Cast: Ryan Seacrest, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson
Network: Fox, airs Wednesdays and Thursdays @ 8 p.m.
Original Telecast: Feb. 29, 2012 

After the men delivered a mix bag of songs on the world’s greatest karaoke competition, AMERICAN IDOL, the chicks are up and hopefully will perform better.

Now, obviously I was in the minority when it comes to the judging given how much every singer was just dandy in their eyes last night. Maybe it sounded better on the stage then across the TV, but it certainly appeared at times we were not listening to the same song. Maybe it was the location they were in because Randy Jackson even said they were too nice to everyone and that they should not have been. Maybe they were just too happy to finally not have to do auditions and other craptacular events leading up to this moment.

So let’s let loose the Krakken and get to the performances.

Chelsea Sorrell
Song: “Cowboy Casanova” by Carrie Underwood
What I Thought: Well, already the eye candy is better than last night but that’s no surprise. Well beyond her looks and sass I just didn’t think this will have an impact later on tonight. No one will be saying, well remember when Chelsea did that song at the beginning. It just wasn’t memorable and when you need to be during this round, that’s a bad thing.
What the Judges Thought: Randy didn’t think it was the best choice but wanted her to separate herself from Carrie Underwood. Jennifer said the song was a bit nasally and it wasn’t her best performance (reading between the lines, adios). Steven wants her to watch her timing.
Grade: C

Erica Van Pelt
Song: “What About Love” by Heart
What I Thought: I always shudder when Heart is brought out because it just screams cheesy acid washed jeans and big hair. Well, we had none of that with Erica’s performance and it was slightly better than Chelsea but still nothing great and given some of the performances we have seen from some of these people, I gotta imagine more is coming that will dwarf anything she did tonight and she will be forgotten.
What the Judges Thought: Steven loved it. Jennifer said she was comfortable, but thought she could have gone further and pushed herself. Randy said she had confidence and said she had an Adele vibe.
Grade: C+

Jen Hirsh
Song: “One and Only” by Adele
What I Thought: Given that we saw plenty of Jen during the run-up to these live performances (and how good she was during those times), Jen is nearly a shoe-in to be in the Top-12, unless she screws it big time. Remember what I said about the first two performances about them being forgotten as soon as someone really good got up there. Yeah, it just happened. Now this is a good singer and who the judges should really be given the props to, not just any hack that they passed along. She obviously can sing whatever she wants and proves she needs to be in the competition moving forward.
What the Judges Thought: Jennifer thought it was beautiful and she let loose and went for it. Steven said her confidence was glowing. Randy loves her voice and swagger and thinks she is one of the best singers in the competition.
Grade: B+

Brielle Von Hugel
Song: “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding
What I Thought: I think that Brielle has a big roadblock ahead of her. First, they didn’t give her the best camera time during the lead-up to this performance painting her as selfish among other things. Then they show a video package that shows her as a cheerleader and other bubbly items. When she is going against people helping needy kids and solving the world’s problems and blah blah blah, that’s a bad thing. Her performance was not bad at all actually, not sure if it was the best pick for her but it definitely showed that she should be up there. Will it be enough to move her along or will these other things cloud the voting bloc?
What the Judges Thought: Steven said she had a good sense of the blues. Jennifer said they underestimate her and a true performer. Randy said she can really sing and she surprised him with her swagger.
Grade: B-

Hallie Day
Song: “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone
What I Thought: I’m pretty sure I nodded off during the beginning of this and was woken up by the audience when they started cheering. So I missed the beginning but the middle and the end was OK but it just seemed flat or if Simon Cowell was still on the show would have called it cruise ship type performance. With all the blondes left in the competition too, I have a feeling she may be left behind for someone that just does a little better.
What the Judges Thought: Jennifer thought it had some beautiful moments and she looked like a star. Steven thinks she is beautiful and old time-ish. Randy was unclear about what type of artist Hallie wanted to be but thought she sounded great.
Grade: B-

Skylar Laine
Song: “Stay With Me” by Faces
What I Thought: I vaguely remember Skylar as one of the sick people that rallied during Hollywood Week and made it this point, beyond that I had no idea she was a country singer. Was it me or did it sound a bit like the PEANUTS adult voices when she was singing? I swear I didn’t understand a single word except the chorus to her song. Still, it has been proven on IDOL that the audience loves country music and they might give her the spot.
What the Judges Thought: Randy said it was the first time that we had a rocking country singer on the show and compared her to Reba and Kelly Clarkson (dude, really? No way). Jennifer loved her energy and said it was Tina Turner with country (again, really? Did I watch the wrong person perform just now?). Steven said she was on fire and she needs to keep it up.
Grade: C

