March 09, 2010

MUSIC: American Idol 2010: women's semifinals, week 3

Maybe they just perform better under pressure, but it's a surprisingly good night from the women, with some of the women giving their best performances yet, and only one absolute disaster.

The rundown:

Katie, "Breakaway" -- It's a sluggish, listless performance; she's got no energy, and it shows in her pitch, which is consistenly off. Her voice sounds unusually thick and heavy, as though she's been gargling with molasses. Dull, dull, dull.

Siobhan, "House of the Rising Sun" -- My first goosebump moment of the season. She gets to show off her range, both in pitch and dynamics, and it's beautifully controlled. A marvelous performance. (I do wish she'd changed "boy" to "girl" in the first verse, though.)

Lacey, "The Story" -- This is the best she's been, and it's still atrocious, with pseudo-sultry whispers alternating at random with bellowed yelps. Not that being good would help, because her stage presence is so irritating that she could be Dusty Springfield and I wouldn't want to listen to her.

Katelyn, "I Feel the Earth Move" -- Pleasant enough, I suppose, but not distinctive or memorable in any way. Probably enough to get her through to the finals.

Didi, "Rhiannon" -- Very nicely done. Her voice is not my cup of tea at all, but it seems to be what the producers are looking for this year, and she's certainly the best of the Lacey/Didi/Lilly threesome in that mold.

Paige, "Smile" -- The first half was rather pretty, but then the rhythm section kicked in and suddenly she was just another D-list diva wannabe. Given her ups and downs in the first two weeks, it probably shouldn't be surprising that a lack of consistency will be her downfall.

Crystal, "Give Me One Reason" -- Solid for the most part. The bluesy feel works well for her, but the yodel near the end made me wince, and she desperately needs to work on enunciation. She's certainly one of the best of a weak group.

Lilly, "I Fall to Pieces" -- When your voice is this quirky, you've got to be even more careful about song selection. This is a woman's song, and I'm slightly creeped out hearing it sung in that strange little-girl voice. The performance is competent enough, but the song selection is a terrible mistake.

Only one question to be asked tonight: Which two need to go home? Lacey, for sure, and then it's a tough call between Paige and Katie, but I'd send Katie home, because I think Paige has more potential to become someone worth listening to.

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