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Haterade's Idol Anal-ysis (Round of 16 Women) - 3/3/10

Will the women be better than the guys this week? Will the women be better than how they were last week? Will Crystal Bowersox be able to sing? How will she sound? Will Haterade actually get anything right this season?

All of this drama will unfold for the next 2 hours. Too bad the singing isn't nearly as compelling.

GSNN's Jason Block, Lee DiGeorge and Chico Alexander all weigh in with their comments as we weigh how the women perform this evening.

We'll get the question about Crystal Bowersox answered early on this episode. She is medically cleared to sing, and will do so, performing Creedence Clearwater Revival's 'As Long As I Can See the Light'.
The Good - I really liked the vocals on this song. They sound pure, and her pitch was solid. Not bad for someone who was probably in the hospital 24 hours ago.
The Bad - I liked the choice of song because of the challenge. I'm not so sure it's relevance. Yes, it was performed well, but she's certainly not contemporary, and I'd like to see her be more mainstream. Now before you jump on me saying that she's not mainstream, let me point out that she can take mainstream songs and improvise on them, like David Cook, Kris Allen and others have done. She does have that talent in her.
The Jason - Her voice has a Joplinesque quality to it. And she was in tune and on point. But the problem here is that the song puts me to sleep and is not memorable. Not a good way to start the show. The judges are SO wrong here.
The Lee - She was sick? Sure didn't sound like it. Near perfect. (A)
The Chico - It's a little sharp at first, but it picks up as she does. Hopefully she can keep herself healthy because this competition needs her.
The Verdict - I do think the judges were pandering because it's Crystal, the girl who came back from the hospital. That being said, she has a solid performance and there's no chance she's leaving this week.

After hearing Haeley Vaughn's performance last week, my eardrums wanted to be taken to the hospital. But other people like her kindred spirit and different take on tunes. When she does Miley Cyrus' 'The Climb', what will my ear drums feel like doing?
The Good - It's a much better song choice. This is one of those relevant, current songs that's perfect for a teenager to sing. And now that I know she created the headbands, I want to go to her online store and purchase a few.
The Bad - Unfortunately, I may need to go to the website next door and buy some muzzles as well. Say what you want to about last week's performance, but at least she tried to make it her own. This time. she tries to play it straight, and we get a pale imitation of the original. And her out of tune pitchiness throughout the duration of the song has forced my eardrums to grab the keys to my car and drive themselves to the hospital, hopefully to where Crystal Bowersox went, so they can healr as quickly as Crystal did. A special boo goes to Kara, who tells her that she needs another year of training. These are the same judges who kept her in and left the seasoned Angela Martin out. If you think the singers are a year away, then you should't have let them in the Top 24 to begin with.
The Jason - She is butchering this mess, and she is off pitch and out of tune. Her speech impediment does her no favors. She took one of the most emotional pop ballads of 2009 and made it into a soppy emotionless flop.
The Lee - You cannot sing with an open mouth, young lady. Sorry, it didn't work. (D)
The Chico - This is a good song choice for her, as both are teenagers that have very annoying demeanors. Haeley is all over the place pitchwise, and she doesn't capture the timbre of the piece. It's just one endless stream of unmoving, immature singing.
The Verdict - This just wan't very good. We are going to find out just how much of a voting fan base Haeley actually has.

Lacey Brown was another person who could have been shown the door. instead, she's here for week #2, and singing 'Kiss Me' by Sixpence None the Richer. That was suggested by Kara, so Lacey decides to sing it. Was that a good or bad choice?
The Good - Infinitely better than last week. She has a sweet voice which we finally get to hear, thanks to the vocals of the song. Kara was 100% right. THIS is the sort of song we should be hearing from Lacey.
The Bad - I didn't think it was Karaoke, but here's what I think the problem is. There was no power behind the singing. She sounded very timid on the pipes, and that timidness causes the tremolo, warbly pitch and feel that she's had a few beers to drink before stepping behind the microphone.
The Jason - Right song choice, wrong execution. Her vocals are all over the place and her stage performance skills are terrible. She feels scared up there.
The Lee - Right: Kara recommending this song. It fits her voice. Wrong: She just can't sing. (D)
The Chico - Soundalike. And it's odd because the judges wanted her to sing this last week. And if you have the judges make your choices for you THIS early, you're going to have a problem.
The Verdict - From a vocal standpoint, it wasn't bad at all. From a performance standpoint, it wasn't memorable, and I think that's going to give her problems on Thursday.

