Is there any way the bulk of the “Idol” gals won't simply be cannon fodder for their first few weeks like they were last year? Um, no.
Aside from Jessica Sanchez and Skylar Laine (and maybe Hollie Cavanagh), none of them will stand a chance against young Eben Franckewitz, much less one of the guys' best singers. That said, Jessica and Skylar may lead the strongest female contingent since Season 6, when Jordin Sparks won and Melinda Doolittle came in third.
1. Skylar Laine, “Stay With Me”: She's raw and fun and so unlike any of the other girls, which makes her stand out. Jennifer Lopez says she's “like Tina Turner went country.” That's pretty close and a whole lot of awesome.
2. Jessica Sanchez, “Love You I Do”: Fighting with swollen vocal cords, she lost a little on her lower register, but when it came time to open up and land the big notes, she nailed each and every one.
3. Elise Testone, “One and Only”: Her version of Adele's song was solid and simple, showing off her voice.
4. Erika Van Pelt, “What About Love”: She has so much power and control that it translates to safe, even though she's better than that.
5. Hollie Cavanagh, “Reflection”: It's a big song that she almost pulled off, which says a lot.
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6. Jen Hirsh, “One and Only”: Elise's version of this was better, making the fact that Jen ran out of gas at the end all the more noticeable. Another thing that was very noticeable was her explaining, “We are driving to my family's vineyard.” Um, what now?
7. Shannon Magrane, “Go Light Your World”: She didn't nail all the notes, but she did hammer home the ending. And just when you think she's too mature to be 16, her answer to why she picked the Kathy Troccoli song made her seem her age.
8. Hallie Day, “Feeling Good”: It was nice, but she lost control in places.
9. Chelsea Sorrell, “Cowboy Casanova”: Her voice sounded thin in places and strong in others.
10. Baylie Brown, “Amazed”: She started off shaky and couldn't pull it together. You know it's bad when they all start saying, “You look amazing!”
11. Brielle Von Hugel, “Dock of the Bay”: This is too big a song for her. She's sharp, flat, and out of breath.
12. Haley Johnsen, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”: Wow! It was quite a risk, but it was awful on so many levels. “It was a little train-wrecky for me today,” said Randy Jackson. But only a little, right, dawg?
TOP 5 VOTE-GETTERS: Jessica, Skylar, Shannon, Elise, Hollie
WILD CARD: Jen
ACTUAL TOP 5: Jessica, Skylar, Shannon, Elise, Hollie
ACTUAL WILD CARD: Erika