The women may not have the bench strength that the guys have this season, but their best will give Jacob and Casey a run for their money.
Pia Toscano transformed The Pretenders' gorgeous “I'll Stand By You” into a full-blown Celine Dionesque ballad, ending on huge notes that lifted her straight to the top.
Thia Megia's pretty, elegant take on Irene Cara's “Out Here on My Own” showed a maturity that many of the semifinalists could lack. She understood that less can definitely be more and stood out by tapping into the song's simplicity.
Lauren Alaina brought the fun out of Reba's “Turn on the Radio,” while Lauren Turner smartly updated Etta James' “Seven Day Fool” into something Amy Winehouse-current. And Ashthon Jones played every bit the diva to make Monica's “Love All Over Me” interesting.
After that, though, it started going awry. The fact that Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez's comments didn't reflect that – especially on Ta-Tynisa's off-key “Only Girl in the World” and Haley Reinhart's dismal “Fallin'” – was kind of scary. At least they did catch onto Julie Zorrilla getting swallowed up by Kelly Clarkson's “Breakaway.”
There were enough good performances, though, to justify at least two, if not three, wild card choices from the gals' side to create a better chance of yielding a female “Idol” this season.
Pia Toscano, “I'll Stand by You”
Thia Megia, “Out Here On My Own”
Lauren Alaina, “Turn on the Radio”
Lauren Turner, “Seven Day Fool”
Ashthon Jones, “Love All Over Me”
Naima Adedapo, “Summertime”
Karen Rodriguez, “Hero”
Kendra Chantelle, “Impossible”
Haley Reinhart, “Fallin'”
Rachel Zevita, “Criminal”
Julie Zorrilla, “Breakaway”
Ta-Tynisa Wilson, “Only Girl in the World”
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TOP 5: Pia, Thia, Lauren A., Lauren T., Ashthon
WILL BE ELIMINATED: Naima, Karen, Kendra, Haley, Rachel, Julie, Ta-Tynisa (Judges will save Kendra and Julie and maybe even Haley)
SHOULD BE ELIMINATED: Naima, Karen, Kendra, Haley, Rachel, Julie, Ta-Tynisa
ACTUALLY ELIMINATED: Naima, Kendra, Rachel, Julie, Ta-Tynisa, Ashthon, Lauren T.
FINALISTS: Pia, Thia, Lauren A., Karen, Haley and wild cards Ashthon and Naima.