Baylie Brown
Song: “Amazed” by Lonestar
What I Thought: When I heard that Baylie was singing something from Lonestar, I immediately did my Darth Helmet impression from SPACEBALLS. “Lonestar, my Schwartz is bigger than yours.” Well that dress probably made IDOL’s male demo’s Schwarz rise a bit. The song itself was pretty much the exact opposite of Skylar’s as it was a ballad and if I had to choose between the country girls I’ll always choose against the ballad despite how amazing Baylie looked. No one wants to be put asleep prior to 10 p.m.
What the Judges Thought: Steven said it was not the best song for the show. Jennifer said she was beautiful but she didn’t have total control of the song. Randy said it was pitchy and never ceased control of the song.
Grade: C

Hollie Cavanaugh
Song: “Reflection” by Christina Aguilera
What I Thought: Hollie is in the same position as Chase Likens from last night as they didn’t give her as much camera time during Hollywood Week and the other performances as they did to the other ladies. That’s already a challenge for her because the audience is familiar with most of the others. Luckily, she can sing. Damn, did not see that coming from that little frame. When I talked about many of the earlier performance being not memorable, this was exactly what I was talking about because while the song began a bit sleepy, when she started ramping it up, wow I was shocked. She could be that dark horse Kelly Clarkson-type that just comes out of left field and blows through everyone if she keeps it up.
What the Judges Thought: Steven said she hit her notes perfectly and she was very passionate. Jennifer thinks she could win the competition and believes that she will be a frontrunner. Randy said Hollie was one of her favorites and he loved her vocals.
Grade: B+

Haley Johnson
Song: “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics
What I Thought: Not sure who decided to go with the weird green lights and the all-seeing eye in the background during Haley’s performance. Also, not sure who told her this was a good choice of a song for her. It wasn’t. It was painful. It was a train wreck. Maybe that all-seeing eye was rubbernecking to see the carnage left behind on stage after that disaster. Holy cow, move along Haley, nothing to see here.
What the Judges Thought: Jennifer said she hopes America got to hear what she did with her voice but didn’t like the song. Steven said that the song was not perfect but she pulled it through (reading between the lines, goodnight and good luck). Randy said it was a nightmare. He said it was pitchy all over the place.
Grade: F

Shannon Magrane
Song: “Go Light Your World” by Kathy Troccoli
What I Thought: Shannon, much like Jen Hirsh, had the benefit of getting a lot of camera time during Hollywood Week and other rounds, but it was because she rocked it out and was consistently one of the best of girls in the competition. Unless she screws up, I would assume she’s in. While I’m never a fan of the ballad, she really had that whole Celine Dion thing going from the dress to the way she belted it out. There is no doubt she has some serious pipes and probably should be moving on given some of the lackluster performances we have seen tonight. Also, someone bring Seacrest a box to stand on as Shannon towers over him making him look more of a little man than usual.
What the Judges Thought: Randy said she came out swinging and she has so much promise. Jennifer said she sings with a lot of passion for a 16-year-old. She also had goosebumps. Steven said his reality check bounced … which I assume is a good thing.
Grade: B

Jessica Sanchez
Song: “I Love You I Do” by Jennifer Hudson
What I Thought: Jessica came on strong during the last few episodes of Hollywood Week and beyond and continued to be a solid performer with this song and showed she actually has some nice skills when it comes to actually being on stage. Not sure if the standing ovation from the judges was necessary but it was definitely one of the better performances of the night. Considering the lackluster performances from some of the others (and the judges flowing reviews) should put her in top contention.
What the Judges Thought: Randy said she can reaaally sing and it was one of the best of the last two nights. Jennifer thought she had it all from her body moves to her holding the notes and that she is older than her years in terms of singing prowess. Steven said she has exceptional timing and it was picture perfect.
Grade: B

Elise Testone
Song: “One and Only” by Adele
What I Thought: Odd that they allowed two performers to sing the same song on the same night. Not something that usually happens but not the biggest of deals I suppose just odd for a show that has in the past not allowed this to happen. Unlike Jen Hirsh’s performance, this was definitely a switch with more of a rocker type rendition. I liked it actually a lot better than Hirsh’s because of this. And I liked Hirsh’s performance. She also showed she has a good presence on stage which is sometimes half the battle with IDOL. She definitely has a chance to make it into the finals after tonight.
What the Judges Thought: Steven said she blew it out of the water. Jennifer said she may be the best singer here and she could do even more than what we see. She also called her one to watch. Randy said he hopes America gets her and one of the best voices in the competition.
Grade: B+

So who will get the audience’s vote and move along to the finals? Jen Hirsh, Shannon Magrane, Elise Testone, Jessica Sanchez and Hollie Cavanaugh. Who gets the Wild Card? Skylar Laine or Brielle Von Hugel.

As a reminder, I predict Phil Phillips, Heejun Han, Joshua Ledet, Colton Dixon and Jeremy Rosado will get the men spots with either Adam Brock or Reed Grimm getting the Wild Card.

We’ll see soon enough.

Related Link:TV Recap: AMERICAN IDOL – SEASON 11 – “The Top 13 Finalists Chosen”
Related Link: TV Review: AMERICAN IDOL – SEASON 11 – “Semifinalist Boys Perform”

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Related Link:TV Review: AMERICAN IDOL – SEASON 11 – “Final Judgment, Part 2”  – Top 24 Revealed
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