The top 12 “American Idol” women have arrived. They’ve sung, they’ve been judged, and now they await their fate from the voting public: a pass to next week or a plane ticket home. So, how did these “Idol” hopefuls do on Tuesday night? Who surprised us, who disappointed us and who’s in danger of going home? Let’s take a look at the top 12 women’s report card. (And don’t miss Jim Cantiello’s review of their performances in the Newsroom.)
Lilly Scott: While so many contestants tried to mimic pop stars on Tuesday night, Scott was the most prominent example of what the judges have always wanted: a performance that displays your originality rather than your propensity for imitation. Scott’s acoustic guitar-driven reworking of the Beatles’ “Fixing a Hole” was unexpected and refreshing. We weren’t sure what to make of the platinum-blond 20-year-old before her performance, but now we’re certain she’s bought herself a few more weeks on the “Idol” stage.
Michelle Delamor: If no one knew who Delamor was before her performance of Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’, ” they certainly do now. While it was a conventional choice, she executed the song with vocal dexterity. And what’s more, she looked like one of the only singers of the night not suffering from a case of voice-mangling nerves. She’ll have to show she can bring some innovation to her repertoire, but for now, she’s safe.
Crystal Bowersox: Simon Cowell may not have liked the dreadlocked single mom’s take on Alanis Morissette’s “Hand in My Pocket” — accusing her of being like thousands of other buskers outside subway stations — but Bowersox made clear she’s a genuine musical talent. Her sweet admittance that she’d prefer to sing originals if only “Idol” rules allowed it showed that the singer has confidence to equal her chops.
Paige Miles: She entered the evening with one of the least-recognizable faces, and after her energetic take on of Free’s rock anthem “All Right Now,” she finished off with a new lease on “Idol” life. Nice to meet you, Paige. Now keep it up!
Katelyn Epperly: Following on the heels of Scott’s Beatles rearrangement, Epperly’s bluesy rendition of the band’s “Oh! Darling” did not hold up especially well. But it still held up, and she’s in no danger of going home. Will she heed Kara’s advice next week and ditch the lipstick glam for a more natural look? Will the judges spend more time critiquing her voice instead of her getup? Stay tuned.
Janell Wheeler: The 24-year-old picked a song that might not have fully showcased her vocal talents but was nonetheless a ton of fun: Heart’s ’80s classic, “What About Love.” That the tune is a karaoke go-to could both be a strike and plus for Wheeler. We’ll look for her to show off her chops in the coming weeks.
Siobhan Magnus: The 19-year-old made the top 24 on the strength of her lively, youthful rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City,” and then promptly forgot everything the judges told her. Still, her haunting take on Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” is probably the performance everyone’s still talking about the next day. Is she safe? Yes. Are we curious — and a little afraid — about what she’ll bring next week? You bet.
Katie Stevens: The 17-year-old apparently decided she’d had enough with her teenage years and tried her hand at the sexy classic “Feeling Good.” It was not a good idea. Neither was that outfit, which did indeed make it look like her parents had dressed her up for a fancy-dress party. Stevens needs to add in a dash of teenage rebellion to that persona before she wears out her “Idol” welcome. We’ll still see her next week, but Tuesday night should be a wakeup call for Stevens.
Ashley Rodriguez: If we could have guessed what song Rodriguez would bust out on Tuesday, it would have been something by Beyoncé, Alicia Keys or Leona Lewis. And if we could have warned her against all of those, we would have. As polished a singer as Rodriguez is, she’s never — at least not this early in the game — going to pull off a version of these divas’ tunes that could make us forget the originals. Case in point: her shaky take on Lewis’ “Happy” that left the judges seriously underwhelmed. But Rodriguez has far too much potential to be sent packing this week.
Didi Benami: Just as Rodriguez predictably selected a big R&B tune with “Happy,” Benami swung at a song in her jazzy wheelhouse — Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am” — and came away looking foolish. Simon nailed it when he called Benami another Duffy/Adele wannabe. Still, Benami has received far too much face time to be sent packing. Expect her to make it through to next week.
Haeley Vaughn: Like Rodriguez, Vaughn entered Tuesday night having received a lot of camera time in the past few weeks. And like Rodriguez, she bombed. Having declared she wants to be “the first black pop-country mainstream singer,” she instead attempted a jazzy rendering of the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” It was high on energy and low on listenability. Hate to say it, but Vaughn is in trouble this week.
Lacey Brown: Why, Lacey, why? Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” is an insanely clichéd “Idol” selection, and to make matters worse, you botched it. You were booted in Hollywood last season, and you’re in danger of meeting the same fate this week.
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