'American Idol' Top 12 women: The Top 5 are easily identified

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jen-hirsh-idol.jpgIs it just us, or are your expectations higher for the women than the men at this stage of "American Idol"? We just feel like there are so many good females, while we not only didn't feel that way about the guys last night, but we also feel like several of the good ones kind of whiffed. Just us?

A "supersized" results show tomorrow night, Seacrest threatens promises. Can't wait. And then the girls are introduced and holy crap, have Baylie's girls always been that prominent? Good lord.

1. Chelsea Sorrell, "Cowboy Casanova," Carrie Underwood

Always bold, to pick a former "Idol's" song. Also, this one is kind of word salad at times, but she seems to handle that OK. What she isn't handling very well are the high notes. She can't hit them. She's way under the notes. Since she's not one of the girls who's been heavily featured, Chelsea may have just punched her ticket home. That was boring, which is kind of amazing considering what an upbeat, girl power song it is, and the high notes were not there. Randy is totally lying about her "big voice."

2. Erika Van Pelt, "What About Love," Heart

If you are a regular reader of my recaps, you'll know how much I love Heart, so there are big expectations for this song. And EVP doesn't quite deliver. She's got a great alto voice on the verses, but with Ann Wilson, the money is in the chorus and Erika can't really handle it. We wish the key had been just a touch higher, so as to show off her belting voice more, but maybe she couldn't go higher. It felt like she was holding back, which is then exactly what J.Lo says. She was. We wish she would've gone for it.

3. Jen Hirsh, "One and Only," Adele

Her family owns a vineyard? Jealous. Super duper jealous. Speaking of Adele, look at that. This is gorgeous. The waves of grain in the background are distracting. Anyway, the song is OK. It's pretty in parts, but it lacks some oomph, some soul. And she needs to work on her stage presence. She may advance, though. Added later: Elise really showed her up on this song.

Interestingly, Seacrest puts Randy on the spot about the boys vs. girls and Randy admits to being too soft on the boys last night, which they TOTALLY were. Jennifer is right, the excitement of the first night had them too ramped up and too nice. Well, at least they admitted it.

4. Brielle Von Hugel, "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay," Otis Redding


Can't she turn 18 so that her awful stage mom will go the heck away? Can that happen, please? To start off the song, Brielle chooses to sit amongst the guy contestants like some kind of siren. Barf. Then she, like, whispers her way through the verse because it's too low for her. She had to start it that low so she could hit the big high notes, you watch. That is so annoying. And then she takes the second verse up an octave and it's awful. This song has a totally different feel to it, she has no idea what it is about. This song should've been a quietly beautiful moment, not Brielle's chance to yell and scream and vamp around. Blech.

Sorry if you liked it, but we think the entire interpretation of the song was awful. Simon would've called that a self-indulgent mess. She doesn't have a sense of the blues, she just wanted to "show off" her belting voice on a song that is the exact opposite. Ugh, she's probably going to advance.

I really miss Simon.

5. Hallie Day, "Feelin' Good," Nina Simone

This is another song that is way overdone on this show. But that aside, Hallie really nails it. You know how we know? We didn't type a single thing during her performance. This is the first performance that has made me want to cheer, so good on you, Hallie.

6. Skyler Laine, "Stay With Me," Faces


Wow, she is like a Mardi Gras float gone insane. What is that outfit? Also, it's hard to judge this song because it sounds like she's just doing a lot of growling and yelling in a very thick Southern accent. Hmm. And the bouncing and shaking and then she just straight-up yell at us! Stop that, crazy girl. It's like a Rachel Dratch "SNL" character up there. But we fear that because she's in that Lauren Alaina lane (young, Southern, country) she'll stick around.

The judges love it, but what on Earth were they listening to? Do not invoke Reba's name in a sentence about this girl. Do not. Also, shut up about having recorded this song, RANDY. And then J.Lo piles on! Tina, Reba, have you all gone insane?!

7. Baylie Brown, "Amazed," Lonestar

We're kind of over this song, just FYI. But then - yikes. It does not start well for Baylie. Wow. Can she hear the music? Or is it her weird, binding dress and perch on that stool that's making her sound so bad? The chorus gets better - oops, wrote that too soon, because on "SO in love with you" and the big notes on "better-er-er-er" she totally whiffs. Holy crap, what happened to the Baylie Brown we've seen all along? Who let her go on stage and perform this? This was awful. Worst so far, by a mile. And considering what Skyler Laine and Chelsea Sorrell did, that is saying something.

The judges fall back on "you're very pretty," so we all know how that went.

After the break, Baylie says she doesn't see herself doing anything other than this. Uh, prepare to be disappointed, girlfriend.

8. Hollie Cavanagh, "Reflection," Christina Aguilera

What's this girl's accent? It's like she's an Aussie transplanted to Texas. Anyway, a Christina song? Hmm. Surprisingly, it goes well. The verse is a little boring, but she nails the chorus. That one big note made us tear up a little. We wish we'd seen more of her up to now. And she'd better advance, she deserves to.

9. Haley Johnsen, "Sweet Dreams," The Eurythmics"


Weird, weird choice. This song is uber-repetitive and without two voices, it's really lacking. What is she thinking choosing this song? OK, seriously, moving on. This is going to give us nightmares. Sorry, girl-nobody-knows who keeps screaming at us. You and your Hot Topic dress are going home. Randy is the only one who tells it like it is - nightmare fuel. And don't talk about "money shots," Steven Tyler. Gross.

So, just to recap all these names that sound the same, Haley and Baylie are No Ways, Hallie and Hollie are OKs. Everybody with us so far?

10. Shannon Magrane, "Go Light Your World," Kathy Tricoli

She's gone the ballad/spotlight route, but in that Greek goddess dress, it really works for her. And she sounds really nice, very take-us-to-church. The key change is particularly good. The voters are going to eat this up, but we can't criticize. She was very, very good. The judges praise her passion, which we agree with. It was palpable.

I wanna be best friends with Shannon, she's my Idol girl-crush this season.

11. Jessica Sanchez, "Love You I Do," Jennifer Hudson


She's been sick this week, so she gets special stool time with Ryan to talk to us about it. And when she sings, it starts off pretty weak because it's too low, but it gets better on the higher stuff. It still isn't wowing us, which is a shame because her final performance that they showed during the Final Judgment episode? That was amazing. But this is really mediocre. The ending improves, when she finally lets loose and she certainly doesn't sound sick, so good for her. Though the last note wasn't quite as full as it could've been. Little thin.

12. Elise Testone, "One and Only," Adele

The same song twice? Huh. That's super weird. But anyway, Elise shows Jen Hirsh how it's done. Not that we don't like Jen, but this is fantastic. The piano and her bluesy, raspy voice makes the song really shine. We love what she did on the end.

So who should advance? The Top 5 should be Jen Hirsh, Hallie Day, Hollie Cavanagh, Shannon Magrane and Elise Testone. The Wild Card? Maybe give Jessica Sanchez another chance? And then maybe Erika Van Pelt, if they choose another female singer?

What say you, "Idol" fans?

And on the replay, the snippets of each girl? Haley Johnsen is even scarier on playback. And the fact at the judges say DeAndre was a stand-out for the boys? Means they are on crack and possibly deaf.

Photo/Video credit: FOX