The usual opening night jitters seemed to hit the first live night of singing hard for the ladies of American Idol Season 9. While the opening auditions gave high hopes for a female Idol this season, tonight left quite a bit to be desired. Hopefully the nerves will shake off next week and we can really get a feel for the true female voices of AI Season 9. Sadly, that will be too late for two female contestants leaving Thursday.
Simon Cowell is still the star of American Idol, as evidenced by the outpouring of screams when Ryan Seacrest announced him. Ellen Degeneres was announced first to an excited burst of applause and screams. Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi were still the back up singers, great as they are.
We got to see a bit of the entertainment and comedy Ellen Degeneres will bring to American Idol. Ryan Seacrest asked Degeneres why she was now seated at the far end of the judges panel opposite Cowell, “I feel safer…” Ellen explained. Followed by a film clip of Simon Cowell’s hand (not) reaching for Ellen’s thigh continuously in Hollywood week. It was pretty corny.
Most of the night was filled with karaoke performances of big songs. This is the normal pitfall for the female American Idol contestants every season. Everyone wants to be Celine or Whitney. It’s just not going to happen. You will sound like decent karaoke at best, every single time.
Fourth in line on the first live night of Idol, Lilly Scott finally took the stage. Singing “Fix the Hole” by The Beatles, Lilly Scott brought her own style to the contest. It was nice to finally just sit back and listen to someone sing, and sing really good. Not perfect, but most live performances are not. Lilly Scott showed that she is not here to be the diva of American Idol, she just wants her shot at making music. I think she’s got a good shot. There is a very unique sound that comes out of Lilly Scott.
Ellen Degeneres: “I think that’s what we’re talking about…”
Simon Cowell: “… definitely the best of the night…. I’m still not feeling much star power from you…”
Kara DioGuardi: ” You’re believable… I could feel you were comfortable on the stage…”
Randy Jackson: “I love that you’re a real Indy artist… I love the honesty…”
There were six long diva-like performances before Crystal Bowersox came on with her guitar and harmonica. You can just tell that Crystal is a true musician, like Lilly Scott. Already knowing her vocal abilities and confident in her song choices, Crystal Bowersox has a leg up on the AI competition. I have to admit I was disappointed with tonight’s performance, in that it was very safe. In a night full of boring safe songs, I was hoping Bowersox would make me want to get up and move, or at least turn up the volume. I did turn it up, but only because the dog barked. Singing “Hand In My Pocket” by Alanis Morissette, Crystal gave a solid performance. Just a boring song.
Randy: “… your one of my favorites… I just love the honesty… doesn’t matter what the song is…”
Ellen: “… I too am a fan of yours and I think we are lucky that you decided to come and do Idol…”
Simon:”… it was good, we like you… the truth is there are thousands of people like you in subways…. you’ve gotta do something that’s you…there are tens of thousands of girls that sound just like you…”
Kara: “… you were good tonight… you have greatness in you … there’s no doubt in my mind that your going to be here next year, I mean next week…”
Though there were no forgotten words tonight, there were a couple of train wrecks both vocally and in costume. Haeley Vaughn needs to fire her stylist tonight. Period. That poor girl was on the American Idol stage with a Little Bo Peep dress and a black guitar. Her intro bio piece showed her excitedly getting her nose pierced for getting to Hollywood week. Haeley Vaughn screeched and yodeled her way through “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles… poor Paul McCartney, I hope he doesn’t watch Idol.
Paige Mills started the night off in shaky fashion with her karaoke version of “All Right Now” by Free, at least the Fab Four got a break. Ashley Rodgriguez followed up with a talking version of Leona Lewis’ “Happy”. Hopefully both will shake off the nerves next week if they stay.
Over the course of the next few weeks we will see who is willing to find themselves on American Idol. It’s all about growing up fast and making the most important decisions of your lives. Have fun! Seriously, there will be a few of these ladies that will turn it around I think. I have hope for Katelyn Epperly and Katie Scott, but they are both very young.
The American Idol Season 9 top 12 men take the stage tomorrow night for their first live performances. On Thursday night the bottom two women and men will leave the show (according to votes cast by the public). I’ll keep you up to date if you miss anything. Be sure to check out the full recap of tonight’s live AI Season 9 kick off here.