When the show starts with American idol host Ryan Seacrest standing in a hallway, bathed in techno pastels you just know it's going to be a good night.
On Tuesday, the Top 10 girls performed and for the first time this season, America was able to vote for their favorites. Another first, not just for the season but for the series, is the new American Idol app that allows people to log their votes during the course of the show and submit them at the end. Each viewer is given 50 votes to split amongst the contestants as they see fit. It's nice to see American Idol trying to really embrace social media and technology more but there's something about it that seems vaguely wrong, like when your grandparents open a Facebook account.
Did you struggle with who should get your 50 votes? Well, the good news is that the talent (or lack thereof) was so unevenly distributed amongst the American Idol girls that it should have been relatively simple to decide who deserved to go home; what might have been a bit harder was choosing five girls who deserve to stay. Watching the performances on Tuesday, it was hard to believe that anyone in their right mind would ever group these individuals in a Top 10, suggesting that they were even in the same hemisphere when it came to talent.
The most obvious example of this was Zoanette Johnson. Listening to Zoanette attempt to cover Tina Turner's, "What's Love Got to do with It," was all in all a painful experience. Painful to listen to, painful to watch. and perhaps most painful was to think about the fact that Zoanette actually took up a slot in the coveted Top 10, displacing one of the tens of thousands whose talent was more deserving of that opportunity.
The American Idol judges all agreed that the performance was terrible. Randy Jackson called it a mess and Mariah Carey lamented that America couldn't see all of Zoanette's little moments off stage - as if any degree of charm and enthusiasm could excuse the judges for their ridiculous decision to keep Zoanette around for this long. Nicki Minaj added that she could watch Zoanette all day but that the "regular person" may not agree. By regular, we can only assume Nicki means one who isn't suffering from delusions.
Another girl whose performance made viewers wonder how she made it this far, was that of Adriana Latonio. Adriana sang, "Stand Up For Love," by Destiny's Child and by the end, Nicki had written her off, telling her to work at her singing a little bit and come back next year. Ouch. Although whether that comment was as insulting as Nicki's catty, "I like your little ball gown," is questionable.
So with Zoanette and Adriana out of the way, the task of deciding which girls to put into the American Idol Top 10 becomes 20 percent easier - no matter what Mariah tries to tell us. Speaking of which, does anyone really know exactly what Mariah is trying to tell us? Her addition on the panel makes it crystal clear that the four-judge format has never really worked for Idol and the fact that Mariah is the forth and final judge to speak only makes her superfluousness even more evident. Next season Idol should give America the opportunity to vote for their favorite judges - chances are it would save us a lot of time and American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe a lot of money.
As easy as it was to identify Zoanette and Adriana as the worst of the night, calling the best of the night was equally easy. There were four girls whose talents surpassed that of the rest of the group so clearly that it is unimaginable that they were ever considered to be in the same league. The first to remind viewers why everyone keeps saying it is a girl's season was Angie Miller. Although her song, "Never Gone," by former Idol contestant Colton Dixon was a touch on the too-earnest side - perhaps even reminding viewers why they chose to send Colton home last season - there is no denying Angie's talent as a vocalist. She could be a favorite to win, although her likability factor is still a work in progress.
Kree Harrison, on the other hand has no issues with likability, especially in Nicki's eyes. Nicki, who refers to Kree as her "wife," is infatuated with Kree's effortless sexiness. Others are infatuated with Kree's absolutely amazing vocals and relaxed confidence. Randy called her one of the best vocalists in the competition after her performance of Faith Hill's, "Stronger." (Has anyone else noticed that Kree is a spitting imagine of Melanie Lynskey, the actress who played the not-so-wicked stepsister opposite Drew Barrymore in Ever After?)
Following Kree and Angie in the stellar performance department were Amber Holcomb and Candice Glover. Amber earned a standing ovation from all four judges after her rendition of Whitney Houston's, "I Believe in You and Me," forcing Randy to declare that Amber was "in it to win it." Although Candice's song choice, "Ordinary People," by John Legend, was a touch more obscure than Amber's, her vocals are such that it hardly mattered. Every time she opens her mouth to sing it's easy to see that she will be one to beat this season.
Then there were the others:
Breanna Steer sang Beyonce's "Flaws and All," which pretty much summed up her performance.
Aubrey Cleland just may have done enough to earn herself the fifth spot in the top five. Although her performance of "Big Girls Don't Cry," by Fergie wasn't flawless, the judges all agreed that they loved her vibrato almost as much as her dress.
One of the moments that left viewers confused no doubt, was the judges' accolades for Janelle Arthur. Her rendition of, "If I Can Dream," by Elvis, did not even come close to earning her the redemption she needed after being chosen over Rachel Hale for a spot in the Top 10. Nicki calling her one of the best vocals of the night made less sense than her calling her a "little marshmallow."
Finally there was Tenna Torres who sang,"Lost," by Faith Hill. Although all of the judges enjoyed it, Tenna just didn't do enough to earn herself a spot in the top five - despite how much Nicki liked her hair and "boobs." You can't help but feel sorry for Kree, trapped in a marriage to someone so disrespectful.
The final prediction for the top five don't quite require a soothsayer but let's make them anyway:
- Angie Miller
- Kree Harrison
- Amber Holcomb
- Candice Glover
- Aubrey Cleland (This is the only one on this list that is dubious, but the great white dress should be enough to earn her a spot.)
Do you agree with these predictions? Feel free to make your own in the comments below and tune in Wednesday night when the Top 10 boys compete for their place in the Idol finals.