American Idol 4 Semi-final round 2

Ladies' Night

Tonight the Ladies were a little disappointing especially compared with the stellar performances from the guys last night.

The night started off with Aloha Mischeaux who sang a song by Alicia Keyes. The song just wasn't interesting when compared with her performance from last week. Basically it was a poor song choice which undermined any connection she might have had with the audience.

SS: 5 Mus: 7 AC: 6 PP: 7 M/U: 8
Overall: 6.6

Lindsey Cardinale sang "You're all I think about these days." It was an upbeat country song and a significant improvement over last week. Her weak points were on musicality and memorability after singing one of the many country songs tonight. But on all counts she was stronger and better than last week.

SS: 8 Mus: 6.5 AC: 8 PP: 7.5 M/U: 6
Overall: 7.2

Jessica Sierra sang "On a broken Wing." The first time I watched her performance through I was thinking about how her rendition of the song wasn't as good as the one from last season. I did not like the performance at all but after the judges gave her a glowing review I thought I would watch it through again to see if I had perhaps missed something and rated her too low. It was worse the second time. The performance had no life in it. There was no audience connection, she was infinitely forgettable, the musicality was mediocre, and so was the physical performance of the song. I also thought it was a poor song selection. It was boring, melodramatic, and oversung. Perhaps someone saw something I didn't, but for me twice watching it was too much.

SS: 5 Mus: 7 AC: 4 PP: 6 m/u: 4
Overall: 5.2

Mikahlah Gordon happened to sing a song by one of my favorite groups Blood, Sweat, and Tears. She sang "God Bless the Child," and just as Simon said she was a joy to listen to. The song was just such a pleasant surprise, and so was her performance of it. Subtle and subdued at first and then bold when it was meant to be bold. I still suspect Mikahlah might be at risk of getting voted off this week in spite of her strong showing because she was really bad last week, but hopefully she'll get to stick around.

SS: 9 Mus: 8 AC: 8 PP: 8 M/U: 9
Overall: 8.4

Celena Rae did about as well as she did last week, which is to say not well at all. It was like yeah, yeah you're cute and have a powerful voice, congratulations... Next! She sang something depressing about lights going out. I'd really like to see Celena show a little personality. Thus far all we know about her from her performances is that she has an interesting taste in earrings.

SS: 4 Mus: 7 AC: 6 PP: 7 M/U: 3
Overall: 5.4

Nadia Turner sang a song without lyrics... or so it began to seem. The song consisted of a lot of "Whoa Whoa Whoa's" and then a sentence about "My Love" and how it "does it good." I'm reminded of a story about a chef who said that the sign of a good chef is not when they can make lobster and caviar taste good but they can make something taste good that you do not expect to (the example in the story is spam). The chef said a good chef is one who can make spam taste good. I kind of wondered if maybe Nadia was trying to prove she was good by putting enough personality and style into a terrible song that it sounded good. Well she barely pulled that off. However, you can only here so many "whoa's" in a performance before you are searching for the remote to fast forward.

SS: 5 Mus: 7 AC: 7 PP: 8 M/U: 9
Overall: 7.2

Amanda Avila had one of my favorite performances of the night. She did a nice rendition of "Turn the Beat Around," by Gloria Estefan. She had a little trouble in the really fast section of the song but overall it was still great. Great dance moves, and it she sang it very nicely. She even gave it a little style of her own, something that I doubted could be done on a Gloria Estefan/Miami Sound Machine song until now.

SS: 8 Mus: 8 AC: 9 PP: 9 M/U: 8
Overall: 8.4

Janay Castine choose "Hit 'em up in style." If I recall correctly I believe that is a Destiny's Child song. I thought it was a great song selection however her performance was not so great. Janay has serious trouble connecting with the audience. She still has this deer-in-the-headlights look when she is performing. I could visualize how the performance would have gone if she had done it well, and it was a great song for her voice that would have shown a lot of personality. It was just really shaky. Hopefully Janay will get to stay around to correct her mistake. However Simon might be right in his critique that she is not ready for this kind of competition.

