'American Idol's Top 8 female semifinalists take to the stage
By Christopher Rocchio, 03/06/2008
American Idol's seventh-season semifinal round went out with a bang last night as the Top 8 female semifinalists put forth their best efforts to reach the finals while the judges provided some added entertainment for home viewers.
Singing songs from the 1980s, a few semifinalists were able to overcome poor performances from previous weeks while others weren't, and some continued to show they deserve to stay in the competition.
The following is Reality TV World's recap of the performance broadcast in the order which the eight female semifinalists sang. Also included are comments from each of the three judges -- Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell -- as well as additional information about each performance.
"The girls worked it out," said Randy at the end of the broadcast. "They did their thing tonight!"
"I don't think you were anywhere near as good as the guys, although there were two or three good performances," said Simon.
On Thursday night beginning at 8PM ET/PT, two male and two female semifinalists will be eliminated based on home viewer votes cast immediately following this week's performance episode broadcasts, revealing the seventh-season's Top 12 finalists. In addition, Idol sixth-season runner-up Blake Lewis will perform his new single "How Many Words."
Song: "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" by Whitney Houston Randy said: "You know what? It was a tall order for you to take on, but that's the reason we got you here. Because guess what -- you proved tonight you deserve to be here. That's hot!" Paula said: "I must admit, I wonder, 'Well, she's picking big songs. Can she pull it off?' Even when you were sick -- now you're well -- you nailed it. You really nailed it." Simon said: "I'm not quite so enthusiastic because last week it was Celine [Dion], this week it was Whitney. At best, it was second-rate Whitney Houston, and I didn't think you... (boos) To be fair, you did the Whitney version of a Whitney song, which you didn't sing as well and you couldn't hit the big notes at the end." Additional Info: Similar to the Top 8 males the previous night, the video packages prior to each semifinalists' performance revealed their most embarrassing moments... Paula took credit for the "pom-pom hairdo" of the 1980s... Asia'h said her embarrassing moment came as an extra on the set of a movie when she fell while roller skating... Randy reminded viewers he recorded that "great song" with the "great" Whitney Houston... Following the performance, Simon added, "I think that's good enough to make the Top 12."
Song: "Who Wants to Live Forever" by Queen Randy said: "Very interesting song choice. I'm always just surprised by the songs -- like the 10 years of songs from the 80s -- but nice Queen song. I think you did a pretty good job with it. Queen's really hard to sing. The good thing for you, you hit the big notes really well. Some of the smaller notes, you didn't support them well enough. But it was pretty good. It was pretty good." Paula said: "I think to date, for me, this was your best performance. (cheers) I disagree with Randy on one thing, I think the tenderness of your voice and the softness on your natural voice -- that's where I feel the magic is for you. Because it's really beautiful." Simon said: "Kady, I think it was definitely better than last week. I'm still having issues with your massive lack of personality though. You're like a robot when you sing. I just can't get anything out of you, and I think... It's like the Stepford Wives. Once again, your [video package] is very funny -- you come over as a fun person -- and then you sing and it's all a bit gloomy and somber... You can still make songs at least emotional. I got no emotion out of this. So you may be in trouble." Additional Info: When asked by host Ryan Seacrest, Kady described last week's elimination of Alaina Whitaker as a "very intense, emotional moment." "I basically thought I was going home for sure," she said... Kady's embarrassing moment occurred in ninth grade when she auditioned for school's talent show and tripped over the microphone chord, collapsing the sound system... Ryan asked Simon to explain the personality comment, but he declined the opportunity. "I've made the point Ryan, understand it," Simon told Ryan, who replied, "This is going to be a fun hour friends. There's a lot of show left."
