Overall, not as good as the guys last night, but there were two very strong performances and another one that was enough fun that I really hope it carries the performer through to the finals. On to the bullet points:
- Okay, now I get it with Carly Smithson. Where fellow seasoned ringer Michael Johns has been fairly coasting until now, she tore it up with her vocal on "I Drove All Night." Maybe she'll wind up as Archuleta's stalking horse.
- I also really dug Brooke White's stripped-down take on Pat Benatar. Like Simon said, the original version of "Love Is A Battlefield" would have been an awkward fit for her, but she managed to find the drama in the song even while going minimalist and acoustic. I expect she'll be around for quite a while.
- Still have absolutely no idea whether Amanda can sing, and I'm sure there are plenty of bar band singers who could do just as well or better on Joan Jett (especially if, like Amanda, they have the "Idol" backup singers to carry the chorus), but that was much more in her comfort zone than the hideous Kansas cover a week ago and one of the more entertaining numbers of the night. Even if Amanda's stylistic range is about two millimeters wide, it's a color we don't usually get on the show, and I'd rather she hang around past the interchangeable belters and blonde robots.
- The show has been on so long and the pitfalls inherent in it are so well known that I am stunned anyone still chooses to sing Whitney. It's the Kobayashi Maru of "Idol," the no-win scenario. Even if you have the vocal chops of a Tamyra or even a Trenyce and can hit all the notes, you're still at best doing imitation Whitney. And if you don't have that kind of range and power in your voice -- as neither of our bookend singers whose names I can't remember do -- then you've tackled an insurmountable obstacle. Whatsername in the pimp spot actually hurt my ears on several notes, and I imagine if the show weren't so rushed for time -- no doubt because Paula is back to being incoherent and rambly and going on forever and a day -- one of the judges would have had something more critical to say than the three shrugged "good"s.
- So who goes home? Kady Malloy was boring again on one of those Queen songs that's coma-inducing if anyone but Freddie sings it, but who goes with her? Whatsername in the opening spot for going first and being mediocre with Whitney? Ramiele for being understated on another "Idol" cliche and getting extremely lukewarm comments from the judges? Kristy Lee for being a robot? Amanda for being too weird or too one-note for this show?