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"American Idol" Top 12 Women

By admin Published: March 2, 2011

Same as with men, after the jump, ranked in descending order of quality.

1. Naima Adedapo. B plus. I don't think she's at the top of many scorecards, and I don't think she's likely to win. I've seen at least one blogger say she won't advance past this week. But I really liked what she did with "Summertime" -- especially the way she chose not to go all Fantasia on it. Jazzy, well sung and with nice little asides like the "Don't I wish." My favorite performance of the two nights.

2. Ashthon Jones. B. On Monica's "Love Over Me," she didn't quite get over. But she was close. And this was one of those performances that made me want to hear her on other songs, because I like so much of what she does.

3. Lauren Alaina. B minus. Reba's "Turn on the Radio" got very good treatment from Lauren, and it made sense for her to be in the next-to-last slot, since I'm sure a lot of people will remember her tomorrow even more than the show closer. More about that directly. And "Idol" definitely stacked the end of the women's show, since I think Lauren, Thia Megia and Pia Toscano could all be among the top 5 women.

4. Lauren Turner. C plus/B minus. Look again at what Casey Abrams did and what Turner does with "Seven Day Fool," and you can see how much more impressive Turner's move is. She picked a song with variety but still blues-shouted the daylights out of it. I think she has non-vocal issues for the voting audience: She looks old, for one thing, and her outfit emphasized her heaviness in a not-good way. But she sang well.

5. Thia Megia. C plus. "Out Here on My Own." A very, very smart move, going for a pure, understated vocal (and an acappella start) to stand out from all the blasters. It wasn't a dazzling performance, but it certainly suggested she can do some things other singers may not be able to.

6. Pia Toscano. A lower C plus. For starters, no one does "I'll Stand By You" like Chrissie Hynde, who brings humanity to what can easily be turned into a kind of rote anthem. And a rote anthem is what Toscano made of it. Not just a rote anthem, in fact, but a rote "Idol" anthem, where you know every single move including the standing ovation. But I'm kind of sick of it.

7. Kendra Chantelle. I gave her a C plus on "Impossible" for vocals alone. Total performance is a bit lower. When I close my eyes, she sounds good -- well, after a bad start. But I don't like -- something? An air of calculation? She just doesn't sell me.

8. Karen Rodriguez. C. Her "Hero" was tuneful, and the Spanish lyric was a way to keep the audience listening. But it was not anything special.

9. Julie Zorrilla. A C/C minus for "Breakaway," which I heard an hour or so ago and have already forgotten.

10. Ta-Tynisa Wilson. Someone must have liked her Rihanna cover, since she started the show. I did not, in spite of a somewhat good beginning. Went downhill from there, with noticeable screeching. C minus.

11. Rachel Zevita. Lower C minus for "Criminal." She knows nothing about how Fiona Apple made this song work, and the personality she projects is a constant irritant to me. Not a bad girl like Fiona, more of a spoiled one.

12. Haley Reinhart. Memo to contestants: Stop covering Alicia. Most of you can't do it. And Reinhart's performance was a marginally competent vocal marred by facial expressions and gestures which made the whole thing seem especially artificial. Somewhere between a C minus and B plus.

And I am done.

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