Tempted though I was, I did not view any spoilers before tonight's show. Once I saw the line-up, I knew our fair lark Zoanette was a shoe-in...they gave her the pimp spot.
I'm trying to decide if this group of girls had stronger singers than the last group and thus, it was harder to make it through. I sort of think so. I am thinking of Tenna Torres v. Christobel when I say this. But, it is what it is and now we have our top 10 girls.
The shows starts with Melinda Edemi who is a retread from seasons past. I had forgotten her family are refugees from Kosovo. She sang the *I'm Sorry* song that Angela sang last week and frankly, I thought she sang it better than Angela but Nicki did not... so...I was pretty sure she was toast at that point. I thought her voice was nice and clear with a good *tone* although her look was a little Kardashian. Keith (and I) liked her. Nicki hated her, Randy did too, and Mariah was ambivalent which from her means...not impressed.
Candace Glover, also a retread (from last season) is up next and sings one of my all time favorite songs in the world...giving Natural Woman more of the Aretha treatment than the Carole King treatment. I smiled all through the performance. I think she is stellar even though I don't normally like big diva voices. Everyone loved her although Nicki was rather subdued in her praise. I'm not sure why Nicki is being so pissy tonight but I am beginning to get the feeling she is holding out for Zoanette and this is starting to make ME pissy.
Julianne, who is 15, is up next and her guitar is bigger than she is and from the first camera angle it looks like she is holding it horizontally but when they do a frontal shot we see that she is holding it normally. She is only 15 and is a songwriter who has performed at her school with her sister. She gives a quiet, slow performance of a song that I guess is called Skyfall. Her high notes are breathy and even I can hear some of the flat notes... but she is only 15. Keith admires her because she is 15. Nicki comments that she is 15. Randy said for being 15 she did a nice job. Mariah called it *celestial* and she is only 15. So...audience...she is 15 and has another chance so I'm thinking her sky is gonna fall in about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Jette Hermano from Seattle, who gave up a 4 year academic scholarship to pursue her musical career and thus far has made it to a law firm where she summarizes depositions for a living, plays the piano and sings a Rihanna song which I'm not familiar with but according to Keith she changed it up quite a bit and he is impressed with that. I'm impressed she actually played the piano through her song instead of hitting a note or two and then standing up to do the grand diva belting that Nicki seemed to crave from her performance. Mariah liked her arrangement too, but Randy agreed with Nicki that she needed to do more with the song than playing the piano and making it her own. Given that Nicki hated her, I'm figuring she is gone too even though the people in the Phillipines are all ready to do massive voting to support her. I thought she was a sweet girl, even though in retrospect, she probably should have kept her scholarship.
Christobel is a worship leader, aged 29, and married to the man who fathered her 3 children. This does not bode well for her. She had a panic attack on the plane but then recieved a moment of grace so she was able to face this with confidence. I didn't know the song and so even though the lyrics inspired her, and I wanted to love her because I have in her past performances, I had a feeling that she was not going to get a standing O. Keith really liked her. Nicki had a sour face and wasn't really impressed and neither was Randy. Mariah wishes she had sung a different song and I agree with Mariah. I was going to make a comment about her bad hair but that seems too cruel given what is probably going to be her fate. Also, the cardigan was kind of weird and as Tabatha Coffey (of Tabatha's Salon Makeover and fashion critc fame) would say...*mumsy*. I wonder what Tabatha would say about her hair.
My comments about the cardigan are, in all honesty, prompted by Nicki's reaction to Aubrey Cleland who has has a big voice, and wore a shiny, short, tight dress on her anorexic little body. Now we know why Nicki has been so sour. She wants someone who *looks* like a star and until Aubrey, the contestants have, in Nicki's mind, fallen short in the fashion, hair and makeup department . Aubrey is a really pretty girl with a big voice and uber confidence (she is going to be the last one standing she says) and I am starting to hate her just because Nicki likes her. Because Nicki is *obsessed* with her, I know she is going through.
So Rachel Hale, the smiling girl from Nashville, has a hard act to follow and does her best to bring it with a song about going down to the water to bring her soul to bare (or bear?). Everyone is amazed that she is not a little shy wallflower tonight, and I'm thinking she might have a smidgeon of a chance. She attends Belmont College, the same school attended by Idol Melinda Doolittle (who got robbed in her season by that smarmy Blake with the beat boxing who no one has heard from again and Jordin Sparks...but I digress) and the daughter of a friend of mine.
Following Rachel is Brianna who we haven't seen nor heard thus far (that I can recall). Brianna is going to bust out the windows of a car and acts all tough (she reminds me of defendants on Judge Judy who are sued for doing similar things to boyfriend's cars). I'm not that impressed with her as she is singing. The judges, however, love her. They really love her. She is going through and I see Christobel's chances going down the drain. Nicki hasn't gotten the word from the EEOC that you don't ask a job applicant about race, creed, and national origin (among other things) and we learn that Brianna is a little bit of everything which matters only to Nicki.
As Janelle comes to the stage, I'm thinking *give it up honey...you are cooked*...not even Dolly herself is going to impress those judges after Brianna and Aubrey and you don't have on shoes with red soles and a slinky dress. However, for some reason Nicki has taken a shine to Janelle so at the end of her song (which seemed forced to me) the judges seem willing to give her a pass on this performance and put her through. So..say goodbye Rachel.
Finally, the one we have been waiting for. Zoanette has not performed seriously that we have seen since she started the competition. First there was her horrible audition, then she almost sabotaged the group number and was carried by her group, and then she made up a song on the fly which was a bad song, badly performed, and she got lost in the middle of it. Clearly, the producers realize Zoanette needs some audience rehabilitation or she will be the first one to go come voter time so we learn she helps old sick people and that her family fled Liberia during its civil war (which deserves far more credit than fleeing Kosovo during its civil war). I'm not sure, but I believe she throws in loving God in her interview as well...or maybe she waits until the judging to do that...anyway...our Zoanette is pulling out all the stops tonight. She sings A Circle of Life from the Lion King and forgoes her trademark high notes for a deep alto. As she was singing, I only recognized the song because of the first words. I couldn't understand a single word she sang after that nor did the melody clue me in but clearly she was casting a spell on the judges and perhaps the audience as well. She does a Tebow when she is put through and says she is doing it all for her family (Nicki goes on and on about her struggle and her family too just in case we don't understand how wonderful Zoanette is). Well, she is certainly a force to be reckoned with and we are stuck with her for at least one more performance and maybe more as the judges will pimp her to the final if they can.
As I was heading to the computer to write this, the song Alouette came into my head. I didn't really remember the words (its one of those songs you think you know as a kid but you really don't and besides its in French) nor what it was about. So...I googled it. Perhaps you know all about it but I didn't and I learned that the song is about a lark whose birdsong is so annoying that the child singing the song, awakened by the annoying song, wants to pluck the lark's head, beak, eyes, neck, wings, feet, tail, and back (in that order). A very cruel sentiment, especially for a children's song but...after hearing Zoanette tonight...I completely understand it.