Tuesday, March 7

Top 8 Girls (3/7/06)

And we're live! No more pretaped shows; from now on everything is live. (In the past performance shows weren't live until the Finals/Top 12.)

Tonight was much better and more entertaining than I expected. I think the voting will be close.

Our pre-song videos this week reveal "little known facts" about the contestants.

Paris is first. Paris says her childhood nickname was "Princess P," but underneath she's really a tomboy. She sings Gloria Estefan's "Conga" - other than an early slip on the lyrics (which are tough), a good performance. Lots of dancing, changed up the song a bit (Paula said she was "surprised by the choices you made melodically").

Lisa said most people are surprised to learn that she's a Jimi Hendrix fan. So much so that he inspired her to learn the electric guitar (on which she plays a couple of notes in the video). She sings a song I don't know called "Where I Stand" and is, of course, very good. Seemed more into the song - connected to the lyrics - than last week, and we find out later that she in fact chose it because the lyrics were so fitting to her situation tonight. The judges didn't like the choice because it didn't fit her youth. Randy said he wanted her to do more "runs" vocally, and Paula & Simon mentioned her great talent even though they thought it wasn't showcased tonight.

Melissa is next & tells us she's a big "car freak" and used to race the boys in high school in her stick shift (yay for stick shifts!). She sings Heart's "What About Love," which was the perfect type of song for her!! She nailed most of it though it was a little rough at the end. Simon focused on that & said that the "last note was your ticket home," and that she "blew it." Randy & Paula like her though, & Randy complimented her song choice. Melissa said she picked it because it was rock (something different & fun) and the lyrics are very meaningful to her.

Kinnik tells us that she loves her some chitlins! Hee. She sings Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You," which was risky. I don't think she pulled it off, & I don't think the crowd did either (they stood to applaud but didn't seem very excited about it). Randy said it was a good choice for her but that she "didn't nail it"; Paula was in shock because it was the 1st time she'd heard Kinnik sing off-key and she really wanted to say something nice but just couldn't find it! Simon said she's going home; I agree.

Oh, earlier in the Red Room Ryan asked Katharine about the rumor that's been circulating, that she's leaving the show. She of course says no. What I heard is that she lives close by and her mom wanted her to go home to get some rest, but of course the other contestants thought that was unfair because they couldn't go home so easily. So VocalCoachStageMom supposedly threatened to pull Kat out of the competition. Who knows how much of that is really true. Ryan said he'd heard a rumor that she was quitting because she was pregnant, and after she said no, he said something like, "so there's nothing about you & Kevin we need to know?" Poor Kevin, Ryan just won't leave him alone.

So, Katharine is up. Her clip is pretty funny - she says she went to the Boston Conservatory, which is also where Constantine went. She then says that must be where she learned her "smouldering look" since Connie has it too. ;-) She sings "Think," and I think it's my favorite performance of hers. I love the occasional growly parts; the audience was into it, & I think she needed to do something more fun this week (later she said that was exactly why she picked it). The high notes were a bit weak but otherwise it was great. The judges agreed & she got Randy's first "We got a hot one!" of the night.

Ayla tells us that her dad used to sing to her and that she literally believed that he was Elvis Presley until she was 10 years old! She sings "Unwritten," which is a current Top 40 song - cool! I think it was a great choice - she's another one who needed to lighten up & show her fun side tonight, and she moved around a lot (dancing good; squatting bad) and the audience seemed into it. Randy thought it was just "ok" because it didn't showcase her vocals. Paula & Simon thought it was pretty good, but Simon said he wanted to see more of her youth (such as comes out in her videos) on stage. Ryan asked her about the choice & she said she knew she needed to take a risk & do something out of her comfort zone; smart girl.

Mandisa easily had the best performance of the night - again. She admitted in her clip that she sucked her thumb until she was 24!! She sang "I'm Every Woman," and she was jammin'! The crowd & judges all loved it. Randy said it was the "best vocal by a female this season," and Simon said that she was "in a different league" & set the standard for the rest of the women.

Kellie was last (pimp spot, sigh!). She talked about loving dogs & missing her dog Comet; not really anything surprising there. She sang "I'm the Only One"... and was fantastic! As much as it hurts to admit it, she was very good and I enjoyed the performance - definitely her best so far. With that said, the judges' comments still annoyed me; they all loved it and Simon said he prefers her "over last season's winner" because she's "interesting!" I'm not sure if that was before or after he called her a "naughty (or saucy? I'm not sure) little minx" and she asked, "what's a minx?" When Ryan asked what she thought of the comments, she shrugged her shoulders and said, "I'm a mink." At that point everyone laughed and Simon & Ryan went into hysterics. After Ryan recovered he went for more and asked her what new fish she tried this week, so that she could tell us she had "sall-mon." Bwah!

So, yeah, Mandisa rocked, and Kellie, Melissa & Ayla were very good... as were Lisa & Paris, and Katharine... really the only weak point was Kinnik. I thing Lisa, Melissa, Ayla, & maybe Mandisa are on the bubble and I'm not sure who will go home. Melissa's line was busy a lot as I was trying to vote, so I hope that's a good sign. Thursday will definitely be suspenseful!

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