American Idol

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
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"If I Didn't Have A Dress On, I'd Throw You A Backflip."

Well, now they all love her. She helpfully invites them to tell her to start singing, so they do, and she does. She's got awesome shiny ruby-red kicks, yellow tights and a tiny shirt, and giant blonde curls. Her eyes are gigantic buggy Bette Davis eyes, but the only real problem is her lipstick, which is really unfortunate. She sings "My Heart Will Go On" in a way that is probably pretty, but overwhelmingly loud, and it takes them a while to come down one way or the other. By the end, though, her clarity and passion have won them over. They call attention specifically to her phrasing and the stuff she did with the ends of her notes, which was creative and controlled, and Kara says she's a joy to watch. Simon still thinks she's too musical drama, but Mary J perseverates on the phrasing until she gets through. As she leaves, Simon goes, "She's sweet" -- and downstairs, about fifty people lose their fucking minds and pile on her and it's amazing.

Miriam Lemnouni (25, Atlanta) is an equestrian trainer who will be singing "The Climb," which is not a great idea but something she does awesomely. She looks a lot like beautiful Brooke Burns from Melrose Place who I first fell in love with on North Shore, but in a more normal human proportion. Less giant head/giant face working than with old Brooke. Simon can't get the smile off his face, which is always good. She's through to Hollywood, as are the next two ladies: Noel Reese (16, Sophia, NC) who has braces and is wearing an insanity-print summer dress, tries way too hard with her weird movements, but has a great tone; and Tisha Holland (18, Riverdale, GA) who is just phenomenal. All the judges get weirdly obsessed with her, and she does a cute little dance around. Her hair is short and surprisingly cool: The top part is brown, but like a really subtle, russet brown, on top of the black. You're picturing T-Boz, but trust me that it's actually quite becoming. Usually people with concept hair, by the time they've made it to the auditions they've really lost their commitment to it and it just looks nuts.

Jermaine Sellars (26, Joliet, IL) is a church singer (Ryan loves that he gets paid to sing, and you know in his wee head he's like, "I wonder if I could get that gig, I have forty-five minutes free on alternating Sundays and I was looking for work") with a very supportive mom, whom he's been supporting since he was 17 because she has spina bifida, which is a motherfucker of a disease. Ryan loves him, I love his steel skull belt buckle.

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American Idol

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