Saturday, February 24, 2007

American Idol: Top 12 Women/Results

So we're a little late with the AI women, because of Troy's classes and my writers' group (and deadline. Ay.). But here are our reactions to the Top 12 women on AI, as well as this week's eliminations.

TRACY: What did you think of the women, Troy? I was SO glad they didn't blow huge, gelatinous chunks like the men did. I agree with Randy when he said that it's too bad the rules prohibit America from sending 8 women and 4 men--and I'm wicked devastated that the girls didn't provide more snark fodder. Ah, well, at least we still have Antonella Barbarella (I don't know why I feel compelled to call her that, but there it is) for now.

TROY: That’s the ONLY reason I want Antonella to stay around – villain fodder. Every season needs a person to despise (see: Scott Savol, Josh Gracin, Nikki McKibbin, Jasmine Trias, Guarini). It makes the snark much more fun.

Anyway, I have to agree about the girls. I was pretty impressed--they looked like seasoned professionals compared to the guys. However, there still is a good amount of snark to go around.

TRACY: But not when it comes to Stephanie Edwards. I was feeling sorry for Stephanie because she'd gotten VERY little camera time going into Wednesday night, and I figured she was headed for the chopping block as a result. And then she opened her mouth and revealed a major, MAJOR set of pipes. I don't know what Randy was smoking when he called her "pitchy" (a word that should be banned from the dictionary), but he was wrong. So very wrong.

TROY: I didn’t even remember Stephanie Edwards from previous episodes, but she rocked the AI house last night. She was able to drop to her knees and “saaaang” without looking like an ass (see: McPheever). She should make it to the top 12, no problem. Here’s hoping she can overcome the curse of LaToya and show personality as the competition progresses (but not “I’m the queeeen of Allllaaaaammbbbaaammmaaaa” type of drunken personality). Still, she’s my favorite of the females. Team Stephanie (for now)!

TRACY: Amy Krebs. ... I'm so bored by her performance, I can't even muster up the energy to type something snarky.

OK, I can.

If you're going to sing a cheesy ballad, at LEAST don't sing a cheesy ballad that a gajillion finalists before you have beaten into the ground, ad nauseum, ad infinitum. And was it just me, or did she just never change expression during her entire one-minute-thirty-seconds of fame on TV? I half expected her to peel off her face mid-performance to reveal a lizard-like alien creature beneath.

TROY: Poor Amy Krebs! She seemed like a nice girl, despite the deer-in-headlights look when she would sing. I thought she seemed very sincere to the judges and WANTED to improve and be there so much. That said, she is quite unmemorable. She only had the makings to be the next Leah LaBelle or Lindsay Cardinale.

TRACY: Yep. Nice girls, can sing better than I can, but not superstars yet.

Speaking of not superstars, I think Leslie Hunt lasted another week because of her dorky dancing skills (see the montage of the finalists after Hollywood week). Because no white girl should ever, EVER tackle Aretha unless she has Celine Dion's range and Stevie Nicks' power. It was a fine performance, but dude, it's Aretha. Do NOT go there. Sing Jewel next time or something.

TROY: Leslie, Leslie….She’s like the embodiment of Ashlee Simpson’s little jig after she was caught lip-synching on SNL. Her whole performance was cringe inducing, from her bunny hop to the dopey looks she’d flash at the screen. At times, I wasn’t sure if the girl had teeth .

TRACY: Oh, come on! She's a nice girl--no comparing her to Ashlee.

I love Sabrina Sloan--great voice, great range, amazing control. And I am utterly peeved that some bloggers are trashing her looks. The girl has talent, a great smile, beautiful hair, a slammin' body, and a nose that--while not plastic surgery perfect--is, to quote Kirsten Dunst, "characterful." [sic] What's not pretty about that? Idiots.

TROY: “Characterful?” You could throw a tea party on that schnoz!

TRACY: OK, you'd BETTER look like a male supermodel next time I see you if you're going to be bringing that weak stuff in here!

TROY: I am now an evil blogger . That said, the girl DOES have talent and she’ll probably make it to the top 12. I like her – she’s a’ight.

TRACY: She's more than a'ight. Team Sabrina!

I didn't think Antonella Barba's performance was as bad as the judges said--she did some interesting things with her voice and the melody that made her stand out from the likes of Amy and Leslie. But the vacant stare! The snarky little looks she was shooting the judges! The horrible best friend! She's a train wreck waiting to happen ... oh, wait--it did happen, in the form of pictures taken of her on the toilet. Cah-LASSY.

TROY: On, Antonella was asked,” What is you’re most embarrassing moment?” Her answer? “Saying the wrong things before I think.”

