American Idol 2011 – Girls Semi-Final

It’s not the edgiest bunch is it?

Ta-Tynisa Wilson : Well, she’ll be joining Jordan Dorsey in the “seriously, please enlighten us as to what the fuck you were thinking, because we can’t figure it out for the life of us” category. I don’t know what made her think ‘Only Girl (In The World)’ was a vocal showcase, because it ain’t. Rihanna gets away with it because she’s Rihanna, but Rihanna’s not really much of a singer either and kind of speaks the vast majority of her output. What’s truly confusing about this performance is despite all of those parameters, it was still a terrible performance because Ta-Tynisa didn’t even manage to sing it properly – she was off on pretty much every note. I don’t think Jennifer realised how much she was speaking for the viewing audience when she said “bet you’re glad that’s over”. SCORE : 1/10

(Poor girl – clearly she was having stomach cramps something fierce given all that doubling over (SCORE : 1/10))

Naima Adedapo : I’m almost tempted to spell her name incorrectly again, because last time it landed me a metric ton of Google hits, but then again, most of those people are obviously illiterate (no offence to any of you who stuck around), and who wants to attract that crowd right? Anyway Naima AdedaPo turned up this week having designed and built her own dress, which was…a unique and exciting opportunity for her, and I’m glad she took. She also looked a bit like she’d designed and built her own dental work, which might be more of a problem. America’s ready for someone with a unique sense of style (see : the almost parodic levels of screaming being done over Steven Tyler, who’s wearing a bunch of vintage Ts, and everything else made out of scarves) but, well, you all remember how they reacted to Crystal last year. In terms of her song she did Summertime, and a nice jazzed up forward thinking jazzy version at that. Sadly this pissed off Randy, as he was annoyed that she didn’t ‘nihilate it like Fantasia did. Seriously Randy, not every song needs to be bloody ‘nihilated. Her voice did some quite cool quirky and interesting things at points, and also some gross and annoying quirky and interesting things at others. Hopefully she can carve herself a neat middle path as she moves forwards. And may she never stop designing her own dresses and sturtting around like she about to lay an actual leg from out between her giant chicken legs. (SCORE : 6/10)

(For serious. May she never be tainted by the Idol stylists. Also, I quite liked her performance. SCORE : 5/10)

Kendra Chantelle : I had absolutely no idea who this one was until I saw that glimpse of her singing Blackbird with Paul McDonald in Beatles Week. At which point she automatically lost a point for not punching him out. He was coming towards her proper twitching and pumping his fists about as well, she would have had just cause. Anyway, this time she popped out of her box with actual chains coming off her nipples, singing a song back from when Xtina was the name of a popular young current singer, and not a rampaging bloated she-kraken, thrashing around and trashing the careers of not just herself, but also entire cities and municipal districts with every flail. TAKE THAT SUPERBOWL! I mean seriously, there were exactly 42 songs on Stripped, and only 3 of them did not at some point become singles, and of those 3 you chose THE WORST ONE, and then you sang it this badly. And this is how you wanted to busk out of your “Innocent Bystander No.2” Edit Box? Hell Naw. (SCORE : 3/10)

(I think I actually forgot this performance while it was happening. SCORE : 3/10)

Rachel Zevita : I arrived home halfway through the show, and Chris assured me that she had completely obliterated Fiona Apple’s ‘Criminal’. The thing is, I’m not actually familiar with that song, so I thought I probably wouldn’t even notice. How wrong I was. Even as someone completely in the dark where the original’s concerned, even I could tell it wasn’t supposed to sound like that. It was an awful, rough performance and the half-arsed burlesque aspect of proceedings just made it all the more embarrassing. Add to that the part where she genuinely thought she’d done a good job and looked stunned when the judges didn’t like it, and yeah, this was pretty awful. SCORE : 1/10.

(Words fail me. SCORE – 0/10)

MySpace Sensation Karen Rodriguez : Somehow I feel that despite Simon’s physical absence this year, his cynical strategy is going to be a little harder to get rid of. Mainly because “you should sing in Spanish, that’s what makes you unique” was his advice for Ruth Lorenzo on The X Factor. I don’t doubt he would’ve given the exact same advice to Karen if he were still here, but he was wrong then and he was wrong now, because essentially this was a performance that was 50% English, 50% Spanish, 100% tedious. It was also 100% poorly dressed – who the hell styled her? At first I wondered if Naima had been offering her services to the other contestants, but there’s no way she would’ve allowed Karen onto the stage looking like everyone’s mother. The thing is, her vocals were perfectly serviceable but it just felt far too gimmicky for my tastes. SCORE : 6/10

(It felt like she was singing it over the end-credits of the Captain Planet movie. All the kids of the world join hands and pray for Captain Planet. SCORE – 6/10)

Lauren Turner : Apparently of all the people who were cut in this year’s Pre-Lives cull Lauren Turner is the most missed (apart from if you live in the Universe of Twitter (and who doesn’t these days?), in which case Robbie Rosen is trending hard enough to momentarily distract the True Beliebers from coming up with new and entertaining ways of mis-spelling his name to Beat The Ban to consider, like, writing rude things on his wikipedia page or something). The Katelyn Epperly, the Felicia Barton, the Alexandrea Lushington, the Sabrina Sloane, the Mario Vasquez, the Suzy Valaca the one missed opportunity for greatness who was scythed down before her time by an uncaring America. The peerless What Not To Sing has performing at a solid 77. Me? I thought she was an obnoxious ball of hollering doing throwback numbers and having emotional breakdowns and proclaiming herself to be SASSAY and SARCASTIC and FULL OF PERSONALITY, like if she’d got any further she would have been played in the film of this series by Marissa Jaret Winokur. I’ve seen people compare this mess to ADELE for goodness sake. Serious. (SCORE : 3/10)

