'American Idol' Recap: Top 10 Girls Compete
"Idol" alums Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry return as five are sent home.
American Idol kicked off its first ever Rush Week as the judges unveiled their selections for the girls who made it to the top 10.
The top 15 girls were put through the paces with mentoring sessions courtesy of Idol alums Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry during Randy Jackson’s Idol Workshop. At their disposal were voice and movement coaches, stylists, musical director Rickey Minor, and spiritual advisors. Yes, you read that last one right.
There was one caveat: after all that preparation, five of the 15 chosen girls would not get a chance to sing for America last night, as the judges already made their cuts based on what they saw at dress rehearsals and the workshop. Surely, this setting was responsible for the nerves that affected the performances of people once considered strong front runners in auditions. It also didn't help that the girls had to run to the stage before performing, which meant some were out of breath before singing, as Jennifer Lopez pointed out.
Additionally, America made its first cut between singers Neco Starr and Ben Briley. The public picked brawny Briley, who may or may not be invited to sing tomorrow night when the boys compete.
So who made the cut? In order:
Majesty Rose, who chose to perform “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Lambert loved that she picked a song that “fits her personality, fits her style,” but rightly advised her to slow the song down. “It feels like you are rushing it,” he told her. His advice worked, as Rose set the bar high on the Idol stage. “You are ready for show time,” said Lopez.
Kristen O’ Connor's choice of Adele’s “Turning Tables” impressed Daughtry, who told her “your voice is sick.” Keith Urban said “you had a lot of nerves going on, but halfway through the performance you settled into it...you were in the zone.” Lopez loved her tone, and said “I can hear you recording records tomorrow.”
Briana Oakley is dead serious about music, and Jackson believes she should lighten it up. Her selection of “Warrior” by Demi Lovato impressed Urban, who said “I love the clarity in your tone. It reminds me of Irene Cara.” Lopez felt that when she first came out she looked “a little bit scared to me.” Harry Connick Jr. warned her against going for the singing gold, so to speak. “High notes aren’t triple axels,” he said. “Be careful. It can be a trap.”
Jena Irene, who dropped her last name in what seems to be an attempt to simplify things, picked “Paint it Black” by The Rolling Stones. This was an odd performance and the first misstep of the evening, as she was straining in several verses. “The intensity was there, I just didn’t know what you were singing about,” said Connick.
Bria Anai sure loves her lipstick. “I like to stand out,” she said before performing “Wrong Side of a Love Song” by Melanie Fiona. Perhaps she was over excited, but it affected her pitch. Connick didn’t love it, saying it “felt very shouted.” Lopez still had faith. “To me you have star written all over you,” she said.
Marialle Sellers always did look like a star from her first audition, but faltered with her choice of “Roar” by Katy Perry, which Lambert felt was “rushed” in rehearsal. Live, the whole thing fell apart-literally-when she lost a shoe at the end. Urban seemed disappointed. “Your voice is much better than what that was tonight.”
Jessica Meuse’s decision to sing Luke Bryan's “Drink a Beer” with her guitar may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but Daughtry wasn’t feeling it. “I thought her voice was better than her guitar playing,” he said. “I would like to see her challenge herself to step away from it.” Live, Meuse’s nerves got the better of her, and smiling through a song about grief didn’t sit well with Urban. Connick told her to “watch your intonation...you have a tendency to go sharp.”
Emily Piriz got under Connick’s skin by choosing his favorite song slutty anthem, “Ooh La La” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. While her session tapped into her inner rock star with Lambert, Connick’s inner Dad came out in his critique. “Is that really what you want to sing?” he asked. Lopez, however, stuck up for the 18-year-old singer. “You had one of the most relaxed performances up there.”
MK Nobilette told Jackson that she needed to “learn how to stay connected to the song,” but made the perfect choice with John Legend’s “All of Me,” showing off the quiet nobility in her voice. Urban loved the “vulnerability and humanness” in her voice. Lopez was moved to tears. “I loved it so much...it’s so easy to pick the big singers, but that’s not what it’s about.” Connick declared the 20-year old an “elegant, articulate singer...you belong here.”
Malaya Watson earned the last spot, and chose Ray Charles’ “Hard Times.” While it’s impressive that she loves the classics, the song may have been too big for her, as she suffered pitch problems with the low notes. The judges loved it. “Everytime you get up there it’s epic.” Urban admitted it was “over the top” but told her that “you make glasses and braces look so cool.”
Going home: Jillian Jensen, Andrina Brogden, Austin Wolfe, Kenzie Hall, and Brandy Neely.
So what do you think, Idol Worshippers? Of the top 10 tonight, who will survive the cut? Who are you voting for?