American Idol: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Just like the men, the women got to pick their songs from the 1960's. Unlike the guys, the girls did a better job with song selection. Although, let me just say this about that: I think women have an edge in this department because they have a greater variety of songs from which to choose.

Guys, for the most part, have to pick an upbeat if not downright rockin' song. Choosing a song that's too slow can be disastrous, as we witnessed Tuesday night with Luke Menard singing "Echoes of My Mind," Garrett Haley singing "Breaking Up is Hard to Do," and Jason Yeager crooning "Moon River."

But the gals can pick something up-tempo or slow, and as long as their performance and vocals are solid, no harm no foul.

But no matter how good your song selection or performance or vocals, one thing can ruin it in a second: bad nerves. And a few of the lovely Idol-ettes suffered from a case of the opening night jitters.

So how'd the ladies do? Here's my take.

Top Three:

Ramiele Malubay: The little girl with the big voice sang "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me." Shame on me for not even knowing this song. Sounded a little like the theme to a James Bond movie. Maybe because I didn't know the song and didn't have any expectations of how it should be sung, I thought she had strong vocals. Although I wasn't completely blown away by the performance. The judges were, though. Randy called her classy, Paula said she's a force to be reckoned with, and Simon thought she outsung everyone.

Asia'h Epperson: This is the brave young woman whose dad passed away days before her audition. She sang Janis Joplin's "Take Another Little Piece of My Heart." Good voice, I thought, albeit a little Pee-wee Herman-ish for my taste. But Asia'h was really comfortable on stage and clearly had a lot of fun. No nerve trouble here. Randy was impressed. Paula too. Simon called it his favorite of the night, although he hadn't seen Ramiele at this point.

Carly Smithson: The Irish singer with the previous record deal that caused a pseudo-scandal earlier this week. Idol producers smartly let her use her pre-performance interview to fess up, although it felt like she kind of glossed it over, which bugged me since I don't think it's really a big deal or something she should be evasive about. Carly sang "Shadow of Your Smile," another song I've never heard in my life. Tremendous voice. Randy called it best of the top 24. Paula thought it was beautiful. Simon dissented, saying it "wasn't fantastic."

Middle of the Pack:

Joanne Borgella: Second performer of the night, she sang "I Say a Little Prayer," one of my all time favorite songs. I liked it well enough, but nerves may have been an issue. Randy though she looked "unsure." Paula said she lacked confidence. Simon (surprise, surprise) didn't like it at all.

Alexandrea Lushington: Starting atop the staircase, she knocked out a rendition of "Spinning Wheels." Really upbeat with good energy, although her huge peace symbol earrings were distracting to me. Randy and Paula loved it, but Simon "didn't get it." Neither did I completely. Based on that song, I wouldn't buy her album. But I don't think she's in danger of elimination.

Alaina Whitaker: Ladies and gentlemen, introducing this year's Carrie Underwood wannabe. She's cute. She's blonde. She's even from Oklahoma. Whether she has Carrie's voice is yet to be determined. Alaina sang "I Love You More Today than Yesterday." The judges liked it, including Simon who claimed he hated the song itself.

Amanda Overmyer: The so-called "Rock & Roll Nurse." Amanda was a little sensitive to being compared to Janis Joplin, and so vowed not to sing Janis anymore. Instead she belted out "Baby Please Don't Go." Frankly, I think her voice is a little weird. Sort of a combination of scratchy and husky -- scrusky. The judges like her, but I don't think she'll be around very long.

Brooke White: Another of this year's plethora of blondes. Brooke sang "Happy Together." I sure liked it better than David Cook's version Tuesday night. Randy thought the first half sucked, but it picked up in the second half. Paula thought it was original. Simon compared it to a '60s era commercial for a "washing liquid." Huh? Don't ask me to explain.

Syesha Mercado: Sang a rockin' version of "Tobacco Road." The third song of the night that I've never heard. Ever. I wasn't too impressed, but she looked like she was having a blast. And had a strong finish. Paula called it "joyful." Don't you love how Paula gets away with judging contestants while not actually saying anything? Simon didn't care for the performance, but said Syesha's one of the most talented in the competition overall. We'll see.

Bottom Three:

Kady Malloy: Another from the band of blondes, Kady is the girl who does a great Britney Spears impression. She sang a pretty subdued version of "Groovy Kind of Love." The judges didn't like it, and I wasn't impressed. But Kady has a kind of Scarlett Johansson thing going, and will probably be safe from elimination based on her looks alone.

Amy Davis: If there's one female artist I'd never try if I were on American Idol, it's Pasty Cline. And Amy's rendition of "Where the Boys Are" is exactly why. It was a bad song choice, bad vocals, and pretty boring. Even I thought it was pitchy. Paula thought her nerves got to her. Simon thought she looked great, but didn't sound great.

Kristy Lee Cook: First singer of the night got the bottom spot, thanks probably to opening act jitters. Kristy sang "Rescue Me." I think Randy got it right when he said it was "rough around the edges." Paula seemed to imply that Kristy has been sick the last few days. Simon said she was robotic. Kristy is a Northwest native, and without a Seattle contestant in the bunch, she's as close to a hometown hero as I've got, so I'm pulling for her.

The bottom two guys and girls will be eliminated Thursday night. Stay tuned to find out who stays and who goes.

Ethan Morris: "Not always right, but never in doubt." Go ahead and write me.