Katie Stevens was accused of being old-fashioned with 'Feeling Good'. She decides to do 'Put Your Records On' and hope the judges will notice. Oh they'll notice, alright...
The Good - Lacey Brown needs to take notes on Katie's swagger. She's really growing up onstage. She's a sultry 17 year old who...I better not continue that line of thought, because it could get me into trouble.
The Bad - The stage presence is nice, but she needs to bring the emotion out near the end, where should be ratcheting up the power. I also think she needed to elevate the half-steps, because I think the lower register is a little too low. And while the song is younger, so to speak, it's not really a song a 17 year old will sing. Katie should have gone after Haeley's The Climb, which I think she could have nailed.
The Jason - Hey, what do you know? She was fun, her vocals were on, she was bubbly, and had a stage presence. She looked like she BELONGED up there. Best performance of the night by far. The judges are SO wrong here...again.
The Lee - Kudos to you, girl. I prefer your version to the original. I don't love the original, though. Pretty good. (B-)
The Chico - It's definitely a younger, happier song. That said... it's flat in both pitch and emotion. She did go into the upper register, but she only really half-assed it.
The Verdict - I agree with Randy. It was a good performance, and she'll stick around, but I want to see her tackle something younger and more vocally challenging.

Didi Benami wants to bring up her Star Meter. The best way to do that? Bill Wither's 'Lean on Me'.
The Good - Once she got to the first chorus, she let go, and it was the best we've heard from her for the past 2 weeks. And the dress was nice and flowery.
The Bad - However, before and after the chorus was trouble. I didn't get at all what Didi was trying to do in the first part of the song, with her changing the beginning of the song reeking of indulgence. The singing after the chorus made it sound not like someone was leaning on me, but a 500 pound man was sitting on me so the rest of my body could experience the agony that my ears were enduring.
The Jason - Simon was right about Didi. This is self-indulgent tripe. Because for a soul song, she has as much soul as cardboard.
The Lee - Holy wrong song Batman! First verse was painful. This was idol suicide. Star meter down. (D-)
The Chico - WEAK choice of song. If she wanted to go crazy, she should've done "Use Me". Oh yeah, and apparently Didi is part-cat. Me-ow-ch.
The Verdict - She better hope that her past history and tears get her a bunch of sympathy votes, because Didi is in serious doodoo.

Michelle Delamor is looking for a balance between taking the judges criticism and staying true to herself. So the singer who started with R&B is now going with Creed's 'With Arms Wide Open'. It's definitely a risk.
The Good - I'll give her credit here for taking a risk. And I like that she challenged her vocal range with a high vocal section. I do agree with Kara - from a vocal standpoint, it was believable and emotional, which is more than I can say for a number of performers tonight.
The Bad - However, if you are going to take a risk, you need to execute on the pitch and she didn't, as sheis flat throughout the entire song. The song choice here is terrible. Part of the first few weeks is to paint a pcture of who you are. If you want to be R&B, then you need to stay there and maybe go Rock&B or Pop&B, and not go in a completely different direction as to who you want to be. If she made this a jazzy arrangement, it would work, but this version doesn't. And the oversized white dress makes her look like she's wearing a baggy diaper on stage.
The Jason - Right song...wrong arrangement. This is not an AC ballad. This is POWER ROCK. And she didn't do herself any justice here. What is with the song choices tonight?
The Lee - I would have really liked a stripped down rendition. Why did she "kick it up"? That glory note was painful. (C-)
The Chico - Okay, we know Michelle can sing. But now she needs to find a connection with what she's singing. She looks like she finds it midway... but that's it. She only LOOKS like she finds it. I don't think this was the song for her, but she made something of it that will get her to next week, but she needs to sing SMARTER, not harder.
The Verdict - I think she will score points with the song and stick around next week. She's THIS close to locking herself in the Top 12 and being the R&B threat this season. She's not there yet, but pounding out a good challenging R&B song next week will help her a long way.

Lilly Scott suffers from Archuleta-itis (in terms of keeping her eyes closed when she sings). The multi-instrumented singer will be playing 'Change is Gonna Come' by Sam Cooke.
The Good - I think she has a great set of pipes, and she can use them. What I loved the best was her emotional timbre throughout the piece. She's the most believable artist out there so far.
The Bad - The vocals were really nice. The tone? Not so much. Too much tremolo for me on the song. And from an originality standpoint, I liked what she did last week better.
The Jason - For some reason, I like this. A lot. She took her own style to it. I loved her vocal tone, and she is different. This was soulful, and real. She blew Katie out of the water, here.
The Lee - I didn't think I was going to love you pre-season. Color me wrong. Great job. (B+)
The Chico - Finally, another believable performance. I find the tone a bit off-putting, but she's got a fire.
The Verdict - I agree with everyone. Between her pitch and her emotion, this was the best performance of the night. Not only did she make herself safe this week, but I think she just stamped her ticket for the Top 12.

