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February 28, 2008
Idol Chatter: Can you say song selection?


Best I can tell, er, count, the judges liked only four out of the six songs chosen by the Top 10 gals on Wednesday night's "American Idol."

At this rate, it could be an all-male finale, which hasn't happened since Season 2 with Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken.

The contestants who were sick last week - Carly Smithson and Kristy Lee Cook - redeemed themselves with the judges, though. Apparently, Carly has been waiting her entire life to sing Heart's "Crazy On You" in front of 30 million people. Simon Cowell said it was much better than last week, but he's still waiting for her to have an "absolute moment" (whatever that means). I think she's still recovering from whatever she had because she was totally out of breath at song's end.

Kristy did a cover of Linda Ronstadt's "You're No Good," and, while no one could recall what she sang last week, Randy Jackson thought this was a "100 percent improvement." Either that, or Kristy picked the right outfit. Let's just say it was fitted.

Alaina Whitaker's "Hopelessly Devoted" from "Grease" bored me to tears. (I kept seeing Olivia Newton-John out by a swing), but Simon thinks she's a dark horse in the competition, though he did say he thought her look (hair, dress, jewelry) looked as if her grandmother prepped her. ("Too pageanty for me.")

As for the other six, it was either a mixed bag or a mess.

For example, there were two odd gender issues. No one liked Syesha Mercado taking "Me and Mrs. Jones" and turning the song/affair into "Me and Mr. Jones." I think she's definitely one of the better singers, but Simon said the trickery was indulgent and silly. "It (the song) was not written for a girl, and it wasn't designed for your voice."

Then there was teen Alexandrea Lushington, oddly dressed in boots and cargo shorts, singing Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now." Paula said she had never heard a female sing that song. Simon said it was "boring." "You were in tune, out of tune and now you're struggling."

So too is Kady Malloy, who continues in the "Idol" let's-get-to-know-the-contestants blurbs to show she can do everything from opera to impersonations of Britney Spears. But when it comes to plain old singing .... another Heart song, "Magic Man," which left Randy in the lurch: "You never found a pitch, never found the notes." Never should have sung this song.

Two of the judges' favorites slipped with their song choices. Asia'h Epperson sang the 1975 Eric Carmen sad-sack song "All By Myself," which Celine Dion later blasted the daylights out of. So it's the Celine version everyone seems to remember, and poor Asia'h just doesn't have the pipes to pull it off. Simon called it one of the diva songs of all time, and "you're not that good." Ouch.

Ramiele Malubay did disco, "Don't Leave Me This Way," which I didn't think was as bad as Randy did; he said it was "a little rough for me." Meanwhile, Paula's got this new catchphrase (I think it's new), something about "powering through," sort of like an 18-wheeler. Simon put the whole performance in perspective. "I've heard (the song) so many times at ghastly weddings."

My favorite performance? Brooke White's "You're So Vain" (with guitar accompaniment) - a great, great song choice. And that she directed most of the lyrics at Simon was priceless. (He even whispered to Paula that she was singing to him.) "I absolutely loved it. It was the perfect song for you," Simon said. "You connected with it, and it didn't sound old-fashioned."

My least-favorite performance? Amanda Overmyer's (picftured) "Carry on Wayward Son" made me realize I'm not in college or into Kansas anymore. Her scary hair has morphed even more into a Cruella crisis. And my gosh, who went shopping with this young woman? I totally agree with the judges that she looks so much better without the theatrics. Lose some of the goth. Alas, she may be "laying her weary head to rest" after Wednesday's performance. "It felt very contrived and indulgent - the song, the hair, the outfit," Simon said. Paula said the competition needs Amanda, but does America need her?

We'll find out tonight (at 8 on Channel 40), when two guys and two gals get the boot. My prediction? Amanda and Kady.

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