Not Great To Merely Forgettable: Haley does "Queen Of The Night" in a very yelly way, with bouncing. It's cute and somewhat fun, but not that pleasant to listen to, or interesting. Alaina sings "Not Ready To Make Nice" and is still apparently also not ready to sing nice. I'm still going to marry her. Antonella sings "Because You Loved Me," horribly, as her mother sings wildly along with her daughter's horrible singing, and once more sucks worse than a fake Photoshopped blowjob.
Highly Enjoyable But Not Astounding: Lakisha sings "Midnight Train To Georgia" (!) for her 90-year-old grandmother, who is freaking adorable. It's good, but will justifiably give Joe R much ammo of the "What's the big deal with Lakisha" type. Gina dedicates "Alone" to her boyfriend Joe, because he is smoking hot. Also hot: Gina's cute red dress, which manages to be both tight and shiny in ways that aren't upsetting. The performance is a better choice for her, more for the drama than the growly-voice thing, and a good start to the night. Jordin! sings that "Reflection" song I've never heard except on this one show, a hundred times a season. She's great, because she's great, but I always worry when they're more enjoyable when you're looking than when you're not.
Awesome: Melinda sings "My Funny Valentine" in exactly the weirdly asexual way you would assume, given her strange little self, but it's excellent. Among those blown away are everybody, plus Simon. Stephanie dedicates "Dangerously In Love" to her parents and is very warbly and losing breathless -- way less awesome than last week. She's not at all in any danger, and by the end she pulls it out enough that Simon and Paula fall all over her. I predict she'll do well; I was bored. My girl Leslie dedicates her much more masculine version of "Feeling Good" to Grandpa Bob while dressed like a crazy person and scraping against the pitchy bottom of her register in order to get wild with some perhaps ill-advised scatting. If you loved it, you loved it, but I wonder if you voted for it. Not memorable. I just love this girl, no matter what. I might actually vote, for the first time ever. Sabrina closes the show in a kickin' hot outfit singing with a rousing and ramped-up "All The Man That I Need," which builds to a crazy climax that's still not as amazing as last week. It's one of the best, and a good end to the show.
The top 10 girls are lined up along the giant staircase as Ryan Seacrest prattles on about how the guys brought it last night, the girls having already done broughten it the week before. Will the girls bring it once again? Will they bring some of it, but not all? Will they intend to bring it but then realize halfway through that they left it on the kitchen counter? These are the ponderings I ponder when I'm not busy wondering how bad things are going to get for Sanjaya Malakar before America just lets him go home already. And also while Ryan Seacrest is giving his boilerplate introduction to the show.
After the credits, Ryan once again mentions how "incredible" the guys were last night, and in the sense that they far exceeded the low bar they set for themselves last week, Ryan's correct. Then we get the chorus line of lady Idol hopefuls: Gina, who is merely a red flash running past the camera. Alaina, who blows a kiss right up into the camera lens and continues to try awfully hard to make us like her. LaKisha, whose face is a straight-up scowl until Ryan calls her name, at which point she flips a switch and is all smiles and waves. Melinda, dressed in a power suit but still too scared to move her arms. Antonella, who's dressed like an Austin Powers Girl Friday. Monstrously tall and awesome Jordin. Slightly less tall but still awesome Stephanie. Spazzy Leslie, who gives the camera a cute flourish. Haley with her hair all curled out to here. And finally Sabrina, who rocks back and points at the camera and silently demands to know why she got no camera time in auditions or Hollywood.
Things between Ryan and the judges seem to be going well today, as Ryan introduces them by actually giving them credit for "discovering" the ten ladies lined up on the balcony. He makes note of Randy's shirt, which is a paisley monstrosity the color of, like, cotton candy ice cream. He declares the pressure to be all on the girls tonight because the boys, as you may have heard, "brought it" last night. Paula, who's not looking quite as awesome as she did on Tuesday but still rather put together and uncrazy, says the girls look gorgeous tonight. Ryan asks Simon some nonsense time-filler question about the "traps" contestants can fall into, and Simon gives a nonsense time-filler answer about "not giving themselves an identity." Folks, we don't have an extra half-hour to fart around with this week; can we get to the performances? Apparently not, as Ryan has to explain the entire concept of the show and how things like voting work for those in the home audience who are on Rumspringa and just discovered the wonders of television and the FOX network.