Yeah… Think that’s changed now…

There are new pictures (I would say ‘allegedly,’ but I saw them and am totally skeezed out) of Antonella performing….other acts with a male friend of hers. Didn’t Frenchie Davis get kicked out for the same (but lesser) thing?

TRACY: Frenchie posed topless. Allegedly--I was never compelled to look them up. As for Antonella, her parents must be so proud.

TROY: And I have to disagree about performance. I was looking away at the computer and only heard what I thought was a cat being tortured on TV. Yikes.

TRACY: I should probably type in a brilliant riposte here, but I just can't bring myself to care enough about Antonella's voice to do so. The fact that she's dumb enough to let people take pictures of her on the can makes me just wish she'd go back to Jersey and rot.

I surprised myself by loving Jordin Sparks. I ADORE the entire, perfect Tracy Chapman album that spawned "Gimme One Reason," and I was all set to hate Jordin's inevitable shiny, happy performance, but she rocked it. I loved her energy, loved her unique twist at the end, and loved her voice. Despite my Team Sabrina comment above, I don't have a set-in-stone favorite among the women yet--but Jordin, Stephanie, and Sabrina are right up there.

TROY: Jordin has a pretty infectious smile. I really enjoyed her performance and think she seems like a nice, very talented girl. She’s like Diana DiGarmo minus the annoying and yelling. She’ll do well, as long as she doesn’t get too cutesy and gimmicky.

However, she did say her favorite female pop artist is “Christina Timberlake.” Let’s all point and laugh now.

TRACY: That could be a webmaster error, you know.

Nicole Tranquillo scares me, and not just because she pronounces the LL in her name as Ls, rather than with a Y sound. (Guess she could be Italian and not Latina or Spanish. But if not....) What was she doing with her voice? Trying to communicate with whales? I swear, at least a couple of times I heard a vocal cord or two explode in agony.

TROY: Tranquillo means calm. Calm is associated with sleep. Nicole puts me to sleep by association. But the yelling keeps me awake…? For her health, it was a good thing she got cut or she might have actually burst a vocal cord.

TRACY: Or ten. Haley Scarnato was awful. Awful jumpsuit, awful song, awful performance. I think she and Amy Krebs could go on tour as an act that helps people with insomnia, and I now christen both of them "the Boring Girls."

TROY: “The moth who finds the melon finds the corn flake always finds the melon and one of you didn’t pick the right fortune.” And that’s all I really have to say about Haley. Pretty sure she’ll be out next week.” Seriously. I got nothing.

TRACY: I wasn't crazy about Melinda Doolittle's song choice, but I think the woman is a singing genius. Her power and energy made a rather unremarkable melody a lot of fun, and for that I give her some serious props. She's a major contender, and now I have four favorites among the women.

TROY: I think you pretty much summed it all up. I think she’ll definitely grow in this competition is again proof that there should probably be an 8 – 4 ratio of girls to guys in this competition.

TRACY: Alaina Alexander does not deserve her spot and was only given it because she is pretty. Which makes me not want to waste my time on her, and so I will not, pausing to remember once again the untimely demise of Tami Gosnell, who I am convinced was the second coming of the late, great Janis Joplin and was completely and utterly robbed. Somebody PLEASE beg that girl to try out again next year. Better yet, send her some roses and a lengthy apologia, and just give her the spot next year she should have had instead of this twit.

TROY: I will follow suit and say that I think Idol should reinstate the wildcard show JUST to bring Tami back. If Carmen Rassmuessen can have a second chance (a wildcard pick, second season), then dammit, Tami deserves one too. Maybe Tami didn’t have the “look,” of an American Idol, but she was unique, talented, and sweet. The judges made a big mistake and I hope Tami can breakaway with a record contract, and show Idol.

TRACY: Gina Glocksen was decent, and I think she might make for some interesting moments later in the competition. I had no idea she had such range, and I'm shocked that Simon thought she was off. I don't have perfect pitch, but I thought the note was fine. She's no Melinda Doolittle, but if she goes back to her rocker chick thing (which would add something different to the competition), she deserves spot #6 among the final 12.

TROY: Gina reminds me of a 40-year-old soccer mom who is having a midlife crisis. She just looks….not good. It’s like she’s trying to mix wholesome and edgy, which is not working out for her. WHAT? She’s only 22??? WHAT?

And her range might be okay, but she does not have the voice to be singing big songs. She needs to try the Nikki McKibbin route (gross, I know) and sing rock or something to go along with the look that she is TRYING to convey. Plus, she just reeks of desperation (“Love me! I’m so hip and edgy because I have pink in my hair! Ooooh!”)

