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American Idol Season 4 (2005)


March 8 (Semi-Finals: Women)


Tonight was the women's turn.  Unlike the guys, I wasn't expecting too much.  So of course I got pleasantly surprised a few times.  I guess I should make low expectations a habit with this show.

Once again, we get the stupid zodiac introductions, which leads to the women saying all sorts of ditzy things (see Carrie's review below).  Enough already.  No one cares.

Amanda Avila (sings Tina Turner's "River Deep Mountain High"): I hadn't heard this song before, so I didn't know it was a Tina Turner song until Randy mentioned it.  Up to that point, I thought it was a decent performance.  Amanda was on pitch, and it seemed like she was really getting into it.  Once I found out it was a Tina song, though, I knew how much better Tina would be, and I realized that Amanda is nothing more than a decent backup singer (which she's been in the past, btw).  Disappointing.  As a side note, the microphone level is up tonight - so much so that when Amanda taps the microphone, you hear it every time.  Sigh.  One day, they'll get it right.

Janay Castine (sings Selena's "Dreaming of You"): She looks so much like a little Whitney Houston doll that I halfway expect someone to pull a string on her back and send her into a pre-programmed, drug-induced temper tantrum.  But she's not going to do that because she's scared to death, and for good reason: she has maybe three notes that are on pitch.  This is horrible.  Mike speculates that she probably is really good during rehearsals but is terrified when the camera is on her.  I agree; otherwise, how on earth did she get into the top 24 to begin with?  She knows she can't compete, too - all last night she was watching the guys with terror on her face.  Maybe she was just afraid that Constantine would slime her to death.  In any case, it's painful to watch.  Please, folks, put her out of her misery.  Vote for someone else.

Carrie Underwood (sings Jo Dee Messina's/Faith Hill's/whoever did it first's "Because You Love Me"): I'm starting to get irritated with Carrie, and it's not because she's now wearing Lindsey's cast-off lingerie.  The militant "I'm a sweet, innocent farm girl and that's just who I am and I'm not going to change" shtick is getting old.  If you're sweet, don't tell me about it - show it in your performance.  Instead - once again - I get zippo personality.  Boring.  Tonight she also acts like she knows she's going to make it through to the final 12, so she's playing it safe and not really giving this song her all.  There are pitch problems, which is unusual for her.  Grr.  It's a competition, honey, not a shoo-in.  You pull that kind of performance in the top 12, and Anwar, Bo, and Anthony will leave you in the dirt.  (And what was with her intro?  "I'm a Pisces, and Pisces are compassionate.  I like to fish, but I always release them."  News flash: studies have shown that fish feel pain.  There's nothing compassionate about torturing an animal for sport.  But I guess that's just the innocent farm girl talking.  For a truly naive take on it, she should have blinked into the camera several times and said something more along the lines of, "Zodiac?  What's that?"  Jeesh.)

Vonzell Solomon (sings Aretha Franklin's "Respect"): At last!  Someone who brings their personality into their performance and who stays on pitch!  Okay, the cowboy outfit was stupid (how am I supposed to give respect to someone who wears that for this song?), but she really got into this.  I can almost forgive her for the cringe-worthy orders to the audience to "Put your hands together!" and "Come on!"  She's not Aretha, but she has fun, and the judges look relieved.  So am I.  I'm expecting good things from the rest of the singers now.

Nadia Turner (sings Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness"): Oh, my.  Nadia's back!  Are we sure she's not related to Tina Turner?  Because she rocked with this song.  She took it in her teeth and shook it.  She commanded that audience, and she didn't have to tell them to "Come on."  Dumb 50s-inspired skirt, and her hair looks way too big for her head now, but a knock-out performance.  Way to go!

Lindsey Cardinale (sings Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing"): A rather strange song for her to sing, but she does an okay job with it.  I mean, she certainly sings her heart out, much like Mario did with his song the previous night.  The problem is, she came after Nadia and paled next to her.  Simon compares Lindsey to Ryan (looks the part, but ultimately boring), and Ryan douses Simon with the water in Simon's Coke glass, which has now endeared me to Ryan.  It's probably earned Lindsey some votes, too, which I wouldn't mind.

Mikalah Gordon (sings "Somewhere" from West Side Story): Yes, I know Barbra Streisand did this song, but it's originally from a musical, you ignorant judges.  In fact, it's my favorite song from my favorite musical, and anyone who attempts this song had better do one heck of a job with it if they're going to win me over.  Mikalah doesn't even come close.  In fact, Mikalah slaughters the song.  ARGH!!!  Even our cat had a hairball attack during this performance (really!).  It got put in a key that was too low so she could hit the big notes at the end, and those notes happen to be the only ones she managed to get on pitch.  Add to this her interview with Ryan prior to her performance where she went back to Fran Drescher mode to say that she was so nervous she wanted to throw up on herself, and I am ready to commit suicide from the sheer torture of it all.  I liked Mikalah's audition, but these last three weeks have not endeared her to me.  Remarkably, I agree with Simon: she's trying to be too old now.  She needs to tone it down, not turn it off, and she can't seem to find the balance between the two.  I'd like to see her go, but I think she has more fans than Janay or Amanda, so she's probably safe.  Drat.

Jessica Sierra (sings The Bus Boys' "The Boys Are Back In Town" - definitely not the Thin Lizzy song!): You know, this is one feisty little pony.  She's starting to grow on me.  She doesn't have quite the commanding presence that Nadia and Bo have, but she still rocks the place, and she looks like she's having fun.  But, my goodness, can we squeeze those boobs any tighter?  I'm surprised she can breathe!  One of the better performances of the evening, and a good song to end on.

Our top three of the night would be Nadia, Vonzell, and Jessica, in that order.  I guess we just like rockers this year.  Our bottom three would be Janay, Mikalah, and Carrie, but I have the feeling that Amanda and Lindsey are in more danger than the last two.  Oh, well.  As long as Nadia's in, I don't really care too much about the rest.

Eliminated on March 10 Results Show:  Amanda Avila and Janay Castine


Review 2005 by Patricia Lowhorn.  For comments, e-mail


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