‘American Idol’ Report Card: Jessica Sanchez Earns High Marks

The ladies got their chance to shine on Wednesday night, and while some seized the moment, others shrunk from the spotlight.

One night after the guys got their chance to shine (with varying degrees of success ) on “American Idol,” it was time for the girls to step beneath the spotlight on Wednesday’s two-hour telecast. And while some seized the moment, well, even more seemed to wilt under the pressure.

And sure, you could blame it on nerves, but with so much on the line — only five were guaranteed to make it through to the next round — let’s just say there’s going to be plenty of girls sweating it out during Thursday’s (March 1) results show. Not even Adele could save them. Who delivered the goods? Here’s our grades for the girls … the good, the bad and the, uh, really bad, on a very melismatic night.

Jessica Sanchez: Battled through swollen vocal chords, still sorta killed it with her pageant-ready version of with J. Hud’s “Love You I Do.” Was probably the best of the night. Attitude abounds. Meet this year’s resident diva-in-training. Grade: B+

Elise Testone: Didn’t exactly win points for originality by doing the same Adele song as Jen Hirsch (hereby introducing the first running sub-plot of season 11: How many times will Adele be covered?) yet truly connected to the tune, which is more than we can say about anyone else on Wednesday. Bonus points for coughing at the end. Grade: B

Skylar Laine: Depending on whom you listen to, her sassy “Stay With Me” was either one of the night’s few standout moments, or a shouty disaster. We’re going with the former, mostly because we think Skylar would be a lot of fun to ride ATVs with. That last note was pretty rough, though give her credit for bringing some actual energy to the proceedings. Grade: B

Shannon Magrane: Her version of “Go Light Your World” was heavy on stage-kid histrionics, though there’s no debating the fact that she’s got the voice. Towered over much of the competition (and Seacrest), which is a comment on the strength of the field more than anything else. Gave J.Lo “Goosies” though. Grade: B

Hollie Cavanagh: Turned in an even-keeled version of Xtina’s “Reflection” which had more highlights than you probably remember. And given that her performance happened less than 12 hours ago, well, that’s a pretty apt summation of why Cavanagh will probably get the boot. Grade: B

Brielle Von Hugel: Shimmied her way through Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” wore an impressively dyed dress-thing. Unremarkable to everyone except Tyler, who proclaimed her performance to be “beautiful.” We weren’t as moved … we bet her mom liked it, though. Grade: C+

Jen Hirsch: There’s much potential here, very little of which was on display during her flat performance of Adele’s “One and Only.” Regardless, J.Lo “felt the feeling,” whatever that means. We expected better, Jen! Grade: C

Erika Van Pelt: Toothsome wedding singer from Rhode Island did a thoroughly wedding-singer-from-Rhode-Island version of Heart’s “What About Love.” Steven Tyler praised her “confidence,” which makes us wonder if he’s regressed to his Toxic Twins nadir. Grade: C

Chelsea Sorrell: Diction-challenged country gal showcased serious sidearm skills during her pre-performance vignette, yet totally shot blanks with her take on Carrie Underwood’s “Cowboy Casanova.” Last note was OK, but overall: off-target and nasally, y’all! Grade: C-

Hallie Day: Her version of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” left us feeling anything but. Though she vamped and camped, Day never seemed comfortable with the song’s general largess, and, quite frankly, came off more cartoonish than anything else. Tyler liked it, mostly because he seems to like everything these days. Grade: C-

Haley Johnsen: Went for “edgy” with her take on Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams,” basically ended up plummeting off the edge. Rough patches aplenty (not even the big notes could save her), though we liked her fishnets. Randy summed it up best: “It was a bit of a nightmare instead of a dream.” Grade: D

Baylie Brown: The other Country gal, also known as “the pretty one,” which seems to be the singular reason she’s made it this far. Did Lonestar’s “Amazed,” was, uh … did we mention she’s pretty? The aftermath of her performance, in which Randy suggested Ryan wears dresses, was sort of incredible though. Grade: F