Yay! I love this part of Idol... we actually get to HEAR THESE PEOPLE SING.
Yay! Simon vs Ryan!
Jackie Tohn - Loved this girl in auditions. Great personality, amazing rock-chick vocal edge. HATE her outfit. The backing music is way too low key. On the other hand, it's all about her voice (and those pants...) I suspect if she doesn't make it through, she could get a wildcard berth because her voice is so wildly different from everyone else's. I'm with Simon on the trousers (and the song choice).
Ricky Braddy - Who? Oh, and he's singing one of the songs I'm incredibly sick of (thank you, Cupid pilot fifth act). Ricky starts out very lounge-y (IMHO), but I actually liked him breaking into falsetto, and I have to say he won me over. Very smooth.
Alexis Grace - Rut roh, singing Aretha. Love the hair. Love the lipstick (maybe a shade too red?) But, um, wow? I officially hate this "send three through" thing (provided everyone is as good as the first three have averaged out to). When it was 12 guys sing, send two home, 12 girls sing, send two home... you could count on a couple screwing up and cracking under pressure or choosing wrong songs. Oh, good, I won the battle with the plastic bag wrapped around my Pad Kra Pao. OMG NPH and Ted Danson in da house! When Ryan said "and your girlfriend..." I thought Alexis was a lesbian, but then, no, it's her dad's girlfriend. I feel bad that she's in the first half-hour because it's the least watched.
Brent Keith - Hot guy alert! But can he sing? WOW. Live on-air VIDEO PLAYBACK ISSUES! Blanchester is totally a portmanteu of something and Manchester, right? Eh, I'm not a country music kinda guy, so it might be that, but I don't see Brent going through. Poor, forgettable choice (once again, I agree with Simon).
Stevie Wright - Who? She's singing Taylor Swift... who is of course known for her vocal prowess? Oh, Stevie. Leggings are not pants. Don't you read GoFugYourself? Hard to do anything with that song because there's no opportunity to go on riffs. It's all rapid-fire lyric. Girl's having fun, but not a lot of stage presence. And some FLAT notes. So, bad song choice... because of responding to judges' critiques (at least partly due to that). HAH! Simon says "but they listen to me" in response to Paula's "America votes" when he said Stevie won't be through to the next round (um, d'uh).
Anoop Desai - I love it when guys sing songs from female artists. This is such a great song. I miss the 90s. There's a lot of backup singing... isn't there? I wish he wouldn't hold those notes out all the time. Give us a run!
Casey Carlson - BUBBLE TEA! That's all I can think about. This girl looks like a mix between Mandy Moore and Annie from 90210. Not sure if that's a good (Mandy) or a bad (Annie) thing... I don't get the song choice for her. Thank you, Kara, for complimenting Casey while tearing her down and ACTUALLY ADVISING HER. You don't touch The Police, dammit. Poor girl is going to cry onstage. The air is completely sucked out of the room. Why didn't this girl sing, like, "Everytime" by Britney?
Michael Sarver - Woo! Heart this guy. Oh, splech, he's singing the theme song from One Tree Hill. Okay, aside from that factoid, I do like this song (separate from OTH, which as we all know, I think is landfill). This song was waaaaay more uptempo than what I expected Michael to sing (given the songs he's performed). Dude's got chops, though. Put him through, America!
Ann Marie Boskovich - Oh, THAT'S who she is. Yeah, I totally forgot her from the auditions. Girl's got, like, a hot Celine Dion thing going on? Love the dress. Not as good as Alexis' take on Aretha, but I didn't think she was as bad as most of the judges made her out to be. Certainly the second best female tonight thus far...
Steven Fowler - I want him to move from the one spot he's shaking around in. After the judges critiqued Michael Sarver on switching the microphone between hands... Steven did it a couple of times. He may have remembered the lyrics, but I think he was flat for a lot of the time and the song was, as Simon so often puts it, utterly forgettable.
Tatiana del Toro - This girl was so annoying (and teh dramz... TEH DRAMZ!) throughout auditions and Hollywood Week, is there any chance people will actually vote for her? Singing Whitney Houston... you better work it, girl. Um, what? From the first note, the annoying girl is gone. Can someone just not let her talk to people? No interviews? No video pods? She's got a pretty damn good voice (though some of those low notes were too deep for her) and it wasn't consistent.
Danny Gokey (PIMP SPOT) - I kinda like his interview hair. OMG he's SINGING MARIAH. Screw Anoop's Monica song. This is balls, man. BALLS. And everything we've seen of Danny says he wouldn't sing it unless he can own it because I don't think Idol had a technical singer like him (certainly not a male one) since Melinda Doolittle. HOLY SHIZ KEY CHANGE. Damn, boy, you deserved that m*****f***ing pimp spot.
If the gods are just...
Top Female: Alexis Grace.
Top Male: Danny Gokey (anyone else think this guy is Robert Downey, Jr in a slightly-overweight suit?)
Next best... Michael Sarver and Tatiana del Toro (I AM SHOCKÉD).
Middle of the road options who, if this semi-finals section weren't like this, would get another shot: Jackie Tohn (for the fun of it), Ricky Braddy (he was good, but early, and not great), Anoop Desai (because according to the judges he's likable), Ann Marie Baskovich.
So, basically, I'd chop 4 of these people off instead of the 9 that will be cut, and give the other 8 another chance to earn their way forward. Life's hard, bitches.