Recap Top 8

Just 8 contestants left. How time flies!

Well this round was Latin night. Jennifer Lopez was the mentor. What a mentor! Yes, I am referring to the looks. However, she also didn't do a shabby job with the mentoring either. Actually, compared to the others, she is probably the best or very close to it.

First performance of the night was the season 6 favourite, Melinda Doolittle. Jennifer advised her to show her sexy sultry side. Melinda acknowledged that this would be a challenge as she just doesn't see herself as sexy. Her performance I thought was pretty good. Vocals excellent as usual. However, I thought her moves could do with some work. Randy and Paula loved the package. Simon finally got to say something negative about this girl's showing. He commented that she appeared older than she is, said it was a bit "wooden" and forgettable. I think he is just partly right.

Up next was the highly touted Lakisha Jones. Lakisha chose to do the song Conga, by Gloria Estafan. I really was not impressed overall. Vocals were fine, but with a song like that, there needs to be a lot more body movement. She needed to shake it. Nothing much there though. Randy said it was hot! LOL. Now get this, Paula disagreed with him! You heard me. She even started her feedback to Lakisha by telling her she looked lovely. The poor girl must have been groaning on the inside. Paula lamented that it was too safe, and that at this stage of the competition, she (ie. Lakisha) needs to come with the very best. Simon agreed with Paula, and added that it wasn't really so much of a singing song, as it is a dancing song, and agreed with me that the dancing wasn't too great. To be fair to Lakisha though, I do believe she did come out of her comfort zone with this song. Paula and Simon were wrong on that count.

Chris Richardson --Jenny advised him to raise the key that he would sing in. I really can't tell what he did. I was not impressed at all. I've never been a fan of his voice, and I didn't like the song. Randy liked his performance. Paula thought it was hot and sexy. Whatever. Simon liked it better than the previous two performances. He is a strange man indeed.

The Lovely Haley Scarnato --Haley chose the song, Turn The Beat Around. As usual, I thought Haley demonstrated very good vocals. However, I don't think that was a good fitting song for her. Because of that it appeared that she did worse than she actually did. But I'm still attracted to her voice, which still shines. That is the main the thing.

Randy wasn't impressed, thought he could hear something like that almost anywhere. Simon was particularly rude. He repeated the tired line about Haley having to resort to wearing skimpy clothes because she can't compete vocally with the other contestants. It surely would not have been out of order for one to slap him in the face after that remark. Haley has a most delightful voice. It is not the big kind like the other female contestants, but it is truly a joy to hear her sing.

Phil Stacey--Somewhere in the middle of his performance, I was saying to myself, "what the heck is Phil singing?" I was truly bored. Perhaps aware that he was losing the audience, he decided to mix things up a bit with some screeching at the end. Randy agreed it was boring. Paula agreed there was a problem with his voice at the end, although she said his vocals were great before that. Simon said there was nothing original about it, nothing to get excited about, also cited the voice cracking at the end, and so concluded that he had nothing good to say.

Jordin Sparks --First, Jordin does have a good voice. However, I really did not like the arrangement she used for her song. There were some parts where I thought the vocals were not quite right. Overall, it was boring. Randy was impressed. (How surprising) Paula said nothing useful, but she did like it. Simon thought it was just an OK performance, nothing stunning.

Blake Lewis--The lad made a good song choice. The vocals were decent mostly. I did think he was a bit stiff though, both in the movements and in the vocals. The judges were happy with it. Simon thought it was the best of the night at least up until that point.

Sanjaya Malakar --Jenny Lo said Sanjaya impressed her. She even commented, "I love Sanjaya", and "I think Simon might be impressed". So the kid appeared on the stage seated before the mic, with a new hairstyle (of course), though not as flamboyant as he is prone to. He has added some facial hair to his repertoire though. It is not yet clear whether this was just for the Latin theme, or if he intends to keep it for the remainder of the competition. Concerning his performance, I must admit that he was quite decent. Not bad at all. He sang the song in Spanish. Good move. I can see how he can begin to grow on some. Randy said he is one of the smartest contestants he has met, and admitted that the performance was actually really good. Paula thought it was nice, very very nice. Simon babbled something about singing it like a 14 year old. Then, with some amount of mental anguish, he conceded that it was not horrible. At that remark, there was great rejoicing seen on the faces of Sanjaya's friends and sister (see left pic).

That wraps up the top 8 performance. I would assess the 3 weakest of the night, starting with the worst, to be Phil, Lakisha, and Chris (Jordin comes close too). Nevertheless, I am not at all making an attempt to predict the bottom 3. America does strange things sometimes.

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