Last night, the guys led off with a series of performances that ranged from technically sound to strangely awkward, and pretty well everywhere in between. There was one thing that united them: absolutely none of them could dance. Can the girls find more even ground on the singing, and perhaps bring a little bit of rhythm to the proceedings? Well, let’s take a look and see how the Top 11 Girls fare.
Tara Oram – “Rose Garden” (Martina McBride via Lynn Anderson)
Okay, fun story: the only reason I know this song is due to my addiction to Time Life infomercials. And I kind of like it, in its charming little way; I, unfortunately, only know the song’s chorus since that’s all that was on the infomercial. But this is a completely charmless performance of the song, and the band is far too strong on what is really quite a quiet song. She never felt comfortable on stage, as far as I could tell, and it reeked of bar performance all the way. Not bad singing wise, but just…uninteresting.
What the judges think: Jake felt it was a bit breathy at points, almost rushed…but the singing was to her strength. Farley felt it was nerves, but it made sense to reaffirm her identity, while Sass felt that it showed her sweetness that she loves. Jake has been a Tara-skeptic, and she stands for something which he has to respect even with some opening night jitters.
What will Canada think: She’s incredibly engaging and charming in the non-singing parts of things, and being from Newfoundland basically guarantees her into the Top 10 at this stage. I am slightly worried about her rapidly shrinking figure, however.
Martha Joy – “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” (Aerosmith)
Martha Joy wants to touch Canada’s hearts, but she chooses one of the most overwrought and charmless songs to sing. This should have been Antonella Barba’s death knell on American Idol this season, and it’s doing nothing for Martha Joy’s chances here. She adequately displays her power, but the performance doesn’t make her stand out in any way from the other generic people who have sang this song and similar in the past. Technically, the song was very strong, however.
What the judges think: Farley loves her voice but felt it was academic, Sass thinks her mother is proud of her, Zack thinks that it was almost too theatrical or pageantry and is not sure that it will build a career or sell records and wants to see her grow. Jake feels the same as Zack, but throws more platitudes her way before shoving her down for being a 16-year old copycat who doesn’t know who she is.
What will Canada think: I don’t know; she’s tough because she sang decently, sang a song people will know, but didn’t stand out as a personality in the slightest.
Montana Martin-Iles – “The Bird and the Worm” (The Used)
This was, ummm, interesting. I have never really heard the song before, but I think that might play to her advantage. And unlike say Derek last night, her voice stayed fairly strong throughout the theatricality of the performance. It was a bit offputting in certain ways, but damn if it wasn’t also pretty damn entertaining. It was, perhaps, a star making performance: Ben thinks it was unique, but it wasn’t really. It was just weird without being bad, which is rare in these here parts.
What the judges think: “HOLY CRAP” from Sass, Zack says it was his favourite performance ever, Jake got goosebumps, and Farley wanted to hug her for being her.
What will Canada think: She received so much attention in the audition rounds that she was in on that alone. This will only help.
Kamila Miller – “I’m Going Down” (Mary J. Blige)
She is going by Mila now, to avoid confusion…but it’s not in the video packages, which is nice. I’ve never heard this Mary J. Blige song, but her attempts to place some form of soul into her performance just sound like she’s making strange noises instead of soulful ones. It’s not terrible, but she makes a LOT of weird faced throughout that made it mildly alarming to watch. She seems decently talented, but it’s not quite my cup of tea.
What the judges think: Zack felt it was sassy and fresh, Jake felt it was impassioned (Really), Farley liked it, and Sass…liked it.
What will Canada think: she seems like she will struggle to stand out, and might be a talented performer who goes home early.
Maud Coussa-Jandl – “Dreams” (The Cranberries)
Wow, that’s a mouthful: she was 15 and wanted to be like Alania Morrisette, so there’s her musical background. And, we have our first casualty of the evening. Having auditioned with her guitar, she is ludicrously out of place performance wise without it on this song. The lyrics are pretty well incomporehensible, and her performance is more or less terrible. Her voice is decent at points, but it is awful at others. Dolores Riordan this is not, and it struggled because of it.
What the judges think: Jake thinks that she shouldn’t sing such stylized songs since she can’t compare, Farley wasn’t won over by the song/performance, and Sass felt it sounded pitchy in the room but she was charming (It actually came across as kinda weird). Zack, meanwhile, feels that she has lost potential due to the “Idol” process and felt that she went from brilliant to horrific in sixty seconds flat.
What will Canada think: I am unsure, it depends on how everyone else does later tonight. She might get some of the hipster vote, but I don’t see that happening. She’s in jeopardy.
Annika Odegard – “Hopelessly Helplessly” (Andrews Jessica)
She’s hopelessly wavering and all over the place on this song, as her mouth literally vibrates on her final note. It didn’t seem like a strong vocal, and had trouble getting over the band. It was just personality-less, which is unfortunate considering she appeared to have some semblance of one in past portions of the competition.
