AmericanIdolBy Emmy Lindfors

Opinion Editor

It’s finally here! There are now 24 contestants on the Kodak stage in front of four judges and all of the viewers, like me, sitting at home watching one of television’s most popular show, “American Idol.”

Week one of the main competition starts tonight with the top 12 girls in the show. The judges have said that the girls have amazing talent, so the standards were set high for strong talent.

All the girls pretty much entered in the same way. They zoomed up into the camera’s face, stuck out their tongue and either did “I Love You” in sign language or the peace sign. Now that’s class. If I’m ever on American Idol, which I highly doubt, I’ll be sure to stick out my tongue on camera for America to see.

Ellen Degeneres is at her first live taping of American Idol. She is very enthusiastic and I’m excited to see what she is going to do tonight. She has a ton of potential to be a great judge. The only thing I worry about is if she won’t see the singing aspect of it, especially now since it really matters.

But tonight there is a fifth judge, me. I am eager to see what these girls are capable up.

(1) Paige Miles, 24, Cypress, Tex. “It’s all right now” by Free

Paige Miles

Paige Miles

Paige is very comfortable on stage and is enjoying herself very much. She is hitting the long notes pretty well, but there’s a whine to her voice that I am not fond of. Paige seems to be trying to be a singer who has a deep, soulful voice, but that’s not who she is. Paige seems to be trying to be a singer who has a deep, soulful voice, but that’s not who she is.

And I totally needed to hear that you need to pee, Paige. Now my life is complete. You probably went first because you’re sewn into your outfit (great choice) and have to pee.

(2) Ashley Rodriquez, 22, Chelsea, Mass. “Happy” by Leona Lewis

I actually like this girl. She is taking a different take on “Happy.”  She’s making it a little slower and extending the notes. I’m not a fan of this version. It’s not very upbeat, so I wouldn’t listen to it, let alone pay a dollar for it on iTunes.How is this a big song, Kara? Leona Lewis is NOT the Mariah Carey of our generation. Mariah Carey cannot walk in her clothes.

I agree with the judges that this was an OK song choice. It didn’t show what she can do, because her audition was amazing, and so was her performances in Hollywood Week.

(3) Janell Wheeler, 24, Orlando, Fl. “What About Love”  by Heart

I am already not a fan of Janell. I know that’s not an open mind, but she messed up “Love Story” by Taylor Swift on her third performance of Hollywood week. How can you mess up a song that is one, sung by one of the world’s biggest musicians, and two, that is overplayed on the radio. I used to turn on the radio and “Love Story” would be on every channel. So a note to the wise, don’t perform Taylor Swift songs. That should just be a rule on Idol unless the singer can handle it. You can’t handle it, Janell!

As Janell sang the opening slow part, it was good, but when they kicked up the music a little bit, she starts to get squeaky. She is singing loud enough or there is a microphone issue, because she is at the same volume as her back ground singers. She just butchered that long note, along with some of the earlier ones. Janell is forcing her voice a little bit. The ending was smooth.

(4) Lilly Scott, 20, Littleton, Colo. “Fixing a Hole”  by the Beatles

Lilly Scott

Lilly Scott

First off, her stage presence is awesome. She’s confident and outgoing. She’s so outgoing that she has decided to do the Beatles, which is a risk simply because they are the Beatles. They are a legend. Lilly is handling the song quite well. She has her guitar with her and has managed to play a guitar and sing. This is one of the best performances so far. She didn’t chose something that would just get her through to the next round, as Simon said. Lilly was original and comfortable on the stage making her memorable for the night.

(5) Katelynn Epperly, 19, West Des Moines, Iowa  “Oh Darling” by 1969

This girl makes me think that she wants to be TaySwift. If she sings a Taylor song I think I will throw a fit. There’s only ONE TaySwift.

Thankfully she’s not singing a TayTay song. Instead she’s singing a slower song and is actually OK at it. It’s not one of the best performances of the night, but it’s not too bad. I agree with the judges that she will need work, but her personality definitely shines through. Her outfit and makeup are a little distracting. She’s got on black nylons and a leather mini-dress that’s strapless. The hair is really ridiculous though. It’s like an explosion, blond curls everywhere. Don’t get me started about the red lipstick. Even Kara agrees with me! A more natural Katelynn would be better than this messy one. Katelynn’s reason is “too make it more rock-ish.” You are making it “rock-ish” for a song that you made not “rock-ish.” Not a fan.