SS: 8 Mus: 6 AC: 5 PP: 6 M/U: 8
Overall: 6.6

For the second time tonight the judges were completely wrong in their assessment of a performance. Carrie Underwood did an awesome country rendition of Janice Joplin's "Take Another Little Piece of my Heart." Randy completely missed the point when he said some nonsense about how she was trying to do rock and he liked the "countryish thing." Then Paula says that she didn't "show versatility." I think the judges just missed the boat. Her performance was great. She took on Janis Joplin, did a viable country rendition of the song, sounded awesome, gave it her own style, and performed it exquisitely. Yet somehow the judges didn't even catch that it was in fact a "country" rendition of the song. Also there was twinkle in her eye the whole time, she seemed happy, relaxed, like she was having fun, and connected very well with the audience. I suspect the judges simply understand country music so poorly that they cannot differentiate it as a style from classic rock. Tonight was proof that Simon isn't the only judge that is way out of his league when attempting to gauge a performance of country music.

SS: 10 Mus: 9 AC: 9.5 PP: 9 M/U: 9
Overall: 9.3

Vonzell Solomon sang "if I ain't got you." Another contestant singing a song purely to prove they have a powerful voice. We missed the fun personality we saw in Vonzell from the earlier rounds. This song just was not a good one to end the night with. It would have been nice to hear something a little more fun, and a little less melodramatic. My ears were just about ringing by this point in the show from all the runs and belted-out notes from earlier in the night. Plus there were a few weak spots in the musicality. A whole phrase of the song was just about lost to poor enunciation. Nevertheless Vonzell is memorable and the performance was still much better than some of the others we saw tonight.

SS: 7 Mus: 6 AC: 8 PP: 7 M/U: 8
Overall: 7.2

So the best of the night was definitely Carrie Underwood followed by Amanda Avila and Mikahlah Gordon. The worst of the night goes to Jessica Sierra, Celena Rae, who I suspect will be departing from us very soon, and to Janay Castine who is also the first contestant I have ever seen to forget words in this part of the competition. Hopefully at least one of them will be going home, otherwise we will be saying goodbye to far superior competitors. I'm reticent to put Jessica Sierra up as my prediction to go home after the judges gave her such a glowing review, but in keeping with my past precedent of having my lowest scorer be the lowest vote getter I have decided to put her on the prediction list. I certainly do not hope to see her stay around when there are so many better performers on the show. Thus my prediction is that Jessica Sierra and Celena Rae will go home. Janay will be gone in another week if she doesn't pull her act together. I guess we will find out soon enough.

I did not get to see the guy's performance until today so I will be putting it up tomorrow (hopefully before the results show airs - its no fun making predictions after you know the results).

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I love your blog, and read

I love your blog, and read it every day in my aggregator.

But when this American Idol stuff pops up, I just get pissed off.

I imagine most of your readers do too.

What he said. Does somebody

What he said.

Does somebody believe that this blog needs relief from actual thought?:wall:



Is it a bad thing that I

Is it a bad thing that I have never seen American Idol? :sweat:

That's funny I thought

That's funny I thought Mikalah Gordon was the best last week. I don't really like her style, just like I don't like say Barbara Streisand, or Liza Minnelli. That doesn't mean however that she doesn't project the most charisma and sing the best. Last week she did the only performance that, had I seen it outside of Idol, I would have believed was done by a established pop singer. The rest of them sounded like they were singing either in a bar band or a karaoke bar. I think her voice sounds like Fran Drescher when she speaks, which is grating to say the least. Overall I thought there were four singers that did well last week and four this week. Gordon was in both groups. I also think she did best both times.

Maybe I am a little

Maybe I am a little different, but I have this magical ability to skip over stuff that doesn't interest me.


Barry P., Well, actually we

Barry P.,

Well, actually we kind of do. If you go back to the very beginning of the blog in 2003, we often blogged on pop culture (we had a whole series on Buffy the Vampire Slayer). With the late unpleasantness (the Election) and the addition of some heavy hitting authors in philosophy & whatnot, we got away from the pop culture blogging a bit, but as I said in the original American Idol post "all econ/philosophy and no play makes CTLY [go crazy]" and it tends to be true.

Unlike Marginal Revolution, Crooked Timber, or the Volokh Conspiracy, we're not a collection of academics & professors but essentially amateur writers on topics that interest us. The primary goal of the blog is of course to spread the memes of liberal, civil society (as opposed to illiberal, political/state society) and that requires a lot of heavy lifting in the philosophy & economics departments.

But part of civil society IS the pursuit of fun, entertainment, culture both high & vulgar, etc. We're a collection of sports fans, sci-fi/fantasy fans, music geeks, poker players, gamers, movie buffs, etc. You'll notice that the original American Idol posts (from last year) were done by Jonathan, after all... Now that the election is over, we *want* to put more general cultural blogging into the mix.

And as far as it goes, ala the FCC and indecency, there is always the "scroll bar" to move past a post you don't want to read...