for Brett Butler-doppleganger Elise Testone who came out and closed the night with a mighty rendition of Adele's "One and Only" and proved that there is something to be said for letting ADULTS enter this competition. The poise and control that Elise showed put the teenaged girls to shame. Look at the power of Elise's performance and then check out the wild, angry flailing trying to pass itself off as passion in little Skylar Laine's "Stay With Me." Night and freakin' day!
(BTW -- Does anyone else think Adele is the Whitney Houston of the 21st Century -- the diva that every girl worships and wants to emulate but whose music should really not be put in the hands of amateur voices?)
The sad thing is that five of these chicks are guaranteed to make the cut -- even though coming up with the five is tough. This means that some guys from the night before (who, despite my complaints of how dated it was, was significantly stronger than the nasally pitch fest we endured last night) will not move on while, say, Hollie Cavanaugh could.
So who do I think will make it? Well.....
1. Elise Testone This is the no-brainer of the night. Not only did she give the absolute best performance of the night, but she also had the pimp spot. Voters' memories are slim. My bet is the most of the five who move on will be from the second hour of the show.
2. Jessica Sanchez Yeah, Jessica had some issues here and there with her rendition of "Love You I Do," but she showed a lot of spunk and was honestly second only to Elise in terms of powerful performances. She lacks Elise's control, but spending a little time with the Idol vocal coaches could turn Jessica into a really terrific performer.
3. Skylar Laine You have to have a country girl in the Idol finals. It's kind of the law of the land. Look it up. Of the country girls who performed last night, Skylar was hands down the best. I'm not sure why she sings every song as if she's so freakin' angry at it that she is about to go all Chris Brown on it, but there is definitely something sort of entertaining about that energy she has. (Idol producers really screwed poor little Baylie Brown by making her go after Skylar. Anyone would look anemic after Skylar's pummeling of "Stay With Me," but then to have it be the wimpy "Amazed"? Baylie is DOOMED!)
4. Hallie Day These last two spots are tough. I thought Hallie's "Feelin' Good" started out beautifully and ended beautifully, and the producers gave her some gorgeous close-ups. She has great stage presence. Sure, there were some wonky notes in the middle, but the end and the beginning may be enough to make up for it.
5. Hollie Cavanaugh I'm not sure I'm a huge fan of waif-like little Hollie, but she had some lovely moments in her "Reflection" that may be enough to save her. Maybe....
Wild Cards: I would guess at least one judge will give a wild card spot to one of the girls if only to protect the show from charges that women don't stand a chance in the competition anymore. I would guess that the leading contenders would likely be Jen Hirsch (who had the misfortune of going early in the night AND doing the same song as Elise Testone) or maybe Shannon Magrane (and seriously...I CANNOT take a season of treacly Christian ballads. If that's the direction this show goes, Idol and I are done ... and this time, I mean it!!)