Song: "I Hate Myself for Loving You" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts Randy said: "That's the Amanda that we loved when we first saw her. She's the bluesy rocker chick. That's the kind of song she should be singing. That's who you really, really are. Well done baby. Well done." Paula said: "Your face is beautiful, I like your hair. When you pick the right song, you've found your niche. This is who we fell in love with. At least I know [Randy and I] are in love with you. I think [Simon] might be in love to, but we'll see." Simon said: "Amanda, if I'm being honest, I thought it was fantastic. (cheers) I thought you absolutely nailed that song. It was the perfect song for you -- and actually, in a way -- it was one of my favorite girl performances of the entire part of this competition... It was great. Well done." Additional Info: Amanda said she was embarrassed when she burned her house's siding, the deck and yard's swimming pool when she forgot to extinguish the outdoor fire place one night... Amanda's fiance and brother were in the studio audience... Amanda constantly looked down and didn't smile during any of the judges' comments. "Amanda, IYou can smile," said Simon. "I know you can do it." Amanda then smiled, but still looked less-than-enthused. "I'm happy. I'm smiling," she said... At the end of the broadcast, Simon said Amanda's performance was still his favorite of the night.
Song: "I Drove All Night" by Cyndi Lauper Randy said: "Yo Carly, you keep smashing it every week man -- more high notes, you're just hitting 'em... Picking off targets! Boom! Boom! Boom! I love that. Very, very good. When the song first started, I was like, 'Ah, I don't know. Whatever, whatever.' But dude, another great performance." Paula said: "So dude, let me tell you something. You are like dependable dog. ['What?!' asked Simon] I think that you are totally -- totally -- at your niche. You were smiling, having a good time. By the way, your singing, there aren't enough adjectives to describe." Simon said: "Carly, once again, I don't think you've chosen the right song. Sorry... Because I always think of the Celine version. I know the Celine Dion version of that song. I just didn't like it. I thought you made the most out of it. I liked it when you sang that Chaka Khan song that time... Something like that. (boos) What is your problem. I'm trying to make a point! It's just not a great song. It just doesn't give you what you deserve, because you're a million times better than that song. I'm trying to be constructive." Additional Info: Carly said her embarrassing moment came when her leg got stuck in the railings outside of the bar where she works, needing butter and grease to free her... After Simon's comments, Paula said Carly "can sing the phonebook," and Simon agreed... Carly's friend and mom were in the studio audience, her mom making the trip from Ireland. However Carly said she wasn't nervous her mom was in the audience. "She met my husband for the second time this week," said Carly, which brought gasps from the crowd.
Song: "Faithfully" by Journey Randy said: "So you know what's cool about this, two things that are near and dear to my heart -- dogs and Journey. I love this girl! This is cool! Great song -- I worked with the band for a long time, great band -- and you know what I liked about it, to me, no one will ever sing the song like Steve Perry. But what was cool is you put a little country to it and even if it was more country, it actually could work and be a big single in country. I actually liked it." Paula said: "I was going to say that could be a hit for you in country music. It would be amazing. (cheers) You look great tonight. I have nothing but positively." Simon said: "I think it was good we heard a country influence, which we discussed last week. Having said that, I still think your problem is that you're forgettable. I do. And at this stage, you're going to be battling with the bigger voices, the bigger personalities. So at best, I can see you coming in tenth. That's it." Additional Info: Kristy's friends were in the studio audience... Her most embarrassing moment spanned a whole year when she was 7-years-old and thought she was a dog, barking and growling at people and drinking out of a dog bowl. "I seriously thought I was a dog," she said... Paula rested her head on Simon's shoulder during Randy's comments because they felt he was talking too much... Kristy said she'd be "okay" with finishing tenth... Kristy said she "had a lot of problems" with her voice when she woke-up in the morning. "I love that song and it was an honor to sing it," she added.
