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February 21, 2008
Idol Chatter: Gals are bugged


Wednesday night's competition among the "American Idol" Top 12 gals was a mixed bag of so-so '60s songs sprinkled with high-octave performances. Oh, and several of the contestants were (or had been) very ill leading up to the show.

Host Ryan Seacrest told the judges that the sick ones could barely get up on the stage to rehearse, yet alone sing.

Add to that, some really frayed nerves, and you get two hours that, for me, were pretty forgettable. But, a wrap-up is in order.

* Kristy Lee Cook (24, Selma, Ore.): I could tell right away that Kristy was one of the sicker contestants (bronchitis bit her), and I wanted to rescue her from her "Rescue Me" rendition before she passed out. The judges were a little less sympathetic. Simon Cowell even pointed out he could have done better if he was sick himself. "I didn't get a lot from that performance. It was very robotic and the wrong song choice." Prediction: A lot of sympathy votes because she's sick.

* Joanne Borgella (25, Hoboken, N.J.): Her "Say a Little Prayer" was more of a sermon - in terms of length. I'm betting she was another performer bitten by the bug. Joanne clearly looked uncomfortable - for whatever reason. Paula Abdul was almost as tough as Simon, telling her she needed to "pull it together." Prediction: Improve, or no Top 12.

* Alaina Whitaker (17, Tulsa, Okla.): Today is Alaina's birthday, and you know what she wants: to make it through to the next round. If I'm granting wishes, she will. Alaina was one of two female contestants who performed the same song as two of the guys on Tuesday - "More Today Than Yesterday." Hers was much more relevant (new buzzword on "Idol") than Chikezie's. "It's the year of the young ones," Randy says. "You sung it with conviction and confidence." Prediction: Is Alaina the next Carrie Underwood?

* Amanda Overmyer (23, Mulberry, Ind.): If Amanda's 23, I'm 33! OK, so I guess I'm not progressive enough - her over-the-top rocker look (Lily Munster hair, 100 clanking bracelets, mucho makeup) was distracting to me. It didn't help that I (like Simon) had no idea what she sang. Oh, it was Big Joe Williams' "Baby Please Don't Go," she said. Uh-huh. Paula and Randy gushed; Simon wants Amanda to come back and "prove what a great singer you are." Prediction: She'll move on, but there will be a battle with the "AI" hairstylist.

* Amy Davis (25, Lowell, Ind.): A lack of confidence could be Amy's undoing. And I'm not sure "Where the Boys Are" can switch gears and go country, which is what Amy attempted. Simon said, "It was what it was - a boring song that sounded like it went on for 10 minutes." Prediction: The camera might like Amy, but the voters won't.

* Brooke White (24, Mesa, Ariz.): The professed "good girl" had a little darker look to her. The big blond curls were there, but Brooke opted for darker eye makeup for her version of "Happy Together." (David Cook sang this Tuesday.) Randy said that, in the end, she "slayed it." Translation? Killed the song, but in a good way. Simon said something about Brooke looking like someone in a '60s commercial in the UK for "washing-up liquid." Translation? Dish soap. Prediction: I'm putting Brooke into the Top 12 because I'm running out of options.

* Alexandrea Lushington (17, Douglasville, Ga.): There was blood, sweat and even tears for me when Alexandrea descended the stairs singing "Spinnin' Wheel." I agree with Simon, who "didn't get it." But Randy and Paula loved Alexandrea (don't mispronounce her name!). Said Randy: "You blew the doors off that." Prediction: Top 12, not Top 10.

* Kady Malloy (18, Houston, Texas): Kady does better Britney Spears impersonations - and other impersonations, too - than she does when singing on her own. Her "A Groovy Kind of Love" was compared by Simon to the zombie-inspired flick "Night of the Living Dead." "If someone did an impersonation of you, it would be a pencil," he said. Prediction: She could be one of the first two gals to go.

* Asia'h Epperson (19, Joplin, Mo.): I was hoping there would be no Janis Joplin (sorry, it's tooo loud), but here comes "A Piece of My Heart," which I think has been performed ad nauseum by female contestants. But, my bad. All three judges loved Asia'h's version. At least it kept me awake. Prediction: Memorize Asia'h's face. She'll be sticking around.

* Ramiele Malubay (20, Miramar, Fla.): No one was more excited about hair, makeup and new shoes than Ramiele, who sort of had her coif done a la Christian on "Project Runway." Her rendition of Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" showed that a big voice can live inside a little body. Paula said she was a "force to be reckoned with." Simon had Ramiele outsinging the other gals - so far. Prediction: Definite Top 10.

* Syesha Mercado (21, Sarasota, Fla.): Fortunately, Syesha (pictured) didn't suffer another bout of laryngitis like she did during Hollywood Week. Her trip down "Tobacco Road" had a ton of attitude. It might not have been her best effort, but Randy labeled Syesha one of the most "consistent" performers. Prediction: Unless she stumbles, a for-sure Top 12.

* Carly Smithson (24, San Diego): There's been so much buzz about Carly because of her previous recording contract, but it all came down to Wednesday night, and she definitely was one of the sickest contestants. It was evident from the first bar of "The Shadow of Your Smile," which, in my opinion, was too "old" for Carly. OK, so I'm wrong, according to Randy, who thought it was the best vocal of the Top 24! Prediction: Give her some antibiotics, and she'll sail through to the next round.

After the two-night competition, Simon said he thought there were three "hot" guys and three or four "hotter" gals. That doesn't give us a Top 12, but it's a start.

Tonight (at 8 on Channel 40), two guys and two gals will be eliminated during the live results show. My guess is that both the younger voters and the older voters will be weighing in heavily on who stays and who goes.

Stay tuned!

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