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‘American Idol’ Top 24 didn’t exactly soar

WHO MUST STAY: I have a soft spot for anyone who chooses a Beatles song and Lilly Scott’s jazzy rendition of “Fixing a Hole” was absolutely fab. “American Idol” has yet to successfully produce a jazz singer and Scott could be just what the show needs. It also doesn’t hurt that Scott has amazing style and looks as if she just stepped out of the pages of an Anthropologie catalog. While Scott certainly doesn’t fit the mold of the traditional “Idol” contestant, who belts out notes so high and long that you wonder if they will collapse after the performance, she has the coveted quality of originality and an excellent knack for picking songs that suit her voice. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this white-haired wonder!

Who Must Go: As much as I’m tempted to list 16 or 17 names in this section, I must remind myself that “Idol” is still near the beginning and better performances are yet to come. (At least I hope so.) One of the biggest challenges for this crop of contestants is to make a song their own. This is Season 9, which means loyal viewers have already seen hundreds of talented singers stand on that Top 24 stage and belt out note-perfect performances just like the ones contestants gave last week. At this point, viewers don’t just want someone who can sing well. They also want someone who is original. Let’s face it. Why should viewers vote for something that they have seen done before and, in some cases, better?

Yeah, you might have hit all the notes to “This Love,” Big Mike, but so can the lead singer of Maroon 5. Katie Stevens may have done a decent rendition of “Feeling Good.” But any loyal “Idol” viewer surely couldn’t help comparing her adequate performance to the electrifying, Season 8 version of the same song by San Diego’s Adam Lambert.

In some ways, giving a “copy cat” performance is almost worse than having a terrible performance because a “copy cat” performance runs the risk of being forgettable. At least a bad performance is memorable and can gain you a couple of votes from Vote for the Worst.com. Though I had to mute the volume a couple of times on Hailey Vaughn’s screechy performance, it was one of the few from that night that stuck in my mind.

A poor showing isn’t unusual during Top 24 week. But in all my years of watching “Idol,” I am pretty sure it has never been this bad. When the best performance on guys’ night comes from the guy who used his six-pack abs to get a ticket to Hollywood, you know you’re in deep trouble. If these contestants don’t improve, they’ll all have to start pulling out their Sanjaya wigs to stay afloat.

Final Word: One contestant who is definitely worth noting, but didn’t exactly give a “Who Must Stay”- worthy performance last week, is Andrew Garcia. I actually knew about Andrew Garcia even before “American Idol” by watching his videos on YouTube.

The kid has an amazing voice and rich tone that are definitely radio ready. (If you are a big fan of Garcia, I suggest checking out some of the other YouTube singers like Gabe Bondoc and Kina Grannis, whose covers of famous pop tunes are always better than the original artist.) As an “Idol” fan, you dream of the season where you will be able to pick the winner of the show right from the audition round. In season 6, I came very close with my selection of Melinda Doolittle, only to see her horrifically robbed at the very end. When I found out that Andrew was trying out for the show, I was ecstatic and made sure to tell all my friends and family that he was going to be the next “American Idol.” I hope my prediction comes true!

Kelly Lin is an SDNN contributor.