Song: "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" by Phil Collins Randy said: "Ramiele what's going down. What's the deal. Another big song right -- another big song, big vocals. And we loved you when we first saw you and I'm happy to see you return to that. I'll just say -- I mean I thought it was a pretty god vocal and everything -- but find that confidence again. I feel sometimes when I'm watching you sing I can hear you also thinking, 'Should I sing this run? Should I let this go?' Just go for it. You've got mad vocals. Come on, come on with it!" Paula said: "You have such a beautiful face, and there's such an innocent pure voice that comes out of you. I love when you go from that... You have a lot of col -- I'm not going to says colors. A lot of texture. The textures of your voice are... (audience laughing) Alright now. We have the peanut gallery in the audience. It's kind of scary. [Randy interjects, 'Paula that's the different dog pound.'] Yeah I know. The mutts! I didn't mean that! I meant... never mind. Ramiele it's all about you. I love you all. And I love mutts too. (laughs) You deserve to be in the Top 12." Simon said: "Because you're so little and cute, it was good. But I actually thought it was very old-fashioned. I didn't hear that big money note I would have liked. I've heard a lot of performances like this over the years. So actually, I thought it was a bit predicable, and I'm not jumping out of my chair on that. Sorry." Additional Info: Fellow semifinalist Danny Noriega wore Ramiele's glasses throughout the night's performances... Ramiele's mom and dad were in the studio audience... Ryan told Ramiele she has "very short legs" prior to her performance (talk about the pot calling the kettle black)... Her embarrassing moment came when she was in elementary school when she gave a picture to a boy she liked, but he just laughed at it... Simon said he was "lost" during Paula's rant... "I know that there's a little personal inspiration behind that song. Isn't there?" Ryan said to Ramiele after her performance. Ramiele answered "past experience," but wouldn't elaborate. "TMTH, right?" said Ryan.
Brooke White, a 24-year-old from Mesa, AZ who currently resides in Van Nuys, CA
Song: "Love is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar Randy said: "So Brooke White. Without the guitar, doing your thing, trying to work it out in a different sort of way. I liked it was just the guitar, somebody else was playing and you were just sitting there singing because it allowed me to just kind of focus on your voice. Actually I really liked it. I don't know if you brought anything new to the song, but it was very interesting." Paula said: "Brooke... You know I don't understand what's going on here. ['Join the club!' said Simon] It's about you guys, and for that, I thought it was a very wise choice that you did that. I do love the fact that it was very, very pure. But I would have loved it throughout if you would have incorporated the band more to build, because it's one of my favorite songs from pat Benatar. I thought you did a really beautiful job." Simon said: "Okay Brooke. I could not disagree with Paula more. I thought it worked purely for the reason that you didn't have the band with you, therefor you did an original take on the song. The song normally would never, ever suit you. You made it into a completely type of song. Once again -- two weeks running -- you've done a great performance." Additional Info: Paula said Simon keeps telling her to say, "the moth and the melon ball" during each contestants' performance, which drew a laugh from Simon... Prior to Brooke's performance, Ryan pitched Apple's new Idol sponsorship while standing behind the judges. "Have I mentioned you can download performances from the show exclusively on iTunes?" said Ryan. Answered Paula, "Yes because it's very important that you know that."... As a little kid coming out of church one day, Brooke said she threw her arms around a man she thought was her dad, which was embarrassing... Brooke's husband and dad were in the studio audience... Randy said Paula choreographed the music video for that song, however she wouldn't take credit for it... Paula tried to defend her comments after Simon voiced his opinion, and Ryan reminded Paula the show is about the contestants.
Syesha Mercado, a 21-year-old from Sarasota, FL who currently resides in Miami, FL
Song: "Saving All My Love for You" by Whitney Houston Randy said: "Good. Good." Paula said: "Sophisticated. Lovely." Simon said: "A bit predictable, but good." Additional Info: Syesha said her embarrassing moment occurred in second grade when she gave her crush a letter and he ratted her out to the teacher... The judges presumably kept their comments brief for Syesha because Idol's broadcast was running over the allotted hour time slot -- or they just didn't want to steal anymore of the spotlight... All agreed the performance was good enough for Syesha to make the Top 12.