Singer: KATHARINE MCPHEE
Song: "All In Love Is Fair"
My Take: I continue to find Nanny McPhee adorable and the news that she and Kelly Pickler have pillow fights and do makeup for each other hasn't changed anything for me. She's a little sharp in places. Actually, a lot sharp once or twice. She does a little flirting with the camera, but otherwise, there isn't much to her on-stage presence beyond the voice. At some point, that'll have to improve.
Irrelevant Judicial Opinion: Randy thinks it was a safe choice and that it wasn't her best. Paula also thinks she's been better. Simon thinks Katharine was in her own world. Katharine smiles through it, even admitting to Ryan that she was only OK.
Singer: KINNIK SKY
Song: "I'm Here For the Party"
My Take: Kinnik's voice isn't really right for this Gretchen Wilson song. Her voice is too big to fit in with the melody and she basically finds herself shooting over the over-arranged music and backing vocals. That's a lot of shouting.
Irrelevant Judicial Opinion: Randy likes her energy, but agrees that the song wasn't right. Paula echoes the "wrong song" comment. Simon applauds her for trying to stand out, but says that it was a theme park performance.
Singer: LISA TUCKER
Song: "Who's Lovin' You"
My Take: It's another fairly safe choice, but I like what she does with it vocally. She over-emotes a tiny bit, but plays well to the camera. The song starts too low for her, but it comes to a fantastic conclusion.
Irrelevant Judicial Opinion: Randy is looking for more vocal gymnastics. Paula disagrees. Simon thinks she'll sail through, but she needs to be careful with her choices.
Singer: MELISSA MCGHEE
Song: "Why Haven't I Heard From You?"
My Take: Can anybody say "Jessica Sierra"? Like Ms. Sierra, Melissa is an entirely solid husky-voiced singer who's utterly forgettable except for when she uses sex appeal as a prop. Last week I didn't pay any attention to her. This week, shirt low-cut and midriff exposed, I like her a lot. I'm even willing to ignore how often she was outsung by the annoying backing vocals. This, unlike the previous three, was a good song choice, for me. Next week, she'll choose some boring country ballad and I'll forget her again.
Irrelevant Judicial Opinion: Randy was feeling the song choice. Paula wants her to keep coming out of her shell. Simon loves her voice, but didn't like the song and wants her to make more of a connection with the audience.
Singer: HEATHER COX
My Take: Hey, you know who does a great job of singing Mariah Carey songs? Mariah Carey! You know who doesn't do a great job of singing Mariah Carey songs? Heather Cox! Oops. She couldn't be more tentative and boring. She her confidence gains a bit, but it's not even to the level of so-so. The notes are off and her doesn't connect with the camera at all, pretty as she is.
Irrelevant Judicial Opinion: Paula thinks she's beautiful and that Heather was better than last week. Randy name drops his ties to Mariah and says that singing her song was a mistake. Simon agrees with Paula and Randy and calls it pointless.
Singer: BRENNA GETHERS
Song: "Last Dance"
My Take: So, um, is Brenna a female impersonator? I don't wanna be mean, but that's sure the vibe that I got tonight. She's trying too hard in every way. Trying too hard to be sexy, trying to hard to be a powerful vocalist, trying too hard to be audacious. She's trying hard, but it's all just fake. She's shrieky and annoying. Also, was her performance shorter than the others or did I just find a way to tune her out?
Irrelevant Judicial Opinion: Paula's just confused. Brenna insists everybody loves her. Randy's missing both the vocals and the attitude. Simon compares it to a drunk girl at a bar.
Singer: PARIS BENNETT
Song: "Wind Beneath My Wings"
My Take: Hey, you know who does a great job of singing Bette Midler songs? Bette Midler!!! You know who does an OK job of singing Bette? Paris. I didn't like the performance until about half-way. Then she started belting and it all mostly came together. It's not the best of song choices, but holy whoa could this have been worse. Not sure how I feel about the tightly-done up hair, excessive jewelery and bland costume. Last week I was totally into Paris. This week? A bit wary.
Irrelevant Judicial Opinion: Paula wants her to have more fun and be more youthful. Randy tells her not to play it safe and not to sing such old songs. Simon has the same warning he had for Lisa.
Singer: AYLA BROWN
Song: "I Want You to Need Me"
My Take: What horrid song choices this week! Make it stop. This one isn't a dull song, it's just a stinky power ballad. Ayla starts off breathless and boring and improves to a point that's somewhere between powerful and over-singing. I think it tended more toward the latter, but at least it's a song that let her show some range here and there. She still has VERY limited personality.
Irrelevant Judicial Opinion: Paula thinks Ayla wants this and that she's growing. Randy's surprised by her. Simon thinks she's working hard and trying hard to improve -- he's surprisingly constructive about her mix of ambition and mechanics.
Singer: KELLY PICKLER
Song: "Something to Talk About"
My Take: Yes. Is Kelly getting votes by emphasizing how huge a bumpkin she is? Yes. Probably she is. She's perplexed by spinach, calamari and dogs with clothes. I'm perplexed by the fact that week in and week out, she just keeps being Carrie Underwood-lite. Her version of Bonnie Raitt is almost annoying polished and personality free. Her only interpretation of the song is that she's stripped it of the warmth and sex appeal that Bonnie Raitt gave it. It's just another piece of boring pop pap. Is it possible that her looks are being sanded down every week? There was something raw about her at first, but now she's just another cute blond -- she's just a better Heather Cox. But so what?
Irrelevant Judicial Opinion: Paula thinks Kelly's adorable. Randy invokes the Dawg Pound. Simon can't help but like her and suggests that America will fall in love with her. Me? I may have turned her off.
My Take: Yay! Mandisa puts a strong end to a really bad night of female performances. I love her stage command, her camera awareness and her phrasing. And her voice? Solid enough to satisfy me.
Irrelevant Judicial Opinion: Paula calls her one-of-a-kind. Randy wasn't quite as into it, feeling that he didn't get it all. Simon wants her to steer away from the cabaret look.
TONIGHT'S BEST: Mandisa.
IN DANGER: Heather and Brenna.