The big stage is known to separate those who belong there from those who don’t, and it can be a tough task master to young talents who are still discovering themselves. American Idol’s ladies’ night Wednesday exposed some true stars and some stalled in their path of self-discovery, but it was still something special!
Ta-Tynisa Wilson trotted onto the stage first in her white boots, tackling Rhianna’s “Only Girl in the World”. Jennifer Lopez and cohort, Steven Tyler thought she delivered, but I was in the camp with Randy Jackson, who felt she tried really hard to sound like Rhianna instead of making the song her own.
Naima Adedapo shined as bright as the summer time sun, doing her own unique twist on “Summertime” all in yellow. Personality gushes forth from this lady, who completely knows who she is, an “exotic flower” as Jennifer Lopez called her, and Naima herself declared her name meant. Steven Tyler said she brought a “new old-timey thing” with her voice, but whatever you call it, it’s different and something special.
Kendra Chantelle sauntered on the stage in full sultry voice and black leather with her soulful “It’s Impossible”, and was the first of the night to get raves from Randy Jackson, who likened her to Lauren Hill. The girl’s got an “It” factor, and only the votes will tell how many others think so, too.
Rachel Zevita came on like a black-caped vampire vixen with Fiona Apple’s “Criminal”, and I thought the performance was quirky and fun, but the judges felt it worked better for Broadway than the Idol stage. She has star power, even if she doesn’t know just where it belongs yet!
Karen Rodriguez sang out with a stellar Latin mix on “A Hero Comes Along”, and ended the song with incredible notes, and giving goosebumps to Jennifer Lopez! She, too, already knows who she is, and that she’s ready for the stage. You don’t have to know Spanish to know a star!
Jennifer Lopez early on deemed Lauren Turner as a young Bette Midler, and perhaps it could be something even better. Her soulful power was in full force as she sang “Seven-Day Fool”, and boy, did she take it home! It’s wonderful to see an artist find herself on stage, and that happened for Lauren, who also shows you can be gorgeous and not a size 2!
Ashton Jones decided on “Love All Over Me” for her big stage song, and it didn’t serve her well. Jennifer Lopez called her a diva in the making, but the song wasn’t big enough to showcase her talents, so her hope is to get another shot with voting America so she can show off her whole wheelhouse.
Julie Zorilla made a bold choice to do Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway”, looking a little too pretty in pink for that song, and the performance was unanimously “Nice”, but nice is not enough at this stage of the game. There were no “Wow” moments, and this young lady needs to decide who she wants to be, and let that shine.
Haley Reinhart decided to go big or go home, too, with Alicia Keys’ “Fallin”, and the song seemed to swallow her, although Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler still heard enough of her husky tones and “colors” to make them happy, so we’ll see how the votes shake out. The stage seemed a little big for her, too.
15-year-old Thia Megia displayed the pure beauty of a powerful voice in perfect pitch as she sang “Out Here on My Own” without flashy moves or acting, just simple, brilliant talent standing still! She is so young, but so amazing all the same.
Lauren Alaina is only a year older, but she, too, is born for the stage! She stomped her boots and sang her soul out on Reba’s “On the Radio” and as Jennifer Lopez put it, she “doesn’t even have to try” up there, with Randy Jackson adding that she “doesn’t even know” how good she is. Steven Tyler said she was a Kelly meets Carrie combo, but she was happy just to call Ryan Seacrest “Peaches” with a playful smile!
Pia Toscano capped the night, also bedecked in black, belting out “I’ll Stand By You” from the bottom of her heart, and with all her range! She got the night’s only full standing ovation, and brought even mouthy Steven Tyler to jibberish! There’s not much to say, except that Pia is on her way.
The votes for the five guys and girls making the Top 10 are tallied Thursday on FOX at 8 PM ET. See who survives!
“American Idol” telecast, March 2, 2011 FOX TV.