What the judges think: Farley felt that she didn’t take enough of a risk, Sass felt it was too low for her register and felt she didn’t take enough risk indeed, Zack thinks that the Annika he wants her to be was gone in favour of pageant Annika, and once again Jake agrees with others and found it limp and cheesy.
What will Canada think: She’s young, she’s cute, and I think that she has a chance to make it…but the West has never been big on supporting their Idols regionally.
Naomi-Joy Blackhall – “Judgment Day” (Whitesnake)
See, Naomi-Joy really isn’t doing much different than Montana did: she is of a genre different than that of normal Idol performance, and she did nothing to hide this by performing Whitesnake of all things in the Top 22. However, for her things were a little bit shrill, and her different performance style is less contemporary and more, well, 80s hair rock. And yeah, that chorus was a mess from the beginning.
What the judges think: Sass felt it was really, really pitchy, Zack felt it was in the key of “huh”, Jake felt it was really pitchy, and Farley felt she tried something specific…but she was pitchy.
What will Canada think: she suffers from being too old to carry the teen vote and from too much of an urban area to inspire regional fandom. Although, as the only Nova Scotia girl, she has a shot to stick around one more week.
Christine Hanlon – “Possession” (Sarah McLachlan)
This is not a smart comparison tot make for yourself: Sarah McLachlan’s voice is crystal clear, and Christine’s is not. But, she hits the notes well enough and pulls together a decent performance in the process. While nothing spectacular, I felt that it at least focused on her abilities to sing notes in a certain fashion. And really, I think that she performed it well enough to avoid being labelled with the black mark or anything of that nature.
What the judges think: Zack thinks it was all wrong and she was out to lunch, Jake felt she wasn’t quite “in the pocket” with the song, Farley felt it was missing edge, and Sass thinks that it also lacked that spark to make it work.
What will Canada think: It depends: are they looking for spark or for “singing”? Because I think she sang well enough to go through, but she didn’t go crazy either. So we’ll have to see what Canada is valuing.
Scarlett Burke – “I Learned From the Best” (Whitney Houston)
My brother is right: she looks like a darker-skinned Hayden Panettiere in every possible way. I still can’t get over that she looks completely different than she did during the audition process, ludicrously so. Singing Whitney is always a bit tough, but I felt that it was a decent enough glory moment that didn’t exactly light things up…but it certainly wasn’t bad. But perhaps generic is the new bad these days, especially when everyone is pushing “be yourself”.
What the judges think: Jake felt it was uninspiring, Farley thinks that she can’t just glory her way through crappy openings, Sass felt it was too low in the beginning, and Zack thinks she should stay despite not being able to hear her lower register.
What will Canada think: Being new will be helpful for her, I think; unlike the others, we were introduced to her twice over and I think she’ll benefit. But she was also quite generic.
Khalila G(lanville) – “Family Portrait” (Pink)
Okay, dear Idol singers: you need to have last names. I condemn you from fighting it. Khalila even said her name in her pre-performance piece, so she’s not upset about it or anything. As for her performance, I actually kind of enjoy this song and felt that her rendition did a good job of dealing with it. Her performing was indeed quite poised, and she kind of took ownership of the song in a certain way. It was quite simple, which was actually kind of nice compared to the theatricality. She took a Pink song and turned it into an R&B track, which is what she should be doing.
What the judges think: Farley felt it was poised, Sass felt it was cool, Zack felt it was real, and Jake felt it was believable.
What will Canada think: Unique name, good performance, decent screentime in past episodes, mainstream sound…she’s fine.
Carly Rae Jepsen – “Put Your Records On” (Corrine Bailey Rae)
Her opening is ludicrously refreshing: she admits that she looked like a basket case, and that this happens sometimes. Meanwhile, she picks a song that is very good for her voice and sings it like, well, like she knows what she’s doing and that she knows she should be doing it. It was something refreshing, and whatever you think of the song it felt like a strong vibe. And I think she found some sort of balance between the strong vocal stuff at the beginning and the Idol stuff at the end. Which is the best of both worlds, so I can’t complain.
What the judges think: Sass thinks she was a ray of sunshine, Zack liked it but wanted just the vulnerable stuff, Jake felt she was almost as great as in the auditions, and Farley thinks she’s a definite Top 10 contender.
What will Canada think: She got the pimp spot, some banter with Ben, a cute story, and a very engaging performance. She might be different, but she’s in with a popular song and a strong vibe.
Best Performance of the Night: Carly Rae
By far, she basically knocked it out of the park with a great song choice, a strong opening, and a mainstream closing. I don’t think you can really argue against her on this one.
She delivered a strong vocal, and kept the song within her comfort range to strong effect.
Worst Performance of the Night: Maud
Even though I like that song, she just seemed completely lost and out of place on it both vocally and performance wise.
Just pitchy all over the place, and picked the absolute wrong song for this audience.
Who’s in Trouble?
Maud, Naomi, Martha, Kamila.