(6) Haeley Vaughn, 16, Fort Collins, Colo. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles

Haeley Vaughn

Haeley Vaughn

You went and got your nose pierced because you made it to Hollywood. That’s the only reason why you got a nose piercing? She’s singing Beatles. I have major doubts that she can pull off such a classic, amazing song. I am correct. Her squeaky, rough and whiney voice is ruining the song. I am considering muting this right now. That should be another rule of Idol: NO Beatles songs. I  recently got “Beatles fever” and have listened to “I Want to Hold your Hand” about 20 times and it is a great song. Anyone who has listened to it knows it. Now this girl has ruined it. Her performance is stuck in my brain and it’s killing me. Simon is on my stand point saying, “It was a mess.” Ellen on the other hand liked it. As much as I like Ellen, I disagree with her completely. Doing a Beatles song is obviously a risk. A risk that Haeley could not do.

(7) Lacey Brown, 24, Amarillo, Tex. “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac

Lacey has tried out for American Idol multiple times and this is the first time she has made it to the Top 24. Her voice reminds me of Ted’s girlfriend from Scrubs. Overall, she has a great performance. She performs well and enjoys herself on the stage.

Lacey is from Texas and seems her southern roots are taking place in this song. I could see her as a very successful country singer. I am actually considering voting for her. Apparently the judges and I clash on our views. Yes, maybe she chose a safer song, to get her through the round, but it was really good.

(8) Michelle Delamor, 22, Miami, Flo. “Falling” by Alicia Keys
Michelle knows how to wear her curls unlike Katelynn. Her outfit is also put together well. It’s simple with the long top and gray jeans.
Her performance is excellent. She is easy going and hits most notes correct. Michelle is one that will be sticking around.

Didi Benami

Didi Benami

(9) Didi Benami, 23, Hollywood, Cali “The Way I am” by Ingrid Michaelson

Didi is one that I remembered form Hollywood week. She sang one of judge Kara DioGuardi’s songs and nailed it. If they had sold that on iTunes I would’ve bought it. Didi keeps her look simple and her performance is the same. She stays gentle, but that’s bad because she’s not wowing me.
(10) Siobhan Magnus, 19, Barnstable, Mass. “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak
Siobhan opens up badly with a low note that was hit wrong. The beginning is boring and is all long notes that switches to higher notes. The song choice is very poor. She isn’t showing off who Siobhan is. Instead, she is hurting my ears a little with her low notes that she is mixing in with the high notes, a virtual low and high-note stew.
Ellen has no clue what she’s talking about! My gosh she’s in for the entertainment factor. Which is good, I want to be entertained, but the fact is that I would not be entertained by Siobhan. Siobhan is very quiet and I don’t see her having “star power.” Unless a miracle happens, Siobhan needs to become more confident and make people want to listen to her, not wanting to turn off the TV.
(11) Crystal Bowersox, 24, Elliston, Ohio “Hand in my Pocket” by Alanis Morissette

Crystal Bowersox

Crystal Bowersox

A former Chicago native, Crystal is doing this for her son. Equipped with him in her mind and with her trusty guitar, she is performing well. Not only is she singing and playing the guitar but she also has a harmonica with her. This is one of the best performances of the night.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to expect from her, but now I am looking forward to her next performance. I like her and I think that she is going to go places in this show.
Katie Stevens

Katie Stevens

(12) Katie Stevens, 17, Middlebury, Connecticut “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble

Katie reminds me of a young Katharine McPhee, before she cut off her long hair and went from a pretty brunette to a blonde. Her story is heartwarming as well. Her grandma has Alzheimer’s disease and Katie’s goal is to achieve her dreams while her grandma still remembers her. I understand her completely. Katie is one of the younger ones in the group and she brings a new light to the show. She’s upbeat and happy.
She has an amazing voice for a 17-year-old. Katie is handling Michael Buble’s song very well and I might actually vote for her. I hope to see more of her in this season and I have no doubt that I will. Now even though Ellen is telling Katie how she felt the song choice wasn’t good, it’s only because Katie was acting more mature for her age. I can totally agree because if she had an album that was all slow and low songs, I would not buy it, as much as I like Katie.
Overall tonight lacked wow. None of the 12 girls wowed me and none of them will be getting my vote tonight, even when I was tempted on some. The Hits tonight were Crystal Bowersox and Lilly Scott. While the misses were obviously Haeley Vaughn and Katelynn Epperly.
As Simon pointed out that everyone tonight is trying to sound like the same person. Can’t we have some diversity?! The only way these contestants are going to move forward and live up to the amazing talent the judges keep saying the girls have is if they take risks. They are too worried about getting sent home, so they play it safe. Take a risk! Otherwise it’ll be a boy’s world, which I am fine with because the boys are the ones with the talent.
Lee DeWyze, former Prospect student, now in Top 24 on American Idol

Lee DeWyze, former Prospect student, now in Top 24 on American Idol

For Wednesday night,  I am looking forward to seeing Lee DeWyze, Mount Prospect resident and former Prospect High School student. He has made it all the way to the top 24 and with the help of everyone we can get Lee to stay in the competition.