American Idol Recap of the Top 12 Girls’ Performances on February 29, 2012
Baylie Brown, “Amazed”: Ugh, this song again? Every country singer on Idol sings this at some point. Meh. The good news is, Baylie looks stunningly gorgeous. The bad news is that she sounds flat-out awful. She could win a beauty contest tonight easily, but a singing contest? Not so much. “I don’t know if it’s the best song you could’ve picked for tonight... I’ve heard you sing better,” Steven says. “It just didn’t seem like you had total control,” Jen says. Randy agrees with the others, and also confirms that Baylie does, in fact, look amazing.
Hollie Cavanagh, “Reflection”: Another boring song choice, boo! Hollie really doesn’t enunciate her lyrics very well, but her voice has a very warm, pretty tone, and after the mess of missed notes that made up Baylie’s performance, Hollie’s ability to sing on-key comes as an extremely welcome relief. Also, she has huge, awesome earrings, so we automatically like her a little. “One of my favorites from the start, you did it again tonight,” Steven says. “She’s gonna be one of our front-runners... I look forward to America seeing what you do when you let your hair down,” Jen says. “It wasn’t perfect, but the parts that were brilliant were genius,” Randy says.
Chelsea Sorrell, “Cowboy Casanova”: Country girl Chelsea kicks off the night with a Carrie Underwood song and a whole bunch of black sequins. She sounds pretty good, but probably not Carrie-level good. It’s a solid, fun performance, but we would’ve rather the night began with something a little more exciting. “You definitely can sing,” Randy Jackson says (we should turn how often he says that into a drinking game, y’all), adding that he wasn’t sure if it was the best song choice. Jennifer Lopez says she knows “it sucks” going first, then proceeds to call her “nasally.” Steven Tyler suggests she watch her phrasing and tone. Not too much love from the judges for Chelsea.
Erika Van Pelt, “What About Love”: We can always tell when we really like a performance, because we sit and watch instead of taking notes, and Erika definitely merited watching. We’d like to have seen her a little more relaxed, but her voice is gorgeous and she has a little bit of rock ‘n roll to her that we just love. “There’s something magical about having the confidence like you had just now... you nailed it,” Steven says. Jen calls her a “power voice,” but says Erika seemed like she was holding back. “Yo, if this girl DJs half as good as she sings, she’s dangerous,” Randy says.
Haley Johnsen, “Sweet Dreams”: Jeeeez, has anyone else noticed that we have a Hallie, a Hollie, a Baylie, and a Haley this season? Excessive! Let’s hope they don’t all make the finals. Haley’s performance is “arty” or something, which means there are giant eyeballs up on the screen behind her and she yells a lot, basically. It’s not great. “I hope that America could hear all the special things you were doing with your voice... I’m not sure that the song was a perfect song,” Jen says. “The money shots were on, spot on,” Steven says. “It was a bit of a nightmare for me instead of a dream,” Randy says.
Jen Hirsh, “One and Only”: Last night, Littlest Idol Eben Franckewitz took on Adele; tonight, Jen’s taking a shot. The problem with covering Adele is that most people, unfortunately, are not Adele. Jen is definitely not Adele. (Adele no longer seems like a word.) Anyway! Jen is all right — she goes obviously sharp a few times, but despite her lack of Adele-ness, overall it’s not bad. “You’re the first person who came out here and let loose a little bit,” Jen says. “You’ve got what it takes,” Steven says.
Shannon Magrane, “Go Light Your World”: Shannon looks very pretty! She also kind of looks like she’s going to prom, or competing in Miss America. Oh, this song is very inspirational. Definitely a Miss America kind of situation here, y’all! Shannon has a really big voice, and she’s doing pretty well controlling it, even if she seems like she might benefit from a little more training. Presumably she’ll get some if she makes the Top 13. “What a way to come out swinging... every time I hear you sing I’m so impressed,” Randy says. “My reality check bounced — you took it upstairs and it was beautiful,” Steven says.
Brielle Von Hugel, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”: Well, right off the bat Brielle wins us over, because she’s flanked by our new BFF Heejun Han and our Idol Boyfriend Phillip Phillips. Also, for the record, there is an actual dock (on what is presumably a bay) up on the screen behind her, hee. The beginning of the song is a little wobbly vocally — it seems too low for her — but once she gets going, it improves dramatically, and she finishes strong. “You’ve got a great sense of the blues... that was beautiful,” Steven says. “I think people underestimate you... you are a true performer,” Jen says. Randy tells her she can really sing, so: drink!
Jessica Sanchez, “Love You I Do”: We get a pre-performance warning that Jessica has a sort throat. That means she’ll probably be awesome; they only do this for awesome people. Annnnd... yup! She’s awesome. Her voice is a little soft on the low notes, but otherwise she’s blowing it out of the park, and she looks more confident on stage than anyone else has. All three judges give her a standing ovation. “That girl can really sing,” Randy says (drink!), and adds that Jessica was one of the best of the last two nights. “The whole thing is just so really beyond your years, it’s crazy,” Jen says.
Hallie Day, “Feeling Good”: Hallie’s another contestant we had to stop writing in order to watch. It’s not the best version of this song we’ve ever heard (that will always be Muse’s cover, let’s be real), but it’s soulful and pretty, and there’s just something very charming about Hallie. The crowd loves her! “I felt like that had some really beautiful moments,” Jen says. “I think you’re beautiful and you’re old fashioned... nice going,” Steven says. Randy asks what kind of music Hallie wants to make, namedrops Lana Del Rey and Adele, and then tells Hallie she “can definitely blow.” (Drink?)
Elise Testone, “One and Only”: Wait, what?! Elise is singing the same song that Jen did earlier in this exact show? Good lord, ladies. Couldn’t you have flipped a coin? Or picked another song? Ahem. Well, Elise isn’t Adele either, but she’s definitely doing better on this song than Jen did. For starters, she’s playing piano. Elise has that great raspy, too-many-cigarettes tone, and it’s really working for her, plus she’s selling the emotion. “You blew it out of the water,” Steven says. Jen says Elise is “maybe the best singer here.”
Skylar Laine, “Stay With Me”: Whoa, Skylar’s dress looks like a figure skating costume; fringe and sequins and rhinestones everywhere! Her performance is super sassy and fun — Chelsea Sorrell is probably weeping backstage right now, because Skylar is definitely the more exciting country singer. “I think this is the first time we’ve had a rockin’, performing, definitely great country singer on the show... you’re like the rocking country girl,” Randy says. Jen agrees, and says she’s like country meets Tina Turner. “Skylar, you made Galveston proud today... you’re a pistol,” Steven says.
And that’s the show! Who were your favorites? Who do you think will be the Top 5 girls? Our best guesses: Elise Testone, Jessica Sanchez, Shannon Magrane, Skylar Laine, and either Hollie or Hallie. What do you say?