(I see no problem with a mess being compared to Adele. I thought she was a good singer, but I didn’t care much for the performance of it. She seemed like Ruth Lorenzo’s sister who didn’t share her sibling’s talent for stagecraft. SCORE : 6/10)

Ashthon Jones : Nho, Ih hahve nho idhea whaht thaht exthra h ihs dohing thehre eithehr. She was an interesting one – I didn’t really think her voice was anything to write home about, but she was determined to give a performance that was memorable. I can see why she got the wildcard – out of all the girls who didn’t get selected by the public vote, she strikes me at someone who at least has potential and deserves another chance. Of course, she might turn out to be another Megan Joy who the public decides isn’t really worth the punt, but I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next week. SCORE : 5/10

(IT NEVER BLOODY ENDED. SCORE – 2/10)

Julie Zorilla : There were many strange decisions made in the Top 24, and one of them was Julie’s decision to reimagine Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Breakaway’ as the opening song of a Disney princess movie. She had the sparkly dress, she had that sense of winsome characterisation, the only thing that was really missing was a load of adorable woodland creatures. Oh, and a good performance. Because the whole thing was rather disconnected, and on top of that she sounded pretty flat on most of her top notes. I feel like she was better than this during the audition process, but it’s hard to remember at this point. Whatever the case, this was a bit of a waste of a Top 24 spot. I think I’d prefer an actual trainwreck to something that was this nondescript. SCORE : 3/10

(The only thing stopping me giving it less is that I’ve heard Emilie Fleming’s version. SCORE – 2/10)

Haley Reinhart : I’m having much the same problem with her that I had with Casey yesterday – on one hand, I’m impressed by what came across to me as a confident, assured and vocally impressive performance. But on the other hand, I kind of hate her guts. There was something really affected and childlike about her stage persona which I really didn’t care for at all, she makes some very awkward faces when she sings, and I don’t think she has anything like as much control over her voice as she thinks she does. Having said all of that, ‘Fallin” is a song that usually ends up as a total wreck on shows like this, and this was one of the few cases where that outcome was averted. So for now, I am issuing her grudging approval, as long as she’s aware that she’s on notice if she doesn’t just STOP IT, generally, in future. SCORE : 7/10

(Simlish is not an acceptable performance language. SCORE – 4/10)

Thia Megia : Aw. They lowered the age limit just for her. Bless. Of course she demonstrates just what’s wrong with lowering the age-limit for girls (and boys) like her as well. Clockwork trained vocals, but about as much connection to the meaning of the song as I have to “OMG” (SHORTIES GOT SOME TITTIES LIKE HONK HONK HONK or whatever). And hence this version of “Out Here On My Own”, which was technically pretty much spot-on, apart from the odd intrusion of “deaf note” (ie a note that sounds like it’s being sung such as to make fun of a deaf person, which is actually an oddly common problem with this song) and yet pretty much an utter blankness to the performance. Also, she could have done with turning up the volume a little, because I had to amp it up for her performance, then almost got my face melted off when Lauren Alaina hit the stage doing a performance where everything was turned up to 11 (which we will get to). I don’t have the weird problems with her pageantness as it realtes to her personality that a lot of people seem to, but when applied to her performances? Kinda. (SCORE : 6/10)

(Agreed. Vocally it was on the money for the most part, but…nothing happened. A bit of actual performing wouldn’t go amiss. SCORE : 7/10)

Lauren Alaina: OK, where to start. Firstly, if I ever have kids, I’m going to probably be the liberal parent. Letting my child drink from the get-go of their teens (what? the French do it!), teaching them how to put a condom on a banana from about age 7, (for laughs if nothing else), teaching them the non radio-edit version of songs. But even I would look at Lauren Alaina’s get-up for this performance and use the word “missy” somewhere in the sentence. If for the terrifying lack of bra if nothing else. The “else” being the nuclear dump-truck quantities of drag-queen cosmetics seemingly force-fed into a angry skunk and squirted directly into her face. And then she kind of seemed to be building to some “When Harry Met Sally” business at the end there. Kids today, honestly. Her performance though, was pretty much great for the sort of performer she is – the poppier, punchier end of country, the crowd-working, the wholesomeness of Miley proportioned that will only end up…well where Miley herself ended up probably. But this one’s got a stronger voice and Steven Tyler on her side. And let’s face it “Sweet Emotion” > “Achey Breaky Heart” any day of the week. (SCORE : 8/10)

(I liked this a lot more than I expected to. I’m all on board with her being around this year if it means more big, stompy, enjoyable numbers like this. SCORE : 8/10)

Pia Toscano : I’d like her a hell of a lot more if her whole appearance didn’t spook me that Kara DioGuardi was perhaps back amongst us, except this time she had taken human form. “I’ll Stand By You” is pretty much a nothingy song, and she’s kind of a nothingy sort of human being at this stage, so a (SCORE : 7/10) is pretty much where this performance can level out. And guess what? It totally does, if only for her willingness to bite chunks out of it and oversing the stuffing out of it. Overall, I can’t really think of a better examplar of where the boys have the girls beat so far this year. It’s that some of them appear to have actual personalities, even if they are a tad Drubinish. (SCORE : 7/10)

(Best of the night, and probably the week. I loved how she could knock out seriously powerful notes while barely looking like she was making any effort at all. This would’ve been a nine, easily, if she hadn’t picked such a boring song. SCORE : 8/10)

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