Katelyn Epperly has a great voice, but I wanted to see her be more emotional this week. Will her playing piano on Coldplay's 'The Scientist' get her over that unemotional edge?
The Good - THAT'S what I'm talking about. Great choice of song. Great use of the piano, as she sets us up for an intimate moment between her and a few million friends. I actually didn't mind the slow version of the song, because it defined the attitude of the performance.
The Bad - For the second straight week, she sort of fell apart near the end. Last week it was the tempo, and this week it was the pitch, which felt to me like a mad scientist mixing chemicals to find the right pitch and creating a giant fluffy blue bunny instead.
The Jason - I totally LOVED this version of the song. She conveyed emotion, while hitting the notes. This was a statement performance. She is in it to win.
The Lee - The best performance of the season so far. (Sorry, Straight up fans.) That was special. Epperly's version was superior to Natasha's, by the way. (A+)
The Chico - Again, simple song sung simply. This is where Katelyn succeeded and others like her failed. The downside... the song just plods along until the last note... and it didn't really need to do that.
The Verdict - Katelyn FINALLY wrapped everything up and gave us a solid performance. That being said, I do agree with SImon that she needs to attract an audience that will vote for her, because you have too many singer-songwriters right now. At least one of them will not make the Top 12, and Katelyn isn't on the safe list yet.
Paige Miles relaxes by coloring. Will 'Walk Away' by Kelly Clarkson help us feel more at ease?
The Good - It's a much better song selection from last week. It's contemporary and believable that someone that young would sing something like that.
The Bad - The problem was I woudln't think that someone with a great vocal tone would sing something that badly out of tune. She completely grates against the background singers. The emotional set of her smiling while singing an angry song makes her performance unbelievable. The spacing was terrible and clunky. And I had to bribe my eardrums to not walk away when she completely missed the money note at the end.
The Jason - This was a bland, sound alike version of a song. She was off tempo for most of the song, and those high notes made my ears bleed.
The Lee - She's being swallowed by big songs. Her voice is fine, but I just can't get into her music. It sounded "talky" (C+)
The Chico - Again... it's a little sharp. She wants to be a rocker/ R&B chick... couldn't really click with either on that. But a step up from last week. With a small "u".
The Verdict - When the writer of the song goes after you for not hitting the song emotionally, that's a problem. Simon says 'if' she comes back, and I agree with him, because I think Paige could have some problems this week.

Sioban Magnus, Simon's 'funny little thing', finishes off the show with Aretha Franklin's 'Think'. What will we think about it when it's over?
The Good - She's got an amazing vocal range and displays it with quite a ferocity at the end of the song. And what a money note that she hit.
The Bad - I still have that same disconnect with her. And for me the issue is that from a technical standpoint she was really strong, but from an emotional standpoint, it was just ok. The loopy interview sessions with Ryan doesn't help; it can make her endearing or it can make her creepy, and I don't know if America wants creepy.
The Jason - This was JUST THERE. She looked she was having fun up there, and I don't think performance was either bad or good. There were a lot worse singers out there tonight. She will be back next week.
The Lee - Sioban did was Didi tried to do... take a classic and sing it well. (A-)
The Chico - All together now.... "THAT'S the note." People are going to remember that and vote accordingly. I hope the ladies who went second through sixth were paying attention. THAT was what you're supposed to do. The Verdict - A definite improvement over last week, and that ridiculous high note will easily get her into next week. But I still don't know if that star power is there to get her much further than lower quarter of the Top 12.

Overall Verdict - Thank goodness there were improvements on this week's show from last week. It's nice to see singers who are putting out efforts to win, like Crystal, Lilly, Katelyn and Sioban. Katie and Michelle should also be ok, which leaves us this: Trouble: Paige Miles, Didi Benami, Haeley Vaughn, Lacey Brown

I think that Haeley Vaughn, with her fan club, is going to be safe, which leaves us with these three. There's all the reason in the world to send Didi home, but I think her backstory and tears wins out. That leaves us with two singers who haven't done anything memorable while everyone else has.

OUT: Lacey Brown, Paige Miles

The Jason: Like the men, we have a bunch of singers who took the next step to becoming the next American Idol. Some succeeded, some didn't. They are:

Trouble: Lacey Brown, Haeley Vaughn, Paige Miles, Didi Benami

Paige was just there. And Lacey Brown will escape another week, as Didi Benami was passionless and bland, and Haeley Vaughn for the 2nd week in a row was absolutely HORRID.

OUT: Didi Benami, Haeley Vaughn.

The Lee:
Top of the Class: Bowersox, Epperly, Scott, Magnus
Middle of the Class: Stevens, Delamor, Miles
Bottom of the Class: Vaughn, Brown, Benami

Going Home: Didi Benami and Haeley Vaughn

The Chico: Round 2 of the semis goes to the guys. Solid performances to start and end the show. A couple of good spots in the middle. Everyone else is in dire need of votes or miracles or what have you. The four in danger... strangely enough all occurring in the top of the show.

TROUBLE: Haeley Vaughn, Lacey Brown, Katie Stevens, Didi Benami

This will be the second week for two of these people, and as I said before... As American Idol semifinalists, you can afford to have one bad day. You can't afford to have two running bad days.

OUT: Haeley Vaughn, Lacey Brown

Join us in 24 hours for the results.
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