As you know, I was at the movies last night so I am playing catch-up on "American Idol." Which means a speedy run through the performances, and minimal filler/judging banter. After the jump ...
First up: Von Smith. "You're All I Need To Get By." Of course, singing it by himself he loses all the tension of the Marvin-Tammi duet. But I see Paula is up and dancing. And he's capable enough. C plus.
Taylor Vaifanua. "If I Ain't Got You." Like Von, she seems to be starting too low in her range, and she's kind of boring until she hits the requisite big moment. Also, she's no Alicia. Competent. C.
Alex Wagner-Trugman. "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues." Which, as Robert Christgau has noted, is not a blues. Not a bad start, fumbles when he tries to get raspy, and struggles from there on. Dare I say it: Poor song choice. I will say that tonight so far hasn't had the horrors of the last couple of rounds, but it's not enthralling yet either. C minus.
Arianna Afsar, doing "Idol's" first ABBA song, says Ryan. "The Winner Takes It All." Terrible start. Forget what I just said about avoiding horrors. This doesn't get any better. Even her first attempt at the big moment has a bleat. A little better on second try but by then the song is almost over. D.
Ju'not Joyner. "Hey There, Delilah." I hope this is going somewhere, because it's really boring in the early going. Nope, still flat. Perks up briefly, and I think there's a good voice there but I have no idea how much of one, since he has kept the whole performance so low-key. C.
Kristen McNamara. "Give Me One Reason," turned into a cruise-ship opus. Not that she's bad -- I kind of like her voice -- but this makes the song unmemorable. C plus on the vocal, but docked a notch or two for the song.
Nathaniel Marshall, whom I hate purely on personality. "I'd Do Anything for Love But I Won't Do That." Which he says is the first time the song has been done on the show. He's not that good a singer, and nowhere near as funny as Nick Mitchell. Did I mention that I just hate this guy? Trying to put that aside, C minus, but I am probably being too kind.
Felicia Barton, the one who was brought in after Too-Pro Pacitti was declared ineligible. Which they sort of acknowledge in her introduction. "No One." More Alicia. Interesting, she starts better than most but doesn't have anywhere to go beyond that. Good voice, though, and considering that the show is going to be trying to get more women into the final, she should have a shot. C plus-ish.
Scott MacIntyre, the blind guy. "Mandolin Rain." Bruce Hornsby! Iffy start. Tepid clap-along from the audience. I love this song, but not done this way, which makes it really boring. Competent vocal. C/C plus.
Kendall Beard. "This One's For the Girls." She's fine until she gets to the chorus, which doesn't kick, and there's absolutely nothing interesting about her or her performance. Send her to the Lido Deck with Kristen. C.
Twenty "Idol" minutes to go and I have yet to be really impressed.
Jorge Nunez. "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." So we double Elton tonight, too, and with a song that a lot of times would be the closer. Didn't Clay Aiken work this song a lot? It's a good vocal, though, or my resistance has been worn down by tepid performances so far. B minus/C plus.
Lil Rounds gets to close. "Be Without You." So-so beginning. Improves. And she has a sense of drama. Plus they're using the crowd to boost her in a big way. Still, the best performance of the night. B. And I'm done.
I keep Lil, Jorge and I don't know ... Felicia?
(Update: Having said my piece, I checked Dialidol.com, which has Lil and Scott as the favorites and possibly Ju'not in the third slot. Will be interesting to see if that pans out, because it means the nine chosen so far go 6-3 male, and puts some pressure on the judges to push through women on the wild card.)