Ryan Seacrest may have introduced Steven Tyler tonight as "controversial," but he most likely was referring to something other than Tyler's judging M.O.
The worst the American Idol panel could say about any of the top 13 guys last night was that, maybe, he wasn't perfect. Maybe Eben Franckewicz hit a few bum notes, maybe Heejun Han didn't choose the right song, etc.
Did they turn up the heat at all on the top 12 girls?
What do you think?
"Yo, a singing deejay, when have you heard of that? I love it!" Randy Jackson said for no good reason in response to a powerful but pretty unspecial performance of Heart's "What About Love" by Erika Van Pelt.
Jackson and his fellow judges had a few criticisms here and there—maybe even some constructive ones at that—but every critique was capped off with an encouraging remark about "next time" or "we know you can sing."
Or "good lookin' out," as Jackson told Jen Hirsh.
Kinda muddles the process, don't you think? Simon Cowell must be turning over in his La-Z-Boy!
Actually, when Ryan asked Randy part-way through the evening how the ladies were stacking up against the guys, Randy admitted that, after watching the show over again last night, he felt they may have been "a little lenient, a little soft on some of the boys last night. There were some great performances but I think some of them were a little..."
"It was the excitement of the first night!" Jennifer Lopez chimed in.
"I think we gave some passes on some of our judgment," Randy continued, "but, in order to do well in this...The stakes are going to be high. You guys are going to have to bring it hard every single time."
As for who really deserved a flood of praise, we were partial to fierce little country girl Skylar Laine, who both sang "Stay With Me" by Faces really well and was fun to watch (she easily won the three-woman country battle with Chelsea Sorrell and Baylie Brown in our book); 16-year-old Shannon Magrane, who gave Jennifer her "first goosies" of the night and made Steven's "reality check bounce"; and Jessica Sanchez, whose final note on "Love You I Do" from Dreamgirls had all three judges out of their seats.
Baylie, who couldn't do justice to Lone Star's "Amazed," probably received the overall least-positive critique of the night.
"Wow, Baylie, I'm not sure if that's the best song you could have picked for tonight. I've heard you sing better," Steven said, adding, almost reluctantly, "But I enjoyed it—and you're very pretty."
"I know it's those nerves, I understand...but it's got to be solid," J.Lo leveled with her. "I felt you could have had a better moment. But we'll see what happens."
Randy, however, saved his harshest words for Haley Johnson—and rightly so.
"How do I say this? I'm a little stuck," he began after Haley butchered the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams."
"It was a bit of a nightmare for me instead of a dream...It was kind of pitchy all over the place. It's harder to do Annie Lennox than it sounds. Her intricacies are spot-on and yours weren't-spot on...I was like, 'Wow were are we going? I'm a little dizzy.'"
Speaking of dizzy, how did two girls—Jen Hirsch and Elise Testone—both end up singing Adele's "One and Only"?! Of all the already-perfect tunes to double up on!
Anyway, for the second year in a row, Idol will let 12 contestants go in one fell swoop. The bloodletting takes place tomorrow night.
Who did Adele proud in your book, Jen or Elise? Who's a shoo-in for top 13 glory, and who do you see leaving tomorrow? Is it finally going go to be a woman's year, or do the guys have it again? Sound off in the comments!
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