This is it, kids. There are no more chances for the top 8 girls on this season of American Idol to impress America and earn their votes and a spot in the top 12.
Since the stakes were so high, you’d think nothing but A-game would be displayed. Wrong! Some poor contestants waited until the worst possible moment to deliver their worst possible performance. Like Paige Miles. Sure, she hasn’t really shined since making the semi-finals, but there was always a glimmer of potential peeking through, and that ringing endorsement by Simon Cowell, who said she had the best voice of all the girls. But with one nervous, overly emotional performance of “Smile,” her Idol dreams could very well be over.
On the other hand, Didi Benami came back from the clutches of elimination with a risky performance of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon.” And Crystal Bowersox? Well, she continued to get that sweet idol pimping push.
Here’s a rundown of how the top 8 girls did:
Katie Stevens – Breakaway: Katie took the judges’ advice and picked a younger song this week with this Kelly Clarkson number. Sadly, it didn’t do much to help her show what kind of artist she will be. She’s shaping up to be nothing but a really good karaoke singer. The judges all agreed. “I don’t think you know who you are yet as an artist,” Kara DioGuardi told her. While Simon agreed with the critique, he gave Katie credit, saying she followed their advice and deserves a “10 out of 10 for trying.”
Siobhan Magnus – House of the Rising Sun: Siobhan is back from her trip to the faux soul side and back into what I think is her real sweet spot. She started the song with a haunting acapella, then showed such vocal range throughout. The twists and turns of Siobhan are many…and I like it. The judges do too. “I love what you do,” Randy told her. “You are why I love music,” Ellen added. Simon was the only spoilsport. “You didn’t do anything with the song,” he huffed. Siobhan has no worries. She’s a lock for the top 12.
Lacey Brown – The Story: Was Lacey singing a lullaby or competing? I couldn’t tell. Her vocals were WAY better than anything she’s done thus far, proving she did deserve to be in the top 24, but the turn around may be too little, too late. Kara adored her “effortless singing,” but Simon brought the truth, telling Lacey she’s in danger of “being forgettable.”
Katelyn Epperly – I Feel The Earth Move: Want to sound older than you are? Dated? Karaoke hellish? Chose this song — or “My Girl” — to sing. After a brilliant performance last week, Katelyn had the life zapped out of her in this sleepy rendition. She tried adding something with her keyboard, but it was pointless. She took one huge step forward last week and three colossal cartwheels backward this week. Simon told her the performance might have been “a mistake.” No question able it. Cutie Katelyn needs to worry.
Didi Benami – Rhiannon: If Taylor Swift ruined covers of this song for you, Didi will restore your faith that it can be done and done beautifully. Didi had a bad week last Wednesday and was positively SHREDDED by the judges for it, but she collected herself and that hauntingly gorgeous voice of hers to deliver one of the biggest treats of the night. Finally the judges gave her her due. “One of my favorite moments so far of the season,” Kara dubbed the performance. “You proved that you’re an artist,” Simon added. Team Didi is back and better than ever…and headed to the top 12!
Paige Miles – Smile: Trainwreck! Oh, you mean I have to elaborate? Fine. Paige was devoured by nerves and emotion throughout her performance of the Charlie Chaplin classic. It was uncomfortable and shaky. After being ripped by the judges, we learn Paige is a huge Michael Jackson fan and was touched singing a song he covered and said was his favorite song. MJ fans around the world will sympathize, but Jermaine Jackson remained composed singing the song at MJ’s memorial. Can’t give Paige a pass. Simon was disappointed in the performance, saying “you have so much potential,” but kept it real: “This could be the end of the road.”
Crystal Bowersox – Give Me One Reason: The hype train may soon get annoying, but let’s face it, Crystal offered up one hell of a confident, commanding performance. The difference between Crystal and some of the other contestants is she knows what works for her. Her song choices have been perfect, and she performs them with the authenticity of someone aiming to show what they could bring to the industry after the contest is over. “Best performance of the night,” Ellen proclaimed. According to Simon, Crystal is “one million, billion percent going to be in the top 12 next week.” That she will.
Lilly Scott – I Fall To Pieces: I know we’re supposed to think Lilly is second only to Crystal, but I just don’t get it. Didi is head and shoulders above Lilly, but she doesn’t get nearly the amount of praise from the judges. Lilly clocks another quirky, vocally interesting performance with this Patsy Cline tune, and is showered with adulation for it. “You’re in the zone right now,” Randy said. Simon liked it, but thought the cushy closing spot called for more. “It didn’t have the wow factor,” he told her. Finally! Someone sees it my way. She’ll be just fine, though.
Predictions: Going into the show, I would have said Paige and Lacey, but Katie and Katelyn made some big mistakes. Paige is definitely gone, but who will join her is tough. I’m going to settle on Lacey. She had a good night, but she doesn’t have the fanbase Katie and Katelyn have.
The top 8 boys perform tonight at 9pm EST/8pm CST. Follow us on Twitter and live-tweet the fun with us @NeonLimelight.