Live post after the jump while the show is in progress ...
Well, all 12 of the guys are here for the women's performance. Ryan talks about flu hitting the cast, perhaps to explain the absence of women during parts of last night's show. Intro of the cast. Carly Smithson intro'ed last, indicating she will close the show. Intro of the judges. Chatter. Paula also notes that some of the women are sick -- but that they sounded great at the rehearsal. Simon says he likes it when contestants talk back; not always, I would argue. Highlights from the auditions and Hollywood lead into the break.
Starter: Kristy Lee Cook, the "Amazing Grace" singer. Sold her horse to make it to the auditions. Wants to win so she can buy the horse back. Song: "Rescue Me." Good voice but still kind of vanilla. C. Bring back Fontella Bass! Randy notes "the pressure's crazy" but calls it "not your best performance ... a little rough around the edges." Paula brings up that KLC is sick, but says she shouldn't let anyone see she's having a rough time. Simon asks what's wrong with her; Paula says the flu. Simon says "we get to see what you're really made of" but says that's "not a lot." "Bronchitis, flu, whatever," he adds
Ryan continues the flu defense, and not just for KLC.
Joanne Borgella. Notes that plus-sized women are often assumed to be soulful. Says she wants to touch people's lives. Song: "I Say a Little Prayer." A lot of struggling with the melody. Bring back Rupert Everett! D plus. Randy calls it "pretty good" but "a little weird for me" at the beginning. "Maybe it was just the nerves." (Hey, she has done prime-time TV before.) Paula gets maternal about how nerve-wracking the show is. Simon presses Paula on whether she liked it. Paula says liked but did not love it. Simon calls it "very average," and that the second half was worse than the first.
Ryan chats with Alaina Whitaker, youngest contestant (16), with a birthday coming. Shoe discussion. Says she is going out with a lot of energy. Not sure how well she'll move in those shoes. Recap. Song: "More Today Than Yesterday." Slowed down opening, and she's good, then up-tempo. Fair, not strong on the high stuff and a little tinny in the middle. Still, C plus. Randy calls it "the year of the young ones," notes it was rough at the beginning but her confidence made it work. Paula says she "nailed it." Simon says she is "very good" -- even though he hated the song. Break.
Amanda Overmyer. Biker nurse! I like her but I hear a lot of people saying that they don't think she can do anything other than wail. She says she's not doing any more Janis Joplin. Song: "Baby Please Don't Go." With a waa-waa beginning and a serious guitar backing. Very Amboy Dukes. More scatting. Not great but still pretty good. B. Randy loved it, and her trousers. Paula loves everything she does. Simon, laughing, says he really likes her and he thinks she is authentic. But wonders if she forgot the words. (She asks if he has heard the song before. Paula and Randy also say Simon needs to hear the song.) Still, I am wondering if she is really only 23.
Amy Davis. Wasn't confident on judgment day in Hollywood. Song: "Where the Boys Are." Terrible start. Bring back Connie Francis! Decent at the very ending, well, sort of. D. Randy didn't think it was great, thought there were a lot of pitch problems and she didn't scoop up the notes well. Paula, saying she wants to say something positive, declares that "the camera loves you" but calls it "lackluster." Simon calls it a boring song -- "really, really dull." There's a lot of talk about it needing a country twang; didn't seem necessary for Ms. Francis.
Brooke White. Recap about being good, and Simon's declaring they can take her to the dark side. Song: "Happy Together." OK. Some trouble spots. Comes across well as a personality, but I don't get a connection to the song. The head-holding is a little weird. C plus. Randy thought it started rough but she worked it out by the end, that she got her "slayin' on." "OK, I'll slay," she says. Paula thinks she's original. Simon was OK with the song but feels as if tonight he's in a commercial from the '60s. "I presume you're going to be nice throughout this competition." She asks if that's OK. Much discussion of a Simon reference to washing-up liquid.
Well, we're about to round the turn and I am feeling only marginally better than I did on Tuesday night. Not knocked out by anyone, and the bad performances tonight seem worse than on Tuesday.
Alexandrea Lushington. Great-grandmother was at audition. Song: "Spinning Wheel." Like it until she starts squeaking near the end. And she's not David Clayton-Thomas. (Bring back ...) B. Randy says she blew the doors off. "It was hot, baby." Paula likes the way she took control "from top to bottom" and "the dope outfit." More confidence than in any performance so far. Randy says she's ready to make records. Simon says "I didn't get it. ... It reminded me of some terrible '60s musical." Much arguing ensues. She also pushes for the correct pronunciation of her first name.
Kady Malloy. Has a Britney Spears impression. Song: "A Groovy Kind of Love." She's a killer. B plus, in spite of one falter near the end. Randy thought it was "restrained and controlled," and just OK. Paula says she looks really pretty, but wants to see more of her personality, "the fun Kady." Simon agrees with Paula. Thought that was "like 'Night of the Living Dead.' " Thinks her Britney is brilliant but, as herself, "the lights go off." KM seethes. Notes that she was singing a serious song.
Asia'h Epperson. Reminder that her father had died before her audition. Song: "Piece of My Heart." Cheerful but mostly effective. B/B plus, and it got better as it went along. Randy loved it, notes "a little bit of Janis Joplin." More Erma Franklin. Erma Franklin, doggonit! Paula approves, and it was Simon's favorite of the night.
And the night has been getting better.
Ramiele Malubay. Song: "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me." Now, we are in Dusty Springfield territory, where interlopers must proceed with extreme caution. And while I like Malubay's voice in most cases, she's not hitting it through most of the song. OK, wait, there's a good last few lines. B. Randy liked that she saved her big stuff for the end, that it was "very classy." Paula calls her "a force to be reckoned with." Simon says he didn't like her during the audition but that she outsang everyone else tonight.
Syesha Mercado. Recap of her voice lost in Hollywood. Song: "Tobacco Road." A minus. Randy says she "definitely, definitely" can sing. Paula hypes consistency, joy, fun. Simon says she is "probably one of the most talented girls in this competition. ... Terrific."
Carly Smithson to close. Don't know how she will do, but even if she stinks, tonight's other performances have given us far more formidable women than men overall -- although the women's lows are still lower than the worst of the men.
The Smithson recap. Mentions her tattoo shop. Mentions a major label deal where the company "imploded." Says she's not here to be the diva, just to be Carly. Song: "The Shadow of Your Smile." Sleeves covering the tats. She's very, very good. A minus. Randy says "that's what the show is all about" -- brings up the bronchitis but calls it "the best vocal of the top 24." Paula calls her "the lucky coin in the pocket." Simon is the contrarian again. "I didn't get it." Notes the hype and buzz about CS, but says the song was "way too old-fashioned," and it was a letdown. "I didn't think it was fantastic."
Recap. Judges' final comments (seems that the show ran a little short). Randy says the girls were a little hotter than the guys. Paula gets to talk about nerves onstage. Simon says three great guys, three or four great girls. Malloy mugging too much over Ryan's shoulder. And we are done.