TRACY: I think she was really desperate to get on Idol, but I don't get a desperate vibe from her otherwise. I think she'll grow on you.

Speaking of, I know you didn't like Lakisha Jones, but I did. However, I really wish people would stop singing "(And I am Tellin' You) I'm Not Going," because A) Jennifer Hudson now owns that song, no matter how good you are. Maybe it'll be OK to sing that two seasons from now, but this season it just comes off as disrespectful. And B) the melody is all over the place, so there is really no way to do something different with it. It's always the Same. Exact. Song.

So Lakisha, let's pull out something interesting and unique next time, because now the world has no doubt that you are the old-fashioned belter Simon took you for during your audition. Pick a song that no one has done before on Idol, and knock it out of the park.

That said, "And I Am Tellin' You etc." is an INCREDIBLY difficult song to pull off, and Lakisha did it in spades. Plus, she's kind of a sweetie.

TROY: Prior to this performance, I was totally on the Lakisha train – woooo Lakisha. Team Lakisha. Go girl, and all of that.

Then….I heard she was performing “(And I Am Telling You) I’m Not Going.”

Granted, I don’t even LIKE Jennifer Hudson, but she owned that song in “Dreamgirls.” Plus, she has this big momentum going on to the Oscar race. Now, Randy’s all “Jennifer who?” To which I say, “Whaaa?” Lakisha--You’re great, you have a fantastic voice and a very sweet, humble personality. But do NOT perform a song like that, one so currently famous. It was tacky. I think Lakisha has an amazing voice, but it did not compare to J.Hud’s version. I still have an open mind for next week though.

I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned this season’s guest line-up, including vocal powerhouses Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Lopez . Seriously though, it will be cool to see Tony Bennett and the other legendary artists they have signed up.

I love me some Gwen and No Doubt, but if that is a theme week, it would be a disaster. Most of her songs are just not….vocal competition songs. All twelve contestants can’t sing “Don’t Speak!”

TRACY: Maybe someone can butcher "It's the End of the World as We Know It" in Gwen's honor.

TROY: However, J.LO week will be a debacle of epic proportions. What will she teach them? “The computer fixes the notes you miss!!”

TRACY: Or how to make your world-class, uber-talented husband sound like ass by forcing him to duet with you in public. But she CAN teach them a lot about personality. She wouldn't have gotten a recording contract without it in spades.

TROY: Hopefully theme weeks won’t be too artist-centric, but they do have a pretty impressive line-up (even J.LO is an impressive Idol choice, despite the lack of singing ability). I am guessing most artists will just serve as mentors to complement themes.

TRACY: Guess we'll see. We didn't post our predictions for the women in time for the results show, but I had told Jose that I thought the Boring Girls would both go. I figured Antonella Barbarella's hootchie-ness would keep her on a little longer, as would Leslie Hunt's dorky dancing and Alaina Alexander's looks. Jose then countered that people probably wouldn't want to hear more of Nicole Tranquillo's vocal stylings, to which I agreed. So I ended up fairly sure that Nicole and one of the Boring Girls would go, and I couldn't bring myself to care enough about which one that would be.

TROY: I thought America would be so skeezed out by Antonella that she would FOR SURE be kicked off. Then I remembered that America also kept Mikaylah Gordon past the top 24. I was thinking either Gina, Nicole, or Haley--any combo of those three….

TRACY: And it turned out that IIIIIIIIIII am the chammmmmmppppionnnnnn ... of the woorrrrrrrrrrld. I totally beat out TV Squad and Entertainment Weekly when it came to predicting who was going to be voted off. Rudy, Paul, Nicole, and Amy all got sacked. I am a little sorry to see Rudy and Paul go, because I think they had a lot of potential, especially if Paul hadn't been so obsessed with spreading a foot fungus amongus. That whole pointing at his bare toesies while singing "guilty feet have got no rhythm" was probably the final nail is his proverbial coffin.

TROY: Should have been Chris Sligh

Paul was a good singer, but had a horrible song choice and annoying quirks. Everytime he would appear on screen, I’d sing “Smelly Feeeeet” to the tune of Phoebe Buffet’s “Smelly Cat.” Oh well, perhaps he can find an endorsement deal with Dr. Scholl’s.

Amy just seemed like a nice girl….I wish she would have stayed longer than Trashy McNasty. Perhaps next week?

TRACY: It'll be interesting to see who steps it up and who implodes under the pressure (Sundance, I'm staring at you.) So long Rudy, Paul, Angry Nicole, and ... um ... uh ... the other one.


TRACY: Whatever.

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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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