Ashthon Jonessang “Love All Over Me” by Monica. Not the most popular song she could have chosen, but Ash (or as Steven called her, “Jonesy”) totally sold it. “What’s up ladies?” she called out before singing the first note. Yep. Get ready for the Ashthon show! While singing the song, the diva-in-training said to the crowd, “You know what I’m talking about.” (Not really, but we were totally loving her stage swagger.) “Jonesy, you’ve got the confidence of a queen… you sing so sweet,” Steven remarked. “You have all the makings of a diva,” Jennifer said — the big hair, the body, the moves, and the composure.” Watch out, Beyonce?
Rachel Zevita sang a sexy version of “Criminal” by Fiona Apple. The performance was dramatic, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing when it comes to American Idol. “I loved your strut… I loved your swagger, I loved your moves, but a little too Broadway for me,” Steven told Rachel. “I just wish we would have seen a little more of [your range] tonight,” Jennifer said. “It just didn’t work… It wasn’t great,” Randy said. (The dawg really has some bite this season!)
Thia Magiasang “On My Own” with the poise and polish of a singer twice her age. And she definitely deserves props for starting out with no music in the beginning! “I can’t believe you’re 15,” Steven said, adding, “We did a pretty good job judging these people this year, because we picked so many talented people that are so good, it’s gonna be hard for the American public to pick.” Jennifer seemed moved. “It was just so beautiful… it was just really special,” she said. And Randy actually compared Thia to the King of Pop. How did he justify that big comparison? “Your tone when we first heard you reminded me so much of the late great Michael Jackson,” Randy said. “No matter what age you are, this is what hot singing is about!”
It was the ladies’ turn to take the stage after the boys turned it out on Tuesday night. We didn’t know what they would be wearing, but we were pretty sure it wouldn’t be as fab as the hot little outfit Jennifer walked out in — a sparkly silver dress with matching thigh high boots. Smokin’! But more importantly, we wanted to know what the ladies would be singing...
Lauren Alaina sang “Turn On The Radio” by Reba McEntire, proving with every effortless note that she has what it takes to be the next young country music superstar. (Hmm. Maybe she and Scotty “Baby Lock Them Doors” McCreery should record a duet.) “You don’t even have to try… the voice is just so effortless… so great to watch,” Jennifer said. “You have a natural gift. You can sing anything,” Randy said, comparing her to former Idols Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. (We all know that’s high praise in Idol land.)
Julie Zorillasang Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway.” Why, oh why, did she sing this song? First of all, she was drowned out by the powerful background vocals. Second… well, it was just bad. Lucky for her, the judges’ comments weren’t as brutal as the ones we were saying in our heads. “I don’t feel it was the best thing we’ve ever seen you do,” Jennifer said. “Wrong song for you… If you took it up a couple keys, it would have been better,” Steven added. “You didn’t bring anything different or new to it… you sing it not nearly as good as her,” Randy said. You don’t say?!
Karen Rodriguez sang “Hero” by Mariah Carey. At first we were thinking, ‘You can’t take on a Mariah song on the first night!’ But Karen rose to the occasion and made it her own, even mixing in some Spanish lyrics. “Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow,” said Jennifer. (Wow, J. Lo. Was that enough wows?) “I like that you figured out a way to make it yours… the Spanish was better than the English,” added Randy. “Definitely a one-of-a-kind singer,” Steven surmised, before deciding to play music matchmaker. “I think you oughta get together with Jacob Lusk and sing that song together,” he said.
Ta-Tynisa Wilson sang “Only Girl” by Rihanna. And yes, she put some dancing in there. That immediately made us nervous after watching the disaster that was Jordan Dorsey’s performance on Tuesday, but we think Ta-Tynisa held her own. “Beautiful way to open the show,” Steven said. “You started off a little shaky but you brought it all the way home,” Jennifer said. Randy disagreed. “I think that is was just okay… it kinda paled in comparison to Rihanna’s version,” he said. Then, it turned into a debate between Randy and J.Lo on whether or not Ta-Tynisa moved the crowd or not. But we just wanted to move on already.
Pia Toscano sang “I’ll Stand By You” to close the show… and boy, did she close the show! She received a standing ovation from the audience, judges, and the other contestants for her bold, passionate vocals. Who knew Pia would be one to watch in the competition? “I’ve been here ten seasons, we’ve had some amazing performances on here, but let me just tell you something… You just put yourself in the top with those amazing performances,” Randy said. And Steven was so impressed, he started muttering nonsense. “After Monday, Tuesday, even a week, says WTF?,” he commented. Jennifer added, “I knew that you were a standout… but you were saving that for when it counts.”
And it definitely counted tonight. Tell us which performances were your favorites in the comments below!
Lauren Turner sang a bluesy, soulful rendition of the old-time classic “Seven Day Fool.” And it turned out to be the hottest performance... of the first half of the show. (Read on and you’ll see why it wasn’t the hottest.) “That’s how you do it, man,” Randy said, comparing her vocals to Amy Whinehouse meets Florence and the Machine. “Lauren, that was spectacular,” Steven said. “It sounded like Lauren Turner meets Lauren Turner to me… It was a perfect full complete sentence.” (Yes, sentence structure apparently counts on American Idol.) J.Lo called Lauren’s voice “undeniable,” but thought she could have put some more personality into the song. Eh, who needs personality when you have a voice like that?!
Naima Adedapo sang a jazzy version of “Summertime.” We have to admit we hadn’t been paying much attention to Ms. Naima during this competition — even with those colorful outfits she wears. But she woke us up tonight with that brilliant performance. “You bring color… you’re like an exotic flower in a rose garden,” Jennifer said, apparently channeling Paula Abdul. “It was a little lounge acty… I enjoyed the second half better than the first half,” Randy said. Steven disagreed. “It was like early Ella Fitzgerald. That’s what America needs right now,” he said.
Haley Reinhartsang “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys — because we haven’t heard that song on American Idol before. But it turned out to be a pretty good performance, even though we’ve seen Hailey do much better. “It’s a great song, but it didn’t do anything for you,” Randy said, adding that it was “almost like a karaoke kind of thing.” Steven said he didn’t agree with Randy because then both of them would be wrong. Instead, Steven said he heard “just the right amount of style” and “just the right amount of sexy” in the performance. Jennifer took Steven’s side. (Big surprise there!) “I think we saw a lot of colors in your voice right there… all of those things that are very Hailey,” J.Lo said. But Jennifer did have some advice for Hailey: “You need to get out of your head,” she said, referring to Hailey’s cautious moves on stage.
Kendra Chantelle sang a soul-tastic version of “Impossible” by Christina Aguilera. “I love that bravado… it reminds me of Lauryn Hill,” Randy said. “You did it again... voice hot, clothes hot, style hot…the whole package,” Steven added. “You fought your way into the top twelve with that voice of yours and you belong here,” Jennifer said. Go, Kendra!