After performances from the boys that set the bar very high, the “American Idol” Top 12 girls took their turn Thursday, February 26 in Detroit. There was something old, something new, and completely fresh twists on the familiar, and every lady definitely brought her own something different.
Lovey James lead off with her smoke-tinged touch on One Republic’s “Love Runs Out,” winning approval, and making for a nice warm-up. Jennifer Lopez said it was “an awesome start,” Keith Urban called it great, and Harry complimented on how Lovey knew how to carry a song “that starts out low, and bring it home when everyone knows how it turns out.” Adanna Duru made a strong impression with a not-so-known song by the British techno group, Clean Bandit, and Jess Glynne, “Rather Be.” Kudos are deserved to Duru for her bold choice, and the way she went from perfect subtlety to power, even though some on the panel expressed that it might have been a tad too much. Keith Urban dubbed it “really good,” Jennifer Lopez said Adanna was “going for blood,” and Harry told her, “you’re dangerous.” Alexis Gomez brings her easy “hippie Latina country” vibe whenever she performs, but tonight, she went for more power chic, choosing Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder and Lead.” Harry Connick, Jr. began by saying how “lovely and talented” Alexis is, then admonishing her not to sing with an accent she doesn’t naturally have, lest her performance seem pure imitation. Keith said she should not be afraid to leave her guitar behind, and Jennifer wants to see her “play around” more with her voice, persona, and songs. The most memorable performance of the night came next, as the forever unique Joey Cook gave a twist to Keith Urban’s own “Somebody Like You” that even he never saw coming, complete with accordion, and flapper-style dance steps! Urban throwing his head back in laughter, and giving a hands up clap was all the approval needed, no words necessary. Harry said to Keith, “if you and I had a kid, that’s what it would sound like.” Jennifer Lopez simply said, “You are so unique.” Katherine Winston came out with her hobo chic look, singing “Safe and Sound.” Keith Urban called that selection “a beautiful choice,” but Harry Connick, Jr. said that “ballads may be a problem” on a night of survival performances. Jennifer Lopez noted that there was “a magical quality” to Katherine’s voice that audiences should appreciate. Shannon Berthiaume had not sung anywhere but her bedroom before her “Idol” adventure, and that inexperience showed on her pick of Pink’s “Who Knew” for her performance. Harry Connick, Jr. said that one of the delightful things about Shannon was that she was “so green,” but that has to fade at some point, all she works on the polish that the guys had displayed the night before. Keith Urban didn’t approve of the song choice, and that was echoed by Jennifer Lopez, who reminded that Berthiaume was there for a reason, and to believe in that talent. It was a big bite for a very young performer, and the big song in her big moment swallowed her.
Loren Lott (note recent name spelling) stuck to this trend for bold choices, making hers “Note to God,” that some may remember being sung by Charice in her famous “Oprah” appearance. Inflecting all her acting skills into the notes, Loren took the power ballad to an all new level. Jennifer Lopez called it a brave choice, Keith Urban said that Loren was giving everyone “a run for the money,” and Harry Connick, Jr. capped it off with “there’s a lot of power there.” Was it too much power, too soon? Shi Scott was trying for the dramatic in her dress that seemed like a black lace bodysuit, but she yelled more than sang Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” in another grab for too much. Keith Urban said that it was “powerful and gutsy, but it never got me,” and Jennifer Lopez said she was not sure America felt it. Harry flat-out said it was not the right song. Maddie Walker went for fun and flirty with Shania Twain’s “Gone and Done It” and that’s just what she pulled off, but Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban didn’t feel the song was right, while Harry praised “the older character” in Maddie’s voice. She has plenty of audience appeal, so she won’t be leaving so soon. Sarina Joi Crowe is going for glory all the way with her fourth try at becoming the “American Idol,” and she gave it everything on “Mamma Knows Best,” and making it more her own than it was ever Jessie J’s. Harry loved that it was “loose and tight in all the right ways,” Jennifer Lopez said she loved Jessie J, but Sarina’s performance rivaled the original, and Keith closed with saying it was a super performance. JAX had the tough task of following that, but she stood her sexy, sultry ground, and revived Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang”(My Baby Shot Me Down). Not only did she showcase her own stage power and presence, but also proved that the old songs can still rock just as powerfully as ever. The performance was so different, it was unforgettable. Jennifer Lopez praised that the competition is “lucky to have you,” as Harry offered “great job,” and Keith added “Loved it—killer.” The once homeless, and now heading to stardom, Tyanna Jones, topped off the night, looking like a sweet schoolgirl, but singing the roof off with Meghan Trainor’s “Lips Are Moving,” completely current and captivating. Harry reminded her how “ridiculously talented” she was, and Jennifer said her voice was “from God himself,” while Keith only wished she had dared the band to let her sing in a higher key. In any key, Tyanna is riding her “Idol” rocket straight to the stratosphere.