AMERICAN IDOL S11: Top 12 Girls Perform

Once again, guest blogger Poncho breaks down Idol as only he can.—PCN

Before I start bashing the girls, I have to dedicate a little rant to dear ol’ dawg Randy Jackson: Stop with the freaking name dropping! Really! It’s becoming annoying. I really don’t care if you worked on a record with the pope! Arrgh.

Now that I got that out of my system, let me give my 2 cents about the girls who fought for the Top 12.

The first one was country girl Chelsea Sorrell with “Cowboy Casanova.” I kept thinking of random girls dressed in shiny outfits in karaoke bars I’ve been to. But then I noticed a cool violinist at the top of the stairs. He was rocking it!

Erika Van Pelt has a very nice old-school sound to her voice. That said, her “What About Love” was good but unimpressive. I expected a little more risk-taking in her arrangement since she’s (allegedly) a DJ.

Next, Jen Hirsh was overpowered by her song. “One and Only” showed she had a lot of trouble keeping her breath and that her range (or control) is not that much. Then, during her post-performance bit, I thought, “Why is this girl trying to play dumb when she’s seemingly a lot smarter than that?”

Fourth was a girl named Brielle Von Hugel singing Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay,” and though the song started very rough, she brought it together and I noticed a very cool rasp in her voice. But that’s about it. I was unimpressed overall.

Hallie Day has this too-cool-for-school vibe, and I liked that about her, but I wasn’t “Feeling Good” about her singing. It started well, she had nice moments in her lower register, but when she brought it up, it was so-so. By that point, I was already bored.

But then cool-named Skyler Laine brought me to tears of laughter. The second I saw her I wondered, “What is La Chilindrina doing on American Idol?” Her “Stay with Me” was fine and had a good rock-country feel to it, but I got angry at Randy when he said they have never had that rock-country sound from a girl on the Idol stage. I was like, “Really? What about Allison FREAKING Iraheta on Grand Ole Opry night in season 8?!” I get so angry at that guy all the time sometimes. (BTW, La Chilindrina is a character by Mexican actress María Antonieta de las Nieves, who both had her own show and was part of the ensemble on El Chavo del Ocho.)

Baylie Brown might have to pay for the damages caused by the train she wrecked on stage. I was certainly “Amazed” that she didn’t hit one note.

Next, Hollie Cavanagh rushed through the beginning of “Reflection,” but then controlled it at the middle. The girl has a very beautiful voice, and she knows how to use it. But one could actually see her heart pounding through the whole performance. I want to see her through just to hear her sing without her nerves, and to look at those gorgeous eyes of hers. Other than that, she has a very thick Texas accent so I couldn’t understand one word she said to Ryan.

I think “Sweet Dreams” was not a sweet song choice by Haley Johnsen, though I was liking it at the beginning. Once the band kicked in, the arrangement sucked, the banshees drowned Haley’s voice, and I couldn’t hear the runs and voice acrobatics the judges said she did. All things considered, I think her sweet AI dream has ended.

Shannon Magrane decided to sing “Go Light Your World,” and I snored so hard I woke up everybody in my house.


When Jessica Sanchez started to sign “Love You I Do” from Dreamgirls, it was the fastest I’ve ever gone from groaning to picking up my jaw from the floor. I had to run to pick up my socks that had been blown off by that girl’s voice. There is nothing short of amazing about Jessica’s singing. My eyes were out of their sockets when I realized THAT voice comes from such a petite girl. Fantastic, indeed.

Closing the show was Elise Testone with Adele’s “One and Only” (again!), and I thought she was great. The first half was a lot better than the last, but she totally connected to the song and I could feel the emotion coming from her. And I love her voice, which reminds me a little of (Mexico’s) Alejandra Guzmán. And she has a room-service flower on her head!

What did you think? Were you hit any debris in Baylie Brown’s train wreck? Were you blown away by Jessica Sanchez’s huge voice? Did you feel Elise Testone?

Photo: FOX



  • Reply
    Pop Culture Nerd
    March 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Your reaction to Jessica Sanchez is hilarious. I knew she’d be good since I watched the audition episodes, but I was stil impressed by the HUGE pipes on that little girl. She’s the one to beat, I think.

  • Reply
    Nan Rennie
    March 2, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Love Sanchez too. Poor Baylie, I thought the judges were quite kind to her (too kind). Truly didn’t hit one note. Who do you think should have made the top ten and didn’t?

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      March 2, 2012 at 6:03 pm

      No one. I could’ve done without a few of the ones who made the top ten and been satisfied with top eight. When the judges picked Reed to perform for a wild-card spot, I was scared. Whew. That was a close call.

      Too bad with Baylie—I was rooting for her. Liked her from last time and was disappointed she got cut during Hollywood week. Now that she made it this far, she can’t try again.

  • Reply
    April 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I love reading your rants! Keep it up!

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