First of all, the show is American Idol, not American
Only two performances really made any lasting impact on me: Lil Rounds and Ju'Not Joyner. I haaaated Lil Rounds during Hollywood week -- Isaac totally nailed it with the Dora the Explorer crack earlier today -- but I thought she was fantastic tonight. As for Ju'Not, I don't usually go for the performances of the quiet slow songs on AI, mostly because contestants usually interpret "quiet and slow" as carrying with them a license to be boring (Anwar Robinson, I'm talking to you, buddy). But I thought his "Hey There Delilah" was incredibly moving and personal and intimate.
Somewhere in the middle for me were Von Smith and Kristen McNamara. Adam twittered earlier in the evening that McNamara's "Give Me One Reason" sounded like a Tom Jones arrangement of a Tracy Chapman song -- no disagreement from me there, but I do love the sound of her voice. And Von Smith seemed really to have taken all the prior criticism to heart, delivering a polished and professional and surprisingly not old-fashioned-sounding "You're All I Need to Get By."
But possibly my favorite 90 seconds of the evening was the time I spent giggling at Alex Wagner-Trugman's mouse-who-roared take on "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues." I literally held my breath waiting for him to growl out "rolling like thunder under the covers," and oh, he did not disappoint.
So . . . predictions are hard for me tonight. Obviously Lil. But does disability trump ESL? Do they both trump a more subtle, less bombastic performance from Ju'Not? Does cute blonde country girl wiggle in for the three-spot? And what does all of this mean for the people who keep hoping that Anoop will pick a less gludgey song in the wild card round?